4 Ways to Substantially Improve Dead Island
Dead Island was a game riddled with bugs, glitches, and other misfortunes. The game had a lot of potential but fell short in several areas. Recently I made a post on 4 Things that went Horribly Wrong with Dead Island’s Release. In it I pointed out what was wrong with the game but I never went into detail on how it should be fixed. I took a gander at the game again and came up with these specific ways to improve Dead Island.
For the AI I’m not absolutely sure what type of navigation system they’re using. It surely isn’t working all of the time. As a coder that’s what you strive to do. It’s easy to make code work for 80% of the time, but it’s getting the last 20% to work that really takes the extra effort. Now I believe that they did improve the AI since the recent patch, but there is still room for improvement.
For example they may be using navigation meshes or even less likely, a waypoint system. These may work a majority of the time but it may not be the best choice for dynamic zombie characters that can get knocked down and thrown around. The best choice would be to do a combination of navigation meshes, or something very similar, and a proven algorithmic AI equation for path finding and object avoidance.
Bugs where zombies get stuck seem to be when the zombie first notices the player and gets up off the ground or gets knocked back by a player. There should definitely be some sort of extra check, say with a raycast from the zombie, that would check how close it is to the edge of a “traversable” navigation mesh or the collision mesh of an object. It would provide an extra check so the zombie would “know” if it was close to a non-traversable area and would hence not get stuck so easily.
Another major improvement that needs to happen is to sync the animations with all the characters in the game, especially the zombies. (for a hilarious animation bug video check here)
I know the animations work for a majority of the time, but there must be a better way than they are doing it to play an animation when the zombie character attacks. I think simply that they didn’t optimize the zombie characters to the full extent. Obviously they do have it optimized but the whole setup may be faulty. I think they should take another look at the AI states code and re-optimize it so it can run smoother when a lot of events, methods, and draw calls are happening.
As mentioned in the previous article the missions are lacking in variety. A majority of them are going somewhere or finding an item. Some have said that those are the only types of missions in games, but I say no. There is a much larger amount of mission types available. I came up with a few:
- Secure: There’s a horde of zombies barreling towards a certain stronghold, you need to barricade it quickly and hold the horde off. There could also be longer versions of this mission type in which you would completely barricade a structure and try to survive in it for a substantial amount of time. There could even be permanent bases that you could barricade and put your items in.
- Bounty: You have to go on the hunt and take a wanted person out. This can result in a several step mission and could be very fun and engaging. Most likely the person you’re after murdered living people so they may be challenging to locate and kill yourself.
- Rescue: Simple, you have to go and rescue a single soul or a group of people from an impending horde of zombies and get them to safety. You may have to risk life and limb but it would be a thrilling set of missions.
If these mission types were added in say a DLC pack (hint hint) the game would be greatly improved. They would add a lot more variety and would certainly enforce a more realistic and more exhilarating feel to the game.
They have announced the DLC “Bloodbath” for a late September release. It includes a new survival mode where you and 3 others can fight waves of zombies.
Techland did say they were going to offer this new DLC for free. Looking further into the matter, it looks like only those that ordered the special edition of the game will get it for free. It was my understanding that they were offering this as a sort of a “sorry we messed up” gift to the players. It will cost $10 for pc users and 800 Microsoft Points for 360 users. I think that’s pretty steep for just a survival mode; especially with all the countless bugs, offensive jokes, and wiped saves that players had to deal with.
In the future I think they should have new DLC with expansions to the island and story. It would benefit everyone. Currently the game doesn’t go too much into the overall picture. It would be nice if they added a deeper element to the story of the game. If they did do this then there would be more content for the players to explore in and the developers would have a valid addition to the game that they could sell. It would be a win-win for everyone.
I do believe that these would greatly benefit Dead Island. I really think that they just released the game too early. If they had another couple of months to really add a great story, improved AI, more mission variety, and clear all the bugs out of the way, it would be a great game.
Do you think they released the game too early? Have any ideas how the game could be improved? Let me know what you think.