Evening all, here we all are again. Let’s take a stroll through the development Event zone.
Now the vast infrastructure overhaul of the crafting systems has been merged and opened up to the rest of the gang, we’ve had a crack team of coders working solidly on implementing the various new post-apocalyptic profession tech trees, workstations and recipes that will provide for a vast amount of options for crafting and building in B42.
As a summary for anyone who isn’t up to date on our overall goals, the crafting overhaul is intended to provide the following things to Zomboid:
Give Zomboid a more feature rich end-game.
At present, long time players of the game often find they run out of objectives once they get a well-stocked and secure safehouse. We want to provide many more objectives a settled survivor can undertake to improve their safehouse, or indeed a community of players.
More things to build. More opportunities to craft. More ways to be creative.
Provide a way for servers to be able to run indefinitely without the need to wipe or respawn loot.
At present the gameplay loop relies so much on looting the map for items that servers run into problems when most urban locations are looted. These either cause servers to rely on unrealistic loot respawning, or to frequently wipe the server.
We want servers to be able to run well into the ‘Alexandria years’ and for players to experience life much further within the post-apocalypse in an interesting way that feels and plays different to the early chaos.
Provide believable post-apocalypse professions that would emerge in a post-technical post-apocalyptic society.
If it’s been 30 years since the apocalypse, making a new character who is a burger flipper ceases to make much sense.
As time ticks by from the initial infection, we will retire pre-apocalypse professions and introduce post-apocalypse professions that mirror pre-modern professions such as blacksmithing, tailoring, butchering and so on. We are also tying these skills into relevant modern day professions where applicable.
Provide more community cooperation in multiplayer (and NPCs in B43 and beyond) with different interacting professions that can contribute to a community – as well as provide much more extensive crafting and building, encouraging trade and other interesting player interactions.
We want to give players more interesting choices of professions and activities to contribute to a survivor community, and allow for players to cut more unique and interesting niches for themselves within a survivor group or community.
Part of this is reshaping how the skill and XP system work to both make individuals less capable of mastering everything, while making their initial potential a lot higher without grinding if they spec into a particular skill heavily.
Simultaneously, meanwhile, we still need to be providing sandbox options to allow solo players to master more skills and professions so as not to cut solo players from all the new content and things to do.
Provide a framework for players who want to focus more on community building and player interactions than zombie survival, so that they can optionally run servers with a more traditional wilderness map based survival game or extensive tech mods.
While zombie apocalypse will always be our core focus for the vanilla game, we want Zomboid to provide a breadth of survival mechanics and content that, especially with mods, make a solid foundation for many other varied survival experiences outside the looting and zombie gameplay.
This includes making provisions for the full range of possibilities in terms of tech and progression modpacks and overhauls that will add mountains of new ways for the community to play the game.
Our tech tree is built from the ground up with the assumption that it is taking place on a wilderness map without any civilization – to ensure that there are no holes.
In normal gameplay, close to the apocalypse, it’s expected that players would be able to skip huge portions of this tree by using scavenged technology and supplies from the crumbling modern world. However, with the correct knowledge and skills, players will be empowered to fill any gap if that loot and technology is not available to them.
Let the modders be all they can be.
Finally, we also believe that the crafting systems themselves are solid and foundational enough for the amazing modders in our community to run absolutely fucking wild with – and we honestly cannot wait to see what they come up with.
Now we’ve recapped our general goals with the crafting overhaul, we’ll introduce you to some of the work on three of the profession trees that we’ve been in the guts of this month.
One of the new post-apocalypse professions that will be available for players, blacksmithing will allow for the comprehensive working of metal to provide players the ability to craft many items that are unattainable outside looting in the current build of the game.
The initial work has been based around providing the ability for someone living in the wild to be able to work with metal using a primitive furnace and forge made using rocks and clay, along with higher tiers being producible later on as players progress.
Of course there will also be modern equivalents of these workstations available within the world map for players to exploit too, but as stated earlier we are filling out the crafting tech tree always from the very bottom, with the assumption that players do not have access to any looted supplies whatsoever.
Please note that we are currently exploring a new design for building mechanics, in our attempt to get away from using right click menus for everything. We are hoping for a nicer building interface since we’ll have a huge number of extra building projects for the player and just cramming them all into right click menus will get more and more cumbersome as time goes on.
With these facilities simple iron implements can be produced, such as nails, as well as the tools required to build the next tier. Additionally it can be used for simple assembly and maintenance tasks.
This second tier is approximately “Medieval-ish”, the furnaces are built using stonemasonry, consisting of dressed stone blocks and cement; there is a proper blacksmith’s anvil; and also a quenching bucket.
