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Combat Renovations

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Given as we’re starting from a slightly blanker slate with Build 41 than we usually do, and combat by necessity is changing to match the improved visuals, this week we’ve been making some experimental balance changes to the game.

The primary goal of this is to bring Zomboid further into line with the fantasy of living in a zombie apocalypse – and making the zed threat as real and as valid as those you’d see in a Romero movie or The Walking Dead.

So, for example, one of our intentions has been to make sure that combat adheres to the more classic zombie philosophy of threats coming not from the front, but from behind – with zeds more likely to take a nice chunk out of your neck or shoulder.

Here’s a quick video with explanatory subtitles, but once you’ve viewed it please check out the extra-explanatory text below too.

(We think you’ll also agree with us that Mister Beever has excelled himself with the new music here too).

Soo… here comes our current thinking on this.

Although PLEASE NOTE this is very much our current thinking and NOT the final product. Some content will settle during transit. Player feedback, both within and without, will be sought when the time is right.

  • We’ve currently got it so one-on-one combat (from the front) feels much easier. One single, solo zombie will be unlikely to cause you too much of an issue if you’re armed with an effective weapon – and even without you should be able to deal with the situation.
  • We’re not going to be that kind to you though. In the new build difficulty will come from two sources: unseen zombies which get close to you, and groups of zombies. Zombies to the side, and even moreso behind, will have a much greater chance of getting hold of you –  and from that a much increased chance of landing a bite. From the front you’ll always have options to knock zombies back, push them and generally defend yourself with your arms. From the back, however, you’re much more likely to ‘get got’.
  • Zombies currently go for the neck a lot more, as from the back it’s a much easier target for them. Neck bites have been much increased in severity of blood loss, and someone with a big chunk torn out of their neck is unlikely to survive longer than 10-20 seconds at most, perhaps even less. (We plan on some clothing to mitigate this risk once protective stats on clothing are working.)
  • In real life (kinda) a group of zombies all attacking at the same time will divert your attention in many different ways – and compromise your ability to avoid them or push them away. To simulate this, each zombie attacking you now gets a boosted chance of laying a scratch or bite on you if there are a bunch of them attacking, and this boost goes up per zombie. So if you’re surrounded, don’t expect to be stood there 15 seconds, get lucky and run away with just a scratch.
  • It’s not implemented yet, nor has Martin made us the anims for it yet, but it’s worth saying that we plan on having an ‘upper limit’ of zombies surrounding and attacking you that will trigger them to pull you to the ground and start to feast on you. There comes a point at which you’re simply overrun and overpowered, and the game currently does not allow for this. We may include multiplayer ways for a player to be saved from this fate before the bites start coming, and sandbox options, but for all intents and purposes we don’t think we can be considered a valid zombie survival simulator if there are 8 zombies pulling at you from every direction and you’re walking out of there alive.
  • It’s not perfect yet in the build, and should be considered as ultra-experimental, but we’ve now got it so that swings at zombies on the floor do a hit test between the end of your weapon and the zed’s head. This means that you can no longer stomp or swing at a zombie’s pinky toe and the game will understand it as smashing its brains in. This has long been an irritation in a game where aiming for the head should be of paramount importance. As such, the player will need to position themselves so their bat will (approximately) aim at the zed head – with a hitbox that’s hopefully generous enough to compensate for inaccuracy of the viewpoint and controls.
  • Due to feedback from the community on anims vids, and our own internal testing, we’ve also upped movement and combat speeds a tad to try make things a little less sluggish. This may get toned down depending on how it affects long term difficulty – and also overloaded, unfit and tired characters will clearly move more slowly

OTHER STUFF DONE THIS WEEK

  • Polish for zeds eating, them noticing and rising to attack you – and the ability to attack them properly while they feed.
  • As part of the gameplay balance mission we’ve been messing around with stomp damage, (barefoot vs. shoe-wearing etc) and fixed zeds staggering back and sliding after attacks too. We’ve also done stuff like increase knockdowns chance when pushing a zombie – which is a lot more dependent on character strength now.
  • Martin has added animation so zeds can bite seated player characters, and better bite reactions from the bitten. Likewise he’s made zombie head hit reactions whilst they lie on the floor, whether on their front or on their back.
  • Tim has fixed a prevalent issue with footsteps – in that they weren’t playing and needed tying to the new animation system whether you’re sneaking, walking or running. He’s also fixed loads of issues around melee attacks in vehicles, reloading and flipping corpses.
  • Zac has been working on fixing blending issues, and done super-well with it to the extent that the first video above runs without a single one – bar a minor one that’s rooted in data rather than the anim system itself. (Boring to read, but a big ‘yay’ for us.)
  • ChrisW has committed a bunch of improvements to the new cutaway system – which is working well, but needs a fair amount of polish work and gremlin chasing. It’s already working really well in-game though, and complements the new animations nicely.

