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RPGWatch Forums » Games » General Non-RPG » State of Decay now on Steam!

Default State of Decay now on Steam!

October 11th, 2013, 09:55
Dont play the early access version of the game if you like playing games for stories.
The game comes with a start and an end as developpers are going to fill the between with gameplay (which is in a very early version, there is no game so to speak at the moment)

Narration is likely to work the same as in a GTA game. You are limited to a sector in town, the campaign is advanced through missions so is the narration of the story. Right now, the whole town is accessible to players and you have access to the narrative end of the game.

In terms of story:
Prologue: complete.
First sector of town: very advanced.
Second sector of town: incomplete.
Third sector of town: incomplete
Fourth sector of town: incomplete but tells of the end.

So, players who look for stories will get a lot of it revealed to them by playing that early access while game mechanics are waiting to be expanded or even be made.

The writing is very Rockstar, with sarcastic and colourful caracters, allusion to real world etc
For example, the Internet phenonemun that girl who loves cats so much she wants to hug them all made it in the game. She is a survivor that can be recruited.

The problem with early accesses like this one is they reveal a lot of the intents of developpers. I am not sure developpers will manage to fulfill their vision and implement all their ideas. So as you follow the game developpment, you might witness a game being stripped off over and over again.
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October 12th, 2013, 10:07
State of developpment:

Melee combat is functional: right now, the melee combat game feature is functional. You can naviguate through the skill tree adequately, developping the PC as you seem it fit as you gain XP. As you go up through levels, you can unlock more combat skills and specialize a character. Weapons look balanced already with blunt (to knock over), edged (to decapite or dismember) or heavy weapons (to kill outright). Weapons have a duration and might break in combat if overused.
The core basics is crow control. Zombies are enduring and will take damage until their skull is broken. Knocking them over leaves them vulnerable to a finisher and incapacitates them until they get back on feet. Goal of a melee combat is to avoid getting surrounded, priorities go as eliminating zombies right away, incapacipate them by knocking them over, make room for oneself through pushing moves. This opens opportunities to deal with zombies terminally.

Shooting combat is not functional: you can shoot but you wont hit much, even with a shotgun at close range. XP
is not gained. NPCs do not use their guns apart when on guard tower duty. The various types of ammo do not seem to have different effects.

The direct consequence is that the number of zombies in the streets are balanced versus melee combat. You wont meet that many zombies. A zombie horde is currently made of seven to ten zombies. Not a threat for a single PC or a PC accompanied by an NPC. Additionnally, it might mean that you can spot the developpment of a zombie horde and abort. At the moment, zombies sit tight and wait for reinforcement. Maybe once they reach a critical mass, they might move on as a horde. Seven to ten zombies is too low a number for this mechanic to kick in.

One next goal in this game developpment is to integrate shooting as a viable option and to balance it against the option of going into melee.

My guess is that the trade off is meant to be established this way:

Melee combat has two limiting factors: melee weapons wearing down (they can be repaired over night if the home base has the right facility) and the stamina of a survivor.
Shooting combat has one major limiting factor: ammo that is limited over the map. Beside, shooting noise attracts zombies (rather fast) and you can use silencers to deafen the noise. Silencers have limited uses though and they can go broken anytime during a shooting.

Here's the guessed trade off: melee combat is less resource based but will probably come with the risk of being infected. Right now, going into melee does not increase the risk of being infected, even when you've got bitten by zombies but it is clear that it is an option on the table as getting surrounded by zombies leaves a character vulnerable to being grabbed and bitten. Beside, going through a melee combat without being scratched is saluted by NPCs and earns you trust (if not scratched, you cant be contamined)
Another point is that automatic guns, when used on full auto, tend to dismember zombies, losing their arms. Armless zombies cant grab you. Unloading a full clip on incoming zombies, ripping them off their arms might be a valuable way to tender them before going into melee.

