Posted in 7 Days to Die

7D2D: Exploring Some Great Points of Interest

Our current 7D2D game is the longest running game we’ve played in a while. We’re moving in to the 30 days range in terms of game time. So far, the small war fort that I’ve fashioned has held up (more or less) against the blood moon hordes. So after making repairs from the previous horde night, I finally had some time to get out and explore with the Posse.

They’d already located a number of neat points of interest – most of which were created by other players and added using the KingGen add-on. I certainly haven’t seen all there is to see, but when we ran across some neat builds, I took some screens of them!

So this place is what the crew has been calling a medieval tavern. It certainly had its share of zombies and treasure to go through, but the inside was most impressively designed. Too bad that it was getting beat up due to zombies responding to our exploration!

After this, we found a full-on sprawling castle to explore, complete with moat and drawbridges. This seemed deceptively quiet when you first come in… until you alerted the mass of zombies and vultures that lurk in the towers!

We headed back into town where we ran across some more mundane, but just as cool, areas to explore. Like this casino – both outside and inside was pretty cool!

The cashout area with flashing colorful lights

We ran upon a shopping mall – it wasn’t so interesting outside but the inside was really cool. Several floors were connected by what were nicely replicated escalators.

Just don’t try to take the elevator, whatever you do.

I thought that the supplies in the Safety shopping section were absolutely a hoot!

We also came across this strange building that claimed to be a library.

And, it was – once you climb the towers there was a pretty nice library upstairs. Just don’t take the suggested exit (please use the stairs).

Complete with zombie dog carcass

And the final stop for the night was an absolutely HUGE skyscraper called the Omni. It’s pretty glitzy and boy was it massive. If it tells you anything, the floors started out being indicated by the letters of the alphabet until we ran out of letters.

We didn’t quite finish exploring the upper reaches of the tower, so there’s no knowing what we’d find at the top. I’ll be disappointed if it’s not a nice penthouse or something.

The Posse is having a great time with this build, and there always seems to be something new to find out there. We’re about to roll on to our next horde night, so hoping that the war fort continues to hold out for us!

Posted in Blaugust, Blogging

Blaugust 20- Developer Appreciation – 7D2D: The Fun Pimps

Back during Blaugust 2018, I wrote about the Fun Pimps during Developer Appreciation Week. I noted that my first ever post on their game 7 Days to Die (7D2D) was back in the summer of 2014, and how even then, my gaming group (we call the Posse) was still playing the game years later.

Fast forward to 2021. Two weeks ago, the Posse got together for yet another new game of 7D2D. We don’t play the game constantly, but we’ve played it consistently for the past 7 years. It’s also the game I’ve clocked the most time in over any other on Steam.

Valheim is a very distant second, apparently.

That’s all taking into account that over the past 7 years, 7D2D has not yet left alpha. It’s still being actively developed (hoping for a A20 drop soon!), but it’s still one of my favorite Steam games despite the fact the devs don’t think it’s finished yet. I’d argue – it has bugs now and then, but it plays better than some released games!

All this to say, I would be remiss not to give some appreciation to the Fun Pimps who have created a great survival game that balances building, exploration, zombie killing and strategic tower defense so well. There’s something for every one of the individuals in the Posse to do at all times, no matter what their interests are.

I’m the builder of the team. I make sure my friends have solid walls around them on horde nights. The tower defense part of the game is my main focus, and I’ve taken to building a second “War Fort” so that if something does fall through (thanks to exploding zombies – you read that right), our main base and supplies don’t take the brunt of the damage.

Other people prefer to explore and hunt for supplies. There’s tons of Points of Interests (POI) in the game, and mods such as KingGen add even more variety based on locations that the community has built.

Others enjoy the gardening, cooking, crafting or the mining (think Minecraft with real physics). Yet others love the science tracks where you can build vehicles and traps to slay zombies.

There’s really so much to do in this game, and it just continues to get better. While we haven’t had a release in a while, we’re still patiently waiting and seeing the updates the team provides on their Twitter account. I’m really looking forward to the Alpha 20 drop. Yet another alpha, that’s not an alpha. 🙂

Anyhow, thanks for years of fun Joel and the Fun Pimps! Keep up the great work and we’ll keep playing.

(The best $12.99 I’ve ever spent…)

Posted in 7 Days to Die

7D2D: Returning to the Apocalypse

It’s been a while since the Posse has gone zombie wrangling in 7D2D. This was no fault of the game itself – though it’s been a looooooooooong wait for the Alpha 20 they keep teasing us with on Twitter.

IRL hand/wrist injuries have kept some folks from playing, but this past weekend, we decided to give it another try with a new game. Sadly, the Nitrogen world generator we’d been using on our server was no longer in development, but thankfully, Syn found the successor and got us all set up.

This did require us to install some new prefabs, but the upside to that is that we get fine new locations like the one in this post’s header.

I haven’t been able to explore a whole lot yet as my job on the team is to get a home base established as quickly as possible before the first blood moon. This time around, we chose a church that I discovered near our original spawn spot. It has a nice little underground catacomb area that we’ve bunked down in.

Battle church, ready for action!

It’s been a while since we’ve used an underground area as a base – this reminds me a lot of the days when caves were a great place to build. Those are sadly long gone, phased out years back, but that’s just how development goes.

This place is actually pretty atmospheric once you clear out the zombies and coffins. In-tact coffins also make good storage until you get something better. At this point, we’ve got everything all set up and organized in terms of boxes and food.

There’s also a cemetery next to the church which is slowly being transformed into our new garden. It always cracks me up when we find the headstone for Mad Mole.

We weathered the first blood moon night well enough, despite only having wood stakes around the base. Those never last very long. Things got a little hairy when a number of us got a bit too brave and decided to jump down into the horde for some hand-to-hand action – and then the horde chose that moment to ramp up on us.

Next time, though, we have at least one outer ring of iron spikes waiting. We’ll be a bit tougher on our defense… but so will the zombies as the nights get harder.

I still haven’t determined the best way to deal with Demo zombies – they can easily destroy cement blocks and blow up for terrible AOE damage. I remain not a fan of their addition to the game, mostly because it means that I then have to set up a second location as a War Fort just to be able to handle them in the later stages of the game.

I don’t mind building and having to think tactically through a War Fort design is fun. But it does boil down to the fact I rarely ever fully finish building forts before we either scrap the game, lose interest in the game, or the game has a patch that forces us to start over again.

I don’t get a lot of exploration time, which is sometimes a bummer – there’s a lot of neat places I’d like to explore. But I guess the same can be said of the Posse members who choose to mine most the time so that we have the resources we need for tools and building.

I did find an interesting location I’ll be attempting to transform into a War Fort this time around – a hotel. Every game, I pick a slightly different location as long as it meets certain specifications I have for it:

  • It has to have at least two stories, or be tall enough to build a second story.
  • I prefer stone/cement/iron walls if possible.
  • It has to have a way to lure zombies in from multiple directions and try to filter them to a central place where we can then blast them away from above.

I feel like this hotel will probably serve our purpose, but I won’t know until I develop it a bit more and try it out. For now, our normal base will have to do for the second blood moon night as the War Fort isn’t even close to being able to see action yet.

It’s good fun to be back in 7D2D again!

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!

tfp

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.