The ArmA II zombie survival mod DayZ piqued the gaming world's interest, generating so much popularity in such a short time that ArmA II publisher Bohemia Interactive decided to help employee and mod creator Dean "Rocket" Hall turn the mod into a standalone game. Hall had the drive and the ambition to put together the mod in a matter of months, and hoped to deliver the DayZ standalone game to fans by the end of 2012.
Now that it's 2013, it's clear that the standalone DayZ missed Hall's target date for release. Hall's written up a blog post on the official DayZ Tumblr, providing an explanation as to why the standalone's been delayed.
"I suppose I should start with the question everyone wants to know… where is DayZ Standalone?" he wrote. "Obviously, it’s not here. At Eurogamer I said that DayZ had to be out before the end of the year and that’s come and gone. I still stand by that comment, to achieve what we had originally wanted, we did have to be out by the end of the year - and we’ve failed to achieve that.
"Put simply, DayZ Standalone isn’t here because we had the chance to go from making a game that was just the mod improved slightly, packaged simply, and sold - to actually redeveloping the engine and making the game the way we all dreamed it could be. This blew any initial plans we had dictated to pieces."
However, that doesn't mean that the team hasn't made significant strides in development in the past few months. Hall's plan from here on out is to host a closed test for 500-1000 people. Unfortunately, this closed test is only to make sure architecture is functioning, and not for any game design. The good news is that once the kinks had been worked out in the closed test, public testing will be scheduled.
Hall then went on to explain what had been implemented in the standalone. "One of the most profound and major architectural changes has had its initial implementation completed, this is the overhaul of the inventory system," Hall stated. "In fact, the inventory and item management system was completely removed and rewritten from the ground by Jirka, one of the original engine programmers. The work that has been completed on this groundbreaking, and it going to fundamentally change the DayZ experience." This means that players will now be able to pick up individual parts of an item. The inventory revamps allows for item durability, meaning that things such as batteries will degrade over time. 3D models and drag-and-drop functionality have also been added to the inventory system, making it much more intuitive for players to use.
Besides the major inventory revamp, there have been a host of other improvements. The UI has been streamlined in a way that's "greatly inspired by Minecraft" and new textures are being worked on to make DayZ look (and feel) more post-apocalyptic. The maps, despite the imprisonment of lead architect Chernarus map Ivan Buchta in Greece, have also been improved due to written correspondence.
Despite the progress,the DayZ standalone still isn't far enough in development for Hall to release any footage of the game. That's probably a good indication that we won't be seeing a playable build of the game for months to come.