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News, Q&A, State of Decay

One Month Until YOSE!

That’s right. Four weeks left until April 28, and the launch of Year One: Survival Edition. We’ve already kicked off the fun with our Last Human Standing game, and already the dice have dealt out some serious mayhem among the nearly 400 participants. There will be more, smaller contests to come as we gear up for the big celebration in four weeks.

For now, we’re starting with the facts. Or the FAQ. If you have any questions about YOSE, check out the post, and if your own question isn’t there, let us know so we can get it handled for you.

Note: Tomorrow is April Fool’s, my least favorite day of the year. The Undead Labs forums, website, and social media channels are April Fool Free Zones. But I still won’t be posting updates unless I absolutely have to. Feel free to join me on the forum, where it’s safe to believe what you read.

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Moonrise, News, Q&A

Moonrise Community Q&A

Thanks to all our friends on Facebook, Twitter, and the forums for the great questions! We’ll definitely do more of these, so if there’s something dear to your heart that we skipped, please click on the comment tape below. On to the Qs:

Q: Brian mentioned in one of the articles that some Solari have multiple affinities. How do you know which one to choose?

A: No single Solari has multiple affinities. In certain rare cases, a Solari might have two different evolution paths, one of which changes that Solari’s affinity. Sleeslugg, for example, can evolve into A: Sleespark, another Solari with a water affinity, or into B: Blastropod, a Solari with a Fire affinity.

Decisions, decisions.

Decisions, decisions.

Q: Other than traits how do your solari differ from mine if we have the same?

A: Applying Essences to Solari increases their XP, which in turn, raises their level, raising all of their stats. When you upgrade a Solari, the types of essences consumed award bonus points based on the type of essence used. Different wild Solari of the same type will have different distributions of these bonus points when you first recruit them.

In addition, Solari have a wide range of skills that they learn naturally. You and I probably picked different skills as our Solari grew, leading to a potentially very different set of skills that Solari can use. Each Solari can also be taught skills it doesn’t learn naturally, though the set of skills it can be taught is still limited.

Finally, in rare and special circumstances, one can recruit Solari with skills that they can’t normally learn or be taught. These are precious indeed!

Q: Can we trade Solari with our friends?

A: Not at launch.

Q: Pokemon had IV breeding/training, is this gameplay that players should expect?

A: We had a lot of discussion about that particular system, and what it offered players – basically, a set of choices or optimizations to be made about what that character would be best at, and in turn, what skills and abilities would be the most useful to it. We like the inherent strategy that comes with this kind of customization, but wanted to avoid creating a particularly frustrating, grindy, or time consuming experience as the player earns the required resources and makes their optimizations.

Our answer to the desire for this gameplay is in how our upgrade system works. Every level your Solari gains carries both “fixed” stat growth, from gaining XP and leveling up, and “custom” or “bonus” stat growth, gained from using different types of essence. Each essence represents 1 of our 6 different stat types, increasing both the specified stat, and your overall XP towards the next level. These essences are gained by curing enemy Lunari; the essences yielded reflect the highest stats of the defeated Lunari.

A concrete example: You want to build a Solari with as much speed as possible, so you might cure a lot of wild Kitzapp in a location you know has a lot of them, to acquire a lot of Speed Essences, which you would then use to upgrade your Solari, ensuring that the bonus stats points gained on the way to the next level are all allocated to speed. In this way, you acquire the tools you need to customize your characters through normal gameplay, and changes are made in a deliberate and clear way.

Q: What do the in-app purchases look like?

A: We’re not making a pay-to-win game. Our intent is to make things available to people who want to spend time instead of money. That said, we also want to make sure people who choose to spend money get something of value out of it. We don’t want in-app purchases to be a waste.

We’ve also built modes like draft PvP to reward pure skill (with a touch of chance to keep things interesting). Grinding and spending have no impact on success here… it’s all about what you get, and what you make of it.

You can also use in-app purchases to acquire cosmetic items for your Warden (in addition to finding such items in dungeons).

The exact balance depends largely on the feedback we get during the limited release, and even afterwards. The Lab has a track record of making changes based on feedback.

