DayZ You’ll Remember All Your Life

By Alec Meer on July 10th, 2012 at 3:00 pm.

The most well-attended session at Rezzed was Dean ‘Rocket’ Hall chatting about the game/mod of the moment, DayZ. Zeitgeisty!

Relaxed and charming, he goes into the making of the open-world zombie survival mod for Arma II before fielding a ton of audience questions on everything from the nature of fun to ‘Day Z hipsters’ and in-game kidnappings. It’s a shame you missed it. If you’re very well-behaved I might let you watch a recording of it below, though.

Oh, aren’t you good? Here you go:

More Rezzed vids soon, all being well.

, , .

66 Comments »

Sponsored links by Taboola
  1. Premium User Badge

    Coccyx says:

    The guy that asks about dogs, 29 minutes in? That’s totally me.

    • Premium User Badge

      Cinek says:

      lol, nice :)
      Still though – clans, groupping, forums integration, statistics, trade (lol for shops on site)…. it slowly moves away from original survival game into typical commercial title made for $$$ instead of entertaining, survival game.
      On the other hand though recently they introduced few “”features”” that essentially kill game for anyone who never plaid it / wasn’t introduced in it.
      And then there’s still a talk about experimenting even in standalone game people pay for….
      It’s little bit crazy. Perhaps it’s good, perhaps it’s bad, but the further this mod goes – the less I’m interested in it. Somehow I feel that till it goes standalone – I won’t touch it at all.

      • xaphoo says:

        I wonder why you have this attitude; the game has, if anything, gotten truer to its original terrifying vision in the last month. Zombies now have a more real-feeling AI, weather is an oppressive element, mandatory direct chat, no starting guns… There have been many additions and none of them make the game into a “typical commercial title”, nor has it even walked one footstep down that path. Regardless, it is clear that the game needs better ways to cooperate and communicate. I trust Rocket to integrate these elements into the game without compromising the original vision – it has remained pristine until now, so why should that change?

        • Jimmy says:

          The game is intentionally brutal, and it is experimental. I quite like how the updates alienate gamers and reading the sarcastic comments in the changelog. I would suggest he brutalise the game further just to see how far he can go to interrupt many typical aspects of gameplay.

          However, if he goes forward with monetisation, I’m not sure how successful that would be financially as most of us have already bought parts of ARMA just to get in on it, and might not be bothered paying a bit more again for the standalone.
          Surely Bohemia can give him a one-off bonus for the massive spike in ARMA sales to give him support?

  2. jthmmdom says:

    Whad are ya buyen!?

    Whad are ya sellen!?

    I hope they don’t add currency.

    • AlonePlusEasyTarget says:

      Not enough cash, strangah!

      I think if we eventually have a some sort of camp or zone for survivors to meet up with, something like beans or bullets can be used as currency I suppose. But that is all depends on the community.

      EDIT: Well, he answered it at 23:20

      • HellHitZ says:

        That’s exactly what I was thinking when he talked about currency. I don’t like the idea of some kind of currency, but a simple trade mechanism (Diablo 2’s trade comes to mind) would be enough to let people use any items as currency. This would add to the experience of DayZ.

        • dvorhagen says:

          I think currency, as such, would be a bad idea, but I have had that exact “trading post” idea that someone mentioned. I think it would work, if it was based on simple barter. Expanding on the whole “emergent gameplay” thing, I wouldn’t be surprised – if trading posts proved stable enough – if a basic currency system (based on a common item – beans, maybe) arose from that sort of thing.

          • Hematite says:

            I think it would be hilarious* to add money to the game and give it no purpose whatsoever. Make sure it takes up a realistic amount of inventory space as well. Maybe some people would collect it for laughs, maybe some people would try to establish it as having trade value again even though it has no practical value. Maybe add bottlecaps too, just to see what happens.

            * Does not necessarily correlate with ‘good’

  3. Premium User Badge

    golem09 says:

    The one question I am asking myself currently is, would it change the game in any way if you took out the zombies? Couldn’t it just as well be a deathmatch shooter with a big map?

    • grundus says:

      Not really, because I’ve never played a deathmatch shooter where you’re not really supposed to go around killing everyone. Then again a Battle Royale-style deathmatch shooter set on Utes could be oh so good but if Day Z is anything to go by, the lucky git who gets the M107 NV would win every time.

      I mean yeah, the zeds aren’t a huge threat but they’re still a reason for new players to work together (or so they think, until they realise they’re far better off alone).

