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Zombie MMORPG in the Works 102

Posted by Zonk
from the braaaiiiiii-ding-nnnnsssss dept.
Warcry has a very short blurb about a just announced Horror-genre Massively Multiplayer game. Titled Exanimus, the game looks to be set in a post-apocalyptic zombie setting. From the piece: "While most of the world is dead, there are small pockets of survivors that exist in barricaded cities across the globe. Players of Exanimus will have the option of playing as a living survivor or as one of the dead roaming the earth. Exanimus will allow players to experience a MMO based in a horror genre by creating a dark and visually "intense" environment. Exanimus is expected to be rated "Mature" and not intended for anyone under the age of 18."
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Zombie MMORPG in the Works

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  • Urban dead? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ligur (453963) <or_inanc@hotmail. c o m> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:50PM (#14886664) Homepage
    Sounds like a beefed up version of Urban Dead. [urbandead.com]
    • Mrh?
    • Zombies (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dukeofshadows (607689)
      Given the soullessness of much of modern life and the life-sucking cubicles and jobs found throughout the current economy, along with the 60+ hours that many of fresh-out-of-college employees and others are working already, how far are we from being basically a nation of better-groomed zombies who don't bite each other?
    • Re:Urban dead? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ReverendLoki (663861)
      HARMANZ GAN... Er, I mean, exactly what I was thinking. Personally, I'm interested in seeing how they make the Zombie side interesting, and able to keep players. Unlike UD, I imagine that when you log out of this game, your avatar goes as well, not leaving a body for other players to attack. What happens when you have 1000 Survivor players log in, and 5 Zombies?

      Even if the sides are even number-wise, part of the horror atmosphere comes from being outnumbered by the shambling undead. It will be interes

      • Re:Urban dead? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Cy Sperling (960158)
        I think the key is to make the zombie portion of the game revolve around playing a mob rather than an individual zombie. Leveling up wouldn't give you more health, rather increase the size of the controlled mob. Playing a zombie character shouldn't essentially be like playing a living character who sleeps outside and can't use items.
        • Re:Urban dead? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by ReverendLoki (663861)
          Hmmm.. in other words, the zombie players would be looking at it maybe a bit more like an RTS, controlling armies of units. Or maybe like a deranged version of Pikmin. Interesting...
          • Re:Urban dead? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Cy Sperling (960158)
            Pikman is a great example. The player could have a certain amount of points, relative to their level, that they could spend on their mob. Certain zombie types would have different costs allowing the player to customize the makeup of their mob. High level players would be powerful by having larger and more diverse mobs. The zombies themselves could be relatively easy to kill as individuals, but the emphasis for zombie players is the horde. I think the way they handle player death is really a tough nut
            • Re:Urban dead? (Score:4, Interesting)

              by ReverendLoki (663861) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:56PM (#14888169)
              You know, that could be the start of an interesting mechanic... The zombie player starts with one zombie - will call him the "Zombie Lord", for lack of a better term. He gets knocked down, he gets back up, maybe with a penalty, maybe not. He kills a human, the human player goes back to a spawn point of some sort to start again (again, with or without penalty). Meanwhile, the corpse he leaves behind stands up, and becomes the first minion in the Zombie Lord's horde. He follows the ZL around, attacks his targets, etc. Next corpse left by a human he kills becomes the second minion in his blossoming horde. Now, if a minion gets knocked down, does it get back up? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe only after a period of time, and maybe only for a finite amount of time.

              Now if they come out with this game and it uses any of these mechanics, we'll have to point back to this thread and demand royalties...

              • heh, nice ideas in this thread, but don't kid yourselves. It's gonna be whomping rats for phat lootz, all the way.
              • Meanwhile, the corpse he leaves behind stands up, and becomes the first minion in the Zombie Lord's horde.

                While being a cool idea and an excellent direction for a single player game (where a linear progression from weak to powerful is expected), that logic doesn't work too well in an MMO space. Letting players use their power against other players to build more power will lead to high stratification of the power levels in your player base. You will have several "power players" running around with 100+ zo

            • Re:Urban dead? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by ultranova (717540) on Friday March 10, 2006 @08:10AM (#14889772)

              Though this does lead to the fun concept of dumping the freshly dead outside before they wake up as zombies, people wanting to play as living characters don't behave as flesh hungry zombies- they simply head for the nearest advertised revive point. Player death is very tricky in this context... Perhaps player death would lead to a temporary NPC status where for a short time, the reanimated corpse would run wild. Players could respawn but would teleport back to a hub of some sort- leaving a doppleganger NPC zombie in their place. Either way- to actually recreate the threat of the freshly dead reanimating to attack their companions, they can;t leave the zombie-behavior of the freshly dead purely in the hands of the players.

