SoE On Zombie Behavior In H1Z1:You Will Fear Them

In the first H1Z1 livestream, viewers commented that zombies didn’t seem much of a threat; however, this was merely because of a glitch and Sony Online Entertainment has been on a quest since then to let people understand that they are fearsome.

The first one to rally the cause was Game Designer Leonard Gullo II, who posted the following on Twitter:

Shortly after that, SoE’s President John Smedley posted a short video of a zombie mob in H1Z1, which prompted a discussion in the subreddit with many developers chiming in. User “MrLukaz” mentioned that zombies just need to be more and bunched together instead of spread out, and to that Smedley responded:

Oh they do that all the time. You won’t be asking for it as much when you’re in the game… It’s dark,, you’re tired from running. Then let me know how that goes for you. It doesn’t end well for me when it happens.

The conversation then steered on the AI behavior of the zombie mob. Again Smedley:

People think that Emergent AI is a marketing gimmick. It really is a change in how we make our games but we just haven’t figured our a better name. In this case, if by chance a deer had crossed into the middle of that tiny group of zombies ( seriously ) you would have seen them go after that deer looking like Vladimir Putin going after Ukraine. Those kind of moments are what I love. The circle of life.

User SmurfyChris asked of the passive movements that zombie will have, and developer MMODerelict clarified that the video only shows one because of test, but there will be plenty in H1Z1:

The zombies in the video are operating on a behavior tree I made on Friday to test the procedural spawning system. They’re all doing a single simple “shamble mode” movement that I was using to test (I wanted to see their herding movement, and not have my face chewed off by a bunch of zombies).

We have several movement modes currently for the zombies, and several more are planned.

Zombies are also apparently very “efficient” at what they do, according to Smedley:

Like I said above a lot of things could happen in that scene that we don’t plan. That’s the beauty of building AI the way we are now. Instead of placing zombies where we want they go to where they want to go, often times with brutally efficient results. Our zombies also don’t care if you walk into a building. They follow you right on in. I VERY frequently get killed by them because I’m running and I try to lose them in a building but then they can block doorways in the buildings and you get cornered. Stealth matters in this game.

User nss68 inquired about their methods to detect players, asking if they just track to the last known point or if they are even more persistent, to which Technical Director Tom Schenck replied:

You’re going to hate me for saying this, but … yes.

In case it wasn’t abundantly clear by now, Smedley replied to user RoyAwesome, who mentioned that the video showed a lot of zombies:

Oh no it isn’t :) that’s a Sunday stroll right there

Be afraid.

Pennybaggz, who originally posted the video in the subreddit, sounded curious about their reaction to stimuli, but Smedley made him aware of the danger one last time:

If you are close enough to see that many zombies react you better run faster than your friend.

Are you convinced now? H1Z1 should be available soon anyway for you to see for yourselves.

Alessio PalumboBy Alessio Palumbo (757 Posts)

Gaming writer since ages, now Founder and Editor in Chief of Worlds Factory. Clan Leader/Guild Master of La Legione del Drago, clan/guild of heroes jumping from a virtual world to another for the most epic (?) adventures ever seen.


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