Case #

10.17.14

Researcher

#2MMinutes Gets You an XB1

Our #2MMinutes campaign has so far resulted in just over 3500 minutes streamed in the first half of October, which, while not near our goal of two million, is still pretty damned amazing for a game that’s been out since June of 2013. But let’s see if we can kick this up a level. We’re only going to award the all-expenses trip to our studio if the insane goal is met…but we’re going to award TWO XB1 machines to lucky participants no matter what.

Here’s how:

The First XB1: We will mail this to one randomly chosen streamer. Each stream you post counts as one entry in the sweepstakes. All it takes is a little luck and one posted video, stream, or podcast.

The Second XB1: You’ll need to be a member of our Extra Life team (http://www.extra-life.org/team/undeadlabs) for this one, and it’s very simple. Be the person to stream the most minutes for Extra Life, and you’ll get the XB1 with our gratitude, and the gratitude of the sick kids you’ll help.

Don’t forget to send me the links to your streams, everyone!

Case #

10.13.14

Researcher

Join Us For Our Own #2MMinutes Stream

We need to help the effort as well, so please join us tomorrow for a Twitch hosted by our friends at Xbox: http://www.twitch.tv/xbox

We’ll stream from 11 AM PDT/2 PM EDT/6 PM GMT until we get thrown out (or an hour passes, whichever comes first). On the video feed you’ll enjoy the comic stylings of Geoff, Brant, and DJ. (If you’re new to our streams, that would a designer, an artist, and a QA lead walking into a bar.) In the chat window, you can watch me have an aneurysm when they start oversharing.

There will be prizes! We’re planning to give away a hoodie and a bunch of DLC codes, and for every person who attends, I’ll add one minute to our total. Remember, it’s all about the powerups.

And speaking of powerups…I don’t know yet exactly what we’re going to be streaming. Better tune in and find out ;)

Case #

10.9.14

Researcher

This Ringtone Is Straight From the Commander In Chief

To celebrate our two million milestone, we wanted to give everyone something, and the logistics of giving everyone a pony were just too complicated. We thought ringtones might be nice. It turns out a number of you already have State of Decay ringtones. At least, those of you comfortable rooting around in the game files. For the rest of us, here are some of the favorites suggested by the community:

Better’n biscuits on Sunday morning! http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Alan_Biscuits.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Alan_SniperSupport.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Alan_ThatsNotGood.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Ed_GotRedOnYou.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Ed_HobosCornDog.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Ed_ShootingThePony.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Eldridge_Clearance.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Eldridge_CommanderChief.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Eldridge_Curious.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Eldridge_PrettyPleaseBoss.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Marcus_ComingUpMilhouse.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Marcus_Nice.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Marcus_NotAsGoodAsMe.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Marcus_RunWildOnYou.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Sam_PlasticFishWatch.mp3

http://undeadlabs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/SOD_Sam_StinkOnABloater.mp3

***

Instructions for getting them onto your phone vary wildly, but we and some of our most trusted testers have managed to get these working on a wide variety of phones. Decide which one you like, click the link, right click the player that pops up, and you can “save audio as” whatever you want.

I personally used this tutorial to get “Niiiiice” onto my iPhone 4S. Microsoft offers these instructions for Windows phone owners. And this works for Android people.

Enjoy! And to find out how to retrieve any sound file and make it into a ringtone, feel free to ask our highly technical player community in the comment thread.

Case #

10.7.14

Researcher

Calling All Artists: Wallpaper Contest

If you know your way around an image editor, this contest is for you. The prize pack includes fame (or at least your image shared around the world), your choice of a shirt or a hat, and a mini-portfolio of original concept art signed by Undead artists.

You may use, modify, alter, and manipulate any image you find here on the UndeadLabs.com website. You may use any screenshot you take yourself from the actual game. The only elements that must be included are the logo of the game, and something about two million. You can be as subtle or as blatant as you want.

Sizes: You do not have to create your image in each of these dimensions! I am listing them out for you so you can decide if you want to go desktop or phone, and figure out how your image looks in the sizes we’ll use to make the wallpaper available to your fellow players.

Full: 800×600 | 1024×768 | 1280×960 | 1280×1024 | 1600×1200
Wide: 1280×720 | 1280×800 | 1440×900 | 1680×1050 | 1920×1080 | 1920×1200
OR
Phone: 320×480 | 480×360 | 480×640 | 480×800 | 640×480 | 640×960 | 640×1136 | 800×1280

Your entry must be posted to the contest thread on the forum (linked below via the green comment tape) by 11:59 PM your time on Thursday, October 16th. You must indicate if the image is intended for phones, or desktops. If you are chosen as a finalist, you’ll get an email at whatever address on Friday the 17th.

