Ever since the latest build hit, opinions on the new map have been a little divided. Since we've loosely based the in-game version of Muldraugh on the actual place this does limit the variety of the area somewhat in comparison to the "chuck everything in" approach of the demo.
In gameplay terms, it was important to us that this was the case. If Muldraugh were similarly laid-out to the town in the demo, then there'd never be any good reason to leave apart from when you'd literally looted everywhere. And then where would you move on to? Somewhere extremely similar - a different layout, but essentially the same stuff.
Instead, we've made Muldraugh in the spirit of its real-world equivalent. Small, rural, lacking in major amenities - much like our protagonist, Bob, decidedly average. A good place to start but, ultimately, not the most exciting place on the planet. Unfortunately, making the map takes time (especially now that the world is enormous - the in-game town of Muldraugh is over eight times the size of the demo map) and so there are only a few places currently to move on to.
All that will change.
Those who have examined Google Maps in detail will have noticed that we clearly did not pick the town of Muldraugh as the centre of the apocalypse for no reason. To the north, is an enormous city - the goal is that the world will eventually expand to include it (at least, in part), and to the south is... some other interesting stuff. ;)
However not quite so ridiculously far to the north is a second residential settlement. Situated on the banks of the river which marks the boundary between Kentucky and Indiana is West Point.
Although significantly smaller than Muldraugh, West Point has a much more stereotypically American regular grid street layout. Buildings are much more densely packed and the entire town is self-contained - there are local amenities, a school, a church, a cemetery, farmland - all in all, a rather excellent place to visit during the apocalypse. Because of its street layout, this location will feel much more like the demo map - much less space between buildings - and while the real world location has houses of similar size and value to those in Muldraugh, in the game world we will make the place a little more desirable - to make this area feel quite distinct from Muldraugh.
We hope that having a second sizeable town location in the game world will alleviate concerns that some people had, where they were judging the game world as a whole based on just one of the locations we have planned. We think this approach to filling the world out will be much more satisfying to players than had we completed all the wilderness surrounding Muldraugh first, before putting other more interesting locations in.
So. What else is there to look forward to? Well, knife attacking has been improved in the coming build for starters. Knives were of little use previously but now have their own special close-quarters, thrust-knife-under-chin-into-skull animation. It's tremendously effective but comes at the risk of, well, if you're close enough to a zombie to perform that move, then it is also close enough to you to bite or scratch you. But time your attacks well, and you've got an extremely light-weight and effective weapon at your disposal.
The net result of this is the way that combat has been developed is that stabbing weapons are at their most effective at the minimum attack distance, whereas swinging weapons are most effective at their maximum attack distance.
On top of that, the save compatibility stuff has now been now resolved.
There are still a couple of issues discovered during internal testing which need fixing before we're able to release publicly, since the updates go straight to Desura now we have to be doubly sure that it's ready. So although we'd like to say that the remaining work will only take a couple of days to fix it's best to err on the side of caution and assume slightly longer than that.
Love and hugs,
The Indie Stone.