News Review 321

Ragdolls, Land Mines, and Tentacles, or Just Another Day at the Lab

In January we posted a spy-cam video of the Lab that included some footage of the in-development version of Class3. You responded with a massive amount of comments and questions, so today we’re going to tackle some of them in a new Q&A.

Read on for fresh new details about Class3!

Question from ‘Sorryaboutmyverbaldiarreah’: Will there be load screens when entering different regions (ex: a house) and will we be able to enter all buildings?

Class3 is a true open-world game, so conveying a sense of freedom and the joy of exploration is a core pillar of the game. We don’t want you debating whether the load time is a price worth paying for entering a building, so we’ve invested in the technology to allow the world to be seamless with no loading screens.

Whether all buildings could be entered was a significant debate early in the project. It takes a substantial amount of time to model the interiors of every building, of course, but more importantly, we don’t want to create a game that forces you to enter hundreds of mostly empty buildings to find the cool stuff. Ultimately we were able to solve both of these issues, so yes, you will be able to enter every building in the game, unless there is some visible reason why you shouldn’t be able to (e.g. it is collapsed, or burned out).

‘Seth, building a base’ queues us up to talk about something fun: I like how it looks except the zombies are a little too fast and that one fat-guy zombie broke right through the barricades which kind of disappointed me because I was hoping to camp out in a building for a couple of days, but then I thought, ”Maybe his construction skill is too low, or maybe he didn’t have very good supplies to build a barricade strong enough”.

The snippet of siege play you saw in the spy-cam video showed a dilapidated farmhouse under a massive, sustained siege from multiple hordes, including a particularly large zombie who was quite effective at smashing down the barricades. In general, barricades will last longer than you’d assume from the footage. While barricades are at best a temporary measure, they can be an effective means of slowing down a horde attack if you inadvertently give away your presence.

Listen, download, and enjoy!

A comment from the mysterious ‘M.’ states: Lots of cool things in the “Spy Cam” footage. The music theme was also really good… ominous, while not being overwhelming.

That music is a piece composed for the game by our audio director Kevin Patzelt. You can check out more of Kevin’s music on his band’s Facebook page.

We’ve received a ton of comments about the music, so as a special treat for our fans we’ve decided to release the track you heard playing in the video footage. Listen, download, and enjoy!

Kevin does great work, but he can’t personally do it all, so we recently selected the composer for Class3. We’ll be announcing who it is in the next few weeks, and I’m pretty sure you’re going to be excited when we do. No joke.

‘qwerty’ asks: Is Class3 still going to be split screen? I’m just wondering because most open-world-like games I know of don’t support it.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to include split-screen play in Class3. CryENGINE 3 does not natively support split-screen, and we’re already pushing the engine to its limits to create the open, seamless world of Class3. Rewriting major components of the engine to support split-screen would be a massive undertaking and cause substantial delay to the release of the game.

‘Pepe’ states: By the way, Zed Team, I would love to see some great (and freaking hard) achievements for this game. Like blowing up 50 zedheads with a grenade, or make 5 headshots with a single sniper rifle bullet…

Those are great ideas, Pepe. I’d also love to see achievements like launching a zombie over 30 yards by hitting it with a vehicle, or tossing it over 30 feet in the air with a land mine, or using a chain of land mines to blow up a zombie, or, killing X zombies with an exploding vehicle.

Just, you know, for example. ;)

‘Joseph’ expresses his wishes: Hopefully there will be some sort of climbing in this, like jumping over gates, jumping to grab a ledge so on and so forth.

Climbing, jumping, grabbing, throwing, hanging, ducking, diving, and peeking — these are the sorts of things that make the world feel like a real place, rather than a stage set. This kind of organic interaction with the world has been one of our highest priorities from the start of development, and I can absolutely confirm that that you can do all these things.