              Simple solution: there's a limited number of lives in the game. In order to have a life, you have to take it from someone who has it. That is, kill a living player and you become one, and he becomes a zombie. Now you just need to have the server control the ratio between living and dead by automatically making some people living and some zombies at the start...

              A zombie cannot be permanently killed, but will always raise back up again after a short while. However, a zombie can't earn exp, and will always be "level 1" - if you had levels as human, you lose them when you become a zombie, and regain them when you regain your humanity. Same for items. That way, all the zombies will desperately want to become humans, and because they are so much weaker, pretty much have to attack en masse. Since zombies can't level, the various grinders are sure to fight tooth and nail to become human again.

              As a practical matter, you don't immediately become a human when you kill one, it takes five minutes (with a running countdown). That way you have time to escape from the fight - otherwise you'd just be killed as soon as you turned human in the middle of the battle.

              Logged-of humans fall unconscious. An unconscious human can obviously be easily killed by any zombie, so better find a safe location. No place is inherently safe (zombies can attack you everywhere), but of course the players can establish player-guarded resting areas in the ruins of abandoned cities (in fact I'd put the entire game into such a city), and of course zombies would consider those their main targets. People will still have to leave them to get exp, to scavenge for resources, and so on.

              Oh, and the zombies can see in the dark, while the humans can't. To avoid cheating, a zombie in suitably deep shadow is invisible to the client as well - that is, the server won't send the geometry at all.

              Of course all this requires a game engine that can take a lot of people in the same area at the same time. It would also require pretty low lag, since zombies hiding in the dark leads to surprise attacks. Alternatively, you could perhaps determine a "guard location", so that your character shoots as soon as a zombie pops to the guarded area - this would make the game more strategic than reflex test.

              Anyway, that's how I'd do it.

              • That's a neat idea, but I'm afraid that a swarm of level 1 zombies desperately trying to become human again will quickly result in an exodus of players frustrated with the zombie experience. After all, if it takes 20 zombies to take down a human, 19 of those zombies are going to be unhappy even if they're successful. Which of the 20 wins? The one who strikes the last blow? That seems unfair. And if you have to go through 10 zombie raids to become human, only to die (as a human to another zombie raid) t
      • Zombie unlife is quite interesting now. hunting and killing people is always fun.

        once you get ankle grab and lurching gait things are pretty smooth after that. every once in a while get yourself revived and go on a generator smashing spree when the human players annoy you.
      • Are you kidding? You get to play a ZOMBIE! That's how they're going to make it interesting.

        I want to preorder this. Now.

        I call dibs on the name "Bub."

      • What happens when you have 1000 Survivor players log in, and 5 Zombies?

        A simple solution: a zombie can't be permanently killed, while a survivor who's killed becomes a zombie. Of course this logically means that everyone becomes zombie eventually, but hey, that's how it works in these things.

        Of course this whole thing is going to be toned down to "harmless fun" and won't have anything to do with real horror stories; after all, we can't have players doing really nasty stuff, even if they're playing liv

      • What happens when you have 1000 Survivor players log in, and 5 Zombies?

        Um... Caiger Mall?

        BARHAH, mah zambah braharz!
        -Dedboy, er, "Cybrex"
    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:25PM (#14887390)
      That it sounds to me more like MySpace [myspace.com]
  • Hey! (Score:4, Funny)

    by MyLongNickName (822545) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:51PM (#14886669) Journal
    Players of Exanimus will have the option of playing as a living survivor or as one of the dead roaming the earth.

    It is based off of my experiences at work. I demand royalties!
  • Un! (Score:4, Funny)

    by tehshen (794722) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:51PM (#14886672)
    Players of Exanimus will have the option of playing as a living survivor or as one of the dead roaming the earth.

    Sheesh, how many times is this? Undead, not dead! Zombies care very much about these things. You should too if you like your frontal lobe.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @06:53PM (#14886687)
    Given that the zombies will not breed (except by converting the living), there would be a finite number of them.

    Would it be possible to "win" this by killing 6 billion + zombies?

    Before you start laughing, remember, we're talking an online game here. It is possible to kill thousands and thousands of "monsters" in other games. Five years into this, will the few remaining living be searching for the few remaining zombies?
    • by tehshen (794722) <tehshen@gmail.com> on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:03PM (#14886776)
      That actually sounds like a clever marketing ploy - five or so years after its release, the game will suddenly get many more players who want to be the final zombie-killer.
    • I think they'd have to cheat this.

      Technically, if you start as a human, and you're killed, wouldn't you become a zombie?

      And, depending on how they work the origin of the zombie in this case, the zombie population could be bolstered by the dead and buried.

      If they were going to be harsh about it, the game would be entirely zombies in short order.
    • No, zombies don't breed -- but then neither do most MMOG characters. (At least the non-pornographic ones!) Zombies are replenished by new users.
      • At least the non-pornographic ones!

