Unbelievable - Zero-Projekt is now 4 years old.
Believe it or not, Zero-Projekt survived 4 years. Now it is time for a little summary and a preview of future development.
The past years did not proceed as we intended to. Most of the team members had to fulfil their own private obligations, which slowed down the development. Nevertheless some fellows perpetuated the project at their utmost. Again, thank all of you. Luckily, development speeded up after the turn of the year and a lot was done to regain the lost time. However, we tried to focus not only on the progress of content, but on improving quality by adding features and developing new concepts. Demo-Story & Concepts:
We reported some news of a Zero demo game. After a long learning process, loads of discussions and a considerable quantity of work we had to admit that our concepts proved a failure. We did not meet our very own expectations with regard to our content and quality. We therefore decided to dismiss the old concept and created a new strategy to deliver a more coherent story and experience.
A short time ago, the demo concept focused solely on the player's curiosity to explore the gaming world self-motivated. The player was intended to absolve quest after quest on a single map without a conclusive motivation. This concept should have given us the possibility to explore our ideas in a more flexible way. However, we realised that such a game may be an advantage during the evaluation of concepts, but is not well suited for the player even in the context of a demo. Just exploring a post nuclear world without a central theme would get boring soon and not even satisfy our own demands of quality.
The player character will feature a defined background and experience his story. Thereby, preserving the explorative character of the gaming world as well as the freedom of the role-playing genre is our main goal. The demo will comprise two maps, with the first one being an introduction to the world of Zero. The timeline of the protagonist's story is settled a few years before the main story of Zero rendering the demo a sort of prequel. This setting not only gives us a new point of view on the development of a post nuclear world, but also gives us the possibility to transfer it to the main game.
Shortly after the global nuclear strike, the player character arrives in an anarchistic scenario of a little German village, where he will be confronted with the collapse of human social structures. We will provide certain scenarios the player can choose to participate - and we'll evaluate his reactions to them. Different actions will therefore have different consequences (e.g. perks, wounding, inventory items etc) as soon as the character leaves the prologue map. Leaving the sandbox location is followed by a shift in time catapulting the protagonist to the beginning of the demo's main story. The following plot happens in a small village in proximity of a river, relatively unbiased from the destructiveness of the bombs. Independent observers may call them trivial reasons, as for which the player is forced to make a halt in this small village, marked by war and desolation.
Noticeably, a few details of the main game story have been improved. We finally fixed a starting date for beginning of the plot. On November, 5th 2022, the protagonist starts his fight in the apocalypse. Technical Progress
Zeros engine framework made some improvements as well - the algorithm for drag & drop support and inventory maintenance was optimised and the trigger system is in the progress of extension. Now it is possible to define exit-grids in the map-editor. These grids are automatically linked to the desired map without generating annoying data overhead in the database. The map designer just need to enter the map ID and the code does the rest. The player's starting point can be defined likewise. With the exception of some subtleties, we think that the framework has been developed to a point (10.000 lines of python code by the way), where we have nearly everything we need to make a game. Progress of Graphical Content
Not only was the concept of the demo overhauled, but also our blender animation files. Now we are able to handle the enormous amount of animations more efficiently. Additionally, our Zero Auto Render (ZAR), a small blender script that automatically renders an animation from all viewing angles we need in Zero and generates the needed XML-definitions, was introduced to complete the efficient work-flow. Now our graphics artists work on the demo content that will include a watergate and a gasoline station. Future Prospects
The whole refactoring processes interfered with our schedule. However, we think that our improvements will make up for the lost time. Now we will focus on developing content and fix some engine-related problems. After a development history of 4 years with both ups and downs, we are still motivated and ready to tackle upcoming problems (and they will come sooner or later). Stay tuned for more information! You can follow our progress on YOUTUBE-Channel
channel and facebook
the Zero-Projekt team