Hooking Things Up

Yesterday's work got armor mostly working, so today I tied up some loose ends with the new feature. Namely, making sure armor condition dropped when it did its job, and retro-fitting existing clothes with minimal armor values.

Then, it was all about tying up the rest of the loose ends, and trying to get to a point where it's good to upload. In no particular order, this included:

  • Adding code to stop melonheads from wearing helmets. (To make sprite art look better on humans.)
  • Fixing AI so animals don't pull arrows out of wounds and wield them.
  • Fixing a bug in wounding that happens when damage is 0 (exposed by armor).
  • Adding a "Try Project Zomboid!" button to the title screen, since those chaps have been gracious enough to do so with NEO Scavenger on theirs.
  • Adding code to identify creatures by their real names if they attack or talk to the player. (Otherwise, they're "strangers".)
  • Tweaked faction standings so Bad Muthas and Blue Frogs are more aggressive to each other, looters, and player.
  • Added new faction, DMC Guards, to game. They spawn near DMC in pairs, and have appropriate loadouts.

I was able to spawn a DMC Guard squad ("goon squad"?) in the sprawl, and they look sufficiently imposing. In the process, however, I noticed a bug in the way AI takes/equips items. They were shoving some things in pockets that they should be equipping, and skipping some items that could've been worn if another slot was tried.

So tomorrow, I'm going to look into that AI bug. And from there, I think I'll start some more rigorous testing. See what's working vs. breaking. I still need to check the camp disappearing items bug to see if it's gone. And I think I also need to make sure some default conversations exist for DMC Guards (placeholders, if nothing else).

We're getting there, albeit slowly. Hoping to have something playable soon!


Pezi's picture

The idea of the second point occurring in real life made me laugh so hard, and the fourth point made me like you "that" much more lol.

Anyway, nice progress. Always loved your "daily" posts. I hope we have somethinng playable soon too! :D

Terthna's picture

Wow, I went onto Steam and tried out the Project Zomboid demo, and it's so buggy as to be unplayable. Freezing on startup, menus that you randomly can't get out of, and random crashes are just a few of of the problems I ran into in the 20 minutes I put into the Demo trying to get the game to work. I did manage to get the game to work once, but I died almost immediately when I couldn't get my character to attack, which then caused the game to immediately shutdown without any opportunity to start a new game; I'm not even sure if that was another crash or just bad design. I would not recommend you giving any support towards this terrible game.

dcfedor's picture

@Pezi, you should've seen some of the forum posts about arrow-wielding deer!

@Terthna, PZ was a bit tricky for me the first time, too. However, I was able to get it working fine once I switched to the game's "Safe Mode."

All in all, I actually found the game to be comparable to NEO Scavenger: a bit tricky to learn at first, but it works once you figure it out. I didn't have any stuck menus, though I did have to learn how to attack (my first run-in was fatal, too).

More than anything, though, the PZ devs are nice folks, and have been really pulling for NEO Scavenger in terms of PR. They regularly tweet about the game, recommend NEO Scavenger on their website, and in-game via the launcher. Both games share quite a few fans.

Plus, they have a demo, so players can safely give it a try for themselves, and see whether it fits their play style.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Terthna's picture

@dcfedor Am I weird? Because when I first booted up Neo Scavenger I took to the interface easily, and had few problems doing anything. Well, a few things were a bit confusing; like I only just figured out that you can rotate items in the inventory (you should really have some sort of in-game tool-tip that tells the player you can do that).

Maybe I'll give PZ another shot, but that demo was a horrible first impression; I didn't even bring up things like the poorly designed menus that doesn't scale properly to the default resolution. Hopefully they can do some serious bug-fixing soon. It does sound like something I might enjoy, if I can manage to get it to work.

dcfedor's picture

Hm, maybe I've just become so accustomed to apologizing for NEO Scavenger's interface, I automatically assume it's hard to "get." Though, it seems to get more flak these days about tedium than obtuseness. My dream, someday, is to have right-click context help for all UI items (and maybe in-game items, too). Kind of like Master of Magic, where one could right-click anything to learn what it is, what it's for, etc.

