Happy Christmas if you celebrate it, or if you have your own religious festival in a month’s time and just think it’s nice because you get a few days off while your neighbours drown in eggnog! Happy holidays to you!
Here’s the December news round.
CRAFTING TEAM UPDATE
With the last Thurzdoid some people arrived at the mistaken impression that in normal b42 play, iron ore deposits would be the primary or only source of metal for crafting. While we’re not ruling this out in the long term, and it’ll certainly be the only source of metal to be found within the wilderness map (more on this later), the primary logical source of metal would always initially be found within the now abandoned civilized world itself.
For several builds now, players have been able to dismantle various metal furniture and other objects in the world, including wrecked vehicles, to get metal bars, sheets and scrap. This still exists in build 42, and should serve as the primary source of metal–in various sorts and sizes–for crafting.
This also includes taking apart railroad tracks, which is fortunate in that you can use a piece of the track to construct a makeshift anvil.
On the subject of “modern metalworking”, here are some new workstations, a standing bandsaw, drill press, and arch furnace.
The bandsaw currently can be used to cut metal pieces into smaller metal pieces, which can save you some wear and tear on your hacksaw, and the drill press can be used to put holes into metal, such as fabricating tools such as header tools for making nails or a drawplate for making wire, among other uses. The arc furnace can be used for melting down assorted items to cast various metal ingots and bars. Now this isn’t the extend of the uses of these workstations, or the end of what we’re adding in this vein.
Speaking of other workstations, here are some of the new agricultural stations in b42, herb and crop drying racks, stone quern, and mill, as well as some new crops: Barley, Flax, Hemp (industrial), Hops, Rye, Sugar Beets, Sunflowers, and Tobacco. This gives us a great foundation of resources for textiles, cordage, brewing and oils. We have more crops coming, including some winter crops, garden vegetables, hot peppers, and some pretty herbs.
Moving on to things relevant for the wilderness, here is an example of a campsite made using primitive tier resources. It includes a small worksurface boulder and tree stump, which are naturally spawning workstations that can be used for some basic crafts, including some bootstrapping crafts for getting crafting up and started. Here’s also an example of a small cabin that could be built in the wilderness.
Moving on to the blacksmithing and crafted weapon related matters, as some crafted items consist of handles and heads, some that can be sharp,
Appropriate items will track those conditions as such:
There are some other new and very interesting statistics that will be associated with tool and weapon parts, but we’ll discuss this later once its implemented. The goal of these will be to provide much more variety to items, and much greater reward from higher skill crafting, and looting of rarer items.
Aside from being used as part of the “guts and bolts” of the crafting system, this also allows for a more interesting procedural weapon upkeep and breakage system.
The upkeep stuff is intended to be warm and immersive, but without an excessive amount of micromanagement. With the examples like the hatchet and spear, you can use the classic items like Duct Tape, Wood Glue, or Zip-Ties to repair the handle, or carve a new one and replace it.
Sharpness affects weapon damage and criticals. Weapons at 0 sharpness can still be used to kill, but are less effective, will take longer to chop down a door or a tree, and will accumulate damage faster. Sharpness can be restored using a Whetstone, but is temporarily capped by the weapons Head Condition (or general condition for items like knives). Minor head damage can be repaired with a Whetstone, greater damage with a Grindstone, and a broken blade can be used to make a smaller blade or other item.
With the procedural damage system, Sharpness, Handle Condition, and Head Condition all are affected by usage and combat, with Sharpness generally draining the fastest, followed by Handle Condition. When Handle or Head Condition hits 0, the fun stuff can happen with Procedural Weapon Breakage. With the Hatchet, when the Handle Condition reaches 0, the handle breaks, and the Head goes flying.
With a larger Axe or other weapon, you may end with with a usable crude wooden club in your hands. Spears basically work the same way, but leave you with a broken stick in your hands and can leave the Spear head embedded in a zombie. When Head Condition reaches 0, the Handle still breaks, but a broken Head is left on the ground or in a zombie, which may be salavged to make something new. Broken Handles can generally be carved to make smaller handles or other wooden objects.
