With the standalone for DayZ starting to get close enough for its release to be within sight, even not given a specific date yet, Dean Hall and Matt Lightfoot have decided to release a developer diary for the in-progress project.
The dev diary focuses on a couple specific areas of their progress. The first thing they mention is the new UI they’ve been working on. The original mod being based on ARMA 2 gave them a baseline to work with, but by necessity also had more information and different types of information from what players would need or use in DayZ. The new UI focuses on having greater simplicity in its design and appearance, only having the needed information and allowing for more customization for the individual players.
The video demonstrates how clothing works, showing how it retains the basics of its appearance even when not worn and on the ground, though they still need to create models for the unworn clothing. They mention that players will have different slots in which to wear clothing, including face masks, legs, torso, and head.
More interestingly, all the clothing items actually do have storage capacity, rather than only backpacks and the like. The example given in the dev diary is that jeans can hold (at time of the diary) six small items, meaning clothing isn’t just stylish, but also practical and useful, with the implication that different clothing could offer different types of storage benefits.
There will also be armors and, alternatively, storage-based items such as a vest of pockets in case someone is more concerned with carrying things than with being bulletproof. The idea is also to create armors that are effective against different things, so that a bulletproof vest won’t necessarily offer the same protection from a knife as an item of apparel specifically intended to resist such an attack.
They also show a feature that one of the formerly-imprisoned developers suggested, that being new types of areas. The example they show is a swamp, granting new terrain that players interact with differently to create a new experience. The video also displays a new island previously unavailable in the game, showing still more territory for players to explore.
Possibly most exciting of all, they show the new loot-spawning mechanics. In the original mod, useful items would spawn in piles, generally in the center of buildings. This allowed it to be generated quickly, but also meant that players could enter a building, glance at the main room once, and immediately move on if nothing was there.
While that may have been practical given design constraints associated with modding an existing game, it did not capture the feel of a zombie-style apocalypse, and the DayZ team wanted to make players actually feel like scavengers scrounging the environment for supplies.
The simple solution was to have the loot generated when the map was, but that only goes so far. That prevents certain forms of meta-gaming, but still doesn’t capture the spirit of actually having to look for the supplies needed to survive.
The more involved solution that DayZ incorporates is to have loot capable of spawning behind or on top of objects like tables or chairs, meaning that players will actually need to search through the environments of the different buildings to be sure they’ve found all the items there are to gain from a given locale.
This also enables players to miss objects, allowing a player to find things even if someone else has searched a given place less thoroughly. This helps promote more patient and attentive play appropriate to a survival setting. It also makes it less obvious when a given building has re-spawned its valuable items, as now players will have to search for the swag.
DayZ is looking better and better as time goes on. Now if only they could give me the option to throw money at them, already!