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Author Topic: Dev Answer Compilation  (Read 88559 times)
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« on: July 07, 2012, 03:04:31 pm »

As a supplement to the FAQ, I have compiled all the answers from Brian over the years.  I am not a dev, moderator or affiliated with the Dead State team in anyway.  I am just a backer that decided this needed to be done.

Since this is a supplement to the FAQ, I tried not to include info that is in the FAQ, such as what skills there are, etc...  So I suggest reading the FAQ first and then using this to answer additional questions.


EDIT:  All categories in.  Feel free to comment now.

Area Map
Character Creation
Combat Map
Food and Water
Game Events
Misc (System Requirements, Steam, Localization, etc...)
Mood and Morale
NPCs (Allies)
Other survivors/groups


How do I get my Kickstarter badge?
(Posted July 24, 2013) Here's the thing, we're hooking up badges now - gradually, everyone will have their badge. If you want to check if it's hooked up, you don't need to post, just look at a previous post. Be patient and please don't post just to see if your badge is hooked up.  

Update (Posted August 8, 2013): Started adding bronze tags. We finished with the silver ones. If you should have a silver tag and it's not showing, please tell us.

What size is the "Save one for youself" USB (thumb drive/flash drive)?
Most likely 8 GB.

Will there be a demo?
I'm not sure if we'll have the time to do a unique demo, but we WILL have one. Most likely what we will put out is a demo that lets you play for a week of game time, which won't be that difficult for us to do. It will likely come out after release, because it will need to be specially put together and tested, but we'll want to make it as close to release as possible.

Update (KS Post #31:August 23, 2013)
A demo was created to show at PAX.   It is being modified and will be released to KS backers and those that preordered some time early next year (2014).

Here’s what we’re showing off in the demo:
-The first 2 days of the game (with an abbreviated intro to get into the action faster)
-First look at the starter allies
-Dialogue reactivity to decisions, ally deaths, and ally requests
-The shelter and the shelter’s job board for assigning ally tasks
-Group combat, several weapons and armor types, statuses, and healing
-Zombies grapple, bite, and can takedown humans
-Allies/enemies killed by zombies will come back as a zombie
-A more dangerous group of human enemies
-Daily Results screen
-The Area Map
-Several combat areas
-New music tracks and sounds

Played through completely, it takes roughly thirty minutes to finish the demo, with several factors that can change the experience for each player. We’ll be there to give a brief tutorial and answer questions along the way. The demo is based on our Alpha build, and as a work in progress, you can expect some changes from now until release.

Can I be a beta tester?
If you're really interested in being a beta tester, pledge at the $50+ levels, stay on the forums, and volunteer to be a tester when we start looking for them. We'll have records on who pledged at what level, so for the few dozen slots we have for testers, we're going to accept the highest level KS pledges first. If we open it up to hundreds of people, then we have to pay more for servers, have someone manage the beta community, and provide immediate support for anyone who can't get it to run. It's something we could do if we were going for $500,000 but not at our current level.

What were the winners of the Weapon Bonus Pack Poll?
Crash Axe

So what next? (Post KickStarter)
Still recovering from the last few weeks, but today we started prepping for the rest of the project. As the project goes on, expect fewer Monday design updates and more backer/Radio updates instead - most of you are backers on here, so you'll get plenty of new Dead State information. When we do a Monday Update for now on, we'll make sure it's something that the forum can take part in like polls or game system feedback. So, if you don't see a forum update on a Monday - don't panic, we've probably updated info somewhere else. Quite a bit of work to do on the project, so we can only spend so much time talking about the project when we should be working on the game. We will keep you informed one way or the other - we want to make sure our backers and fans have a good idea of what's going on.

How long can the name that we want in the credits be?
If it's too long, we'll send an email asking you how we can abbreviate it.

Do I need to have a forum account?
If you want to hook up your forum badge, you need an account at our official message board (we sent the link in the survey). If you don't want to have a forum account and don't see yourself ever wanting to participate in the discussions at the forum, just put the word "IGNORE" in the forum tag field.

NOTE - If you want to access Radio content, please sign up for the forum.

What do I put down if I don't want physical items?
If you do not want any physical items ever sent to you and only want digital items, just put the words "I do not want physical items" in the address or other shipping associated fields.

What if I forgot to add additional shipping costs?
We will eventually have a pre-order site up with an option to pay the associated shipping costs if you forgot. This only applies to backers outside the US and Canada.

What happens if I move?
Send us a mail here on Kickstarter with your new address and we'll make a note.  

I missed the Kickstarter.  Can I still preorder Dead State?
There is not a way to pre-order yet. There will be in the near future.

Will there be DS Forum Avatars?
Yes, we are going to add some later.

How will the radio tier work and when will it start?(From Kickstarter update #20: 8/13/12)
The Radio is going live next week. We’ve added a special sub-forum to the Dead State forum that will be limited to those at the Radio tier and above. We’ve sent out surveys to the $21 and $30 ally pack backers to get their forum tags to be added to the Radio sub-forum. For all $30 and higher backers, we have your forum info already, but if for some reason you did not include that info in the survey and want the radio updates, let us know. Remember, once we have the Radio update up, it will stay up, so don’t worry, you won’t miss any content if you can’t access it immediately.  

When are the KS t-shirts being shipped?
We will now be shipping the t-shirt closer to launch. Originally, the shirt was one of the only physical rewards but is now tied to multiple shipped items, including items that need the final game. Essentially, if we ship the shirt out now for most orders, we would double our shipping costs for US and international orders for the shirt plus another shipment when the book/box/other physical rewards ship. Shirt and shirt/book will probably be shipped out first, followed by the other tiers which require a final version of the game to get printed, packaged, and shipped.

I heard that you will be working on Torment: Tides of Numenera.  How will this affect Dead State?
It is very exciting to work on Torment and work with Kevin again. I was thrilled to be asked.
But, don't worry DS fans - the first thing we worked out were potential schedule conflicts. This isn't going to interfere with Dead State production at all.

I missed the Kickstarter, where can I pre-order?
You can order (and gift) the standard DRM-free Digital Copy here:

Or the Digital Deluxe pack with the DRM-free digital copy, the Dead State Soundtrack MP3s, and the “Making of Dead State” digital book, here:

Pre-ordering now guarantees you a lower price than the release price.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2014, 10:59:08 am by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 03:07:58 pm »

Area Map
What does the area map look like? Is it like the one in Fallout, or different?
It looks like a road map.

How will the City area from the strech goal work?
The City areas will take place on the fringes of one of the major cities. It will be comprised of several challenging maps and the location of the new ally. It is still going to be suicidal for people who aren't prepared for the challenge.

Wouldn't people already know where hospitals and such are? Is there some explaination for this such as the player character being from out of state?
Do you know the way to every hospital in every surrounding county in your area? Also, many of the allies are not locals.

Is there a prison somewhere?
I think that's been handled in other zombie fiction.

Will items be more visible on the screen if your character has a good perception?
There isn't anything like that related to perception, however characters with higher levels of the Survival skill will be able to spot wild sources of food on the area map.

It would be really nice if we could put markers on the map ourselves so we can find specific spots again easily.  Can you please add that?
Random encounters don't stay on the map, but actual locations are marked. You should have some indication on there to tell you if you've visited and possibly when you last visited the location.

How many characters can travel together outside the shelter? That is to say, how big is the party?
The player plus three other characters.

Does my character always have to be on the "away team"?
Yes. Because it's a game. And we want to encourage you to be an active part of it. Also plans tend to fall apart unless your character is there - you're that good.

Is it theoretically possible to leave the shelter indefinitely? Can the party rest outside the shelter?
No, you have to return to the shelter and take care of it or it's game over. The party gets fatigued the longer they are out (and night is dangerous because of reduced visibility), and even though there are a few perks/items to extend hours outside the shelter, the group needs to return to get some sleep.

Is group travel based on the character with the highest survival skill (or whatever affects travel most) plus bonuses, or is it always based on the player character plus bonuses?
Based on the player's skill plus a bonus derived from the survival skill of the allies.

I'm guessing some locations are richer in some types of goods than others - you're more likely to find medical supplies at a hospital, and more likely to find food at a supermarket. Is that the case?

Once discovered and visited, does a location become "tapped out"? Once we've been there, is there any reason for my group to hit the Gas-N-Go convenience store again?
Yes - loot is finite. The only reason to go back to a location is if you didn't get everything the first time.

Will we be visiting the same "maps" for resources or will we be forced to venture onto farther locations for more supplies?
As you exhaust supplies in areas near the shelter, you will have no choice but to find supplies elsewhere, which means you will have to go farther and find faster ways to travel.

Is it possible for rival groups of survivors to clean out a location before you get there?
It's possible that a location could have fewer resources over time or the small chance that something else could have happened to clean out the area entirely. There are always urgent reasons to do almost everything in the game - that's part of the decision making process.

Are there wild locations of food on the map?
There are locations on the map that are "wild" food sources that only show up if you have the proper amount of Survival skill. If you know where they are, you can travel to them, harvest the food (automatic, not pick everything up manually), and come back if they pop up again.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 03:53:37 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2012, 03:11:57 pm »

Is the location of the shelter a single set place, or can you choose where to place it at the start of a playthrough?
The Shelter is a one-of-a-kind place, which we did because it's a pretty complex area to construct and we don't have the time to do more than one. It's also because it's supposed to be an important place that it is a secure location that can suitably house multiple people. There are a couple of different fail states for the game, but losing the Shelter or having it compromised is definitely a game over situation.