Thanks all! Cheers for coming to our little Thursdoid info-nugget.

This week’s misty moment from Computerheadguy. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here –so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. The Centralized Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZWiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too!

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It seems to be a quite good Z combat behaviour. I'm mad waiting to test this! Keep on this amazing work!!! 

(PZ won't become easier... as the life would' t become easier be in a zombie apocalypse! ).

Just, please, don't make combat depend to much on aiming in close combat as the controls and the external view don't make aiming easy for the player...

Avoiding the Z you didn't see is already an obsession! 

 

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Yes Yes. This is all cool. But we have no update :(
What's up with the blacksmith profession? Can we have a profession first instead of animations?

You feed us a video). Because of what, I don’t want to play a standard game :D

Eh. Sadness
Dear developers. By the way ... Add the opportunity to authors of mods with cars to add their own UI.

 

 

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Posted (edited)
7 minutes ago, Хибити\Hibiti [BLR] said:

Yes Yes. This is all cool. But we have no update :(
What's up with the blacksmith profession? Can we have a profession first instead of animations?

You feed us a video). Because of what, I don’t want to play a standard game :D

Eh. Sadness
Dear developers. By the way ... Add the opportunity to authors of mods with cars to add their own UI.

 

 

Devs got their priorities, and they won't delay an animation update to add Blacksmith occupation back. All of the stuff is gonna be released after/alongside the animation update's patching.

Edited by Burger_Time

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I just can not understand. A couple of people are doing more than a year of animation, and there is no patch, provided that not all animations will be immediately available.
Reminds developers Squad. which fckn 2 tanks produced half a year.

 

animations can not release. But rebalancing can be engaged, Without a test branch. Cool.

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2 minutes ago, Хибити\Hibiti [BLR] said:

I just can not understand. A couple of people are doing more than a year of animation, and there is no patch, provided that not all animations will be immediately available.
Reminds developers Squad. which fckn 2 tanks produced half a year.

 

animations can not release. But rebalancing can be engaged, Without a test branch. Cool.

Daily reminder that an Animation update is not just Animations, but also heavy balance changing, new mechanics, crafting and also a base for the future NPCs.

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Combat is looking quite nice with that new weapon that was shown off and having that zombie sitting down near that wall of that house. :)

 

zombie feasting on a corpse  is looking much better with its positions.

 

Cant wait to play this new build. :) 

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47 minutes ago, Burger_Time said:

Daily reminder that an Animation update is not just Animations, but also heavy balance changing, new mechanics, crafting and also a base for the future NPCs.

in my opinion everybody knows it himself. Also, the blacksmith profession has long been in development. And NPC sorry for what year? The latest video of 2010, and it is possible that the NPC froze (which was done correctly).

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11 minutes ago, Хибити\Hibiti [BLR] said:

in my opinion everybody knows it himself. Also, the blacksmith profession has long been in development. And NPC sorry for what year? The latest video of 2010, and it is possible that the NPC froze (which was done correctly).

Metalworking was released years ago. It's not being worked on now.

 

The year you're looking for is 2014, not 2010. They're going to be released in the subsequent builds after animations.

 

As Burger touches on, animations are just the most obvious part of this build. The build itself is an all-encompassing refactor and cleanup of the game's programming and custom engine and includes tools for developing\modding animations further.  It's the foundation the rest of the game's development will rest on.

 

We're not using Unity. It all has to be coded from scratch, in Java of all things.

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8 minutes ago, Хибити\Hibiti [BLR] said:

What are you talking about? Where are the stoves then? Which builds for the blacksmith - builder.

Like i said, it's called metal working.

 

The blacksmithing side of the profession was basically left out due to disagreements on how it should be represented in PZ. Though, yes, the disabled files and are were included for modders to use.

 

It hasn't been worked on since its release (build 35 in 2016). Though that will probably change when the bigger ticket items (npcs) are finally done.

 

(If you mean antique wood burning stoves, you can find them in secluded cabins in the woods. Basically a safe, indoor campfire.)

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Cool. Let's resent those who are against the behavior of zombies as the Walking Dead. Since it is not the best example to follow.

Or with the profession it turned out like this: our opinion wins over the opinion of which there is few. And no matter what is right.

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14 minutes ago, Хибити\Hibiti [BLR] said:

Cool. Let's resent those who are against the behavior of zombies as the Walking Dead. Since it is not the best example to follow.

Or with the profession it turned out like this: our opinion wins over the opinion of which there is few. And no matter what is right.

Not totally sure what this means, but there's really no "right" when it comes to something creative. It is whatever the artist or designer wants their creation to be.  Naturally, even the developers and founders have differing views of how complex or simplistic systems should be in PZ and have to hash it out. That makes it pretty hard to resent anyone for having a different opinion, at least on the surface.

