This page primarily contains notes and thoughts from the developers of Fort Zombie.
Fort Zombie is meant to be, and priced as, quick and dirty light RPG fun and not a long, involved full sized game like Sword of the Stars. It is not a game of ZombieTrap where the big steel bearing rolls into the bathtub and traps the zombie under a plastic yellow cage or anything. This game is far more about the tense details of survival and thinking on the fly about reload times, endurance and getting across the street before too many zombies can see you.
Fort Zombie is not a shooter — it is not about madly running around killing every zombie in sight. It is about surviving and finding the things you need to survive — sometimes that means killing zombies and other times that means trying to avoid killing zombies. Fort Zombie will require a bit of thinking and planning and strategy, not just pulling the trigger as fast as you can. The word "Fort" is an operative one. Building up weak points — tearing out doors or windows or sealing them in various ways — creating fields of fire and positioning your people for the onslaught...
It is fun to stand behind barricades and shoot but we really wanted a game where you had to go out into the "physical" world and find those materials, weapons and people all while dodging the wandering hordes and so Fort Zombie became an expression of that desire for the next level of action and detail while not wanting to bog everything down into an experience that required 2 hours of session investment to be any fun or get anything done. So, instead of just magically getting the resources to "Fort up", you have to slip into town day after day on missions looking for supplies, ammo and people — all the while knowing that the main horde is approaching and your defences better be ready! And out around town there is no time or safety for set pieces — there you will have to improvise along the lines of blowing things up, clogging up doorways while running out the back etc etc.
You will control a main character and up to 3 sidekicks. The sidekicks are chosen from among the survivors gathered back at your Fort. The Fort itself holds as many survivors as you can find, along with supplies and traps et al.
While the in game day lasts the standard 24 hours, you will probably want to hit end day to advance to the next day at some point instead of watching the clock in real time.
One technical point is that the choice of fast, real–time, non–light map based, shadowing method carries the downside of clashing with anti–aliasing so one will have to accept the occasional jaggy.
Fort Zombie is meant to be played many, many times at about an hour or so from start to final night.
Piety, Indiana, is a variable 3D town, created using Kerberos Productions’ mix-and-match tile system, for maximum replayability. In the case of Fort Zombie, that primary tile is the Property. Each Property is a designed and built set piece with inlaid props, findable items, zombies, etc. etc. A fairly large library of Properties are mixed and matched according to a set of rules and placed along streets and alleys in order to create a Neighbourhood and it is there that the player enters their mission. Each Property comes in with a set of variants so that the player gets that realistic sense of a town with varied neighbourhoods that contain structures that become familiar.
As far as randomness and content goes, Fort Zombie does very good within reason for both, especially since this is not meant to be a full on $50 title. More like a thinking zombie fan's dream lunch break game.
Most games lock down almost all world geometry. The few things that tend to move do so in very controlled ways. We took the other route which was basically to let more objects move freely. A full 3D world, and all the fun bells and whistles that brings with it. Jumping through glass windows, tripping over rubble, falling and bullets, bullets, bullets. PhysX® engine adds to the mayhem!
Fort Zombie isn't Multi–Player for no other reason than it just doesn't really fit. It's not a shooter. And the combat elements don't really lend themselves to any sort of competitive mode or co–op mode since an important portion of the game is building up the base, rigging traps, figuring out things to craft. Fighting is fun but it's not the entire core experience as you would find in a Left 4 Dead style game.
Folks picking up this game for 15 or 20 minute blocks of time and getting the most out of it was deemed more important than a more drawn out Multi–Player experience.
After Action Reports
There is a pause and even though the rotate camera is glued to the player you can still get in some nice angles.
Fort Zombie lends itself to fraps at times too — like last night when I came down a set of stairs dived straight out the window at the bottom, cleared the fences outside and rolled nicely back up to my feet.
In regards to your hardware concerns I will share my own yardstick measure — My work dev machine is deliberately quais craptastic and about 3 years old at this point. Fort Zombie is a pretty chuggy on it in a full neighbourhood with lots of props and zombies. On the other hand. my home machine is about 20 months old and it runs Fort Zombie smoothly with everything thrown at it so far. — Mecron
Yesterday I had to dive out a second story window [to] escape a zombie horde and nearly shattered my legs on landing...Also in terms of jumping, you can screw up and trip and face plant should you be trying to jump something too tall. — Mecron
For instance, last night while testing I was hiding along a store wall by an alley way, and was in the middle of reloading a revolver (which, like in the real world, is not a 2 second job) but was about to step out and get going anyway when suddenly an empty box comes bouncing down the alley. Since I was the only living thing around, that was my clue that a at least one zombie was coming down that alley and that I probably should take the time to reload completely before running out there. — Mecron
*sigh* — a zombie cop and soldier just shot out the window in the store I was hiding in and then I got axed by a fireman zombie who got inside.... — Mecron