        I find your idea intriguing and wish to subscribe to your newsletter.

        • No, I don't run a porno site. But there's an adult "virtual world" site out there (can't remember what they're called) where anything goes. Alas, their graphics are not, shall we say, high resolution. One particularly depressing teaser graphic shows a bunch of cartoon quality figures going at each other, with the caption, "Have sex whenever you like!" Yeah, right.
    • I'd guess if things got too out of balance from their storyline, they could tweak the amount of zombie or human NPCs. More undead could always dig up out of the ground, or more humans could show up from outside the game's scope, to keep things even.
      • No, you'd want that. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by khasim (1285)

        I'd guess if things got too out of balance from their storyline, they could tweak the amount of zombie or human NPCs. More undead could always dig up out of the ground, or more humans could show up from outside the game's scope, to keep things even.

        If the living are losing badly, that would add to the horror of the game.

        If the zombies are losing badly, that would work also as the living would have to go searching for them. And you're most vulnerable when you're searching. Do you risk being killed for the

    • by Lord_Dweomer (648696) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @08:37PM (#14887462) Homepage
      What I would love.....and what would never happen...is to have "rounds" of the game. You start off the world, and you have a single zombie running around and he converts a few NPCs. Then it spreads....the world would start off very heavy on the human side, but gradually, if things went smoothly, it would convert to zombies only....depending on the organization of things. Of course what you can't account for is griefers who might get converted to zombies and try to prevent them from killing humans, or humans who try to get other humans killed.

      After all of one side had been killed off, the game would "reset".

      • by 2008 (900939)
        Absolutely.

        What I really want from an MMO is a kind of massively-multiplayer-co-op-FPS, basically 1000 player co-op Serious Sam, with the squad organisation from BF 2 and with huge GTA-style (but detailed interiors of buildings) freeform levels. Have each round last about a month, starting from spreading out from a beachhead, clearing the streets, rooting enemies out of buildings/rooftops/sewers, defending against counterattacks, then finally taking the city which brings out a final boss. Basically have eac
    • Given that the zombies will not breed (except by converting the living), there would be a finite number of them.

      How do you know that ? Emily (from Corpse Bride) certainly seemed eager to find a husband - just what do you think she was going to do with him ? Heck, I've even found Corpse Bride porn from the Internet... Or, for that matter, what do you think the Mummy (either the original or the remake) was going to do with his bride ? And vampires are notorious for playing with their food...

      Giving up br

  • PKers (Score:4, Funny)

    by Eightyford (893696) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @07:00PM (#14886746) Homepage
    So they finally found a solution to pkers eh? It's pretty hard to kill something that is already dead.
    • Tell that to my Undead Rogue :(
    • Just because you're not "dead" doesn't mean you aren't incapacitated. Player Killers won't be nearly as feared as Player Chopper Uppers And Into Small Lockbox Stuffers.

      Or maybe I'm thinking of the Troll race in Nethack Online...
  • At last! A reasonable explanation of the creepy moaning, thumping, and gunfire sounds coming from my neighbors apartment! They're beta testers! Still doesn't explain the polka music though, or does it.... What is the sound track like for this thing?
    • A reasonable explanation of the creepy moaning, thumping, and gunfire sounds coming from my neighbors apartment! They're beta testers! Still doesn't explain the polka music though, or does it....

      You must know my upstairs neighbors. The guy likes playing shooters really loud, the gal likes playing Dance Dance Revolution aerobics style until midnight, and there's a whole lot of moaning, groaning and thumping after dark.
    • I don't think this is in beta, yet. In fact the whole thing seems like someone had an idea and posted a link to /. and digg to see how much interest there would be. It's a clever new market research strategy.
  • a game version of Shaun of the Dead, since most of their game designers are actually located in Britain, and mindless zombie violence is only half as fun as very silly British mindless zombie violence.
  • Just let me have a cricket bat, and I'll be the first in line. :D
  • "Mature" (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jayeates (954304) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @09:45PM (#14887846)

    "Exanimus is expected to be rated "Mature" and not intended for anyone under the age of 18."

    So my guess is it'll be filled with 14-16 year old idiots then...

  • ooer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ameoba (173803) on Thursday March 09, 2006 @10:06PM (#14887954)
    Exanimus is expected to be rated "Mature" and not intended for anyone under the age of 18.

    If they can enforce this, I'll definately start playing.
    • In my experience the younger players can be annoying, but it's when they're bored and looking for other ways to create their fun. Include them in things and they often settle down quickly, or often you can ignore the really idiotic ones and they wander away on their own.

