Fire, explosions, crafting, barricading and food…

Posted in Items, Zombox on February 4th, 2012 by Tyson Ibele

Lots of updates to Zombox this week!

I worked on creating some weapons that allow the player to use fire and explosive power against the zombie hordes. All of these new weapons must be crafted from various supplies.

(all of the following .gifs depict sped-up gameplay footage)

The molotov (click here to view example .gif) is made from a bottle, a lighter and some cloth. Tossing it towards a group of zombies will quickly light them all on fire.

The fire bow (click here to view example .gif) is made from a crossbow, a lighter and some duct tape. It turns normal crossbow projectiles into flaming spears, capable of piercing through zombie flesh while dealing extra fire damage afterwards.

The pipe bomb (click here to view example .gif) is made from a pipe, a lighter and some gunpowder. Great for blowing up zombies, buildings, and anything else in the game.

The boom bow (click here to view example .gif) is made from a crossbow, a lighter, some gunpowder and duct tape. It turns normal crossbow projectiles into explosive darts, which detonate on contact.

I also added the ability for the player to barricade doors with the construction mallet. Doing so will add extra HP to the door, making it harder for zombies to knock it down. Here’s a .gif showing off this new feature.

Finally, I added a food system that requires the player to eat food at regular intervals. If the player doesn’t eat when the food icon pops up next to the player icon in the top right of the screen, after a while the player will lose health and eventually die from starvation. Here’s an image showing how the bubble icon looks onscreen when the player gets hungry:

Collecting supplies and crafting weapons…

Posted in Items, Zombox on January 28th, 2012 by Tyson Ibele

This week in development I worked on getting the weapon crafting system working, as well as giving the player the ability to collect supplies which can be used to construct walls and doorways. Last week’s update showed the ability to construct those building elements, but there was no way to actually gather the raw materials necessary for them. Now, every time you destroy an object in the game, there’s a chance it may drop some useful raw materials that can be picked up.

New weapons can also be crafted now, by combining various pieces together in the crafting window. For example, you can combine a box of nails and a baseball bat to create a nail bat, or a pool cue, some duct tape and a knife to create a lance. Right now there are about ten craftable weapons that I’ve added to the game, but in the future there will be many more.

Also, the construction mallet shown in last week’s update has been given two modes: repair and destroy. Using it to repair an object costs money, and in destruction mode it can damage solid objects faster than most other weapon types.

Finally, new particle systems have been implemented, which generate debris every time an object is damaged. The type of particle emitted depends on the substance of the object being hit. A door will emit shards of wood, a wall will emit chunks of concrete, etc.

Here’s a video demonstrating all of the above features!



Building and repairing…

Posted in Items, Procedural world, Zombox on January 21st, 2012 by Tyson Ibele

Hey everyone,

First, I apologize for the lack of updates the last couple of weeks. Some extra work was occupying my free time and I couldn’t work on Zombox as much as I wanted.

Regardless, I’ve got quite a big update this week, because Zombox now features a construction system! You can use it to build your own custom buildings and shelters. Once a wall or doorway is built, it only has partial HP, so a player must use the “Construction Mallet” (a new item) to repair it to full health. The “Construction Mallet” can be used to repair any object in the game world. The mallet is currently unbalanced, so there’s no penalty for using it to repair something, but eventually I plan to integrate it into the ammo system, or have it drain the player’s money during repairs, or something else in order to persuade the player to use it wisely.

I’ve also modified the inventory UI a bit to make way for the upcoming crafting system, as well as the supply system. Because it doesn’t make sense for a player to be able to build walls and doorways without the proper supplies, eventually you’ll need to collect scrap metal/wood/concrete before being able to build things. While this system isn’t yet integrated fully, the UI has three new item slots in the bottom left to keep track of the amount of building supplies the player is carrying. Also, in the bottom right of the new UI are three new tabs, which the user can click on to quickly switch between the examination window, the crafting window, and the settings window.

During my work on Zombox in the last weeks, I also implemented Jump Point Searching into the pathfinding algorithm. However, even though JPS performed better than vanilla A* on full paths, the current pathfinding system in Zombox is highly optimized towards returning partial paths, and JPS doesn’t return very good partial paths due to the way it expands nodes. So I ended up reverting back to my old pathfinding system. I worked on optimizing it further too, so it now performs about 40% faster.

Here are some images and animations demonstrating the changes listed above!


XP, medkits, ammo and more…

Posted in GUI, Items, Zombox on December 17th, 2011 by Tyson Ibele

This week I added several new things to Zombox:

  • it now has an XP system, that allows the player to upgrade his/her character. XP is earned by killing zombies.
  • it now has various healing items that can be collected. Pills, medkits, syringes, bandaids, etc.
  • the inventory GUI has been updated to display ammo counters for the five types of collectible ammo in the game.
  • ammo items can be collected from around the world, each containing various amounts of ammo for a particular ammo type
  • swinging doors will now knock clumsy zombies out of the way

Here are some .gif animations showcasing the leveling system and healing abilities, and an image showing the new inventory GUI layout:

Inventory, hp and other stuff…

Posted in Items, Procedural world, Zombox on December 10th, 2011 by Tyson Ibele

So I wasn’t able to post an update last week due to a busy schedule, but I’m back on track this week.

