City fly-through…

Posted in Procedural world, Zombox on June 15th, 2013 by Tyson Ibele

Here’s a fly-through of a city generated with the new procedural generation system. Previous posts showed what maps look like from above…this video gives you a glimpse of what those maps look like once they’re converted into in-game geometry.

All the models and textures you see here come straight from the game, and this is exactly the type of map that you’ll be able to play in. The total area of this map is about 1.25 km square. Keep in mind that every single object you see in the video can be completely destroyed or repaired. Also note that each city you play in will have dozens of different areas each with its own types of zombies….thousands of buildings to explore and loot….a nearly inexhaustible number of places to build a shelter, craft reinforcements, etc. In other words….the maps are huge!


Further map updates…

Posted in Procedural world, Zombox on May 29th, 2013 by Tyson Ibele

Hey everyone, so I haven’t updated in a while….mainly because I was in France for a bit of a vacation….but things are back on track now and moving forward! Normally I post updates on Friday nights, but I figured I’d post this one a bit early since many of you are waiting very patiently to see some progress.

The procedural city layout system is basically done at this point. Since the last update several things have happened:

  • the perimeter of each city is no longer totally square. There are now many islands (which you’ll eventually be able to travel to…hint hint) and bays to create some extra variety in the overall shape of each city
  • about 40 new map tiles have been added….everything from dusty streets to backyard swimming pools to graveyards to basketball courts to football fields, to machine gun posts, etc etc….
  • the main city ‘zones’ have been better defined. Industrial zones are dusty and dirty, commercial zones are mostly concrete, residential zones are grassy, and destruction zones are charred and full of rubble. This will help the player better orient themselves in the overall scheme of things (ie, if you see that the buildings around you are surrounded by grassy yards, you’ll know you’re in the suburbs, etc)

I think the last thing I’ll be doing to the map layout system is further emphasizing the destruction around the central meteor crater. Right now that area is mostly grassy…I’d like to make it much more charred and desolate. If all goes well I’ll have that done by this Friday…so keep an eye out for that update!

Here is an image showing 4 different maps generated with the new system:


Tweaked the center crater area I mentioned above…now the destruction zone expands further out to the borders of the quarantine fences.

Click here to view what the new center areas look like.


New developments…

Posted in Procedural world, Zombox on April 27th, 2013 by Tyson Ibele

So as many of you have noticed, there haven’t been updates in a while. That’s mostly because the current list of things I’m working on involves a lot of backend work. If you’ve seen my previous posts, I’ve talked about re-working the city generation system to allow for more variations, and so that’s what I’ve been doing.

The old city system had about a dozen different ’tiles’ that were used to create the city….a couple building tiles, a few roads, grassy areas, rivers, etc. The new system now has over 100 tiles (60+ of which were shown in previous posts), and the cities generated with them are much more robust.

Now, I haven’t finished updating the city generator yet, and there’s still more work to be done. In the below image you can see some city layouts generated with the new system, and they’re fairly square and uniform. The next step will be getting more variety in the overall shape of the map, as well as more variety in the placements of the various city zones. Regardless, you can still see how huge and detailed the cities will be.

More city tiles…

Posted in Procedural world, Zombox on March 22nd, 2013 by Tyson Ibele

I was very busy with work the last two weeks, so Zombox work was put on the backburner, but I managed to finish texturing the latest city tiles, as well as create a giant new one that will serve a special purpose.

In the following weeks, I’ll be integrating these tiles into the map generator. The map generator itself is getting refurbished, since I’ve decided to try and make map layouts randomized after all (until now, buildings and props and things were randomized, but the overall map layout was not random, so things like roads and rivers were always in the same place). The new randomized layouts will mean each time you start a new game, you’ll have a whole new city to explore.

In the next couple of weeks I also want to render out a Youtube video showing a fly-through animation of the entire city, so you can see all of its different features and areas, as well as its size. So, keep a look out for that!

City tiles…

Posted in Procedural world, Zombox on March 8th, 2013 by Tyson Ibele

This week I finished up modeling the new city tiles I’ll be adding to the game. Each square represents a chunk of the map, and the elements on each square (fences, trees, walls, rocks, etc) will be randomized when the map is generated.  For example, if a “farm” zone is being created, it’ll choose one of the farm tiles and then randomly choose whether or not to add the fences, hay bales, ponds and such to that specific tile.

