Quick and Dirty Q&A

I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to turn around a Q&A with less than a day’s notice. My newly-acquired expertise in pit traps paid off, though, and I caught a dev. I gathered up a few of your questions and threw them down. He answered what he could, and he gets the ladder if you’re satisfied.

As I warned you, I ducked the release date questions like boneless cat doing the limbo. If I commit a date to print this early, I’Il jinx it. I won’t have that blood on my hands.

Speaking of blood, read on to see if I should fetch Producer Jess’s ladder, and let Jeff out of the pit.

How many zombies can the game engine produce without crashing?

The question is not how many zombies the game can produce without crashing; it’s how many zombies can the game produce without becoming an interactive slideshow. This is especially challenging in an open-world game, where you have a huge map (~8 km2 playable) with zeds everywhere.

We’ve had to write a substantial amount of technology to maintain a decent frame rate while still making you feel like the world is full of your undead fellow citizens. Some of it is simple tricks, and some if it is quite sophisticated engineering. For example, we spawn zombies as you get close, but we choose spawn locations carefully, e.g. behind buildings, fences, and trees. You never even see them spawning, and the illusion is that they were there the entire time.

…which allows them to chase you, fight you, bite you, pull you into little pieces and eat you, jump out a house window at you, rip off the door and pull you out of your truck…Moving up the complexity scale, we have several tiers of AI, since running AI is expensive. It takes surprisingly smart AI to make zombie behaviors that are believably dumb. Zombies you see in the distance are running a very simple, dumbed-down AI that allows them to path around and investigate sounds, and not much else. As they get closer their AI is replaced with more sophisticated AI that lets them investigate sounds or lights, or interact with the world markup such as climbing fences. Finally, as you get very close to them, we give them the most sophisticated AI, which allows them to chase you, fight you, bite you, pull you into little pieces and eat you, jump out a house window at you, rip off the door and pull you out of your truck… You get the idea. The code manages the transition between these AI states so you don’t perceive the difference.

So the answer to the question is that the world has literally thousands of zombies. That’s not to say you can be surrounded by a thousand zombies at a time, but if you do stupid things, like starting a car close to a horde, or breaking into a house by shattering the window, you can expect to have a few football teams worth of visitors heading your way.

When will there be more gameplay footage/spycam video?

We’re working on it. Now that we are heading into the final stages of production it’s a bit harder to get away with the spycam footage. That said, we’d love to share some official footage, so that’s the plan from here. Stay tuned.

How much progress (and in what areas) has happened since we last heard from you?

Our focus over the past few months has been to reach the alpha stage of production, which means the game is playable from beginning to end. It may not be bug free (well, it’s not even remotely bug free), and some parts of it are merely roughed in, but you can by-god sit down and play it all the way through. To be clear, there is still a ton of work to do: animation polish, combat polish, simulation system tuning and balancing, fleshing out the tech tree, performance improvements, UI refinement, voiceover (VO) production, story tweaks, and the massive, massive effort of bug fixing and balance tuning the whole parade. So, we still have a lot of work to do, but we might just see the finish line coming up over the horizon.

Will the game be available on the new Xbox 720?

The what? Anyway, nope. The Xbox 360 is the exclusive console platform for Class3.

What kind of weapons will we be able to make?

You can build items in your Workshop, and as you upgrade the Workshop to a Machine Shop or Munitions Shop you can build more sophisticated weapons, including firecrackers, grenades, firebombs (Molotov cocktails), and various types of land mines.

Will we be able to kludge together barricades/defenses out of found objects? How exactly do you barricade a building?

You can’t build from found objects. Certain structures are available to build when you’ve obtained the requisite materials and have enough labor supply (i.e. your fellow survivors) to build them.

You can barricade a building after establishing it as an outpost (meaning it is a regular source of supplies for your base), and then choosing which windows/doors you want to barricade. We’re nice, because we don’t make you find the wood. We’re mean, because hammering in those nails makes a lot of racket, and, as you can probably guess, zombies like a good racket.

Do loud noises attract zombies? Could you distract a zombie by throwing a rock near it and then killing it while its head was turned?

Zombies are attracted to all kinds of noises. You have to be careful when moving through the world, and constantly make the tradeoff between noise and efficiency. You can jump in that awesome muscle car to go investigate possible survivors at the Swine & Bovine restaurant, but be prepared to draw unwanted attention from the locals. You can speed up your search for medicine in that house across the street from your base, but if you go too fast you’re going to make noise and risk getting penned in. And yes, you can throw a string of firecrackers off the roof to draw every zed in town while you make your stealthy getaway down the ladder at the back of the building.

What’s the Swine & Bovine? You’ve never heard of it? Only the best family restaurant in Trumbull Valley, where both pig and cow are the specialty. For our fellow fans of never having to make the terrible choice between the two, here are some wallpapers from our art director Doug to celebrate your freedom.

Can you tell us about the different kinds of zombies?

