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Author Topic: Monday Design Update 11/16 - Scavenging  (Read 10904 times)
Brian
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« on: November 17, 2009, 02:08:33 am »

Last week I asked how long people could hold out and where would you go - here is the reason. As expected, most people answered that they would not be prepared for very long, and it's not surprising. I've lived in earthquake and hurricane zones and I don't think I've ever kept the recommended amount of emergency provisions. Most people said that they would have to go out and get supplies, and most people said they would hit a lot of common targets - grocery stores, gas stations, driving out of the city. If anyone has ever been in an emergency situation or even been in an area that has been warned they MIGHT have an emergency situation, they know that stores tend to be packed with people fighting over canned goods and water, gas stations can and do run out of gas, and in the event of an evacuation, highways become parking lots. This is without the threat or terror of the dead coming back to life. 

One of the things people do in the face of emergency (or even a perceived threat) is panic. It doesn't take much to make it spiral out of control. Right now, H1N1 is the current panic - people are lining up at clinics that might get the vaccine, hand sanitizer is being bought in Costco-sized tubs, and Tamiflu is being stockpiled. Is it warranted? H1N1 is a pretty nasty strain of the flu, but as numbers show, the flu kills a lot of people a year and H1N1 just happens to be the latest scare. Sharks kill many fewer people than bees and mosquitoes, but a shark attack makes for a more chilling tale. After 9/11, there were rumors in towns most Americans don't even know about supposedly being "targeted" for terrorist attacks. Time and time again, behavior has shown it doesn't even have to be a true threat for people to start throwing their arms up in the air and declaring the end of civilization as we know it. 

So one of the aspects of the game that we're focusing on is the human element. As with all good zombie stories, yeah, humans panicked and let things get so far out of control that society has start to break down. For most of the game, you are competing for limited resources that will not only keep you alive, but will help keep the people that help you survive around. No one likes zombies and I guarantee they will show up when you don't want them to, but zombies are a small obstacle - a nuisance. The worst threat you'll run into is people who want the same resources you want. In a pretty bad emergency, people might come to blows over food or lumber, and in the aftermath of a disaster, they might steal or rob, but when they aren't making any more of [insert your survival need here], people are likely to kill for it.

The survivors that make it tend to travel in organized groups and a lot of the groups in our game are people who would already know how to fight and survive. You can be sure that most of the obvious targets have been picked clean (and might have produced a fair share of zombies) and the remaining supplies are heavily contested. There's always the possibility that the more people you have with you, the more likely it is that someone would come up with an ingenious suggestion for an overlooked looting site. There's also the possibility that someone else or three have already come to the same conclusion. Now, there might be some room for negotiation occasionally, but most of the time, every potential encounter with other humans will be kill or be killed.

Unlike a real emergency - which this game is modeled after in many ways - we have the zombie problem on top of the resource scarcity. And I can honestly say, we sometimes forget we're making a zombie game because their  agenda's pretty simple and we're focusing on the human aspect. I have a feeling that a lot of people will forget about them too when they're being shot at. But if I may give a tip and trick to potential players out there - zombies can work for you. Sure, they'll rip you apart, no hesitation, but they're attracted to noise and the presence of humans, so if the other group is making a lot noise or you just happen to incapacitate a few of them, the zombies will always go after the easier meal. And while they're overrunning your opposition, grab the goods and get out of there. Dibs on the pumpkin mix.

In the end, this ties into our game quite well. We all love looting in our RPGs - no question. The bulk of the the game is scavenging for one of several important resources, finding/managing the people that watch your back (unless you really think you can go it alone), and fighting or avoiding other humans and zombies. A lot of people have written up plans on the boards and we encourage you to try those out inside the game. I know this is may not make sense to everyone right now, but we've been refining the mechanics lately and things are getting pretty exciting - in the way that it does when the thing you set out to make is actually coming together without the need of blinders and wishes. That is to say, if you like how all that sounds, design is progressing well and you'll most likely enjoy playing the game.