What are the fortification options?
The only fortification is the fence, and its purpose is to keep everything from entering and eating/raiding the shelter. There are things you can do to make the fence more effective.

How does the fence work?
The fence lasts a certain amount of days. If you had to go back and pry zombies off it/defend it/worry about attracting zombies all the time, it would be a chore, which is why it's just a set amount of days until it fails and needs to be patched or upgraded. Upgrading significantly improves its durability, making it one less thing you have to worry about for the immediate future. There's definitely no tower defense aspect to it.

What about an attack on the shelter? Could you go to sleep, get an alert and awake with zombies breaching in?
When the Shelter walls go, that's it. It's not unusual for this to be the case in zombie movies either. Don't all zombie films end this way?

What about shelter being attacked while you’re out scavenging?
No, nothing like that will happen while you are out, but actions you take out in the field can lure more zombies/humans back to your shelter. Which is why you always want to keep the fence repaired or have people work on it while you're out.

Will human enemies ever attack the Shelter or is it presumed they wont know about it so the only direct threat to it are the zombies?
Depending on your actions/activity, larger numbers of zombies can be lured to the shelter and occasionally so can humans. Hordes or human groups can do damage to your fence, though there are ways to reduce the amount of damage taken. Damage can be repaired if the player has parts and assigns allies to repair the fence.
Player will have to repair defenses, grow food, + maybe something else. What will be the process?
All handled through the shelter "job board" interface. Player assigns people to projects if they have the requisite skills to take on the task.

Will there be a graveyard or memorial in the base?
There's something like this in the game. However, it's not that straightforward. You'll see.

Can you give us any idea of the range of luxury items you have planned?
Liquor, cigarettes, soap, toilet paper, clean blankets - things that most people would miss the most.
It's abstracted for gameplay reasons. But quite a few luxuries are consumable like toilet paper, soap, chocolate, coffee, candles.

Do you need to worry about power and fuel?
Generators and cars both require fuel.

Can you get an ammo press to make your own ammunition?
With the proper shelter upgrade and skill level and parts, you can make your own ammo.

So there are never going to be something like an attempted coup d'etat, or any sort of internal violence that might happen in the shelter?
There could be special scripted events, but by default, you can't use your weapons at the shelter. Zombie/human attacks are handled automatically - briefly, it's your guards/defenses versus the attackers, with the damage being removed from your fence.

Will it be possible to farm vegetables or fruits?
The Rooftop Garden upgrade turns a patch of the school's roof into a small vegetable garden. To start this project, the player or one of their allies has to meet a few conditions:

-A 5 or better in Survival
-Possess 15 or more parts
-Seed Packets (Special Item - look for it when scavenging)
-120 Man Hours (Time allies must spend on project - each ally works 12 hours a day)
-Another upgrade complete (more on this one another time)

The project can be put on hold, but scrapping it won't give back the full amount of materials. Once the upgrade is complete, it bestows the following benefits on the shelter:

-5 Morale generated a day (makes people at the shelter more comfortable)
-20 Food a week at the end of the week (plus additional food if allies devote their full day to tending it)

The upgrade never expires, meaning the player never has to worry about repairing it or losing it. In addition to this upgrade, there are several other upgrades that can supplement food stocks, but this is the easiest one to build. You may even find that some allies will enjoy being at the shelter more if there is a garden or if they are allowed to work the garden. The garden doesn't completely take the place of scavenging - it barely feeds one person a week - but it can reduce the amount of food needed and help offset morale loss.
Assuming you get the materials and skill required, you can build gardens. If you really want the most out of them, you need to assign personnel to be gardeners.

Will the garden always produce food? Will it ever run out?Will the player have to find additional seeds or they will be needed just once - to build the garden?
Just once, in order to build it.
Well, we don't want the player to feel like they wasted time and resources on the garden, so the garden will always produce a regular amount per week. Good farmers working the garden will produce additional food. You wouldn't want to spend resources and time on some Molotov cocktails, only to be told that someone dropped them and you're not getting them now, right? Maybe for a hardcore mode update after the game ships.

Is it possible to cook food to improve its qualities? I mean, canned meat is one thing, but hot meals boost morale.
There is a job that can open up in the shelter for a chef to create better meals, which generates positive morale.

How do you find out what upgrades are possible and what the requirements for each are?
Within your project submenu of the job assignment screen, there's a list of upgrades that the selected character could start and others they can't because of lack of parts, requisites, or skill that are grayed out. Once you start a new project, it shows up as an active assignment on the job assignment board. You have to spend the parts/items to start the project and the project leader will be in charge of finishing that project. You can add more people to the job directly dragging them onto the project.

Will we always know at any time what we need for every possible project and what they even are?
You can't build all the upgrades/unlock all the jobs immediately. It takes time, skill, and ally involvement to unlock some of them.

Can the PC also stay at the school and work?
Yes, though working in the garden would be one of the least productive uses of the PC's time. The garden is more for allies that either enjoy doing it or would be idle otherwise.

Will I be able to give characters tools like hammers, and saws to help them do stuff faster?
You may need certain tools in your possession to actually start certain upgrades.

How do you even come across the school in the first place? Are you always there, or is there a "searching" period of the game where any allies you found have to follow you before you get to the school?
How you come across the school makes a lot of sense in the game.

Does the school radio have any broadcasting ability?
The radio isn't very powerful. It's not a huge part of gameplay, but is convenient for something else.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2012, 07:55:23 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: July 07, 2012, 03:13:28 pm »

Character Creation
How much can we put into our characters at startup?
Enough to get basic proficiency in two or three skills and move around points in starting stats to enhance the skills you're tagging. It's pretty easy to go through, since there are only a few skills and stats (and we'll have descriptions to remind you about what the function of each one is). You'll also be able to tweak your character's appearance. If you don't want to go through character creation, there will be a few pre-generated characters to pick from. As far as the interface goes, it's nothing shocking. If we have time, we'll have a personality test (like in Bloodlines) to help aid the player in picking skills.

Can you choose perks during character creation? Can you choose bad perks in order to get more good ones?  Are there backgrond traits?
Right now, all perks are earned through leveling up skills. There is a choice of perks at some points during the skill-leveling process.
If you want perks during character creation - load a skill with starter points until you get to choose a perk. And I think what you're talking about are traits. We haven't added traits or histories, and unless we have a lot of extra time, we probably won't add them since they require extra balance and reactivity. If there's enough demand, we could always add them after release.
There are no background traits or anything, but if you feel your character had medical training, put points in their medical skill. Occasionally dialogue replies will assume that your skill level equals prior experience, but there's no response to what your former job is. It would require a lot of specialized dialogue on top of the reactive dialogue we already have, so it's probably not going to make it in. If we have time, we'll try to do a character assessment test like we did in Bloodlines to assign your starting stats, but it's not a feature yet.

Do you start with a lone character or a party?
You get to make your character only. Every other character must be found and convinced to join your group, though it will be practically impossible to find and join up with every ally character in the game in one playthrough. There is a bit of randomness in determining when certain characters can be found. We didn't allow for a whole group to be created because the setting is all about inconvenience AND managing a group of complete strangers successfully.

Is there some sort of "luck" as a stat or possibility to perform much better/worse than expected?
Excluding critical hits/misses. No luck, just skill.

Why are there no Charisma or Intelligence stats?
We don't have any charisma stats, and as is fitting for the setting, most people are mentally and physically exhausted and they are familiar with the sight of people wearing their emotional states on the outside.
My biggest problem with personality stats is that in almost every game you spend ten times as much time in combat as you do in dialogue, which makes them a really hard sell when you've only got a few points to put into stats. In our game's setting, combat or confrontation are unavoidable. Not to say dialogue and gaining influence don't have their place in the game, but there isn't the expectation of organization and order to "get your back" such as there is in settings where there are police, governments, and ancient orders of fire wizards or something. The dialogue skills we have open up more possibilities in dialogue, but I still prefer that the player's actions/decisions hold weight rather  than the persuade/intimidate options being 100% "you win!"

Does the player character have a fixed age? Is that part of our customization options?
Currently, age does not make a difference in reactivity. Your character is presumed to be old enough to be taken seriously as a leader and young enough to be able to handle the physical demands asked of them. People will respond to your gender, skills, and previous decisions you may have made, but age just wasn't a priority for us, given all the other checks we need to make in dialogue. If we gave any kind of advantage/disadvantage for age choice, it would most likely force people to power game the character creation, so it has no impact.

Does your character have a predefined personality?
Players create their own player character. The dialogue choices for the PC are not written in a specific voice. The only personality we give the PC is to make their dialogue choices suit someone who would be a candidate for leadership - you can't make a complete idiot or utter psychopath, for instance.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 09:47:39 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: July 07, 2012, 03:18:48 pm »

Can you control your group in combat (like Fallout Tactics) or they act on their own (Fallout2) ?
(Updated April 19,2013)  You now have full control of your allies, unless they have panicked.

Is there friendly fire?
There are a few weapons that could be dangerous if a crowd is standing around when they go off, but for the most part weapons are specifically targeted at whatever the cursor is on. You can definitely target an ally for those special "they had a terrible accident" cases when you need to get rid of them, just don't do it in front of others.