      • 0WaxMan0 says:

        Battle Royale – Tournaments perhaps increase the food, drink and temperature decay rates and up the zombie spawns a little would be fantastic.
        Add some form of spectator mode / filming and you have a real contender to the desert island reality shows there.

        • stealthfighterx says:

          Hopefully someone will make this into a mod for DayZ when it goes standalone.

    • Unaco says:

      Zeds might not be huge, terrible threats… but they are a threat. You might be able to come up with a handful of strategies/techniques that keep you safe from Zombies… but you still have to adhere to those strategies/techniques. If the Zombies are making you play differently than if they weren’t there, then they’re having an impact.

      I was arguing, mildly, with someone in RPS Steam chat about this very thing, a couple months ago… “Zombies are nothing. They are no threat, and they should just remove them” said he.

      “They’re a minor threat, sure. But they do force you to change the way you play though, yes? In order to keep them a minor threat or no threat at all?” replied I.

      “No! They are nothing! I just crawl past/around them, and they are nothing!” he retorted.

      “So… They do make you change the way you play? If they weren’t there, you’d play differently? Without the crawling etc?” I asked.

      I forget how the rest of the conversation went… but my point was that Zeds might be a minor, indirect threat… but they are a threat, they are an issue. They do make you change the way you play the game. Zombies might be more of an environmental threat, but they are still a threat. They might be easily, or relatively easily, negated if you keep your wits about you etc., but under pressure, when you drop your guard, forget to follow ‘the rules’ etc., just that one time… then they can be a major threat.

      • Bharg says:

        If you see how a lot of players play the game it could as well be just that.

      • Ovno says:

        Not a threat!!!….

        90% of my deaths are to zombies, generally because I haven’t got a weapon yet or just because I’ve been stupid but still….

        Though the recent change so more zombies are in building has also made scouting for that first weapon even more of an issue.

        • Unaco says:

          Just for the record, I do consider them to be a threat. When I was playing (and I haven’t in a couple months) I don’t think I died to players more than once… all of the other times it was Zeds, either through pure bad luck (watching another survivor alert a town full of Zeds, and have some spot me in the woods), or through my own mistakes (firing when I shouldn’t, not sneaking enough).

          A number of people, however, claim that they aren’t a threat, because it’s easy to avoid them if you do A and B etc. My argument is that, because they make you do A and B, they are a threat. Doing A/B or whatever mitigates that threat… but they do force you to change the way you play. They do have an impact.

          • El_Emmental says:

            Indeed, they are forcing players to behave in a specific way.

            However I believe zeds shouldn’t be kept that way, being a simple environmental constraint like rain or mosquitoes is not making the experience “zombish” enough.

            Right now, they are not a “threat” by themselves: they only become a threat is you take a step outside the recommended behaviour limits (crawling and everything) (or if someone near you take that step outside the boundaries).

            Having something like…

            – the more zeds you kill, the more aggressive they are with you (with a level of aggressive-ness cap to keep it playable), due to some sort of hivemind (through communication between zeds, and the virus/parasite registering a higher level of mortality of its subjects when your shape/odor is around), so veterans won’t dismiss zeds as “a bunch of flies annoying me when I hunt for players/gears”

            – the longer you are relatively near towns or zeds, the higher your “infection” level very slowly grow, so after a while you’ll have to plan raids in labs/hospital for cures/specific medicines, otherwise you’re progressively having paranoia/uncontrollable panic attacks, higher hunger and other annoying symptoms.
            At first, simple medicines found anywhere are enough, then you need hospitals, then you need labs – and of course, labs have a higher zeds population, as people tried to get a cure there and turned into zeds before reaching that goal. Mutating zeds (nothing too funky though) can also be added.

            … would force players to either live in the woods (bears/wild dogs zeds would be nice), only making raids when it’s really necessary, but ultimately will have to make the “cure” raids

            … while town-dwellers with the perfect gears would have a harder time walking through the streets, and would have to make the “cure” raids more often, keeping the game in a constant “urge to survive” style

      • Arglebargle says:

        Zombies are the reason for the games situation, the ‘lay of the land’. In a way it is similar to the Romero style zombie movies, where the zombies are a danger, but the films’ undercurrents are about the breakdown of society in disaster.

        From what I have read about the Day Z mod, you could probably make that case about the change in game play as well.

        The real problem with Day Z, as I see it, is that it doesn’t feature or model the benefits of natural cooperation. Therefore, they don’t happen often. If players had group alternative goals, like fixing vehicles to move to another (zombie infested) locale, or if they could build defenses, there would be more incentive to work together. Little, player built, oppressive kingdoms of safety would certainly affect the dynamic, and they don’t exist solely because the game rules don’t allow them.