A consequence of the integration of shooting will probably be much more zombies in the streets. In my game, the home base harbours 21 survivors. There's no chances seven to ten zombies can threaten a home base with 10 survivors armed with guns. How many more zombies? Toward the end of the game, you get assaulted by thirty to fourty zombies, to be handled by melee combat. Does not look like a threat for four characters (keeping in mind the contamination through bite is not yet implemented)


Attrition: Very early status. The basis is laid out but nothing more. Goods come in several flavours: food, ammo, medecine, construction material. The time unit is the day and everyday, a home, depending on the number of survivors in it, consume x units of each good.
The day spans from dawn to dawn, meaning that you can go on a mission at night. But right now, you cant skip the night stage and it is a full 24 hours cycle. I hope they can make it more interesting by providing the option of skipping nights as going out at night will be meaningfully more dangerous than going out in daylight.


Goods come into two versions: packaged or unpackaged. Packaged goods are the only goods a communauty consume. You can unpackage goods to get goods that can be used by a PC. Up to you to choose if you want to unpack goods to give you items to use when on missions.

Home base:
Very early too. Opportunities are given to upgrade the home base, depending on the survivors your group has. Later, facilities can be combined to ensure production of higher level goods. Too sketchy at the moment to be assessed properly as in the current version, you do not need internal production, foraging the outside is largerly enough to support a large group of outsiders and it is easy enough.
Base defending is also very limited due to the non functionality of shooting.
The base also consumes material for maintenance and apparently, the protection level a base offers goes down if not properly maintained. Bases have several entry points but right now, for instances, zombies are sometimes able to climb over an apparently barbed wired section of the wall when you fail to maintain the home properly.
Too early though.

Survival:
Survival is made simple and straightforward. Each survivor has one life. The survivor dies, you take control of another survivor.
Gaining trust from a survivor goes through making a few runs with that survivor and performing well during the run. For example, going through a melee battle against several zombies without getting scratched earns trust. Helping an overwhelmed survivor gains trust etc
When a survivor trusts enough, you gain control over that survivor and you can developp his/her skills adequately.

Communauty building: It is the feature that will make me keep tabs on the game developpment.
The campaign is scripted and the maps are known. But you meet survivors in a random way for most of them. If the game delivers, it will ensure a high level of replayability.
Survivors come with their personality and skills. A mattering point is that NPCs, contrary to so many other games, pull their weight. They can kill zombies and more than anything, every day, they go on runs to help sustaining the communauty.
This gives the player no longer that a central seat to make it happen but rather a seat of coordinator to ensure that the communauty endures.
Due to their personality, survivors will get along with each other more or less. Survivors who bind start to support each other and go on a run as a group. This of course increases the chances of the run to be a success.
Building a communauty that works efficiently might be key in the game.
As you spot groups forming themselves, you might want to specialize members accordingly by making one a search expert, the other a mule and the last a spotter etc As you do that, it increases the chances for a run to be a success.

The communauty has a moral which is affects by events. So you want runs to be successful as the higher the moral is, the less conflict it spurs.
Now and then, you will receive requests from survivors on a run to back them up. This consumes time. Making sure a group on a run is adequately prepared removes the obligation of supporting every run made around. When you know a group is prepared enough, you can let it go and expect a success.

Another promising feature is that depending on their personality, the way they gel in and their successes, survivors will go through the ordeal of the end of the world with different emotional states. Some might get desesperate while others might turn ambitious. When things turn sour, a survivor might choose to run away.
The player might influence all the evolution though. For example, a survivor who does not have enough trust yet turns sulky, you can take control of survivor with close centers of interest and invite the sulky survivor to runs. Successes of runs will induce a change in mentality in the sulky survivor who regains hope and will also start to bond with the controlled survivor etc Meaning that communauty morale goes up etc

And some other things.

