The producers of the game 7 Days to Die, have been working on the release of its latest update, Alpha 15. The producers of the game have decided that as part of the work for finishing this latest major update that they will allow players of the game the ability to opt in to playing the experimental version for Alpha 15 to help gain feedback on potential bugs and on how the new features are working.
For those who are unaware of the game, 7 Days to Die is an early access game produced the small gaming company The Fun Pimps. It is a sandbox survival game, set in a post-apocalyptic zombie world, in which players scavenge, collect resources, farm, craft, build bases, and fight off against zombies, in single player or multiplayer environments. Among its most noticeable features is its completely buildable and destructible worlds, in which players may shape their environment and survival experience. As one of its creators, Joel Huenick, described it, “its like the Walking Dead, meets Fallout, meets Minecraft”. The game has already gained over a million and a half purchases on Pc, and in the previous summer the Fun Pimps had partnered with another company to expand 7 Days to Die to consuls. The game developers continue to develop the game toward a potential full release in 2017, and the complete and produce cool features for the games full release.
The alpha 15 update includes numerous changes from alpha 14. New systems for generating more varied terrain landscapes, roads which are better in line with the flows of terrain, and more realistic layouts of towns are being added. Various graphics improvements, such as the generation of more long distance landscape views are being added. The farming element is being expanded to include more crops and variations in results from soil quality. Several new zombie types, such as soldier, hazmat, miner, cowboy, and football zombies are being added, thanks to a new system which allows the game designers to design new zombies into the game quicker. The process for adding in human AIs into the game will take its first step, with the addition of the trader sites. The trader sites in their alpha 15 form include a fortified site in which there is an AI trader to buy and sell stuff from. Vending machines have been added to the game as a means of further enabling trade between players. The systems for elements of crafting and combat experience generation have been altered somewhat. Most notably that the resource requirements for some items were changed to discourage spam crafting, and the experience gained from combat has been expanded so that the progress of combat skills doesn’t lag behind other skills as much as it does in alpha 14. The Navezgane map has been updated to include various new buildings and 5 trader settlements. These are some of notable the elements for Alpha 15.
For those who would like to opt into playing the experimental for Alpha 15, here is the way to opt into it. Open your steam account on your pc. Right click on the 7 Days to Die icon and select properties. Once the properties screen opens, select the Betas tab. There is a part which is labeled select which beta you would like to opt into. Scroll down on the selections and click the one that says Latest_Experimental-Unstable Build. The steam should then begin downloading the experimental for Alpha 15. Once it is downloaded, you can start up the game. Given the significant changes in Alpha 15 previous games from Alpha 14 will not work, and a new game for Alpha 15 will need to be started.
I myself decided to opt into trying out the experimental for Alpha 15. During the weekend following the announcement of the experimental’s availability, I set it up and spent a few hours playing it. While obviously a few hours of it only shows a small portion of the game, it at least offers a few impressions. So far I have yet to run into any noticeable bugs. Though when I notice any I intend to include them in feedback to the developers. Though the developers themselves have already reported knowledge of various bugs from their own testing, and for which they plan to get the key ones fixed before releasing the update.
So far the new terrain generator seems to be working well. The terrain looks to have produced a rather nice looking landscape, with some interesting variations in terrain, while still seeming to retain some fairly decent flattish areas. The roads seem to be doing better in responding to the terrain. As someone who particularly enjoys the building aspect of the game, I am interested in seeing how suitable the terrain will be for building structures. Will I be able to find enough significant areas of flattish land to be able to build sizable compounds without having to spend an excessive amount of effort clearing, flattening, and setting up foundations. I will have to proceed forward and see. At the same time I am also interested in what sort of building opportunities the increased variation in terrain could provide. Things like mountaintop forts, which could lord over the vast expanse, or secluded houses in valleys and cliff sides.
The new distant terrain viewer seems to be doing well for the most part. The ability to see things in the distance has been greatly extended, and graphics now features a fade out into the distance and horizon, instead of the old field of blank white. I could now go up a hillside and look out north to see the lake lying north of my base, and see the shape of it without looking at the map rendering. Now I can see things in the distance beyond the discovered areas on the map. Though the buildings in the distance disappear from sight if you get too far from them, the new distant sight is for the most part rather good.
In my game of it, I had set up my initial base in a hotel. The hotel was one of the new buildings added in Alpha 15. I had expected there to be a bit more loot in the building than there was, off the presumption that it would be similar to the apartment building which already was in the game. While it was many aspects similar in loot to the apartment building, it didn’t have as much loot in the bedrooms, it didn’t have a supply box on the top floor, and did not have any office like rooms. Though it did have a basement area with ruined cars in it. And this makes sense. Hotels don’t tend to have as much accumulated stuff in them as somewhere that people spend their regular residence at would. Also, since I found the place on my first day, my scavenging skill wasn’t too suitable for finding better loot. Though it is still a cool building, with plenty of room to store stuff in, and plenty of ways to fortify against zombie attack. It could make a good long term base, should I be able to find a town within a reasonable distance. If not, at least it is a good place to stay at until I can find a more strategic place to set up my base at.
It seems that they may have strengthened some of the zombie hit effects. So far in my face offs against zombies, it seems like the stun effect might have been strengthened. Although that might just appear that way to me. But it seems rather likely to me that they have upped bleeding. It seems that bleeding has occurred to me more often in fighting zombies in the early stage than I recall it having done in previous alphas. Also the severity of bleeding seems to have increased. It used to be that I could expect bleeding to usually take about 20-50 health points. But in the times I bled so far it has cost me about 60-90 health points. On the bright side the effect of infections seems to be less severe. This would seem to change the dimensions of the challenge. So I may need to spend more time and effort looking for bandages than for antibiotics.
The developers said they intended to change the danger levels of biomes, and make the ruins biomes the most dangerous area in the game, and from my experience so far it looks like they did. I made the mistake of venturing south from my base and went too far into a ruined area. At first it seemed fine, but then I followed a road up a hill, and came face to face with a small hoard of zombies. I attempted to flee, but got chased down and bit by a zombie dog. I had not bandages with me and I just barely avoided bleeding to death, only to get ambushed and killed by zombie behind me. After I respawned, I tried to walk back to get my backpack from where I died, in order to get the important stuff I had in it. I got less than half may to it before two dogs rushed me and mauled me to death. And I left off my game still trying to figure out how I am going to sneak in there to retrieve my backpack, because I don’t want to have to do the effort to get all that stuff again. Especially, after I had finally got the hides and clay needed to make a forge, and since it had all my arrows for my bow. Ill figure a way to either get it, or to find a way to replace the stuff. Either way it will take me while to rebuild my health level from dying.
Overall, my impressions for Alpha 15 are mainly positive so far. I look forward to continuing to play it in what spare time I can find.