With this more complex and durable tools can be crafted, as well as a higher level of maintenance.
And yup, want to be the most popular person on a server? Crank out sledgehammers for your friends!
Finally in this area, for steel production we need to make coke, produced from charcoal.
This dome kiln can be used to produce both coke, and also charcoal from wood.
Wood charcoal is important for this branch of crafting. The heat it produces is good for working metal, but it’s also carbon and had effects on ferrous metal being forged. It will be able to be produced through other means than just the dome kiln, but can be produced more efficiently in higher quantities when using one.
We featured some of the possibilities with pottery in a previous Thursdoid however a big benefit of working with clay (as well as stone) is for additional options for building.
PLEASE NOTE: there’s anims, tile artwork, SFX and lots of other polish missing at present.
As well as stone or clay full-size walls, the extended building options from these systems will allow for paths, roofs and decorative elements allowing for player built communities to really feel like a settlement and provide options for security to keep the zeds at bay.
This will of course be a balancing concern for us, but we feel with sufficient effort and skill a survivor should be able to (very ultimately) erect walls that zombies do not simply attempt to walk through and bash their heads on until they fall over.
The last profession we’ll cover today is the Brewer, who has numerous valuable things to bring to the table. While at present alcoholic drinks may not have too much direct impact on gameplay, we will be providing more benefits and downsides to the partaking in alcohol.
After all, we imagine it would be a likely bit of escapism for many a zombie apocalypse survivor, and there’d be more value still added later down the line once the NPCs and the accompanying psychological overhaul we have planned at the same time.
In the first instance of this, however, the Brewer profession also allows for the creation of a rather vital way of preserving food.
Last ‘doid we showed you building developments high upwards into the sky, this time we’re going deeper underground as there’s too much panic in this town.
For those unaware, Build 42 will come with two sorts of below ground floor. First off we’ll have the Permanent ones that will always be attached to locations on the map. These will generally be familiar locations, places of interest, businesses and secret military complexes.
Today however, we’ll be looking at our Randomized ones. We currently have 119 of these designed: some empty and desolate, some full of loot beyond your wildest dreams, and some that make you seriously question the mental state of the previous occupant. Here’s a fuzzed-up image to whet your whistle.
These will be basements, bunkers, panic rooms and Waynes World sets that you will be delighted to discover spawning on your regular looting sorties – and they will appear within whatever houses could potentially fit them in and still look natural. The frequency of their appearances will also be governed by a Sandbox option.
We’ll also have a long list of designated spots within buildings on the map where a random basement will fit, these spots will be assigned and a random compatible basement will be placed in the world on world creation.
Here’s a quick video to show some of our favourites off but first a few familiar words of caution!
This is WIP, stair placement within buildings will improve, and likewise the steps will look more natural in the way that they appear within the house. We may also look at hatches etc as time goes on.
Lovely Aiteron’s mission of tidying up, reorganising and adding new utility to our front-end UI continues. Notably he’s currently improving the Mod Manager which, as an ex-modder himself, he is ideally suited to do.
Here’s a quick video showing his changes.
So what’s seen here? Well, amongst other things, the following:
An area of the game we need to improve is the feeling that ‘something happened here’. We have burned down houses, survivor homes and our costume zeds – but we don’t have much that says people who were panicked were once here.
As such now we will be including a random chance for homes, stores and businesses to have been looted – with items strewn over the floor, general detritus and litter, and sometimes graffiti on the walls too.
(There’s no graffiti that says ‘Hit them in the head!’ just yet, but we are a video game so give us time on that one I’m sure it will happen eventually.)
At the same time as the big ticket new systems, our coders and art team like to dripfeed fun smaller stuff into the test build. Recent additions have been:
The Military Manpack Radio. Works when worn on the back, in addition to other radio usages.
New fluid containers that use the revamped crafting systems that deal with liquids – so for example the canteens use the new tech where they’re a single script item definition with procedural textures and icons, similar to how clothing items work.
Backpack sprayers that are fluid containers, that should prove useful for farming. (And also get us thinking about flamethrowers, once we have the time to get back into the fire rework.)
In keeping with all the other game studios and publishers providing ‘faintly spooky content’ at this time of year, please take this offering of deer skellingtons and a baby deer skellington.
We trust that you are now suitably unsettled, and please note that it took about a minute to get our pre-existing animal skellingtons into motion. We haven’t spent all month on the skellingtons.
We’ll see you back here next month (details on the temporarily monthly Thursdoids here) for more cool stuff.
Thanks again all x
A changelist of all our pre-release and post-release patches since the 41 beta began can be found here. The Centralized Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send you update notifications once builds get released. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too. Experienced games industry gameplay coder and want to join Team Awesome? Jobs page here