DayZ Standalone is open-world survival horror hybrid-MMO video game. The much hyped follow-up to the award winning mod of the same name. Development in 2012 when the mod's creator, Dean Hall, joined Bohemia Interactive to commence work on the standalone version of the game. The development has been focused on altering the engine to suit the game's needs, developing a working client-server architecture, and introducing new features like diseases and a better inventory system.
The game places the player in the fictional 225km2 post-Soviet state of Chernarus+, one of the areas hit by a new and presently unknown infection which has wiped out most of the world's population. The player is one of the few who have survived and now must scavenge the world for food, water, weapons, and medicine, while killing or avoiding infected, and killing, avoiding or co-opting other players in an effort to survive as long as they can in the harsh post-apocalyptic landscape.
The goal of DayZ is to survive during the conditions of the zombie apocalypse that have befallen the in-game world. The player begins equipped with only simple clothes and a flashlight, and must begin exploring the large 225km2 landscape of Chernarus+ to investigate loot locations such as houses, barns, and apartments to scavenge supplies. These supplies include food and water, which are basic keys to prolonging the player's life. Beyond the bare bones of survival, players can find various forms of clothing, which not only allow the player to customize their character, but can bring the benefit of extra storage space for supplies. Also scattered around the map are a variety of melee and ranged weapons, allowing players to protect themselves from zombies or other players if necessary.
While travelling around the game, players can also find various medical supplies as the environment poses a range of threats to their character. Planned features include diseases such as cholera, dysentery and hepatitis, which can be caught by ingesting dirty water or rotten food and must be cured with the appropriate medicine. If a player is shot or otherwise hurt, items on their person may be damaged. The player may also start bleeding and must be bandaged quickly to minimize blood loss; excessive damage or blood loss will result in serious deterioration of vision for the player and can render them unconscious. The game also includes hundreds of public domain books throughout the map for players to read, including titles such as War of the Worlds and Moby-Dick.
Planned features of the game include being able to build bases in the world in which players can keep their items safe, with the possibility of security systems and programmable computers having been considered. The standalone game will build on the text and close range voice chat of the mod version by including a new whisper channel, which will allow players to communicate over a very short distance without players nearby hearing, as well as radios (based off the "ACRE" mod for ARMA 2), which will allow longer range communication, including the possibility of encrypted two-way radios and player-run radio stations. A number of features which have been recently added to the release are hunting animals and cooking. Other features such as vehicle transportation are confirmed to be in development pending future release.
On 14 August 2012, Dean Hall(Rocket) announced that DayZ would become a standalone game that does not require Arma II. Development of the standalone version was headed up directly by Rocket, in conjunction with Bohemia Interactive, the publisher of Arma II. With this announcement, Rocket turned the mod version of DayZ over to the community for continued development. Some of the main goals for creating the standalone were to fix bugs and prevent hacking, two things very difficult to do under the previous Arma II architecture.
DayZ Standalone utilizes the Take On Helicopter engine, which is a branch of the Arma II Operation Arrowhead engine Real Virtuality. The engine has been heavily modified even including code from ARMA III.
Rocket has indicated interest in developing DayZ for consoles (Xbox/Playstation), but the PC version will be the focus. At Gamescom 2014, DayZ was confirmed for the PS4 console with a release date to be determined.
2015 Development Roadmap
The following was included as part of the end-of-the-year postings by the development team. These are to be taken with a grain of salt, as they are only goals and not a definitive timeline.
- First Quarter
- Basic vehicles
- Advanced loot distribution
- New renderer
- New Infected AI
- Basic stealth system (infected and animals)
- Improved cooking and horticulture
- Advanced anti-hack system (Dynamic BattlEye)
- Second Quarter
- Advanced vehicles (repair and modifications)
- Advanced animals (life cycle, group behaviour)
- Player statistics
- New UI
- Player stamina
- Dynamic events
- World containers
- New physics system
- Third Quarter
- Character life span + soft skills
- Animal predators + birds
- Aerial transport
- Console prototype
- Advanced communication
- Fourth Quarter
- Animal companions
- Steam community integration
- Construction (base building)
- Beta version
Release Date and Pricing
The game was released on 16 December 2013 during the alpha development stage through Steam's Early Access program at a cheaper price than when it is finally released. This alpha release is an early access build with a large amount of the features still in progress and the development team is targeting the release at an audience who want to be involved in what Hall called a "very barebones experience that is a platform for future development." An official date for the final release is yet to be set.
- When DayZ Standalone was originally announced Rocket had originally indicated the desire to see a release by the end of 2012.
- DayZ standalone will utilize a Minecraft-like sales model; this will allow players to pay a much lower price for early access to the alpha/beta releases while helping to fund development toward the final product.
- An Alpha version of DayZ Standalone was playable on the floor at E3 2013 and allowed attendees their first actual playthrough of the standalone game.
- Gamescom 2014: DayZ Confirmed for PS4