Are there nicknames or call signs? You don't yell/call out, "Heimlich von Maneuver!" out in the field.
No, but "Heimlich" is a nice two syllable way to get someone's attention. Plus with callsigns, everyone fights over "Iceman" and "Lion-O", so that's right out.

Can you specifically target limbs and do non-lethal damage to an opposing survivor?
Certain attacks target limbs or other body parts, but you can't target any body part with any attack. There are a few non-lethal weapons, but we don't have any kind of information extraction system. Mostly you use non-lethal to leave a live target as bait for zombies.

Is there dismemberment?
There won't be dismembering for human characters, just for zombies. So no, no amputations and such.

Are there crippling injuries? If yes, how broken leg or a couple of broken ribs affect character's performance? Will he become useless afterwards since such injuries take a long time to recover?
There are crippling injuries that take time to heal, but there are no permanent injuries. Putting injured characters in the infirmary and assigning characters with medical training to the room will speed up recovery.
There are temporary and persistent status effects. Temporary effects will wear off in a few turns, while persistent effects need time/medical personnel to heal. Examples of persistent status effects would be burns (reduced to-hit), major wounds (HP dropped to a critical state), and arm sprain (doubles AP cost of everything but movement).

Will HP recharge as soon as your back in the shelter or is this something that takes hours/days/weeks?
A certain amount will heal naturally per day or can be treated with medical items. All healing can be sped up by assigning personnel to an infirmary.

Will the combat have a timer that counts down, and at the end of it the moves occur? Or do you press a button to finish your turn?
Press a button to finish your turn.

Does your squad and the zombies take turns simultaneously or do you move your characters, then the zombies move theirs?
Move order (initiative) for allies and enemies is determined by the Perception stat. After that, Agility is used for ties. PC always wins a tie. Perks influence initiative too. Zombies tend to go last, unless they initiated combat.

Does zombie and other survivor's behavior vary depending on the time of day?
Humans can't see as well at night. Zombies have no special behavior, but are also able to see less during the night. Night works more toward the zombies advantage, since they are still attracted to sound and the party is more likely to stumble into them.  

Will there be dynamic events in combat ? For example shooting a can will cause fire on an area, or breaking a door to flee combat.
There are breakable doors, but hitting them creates noise. There is no fire mechanic, but there are thrown weapons that can be used to set an area on fire temporarily.

Will weather conditions affect combat?
No weather - we like the concept but it's a bit outside our scope right now.

Will NPCs still getting swarmed by zombies cry out for their lost leader?
NPCs do have dialogue for combat situations, but when you're dead, you're dead - game over. Most likely if you die at the shelter, you either made some horrible decisions or pissed the wrong people off many times over.

Why is there no stealth skill?
We don't have stealth because noise and line of sight are already a critical part of the combat system. Our characters are normal people, not commandos. If you make noise, you risk detection by zombies or humans in the area. We don't reward experience for kills, just goals, so attracting attention to your actions will mostly make your goal tougher - kind of like a stealth game, though we don't penalize you for enjoying the combat route.

If we had a stealth skill, it would most likely break the game or reduce the tension severely. Every time you got in danger you'd go around the corner, hit your "stealth" button, and disappear to lose the enemies you had attracted. We want the player to be terrified about what might come over to investigate. We want the player to weigh the cost of making a lot of noise or using it to their advantage for tactical reasons. We don't want there to be an easy way out when danger arises or a cheap way to scout an area while "cloaked" with stealth.

If you want to travel "silently" on the area map, put points in the survival skill. If you want to be silent in combat, use melee weapons or a quieter ranged weapon. If you don't want to be surprised, try to position allies as spotters to watch doors, alleys, or your back when moving around the environment. If you go through maps as carefully as you would in a stealth game, it's going to feel a bit like a stealth game naturally.

Is panic status triggered by a random number, or is it always a threshold-based event, with just different modifiers stacking up and determining the threshold?
The NPCs have a threshold for damage and Horror, and only after they reach that threshold will there be a chance to panic, with that chance improving each turn until either they panic or circumstances change enough to no longer make them worry. Most likely they will try to alert you if the situation is bad enough for them to become panicked. As a player, you won't know the actual threshold of your allies, though you will know if any have perks that make them never panic.

Panic is caused in two different ways – from reaching a damage threshold or from Horror, their tolerance for the presence of zombies. Depending on the individual, some will try to get away from danger if they lose too much health, while others will fight until they're bleeding out on the ground. The best way to counter damage-based Panic is too keep an eye on ally health and patch them up regularly – you’ll probably get a feel for how much punishment they can take after a few combat situations.

If someone panics often, they either need to get more experience against zombies, or possibly they're just not going to be good at combat. Fortunately, there are many other uses for allies who aren't good at combat. Most of their responsiveness or willingness to cooperate are already dictated by their Mood. That's true for allies with friends and family in the Shelter too, since they are more likely to be better off mentally if their loved ones are okay.

If someone is panicking, can you slap him in hope that he will come to his senses or incapacitate him so he won't hurt himself and/or alert nearby zombies?
If someone is panicking, all you can do is try to eliminate the source of their panic. If they are wounded, try to heal them. If they are terrified, try to kill some zombies around them. If they're being shot at, try to draw fire or eliminate the shooters. They may continue to be panicked for a turn or two, but with the threat gone, you won't have to worry about them panicking again.

Will there be a range that you can give orders from?
There's no range and orders don't add to noise. It would get really annoying if you were trying to recall allies from all over the map and you had to chase after them to give them the "rally" order.

When you're out of TUs during the zombies' turn, can you dodge/retaliate (Or would you only be able to dodge/retaliate if you had some amount of TUs leftover)?
Evasion is a property of your agility skill versus the attacker's weapon skill/attack type. The higher your agility and the lower their ranged/melee skill (depending on the attack), the better your chance of dodging. Ranged attackers are less likely to hit you at a distance if their ranged skill/weapon range is low.
Counterattacking is a function of certain weapons (mostly the knife class). As long as you have a counterattack weapon equipped as your primary or secondary weapon, you have a chance to counterattack (based on the weapon's chance).

Combat order is determined by initiative, which is derived from the perception skill. There aren't any interrupts - all order is determined by initiative - for example, a turn could play out like:


Zombies always have the lowest initiative - they will only go first if they start combat. (For instance, you haven't spotted them and they get the drop on you.)

Can bleeding status cause higher chance to panic in combat?
No, but it decreases HP, which can lead to panic in many NPCs.

What if the one handed weapon you are switching to isn't already in your other hand? (what if its in your pocket?)
Anything not in your secondary weapon slot would be in your inventory, so there would be an AP cost for digging through your inventory during combat. The nice thing about one-handed weapons is that if you have them as primary and secondary weapons, you can freely switch them back and forth in a combat situation without AP penalty.

Can zombies that are set on fire have their fire go out before they die?
Zombies that are on fire will remain on fire until they die. They go out when they die.

How can an ally “catch” the infection?
When you're low on HP, we assume your armor/physical toughness is compromised and there is a chance that a zombie bite will now find its way to bare flesh and infect you. It's abstract, but we do it this way because if you could get infected while at 99% health, you'd hate playing the game and probably hate us too.

Will attacking a zombie with a knife or other short weapon increase your chances of getting grappled?
Zombies will grapple - it's one of their major attacks. There's really no weapon versus grapple check, since most melee attacks are going to occur within neighboring squares to the target. I'm not going to say it'd be impossible to kill a zombie with the kitchen knife, but there are far better weapons out there. You're most certainly going to get grappled in the time it would take you to bring one down with the knife. Against more than one, you'd be in real trouble if you only had a kitchen knife.
Zombie grapple or attacks can occasionally cause the player to get knocked down (knockdown is also a result of certain types of melee/thrown weapon attacks). If an NPC gets grappled by a zombie, they have to spend AP to break the grapple at the start of their turn. This isn't such a problem when there are one or two zombies around, but when surrounded, you have a lot fewer AP to clear a path out of the mob. If zombies knock someone down (on their back) all the surrounding zombies have a special attack they can use now that the squishy parts are more easy to get to through armor. See any zombies movie when humans get pounced on by a mob - that's what happens.

How good are zombies at breaking through locked doors? Say they chase me and I slam a door shut and lock it?
They use bashing rules, just like you.

Can seriously injured (but living) characters become crippled out in the field requiring someone to carry them?
No, they won't have to be carried, but they will be at a disadvantage until they get back to the school. If they're low on health or suffering from a status, they'll be less effective in combat, reducing the efficiency of the squad.

I've been wondering how complex the combat system is. Will you be able to crouch, go prone and sidestep?
Currently, you can't crouch, go prone, or sidestep and cover is mostly about staying out of the lines of sight. Most of these options would only benefit long-range weapon users, which would a small percentage of builds. We'd also have to spend time teaching friendly and enemy AI to deal with it, not to mention do additional into/out of animations for hits or grapples to prone/crouching enemies. It just wasn't worth the time, especially since we wanted to balance the game for melee/ranged rather than tailor the game to styles of ranged combat. The zombies tend to keep people moving, which is another reason we don't have a lot of options to dig in and fight. We'll evaluate defensive bonuses for firing from inside a building, probably, but we want to make sure guns aren't completely overpowered.

