The Standalone version of the incredibly popular zombie-survival mod has been in development for some time now, and here’s what we’d like to see in the finished product:
A redesigned Chernarus + More locations
Chernarus, a fictional heavily forested post-Soviet country littered with various sizes of industrial towns and military zones is an awesome location, but to truly fit the zombie apocalypse premise and create a more enjoyable DAYZ it needs an update; This means most importantly clear signs of outbreak and struggle – boarded up buildings, debris, blood splatters and trails in overrun areas, zombies wearing bio-hazard suits and gas masks and an abandoned laboratory in a secluded area, the possible source of the infection. We’d also like to see a lot more enterable buildings, less generic towns and more unique locations like quarries, caves, bunkers and maybe even a subway, more wildlife and more realistic and detailed interiors, i.e. more furniture. Along with Chernarus we’d also like to see other maps. The community has recently added support for maps, take Fallujah or Utes for example, these could be given the “Plus” treatment like Chernarus, but we’d rather see a brand new map, built from the ground-up for DAYZ.
ARMA 2 has some clunky mechanics, it’s partly intentional to mimic the reality of combat, but it can be cumbersome at times. The realism should definitely be in DAYZ, but trivial things like vaulting over fences or changing weapons while running should feel natural and easy. Melee combat needs to be drastically improved.
Genuinely scary, smarter Zombies
The Zombies need a complete overhaul. As it is, zombies are really just a nuisance in most cases and aren’t too frightening. This is a major issue as they’re obviously a fundamental part of the game. They need to be terrifying, vicious, and most of all pose a real threat to the player. The cosmetic look of the zombies needs a lot more variety, the screams and howls need to be more intimidating and the animations and AI need to be massively improved – this means fluidity in zombie movements rather than sharp zigzags, context sensitive damage (e.g. when shot in the leg, Zed begins to limp or its leg is blown off) and less robotic, predictable AI. There could be different types; some slower ones could roam across the map in hordes (think The Walking Dead) while some quicker and more agile Zeds go it alone (think 28 days later). “Slower” being a medium paced jog and “quicker” being a full-on Usain Bolt-esque sprint.
An intuitive UI
Don’t keep anything from ArmA, start from scratch. It needs an absolutely minimalist HUD, an inventory system that’s easy to navigate and a dedicated key for picking up loot, entering/exiting vehicles etc. Take note from current RPGs in terms of default button mapping and inventory set-up. No more scroll wheeling!
Additional survival aspects
There’s a great deal of depth involved in the completion of simple tasks like filling a canteen or fueling a vehicle, we need more of this. We want different items of clothing suitable for different weather conditions like jackets, raincoats, different kinds of shoes, a wet-suit for diving etc. More ways in which to live off the land, like fishing, trapping and tracking; All of which would of course require you to find the necessary equipment. A more complex health/healing system that includes medication specific to several different diseases and more realistic methods of healing broken bones, i.e. splint and duct-tape instead of just a morphine shot.
Emphasis on melee weapons and civilian firearms, all weapons degrade over time
In the current state of DAYZ, military weapons and equipment are far too common, and this leads to the game becoming too easy too fast and takes away from the realism. The addition of several firearms that are more common among civilians like hunting rifles and handguns and at least a dozen new melee weapons like a metal pipe and baseball bat would be very welcome. All weapons should have Far Cry 2-style degradation and realistic spawn zones.
No more hacking
Plain and simply, one of the biggest problems facing the mod, hacking, needs to be stamped out for good.
Less incentive to become a bandit
Bandits should absolutely remain in the game, but there needs to be less of them. I think a lot of the added features mentioned would prevent boredom for longer and this would decrease the amount of people resorting to banditry, but further discouragement is needed. A natural feeling deterrent could be when someone is shot, some of their equipment becomes damaged or is destroyed so you won’t get as much loot from players.
Fort/Safe house construction
Definitely a must-have feature. This should scale from boarding up windows and blocking doors with furniture to the construction of brand new structures. Like weapons, they should be degradable, the speed at which they degrade should be determined by the complexity of the fortification and strength of the materials used. Resources such as barbed wire, wooden planks and metal bars must all be gathered, and the stronger the material the rarer it is.
An optimized engine
The engine the DAYZ standalone is running on is confirmed to be a modified version of the ArmA 2 engine, and while I’d like the game to look a little prettier, more importantly it needs to scale well to a variety of different systems, making it accessible to more players.