DayZ targeting better zombie behavior with expansion of dev team
Since its December release, the most complex and frightening encounters I've had in the DayZ Standalone have involved other human beings, not the survival sim's undead population. But with the recent expansion of its development team, the DayZ designers at Bohemia Interactive are now laying out a plan for a better-behaved zombie antagonist, according to a new post on the game's official dev blog.
Zombies in the current early-access version of the Standalone look sufficiently decayed and are aggressively persistent in their bloodlust. But they also occasionally walk through walls and ignore solid objects. It's the kind of problem the developer is looking to solve now that the design team has nearly doubled in size in recent months.
"Our major focus has been on establishing the architecture, both in the team and in the game, in order to deliver best in the future," the developer reports. "This involved us drastically increasing the size of the team working on the game. This had a severe short-term impact on our progress as our existing team had to devote time and resources to training and planning. The new zombie pathfinding is a good example of this approach beginning to produce results."
One promising solution to zombie pathfinding uses an approach called "navigation mesh," a technique that the developer believes will give it the results it wants but also balances the performance requirements of DayZ's massive game world. The new method abandons an older approach which had two different systems governing zombie behavior—one for building interiors and one for outside. You can check out some screenshots illustrating the new navmesh approach here.
"Because the system is now unified it means that more efficient (and more natural) pathfinding solutions are available to the AI, at a fraction of the performance cost as before," according to the developer.
The changes to zombie AI are still upcoming, but be sure to check out the complete post for more info on other features and changes planned for the DayZ Standalone, including animal design, fishing, and fireplace building.