Q&A: Class4 And Design

Happy Friday, survivors! To give your weekend an extra injection of awesome, I bring you our second Q&A session. In this set, we’ll talk a little more about Class4, and field a few more design-related questions.

Let’s get started!

Many readers have asked: “How big will Class4 be?”

Short response: Class4 will be much bigger than Class3. As far as it’s actual scope goes, we’re planning to wait until we’re further into Class3 production before we decide just how big the Class4 world will be.

When you’re early in development on a new project, it can be hard to gauge exactly how long it takes your team to create fun, polished content. By waiting until we’re further along on Class3, we’ll be able to do a much more realistic job of planning out the Class4 world.

So we’ll have to see, but it’s a safe bet that a persistent online world shared by thousands of players would need to be pretty large.

AlquedaBunny from MMOZed asks: “Is there going to be a time difference between Class3 and Class4?”

It’s too early for us to talk story specifics, but we CAN say that the events of Class3 precede Class4, and that the two games take place in the same world. Think of Class4 as the inevitable result of a Class3 outbreak that has not been contained.

Without revealing too many details, I’ll say that we’re not talking about jumping generations into the future. One of the big thrills of zombie apocalypse stories is that they take place in our world, where everything is recognizable and familiar. We don’t want to skip so far ahead in time that the world starts to feel like sci-fi instead of the grounded survival horror that’s at the heart of the premise.

MNM1245 asks in an article comment: “I’m kind of confused about the “Class3″ and “Class4″ thing. Does Class4 just add online support? Will we have to purchase Class4 to get the online portion even if we already bought Class3?”

Class4 will do a lot more than just add online support to Class3. It’s best to think of it as a sequel.

Class3 is our smaller scale, open-world XBLA (Xbox Live Arcade) game that will allow 1-2 people to play together online though Xbox Live or together on the same screen. This game will come out first.

Class4 is our large scale, full online world game that will allow thousands of players to run around simultaneously in a much larger server-hosted world. It will have more weapons, vehicles and zombie types. In addition to vastly greater scope, Class4 will revise and expand any number of game systems like weather, vehicle customization, player-to-player trade, and technology research. It will have types of content specifically designed for having a vast number of players online at the same time. This game will come out after Class3.

Many readers ask: “Will Class4 also be on Xbox 360?”

Yes, Class4 will almost certainly be on Xbox 360. As Jeff mentions in his Rude Q&A:

This isn’t a religious issue for us; we simply want to focus our time, energy, and resources on doing one thing and doing it exceedingly well. Cross-platform development, particularly when you’re pushing technical boundaries as hard we intend to, is complicated and time consuming, and we’d rather focus on gameplay and polish. Focusing on a single platform — particularly one that has a thriving online community — allows us to stay focused on making a great game, rather than wading through the technical and business challenges of supporting multiple platforms.

It’s actually very difficult and time consuming to develop for multiple platforms at once. Different consoles (and PCs) have a number of technical, social, and community differences, so creating a game that works for every one is a huge challenge.

As with anything else, choosing to spread yourself too thin puts quality at risk and can often result in a game that’s less awesome than it could be. We don’t want to do that! Instead, we want to focus on making our game as fun and as polished as can be, which is why we’re choosing to target one platform.

drjakle asks in an article comment: “Have you guys thought about adding keyboard and mouse support to the game?”

We’re building Class3 and Class4 as console-only action games that are meant to be played with a controller. Everything about their design will reflect that purpose, so for that reason, we won’t be supporting keyboard and mouse. The games will both look and feel like they have been made for console.

Monkey Timelord asks in an article comment: “Will there be crafting? Maybe taking a truck and a load of players to building sites and scrap yards to look for raw materials that you then take back to your safe zone and break down and make stronger doors and fences and armour for vehicles and body armour?”

Hell yeah! We’ll keep the mechanics for things like this pretty simple in Class3, but you’ll be able to drive a truck to a construction site, load it up with materials, and then go back home to reinforce your base’s perimeter. At least, you’ll have that option. And we highly recommend doing so.

Daniel asks in an article comment: “Will there be trading among other players or AI characters? Or will there be currency?”

There will be some kind of commerce, but it won’t involve the kind of money you’d find at a bank. We wouldn’t care if someone threw a backpack full of hundred-dollar bills at us after the zombie apocalypse, and we don’t expect your characters to either.

Verterdegete from MMOZed asks: “Will there be any fluff material accompanying these games? As in novels, comic books, short stories, or timeline videos?”

We won’t rule out the possibility of ever developing extras like this in the future — if you look around the Lab at all of our zombie stuff, you’ll see that we’re huge nerds that like to collect cool things. However, our primary focus right now is on making the game, so that will take priority over any promotional projects we may want to tackle.

For now, at least. When we’ve made an awesome game for you, THEN we’ll think about comics and toys.

Stephane LAbbe asks in an article comment: “Will there be a day and night cycle in the game? Will this impact gameplay?”

Phinney asked that I not answer this question so that we could devote a future design article to it, but then sent me a few potentially NSFW links showing the coolness of day and night cycles.

Ugh. Sometimes he’s not as funny as he thinks he is.

And there you have it! I hope that you guys enjoyed these two Q&A sessions. As always, we encourage you to share your questions and thoughts directly with the devs here at undeadlabs.com, or with fellow survivors at fan forums like MMOZed.com. While we may not be able to respond to everything immediately, you never know. Your question could be answered in an upcoming article!

Have a great, zombie-filled weekend. If you’re looking for a funny flick to relax with, I recommend Fido. Or, if you prefer tropical islands and watching zombies fight sharks, Zombi 2 (or Zombie), may be right up your alley.