All the News From PAX

We had an amazing time with Lifeline at PAX East two weeks ago. Everyone had a blast running around the new map, checking out the new characters and the new facilities, and getting the crap scared out of them while venturing into the underground street tunnels of Danforth.

The live game we played was hilarious. (If you missed me blathering about it before the show: All the jobs and hobbies in the game went into a hat. Each person waiting to do the demo picked one – doctor, sniper, TV watcher, cop, dentist, teacher, high school jock, etc. In order to enter a drawing to win a copy of Lifeline, you had to try and form a survivor enclave with your fellow demo survivors. In order to get a guaranteed win, your group needed at least one medically trained person, a weapons trained person, a construction trained person, and three to seven other people of any ability.) Total strangers were forming groups on the spot. People were camping the booth looking for the rare specialties.

My absolute favorite moment was when a big group of people had everyone except their medic. A nice couple came up behind them, and drew jobs. He got “paramedic.” She got “fisherman.” I couldn’t help it; I had to stir the pot. So I said to the man, “That group only needs a medic. So what are you going to do? If you go with them alone, you automatically survive the apocalypse. But you could tell them that the condition of taking you means making room for her.”

You could see him thinking. You could see HER thinking, “WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE TO THINK ABOUT THIS!?”

But the existing group heard me. Remember, they weren’t friends. They’d just been thrown together by circumstance, people that happened to have a good spread of skills and talents. And you could see THEM thinking… “of course he’s going to want to bring his wife. Who are we going to kick out of the group so we can have the medic?”

It was completely awesome. It was like watching State of Decay coming to life.

(Then one of the original group members actually read the rules card, and shouted, “Wait, we only have eight people and we’re allowed to have up to ten! We have room for both of you!” and the moment passed with hilarity all around.)

But that was just what we did to kill time in line. Watching people play Lifeline was a huge moment for us. It was the first time players had their hands on it, and until you all have tried it out, we don’t really know how it’s going to go. If the PAX crowd was any indication, this is going great.

All we know for sure about launch right now is “early June” and “probably close to what Breakdown cost.” As for more game details, Geoffrey is in the middle of writing his next design article this one a good look at the new facilities and outposts. But if you can’t wait, what I have here is the most complete round up of PAX coverage that I could put together.

Game Informer: The 20 Best Things We Saw At PAX
Game Informer: Hands-On Preview
“A new map, new weapons, and new challenges await in the second State of Decay expansion.”

Hypefestation: Video

IGN: Why State of Decay Lifeline is Awesome
IGN: (Gameplay video)

Massively/Joystiq: SoD Eyes Multiplayer; Stays Offline
“While it’s broadly accurate to say that State of Decay is a template for an eventual MMO, the game has stood on its own and served as a very successful title.”

OmNomPixels: Video

Polygon:  Preview and Interview
Polygon: (All the screenshots in the press kit)

Ten Ton Hammer: Top Picks From Pax
“What it is: A very worthy expansion to one of the best zombie apocalypse simulators on the planet
“What we saw at PAX: A complete rundown of what makes Lifeline tick, and why it isn’t just more landmass tacked onto the original game”

Xbox Gamer: Lifeline Preview
“I had a smile on my face the whole time, as did Chris as he explained the game to me and watched me die a couple of times by hordes of zombies.”

If you’re still working on your post, podcast, or video, send me the link for inclusion here as soon as you’re done!

Did I miss any? What do you think about what you’ve read so far? Tell us in the forum by clicking the green tape.

Catch a Lifeline at PAX East

On Friday, April 11, at the Boston Convention Center, we’d like to see as many State of Decay players as possible…because it’ll be the first time players besides us get their hands on an alpha build of Lifeline. We’ll also be announcing the release date.

Boom.

BOOM.

BOOM.

The team at the show (which runs from the 11th through the 13th) consists of me, Jeff, Geoffrey, Chris, Brant, and Cale. For those of you new to Undead Labs (which includes Cale, actually), that translates as a ridiculous amount of fun.

I’m really sorry we had to bail on the live stream we were hoping to do before the show (and by the way, we’ve already rescheduled it for the end of the month). We’re still in the throes of bug testing, and we just ran out of time. We had to choose between making a build streamable, and making a build playable. We went with playable, because we always go with playable.

It’s not just an alpha build/first look at Lifeline. It’s not just the live action game we’ll be playing where survivors (of the demo) try to form survivor enclaves in order to win a copy of Lifeline. It’s not just the spectacle of our fearless leader and the DLC’s lead designer trying to outdo each other with entertaining presentations. It’s not even the morale patches we’ll be handing out. It’s the whole package. Please come and be a part of it at Booth 1039. Come down the right escalator, turn right at Twitch, and look for the sandbags.

