I've just about clocked my 24th hour on the current IWBUMS build, with 100+ prior plus a handful more from the Kate + Baldspot versions. I'm really enjoying the new mechanics and features so far; the following is a bunch of things I hope to see changed/added. Beyond the list of commonly suggested suggestions (Some of which I will be reiterating), I'm somewhat ignorant of currently planned features and content, so I apologise if any of this already is. Likewise I'm going to ignore developmental constraints and engine limitations for the time being and present everything as I'd like to see it. Where stats and numbers are concerned, in most cases I'm pulling them out my arse for examples' sake.
Anything marked with *, even I think might be too complex to be worthwhile
Sandbox - Weighted "Random" Zombie attributes, and/or zombie type definitions & Loot Rarity options
This is probably the most simple suggestion here, and the one I feel most strongly about so I'll start with it - the customisation options regarding zombies are quite limited. In short, I'd wish for the player to be able to weight each attribute to their pleasing. For example, I could choose for 5% of zombies to have the ability to navigate + use doors, while 10% are sprinters, 20% are blind, etc - making them unpredictable, without having an overwhelming number of zombies with or without X and Y properties.
As for zombie type definitions, you create several rulesets and again, weight them for incidence. For example, my Type 1 Zombie constitues 80% of the population, and I go with the standard lore for them. For the remaining 20%, my Type 2 Zombies are weak, blind sprinters with a hightened sense of smell, but they are unable to pass on the infection.
This could go so far as to be targeted to existing zombie types, eg. the player could choose for firemen zombies to always be strong, police zombies will always have better eyesight, military zombies will always be sprinters etc but I digress.
The same could apply somewhat to vehicles. For example I'd like to be able to set parked cars to either have 0 fuel or 10-100%, and in generally fine condition, but are almost certainly locked and alarmed - While survivor vehicles will be beat up, either out of fuel and/or too damaged to start, and never alarmed
Also, being able to allow zombies to use (melee) weapons would certainly be interesting.
As for loot rarity settings, I'd like to see them further divided; "Weapons" into Melee, Firearm, Ranged, Ammunition ; "Other" into Medical, Crafting, Books, Electronics etc. Food is fine as it is I suppose.
This was pointed out in another thread, but there's quite a disconnect between the sounds the player hears, and those heard by the zombies. Doors opening and closing are, as far as I can tell, completely silent as far as the zombies are concerned, but early on I remember being very hesitant to touch them because I hear them. For this case, the player could have a toggle to open/close doors quietly, taking longer to do so in the latter case.
More importantly, I find that it's practically impossible to tell how far north/south a sound is coming from, while East/West seems easy enough.
The sound of gunshots seems to travel much further than the player hears.
Sounds produced inside or from behind buildings & obstacles are muffled for the player, but I can't tell if this is the case for zombies. If it isn't, I'd hope that changes.
Firearms - Dirt vs Condition
The most common cause of a firearm malfunctioning beyond mishandling is dirt and debris entering the action, rather than outright damage. Simply enough, firearm condition would take a loooong time to degrade unless they're directly damaged (And the more degraded its moving parts, the quicker it will damage its self) - but firing them, crawling through woodland with them on your person, dropping them and splattering zombie guts all over them would all contribute to increased dirt. At low levels, just water can be used to clean it. But for a seriously gunked-up firearm, it'd necessitate disassembly, cleaning with water and tools, and re-oiling.
If we want to go really into depth with it, as if we weren't already, you wouldn't just be able to duct-tape the working parts back into functionality. Rather, you'd be able to strip the components from compatible weapons in the same fashion as the vehicle mechanics currently work; My M16's bolt is damaged - I need to find (or manufacture, good luck?) another. My shotgun's stock is cracked - That I can fix with wood-glue or duct-tape. Where applicable, mechanics, metalwork and carpentry skill would factor in.
Yes, it's been suggested many times (even by myself) and somewhat definitively shot down, but while I'm here I'd like to reiterate why I think they'd be a positive addition, while addressing some of the misconceptions around them as applied to Zomboid.
