Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Dynamic Music System

7D2D Alpha 19 dropped last week, and I’ve been meaning to write some posts about it as we’ve explored what the update has to offer. Just as with any alpha update, it feels like a whole new game. There’s a ton to write about, but the one thing that really stood out to me from the very start was the new dynamic music system.

7D2D has always used music pretty sparsely. You get a jingle in the morning and an ominous piano when it turns night. But aside from that, there was just some slightly atmospheric loops that felt more like sound effects than true music.

That’s changed with A19, and I’m really impressed by the concept and customization of this dynamic music system. Playing on a randomly generated map as we do, it makes sense to have dynamically generated music as well.

Here’s what the patch notes say about it:

TFP have again teamed up with Native Darkness Productions to make the Alpha 19 Dynamic music system more robust while adding a ton of new content and features.

The propriety Dynamic Music System algorithm measures and uses many player-centric conditions such as player location, biome, time of day, inside or outside a location, nearby aggressive enemies, threat level and more to tailor a custom movie like musical experience for the player.

From this Dynamic Music System algorithm the system can play from the following musical groups: Home day music, home night music, exploration, suspense, combat and custom trader music for each trader.

Exploration, suspense and combat are procedurally generated providing a complete musical arrangement from a set of interchangeable loops. As of Alpha 19 there, are 31,558 unique combinations of music.

7D2D patch notes

The lovely thing about this system (which is off by default) is how much you can customize it.

Once you enable the music, you have control over not just the volume, but how often you hear the tracks play. I’ve got mine up to 100% but the default is something like 30%. So if you just want to explore and rock zombies with a few tunes from time to time, you can do that.

It is very much a dynamic system. Somehow, the game recognizes when I’m just chilling and building the base as opposed to being out in the world exploring, or creeping through a house with zombies around every corner. Battle music is a tad odd at first, but actually quite helpful – you know when you’re being targeted even if the zombie is in another room somewhere. It’s also alerted us to times when zombies were beating on our base wall though we didn’t hear any other trace of them.

I really can’t think of another game that has implemented a system like this. Sure, the tracks can get a bit redundant at times, but it’s still a really cool concept. I heard that Trader Joel’s music is a lot of fun – I haven’t visited him yet, but other folks in the Posse have.

We’ve already made it through the first two blood moons in our playthrough. Our base is established and I’m working on a warfort. So I’ll be writing more about my impressions of this new alpha soon!

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Meeting the Demolition Zombie on Night 21

Last night, the posse picked up where we left off in 7D2D on day 21, getting ready for that night’s horde. We felt pretty good – we stocked up on ammo, the walls were almost reinforced to the second level of concrete, we were leveled up and doing well.

This horde took us down a few pegs. In fact, I think this was the biggest crisis we’ve had in a horde since the early days of the game. It was mostly due to the new kind of zombie that I wasn’t aware existed – the Demolition Zombie.

To put it into perspective, let’s just say the Demolition Zombie is exactly the same as a Minecraft Creeper. It explodes at close range and does a LOT of block damage.

I knew that Amoon had mentioned a new exploding zombie, but I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have to this. Oh man. Just one or two of these guys wrecked our base and pretty much had us on the run on a horde night.

We were already pretty hard hit by iradiated ferals that came non stop all night long. We were out of ammo, the stakes were destroyed, and we were trying to keep the walls patched up. And then this guy appears out of nowhere.

My walls just melted, and I had no idea how or why it was happening! In the video above, it shows how this zombie can just demolish a steel wall in a few swings! Not to mention the concrete that we were using, which was not as tough as steel. It’s terrible!

Suddenly, the walls were breeched and a stream of zombies came flooding in. Trying to beat back the horde and place blocks to stop it, I heard the tell-tale beep-beep-beep of a bomb and saw the red light on the front of the zombie. I had no idea what this was, but a bomb is a bomb, and that’s pretty recognizable.

I shouted into the mic, “It’s going to explode!” That’s about as much as I could do before it did.

