A Chat With Rocket, Creator Of Day Z

The expanding popularity of an Arma 2 mod, Day Z, might have surprised all of us, but imagine the surprise felt by the chap who created it, Dean “Rocket” Hall. There are nearly 48,000 characters now registered in the game’s stats, when he imagined there’d be just a few hundred. His motivation to make the ultra-bleak multiplayer zombie survival mod might not surprise any of you, though, when you read his take on what games should be, and why the kinds of stories experiences like Day Z produce are so important. There were a couple of times in this interview where I hooted in agreement with what Rocket had to say. See if you can spot them.

RPS: Am I correct in understanding that you work for Bohemia – the Arma 2 devs – in the Czech Republic? What do you do there?

Hall: I sure do! I am working there as a game designer in multiplayer. My responsibilities are with multiplayer for Arma 3.

RPS: Are we calling it “day-zee” or “Day Zed”?

Hall: Day-zee, we went with – I actually think the name is terrible, and I came up with it. It was really just a working name originally, but it started as a working name and now it has stuck. It’s grown on me as someone came up with a new logo and so on. So perhaps it’s not too bad.

RPS: I like it! “Daisy” makes it good for puns, too, which definitely works for our audience. So you’re working on this in your spare time? Or are Bohemia allowing this to leak into work life?

Hall: Well, there’s obviously some crossover. It’s good for experimentation, so that has helped. And it’s been something to do on weekends! I don’t speak Czech [Hall is a New Zealander] so it was helpful to have it as a project to sink some time into. And the same was true when I was with the army back in New Zealand – I’ve been at Bohemia since January – where I was holed up in this tiny little town with an internet connection and not much to do. Give a man a computer, an internet connection, and not much to do, well, wonderful things can happen.

RPS: So this idea has been a while in the making? Can you talk a bit about the genesis of the Day Z idea?

Hall: One of the first things I did when I got into modding was to look at making something zombie-related. That was the first thing I did when I started modding for Arma, when it came out. But really I guess it really came from a desire to play more games that give you an emotional connection to your character. I found that with most of the games I was playing, while they were interesting and entertaining, I didn’t find that I had any contextual reference with the character – the character would do things I wouldn’t do, because of the story. It’s like when you watch a horror movie and yell at the characters “why are you doing that!?” I was having the same kind of response from gaming experiences. And I wanted to change that.

RPS: Right, and Day Z is story-free and open-ended, which means players are compelled to tell stories about what happened, because what happened is unique to them – it’s not the same story that everyone will have seen in, say, Half-Life, or whatever. You must have started hearing those stories from Day Z pretty early on…

Hall: Yeah, that has been extraordinary, and it’s an extraordinary experience for me to read around forums and blogs and find people getting into their characters and what happened to them. I read about people talking about shaking from the adrenaline of situations they’ve been in. It all cuts to something quite unique about humans, really, that ability and need to tell stories – that’s how people learn and it’s how people pass on information. The popularity of the mod stems from there, that fundamental place. It only stirs some very simple emotions and responses from people, of course, but it’s given them a burning desire to report what has happened, to tell the stories about the experiences it generates. There was no support structure for the mod, and so it spread through things like social media. There was no announcement, no promotion. The popularity of the game is just down to people wanting to tell stories.

RPS: You must have been surprised that it was so popular. There’s forty-seven thousand people registered on the website stats now!

Hall: Well, I knew it would be popular within the Arma community. The Arma community is a really strong community, especially in its approach to innovation. They like to see new stuff come out, they get on board, and then they make new stuff in response. So I expected that, but what I didn’t expect was the crossover into the mainstream. Arma has never really had any crossover, because people write it off over little difficulties and don’t get to see what is underneath. But it has crossed over and coping with capacity has become my focus for the past two and half weeks. Every time we would upgrade something, it would be filled to capacity. We launched a server and it’d instantly be full up. We moved the website to a bigger server twice, and then to a cloud server. And it was like solving a traffic jam. We’d move the traffic from one intersection and it would move and jam somewhere else up. We haven’t had a chance to really think about what has been happening, we’ve just been dealing with that capacity issue.

RPS: Is there a ceiling you will hit from the persistent architecture of it? Can you keep upping capacity?

Hall: Well I know people are having trouble logging in, but that’s more to do with the interaction between the local server and their nodes. The persistence server can handle up to ten thousand concurrent connections, and we have peaked at five thousand. So that should be able to handle a lot more load. And I sort of think surely we couldn’t hit ten thousand concurrent connections, right?

RPS: Haha, well…

Hall: Actually, I did think we had peaked six hundred, so I suppose we will see what happens.

RPS: Yes, let’s see what happens on Sunday night, after another week of intense coverage for the mod.

Hall: There’s two things I dread at the moment. One is the weekend, and the other is when I roll out an update. You’re never quite sure what it’s going to do, and it’s a nightmare to roll it out to 120 servers and then check it’s working on them. You’re never quite sure it’ll work.

RPS: Ah, updates. How regular are they going to be now?

Hall: Well it was supposed to be nightly builds, whenever me or someone else from the team committed assets. We were trying to follow with the whole pre-alpha to alpha model thing. But that’s what you do when you have maybe two servers and fifty people. You can’t really apply it to thousands and thousands of people. That has forced quite a serious rethinking of where to go. We’ve wiped the entire plan and focused on meeting capacity. We could have buried the project or limited it, but instead we’ve decided to try and meet the demand. So it’s just managing the crisis before thinking about anything else. There will be an occasional update thrown in too! [Perhaps like forthcoming dogs, as revealed in PCG’s interview with Hall.]

RPS: What do you want Day Z to do, once the capacity crisis has been resolved?

Hall: The experiment has to continue. Because that’s what big companies can’t do: to take risks and experiment like this. They can’t risk upsetting their userbase, they can’t risk messing with existing formulae. They can’t add radical or brutal features, and risk getting it wrong. But this project can. In that sense the experiment has only just started. If there’s one area I really want to see grow, it’s that the environment is also part of your consideration: the weather, the terrain, and so on. I think you should not just be challenged by your interactions with the zombies and with other players, but you should also be facing the world. That will add a contextual link to a map as wonderful as Chernarus. You will have to start worrying about shelter, thinking about the rain, and so on.

RPS: One of my favourite discoveries was that there were wrecked vehicles that we could then fix up to move about more rapidly. We then discovered that certain places seemed to yield more of the right kind of loot to fix up vehicles and so on – was that intentional? Or am I seeing patterns in random loot spawning?

Hall: Obviously because it was just me placing things, I adopted for a very modular approach. The type of items spawned for you to collect are based on the type of buildings, or types of buildings: whether it’s residential, military, or industrial. Because I wanted it to be intuitive to your personality. You are in a zombie apocalypse, stood on a beach: some people are the kind of people who will say “let’s go to the military base and get tooled up!” Other people might say “I’m going to go to a farm, get a farmer’s rifle and just be careful.” Others still might strap flares to themselves and run into town to try and help survivors. I kind of wanted it to be semi-intuitive, and for people’s responses to make sense, and to work within the world. So I made it class-based, dependent on the buildings. And that means it can be quickly applied to another map, too. It would take about an hour to apply it to another similar-sized map.

RPS: How much feedback have you taken from the way people behave once they’re inside the game. The bandit/survivor distinction has obviously been put in to identify those who who are killers from those who are a little more trustworthy?

