Sunday, September 13, 2009

Zombie Games - Meet the Humans.

Hi, welcome to another installment of "Someone Should Make This Zombie MMO."

In this installment we're focusing on what the human side should be like. Humans are comprised of NPCs, both cookie cutter and the more fleshed out variety. NPCs should perform world functions that are ignored in other MMOs, and also provide things for the players to do. This doesn't mean they are static, sitting around waiting for the player. The NPC humans of all varieties should be dynamic entities, moving through the world and influencing it.

At this point I've mindmapped out three cookie cutter 'roles' that I think are important. These roles fill world functions that would be obvious in.. the real world, but game developers usually just cop out and do something fast and simple. So, here we go.

The Corpse Collector.

In the post -zombie apocalypse world I imagine in heavily populated areas there would be something of a corpse problem. Now, I know they're reanimating and moving around, but what about when you shoot one? It just drops there on the spot and becomes a festering nuisance. Most likely you don't want to take the time to drag it somewhere and dispose of it properly, or even bury it on the spot, if that's even possible. Nor do you want to spend extra time when more could be approaching. No, you want to continue on your merry way and do whatever it was you were doing in this dangerous part of town.

In come the corpse collectors. How they pulled this terrible duty you'll never know, but they're here to try and beautify the city by disposing of all the rotting carcasses. So they either walk over in a group, or come in a dump truck, it could be both even depending on what part of town, and collect it. They deliver it to a mass grave, or a cremation facility, then move on and collect more. If threatened they will fight back until all the zombies threatening them are dead, or they themselves are dead.

These guys are dressed in heavy fire resistant clothing to withstand the heat of the job, and hopefully protect them from any biters. Grimy from their work, covered in black soot or mud depending on where they are dragging the bodies. These guys look formidable, and shouldn't be messed with unless you're packing a massive horde.

Maybe you can pitch in with them for a while and earn some of their clothing. Or, collect corpses and turn them in for money. Or as a zombie you can turn them and add them to your flock, they lift corpses all day, they can't be that weak.


Pretty self explanatory. Dressed however they feel these guys apply bandages to keep you limping through the world. Some hang out in field hospitals and heal heavy wounds. Some can be hired and do field medic work. Some might even be willing to show you how to do it. Either way, these guys keep the world stitched together.

Medics hanging out in hospitals or on the street will tend to human NPCs that seek out their services. Expect to see corpse collectors dragging in injured comrades to leave them in a hospital bed. Or sick kids with parents. Or that annoying guy with a cough. Etc, etc, ampersand.


Guys hang out in their shops whenever they feel like it. If they have a brisk enough trade they might have regular hours in which they are collecting things from people and handing them out. Otherwise, they have to go salvage for themselves. Expect to see them running around in 'safer' zones of outside the SafeZone where everyone congregates. Hell, they may even ask you to find things for them.

"Quest Givers"

This can be anyone really. They hand out quests, like quest givers would. The quests all build on each other, and you gain reputation, or trust, whatever, as you do it.
You start out slow. "Find a can of beans for my daughter."
And work your way up. "Can you bring this can of beans to my daughter."
And up. "Can you take my daughter to this can of beans"
Until you get to something like "My daughter was out looking for a can of beans and got trapped in a building that is surrounded by zombies, can you please rescue her?"

If questing is your sort of thing. They would end up giving out items you could salvage anyways, but the risk/reward/long term benefits might balance in favor of doing them.

Being a Human.

I'm not gonna lie. It should be really hard. When you die, you're dead. You lose all progress. You're not coming back. Good thing is, all the stuff you had and made is still out there, so you can "steal" it on a new character, but even then it won't be that easy. I can think of a few ways this could be cool, but then, your original is dead. When you die, you come back as a zombie. Those were covered before.

Perspective should be first person, or third person whatever, but killing zombies is skill based, not dice rolling. You have to be able to aim a gun or a bat to kill them. Or make them explode, whatever. Sure you can gain 'skills' to do things, but really it should be more like fallout, you can do it, but you might not be good at it, and then die because you messed something up.

Benefits to being human.

You're a human.
It's hard.
Bragging rights.
Leader Boards. - Longest alive, longest outside safe area, best house, most zombies killed, etc etc
Real sense of surviving.
Badass world to explore.
You can build.

Add some more in comments, that's all for today. Next time, more zombie stuff. Some environment and land control talk. Maybe I'll make it to the mechanics bubble.

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