A lot of the strategy comes from the different weapon types, how you employ them, how you use thrown items (like noisemakers), where you choose to engage enemies, how much your allies compliment your style, and how you pick your battles.

How does damage and armor work?
Our armor, much like the weapons, is up to personal preference/need more than it is a linear boost to the defense rating. Armors have a basic defense rating which is subtracted directly from damage. Most sets also have a resistance to certain kinds of attack, which reduces the attack damage by a certain percentage. Resistance bonus is taken off first, and then reduced by the damage resistance of the armor.

For example, if your armor has a defense rating of 5 and reduces Slashing by 10%, then an attack with a knife that causes 10 damage would cause 4 actual points of damage [10 - (10%) = 9 - 5 = 4]. If the 10 points of damage had been from a hammer instead of a knife, the armor’s slashing resistance would offer no additional protection and the actual damage would be 5. Damage ratings tend to stay on the lower side, so getting armor with high or more types of resistances should be a priority. There are multiple types of damage in the game:

-Bite – Zombie damage.
-Ballistic – Gun damage.
-Fire – Flame/heat damage.
-Slashing – Blade damage.
-Bludgeoning – Bashing damage.
-Piercing – Spear/Arrow damage.
-Chemical - Gas/chemical based attacks.

As in real life, most armors are designed to protect against a certain kind of attack – for example, bullet resistant armor is great for absorbing ballistic damage, but offer little protection against a knife or bite. Matching the armor to the type of opponent you’ll be facing is key – if your melee guy spend a lot of time fighting zombies, put him in armor with bite resistance. If your ranged girl spends a lot of time exchanging fire with other shooters, put her in ballistic armor. Some armor is general purpose, but doesn’t offer the same amount of resistance as specialty armor. Only the highest levels of armor offer adequate resistance to multiple types of attack, but they are difficult to obtain and never offer the level of resistance of the highest level specialty armors.

Some armors are so heavy or bulky that the wearer incurs a penalty to their AP. Armor does not degrade and there is never a need to repair it, though some armors can be upgraded with the Science skill. Some types of armor can only be created with the Science skill, and others are so rare that the player will only find one or two pieces in the entire game. Armor is equipped in the armor (body) slot – there is no need to find multiple pieces of armor to receive its full benefit.

Can Zombies bashed down rise again due to no brain damage ?
Once a zombie is considered dead, it’s dead. If it’s at 0 HP, its brain was damaged or destroyed.

Does Character or team PNJ have special reaction or dialogues entries, once they killed another human being or witness the kill of one (for example our looter) ?
Individual allies and factions have combat floats to indicate what they’re doing or their status. Sometimes party dialogue (that’s in the video when Vic starts a dialogue) is reactive. It would get old really quick if everyone was constantly shocked that they had to kill someone. Some allies HATE leaving the shelter, and they will tell you so.

Weapons don't look very deadly - i.e. point blank shotgun shot and still standing. "Oh, let me reload my weapon *whistling*" Will weapons and characters be generally this tough?
Couple of things about balance:
1. This is a very early level and early combat build. If it was going out tomorrow, I’d panic. Weapon balance still needs a lot of love, but we have to wait for more features to be implemented to properly balance versus noise, armor, scarcity, HP, perks, etc. It’s going to get most of it at the beta stage.
2.  It’s very easy to make changes to the damage/noise/modifiers on our end. Very easy to tweak almost everything about every weapon and item.
3. I toned down the shotgun for the demo and buffed the PC and Vic. In some runs, the looter was killing the PC with a critical shot.
4. Misses are a part of all turn-based combat and RPGs and our game is no different. It’s abstracted. That said, I want to make sure it still feels faster-paced and fair.

What was that, a blind zombie? (characters run past a zombie with no reaction)
It was a zombie with very little peripheral vision being run past. We’re still tweaking AI reaction to running and their vision cone. Right now, they don’t perceive NPCs that are running very well.

Head shots and other aimed shots. I saw mention that it would be a ranged perk. Why? It makes perfect sense to aim for the head in melee as well. If you come up behind a zombie you have all the time you need to aim carefully and smash its brains out. It seems very strange that you wouldn't have that as a key feature for any attack type.
Every crit on a zombie is considered a headshot, because that’s what people are trying to hit. The “shoot the head” perk gives a higher chance to crit with firearms against zombies and only zombies. Otherwise, at a certain point combat turns into Fallout where everyone pumps up ranged and perception and does nothing but targeted headshots over and over.

Imagine you can do lots of nasty things with car alarms, stereo sets going on when power is restored, church bells being rung by hostiles and so forth to spice things up. Wonder if there will be other mechanics regarding zombie arrival in play as well? Certain amount of zombies arriving each turn regardless of noise, more and more zombies arriving after a set number of turns or a certain time?
Certainly, a very noisy event could constantly lure zombies to the map. We don’t want to do a lot of special case scripting though.

Can you attack diagonally? And if not why not?
We are adding that functionality to 2-handed weapons. Polearms could already attack diagonally and from 2 squares away. 1-handed weapons will still be limited to front/back/side attacks.

Regarding single weapons not being able to attack diagonal, why was this decision made?  It seems odd that enemies can be next to you but be unattackable.
It's a balance issue. 2-handed weapons didn't feel like they were worth the penalties, even if they did more damage. Now they have a tactical advantage that 1-handed weapons don't. Guns can still be used diagonally.

Are the Cowardly Looter/Hostile Survivor enemy tags just placeholders?
Kind of. Some of them have those tags to tell us what AI they are supposed to be using. "Hostile Survivor" was called that because I didn't want people to think they had a chance to initiate dialogue with him. (Also, some people playing the demo figured out that from his point of view, you broke into his house and were a direct threat to him. I mean, he wrote warnings all over his house and everything.)

Will facing matter?
(From PAX Demo changes) Facing bonuses (being added)
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 04:06:06 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: July 07, 2012, 03:21:19 pm »

Combat Map
You mentioned it is turn-based combat. Could you provide some sort of example-game that compares quite well both graphics wise AND playability wise to this game?
Jagged Alliance, X-Com, Fallout 1. Or you can play the Age of Decadence demo - we don't use the same systems as AoD, but you can see the turn-based mechanic/AI we are retooling for Dead State.

When does the game switch from real time to turn based for combat?
As soon as you elect to enter combat (if there's no one around, but you want to be extra careful), or you or a member of your group are suddenly in the presence of an enemy.

When you're in turn based combat, is there a grid system?
Yes a Grid.

How big are the combat maps?
Maps sizes can vary, but all combat areas are kept on the smaller side (compared to the Shelter) to make exploration and combat manageable. This means you may have a map that includes like a main street and some shops (and alleys and parking lots) but you're not going to be exploring the whole town. Size of areas ranges from large interior areas like a hospital, to tiny maps with an interstate gas station or an overturned truck on a part of the road. We'll probably experiment with fog of war - it's supported by the engine. You won't see any enemies unless you or your allies has visual contact with them.
To travel, you do need to have your party at the exit area of a map (there could be several areas on a combat map). If we let you transition to the area map at any time, the game would be too easy and there would be no element of risk in venturing into the unknown. There will be an option to leave people behind if they're not at the exit. If they die, they are no longer considered to be in the party.

How tall are buildings?  Will zombies climb stairs?
Without giving too much away, there are no buildings that are dozens of stories high. For buildings with stairs, zombies may be able to get up the stairs, though the big threat is from luring them to your position, going up the stairs to loot, and then realizing that there are zombies gathered outside or in the room below waiting for you to come back down. Unless they are distracted by something else, the zombies tend to just wait around, though not necessarily because they remember the player is upstairs, just that they are drawn to sight and sound and don't really have a whole lot of motivation otherwise.

Is Noise a continuous effect, in and out of battle?
Noise is a local factor - if you leave the map, it's no longer an issue. If we didn't do it that way, your party would most likely be screwed if they tried to flee a noisy area and immediately ran into a random encounter.

Will unusable cars still be searchable?
Yes! You'll want to check them for fuel and other supplies. Some might be too damaged or charred to get anything out of them.

Will scavenged locations have some kind of indicator? Such as "Cabinet" becoming "Cabinet (Empty)" and the like.
For locations, we mark if you've been there or not. There isn't presently any ID for looted or non-looted containers.

Will we have free camera a la AoD? Screen panning, zooming in and out?
Somewhat more limited (especially zooming), but very similar.

Is it possible to knock at a closed door?
No knocking, but you can bash it. That will make some noise.

If player is trapped inside a building, will zombies try to enter a building through a door or they will try to break through windows as well?
They will find a way in, unless they don't. Or they forget why they wanted to get in.

Have you decided upon the number of zombies allowed on the map at once?
We have not finalized the number yet, and probably won't until we've done a lot of playtesting and finish optimizing the engine.

If you make a lot of noise in the zone, will zombies arrive indefinitely or there will be a limit on the possible undead horde members so that they may be wiped out completely and the player can investigate further safely?
As long as you're being super loud, they'll keep showing up currently. If this proves to make the game too difficult or not fun, we'll tweak it to allow for more breathing room. But right now, you have to make a lot of noise and about 2-3 show up at the map entrances per turn assuming you are making the greatest amount of noise possible. That's not a lot, but should you make a ton of noise for several turns, it adds up. If we reach the limit on the map, those zombies are queued up to spawn in as soon as other zombies are killed.

