Into The Wild: DayZ Adds Berry Picking, Balances Stomachs

By Graham Smith on January 20th, 2014 at 4:00 pm.

Doorways: humanity's natural predator.

Is it worth playing DayZ Standalone in its current alpha condition? Probably not. But anecdotes of scary charcoal-eating clowns, wiggle cultists, forced axe fights, and slow death from disease and dehydration, make it hard to resist.

Still I’m a little sad the changelog for the next experimental patch doesn’t contain more basic fixes, like maybe ‘Removed the invisible sodding zombies‘, or ‘Zombies can no longer run through walls and floors‘, or even ‘Doorways are now easier to manoeuver through‘. Instead I have to settle for the likes of “Balanced stomach capacity”, as outlined in a post by Dean Hall over on the official forums.

The patch prevents you being able to put backpacks inside one another “backpack-Inception style”, tweaks the spawn rates for some weapons, and adds a “Stuffed” notifier when your stomach is full instead of a “Sick” one. My stuffed notifier goes off constantly throughout the day, because I’ve taken to eating large bagels before bed.

It also adds a bunch of new features, including the ability to craft sawed-off shotguns, to open cans with a saw, and to go berry picking. The latter is especially interesting, given the current reliance on canned foods for pretty much everything.

In order to play the build, you need to go to DayZ Standalone’s Steam settings screen and opt-in to the “beta branch”. This will download the new client and allow you to connect to experimental servers. There’s likely to only be a few of those however, so think twice before doing it. The patch, assuming it doesn’t break DayZ more than it already is, will be rolled out to the general population in the near future.

Fixes and additions are of course welcome, but DayZ is at its best when everyone playing it has bought into the survivalist fantasy. Right now the game needs re-balancing in ways that enforce that kind of behaviour. Too often I’ll be slowly exploring a town only to see another new survivor sprinting bow-legged towards me without a care in the world, because that survivor doesn’t yet have anything of value to protect, knows they can outrun any zombie they aggro, and can more quickly search houses that way. It’s also common to have new survivors come up to you and beg you to kill them, if there aren’t any tall buildings around that allow them to do it themselves, so they can respawn at a hopefully better location. All of this undercuts the the central conceit that you’re vulnerable and your life is valuable.

Anyway, progress is being made. I just need to wait. If only those charcoal-eating clowns wouldn’t stop drawing me back in. There’s a full changelog in the forum post.

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55 Comments »

  1. Noburu says:

    Or just play Rust, which is what apparently everyone is doing according to my Steam friends list.

    EDIT: Must just be my friends, the games are pretty close player-wise. Rust seems less buggy and more playable from what I have seen, as long as you dont run into the rampant hackers.

    http://i.imgur.com/FDRzsrP.png

    • shagohad says:

      rust has a smaller map, less interesting combat, and a very basic construction feature. Its mostly just a grind , I would be playing dayz over that considering the condition of both side by side

      • wits says:

        Well, Rust still doesn’t have a solid direction, so it could end up being a different game entirely, zombies are already set to be removed. Dayz is already set in what type of game it is, the only thing they have to do is clean up and improve what they already have.

        • LawL4Ever says:

          I have the hope that rust will attract all the cherno snipers etc. from DayZ so that DayZ is left to those who want a simulation. The way it seems right now DayZ is gonna become the more PvE-focused simulation it wanted to become (gonna take a while though), and Rust is gonna be the PvP-focused survival game, which doesn’t care as much about realism authenticity as DayZ. From all that’s currently there, the 2 seem the most promising.

  2. SandmanXC says:

    We can now opt-in to the beta branch of an alpha product. The future is here!

    • Premium User Badge

      El_MUERkO says:

      this :)

      i’m tempted by DayZ but only to get the updated cherno for ARMA3 :)

      • shagohad says:

        how are they linked? you can already play chenarus in ARMA 3 btw. I dont think DayZ will be crossbred with it

        • harr0p says:

          Yep its a standalone product no link that arma 3

          • HellsHigh says:

            You guys call yourselves PC gamers?! Its on the same engine, using the same filetypes: just copy the files over. It may not work flawlessly without some deeper work, but people are already using it in the ARMA 3 version of the mod.

          • Shodex says:

            You call yourself a PC gamer?! There already is an Arma 3 DayZ mod (Day0 I think it’s called) in the works. But it’s woefully unfinished and provides no incentive to ever pick it over the standalone aside form maybe price assuming you plan on buying (or alreay have bought) Arma 3 for Arma 3 itself.

