Early Alpha Image - Work In Progress
We are halfway through the month of June already! Time flies. As you can probably guess, we’ve been working hard on the next Alpha build of Dead Matter.
As promised, we’ve coordinated a small AMA with our backers and media partners. We couldn’t get to every question and we prioritized questions that focused on the current state of Dead Matter. We had a lot of fun reading over your questions, and we hope you enjoy our answers.
Questions and Answers
How many coders are currently working on the game?From: Osmara (Media Partner)
Programming Lead Stephen: We’re presently deploying a very lean code team. At the moment, we are only 4 strong, and we’ll get to early access with 6-7 programmers total, depending on hiring conditions.
Can we turn off anti-cheat on server settings?From: PayPal
Programming Team Member: You can manually disable the anti-cheat once it has been implemented into the game, although we obviously do not recommend it.
Since you added spawn points and also made sleeping bags or tents. I hope you can touch on this matter. So my question is, how will it affect player behavior?From: Mojrm_7rb
Programming Team Member: We’re in the midst of developing the life and death system in Dead Matter and Sleeping Bags play a small role in this system. Essentially, when you die, you will be able to respawn to the location of the sleeping bag you rested in. Our life and death system will not be forgiving, so using a sleeping bag can alleviate some of the consequences of dying in Dead Matter. Of course, there are some planned elements in our upcoming life and death system that will prevent sleeping bags from being overly useful.
As of now, sleeping bags do come with their own set of rules that prevent them from being overpowered:
- Only the last sleeping bag you used will appear as a spawn point. Unless…
- If another player sleeps in that bag, they now own it, and you will lose your respawn point.
I have found the adherence of firearms in the game to canadian code standards immersive and something I appreciate as an attention to detail in its development. How much have the evolving gun laws in the country over the last year factored into your development choices and priorities? Was it a challenge, and is it ever worth deviating from? Thanks!From: Orpaikron
Game Director NikZ: Ever since the laws have changed to ban the VZ58 and Mini 14 from Canadian ownership back in 2020 we sort of knew that this could potentially become a problem for us. We have addressed this by essentially treating the in-game world as having gun laws from 2014 and using that as our guiding hand for realism.This has been the case since the VZ58 was banned and it will remain this way moving forward.
When will backer rewards be in Dead Matter? Many of us provided backing contributions a long time ago and we either haven't seen those rewards manifest or they were removed due to restructuring. How can we be sure that our contributions will even be in?From: Winslow (Media Partner)
Lead Producer Tim: Backer rewards are something we will be addressing after the Early Access launch. We are currently at a stage of development where we are focusing on making the core gameplay loops as solid as they can be. We want the bones of Dead Matter to be strong before we resume development on cosmetic items and other backer rewards.
Game Director NikZ: To add to what Tim said, once we reach Early Access, one of our immediate goals will be delivering on backer rewards. It’s important to remember that even if some of these rewards have been prototyped or partially implemented in the past and were removed, they won’t be gone forever, they’re just gone for the time being so that we can focus on developing the bones of the game.
What has been the hardest part for creating dead matter, any part of developmentFrom: RyZe
Head of Studio Derek C: Communication is always an endless challenge in any studio. Brevity, a lack of clarity, misunderstandings, etc; breakdowns can and will happen. The most important thing that can happen during a breakdown is that a team can acknowledge the breakdowns and come together and work through it.
Frankly speaking, we’ve struggled with this problem and it cost the team development time and resources. As I addressed in my blog post at the beginning of the year, my job was to rein in these problems and reorganize and build a team that could give Dead Matter the push it needed.
We worked really hard in Q1 to effectively reset and rebuild the organization. We redefined our team structure, our tech stack, our procedures, and our scope. We shipped an update where the team wasn’t burned out and exhausted, and we have (started to) do so on-time and at a quality bar we previously hadn’t achieved. We’re now going into our next update as a “settled” team, and I am eager to see the results.
I was originally attracted to the idea that there would be lots of zombies all over the dead matter map, maybe too many for people to just go around shooting everyone. Are you still planning on doing this? and is it still possible? Please tell me that the two shot to the head to kill is a temporary measure?From: Tech-Nick
Game Director Nikz: We are ultimately going to strive to make the game an immersive experience with the Infected. Increasing the Infected population and gameplay experience are objectives the team and I are working on.
