Back to work! – Undead Valley Dev-Blog

Hey all! My last post was talking about my struggles with getting and staying motivated to work on Undead Valley, however since that post, things seem to have taken a turn. I don’t know what caused the sudden change, whether it be the guilt of being so lazy, or the amazing amount of work that one of my inspirations, Sean Murray and the rest of the Hello Games team put into NMS Next inspiring me to open up Unity agian, but either way I’m not complaining. I’m finally back to it, working hard on the v0.0.5 build, which will hopefully be ready to be released soon. The new build brings about a whole heap of new content, as well as a bunch of fixes and performance improvements.

Working on the performance issues has been a pretty good learning experience for me, as I’ve never had to really worry about these issues in my previous projects, due to the much smaller scale. However, as Undead Valley is quite an ambitious open world game, I had a lot of next tricks to learn. Fixing the performance issues has prompted me to start learning about Unitys profiler, which has been extremely helpful in identifying the causes of frame drops.

Some of the issues were caused by some of my admittedly stupid omissions, such as forgetting to turn the camera that I use for the map off when the player isn’t looking at it. Thinking back, I don’t quite know how I forgot this, but either way, its fixed now.

I’ve also began working on adding different zombie types to the game. One criticism I received from the last build I released was that the game seemed too peaceful for a Zombie survival game, my fix to this was to add running zombies, that up the intensity when you have a large hoard of zombies coming towards you. I’m also considering adding what I call ‘Screamers,’ Zombies that don’t attack the player directly, but instead spawn a bunch of zombies around them, this would encourage the player to focus on the ‘Screamer’ to avoid more zombies spawning and them becoming overwhelmed.

Another feature I started working on was the reputation system. The player will get reputation points for every quest they complete for a specific faction. The higher the players reputation is with a faction, the more benefits they will get. This will round off quite nicely when I add competing factions into the game. Essentially, the player will have to pick the factions they wan’t to be friendly with, as becoming friendly with one faction will be able to negativity impact your relationship with another. This will also effect how safe the player will be when moving around the map, as I will be adding human NPC’s that will belong to a specific faction, if you have a negative reputation with the faction they will attack you, however, if you have a positive reputation with them, you will be able to request that they help you out.

There’s a lot more improvements and additions that I wont detail here, however, the game is making good progress, and I’m super happy to be back to work. If it wasn’t clear from this post, I have a lot of new ideas that I’m excited to add to the game, and hopefully these additions will be made sooner rather than later.

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