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Author Topic: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"  (Read 44520 times)

Jboy2000000

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2013, 09:26:02 pm »

I think you should make people eat and drink less, or make them more plentiful. One time someone was badly wounded and found at least 20 units of food and water and they ate through that before he was even able to heal.
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Jboy2000000

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #31 on: February 01, 2013, 01:58:20 am »

THIS LOGBOOK NEEDS A SLOGAN!
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Glloyd

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #32 on: February 01, 2013, 12:10:20 pm »

4) Interface, & especially the font selection, seems just creepy enough to properly set the mood

I one hundred percent agree, that font fits perfectly.

Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #33 on: February 03, 2013, 05:53:22 pm »

If you're willing to go commercial with this, having no graphics, i have no idea how efficient it would be UNLESS it proves to have some incredible set of features to back up for the lack of graphics (and justify the lack).
Even so, you will only reach only a small group of people that would be interested.
So how much profit can you gain?

Yeah, I've thought about that. It's certainly a concern, and I expect the answer to that question will ultimately determine whether I can finish making this game.

If you go the Kickstarter route, you have to make sure the rewards are designed properly so that you could fulfill them. The second-worst thing that could ever happen to a Kickstarter is getting overfunded, and thus receiving the pressure of trying to fulfill all backers' orders. Granted, that's not as a big of a problem as trying to get people interested in a zombie rogue-like in the first place.

Since you do admit that this game cannot really be sold, I think you should try the Ransom Model, offering to make the source code and the game free if your Kickstarter is fully funded, and then have rewards be you inserting backers into the game, either as randomly generated names or as possible parts of the "main quest" necessary to get out of the city.

That's what I've heard about Kickstarter rewards, and I had a similar idea in mind for how to structure a Kickstarter campaign; a fully-funded project would result in an open-source and free game, with backers given early and ongoing access, cameos, and greater creative impact. I may alternatively go for a tiered solution, where I have a low goal to just fund the game's development, while crossing my fingers for sales later to make it more worth my time from a financial perspective. Backers would get access to the full game in perpetuity. A stretch goal, at a more comfortable funding level, could be to release the game as free and open source.

I haven't really decided on this stuff though; at the moment, I don't yet have the game in a compelling enough state that I would back it myself. It really needs to be far enough down the line that a larger number of people would crave to see the game completed and in their hands.

It might be cool if instead of gasping in pain zombies would be knocked to the ground.  They'd then keep trying to climb back up until you kill them.

Yeah, it uses the same incapacitated messages for humans and zombies right now, and that's kinda lame. They're written to be vaguely ambiguous, but it's still not very zombie-like. I think both types can stand to have more distinctively human and distinctively zombie incapacitation text.

Damn, those knifehand zombies.  Not sure I'm a fan of those.

I think that zombies should be doing less massive single strikes but should be getting more small damage hits.  They should be slowly wearing you down before the horde.  It would work especially well if coupled with them spawning behind you based on how long you've been in the area.  It should be about the horde slowly wearing you down and you deciding whether it's better to keep searching for food or run before too many of them show up.

I'm imagining these to be related, since normal zombies shouldn't be doing massive single strikes. "Knifehands zombies" are a part of my personal zombie lore (not drawn from any other sources), and I like the idea of zombies who look similar to the bread and butter minimally dangerous ones, but turn out to be really scary. I've also drawn inspiration from Left 4 Dead's idea of special infected. I think that's a powerful idea that opens up a lot of possibility space in both the lore of the zombie apocalypse and the depth of the game. At the same time, I think of Romero zombies as the baseline for a "zombie apocalypse", so things should keep touching back with that. My sense is that most of the time, you should be dealing with slow, mindless, countless zombies, that wear down your resources and only really ruin you when there's a bunch of them and you can't find a way around them. But once in awhile, I want you to deal with something really scary.

one thing that I find very few zombie games do well, is any sort of weapon durability tracking.  Also the ability to block/counter/defend yourself with a melee weapon, generally in most games getting close to a zombie with a melee weapon is almost certain to get you hurt.  Any plans at all to adding melee skills, so that lone zombies would be a lot less harmful against people with melee weapons?  Maybe fatigue or something that gets used up as you block/counter attacks to make fighting 1-2 zombies in melee safe but multiples can still overwhelm you.  Preventing the 'Urist Knocks the bolt out of the air with his sword' spam that df sometimes has :p

I'm not sure if I'll have weapon durability tracking; it's not something I've thought about at all.