        • shagohad says:

          i see zombies more as a tactical threat or consideration, the reason you dont take down zeds at the NW airfield isnt because u are scared of them, but because u reveal your posisition,

          sometimes ive crawled with buddies through cherno using only a hatchet to stay quiet, with the guys with guns onlly there to fight players

          they force you to always evaluate the risk vs reward of any raid, whch i think is realistic

    • Bobzer says:

      “would it change the game in any way if you took out the zombies?”

      That would leave you with Arma 2.

    • Pyrosity says:

      They’re an important aspect of it; it would definitely change the game. They keep you on your toes while exploring. You can survive in the wilderness, but only once you’ve gotten the essential supplies; by either looting other players or (more often) the buildings around which zeds spawn. Players may be the some of the most valuable looting targets, but they are very difficult to hunt down; the buildings are consistent, with a consistent threat of zeds.

      So while they aren’t really the focus, I’d say they’re most certainly essential to the core gameplay. Hell, even the mechanics of how they only show up when players are around; and thus can be used to track players if you know you weren’t the one who spawned the zeds off in the distance–those gameplay mechanics would disappear without zeds, and if they did, it would become even more difficult to hunt down other players.

      The mechanics may change, of course, but zeds are by and large one of the core foundations of what makes day z work.

  4. Premium User Badge

    ajaygunn says:

    Christ. I spent ten minutes chatting to the guy at Rezzed on Friday about how much fun I’d had playing one of the games of DayZ that was set up there. I had no idea I was talking to THE ‘Rocket’.

    How embarrassing.

    • Hematite says:

      Boy, he must think you’re a real dick for saying how much you enjoy that game he made ;)

  5. Bhazor says:

    I for one was very disapointed.
    When I heard him announced with “Who will be showing us Daisy” I was expecting to be mooved.

  6. Baboonanza says:

    You heard the man, vote for your feet everybody!

  7. Jason Moyer says:

    n/m

    • Elmar Bijlsma says:

      And the mod team working on DayZ is getting monies from that… how?

  8. Nikelspank says:

    Okay, enough of DayZ now, please? No games have had the same amount of coverage this free mod for ArmA II CO has had, it’s bonkers. Its future is also completely dictated by changes to the RV engine in ArmA III, so why not give that more than one article a month?

    • beowolfschaefer says:

      because people are interested in it. If you aren’t then don’t read the articles.

      • Premium User Badge

        Cinek says:

        People are interested in other games as well. Ba! I bet there are more ppl playing BF3 every day that there are DayZ active players.
        ;)

        • mondomau says:

          Not sure if you’re being sarcastic, but I know some people aren’t so your example will serve as the basis for my counterpoint.
          There really isn’t all that much to say about Battlefield 3, other than it is a competently executed example of an impressive but unoriginal AAA FPS, churned out by a popular studio under the auspices of a big publisher with a less than stellar rep – not exactly a unique story eh?

          Day Z, and in particular the dev behind it, is far more interesting because the game’s generating a lot of interesting discussion and even controversy (rather than just OMG!EA sux, DICE Sux, nerf this, buff that, ad nauseum….)

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I think it sucks that one of the greatest game series ever for the PC is suddenly gaining traction because of a zombie mod, of all things. Then again, it is basically the phenomenon of the week and certainly deserves coverage.

      • Herkimer says:

        Huh, this seems precisely backwards: If you think Arma is one of the greatest game series ever for the PC, then wouldn’t anything that gave it “traction” be a positive?

        I mean, I’d take S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call of Weehawken if it would get me a proper Stalker 2.

      • dvorhagen says:

        I think calling Day Z a “zombie game” does it a disservice. It’s a survival game whose verisimilitude and atmosphere stem from its core Arma 2 engine. I don’t give a crap about zombies, and, in fact, I’m sick to death of them. That being said, the mod is the best and most original thing that has happened to gaming in a long time — it’s not the zombies per se, it’s everything else! Have you given it a fair shake, or are you just avoiding it because you’re an Arma 2 purist?

        I was on the fence about buying Arma 2 before this mod came out – it pushed me over the edge. I’m glad it did, because Arma 2 itself is actually an incredible game (I do play it, quite a lot) that I might not have ever purchased if it weren’t for the mod. Why is it bad that Day Z is what brought Arma 2 into the limelight?

