Brian Giaime and John “Gronk” Gronquist led the Independence Pack team, making all your zom-pocalypse 4th of July feels come true! Want to know how they came up with the ideas? Can you guess their favorite weapon? Read on!
As I hinted in the last newsletter, we’ve been working out (in partnership with our publisher) what we can say and when. The first teaser dropped last night on the publisher’s official State of Decay Instagram. Between now and PAX East, we’re going to be showing you a regular glimpse of concept art, followed by a post either here on or on the official State of Decay game website with the big picture, and maybe a little detail explaining what we had in mind when we did it.
I hope it helps tide you over while we finish working on the systems and gameplay, and that you enjoy this look into what we were thinking when we began the build.
Today’s Big Picture is…
Matt Heiniger is one of our Tech Artists, and he’s here today to walk us through some really kick-ass tech we’re using right now. If you’ve followed us on Instagram, you’ve seen some of the images. Next week we’ll be posting a contest where people in Seattle for PAX West can enter and win the chance to be scanned into our world. Meanwhile, check out this fascinating technology. — Sanya
One of the biggest compliments we get on State of Decay is the diversity of the cast. It features characters with a wide variety of ages, ethnicities, abilities, and sexual preferences. This is no accident. State of Decay is first and foremost designed to simulate the survival fantasy for everyday people. Sure, the game features lots of Zeds that are terrifying, gooey, exciting, and just plain fun. But it’s really a game about people.
We want you to live out your own personal survival fantasy. Part of that is giving you a character that is relatable to you. But by “you”, we mean all of you, not just those of you who are muscular, dark haired white dudes that look like you were ripped from a Calvin Klein advertisement.
But in order to pull this off, we need to make a lot of characters. More specifically, a lot of faces. But here’s the thing: Making human faces is hard. Like, really hard. As social creatures, our brains are hard-wired to analyze tiny details of human faces in micro seconds in order to assess another human’s intent. Because of this function of our brains, any unrealistic feature of a digital face just looks wrong. The viewer may not even be aware of why it looks wrong, just that it does. This phenomenon is known as the uncanny valley. Historically, this has been a concern within the film industry. But as video games continue to increase in fidelity, we too are entering the uncanny valley. As such, we must put an increasing focus on getting facial features just right. Either that, or go highly stylized. But that’s a whole different direction.
Just a few short moments ago at the Xbox E3 2016 Briefing in Los Angeles, we announced State of Decay 2 to the world.
It’s been a few years since we announced our partnership with Microsoft Studios to start building the future of State of Decay, and we’re thrilled (and a little relieved) to finally be able to talk about it. As a full sequel with much higher ambitions, we had to wait until development was far enough along to speak confidently about what the game will be when it gets into your hands (or maybe, on your hard drive). We’re a development team that enjoys direct, regular interaction with fans of our games, so it’s been hard for us to stay silent about something we’re so excited about, but as of today we can finally tell you that it’s coming.
During that time we’ve had the opportunity to see and hear what millions of you enjoyed about State of Decay. Through Twitch streams, to Twitter, the always-passionate Steam forums, in our own community forums, and — perhaps most of all — through meeting so many of you in person at game conventions and fan events, we’ve heard you clearly. We’ve considered many paths for State of Decay over the past few years, but the overwhelming majority of you said you wanted a bigger, badder, bolder, smoother State of Decay that you could play with your friends.
And so that’s exactly what we’re making.
State of Decay 2 builds upon the unique blend of open-world exploration, third-person action, and survival-fantasy role playing we pioneered in the original State of Decay, and then adds drop-in cooperative multiplayer. The world of State of Decay 2 is larger, more dangerous, and more unpredictable than ever, so if you choose, you can put your survival plan to the test with up to three other players.
I have not yet had the pleasure of working directly with Dru, so I asked the producers for their two cents. Cale didn’t respond right away, possibly because he was having a board gaming lunch with Dru at that exact moment. When he reappeared in Slack, this is what he said. I don’t usually cut and paste the producers’ inside info, but this will tell you everything you need to know about one of our favorite programmers: “Dru is the bomb dot com. He’s a great multi-talented engineer who has a no-BS attitude when it comes to evaluating his own work and the game in general with open eyes. We can always look to Dru to give us a frank assessment of situations, and he is always the first to volunteer to do something about it! He’s from Texas, so he obviously knows good bbq from bad. He is an avid board gamer, and he is at least as much of a Star Wars fan as I am.”
Thanks, Cale 🙂 Y’all, meet Dru. — Sanya
By Dru Staltman
When I was twelve years old, I got my parents to buy me a programming book. I had played Civilization and that revealed I wanted to make games. I couldn’t quite figure out how to program a game at that age, but failing at it really started me on a path.