Hall: The bandit and humanity system was added for a few reasons. One of them was that I wanted to make systems that do not imply judgement: they should not tell you how to play. However, there also needed to be impact to your decisions. There will be decisions such as “do I pick up the ammo or do I pick up the food?” But you also face decisions like “do I shoot that person, or do I not?” If you shoot the person, there should be some effect from it. There shouldn’t be a direct negative consequence, of course, it shouldn’t tell you how to play, but there needed to be something. Anyway, what happened when we set up the original European server was very different from the original, relatively peaceful New Zealand server. Suddenly everyone was killing each other. I think the language barrier came in there – German, Russian, and English speakers – and it rapidly descended into chaos. The average life expectancy dropped to something ridiculous like thirty minutes. We knew we had to do something!

So what we did was implement that bandit system, which highlights the killers. But I don’t think it works. I think we need to have skins that are based not on your humanity, but on things that you find, craft, and use. That should allow people to craft their characters how they want. To appear as the character you actually play.

RPS: I was surprised, actually, by the range of niches that people have taken on. I anticipated the sort of PvP aspect of it, but actually a lot of people just take the woods and try to survive more peacefully. Are you surprised by that diversity of roles having sprung up?

Hall: Well, I guess I thought that kind of person was the sort of person who would play it. And certainly I anticipated that something like this would happen, but I didn’t anticipate the scale of it. I wanted to create the kind of game where not only you had to live with the decisions you made, but you also had to live in a world where other people had made those decisions. The system has to support the range of responses. People exaggerate how much player-killing goes on, too. They say “oh there’s slaughter of newbies”, but only about ten percent of the population is a bandit at any one time. I also don’t think it really fits traditional descriptions of PvP, either, because there isn’t a systemic approach to it. It just says: play it however you want. Sometimes killing other players is a part of that.

RPS: The persistence aspect of the mod is really fascinating to me. You could have made a mod where the character simply existed on individual servers. Why create a system which meant you could log in with the same character on any server?

Hall: Well I guess it’s something I’ve been really passionate about for a long time. I’ve wanted more games to do it. It would make my life an order of magnitude easier if it wasn’t persistent across all servers, and a lot of people say it shouldn’t be, but I really think it would take a way a lot of what makes it.

RPS: Oh it definitely should be. That’s the most interesting thing you’ve done with it. Really, the persistence is absolutely key to the experience.

Hall: You can’t just do things because they’re easy. So that’s what I’ve stuck with it even though it’s made things complicated. I think it provides context for you as an individual player, which is something I think was missing from a lot of the games I’ve played in the past. In those games things didn’t seem to matter, but if it’s persistent, then things sort of matter. It switches something over in your head. The decisions you make are different if you know that this character is going to be there tomorrow. Your decisions become more complicated. This mod is less about what’s in it – there’s not much to it – it’s about what is going on in your head.

RPS: Yes, and elements like persistence are a sea-change for that kind of mental disposition towards a game. Anyway, the upshot of all that is that Arma 2 is selling on Steam again. That’s quite an accomplishment. What’s the reaction been like at the studio?

Hall: Well to be honest we’re all just a bit shocked! And it’s only just started to sink in that it’s real today. Before that it was just numbers on the website. And I was overwhelmed with problems! So I was dealing with those. But it started to become real as I got more and more messages, until I got a message from a friend saying “Hey, have you checked out this Day Z mod?” And I had to reply “Yeah, I made it actually.” And he sort of wet himself! So it’s been crazy.

RPS: Yeah, the way it spread like wildfire has been quite the thing to see. I knew it was going to be interesting just from waking up one morning to find so many links to it in my inbox.

Hall: The reaction of the community to it has actually been the most interesting aspect of this whole experience. I think there’s a real lesson out there for game developers, a lesson about how gamers take things on when they can generate their own stories. People want to get on board when you say to them “we’re going to build the world, you’re going to populate it and decide how it actually functions.” People really do want that.

RPS: Yeah, and we shouldn’t have to prove to publishers and developers that we want that, anymore. A whole bunch of games now prove it. And one of the main responses to Day Z from fans has been “why hasn’t someone made this game before now?” It seems sort of obvious. Obviously we all want to play a zombie survival game like this, so why hasn’t anyone made it? Do you feel vindicated?

Hall: I am trying to think of a way of answering that question which is G-Rated… Because I had a response, but it’s probably not appropriate. I’d been pitching this kind of idea for a long time. And I pitched it when I worked as a producer. I was told things like “players say they want stuff, but they don’t really want that stuff, and when they get it they will hate it.” So I crated Day Z a bit as a “take that!” in response to that. One of the guys I pitched it to has since emailed me saying “Well, I guess I was wrong.”

But yeah, there are a lot of gamers out there who want this sort of game. I guess like just like me they want their experience to have context. But also they want games to take advantage of the technology that they already have. They want games to create something unique to games. For people to generate stories that are unique to the player – books and movies can’t do that, only games can – so why are we still trying to make games which act like books or movies? It doesn’t make any sense.

RPS: A perfect point to end on. Thanks for your time.


  1. Fwiffo says:

    RPS readers like puns? That’s just plain lily.

  2. killias2 says:

    Alright, Arma 2: CO needs to go on sale. Immediately.

    • mentor07825 says:

      It’s on sale at Gamersgate right now.

      • killias2 says:

        Yeah, it says it’s 50% off, but I don’t think it’s really “on sale.” It’s not listed under the offers section, and it doesn’t have some of the other tell-tale signs (like a red price when you search for it).

        30 dollars… I swear this was a lot cheaper over Christmas. Still, with my blue coin bonus and the IGN 15% off.. maybe I should bite.

        On the other hand, I was considering Endless Space recently, and I shouldn’t buy both. I’m already doing my best to not buy Diablo 3. Decisions decisions….

        However, Arma 1 is on sale at GoG. Interesting timing, that.

        • mentor07825 says:

          Weird. Must be on sale for us Europeans because it has the red price and everything, all for €24. I also have the IGN discount, so further savings!

          I was also looking at Endless Space, but I’m also looknig at Sins of a Solar Empire. Honestly, I’m going to wait it out until both are out and reviews comes in. Then again, I’ve enjoyed every iteration of the Sins games and my friends have it. Ah well.

          • killias2 says:

            I’m thinking I’ll hold up. As cool as this looks, I’m not really into shooters more generally, so I’d basically be buying ARMA 2 for just this. Endless Space however….

          • mentor07825 says:

            I see what you mean. I enjoy shooters, but I enjoy a multiplayer experience more. The RPS community here do a lot of scenerios together and that seems interesting. I have my eye out for Endless Space as well.

            Honestly I’m interested in Endless Space, but I’m going to wait out for reviews for that and Sins before I make a purchase. I’m more biased towards Sins because I’ve played the previous ones and my friends already have the beta to it.

            You’re probably better off holding off on Arma and going with what you like and know.

          • killias2 says:

            I only rarely get into multiplayer games, and, usually, those tend to be Blizzard games. The main exceptions that pop into my head are Left 4 Dead (zombie theme is a complete coincidence), Dawn of War 2, and a little bit of Battlefield 3. At the end of the day, I usually don’t like to make the kinds of commitments and social connections necessary to get the most out of this kind of game. I’d probably end up logging in by myself, walking around for a while, and getting bored. I know there is a lot to this game I’d love if I try, but I’m just no good at in-game communities. Even when I played WoW (many many moons ago), I was in a guild, but it was sort of a lame guild and I hardly participated. I certainly don’t remember running raids or even instances with the guild.

