Plot: The characters thought they had escaped the terrors of Banoi and survived the apocalypse on a corrupted paradise. Their fate took a turn for the worse. The Dead Island heroes escaped in a helicopter to the safety of a military ship, but when a furious storm hits and the virus suddenly spreads throughout the crew, the nightmare starts all over again, leaving hope drowning in the rising tides.
Adeno discusses the progress of his George Romero Survival Horror Edition mod for Dead Island Riptide as well as the many ways gamers have been using it to customize their Riptide experience.
Posted by Adeno on May 25th, 2013
George Romero Survival Horror Edition V9 Add-On 1 -> Moddb.com
Hello again everyone! I'm Adeno, the maker of the George Romero Survival Horror Edition mod for Dead Island Riptide. Thank you for your continued support, encouragement, and interest in my work. Ever since I first uploaded Version 5 back in April 28, 2013 up to now, May 25, 2013 with Version 9 Fix 1, the mod has been downloaded a combined total of 1,867 times and rising!
When I first started developing the George Romero mod back for the original Dead Island 1, my main focus was to try and bring the classic version of zombies into Dead Island. As someone whose first memories of watching a movie were that of George Romero and Lucio Fulci zombie movies, I wanted to transform the zombies of Dead Island into the undead that I've known throughout the years. I wanted them to be the slow shambling types who, despite being easy to outrun and kill by simply targeting their brain, will eventually catch up and eat you, making you one of them.
Dead Island Riptide finally came along and I started working on my George Romero mod after finishing the game. I released versions 1 to 4 in my Steam Thread. Someone recommended me to post my work here on ModDb, and since I wanted a stable host for my mods, I uploaded my work here from version 5 onwards. At least now, George Romero mod users won't have to worry about dead links anymore. I also learned about the scripting competition which motivated me even more! I thought "Hey, here's the chance for me to upgrade my seven year old PC by doing something I love!".
From the simple desire to have zombies act like the classic versions, a lot of mod users have requested features to be added to the mod. I realized that a lot of people had different ideas about how they want to experience a zombie game like Dead Island. Some gamers are like me, fans of the classic slow Romero zombies, while other gamers are fans of the modern fast zombies like those found in the Dawn of the Dead 2004 remake. There was a need for all sorts of zombie experience that a single way of setting up the mod wouldn't suffice. The George Romero mod had to become more configurable and user friendly.
After listening to suggestions from the gamers, I started developing the features that they wanted. I also worked on my own features like different versions of the shops. The theme that I worked on was about bringing a more interesting version of survival horror and dread to the game, while at the same time giving those who simply wanted to have lots of fun the freedom to do so. Every feature became optional where the players can simply choose which feature they wanted in their game. I also prepared some "Easy Installation Paks" based on the popular settings that people use so that anyone who already knew how they wanted their experience to be like can simply drag and drop the mod and play right away.
Different variations of zombies, shops, inventory, exp rate, and the HUD were made. You can now scavenge for food and drinks and save them for later consumption. Players can choose from slow zombies that only grab and bite, slow zombies that can also punch, and modern fast zombies. They can also choose from different exp rates so that they can level up faster or slower. There are versions of shops that sell Legendary Weapons, a lot of guns, or even nothing at all for that extreme survival experience. The inventory also has different versions that lets you carry more items or less than usual. The HUD also has different settings to suit people who wish to be immersed in the game's environment in varying levels. There was even a specific request to make the modern fast zombies "stop yelling because it's annoying". I added that as an optional choice for lovers of fast zombies, because I'm pretty sure there are also those who love zombies that yell.
Aside from these features, I also added extra stuff that people can use for fun. I developed the mod thinking that gamers usually love unexpected extras in their games and that's why I included additional things for everyone to enjoy. I added bonuses like the Matrix Mode so that people can pretend to be Keeanu Reeves and smash zombies in the air and have loads of trigger happy time. There's also an Athletic Mode for people who wish to run around a lot and race against the modern fast zombies. People can now also choose to begin a new game or chapter at the level of their choice with the Level Chooser. Most recently, I added the War Machine feature, which gives people almost every weapon in the game and a lot of explosives so that they can save the world from the hungry walking corpses.
A major feature of the George Romero Survival Horror Edition mod that wasn't seen in the previous game is the new Dynamic Fighting System that I developed. The reason why I created this was because one mod user told me that "Your mod would be perfect if zombies didn't die after one hit in the head from a brass knuckle punch". This was something that I overlooked and it made me realize that it removed the excitement and thrill of trying to fight or escape from zombies because they died too easily. I suddenly had a new objective, and it was to bring a sense of "realism" in the fighting mechanics of the game.
Taking a hint from the player's comment, I dug into the scripts and studied how each weapon functioned and how they caused damage to the zombies. The way I set up the zombies, they would take 10 times the damage to the head as well as headshots from bullets. The problem was that this made even the weakest item able to cause a zombie's head to explode. It almost seemed like a hopeless cause, but I decided to experiment more because I couldn't let such a thing destroy the fun of using my mod.
Later on, I found the answer after I noticed the relationship of weapon levels and their prefix. By modifying the damage that each level gave the weapons, I was able to neutralize the massive damage that they gave all the time. Still, this wasn't good enough, because now, it became too hard to kill a zombie! It was just half of the solution, so I continued working. Suddenly, I remembered seeing some properties that were related to critical damage in the default skill setting of the characters. I gave them different values until I found the perfect one. Critical hits became lethal.