Our goal is to create a believable zombie apocalypse, where the zombies are undead humans, rather than reskinned demons or horrific tentacle beasts. That’s not to say all zombies are the same, because the source of the zombie infection (which remains for you to discover) can have varying effects depending on the morphology of the victim. We do have both fast and slow zombies (we like our Dawn and our 28 too…), which makes for some interesting tactical situations. And yes, we do have those special zombies, the likely result of victims who had “special” characteristics in life, that will make your life even more of a living hell when you stumble across them. I’m not going to spoil the surprise with too many details, but I will tell you that the pretty guy to the right is one of them…

What do you think, will these tidbits tide you over the weekend? If not, I’m already collecting questions for next week, so feel free to leave yours in the comments. See you next week — it’s going to be a busy summer…

— Sanya

  1. Researcher: Devin R.
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Fantastic and so good to hear from the Dev. team again. All of this is exciting stuff and I love everything in this article. Can’t wait to see more of what Undead Labs brings to such an exciting new game.

    • Researcher: that1guy
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      in the spycam footage i remember seeing something on the to do list saying something about swine and bovine

      ALSO when we play co op, will we play on a different world than on our single player map because i would like to have my own base on one map and one on me and my partners map

    • Researcher: DariusG187
      Date Recorded: June 25, 2012 at 7:58 am

      Will there be Character Creation in Class3? Because for me personally it’s a really feature and it is pretty much a selling point for me – if a game has character creation = auto-purchase ;D

  2. Researcher: Robert
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 4:00 pm

    Would there be people npcs that come out friendly but when your back turn try to kill you.

    • Researcher: hayden
      Date Recorded: June 23, 2012 at 12:54 pm

      will it be multiplayer.

    • Researcher: Paul
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm

      He already answered the multiplayer question. class 3 is 2 player co-op, class 4 which is like a sequal if you will, is almost an MMO of sorts.

    • Researcher: DerpAlert
      Date Recorded: June 25, 2012 at 3:30 am

      I thought they mentioned when they announced using cryengine3 gor class 3 that they had to drop the 2 player co-op because the engine cant handle it.

    • Researcher: Survivalting
      Date Recorded: June 25, 2012 at 10:06 am

      cryengine3 doesn’t support split screen so class3 is 2 player coop online only .

  3. Researcher: Survivalting
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Nice Q&A Sanya, and wow i don’t know what what else to say just WOW, good work UL’s sounds like you’ve made loads of progress in the past few months :)
    I have a question;
    you said ‘you can play it from start to finish’ but even after we’ve Finished the ‘story’ side of the game will we still be able to play on in that same world so you never truly complete the game as such just continue to survive ?

  4. Researcher: captelmo
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Wowser! It’s sounding so very cool!

    I’m guessing this question likely falls into the ‘hell don’t ask us now’ category but…

    are there any whispers of this nightmare’s true name? Class 3 was always supposed to be a code name.

    • Researcher: qwerty
      Date Recorded: June 23, 2012 at 9:39 am

      probably later on they’ll announce it along with a release date

    • Researcher: qwerty
      Date Recorded: June 23, 2012 at 10:04 am

      heres an idea what if you guys had a stats page for your player and it had how many days you have survived and zombies killed people revived etc etc

    • Researcher: captelmo
      Date Recorded: June 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

      Yeh I like this. I saw a vid of Dayz the other day where two guys killed a bandit. The dead guy posted on chat that he’d had the character alive for about 10 days and, by dying, had lost all that loot. He was gutted! hehehe!

    • Researcher: qwerty
      Date Recorded: June 23, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      i really like the perma death thing, ive seen dayz but never played it before

    • Researcher: captelmo
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 1:58 am

      Me neither, currently downloading all the install files etc. for it and it’s a beast! I figured £20 for the main game isn’t too bad. If I get bored of Dayz I can always fire up Arma2 itself :D

      I’m with you on the permadeath thing. I think it will really make people think before they leap. You get very cavalier otherwise lol. if permadeath is at least an option in Class 3 that would be good. Say, say if your buildings and supplies were all still there but it moved to a completely different part of the map and there’s a low prob that your supplies will be there when you finally make it back to your corpse. At least that way the world never truly ends?

    • Researcher: Paul
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      I like the stats page, and the whole corpse idea.. I think it’d be a zed by then. but don’t move the supplies, because.. You see, this would contredict the system in the game where if you were to park a truck in the woods, and go back to the spot… It’d still be there.

    • Researcher: that1guy
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      u know ialmost wish they wuld keep the title class3 lik that could be the name of the virus or something

    • Researcher: twiztid
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      i kinda doubted the perma death at first, but after watching dayz videos i gotta say it seems like a bad ass idea. the only thing though since class 3 and 4 will have a story unlike dayz maybe have an auto save after you complete a quest that way you would’nt have to start the story over. but once you finish the story if you die you start off where the story ended.

    • Researcher: Survivalting
      Date Recorded: June 25, 2012 at 10:14 am


      You know that class3 means;
      A huge crisis. Class 3 outbreaks, more than any other, demonstrate the clear threat posed by the living dead. Zombies will number in the thousands, encompassing an area of several hundred miles.