            Who knows though. My opinions vacillate constantly. I may end up picking this up after all. I’ve been dreaming of this kind of approach to zombie games for a long time now. It’s amazing to see that it both exists.. and is bursting with popularity.

          • mentor07825 says:

            Then perhaps it’s best to wait awhile, when the cost for Arma is down slightly or on sale and the mod has been updated a bit more? It’s still in early alpha and from what I’m hearing it shows. It’s still good though.

            I had the same problem in a lot of MMOs, then I went to Eve Online. And that is a whole different story.

        • Slaadfax says:

          Well, assuming they’re having a Steam summer sale…

          On the other hand, it’s a really excellent time to post a sale and even advertise with the mod, although it might poor Mr. Hall’s server capacity issues into greater turmoil.

        • Sarissofoi says:

          Endless Space is too shalow. I get both and I sink my time in DayZ

      • Chaku01 says:

        Funny, checked Arma 2: CO two days ago, 24.99€, now it’s ” -38% on sale” at… drumbeats please… 24.99€ ! am I missing something or is gamersgate trying to cash in on the Arma hype?

        • mentor07825 says:

          Good question, I honestly don’t know. Didn’t know that was the original price. It says on the page that the listing price was originally fourty euro. Interesting stuff. Perhaps best to wait for the Steam Summer Sale? Usually during these sales Steam puts Arma on a discount. May be worth everyone’s wallet to wait out that bit much more.

        • frightlever says:

          From a business point of view, there’s not much point discounting a game while it’s hot.

          • killias2 says:

            Actually, it might make sense if you think of your digital outlet competing with other digital outlets. For example, at least in the U.S., Arma 2 CO is cheaper at GG than Steam. If I was going to buy it, I’d certainly buy it at GG.

        • Mattressi says:

          Wow, what a bunch of wankers. I was hoping it’d go on sale at Gamersgate, so I’ve been watching the price for a while. It was $29.99 (for CO) a few days ago with no discount. I check now and it’s $29.99 with a 40% discount and the ‘list price’ is $49.95!

          Maybe they’re making money from this crap, but they’ve lost a customer in me. I just can’t believe they’d be such douches.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            I know a business trying to make money! Who do they think they are!?!

          • Mattressi says:

            I’m not sure if you’ve got a point. Businesses have many ways of trying to make money. Hoodwinking customers, as I said, might be making them money – but it’s lost them at least one customer. Or should capitalism only work one way, where businesses can do what they want and customers can’t do or say anything about it?

            Trying to make money by being a douche doesn’t make you any less of a douche.

          • hamish says:

            you don’t need CO, you just need OA + arma free, works out at £10 (gamersgate), i followed this guide link to i.imgur.com

          • oceanview says:

            It’s that attitude that’s destroying our world joshua.

    • Fwiffo says:

      I have noticed it in the top 10 sellers on Steam for at least the last week.

      • sneetch says:

        Yep, when I saw that I realised that there was little chance of a further discount, so I bought it. Can’t wait to give it a shot.

      • Zelius says:

        It’s even been number 1 for the past few days.

      • Splotch says:

        It’s been in my ‘Cart’ since Saturday but apparently it takes a very long time to setup and transfer money into a paypal account :(

    • Auldreekie says:

      I know you want it to but there is no reason it will or should.
      It is currently maxing out sales, more than it ever has. In most regions it is almost (in some cases is) selling better than Max Payne 3 which is no easy feat.
      If I had anything to do with deciding sale prices I would increase everything with ArmA in it’s title by at least £5.
      I think ArmA: X for £40 is a great deal.

    • fionny says:

      Cheapest I have found is gamesrocket.com

      • killias2 says:

        That is a cheap price, although GamersGate, with IGN discount and blue coins, is about the same, maybe slightly cheaper.

        There is a boxed copy on Amazon (U.S.) for about the same price as well. Everything else I’ve seen is more expensive.

        Honestly, this will be on super sale again. Of that, I have no doubt. I’ll just hold out. I have a bajillion games.

      • Mattressi says:

        Just wanted to say thanks and confirm this. I’m always wary of smaller digital distribution services, but I thought I’d try Game Rocket. They really are great. Their downloader is simply that – a downloader. It doesn’t hog resources, it doesn’t try to be Facebook or Steam – it just downloads the game for you. Then you run the installer that’s downloaded and enter the key they gave you and do the typical Arma activation (one-time online cd-key activation). From there, you can start the game. That’s it; no superfluous crap, just what is needed. I had the max download speed that my crappy Australian connection can get (900 kb/s) the entire download.

        In short, I highly recommend Games Rocket. It’s cheap ($11.95 USD for OA), fast and simple, with no DRM other than the DRM included in the game (yes, Steam counts as DRM – Games Rocket doesn’t have this crap, either).

        One thing for the really stingy people out there – set the language to “English”, but with the European flag instead of the UK flag – it gave me a 25% discount on OA whereas the UK one gave me 23%. Not a huge difference (40 cents?), but there’s no reason not to do it.

    • tinners says:

      Its cheaper on Bohemia’s website, I bought it for £20 yesterday.

    • Smashbox says:

      If that happens, no players will be able to log in anymore!

  3. Stiletto says:

    So, I was really lucky to find a CZ 550 sniper rifle, a 16 slot camo backpack, a compass, a watch and a map. Then I found some chemlight sticks and an empty canteen. I was so happy that I finally struck gold in a small city just off where I spawned after previously dying. Then I saw a manual water pump in the small town and no zombies around.
    I thought to myself – “Sure, why not have a second filled water canteen?”. So, I reached the water pump, started filling it (which takes a few seconds) and while I was doing so, a horde of about fifteen zombies or so spawned right onto of me.
    Well, I kinda panicked and ran in one direction, though the poor choosing while I was in a panic lead me to a back alley which got me overwhelmed with angry and hungry zombies.

    So were my most awesome, lucky and at the same time, shortest and saddest ten minutes of my DayZ career. :C

    • Fwiffo says:

      It sounds like a STALKER anecdote. I love it for that. Really have to get my hands on ARMA II: CO!

  4. kataras says:

    If they just add anomalies and monolith, it will be perfect.
    Apart from the fact that it turns some people into monsters…

    • Keukeu says:

      Maybe Survarium will be kind of similar (yeah…)

    • perfectheat says:

      Radioactive zones, areas that can’t be reached without special gear could be cool.

      I’m not really sure how mod-able the GUI or interaction model is, but there is definitely room for improvements.

      And melee weapons would be nice. There are axes everywhere, to bad one can’t use them.

      And and and…

    • Mad Hamish says:

      That was my first thought after playing. DayZ has been the most engrossing game for me since Mount & Blade and as much as I like it, if it was in The Zone I’d never need to play another game. Hopefully if proves that large “free for all” style MMOs are a viable option. These are the type games I wanted to play when I first read about Ultima Online being developed.

  5. Drake Sigar says:

    Best Day Z interview I’ve seen so far. I didn’t feel PC Gamer was asking the right questions most of the time, and they were quite stiff.

  6. Meat Circus says:

    I treat RPS comment threads as a bleak zombie survival challenge.