Will you ever remove the awful film grain from the game? Also will it be better optimized? My comp runs at 20 fps but every other game I get 60+fps.From Rekts(rex)
Game Director NikZ: Visual settings are something we are continuously working on during the Alpha. We’re aiming to make Dead Matter a cinematic and realistic experience, that said, we will allow you to adjust and toggle visual settings like film grain. Also, we will be addressing the visual setting menu bugs in the Alpha.
Programming Team Member: Performance is something that we are constantly working on improving. Obviously, since we are still in an Alpha, we still have a lot of room for improvement and optimization.
What immersive gameplay elements is your team prioritizing for the next playtest? I love survival mechanics that allow me to fully immerse myself while I'm playing, which I think is why games like Escape From Tarkov and The Forest pull me in so much. What will be the hook that lets me fully immerse myself into your world?From: ScrubLordTheKing
Lead Producer Tim: Essentially, our next few updates will be addressing a wide range of core gameplay systems. While we won’t share what we’re working on yet, we can confirm that increasing immersion and core gameplay loops is a priority for our future development.
Game Director NikZ: We have a lot of priorities that we are addressing in the next few updates, and increasing immersion is definitely one of them. Yea it is unfortunately too soon to go into detail right now, but enhancing immersion is a priority for us and there are some cool things in the works.
Will we ever get Dead Matter merchandise? T-Shirts, Mugs, Dev Nude Calendar, Life Size Nihito Cardboard Cutout. The usual merchandise you can find.From: Zeruel
Community Associate Anton: As of now, we do not have any merchandise for sale. Of course, that may change once we get closer to our public early access launch. We will never say never, except for the calendar that you mentioned.
When do you see all the moving parts of the project coming together into a representative and fun state which fits your vision for the final game?From: Valaska
Lead Producer Tim: We have a time frame in mind, but we won’t be commenting on this at this time.
In comparison to your original game concept before the alpha release of Dead Matter, how has your game goal shifted in regards to the scope of the actual game? Have you had to cut down on a lot of features and ideas initially created to have a better functioning game?From: ScrubLordTheKing (Media Partner)
Head of Studio Derek C: The scope of Dead Matter is something that we’ve put a lot of thought into over the past several months. While our main goal of releasing Early Access on Steam has not changed, our process on how we get there has. In terms of features, we have an internal list of features we want to implement before the launch of early access. These features are ones that we believe will create a fun gameplay experience.
Lead Producer Tim: Of course, we cannot comment on what those features are today, but we can say that we don’t intend on cutting features from our Early Access launch.
I have a question about animations. Why are First Person Animation seperate from the 3rd Person animations? So the good animations are only for the arms mesh. It has a lot of follow up problems: you have 4 arms, Freelook is limited, so you don’t see the fake. Etc. etc? And what is your Solution for this? Is leaning also broken because of that?From: Sepp_MISFIT (Media Partner)
Question Rewritten For Clarity
Are first person animations separate from the full body animations other players see? I’ve noticed a few bugs that might be connected to this issue. What are some of the changes the art team is going to make to improve animations and character models?
Art Team Member: The first person animations are indeed separate from the animations you would see on other players in-game, good eye. These first person animations are typically referred to as "Viewmodel animations", as compared to the "Character animations" that you see when you look at your buddy. The reason being is that animations can have a totally different look and feel depending on the perspective in which they are viewed, like playing a side-scrolling platformer vs a top-down RTS. An animation for a character doing a reload, for instance, has to be done differently when you are taking into account what the player sees from the first person camera as opposed to from the third person camera in order to make them "feel right", and this applies across almost all of our animations. You can see a similar approach in other popular shooters like Fallout 4, Call of Duty, Insurgency Sandstorm, and others. We believe this method should be our priority at this stage, as it gives the most amount of impact and weight to the player's actions, as well as the fact that Dead Matter is played from the First Person perspective. As we progress into Early Access, our art and programming teams will also focus on bringing that same fidelity to the character animations. Thanks for the question!
How do I get my bacon?From: Gusriell
Community Associate Anton: You’re going to want to look for that at your local grocery store. If you’re looking for a crispier bacon, use your oven instead of a frying pan. Preheat to 400 degrees fahrenheit and let the bacon cook for 20 minutes. Make sure you flip the bacon at the ten minute mark. This technique works great for thick and thin cut bacon.
That’s it for the week’s blog. Thank you all for your questions!
We’re deep into development mode, but we will be reaching out to community members and media partners for Community Playtests later this summer.