DayZ Standalone Development Report: New Engine, Possible Delay and Console Port Discussion

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With the current target release date still set for 2012, but with the game running on a new engine and with the servers now going into a MMO Client Model, Dean Hall, creator of the DayZ Mod has discussed some new development updates that could possibly lead to some delays.

The new engine has truly brought many new challenges for the team, but their one commitment, as it seems, is to release a product that is actually completed and working. Yet, the latest changes are scheduled to be done sometime this week. With these changes, the team is unsure just how much of an effect it’ll have on the overall title until they have tested it. This is where the title may possibly slip into next year. Hall told Joystiq:

“But the architectural changes are scheduled to be complete next week. These are still on track to be completed then. But we don’t entirely know what effect these changes will have, if any, on everything else. So there could be a massive amount of unforeseen work that comes out, we just don’t know until it’s done and we test.”

Let me make this very clear, our foundation release (targeted for this year), is simply the beginning. We are committed to a period of development of at least 12 months beyond that. Our aim is to make this foundation strong, and use that time to improve the mechanics not through hacks, but through sound and quality development. Our initial build will test that this base architecture works.

As noted from the Development Blog,

  • Most settings will be forced server-side, such as gameplay and graphical settings (view distance, shadow distance, etc…). The exact nature of this and specific settings is very much subject to change, but this will be a significant departure from how it is currently with the mod.
  • Release will be on steam, using many of steams key features such as delta patching, VAC, server browsing technology. Patches to steam can be deployed by the click of a button in our build pipeline thanks to new technology developed by Steam, that is making our process extremely easy and exciting. We are very pleased that Steam is working with us so actively to make DayZ a great game and supporting us with quality features. I met many at the team at Valve at PAX, and really want to get them playing the game and getting their feedback to help in development. I’m incredibly thankful to people like Chet Faliszek (creator of L4D) who has been very supportive and helpful to me.
  • In using Steam for authentication, distribution, server browsing, etc… we are able to tap into their awesome resources in terms of scalability. The only hardware we then need to manage is the central database, which we already have some experience managing thanks to the DayZ mod. This means we can work towards avoiding the usual launch problems, by relying on the experience of Steam.
  • The controls have been completely rethought, using inspiration and design lessons from games such as Minecraft to make the player more engaged with their environment
  • Animations are being cleaned up to feel more responsive. This means trimming some transitions, so that you get quicker feedback from pressing the key to action (removing he “clunkiness” or “sluggishness”)
  • Player clothing is being implemented including: headwear, jackets, trousers, footwear, etc..
  • Weapons and items are now “entities”. This means they are more object oriented in structure, allowing weapon customization, degradation – the possibilities become endless. This is a major, huge, shift in engine architecture.
  • The Server controls character actions, a player’s client sends its requests and the server decides if this is possible. Our lead programmer in the company, Ondrej Spanel, is working on this currently. I believe this is one of the most radical changes ever implemented in the engine since Operation Flashpoint was released, and turns DayZ from an FPS into a true MMO.
  • A full-time map designer has also started work on ChernarusPlus now, redeveloping the world, placing new assets and buildings, fixing bugs, and creating new areas. This is in addition to the work done by Ivan and Maxell and will continue for the remainder of DayZ development.
  • The UI has been completely reworked, focusing on simplicity. We have studied games that we believe are leaders in this area, such as Minecraft, and are focusing on providing functionality without fancy complexity in this regard.
  • We have some outstanding former community members working on the project as paid members of the team. I hope to showcase their work and interview them on here for you, in the coming weeks and months. We are actively searching for more to bring them onto the team.

Speaking about the console version of the game, we recently reported that it’ll all depend on how well the PC version does commercially. This still stands.

I personally think that, assuming we don’t majorly screw up, once the PC development has stabilized and sales have been good – a console port would be very likely. So, do I think a console port will happen? Yes. But after the PC is done. And by ‘done,’ I mean finished its creative process.

And we know how some have said in the past that the Arma 2 engine would simply not work on consoles, but remember the standalone version has been heavily modified. And although it looks the same, Dean Hall has said that “under the hood so much is being completely rewritten.”

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