This system has been in place from the beginning, it’s just that now I’m adding a lot more variety to it. Previously, the map consisted of either buildings, roads or grassy areas….now you can see all the new areas that will be added (parks, farms, military bases, quarantine zones, demolished buildings, etc).

Here’s an image of the new models. They haven’t been textured yet so that’s why they’re white.

I also analyzed the visitor traffic this development blog has gotten over the last two years, in response to a thread on reddit where someone asked which marketing avenues they should pursue in order to drum up interest for their game. If you’re a game developer who wants to know which forums or websites it would be best to spread the word about your game on, this information may be useful to you!

To read the post, click here.


Health bonuses, gambling, lock-picking and more…

Posted in GUI, Items, Procedural world, Zombox on March 1st, 2013 by Tyson Ibele

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve added a whole bunch of stuff to Zombox.

  • Health bonuses

In a previous update I showed how getting too low on food, sleep or blood could result in dire consequences for your character. Well now, to even things out, I’ve added health bonuses to the game, which give your character temporary boosts when you get extra food/sleep/medicine. Extra food gives you an attack bonus, which temporarily doubles your attack damage. Getting extra sleep gives you a speed bonus, which temporarily increases your movement speed. Getting extra medicine gives you a defense bonus, which temporarily doubles however many defense points you have at the time (based on your equipment and upgrades).

  • Vending machines

NPC sewers now contain vending machines from which food can be purchased. They’re stocked up with many inexpensive items, although they don’t get restocked so you have to use them wisely.

  • Slot machines

Near NPC stores you’ll now sometimes find slot machines. Gambling on these machines can earn you large prizes and jackpots if you get a 3-of-a-kind match, or cherries. They also have a tendency to malfunction, and each time a malfunction occurs you get a special bonus (free spin, double your winnings, or 2-of-a-kind prizes). Your winnings are multiplied by the amount that you bet each spin…the larger your bet, the more you can win!

  • Lock Picking

Previously, locks could be picked using either a lock pick item, or Pete. You would walk up to a locked item, press the ‘unlock’ icon and wait. Now, if you want to unlock something you have to manually unlock it yourself, in a lock-pick minigame that pops up on screen. In order to complete the minigame, you have to bump the lock’s pins in the correct order. Bump them out of order and the lock resets. This provides quite a challenge when you’re trying to unlock something while zombies are nearby, since you’re still vulnerable to attack while picking locks. Depending on the security of the lock you’re trying to pick, it could have anywhere from 3 to 7 pins.

  • More buildings and locations

The next big thing I’ll be adding to Zombox is a more fleshed-out overworld, that first requires many new areas and structures to be made. Here are the first 16 that I’ve created…and there are lots more to come! Places like military outposts, quarantine centers, etc, will all be revealed in future updates.

Vehicles, items, and locations…

Posted in Items, Procedural world, Zombox on April 28th, 2012 by Tyson Ibele

This week in Zombox update news:

I’m going to be adding several new vehicles to the game. Here’s what their base (ie…untextured) models look like:

I’ve also added a bunch of new findable items:

And finally, a new location! This is the survivor encampment where the game begins.


Posted in Procedural world, Zombox on February 18th, 2012 by Tyson Ibele

So these last couple of weeks I’ve been working on the overworld and underground sewer system.

The layout of the overworld has been changed to sync up with the overall storyline of the game, which will involve traveling across three large islands to…well, I don’t want to give too much away right now :)

Each island features a sewer system, which is where most of the NPCs live, since they’re the only places free from zombies. The sewers will get progressively larger as you visit larger islands, and each one contains various shops, medic stations, eating rooms, etc. The largest sewer system even contains a derelict gambling room, where you’ll be able to play on old slot machines to try and earn some extra money.

Here’s an image showing the layout of the sewer systems. Note: the largest sewer isn’t finished yet, and is missing many props/decorations.

Here’s a sped-up animation showing the player entering, exploring and exiting a sewer:

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!


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: