Know Your Roll: Dead State’s Combat Video

By Adam Smith on March 18th, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Seeing the first footage of Dead State’s zombie-smashing, looter-blasting turn-based combat might be the main draw of the video below, but it’s the details that really captured my attention. I’m talking about toilet roll, “one of the ultimate luxury items”, which the survivors risk their lives to nab from the backroom of a hardware store. Sure, they find food and some tools as well, but nothing makes them quite as happy as a tube of wipes. The small things are important because, as Mitsoda explains, “there’s a morale drain everyday from…living in the apocalypse”. It’s a little known fact that ‘the apocalypse’ is a locally used nickname for Milton Keynes. Watch.

I wish shotguns were instantly fatal at point blank range in Dead State and that they fired confetti in real life, but I’m sure there are reasons why most of my wishes wither like windfallen apples on a desolate moor.

We’ve got an interview with Dead State’s Mr Mitsoda coming up later on.

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48 Comments »

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  1. FurryLippedSquid says:

    Looks pretty good!

    His voice was making my eyes water though.

    • Premium User Badge

      Lars Westergren says:

      I like his voice! Didn’t you recognize it as the news anchor from Vampire: Bloodlines? He wrote the story there, and is a stretch goal as a writer for the new Torment Kickstarter. They should reach that goal tomorrow or Wednesday.

      • guygodbois00 says:

        And have you seen those numbers? Gordon Bennett! It’s 2.7 megabucks and 18 days still to go.
        Sorry for the off-topic post.

    • sk0pe says:

      news posted 10:00am
      video length: 10 minutes
      first comment posted 10:05am
      hmm.
      on topic: this is looking good imo. i was hoping for a game to value toilet rolls the right way!

      • Premium User Badge

        JB says:

        The video didn’t go up when this post went up, DoubleBear posted it a day or three ago.

        • Reapy says:

          Saw it in Sunday papers comment yesterday luckily. Not sure if some one already said below but on the sites FAQ they mention that damage numbers and lethality etc are being worked out still, hence the point blank shotgun blast twice. They mentioned over time zombies will become easier to deal with as they don’t level up, but other humans will be the struggle. Of coarse that fight is going to draw more and more zombies to you…

      • fdisk says:

        I watched the video Friday morning when it was posted to the Kickstarter page; I’m actually glad that this stuff is being released to backers before general media outlets!

  2. Bostec says:

    I live in Milton Keynes you bastard! but yes, I fully agree. Only the rain and grey clouds make the city enjoyable to shamble around in.

  3. wodin says:

    erm…going by that I’m glad I never backed it. Shotguns should be instant kill against non zombies..crowbar to the head of a Zombie two or three hits max.

    Thought they where going to go for a serious Zombie game here.

    I also hope alot of animations where missing..no sneak, repetitive zombie attack, no lock pick etc.

    Aimed combat is really needed aswell..where head shots are involved.

    • Njordsk says:

      Agreed. Though the release is still a long way off. Dec’13 according to their FAQ.

    • Text_Fish says:

      Yeh, the designers clearly haven’t schooled up on real zombies.

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      Oozo says:

      In the backers’ update, they specifically wrote that a lot of animations are, indeed, missing. (And the SFX are not final either, because, again, ALPHA.)

      And while I think your comment is a bit negative for a game that is clearly far from finished, I do agree that re-balancing the weapons might be a good thing. Not so much because of “realism”, but in favor of less tedious and drawn-out fights.

      However, as I said: They still have ample time to change those things, so I’m still optimistic. Plus: Toilet paper. I

      • AngoraFish says:

        I’m backer, but I must agree that the zombies as bullet sponges/punching bags is definitely a bad sign

        The update suggests that they are envisaging multi-round fights with a single zombie as a core combat mechanic, with the main differentiation between weapons being the amount of noise they make and the number of hits required to kill.