There was no time to react. Pretty much, if you’re close enough to see that red light, you’re dead. I’m not even sure full health could have saved me. I was at max fortitude and had decent gear for the level we were fighting on. Still was instantly dead.

Trying to fix the damage to the back wall in the morning

That wasn’t the worst of it. Now were were being overrun in our own base, and another one comes strolling through. This one blows up in the front room of our house and I die again. We lose our water supply box somewhere in the middle of all this, but thankfully, the explosion was just shy of the wall where we kept all of our main supplies.

What was left of the front room – I was horrified.

This… was traumatizing.

I’d spent most of my time – hours and hours – in this game building this fort, reinforcing it block by block, only for it to be blown to bits by just two zombies. We were then hunted down by the rest of the horde that hadn’t been killed – they don’t stop running when day comes. The only way to get away was to lead them away from base and die to respawn back home.

I won’t lie. I was pretty discouraged. But now that I watched that video above, I understand why everything went to pieces. I’m not sure how I feel about this Creeper Zombie – yes, it makes it challenging… and I don’t mind a little challenge.

But we choose to play on the easiest level because this has also always been somewhat of a casual and laid-back experience. We have always been able to pick and choose the kind of frustrations and dangers we deal with. And this one zombie has thrown all of that way out of balance. Even level 10 fortitude did nothing to help against it, no steel walls can hold it out… and I think that’s a pretty cheap kill.

This might be the first time I’ve really felt frustrated by 7D2D’s design choices. I’ve rolled along with a lot of the changes they’ve made in the many, many years of alpha I played. Even when things were buggy and broken. But this is just not balanced gameplay. Not when the whole idea of the game was to build bases to withstand hordes.

Anyhow, I’m sure we’ll sit down and figure out some other way to handle it, but after having spent so much time already building one base, I’m not sure we have the resources (and me the energy) to start over on something new. For now, just going to lick my wounds… at least the Posse helped to rebuild the base – I think they felt bad for me.

Amoon rebuilding the front wall. At least our Jack-o-lanterns made it through
Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

Blaugust Dev Appreciation Week: The Fun Pimps

I never thought I’d use the word “Pimp” in a title of a blog post, but there you are. I love this team and what they do, so I’m pimpin’ their name right now… (Oh… that was awful… I’ll see myself out.)

The Fun Pimps is the development team behind the zombie survival crafting game, 7 Days to Die. If you look at my archives, you’ll see that I first reviewed 7D2D back in July of 2014… and this is a game that the Posse still enthusiastically plays today (we were playing it last weekend, in fact)! I have over 700 hours put into this game, which makes it my most-played Steam game ever.

Even though it’s still wading through various stages of alpha, we are awaiting the next big patch drop eagerly. Jeeps and gyro-copters!! Woot!

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So who are the Fun Pimps? Based on their website:

The Fun Pimps A.K.A. TFP are a small dedicated group of highly experienced Game and Software developers with a passion to make games that both our team and gamers really want to play. Our goal is to create a lasting gaming experience you can’t get anywhere else. It’s more than a game it’s a labor of love!

Our team grew from humble beginnings making mods for games and those roots have taken seed. But we haven’t forgotten where we came from and the importance of growing a strong vision with the support and passion of the people we’re making the game for. The average 7 Days to Die Team member has over 14 years of experience in Game and Software Development working with or for many top companies.

We’re too experienced to call indie but still small enough to do the innovative and sometimes risky things that AAA studios are afraid to try. So if you’re with us buckle your seat belts survivors, grab your pickaxe, compass and knapsack and let’s start kicking some Zombie ass and making some cool ass MacGyver shit!

Can confirm this is accurate.

Sometimes TFP take some flack for being a slower dev team to push updates. But to their credit, the game they’re working on is already huge and extremely complex. When they do release, they drop a HUGE amount of new content. In fact, every patch has made it like a brand new game each time.

