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I am almost completely done with incorporating melee weapons into the gameplay loop which will be a major milestone once finished. This article covers the progress made in that area as well as the addition of a new zombie attack and the use of severed limbs to crush skulls.

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My focus since the last article has mainly been on wrapping things up for melee weapons so that I can include them in gameplay without the need to start with one in my inventory. Up to this point, there was no way to pick them up in the game world, so I started there. This was a bit of a nuisance since the original concept for the game didn't include anything but firearms, but I pushed through and finally got bats, katanas, and crowbars working with weapon racks and the item pickup mechanic. After that I had to make adjustments to the weapons tab of the inventory UI to account for melee weapons as well, and I'm happy to say that the only item left on this particular list is to put the finishing touches on the mechanic for dropping 2-handed melee weapons; since players cannot carry these large weapons in their backpack, they'll need a way to drop them on the ground in order to swap to the weapons they have stored. This will also come in handy for the portable turret that has been the feature of so many videos in the past since it follows the same rules.

Choose Your Skull Crusher

When it comes to weapon mods, I've set things up so that any mod can be attached to any firearm's body, allowing the player freedom to make any sort of combination they want, which sometimes leads to fairly absurd looking weapons. I'm hoping that I can keep this flexibility in place going forward, but I may run into an unforeseen issue that forces me to assign mods to be used with a specific type of firearm (i.e., rifles, shotguns, etc.) I just enjoy the absurdity of a attaching a rifle barrel to a shotgun that has a massive magazine and one completely unnecessary laser sight, so fingers crossed that nothing gets in the way of keeping things so modular. As a consequence, added a new variable to mod barrels which affects the spread of shotgun fire: long, thin barrels now group the pellets into a tighter a pattern, while shorter barrels produce more spread, offering more opportunity to hit multiple targets.

I've also added to the list of available 1-handed melee weapons, which are all depicted in the image below. They all work the same, but I wanted to have some variety, and since the meshes were already available, I figured I might as well get them all done. I had considered including mods for melee weapons but since zombies are all a one-hit, one-kill (save for those wearing helmets) enemy, there isn't much point in making melee weapons unique or capable of modification. I have, however, finally put the time into getting melee weapons working with the character interface, so you can at least inspect them and check out their only stat (attack speed).

Melee Weapon UI

Melee party!

Melee weapons and armor pieces now have depleting durability as well. When the player takes damage, a random piece of armor takes damage as well and the player must use scrap metal that they've salvaged/looted in order to make repairs before they are destroyed. Melee weapons also take damage with each use and will require the same insofar as repairs, and repairs can only be made at appropriate workstations. Fail to repair your crowbar and it will break apart in your hands, leaving you defenseless in a sea of brain-thirsty rizn.

Item durability

Moving on to zombies, I've done some testing for the inclusion of a new special type: the hazmat zombie. This guy will stop in his tracks and take a moment to regurgitate toxic material all over the place when within attack range of the player. This shouldn't be too difficult to get working since the code will run right in line with the code for catching fire, which has been in place for well over a year. I'll continue to try and devise new custom attacks for other zombie types in the future and may even try my hand at modeling one or two completely new meshes if I happen to have a good idea for an attack that doesn't fit one of the existing undead.

And finally, we move on to what has always been the most enjoyable part of this project for me: the absurd. Players will soon be able to pick up severed arms to use as a temporary melee weapon. Durability of these limbs is miniscule, so they won't be very effective for very long; this is mostly just for fun but could also prove to be a life-saving feature if the player is out of ammo and has lost their only melee weapon due to being unable to make the necessary repairs. Regardless, I found it amusing and am glad that I was able to find a way to incorporate it into the final game that doesn't have a major impact on overall progression, especially considering the ridiculous number of severed limbs that the player will have access to. You can now walk up to any corpse, shoot off their arm, then pick it up and use it to take out a few more undead.

My next goal is to get a save/load system in place, which will really come in handy for future playtest sessions since I won't need to start from the beginning of the game every time. I've built more of these systems over the years than I can count so I don't expect it to be a difficult process, but experience tells me that it will be a time-consuming one. Once that is done then that will mark the last major game system complete; from there it's just a matter of going through the list of bugs and getting those fixed, adding optimization anywhere that is necessary for the Alpha release, and tying up any loose ends. I don't plan on making a beeline for the Alpha release since there are still a few small ideas I'd like to test out and possibly implement between now and then, but it feels great to know that I am getting very close to being able to release this project into the wild and finally get some first-hand feedback from all of you.

Comments
SPY-maps
SPY-maps - - 2,910 comments

How exciting that is, to get after so much time and work, that close to a finished beta version of your game. And as devs we always dream what the players will think of it and is they like it. And over time we dream about their possible reactions and feelings. But it never can release the actual feedback once that comes when it is released. And I can imagine so well that it will help you also very much to implement the save system, so you don't need to start the game over each time you need to test something, lol.

Leon

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