    • Colej_uk says:

      We need to invent a ‘gamma’ phase, then move everything up one.

    • jonahcutter says:

      Logging onto a beta server for an alpha product. That’s far more Inceptionesque than a backpack within a backpack.

  3. Lemming says:

    Someone needs to tell Rocket that you can actually open cans with a flat piece of concrete

    Remember: “Cat gonna survive too.”

    • gombicek says:

      also that wearing a motorcycle helmet in zombie apocalypse isn’t the best option:)

    • Universal Quitter says:

      Thank you for linking to that. It made my evening on a very sick day.

    • BoZo says:

      If the can is a bit larget than that you don’t even need the concrete!

  4. Premium User Badge

    soulblur says:

    Why is there a little steam icon in that screenshot? That seems… out of place. Even for a game like Day-Z.

    • Skiv says:

      Dats no steam icon mate. Dats da microphone icon for da talk. Maaaaaaan

      Jeeeesus what was I smoking when i wrote that

      • The Random One says:

        A Blunt of Stereotypes.

        I did advise you against using Something Awful’s random treasure table.

      • Mctittles says:

        I hate that icon in Arma. I really wish you could move it to the bottom left and out of the way so I don’t always confuse it with a gun sight in moments of panic.

    • boyspud says:

      That isn’t a Steam icon, its the mic active icon to tell you that you are broadcasting.

      Edit: Damn, seconds too late.

  5. goettel says:

    Can…can I lock up a zombie in it and feed hikers to her, roleplaying it’s my horribly undead (now ex) girlfriend, whom I must keep save until ‘they’ find a cure, so we can get back together and cuddle without bits of her skin sticking to mine?

    • FurryLippedSquid says:

      No, because they walk through walls.

      • Premium User Badge

        Thurgret says:

        This at least serves to move the cuddling to an earlier stage of the to-do list.

  6. jonfitt says:

    I’m still waiting to see if the fundamental nature of DayZ changes before getting interested in the standalone version.

    I was interested in the mod when it had the potential to be a grand scope survival game against the zombies, but without sounding like a carebear the:
    team-deathmatch-where-you-have-no-team-and-the-enemy-does-and-no-weapon-but-they-do-and-you-can-spend-ages-trying-to-find-one-only-to-be-sniped-and-then-have-to-trudge-around-again genre is not for me.
    Now I’m not adverse to deathmatch but as a deathmatch game the entire conceit is badly “designed” in the time vs fun department.

    No wonder people sprint around naked, starting again is tedious and wasting time on it only makes it more tedious to do it again.

    IMHO DayZ doesn’t simulate the experience/feel of the zombie apocalypse from films, or any projected reality. People tend to hole up and hoard, and yes they reject and wouldn’t help strangers, but there are mental blocks in place that prevent most people even under stress from shouting MANHUNT! and breaking out the body paint. Videogames obviously do not trigger that natural affect in people, because it’s only a game. But that leads to this spawn camping douchbaggery.

    Perhaps when you kill a human there could be a chance of getting infected with “guilt” where you must continuously drink booze or your character blows his own head off?

    • jonfitt says:

      In much better news:
      http://projectzomboid.com/blog/2014/01/the-third-act-twist/

      I think even with the PvP on, the nature of Zomboid will make cooperating more likely. *waits for Internet to prove him entirely wrong*.

    • Premium User Badge

      melnificent says:

      I want to see the booze/guilt thing in action in-game now. I want to see spawn campers so drunk they can barely walk towards you nevermind fire a weapon.

      the alcohol limit would need to stay for 1 day/week/month per person killed or else they’d just purposely die and get the “guilt” reset

    • Mattressi says:

      I agree. When the mod first came out, I had a lot of fun. There were tense moments where you didn’t know what the person in front of you would do, or where you tried to work out who to help when you came across a firefight. After a few months it just devolved into a deathmatch. I don’t know why people are still saying things about how tense it is meeting someone in the game, not knowing whether they’ll kill you or not. I haven’t played in half a year (maybe everything’s changed…?), but for at least year before I quit, it was almost guaranteed that the person you see would attack you. There was no suspense, wondering what would happen – you’d see someone and know that they would almost certainly attack you. Which, of course, leads to you attacking them first, so if they were one of the few people who wouldn’t attack on sight, you’ve just become a part of the problem.