        Because rethinking this core mechanic to make the game less tedious is going to result in them having to more or less completely rebuild the entire combat system, I’m not optimistic that we’ll see any changes before release.

    • USER47 says:

      I think aimed shots and other advanced attacks are there. Watch 8:27 in the video. Looks like the system used in the Age of Decadence, where it works very well and offers quite a lot of tactical possibilities.

      But i agree about fights being slightly slow, especialy the first fight was a pain to watch.

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      Sunjumper says:

      From the Dead State Forums as posted by Brian:

      -Couple of things about balance:
      1. This is a very early level and early combat build. If it was going out tomorrow, I’d panic. Weapon balance still needs a lot of love, but we have to wait for more features to be implemented to properly balance versus noise, armor, scarcity, HP, perks, etc. It’s going to get most of it at the beta stage.
      2. It’s very easy to make changes to the damage/noise/modifiers on our end. Very easy to tweak almost everything about every weapon and item.
      3. I toned down the shotgun for the demo and buffed the PC and Vic. In some runs, the looter was killing the PC with a critical shot.
      4. Misses are a part of all turn-based combat and RPGs and our game is no different. It’s abstracted. That said, I want to make sure it still feels faster-paced and fair.
      5. Forgot to note this one originally, I’m already planning on toning down zombie HP to lower than our human minimum but it needs some testing. Need to balance it versus the strength of their bites and grapples plus AP.

    • fdisk says:

      In that case you should be regretful that you didn’t back it, not glad. They have a backers feedback forum where you can post feedback just like yours and they do listen.

      I agree with your points and a lot of backers have been giving the same feedback so we are hoping this is indeed changed for release. Then again, maybe there are good gameplay reasons why they have decided to make the zombies that strong.

      I do know they have 1-shot weapons like the screwdriver, etc. Making the zombies weaker would make those weapons and mechanic irrelevant. Hopefully they can find a middle ground.

      • Baines says:

        It shouldn’t require contributor feedback to realize that your combat system is putting viewers to sleep.

        Combat probably should be a lot faster and a lot deadlier. I get the feeling that plodding combat was intentional. There wouldn’t be as much reason to use the described one-shot screwdriver if you could down a zombie in a couple of attacks with other weapons. Slow combat can possibly make more difference between weapons, and can give more time for for enemies to be alerted, arrive, and surround you.

    • The Random One says:

      The feeling I get is that combat is deliberately boring because they want you to avoid it as much as possible. As the video says you don’t get XP or anything else from combat so making it as undesirable as possible is in synch with their design vision. That’s my take anyway.

  4. guygodbois00 says:

    It looks like the Fallout and he has a Vic (the trader) as follower as well. Win and win, if you ask me (which nobody does, ofc). This could turn out to be an excellent game. Wonder when’s the release date, if any was given? Great gameplay demo, by the way.

  5. gravity_spoon says:

    My god that looks like one of the most boring combats I’ve ever seen. Don’t get me wrong, I play a lot of TBS games. But that one takes the cake for being downright mind numbingly sleep inducing thing I’ve ever seen so far.

  6. sophof says:

    That looked mind numbingly boring :\ Maybe I’m now officially spoiled after XCOM? I would’ve at least gone for instant zombie kills on a hit, or at least somehow used the lore that you need to shoot them in the head. And that is assuming those sounds are not the final ones :P

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    Llewyn says:

    I really don’t know why developers bother releasing early footage of any game; 95% of the audience seem to be unable to read any statements about things being early WIPs, let alone understand them.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Don’t release the WiP if it’s not illustrative of where the game is going.

      Sure, one can forgive a glitch or two and less diversity in animation, no ambient noise, and that kind of thing, but these videos are not mockups, and the game is not suddenly going to sprout AAA graphics, voice overs from James Earl Jones and XCom-style combat once the game goes gold.

      As far as I can tell most criticism above has been of the fact that the core combat mechanics look goddam boring. Best case, the developers have put it out there for comment and received a few comments. Hopefully they’ll now take on board some of this feedback and make a few changes.

