In Sony Online Entertainment's apocalyptic zombie survival MMO, H1Z1, Technical Director Tom Schenck gives us a rundown of the current state of the game, what's been going on and what to look forward to. H1Z1 is currently in pre-alpha, and whether or not you're tired of zombies due to viral overexposure, all eyes are on SOE as they work on the first zombie survival game that's not made by an indie studio or is a mod for another game. Tom's the man who oversees the code and the technical teams. Since H1Z1 is in a special spotlight all it's own with SOE's money and development teams behind it, it's interesting to see what the first dev blog is all about.
A good portion of the blog talks about how the team is preparing H1Z1 for Steam Early Access, which will allow people, likely through a buy in, to experience the game in alpha and beta states, while having hands-on experience with the game through its development process. Those who enjoy finding bugs and helping developers, as well as those who are impatient and just want to play immediately despite the condition of the game, will enjoy Early Access. While some folks say they heard when the game would be out, there is no definitive officially sourced statement with a release date or even when it will be available through Early Access.
One thing is for sure, reading the first dev blog: while the devs do take their job seriously, they have a great sense of humor. Highlighted throughout, Tom Schenck shows off some of the more hilarious visual bugs they've come across so far during the game's development. Obviously, the game still requires a lot of work and they're not afraid to let us know what's going on. SOE in general has been moving more towards this approach of community involvement and developer transparency, which is beyond refreshing. Their devs are encouraged to interact and talk (within reason, naturally – don't fear, dear marketing department!) about the games they work on and what they're passionate about. It's been a long and bumpy road for SOE, but the way they currently do things is pretty OK in my book. Alright, alright, it's more than OK. I don't want to come off as a gushing fangirl here or anything.
The dev blog gives us an amusing still from an issue that arose while preparing for the latest live stream (if you watch the below video at YouTube instead of on this page, beware the comments will kill several thousand braincells, as well as your faith in humanity) where we see Adam Clegg and Jimmy Whisenhunt, H1Z1 developers, show off some combat featuring bows and arrows. It's obvious that the game has a ways to go, but considering it's in its pre-alpha stage, seeing a fairly playable game is pretty good. We also get to see what crafting will look like, which no doubt players will be interested in. The real question, however, is how crafting will work at endgame.
Looking forward to H1Z1? What interests you most? For more information, sign up for the newsletter on their website (which also has a lengthy list of devs to follow on Twitter, if that's your jam) and check out the official subreddit, where even Smed himself is active.