Day Z creator Dean "Rocket" Hall was inspired to create a survival sim by his experiences with military training.
Speaking to Dork Shelf, Hall recounted a story from his time with the New Zealand military, working to enter the special forces. Chosen for a special exchange in Singapore, Hall was tasked to spend a month in the jungle, surviving alone, and reaching an extraction point.
Although he was the fastest to reach the extraction point, Hall was dismayed to find that - contrary to expectations - there were no additional rations to be found there. Without food and water, he spent most of a month busily starving to death in his shelter.
“One guy, I don’t know how, but he managed to finish this exercise with some food left over. He gave me a biscuit, and I swear that, at that time, no one had ever done anything that nice to me. I started crying. Because someone gave me a biscuit," he said of the end of this harrowing ordeal.
Hall was so damaged he needed surgery and seven weeks of recovery, and lost his chance at getting into the special forces. It was then he regained interest in gaming and programming, and wondered if he could make an ARMA 2 mod which would be an effective training tool for the military which didn't risk soldiers' lives.
“I felt there had to be a better way. Nearly killing your soldiers is not a good way of training them," he said.
Later, he added zombies, turning it into more of a game, and the rest is history; Hall forged professional relationships with Bohemia Interactive, the mod took off, and now Day Z is on its way to stand alone release.
The full feature through the link above is a fascinating read and contains an interesting story about Hall's one and only Day Z player kill.