Shamble On: DayZ DelayZ-ed Again

By Nathan Grayson on August 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 am.

Standing alone is hard. Believe me, I know. As a newborn infant, it took me years before I was able to master the art without any parental assistance. Even now – as a young adult who lives inside of a house and can cook without burning it all down (some of the time) – I still occasionally go sailing end-over-end as though tripped by some malevolent practical joke ghost. That in mind, I can totally understand why DayZ’s standalone version keeps slipping. Sometimes it’s unavoidable. And so, due to online infrastructure issues, Dean “Rocket” Hall’s expanded multiplayer survival sandbox is once again without a release date.

Once upon a time, the standalone was supposed to have already flipped the switch on open alpha by now, but no such luck. So then, what’s the holdup this time? According to Hall, just one thing. One very, very crucial thing. See, online games don’t really work without the online part. Hall explained to Joystiq:

“The awkward thing is the only thing we’re waiting on is the core network architecture. That’s the kind of thing only a few people can work on. It’s very specialized. It’s like, you can’t throw more pilots at a plane. You put a thousand pilots in a plane it’s not going to fly any faster.”

And once that’s ready at some indeterminate date? “Bam, it’s go time,” said Hall.

In the meantime, he noted that the extra lengthy wait might not be such a bad thing. He wants a small, dedicated community of hardcore survivalists – not a mindless mass of transient ne’er-do-wells. The plan is to attract a solid base first, then expand out into the zombo-fad-obsessed hordes.

And hey, speed is all well and good, but if the result is a sticky, half-chewed mess, then why even bother?

“The worst thing we could do would be to release too early. Flat out, that’s the stupidest thing we could do. [The alpha launch] is going to be riddled with bugs, but the one thing I don’t want it to be riddled with is terrible multiplayer, it’s a multiplayer game.”

So there you go. The wait continues.

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59 Comments »

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  1. methodology says:

    More coding, less going to every conference and trade show and maybe this thing would be finished by now. Probably time for a long vacation too.

    • toejam316 says:

      I bet a WHOLE DOLLAR (New Zealand, but still) that Rocket isn’t one of those people working on the core infrastructure in any meaningful way beyond concepts and guidance. I could be wrong, and I’ll miss my dollar if I do, but yeah. Shit takes time. Get your wait on.

      • Leosiegfried says:

        Hmm still beats the 2 years delay on X rebirth But that looks amazing

    • Lone Gunman says:

      I bet you would complain even louder if they released it in a buggy mess ¬¬

      • methodology says:

        If he actually worked on the game more maybe it wouldn’t be as buggy at this stage and maybe they could have released it on a reasonable timetable. If they needed more time legitimately I would understand but it seems like every other week they’re at some conference, or show showing off their work. They don’t need more media attention at this point, they just need to put their heads down and finish this project.

        I mean if he wants to tour around like a rockstar that’s his prerogative, but he’s acting like he’s already accomplished something great that puts him on par with gaming dev legends. I’m just saying that he needs to stop sitting in on every panel and maybe go into silent mode and get this project done before he get’s his parade.

        But if like toejam is saying, that he has no real day to day responsibilities on the core of the game, then i guess it doesn’t matter.

    • trjp says:

      Whilst that’s true of quite a lot of indie devs (Desktop Dungeons anyone?) I suspect what’s going-on here is in the hands of other people…

      Do we know if he has the blessing of Arma’s developers in this? It’s just they’ll need to copy Arma2’s network stuff VERY closely and if they aren’t OK with that, you could end-up in trouble.

      If you know that and are trying to work away from it – is where you could burn a staggering amount of time – like the time it takes to develop a whole multiplayer game, amounts of time.

      • laijka says:

        He works for Bohemia. They are publishing it. So I’d say Bohemia are OK with them using whatever they want :)

        • Mad Hamish says:

          They aren’t just publishing it, they are making it. It’s small team making it, but it’s much more than just one man. Dean Hall is the lead developer..

        • S Jay says:

          It deals with multiplayer in a completely different fashion than any Bohemia game. It is closer to an MMO (where the server decides everything), while Bohemia’s games (ok, Arma) is pretty much every machine for itself (thus it was fairly easy to hack Arma and, consequently, DayZ mod).

          The whole multiplayer architecture is different, so it does make sense they are taking a beating there.

          Yes, I am disappointed with the delay, but I guess the only thing I can do about it is shout to the clouds: http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/33100000/Angry-Old-Man-Yells-At-Cloud-random-33173915-400-300.jpg

    • jo-shadow says:

      I dunno, the plane and pilots analogy is pretty fitting I think. Rocket isn’t a network coder, not for something on the scale as this (which for all intents and purposes is an MMO as far as the networking aspect is concerned).

      A big reason why going to the events is important is because, well, that’s what people want. they -want- to hear about it and they -want- to have the behind the scenes insights. I think it’s a bit too cynical to assume that it’s just Rocket wanting to enjoy the spotlight.