      • Unaco says:

        Personally, as an OGOFP* and current member of ARPS (the RPS ArmA2 group), I’m happy for any traction that ArmA gets. DayZ, and the exposure ArmA has been getting, and the number of people that have picked the game up (whether solely for DayZ or not) has been a boon to the 2 ArmA groups I’m involved with (ARPS and FOLK). We’ve seen our numbers more than double (from 25-30 people, up to 60+ every Tuesday and Sunday evenings) what with new players, or those who maybe owned the game but only found out about the communities through DayZ articles. It’s been great for us.

        Obligatory: http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?12-Arma-Forum

        *Original Gangster Operation Flashpoint.

    • iniudan says:

      Were you absent back in the day RPS did regular coverage of Minecraft ?

      DayZ coverage still seem minor compared to it.

    • Stochastic says:

      I’ve never played DayZ or any of the ARMA games, but I am still fascinated by this project. I think that RPS should spend more time covering games like this that are pushing the boundaries of what games can be. As with Minecraft, EVE, and other ambitious projects of this nature, DayZ is much more than just a game–it’s a giant toolbox that grants players the freedom to carve their own path in a virtual world. DayZ has rightfully earned all of the coverage it’s receiving if for nothing else than daring to venture where few others have.

      • dvorhagen says:

        Precisely.

      • Shooop says:

        No it doesn’t. You have to play it Rocket’s way or not at all. It’s not infinitely moddable like Minecraft. You can’t even have private servers with your own rules!

        You should be praising ARMA instead, because it’s much more the thing you describe. It made Day Z possible only because it has so few limitations to what a player can do. Day Z merely added limitations to encourage you to behave a certain way (hide from NPCs, gather items, shoot other players before they shoot you). It’s only because everyone loves zombies it’s hitting it big.

        • Herkimer says:

          It added limitations to Arma, I suppose, in the same way that I44 added limitations — no optical sights, quelle horreur!

          But insofar as DayZ did add limitations to the base engine, those limitations seem to add up to a ruleset which a lot of people want to play with, and I don’t think it’s either accurate or fair to simply chalk that up to “people liek zombies lol.” OK, fine, you personally don’t enjoy the ruleset and prefer Arma2 base, but that’s hardly a reason to dog the mod.

          • Shooop says:

            Don’t get me wrong, I love some of the concepts in it. But it’s laughable when people say it’s such a free-form, open world where you do anything you want. because it’s really more restrictive than vanilla ARMA.

            What I really do not like though is Rocket’s attitude towards polite constructive criticism. But that’s a different topic.

        • Premium User Badge

          VelvetFistIronGlove says:

          It’s only because everyone loves zombies it’s hitting it big

          Speak for yourself. I was sick to death of zombies in games when I first came across DayZ. I saw this video, and immediately knew it was a game I wanted. It wasn’t the zombies that attracted me to it (they barely appear there), but the exploration, the solitude, the stealth, the freeform nature of your interactions with other players. Zombies? They’re just a slightly aggressive part of the landscape.

    • Jim Rossignol says:

      We tend to cover the games we’re interested in…

    • Grey Ganado says:

      Because in the modern games industry this one sticks out like a penguin at a dinner party.

  9. Stranglove says:

    Nope, still want a hillbilly class.

  10. Emperor_Jimmu says:

    Did I hear Judge Cockscomb ask a question?

  11. Lev Astov says:

    I’m very curious about his comment at about 30:20 where he says a problem with script users nearly killed the project recently.

    He never followed through with that comment, so what happened? Did someone figure out how to spawn a BTR-90 or something? Or did they figure out how to get Arma II to track your keystrokes out of game?

    • cyrenic says:

      Malicious scripters were dropping bombs on everybody in an entire server, killing them, which is kind of a big deal in DayZ.

  12. Hurion says:

    I love the guy at about 24:15 who just seems disgusted about the concept of fun.

  13. Shooop says:

    Shame that this eclipses the real star of the show, ARMA itself.

    AMRA made Day Z possible because it has so few limitations to what a player can do. Day Z just added limitations to encourage you to behave a certain way (hide from NPCs, gather items, shoot other players before they shoot you). It is impressive when you see it at first, but once you poke around under the hood, you realize how shallow it is compared to its origin.

    I’m hoping that’s just because it’s still in alpha. But Rocket’s attitude in his responses to players politely mentioning how a great idea on paper can end poorly in action drips with an arrogance I haven’t seen since Activision called the PC version of MW2’s mouse support an exclusive feature.