With PZ, my biggest issue was getting the graphics to draw when I first launched it. Once I noticed their message about sticking to "safe mode," I think I was into a fairly steady learning curve, and enjoyed exploring. Probably, safe mode should be the default mode until the crashing mode can be resolved. I suspect more than a few people are turned off by the bug, not realizing it can be side-stepped.

The rest of the UI felt, to me, like most games I blunder into without reading the manual first :) I had to pause and look a thing or two up, but was able to manage inventory, load weapons, bandage wounds, and such before too long. And there's a definite knack to melee combat. Requires some timing and positioning. Once one gets the hang of it, though, it can be satisfying to single out a zombie, aggro it, then brain it with a golf club :)

My longest stretch in the game saw me hoarding reading materials and pills, fearing I might lose sanity soon. I never did figure out how that system worked, though, as I was infected from a crawling zombie while brazenly exploring a dense street.

I think there's fun to be had, and some good dynamic narrative. Just needs those rough edges filed down a bit, or at least painted brighter orange!

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Kaaven's picture

Right-click --> "Examine" option would be so great indeed :D A simple description window for each item, with a short lore fluff text and a line or two on how it is used... Definitely would make few things easier.

<--Mighty (mini)Mod of Doom-->
DeviantArt Gallery of MoD Sprites

Rovlad's picture

>My longest stretch in the game saw me hoarding reading materials and pills, fearing I might lose sanity soon. I never did figure out how that system worked, though
You shouldn't worry, it doesn't. Boredom does nothing at the moment aside from showing up as a moodle. :)
I'm getting ridiculously low FPS in latest PZ builds, though, close to unplayable. I tried all their recommendations, but nothing seems to help aside from lowering settings (which worked fine in earlier builds).

Malacodor's picture

About item rotation: All Dan has to do is making the help button bigger, colored and blinking. ;-)

About PZ: I played the demo (quite a while ago) without technical problems, but the game felt too unfair for me. A stove started to burn after leaving it alone for about merely 10 seconds, the idiotic player character told a stranger with a gun that his wife is with him and the story restarts after every death without the possibility to skip dialogs. If I die in NEO Scavenger it takes a few seconds to get back into the game.

Ran around with a clown mask before it was cool

Terthna's picture

Okay, now I feel foolish; though in my defense, the inventory already has tool tips for take, use, destroy, and splitting stacks, so I just assumed that was all I could do in the inventory.

Lambtic's picture

Looks great! I can't wait for the addition of armour.
I have to say, this is by far the most impressive one-man developed (indie?) game I've ever had the chance to play.
The feel, artwork and gameplay are amazing. As an Anishnabe person [Canada (Ojibwe)] I find it really interesting for you to add "us" into the game. So, thanks!
Keep up the great work!

Anishnabe Canadian
YouTube: Lambtic
Bananas are tasty

dcfedor's picture

Thanks Lambtic! And hopefully I can manage to add Anishinabe (is Anishnabe preferable?) culture in a way that's accurate and respectful!

If you (or anyone, for that matter) are interested in my plans for involving the Anishinabe people, and don't mind some spoilers, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Spoiler: Highlight to view
So far, my plans were to have the Anishinabe Tribal Nation (ATN) formed around the site of Michigan's Isabella Reservation. It will represent an alliance of Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi peoples living in a large, protected area. They are relatively safe, self-sustaining, and a powerful group in their region.

The ATN has a perimeter that includes a physical fence, and active scouting patrols by warriors of Makwa doodem/Nooke group. I planned for these warriors to be quite skilled, and favor scaring off non-threatening intruders over harming them, when possible.