We will narrow the field, and post a poll on October 20. (Finalist images will be posted to Facebook as well, although voting will only occur on our forum.) There will be two winners – Community Choice, and Lab Choice. The poll closes and winners will be announced October 27.

Okay! Let’s see what you’ve got! We have SERIOUS talent around here – bring it on!

Case #

10.2.14

Researcher

#2MMinutes

The original State of Decay has now sold two million copies, not including any DLC. If you have a YouTube channel, a Twitch stream, or a podcast, we’d like to invite you to join our two million celebration and attempt to share two million minutes of State of Decay throughout October.

What happens if we hit that goal? For starters, one of you will win a trip to Seattle to meet the team, be the first person to play the Year One Survival Edition, and more. Other prizes will be announced during the month of October, but we thought you’d like to hear about that one right away.

Here’s how it will work:
Sign up with either this Google form –OR– join the Undead Labs team at Extra Life. More on that in a second. The important thing is that I have you on either of those two lists, so that you’ll be eligible for prizes. (Note that the trip to Seattle is only possible for residents of the USA, because of a bunch of horrible legal issues. We are proud to have such a global community, however, and as you all know, we’ve sent loot all over the world.)

Next, stream, podcast, upload video – whatever it is you most enjoy, in whatever language you prefer. It just has to be about State of Decay. Share the link on social media, with the hashtag #2MMinutes.

Email me the link (sanya at undeadlabs dot com), along with how many minutes you spent on State of Decay. I’ll add it to the database, share the link with the community, and add the minutes to your total.

Each time you stream, podcast, or upload a video, send me the link, because each thing will count as an entry into the contest. There is no limit to the number of contest entries you can have. If you post five videos and run two streams, you’ll have entered seven times.

If we hit two million minutes by 12:01 AM PDT November 1, the grand prize will be awarded to one randomly chosen participant. If not, well, plenty of other prizes will go out over the next four weeks.  We’re just saving the best stuff for when we hit the goal.

Bonus Minutes

Some of you may be familiar with Extra Life, a charity that raises money for sick kids by playing games. Their big event is the gaming marathon on October 25, where people try to play games for 24 hours straight. Of course, people can and do play/stream/’cast at other times. You can read more on their website.

The point here is that playing for Extra Life will earn bonus minutes and extra entries for the #2MMinute challenge – 1.5 times the minutes, and double the entries.  If you stream State of Decay for 30 minutes as a member of our Extra Life team, that session will count as two contest entries, and 45 minutes toward the total. If you participate in the marathon on October 25, you’ll earn DOUBLE minutes toward the challenge. Finally, for each dollar raised, we’ll add one minute to the total. Powerups, people, they’re how you win the game.

Extra Life team members who raise any amount at all will each get a DLC code to keep or give away as a prize.

Media List

We consider YouTubers and Twitchers and podcasters to be gaming media. You’re the bloggers of the modern era, and we owe a big part of the big milestone to you spreading the word. If you are part of #2MMinutes, and your channel is still active (updates 2-3x week, at least 25 subscribers) when the Year One Survival Edition launches this coming spring on PC and XB1, you will receive a review copy.

Finally

We’re going to need every possible day to hit the goal, so I wanted to get this up today. Stay tuned for the legal rules, other prizes, and more. And if streaming’s not your thing, fear not – we’ve got a ton of fun contests coming up. This month-long party is in your honor!

Case #

10.2.14

Researcher

TWO. Million. Sold.

About this time last year, we had a million reasons to smile.

Now, we have two million reasons. That is, two million copies of the original State of Decay have been sold, between Steam and XBLA. We’re not even talking about DLC, here.

There just aren’t the right words to tell you how much this means to us. No marketing, no advertising, just you playing and streaming and spreading the word. You made this happen, and if we could individually thank each person who hit that download button, we would. Your enthusiasm and support have been everything. Thank you.

When we hit five hundred thousand copies sold (which was pretty remarkable for a zombie apocalypse simulator with a persistent world and permadeath), we celebrated by starting work on Breakdown. When we hit a million, we gave away some freebies.

Two million calls for a hell of a celebration. We’ve already announced everything we can when it comes to the future of State of Decay — and then some — so we’re going to kick off a month long celebration. Keep your eyes here, and on our social channels (@undeadlabs on Twitter, http://facebook.com/undeadlabs on Facebook – accept no substitutes!), for details. If you make videos or stream, be sure to come back later today!

You’re…you’re just the best. Thanks again.