Yes, this means you have to start your game over for big patches. But you know what? Even after over 700 hours in this game, the Posse never complains about starting over. With the random gen system, each new game is always vastly different. It’s just as engaging to wipe the slate clean as it is to have a nice fortified base and move into exploration mode further into the game cycle.

There’s so many complexities that even after all this time, the game continues to surprise us in devious and delightful ways. Due to that, I can absolutely be patient for the next content drop without complaint. It just makes it all the more delicious when we get it.

I don’t know if Joel and the team will ever see my thanks, but this is my appreciation post for a darn fine game that’s brought us more enjoyment, ripped down walls and jump-scares than I could have ever anticipated. Keep on pimpin!

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Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Welcome to 1313 Elm Street, Milton

The Posse has been back at playing a new 7D2D map, using a fantastic seed we found named “Milton.” Try it. You’ll like it.

Just like any game with building and housing, that’s where I spend most of my time during the zombie apocalypse. I get made (gentle) fun of for being addicted to painting and decorating our house-base. But, hey, if we have to live in a place, I want it to look nice!

It doesn’t help that painting is quite audible to everyone nearby, often compared by other players as the sound of a cat lapping up milk.

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We named the new place “Elm Street” due to the fact that Xaa had fun lining the approaching road with huge trees on either side.

This play through, we tried something a little different. Instead of swiping a forgehouse somewhere outside a town, we snagged the outtermost house on the edge of a suburb. I usually don’t like to build so close to a town since it might cause more zombie spawns, but I haven’t really seen a difference.

I put up the normal fortifications outside, and built a roof-garden by modifying a garage across the street. This has served us well.

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We managed to find a working chemistry station in a nearby Poppin’ Pills, and I’ve taken advantage of that to paint the base. Sadly, many of the paint textures are dirty and grimy, but I’ve done the best I could to make it look nice.

The living room / work room:

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The kitchen:

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Landing at the top of the stairs:

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An office space:

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Later, I dumped the old chair pictured up there, and put nicer wood chairs instead. I don’t dare put a swivel chair in there, though, cuz it’d be immediately raided and broken down for parts. 😀

But, just because things look nice on the inside doesn’t mean everything is safe. Oh, no!

Our base is fortified outside with concrete and steel!

This zombie dog looked particularly vicious in the position it died on the spikes:

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Our night 21 horde was quite a ride, too!

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A couple days later, Xaa had this fellow follow him all the way home. Props to Xaa for sending me this cool shot:

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Feral Radiated Spider Zombie: Not something you see every day!

I don’t know what it is about 7D2D that has made it one of the longest-played games in my Steam library. It’s got a similar appeal to something like Minecraft (which inspired it), but only more gritty, with FPS and tower defense elements mixed in.

Maybe it’s the fact that there is so many things to do, and that playing it as a group, everyone can find something they enjoy. I love to build, some people love to mine, some love to explore and loot. Some like fighting zombies.

The game keeps getting better, too. We’re all really looking forward to the new vehicles releasing with the next big patch!

Granted, releases take their time to reach us. But we can be patient for the good things to come.

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Base Beautification – Fun with Painting

So, in between schedules and work trips, our Posse has been able to continue making progress on out longest running 7D2D game in a while. Last time, I talked about how as time passes, we started seeing more dangerous, glowing zombies in hordes. But while designing a base has, up until now, mostly been about function, with the new painting feature and skills, it can now be about form.

Painting is something that was just introduced with this last major patch. This patched in paint brushes, paint, and patterns that you learn from finding recipe books. Paint itself can be found (usually in hardware stores), or by crafting it using the chemistry station and common plants. Thankfully, you make a lot of paint per plant, so there’s lots of room to experiment.

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In the picture above, you can see the base concrete block all the way to the right. The rest of the blocks are concrete with a brick pattern painted over them. Keep in mind that when you paint, it only covers one side of the block. Also, if you upgrade that block (ie. from concrete to steel), the paint is overwritten and you will have to paint it again.

This is fine. For years, I’ve had to put up with bases looking like Frankenstein conglomerations of wood, iron, concrete and steel. Like this:

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Now, I can make it look so, so much nicer!

