Tone and Inspiration

“Dad, why didn’t we help her?” Elisa asked.

Her father, Michael kept his eyes on the road, only averting his eyes to check his speedometer. He was focused on keeping his car rolling at a solid forty miles an hour until he hit exit 12.

“Dad?”

After exit 12, he could navigate some quieter side streets until he got to Ray’s gas station. Ray’s would still have everything they need. Michael had the keys to the place and knew how to work the pumps from inside the store. He could fill his tank and take a couple of gallons for the road.

“Dad!”

“What?” Michael shouted back at her.

“That girl needed help, why didn’t we stop? She wasn’t… sick or anything, she just looked-”

“Elisa, no.”

“Why?”
“Because I fucking said so!”

Michael hated cursing at his little girl and he hated yelling at her even more. But that didn’t matter now. How was he supposed to explain to his 13 year old girl that they couldn’t risk it? How was he supposed to tell her that everything he taught her about helping people who needed help didn’t apply any more? After September 4th, it was every man for himself and if you weren’t looking out for you and yours, then you were as dead as the corpses walking the streets.

The sun had set and thankfully there were no cars around the dingy gas station. Michael sighed involuntarily.

“Are you going to rob John’s store?”

Michael slammed his fist on the steering wheel. “Yes I am, Elisa. We’re going to have to do things we don’t want to now. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

Michael slammed the door and started to the store in a blind anger but slowed his pace, seeing that the glass door had been shattered and left wide open. Michael stepped carefully into the building, one hand on his pistol, scanning the store for any signs of life. The store was silent except for the popping of broken glass beneath his heavy boots.

Ray’s Gas and Snacks had been destroyed by looters. John Carver had never done a good job of keeping his father’s business looking clean and tidy, but seeing it in this condition gave Michael an aura of guilt. He remembered the couple of days he worked at John’s store, thinking of ways John could improve his business if he wasn’t such a hopelessly depressed man.

‘Fuck it,’ Michael thought. ‘If John really cared about his business, he would’ve boarded this place up and take his product with him to wherever he fucked off to’.

There was nothing of use still on the shelves, so Michael made his way to the pump controls and almost immediately vomited. On the floor was the corpse of the man he had known his entire life, John Carver, lying in a shallow pool of dark red. Michael could see what happened to the poor man almost immediately. Whoever had come to loot the place before him left a bullet in John’s neck and let the man bleed to death… alone…

Michael took a deep breath and studied it like a man. There were sure to be more horrors like this along the way. He looked at the man and scanned him, getting used to the idea… Michael thought he was sufficiently prepared until he saw what the dead man was holding onto.

The corpse now in rigor mortis, clutched onto a small 4 by 6 wooden frame. It was the photo John kept of his father. The father John was never able to please. As much of a loser John Carver was, Michael couldn’t turn off his emotions to sadness of pathetic death. He knew John deserved better than to die alone, clutching a photo of a father he knew hated him.

Michael grabbed a pink cleaning rag off of the counter and tossed it over John’s face before turning his gas pump on. That was the most he could afford to do, he was going to make sure him and his daughter survived no matter what.


The Blog

Hey, it’s your friendly neighborhood writerman Infr4mer, also known as Jeremy Ferretti in some circles. Today we’ll be talking about the tone and inspiration for the coming sequel and what this ultimately means for the game.

The first No More Room in Hell had a bit of mixed messages to it, with characters like Jive running around with Wally in what seemed to be a serious zombie apocalypse. This kind of mixed direction was in part due to the super massive number of people who contributed to the first game. When you have a small army working on a project, sometimes it’s hard to get everybody on the same page.

All things considered, NMRiH1 eventually seems to have settled on a kind of classic 60s Romero vibe to it that really works for it. It’s got a bit of camp to it, but can still manage to get the blood flowing. Not only does it visually match the tonality of the earlier Romero movies, but the take-no-shit survival style gameplay is very reminiscent as to how characters in Romero movies can die on a whim.