Q: Could I spend time instead of money to get the same stuff? Or are there some things you can only get in the store?

A: Most of the time. There are ways of earning store currency (gems) by playing the game that you can use to buy many store items, but we may have items in the store that are only available for cash.

Q: Will there be a player marketplace for us to trade items between ourselves?

A: There are no plans for a marketplace at this time.

Q: How do we talk with each other when we are in the game world?

A: There is an in-game chat system that you can use to send whispers to specific friends as well as open and custom (private) chat channels.

Q: Will matchmaking be skill-based or random?

A: It depends on the game mode. Most modes use some kind of algorithm to determine a fun matchup as opposed to being completely random. Ranked game modes are going to use skill-based algorithms for matchups, probably based on some sort of MMR (Match Making Ranking).

Q: What kind of rewards could players expect from end-game PvP, aside from thrills?

A: We’re still working out the detail for the rewards, but we’re talking about ultra-rare (even one of a kind) cosmetic items and possibly even rare skins for your Solari. Gems. We’ve also talked about things to make sure you can show off your ranking when playing both PvE and PvP.

Q: Will there ever be any co-op gameplay, where a friend and I and our teams can take on other creatures?

A: Co-op is definitely on our list, but it’s a ways out, and we’re still thinking about what exactly it would look like.

Q: What happens if my internet connection sputters a little without totally disconnecting? Like if my bus goes under a bridge or something.

A: You should be fine.

Q: What happens if I get disconnected in the middle of a battle?

A: It depends on if you are playing PvP or not.

For single-player content we have tech in place to resume a battle you were in while you disconnected.

For PvP game modes, it is going to depend on the specific mode. We understand that disconnects can be incredibly frustrating when they count as a loss to ranked game modes, but we have no way of detecting if a disconnect is legit or intentional. Allowing players to purposely turn off wifi to avoid a loss would be exploited to the point where the game mode became unplayable.

Q: Is it going to be all touch or will there be keyboard support?

A: The releases on iOS, Kindle Fire and Android will be touch only. Any additional platforms will be supported with input devices that make sense.

Q: Will multiplayer perform across platforms (iOS to Droid)?

A: Yes! It does already and it’s awesome.

Q: What percentage of the game is pure exploration as opposed to quests and battles?

A:The game has an exploration component, but we’ve definitely streamlined things in favor of getting places quickly and focusing on (many different types of) battle. There are definitely rewards (such as side missions and hidden lore) for players who spend some time poking around.

Q: I’m a big Twitch streamer. Will you have embedded tools for us?

A: We want this too, and we’re looking into it.

Q: Are you guys going to do any Twitch broadcasts with the designers like you did with State of Decay?

A: Absolutely! Right now, we’re focusing on finishing the game, but we intend to free up some time for this in the coming months.

Q: When does this come out? Can you be more specific than “early next year”?

A: It’ll be a Wednesday.

Thank you, Foge, Ian, Brian, and Andy for the answers!

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News, Q&A, State of Decay

Another Lifeline Q&A

After the fun-filled Twitch and the last design article, a few questions came up multiple times. We (me, Geoffrey, and Foge) knocked them out for you all, and the result is posted on the forum. Click the green comment tape to head over and take a look.

But before you go, you might enjoy seeing what the gun workshop looks like:

Here is where the magic happens.

Here is where the magic happens.

There will be another Twitch before the end of the month. And then it’s June! Time sure flies while you’re fixing bugs…

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News, Q&A, State of Decay

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.

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Events, Fans, News, Q&A

Twitching With Jeff and Brant

Tomorrow’s live Twitch stream (hosted as always by our friends at XBLA: features good ol’ Brant, of course, and this week’s special victim guest is Jeff Strain. That’s right, instead of frantic mid-show text messages telling us what to say, our founder and executive producer will be there himself to answer your questions. Me, I’ll be in the chat stream as usual.

