Sony Online Entertainment are building a survival game about unusually active dead people, inspired by DayZ and its ilk. They’ve never done that before! What they have done, though, is a humongous open-world shooter with plenty of complex systems the H1Z1 team are taking advantage of.
“Something that’s cool with us being here at SOE is that we have a lot of things to really pull from,” said game designer Jimmy Whisenhunt in an H1Z1 stream.
“We have worked on games like Planetside 2 with that sort of scale and really solid iteration on a large playerbase.”
H1Z1 doesn’t share any tech with EverQuest Landmark’s land of voxels - instead pairing the terrain system from Planetside 2 with “a lot of modifications for destructibility”.
“So we have an engine that can support that many players, massive environments, and a lot of really cool stuff that we want to pull into this game,” pointed out Whisenhunt.
Planetside 2’s Forgelight engine is built to handle “arbitrarily sized worlds” - which means the H1Z1 team can take “the core of anywhere USA” as their map size.
“When we first open it up to users the map will be huge, but nowhere near as big as it’s going to be in short order,” said SOE president John Smedley in a recent Reddit thread.
The studio’s map editing system allows them to quickly add “massive” areas to the game - but they want to ensure they understand how players are playing H1Z1 before doing so.
“On Planetside 2 we made a mistake by making multiple continents before we had a strong enough idea of what worked and what didn’t,” explained Smedley. “This game is different. We’re doing it smarter.”
H1Z1 will also share Planetside’s anti-hack system, which will be a relief to DayZ Mod players. Is it map size or malicious logging in and out you’re most concerned about for H1Z1?