      Without actually being in their development cycle and knowing what needs to be worked on by whom, it’s far too easy to pass quick judgement and say “oh they should do this and this instead” and to ignore the fact that, maybe they’ve been doing this for years and know more about the matter than you might.

      • methodology says:

        I get what you’re saying, I really do. However alot of the cynicism comes from the fact that I’m pretty sure he’s been to EVERY show since he got his first media coverage for this mod. Even when there were some insanely game breaking bugs that could have been easily fixed, he was too busy preparing for a media event. This happened time and time again, so these current problems and delays are just more of the same it feels like.

        • Spakkenkhrist says:

          Yeah he shouldn’t take opportunities to promote his game.

        • Moraven says:

          Agree, after passing the Alpha date, I was ok with the delay since they were showing some dev diaries and MoCap work…then he goes climbing mountains. Then he is at every trade show. Travel, setup, recoup plus planning for the trade show takes a lot of manpower. Especially if they are demoing the game. Work on it for 5 months, hit up a trade show every 6 months to show progress or closer to actual release.

          I got my money’s worth from DayZ arma purchase. Their window has shrunk and we have seen one good zombie survival game, State of Decay. Once that hits PC they have lost a lot of audience.

          • Max Planck says:

            I understand that he has been farting around a lot, but why is it a problem? He doesn’t owe you anything, you didn’t pay him anything, he is allowed to spend his time as he pleases. Just like you.
            I think there is a whole lot of misplaced anger going around.
            People should leave the guy alone to climb his mountains or whatever, and instead get angry at themselves for raging about some videogame that didn’t get released when they wanted it to.

          • S Jay says:

            Hereby proclaim you the 1st winner of the Max Planck Good Sense Award.

      • Teovald says:

        Yeah, that’s a pretty good analogy and that’s true for any project.
        engineers*2 !-> time /2

        Especially for something like networking that is very specialized ..

  2. Maritz says:

    Can’t most children walk on their own by about 18 months?

    • trjp says:

      Yup – many by 12 and some even sooner.

      How quickly your children walk will have no bearing on how well they move – e.g. walking at 10 months doesn’t mean Olympic Athlete tho

      That must upset middle-class people a lot.

  3. SystemiK says:

    I’m over it.

    • Noburu says:

      Same. I dont feel that it is going to be enough different from the original mod for me to enjoy it. TBH the original was somewhat an novelty. It got old quick.

  4. Artist says:

    I wonder if DayZ still matters once 7 Days do Die matured?!

  5. Velko says:

    Weak title pun. Personally I would’ve gone with “More DayZ DelayZ”

  6. Alfius says:

    Totally cool with this. It’s important they take their time to get this right. The dayZ mod has matured to the point where it’s very playable and there are tons of maps out now for those who get bored of Cherno (I’m playing on a Sahrani server atm).

  7. laijka says:

    It’s good that they take their time and do it right but I can’t help to wonder if they’ve maybe have missed their opportunity(or at least the window is approaching fast).

    Gamers never been good at patience and waiting and as many knows there are other zombie game options out there that are very much playable today.

    I can say this though, it’s going to be hell if DayZ releases in a normal Alpha state. Thinking about it, maybe better off not doing the whole “open alpha” bit at all.

    • khomotso says:

      Really don’t think they’re going for the zombie crowd.

      They’ll miss their window when the persistent world survivalist permadeath genre gets to consoles.

      • laijka says:

        My bad, meant to write zombie survival game options.

        Unless you’re talking about a completely different crowd?

  8. trjp says:

    If all they’re doing here is separating DayZ from Arma2 – I think they’re long, long, long missed their chance with this.

    Arma2 has been very, very cheap of late – meaning that the bar to entry that was it’s better-part-of-£30 pricetag is gone – and as people will presumably still be able to play DayZ using a cheap ArmaII – why would they pay more for DayZ?

    UNLESS there are plans to shut-down Arma2’s infrastructure as people transition to Arma3 – but that’s equiv. to asking people to buy a game twice – not something which has been historically successful for anyone other than Sega and Nintendo :)

  9. Premium User Badge

    Earl-Grey says:

    I find myself wondering sometimes.
    This worries me, what am I wondering about when I run away from myself in the dead of night?
    Today I revealed to myself what I wonder about:

    How am I supposed to pronounce DayZ?
    Is it a bit of a pun and pronounced like daze?
    Or is it just pronounced Day “zed”?

    Please tell me so I don’t wake up in the morning beside myself wondering.

    • jo-shadow says:

      I think most people have come to pronounce it as “Day Zee”

      • Premium User Badge

        Earl-Grey says:

        Ah, Day Zed it is then.
        For it must be zed, always zed.

        • TWChristine says:

          Who’s Zed?

          • Premium User Badge

            DrScuttles says:

            Zed’s dead, baby. Zed’s dead.

            Oh, I’ve been waiting to do that one for years. And no, I don’t get out much.

      • Synesthesia says:

        I like to call it Daisy. Or maybe betty. Yeah, betty is more fitting.

