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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 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.
ChienAboyeur is offline




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