This procedural weapon crafting and breaking also serves to give us the bits and pieces to make some nice post apocalyptic makeshift weapons.
Speaking of crafted weapons, Spears are being heavily rethought, reworked, and rebalanced. This is a case where the weapon part and breakage stuff really helps to make Spears more cool and spear-like. You will be able to make simple wooden spears from appropriate items, such as Brooms or Hockey Sticks, as well as Long Sticks, and a Wooden Spear can be Fire Hardened for greater durability and a minor boost to performance . Here’s also some crafted blades and the spears and knives made from them:
THE PROFESSOR’S PROC-GEN LABORATORY
Last time we introduced you to our latest recruit, former legendary modder and Minecraft dev ProfMobius.
We wanted to get him settled into Zomboid in an area he felt comfortable within, and it made sense for him to perform a trick he last played for Mojang. As such, his first port of call is to look into a wilderness procedural generation system.
Please note this isn’t full procedural generation and not intended to create random towns and cities, and at least for now, is purely to provide random wilderness. This will serve two important purposes for Build 42.
1) It will allow for the current borders of the premade map to cease to have a black impassible border, and will instead allow players to be able to explore outside the confines of the map a very, very large (though probably not infinite) distance.
This will allow players to establish themselves a greater distance away from the premade map and will expand the scope of wilderness based gameplay, as well as locations for settlements that can exist considerable distances away from the existing towns within the game. It will also allow for map modders to have a pretty much but not quite infinite area to place their maps, and we hope to have some functionality to extend roads from the existing map border into this generated terrain.
2) The second purpose will be to allow for servers optionally to be able to generate a complete wilderness map with no towns, roads or other signs of civilization.
Not only will this be a good testbed for ensuring that none of our primitive and medieval crafting trees rely upon anything a player would need to loot, but will provide a basis for vanilla and especially modded multiplayer servers to focus entirely around crafting and community building, rather than looting and zombies.
The random map generation will have large biomes (all will be sensible for a Kentucky climate environment for the vanilla map border generation, but we may be able to be more imaginative and less realistic on the complete random map generation, and discussions are still happening about this) to add variety and things to discover.
While we will not be looking to generate fully random maps with buildings, towns, roads etc at this point, it’s important to point out that the random basement system implemented into Build 42 has required the ability for binary exported buildings from our building editor to be able to be ‘injected’ or ‘stamped’ into the game world at run-time, and this functionality will be accessible to modders.
We fully expect modders to have all the power they need to be able to expand the wilderness map with random towns and road networks. It may be something we’d consider exploring at some point once the main map is complete, but until then it’s not something we want to distract from the hand-crafted game world. While we believe random maps would be a cool addition for those who have played the game so much the existing map and popular modded maps no longer feel fresh, we would prefer new players always had the traditional handcrafted map in their first throes of survival.
Here’s a quick rough cut of something created with the earliest draft of ProfMobius’ world generation tool – hopefully the start of something cool.
MANY YEARS LATER
Just to underline our continued dedication to handcrafted mapping, we have a backlog of many and varied Challenge maps and spin-off maps waiting in the wings for main game inclusion. The one now stumbling and blinking into the stark and glaring light of day is Xeonyx’s Many Years Later.
Given the sparsity of ‘normal’ looting spots this is due to be another of our testbeds for our revamped post-apocalyptic crafting, but it’s pretty fun in terms of just how full of despair it feels.
The recent addition of rats and wildlife also really set it off now. Here’s a quick vid from recent explorations:
Finally, Amz, our video producer and the most ‘Christmas tree must be up the day after Halloween’ Christmassy person in any room that’s ever existed has put together this amazing John Lewis’esque video! We all love it and hope you will too!
Oh, and in weird bug news we had a problem with infinitely spawning chickens. Things swiftly got out of hand.
Oh the HumanitZ!
We’d like to point people in the direction of a friend of TIS’s new zombie survival game that’s carving out a slightly different area of the zombie survival niche, a bit more actiony and aiming for something in-between State of Decay and Zomboid in the Venn diagram of zombie survival.
If you have place in your heart for another great zombie game, especially one that’s plenty of fun to play in co-op, make sure to check out HumanitZ on Steam!