Asking the team leader Maxx for a list of inspirations was one of the first things I did upon accepting my position. Luckily, Maxx already had a clear cut vision for NMRiH2 and knew exactly what he wanted the team to look at in case we were ever struggling to fit the tone. The picture below was what Maxx showed me. I’m gonna focus on the ones that really stood out to me during the creation process and had the most influence to me.

 

World War Z was an obvious choice to learn from. You might be able to tell that our character art was heavily inspired by the zombie behavior in this movie. The book provided self-contained stories from all across the world from all different social and economic places while the movie depicted a city in the Northeastern US during a zombie invasion. I was a little bit worried that because of our similarities, my world’s story/timeline might end up derivative of WWZ, but with a few minor adjustments, I believe it stands on its own quite well.

Contagion was a film that stood out to me and really helped me craft a realistic timeline for our outbreak. At this point in 2017 we haven’t truly battled a virus that’s affected the entire world, so while I did gain some good knowledge following the real-life Ebola outbreaks in 1976 and 2014, it was hard to imagine how world governments would respond to an even larger outbreak. 2011’s Contagion painted a serious outlook on how human beings in all walks of life would respond to a lethal, world-wide epidemic.

Next I want to talk about the importance of Godzilla and Cloverfield, two choices that might have you scratching your head. They weren’t too much of an influence on my side of the NMRiH2 work, but I think the reasons they were included are quite telling of what we’re going for. Both of these movies are about regular, normal people trying to react and survive in a situation that is far beyond their comprehension. NMRiH1 did a great job of making you feel like a survivor, not a zombie grinder. That’s something we really wish emulate in the second one. In addition, these movies also look spectacular, being something the team is actively looking towards for inspiration on environment art and post fx.

Resident Evil is one of my favorite game series’, but NMRiH2 is not the type of game that’s going to have different zombie types or boulder punching mini-games. The Left 4 Dead series has you play a character with a very fleshed out personality while in NMRiH2 you are going to create and customize your own character. Day Z has evolved to have little emphasis on zombies and instead become the kind of game where you kidnap people and force feed them detergent. We want NMRiH to be about zombies. While we definitely plan to incorporate elements of a world gone mad, we’re making zombies the main focus of this world gone mad. The zombies are the danger, they are the reason this world has gone mad and we don’t plan to stray far from that.

If I had to make a comparison, NMRiH1 is to Dawn of the Dead as NMRiH2 is to World War Z. Understanding the material we’re looking at and taking inspiration from will help you understand what to expect from this game. But, just for clarification, these inspirations will not affect the gameplay. We want our gameplay to be a smoother version of NMRiH1. So, until next time, peace out dudes.

Jeremy “infr4mer” Ferretti also publishes his web comic Exits – A Paranormal Comedy (among others) at his website aberrantink.com

                                             

Looking At Levels

Editor note* This blog is split in two parts, the first is Nayors level design write up. The second part is a level design focused A&Q section based on questions we got on twitter/facebook. -David


Hello, and welcome to another dev blog! My name is Nathan Goulden aka “nay0r” I am NMRiH2’s level designer.

I was one of the level designers for the original NMRiH. I first joined the team back in 2008 and it’s been a fantastic journey over the years. A lot of blood sweat and tears went into the creation of the 5 maps I made for NMRiH1: Broadway, Cabin, Toxteth, Cleopas and Arpley but I loved every second of it. I’ve always had a love for level design and mapping in general and I first started back in late 1999 when I was 16. I bought a PC Gamer magazine with worldcraft tutorials on it and it just kicked off from there.

After years of working in the GoldSource Engine (HalfLife 1) and Source Engine (HalfLife 2) we’re now working in Unreal 4. A question I get asked often is how different mapping is in this new engine, and to be honest, its not an easy question to answer. Even though the basic mechanics of designing a map are very similar, the tools we use now are fairly different. The fundamental difference is a Source map was normally a solo effort with maybe the exception of a modeler working alongside you. Now, working in unreal 4, its 100% more a team effort to create the environment.