    • HothMonster says:

      This would be a bleak place for zombies to survive, no brains.

      • Slaadfax says:

        Hah! This place in Mensa compared to the comment sections at N4G.

  7. Nallen says:

    It’s not surprising this guy knows what he’s talking about is it really. Sounds like he’d be a good fit for Big Robot :)

  8. Sweedums says:

    The thing that strikes me about this game is how incredibly fun it can be now, despite the fact it is still in alpha, and is in many ways, broken.

    I cannot wait for it to get to a final release stage, where hopefully swimming no longer eats your gear, ladders no longer get you killed 75% of the time, and servers will let you in more than once a day…

    • Paul says:

      Swimming sometimes eating your gear is intentional.

      • Zelius says:

        Yes, and it also makes sense. You can’t swim with a loaded backpack. That’s why you should leave it on shore.

        • Sweedums says:

          well, i did not know that, thank you kind sirs, i shall be sure to keep a spare pair of trunks on me next time i go for a dip.

          in all seriousness though, i find it pretty fookin stupid that sometimes i have had to actually swim in order to refill a water bottle though, only to have my gear, including said bottle, lost to me….

          • desolateshroud says:

            When you get to the top of a ladder, go prone and you mostly won’t fall to your doom with a pistol out.

          • Zelius says:

            Heh, yeah I wasn’t aware of that when I started playing, either. Luckily, I was only playing for an hour or so when a horde of zeds caused me to abandon land.

            And as desolateshroud already said, going prone stops you from falling off ladders. It also works if you go prone before climbing them (and might make it easier).

  9. canadiancontent says:

    O wow, zee6.jpg I *need* a larger version of that pict for my background, anyone see a larger version somewhere?

    • Unaco says:

      Here you go…

      Zeee 6

      From the DayZ site itself. You can get a couple of the images from this article from there, if you want.

      Edit: The image SHOULD be a link to the actual image, and not this silly loading over the page nonsense… but the comments system adds something to the URL, and I can’t stop it. You can get the actual image from the site… link to dayzmod.com

    • BrendanJB says:

      Here ya go, bud – link to i.imgur.com

      edit: Aahh beaten to the punch. That will teach me for leaving this tab open for over an hour.

  10. The Sombrero Kid says:

    This man deserves a raise.

  11. Meat Circus says:

    Needs commercial release.

    • Unaco says:

      A commercial release for ArmA2, would be, for me, an appalling idea. Changing from a freely available, free mod to a monetised version would just annoy a bunch of people… all the people who have been playing this since the start, and all the people who have dropped shekels on CO just to play this. You want to tell them “pay up again please, or no play!”? That would be quite counter-productive.

      ArmA3 though… that’s a different story. I could see this being an expansion/DLC for ArmA3. Marek (from BiS) has already hinted that this will be coming to ArmA3… and that they’d be making some changes/fixes/updates in the next ArmA2/OA patch (1.61) to accommodate DayZ.

      • Joshua Northey says:

        So you would be mad that someone who was giving a service you greatly enjoy away freely, decided to start actually charging for it? Are you like this in other parts of your life. If so you sound like a huge jerk.

        • Vander says:

          Well, if you buy the original game just for the mod, wich is what i intend to do, its not really free… okay, rocket dont get money, but the players paid their game just for that.

          • Unaco says:

            Rocket (the guy being interviewed here) is a developer for BIS (the makers of ArmA), so I would think, at the least, his next Christmas card will have a few extra kisses from his bosses. I would think that his superiors will reward him, in some way.

        • Unaco says:

          Personally, no… I probably wouldn’t be mad. I’d be somewhat disillusioned, and I’d be questioning their practices. But I could see why some might be more than a little perturbed by it… Like you say, people are getting a ‘service’ for free. Changing that and charging for it is a major change to the service. That can upset people.

          Could you imagine if, say, Valve/Bethesda/Steam Workshop started charging for the most popular Skyrim mods? Including ones you’ve already downloaded for free? That would likely cause outrage. Or if Valve turned round and said “we will now be charging a monthly subscription to play TF2”? Again, outrage. This isn’t a situation on the same scale, but it would cause similar sour feelings.

          And, can I just ask, why would that make me a ‘huge jerk’? And can I ask that you please don’t divert the conversation into personal insults? Please, let’s keep it civil.

          • Vander says:

            @Unaco: Yeah, i do hope he will be rewarded. He deserve it. At least, the next time he propose a project, he will surely be taken more seriously.

          • Joshua Northey says:

            Imagine this outside of games.

            Imagine lets say someone has a sandwich shop by your work. And you go there and get sandwiches. And one of the employees is extra nice and starts giving people an extra pickle with their sandwiches, or a custom folded origami napkin.

            The customers like this. But eventually the employee grows tired of doing this for free, or his boss tells him that he wants him to focus more on his actual work that you know actually pays the bills. So they tell everyone, sorry starting next month no extra pickle/origami napkin/whatever.

            Would you then be angry with the shop? Who would be angry? Assholes that is who.

            You might shop there less, that would be a normal reaction, but complaining…

            Yet you see this attitude out of gamers all the time. The world doesn’t owe you anything! It is their business and they are free to run it as they see fit within the law. Getting all emotional about it just makes you sound like a teenager, and on top of that is completely unjustified.

            You got to play a free mod for a while. Good for you. If they want to start charging for it they haven’t “betrayed you”, it is not “shady”, it is not “dishonest” it is a normal decision about how to devote THEIR time and resources. Not YOURS…THEIRS.

            So much of the discussion here is relatively erudite and makes this place a reasonable place to participate. But on the subject of economics and standard business practices and reacting to the world like a freaking adult it leaves a lot to be desired. The RPS posters appear to have the collective acquaintance with actual jobs and work of a 17 year old.

          • Unaco says:

            The sandwich shop analogy doesn’t really fit though, does it? Firstly, it’s a consumable (the free pickle). The mod isn’t. Secondly, it’s an enticement to encourage continued custom, given repeatedly. A better analogy (closer to the mod situation) would be if, after you’ve bought and paid for your sandwich, on your first visit to the shop, and received your free pickle, and sat down, and started to eat them, the waiter/waitress approaches and says “Sorry, that free pickle… I’m going to have to ask you to stop eating it, or to pay for it”. That’s not really good manners now, is it. Not very polite, not very conducive to establishing a faithful group of customers and a good relationship between the owners and the customers.

            But, I don’t think analogies outside of video games are much use… because this is video games, the economics of which, and the customer/seller relationships are different, and should, perhaps, be different. I could give real world analogies that would make charging for a previously free service be off putting to customers… take the sandwich shop one you gave. What if there’s another sandwich shop that still gives out free pickles? Will it not get better custom than the one that’s just stopped?

            I don’t think monetising this, eventually, would be a bad thing (like I say, it’s likely it’ll be for ArmA3, and I’d be fine with that). I never said it would be a shady or dishonest thing, or claimed that they’d be betraying us (why imply that I did? Put words in my mouth?)… I didn’t get emotional like a teenager (what is with you and the insults?), and I didn’t throw my toys out of the pram, like you seem to be implying (again, why drop to the level of personal insults?). I just don’t think it would be a good idea for them to, and I don’t think they will, monetise it, and charge for it for ArmA2. Appalling was maybe too strong a word. I think it would be a bad idea. They’ve just had a bunch of people, that would never have bought ArmA2, buy ArmA2… Now should be the time to foster that influx of new customers… not try to make more money from them. That extra money will come in the long term… when those fostered customers then pick up ArmA3 and the DayZ DLC/Expansion for that.

