Recently as I’ve been enjoying my travels across Chernarus in 0.60 experimental I’ve noticed a few comments, or questions regarding availability for server resources such as food, ammunition, and such. I thought taking a few moments to talk about that might help everyone understand our direction, and goals.
For those of you who were around for the 0.55 build you’ll recall the unintended side effect a few economic based bugs had on the gameplay for that build. The struggle to survive was “real” for certain – and interestingly enough, a good portion of the community has expressed nostalgia for it.
So, for those folks – they’ll be happy to know to a certain degree – an experience like that is what we’ve been aiming for. Let me elaborate a bit.
Peter and I both share a passion for DayZ being a struggle to survive. Infact, there are game mechanics that just *don’t work* without it being the case. The balance for us, the goal we’re constantly iterating towards is a playable experience that is that struggle for survival.
You should be able to find the basics for survival within your first few moments in game. Be it scavenging for some basic food, or finding the basic supplies needed to get off the coast. Within your first hour in game you *should* be able to find a firearm, and basic set of matching ammo.
The coast is not intended to be an easy viable location to survive. We want you to need to move inland to exist, we *want* to push players to move across the map. Deeper inland you will find the high risk, high reward areas for players that want to push themselves towards that. For those that don’t – surviving off the land, and setting yourself up for sustained survival through creating camps, and living off of renewable resources should be just as viable.
Mechanics such as horticulture, or even such desperate measures as harvesting meat from fallen player corpses just won’t ever be viable if we don’t have that balance – that survival part of the survival game present.
We track via heatmaps and server logging data such as global server quantities, and even exactly where things are concentrated and how evenly things are distributed across the server. Even with this however, bugs occur – and we rely upon player reports via the feedback tracker to properly track these down. I’m rambling again – so let me get to the next part of this post I wanted to hit.
I, *we* recognize that an honest to god punishing survival game might not be the DayZ experience everyone wants, or even knows. Through the robust modding community on Arma 2, to the countless different type of content creators that are out there – DayZ can, and is something different to each person, and this ties into why we talk so much about providing people the tools to make the DayZ experience they specifically are looking for.
This extends past modding, to robust control over the server economy for privately hosted shards (when server files and CLE/Database tools are released) with a lower barrier to entry than traditional hobby based development via modding.
That said – I’m very aware of the concerns some members of the community have expressed in regards to so called “5000 vehicle servers” and “Spawn w/ AS50 HighLoot PvP Mania” type situations.
These concerns were first a foremost on my mind when our Lead Designer, Peter Nespesny and I sat down to lay out the design of our final Main Menu, Server Browser, and Launcher. Maintaining the character centric view in our Main Menu, so that your “Official DayZ” character and his or her successes, statistics, and overall status is one of the first things you are presented with. In addition to this, our Main Menu ties right into the new server browser design – which is intended to segregate the Official DayZ experience from community run experiences, and modded servers.
There is a point in UI/UX design that is discussed in the industry – that basically put covers the “clicks to gameplay” count. Maintaining a low click count to gameplay for us is one of the key points in the Main Menu, and to that end – where you end up through these clicks is critical.
Separating the “Official” servers from the community run, and modded servers is more than just a filter. Our focus is very heavily on ensuring that the first gameplay experience someone has (unless they intentionally navigate past it) is on Official DayZ servers, with the original and intended DayZ gameplay design.
– Main Menu “Play now” or “Quickplay” type option that dumps you into the lowest ping / highest pop Official DayZ server (or the last one you played on)
– The first tab you see when opening the server browser is *only* Official DayZ servers
– Community servers kept on their own tab
– Main Menu character data and statistics are Official DayZ servers only
Sure, these might seem small in the grand scheme of things – but the little things add up when trying to ensure that the base DayZ (“Vanilla”) is protected, is the first type of gameplay a new user is presented with, and continues to thrive past the introduction of modding and private run hives/servers.
As usual, I’ve ranted and rambled a bit – but again, I just wanted you all to have a little insight into the thought process. Peter and I (and the entire team) are always very focused on the unforgiving survival game DayZ is intended to be – and while it might not seem like it from development build, to development build.. every decision we make during development is focused on making sure the *final product* is exactly what we all dreamed it would be.