Enough about my history, lets talk about what we currently have in the works. Right now there are 3 maps all at different stages of development, Night of the Living Dead (notld) the furthest through production, Brooklyn Heights which is currently taking great shape and Palisades Mall which I have just recently blocked out.

Night of the Living Dead (notld) was the first NMRiH2 map I started on. As you may know it’s a remake of a map currently in the mod.  Blocking it out was quite an easy process because initially all I did was export it from Hammer and import it directly into 3ds Max then back to Unreal 4. This gave me a great base to work with. I then set a pretty large landscape up in Unreal and started to work the landscape to get the rough feel of how I wanted the map to be scaled. The map itself has the same key landmarks if you broken it down to its bare bones, but at the same time we have greatly increased its size and of course graphical point of view. The thing with source is it does not deal with large open spaces very well and it’s pretty difficult to optimize and this is where Unreal comes into its own. Either way notld is shaping up really nicely.

With Brooklyn Heights we based it off the real world location, pretty much to meter scale as well. My main job on Brooklyn Heights is interior layout and some exterior building work. This is where source and Unreal 4 are slightly different. In source, interiors are built up by BSP brushes and edited where needed, in Unreal 4 we have setup a modular kit system based around 1 meter pieces or more. Once the kit has been made I then go in and construct the interiors which is like putting together lego. Later on these interiors are merged together, it’s quite a long and slow process.

Palisades Mall map is still very much WIP but I’m confident it will end up being a good, big open mall like map. Which we feel we were missing from the original game.

-Nayor

P.S. Here’s a bonus update! I have one last source map for the Mod that is almost complete. Some of you may have heard about it around the forums or on the steam community. nmo_Broadway2, a rebirth of the original broadway I have committed to release for the Mod on Halloween.


Level Design Questions & Answers

A few weeks ago we put out a call for questions on twitter and facebook.  It took us a while to go through them all but here they are!

Q: “NMRiH1 had many maps inspired or based on famous movies. Will we be seeing recreations of locations from classic zombie and horror movies again? If so, are there any difficulties (legal, technical) in making maps based on movies?”

A: The short answer: Yes, to both parts. You’ll be seeing homages to some of our favorite zombie and horror movies, but the legalities vary depending. Luckily none of our maps are really a “recreation” but instead are homages, paying tribute without copying. For example our first showcase map is a tribute to Night of the Living Dead, and we recently started work on a large and intricate shopping mall map paying homage to Dawn of the Dead. We won’t really be featuring characters from films as we’re using customizable characters, but we’ll probably have a few clothing items paying tribute to some of our favorite characters from film!

Q: “How will maps be structured in NMRiH2? Will the maps have more dynamic and randomized features like alternative paths and objectives, with more backtracking and exploring compared to the original game?”

A: Right now our maps for nmrih2 are built around a “non-linear black box” design philosophy. The maps themselves are self-contained environments, not necessarily “open world” but almost completely nonlinear in design. This allows us to randomize so many aspects of the nature of the map such as what areas may be blocked or locked, lights, and where items and objects will spawn. Think of the random aspect of nmrih1 on steroids. In certain maps we are even randomizing the rooms that are in a building – the idea being that these unpredictable aspects will add a whole new layer of chaos and excitement to the game.

Q: “How open will maps be? Will players get to explore and work to locate each other?”

A: Our intention with the final version of the maps when playing the standard game mode is that players will start in close proximity to at least one other player, but then have to look for each other, then look for everyone else. We don’t necessarily want everyone to spawn far apart but we do want you to have to work for your own survival, just a bit.

Q: “What parts of the world will maps be set in? Can we expect to see maps in Germany, Austria, or Switzerland?”

A: Right now our focus is on the United States Northeast coast. Our area of focus is New England, New York, Pennsylvania, etc. Focusing on one region allows us to develop a unified collection of art assets, since we only have a small team. Our intention is that in the future as the game grows we’ll be able to make packs of content focused on new regions. This may include maps set in a region with a couple weapons and items unique to that area.

