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News & Dev
March 30, 2015

What’s in the box?

Welcome to a Mondoid precipitated by an exciting community event. On Wednesday a nice survivor called Nynuc dropped by with an offer. Post an update about NPCs, they asked, and then we would all see what was inside… the mystery box!


Well, it was pretty clear what had to happen next. Stick with us, though, to not only find out what was in the Mystery Box, but also to read some cool Build 32 Molotov-related content and more! [Please also note the Mystery Box ruse, once used, can never be repeated].


“Now first of all: Mondoid news on NPCs does *not* mean they are imminent or soon. However! Here is a picture of the behaviour debugger doing its thing: poking into the brains of AI NPC brains.”


“At this point in time most of the NPC survival behaviours are in. AI survivors can loot for food, barricade, will stockpile water, hang sheets as curtains, change dirty bandages, sew deep wounds, and all the stuff to keep them alive. I’m currently coding in specific looting targets based on items the characters want, say going specifically to Cortman Medical for medical gear.”

“Their combat skillz ain’t too great, but since there is a big combat rewrite incoming with the new animations there is zero point in working on zombie (or npc -> npc/player) combat as it’ll all need rewriting once that goes in – and that will be released before NPCs, almost certainly. So at the moment I’m focusing on group interactions. Group interactions use an entirely different system built based on inspiration from Crusader Kings 2, and use xml driven event chains to describe story beats in kind of mini-plots that will be stitched together.”

“Currently I’m writing an event chain for when a group walks toward an NPC safehouse. What happens if a patrolling guard spots you? What happens if a guard at a window sees you? What happens if you get spotted while trying to jimmy a window on the safehouse? What happens if you’re spotted inside the safehouse?”

“Each of these events will lead to their own consequences, which are branching events based on the personalities of the people both in the safehouse, and the people approaching the safehouse. From a stand-off with shotguns to begging for help to deal with raiders – there will be all manner of outcomes based on numerous factors. The whole idea is to build whole metric ton of different branching possibilities for single events, so that they can play out in dramatically different ways. We’re going to have all these little ‘storylets ‘ that branch in numerous ways, and when pieced together we hope they’ll make for a Walking Dead story-like experience that’s different each time.”

[Caveat: without actual game wide plot arcs, as considered and discussed and written by a team of writers, our results are unlikely to be as narratively sound and tight as a TV show story or purposefully written main quest game story. However, we hope for enough variation that it feels like a unique story each time.]

“For more details on how behaviour trees work, look here. NOW WHAT’S IN THE BOX?”


TurboTuTone has the system in-game, with multiple broadcasts playing alongside each other to simulate the last days of civilization before everything slowly goes dead. There’s still a fair amount of writing to do after the decision to create more narrative content timeslots per day, but we’re really motoring with this one now. Turbo has also made it possible for WordZed to suck dialogue, speakers and general info straight out of a global excel file, so modding should prove relatively easy.



A primary part of Build 32’s crafting update will be some rudimentary offensive and defensive devices that can be thrown, or maybe have timers/sensors attached to them if your character has the relevant skills. Romain is still beavering away at the code, but was kind enough to create the following video demonstration!

[NOTE: This is all very WIP, there’s still no SFX and visuals need polish. The system is also currently using the ‘old’ PZ throw code. As such it looks a little bit odd at the moment with the new 3D characters. Please note that we’ll be moving to more realistic physics once vehicles go into the game, and we will have more realistic throwing physics from that point too. Also, clearly this raises new issues when it comes to fire spread – so in MP we’ll add disable spread/spawn/crafting options into server options, while also perhaps playing around with just how flammable different tiles are. Concrete isn’t famous for its combustion properties, after all. Oh, and the Molotov probably shouldn’t bounce either.]

More fun and games with Build 32 development next week!

It turned out there was an axe in the Mystery Box by the way, which was a relief as we’d been looking for one for DAYS.

If you’d like delicately phrased Zomboid-shaped fun packages like this delivered to your inbox every Monday, why not subscribe to our newsletter?


31: Out now!

News & Dev | 23 March 2015


Easter Mondoid

News & Dev | 06 April 2015
Stable Build: 40.43 | IWBUMS Beta: 41.51 | Version history | Wiki
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