          • Consumatopia says:

            EDITED: deleted post, points made more succinctly by Unaco.

          • SystemiK says:

            I’ve played plenty of Alpha / Beta state games for free which which were later sold at retail. Honestly, I don’t get what people are getting so up in arms about when the subject of charging for this arises.

            I fully expect this to become a paid DLC for Arma 3 (though truth be told I’d rather see it on a much more refined engine). If not, I may find myself a bit disappointed in the marketing savvy of BI and Dean Hall. After all, they are both in the business of making a profit for making games. It only makes sense that they do so.

  12. Hendar23 says:

    For the first time in a long time, I feel hope.

    • Strangerator says:


      Hoping this game will have some kind of impact on the industry at large. Really love games where my choices “have consequence”. Also this guy should do a kickstarter to fund a stand-alone version.

      • Palindrome says:

        The PC gamer interview touched on a kickstarter. Basically this kind of project requires a lot more money than kickstarters usually raise (this may well be a special case of course) and the creator doesn’t feel very comfortable with the kickstarter model so it will probably stick with the traditional model, its not as if this mod isn’t going to get a full retail release now……..

  13. Mike says:

    Jim, any chance of getting those screens in a bigger size? The last few look like wallpaper material for sure.

  14. Cutter888 says:

    Lapping up every article I can on this mod I must say, even skipping through short posts in the comments to the wall of texts I usually ignore, as that’s where you find the stories which make this mod such a fascinating thing.

  15. Hendar23 says:

    I hope the S.T.A.L.K.E.R. guys are taking notes….

    • Treymoney says:

      It’s funny that a week ago everyone was down on the idea of a multiplayer STALKER, and now we can’t get enough of it!

  16. Apples says:

    Count me in as someone who will be contributing towards overloading the servers due to all the coverage ;) I bought it a couple of days ago but only just got it working late last night after many downloads and tribulations. Played for a few minutes – one server was pitch dark, one restarted as I joined, and on the other I absolutely panicked upon seeing a zombie, forgot to stop running and actually, you know, fire at it, and got mangled. Gonna try again tonight but if I can get anything out of it that comes close to the amazing moments I’ve had in Call of Pripyat Complete then it’ll be worth the money.

    I bet the STALKER/Survarium guys are pretty annoyed right now though. Their plan’s kind of been made already.

    • Chaku01 says:

      The Survarium guys do not plan to make a persistent world, their plan is a multiplayer mission based game. All I hope for is that they change their minds now that DayZee is in the spotlight

    • hello_mr.Trout says:

      @ apples
      i bought arma2 for this mod – it is totally like a pared down, more lean version of stalker, except all zombie – it’s amazing! my one wish would be the option to turn off all the in text spam – kinda ruins my survivalist feeling

  17. Unaco says:

    Great interview. And great to see DayZ being so popular – even if it means I can’t get on a server terribly easy these days. I was thinking along the same lines as Rocket… when we first started playing, I knew this was going to be a pretty big thing in the ArmA community, but I didn’t expect it to be as huge as it has been in the mainstream.

    It’s fantastic to see… for multiple reasons: People are playing a brutal, difficult, open world/sandboxy survival game… a brutal, difficult, open world/sandboxy survival game is a BIG THING, getting lots of press and lots of attention… Bohemia are getting a lovely injection of cash… people are picking up and playing ArmA2, and will, hopefully, pick up ArmA3 when it comes along… and, finally, the influx of new ArmA2 owners and players will definitely be causing a swelling of the ArmA2 game communities (ARPS saw a 33-50% rise in the numbers for our weekly organised session last night, from~25 up to a peak of 42!).

  18. Nemon says:

    So, after finally being able to log onto an American server I could enjoy this mod in broad dayzlight, a welcome treat after fumbling in the dark, using flares to attract bandits and zombies (and in the game) on the European servers.

    It started out well, spawning me near some Cap Gosomething, not that many zombies around but enough to make the run to the forest exciting enough. A few minutes later I found myself way up in the coastal mountains, trekking around looking for roads and perhaps a house or two. The first few houses I found was unenterable, which is irritating after dodging zombies and crouch-walking for quite some time.

    Luckily I came across a farm, recently unzombified and looted but someone had forgotten to check the barn loft. One rifle and a few buckshots and I was ready for some one kill action, or at least self defence should I come across zombies with cruel intentions. I immediately returned to the woods, going northish while checking the terrain for houses or other points of interest. The next place turned out to be the very area where the first Arma 2-mission takes place, rescuing a professor or something. Unfortunately he was a zombie this time around and more inclined to do rough samples of my blood so our meeting didn’t turn out as nice as last time I saw him.

    Too bad I lost connection to the server lying down in a barn in a usually well populated zombie area, it will be interesting to see how things turn out later tonight…

  19. DizzyCriminal says:

    They should consider doing a title release for this game. I would buy it, and sure there are 48,000 other people who would buy it too.

    You never know, you could make it free to play and support it by selling virtual headware.

  20. Maldomel says:

    I’m very pleased to read that this man thinks like I do: most games, while being good, aren’t giving this kind of emotions and that particular sense of things. You know, the one you got when you write your own story, with your own anecdotes and adventures going on.

    I really love that, and I tip my hat off to this man for doing it the right way.

  21. Erim says:

    “They want games to create something unique to games. For people to generate stories that are unique to the player – books and movies can’t do that, only games can – so why are we still trying to make games which act like books or movies? It doesn’t make any sense.”

    The man gets it.

    I think gaming has been heading towards a brighter future lately. Awareness about what makes games unique is on the rise, and now that the current console generation is terribly sick and dying, people are looking elsewhere, and PC is seriously getting back to it’s former glory days.

    To be honest, the only thing I’m worried about at this point is, dare I say it, the flaming casuals crawling all over our beloved franchises and waving money at good developers to make time-honored, challenging games “easier” or “more streamlined” for them to play.

    It’s true; the casual market is where you go to make the big bucks. So far, what kept franchises like ArmA nice and hardcore was their unfriendliness to the average gamer. I’m just scared that they might lose their convictions and give in when put under the spotlights.

    Hold me, RPS. I am scared and hopeful at the same time. It’s a terribly beautiful state of being.

    • PopeJamal says:

      Considering how elitist you sound there, I’m surprised you’d want to be held…

  22. mouton says:

    I love games that work as good films or books – as opposed to most games working as horrible cliche hollywood flicks.

    But, obviously, games should not limit themselves.

    • Apples says:

      Yeah I think this is more correct – while player-driven narrative is definitely the unique point of games, I don’t see anything inherently wrong with having ‘cinematic’ games either. Most adventure games are just films where you occasionally stop and click things, but I’d boggle if anyone tried to argue that Grim Fandango was a terrible game. It’s pretty stupid that games CAN emulate films or books but in a potentially more personally involving way, and yet people demand that they SHOULD NOT under any circumstances, just because! Why are we still trying to make games that act like movies? Because we can, and they can be great even if they’re ‘like movies’, so why have the arbitrary limit?

      I’m all for games like this and STALKER and roguelikes but I really love straight-up narrative games too, and it would be a great shame to shove them unncessarily out of the medium.