Q: “Will the levels be like in the first game, largely urban cities and countryside? Or will we see other locations such as military facilities, schools, or ancient ruins?”

A: The three maps we’re currently working on are set in the  Pennsylvania countryside, Brooklyn Heights NYC, and a large shopping mall in upper New York. We’ve made a big draft list of potential locations we’re considering for other maps, including the National Guard Bureau and Norfolk Naval Base both in Virginia. We’re focusing on the maps that will generate the most props and textures that we can re-use in each subsequent map. As time goes on, we can make more and more maps!

Q: “Will certain maps have advantages or disadvantages like heat, or cold?”

A: This is something we’re actually talked about! We don’t have plans to do this right now but it is one of our “stretch goals” that would be very cool to have. For example if we did a map that paid tribute to “The Thing”, it would be very neat to have the outdoors pose a frigid-cold environmental threat.

Q: “I’d love to see an extremely closed map. Something with long narrow hallways and rooms. Will we be seeing any indoor-centric maps in NMRiH2 such as a school, or a mall?”

A: One of our maps currently in progress is a large multi-storey indoor mall. We have plans to do a few other indoor maps, and our map set in Brooklyn Heights has tons of tight indoor spaces!

Q: “Can you make a level specifically for pot smokers?”

A: We’re pretty sure the whole game as-is will be more than sufficient!

Q: “Will NMRiH2 feature a day/night cycle, or randomized weather?”

A: We currently don’t intend to have a day/night cycle but we are considering having different “time of day” versions of each map. Based on the nature of nmrih gameplay, we found that the average game length wasn’t long enough to warrant an actual day/night transition cycle. We do like the idea of having authored times of day available for each map that would look specific to each map, plus we’ve had a couple of chats about how we could randomly trigger weather events and the kinds of obstacles those would pose. Right now neither of these are a high priority and won’t be for quite some time, but they are things that we’ve thought about and discussed.

Q: “Will NMRiH2 have human NPCs?”

A: They’re planned, designed, and intended. Our focus is on the zombies, since this is a zombie game, but one of the biggest improvements and expansions on the game that we intend to have is the inclusion of human NPCs as both allies and hostiles.

Q: “How will zombies spawn in the game, and will they still spawn infinitely in areas you’ve cleared out?”

A: We’re working on spawning mechanics that have zombies spawning “into” the world in believable ways if you happen to see them, this may include things like crawling out of a building or climbing over a wall. Outdoors we intend to have zombies spawn “infinitely” but they’d trickle into the map in a sort of ebb and flow, you could almost think of them as waves but it’s influenced by how much noise and chaos the players are causing. Indoors, if a volume is cleared, it stays cleared – unless zombies enter from outdoors, of course.

Q: “Are maps going to be larger and more open than in the original game? If so, will you be able to achieve large hordes of zombies?”

A: Maps are indeed going to be larger than in the original game. Not only are they generally larger but they are also more layered and intricate. The advantages of Unreal 4 allow us to build big and spacious environments, and we can construct more full and fleshed out interiors too. Every map varies, but the general premise is that zombies will cull in and out after being “unseen” by players for an extended period of time, and this will free up AI so we can achieve greater density around where players are active.

Q: “How long will a map take to complete compared to the original game?”

A: So far we’re looking at between 15 and 40 minutes but it’s largely dependant on the randomization aspect, map size and player skill.

Q: “Will there be destruction in the environment, like Battlefield?”

A: With the exception of specific props and objects, no. We’re heavily reliant on AI so we have to be picky about where we use  things like dynamic lights and destructible stuff, for performance reasons.

Q: “Will NMRiH2 have a story campaign?”

A: It’s something we want to possibly do but it would only be doable after launch if the game does well enough, as it would be an expensive undertaking.

                                             

Guns. Lots of guns

One thing that we get questions (and suggestions) quite frequently is on the topic of weapons. People ask us “what kind of weapons will there be? Will there be more weapons? What about gun customization? What do they look like?” This leads to the inevitable “show me the guns!”

