After twelve months of dicking around and wasting time on boring “actual life stuff”, finally I have had the time to actually get Undead Blackout to the point I would like it to be at. This means I have rushed it onto Steam in time for the Summer Sale and while it still needs a little work the main thing is that the all-new and improved version of the game has arrived.
The game has been rebuilt from the ground up, many assets have of course been carried over but large chunks of the game are brand new. For all intents and purposes it is a ‘new’ game. Much closer to the kind of thing I was vaguely imagining like a million years ago.
The game has been built using the latest version of Unreal Engine 4 (4.22.3 if you were wondering) and with this comes loads of improvements without me really having to do anything at all. The game runs smoother and faster. Alongside these built in improvements I have actually done a bit of work myself and many of the systems in the game are better optimised as are the levels themselves. Built in a much better way, they require less memory than before and shall be optimised even further in due course.
The levels themselves, while a few are set in similar environments, have been totally changed. Gone are the three fairly open areas in which you had to hunt a key and in their place are various “Blackout Zones” and paths connecting them. The Blackout Zones now form the core part of the gameplay. Areas that player finds themselves trapped in and can only escape by powering up a big old metal door. Naturally of course, these areas are teeming with zombies so you have to balance powering the door up with taking them out or running away from them.These are the only areas of the game now in total darkness, everywhere else has a bit of moonlight or a fire or something to help you.
The game is much more “arcadey” now. Zombies drop ammo, score boosts and health. You increase your multiplier by killing them and lose it once they successfully attack you. I was caught a little between trying to be a top-down Resident Evil and just a twin-stick shooter previously and it left the game worse off. Now we are purely arcade with the whole twist of it being pretty damn dark.
The zombies are a lot dumber. This might come as a shock to you but the AI in the earlier version was actually pretty decent. Zombies would wander around and react to you running past or investigate gunshots. The problem was that this was actually no fun. A lot of the time they just wandered straight past you while in the next room.
So now they are dumb. They just head straight for you. Can smell you a mile off or something. This might be less “realistic” but it is loads more fun. Provided you like shooting zombies.
The other major difference is that the melee weapons are gone. I loved the idea of having melee weapons, but again, it just wasn’t that fun. You could spend ages looking for a gun and getting annoyed that you died so the decision was made to scrap the axe and give players a pistol by default. A pistol with infinite ammo.
There are still Assault Rifles and Shotguns dotted about but you will at least be able to fend off the Undead with your trust pistol should you feel the urge. It has made the game more fun, more fast paced and actually more skill based seeing as you can one-shot kill the zombies when using the Aiming mode.
2.1 AND BEYOND
The game then is at a point I can say I don’t hate it. Absolutely I have pushed the update before it is 100% ready but I wanted to make the most of the sale so version 2.1 is not going to be far behind.
There will be a lot of quality of life updates, nice little animations added in here and there. Some of the levels also look a little barren so I will be making them much more interesting. And of course, a whole load of bugs will be getting smashed to death.
I am looking to get version 2.1 out in July at some point while 2.2, which is going to feature a funky new mode, will arrive in August.
Finally, here is a lovely new gameplay trailer for people to watch. Enjoy!
Tom Gilchrist - Founder/Creative Director
Founder of 4MB Interactive and chief game maker person, Tom taught himself Unreal Engine 4 while working in a normal day job and somehow still found time to grow a crap beard and let his hair become an unkempt mess.