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Recent Articles: DayZ
Dean Hall, the game designer from New Zealand who brought us the ArmA II mod DayZ, told Eurogamer he will be stepping down as the leader on the game. He plans to return home to New Zealand and create a game studio there, where he will “keep trying to create that elusive, perfect multiplayer game.” He knows the process won’t be overnight, so his people are going to “start it cooking” now.
It doesn’t hurt that Hall already has five ideas for games – three that are already written, and two that are rough. “‘A lot of them have similar DNA [to DayZ],’ he said, because he’s ‘fascinated’ by multiplayer games and because he’s ‘very interested’ in survival games.” But with DayZ, he feels like it’s “kind of like cooking in someone else’s kitchen: I don’t want to be constantly telling Bohemia that this is how I do it and this is the way we do it.” He’s not going to screw them over, though:
Much can change in a year, of course. Is Hall’s mind set? “Oh, it’s set. Definitely,” he nodded. But he won’t leave DayZ in the lurch – won’t leave at a crucial time. “I would extend my involvement here as long as Bohemia wanted – needed – me,” he stressed. In other words, there’s flexibility.
Check out the full interview over at Eurogamer.
Marek Spanel, the CEO of Bohemia Interactive, has announced that the standalone version of Dean Hall’s DayZ has already sold one million copies:
— Maruk (@maruksp) January 13, 2014
The standalone version of DayZ was originally released in an “alpha” state in December through Steam’s Early Access program. With its sales success, Hall and Bohemia will have plenty of cash to play with as they add features and tweak the still-early-in-development game. But we might be in for a bit of a wait, Bohemia has said that the “beta” version of DayZ is still a year away.
After an Everest ascent and multiple development delays, Dean “Rocket” Hall’s standalone version of DayZ is now available through Steam. But there’s a catch, the game is still in the alpha stage and has been released through the online storefront’s Early Access program.
The Early Access version of DayZ has been priced at $29.99 and Hall estimates that the game will reach the beta stage in about a year. In the alpha version, players will have access to 40-player online play, customizable weapons and clothing, and a 230 sq. km game map known as “Chernarus.” Hall has big plans for DayZ and, as development on the Early Access version continues, he and his team at Bohemia Interactive plan to add drivable vehicles, a wide variety of native animal life, player-constructed buildings, upgraded graphics, and mod support.
But all of these additions will take time and Bohemia has cautioned: “DayZ Early Access is your chance to experience DayZ as it evolves throughout its development process. Be aware that our Early Access offer is a representation of our core pillars, and the framework we have created around them. It is a work in progress and therefore contains a variety of bugs. We strongly advise you not to buy and play the game at this stage unless you clearly understand what Early Access means and are interested in participating in the ongoing development cycle.”
You can get a taste of the Early Access version by viewing the “Launch Trailer” at the top of this post.
Last year, Dean Hall told the world that he wanted to bring the standalone version of his ArmA II mod, DayZ, to consoles. At the time, he said a console version would only be considered after a successful launch for the PC version. A month later, a Bohemia Interactive developer bolstered Hall’s claim, saying “it would be stupid” not to bring the game to consoles.
Speaking to The Escapist today, Hall spoke again about a console port of DayZ, now stating it’s “almost certain” to happen.
“Certainly I think if we don’t, for want of a better word ‘[****] up,’ the PC release then I would say a console port is almost certain,” Hall revealed. “I know a lot of people get really hot and bothered about it. Like, I’m not a console gamer, I’m a PC gamer, but I don’t think it necessarily has to hurt things.”
As development on the console port has yet to begin, Hall doesn’t know which platforms it’ll end up on. But right now, the PS4 appears to be the frontrunner. “We’ve talked and met with Sony, and they’re very – you know, they’re obviously interested,” he said.
Project Leader Dean Hall and his team at Bohemia Interactive missed their planned 2012 release date for the standalone edition of DayZ. But they’ve got a good excuse. Hall’s latest development update has revealed that Bohemia has used the extra time to rebuild the game engine and “[make DayZ] the game [...] we all dreamed it could be.”
Besides changes to the game engine and the user interface, Hall’s main focus has been on overhauling the inventory system. From the sounds of it, this new system could change the way we look at surviving the post-apocalyptic landscape of your average zombie game:
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.
Hall has also revealed that Bohemia is planning an internal test of DayZ and that we can expect a new release date only after any issues discovered during the test are fixed.
The DayZ creators have been hard at work building their standalone game, and have just released the first screenshots from it. The shots are from in-progress work, “with only basic texture work and initial lighting passes.”
These buildings were made in the original ArmA 2 game with no thought about interiors, and the DayZ creators are going in and giving each building guts, to give the players more opportunities for scavenging for much-needed items. As it says on their development blog,
“The village I used to take the screenshot in now has all its buildings enterable, including the sheds. Most focus has so far been on the buildings that are situated outside of the center, but focus now is turning to doing interiors for the city buildings. This is complicated by our desire to dramatically increase performance, and given the scene complexity inside cities we need to balance this with the desire to increase building scavenging opportunities inside the cities.”
Check out the full post, as well as more screenshots, at the DayZ blog.
DayZ‘s lead developer, Dean Hall, has already expressed his desire to bring the zombie sim to consoles. Now, ArmA II developer Bohemia Interactive is throwing their weight behind the idea as well.
Speaking to VideoGamer.com, Producer Jan Kunt confirmed that the company is definitely looking into it:
“Obviously [with] DayZ, you’ve seen the success of Minecraft on Xbox Live Arcade, and we’d probably be stupid not to try to do something similar. We’ve always wanted to make games for consoles as well.”
DayZ, the ArmA II mod, is available now with a standalone version planned for release later this year. The console version remains officially unannounced… for now.
The main problem is that he’s not sure if a console port would be justifiable. “You’re not going to put it on the consoles if you’re only going to sell 100,000 units or something like that,” said Hall. “DayZ will be driven by its PC development and it will innovative on that. And, once we’re at a point, we’ll take it and do a Mac version, 360 and PS3.”
Hall has experience on producing console games, saying he knows about the “pitfalls and horrors” involved. Hopefully he’ll be able to bring his dream to consoles, so I’ll get a chance to play it.