DayZ Standalone is still in Alpha, in fact, it won’t hit beta until possibly the end of the year. However that isn’t stopping Dean Hall and friends from working on new major improvements that are going to be added soon.
Dean Hall sat down with Gamespot to talk about all the upcoming changes. We’ve tagged them all below for easier reading.
New engine and server tech
You could argue that part of what makes DayZ special, is its grungy look and somewhat dated graphics, but those aren’t doing the game’s performance any favours. Hall recognizes this and is working on adding DirectX 11 support to improve the performance, among other things.
“Implementing DirectX 10 or 11 will have a dramatic, instant visual difference and quite a significant performance difference,” he said. “The big benefit we get is being able to implement dynamic lighting so we can have dynamic shadows, If you’ve got a good computer, you’ll be able to play with more lights. If there’s a lot of people using torches in the distance, you’ll be able to see their lights.”
The new tech will also bring with it some new shaders, allowing the team to maintain the dark night-time phase of the game, while making adjustment to lighting, making it easer to see in the dark.
A new, 64-bit server architecture is also in the works, allowing the developer to better utilize server hardware to bring more items and zombies in any one area.
“It’s working and it’s great. It allows us to use a lot more RAM, which helps us a great deal with spawning in thousands more items into the world. It means we can have more zombies. It means we can have more loot items.
“And that’s why the vast majority of our efforts have been focused on architecture with the servers, one of the key reasons for that is to make everything more robust from a hacking standpoint. Hacking was a real problem with the mod. We just wanted to go back to basics. This is stuff that, if you look at most massively multiplayer engines, they’re already designed to do this. We had to go back through and do a lot of housekeeping to make sure that would work out.”
New hunting mechanics and improved controls
Cabela’s Big Game Hunter developers are now part of Bohemia Interactive, and they’re working on a set of hunting mechanics.
“We’re getting them to come up with ideas about having animals migrate to different positions depending upon the time of day, and being more active depending on what type of animal, and looking at having aggressive animals, player companion animals, and neutral animals.
“I played a lot of the Frostfall mod for Skyrim, it gave you a reason to go out and hunt the deer. To be honest, hunting deer in Skyrim was just so much fun. You have to get the arrow just right, and you get a cool sense of satisfaction with a kill.”
I’ve not played DayZ, but if there’s one thing I took away from reading our comprehensive guide, it’s that the way the game controls is something you’ll have to invest some time into before garnering the confidence to venture forward.
“What’s cool about Minecraft is it’s very visceral, you walk up to something and you bang it. The Frostfall mod [for Skyrim], if you want to light a fire, you place your fireplace, equip a torch to your hand, and then you bash it with your torch. So I think that’s where we want to go. We want to have your different stances, and depending on your item, it will do different things.”
Part of tweaking the controls is also fixing the character’s crosshair to match that of its gun. Things like weapon attachments and heavy weapons will have unique effects on everything around them.
“We want to introduce these trade-offs with the game and make sure that, if you’re equipping an attachment, that the attachments mean something and are not just cosmetic. If you have a really heavy weapon in real life, sometimes you have a heavy weapon to reduce the recoil. It’s not so much that using it might slow you, but if you spin around, it has more momentum, so it can be difficult to stop it.”
Better loot systems and a brand new early game
A new, reworked loot system is also in the works. The new system will allow the team to control the scarcity of every single item, across all servers.
“We’ll say there can only be, for example, a hundred night-vision goggles in the whole world across all servers. Then, once your character dies, or that item gets destroyed, it makes a new one available to spawn on a server.
“What we’d see is, particularly when we get into vehicles, or components for helicopters that are very rare and are controlled centrally so there can only be a certain amount of helicopters in every server in the whole world, that would mean that if you hear there’s a working helicopter on a particular server, you’ll want to go to that server.”
The team is working on improving the early game part for new players, by adjusting the spawn location of new players in the world, closer to towns.
“Each building type has hundreds of places that items can spawn, and hundreds of different possible items. The problem is, the system goes through the buildings one by one. When it gets near the end of the list, it can often run out. Unfortunately, the last items in the list are the new areas.
“We increased the item spawn numbers from 15,000 to like 30,000. But that takes away a lot of the server optimisations we gained.”
So there you have it folks. Are you looking forward to any of these new additions?