It’s 10:10:10 on 10/10/10.

… and it’s also my birthday.  I am a thirty-six year survivor.

I apologize.  I just can’t help myself.

Okay, I’m done now.

The Passing

I haven’t been playing much Left 4 Dead or Left 4 Dead 2 lately, but that is about to change.  Tomorrow, Valve is releasing a new add-on called “The Passing” for Left 4 Dead 2.

The story behind this is you are playing the usual 4 people from Left 4 Dead 2, but the original Left 4 Dead gang shows up.  Three of them alive and one of them… well, not so alive.  The dead one is part of the mystery we’ll learn tomorrow.  This add-on also offers a bunch of new game play elements and achievements, all of which looks fantastic and fun.

If all the stories are to be believed, Left 4 Dead will be getting an add-on itself that will let players play out the sacrifice of the fallen survivor, and it will be following in some measure of Valve Time.

Sadly, I won’t be able to play tomorrow as I have plans, but I’m working hard to clear my schedule for the weekend.  Feel like playing with me?  My Gamertag is Jhaer.

Urban Dead is dead to me

Ten months ago, I was first introduced to Urban Dead.  A free online game about fighting hordes of the undead and surviving the zombie apocalypse… or so I thought.  About seven months ago, I was excited to be playing the game, casually fighting zombies and barricading myself inside buildings while I slept.  The game wasn’t and isn’t overly graphic, but I was more than capable of filling in the narrative myself.  After getting myself skilled up a bit, four months ago, I decided to create a project for myself in the game, and a week later I had to modify that project due to what had become the glaring flaw in the game’s design.  After I abandoned Munford, I took residence in the Pickford Cinema over in Osmondville…

At this point, I really wish I could say that things took off, the movie theater was made secure, we fortified the doors and beat back the walking dead, slowly spreading out to other theaters and growing a network of safe havens for people to pretend they are watching movies as the undead shamble out in the streets.  I really wish I could.

The major design flaw in Urban Dead is that you, as a survivor, cannot win.  And I don’t mean that in a “this is an MMO with endless grinding, a virtual world, and there will be no ‘You win! The end!’ screen.” sort of way… I mean that in a “There will always be more zombies because you can’t kill them for good because they are not NPCs, they are the other players.” sort of way.

A month we spend inside, making neighboring buildings safe, keeping the free running paths clear.  Trips to the mall for supplies, gas from the gas station to keep the generators running… life was pretty good.  Then a horde of zombies comes through, breaks down all the barricades, kills all the people, and makes a mess.  Now, all us survivors are zombies.  Luckily it doesn’t take too long to wander over to a NecroTech building with a revive point, but it does take nearly three weeks to get all those people revived (it takes 20 action points to make a syringe -but you can search for them and cut that down- and 10 action points to revive someone, after you spend a point DNA scanning them, so that 1 person, even if they already have the syringes, can only revive 4 people a day).  It takes us another two weeks to get all the buildings back in good order, then the zombies come through again…

I don’t want to be a zombie.  Obviously some people do.  But when my game, as a survivor, is actually 75% of the time spent trying to recover from being killed… I would rather lose levels than this.  Especially since I have no say in my deaths at all… they all happen when I’m offline.

I tried.  I really tried.  Its just not worth the frustration.  I play games to be the hero, the guy that “wins”, not to be just another victim.

I’ll still be keeping my eye out for zombie games, and I still desire to make one… but for now, Urban Dead, as far as I’m concerned, is dead.

Zombies: Blogstorming

So, to begin, I need to identify tasks, and seeing as how I am sure I will miss something I’m posting this to get ideas.

In a world overrun with zombies, what tasks must an individual person perform to survive. Obviously, one must kill zeds, because while zombies are a finite problem (if the world population is 7 billion and you are the only survivor there can, at most, be 7 billion minus 1 zombies, since they don’t reproduce) they will cause issues if too many are waiting outside your door. Beyond that, there is gathering food, water, weapons, clothes, sanitation, entertainment and the extremely important activity of repairing the barricades.

Lets start a bulleted list:

  • Kill zombies
  • Gather Food
  • Find/Purify Water
  • Empty poop bucket
  • Find/Maintain weapons
  • Weather appropriate clothing
  • Shelter/Barricade Maintenance
  • Books/Music/Entertainment

Optional items:

  • Maintain Generator (fuel)

I’m sure there are things I am forgetting, so if you have ideas, I’d love to hear them. However, I request that suggestions remain in the “one person all alone” realm as I plan on tackling that first before working on any kind of multi player aspect.

Zombie Apocalypse

Yesterday’s post got me to thinking. Would I really want my zombie game to go on forever?

Sure, I can always spawn endless numbers of zombies and have the game drag on and on, but to inject a tiny bit of reality in the zombie scenario… Worst Case: You are the only survivor and every other person on the planet becomes a zombie. 1 living human versus approximately (using July 2007 numbers) 6,600,000,000 zombies. Zombies don’t breed, they only turn the living. It would be a long and arduous road, but eventually you could win. I mean, it would take years and years to kill them all, but then you don’t need to kill them all. You just need to build strong enough walls to keep them out and enough area inside to run a farm. Of course, in the case of a zombie uprising, the worst case scenario is very unlikely. There will be more survivors and plenty of people will die in ways that prevent them from rising again.

So, would a zombie game be well served by having it reset? Perhaps the world could reset when all the zombies are killed, or when a city is established and the area it is in is made “safe”. Or it could even be time based… the dead rise, but the virus that is animating them will die out itself in three months… six months… a year… just survive until then. I could award badges for surviving. Players who die can start a new character, but they lose out on the badge. Or maybe tag each account with a “death count” and award titles for length of survival, like “Six month survivor” and “Forty-seven month survivor”. With a game reset, you could even design a “start” event. The world begins populated by live NPCs for a few days, then one day chaos and zombies, people screaming, players running for cover… or do they run to the supermarket first?

Definitely worth considering as I flesh out my design.