Five years after the initial release of DayZ Standalone, version 1.0 has finally been pushed out. Before going into the details of this new update, it is worth touching on how far DayZ has come. Before DayZ Standalone, the whole idea around it was created through a mod for Arma 2 by a developer named Dean Hall. Dean Hall started work on this mod privately, before he was even hired by Bohemia Interactive. Only when he was employed by Bohemia Interactive did he share his work with the CEO, which then allowed Dean to gain publicity for his mod and grow it into how popular it became in the Arma 2 community. After some time and after DayZ grew even more, Bohemia Interactive eventually purchased the rights for DayZ. From then, the DayZ Standalone game was developed, and released in 2013.
Dean Hall departed the project to pursue different endeavours, the game continues to receive updates by the Bohemia Interactive developers. Through the years, a new game engine called Enfusion has been in development, gradually replacing parts of the old engine that DayZ Standalone originally ran on.
Over the last 3 years, only 4 major updates have been released, as huge chunks of the new engine were merged into the main game. The first of these updates contained the new renderer, which significantly improved the visuals of Dayz and greatly increased the frame rate. The next update, 0.61, added in new animal behaviors, wolves, a new audio system for gunshots, dynamic zombie spawns, and some new zombie ai sensors. The following update, 0.62, revitalized all of the forests and trees on Chernarus and effectively finalized the Chernarus+ map, as well as brought in additional color palette changes, additions to weather/wind, and additions to the audio system that was previously introduced. Finally, 0.63 introduced the most significant pieces of the Enfusion Engine. It brought in a new user interface, HUD, server browser, as well as included a new scripting language called Enscript which is significantly faster than the legacy SQF language used in Arma 2 and Arma 3. DayZ 0.63 no longer features any content with leftover SQF scripts and server FPS and performance has increased dramatically as a result of this. New physics for vehicles, new crafting, and new gunplay and gun mechanics are also part of 0.63. Another big change that has been made in this update was the availability of modding, with new modding tools that have been released to the public, as well as the ability to host your own DayZ servers.
Most importantly is the release and feature of DayZ 1.0. The list is large, and includes all of the following:
- Zombie AI (climbing, noise sensors, chase mechanics)
- Central Loot Economy that refreshes and spawns loot dynamically
- Persistence (items, bases, vehicles will be saved on restarts) *Please note there is an issue with persistence getting corrupted if the server crashes, or is manually forced to close
- New renderer
- Animal herd behavior and predatory animals
- Cooking, firemaking, and horticulture
- Improved anti-cheat measures
- 64-bit servers/custom servers
- Transmittable diseases and illness
- Land mine traps
- Character beards and soft skills
- Advanced communication (walkie-talkies, town PA systems, megaphones)
- LADA 4x4 vehicle (advanced repair, vehicle fluids, physics model)
- New UI and HUD
- Player stamina and new player controller
- Dynamic world events (heli crashes, police car wrecks)
- Lootable zombies
- New physics system
- New firearm system (weapon jamming, condition, cleaning, manual magazine loading, bullet chambering, manual bolt/pump action operation, point shooting, ballistics)
- New damage model (simulated vital organs, multiple bleeding wounds, unconsciousness)
- Base building and electricity
- Modding support
- New DayZ launcher
- Completed Chernarus map (hiking trails, military checkpoints, revamped cities, new enterable buildings, increased towns in the north, more debris in roadways, new dense forests)
- Improved lighting system, shadow casting, gamma abuse prevention
- New items and clothing options
- New melee system (blocking, dodging, heavy and light attack variations)
- Dynamic zombie spawning mechanics around player populated areas
- Tents, barrels, and hidden stashes for loot storage
- New particle effects and other visuals
- An audio redesign (gunshots, ambiance, player noises, etc.)
- 11 Firearms: Makarov, CR75, FNX45, M4A1, IZH 18, AKM, Mosin, SVD, UMP45, MP5K, MP 133 Shotgun
- And much more!
There were many more features that were planned for DayZ 1.0, however they were left out as so many changes were already made, the developers did not want to risk introducing more bugs to the game and wanted to focus on bringing a stable content update to the best of their ability.
I got the chance to try out DayZ 1.0 myself, and I can say that I am very happy with the changes that have been made. The game has changed so much since I last played. It runs a lot smoother, and everything just feels so much more polished. I can only see it becoming more stable, and more feature packed with the changes that are yet to be added from being left out of version 1.0.
With modding support now in the game, we can expect to see a lot of community made mods, which could be capable of changing the gameplay experience of DayZ. Although proper documentation of the games engine and assets are still to be added, many other components such as the workshop and the DayZ tools are already available on Steam. Some mods will take time to develop as it can be a long process to do so, however the following types of mods are all possible of being made:
- Maps / Terrains
- Clothing and other inventory items
- Enhancement mods
Overall, the update has brought a lot of nice new features and optimizations. DayZ has a lot of potential, and hopefully it will only get better from now.