Case #

09.19.14

Researcher

Memories of PAX Prime 2014

Has it really been three weeks since PAX ended? It seems like just yesterday Drew Hobson (the voice of Marcus) was cheerfully saying “niiiiiiiice” on request, and revealing his other role on State of Decay. J.L. Bourne was only a few hours ago signing autographs in our booth and telling stories during the Superfan prize dinner. I feel like we were just standing in a crowded room, telling people that as a matter of fact you’ll be able to play as Sasquatch in the Year One edition of State of Decay. And it sure feels like I was very recently sitting on a convention center floor scribbling notes, while over my head Jeff and Foge were designing a PVP tournament for Moonrise.

SuperfanDinner

Brant isn’t in the picture because he’s taking the picture, but what you’re seeing is the Superfan celebration. We are the luckiest game company on earth, I have to tell you. Our Superfans were supposed to be treated like royalty in return for all they’ve done…and instead they did more. They met us at the crack of dawn at the company HQ to load boxes. They helped set up the booth. And even though they had four day badges to see the show, every time I turned around one of them was doing a demo of the game for new players. (Our Negnar did step away from the Undead Labs area long enough to try out the new game, and he wrote up his experiences here.) I hope they had as much fun as we did. I mean, we are grateful to all of you for being part of the community, and meeting some of you in person is SUCH a thrill.

Niiiice

Speaking of meeting in person, here’s Drew! He signed shirts and hats and recited any line you wanted. “Niiiiiiiice” was a popular request. As befits a guy who is a professional DJ as well as a voice actor, Drew was the life of the party. It was great watching people come up to talk about the game, and then realize that “Marcus” was standing right there. What they didn’t know, and Drew was able to reveal, is that he’s also the voice of Sasquatch. Sasquatch, who will be a playable character sometime early next spring. We’ll be working with Drew until Hollywood comes calling for this guy.

JL signs for a player

Fans of J.L. Bourne (he whose novels were such an inspiration to us during the development of State of Decay), you will be glad to hear that he is EXACTLY the guy you want beside you if the apocalypse happens. He doesn’t just spin a pretty story. He thinks tactically at all times. It was an education watching him make plans and contingency plans, and more than once I got a little shiver and thought, boy, glad we’re on the same side. He’s also a hard worker, thoughtful, honest, and damned funny. We are so lucky to have him working on the future of the game. Wish I could talk about that future…

IMG_1761

In the immediate future of State of Decay, and what we can talk about, is the Year One Survival Edition, which I would really like everyone to abbreviate on Twitter as “YOSE” instead of the cringeworthy “YO.” Seriously, if you could please hook me up, I will pay you back at the first State of Decay live event. Drinks, swag, something. Okay, moving on. Although we weren’t ready to show it at PAX, we did talk about it at our press event the night before the show. Major Nelson made a horror movie about it. Gamespot saw it in person. So did Ten Ton Hammer. Some big sites wrote about it. And it wouldn’t have been a media event without some of the writers who’ve been there since the beginning.

Highlights include, but are not limited to: Remastered in 1080p. New mission type (“Cleo Drops” – military looking crates that contain rare and powerful goodies…but they seem to attract a hell of a lot of zombies). New playable Heroes from Lifeline — Hawkes, Kilo, Vance, and Sasquatch. New SUV, new weapons, new music. The facility goodies (snacks, ammo) from Lifeline will be retrofitted into the whole game. And to be honest, we’re not done.

YOSE will bundle all of the DLC into this package, to make THE definitive version of State of Decay. This generation of it, anyway. We’re still talking about ways to thank those of you who bought the original game but might want to upgrade, so, stay tuned.

Moonrise02

And of course, there was Moonrise. PAX was our first chance to see real players interacting with our alpha build. As you regulars know, our PAX booths are never staffed with temps or marketing people. Every demo is given by someone who is actively working on the game, and really, REALLY cares if you’re having a good time. So, this show was big for us.

IMG_1785

With fourteen demo stations, we figured the line would move so fast that there wouldn’t be a chance for much of a line to form. We were…pleasantly surprised. We were freaking delighted when one of the PAX people came over with a roll of tape to mark out where the overflow could go — around two sides of our booth! — without pissing off the fire marshal.

And then there was the line on the OTHER side of the booth for the tournament. After the show started, Jeff and Foge (the Design Director, BTW, you’ll be hearing more from him soon) looked at each other. They had a gleam in their respective eyes that I have learned means nothing but trouble. “Man, people don’t get to the PVP during the demo. That’s the best part,” one of them said. One thing led to another, until I was sitting on the floor of the booth taking notes while they worked out the rules. At the end I held out my notebook. Jeff took a picture of the page and disappeared. He came back a few hours later with two posters, four iPad Airs for prizes, and a few thousand postcards with the rules.