Can we tell how much noise enemies are making? So that we can tell how loud we can get before the zombies want us more than an enemy?
Area noise is derived from every single thing making noise in the area.

When an ally dies in the field, can you recover their equipment directly off their body?

How far in front of the player can they see NPCs naturally in the dark?
Not very far, but we're going to balance it for what feels right. Even if your eyes are adjusted to the dark, if you've ever been outside when the moon isn't bright and there's no electricity, your perception is definitely affected. I think the fall off is about six tiles out right now - it's not final, but then again, there are some items that will help.

Will there be fog of war?
(Oscar)There will probably be more camera options in the final game. Regarding FoW, we definitely won't be making the level black and you having to explore every nook and cranny to reveal it like in BG.

One question I did have; are the maps square, overall?  I couldn't tell when the camera spun around but I saw at least three area exits.
The maps are mostly square, not necessarily the layout. And yes, there were three possible exit areas on the Llano map and zombies can be summoned randomly from any of them.

Will you disable container search during battle ? Or restrain it to one or two items a round ? Or will it be as free as on your vid ?
Container mechanics in combat are still being tested. Maybe AP cost like inventory, but it’s too early to balance this one.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2013, 02:20:32 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2012, 03:23:39 pm »

How much dialogue is there?
Most of the ally characters in Dead State have more dialogue than even the biggest characters in Bloodlines. There is a lot of dialogue in Dead State. Like too much, but in a good way.

Do you have a dedicated smartass character (like Morte in Planescape or Joker in Mass Effect)?
I would never release a game without some comic relief or a smartass line here and there. It's boring to just write uninterrupted tragedy.
We have a lot of different types of characters, and their personalities can change depending on what happens to them.

Will dialogue change based on your gender or job ?
There is definitely reactivity to your character choices.

Will every character having special lines with every other one you can encounter in the game or just a few ?
Not every character, but certain ones. If we tried to have conversations for every combination of allies, we would never finish writing the game.

Are there current dynamic relationships between the npcs?
Yes, there are characters with existing relationships and if anything happens to one of them, there will be consequences. This may mean they expect you to give preferable treatment to their friends/family or will take drastic action if you were to cause some harm to come to one of them. There are a lot of types of ways allies may have a connection to one another - families, couples, companions that were traveling together before they joined your shelter. There are some allies that become close inside the shelter too.

Is it possible to keep knowledge away from certain NPC's, and lie?
You can definitely lie or manipulate people based on certain skills. In your example above, yes, you could definitely take someone into the middle of nowhere and make them disappear, but there are consequences for when a member of the group dies, even if it's accidental - other members of the group tend to lose hope and friends or family of the deceased may cope in detrimental ways. If the player kills someone where there are no witnesses, then only the player will know the truth. Of course, if tensions get high in the shelter, then there are plenty of player decisions that they will call out and be angry about because there's no hiding a decision like rationing or publicly threatening popular members of the group.

Can characters lie to the player? say they are good/bad at something or know something and lie about it?
They can lie, just not about their stats and skills.

How much will you be able to interact with individual survivors?
Interaction with survivors depends on the personality of the survivor and how much they approach you. You can be on good terms with people, to the point where they will have your back if you make an unpopular decision.

There won't be "romances" really for the player, though some people in the shelter may get involved with one another - realize that the player could have lost someone or multiple people they were close to at the beginning of the story, so it wouldn't fit every player's motivation. The PC also doesn't necessarily have to be heterosexual, so that would also limit romantic options, if we had them. There are a few people in the shelter that the player might be able to have some kind of intimate relationship with, but they'd really have to work at it and have the right people in the Shelter. If we get to a point where it would really add more dramatic possibilities for the player and works with the characters without feeling forced, we'll add some more options.

As far as identifying the people who might be working against you - if you have loyal allies, most likely one of them will hear something and pass it on. Oh, but before you go snuff out a troublemaker, make sure you're positive that your "pal" isn't just feeding you info to gain points with you.

Can a character become offended if you try to buy them off with luxury items? Will some like certain items for than others? Or get jealous/angry you gave something to someone else?
No, yes, no.

Can I convince someone I really did my best and couldn't do it *not my fault*?
You could try, but remember, they're probably not going to be thinking rationally. Depends on the NPC.

So negotiation opens up more dialogue options, but doesn't increase the chance of successful dialogue correct?
Nope. There's no roll to see if you are successful - it just leads to frustration. But then again, our Negotiation/Leadership are not always dialogue victories, and will sometimes require you to either sacrifice some other asset in the place of another or keep a promise you made.

When we get back to base and have to tell someone the sad news that their significant other (or whatever) died, will we be able to say things like they died a hero, a coward, etc. even if they didn't?
Yes, something like this. There are a couple events related to this.

Are you planning any changes to dialogue interactions (like visually flagging who is speaking)?
It's very low on our priorities right now. Could be a Beta polish thing, although to be fair you rarely have dialogues with so many people that you will get confused. For allies, they all have distinct models so you should always know who is who once you learn their names. Not saying this won't be in, just that it won't be in for a long time if it gets worked on.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 03:56:17 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2012, 03:25:16 pm »

Does the equipment that character is carrying effect fatigue?
Your carry limit is determined by Strength - the amount you can carry without getting tired, essentially. There is no encumbrance, you just can't pick anything up when you are carrying your max. Fatigue is only a matter of time at the moment. I didn't really want to penalize people further for carry weight, since taking stuff back to the Shelter is a big deal in the game.

Will stimulant consumables be able to stave off fatigue, such as energy drinks and candy, removing fatigue for a small period?
Energy drinks and caffeine pills are planned for. They should remove Fatigue if you have the status.

If you can take energy drinks and caffeine pills, will there be anything like steroids, or pills that affect perception/intelligence/etc?
No instant stat modifying items - we're not fans of items that allow you to cheat your stats during key moments instead of making your character work within their limitations and the player's advancement path.

Can equipment or accessories limit you in some way? Say a gas mask diminishes your field of view?

Can your armor/accessories limit your agility when moving or using a weapon?
There are some armors that will reduce your AP and ability to dodge because they're so bulky, but they're really good at absorbing damage.
Shields and bracers are not common objects in the game world for obvious reasons, but the few that exist or that are created can be used to further protect individuals from both zombie bites and other hazards.

Shields and bracers must be carried in the secondary weapon slot to be considered equipped, but they are never a primary weapon. Bracers can be worn without impacting operation of a two-handed weapon. Shields, due to their size and needing a free hand to hold them, cannot be used with two-handed weapons. This means that to get the benefit of a shield, the player has to have a one-handed weapon (either melee or ranged) in their primary slot.

Shields and bracers add to the character’s defense and resistances. For example, the dog sleeve (a bracer) contributes to the player’s bite resistance and provides a tiny defense boost. Shields (not bracers)have the additional benefit of offering up a bash attack, which can knock enemies down or back. There are some accuracy penalties for using shields, and sometimes penalties to AP from the larger, bulkier shields. This tends to make them better for melee weapons than guns, since diminished accuracy is less of a problem for close-combat fights. Wearing the shield also means that switching to another weapon requires opening up the inventory screen, which can sometimes be an unwelcome cost in combat.

Shields are for the character that wants defense over everything else. They’re definitely not for people who want to keep a versatile mix of weapons at the ready, nor are they for characters that value speed and accuracy. Shields can give melee users more of an advantage when approaching ranged characters or powerful melee characters. When applied effectively in desperate situations, they could give a character a better chance at holding a door or corridor while the medic tends to the wounded or the rest of their allies try to get to safety. Putting at least one shield user in your group will open up new strategic avenues and may keep more of the scavenging party alive to go out and brave the zombie apocalypse one more time.

Will there be any kind of backpack or something that we can use to carry more loot?
No - the scavenging party starts with backpacks.

Are there equipment slots?
In addition to the body slot for armor:
-Head slot
-Arm/Hand slot
-Leg/Foot slot

 The head slot only takes one item still regardless if that's camo paint or a helmet. We did add night vision goggles to the item list for the head slot. Most of the better accessories will still be in short supply and difficult or impossible to get a full set for the entire group.

One other big change is that holster/bandolier upgrades will now be tied to weapon upgrades, so individual weapons will have to have a matching holster to get the benefit. This was because outside the holster/bandolier there was nothing that was worn specifically on the torso and those items were only a benefit to gun users.

Armor is still way more important to the individual than accessories. Certain armors may take up accessory slots if they are full-body outfits, which will also be used to balance armors and accessories.

Head accessories include items like helmets or masks which are generally used in offering up further protection to the wearer’s head. A bike helmet, for example, offers a little extra defense, but it’s not going to deflect a bullet. The gas mask prevents chemical damage and blindness, but offers no additional protection from physical damage. We also have a few “weird” types of head accessories which sacrifice protection for more imaginative use of tactics – for example, camo paint which makes characters harder to hit when being shot at from a distance.

Since Armor covers the body, body accessories tend to be worn on the arms, legs, or feet. Gloves can either add to defensive/resistance ratings or allow for a better grip on a gun. Sneakers can boost a character’s dodge chance, while boots tend to give additional bonuses to defense. Arm/leg guards can protect characters against statuses that affect the limbs. There are also a few unusual body accessories, some of which could be of great use to characters that possess certain melee or ranged abilities.