      • fdisk says:

        I honestly have no idea what you were expecting when you backed this game if indeed it’s true that you did and you are not just saying that to try to give more weight to your opinion. EVERYTHING in that video is exactly what they promised and more!

        They never promised XCOM style combat, graphics, or great voice acting; they promised a combat system similar to Age of Decadence since it’s mostly the same team of people. The graphics actually look better than what most people expected.

        I am baffled by some people’s expectations, it’s a $15 game; of course it doesn’t have the same production values of a $60 one! If that’s what you expected when you backed it then you are probably very disappointed that your car doesn’t perform like a brand new Ferrari as well.

        The whole point of funding a game on Kickstarter is to be a small part of the development, releasing WiP videos is exactly what they should be doing so the people that funded the project can have a say in where the game is going before it’s released just like a publisher would.

        People have already voiced their opinions on combat, pace, weapon balance and the developers have already addressed that all those things will be fixed during the beta based on player feedback, that they are very easy for them to fix and that they will indeed be fixed once the game comes out.

        • Hahaha says:

          .

        • Hahaha says:

          15? that seems a bit to much for a game tbh once it sells at 5 then we have a deal.

          LMFAO sorry had to

          “make this game exactly as I want or your game is shit”
          The “gamers” motto

      • HothMonster says:

        Well all that is in there right now is attack and move. There is no threat of his characters becoming infected, no special moves and the balance is way off. Also no consequences. So yeah sounds pretty boring.

        In the update he mentions the not-yet-implemented grapple system the zombies will be using and that nothing is close to final balance as far as damage/noise/armor ect are involved. Also there are no player perks active and he toned the shotgun and the looter down specifically for the video, as the looter kept one shot criting him. Also tons of animations have not been implemented. So Llewyn’s comment seems pretty on the nose, since Brian mentions most of the things people are complaining about.

  8. razzafazza says:

    graphics look suprisingly okay – better than i expected.

    dont like the UI or portraits though.

    combat doesnt look that great but apart from being ALPHA people shouldnt forget that this game isnt supposed to be Jagged Alliance or X-COM.

    If they were reduced to their combat Fallout 1 and 2 would be pretty crap games as well but the combat wasnt the focus and neither will it be in Dead State.

    Unfortunately i guess its hard to show in a short video how the survival/group mechanics work – those will / should be the stars in this game.

    Hopefully they ll pull it off. Didnt back the kickstarter but still interested in how this turn out.

    • Arkh says:

      I backed this game but on your comment:

      God I wanted a Jagged Alliance 2 Sequel so much. How could Codemasters screw JA:BIA?

  9. Orogenesis says:

    This looks like something I’ll enjoy despite being yet another zombie apocalypse game.

    But I do hope the music is placeholder, such awful combat music made me want to mute it by the third time he engaged a zombie.

  10. Crosmando says:

    Most interesting to me is that they are making a “zombie game about the humans”, as in your interactions with your shelter. Also the fact that noise makes zombie spawn on the map, and combat with them makes more noises and more zombies spawn, AND the fact that the player doesn’t get xp or skill points from combat, all point to the game not being combat-orientated, which I think bodes well.

  11. PRSlmao says:

    dull combat, hard to have some decent death animations (fallout 1?) rather have realtime combat aswell or atleast realistic dmg

  12. Syra says:

    I really don’t like that you can’t get stealth crits from opening behind a zombie, you gotta then hit it like 5 times to kill it? WTF?

  13. Premium User Badge

    Kasper says:

    I’ve backed it, but I haven’t really been following the development. Does anyone know how final the combat is – concept wise?

    In my opinion, it needs to have a MUCH stronger feeling of dread and horror and danger – like in the new XCOM; one tactical mistake and you’ll lose a guy. Zombies should be easy cannon fodder, but at the same time also fucking horrifying, because you know if you get scratched or bitten, it’s probably all over.

