Let's make a date thread for when we predict NPCs will officially drop.
10 10

42 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts

The reason I made this thread was not only from sarcasm, but also a way to talk about this.


I'm not exactly saying that the NPCs should've been done by now, but what I'm saying is that TIS should work on one thing at a time. The way I see it, rather than do that, they are proceeding to work on everything all at once: vehicles, NPCs, animations, creation mode, map maker, etc.


They keep trying to do everything all at once, and that seems to be the clear reason why nothing is out yet. Though we know the first priority out of the clump is vehicles, they need to put all of their resources into the one thing they're working on or want to work on FIRST. Vehicles are a good example. Had they done that, the vehicles might have been released months ago instead of potentially months from now.


After the vehicles drop, they need to stop putting effort into thousands of tiny little things and work on what they think is the most important, not everything that is or will be important at the same time, because with that mindset, the game will still be in development 10 years from now and still nowhere near finished.


I say this not as a disgruntled fan, but someone who has been in the same boat; not necessarily game development, but I've been in the same situation where I'm trying to work on millions of things all at once, and in the end, I never get any of them done.


Indie Stone, please put everything down and work one at a time. This is an amazing game and I'd hate to see people turn away from it because it's taking too long for one thing or the other. One foot (project) in front of the other.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Disclaimer: I'm probably wrong on some of this. For much of it, I was,  some guy on the forum. I'm also not a programmer by trade.

Why is it all so unfocused seeming? 

Each member of the team was hired for specific reasons, has specific talents, and has a specific role to fulfill. It's not possible to focus on "one thing,' unless the goal is to poorly manage people and cease any semblance of regular, public builds. This means most people on the team are generalists, rather than specialists in a certain area. 

EA differs from traditional software development

Normally, in software development, you have clear goal posts: alpha -> beta -> release -> maintenance. Only the last two involve the public, ignoring QA.

Instead, Early Access, alpha funded, and  (in some cases) open source projects differ from the traditional model for  for several reasons, most of which involve the availability of that software to the public:

  • the public-facing game needs to be maintained;
  • any new features and content needs to be viable on release to the public, rather than good enough for an internal proof of concept;
  • it's necessary to continually engage the customer and (try to) provide a novel experience with each update; and,
  • for some, the expectation is the game can't get boring  until finished, otherwise it's a failure, no matter how much time is played in it (not unlike an MMO).

It’s not a linear process, for the most part

Even if it were possible to just focus on one thing, software development (as a whole) isn't a linear process. Certain aspects of it is (cars depend on a physics engine), but for the most part you're constantly repeating a loop, each one resulting in a subsequent release (design -> code -> test -> release -> maintain) for every little thing.


Let’s look at one example: the evolution of PZ’s graphical system 

Ignoring hindsight or those that specifically work in compatibility testing, who could have predicted that Intel integrated graphics adapters would "shadow" VRAM (it doubles the texture size of art assets in the game)?


Doesn't sound that bad, but consider that PZ's often played (and bought early on) by players that had hardware from the mid 2006s. These aren't machines that can handle a 2 GB of art assets (they often have 2 GB of RAM, as is).


Much of the progression of graphics for the game was driven by this. It's largely been the responsibility of a single dev:

  • You've realized 16 FPS, hand drawn animations are killing your artist and slowing down the rest of the game.
  • You now have snazzy 30 frame animations that are generated in 3D Max, touched up in Photoshop or an equivalent program.
  • You planned for customization of character appearance (different clothing and colors). Suddenly your 2000 frames of character / zombie animations is something nuts, because each piece of clothing and color needs to have their  own spirtesheet of thousands of frames.
  • Well, first you remove the need for color. You produce greyscale sprite sheets and apply the color at runtime to save texture space.
  • This is still taking up way too much time. Even adding a new animation like climbing through a window just blows out your max RAM requirements.
  • You implement a compression scheme, but, oh no, nVidia cards on Macintosh don't like that.  It's a minor problem (details aren't visible in the texture) and only affects a small number of Macintosh users, so there's little you can do here.
  •  While this happens, new actions are added to the game and new textures for the map, plus modding support has to be accounted in the RAM budget.
  •  Now we move to 3D models that are drawn off-screen, turned into a 2D image with pixelation, and drawn on-screen. RAM problems solved! But . . . for all the map and item textures.
  • Here's Intel and certain Linux drivers here to tell you that Frame Buffer Objects aren't supported in certain classes of hardware (Intel HD 2000 and below, Radeon 4xxx and below, Intel  Graphics Media Accelerator 985 and below).


Well, what do you do?


  • You're forced to have a 2D and 3D pipeline that has to be maintained for the life of the game
  • Oh, and the map's just too big at this point to work with the RAM budget. Loading screens suck, and the goal from the beginning was a streaming, open world anyway.
  • You still want to expand gameplay, have lots of unique NPCs running around, and you want it to be clearly visible to players just what those NPCs are doing, too, let's not forget.
  • So you implement a streaming map, RAM requirements go down, and you're able to add more textures.


Now, a ton of people can't play the game, any work in 3D has to be duplicated in 2D, NPCs need to be rewritten both due to public rejection and change in tech, the game world is now too large for NPCs to exist in it so a secondary game on top of it needs to be written to abstract their behavior, and the current animation system way, way too inflexible to expand on. It needs to be redone and it needs to solve the flaws inherent with the current game, that's going to make playing with NPCs a shit experience.


So you work on a new animation system (tied into NPCs for testing) , hire a modeler, and get to work implementing blends, a model loader, rotational root motion, optimization, and start removing all the hard-coded bits and bobs from the prior four years of development. But, shocker, it's taken four years to get here and finding new talent to take on the problem (and the risk of an indie) is difficult.