The danger of early access is that it gives so much to see of unfunctional features, stubs etc
The miracle of Steam delivery though is that as soon it is updated, the earlier version is no longer accessible so every new version obliterates the previous one and if features do not make it in the game, it is less likely to show as comparison with the earlier version is not possible.
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October 17th, 2013, 14:43
For those of us crazy enough to play this with m&k, it seems we will get our chance soon.

http://www.pcgamer.com/2013/10/16/st…seandkeyboard/
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October 17th, 2013, 19:35
KB&M is already in. The patch might better it as right now, setting up the sensibility of the mouse is a hassle.
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October 17th, 2013, 20:12
Originally Posted by ChienAboyeur View Post
KB&M is already in. The patch might better it as right now, setting up the sensibility of the mouse is a hassle.
Is it official supported or does it just kinda work now?

They still had on their steam page to only play with a controller last time I looked.
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October 18th, 2013, 13:17
It is officially supported as it comes as the default KB & M configuration.

Remapping of keys and finer control over the mouse speed wont make it for that game. It will provide a marginal betterment on the current situation.

Players willing to play the game with KB & B at any cost can buy the game right now. They will miss out nothing.

At this stage, either the additional M and KB features provide better comfort without the deep game redesign M & KB requires or it comes with the deep game redesign required.

Win/win situation, you wont miss out anyting by buying right now.

Problem for this game is not the quality of KB and M support (it is rough at the moment) It is a problem of game design that is totally wrapped around the use of a controller.

It is similar to a GTA game when ported from console to PC. Usually, Rockstar tried to tweak the game design to lessen the impact of M & KB. They never fully succeeded and GTA games remained games designed to be played with a controller.

For example, vehicles. Cars etc… Their gameplay is designed to be played with a controller. Steering a car with a KB & M is doable but so worse compared to what is felt with a controller.

State of decay shows the same weaknesses. Some cars are very light and with KB &M, they glide so easily until they are tossed upside down. Could post some pics of the funny places I lost cars.
Cars, at this stage of game design, are mostly used for transportation. The easy cope out when with KB & M is simply avoid taking the cars that are a pain to steer.
Not the end of the world. You miss on some models but you can use the others.
Another side of the problem is that you can use cars to run down zombies and they get damaged when used that way. When damaged, cars get more difficult to steer. And the difference between controller and KB &M shows.
Cars are also more or less noisy and an additional feature in gameplay might be that the use of certain cars to run silent (through modulation of speed) Again, that would put KB &M on the wrong side of the game design as controllers with their analogic stick afford quick control of speed.

Again, if the next patch provides finer mouse speed control and remapping of keys only, you wont miss anyting by buying right now.
If it provides the required redesign to make the most out of KB and M, you wont miss anyting either.

KB and M is not the problem. The problem is that ultimately the game might be played better using a controller.

Players who absolutely want to play their games with KB &M, even at the cost of a worse gameplay, can buy right now.
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October 18th, 2013, 13:28
Yes, driving is a situation where a controller definitely works better IMO.

Does the game switch seamlessly between controller and K&M?

For example I play sleeping dogs with K&M but keep a controller in my lap for use when driving.

The game will seamlessly switch control methods at anytime without have to change Any settings, does state of decay have that ability?
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October 19th, 2013, 10:51
I dont see why not.

The game design is very early though. The current situation is that playing with a controller gives access to the full gameplay while M &KB gives acess to, lets say, 70 per cent of it.

But the difference means nothing at the current stage of developpment. Once you play the game as it is, without imagining limitations or dangers that do not exist, the survival pressure nears zero.

Once the game is played for what it is, I can take a PC, select a backup or not, drive them in a car, park it anywhere near any place to loot, loot that place until loaded, move back to base. Zero pressure of losing a survivor.

The gain provided by a controller translates into nothing when it comes to survival because the gameplay is still far from that.

For example, when playing with a controller, handling easily seven or eight zombies without backup comes fast. With M &KB, the risk of being grappled and bitten is higher. But it does not matter much as you do not get contamined by being bitten. And second, if you take a backup, the difference will get even lower.

If the game design introduces contamination through bite, a meaningful difference in terms of efficiency will be introduced.

Playing with a KB & M comes with a number of restrictions over controller played games, but it is peanuts in terms of gameplay.
You lose nothing by avoiding driving sports cars as KB &M might lead to.