The tournament was EPIC. Nothing is more fun than PVP. Check out the pictures on the Moonrise Facebook page. And if you don’t believe it happened just the way I’ve described:

photo(12)

As usual with our games, Moonrise is damned hard to boil down to a simple slogan. Early next month we’ll start a series of design articles that will show you what all went into crafting this beauty, and I’ll post a more complete press roundup next week. This post is already crazy long, so in addition to Negnar’s post, for now you can start with MMORPG: “[C]heck out Moonrise, a real-time combat RPG that really made the obsessive compulsive gamer collector in me get excited.” And hey, why not GamersInBeta: “Besides the intuitive game play, what was most impressive about the title was how quickly you forgot about the medium you were playing on as you were so immersed in the story and action.”

If you want the news as it happens, be sure to follow us on our various social media things. We’re @undeadlabs on Twitter. We’re cleverly disguised over at Facebook. Although we don’t have the State of Decay tags on either Facebook or Twitter, we share the Moonrise tags with the people at Kabam: @moonrisemobile and http://facebook.com/moonrisemobile.

Please do keep track of us. We have something really neat to celebrate with you in the near future, and I don’t want you miss any of the fun.

Case #

08.29.14

Researcher

Subject

News, State of Decay

State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition

Hell yes, we’re making State of Decay for Xbox One!

Man, it felt good to write that. There’s a huge difference between “We think it’s a good idea and we’re seriously considering it”, and “Hell yes, we’re working hard on it right now.” It’s generally a good idea to wait until you can say “hell yes”, because until then, Things Can Change, but we’ve crossed that threshold for State of Decay on Xbox One.

State of Decay is coming to Xbox One via the State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition. While we’re still very much in development, here’s what I can tell you today.

First, we’re remastering the game in glorious 1080p, with sharper textures, a refined user interface, and more environment detail. We’re also taking advantage of the more powerful hardware by remastering and adding new environment effects, and increasing the fidelity and smoothness of character and zombie animations throughout the game. And along with these visual enhancements, we’ll ensure the game runs at a rock-solid frame rate and polish out a few glitches along the way.

Next, we’re creating some new content — not an entire DLC’s worth, but a few cool new mission types, new weapons, vehicles, and perhaps a hero or two. We’ll also be making some of your favorite characters from Lifeline (yes, Sasquatch) available as playable characters in Breakdown, and taking some of the new base options from Lifeline and making them available in Breakdown and the core State of Decay game. And then we’ll throw in half an hour of new music from State of Decay composer Jesper Kyd.

Finally, we’re bundling both Breakdown and Lifeline DLC releases into the game to create the ultimate State of Decay experience.

As of today we have the game up and running on Xbox One (and you may see some video of that coming out of our media announcement at the Lab last night, including this bit from Major Nelson), and it already looks fantastic, but we still have a long way to go to make the visual improvements worthy of Xbox One hardware. We’ll crank on that through the fall, and plan to release State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition, both digitally on Xbox One and PC/Steam, and at retail, in spring 2015.

For those of you who’ve played State of Decay, I know you’ll have lots of questions. Will my characters transfer over? What is the upgrade path for current players? Have the system specs for the PC changed? How much will it cost? I don’t have answers to these questions today, but rest assured we’re working on them, and I’ll let you know as soon as I can. What I can tell you is that we’re always aware the reason we have the opportunity to continue making State of Decay games is because of your support, and that will guide every decision we make.

This is the first of many planned next-gen steps for the State of Decay franchise. We’re working hard on Year One, but rest assured there are other, perhaps bigger, irons in the fire as well. I’ll let you know about those the moment I can say, “Hell yes!”

Jeff

Case #

07.29.14

Researcher

Indeed

Ten years ago, before zombies were legend, I sat down and began a journey that would eventually bring some of you with me down the long, post-apocalyptic road of armageddon.  Day by Day Armageddon, for some, was a brief escapist reprieve from a cubicle or other such devilry.  For others, it was the heart and soul of a lone survivor poured onto the pages of a ten dollar paperback.  For me, it was a humble contribution to a zeitgeist defining genre.

Fast forward to now, and we’ve seen the zombie genre explode into every medium you’ll pay money for.  As an ardent gamer since the days you needed a flathead screwdriver to connect your console to your TV, I’ve played my share of zombie games.  In all my years of blistered thumbs, I hadn’t run across a title that I thought did the genre justice—until a year ago.  I had recently transferred from an arduous tour of duty and had a little free time on my hands.  I decided to boot up my Xbox 360 to see what I’d been missing.  After an eon of system updates, I scanned the Xbox Marketplace and noticed a game titled State of Decay.

