The alpha version of DayZ standalone still isn't ready for release but now there's an end in sight.
"I guess the big question that a lot of people have is when we're actually going to get this out," creator Dean Hall said during a live demonstration of an hour-old build of DayZ at Rezzed 2013 this weekend passed (video below).
"We've set a date now - a window of about a week."
Sadly, it's a secret he's not ready to share.
"We're not going to say when that is," he said, "because we were originally going to release them in 50,000 key increments but we decided to do everything altogether." And the architecture has to be there to support that, he pointed out.
His secrecy may also stem from having built up expectation when he announced a hopeful Christmas 2012 launch window for the DayZ standalone alpha at the Eurogamer Expo last year - a move that resulted in apologies and Everest-sized mountains of stress.
Hall and team are acutely feeling the pressure to release the DayZ alpha, though. "We really feel like we have to get the alpha out and start getting player feedback on where we're at here," he said. Fingers crossed that that means "very soon" and maybe even "this summer".
DayZ is better for the delay, of course - more complete, more robust, better looking. The new build that Dean Hall showed at Rezzed highlighted this.
Don't expect it to look like ArmA 3, he warned, because that's a multi-year project worked on by a large team. He doesn't want DayZ to take as long and is adamant that system requirements should be low so that performance can be high.
"If it has a great frame-rate - 60 fps on higher-end PCs - it means it can then run and support things like Oculus Rift and all those sort of awesome things as well," he said.
He talked about all sorts of bewilderingly intricate systems during the demo, such as being able to take blood from people, inject saline and find antibiotics (real-world types) - crucial medical mechanics that mean you will have to trade with people even if you're playing as a lone wolf. This should lead to some tense negotiations, he grinned.
Hall also demonstrated the new radio system whereby players can receive internet radio stations on radio devices within the game. And then they can blare them out, either as they run around or by leaving radios at locations for some hot trolling potential.