And inside? I converted that old log cabin into something fairly nice. Even my team members were joking that they’d walked into some upscale hotel or something. In terms of 7D2D, this is pretty nice looking. 🙂

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They also laughed at me because apparently, painting splashes paint everywhere, and makes a loud wet noise. At first, this confused them.

Someone asked, “Do you hear that sound? It’s like water dripping.”

I said, “Oh, you mean this sound?” *paint paint paint*

“Yes, that’s it! What is that?”

“Me painting!”

But the most important thing to know is that you can paint things pink!

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This used to be a washing machine. Not anymore!

If you want to see this in action, here’s a pretty great video that covers painting as a whole. This looks like it’s done in creative mode, so things are a little different in survival mode.

 

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: When Radioactive Zombies Attack

Over the past few weeks, the Posse has started a new game in 7D2D, since the stable version of the patch was released. We still faced some pretty game breaking issues, which pushed us to host from the dedicate server module rather that through Steam. But once Syn got all that set up, everything was running well again.

Almost every time we start a new game in 7D2D, we experience something we’ve never seen before. This game is the longest running we’ve had in a long time. I think we were pushing up on day 40 pretty soon.

The last couple hordes we fought brought something new… radioactive zombies.

Apparently, the fat cop zombie is always glowy and green now. They were always a bit intimidating before since they could puke long distance projectiles and would rush and try to explode to take you out. But now they also glow green.

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They’re not the only type of glowing zombies… I’ve seen glowing spiders and ferals as well. And the ferals have seriously increased in size.

It’s something else to look over the hill on a blood moon night and see something like this coming your way…

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There’s five of us, and we’ve had no problem holding our own against them. The concrete fort reinforced with steel spikes has also done its job well. So you get a pile of radioactive zombie bodies burning with flame from the Molotov cocktails that Vix likes to set herself on fire with.

Oh, and sometimes the zombies catch fire, too…

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Skyscraper Fun

The other thing we’ve discovered for the first time are the new skyscraper POIs. The patch notes said these were meant to be like vertical dungeons that your team could explore. And explore, we did!

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Lots of loot. Lots of sleeper zombies. Lots of floors to explore. Good fun.

Also, trap rooms!

The “Beware” sign on the screenshot at the top of this post indicated that the floor in that area would fall out under you! We also found this little spike trap room…

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Someone was angry…

The skyscraper is interesting because you really did feel like you were exploring a place that survivors had holed up into — from the top level penthouse to floors of offices where you found working cubicles and mostly businessman zombies.

And then, you find strange things like toilets hanging out on unfinished ledges.

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I have no idea. Random generation at its finest, I guess.

Our game is currently on hold for a little while since Syn won’t be able to host until she gets back from a trip. But I did want to post about all our newest discoveries. I swear just when you think you’re familiar with 7D2D, it throws a curve ball at you.

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Alpha 16 Release

So, while the Posse is fidgeting and waiting for Stormblood to drop, 7D2D released Alpha 16 last weekend… just in time to give us a little taste of it before FFXIV whisks us away. This update upped the stakes and increased the difficulty of the game, which was something we could tell instantly (even though we play on lower settings).

I say this as a positive thing. A16 keeps you on your toes, even if you’ve been playing the game for years, like we have. Sleeper zombies are a new thing — they lay there until you get close and just wake up out of nowhere. You can put them down if you sneak up on them before they wake, but man, do these things make exploring new locations a startle-fest.

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I tried to place these chests on the floor, but they attached to the fridge instead. They are our new “fridge magnets.” (We actually call them that in game, too: “I put the food in the bottom fridge magnet.”)

Also, new wildlife, such as wolves and buzzards are in. Wolves (and dire wolves) are almost everywhere, and attack much the same as the zombie dogs used to. At first, I thought this would be annoying, but then, when I realized you could harvest them for meat, fat and hide, they’ve become more of a good thing. Instead of running after pigs and deer, you can let dinner come to you!

