UrbanDead et al

I haven’t written anything in a bit because I’ve been working on the Volchok Store. When I get home, i’ve been playing katamari damacy. It is an awesome, extremely creative, game, though frustratingly short. But there’s definitely some replay value. I like replaying one level in particular, which I won’t spoil the details for…but it’s really cool. The soundtrack is extremely creative as well, which is nice.

However, the topic I am here for is an MMORPG called urbandead. It’s very simple, and not too time-consuming. There are humans and there are zombies. When a human dies, he becomes a zombie. When a zombie dies, he can get back up as a zombie. As you can imagine, this leads to a very disproportionate level of zombies. It’s possible to ‘revivify’ a zombie, though I’ve never seen it done.

As I’ve gone through about, say, 4 or 5 human characters now, I think I know the deal. Hindsight being 20-20, I would like to see some mechanics changed to keep it more interesting. Lots of stuff from “28 days later”. hunger – both Human and Zombie – would be intriguing. And dead zombies should have something worse happen to them – right now they just get up – that makes it so there’s no point in killing them. I understand that the author doesn’t want to punish zombies for dying too hard, but maybe moving them to the graveyard or something would be better? While we’re at it, I don’t like that we can have 5 guys in a barricaded building, armed to the teeth, and have them allow a zombie to break in and kill them all, without firing a shot. And how come I can walk in to a room with 8 zombies in it and casually root around for stuff without them taking swipes at me? It doesn’t make the game uninteresting, it just makes the game not-a-zombie-game. Or at least not a Classical Movie Zombie game.

So fine, very nice gripes – but how do you fix them? Autodefend? Let the server fight for you if you’re not there? Maybe. But I think the real problem is that it’s 24 hours happening in 24 hour time. You never encounter another user “there” at the same time as you. You log on and find out what they did, instead. And what they’ve done to you is usually spend all 50 AP’s on Deadifying you.

If you had features like ‘autodefend’ and ‘autobarricade’ – you’d come back after 24 hrs. “rest” to find that you had no ammo or AP’s…argh.

Also – and this is a minor point – if you did manage to face someone in real time, if they had a faster net connection than you, they could killulate you all the harder, with you not being able to respond in kind.

Getting killed while you’re logged off is lame. But I guess that’s just the consequences of your actions – did you hole up in the right place? but maybe ‘logging on’ means coming out of your hidey hole. And the same for the zombies. Then you’ll only be handling face-to-face battles. instead of AP’s you’d be dealing with stuff in real time, or delays in the seconds – it takes 2 seconds to do X, 5 seconds to do Y…You could still do defensive emplacements, and co-operation…dead people should still become zombies, but dead zombies should either die or go elsewhere? Die ideally…

But then, to play with your friends, you have to be on at the same time. . . Maybe you could have “territory” – human vs. Z controlled. If you “rest” in territory that gets overrun, well, then you log on Dead. And the same for them, shambling undead bastards… And maybe you make it so that only ‘n’ people can exist in ‘m’ space…i dunno…it forces some people to sleep on the front lines…maybe zombies should be NPC’s…

Let’s look at what the ‘sim’ should be simulating. Zombies take more damage than humans, but tend to do less, due to humans having those dirty, dirty opposable thumbs. Zombies outnumber humans. Dead humans become zombies – if infected. Humans need food. Do zombies need brains? Zombies are dumb, slow, and mindless. Zombies, when killed, die.

Urbandead keeps the Z population up by making being a Zombie pretty easy. And death being inconsequential. Under my system, zombies will tend to suicide and make a new human character…

Maybe you make it so that zombie players can pop up in another body (that isn’t being used), and carry some kind of identity and xp and skills into the new body…so if you, as a Zombie, die, you take over another body (elsewhere, probably) and kinda become them? You might make it so that you don’t get to play your Zombie char at all. You just have to take a new Human form? A la wow – spirits running around? And maybe something where you can kill dead bodies to prevent their zombifiction.

Anyways, I like some of my ideas, not others. Just wanted to jot them down.

Ooh ooh! You could have an effect be ‘knock unconscious’ and unco people might be indistinguishable from Z’s…then “joe schmoe gets up…” eek! Is he a zombie! Or “CHECK PULSE” – joe attacks you for +20 damage!

One thought on “UrbanDead et al”

  1. I agree that the never-dying aspect of zombies in UD is bad. There’s also no incentive for staying alive but plenty for going dead. You should get XP each day you survive or something, but then the issue would become what to spend the points on…

    Hunger would be interesting.

    As for the auto-action stuff, I think the current system works about as well as it could; as you say, you wouldn’t want to log in to find all of your points spent for you. Though maybe you could have APs and IPs (inactive points). When you’re not logged in, it uses IPs; if you run out, you’re just too tired to continue doing whatever needs doing. Yes, it’d still use ammo, I guess, but things *will* be trying to bite you either way… Would you rather get a couple shots off or let the Zs chomp away without you reacting?

    Interesting things to think about…

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