I do think you make a good point about wanting to make sure that melee is viable. Badass heroes mowing their way through the zombie horde with a chainsaw is a part of the iconography of the genre, so it would be good to capture that. Left 4 Dead does a pretty good job with that, since your melee weapons one-shot enemies in a large arc, and you can alt-fire to knock back large groups, but can still get overwhelmed if you aren't careful. I'm definitely planning to have skills in the game, but haven't designed out the exact impact they have, so I can't really say whether a melee skill would directly make you harder to hit while using that weapon. For ensuring skilled melee combatants can still get overwhelmed, I personally like the idea of penalties for being surrounded more than exhaustion; exhaustion would add an extra thing to keep track of and try to manage. This again is something I've not in any way nailed down though, so I'm just speculating about options, not promising anything.

What are your plans for how this game starts out?

Multiple start options, like LCS, would be neat.

-snip-

I'm thinking of having a LCS-style multiple choice thing at the start. I think I'd want to make it less of a difficulty selection and more about choosing between several balanced options, but I really like the flavor of your ideas. Instead of giving you a branching choice of "A) get great options / B) get okay options / C) get bad options", it could just present each set of options in sequence. So you could have one part where you pick a great survival advantage, another where you pick some last-minute preparations as the terrifying reports came in, a question about the people you managed to stick close to when the area was falling apart, a question about where you holed up, a question that gives you options of a scary situation after everything went to hell and how you dealt with it, stuff like that. The course of the questions would both serve as character creation and tell the story of what you were doing before, during, and after the apocalypse, leading up to this point where you decide to try to gather survivors and take leadership.

1) Vision area is inconsistent/zombies tend to pop up out of nowhere (a square that looked clear from a square away can suddenly have a Z when you move adjacent--this can be nasty in the early going)
2) Unclear on food/water requirements
3) Not sure what effects the bandages have

XML, and maybe some low-level Java/Pascal (if I'm lucky and the compiler cooperates) is all the coding I can do.  Let me know, though, because this feels like it can & should go a lot farther than another zombie game I know, and I'd love to help.

1) Fixed the zombie popping up issue in the last release; the problem was that zombies get to act after you, so you can step into their view and they can then respond and step forward adjacent to you in the same turn. It should now act more intuitively.
2) Food and water are 2 per day per person, this should also be more clear now that the game log is in place.
3) Bandages do nothing, they were literally the first item I made when I was building and testing the engine. I think I've pulled them from the list of items that can appear in the world for the next release. I want medical supplies of some sort, but I may abstract them more and have it be a thing where you need to have enough supplies at your safehouse or you won't be able to treat injuries effectively.

The game is written in Python, one of the slickest and easiest to use general-purpose programming languages in the world. Python is used by some professional game development studios as the scripting language they let airhead designers play with to code up a few limited aspects of the game, while the genius programmers work with harder C and Java code to do core engine stuff. I'm using it for the whole game, so it should be pretty easy to understand.

I'm also writing the game with an eye on modding potential. All in all, while I'm not looking for help with the game at the moment, I suspect that if I do release the source code and open the game up to modding, you'll find it a lot easier to work with than LCS.

I think you should make people eat and drink less, or make them more plentiful. One time someone was badly wounded and found at least 20 units of food and water and they ate through that before he was even able to heal.

The eat/drink rates of 2 bottles & cans per day are based on some survival research I've done, though I am planning to let you alter the rationing to reduce or increase the rate of consumption, with certain consequences. Difficulty of finding things is definitely something that can and will change though, and I'm planning to have other ways of getting food beyond just scavenging with the raiding party.

In the game as it currently is, you can't really afford to have the entire squad sit out because one person is badly hurt; if you have 4 people alive, you'll burn through 24 cans and bottles in just three days. If somebody is nearly killed, best to reorganize and pull them out of the raiding party, sending out those who can still fight. If you have only a couple people left, you may not be able to do this, but your supplies will last longer. If you have lots of people and they're all badly hurt, you're probably in trouble.