Well today I am happy to answer some of those questions and show off some weapons with some side-by-side comparisons to the original game’s arsenal. The list of weapons is always shifting, growing, and changing. Most of your favorites from the original game are making an appearance alongside some fancy new additions!

1911 Comparison
1911 details

So to kick things off, if you’re a gun-nut like I am, one of the first things you’ll notice is that the names and brands of the weapons have changed – they are not “real” anymore. Now this is because we’re now working on a commercial product and we have to respect existing copyrights and trademarks. So we’ve made up substitutions; “Beretta” for example becomes “Fierra”, “Glock” substituted with “Eder” and “Ruger” is replaced with “Gruber”. This sort of change is also present in a few of the gun names as well, as some of those too are trademarked. So with that being said, don’t be alarmed when you pick up a firearm with an unfamiliar name!

We’ll start with firearms. The most noticeable change and improvement with the weapons you will see right away that the visuals are of a much higher quality. Our weapon selection was put together as a joint effort between myself and friend of the team Tim Bergholz of Chamfer Zone (www.chamferzone.com), who made most of our firearm art. We worked with the arsenal of the first game and made a few changes and additions, and Tim cranked out some amazing models and textures as we went down the list, and you can see here just how much of a quality improvement his skills have brought to the guns. We’ve put together a few side-by-side comparisons of some select guns from the original game compared to their new equivalents so you can see for yourself, starting with the M16A4:

M16A4 details

The basics of guns in general function more or less the same as what you’re used to. No on-screen crosshair – requiring you to use ironsights for accuracy, no permanent HUD for ammo – requiring you to do ammochecks, the ability to unload ammo from guns, the ability to perform skillshots, and using flashlights with handguns. On top of all that, though, we’re adding in a few new things too. These two little features alone should add plenty more to the gunplay of NMRiH2.

Flare Gun comparison

The first new feature is the ability to use “alternate ammo”. For pistol calibers (sans .357 Magnum) that alt-ammo is HP or Hollowpoint; inflicting massive damage to a single soft target. For most rifle calibers (plus .357 Magnum) the alt-ammo is AP or Armor Piercing; dealing huge amounts of damage armored enemies human or zombie and passing through multiple soft targets. A couple rifle calibers have API rounds, or Armor Piercing Incendiary which is exactly what it sounds like. And finally we have 12-gauge shotguns shells which, to make the shotgun class of weapons more versatile, come in buckshot, slug, and finally dragon’s breath. This feature is still hugely work in progress and is subject to change like everything else, but that’s the intention!

CX8 Alaris carbine with attachable sights

The second new feature is gun customization. If you’re familiar with Crysis, our system works similarly. You can enable on-the-spot gun customization allowing you to attach suppressors, tactical lights, sights, and more to your firearms. Every firearm is different with what options are available to you. You can find parts in the world or you have the chance to bring them into the game with you from your Steam Inventory – but that’s a whole other game mechanic that we’ll explore in the future 😉

Eder 22 (with attachable light) compared with Glock 17
Eder 22 details

Another change with firearms this time around is that they will no longer “rest” in a hipfire idle state. Now, when you’re just standing around or milling about, your gun will be in a “rest idle” position held up at the side if a pistol or down in front of your body if a long gun. it’s a small change, and doesn’t impact much, but visually it’s a really nice addition that enhances your immersion.

Now don’t worry we haven’t forgotten about melee! There will be all your old favorites and some new additions as well. Once again their function will be similar: quick swings and charged attacks, shoving, throwing, and flashlight support for one-handed weapons. This time, though, certain melee weapons have “tool functions” so for example you can use a crowbar to prise a manhole cover.  Charged attacks have also seen a slight change; when you begin charging a weapon your character will quickly come to a complete stop, “planting” your feet down to ground yourself for a strong swing. This means you can’t just forever run around the map with a charged baseball bat looking for heads to knock off – you’re going to need to be a bit more strategic!

