Before we knew what to name them, we called them “Doom clones.” id Software’s seminal work sparked a phenomenon when it began to circulate as shareware 20 years ago, and since then shooters have propagated through mods, experimentation, LAN parties, co-op, eSports, and big-budget masterpieces. Guns and enemies are their bread and butter, but we don’t think of our favorite shooters as outlets for simulated violence. We celebrate the way they test our minds and mouse reflexes, the personal stories they generate, the captivating worlds they’ve founded, and the social spaces they provide for lighthearted bonding or hardcore competition.
ArmA 2: Combined Operations
DayZ creator and lead designer Dean Hall sat down and answered questions submitted and voted on by the r/DayZ community. Reddit user DrBigMoney compiled the questions and sent them around to media outlets, and VG24/7 managed to get Hall on camera to answer.
DayZ changelogs are so much fun. Update 1.7.6 adds some important stuff, like a six arrow crossbow quiver and reusable wooden arrows with a 20% chance to break on use, and some less important stuff, like cans of Rabbitman beer and Chef Boneboy Ravioli. Or it did, until Hotfix 188.8.131.52 removed the modder-named cans after a big community argument. Darn, and I just said how fun these are.
Bohemia Interactive have announced that their upcoming military sim Arma 3 will be Steam exclusive. As revelations go, it seems rather quaint - at this point developers tying their games to Valve's Steamworks suite is becoming increasingly the norm. It is, however, BI's first go at distributor exclusivity, and the team seem aware that the announcement will upset some members of their community. The reason for the move, according to Arma 3's project lead Joris-Jan van 't Land, is that, without Steam, the team wouldn't be able to release the game in 2013 at all.
If you were ever in any doubt as to how popular DayZ is, just look at the performance of Arma2: Combined Operations. Since the release of Dean Hall's zombie survival mod, its parent game has stubbornly refused to drop from Steam's Top 10. Now, with a standalone version on the way, Bohemia Interactive seem keen to tease out every last potential Arma2 sale. To that end, the DayZ mod has been added to Steam, providing a one-click install for Combined Ops owners present and future.
If XCOM reminded us of the value of loss in 2012, DayZ was a valuable lesson in hardship. The Arma 2 mod was one of the least-forgiving and most intimidating games of the year. It was a shooter that you entered without a gun. Arma’s control scheme made actions such as inventory management a hassle; its 225km2 landscape asked you to run mini-marathons to get around, often without a map. Permadeath and persistency lent consequence to every action. And in its alpha state, DayZ was buggy and vulnerable to hackers.
1.3 million people played it.
Bohemia is hustling on the standalone version of DayZ, hoping to have an initial version of the game out by the end of the year. In the meanwhile, modders continue to tinker with the DayZ mod code, either by adding new maps, questionable gambling metagames, or wholesale mods within the mod. This practice of modception, for the record, is something we endorse.
DayZ 2017 is one of these, a work-in-progress from modder "shinkicker," aka Luke Hinds. Hinds hopes to reintroduce the feeling of item scarcity to the mod by eliminating military equipment, in a setting a half-decade after DayZ. "I went for ragged and worn, hobo-like survivors," says Hinds.
Most of us have built up a reflex that makes us distrust anything that combines the phrases “make money” and “playing games.” Profit and play can’t coexist, and any program that says it can is a scam. A damn scam.
DayZ Bounty is such a program, but its founders promise that it isn’t a scam. After launching a website earlier this week, I talked to the creators to get a sense of their intentions and learn more about how they plan to implement such an unusual idea.
You knew that DayZ has custom maps, right? As Bohemia labors away on the standalone version of DayZ, modders have been busy porting user-made Arma 2 islands into the zombie survival mod. The varied biomes of Fallujah, Lingor Island, and Panthera are all playable on custom servers, and a click away from being installed through the handy, PCG-recommended DayZ Commander utility.
Joining these maps next could be Namalsk, an arctic forest covered in custom structures like reinforced defense towers.