      And that’s what it became for me – either be nice and survive every 10th encounter or become a terrible person and survive 50% of encounters. When most people whom you feed and bandage turn around and shoot you, you start questioning why you should be a good guy in the next life. Then you start questioning why you’re playing such a long-winded deathmatch.

  7. Lone Gunman says:

    Maybe the Zombies have mastered quantum mechanical tunneling in the macroscopic world.

    Scary.

  8. The Random One says:

    I repeat myself, but I hope that when the translucent zombies bug is fixed the patch note reads “Zombie ghosts have left this place.”

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      What is this translucent zombies bug? I’ve never heard of anything like that.

  9. Perjoss says:

    My RL stomach could use some balancing.

  10. Darth Grabass says:

    Does anyone else think that implementing the standard zombie-bite infection device from every zombie movie ever make the undead threat a little more of a…um, threat? And that in turn may inspire a bit more cooperation and less kill-on-sight. As it stands now, you get bit by a zombie and then you just bandage yourself up for a full recovery. How about one bite and you’re a goner?

  11. PopeRatzo says:

    So, I’m going down the list in the Steam store, and I’m noticing that two out of three new games are “early access” or “very early access”, or “early alpha access”.

    Honestly, I wish all this “early access” stuff had never started. It’s completely messing up gaming. Same goes for Kickstarter. Better it had just been a donations-only charity site so people wouldn’t get the impression that they’re giving money to something that will eventually be a finished game. Because it won’t.

    Be aware, if you’re going to give your hard-earned money to a Kickstarted computer game, you will never, ever see a completed game out of it. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to play an early alpha but that will be it. At best, you’ll see it get to an early beta stage before the people who worked on it get tired of it or get other jobs and move on to something else. Or, you get tired of doing the three things in the early alpha that actually work and move on, unsatisfied, to the next early access whore’s promise.

    I’m telling you, kickstarter and “early access” have destroyed gaming. You know that article you saw earlier about how the system specs for Thief are very low and how no “big budget game-changers” came out in 2013? Here’s your reason why. The best game of 2013, Saints Row IV, was a DLC reuse of an old engine. Same textures and models and mechanics, barely spiffed up. Now, Saints Row IV was a really great game. I loved it. But in a normal year, it would have barely broken the top 10 because so many great games had come out.

    I’m really happy that there are Sidney Parables and Kentucky Route Zero and Gone Home and games like that for people who have burned out on gaming, but the rest of us who actually love playing exciting, big games with impressive technology and 75+ hours of game play. It appears the days of such games are gone forever and it’s our fault for expecting so little out of game developers and buying into the one-born-every-minute kickstarter campaigns.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      The end is nigh! The gamepocalypse has begun, so sayeth the sandwich board. Thanks for the warning there Nostradamus.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        If by “nigh” you mean, “two years ago”, then you’re correct. I agree with you entirely.

        Maybe someone here can offer a list of the “early access” games that ended up getting properly completed and are now completed good games. Let’s see if we can get five titles.

    • Runs With Foxes says:

      Be aware, if you’re going to give your hard-earned money to a Kickstarted computer game, you will never, ever see a completed game out of it.

      Yeah Jim Rossignol’s a shifty sonofabitch, stealing my money and not giving me anything in return (except for continued updates to the game whoops).

      Your timeline’s a bit odd too. Big 75+ hour games have been a rarity for a lot longer than the Kickstarter craze has been around. You’re getting into bizarre moral panic territory here.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        Your timeline’s a bit odd too. Big 75+ hour games have been a rarity for a lot longer than the Kickstarter craze has been around.

        Skyrim, Just Cause 2, Elder Scrolls IV, Fallout 3, Saints Row 3 and GTA IV. I can go on if you’d like. The number of these games coming out every year was pretty consistent until…

        It all came to a crashing end at Kickstarter’s ascendancy. The reason Saints’ Row IV was so magnificent is because it actually recreated some of that magic, even though to do so it had to re-use all the assets from Saints’ Row 3. Because game devs say, “Why should we work our asses off to complete a game if we can put up a new Kickstarter campaign every year, make a flashy trailer and never complete the game? We save money on QA and beta testing and we don’t have to pay a bunch of high-school grads minimum wage to sit and play the games for a few months to get the bugs out. Hell, with the “early access” scam, we don’t have to make a campaign, or put in any gameplay. Easy peasy.”