We'll be skipping the update next week because of an American holiday. Thanks to all the people that have been sending us the kind words and encouragement. We'll be back with more design updates in two weeks. Until then, we'd like to hear about out of the way places you might hit for supplies that no one else would think of.
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dukeofzill
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2009, 02:22:29 am »

Go to a retirement village.  Some old people can't afford proper food, so they live on canned chick peas andbaked beans.
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Bjergtrold
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« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2009, 03:55:11 am »

Military base... if they're up and running, great! If not, it's bound to have guns. And at this point, I doubt the situation has become so bad that people are shooting each other.
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Starwars
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2009, 05:21:39 am »

Quote
The survivors that make it tend to travel in organized groups and a lot of the groups in our game are people who would already know how to fight and survive. You can be sure that most of the obvious targets have been picked clean (and might have produced a fair share of zombies) and the remaining supplies are heavily contested. There's always the possibility that the more people you have with you, the more likely it is that someone would come up with an ingenious suggestion for an overlooked looting site. There's also the possibility that someone else or three have already come to the same conclusion. Now, there might be some room for negotiation occasionally, but most of the time, every potential encounter with other humans will be kill or be killed.

Unlike a real emergency - which this game is modeled after in many ways - we have the zombie problem on top of the resource scarcity. And I can honestly say, we sometimes forget we're making a zombie game because their  agenda's pretty simple and we're focusing on the human aspect. I have a feeling that a lot of people will forget about them too when they're being shot at. But if I may give a tip and trick to potential players out there - zombies can work for you. Sure, they'll rip you apart, no hesitation, but they're attracted to noise and the presence of humans, so if the other group is making a lot noise or you just happen to incapacitate a few of them, the zombies will always go after the easier meal. And while they're overrunning your opposition, grab the goods and get out of there. Dibs on the pumpkin mix.

Hell yeah, this sounds exciting. And just the idea of sending zombies over to other humans (even though they might shoot you in the face) while you scramble to make a grab for supplies is pretty awesome, and chilling.
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« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2009, 08:26:50 am »

Hmmm, my reaction to this question would be to try and secure production resources as soon as possible, and a suitable easily defended location. A patch of good garden soil with a greenhouse and a guinea-pig pen, a simple metal working workshop, and some carpenters tools on top of a skyscraper,  or in a secluded valley, or on an easily defended hill would be my idea on securing a "sustainable" food and tools supply. Trap the place well, and let the other idiots fight it out over bullets and canned ravioli. Back to the bronze age, folks.

The main external resource to worry about would be fuel - from coal to gas. But I can't think of any out of the ordinary places to get those right now.
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erbgor
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« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2009, 08:51:39 am »

on top of a skyscraper,  or in a secluded valley, or on an easily defended hill would be my idea on securing a "sustainable" food and tools supply.


As to location, I'd guess that remaining hidden is at least as important as being able to defend yourself when found (battles will wear out you and your team), so it might be smart to stay clear of cities if the zombie/human ratio is 90% or higher.

Might just be me living in densely populated germany, though.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2009, 08:53:37 am by erbgor » Logged

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Bank
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« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2009, 10:25:53 am »

I would love to have access to a shipping yard or a supply dock. All those containers of random supplies would be worth the hunt. I hear they keep fuel reserves on those sites as well. I would want to be the guy who ran that shipping port before the outbreak. I would stay as far away from hospitals, schools, malls ect as much as possible. Although these areas would be a great challenge, It would be just as great if they were a High Risk/High Reward type of zones. I would consider going to a police station early on, or even a prison for weapons and ammo. Have you guys ever seen a USPS (United States Postal Service) location? There are a lot of mail cars and a lot of open space. Great place to steal gas in my opinion.
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dr.newbenstein
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« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2009, 03:41:53 pm »

If the game takes place along a coast that changes quite a few things, unless zombies can and do swim/walk underwater. Presumably an island is a pretty safe place and as Bank mentioned any docks, warehouses, or docked freighters with containers would represent the motherlode. No traffic clogging up the ocean, the only real issue would be getting through the locks going into and out of certain places. Gas could be an issue but there are also sailboats and rowboats which can be used in conjunction with motor boats to minimize on fuel requirements.

As far as panic goes, well I have seen people charge (and pay) $50 for a bag of ice after Francis. $50 for something that is incredibly transient and basically a luxury. Francis wasn't even THAT bad, power was out for like a week. People become huge dickheads every hurricane season, and there are very few fatalities from hurricanes, at least around here, it's mostly property damage.
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Gauntt
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« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2009, 08:03:40 pm »

The idea of leaving the mainland and getting onto a boat or island has always appealed to me in the event of a zombie outbreak.