  10. Snoken says:

    I just wonder how it is humanly possible to be so wrong about guessing when your own work will be done. Why talk so much about release dates at all? Just say that t’s done when it’s done. This is starting to get ridiculous to be honest and even though I played the mod for more than a year I am also slowly starting to lose confidence in this project seeing how little effort was put into making the mod more pleasant to play.

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      Why waste time working on the mod when the community is doing a stellar job all by themselves? (DayZero FTW!)

      As for guessing how long the work would take before the game is ready to launch, they were just that, guesses! There’s only ever been one official release date announced (December last year) and that was for a version of the mod with all the excess Arma fat trimmed away, that was scrapped and a full rebuild was started when the WarZ proved it would be foolish to release a half-arsed project early.

      Any other release date mentioned never came directly from Dean, they were all either miscommunications from an over excited dev and/or rabid fans desperate for any information or quote taken out of context by the media, which only ever stoked the fires.

  11. Premium User Badge

    joev says:

    I call “Bullshit” on this.

    “Core network architecture” is about as vague as you can get.

    What does this game need in terms of “core network architecture”? If he’s talking about the structure of the netcode; then that’s going to be Arma3’s netcode which is pretty solid (from the Arma 3 beta). Where’s the “core network architecture” work to be done there?

    If he’s talking about the “Hive” structure for persistence, that is presumably not significantly dissimilar to DayZ mod so there’s little or no architecting to do of it.

    If he’s talking about the physical servers/network then that’s simple to run up on any number of providers (
    AWS, Rackspace, Microsoft Azure etc) and it does not take an “indeterminate” length of time.

    This sounds to me very like a cover for the fact that the game is (i suspect) far from ready for any sort of unveiling.

    Others have theories as to why which may or may not be accurate, I don’t know whether they’re right or wrong I just take offence at being fed bullshit instead of an honest appraisal as to where the delays are coming from.

    • Plushpants says:

      (I’d like to preface what I am about to say with an acknowledgement that I know nothing about ‘core network architecture’).

      From the little I have gathered following this saga, the primary change that they are making to DayZ for the standalone is that they are moving much closer to an MMO in terms of how the networking aspect of the game behaves. The majority of meaningful stuff now happens server side to rule out all the hacking issues they had with the mod. This is a dramatic departure from the Arma 2 and Arma 3 network code. As such, it does not seem unreasonable for them to spend a significant amount of time ensuring that the primary new feature of their game works properly.

      I do agree that they have kinda riled people up by announcing dates that continually slip – never a good idea in this industry. But the actual development time has been very short relative to many other games so I really don’t think the game should be written off as vapourware just yet.

    • ironman Tetsuo says:

      There is no Hive, DayZ SA is now more like an MMO in structure and totally controlled from the server, Arma etc are multiplayer FPS it’s entirely different and a major part of why the original mod was so easy to hack. In Arma your client is informed of every update that occurs anywhere in the map. This “network bubble” Dean keeps mentioning is a way of curbing that, your client will only receive updates from the near vicinity. it’s also enabling them to increase the zombie population 10 fold, have them spawn everywhere instead of just within the vicinity of a player and have loot objects total in the thousands.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      What does this game need in terms of “core network architecture”?

      They’ve talked about this a lot. It basically comes down to two things:

      First, changing the network architecture so that the server is the only authority on entities in the game (spawning, killing, moving, etc). This is a very significant change from the way ArmA works. This is to ensure the clients can’t interfere with each other (e.g. so hackers won’t be able to teleport everyone 1000 metres into the air anymore). This is also fundamental to implementing the controlled economy (say goodbye to hackers spawning stuff in, too).

      Second, changing the network messaging so that clients only receive information about entities that are near them (the “network bubble” Rocket talks about). This is also a significant change from ArmA, where every client gets updates for every entity. While this also helps a little for hacking (your computer will no longer know where everyone on the entire map is), it is primarily a performance thing: it will greatly reduce bandwidth requirements for clients and servers, and also reduce CPU load on clients. It also means that servers can probably host more clients than before.

      It’s the second one that’s holding things up just now.

  12. tigershuffle says:

    If you follow his twitter etc……he has been working on getting a version to show at trade thingummy.

    To be honest more excited about Arma3 release as im having lots of fun just playing DayZ Origins as it seems pretty hacker free and has some longevity and goals built in.

    No hurry………still gotta install and play Humble Bumble stuff :)

  13. Premium User Badge

    DarkLiberator says:

    Take your time. Don’t rush this.

  14. Moraven says:

    So, who here is excited of the State of Decay PC release?

  15. P-Dazzle says:

    This game will be just as bad as the Arma 2 mod.

    • Amun says:

      I absolutely agree… I have zero confidence that the standalone will be anything special. =/

  16. racccoon says:

    Dayz will be cool, ol Dean “Rocket” Hall is trying hard to get it right, there’s a slight delema here, you keep seeing stuff you need to change, it does happen to best of us. I think they should of used the new Arma 3 engine and done a complete overall from there, but they didn’t, we will have to wait and see just how it plays.
    The Great Expectations from Dean “Rocket” Hall have probably got to much to say its done even it was done a while ago as now he’s more worried about you expect.