See? Sandbags!

See? Sandbags!

* Do you write for a website? Podcast? Stream? Make cool YouTube videos? Email me – sanya at undeadlabs dot com – ASAP to get on our media schedule.

Click the green comment tape to leave questions for those of you who can make it, or to let me know to expect you!

Mini Lifeline Q&A

Things are really hopping around here, behind the scenes. Not only are we cranking on Things That Cannot Be Named as well as Lifeline (the next DLC, in case you’ve forgotten or missed one or the other design articles to date), but we also packed up all our earthly peripherals and set ourselves up in our new office. Apparently, artists and programmers don’t do their best work when they’re sitting on the floor under the microwave, so we had to move to bigger digs with enough desk space for everyone.

We put together a quick and dirty Q&A to answer your questions while we count down to the first live stream (second week in April!) and PAX (first hands on with our players!). Join us in the forum for the Q&A and the cake and pie party that will follow.

Rucks In Trucks. And Cars.

The second most requested feature for State of Decay has just been roughed out, and is now in testing. That’s right. One of the features of the fifth free Title Update (TU5) will allow you to toss a bag full of stuff into the back of your vehicle and drive it away. I spoke to Programmer Chris to get the details. (Our Steam players might recognize the name as one of the two people who did the PC version, but Chris works on all things State of Decay.) Here is the plan:

Chris says: “We have added a trunk interaction to the back of all vehicles. This means you can take your favorite car with you on a supply run and load it up before the long trek home. You have to be careful, however, as vehicles are vulnerable; our plan right now is that a destroyed vehicle takes with it everything that it was carrying. You can still interact with the inventories on vehicles that have been flipped – allowing you to rescue your precious resources before they go kaput. Finally, in lieu of having to ‘unload the groceries’ by making individual trips back and forth between the vehicle and community storage when you reach a base, you can instead drive the vehicle into a parking spot (indicated when you’re driving up) to automatically turn in rucksacks. All other inventory remains in the vehicle.”

Wait. What? “Other inventory”?

Basically, each vehicle now has an inventory with a limited number of slots, same as any container. A rucksack is considered one item and takes up one slot, even if that rucksack is full. If you drive a vehicle up to a parking spot, the rucks will be automatically unloaded, but anything NOT a rucksack will stay in the vehicle until you move it.

My hoarders reading this should not get too excited. There are some game limitations we’re dealing with, here, so you won’t be able to fill up every trunk in every car on the entire map. Chris says “there are a limited number of vehicles that you can maintain inventory in at a time.” We don’t yet know exactly how many loaded vehicles we can get away with, but we’ll let you know when we know.

We are still determining how many slots there will be in a vehicle, so I can’t answer that yet, either.

This feature will be free, of course, and appear in the original game, Breakdown, and Lifeline.

So…what do you think? Let us know in the comments…

Пережить Апокалипсис …по-русски

This announcement is for our Russian-speaking players on Steam, in case “Survive the Apocalypse…in Russian” written in Russian wasn’t clear. We wanted to let you know that a translation is in progress right now for the Steam version of State of Decay, and that you should have it sometime in the spring.

Because of the memory limits we’ve already hit on the Xbox, we can’t squeeze in the Cyrillic font set over there, so this will only be for PC players. That different alphabet is also why it will be spring before you’ll have it – the process is more complex than it is for languages that use the Roman alphabet.

But together with Microsoft we looked at where our players lived, we saw a lot of game reviews and watched a lot of YouTube videos in Russian, we listened to feedback (especially from our Steam community), and we think our Russian community is big enough that we really should offer the game in that language. The plan is to launch the original game and Breakdown in Russian at the same time, and going forward, future expansions will be translated at the same time as our other languages.

We are really looking forward to seeing what our Russian community will do. So, tell your friends to watch out for a real aпокалипсис coming this spring!

Throw Me a Lifeline

We are super excited to unveil the name and logo of our second expansion pack. It’s called “State of Decay: Lifeline.” Judging from the chatter on Twitter and Facebook, this may be relevant to your interests, as the saying goes.

No, there is no final release date. We are just now digging into the internal playtest process (which is how our favorite stalkers players on Steam found out about the title a couple of days ago – with PC testing, we are playing using Steam, so we can experience it the way you do). We’re not yet ready to discuss features or make promises. All we can tell you is that it will offer you a new way to play your favorite survival game, that we intend to launch on PC and the Xbox 360 at the same time, and that yes, it will broaden your horizons by a few kilometers.