    • Herkimer says:

      Similar response as above — I’m not sure how DayZ “eclipses” the base game. Indeed, I’d see a mod that people really want to play as a good way to get people more interested in the base game. I love Arma, but it was hardly burning up the charts and seemed to be essentially a niche title for milsim lovers.

      • Shooop says:

        It’s eclipsed it in public awareness. Which is a bit sad because Day Z is very restricted compared to what you could do with ARMA. And then when you add mods to it…

        People are just flocking to Day Z thanks to YouTube videos and playing it as a giant FFA deathmatch. And the community is composed almost entirely of people you’ll find in the 7th circle of hipster-elitist hell. Apparently that’s what Rocket wants. I think it could be something a lot more interesting.

        But to make matters worse those same people sometimes try playing ARMA the same way and then give up exclaiming, “This game sucks, everyone bans me when I kill them for a vehicle!”

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          Apparently, that’s not at all what Rocket wants. Unless hipster elitists like playing a game with lethal combat, zombies and emergent gameplay between players and the environment.

          You are right, DayZ is more limited than ARMA 2. But that doesn’t mean DayZ is bad.

      • kzrkp says:

        The “ArmA2 was a flop before DayZ” spiel is disingenuous. ArmA 3 is a bigger production with a bigger team than any previous BIS title, all on the earnings of ArmA2. :)

  14. eaprivacypolicy says:

    The horror! Comic Sans! My eyeees.

  15. JToTheDog says:

    I’m the coolest guy here ‘cous I started way back in April.

  16. lpqwdjh says:

    No it doesn’t. You have to play it Rocket’s way or not at all. It’s not infinitely moddable like Minecraft. You can’t even have private servers with your own rules!http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2011/10/17/best-wishes-to-project-zomboid/

  17. Kageru says:

    The play experience shows a lot of potential but there’s not really any “game” there at the moment. The zombies and scavenging, plus survival aspects of food and shakes, combine with the huge map the Arma-II engine can represent (though it’s full of bugs and vulnerabilities too) to give a good ambience. But once you are geared and have worked out the mechanics there’s very little other than killing other players or avoiding being killed by other players. The latter being most easily achieved by not playing, so the game is being over-run by extremely dedicated PK fans, which will hasten the departure of those who don’t want to play the game as being a “special forces PvP” simulator / endless Arma-II battlefield. And I don’t really see adding fortifications as changing that.

    Lots of mechanics are pro-PvP, especially being able to consider other players a source of loot. “Leg Breaks” basically force you into camped areas due to removal relying on known rare spawns in high traffic areas, the “heartbeat” mechanism fails because it works at a range far shorter than typical engagement ranges (this is a game with sniper rifles!). His reason for removing the bandit skins (which did work at range) is disingenuous because the problem he identifies does not explain the change. I’d been wondering if he was pro-PvP and depending on PvP to make up for limited content and it looks like that is the case.

    As a PvP game though it’s pretty dull since a lot of encounters are going to be badly asymmetrical and the zombies make re-gearing a slow and vulnerable process. I imagine Arma-II had some mechanics to stop it being a sniper-fest (objectives, vehicles, expectation of organised team play) but Day-Z doesn’t.

    It might be interesting in a year or two of course, though I could see his energy, the infrastructure or the media-fuelled interest in the game fading well before that. Especially if he considers killing groups of new unarmed players with a hatchet as being “emergent” gameplay.

    He also skips over the real reason fortifications don’t work. The peer to peer persistence model means you can teleport by moving your position (persistent) on a server that doesn’t have the fortification (server local).

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      Fortifications fail for other reasons too: the only defensible places where it makes sense to build fortifications are buildings, which will continually spawn zombies. You can’t clear an area of zombies for more than a few minutes at best, so you’re essentially trapping yourself in with them.

      Another problem is that zombies will just clip through your fortifications as if they weren’t there. So they’re only useful against other players—most of whom will be trying to shoot you past the sandbags and wire, not climbing over them until you’re dead.

  18. Kageru says:

    Yes, they’re largely being used to fortify spawn points so that players can server hop, loot and logout as far as I can understand. And the bad mechanics of needing a relatively rare item to remove them, of being able to place them so the “use” trigger needed to remove them is unreachable and exploiters duping wire made quite a mess. Possibly that’s been fixed in the new patch.

    But then given this is “art” putting items with obvious exploit potential in game is probably considered “emergent”. I assume that’s how bear-traps courtesy of the latest patch will end up as well.