4) Interface, & especially the font selection, seems just creepy enough to properly set the mood

I one hundred percent agree, that font fits perfectly.

Yeah, I count myself extremely fortunate to have access to this font. It was included with the libtcod library I'm using for the game's graphics (such as they are).

Edit for missed:

Is infection to be taken in account as future feature?

Yeah, but I haven't decided how to make it work. I added dead people coming back, but that's not really the same as a person being bitten and certain to turn.

To be honest i find this game enjoyable even as it is at this stage.
It's just so well done, although i cannot say what is well done but i love it!

Thank you, and I'm glad. One thing I'm trying to do to encourage this is make the game easy enough to play that you spend less time wrestling with the UI and more time actually playing than in most games with an ASCII interface. I'm looking especially at LCS, DF, and Roguelikes in general, which all have a fairly steep learning curve just to figure out how to do stuff.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 09:14:51 pm by Jonathan S. Fox »
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Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #34 on: February 03, 2013, 09:02:29 pm »

I created a basic map editor, which I have packaged in today's download, and made the game look first for maps exported from the editor when sending out the raiding party. I also made it so dead allies and enemies will sometimes come back as zombies. Repeatedly, if they aren't dead enough the first time.





Changelog:
- Added map editor
- Added ability of the dead to rise again and feed on the living
- Added new food items, books
- Added raid casualties to the safehouse message log

Editor Notes:
- Left-click and drag to paint floors. Right-click and drag to paint walls.
- Make sure you have at least 50 tiles of open space on the map.
- Just rename map.zmap (in the maps directory) to something else if you don't want to overwrite it when saving a new map.

http://jonathansfox.com/ZSS/zss_python_2-3-2013.zip
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mainiac

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #35 on: February 03, 2013, 09:54:51 pm »

I'm imagining these to be related, since normal zombies shouldn't be doing massive single strikes. "Knifehands zombies" are a part of my personal zombie lore (not drawn from any other sources), and I like the idea of zombies who look similar to the bread and butter minimally dangerous ones, but turn out to be really scary. I've also drawn inspiration from Left 4 Dead's idea of special infected. I think that's a powerful idea that opens up a lot of possibility space in both the lore of the zombie apocalypse and the depth of the game. At the same time, I think of Romero zombies as the baseline for a "zombie apocalypse", so things should keep touching back with that. My sense is that most of the time, you should be dealing with slow, mindless, countless zombies, that wear down your resources and only really ruin you when there's a bunch of them and you can't find a way around them. But once in awhile, I want you to deal with something really scary.

You could take a page from L4D and make it so there are special zombies that separate members from the group.  The captured member would be removed from the party and the special zombie would move away with the captured group member.  Then you would need to chase after the special zombie to get your group member back.  (Maybe the captured person could break free but that's an idea for later.)  This would force you into tactically disadvantageous situations but would feel a bit less arbitrary.

Another thing to do could be area of damage zombies.  I'm thinking zombies that explode in tentacles like in Resident Evil 4.  The idea here would be that they make an area several spaces across very dangerous but are immobile and eventually die off on their own.  If you need to you could attack them to make them die faster but this would probably cost you.

Another !fun! thing could be trap zombies.  They would bait you to step on them with good items.  If you step on them then one or more of your party members gets ankle-grabbed and several additional zombies come swarming.  If there are any corpses nearby, they reanimate.  This could add a little bit of gamble to items.  Maybe you can't risk getting that Kevlar vest...

It would be nice if body armor showed up in the outfit spot at a higher priority then padded clothes.  Best case scenario would be if there was Body Armor (+) to indicate padded outfit underneath.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2013, 10:38:10 pm by mainiac »
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cloudyrads

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #36 on: February 03, 2013, 11:50:19 pm »

my game is not saved does this happen to anyone else?
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mainiac

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #37 on: February 03, 2013, 11:51:54 pm »

That feature does exist yet, AFAIK.
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Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #38 on: February 03, 2013, 11:52:46 pm »

my game is not saved does this happen to anyone else?

