Building and repairing…

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!


12 Responses to “Building and repairing…”

  1. karel says:

    Damn… Whats next? Multiplayer? Maybe in Zombox2. This game will be a hit

  2. Frankie Stellato says:

    Nice! Sweet looking update. I like the idea of being able to build your own bunker and having the repair mallet. Could it be possible to have a switch to the mallet so it can destroy walls instead of repair. In case you need to renovate a place you’re already staying in ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Billy Connolly says:

    That looks awesome! Definitely worth the wait from the last update. The guessing system for where it thinks you will place the wall looks pretty intuitive also. The only constructive criticism I can think of is that the UI for the inventory screen is a little cluttered. I know what everything does because I have watched you add everything but as an end user, it may be a little confusing. Just some food for thought. Otherwise, keep up the good work!

  4. Tyson Ibele says:

    @ Frankie Stellato:

    That’s a good idea, although I’d have to figure out an intuitive way to do it…maybe if you click the active icon it’ll change a different color when in repair/destroy mode? I’ll think about it ๐Ÿ™‚

    @ Billy Connolly:

    Thanks Billy for the feedback. The clutter is definitely something I’ve considered, although it seems especially cluttered now just because it’s full of item icons…the player won’t start with any of those so already it’ll seem less busy from the start. Also, once the game is closer to completion there will be little tip boxes that will pop up for new players to explain how things work better. Finally, certain slots in the UI will only be available once unlocked…so by the time the player can unlock them he/she will be more familiar with the UI and it won’t seem so confusing.

    That’s not to say the UI will never change from the way it looks now, it’s just that there’s a fine balance I’m trying to reach between having too many things, and not having everything in there that needs to be in there. Thanks for pointing it out though…knowing that people see it as a potential issue will keep it at the forefront of my mind as something to possibly tweak in the future!

  5. BurnZeZ says:

    @ Tyson Ibele:

    Do you hang out on any IRC channels?
    Or have one specifically for this project?

  6. Tyson Ibele says:

    @ BurnZeZ:

    No, haven’t been on IRC in years.

  7. Blarrg says:

    I stumbled upon this game through random googleing, ive been searching for a good Zombie based survival game for ages and this looks amazing. I had a few questions, i tried to see if you had answered them already in past posts but if you did i didnt see them, ok so,

    1. What is the cost going to be for iOS?
    2. Will there be boss type zombs?
    3. Will there be a penalty for death?
    4. Are you planning on a multiplier version later on in the release?
    5. Do you have an updated idea on when the release will be?

    Thanks in advance, and keep up the DAMN good work.

  8. Tyson Ibele says:

    @ Blarrg:

    Hey Blarrg,

    1) Right now the pricepoint I’m leaning towards is $3.99
    2) Possibly.
    3) Yes. You’ll lose everything. However, if you go to the place where you died, you’ll find a zombie version of yourself. If you kill it, you’ll be able to retrieve your lost items. That’s the current plan, at least.
    4) No current plans for multiplayer.
    5) I’m working hard to get the game out by May.

  9. Kyle says:

    Are there ways to invest in you and your game?

  10. Tyson Ibele says:

    @ Kyle:

    Only by purchasing it when it’s released! ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Barney says:

    Hi Tyson, old post I know but I saw your your comment on this Jump Point search article here:

    And I was wondering if you could expand any further on how you got weighted grids working? I’m wrestling with it now but not having a great deal of luck, its feels as though it is almost there but I am missing a key step.

    The game looks great!


  12. Barney says:

    Sorry, I should probably have provided some more info . currently on where I am at. My understanding is I don’t really need to modify my A* stuff except for the point at which I get the best node from the open set and get its neighbours. At this stage I do something like the following.

    1. Get pruned neighbours of current node (or all if first node)
    2. Jump recursivley from these pruned neighbours until a jump point is found, add jump point to my list of ‘succesors’
    3. Pass these ‘succesors’ back to my A* algorithm as the neighbours
    4. Continue A* as normal

    You mentioned you just checked all the neighbours after expanding them and of it was of a different weight to the node you were expanding mark it as a succesor. This implies to me you would do this after step 1 before step 2, which makes sense except wouldn’t you also have to check with every jump you made or you could just skip over a region ofย  a different weight? That is what I am doing at the moment but the unit still doesn’t path around high cost areas. I was also thinking, would you not also need to do this check when looking for forced neighbours i.e. treat nodes of a different weight as an obstacle when testing forced neighbours?

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