When used in combination with armor, accessories can allow further customization of a character’s offense/defense. For example, when wearing the gas mask, a potential strategy for a player surrounded by human enemies would be to drop a gas canister at your feet and casually walk away from the now dizzy and blind enemies. With a little bit of ingenuity, accessories can open up strategies that standard arms and armor cannot.
If you have managed to put together a 100% Bite resistant suit, you won't take damage or be at risk for infection. There aren't many ways to do this. However, they can still knock you down and crowd you, so even if they can't damage you, they will still try. Also, in that armor, all it takes is a human with a Molotov cocktail to destroy any advantage you had defending against zombies.
Some thrown weapons can also have Fire and Chemical properties, which most armors don't protect against.

Anyway, after reading about some of the situations with multiple story buildings and zombies waiting on the first floor and all of that, I wanted to ask something--is it possible to throw items out of windows?  Since, I've read that you plan to have noisemakers and all of that, I figure that that would be the 'clever' thing to allow.
Thrown items such as firecrackers or noisemakers are used to make noise somewhere away from the player. They are used to check an area for zombies (throw it near an open door, see if anything responds), move zombies somewhere else, or lure zombies next to human enemies. They are created in the lab upgrade. We'll be talking more about thrown items in a future update.  

Regarding trading between units, have you considered either a party inventory, or an interface showing all four inventories at once?
We've got a party inventory mockup and some work done on it, it just didn't make it into the demo. Many things that are done or partially done did not get used in the demo because we needed a solid, tested build and did not want to risk anything that was not 100% functional.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2013, 03:55:31 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: July 07, 2012, 03:26:35 pm »

Food and Water
Is scavenging for food necessary during the whole game or will shelter upgrades eventually  cover the need for food to let the player search for something else?
Food is always a concern. Pretty much all the supplies are.

Ok, so the food reserves are a constant issue. What about water? Will we need to worry about it or it simply included in "Food"?
Included in food. Assume that, as early as it is in the apocalypse at the start, the taps still work and the water can be boiled/purified, so water is not an issue.
You don't have to worry about water, only food. Clean water is a morale booster though.

Is cannibalism a "feature" in the game?

Regarding food, will there be a kind of Oregon Trail style ration system? If supplies are low, can you reduce rations at risk of lowered morale/overall mood and health?
Yes, something like this. It will require that you take a huge morale hit though.

Will food shortages be an issue late-game?
Food supply management is a responsibility of the player. If you're running low, you'll have to do whatever it takes to find more or reduce the mouths to feed. If people are starving, yeah, it will be a huge issue.

Are there unskilled NPCs who do not contribute to the Shelter but still consume resources?
Something like this... but there may be other reasons to keep them around. For example, they have a valuable friend (who you don't want to piss off) or they have knowledge of something they are leveraging into free room and board.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2012, 12:59:22 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #9 on: July 07, 2012, 03:27:19 pm »

Game Events

Will there be illness and disease besides the zombie infection?
Yes, it can happen randomly. Allies will tell you when they're sick. You can give them the day off or tell them to work through it. Very obviously, they will be slightly upset at you if you tell them to work through their fever, migraine, diarrhea, etc.

Is the game linear or you can do whatever you want in which order you want ?
There is a lot of freedom to do what you want, but since time passes, some elements will open up based on how much time has elapsed. And some locations may change over time.

Can you finish the game in 10-20 minutes like you could in Fallout1/2 (aka Speedruns) ?
Not at all. There is no series of events to finish to win the game - it's about how you manage the shelter over time and how you ultimately resolve multiple events and who you have with you/who you know at certain times. There is no "last boss" waiting for you to kill them.

Will there be a sandbox mode?
If we add a sandbox mode, it will be after the game ships. We're hoping to release a few updates that address modes/challenges players want to see after we've got the main game out.
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« Reply #10 on: July 07, 2012, 03:29:52 pm »

How long will the game be?
We estimate at least 30+ hours, but that’s a very modest estimate. If the demo of the first two days takes about 30 minutes without the intro and the game takes place over A LOT more time than that, you can do the math. It’s a pretty big game.

Is this just another zombie game?
If you can think of any other real world RPGs with branching narratives and an emphasis on long-term survival and the psychology of survivors, while the zombies (which are never referred to with the “Z” word in-game) are just kind of a background issue, then yes.

Is it a for-real RPG?
Yes, barring any silly debates of what an RPG is, the full game has got character creation, equipment, loot (yes, even on bodies), stats, non-linear levels, and most importantly, thousands of lines of reactive dialogue with choices that actually matter.

There’s so much stuff in the game that it physically hurts my brain to think of every system and character at once… The last time I did, I blacked out and woke up in the Ozarks, so please, let’s not cause any additional fugue states for the project lead.

In what time period does this game take place?
Present day.

How do you guys plan on scaling enemies? By level? By location? Over time? Will it be completely random? Or something else?
Enemies don't scale to your level. More dangerous enemies tend to be encountered over time as you spread out your scavenging range or they do. Sometimes encounters may just be difficult because of the amount of enemies or the layout of the level (area exposes you to attack or provides no easy route of escape if zombies mob you). Dangerous enemies have better stats, equipment, and AI (they won't panic).

What is the general tone of the game?
Horror. The realization that things aren't going to get better. The understanding that people you become attached to could die anytime you leave the shelter. Unlike classic monsters like vampires, aliens, and Teen Wolf, there is no way to kill the monster and restore a sense of safety. With zombies, there are too many and they just keep coming, growing in number all the time. All you can do is adapt to that kind of threat.

Of course, I subscribe to the Hitchcock method of horror, in that you have to have some humor/high points to really terrify people when you hit them with the low ones. Otherwise horror is just a droning, relentless downer and that's depressing.

Not everyone deals with a crisis in the same way, and while some might get stronger as time goes on, some of the dependable types can start to lose their nerve. Sometimes when things seem to be going well, events can arise that challenge any perceived safety. One of the goals we set going in was to keep the atmosphere tense, for the survivors to feel like they're living in that perpetual state of being really tired but never able to settle into a deep sleep without being woken up. To keep the game from being linear, we've got a method of ensuring that some problem or problems will continually challenge the player and their group, internally and externally. We'll be explaining this system in future updates.

Will there be any sort of magic in the game (or psi if you will)?
No magic whatsoever, as it wouldn't fit the setting. Though being a game, you can expect that there will be something that totally flies in the face of reality but makes sense in game logic.

Is the game first person or third person?
Third. As we are using the AoD tech, it is going to utilize the same perspective as that game, although we've made some changes to the interface to fit our game's setting and the system changes.

Are you guys planning on having a tutorial or tutorial mission(s)?
Tutorials are handled organically. You'll be introduced to new concepts gradually, without feeling like you're going through a tutorial. Definitely not going to hear any characters say, "press I to bring up your inventory" or anything.

What is the plot? Is there an ending?
The "plot" comes from allies within your shelter who each have their own goals and wants, but it can also be triggered by events caused by running into other groups, food shortages, crimes committed inside the shelter, low morale, etc. There are also several events that can pop up based on how much time has passed. There are multiple endings for failures, but there are endings to the game that are not caused by losing the shelter. The game is definitely not about playing until you lose, though you can fail enough that reaching the ending becomes very difficult.

Does the story contained in the game have a traditional ending like for example finding a cure or understanding what created the apocalypse, etc? or its just more of a sandbox game with the solo goal of surviving for XXXX days until you run out of quests to do ?
In case it hasn’t been made clear in the past, our game has definite endings. It is not just about surviving for as long as you can. Depending on which allies are left in your shelter, your skills, and what decisions you have made, you can end the game in multiple ways. I don’t think any of the endings are going to involve everyone living happily ever after or killing the head zombie to reverse zombie-ism worldwide.

What are the "modes" of the game?
The game is set up like this:

The shelter - Non-combat area, allies live here, allies will initiate dialogue with you and you can also find them and talk to them, assign jobs, check or stock supplies, take care of some optional tasks, admire the changes you have made to the shelter and gear up.

Area Map - Map of the whole are. Travel to destinations that are known/unlocked or go off in a direction looking for new areas, transition to random/chance encounters, and harvest wild sources of food.

Combat map - Explore in real-time, find loot, gain entry to locations, transition to turn-based combat when spotted or if you want to attack an enemy that doesn't see you, get to an exit to transition back to the area map, occasionally find non-hostile NPCs

How is the passage of time handled in DS?
Traveling on the area map progresses time. Time does not pass while in a scavenging/combat area. Going to bed at the shelter will end the day.

What I want to know is if the world will go on without you.  If you just decide to lay idle in your shelter and not do anything?
Yes, there are allies that will disappear over time, events that you can miss, territory that can be lost by other groups, and places that will be looted if you just sit in your shelter. However, if you just lay idle in your shelter, most likely you and your allies will die. In fact, there are events in the first few weeks that can get your shelter compromised if you don't come up with a solution.

Can I complete the game without resorting to violence myself? Can I develop only social skills and let my squad do the killing? How much harder would that be?
I'm pretty sure you're going to have to get your hands dirty. You could specialize in the Medical skill and be the party field medic, but it would be wise to learn a combat skill.
There is no non-combat route through the game. Conflict/violence is part of the setting. Can you reduce the amount of combat you get into with various skills? Yes, you can. Can you go through the game without ever getting your hands bloody? No.