      And class4 means;
      What if the unthinkable happened? If zombie hordes grew large enough to dominate the entire planet? This would be a class 4 or a doomsday outbreak, in which humanity is driven to the brink of extinction.

      This is according to ‘Max Brooks Zombie survival guide’ hence why they used ‘class3′ and ‘class4′ as code-names for there games because of what they mean to zombie fans . Please stick with these names when you release UL’s ! :)

    • Researcher: qwerty
      Date Recorded: June 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      It would be a refreshing name for a zombie game

  5. Researcher: Pieter Kuperus
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Sweet Q&A Sanya! :D

  6. Researcher: Sicarius
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    So glad to see more updates, after seeing all the news about other studios I started to fear the worst!

    Excitement back up to 11!

  7. Researcher: Kevin Ryman
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    Excellent, glad to see a new Q&A. Thanks for getting it out to us! A lot of good and very interesting information. Great to hear you actually need other people to build large structures as opposed to just need the materials and it magically appearing. I look forward to hearing more about base and building mechanics. Thanks again for the new information Sanya.

  8. Researcher: Leo Pusateri
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    Will Class 3 require either Gold and/or an HD Screen for Mutliplayer?

    • Researcher: CrimsonEagle
      Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm

      I’m doubting that a Gold membership will be required to play the game, but I’m sure you will need one to play co-op. Also, I’m just going to go ahead and say an HD screen will not be required for multiplayer. No split screen, no minecraft-esque shenanigans requiring an HDTV.

    • Researcher: Paul
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

      It’s going on Xbox live arcade…. if you don’t have gold, no arcade. No arcade, no class 3.

    • Researcher: Survivalting
      Date Recorded: June 25, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Lol you’ll only need xbox live silver(which is free anyway) to buy the game and to play it by yourself, however to play online coop you will need gold.

  9. Researcher: Tandy
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Im curious to what can be customized, do we create a character or have you already designed one for us?

    • Researcher: izzy
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm

      most likely u will be able to create ur own character becuz it talks about being able to play multiplayer up 2 players online so im assuming u both cant play as the same character so u should be able to make your own

    • Researcher: isac
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      yes in deed

    • Researcher: isaiah
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm

      u will most likley be able to create your own character becuz in the Q&A it says your able to play multiplayer with 2 players online so im assuming u both cant play as the same people sooo that meens we are probably going to be making our own character

  10. Researcher: Brian
    Date Recorded: June 22, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Well, you’re paying for my funeral because I just died.

    The answers were great, the pictures were beautiful, you’ve done tons of awesome work in the past couple days that has just thrilled us to no end, and our favorite game is getting near completion!

    You are awesome. I would propose, but your man is likely bigger than me.

    • Researcher: Ruben
      Date Recorded: June 23, 2012 at 2:51 am


    • Researcher: Ruben
      Date Recorded: June 23, 2012 at 2:52 am

      oop didn’t mean to post the previous message xD thought that it was my personal message but anyways, can you shoot limbs off the zeds while they are still alive? And when the limb is off they just keep going?

    • Researcher: qwerty
      Date Recorded: June 23, 2012 at 9:38 am

      to dismember them when there dead would be really cool as well instead of them just disappearing

    • Researcher: -Sam B
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 8:45 am

      Will zombies be able to pumble you? like take you down and overpower you in a cinimatic type of way, depending the size and/or quantity of the zeds?

    • Researcher: Fideon
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 10:08 am

      oh yes this are such good news! thanks a lot for the Q&A. very good news because 2 months went by without any information and lots of people feared the worst. that the project had been cancelled. but hell no! completely the opposite, the dev team was working hard and now we return to our excited state waiting eagerly for more news keep up the job guys!!!

    • Researcher: that1guy
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm

      HEY! HEY! wil there be a predetermined number of survivors, or will they be randomly generated

    • Researcher: Ghost Kage
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm

      Great stuff so far. Really looking forward to this game. Couple of questions if you want to throw them into the next Q&A.

      - How will food and water affect the player controlled character and other NPC survivors? Will scavenging for supplies (food, water, ammunition) take a big role in this game?

      - Will the weapons we see be realistic and gritty or are they going to be Dead Island’s electrocuting, flaming, and glowing style?

      - Can you take up refuge in any enterable building?

      - Will it be necessary to sleep in Class3?

      - Do the zombies in Class3 require headshots or is it damage based?

      Thanks Sanya for the frequent updates, your doing a great job!

    • Researcher: paul
      Date Recorded: June 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Day Z

    • Researcher: DerpAlert
      Date Recorded: June 25, 2012 at 4:22 am

      Not sure about dismemberment but limb shots slow them down im pretty sure.

      @Ghost Kage
      Scavenging is a huge part of the game, this is a survival game after all. And im pretty sure weapons will be as real as they come, so hopfully no silly Dead island guns. Not sure about it being any building or sleep, but there is definetly a stamina system involved, so sleep is quite possibly neccessary. And finally yes, many times it has been stated you must go for the head to kill a zombie.