Some will argue that NPCs could just go out without all of this but . . . what would even be the point? You'd have to cut them back down and toss out a bunch of stuff to make it nice to play. Just as you'd have to cut out all the MP work if you wanted to an SP build of animations. Oh, and certain features are proving to be a bastard -- can't get all the art assets out, disappointing everyone even if it were released.


Fortunately, TIS did manage to find some new talent to take it on and now there's three people instead of one person working on it, but that doesn't really matter to the public: it's not out yet.


Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Year 5150 is the predicted date. Sometimes after the old world ends and the new world begins. When they earth is scorched, regrows and the lizard species from Nibiru rise. Sometime around then ... I was talking to Lemmy about it and he wants the release to be really special. He told me he couldn't imagine releasing before then, because it's more special if he releases it on the date of the Illuminaughty's official rise and the fall of the false incarnates happen. 

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/24/2017 at 7:51 AM, EG Bot said:


  • any new features and content needs to be viable on release to the public, rather than good enough for an internal proof of concept;


Bit of visualization.

If it wasn't for the need to make everything look/feel serviceable for a public release every single vehicle, sports, normal, police, whatever would look like this (and only be seen by testers) up until a month or two before vehicles go public.



Other models + textures would probably only drop in once the coding and driving mechanics are solid and all that would be required is some small adjustments dependent on the model itself.

I'm right about this, right?

Edited by Svarog

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

These threads are meaningless. Yeah, we all get to talk about it and we're all entitled to but ultimately, its just an opportunity for people (most of whom have no idea about game development, me included) to cast a random date into the wind.  Watch, here I go.


Sometime in 2020. What do I base that on? A while back TIS mentioned a 5 stage road-map to 1.0, Animations being the first stage. If I remember correctly, something about not having to duplicate writing animation code for NPCs/wildlife. But I'm basing that date on a Mondoid I read over a year ago and the team has changed and grown since then. New hurdles have surfaced, though the "backroom stuff" mentioned in the last few paragraphs of yesterday's Thursdoid sounded really positive. 


In the end, it doesn't matter when I predict NPCs will hit. I'm an idiot who has no knowledge of what is happening in the background. Just let artists create in their own way and time.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to adore this game... for the past few years I've just been watching it, checking on the status of NPCs (if any) now and then.


but at this point though, I feel like there is more than a 50/50 chance that they will never actually get released. Still hopeful though.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I want NPC's to do everything. I mean EVERYTHING.


From finding npc's drinking bleach to end their depressing lives

Hating you and not attacking till they find a gun or they go insane and just come at you with a knife

Grouping with a community you attacked and attracting zombies to your base

Breaking into your place at night to murder you and your loved ones

Drug abusers, raiding pharmacies and finding there medical stash you need

Straight up bandits

Groups that haven't got a clue, to who know how to survive, to ex military. 

Finding a car and speeding downtown really fast and crashing

Starting a legit community that wants to trade goods and possibly work with you

Lone wolfs who just want to survive regardless of killing humans or only zombies

Ambushing you when you least expect it

Teaming up with you and helping you or group survive

Getting attacked by a horde and trying to save themselves

Standing with you in a no way out to kill the infected

Convicts gone good, preachers purging for god



I will wait, I love this game. Best game out there just recently started to play again. Cleared the prison with my 3 friends, it felt amazing. Smashing, dicing, through groups clearing room to room.


Now what if I found a group of live prisoners needing help? Or just attacking us for our stuff? Who knows. ;)


I know this thread was sarcasm, but to the people who are waiting..all we got is time. Be patient <3. 

Edited by Cobearz

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

whether NPC is released long or short i do not really mind, the game is already great as is.


If its taking too long like maybe 10 more years then ill see free 10 years of development on this game features (maybe basements, sewers, bicycles, boats, garage doors, large 2 tiled doors for bases, zombie traps, moats or even crazier digging a personal fish pond or making a swimming pool, and more height than 8 storey buildings, they did mention optimisation on not rendering furnitures in building above you and maybe under too if not outside.) 


If its short and its finished by less than 2 years than we will get NPC faster but get maybe less features, i really hope they continue adding stuff for this unique and amazing game. highly detailed zombie survival game with isometric view that has a huge base modifications options is uniquely Zomboid.


I just hope they release a dummy NPC as a placeholder (with option to disable in the menu) that can have idle animation (not doing anything) maybe guarding a place by shooting at incoming hordes or meleeing it kinda like a tower in a tower defense game (dont need to feed it just need to spawn it by some requirement like having found a survivor from radio then you have to have x units of food and water plus gears and weapons and ammos to spawn a never hungry never out of ammo stationary guard that can be moved to a certain spot) this will achieve a feel of a base defended by team of survivors and aliviate a little bit of lonelines for single players.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

This is a great opportunity for me to ask again "What about a campaign event system for Mappers?????????"


I want to be able to create objectives and single player campaigns even without NPC's. 


This might be my 5th time asking but, I really am curious about what TIS has in store for custom mappers as I think it would do amazing things to at least keep the community engaged in the wait for more features.


There's only so many forts and farms you can build and so many zombies you can kill till you say "Now What?"


So EnigmaGrey I'm calling you out, do some snooping or something and tell me something promising.


(even if its not soon)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't need fully working sandbox NPCs (they will likely never feel very good anyway). What I want, though, is a fun singleplayer story mode. Doesn't even have to be one big story. I'd be happy with chapters or something as well.


Imagine something like Dead State mixed into PZ. Heck, I'd do it myself if I'd be a more skilled programmer. We've seen already that crazy things can be modded into PZ, so a dialog system and semi-reactive NPCs shouldn't be unrealistic.

Edited by Lexx2k

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
10 10