To learn more about Luis visit, https://undeadlabs.com/2018/07/uncategorized/developer-of-the-month-luis-yepez/
What do you think about the option to rename your character?
Thanks for this question! I love it because it’s a question much deeper than you would think of initially. This is a feature that a lot of players immediately think of when playing a game like this one. We have come to think of it as a given option in a lot of games.
The core of this question though reveals something very interesting when you think about it a little more in depth. Why do people want to rename characters? Well other than to have funny names and the ability to do whatever with your character, what this really reflects is a player’s desire for autonomy and ownership over their experience.
In State of Decay 2 we took that feeling and rolled it into the core experience. You cannot rename because the premise of our world is to explore HOW WOULD YOU SURVIVE the zombie apocalypse. If this were (I mean when this becomes) a real-world scenario, you won’t really have a chance to draft an all-star team or anything of the sort. You will be stuck with the people surrounding you and the ones you ally with and meet along the way. This plays deep into our desired experience for players. These are real people with real stories and a background. We give you the autonomy on how you would face this world and how your decisions will impact those surrounding you.
Names have heavy significance in the real world. They reflect values, culture, and society as a whole. They help you understand someone’s walk in life. This was a great tool for us to utilize in giving our characters a sense of being grounded in the world and having an existence before the zombies came on chomping. They’re relatable people. Renaming characters at will would just shift the focus of your community’s experience when they get frustrated, become ill, or inevitably meet up with a juggernaut.
I hope this helps you see this question in a different perspective and why it makes sense in a lot of games but didn’t make sense for us.
Weather is something we are not looking at at the moment. Any new addition that might make it to the game we want to ensure amplifies gameplay to a level that makes changes like this one a positive to gamers and not just a checklist item. Weather is always one of those tricky ones because it involves all our departments from sound to art, FX, design etc. So a lot of people would need to be involved in order to make sure we do it right and deliver an experience that enhances State of Decay 2 and all its systems.
What techniques did you use to help guide the player to areas of interest?
The maps are designed in a way to loop you around eventually. We wanted to make sure you had main paths to always fall back on as a safety net when exploring (especially at night) but that something always piqued your interest in the distance.
We also use a lot of subtle techniques to keep moving you forward, from storytelling to hint at a loot spot up ahead to very subconscious pathing in the terrain and flow of lines in the environment that point in the direction we want you to go. Ultimately though you can head anywhere in our maps from the beginning so we just need to make sure you always find something to be engaged with, while deliberately reducing interaction in areas that might be taking you far away from the action.
What is your favorite part about the process of environment creation?
I love helping make a world come to life and figuring out how to remain flexible while doing that, so that gameplay can evolve and change for the better. Cementing a past and a firm sense of history in an area so the player can feel that this world existed beyond them and they are but experiencing a slice of time from this world. Building up tension and enhancing gameplay mechanics present a challenge to the artist in me that always wants to put in more and more stuff. So finding the balance of art, design and immersion is always a great fun challenge. Every project has different constraints and when we can deliver a good flowing environment that is fun and has a sense of history then I feel we have done our job.
Making environments usually involves more time solving how you can sell it with less and make it as lean as possible so the game can run efficiently, and being able to redo or make new areas as fast as you can while not sacrificing visual fidelity. Our main goal is to immerse you in the world by selling the atmosphere rather than the individual quality of the assets.
Are there any plans to bring in big building like structures like hospitals, prisons, skylines?
Can’t answer on future plans, but we do have a hospital in Drucker, a quarry and dam in Cascade Hills, and an abandoned factory in Meagher Valley.
Why does terrain slope seemingly have different accessibility (the starter base in the desert biome has some steep paths, where gentler paths elsewhere are inaccessible)?
When it came time to make the world in which you would survive we wanted to present some challenges and variation in pacing to each map. Every region in the real world has areas of easy accessibility and others that you will need an offroad vehicle and hiking time in order to access.
We went about making your initial play areas as smooth as we could while accentuating the biome you were in (farmlands, desert cliffs, forest areas) to help you get a hold of the systems and get you familiar with your surroundings. As you progress we add pacing in travel in order to keep players alert for dangers that may come from any corner. This helps our dynamic system create great moments in which you thought you could straight line to a house only to run out of gas, find yourself at sunset time and with a horde right around the corner.
As world builders for our game, we need to think about the fact that you may be coming from 1 of 5 possible angles to a building. So we try to make many options available to you (even if you are unaware of them) so that you have autonomy and control over how you will clear out a building or neighborhood.
The Daybreak Pack will be releasing next. It’s a new game mode that we are excited for everyone to take part in. Details should be coming out soon so stay tuned for more announcements about this.
(Release date is planned for September, see second to last paragraph at the link below for all information released at this time. https://news.xbox.com/en-us/2018/06/28/state-of-decay-2-independence-pack/)
Luis, can you get me a job?
For information related to Undead Labs please visit our website. That will always be one of the best channels to contact the correct department for inquiries like this. (https://undeadlabs.com/jobs/)
⇒ Developers are not aloud to discuss or hint at future content. All of you asking about possibilities for future content or release dates, I’m afraid Luis is unable to answer. We can tell you that we are always monitoring for fans feedback and suggestions and taking everything into consideration. So even though we may not answer your questions/comments we are listening.
Thank you for understanding. For updates on future content remember to continue following us on Social Media, we promise to let you know as soon as we can.
Thank you for the great questions!
Have a follow up question for Luis?
Catch him on our live stream tomorrow (Wednesday Aug. 8th) 1-2pm PST.