It looks like the old roaming zombie hoards are back. I missed hearing the frightening sounds of running zombies at night. And these hordes are pretty sizable, giving a good challenge no matter the time of day.

Despite all these things, we were able to reinforce a starting location in time for the first blood moon. The 7 day hordes are now adjustable in size — we left ours at 8 zombies (per person, I believe), but you can make them bigger. With five of us playing, we had quite a lot of zombies rushing our base.

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We found a few bugs (zombies and wolves running in circles but hardly doing damage, short weapon range, falling through the world, way too many screamers), and a few changes… but overall, we had a good time with the new build. I’m looking forward to exploring the new painting tools and making our base look faaaabulous!

But, first… who’s going to clean this all up??

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Posted in 7 Days to Die, FFXIV, Gaming, Minecraft, MMORPGs, RPG Maker

Weekend Gaming Highlights: FFXIV, Minecraft, 7D2D, RPG Maker

This was a weekend of exciting announcements for FFXIV players, and lots of random gaming for me. There’s so many small things going on, but nothing huge, so it felt right to make a highlights post today. I may go into detail on some of these later!

FFXIV: Treasures and Tanking

This weekend marked our FC’s first organized Treasure Hunt night. We’ve been running the Aquapolis from time to time, when people remembered. Folks are having so much fun, and there are still some who have never tried it, so we put it on the calendar as a light event on Friday nights.

We had such a turn-out that we had to organize two groups to accommodate everyone who wanted to run. And while our group didn’t have the best luck getting the portal to open, when we finally did, we reached Chamber 7 again this time (as did our second group)!

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As I announced earlier this weekend, I also finally leveled my Paladin to 50! I got some Ironworks gear for her, and I have to grudgingly admit that I think Paladin looks good on my character.

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Paladin Wren!

This weekend I also co-tanked the Labyrinth of the Ancients raid in Crystal Tower, which is the first time I’ve tanked a raid of any kind. I was mostly playing the off-tank, just trying to get a feel for how things worked from a tank’s point of view. But it seemed less stressful overall than tanking a whole dungeon where all the pulls rest on your shoulders.

I didn’t think to get any screens of it since I was too busy figuring out my role, but I wouldn’t be against trying it again sometime. Aside from that, I’ve been doing beast tribe dailies and some random FATEs, continuing to level Paladin on the side. At this point, Beast Tribe quests actually give a good chunk of daily experience, while I am working on earning FATE crystals for my Paladin relic by activating the Monk Anima quest instead.

Minecraft: Finding Fishing

Minecraft remains that game that I play for short bursts when I have some down time or just want to chill. I have been working on expanding my island base with actual dirt blocks to allow the grass to grow there, as I mentioned earlier.

I also learned that there is fishing in Minecraft. Anyone who knows me knows that if there’s fishing in a game, I’m going to be doing it! Especially since you can cook the fish and use it as a food source. Even better, there’s a chance at reeling in treasure — I especially have my eye on finding a saddle.

I haven’t seen a horse in game yet, but when I do, I want it so badly! So, for now, I’m exploring fishing in the little oasis pond next to my Dune Village.

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7D2D: Tri-Biome Home

This weekend, our Posse decided to restart our game of 7D2D. So we seeded up a new map called “Spriggan” after my kitten, and that went just about as well as it sounded like it would. This map dropped us in a pretty harsh environment with a lot of mountains and desert. Not to mention, our trader quest took us two days away from our first house find.

Thankfully, there was a little house fairly close to this trader, and it has a very interesting placement.

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As you can see in this picture, I’m standing in a green forest biome. This transitions into desert, where the house is actually located. But to the right, both green forest and desert turn into snow biome!

This makes for very interesting weather patterns. If it’s raining in the forest, you can stand on one side of the base and get rained on, while moving towards the desert side makes the rain stop!

I had a horde approach the house from the back, where desert and snow met, while there was a snow storm happening in the snow biome. It looked like this:

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Snowing in the desert!