Valve did a sneaky, small-but-significant thing recently: it expanded its "Top Sellers" list on Steam to include one hundred games. The sales leaderboard doesn't tell us exactly how many copies a game sold, but it gives us a vague idea of how well certain games are doing on Steam in a given moment.
It's an inherently misleading metric—take that as a disclaimer. Still, as we sit in the shadow of some of 2012's biggest releases, I'd like to take a crack at gleaning what we can from this moment in time.
DayZ developer Dean "Rocket" Hall has been going over his plans for DayZ at the Eurogamer Expo. "It has to be out before the end of the year," he said. "Not just because we've committed to it but in order to achieve what we have to do. It has to be. There's no 'we hope it is'; it has to be.
"And it's going to be cheap. We've decided that we don't need to sell a heap of units in order for us to be OK with where it's going. The more units we sell of it the more ambitious we get, because the project has the better resources."
DayZ creator Dean "Rocket" Hall has been showing IGN his plans to bring dogs to DayZ. They'll act as faithful companions that can track down animals and, eventually, will defend you from zombie attacks. The German Shepherd can be given orders, but the extent to which he'll follow them depends on how experienced he is. A young dog will wander around trying to find you after 30 seconds if he's not well trained.
Of course, owning a dog brings with it the possibility of losing your chum to the zombie hordes. That's a harrowing thought. I love dogs, even virtual ones that sit so still it looks as though they've died and been replaced by a stiff taxidermy replica. Their addition to DayZ will surely make the entire experience that much more fraught. See an early build of the dog update in action in this very video.
DayZ is following a path navigated by fellow former-mods Counter-Strike, Dota, Team Fortress and Killing Floor: it's being developed as a commercial, standalone game. I spoke with Dean Hall about what the decision to go standalone will mean for DayZ's design and for its more than 1.1 million citizens.
PCG: From a technical and design standpoint, what does being standalone free you up to do?
Hall: The biggest thing, I guess, that's at the forefront for me—because my Facebook is literally flooded with messages about it—is being able to take on the hacking.
You know DayZ? Did you know it also has an awesome military shooter called Arma 2 bundled in? Well today the suspiciously zombie free war sim has released a new batch of DLC: Army of the Czech Republic, which, as you might have guessed, focuses on the forces of the Czech Republic.
"Prague, Czech Republic, 24th July 2012" could be the superimposed green text that introduces a covert ops scene in any spy thriller, but today it just prefaces a press release from Bohemia Interactive. Arma 2's latest patch is now available, and Bohemia promises "a lot of fixes to multiplayer, which -- aside for the large scale military battles -- will also make zombie hunts much less prone to crashes and should improve server stability."
DayZ creator Dean "Rocket" Hall has been speaking to Edge about the pressures of designing the game and delivering updates to DayZ's large and vocal community. "It's scary and it's also fun at the same time," he says. "In a way, the project is basically about two or three hours away from complete disaster at any time. Every time we do an update it's just terrifying. And a lot of people get very frustrated when things go wrong."
Want to play DayZ, but have no idea where to start? Check out our DayZ installation guide and join the PC Gamer UK official DayZ server.
The delayed 1.7.2 update has finally been released, but there have been some problems. "Good news and bad news," reads the official DayZ development Twitter feed. "Bad: 1.7.2 can cause equipment loss and loading problems. Good: client/server performance and lag greately improved."
Dual class modder/Bohemia Interactive employee Dean 'Rocket' Hall has confirmed to Eurogamer that Dogs are coming to DayZ. "Oh man that's just GREAT," says a man suspiciously similar to Hudson from Aliens, "I'm out of BEANS and I just got SHOT and a ZOMBIE IS EATING ME and now I gotta watch out for freakin' DOGS. That's just great, man. That's freakin' GREAT."
Over the last few days, Bohemia have been posting videos to their youtube channel showing off different aspects of their E3 demo for Arma 3. There's three so far, covering vehicles, night fighting and underwater action, and they're all totally gorgeous. The underwater video in particular is incredible. Imagine a version of DayZ working in this engine. You could flee from zombies by hiding under the sea, there's no way they'd get you there! Right Rocket? Are you listening?