It turns out that the sparse info about the upcoming DayZ standalone game released earlier this month was just a small taste of what the developers have been working on. Today, Dean "Rocket" Hall took to the DayZ tumblr blog and provided a vast amount of details covering everything from the game's new server architecture to customizing characters and weapons.
First off, the game's lighting system has been improved and a volumetric cloud system has been implemented, which Rocket says, "adds a sense of realism when compared with the previous result."
The game's art assets are also being quickly completed, with new objects such as wrecked vehicles and buses already implemented. Buildings have been redesigned and some new buildings have been created, with new textures that make them seem more damaged.
The inventory system is far enough along that players can put on and drop different clothing items, which can all carry diseases and have durability ratings. Weapons are now customizable, and even individual ammunition magazines are considered attachments and must be kept in serviceable shape.
The developers also want to include ways to support social organization within the game, such as tattoos or markings on weapons or other in-game surfaces. They are also experimenting with having all of the zombies on one server spawn at the start of server initialization to eliminate the meta-gaming the presence of zombies previously enabled.
The server architecture for the game has been completely redeveloped, with a style closer to an MMO-type game. Rocket stated that this should help deter hackers by having the servers control character behavior and send updates.
Character customization has become a priority for the development team, and will be "really the entire focus of our efforts for the next few months, prior to starting on vehicle customization and finally on base building at the end of the year."
It's unclear if "end of the year" might coincide with the release of the game, or whether early versions of the game will be released Minecraft-style, as was planned. Rocket stated, as he has in the past, that the developers will take their time to get the title right. From the blog post:
I feel fantastic about the situation, more than ever I feel like we’re doing something really interesting with this development. Now is not the time to rush things, but we do need to ensure our pace is kept up. Our development blog and getting players in and testing as soon as possible will be key in ensuring we succeed in making this a great game.
An internal closed test on the game has already begun. In addition, the developers are now working with Valve to develop an new browser system, which will utilize Steam. A more public beta test will have to wait until the game's server/client architecture is in place.