If I were to take a few steps to the left, you’d see the snow stop, replaced by desert instead. Very trippy! XD

RPG Maker Saturday

While this isn’t really playing a game, it’s a good chunk of time Syn and I put towards spinning up the beginning of our Nefol RPG. We haven’t put as much time towards this as I’d like, but I feel like we made up for that this weekend.

We scripted up the introduction, and I got to work on relearning how to script events in RPG Maker. I’d forgotten a lot, including how to properly use switches, which led to hours of time trying to debug events that did exactly what I was telling them to do, but not what I was hoping. I’ll write a longer post about this on the Nefol page… but in the meantime, I wanted to close with this demo screen of our heroes in a boss fight. 🙂

zeromusfight

Posted in 7 Days to Die, Gaming

7D2D: Minibikes, Drawbridges and Greenhouses

While I’ve mostly been writing about adventures in FFXIV, the Posse has also spent a good deal of time in 7D2D over the past few weeks. We’ve gotten further than we have in a while — we survived the Night 36 horde last time we played.

Tales of a Greenhouse

Now that we’ve put this much time into one location, we’ve been able to experiment with building things we don’t normally get to in a shorter game. Much of this is trial and error based on how zombies respond to things that I build.

For example, I noticed that zombies could trash our garden if they got caught on the plants during a horde. So, I started fencing it in. But that hardly did anything to stop them. So I built a wood wall around the garden.

Well, for some reason, that prompted zombies to spawn on top of my garden wall! And because I connected the garden wall to the base wall with a catwalk, they were strolling right on in. Sometimes they fell down inside of the garden instead. Not good.

I decided to put a roof on the garden. But this has to still let light through, so it became a greenhouse.

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Inside the greenhouse

To stop zombies from strolling along the catwalk into our base, I destroyed its connection to our walls. I decided to experiment with the fancy new metal hatch. It looks really awesome!

So I put one hatch in the garden…

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Then I dug an underground tunnel to the base and put another hatch inside. We now have a secret passage from the base to the garden, and no more zombies seem to have spawned on top of the greenhouse.

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Minibike Chronicles

Another thing that the Posse wanted to experiment with that we never have before was building minibikes. Until this game, we never had the books and the resources, and just didn’t play the game long enough on one map to build a minibike. So, we made it a goal to make them, and we were successful!

But the thing about minibikes is that you have to store them somewhere safe. Since we use ladders to get in and out of our base, I had to devise a sort of protected garage for our new bikes.

I decided to be flamboyant and learn about drawbridges. That’s right. I built a garage with a drawbridge that spans over a pit of spikes for the curious zombies that come our way.

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Garage with a drawbridge

If you look, you can see the cement ramp located just under the hammer there. The drawbridge’s footprint is such that you can stand on the ramp and still open and close it. So you just drive your bike up, open the door, and ride inside the little garage to park!

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Minibikes inside the garage

The minibikes are a bit buggy and difficult to learn to drive at first, but they sure do speed up travel time. Of course, to ride the bikes, you have to have gas. So, Syn did her research and learned how to mine oil shale. She also learned how to make the chemistry station, which in turn, creates the gas.

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Chemistry Station

From there, we started getting gas production going. I think we’re pretty set on this…

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Against the Horde

Our base is slowly being upgraded to the first level of steel. But with the hordes we’ve been getting lately, we need everything we can get!

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Steel walls around the base

Even the screamer zombie hordes are getting harder. The last one spawned a zombie bear, which is the first we’ve ever seen. Syn discovered quickly that going 1v1 with a zombie bear with just a crossbow was not a good idea.

The bear then learned the superior power of our spikes and firearms.

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Dead zombie bear

The night 36 horde was massive. We had zombie corpses littering everywhere when it was done.

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Next to the garage…

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Along the wall…

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Syn gets restless and runs out to attack stragglers as we snipe them from the walls…

The base held up just fine under all this. A major success!

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PSA: It’s not polite to rob the only trader in your area… (Unless it’s Trader Rekt. He’s a jerk.)