      • Runs With Foxes says:

        but I’d boggle if anyone tried to argue that Grim Fandango was a terrible game.

        Begin boggling.

      • JackShandy says:

        Grim Fandango had fantastic dialogue, art, plot and characters. It falls down in the actual game portion, which mostly just frustrates and gets in the way of the theme. That’s an issue that most movie-style games have.

        • Apples says:

          It being frustrating is a matter of opinion, surely? For people who liked that type of gameplay (which may be niche nowadays but is still a large enough group to keep Telltale afloat and fund the DF Kickstarter) it’s not frustrating, it’s good gameplay. There’s probably a lot of people thinking that Day Z is frustrating because you die and lose progress over and over again, but that does not mean it is objectively bad. I don’t believe anything ‘got in the way’ of the theme either, especially considering it was not one of those adventure games where the puzzles are ‘solve this Hanoi Tower’; the puzzles came out of interaction with and exploration of the characters, environments and themes.

          But it was ‘cinematic’ in that the story was set up beforehand by the creators, and all you can really do is progress or not progress through it. I still don’t think that precludes it from being a genuinely good game. A lot of arguments as to why we should not have any cinematic/narrative games just boils down to “I don’t like them and people who do are wrong and should go read a book.”

          • Eight Rooks says:

            “A lot of arguments as to why we should not have any cinematic/narrative games just boils down to “I don’t like them and people who do are wrong and should go read a book.” ”

            Yeah, this, basically. I’m greatly impressed by the fact DayZ exists and is proving a success, and though I’ll probably never play it I completely understand the appeal. (I own ArmA 2 but not OA, ArmA 2 doesn’t run very well and I don’t have much patience for heavily bugged games.) But the whole “At last, someone letting us tell our own stories” etc., etc. just boils down to “Thank Christ, someone made this concept into an MMO where I can concentrate on the gameplay, show everyone else how amazing I am and ignore everything I consider an extraneous distraction”. The stories that’ll come out of this are no more unique or meaningful than any other game basically appealing to people’s desire to prove their way of tackling a challenge trumps anyone else’s and their appeal – sans narrative license and sociological commentary, stripped down to the bare facts – is severely limited beyond their core audience. If games should just be the same old human zoo transplanted to various different settings for you, that’s great, seriously – just don’t pretend any of this proves the ludologist’s way of doing things is intrinsically ‘better’.

          • Runs With Foxes says:

            But the whole “At last, someone letting us tell our own stories” etc., etc. just boils down to “Thank Christ, someone made this concept into an MMO where I can concentrate on the gameplay, show everyone else how amazing I am and ignore everything I consider an extraneous distraction”. The stories that’ll come out of this are no more unique or meaningful than any other game basically appealing to people’s desire to prove their way of tackling a challenge trumps anyone else’s and their appeal – sans narrative license and sociological commentary, stripped down to the bare facts – is severely limited beyond their core audience.

            You’re seriously trying to reduce the appeal of Day Z to some kind of egotism? You’re hilariously wrong and speaking from a position of ignorance since you’ve admitted you’ll probably never play this. You do not ‘completely understand the appeal’. Not in the least.

            Games like Day Z take advantage of the uniqueness of the medium. It is intrinsically better than whatever emotional cinematic asset tour non-games you spend your time on.

          • jaheira says:

            Surely DayZ isn’t “intrinsically” better than say, Dreamfall if I prefer playing Dreamfall to DayZ?
            Also, you know that “emotional” isn’t necessarily an insult right?

  23. nrvsNRG says:

    “There were a couple of times in this interview where I hooted in agreement with what Rocket had to say. See if you can spot them.”

    for me it was this-
    “The experiment has to continue. Because that’s what big companies can’t do: to take risks and experiment like this. They can’t risk upsetting their userbase, they can’t risk messing with existing formulae. They can’t add radical or brutal features, and risk getting it wrong. But this project can. In that sense the experiment has only just started.”

    …and the fact that it led to him being able to give a big “fuck you” to the guy he pitched the idea too.
    …also the bit about games allowing players to tell their own stories, rather then playing a movie or book.

  24. Jesse L says:

    Boy does this guy ever have his head on straight.

  25. buzzmong says:

    It’s not the fault of the mod, but it’s a bit of a knobber to install isn’t it?

    Looking forward to having a go once Steam stops saying my game is unavailable (and oddly, restores the Arma2:OA exe).

    • Zanchito says:

      “Game is unavailable” is a relatively common Steam error. Exit Steam and restart it, that should fix it.

      • buzzmong says:

        I’d agree normally, but *one* file just failed the verification check which I presume is the reason why it won’t. It’s certainly the reason why Steam is now redownloading just over two gig ¬_¬

      • Enso says:

        Top Tip: If you download the ArmA 2 Launcher here link to armaholic.com you don’t actually need steam running to play.

    • Apples says:

      I got the 5 quid cheaper GamersGate version and had to duplicate a 7GB folder in two places for some reason to get the game to run properly, and then download another nearly 1GB update on top of the DayZ files. So the whole Arma installation method could do with a slight improvement…

  26. Chaku01 says:

    I can see this mod is special when I realise I already watched more than 2 hours of youtube video’s portraying the survival stories of various groups and individuals and enjoyed it more than most movies I’ve seen lately. I can only imagine what it must feel like playing this. Though I think I will hold off playing now, as I did with Dear Esther, I want to play this when it’s fleshed out. Weather/shelter mechanics sound nice, maybe some basic crafting, who knows what could be done with some basic trading possibilities, environmental dangers… Do I hear the ghost of STALKER 2 moaning in the distance???…

    • DuddBudda says:

      weather is already a part of the engine
      crafting is already implemented (making a helicopter fly = crafting)
      trading already exists (cf: help! help! if anyone can bring me blood I can gief my NVGs)

      • Chaku01 says:

        All sounds great, couldn’t tell from the vids I’ve seen on youtube where people actually just run, loot and gun. Plus I didn’t see weather changes either. As for trade/crafting, I meant something more than just charity or barter or vehicle repair. I see a mix of Minecraft and Stalker here; find hammer, wood and nails to craft a chest where loot can be ordered and stocked and introduce some sort of money or just keep barter but with an easier system to share/exchange items. What would be great is the possibility of crafting a lockable chest that you can only open with your key or a lock pick or a door you can craft to lock a house and hide in like the paranoid freak you inevitably turn into by playing this game etc… Granted maybe the mod is not that far off, maybe it’s just focused on the immediacy of survival, but I see the persistence of the game world as an opportunity for some extra layers of gameplay.

        • DuddBudda says:

          well you can already put wire down to close off an area, and you can already hide your gear in a tent or car or whatever

          my group found a bus and stashed everything in it and drove it halfway up a mountain and hid it in the forest. one day when we logged on all the wheels had fallen off and it had rolled out of the forest into the middle of nowhere.
          24 hours later one of us was just chilling by it smoking a rolly when a helicopter flew in and dropped off three guys who put wheels on and drove away with our loot

          so yes, more epic than crafting a box and more epic than picking a lock

  27. BoZo says:

    This game reminds me of Pitch Black sometimes… Creeping around in the darkness, clutching a chemlight just so you can see your feet, with zombies moaning all around you.

    And sometimes you panic and leave your friend to be devoured by zombies… link to youtube.com

  28. Zarunil says:

    I am so playing this RIGHT NOW!