‘Josh’ asks if we know what he means: This is just a hope, but I really hope cars are not totally disposable at every turn. Making it a real decision to leave the compound with a truck, for practical purposes of bring back larger pieces of salvage, or choosing to go on foot, for fear of losing your only vehicle. You know what I mean?

Vehicles are precious assets in Class3. Not only can they get you to remote areas quickly for rescue missions or resource runs, they also afford substantial protection as you drive through zed-infested areas. On the other hand, if you trash your truck, you’re not guaranteed to find a serviceable replacement around the next corner. In fact, you might be in real trouble; stranded out in the middle of nowhere, or in the midst of the town’s heavily infested industrial district, short on supplies and nowhere near a safe house.

Class3 tracks and remembers all the vehicles in the game, including where they are, who currently ‘owns’ them, and their damage state. If you destroy a vehicle—accidentally, by crashing it or trying to plow through one too many hordes, or intentionally, by making good use of its explosive potential—it will stay destroyed. If you park it out in the boonies somewhere, it’ll stay there. If you “borrow” it from another survivor group without permission, they probably won’t be too happy with you.

If you’re careless, you may eventually find yourself without a ride. However, sometimes you’ll discover new vehicles in places you’ve already explored, perhaps abandoned by other survivors who have now moved on. We want cars to be precious and meaningful, but we also won’t make your life a permanent hell if you have a little fun.

‘jakeawesome’ asks: Just out of curiosity, what physics engine are you using for the game, everything just looks so fluid, is it Euphoria?

We are using CryENGINE 3 for Class3. The physics you see in the spy-cam footage are driven by the in-engine physics package. One of the big benefits to using CryENGINE is that the physics implementation is tightly coupled to the engine and associated tools, which allows us to integrate physics-based interactions directly into the core game mechanics.

Rest assured, Class3 is, and always has been, an open-world zombie apocalypse simulation.

‘regie jonosan’ laments: I’ve been following this game for aaaages, seems like the designers are straying from the original premise of an open world rpg zombie apocalypse ‘simulation’ into more of a normal game…

One of the reasons developers are hesitant to release early peeks at raw gameplay is because it’s impossible to convey the breadth of the play mechanics in small snippets. While our spy-cam footage showed some of our core combat and world-interaction mechanics, it did not show some of the more unique elements of Class3 like base building, survivor-community management, manning watch towers, interacting with other survivor communities, researching new technologies, vehicle mechanics, or complex zombie infestation and horde behaviors. Rest assured, Class3 is, and always has been, an open-world zombie apocalypse simulation.

‘ManicDxM’ asks: Will people be like ragdolls if they are hit or fall off a building? That would be cool if they are.

People will ragdoll, yes. And more importantly, so will zombies. We’re making good use of ragdoll physics to let you use your environment as a weapon. Glass windows, trash dumpsters, picket fences, the hood of your trusty pickup—all surfaces with great possibilities for taking out zeds with efficiency and panache.

You could say that the entire game is a perma-death, see-how-long-you-can-live-for experience, but on a large scale.

‘Griff’ asks the Big One: This is a zombie survival game at its core, so is there going to be some sort of perma-death, see-how-long-you-can-live-for survival mode? I just think an “ending” to this game isn’t required, but I know you guys want an epic story.

I’m handing this one over to our creative director James Phinney…

[JP] You could say that the entire game is a perma-death, see-how-long-you-can-live-for experience, but on a large scale. It includes not just the quick, pulse-pounding drama of extended sieges, but also the intense, life-or-death struggle to carve out and defend small pockets of safety in a world overrun by the undead. Will there be throwaway, repeatable survival modes? No. There are other games that do that quite well, and other games that do the zombie-corridor-shooter thing well. I love those kinds of games too, but we’re creating a simulated world.

‘Hartman’ expresses concern about fat zombies: I know obesity is becoming a common sight but those big zombies were a tad too big. it reminds me of Left 4 Dead and any other zombie game I can think of to be honest. Every time I see them its like why did they even put them into the game?