More violent intruders, however, are abducted if possible. The idea behind this is twofold:
1 - try to rehabilitate the intruder and make them a part of the tribe (ideal outcome), or at least reduce the possibility of the intruder sharing intel on the ATN with others who might attack.
2 - maintain an aura of mystery around the ATN. E.g. "Hey Joe, I hear anyone who tries to infiltrate the ATN just, you know, disappears!"

As such, the warriors might also add certain embellishments to reinforce #2. E.g. white face paint, using stealth tactics, and helping the idea of a haunted area.

The one dealing with the player most will likely be a character named Michelle Lavallee, an elder of the Ajijaak doodem (since, from what I gather, the Baswenaazhi group was traditionally responsible for international relations). Michelle is likely to help with some background on Philip Kindred's talisman, as it was their tribe who helped transform it into something that would ward off certain spirits (i.e. the wraith). I'm uncertain what Philip did for them in return, except maybe to help them uncover useful information, since that was what got Philip into trouble in the first place.

There may be quests or missions for Philip to do here, either to get this info, or to get further help. But the ATN is meant to be an alternative (smaller) civilization to the DMC for the player to interact with.

Finally, I was thinking that the Seven Fires Prophecy was still relevant, and that one of two possibilities are true. One possibility is that mankind chose the wrong path in the 7th fire, leading to great suffering and destruction (i.e. apocalypse). The other philosophy is that mankind is still in the 7th fire, and there is still a chance to choose the right path, leading to a harmonious 8th fire.

Michelle and most elders are followers of the latter philosophy. Their efforts are geared towards making sure mankind goes down the right path to lead to the 8th fire, and they may have missions for people like Philip to help move that forward.

Note that many people in the game world have theories about what caused the apocalypse and what's going on in the world, and the "Seven Fires Prophecy" is one of those theories. And many of these theories can be correct simultaneously, even if they seem different.

The important thing is that the theory can be reconciled with what they are seeing. If they can make sense of it, it's correct. If not, they either change their views to adapt, or are considered to be hallucinating/delusional by others. I only mention this because the truth, the real deep-hidden truth, is actually a mix of many theories, rather than controlled by any one culture.

This is the idea, anyway. If you decide to give it a read, let me know if anything seems out of place or wrong. Similarly, if there are ways for Philip to be involved that make more sense to you, let me know. I can't guarantee that any suggestion is doable, but there may be things I haven't considered re: cultural philosophies or quest ideas.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Lambtic's picture

Simply amazing. Everything I could pretty much hope for. Love the intended interaction with Philip and the people, not just some "mysterious blood-thirtsy-woods-people" as some described us in the past.
I have some more thoughts and a suggestion or two here as well if you'd like to read.

Spoiler: Highlight to view
One suggestion I have, would be trading and/or creating medicines. We create medicines (and lived solely) from the land. In this apocalyptic world, we obviously could use some materials from "present" day such as metal/plastic etc. Even though it wouldn't necessarily be essential, I would love seeing trading of some kind, be it furs, meat or medicines. Some medicine/ceremony examples would be a "smudge" which if you ever added "haunting" entities to the game, would dispel them. Another medicine could be Bear Root (used in real life as headache cure) which would relieve pain (bonus cure Blue Rot?). I have quite some knowledge on Ojibwe/Anishnabe medicines/traditions if you need any more ideas or suggestions. I don't expect you to come up with all of this of course, for such a minor addition of people to the story/game.
Finally, I like the idea of using elders of the tribe, as to us elders (even though everyone is "the same level of importance") are extremely important. They teach the future generations important lessons and steer the youth and adults from possible dangers. Much like you plan to do, I think it would help build some story if the elder helped out Philip positively if possible, as they'd never really harm an (until proven otherwise) innocent non-tribe human.

Thanks for replying in the first place, and again, keep up the great work!
Feel free to contact me again if you would like any more ideas, suggestions etc.

Anishnabe Canadian
YouTube: Lambtic
Bananas are tasty