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scrottie (4167)

scrottie
  scott@slowass.net
http://slowass.net/

My email address is scott@slowass.net. Spam me harder! *moan*

Journal of scrottie (4167)

Tuesday June 05, 2007
11:30 PM

Zombie apocalypse game -- level design help?

[ #33440 ]

http://slowass.net/minizombies/ ...

Wanted for some time to do a version of the zombies game, Urban Dead.

I've logged six or seven nights on it now, and it's reach the point where it might be playable.

Some of the work was on Continuity (it runs on top of the Continuity CPAN module, as having shared datastructures makes writing a multiplayer game much, much easier than running everything through a database).

Compared to Urban Dead, I wanted to do a few things differently:

1. Involve player-developers, or in MUD parlance, wizards. Players with intersesting personalities are invited to help build the game, and the game serves as a development platform for itself. Having a friendly in-game developer interface allows for intensive meddling by the gods of the realm to foster roleplaying, story development, and so on.

2. The zombies win in the end. The humans die off. UD tries to maintain balance and has un-undeath. That negates the eriee doomed feeling that defines the genre. Granted, humans might barricade themselves up really well somewhere and have a killer supply of food and manage a stalemate of sorts to the point where the admin (myself) stops the current game while there are still survivors. I suppose I'd give those humans extra points for pulling that off.

3. The map should be interesting, such as it is in Ultima IV or Ultima V. It should look like a city that grew organically, with buildings retrofit over time. The map itself should be a definite part of the game.

That's the bulk of the important stuff, I think. Additionally, I've decided (I think) to make the games run in basically real time, though you can join them at any time, with the games concluding at some point and then at some soon later point, being started again (map reset, player locations scrambled or something, perhaps parts of the map swapped in and out). Maybe later I'll go to a pure turn based thing. Another minor difference was an attempt to make a prettier map. I've got HTML/CSS overlayed over a bitmapped map. There's a tile editor that edits tiles, creates them, and assigns them to the room you're currently standing in.

Let's talk game play.

Up to ten bodies can cohabitate in a square (other objects take some room too). More than that, and they form a barricade of sorts. So zombies can back players into a cul de sac and even if the players kill some of the zombies, they might not be able to escape.

There are walls and doors. Some walls are virtually indestructable as are some doors. Others are very easily beaten down. Some are in the middle. Humans know how to open and close doors but zombies don't.

Items strewn around (place there by the level creator) can be added to barricades behind doors and walls and are consumed as the wall or door they're barricading is destroyed.

Of course, various other useful items may be scattered around by the creator of the area -- weapons useful against players/zombies, tools useful against other player's barricades (who might have holed up in a coveted spot), food, medicine...

Those rules there should be enough for some interesting levels.

I'm still working on game logic and the development environment, even though it's possibily usable now (even maybe somewhat spiffy). The fun part is level building, but I can't have fun yet.

So, dear readers of my humble blog, any of you want to play around with this and maybe help build some levels?

I don't read here very often, so you'd do better to email me at scott@slowass.net.

Cheers,
-scott

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