For anyone worried about the imminent arrival of Tentacle Zombie™ and Winged Zombie™: don’t be. This is a game about surviving the zombie apocalypse; not a horror game about mutants or demons or fungus creatures. Our goal is to ensure that Class3 zombies retain their humanity, because that’s a big part of what makes the genre powerful. They are us.

That said, we also want to inject some strategic variability into the game. Some zombies are faster, some slower, some stronger, some louder, some have keener senses, and the like. We will exaggerate the range of human variability (because, hey, that’s part of what makes games fun), but Class3 zeds will always be recognizably human. So sorry, no Tornado Spawning Zombies this time around.

‘Spencer’ wants to kick back with a cool beverage and have some fun with the apocalypse: Remember in Dawn of The Dead when there was a great horde outside the mall? and when the guy with the sniper rifle was holed up on the roof of his shop and taking headshots at zombies? I hope we get to do that.

Oh hell yes.

Here’s our art director Doug modeling the shirt he happened to be wearing today. If you recognize that, you’ll understand our intentions here.

Everyone asks: When the hell does the apocalypse begin?

We’re getting there, folks. We’ll tell you as soon as we can. I can tell you that we’re right on schedule, and that you’ll be learning much (much) more about Class3 this spring.

Stay tuned, fellow survivors!

  1. Researcher: regie jonosan

    THANKS FOR ANSWERING MY QUESTION (made my birthday that little bit better, lol)! this article has really restored my faith in this game, sorry to have strayed… can’t wait to play class 4!!!!!

    just have soooo many more questions about it but i’m gonna stop bugging you guys and let you get on with it… HURRY UP THOUGH!!!!!!

    • Researcher: regie jonosan

      can’t help myself…

      i have billions of questions and suggestions for this game, i know it can get annoying, but i don’t care…

      watch some survival kit videos for some inspiration, seriously, they’re great for attributing value to items, weight and priority. there are some compact kits people have made vs. large heavy duty kits, both with obvious benefits. i think some of the tools in these videos would be an exciting addition to the game, giving you new abilities and valuable collections… acquisition of valuable/rare items in games, especially multilayer games, adds a great competitive edge and each person’s variable collection would act almost like stats, giving survival-abilities/speed/attack/etc, making the game uniquely tailored, personally customized… adding a strategic and fun element.

      reaaally curious about player on player interaction!!! how badly am i going to be able to screw people over!?!?!? really badly i hope, in really dynamic and creative ways, it’s more funny that way. please tell me i can construct a hangman’s noose… please!!!

      that reminds me, check out a game called die2nite (die2nite.com), pretty cool browser based rpg… would provide good inspiration in terms of items and resources. items include drugs, alcohol, food, water, medical supplies, weapons, decorations and misc, there are even wild animals that would can butcher for quality food, once you’ve constructed a butcher’s that is…

      the extent to which they’ve taken the resources is also impressive, and the amount of buildings you can make, upgrade your personal shack, add defenses, watchtower, hangman’s noose, traps, etc etc.

      obviously this game plays out very differently to your own but the mechanics and theory behind the two are similar so here’s a link to check it out, possibly draw some inspiration- http://die2nitewiki.com/wiki/Main_Page

      am i going to be able to chain up a zombie for funny experiments and torment???

      am i going to be able to do the same to other players?! lock them in abandoned prison cells? take people hostage at gunpoint? used to love capturing my neighbors in the sims and keeping them in the ‘dungeon’ for experiments, lol!

      still not understanding the perma-death thing… when i die will i lose aalllll my items, be detached from my base and thrown into a new world? that would be awesome… would make everything so much more valuable, not just items but relationships etc…

      i bet all these questions and suggestions are really annoying you at this point… ;P

      ok gonna leave it there. to break down what i’ve said i’d like this game to be dynamic, hardcore and deep… if you can do that then i’ll probably never buy another game in my life…

      keep up the good work!!! xXXxxXXXXxxx!!!!!!

