The developers behind zombie survival RPG Project Zomboid have outlined their vision for the future of the game.
The first update to the paid-for version of the game is set for release very soon, The Indie Stone told Eurogamer at the Develop conference in Brighton last week.
It adds curtains, which can be shut. This, the team said, was a "game changer". Zombies, of course, have line of sight through any window. If you don't want to attract zombies to your safe house you have to board all the windows up, which makes a lot of noise and requires wood, nails and a hammer.
Using curtains is quieter and quicker – the equivalent of shutting a door. But then, in a future update, zombies will gain the ability to climb through windows. Ouch.
The update also adds burglar alarms, which you may trigger as you enter a house. Zombies, of course, like burglar alarms. Think the car alarms from Left 4 Dead but glued to the side of a house.
And finally the update adds character customisation, which enables random NPCs.
The Indie Stone plans to launch customisable zombies, then women, then zombie women.
"We might have come across as a bit sexist and racist from the tech demo purely because of the fact we had one character," Chris "Lemmy" Simpson, one quarter of the Indie Stone, told Eurogamer.
"We had to pick a gender. There was going to be either a world full of men or a world full of women. If we had picked women, it would have looked very cynical. You can't win either way, so you've got to pick one and go with it," Andy "Binky" Hodgetts said.
Looking further ahead, The Indie Stone hopes to create two sides to the game. One, the sandbox world packed with quests and NPCs you can meet and team up with. And two, for those who want a more directed experience, you'll be able to continue the story of protagonists Kate and Baldspot.
"Kate will get better," writer Will Porter said, "and you'll be able to go on many happy adventures apart from the times when you both horribly die."
New gameplay elements will be introduced through the narrative story to help gamers understand how they work and how best to use them in the sandbox world.
Project Zomboid, described as "post-Minecraftian" by Porter, has been an overnight success, with hundreds of YouTube clips showcasing player exploits. Now, the team plans to release the game on digital download portals, including Steam.
"The ultimate goal is to take what we have now and make it the richest possible game," Binky said.
"It's just more, more, more, basically. Bigger map, more stuff."
"I don't think we'll ever feel successful. We'll never feel like we're the guys," Lemmy added. "But in the sense you fulfilled something you're proud of, I would say we're already successful.
"The reaction people have had, the things people have said, in that respect it's like we've already made it."
"We'll probably get a bigger flat, just because it's not really good having one person on a sofa," Binky said. "So we’ll get at least a three bedroom flat. But that's about as far as we're going."
"The chances of us running out of funds are drastically starting to shrink as time is going on," Lemmy explained. "We've got quite a big buffer now. That will run out at some point but if it carries on even close to the way it has been, we're going to be able to see this through.
"Obviously the more people who buy the more months in the bag there are.
"Notch said, when he's done with Minecraft, when no-one's buying it, he'll make it open source.
"I'd like to see that as the ultimate thing. Then there will probably be a literal Project Zomboid that was maintained. But that's way in the future. We're years away, really."
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