    Like other have mentioned, I’d like to see more one-shot kills – from both sides. But that could cause a lot of potential frustration, since you’re not in direct control of your allies.

    • unimural says:

      The core concept of the combat is final. Or at least as I’ve understood. The basic tenet is that the most important decision with regards to combat is whether you’re going to try and avoid combat, use melee or use guns, each with obvious situational benefits and drawbacks (e.g. the aforementioned noise).

      The execution of the combat however is, at least according to the devs, pretty far from final. The grapple and bite attacks mentioned in the video presumable will make melee a lot less desirable. And rather obviously that will change the balance tons.

      Yet, it must be noted that while some animations are still missing this most likely isn’t _that_ far removed from what the game will look like. So if the visuals are putting you off, they most likely won’t change radically.

      However, to say that the combat mechanics are boring is a bit silly, considering they aren’t nearly fully implemented. The system looks very similar to Fallouts to me. How exciting would the new XCOM look if all you could do was move and shoot, and the animations sucked?

  14. Premium User Badge

    Sunjumper says:

    From the Dead State Forums as posted by Brian Mitsoda:

    -Couple of things about balance:
    1. This is a very early level and early combat build. If it was going out tomorrow, I’d panic. Weapon balance still needs a lot of love, but we have to wait for more features to be implemented to properly balance versus noise, armor, scarcity, HP, perks, etc. It’s going to get most of it at the beta stage.
    2. It’s very easy to make changes to the damage/noise/modifiers on our end. Very easy to tweak almost everything about every weapon and item.
    3. I toned down the shotgun for the demo and buffed the PC and Vic. In some runs, the looter was killing the PC with a critical shot.
    4. Misses are a part of all turn-based combat and RPGs and our game is no different. It’s abstracted. That said, I want to make sure it still feels faster-paced and fair.
    5. Forgot to note this one originally, I’m already planning on toning down zombie HP to lower than our human minimum but it needs some testing. Need to balance it versus the strength of their bites and grapples plus AP.

    • AngoraFish says:

      Other than, arguably, “toning down zombie HP”, none of which addresses the criticism that combat in its present form is looking pretty tedious.

  15. scatterlogical says:

    Hmm, this looks like Trapped Dead, a mediocre title released last year.
    But even more boring.

    Think I’ll wait for Project Zomboid.

  16. Strangerator says:

    Looks pretty interesting… I like turn-based combat, and also agree with the decision to make zombies a little tougher. Seems many people have been watching too much walking dead and believe the human skull is crafted of paper mache. Making zombies actually threatening in large numbers is a good thing. I hope the humanoid enemies will have some dialogue, and that some system of persuasion can be used to potentially talk them out of a fight or even get them to join. Also like the noise element, which makes melee more tempting (although you’ll need perks to avoid zombie grappling leading to infectious bites). Will there be crossbows?

  17. Muzman says:

    I was actually a little disturbed by the other guy slicing at that poor looter girl for minutes on end. (ed. Ok I forgot, that’s not really the way it happens. Still some long winded slicing of zombies tho. Later point still holds)
    This game has reputation and group standing and stuff doesn’t it? I wonder if different NPCs (or the player) can lose standing with the group if they’re too violent or something.

  18. Kamos says:

    Hadn’t heard about this game before. It seems like the kind of game I will want to play, but it seriously needs some balancing. Shooting humans repeatedly with a shotgun and hitting zombies over and over and over with a crowbar is a bit silly.

    • evilhyde says:

      I think one of the problems here is that if you lower HP levels or increase damage, you become more at the mercy of the random number generator when dealing with turn-based combat like this. It becomes less tactics and more luck at that point.

      I seem to remember this same conversation about the combat in Age of Decadence.

  19. Snids says:

    I love the graphics. I kind of wish it had a Freedom Force mixed with Cannon Fodder kind of set up.