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Z2K Development Journal

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What is Z2K?

Z2K is the working title for maffyew's independent game project.

Nothing much to see here just yet - I'm in the process of tracking down old posts in my personal journal to transfer over to this one, and deciding how much of this project I'm willing to talk about right now.

Please note that the FAQ below is a rough transcript from an earlier design document and is purposefully vague in areas. It should be enough to give you an idea as to what's going on, though.

Content of this page and posts made in the Z2KDev community is Copyright 2005-2006 Matthew F. Jones and may not be reproduced or sold without permission. Links to resources and any other games/publications mentioned are subject to the rights of their respective owners/publishers.

Comments on posts in this community from outside persons do not necessarily reflect my own views.


"Z2K" is being developed using the Torque Game Builder with modifications to the source code.





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Game Overview FAQ v0.1
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-Philosophy-

To create a zombie-themed survival role playing game that engages the player in their own unique story – one that unfolds differently for every person, depending on how they play.


-Common Questions-

What is the game?

Z2K is a strategic, survival-horror role playing game starting in the early hours of a zombie apocalypse.


What are the goals of the game?

The fundamental goal of the game is to ensure that you survive for as long as possible. The player has choices as to how to go about this - do you spend time creating a fortress in the city itself and waiting for help to arrive? Do you gather people and resources and flee the city for the surrounding areas? Perhaps a smaller, elite group is the way to go - scavenging from shops and abandoned houses, moving from place to place so as not to be surrounded by the encroaching, ever growing hordes of the undead.

The manner of how you go about this is up to the player as well. Do you help everyone who seems to be in trouble and play the humanitarian, or do you focus on keeping yourself alive, even if that means sacrificing others?


Why create this game?

There are a number of zombie-themed games that I have enjoyed playing, ranging from survival-horror games such as the Resident Evil series, to action-rpg's like Survival Crisis Z.

To date, I am unable to find a computer RPG that captures all the elements from great zombie horror movies. In particular, interpersonal conflict between individuals in a given group is often a non existent element in survival horror games, but forms a key cornerstone of movies and literature.

Most games of this ilk cast the player as a lone hero, who interacts with the occasional human. Yet the great majority of zombie movies focus around a group of survivors and their struggles.

It is the survivors and their relationships upon which this game is focused. Not a lone hero gunning zombies down left right and center.

In addition, creating this game is a great way for me to hone and refine my coding skills, learn a lot of new things along the way, and utilise the underestimated talents of a number of people I know.


Who is this game for?

I can safely see this game appealing to:

  • "Roguelike" players.

  • Zombie horror movie fans.

  • Roleplayers interested in non-linear storylines.

  • Me. :)


Where does the game take place?

The game takes place in an as yet unnamed city. A default name will likely be chosen, but the player will be given the option to customise their city's name at game startup.

This first Z2K game will be limited to the city itself. Traveling to other cities and overland is a feature to be considered in a future title. Leaving the city will effectively end the game.

The city itself will comprise of a number of locations, ranging from your mundane dwellings to scenes right out of the best Zombie movies - supermarkets, parking lots, hospitals, etc.

What do I control?

You control a survivor. The player may choose from a pre-generated list of classic Zombie flick archetypes, including (but not limited to) a doctor, a police officer, a tech geek, a psychologist, a soldier or a civilian.

Alternatively, players may generate a character of their own.

How many characters do I control?

You have direct control over one survivor - yourself. You are able to influence other survivors and travel with them, however. This is where psychological elements come into play.

If characters do not trust the player enough, or are stricken with high levels of fear, they may ignore the player's wishes and perform actions other than those intended by the player.

Obviously, trust is not an issue for control over the main player. Fear will be an element the player must deal with, however.

What is the main focus?

Survival, and interacting with other survivors. Ideally, I would like to have a text file constantly updated with the player's actions and key events, so that at the end of a game the player can go back and read the story of their struggle against the undead, or publish it on their blog.

What is different?

Most things in this game have been done by others to some extent, but not combined in the way that I intend to. A strong focus on interpersonal conflict and implementation of the psychological effects of fear and trust are key points that will separate this game from others in the genre.

Feature Set

General Features

  • Randomly generated cityscape.

  • No two games play the same.

  • 2D Tile based graphics engine with particle effects.

  • Detailed character development.

  • Weather effects and Day/Night system.

  • NPC Personality traits and Fear/Trust system.


Multi-player Features

  • No in game multi-player is planned.


  • Players can upload their survival scores to an on-line database.


Editor

  • A character editor allows players to create their own survivor.


Gameplay

  • Live out the first few hours of the crisis and witness civilization crumbling.

  • Scavenge and utilize a variety of supplies, ammunition, weapons and tools.

  • Discover information about the virus - who caused it? Is there a cure?

  • Fight the zombies in tactical, turn based combat.

  • Multiple pathways to survival - do you aim to flee the city with the tools, individuals and information you need to survive, or do you find a suitable structure in the city and start a self-contained fortress? Perhaps gathering a small, mobile group and moving from place to place, avoiding the zombie hordes and living off what you can scavenge?

  • Make difficult moral decisions regarding your survival - what do you do with those who have been infected but are still alive? Kill them, leave them on their own or take them with you in hopes of finding a cure?

  • Your decisions affect others - logical but cruel acts may bolster trust in your leadership in some, but damage the trust of other, more emotional members of your party. Do you surround yourself with like minded individuals, or attempt to juggle a swathe of different personalities?

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