To get that bit out the way first: A suppressor does not make a firearm truly silent - far from it. All the mods that include them, to my memory, had them completely nullify the volume of a shot. This is uninteresting from a gameplay standpoint in addition to being almost entirely unrealistic.
So with that said, what is the need for suppressors in the game?
Currently, firearms are in a weird place. In reality, they'd probably be one of the most valuable tools attainable, or at least would appear to be as evidenced by how high novice players especially tend to place them on the priority list. Throughout most of the game however, they're practically irrelevant especially as weapons. If you're in a situation bad enough to warrant their use, firing a few shots is almost always going to make it even worse - the only real exceptions being very remote areas. Ultimately, firearms' utility boils down to them being an on-demand loud noise that can be used to kite zombies away from your intended destination. That is until you've stockpiled enough guns, ammo and if MP/NPCs, people, to use them to clear out the entire cell's worth of zombies that will be attracted to the noise.
How would I have them work?
-* The noise of a shot is divided into two components - The report (The gunshot its self, the radius surrounding the shooter in which the shot is heard) and the bullet (Noise in direction of fire, extends beyond distance of report radius) - To (poorly) illustrate:
- The best suppressor reduces the volume of the report by up to 70%, the distance it travels by up to 60% - dependent on calibre. In other words, the already-quieter and weaker guns would get the most volume reduction; the louder and more powerful a firearm the less benefit a suppressor would convey.
- *Subsonic ammunition (where the "standard" round is otherwise supersonic) can be used to decrease the volume of the noise generated by the bullet, whether or not it's suppressed - *at the cost of range and/or damage.
- Military/commercial-grade suppressors can be found. Extremely rare, most likely found in military storage/NPCs/zombies - Absolutely minuscule chance of spawning in homes or already attached to firearms
- Several levels of improvised suppressors can be crafted, contingent on Metalwork and Mechanics skills - possibly necessitating a skill magazine too
- *Military/commercial suppressors are caliber-specific. Crafted suppressors are generic until attached to a firearm.
- Suppressors have durability; The more they degrade, the less effective they are (But they will always keep a firearm quieter than otherwise). *The higher the calibre, the more quickly they degrade. A commercial-grade suppressor will last roughly 500 shots before its effectivness bottoms out, while a top-tier crafted suppressor will last roughly 300.
- Using a suppressor increases the chance of a firearm malfunctioning and/or increases rate of firearm degradation/dirt gain through firing. *The more crude the suppressor, the greater its influence on degradation/malfunction/dirt.
Even with the quietest possible firearm, you wouldn't be able to use it with impunity just because it's suppressed - it'd still be heard for a block or two, but toward the edges of that radius it might not be so loud as to overpower everything else a given zombie is hearing. So for more sparsely populated areas as well as the interior of large buildings, using a firearm becomes much more viable beyond kiting - using a suppressed gun in an emergency would stand a much greater chance of getting you out of it without attracting too much more attention.
In the same vein as suppressors, bows and crossbows would make for an interesting addition; Again there would be craftable and non-craftable variants. Compared to (even suppressed) firearms they'd be relatively quiet and more sustainable in terms of ammo consumption. However, they'd be much more difficult to use than firearms, with generally shorter range - though their relative quietness would allow you to gain more experience in practice. I feel like they could use their own set of skills, but that might be going overboard.
- Short Bows: Short range, low damage, quietest, decent refire rate, low exertion. Crafting requires beginner carpentry.
- Long Bows: Longest range, middling damage, middling volume, slower refire rate, highest exertion. Crafting requires intermediate carpentry.
- Crossbows: Middling range, highest damage, loudest, slowest refire rate, middling exertion. Crafting requires intermediate mechanics, beginner metalwork and beginner carpentry.
Again, the ability to craft them could be contingent on skill magazines. There could be several varieties of each type, particularly amongst "found" ones, each modifying some of those stats. For example a modern composite bow might be a lot quieter, a modern crossbow pistol might be much faster yet do less damage. I don't know much about archery, but I imagine it's even more bottomless pit of possibilities than I'm presenting here.