So I can't go out at night?
Night time isn't out of bounds, it just makes things more difficult and dangerous. There are currently some items to compensate for night penalties, but there's nothing that eliminates all of them. Scavenging during the day makes things much easier, though it would probably be more advantageous to attack a human camp or base at night, since they suffer the same visibility penalties. The major difficulty with night missions is that your characters rely on sight and zombies rely on sound, so zombies gain an advantage when it's dark. The day/night is there mostly to add a sense of urgency to your actions. If you want to push your luck at night, that's completely up to you.

How many different methods can I use to complete a quest?
Depends on the goal presented.

How random will each playthrough be? Will container contents be random? Will other parties' relationship vary? Will I see some new people and get new quests?
I couldn't say right now. I hope it's random enough to be a bit different every time you play. We do have a few elements in the game that are absolutely random. We'll see what we can do to make the game more random as we continue production. I also hope to introduce more randomizers in support content.

See Monday Design Update 10/11 for more info on how random the game will be.,1740.msg56493.html#msg56493

Are there inevitable scripted time events? The things that are bound to happen anyway despite player's efforts?
There are time-based events, but when they happen can sometimes depend on the player's actions. There are a few that always happen, but I think they will make sense when you see them.

How will inventory space be organized?
You will have your personal inventory, allies will have their inventory, and the shelter has a supply room and a pantry where you can drop off your excess inventory.

Will the game end before you can complete the cleansing?
The cleansing? Um... I hope you mean zombies. And no, there is no way to kill every zombie before the end of the game.

How will saving work?
A Standard Mode where you can save at any time anywhere, autosaves at the start of the day and before entering a combat area.

The Survival Mode (Iron Man mode) which saves at the start of the day (saves a backup too) and that's it, possibly a save and quit option.

Will the saving mode that allows saves at any time be available at installation, or do we have to beat the game once to unlock it?
It's the normal mode of the game.

Will there be an auto save feature, like when leaving the school or a major event, or will you have to manually save?
Depends on what difficulty you're playing in. The easier ones have autosave/save anywhere, the more difficult modes have a more rigid save structure, but will still autosave at certain times.

Will you be able to name your save games?
You will be able to name saves. We didn't look into ironman saves yet.

Is there pretty much a set number of items in the game? Only so many boxes of ammo or cans of peas you can find before they run out?
Kind of - you may find some items on people in random encounters, but not enough to live off of.

Why do anti-biotics work on a zombie "virus"?
The zombie "virus" reanimates the dead, but it also weakens the immune system. People don't die from it but because of it.

Can the player get infected?
In the normal mode - nothing, the player will never get infected, only their allies will. And infection is not automatic when a zombie attacks, though the hows and whys for this will be discussed later.

In the Survival Mode - the player can get infected, which is to say, you've got three days to say goodbye to people. This is the "How long could I survive in the zombie apocalypse?" mode, for people who don't think the normal mode is hardcore enough.

What happened to the government and will the player encounter some of its remnants?
You'll have to play to find out. I want players to know as much as their characters when they start the game.

Will there be wild animals - can you hunt game or encounter a natural predator?
There won't be animals to hunt exactly, but there may be wild sources of food. If we have dogs, feral dog encounters may be a thing.

Will there be multiplayer?
« Last Edit: August 23, 2013, 07:57:58 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: July 07, 2012, 03:30:56 pm »

Will there be an interface where we can move goals around (perhaps into today, tomorrow, top priority, by character given, etc)?
Not currently. It will show missions by how much time remains for them (from expiring today to no time limit) and a list of completed objectives.

Will there be a message log that keeps track of everything characters say in case I forget something?
Not currently - just a list of items that the player has agreed to do and a description of what the goal is.

Are there time based missions ? is the main "quest" time based (like in Fallout1) ?
There are some time-sensitive issues. We want to make sure there is a pressure element to the game. You don't have to worry about all of these having a failure state, but not dealing with them can definitely make the game harder. It really all depends on your method of tackling problems/dealing with allies.

When you set yourself an objective and stall it, will that have an effect? eg. you assign hospital to be explored but take too long and party characters start bitching (or cheering)?
If an ally specifically suggested something like going to the hospital and you don't, they may think you're ignoring their advice and lose confidence in you. They will usually tell you if they think something should be an immediate priority, so if you agree to do it, try to get it done on time. Objectives will always remain in your To-Do list, but keep in mind, as time goes on, the chance that a location has already been looted goes up, meaning you may get less from it than if you had gone earlier.

How do you give out quests/experience in a game without random quest givers and a world where any NPC can die?
The answer is – the player character assigns their own goals. This is kept in a “To-Do” list that is constantly updated as new objectives are discovered through exploration, conversation, and events. The list keeps track of new goals, goals in progress, and completed tasks. For example, if the player discovers the location of a hospital, they may get an objective to “Explore Northern Cross Hospital” in their to-do list. The goal might be triggered by talking to someone who knows the location of the hospital or spotting it while traveling across the map. Next to the goal is the amount of Skill Points that can be earned for completing that particular objective.

There are several types of goals in the game, and most likely the player will reveal them constantly as they discover new areas, talk to people, and complete other goals. The goals fall under the following categories:
•Reoccurring Goals – Milestones for food, fuel, parts collected, etc.
•Exploration Goals – Goals for exploring areas (Explore 5 Fast Food Places, Scout a city perimeter)
•Challenge Goals – Goals with specific or difficult requirements (Kill 15 Zombies in one day, Collect one complete set of books, Talk your way out of an encounter)

Skill Points are used to increase Skills, with more points needed for higher levels of the Skill. Stat Points are given out every time a Skill Point milestone is reached. Killing zombies/humans does not give out experience (unless meeting a specific challenge goal) so going in guns blazing, quiet as a mouse, or using words (when possible) is completely up to the player.

While we do have a few tasks that are assigned by allies, the vast majority of them do not need the ally to remain alive, as there is usually a personal benefit to taking on requests (like gaining supplies or finding new allies in the area). Generally, if an ally gives out a traditional quest, then it is more likely to help increase their mood/trust in the player, and not necessarily rewarded with skill points. Many ally or NPC requests are timed, so that the player has to balance the personal needs of their allies with the many problems facing the Shelter on a daily basis.

In addition to visible goals, we have some goals that are hidden until they are completed. These are goals you might not usually seek out or want to do, but we think constitute experience that shapes the role of a leader. These hidden goals are usually due to making a tough decision or sacrifice – and generally we don’t want to spell out these events in advance, for obvious reasons.

The ultimate goal of the whole system is to encourage the player to try everything and always feel the itch to achieve one more objective before heading back to the Shelter. We’ve touched on the very basics of the system, but there are still a lot of minor details we haven’t discussed.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 08:37:38 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: July 07, 2012, 03:31:43 pm »

Misc (System Requirements, Steam, Localization, etc...)

What are the system requirements?
Not determined yet.  Will be similar to "The Age of Decadence".

What languages will Dead State be localized in ?
Right now we are concentrating on the English version. After the game comes out, we will look into doing localized versions. With as much text as we have, it's going to be expensive and time-consuming to get the game translated. I'll have more time to produce a localized version or outsource that work to a localization studio when the game is done. If there's enough demand from certain countries, we'll look into getting it made in their language of choice.

Will you enhance the game over time (making add ons etc) or will you move on to other projects once dead state is released and bug free ?
The plan is to support the game as much as possible - open up new game options, add some free content, fix major issues (if any) that players have.

Is the game being developed with moddability in mind? If so, do you anticipate releasing DLC, and will you release tools to help foster a modding community?
We are not developing the game with moddability at release. We will most likely be doing some form of DLC/expanded content, but we're concentrating our efforts on the main game at the moment.

Will Dead State be on Steam?
The game has been Green Lit and will be available on Steam.  However you are not required to have Steam to play Dead State.  You can still get a DRM-free copy if you want.

Is DoubleBear considering Steam early access?
Dead State: The First Seven Days is available on Steam Early Access.  We have been updating with new features and areas since we released the Early Access in February. 

Do I have to use Steam?  I thought the game was going to be drm free.
Steam is only required for the early access.  If you would prefer a non-steam version of the final game, send a message to the devs in Kickstarter ASAP.  That way they will not set you up with a Steam version and you will get a drm free version when the game is released.

So I can't play the early access if I don't want to use Steam?
Correct.  An Early Access release was originally not planned for during the Kickstarter project and a drm free version was never promised.  It is just a bonus gift from Double Bear.  Using Steam for the Early Access simplifies logistics and saves money.

Will the game have hotkeys?
We will have hotkeys, but you have to realize that a great number of gamers navigate by icons/mouse at first before learning hotkeys, and some never learn them. If you don't have those visual shortcuts, some people will get frustrated trying to get to the game's sub-menus.  

« Last Edit: May 25, 2014, 12:28:04 pm by Christina » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2012, 03:32:18 pm »

Mood and Morale
How does mood and morale work?
Morale is pretty much a way of keeping track of the general atmosphere at the shelter. There are multiple ways it can be raised and lowered (with either actions, shortages, or luxury items) and it can be thought of as a bank of "good will". As long as it's positive, things are generally okay, if it's low, things could be improved, and if it's negative, raising it should be your primary concern. It has no direct correlation with combat performance.