That feature does exist yet, AFAIK.

Yeah, I haven't implemented save functionality. There's a load game option on the main menu, but it doesn't (yet) do anything. The map editor's map exporting served as a proof of technology on how I'm going to save games though.
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mainiac

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #39 on: February 03, 2013, 11:56:10 pm »

Had the game freeze up on me.  It was when I was about to be attacked by a zombie cat if that helps.  Any questions before I close the window?

Yay, first bug report!

« Last Edit: February 04, 2013, 12:01:37 am by mainiac »
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Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #40 on: February 03, 2013, 11:59:05 pm »

Had the game freeze up on me.  It was when I was about to be attacked by a zombie cat if that helps.  Any questions before I close the window?

Yay, first bug report!

Hm. I can't think of anything useful to ask, and don't know why it's crashing. Let me know if it happens again, especially if you can spot a pattern.

Actually, one question: Can you close with the close button in the corner? Big red X or whatever?
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mainiac

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #41 on: February 04, 2013, 12:01:58 am »

The close button worked.
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Jonathan S. Fox

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #42 on: February 04, 2013, 01:00:36 am »

The close button worked.

The thing this tells me is that only the gameplay thread crashed, which means it's probably a fairly run-of-the-mill crash/freeze bug. The close button stops working if the part of the game that handles input freezes. As that part of the game has very few moving parts, bugs rarely affect it, but those that do are likely to be more esoteric problems that are harder to uncover.
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Donuts

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #43 on: February 04, 2013, 01:05:02 am »

CONTINU DIS EPIK GAEM!!! NAOZ!!!!
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KA101

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Re: An ASCII-based "Zombie Survival Squad"
« Reply #44 on: February 04, 2013, 02:00:05 am »

Re Fox:
OK, thanks for the information.  I'm no "coder": what extremely little programming-language I know came from reading open-source code.  Most of the Department Store expansion owes its existence to robust code-documentation (thanks!) and alt-copy-paste (thanks again!).

Weapon durability/ammo isn't viable at the current state IMO because there's no way to recover/replenish it, and no way to expect what weapons will be available to replace depleted weapons.  Too Awesome To Use sets in, especially when one can't change weapons on-site.  "Oh shit a knifehands--get the contingency shotgun!"

Concur re Q&A-style character generation.  It ain't broke, no need to fix it.

Interface is fairly streamlined, true, though that'll hopefully change as more options become options.  Might help to explicitly let people know about F to attack at range, though, as I keep finding myself thinking in LCS-mode where all battles are in melee, firearms or no.

Re Mainiac:
Until/unless there are sustainable ways to keep a squad going outside of raids, PLEASE NO item-trolling zombies in the raids.  It's not much of a gamble if you *need* that crate of MREs to keep the squad alive.  Capture zombies might be similar to the Smoker and use a ranged attack similar to the Squad.  Area-effect zeds might be interesting but are a serious hazard in confined spaces.

Agree re outfit prioritization.

General thoughts:
How will players get more squad members?
Will a high Health stat offset lacking medical supplies, in similar fashion to how it speeds HP regen in LCS?
Sound-tracking: might a Katana be quieter than a Shotgun blast, so does not alert zeds throughout the area?  (Could be one way to make melee viable.)

Alternate raid locations, with different item weights/risk, etc?  (Could be a good way to reward backers: I'd consider paying to let people raid my former grad-student apartments, and I had some decent gear.  Probably not good safehouse locations though.)

Games I'm thinking of, which you may/not be familiar with:
Survival Crisis Z: graphical roguelike that could have been great.  But it ended up Conservative.
Attack of the Paper Zombies!: Open-field, limited-resource RTS: direct the marines to clear out the zombie spawn points.  They upgrade as you progress.

Bottom line: Fox's work on LCS has demonstrated to my satisfaction that he's capable of making, or at least positively developing, a squad-building roguelike/RPG that I'd find worthwhile.  Taking the general concepts of LCS and putting them into the zombie genre strikes me as hella more palatable than the closed-source game for which I wrote the FAQ.  His time & his life, thus his call, though.
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