Vehicle modification & repairs
I won't go too into depth with this one, but it essentially boils down to weaponising and up-armouring vehicles. Create a plow and strap it to the front to reduce slowdown and damage caused by mowing down zombies (And humans!), bullbars to reduce collision damage, weld bars across windows and windshields to protect them (reduced visibility?), metal plating on bodywork to protect components and occupants from firearms. Would require metalworking and mechanics skills where applicable.
I would like to see the ability to repair bodywork- minor dents would only require a hammer, while more serious damage could be patched over with metal sheets and such.
Of course, all that added weight will reduce acceleration, max speed and increase fuel consumption.
To go even further with it, you could frankensetein cars together, eg shove a V8 into a hatchback and become an accident waiting to happen.
Medical & Physiological
I feel like wounds are too easy to disinfect, and antibiotics are a get-out-of-jail-free card should you be unable to disinfect them. I think that for the more persistent injuries you should have to disinfect them multiple times - and regardless, that there should still be a chance of infection dependent on First Aid skill and the quality of dressings, especially if you're still fighting zombies or pissing about in the mud.
As for the zombie infection, again I'm aware it's a definitive "no" for a cure, but I feel like giving the player a death sentence with no way to come back from it kinda sucks. Eating plenty could help delay it, amputation could prevent it spreading (but that's a pretty tall order considering the development implications). Beyond that, I think the best compromise would be a drug that can delay it perpetually so long as you have a supply, necessitating a sorta gun-to-your-head approach in getting your next dose. It'd have to be very rare, but maybe there could be a chemistry skill allowing synthesis of this drug at the highest level, with some difficult to acquire/sustain ingredients - in addition to allowing synthesis of disinfectants, medicinal drugs and alcohol.
I've also found it a lot more difficult to lose weight in PZ than in reality - I've lost 7kg over the past two months, and as soon as I started maintaining a calorie deficit it started dropping - This doesn't seem to be how it works in-game, with some weird long lag period between not eating and losing the weight. There's no real reason a full day of not eating should not result in weight loss.
For relatively minor arm and hand injuries (scratches particularly), I find attack speed is diminished way too much - Adrenaline and the instinct for self-preservation are going to take precedence over keeping such injuries safe in the face of a handful of zombies. I'd rather they diminished accuracy, with only lacerations or anything more serious affecting attack speed.
Also rather than the speed of the entire process being reduced, I think it should just be recovery - so the length of time between swings/stabs stays the same, but there's no delay between starting and connecting the attack.
Having wounds re-open as a consequence of fighting while injured would give this more depth too, though it could possibly be too frustrating.
Improvised Armour & Tailoring
As I understand it the protection system is still in its infancy, but again the depth it could go to is endless.
Improvised armour could be modifications to existing clothing items, or stand-alone clothing items in themselves. Why not both, beyond the countless hours to code it all and create art?
Facetiousness aside, improvised armour would be applicable to each body part that can be damaged. It could be made from all sorts - the heavier the material/larger the piece, the larger the debuffs to movement speed, exertion and/or attack speed dependent on which body part they're worn on, but the greater the protection. So you could be a walking tank but the moment you have to run you're buggered, or you could travel very light and get bitten by the next zombie you encounter, or anything in between.
With armoured vests already in the game and NPCs on the way (or already here with Super(b) survivors, not to mention PvP functionality in MP), ballistic protection has a role to play. Most items that can protect against scratches and bites would likely be useless in the face of a bullet - however some types of improvised (if implemented) or found armour might be better than nothing. Eg. a shot to a flak jacket might cause what would otherwise be a bullet wound to be a bruise. Having both entry and exit wounds possible would also be interesting.
Some traits I think should be able to be acquired through gameplay, especially across in-game years, eg. near/far-sightedness, deafness (esp. if you've been in proximity to firearms being shot). As another example, if you smoke too many cigarettes too quickly, you gain the smoker trait; If you abstain, you lose it (after a long time).
I feel like athletic, strong, stout and fit shouldn't be traits at all beyond defining your character's starting attributes, and from there would be defined by diet and exercise as with over/underweightedness.
Desensitisation could occur after X time in a panic state, with that time lengthened by the Coward trait and shortened by the Brave trait.
