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H1Z1 Blog

A first developer's blog is online for H1Z1, Sony Online Entertainment's upcoming zombie game (thanks Ten Ton Hammer). In this debut diary, technical director Tom Schenck fills us in on where development currently stands. Here's a bit:

As for the game, we are currently in a pre-alpha stage of development, and have an Early Access feature list that we are working against to hit launch status. That means every day new items, features and abilities get created and checked into the game world. On our most recent livestream, we showed off combat and crafting, and in particular, player crafting of a new weapon, the bow (and arrows). The team has put in some cool bits we can all be proud of, and the full systems are almost all in place. Bows and arrows can be crafted from found materials and can be used to take down zombies with nice headshots, as well as hunt deer by shooting them in the eye for example.

In addition to that, we continue to work on melee interactions with some fine tuning. Doing a little punch combo shove-back before a nice right hook makes for a good fight sequence, but it’s a little creepy when the zombie you just punched looks at you as you as they fall over … awkward.

High priority on our Early Access feature list is polishing group behavior and tuning Emergent AI systems to the entire ecosystem. Our AI team is going nuts regulating interactions for all of the NPC characters in the game including zombies, deer, wolves, and more. We’ve also had a few “Ultimate Warrior” battles between the different AI’s to see who comes out on top. (The wolves are winning right now.)

In addition, performance is crucial for a massive open world game and we’ve been trying to test the limits by enabling hordes of zombies to run around in huge packs. In collaboration with our Emergent AI systems, this can make for some pretty precarious life-or-death situations. Needless to say, it’s provided some entertainment and some … well, MANY deaths.

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