My name is Cole, or as the other nerds have posted with their cool nicknames, Vaarnex. I am the lead animator for NMRiH2. This is one of my first bigger projects, and it is definitely an ambitious one at that. Unfortunately I didn’t work on the first NMRiH, however I aim to add something great for the next installment.
As you may know, we didn’t have a character animator for the first game. So that’s where I come in to give the game, and the zombies, new life, which is what I will be talking about today. So let’s get started, shall we?
One of the most important parts of a zombie game is probably the zombies. Where would we be without them? Not in a zombie game, that’s where. So for NMRiH2 we’ve come up with some cool ideas for the different archetypes for those face-eating, lovable buggers.
The main three zombies are the Shambler, the Walker, and the Runner. Each zombie will have a distinct behavior, making them distinct from one another. This means that the player (you) will need to have different ways of combating these meatbags. It also means that you’ll need to be able to tell each zombie archetype apart from a distance so you can be sure to give them the walloping they deserve.
The first zombie I’ll be talking about is the Shambler.
These guys are the fodder of the game, lowest tier of hunter. The Shambler is what happens to a zombie when it can’t find any sustenance. It loses all of its muscle mass and starts to decay where it stands. The sight on Shamblers is minimal, very weak. Not enough human carrots to keep their eyes sharp, so they have to rely on other senses to seek out potential targets, not for them to catch, mind you. But to alert other to catch for them. The Shamblers are too weak to run, barely able to keep themselves upright where they stand.
The Walkers are where things get a bit tricky.
The eyes tend to decay quickly for these poor infected fellows. So the Walkers rely on sound, their hearing is phenomenal. They sway their heads side-to-side, listening to anything and everything and being drawn towards the sound. Not as slow as the Shamblers, but not as quick as the Runners, which I will get to in just a moment. You can see the Walkers have more mass on their bodies, this is the second stage of the infection. When all the fat is burned off and food is becoming scarce. The Walkers are beginning to decay, which is better for you, right? More chance to survive!
And finally, we come to the Runner.
A pure predator. Alpha of the infected. These guys rely on all of their senses, but eyesight is keen with these ones. Constantly scanning the horizon for prey, anything that they can get their hands on to infect or eat. These guys are fast. Strong. Cunning. Able to sprint after the survivors, climb buildings to catch their prey.
There is nothing that will stop them. Maybe a bat to the brain… But that’s up to you, and if you can manage to hit it without being distracted by that bod. While infected, the body converts all energy from fat into muscle, anything that it can use to turn the body into a killing machine. And all the pent up energy makes these sexy motherfuckers twitchy, and deadly.
The silhouettes for each type is important. We want to make sure that each zombie behaves and carries themselves in a way that is immediately apparent to the player. Now that we have a character animator on the team, we’re hoping that the zombies and their personalities will be something that you really enjoy when the time comes.
Thanks for reading everyone, I hope you enjoyed this dev blog.