I feel like some of them are quite lacking - they give you a leg up compared to a traitless, professionless character for sure, but I don't feel like they anywhere near fully reflect the experience someone in that given line of work would really have. For example, I'd imagine a combat veteran to be much more than 20% better than the uninitiated when it comes to all things firearm, and to have some experience with construction, greater aptitude for figuring out improvised explosives. A carpenter by trade would be able to make something much more refined than a bunch of wooden planks assembled into the form of a chair
Quality of life/"minor" feature/content wishlist
- (Toggle to?) Automatically drop vehicle components when removed - Wheels, brakes, suspension, seats, gas tanks, doors, windows etc.
- Allow queueing of constructions eg. walls
- Allow all interactions with wounds at all times (assuming I have the requisite supplies) so I don't have to wait for eg. a disinfect operation to complete before I can queue up the bandage.
- Almost all clothing items should, imo, provide some scratch and/or bite defence even if it's 1-5%
- Leaving car key in ignition drains battery
- Skill books renamed to <Skill> for Beginners, <Skill> for Intermediates for better sorting
- Maps renamed to Map of <Location> - Annotated maps suffixed with (Annotated). Eg. "Map of West Point (Annotated)"
- Welding mask functions as apparrel face item
- More options regarding meta events, ie. Frequency, cut-off dates etc.
- Generally increase range of firearms - With the Aiming skill given by the Police profession, you can't even attempt a target across a road which I find to be silly.
- Different types of belt with greater capacity
- Ejecting a magazine from a firearm should not immediately replace it if another is available - Eg. I'll pick up a pistol that I intend to throw away to nick its mag, only to load one I was carrying with me into it
- Fix for eating, smoking or otherwise performing animated actions that still allow you to move, the player-character stops every time they change direction.
- Aiming/looking/sneaking should be able to be performed while crouched, instead of standing up to do so.
- Switching equipped items via the belt possible while sprinting, with a chance of dropping it dependent on All Thumbs/Dextrous trait, and Sprinting skill
- Reloading firearms possible while jogging, with a chance of dropping the mag to load dependent on All Thumbs/Dextrous trait and Reloading skill
- Bandaging/disinfecting arms, torso and head possible while jogging, with a chance of failure and/or dropping/wasting the bandage/wipe/disinfectant dependent on All Thumbs/Dextrous trait and First Aid skill
- A proper equipment/clothing UI, similar to the Medical menu instead of sectioning off part of the existing inventory list
- More in-depth categorisation of items, eg. medical supplies, construction/crafting items etc.
- The ability to "Loot/Transfer All in Category" when mousing over a given item in container/inventory
- Ability to change sandbox settings in SP
- Button to leave the current car's key in its glovebox
- Keys spawn for ALL vehicles - but they might be on a zombie on the other side of town - or a different town
- Vehicle cruise control
- Wire Cutters to cut holes in wire fences
- Jimmy vehicle door locks with screwdriver, pry locked doors open with crowbar - high chance of destroying the lock, room for a skill/trait to factor in
- Reading in darkness takes longer, increases boredom gain - at some point it becomes impossible to read
- Reduce exertion of Wood Axe, currently feels more efficient to use regular Axe to chop trees
- Special Forces/Hazmat teams investigating certain sites, analysing zombie corpses, downloading computer data, extracting VIPs and such - If suppressors ever get in, they'd have them, and they'd shoot survivors on-sight. Good loot on them but practically impossible to kill without an army of your own and/or severe manipulation of the zombie hordes - And that's if you even cross paths with them in the first place.
- Helicopter crashlanding - would havefer a decent stock of relatively obscure supplies, at great risk. Could have some more worldbuilding/story items on board. After a given length of time, the wreck could be destroyed and its important contents recovered by aforementioned SF teams - especially if there are survivors of the crash.
There could also be civilian variations, a news chopper for example.
- Injured/imperiled survivor(s) on ham radio asking for assistance
- Survivors intending to rob you, using above as a lure as one option
So, that's a big old text dump. There's probably a lot more I could add to this list that currently escapes me. And of what's already here, there will be a lot that each of you will disagree with, but please do mention anything you would really like before you shoot the rest of it down. But beyond that go crazy, it's a lot more effort for the devs to implement any of this rambling than it is for me to think and type it up.