It might change in the future. Right now, while the differences exist, they do not matter. You know you are missing on the game but with no consequences in terms of results as long as you play the game with the limitations brought in by KB &M.

Gameplay is very early. In the current version, survival does not exist once you play the game as it is.
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October 29th, 2013, 09:43
Update::

So to speak, this product is not yet a game. It comes with a lot of things to do, but things are done because there are available and not decided as consequences of game mechanics. To keep in mind when reading the following.

Shooting:
The big newly introduced feature is the possibility of shooting efficiently. This introduction allowed to test certain gameplay sequence.

I sticked to the idea that the major difference between ranged combat and melee combat will come as contamination risks.
Melee combat comes with the risk of being scratched or being grappled and bitten.
I assumed that scratch would mean low infection risk while bite would mean a high infection risk.
And I played as if it was implemented.

Shooting gives a perspective on the zombie threat: engaging zombies safely is the point. It opens up a whole new range of tactics. All sorts of items to lure zombies are provided. They can be manufactured if the base is upgraded accordingly.

For example: when clearing a house before searching it, you might want to lure the zombies to the front door using firecrackers, and use the front door as a bottleneck to line up zombies for easy shots as they are rushing outside.
Or you might want to lure them outside the house to enter the house by another door and clean the house of remaining zombies using a silencer.
In both cases, this buys time to search the house and loot it.

Shooting reveals how much controlling the flow of zombies could matter in the final game. Something that was not given when relying on melee combat only.

Attracting zombies, deciding when and where to engage is potentially relevant.

Another potential feature shining through: how fast things can turn sour. You might have engaged properly a group of zombies and suddenly, the situation gets out of hand. Very rare occurrences on this build but they happen.

Number of zombies: Shooting confirms that zombies will likely be much more numerous in the streets. It is possible to shoot down seven to ten zombies before they reach you.

NPCs do not shoot yet.

Cars:
Cars and noise: it was there, I didnt notice. As you drive, depending on the speed and model, the car generates a noise radius. The larger, the more you attract zombies. You can drive around, avoiding to alert zombies or you can use a car to attract zombies on a spot, run away and forfeit the car.
Of course, it is much easier to achieve that with a controller. With a key board, it is possible to stabilize the speed of a car by typing a key but still smoother with a controller.

Cars and speed: using different models, so far, bonuses only were exhibited. Using sports cars for example means you are on location very fast and opens the possibility of speedy completion that offers a bonus in trust.

Survivors communauties:
A lot of features look as planned on the way to manage your own communauty (like a kind of vote system possibly on loot, runs etc…)
And there are other communauties. Others these other communauties will fare is a big question. Right now, you are only informed when they loose one member or are wiped out. Noticeably, choosing to help them or not stir troubles within your own communauty.
Opportunities of trading with them is hinted but so far, it is only one way: they offer a trade, you cant offer them (each community is rich in one of important good etc…)
Waiting to see if other communauties can upgrade their base etc…

Communauties collapsing led to an unexpected outcome. Usually, in this kind of games, NPCs involved in the story line are protected from obliteration. Anticipating the same, I left a story line involved communauty without support and it was obliterated. Could open some prospects actually, as there could be factions to associate with etc…

Keyboard and mouse vs controller:
Situation is still pretty the same. You can now edit a file to customize your own configuration if you wish to. By reading that file, I learned of new moves, that pushed the balance toward use of controller.
Support of swap between controller and KB&M is officially supported.
There might be an auto targeting feature coming up. Certain skills depictions speak that way.
Same conclusion: obvious differences in performances when using a controller over KB&M but so far, the gain does not matter.

Shooting looks also like being calibrated on PC being perfect shots. It does not work toward keyboard &mouse either.


Minuses:

Before those upgrades, I did not experience CTDs, the fact is that I do now.
NPCs react slowly compared to previous builds. Could be damaging when wishing to evac quickly.
Some features might have been removed.
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