DayZ, a slow-paced, realistic(ish) game mode about the Zombie apocalypse is an intriguing thing – but it requires too much effort to get running at the moment, requiring Arma II, its expansion, a BETA patch and the mod to be installed. The good news is its coming in a standalone form. The bad news is that it was supposed have been released last year. Why isn’t it out yet?
“Put simply, DayZ Standalone isn’t here because we had the chance to go from making a game that was just the mod improved slightly, packaged simply, and sold – to actually redeveloping the engine and making the game the way we all dreamed it could be,” Project lead Dean Hall said on the game’s Tumblr.
“This blew any initial plans we had dictated to pieces.”
So what’s happening then? Well, it will soon be going in to a closed Beta for a small subset of the DayZ community; just 500-1000 users.
“This closed test will be focused purely on architecture, not the game design,” Hall said.
“Once we have confirmed fixes for issues arising from the closed test, we will then reschedule an internal date for our public release.”
Its seems there’s a pretty decent reason for the delay, and the same blog post details exactly what Bohemia’s been busy doing.
Where is the Standalone Release?
I suppose I should start with the question everyone wants to know… where is DayZ Standalone? Obviously, it’s not here. At Eurogamer I said that DayZ had to be out before the end of the year and that’s come and gone. I still stand by that comment, to achieve what we had originally wanted, we did have to be out by the end of the year – and we’ve failed to achieve that.
Put simply, DayZ Standalone isn’t here because we had the chance to go from making a game that was just the mod improved slightly, packaged simply, and sold – to actually redeveloping the engine and making the game the way we all dreamed it could be. This blew any initial plans we had dictated to pieces.
The plan going forward
The plan from here is straightforward. We will be releasing a closed test imminently, during which approximately 500-1000 people will assist in ensuring our architecture is correctly functioning. This closed test will be focused purely on architecture, not the game design. Once we have confirmed fixes for issues arising from the closed test, we will then reschedule an internal date for our public release.
What has been done?
One of the most profound and major architectural changes has had its initial implementation completed, this is the overhaul of the inventory system. In fact, the inventory and item management system was completely removed and rewritten from the ground by Jirka, one of the original engine programmers. The work that has been completed on this groundbreaking, and it going to fundamentally change the DayZ experience.
You scavenge for items now, as individual parts, picking up pieces rather than piles, looking for cans on shelves or under beds. The new system opens the door for durability of items, disease tracking (cholera lingering on clothes a player wears…), batteries, addon components, and much more. If you shoot a player in the head to take his night vision, you will damage the night vision. The changes to this inventory system are huge.
An additional area of change has been to make the inventory system more intuitive along with a key focus on providing visceral feedback on your progress through what inventory you have. The use of drag-and-drop, 3D models rather than 2D pictures, and being able to add items/clothing to your character in 3D in the inventory screen – have all come out of months of design work and research. I’m extremely pleased with the results of Jirka and Hladas, two of the programmers who have been working on implementing the design ideas. I believe the changes to this inventory system will fundamentally change the nature of the DayZ experience.
We are not at the point where we can release meaningful videos or screenshots of the system, but we have now confirmed the base architecture is working in game. Likely, the first that will come out about the inventory system will be during the closed test when people are actually using it.
ArmA community legend kju has been part of the DayZ development for some time, and is now one of your key development members. He has been working with our CEO (Marek) and me to develop the DayZ UI. We have been greatly inspired by Minecraft to make the UI simple and effective, rather than flashy and complex. All our art and code efforts are going into the game, the UI is being designed to be straightforward and functional just like in Minecraft.
A huge amount of work is being completed on art. I’m including some more additional pictures taken from around Chernarus. We have some massive plans now that all interiors have been completed, as rather than moving them on to other projects we are now giving them exciting new things to create.
One of the new artists on the team is a texture artist, and has been working on revising the textures for our new building interiors so they look more post-apocalyptic. Some of these changes can be seen in the work-in-progress pictures I have included.
The lead architect of the revised (and original) Chernarus map, Ivan Buchta, is still imprisoned in Greece on charges of espionage – and is a great loss to the team. Luckily, through letters, Ivan is able to provide some input and insight into the development of the map. Regardless, the continued imprisonment of him and Martin Pezlar has a significant impact on our ability to redevelop Chernarus.