      But if you run into an adult player who is rude, inconsiderate, and just a general pain in the ass, chances are that person will still be exactly the same months or years down the road.
      • Re:ooer... (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Makarakalax (658810)
        They settle down until they don't get the phat loot or something, and then it's evens they'll throw some immature hissy fit.
    • Exanimus is expected to be rated "Mature" and not intended for anyone under the age of 18.

      If they can enforce this, I'll definately start playing.


      One credit card and one click through agreement later....yup...it's the death of teenagers.
      • What about all the kids that have their 'rents pay for 'em? ...not to mention that the credit card companies are pushing for parents to get cards for their children.
  • Don't say the "zed" word, Ed.
  • One Concern (Score:3, Interesting)

    by darkmayo (251580) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:11AM (#14888877)
    The problem with having a human controlling a zombie character is they no longer act like zombies. You end up with some big metagaming issues, zombie/human alliances etc.

    It will be interesting what these guys have up there sleeves to make sure that doesnt happen.

    Oh and if they screw it up it and the game bombs then it will forever taint that genre for a MMORPG. Since I have been waiting for something like this to come around for quite some time, i'd be right pissed.

    mmmm zombies.. how I love to hate thee.
    • ...let zombies only talk to each other, the living will only hear moaning and "brains" every once in a while. :)

      • Then you still have outside forums, voice chat, IMs that any player can use to form alliances. It will happen Urban Dead did the same zombies could only communicate with a few characters but it certainly didnt stop huge communities from getting together and making alliances.
  • by miyako (632510) <miyako.gmail@com> on Friday March 10, 2006 @04:05AM (#14889164) Homepage Journal
    I DM a regular tabletop game based around a zombie-themed variant of the D20 system called Year of the Zombie [rpgnow.com] (disclaimer: I did some artwork for the book...so buy it and help a fellow slashdotter get some royalty checks) and I've found that the general theme works very well among roleplayers. Specifically, in a lot of the games that I run, I've found that people who can roleplay well get a lot from the games, though powergamers tend to lose interest quickly. I've never let a player actually play as a zombie, and I'm curious as to how the mechanics for it will work in this game (if it is included in the end). What I think could really make the game interesting is if they play up the need to survive. In most of the games that I run, the zombies are more of a complicating issue than the real problem at hand. In general, most of the conflict, and interesting gaming, comes from the need for food, water, and shelter. It would be interesting to set up a system where there are heavily infested cities, and groups of characters have to go on raids to get supplies. PVP also is particularly interesting in this scenario. In my games, players often have to choose between trying to get supplies from heavily infested cities, or try to steal food or supplies from other groups who may be smaller in numbers, but also can shoot back.
    I'd love them to make a Mac or Linux port of this so that I could play it...I might even have to consider setting up a windows machine for this game if it looks promising as it gets nearer to launch.
  • I think a workable way to have the human/undead thing work is to do it in a way similar to what Stephen King did in Cell. At the beginning of the book, a "pulse" gets sent out to every cell phone (or at least every one in and around New England) which wipes a person's brain. They become the typical neo-zombie if they got a full blast of the signal. People that might've just been listening in on the call get messed up, and are more mindless.

    What follows next has some spoilers so if you plan on reading the
  • Intriguing concept by a previously-unheard-of studio with no publisher (financial backing)? I'm not sure I'll be holding my breath for this one.
  • Wait, I just thought of something. If you're playing a human and get bit, do you become a zombie and stay that way? Or can you be turned back to a human-class by some weird medical means (anti-virus, genetic treatment, serum, whatever)?

    Because it might be interesting if you could say as the zombies go on a raid of a human base with 10 guys and as you kill humans your numbers increase. :)
  • I am curious on what they will offer for undead classes (if that is the route they are going)? I hear W.O.W. allows for different types of 'undead' classes - rouges, fighters, and wizards - so I wonder what type of post apocalypitic undead are available? Clearly the are the 'shambler' type - scout or fighter? Perhaps some sort of 'undead' medic? Maybe a radioactive zombie with aura effects? Clearly I am going to have to consult my zombie survival guide to help find out what might be.

    Viva the Undead Rev
  • by neo (4625) on Friday March 10, 2006 @02:16PM (#14892146)
    Seriously.

    Nothing like a bunch of undead zombie griefers to make life hell for the living/paying players. Charge me $4 per live character I play. Make him/her randomly, with skills and equipment randomly assigned so I have a chance to be a soldier or a banker... and let the bodies hit the floor. You wouldn't need any NPCs. People playing zombies would line up to get a crack at killing some paying players... and the paying players would line up to see who could survive and live the longest.

    Eventually the free zombies would want to try it on the other side, so it's the perfect demo to get them into the game.
  • And it's Hellgate: London [hellgatelondon.com]... Made by developers [flagshipstudios.com] of Diablo, Warcraft, and other Blizzard games. Not sure I can watch yet another one, and I'm not skipping on HG:L as the features sounds really promising.

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