    • Zarunil says:

      So it turns out I’m not, because of the massive amounts of publicity this mod has gotten, the master server (or some such) is struggling.

      Can’t log in.

  29. blind_boy_grunt says:

    “Give a man a computer, an internet connection, and not much to do, well, wonderful things can happen.”
    The correct answer is porn. Porn will happen.

    • MrTambourineMan says:

      ^^This certainly happens to me with internet connection and a lot of time “on my hands”..

  30. DuddBudda says:

    I forgot to add, and I can’t edit, that weather is a part of the system, though not to such an extent that it forces the player to find shelter

    • requisite0 says:

      In the latest update (1.5.7) you’ve now got a thermometer indicator on screen. I think this is the beginning of the weather dynamics Rocket was talking about.

      • Synesthesia says:

        cant wait till a bandit’s sneeze gives away its position in a forest after staying too long in the rain… damn. This is getting big. Is this… hope im feeling?

        • PopeJamal says:

          Yes. Sneezing and possibly aggressive wild animals to worry about. Right now, the woods is a safe haven. Campfires can keep the wolves and bears at bay, but blindly running through the woods should maybe be less safe.

  31. Sirnizz says:

    With all the attention that this mod get later on I really feel like i want to play it ! now !

    This is totally my kind of thing.

    But i’am wondering.. i’ve never played an Arma game, is it difficult to get in, i mean it’s kind of a “hardcore” shooter with great and deep gameplay mechanismes.

    So i ask you fellow gamer and community of RPS, can a total newb of arma play DayZ without too much trouble or do i need to play Arma and know the game before playing the mod.

    • requisite0 says:

      Never played ArmA before, and just bought Arma2:CO specifically for this mod, and I’m having a blast. I would suggest reading the newbie survivor guide on the forum first though, to clue you in to some of the nuances of the ArmA engine, and the specifics for the mod.

    • ZeeOtherSteve says:

      Yeah, easy.

      DayZ actually dumps a lot of the more complex stuff from arma.

      Install game > do the in-game tutorials.
      Redefine keys, (all eleventy billion of them) discover the tutorials now actually work.

      Ignore 99.5% of them and play DayZ.

      (Zombies as a whole I’ve found do not tend to care if you can fly a Kamov 50, or A-10)

      The only things you really need to concentrate on are ‘you as a person’ and communicating like ‘you as a person’

  32. Walsh says:

    Turbo zombies make me sad, I hope their run speed is tweaked a bit going forward. I don’t mind running zombies, but I should be able to as a healthy character outrun them.

    • Mad Hamish says:

      Oh you can outrun them alright. For a time. You tire. They don’t.

      I think the running zombie fit this perfectly. If you had slow zombies you need to at least quadruple their numbers for them to be dangerous. Which would kill the performance and wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense in mostly rural map.

      • PopeJamal says:

        I ran for 7 straight minutes the other day and didn’t get tired. I’m not sure if that’s a bug or not.

    • Grey_Ghost says:

      They walk inside of buildings.

  33. woodsey says:

    I have ARMA 2 on Steam, but I’ve found Operation Arrowhead for £9 on another site – will there be any other problems running the mod (I know it’s a bit of a pain already) if ARMA 2 is through Steam and OA isn’t?
    I’ll pay the extra but I’m always up for saving a fiver.

    • Stellar Duck says:

      You can totally do that, but you’d make your life easier by installing the Arma II Launcher by Spirited Machine. It will easily link your OA and A2 folders making it into CO. It also makes it easy to manage mods.

      I run it that way, so I can attest that it works. I got A2 on Steam and OA from GamersGate.

      Edit: well, bah. Failed reply. But still it’s the proper thread.

    • woodsey says:

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking, I suppose the files are all going to be there for it anyway so it shouldn’t really matter. The main thing is just because it’s in alpha, and the set up is somewhat awkward anyway, I didn’t know if it’d cause any extra headaches.

      • Stellar Duck says:

        As far as my experience goes, with the Arma 2 Launcher it works without a hitch. Or at least without any added hitches than what the mod throws at you in the first place.

        • woodsey says:

          Brilliant, thanks for the tip. I guess I’m off to be horrifically murdered by ravenous zombies and selfish bandits then.

          PC gaming!

  34. mcnostril says:

    For the love of god, someone make a stalker game with the same mechanics.

  35. Joe Duck says:

    So if the programmer is already working for Bohemia Interactive and this mod seems to be a hit, it seems obvious that BI should pick it up and release a commercial version, no?
    I understand that big studios have problems reacting to waves of fashion on the Internet, they happen too fast, the investments are too risky and the organisations are just not ready for that kind of reactivity.
    On the other hand, also Indies usually cannot react fast enough because they simply do not have the resources. A guy gets a hit with his Indie game demo and then sees how his/her popularity fades away while he/she tried desperately to single-handedly do all at once.
    But maybe, just maybe a mid sized studio like BI could actually react when one of it’s employees finds gold?

  36. ZeeOtherSteve says:

    Think of the stories!

    I spawned in on an EU server last night at the Electro Docks. It was pitch black and was almost instantly jumped by a zed.

    One panicked jump backwards and … ‘splash’, I was in the drink.

    The dead head follows and starts to flail so I paddle like a hyper kinetic puppy and eventually drag myself out on a bit of swamp shaking and bleeding to death.

    Pack’s gone, food’s gone, painkillers and bandages are gone.

    I have 1 clip and and 2 rounds in a crappy pistol, can’t see and can’t stop shaking so I’m dead…

    A flare goes off not 100 yards away and I see another survivor’s silhouette.
    So… what else am I going to do, I crawled towards him and he spies me entering the light. (please don’t be a dick)

    Easy head shot for him but what have I got to lose and he circles a second, nothing in chat and no voice, I’m not going anywhere in a hurry in any case.

    The guy comes up bends down and starts to patch me up when a walker comes screaming in. Tap, Tap, missed, reload, Tap and the zombie dies at our feet.


    My saviours corpse drops.

    I turned around and a bandit is not 5 feet away with 3 zombies behind him.

    7 rounds and I’m empty.

    Grab his stuff, says the bandit, and follow me…

  37. CaptainWhappin says:

    Man that reply to his pitch really pisses me off. That’s like a government saying, “People are too stupid to make decisions for themselves so we have to take care of them.” That kind of arrogance just blows my mind.

    • Baines says:

      To be fair, while I’ve long wanted and thought both PC and consoles were lacking a real zombie survival game, DayZ would probably be a risky and large money sink when treated as a regular game company product.

      DayZ is succeeding as a mod in a way similar to Minecraft. It is an alpha of a game, that has caught people’s attention from the start. And an alpha made by someone who felt he had something to prove, rather than working for a paycheck.

      If a company had previously picked up DayZ, that whole alpha release wouldn’t have happened. Instead, you’d have a company putting together a team, and that team would work for the next year or two behind mostly closed doors. There would be milestones, and concerns. Carefully packaged press releases would be given. If there was good early response to the news, maybe the project would get both more development money and more marketing.