 

The blacksmithing component was one of those things (only mentioned once in the blog here). Smelting any metal object (forks .etc) into an ingot then converting that into any other metal object, like bullets or a wall. It veered way too far towards the "simple." It didn't represent realistic blacksmithing. The work was done and we had to move on without revising it further, back then. It was honestly a pretty bad and stressful year in real life (also detailed to some extent in prior blogs of that year). 

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The anticipation.... I want to play this build sooo badly. Is there any eta for this.... anything, a hint even, so that I can feel some sense of comfort knowing I wont have to wait years.... Unless...

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18 minutes ago, ikewimpsley said:

The anticipation.... I want to play this build sooo badly. Is there any eta for this.... anything, a hint even, so that I can feel some sense of comfort knowing I wont have to wait years.... Unless...

At the very least, a few more weeks, possibly a month or two for IWBUMS was the latest I heard. Could be longer, could be shorter. That's the closest I can give you.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, nasKo said:

Neck bites have been much increased in severity of blood loss, and someone with a big chunk torn out of their neck is unlikely to survive longer than 10-20 seconds at most, perhaps even less.

 

Imo Realism > Romero.

 

A healthy human being would have a really hard time biting a chunk out of someone's neck. But for the sake of gore, a rotting corpse is somehow able to do that with ease in B-movies. Imo it's just cheesy & also doesn't result in good gameplay - it just isn't fun to survive a zombie attack only to bleed out seconds later.  I guess it's an unpopular opinion, but i think the chance to die from a bite is too high as it is. If getting bitten means you're almost guaranteed to die, there's no suspense. It's also the reason why First Aid is kinda useless as a skill.

 

TLDR: Bad injuries = fun, instant death = meh.

Edited by ZombiesLoveBrainiacs

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Damn I'm so hyped. Will the new sneak animation also lower your noise?
If more zombies are deadlier, I need ways to avoid more zombies :D I was never good in fighting nevertheless and used the sandbox :D

And for this throwing a stone to distract them would be my ultimate dream :wub:
Like sneaking p, throwing a stone to another direction, they turn their head towards it, and fastly sneak past them. I bet with the animations this would look really good *-*

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1 hour ago, ZombiesLoveBrainiacs said:

 

Imo Realism > Romero.

 

A healthy human being would have a really hard time biting a chunk out of someone's neck. But for the sake of gore, a rotting corpse is somehow able to do that with ease in B-movies. Imo it's just cheesy & also doesn't result in good gameplay - it just isn't fun to survive a zombie attack only to bleed out seconds later.  I guess it's an unpopular opinion, but i think the chance to die from a bite is too high as it is. If getting bitten means you're almost guaranteed to die, there's no suspense. It's also the reason why First Aid is kinda useless as a skill.

 

TLDR: Bad injuries = fun, instant death = meh.

 

sorry you feel that way, but the things you describe as unfun have been our raison d'etre, ethos and what the game's proudly worn on its sleeve as its inspiration, marketing and reason for being since day 1, we're not going to move away from that. You always have sandbox to disable.

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3 hours ago, ZombiesLoveBrainiacs said:

 

Imo Realism > Romero.

 

A healthy human being would have a really hard time biting a chunk out of someone's neck. But for the sake of gore, a rotting corpse is somehow able to do that with ease in B-movies. Imo it's just cheesy & also doesn't result in good gameplay - it just isn't fun to survive a zombie attack only to bleed out seconds later.  I guess it's an unpopular opinion, but i think the chance to die from a bite is too high as it is. If getting bitten means you're almost guaranteed to die, there's no suspense. It's also the reason why First Aid is kinda useless as a skill.

 

TLDR: Bad injuries = fun, instant death = meh.

Eh, human bite force is about equivalent to a pit bull and around half that of a horse. Two animals that do a wonderful job biting through much thicker areas on humans (though some of that's just down to the shape of their teeth in the case of the pit bull and the size of their mouth in the case of the horse). A zombie going at your throat should be sufficient to damage those delicious, throbbing arteries on the front of one's neck (at the very least the facial artery). It can sneak up behind, grab your head, pull it back, and clamp down near where you'd feel your own pulse (the artery is apparently 2 cm below, well within the range of a human's jaw). Congratulations, you're the new Bub.

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I think you guys should hold off on increasing the zombie bite power until you give us the means to combat that, like wearing denim or some bits of layered scrap metal around our necks (like some kind of scrap lamellar scarf or neck brace) or just some layered cloth, if you guys are going for realism a gambeson would be pretty much all you need to stop a zombie bite.

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11 minutes ago, Dem Avalon said:

I think you guys should hold off on increasing the zombie bite power until you give us the means to combat that, like wearing denim or some bits of layered scrap metal around our necks (like some kind of scrap lamellar scarf or neck brace) or just some layered cloth, if you guys are going for realism a gambeson would be pretty much all you need to stop a zombie bite.

It's as easy to avoid as checking your six. Same as the current game.

 

Armour will likely have to wait for another update. This one is overstuffed, as it is.

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