What about a cruise ship? They are large enough to house a large number of people. You are probably going to run out of fuel pretty quickly. But what if you could moor the cruise ship near land in a quiet cove or in a bay and use it as your base of operations.

Few Advantages
- Water is a great buffer between you and zombies.
- Can launch small craft for missions on shore.
- Fish for food. (The lack of fishing will cause fish stocks to increase)
- Local power generation

Plenty of disadvantages as well. But the security advantage outweighs them all.

Briain is there going to be any options in this game to leave the mainland?
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IdarTh
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« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2009, 12:56:24 pm »

In the container port vein, I'd try to find a distribution center for a supermarket chain or similar. Should have a lot of durable goods stored, and would hopefully be a bit easier to find useful stuff there than in a huge container yard. They're also often a bit out of the way, probably in a semi-rural location, so not that many people would even know where it was (excluding former employees etc.) The low population density of the surrounding area should lower the zombie population as well, of course. Also, while there should be a lot of stuff there, unlike supermarkets etc. it's not something most people immediately would think of as a source of food and useful goods, so the stuff-to-looters ratio should be a lot better than most other sites.

The trouble would be finding out where it is without the Internet (maybe doable through a phonebook or similar, or first-hand knowledge by former truck driver etc.) and then getting there. Also, it might well have enough food supplies to support a group for a long while, so it could also have been permanently occupied by a small group (perhaps interested in trading stuff unavailable locally).
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caster
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2009, 05:10:08 pm »

First thing i would do is go to nearest marina and take few bigger sailing boats.
First, they save fuel a lot.
Second, they are silent.
Third, i could choose what to raid all over the coast. I can even keep one or a larger cargo boat as main base somewhere on the anchor.
Fourth, sailing boats are always well equipped with a lot of stuff, from tools to instruments, food etc. Or something can be found near them.

But i guess that wont be happening in the game since it would be too easy.
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pnutz
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« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2009, 11:53:57 pm »

After Katrina I threw out all of the food in my parents house and my office, even the stuff that wasn't spoiled. There's a hostile, instinctual  reaction to the odor and ammonia sting of meat that has been putrefying for weeks. I wanted to throw away anything in the house that was even touched by the scent. It's a more violent reaction that to an animal rotting in the open air; there's more of a toxic chemical aversion.

I can't even begin to imagine walking into a supermarket or distribution center a month or two after the power goes out and searching through the dreck and icor for something still edible. A unopened box of crackers or can of beans would still drag that smell back with you to the hideout, where you would have to convince everyone that they're still edible. The smell doesn't say "rotten", it says "poison".
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Sovy Kurosei
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2009, 04:16:28 am »

Quote
But if I may give a tip and trick to potential players out there - zombies can work for you. Sure, they'll rip you apart, no hesitation, but they're attracted to noise and the presence of humans, so if the other group is making a lot noise or you just happen to incapacitate a few of them, the zombies will always go after the easier meal. And while they're overrunning your opposition, grab the goods and get out of there. Dibs on the pumpkin mix.

Much liking this, Brian.
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CanadianWolverine
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« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2009, 06:15:09 am »

Until then, we'd like to hear about out of the way places you might hit for supplies that no one else would think of.

Remote commercial venture camps of any kind. Logging, mining, fishing, hunting, resort, etc. I would be willing to bet that most businesses stock remote operations quite well and that in the event of a world changing event, the "suits" would head home to be with family and the hard working men and women right behind them unless they were from a nearby local community. And since these places can be accessed often only by plane, helicopter, boat, dirt/gravel/off road, chances are the teeming masses of refugees and zeds may have missed them. Possible nearby small remote communities will have looted them already however, because their supplies also may not arrive any other way as well and their local market place will have been running low on supplies. Sometimes these remote places may have already been turned into a redoubt by survivors as well.
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Bjergtrold
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« Reply #14 on: December 15, 2009, 05:25:11 am »

I know they are not remote as such, but fields will at the right time of the year provide great amounts of food, even though some of these agrarian products may be laborious to harvest (corn). They won't have been maintained, but your bound to find fruit and vegetables to your hearts content none the less. It'd probably get worse every year, but many of these places will provide food for years, even if only seasonally.
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