Melee weapons have also gotten an art overhaul, and we’ve included a few more side-by-side comparisons for you all!

Machete comparison

We also have the ammoboxes – much like the guns, we needed to make up all fictional names but we wanted to try and stick as close to the color schemes you are all familiar with from the original game. We’ve also added a couple new calibers to the game including .40 S&W and 5.7mm – Check these out and you can let us know if you feel they are recognizable! (Keep in mind this is just a first pass of their art, and we’ll probably make a few boxes open with exposed bullets like in the first game.)

The primary firearm calibers

So thank you for joining me today to talk about weapons, hopefully you’ve enjoyed taking a look at the art we’ve done and maybe you’re super pumped to use them when we launch the game! If you’ve ever wanted to make gun models like you see here, our buddy Tim Bergholz at Chamfer Zone  has a series of tutorials for 3D Studio Max and Substance Painter that’ll teach you how to be an art pro!

Join us next month for another Dev Blog, and we’ll end off with a huge array of images for you to enjoy!

                                             

Keto 85 comparison
Keto 85 details
M590A1 compared to the 870
M590A1 details
MP5A4 comparison
MP5A4 details
DT11 compared with SV10
DT11 Details

Recap and Forecast

It’s been 6 months since we started this blog. So right now seems like a great time to do a recap and forecast. I figured it would be good to reflect and ask for feedback as well as give a current status update and tease a little of what to expect in the future.

Previously…

We first launched this blog back in January which was shortly after our first trailer. The trailer gathered so much attention we were blown away with the reception. This prompted us to start being more transparent and communicating our development with the community, thus the blog. So far we’ve had four department specific posts focusing on Character Art, Music, Animation and Story. We’ve tried to give a snapshot view of our progress and thought processes for said departments. Not only focusing on what we’re making but also what ideas go into our current choices.

Current Events

About a month ago, No More Room in Hell 2 was selected as a recipient of an Unreal Dev Grant. We’ve been incredibly excited as this is a great boost for us to make the quality game we’ve set out to create. While this doesn’t let us quit our day jobs just yet, the grant helps us greatly as it allows us to afford some tools and assets that would be out of our reach otherwise. We can be more flexible and accomplish our development goals faster without breaking the bank paying out of pocket for everything. At the end of the day we like to think it’s with all the support from our community and fans that made this possible and on behalf of our entire team, thank you!

Now on to the actual development front. Our first map, a remake of our NOTLD, is coming along quite nicely and we’ve been teasing a few images on twitter and facebook.

Coming Up

Speaking of NOTLD we have a special project in the works to show off a little bit of NOTLD in an upcoming teaser! Coming soon…

We learned a lot making our first trailer and Epic has been steadily improving the sequencer in UE4, the in-engine video/trailer creation toolset. We couldn’t wait to give the new features a spin and show off our hard work at the same time so we decided to start work on a brand new teaser trailer!

NOTLD isn’t our only map, we’re deep in development of a brand new map which is a bit too early along to show much of yet. We can’t wait to start showing it off once we get it in a proper state.

As for this blog you can expect our usual post every month. Topics we’ve been discussing for posts in the future are: UI, Environment/Level Design, SFX and Guns. We would love to hear what types of blog posts you’re interested in reading please let us know in the comments or on any of our social media pages.

-David Meade

                                             

Building a Narrative

Calla Murphy spotted a long stick lying on the forest floor. It would’ve been perfect for playing Hogwarts with her brother as a child. She twirled it, mimicking the movements she’d picked up from the movies. Her hand spasmed involuntarily, throwing the makeshift wand into the darkness of the forest.

She reassured herself that her squad would be fine in the end. They had the training and the tools to survive. They were smart, resourceful and they knew how to make the hard decisions.

Their trek from Philadelphia to the abandoned farm house was pure pain. Friends were lost in the city, and now they had lost another. Roy Walsh had gotten sick from a bite he sustained trying to save a child in the city. They stopped at the farmhouse with the sole intention of letting Roy rest and heal until they received further orders. Then Roy had turned. And the orders never came.