We’ll be there at 11:00 AM PDT/2:00 PM EDT/20:00 CEST. See you then, everyone :)

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News, Q&A, State of Decay

Followup Q&A, A Matter of Character

As usual, you all asked wonderful questions, and we spent the week tackling them. The resulting document was more than ten pages long! The questions included:

* How do you switch between characters? What are the limits on switching between characters?
* How many skills are in the game total right now?
* Can skills like construction or vehicle repair be taught?
* How hard is it to raise the skills of a character?
* Does increased firearm ability prevent (or reduce, or slow) wear and tear?
* Can negative traits be improved?
* How do you tell a survivor he/she is no longer welcome in the group? What happens if yes?
* How will conflict affect people?

These and more than thirty other questions are on the forum now.

Y’all, I just have to tell you, I love doing the Q&As with you. It gives us a chance to find out what really matters to you, to clarify things we left unclear, and to see where we might need to focus in the future. It’s a lot more than just answering questions – it turns game development into a collaborative effort between developers and players. Thanks for being part of the process, as always!

Click the green tape reading “comment” to go to the Q&A and to discuss it with your fellow SoD fans.

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News, Q&A, State of Decay

Followup To Buckle Up: Community Q&A

The response to Foge’s article was exactly what we’ve come to expect from our community: Passionate, and packed with followup questions. We gathered them up and did our best to hit them all. (This ain’t the royal “we” – the people behind this Q&A are your producer, your creative director, your weapons master, your president, your community person, and of course, Foge himself.) Check out the five sections of goodness here in our forum.

Questions include:

When in stealth mode, will there be a silent takedown button?

Since this game is third person, will we be able to toggle between shoulder views?

Will guns jam less if you are more experienced?

Will we be able to repair/maintain melee weapon durability at our base, or can we do it on the fly?

Will NPCs know how to conserve ammo also or will they just completely Rambo it and waste resources quickly?

Are there any other characters who can get me items from outside?

These, and thirty other questions, have all been answered… so what are you still doing here? See you there!


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News, Q&A

Mini Community Q&A

Hey, those of you for whom this is not a holiday week/weekend? Those of you thinking “it’s just a Wednesday, why all this chatter about leaving work?” For you, we hereby present a mini Q&A.

Two notes before you click over to read it:

1. If you want to see the exclusive new screenshots before anyone else, don’t forget to participate in the latest Survivor Cell Challenge.

2. My gear apology/update is located here: Where’s the gear I ordered?

See you in the forums!

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News, Q&A

Followup Q&A: Customization

Hey, everyone! We were excited to bring you the customization feature last week, and we kept an eagle eye out for your questions. Phinney tackled as many as we could for this week. He would have kept going, but some of these are destined to be full articles of their own. (Skills, for example.) Check out what awaits you in the forums:

* Do my characters have to die?

* Will survivors (when you are not playing them) be able to decide for themselves to sacrifice themselves for the greater good?

* Do I have to babysit everyone in my community to make sure they eat and defend themselves?

* What happens if a survivor has a bad attitude, or a trait the other survivors don’t like?

* Will backpacks and guns display?

* If time passes when I’m offline, what does that mean if I end up getting deployed, having a baby, or just plain need to be away from the game for awhile?

All this and more can be found in the discussion thread over in our forum. Thanks for the great questions, and be sure to thank Phinney for getting the answers.

Next week is going to be sort of big for us. Hope to see you all online ready to spread the word. What word? That’s the surprise. See you then 😉

 Click “comment” to go to the Q&A and the discussion thread!


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News, Q&A

Followup Q&A: Vehicles

Hey, y’all. We’re rocking a followup Q&A over at the forums, answering as many of the questions people had about the vehicle article as we possibly could. Head on over there and see what your fellow community members asked. The questions include:

* If the zombies are clinging on your car, will they weigh down your car down or make you lose control?

* How will vehicle damage be handled?

* Can we strip the car down and go all Kanye-West-and-Jay-Z-In-Otis-Music-Video?

* When you say finite, does that mean if we break all the cars, we can’t get any more?

* Can I have twenty cars all piled up at my Home in a barricade or something?

Click on the comment button to read the whole thing, and to join the forum fun.

Hey, while I have your attention – do you have friends in your town that might want to join you in playing Class3 when it launches? Tune in next week, when I tell you about a way you can get exclusive video footage and more.