      Then the game would come out, presumably at a regular retail price. Where people have grown into DayZ from the ground level at little cost, in this hypothetical picked-up world, they’d just be thrust into $50-60 commitment without the warm “grown together with it” feelings. Such players would be a lot more critical of any flaws, shortcomings, or quirks. If the release were buggy (which at its scale, it probably would be), it would its share of negative reviews, some perhaps savaging it, others just talking about how it didn’t live up to its premise or promises. And suddenly your game also becomes a more valid target in negative comparison to other commercial releases (like Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City, or someone who just wants to go on about how Left 4 Dead 2 had better action in its zombie killing.)

      The persistent world idea would probably lead to some kind of subscription system to support it. That will lead to complaints, and lower overall sales, but would at least help to reduce ongoing support costs. That also leads to more chances for the publisher to botch things, as either having too few or too many servers is bad. There might be the push for microtransactions as well. If the game went with a non-subscription system, then microtransactions may very well be a given. Which would lead to other complaints.

      And when those paying customers start complaining because they’re getting killed by bandits?

      When you think about it, a game like DayZ would be a big risk to take, even if it is an “obvious” thing for players, and something that people have been asking for for years.

      • oceanview says:

        Gotta love capitalism. never about the product. always about the money.

        • Mattressi says:

          I wouldn’t say it’s the fault of capitalism; it’s the fault of people. Every management course I’ve taken has had the same goal pushed – make your business the most profitable business at almost all costs. A lot of companies start out with the ‘low level’ guys; the ones who are passionate about what they do. They make great products and quite good money because they’re talented and there’s a demand. But very often, companies like this will, down the road, hire a proper manager(s), who’s talent is managing a business. The overall job of a manager is maximising profits (yes, they manage the people in the company and often PR, but all of that is in the name of profit too). It’s also, most of the time, about the only thing they care to do. Some might care about ethics or the environment, but their overall goal and measure of success is how profitable the business is. This plague of people who’ve been taught that an ever expanding business is the only way to be successful (instead of a stable, well-liked business known for quality and passion), is the reason, in my opinion, that most companies nowadays don’t care about the product other than as a money-maker.

          There’s a much different way to operate a business in a capitalist economy, but so many businesses hire people to run the business, who are skilled at nothing other than making more money – so that’s what the business becomes about.

  38. sinister agent says:

    Thank you, in case you’re reading. I am far beyond sick of zombies but have loved playing this so far just because it’s such a uniqeue experience, surviving and weighing up practical and moral decisions and that with other players. Those temprary alliances you get in multiplayer games seem so much more dramatic and meaningful when the other person could just as easily shoot you without a moment’s hesitation.

    what happened when we set up the original European server was very different from the original, relatively peaceful New Zealand server. Suddenly everyone was killing each other. I think the language barrier came in there

    Y… yeeees. That’ll be it. We’re definitely lovely and all get along, and not horrible violent bastards. It’s the language thing.


    • Stellar Duck says:

      To be fair, the last couple of times I’ve played the VON has been spammed by russian (or some other close language) guys talking loudly about vodka and with terrible, terrible pop music in the background. Made me want to do vicious murder.

      • sinister agent says:

        I quite like the Russians, because I never have the faintest idea what they’re saying. It’s the people I can understand who I often quietly watch get torn apart without saying or doing a thing.

        I actually wish global chat would be disabled, and some kind of radio system put in perhaps, or at least direct chat being the only option. I’m already tired of the “I PLAY TO WIN” kids filling up chat with spoilers, bragging, and general shite noise.

        • Stellar Duck says:

          Didn’t mean to imply that I have any issues with Russians in general. Just these two. They were very loud and the pop music was really bad.

          And then sometimes they’d be quiet for a bit and then exclaim something very loud causing me to almost crap my pants when I was trying to sneak in to a town. And judging from the chat afterwards half the server had just had their hearts tested.

        • requisite0 says:

          Direct communications is broken, but once fixed, Rocket has expressed his wish to then disable global chat all together. With direct comms fixed, you can only affect your surrounding area, or a direct person. This, and a proper optional grouping system, and I wouldn’t want to see anything changed but Rocket’s planned environmental tension system, and enhanced zombie AI. Leave it alone and let it thrive forever. We’re talking about something with more replayability than Counter-Strike.

          • sinister agent says:

            That’s good news, thank you. I’d like to see the same thing too I think – I’m quite happy for it to be kept a relatively simple game, with the human element forming most of the complexities.

  39. wodin says:

    I own ARMA 2 but not the combined version. Damn it. going on my to buy list.

  40. sinister agent says:

    I suspect he’s right to be honest. First of all, he’d know better than anyone, and secondly, it tallies with what I’ve seen so far. I’ve yet to be killed by a human, and most of the ones I’ve met were friendly or we quietly passed by each other. I’m sure it’ll happen before long, but so far the closest I’ve seen to newbies being slaughtered is people who are daft enough to walk blindly into a major town without so much as taking cover.

    You’d think that people who knew what zombies are would know that city = danger, even without considering the obvious bandit option of digging in on a main road and waiting for fresh meat.

  41. haradaya says:

    That last bit, it made him my new hero.

  42. Jim Rossignol says:

    Yes, it was precisely my assumption that it would just be deathmatch-like pvp, but it’s so insanely lethal, and dying is such a setback, that it doesn’t happen.

    • Shooop says:

      Oh. This was my biggest concern as I’m probably terrible at ARMA firefights.

      Are there good tutorials/new player guides around you’d recommend?

  43. wodin says:

    I need to get OA ASAP then.

  44. Blackcompany says:

    Live what this says for mods. This game us a top seller again, at no cost to the developer or publisher. More publishers need to think hard about that.

  45. torchedEARTH says:

    So I guess it could become a race between this mod and Dead Linger to get a commercial release out there. Although I suspect this will remain free and very popular and Dead Linger may be able to cash in on the trend.

    Exciting times.

  46. Shooop says:

    And on another note, I applaud this man for having the determination to go ahead and make something he wanted to, and he’s not done yet.

    Here’s hoping a similar thing appears in ARMA 3! So we can fight zombies underwater!

  47. The Greatness says:

    Give a man a computer, an internet connection, and not much to do, well, wonderful things can happen.

    Huh huh. That’s not the first thing I thought of. But then again, I’m silly.

    • Splotch says:

      Hahaha ahh. Funny how i didn’t think that the first time a read it, but now after reading your comment i can’t believe i didnt think that,

      PS great read.

  48. malkav11 says:

    I’m definitely curious about this (and I already have ARMA II Combined installed for other reasons) but between the alpha state and the capacity issues, I can wait.

  49. Mattressi says:

    The Day Z website has statistics on the front page which shows how many people are currently alive and how many of them are bandits. The statistics (when I checked), agreed with his statement. I’m a little surprised too, honestly.

    • Baines says:

      If you want to say that the accounts of player killing are exaggerated, then wouldn’t it be more meaningful to say how many people are getting killed by other players?

      Saying you have a 10% bandit population on its own only says the majority of people aren’t going around killing each other. It doesn’t say that the odds are against you being a victim of bandits.

      The two situations below are quite different experiences, even if the percents are the same:
      1) You have 100 players. 10 players are bandits. On average, one bandit kills one player every hour.
      2) You have 100 players. 10 players are bandits. On average, one bandit kills one player every minute.

  50. FRIENDLYUNIT says:

    “I was told things like “players say they want stuff, but they don’t really want that stuff, and when they get it they will hate it.” So I crated Day Z a bit as a “take that!” in response to that.”

    I always assumed the bigger game developers or publisher were saying things like that but still infuriating to hear it.