I’ve fixed lots of bugs and tweaked lots of minor things in the game in the past few days, and many new features have been added:

  • the environment now features broken bridges, dead ends, and various fences placed between buildings to block travel
  • many new scavengable items have been added to the world, including rotten/fresh food types and ripped/clean clothing types. Both clothing and food will offer the player different stat perks and bonuses
  • To feed your character, you just have to drag food/drink over to him in the inventory panel. Animations have been added so that the character eats/drinks what you give him
  • stats are now displayed numerically in the inventory window
  • the hit points of all props in the world have been better adjusted, so things don’t break as easily
  • the remaining hit points of props and zombies are now displayed momentarily in-game after they receive damage
  • when the player is hurt, his icon in the top right corner of the screen gets bloody, and so does his in-game body

Here are some images illustrating the features mentioned above:


Posted in Items, Zombox on November 12th, 2011 by Tyson Ibele

So this week I worked on the scavenge system.

Each building interior contains both contextual and randomized props which can be searched for useful items.

In order to search an object, you simply have to walk up to it…and if it’s searchable, it will flash green and a magnifying glass icon will appear in the top right corner of the screen. Once that icon is pressed, the inventory panel will open and the items contained in the object will appear in the bottom right panel.

I also added some food items to the inventory, and these can be found in various houses/restaurants/grocery stores/etc throughout the world.


Posted in Items, Zombox on October 15th, 2011 by Tyson Ibele

This week I worked on character customizations within Zombox.

The main character can now be dressed in various clothes, including over 60 hats, shirts and pants. Each clothing item provides a unique bonus to the character’s stats. Some items provide extra armor, some provide extra hit points, some increase speed, some increase the chances to land a critical hit, some increase attack and others regenerate health.

The clothing items, like all items in the game, can be found throughout the world.

Read more »

Splashes, weapons and AI…

Posted in AI, Items, Procedural world, Zombox on October 8th, 2011 by Tyson Ibele

This week’s work on Zombox was sporadic and mostly behind-the-scenes.

The biggest changes are the following:

-weapons can now damage the environment. Got a hammer? Smash down a wall. Got an axe? Chop down a street light.

-zombie AI and flocking algorithms have been improved. Zombies no longer intersect one another while crowding around the player

-zombie pathfinding has been improved. The A* algorithm now runs in a co-routine so it can process a path over multiple frames, lessening the load on the CPU and allowing for longer paths to be calculated

-objects and enemies can be pushed in the water now. They’ll splash and drown but so can the player so you shouldn’t go too close to the edge!

Here’s a gif showing the splashing in action.

Here’s a gif showing the pathfinding in action.

Here’s a gif showing the environment destruction in action.

Updates for weapons and zombies.

Posted in AI, Items, Zombox on October 1st, 2011 by Tyson Ibele

This week I had some time to update the weapons and crowd dynamics of Zombox.

There are now different types of zombies…some are smaller/weaker/faster, others are larger/stronger/slower. Some are wearing helmets or protective gear and have more health, others carry simple melee weapons and can deal more damage.

Also, the zombie flocking algorithms have been updated. Zombies now flock around the main player more dynamically, and can be pushed out of the way as you move forward. The zombie physics system has been updated so that certain weapons and attacks can knock zombies back causing them to roll around and knock into nearby scenery.

All weapons have been updated in various ways. Melee weapons will drip drip more blood after hitting a zombie, push the zombies back more and their collision systems are more precise. Firearms do less damage from greater distances, can fling zombies backwards, and sharp projectiles that shoot out of certain firearms (like crossbows and nailguns) will stick into zombies and other hard surfaces. Also, the special taser weapon will electrify zombies, dealing secondary damage over time. Critical hits will cause blue sparks to emanate outwards from the affected zombies, giving subtle visual feedback on the level of damage dealt.

More updates…

Posted in GUI, Items, Zombox on September 23rd, 2011 by Tyson Ibele

Lots of Zombox progress this week.

Here’s a video showing it.

  • Implemented the inventory windows into the game. Got icon dragging, active slots, etc and everything working. Note: in the video the weapons that the character uses are being dragged into the inventory from the “object” panel. The “object” panel right now is temporary, but in the final game this will be where objects and items from characters and places you search around town will show up.
  • Implemented the weapon system (animation, scripting, etc). The character’s animation/pose now adapts to the weapon type and each weapon and item has unique properties.
  • Weapons that swipe or slash as their attack leave a subtle motion-blur trail behind them
  • The on screen controls were redesigned after much deliberation, after getting feedback from many people that the old controls were too bulky.
  • The map now includes lakes and rivers