Zafehouse: Diaries, a zombie survivor horror simulator, is the debut PC title from the Australia-based Screwfly Studios, a two-man team consisting of myself and David Kidd. In this post, David explains some of the core gameplay concepts in greater detail, along with new screenshots from the latest alpha build.
I've written plenty already on Zafehouse: Diaries, but one topic that hasn't been covered in great detail is the actual gameplay. David Kidd, my coder in crime and the man responsible for the lion's share of the game's current design, took a bit of time to elaborate on the large role relationships play in the game, and how the player can influence, but not directly control, these fragile bonds by spreading rumours and dynamically creating their back stories.
For a bit more background on the game, check out this post, which talks about the game's announcement last month.
And now, here's Dave.
We've now fully implemented all core elements in Zafehouse: Diaries.
The most important feature we've added is the win condition. A rescue chopper will arrive in a few days or weeks and you need to scour the town to find out exactly where, when and how to contact the chopper. The radio and rescue frequency are the most important items: you can get lucky when the chopper arrives by being in the right place at the right time, but without the radio and frequency, it'll just fly by.
Moving between locations is now more strategic: you can investigate, assault or just dive straight into a new location. If you’re uncertain about heading to the hospital, send out some investigators first. They'll check out the surrounding area and peer through windows to see how many zombies are inside. Then you can send in some armed survivors to pick off zombies from a distance -- and even take out zombies inside by shooting through windows.
Finally, relationships can now be manipulated. Relationships affect just about everything you do in the game. If your survivors aren't getting along, they'll split up during combat, argue, hurt each other, and generally perform poorly at anything they do; when the group is happy, everything ticks along smoothly -- barricades are slightly stronger, traps don't misfire as often, meals are prepared well and the group is generally better prepared for combat.
While you have some indirect control over relationships by creating situations where positive experiences might happen, we wanted to make it more strategic. This is where rumours come in.
Your survivors all start with a blank slate -- you know a little bit about them, but their past is hidden. By creating a rumour about one of your survivors, you reveal something about them to the group. This can have a positive or negative effect on relationships, so you have to be careful that your rumour won't backfire. You also don't have unlimited rumours -- you need to create the right rumour at the right time, making this one of the game's most strategic elements.
This post was written by David Kidd and originally published on Zafehouse. More gameplay details as we get closer to release!