The Dynamic Fighting System was almost complete! With everything else in place, all I had to do was give each weapon varying critical hit probabilities. Items that were not made for fighting, like hat stands, paddles, and the like, have only a small amount chance of landing a critical hit to a zombie's head. Things that could be turned to weapons realistically, like knives and medium sized items have a moderate chance of dishing out critical hits. Items that were designed as weapons from the start or truly dangerous things, like swords, sledgehammers, machetes and others, have a high chance of landing critical hits.
Don't worry though, all items will still have a use in battle. For example, even if you just have a golf club or a hat stand, you can still take on even two zombies at a time. All you have to do is kick them down to make them very vulnerable in the head, and then smash your golf club or hat stand to his brain to take him out quickly. The challenge becomes apparent when you're faced with around four or more zombies at once. You won't have enough time to just kick zombies down to deal an extremely damaging blow to their head because the other zombies will still be going after you. In this situation, it is very important to make a quick decision whether you will fight them or you will have to run. If you had a real weapon like a sword, machete, or something equally dangerous such as a sledgehammer, then it is possible to fight a large group of zombies because these real weapons can cut or smash their head off even while the zombies are still walking around.
Weak items like golf clubs, paddles, sticks, and the like won't have the same effectiveness and striking a critical hit to a zombie's head while it's still walking around is very rare. With items like frying pans, paddles, and little sticks, you can't really expect them to have enough force to destroy a zombie's head while it's still moving around. With these household items, it's really important to kick a zombie down before dealing the finishing blow to the head.
Killing zombies with the Dynamic Fighting System can both be easy and hard. It really depends on the situation you are in and you will have to think of different ways to deal with zombies. In the above example, you've learned that all it takes to kill a zombie even with the weakest of items is to kick them down and land a decent blow to their head. The fight becomes harder because you won't be able to do this when you're faced with multiple zombies at once, and better items or real weapons are required to take out the horde of approaching zombies.
With the Dynamic Fighting System, being aware of your environment is even more important. Getting surrounded can be fatal because you can't just quickly kill zombies anymore just because you have a high level item. Item levels don't matter anymore. Even if you had a real weapon like a sword or a sledgehammer, you will still have to use your brain and geographical knowledge to survive a zombie attack. Firearms won't guarantee your safety as well, because you will always have to aim for the head to kill zombies. Will you have enough time to aim your gun at each zombie's head before one sneaks up on you and rips your throat out with a bite?
You will now have to pick your battles as well as understand the different strengths and weaknesses of the items and weapons that you have. For example, big and heavy weapons like sledgehammers can easily knock down zombies, but they are very slow to use. Swords on the other hand, are light and fast to use but they don't knock down zombies as good as sledgehammers. Frying pans, as you might have expected, don't really have enough combat properties to make it reliable. It can't really knock down zombies often (if at all!) and you have to be really lucky to severely damage a zombie's head with a frying pan attack. When faced with lots of zombies, the frying pan can still be used as a "finisher" so it's not entirely useless. You can use the sledgehammer to knock down the zombies quickly and then switch to the frying pan to smash their head while they are down. This is a good strategy if you want to take care of your important weapon's durability.
The type of zombies that you choose to play with can also change the pace of the battle. For example, people who choose to play with the slow classic zombies will have to employ different strategies from people who choose to play with modern fast zombies. With slow zombies, people can easily choose to walk or run away from zombies. One or two zombies won't be a problem to deal with and guns aren't really needed unless it's an emergency and you need to clear a path to escape. With modern fast zombies, you will have to make quicker decisions, run more often, and fight a lot smarter. Saving food for later consumption is also very important because you will almost always be in danger. You will also have to use your firearms properly to quickly take out any running zombies that might slow you down while you're being chased by a lot more from behind.
You are a survivor, not Rambo.
Finding bugs is sometimes harder than scripting. For example, when I released V9 on May 15, I'm pretty sure I tested it thoroughly before packing it into a rar file. A few days later, I received a report that the Survivor Shops wasn't working properly. The Survivor Shops isn't supposed to sell anything because it is meant for people who choose to play in a hard survivalist way where nobody sells stuff anymore since they'd rather use it for themselves against the zombies. The problem was that the Survivor Shops were selling Legendary Weapons! How could this be? I quickly tested the game with the user's specified settings and I was able to reproduce his problem. I began investigating as to what might have caused the problem.
After a while, I realized that whenever I used the game's original default Data0.pak file, I could use the Survivalist Shops feature without a problem. Shops don't sell anything, just like how it was designed. Whenever I used one of my "Easy Installation Pak" files, the Survivalist Shops wouldn't work at all. The only file that affects what's being sold in shops is the Shops.scr file. I had a hunch that there could be another Shops.scr file hiding somewhere that's overriding the Survivalist version.
I investigated my pak files and used the search function to find "Shops.scr" and suddenly, I discovered that there's a second Shops.scr file hiding inside the Ai folder! When I checked the Shops.scr file, it's the one designed for Special Shops to make Legendary Weapons available! What happened was that this Special Shops scr file was overriding the Survivalist Shops scr file! In other words, I must have accidentally dragged the extra Shops.scr file into the Ai folder while packing up everything, and that's why I failed to notice this bug before.
As of now, it seems that everything is good. I even saw some game streamers on Twitch/Justin TV playing Dead Island Riptide using the George Romero Survival Horror Edition mod! I'm just happy that people are having loads of fun with the mod and they can customize the way they want to play the game.
Thanks again for your support and encouragement! Thanks to the Reddit gamers, YouTube players, Twitch/Justin TV streamers, DeadIslandForum, Steam Forums, GameFaqs, IGN, StrategyInformer, Modsaholic, ModDb, and zombie fans and gamers from all over the internet! Your suggestions, requests, and comments helped make the George Romero Survival Horror Edition mod evolve to its current superb form!