Fine, I’ll say it straight up: There’s a new map, okay? ;)

We’re hard at work, though, and we’re close to having everything nailed down. Look for Geoffrey’s design article before the end of the month. Meanwhile, check out Lifeline’s snazzy new logo:

lifelineLogoFinal_WhiteLettering

If you love the idea of a new map, be sure to let us know in the comment thread!

2013 Was a Damned Good Year

I can’t talk about the future, but I can talk about the past. We’d like to shout out all the sites and writers who honored us with an inclusion in a 2013 summary/writeup/roundup/nomination/thing. Thank you for your time and talents, y’all.

In alphabetical order:

Cracked, Robert Brockway’s Year of the Crapocalypse: “Good God, they’ve done it. They made the zombie game we’ve all been demanding for the last 10 years (and by we, I mean me), and they actually did it right.”

Dialog Wheel, Ten “Best” Games of the Year: “Emergent storytelling is at its best here, allowing players to discuss the game like a personal memory. You actually grow attached to the characters you grow with and yell as they scream for their life when you make a single mistake.”

Game Developer’s Choice Award nominee, Best Debut.

Gamespot Editor’s Top Ten:

Justin Calvert: “State of Decay, which dominated 100 percent of my gaming time from the moment I downloaded it on Xbox Live Arcade until I’d finished it with every achievement, is sure to get another play now that its Breakdown downloadable content has been released. Piledriving zombies has never been so much fun.”

Eddie Makuch: “And my faith in zombie games was restored after playing State of Decay, which emphasizes intelligent decision making through its permadeath feature.”

Aaron Sampson: “Hard feels like it has been missing from some of my favorite genres for a while. State of Decay gave you enough rope to hang yourself with…”

Gaming Precision, Bunneh’s Top Five: “State of Decay is without a doubt probably the best zombie game I’ve ever played.”

IGN‘s Games We Played The Most: “State of Decay is easily my biggest off-duty time sink.”

IGN‘s Xbox 360 GOTY Nominees: (At 2:22) “WHAT? Holy… you haven’t played State of Decay? One of my favorite games of the year, ladies and gentlemen!”

Leviathyn, #1 PC Game of the Year: “State of Decay presented the open world apocalyptic adventure I didn’t even know I was searching for.”

Virtual Inn (Italian site), Best Downloadable Game: “With a unique mix of sandbox, survival horror and [a] sprinkling of RPG, [State of Decay] has brought to the world of video games a unique title that will surely be remembered (and most likely copied) for a very long time.”

XBLAFans Game Of The Year: “For me, State of Decay is probably the purest representation of what XBLA has always strived for: risk, experimentation, creativity and the establishment of a platform where smaller development studios could achieve greatness.”

I’m just one person and may have missed a few. If you know of an article or video featuring State of Decay that belongs here, post a link in the comment thread. And thanks again, everybody, for all of your own commentary. Being your personal game of the year was the highest honor we could get, and we sure do appreciate each one of you.

12.24.13
Fans, News, Wallpapers

A Gift That Won’t Die. Or Stay Dead.

What a year. I mean…well, what I’m trying to say is…it’s just that…what a year. Thank you all for your support, your suggestions, your bug reports, and your enthusiasm for what the future might bring. In that spirit, we have some wallpaper!

holiday2013_wallpaper800x600

 

12.5.13
Fans

Pardon the Dust, But…

The forum has returned! And there was much rejoicing! Oh, man, y’all, I can’t tell you how happy we are to be live again. We miss you when the forums are down.

Just a few notes before the party commences. One, you’ll note we’re on a new platform. We like the speed and technical support, and we think you will, too. Don’t get too attached to the visuals, though. We’ll be changing those over the next few days, time permitting. We just thought you would rather have the forum up as soon as we could put the “fun” in “functional,” instead of depriving you while we messed around with colors and icons.

Two, the less said about the last few days, the better. Someday, there will be a gathering of all of us State of Decay players, and I will tell stories of this week complete with what I’m told are very entertaining gestures. Until that day, let’s just focus on the good. But thank you, very much, for your reports, your encouraging words, and your support.

More stuff on the forum, if you click the comment button. Welcome home, everyone!

11.30.13
Fans

Other Social Channels

You may have notice our forums are down. They’ll be down until at least Monday. We’re just not a big team with tons of resources, and we depend on others for help with technical problems…people that aren’t always available on a Saturday during a holiday weekend :)

In the meantime! For news and information, please keep an eye on the only official social channels for Undead Labs and State of Decay:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/undeadlabs

Twitter: @undeadlabs

We always share our news with our community first!

Secret note to Steam people: We do lurk at the official Steam group for State of Decay and I post official news and announcements there whenever I have anything. We aren’t the moderators, however, and I am aware that their approach to threads about game mods/modding is different from ours. Just hang in there – we will be back as soon as we can.