Calla sighed, taking one final look at the bright hunter’s moon illuminating her in the clearing in she had chosen. She peeled back the bandage on her wrist. What was once a mere scratch had degenerated into an oozing black wound with venial electricity crawling up her arm and spreading throughout her body. The veins infected her thoughts, making her itchy… scratchy. She knew she didn’t have much time before she ended up like Roy.

She placed the barrel of her M4 into her mouth, her good arm finger her thumb into the trigger piece.

She reassured herself that her squad would be fine in the end.


Hey everyone! My name’s Jeremy Ferretti (codename infr4mer), and this is the beginning of my dev blog. I am the lead writer/narrative guy for No More Room in Hell 2. This blog post will be an introduction to me, how I came to join the NMRiH2 dev team, and what we hope to accomplish with the story of NMRiH2.

I’ve been a part of the NMRiH community since 2004 when Half-Life 2 was first released. I still remember that cold December when I first discovered HL2. I remember being blown away by all the games that were being developed as a part of the HL2 mod community. Personally I was most excited for the mod D.E.A.D. (which has long been dead), but next on my favorites was the mod No More Room in Hell. Due to their team’s outstanding community outreach I quickly became friends with everyone through mIRC and Ventrillo. Most importantly, I became friends with a guy named Maxx. We instantly clicked, bonding over our love for plants, selling drugs in Garry’s Mod roleplaying servers, creating fake videogame companies, and making concepts for games that will never (and should never) see the light of day.

As life went on, Maxx worked tirelessly on NMRiH1 while I worked on developing my storytelling career, going on to write a few screenplays, a few novels, and a few totally awesome short comics.

After NMRiH1 was released and NMRiH2 began development, Maxx decided they needed a narrative guy, someone to help develop the world of NMRiH2, to create a coherent timeline where a zombie apocalypse could take place in, to create a backstory for each of the maps so they could logically fit in this timeline.

I believe it was David ‘Dman’ Meade who suggested me for the job, having known I could produce workable writing on a tight schedule (at my best I could write 2,000 fiction words an hour). I instantly agreed to help.

Sadly the world has become over saturated with zombie stories, but being able to tell one in a unique, dynamic way on my own terms seemed like a good challenge. I knew this game would give me the opportunity to tell the typical zombie story in a way I had never seen before. NMRiH2 wouldn’t rely on intrusive cutscenes or heavy ham-fisted dialogue from mouthy protagonists as so many video games do nowadays.

Another (unrelated) draw I had to NMRiH2 was the knowledge that a great realistic zombie survival hasn’t been created yet. There have been plenty of stellar zombie games, but most of them end up turning into arcade style shoot-em-ups. But that’s a whole different story for another time.

My favorite video games are those where the story isn’t the main draw. Video game storytelling is still in its infancy. It’s still a developing field with tons of indie devs breaking grounds on how stories can be told in games. When it comes to modern shooters, there seems to a pretty popular formula: you shoot bad guys, then comes a cutscene, shoot bad guys, another cutscene. That’s not what we’re going for for NMRiH2.

Half-Life 1 did storytelling quite well in my opinion. The story is all there if you pay attention, but it doesn’t really get in the way of the game. That’s what I would like to emulate in this game. A game where the story is there if you want to follow it, but we’re not gonna shove it down your throat.

So that’s where we’re at. Out of all the dev posts, you’re probably going to hear the most from me, considering writing is something I just do. Commentary on what I’m working on also helps me work better and more efficiently.

Plans for my upcoming dev posts include the inspiration for NMRiH2, the life behind the Night of the Living Dead map, the timeline of our fictional universe, the characters we will populate the worlds with, and the ideas for the upcoming campaigns.

Until next time, infr4mer out.
Jeremy “infr4mer” Ferretti also publishes his web comic Exits – A Paranormal Comedy (among others) at his website aberrantink.com