In the hours of gameplay that followed, I got that familiar feeling again.  The same feeling I’d felt ten years prior when beginning to construct the Day by Day Armageddon universe.  The game I had discovered a year ago was built from the same DNA that made Day by Day Armageddon possible.  You can’t fake heart, and that’s exactly what went into the making of State of Decay.  Hands down, it was the most addictive and fun zombie survival simulator I’d played.

A year went by before I stumbled across an Xbox Wire interview with Undead Labs Founder, Jeff Strain.  When I saw that Jeff mentioned my work as a small inspiration for State of Decay, I had to reach out.  After all, I love playing quality video games as much as I love writing about surviving a zombie apocalypse (hmmm?).

Three words started it all.

JLfromJeff

The next thing I knew I was in Seattle talking with a group of professionals that shared my love for cool stuff; it didn’t take long to feel right at home at Undead Labs.  I can’t go into specifics as to what I’m doing, but I can say that I’m excited to be a part of the future of State of Decay.  Check those rifles and food stores, but first…

Lock your doors,

J.L. Bourne

 

[For more background, check out Jeff's post about how we met J.L. located here.]

Please give J.L. a warm welcome over on our forum by clicking the green tape down and to the right.

Case #

07.29.14

Researcher

Let’s Chat

In the fall of 2009 I went on a zombie bender. Zombieland had just been released, and I saw it four times. It wasn’t the best zombie flick I’d ever seen, but I loved the road-trip aspect of it, and the focus on how each person needs to decide whether they’ll work together, or alone, in the apocalypse. Mostly, it just rekindled my love of the zombie-survival genre, so it was back to Day, Dawn (classic, and the 2004 remake, which was a damn fine movie), the 28s, a ton of obscure hipster zombie stuff, and a fantastic dive into the Walking Dead comics. And books, too. Brooks of course — more the Guide than WWZ.

Fun stuff for sure, but none of it was really scratching my survival-fantasy itch. The great thing about zombie books and movies is that they make you think about what you’d do if the apocalypse hit tomorrow. Hanging out with your friends and comparing survival plans is truly one of life’s great pleasures.

But then a friend (known around here as Brant) turned me on to the Day by Day Armageddon series by J.L. Bourne. The author was an active duty military officer, and it really showed in his work. The story was personal and gripping, but also logical and well structured. It was believable. It was impossible not to cast myself in the role of the narrator, relying on my wits and whatever equipment I could find to survive every day. I consumed it in a day, read it again, then read the sequel.

And then it was time to build a studio that could make the ultimate zombie survival-fantasy game.

A few months later, Undead Labs was formed, and I found myself joyfully working with some of the most talented and passionate developers in the industry. As we started laying down the design for what would become State of Decay, numerous copies of Day by Day Armageddon (DbDA) were purchased and passed around. In those early days every developer on the game read the books. Of all the movies, books, comics, epic poems in iambic pentameter, and folk songs about zombies, DbDA stands apart in its contribution to our design and development culture.

Fast forward to January 2014. State of Decay is a huge success — thanks everyone! —  and we’re announcing a multi-year, multi-title relationship with Microsoft to build on State of Decay and take it to greater heights. (Yeah I know that’s vague… damn gag…) I did an interview for Xbox Wire, and while I couldn’t give them any details, we did talk about influences, and I mentioned DbDA and the strong impact it had on State of Decay.

I didn’t think much about it afterward, until a few weeks later when my phone chirped with a Twitter notification:

JLtoJeff

After I privately worked through my fanboy freakout, I contacted J.L., and we started talking. About zombies. About Day by Day Armageddon. About survival fantasy. About the future of State of Decay.

We flew him out to visit the studio, meet the team (including Brant, who is still working through his fanboy freakout, although not quite as privately), and talk some more. He liked what we had to say, and we liked what he had to say. There was a real meeting of the minds going on, and everyone could feel it.

So, we decided to work together.

I’m very excited to announce that J.L. Bourne will be collaborating with Undead Labs on the future of State of Decay. I can’t talk about any potential future titles right now (mmph mmmmmmph mmmph), but on the road we’re now traveling, we have the benefit of J.L.’s powerful narrative voice and intimate knowledge of the skills, tactics, weapons, and daily realities of the zombie apocalypse.

When we said the future of State of Decay is bright back in January, we meant it.

Welcome to State of Decay, J.L.!

Jeff

(OMG JL BOURNE!!!)

(sorry…)

 

[Read J.L.’s welcome to the State of Decay community here, and please welcome J.L. yourself by clicking on the comment tape.]