        • Universal Quitter says:

          Many of those titles are developed as console games, first. Consoles don’t give a shit about your early access, so the gaming industry will be fine.

          I agree that Steam Early Access IS annoying and ubiquitous, but before that it was DLC, so…. *shrug*

          Or did you not know that steam used to not separate DLC and actual games in the store, so 99% of the time you had to find a game by searching the title?

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          And literally every one of those games will have a sequel. I haven’t seen Bethesda say “we are cancelling Elder Scrolls VI and Fallout 4 so we can make kickstarted games instead”. Did I miss that announcement or are you hysterical?

        • Runs With Foxes says:

          I read an estimate a little while ago that there are only 20-odd “AAA” game studios operating in the entire world right now. You know why big, technologically advanced games are kinda rare? Because of ballooning budgets and the high risk involved.

          You know what kickstarted games are characterised by? The complete opposite of that. You’re confusing the reaction for the cause.

        • Rovac says:

          wow
          Ok those games you listed are nowhere near Kickstarter or Early Access budget, not even half of it. Those games took many years create.

          You can’t just expect them to come out each year and none of them really bug-free when they came out (well, maybe Just Cause 2). Each of those games probably developed for more than 2 years.

          (phones are fiddly)

        • secuda says:

          Ugh and you sir are to negative of the whole kickstarter thingy?

          You know that early beta access through payment excistet before early access on Steam? like in “pre-order now and get access to beta multiplayer”.

          • Gandor says:

            No Kickstarter = no sequel to Planescape: Torment. For me, the Kickstarter served it’s purpose with that one game. Which no one would finance normally.

    • Talon2000uk says:

      Yeah I hate all these short early access games like Kerbal Space Program. Over 400 hours of game play so far. What con for £12.99. Dam scammers.

      Oh and while I’m at it I want a word with those Shadow Run Returns guys. Taking my money and giving me a fun turn based game to play that no publisher would touch. The bastards! :D

    • Razumen says:

      Baloney, I’ve Kickstarted 11 games, of those 11 four are now fully release games (FTL, Forced, Legend of Dungeon and Retrovirus), the rest are either very close to being finished (Grim Dawn) or have very frequent updates on progress (Star Citizen, Planetary Annihailation, Carmageddon: Reincarnation, Dead State, Two Guys SpaceVenture).

      Kickstarting things is not preordering, you have to actually look at what the developers have accomplished so far and ask yourself whether, with more money, these guys would actually be able to complete a decent project. If you can’t be careful with your own money that’s your own problem-wait until they release a full game then decide for yourself.

      All Kickstarter is is another source of funding, which is an exceptionally good thing in this age of publisher dominated markets. It’s not going to put an end to AAA games, nor is it going to stop new games or ideas from being created.

  12. jad206 says:

    Dear Mr. Smith:

    Excellent article, and I enjoyed reading it, especially seeing as how it was on a game I am enjoying very much right now. However, one gripe I have is near the very beginning, where you mention how sad you are they didn’t fix invisible zombies or a host of other bugs. While I agree, it is annoying these bugs are still present, it should be noted that this is an ALPHA. While I’m sure you and many others know WHAT an alpha is, it seems that not many of you know the point of an alpha.

    Alpha’s are NOT meant to fix bugs (though you can most certainly fix them) or balance gameplay (though you can, and can see that with this game, where they balanced the stomach). All of these things are meant for beta. Beta is when you try to balance and fix bugs. The point of alpha is to ADD the items. You can’t get to beta (balancing/bug fixing/ ect) until you ADD items into the game.

    Imagine you designed a zombie game. Your zombies are running through walls. You could fix the zombies, and then go on an add more things in the alpha, however, you never know how adding new items will affect older items and zombies. They could roll out a bug fix to zombies with this patch, but come next patch, it could be broken again, making it a pointless bug fix. Sure, the players may be able to play the game better with the zombies fixed now, but you bought alpha. You knew it was alpha, and they don’t even need to let people play it, but they are.

    Sorry if this comes out rather ranty or condescending, but so many people are complaining about things for the mere sake of complaining.

  13. bigblackmonkeydicks says:

    Poor framerate? Go to Documents > DayZ and open DayZ.cfg in Notepad. Change GPU_MaxFramesAhead and GPU_DetectedFramesAhead to = 1.