    • Researcher: regie jonosan

      tried to avoid getting too deep into suggestions about mechanics- sleep, thirst, damage, healing, hunger, etc, systems for how all that works…

      it’s tempting and enjoyable as a fan to explore all those avenues but i bet it gets right under the skin of a game developer… i’ll keep my naive half-baked ideas to myself.

  2. Researcher: BridgeX

    Your articles never cease to make me giggle like a small child in a candy shop. I am beyond psyched for this game. Just tell me where to pre-order the special edition and I’m there ;)

    • Researcher: Rob

      Class 3 and I believe Class 4 will be released solely on Xbox Live

    • Researcher: Ruther

      Correction, Class 3 will be released on XboxLive but Class 4 will be a full released that will hit the shelves, not just xbox live.

  3. Researcher: SirDiamondNips

    I didn’t understand the shirt…

    • Researcher: reidlos dog

      It’s a reference to Dawn of the Dead.

    • Researcher: Mr McDillard

      I was wondering that as well. I know it refers to the News Station from Dawn of the Dead, but how does that tie into any information about the game in terms of their “intentions”, as they put it.

  4. Researcher: UNDEADKILLER

    will their be any aircraft that you can fly because it could be prete cool to fly over some zombies then my met shoots them down with a 50cal even you guys cant say no to that also if theres going to be a night time could you have a genarater to power lights in your base

    • Researcher: RobertLaBeard

      I believe they mentioned something about helicopters for class 4

    • Researcher: Seth

      yes hopefully generators to ligt up my base and then the zombies destroy it
      -lights go out
      -moaning and bangin on door
      -crashin sound and screaming

    • Researcher: regie johonosan

      will there be night clubs in class 4?

  5. Researcher: John

    I’m wondering: will you be able to build barricades according to your own construction ideas? Or will it be more like a tycoon or Sims game? – e.g. “Do you want to board up this window? Click yes or no.”

    I’m hoping construction will be left in the hands of the user somehow. That would really set the game apart. Like if I want to completely board up a window, or just partially. Can we be creative? Like stacking a dozen cars around a house for extra protection?

  6. Researcher: Westy Nine One

    I can understand UL wanting to diversify the kind of zombies that we will encounter. I liked the approach they had in terms of the Runner, Screamer (Does what it says on the tin) etc

    [You answered a closely related question of mine some time ago in another article - "James Westwood"]

    but those giant behemoth type zeds are just a little too cartoonish/goofy for my liking. I understand entirely that the footage shown was by no means final so forgive my possibly pre-emptive scepticism, but their size really does detract from the atmosphere you guys have put so much hard work into crafting. I do hope that the “building” animation that was shown with the hammer is just a place holder too – same drill in regards to it bordering on a cartoony realm.

    I apologise if I may appear to be a little critical, I have watched you guys work so hard on this for years now and those little [personal] blips pall in comparison to the promise that the said footage has shown. I’m merely having my say in the hope that it will be considered :)

    All the best UL, can’t wait for the next instalment! And I wish Emily all the best in whatever she pursues in life; she’ll be missed by us all.

  7. Researcher: Zach

    I can’t freaking wait!!!

  8. Researcher: Tyler

    I have a question. will you be able to clear zombies out of town over time like if there is 100 in a town and you kill all of them will they be there the next time you go back?

  9. Researcher: Brian

    Hey Undead Labs!
    First of all, I loved the article, it was fantastic. All of your articles tend to follow that trend. Also, someone mentioned achievements. Not sure how often you guys stop by MMOZED, but we have a GREAT achivements thread going if you want any more of those. Just thought I’d mention in case you haven’t seen it :)

    • Researcher: Brian

      And after looking at the beginning of the post I realized that you guys have looked at it. Carry on then :)

  10. Researcher: joe

    xbox needs beast games like this cant wait!!(Hail to the redskins 2012)