Eugen Harton Tells us Making DayZ is Hard

Posted on 16 Sep 2016 by
L Coulsen

This should come as no surprise but it seems DayZ‘s playerbase had grown so disgruntled with the apparent lack of engagement by development staff, that Eugen took to Reddit to respond to their frustrations. It’s a lengthy, and oft times quite technical, post giving a broad overview of precisely what is involved in continued development processes. The key point, I think, that we should take away here is about consumer perception of what Alpha and Beta testing really is. Generally, what we actually see as a “beta” is a finished product, ready to ship, that’s going through some last minute server testing, to ensure that the live product can keep up with the number of players. Almost never do we see a game in actual Alpha of Beta states.

 “Because of how games are made, and there is lack of understanding of the process, people never see how broken things can get, even looking at other games that are in early access not a lot of them are going through what we are so its really hard to find a good comparison. Most of these things that we do now, happen behind closed doors of large studios. And open betas/open alphas that get into publics hands are either on stable technology or they are not alphas/betas at all. Just a finished game thats underoging public testing.“

This is something we really must bear in mind, not just with DayZ, but with the very concept of Steam Early Access. An analogy I have seen that really encapsulates the core of the problem, imagine this; I have written, say, two chapters of a novel, and I’ve decided to start advertising what it’s about and where it will eventually (hopefully) end up. You are really intrigued by the premise, and offer up your cash, at close to retail price, for access to the working draft as it is written. Those two chapters are bare bones, lacking much of the fine detail and give only an impression of the final product, because they haven’t been edited and have not yet been put into context of ideas that may occur later. Then you get pissed that it isn’t a finished novel.

That’s what Early Access, Alpha/Beta builds and, more specifically, DayZ is and are. So yes, whilst it may be frustrating that, for example, something as apparently simple as adding in a new item of clothing may appear. In reality, it’s a complex interplay of crafting the new item, fitting it in with all the existing apparel options, and ensuring that it’s not going to cause a massive disruption to what is, at this point, a developing engine with many diverse factors that have not yet been fully realised. Because that’s another key point here. DayZ is not a finished product, not even insofar as the engine it is using. This really is a game being built from the ground up, and though it was (at least initially) based on existing game software, even that does not ensure that you can just plonk things in wholesale.

The response on the thread has been overwhelmingly positive, and does demonstrate how even a simple overview of development problems can assuage the concerns of paying customers. It certainly demonstrates that a degree of openness goes a long way to helping people relax and be patient. But at the same time, there is an onus on we, the consumers, to accept that making games is hard, and remember that silence is rarely, if ever, due to disdain for our questions. It’s more likely that the devs are just as frustrated, if not more so, and are devoting all of their waking time to actually fixing those issues we keep moaning about.

Comments (5)

Posts: 349
L Coulsen
Posted 18 Sep 2016, 13:00
I've yet to play either version, but I've seen a lot to like in it

Posts: 166
David Pink
Posted 17 Sep 2016, 13:08
Amazing job overall, especially after a few edits here and there :P as far as DayZ ... some folks absolutely love it.. others not so much, I personally got burned out on DayZ when it was an ArmA II mod, just started attracting a very toxic community/following... I never touched the stand alone version, as such, I cannot comment on its quality or fun factor, but good on them for continuing to develop it.

Better than some games which never even leave Early Access and development just completely died. Speaking of early access troubles, let's all point and laugh at Digital Homocide's EPIC crash n' burn, lol... good riddance! Bunch of chucklefucks, Valve got the last laugh, imagine... SUING customers over butthurt comments... for $15+ million ... LOL...

Posts: 349
L Coulsen
Posted 16 Sep 2016, 20:14
I agree with that. But that's the way the system currently works. Was it you who said there should be a brief test period? Then you'll have the option of buying after that? So you can actually try the game out, like a demo, before laying down bank on a work in progress. Because I really like that idea.

Most people just do not have the correct mindset to appreciate what an unfinished product really looks like. And that's not their fault, they're not doing anything wrong, some people simply don't have the patience for everything it entails

Posts: 133
Simon Sirmenis
Posted 16 Sep 2016, 18:58
Yeah its nice but I disagree what's being said. I think they shouldn't have released it to everyone on Steam Early Access, its been years and no one really cares about it any more which will hurt the product in the end.

Posts: 349
L Coulsen
Posted 16 Sep 2016, 18:05
I'm actually really proud of this piece. I did a really fine job