Players can see their ally's mood. If they are in a Good mood, then they are only losing -1 Morale a day - not hard to compensate for. You don't know what their actual Mood score is, you just know that they seem to be "Good" and unless something happens to drop that, they will continue to be 'Good". It's when you start getting down to the worse Moods that you have to worry about both the Morale hit (it's much larger per day) and the fact that they are more desperate and therefore more likely to either do something dangerous or stupid (like panic in battle or even commit suicide, for example). Note that there are several levels of Mood and it's not just a drop from Good to "terrible stuff is going to happen", there's a gradual slide, though some events will drop their Mood pretty quick.

The general Morale number is to make sure that you are aware that the general Morale is positive - there are consequences if it is continually negative. There is no Mood slider or any numbers attached to your ally, you just have a general idea of how they are. Keep in mind that someone can dislike you and still have a positive Mood, though you will probably know what they think of you from their dialogue tone or previous dealings with them. Generally, the more their Mood drops and Morale becomes negative, the more likely it is that they will be both unhappy with your leadership and more willing to do something about it.

So allies with positive morale and a good mood, who don't like you, can't refuse to do tasks?
They most likely won't.

If morale is low enough, will other NPCs rebel against you and strip you from the leader position, and possibly order you into dangerous missions or spots (during a combat)... until you get them demoted (by gathering support, if their performance is worse than yours) or killed or simply counter-rebel them?
If you are overthrown as the leader, it's game over.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2012, 08:50:47 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2012, 03:36:09 pm »

NPCs (Allies)

I heard there are 40 npcs, is that correct?
Note, this isn't an exact number and you most likely will never find all of these allies in one playthrough. That number also doesn't include people who you will meet but won't join your shelter for one reason or another.

Update: There will be a lot more now that new allies and dog allies have been unlocked.

How do you find npcs?
There are multiple ways of encountering survivors - some are always there, some are time-based, some are random, and some will find you.

Are there mercenary NPC's?
Well, if you think of food as money and the fact that every ally has to be supplied with food or they will be upset, everybody's kind of a mercenary.

Will there be a risk to let infected members of your team stay in your shelter, like infecting other survivors within the shelter?
They need antibiotics or they will die. They will have to be put down before they turn. Since survivors have to bit by a full-blown zombie to get the infection, they won't catch the infection from other survivors.

Is it even possible to survive as a lone wolf or I am supposed to manage a team of survivors?
We don't make you keep allies, but... it's really hard to survive without them. I look forward to seeing how far people get on their own.

Are there kids in the game?
Before this topic goes further - we've answered this before. No small children, but yes on some teens. There are older people in the game. That's a final decision for a whole lot of reasons.
Not really a secret. Chief reason - they're a whole new model/animation set with no skills that would benefit the player, meaning people will try to get rid of them, and then I have to deal with the various controversies/alt version issues that arise from having kids. Plot reason - we have a pretty logical plot reason that most people can conclude if they just think about it.
There are no children at the shelter or any seen in the game. That doesn't mean they've 100% disappeared from the world.

Are there pets?
Dog allies will take up an ally slot. While great at warning you about dangers you can't see (they can smell them), they are also effective against humans. Still need to get the mechanics down, but an increased chance to panic will be part of a dog's attack bonus on humans. We'll also try to get a dog grapple in, so the dog can hold a target. And, of course, your dog is loyal and will never panic. They will have a lot of bonuses to make up for the fact that they don't use weapons or armor. They may not be part of your elite attack squad, but they should be a good alternate if most of your best allies are in the infirmary. We have some other ideas about to increase the usefulness of the dogs and we'll share some more of that design when we've made some more progress on that feature.

Also cats. Yeah, cats aren't party members but they raise morale in the shelter by being cats, killing rats, and sniping targets from the roof of the shelter. Okay, one of those isn't a thing.

If any survivor irritates me (we all have some people that piss us off), how can I get rid of him/her?
Oh, there's a couple ways. But yeah, as mentioned above, the easiest way is to take them out alone and tell people that "he fought bravely until the end, right before he fell off that ravine."

Will squadmates' levels and skills increase on their own or it'd be up to the player to decide which skill a survivor should specialize in?
Allies will sink skill points into predetermined paths, but the player can influence perks.

Will survivors provide useful insight about what to do next or where to go during missions if they happen to be in an area that survivor knows well?
Yes, allies will frequently bring areas to the player's attention, unlocking them on the map. Locations can be found without allies, so you're not cut off from content if you're missing an ally with that info.

If there are perks like phobias or allergies, will it affect squadmates ?
Panic covers this. Some allies are afraid of zombies, some are afraid of getting hurt, some panic at just leaving the shelter.
Each ally has perks specific to them, usually based on their skills/former jobs.

Characters who constantly stay into the shelter (like the chef or the medic you mentioned) will gain experience as well?
It's a bit different than the player, since unlike the player, some allies will never be effective at combat and it would be time-consuming to bring them all out to farm XP for them. So... the way it works is the allies receive 1 skill point for every day they are alive, and will sink that into a predetermined character path. There are ways of influencing their perks/focus, but not directly arrange their skill/stat points.

They level up like this so that the player can't screw themselves out of certain character types (not making them all melee when you need mechanics, combat medics, sharpshooters) and to reinforce their individuality (doctors are rare - you can't just make anyone a doctor type). There are a few other ways to "train" some of their skills up to a basic level of proficiency, but no way to train them all up to higher levels of skill.

Will their be  marriage system, ie can you get married? * or just have a spouse/lover*
No to marriage. Allies may be in relationships, but any relationships you might have with someone are fleeting. We really didn't want to make romances a big thing in the game. Also, your character may have been in a relationship before the game started, so they may have lost someone important to them at the start of the game.

Can a character be pregnant ?
The PC cannot get pregnant.

Can you get ill and cough or sneeze soundly, giving away your presence and making noise?
Allies can get sick, but when they do, they'll ask you for the day off. Depending on your leadership or negotiation, you may be able to get them to stay on the job without making them angry at you for not caring about their physical health.

Will there be a "cap" on the number of survivors living in the fortress?
No cap, but remember you have to feed/provide for all of those people, so the more you have, the harder it gets.

When two npcs who are not getting along well together are assigned to the same project? What will be the outcome?
It won't happen on a project specifically, but yeah, sometimes confrontations can escalate to the point that the player needs to get involved or risk major consequences.

What If the ally is infected and dies inside the shelter (no antibiotics)?
If an ally is about to turn in the Shelter, then the leader (YOU) will have to handle the situation.

Will infected members who you decide to execute fight back?
Infected people will usually act differently - but they can't hide the infection.

If you leave someone behind (for whatever reason), will that affect the moral/loyalty of your allies, and more interestingly, will the zombie version of your dead ex-ally will remember that (this could be in respect to the PC, or to another NPC which didn't do anything to prevent that)?  
Probably won't happen that way, but people do lose more morale if their friend/loved one dies AND reanimates. It's a fate worse than death to the survivors.

What will happen when a lot of people are infected, and there is no antibiotics in the shelter for 3 days? Will the player have to kill everyone, kick them out, or the game ends?
The player will be forced to make a decision. It's a big deal.

I'm wondering if allies will give you requests for personal items; like a framed photograph or a piece of jewelry they couldn't escape with, or that belonged to someone who died in the outbreak.
They will have requests, not necessarily for objects with sentimental value. There is a way for them to honor the memory of lost loved ones, however...

Can you kick people out of the shelter without killing them?

Can allies abandoned in the field every possibly be found alive again?
Probably not. If you're abandoning them, they were probably in a hopeless situation - that's what we'll assume, anyhow.

Will potential allies ever refuse to join, or people threaten to leave, while certain characters are allowed to remain an ally?
Yes, it's possible. At the very least, they may strongly disagree and lose confidence in you if you're not able to convince them it's a good idea to have that ally around.

Is there any situations that could happen where a strong leader type NPC could gain more support and try and oust you as the leader of the survivors?
Yup, if enough people want you out and there's someone willing to lead them... It's a game over situation, so keep an eye on your allies.

I want to play as a bad person and lead a group of bad dudes. Will I be able to do that?
Kind of - if you can find people that share your attitude. The problem is that the people that don't share your outlook may have a problem with this and try to do something about it. There aren't really good/bad extremes - every major decision comes with a sacrifice, whether that's personnel, morale, items, trust. It's all about who/what you're willing to let go or risk.

Do you have anything like certain characters sabotaging the party planned?
If their confidence in you is low and their Morale is low, and they have a certain type of personality, they may be upset that you keep taking actions that are different from what they would have done. Some characters won't care what you're doing as long as the Shelter has food and people aren't getting killed every day.

What's the maximum number of allies at one time?
That would be giving away too much info. There's no cap, I'll say that much.

Will it be possible to end the game with all potential survivors alive?
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« Last Edit: May 14, 2013, 04:01:11 pm by DrunkZombie » Logged

Playing DS on my laptop.
8 gb ram
OS: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1 (7601.win7sp1_gdr.130828-1532)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTS 250M
Driver Version:, DirectX version: 11.0, Display Memory: 2729 MB
Realtek High Definition Audio, Driver 6.00.0001.5951
Game Settings: Resolution: 1024 x 768, Refresh 60, Fullscreen On, Anti-aliasing Off, Mesh High, Texture High, Shader High, Lighting High
Direct sound, Speakers (Realtek)
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