Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dead Frontier (Part Three)

Inner City
Dead Frontier - Inner City Interface
The above picture shows the interface that players see when within the Inner City. It basically uses the top-down view approach and does not offer any other camera angles.

The player's health is shown at the top left-hand corner of the interface and has the shape of a heart. Although it does not show the actual percentage of your health left, the indicator does roughly tell you how close you are to dying. Just like in real life where you can only guess how bad your wounds are.

IndicatorIndicator ValuePenalty
Healthy75% - 100%None
Injured50% - 74%None
Serious25% - 49%None
Critical1% - 24%All Stats are halved (Bloody Avatar)

You can regain health by leveling up (restores to 100% health) or by using medications like plasters, antiseptic sprays and bandages.

Dead Frontier - Death
But if unfortunately you die, you will lose all cash on hands (half for levels 6 - 10). Cash that you've deposited into your bank will not be affected. Alternatively, one can get a Security Box which can guarantee saving a portion of the cash. These boxes can be found in the Inner City or bought from the marketplace (off other players' hands).

Apart from losing cash on hands, players who have died will also lose 50% of the experience points gained since leaving an outpost. So to avoid losing too much experience points, it would be wise to visit an outpost on a regular basis just to "lock in" those precious experience points you've earned.

Lastly, upon dying, players will have to wait a certain amount of time before they can revive (typically for non-privileged players it is 2 minutes). Players will be re-spawned in the last outpost they have visited, regardless of which outpost they are closest to. For levels 1 - 10, players will revive with 40% health while higher leveled players will revive with 20% health.

Right beside your health, there's a fork and spoon icon. This indicator shows you how well-fed your character is. While staying logged in, your nourishment level will gradually drop. If your currently at an outpost, your nourishment level will drop by 1% every 30 minutes. But if you are wandering through the Inner City, your nourishment level will drop by 1% every two minutes instead. You can regain nourishment only by eating food like Candy, Baked Beans and Tinned Tuna.

IndicatorIndicator ValueEffect
Nourished75% - 100%125% EXP
Fine50% - 74%100% EXP
Hungry25% - 49%75% EXP
Starving0% - 24%50% EXP
(Once at 0%, 1% Health is lost
every hour while logged in.)

Armor Durability
If your character is wearing an armour, a third indicator will be shown on the interface (right beside the nourishment indicator). This indicator shows you how badly damaged your armour is. You can only regain a damaged armour's durability by asking an engineer to repair it.

IndicatorIndicator ValuePenalty
Normal75% - 100%None
Scratched40% - 74%None
Damaged1% - 39%None
Broken0%Once at 0%, the armor won't absorb
damage anymore and 100% of received
damage will go to the character's health.

This small indicator works sort of like your "stamina" bar. It will start to drop when you hold your "left shift" key to make your character sprint. Once you stop sprinting, it will start to regenerate back to 100%.

Keys & Controls

Dead Frontier - Main Menu
When you press the "Esc" key while within the Inner City, you will call up the main menu. The only times when you need to call up this menu is when you either have to change some settings or re-read the instructions cause you've forgotten something.

Dead Frontier - Settings
Apart from the regular settings like graphics detail, brightness and sound volume, there is one other important option that can only be accessed from the settings menu - the "Single Player Mode". When this mode is checked, your character will log in to an alternate Inner City. In this Inner City, only your character and zombies exist while all other players will not be found. You can think of it like a solo instance or dungeon found in other MMOs.

Dead Frontier - Controls
The instructions menu basically shows you the critical shortcut keys that you will need to memorize while being in the Inner City. While most of the keys are self-explained, I might need to bring your attention to one particular key - "F2" (Instance Following).

This key allows you to "instance follow" a particular person. All you need to do is press the key and type in the ID of the character you wish to follow. From then onwards, whenever you and that character move towards the end of a map area, the server will ensure that both of you will end up being in the same instance on the next map area.

Entering Buildings

Dead Frontier - Entering Buildings
Other than running around the Inner City, players also get to enter various kinds of buildings that are lying around. These buildings can range from trailers to small apartment buildings to even warehouses. The existence of these buildings which can be entered are two-fold actually.

First of all, they provide an additional dimension to the landscape. Players looking for more excitement or loot can choose to enter the tight and close confines of a building, however, with it comes the higher risks of dying. In the event that the player encounters an aggression spike, the tight quarters might prove to be fatal as it can prevent the player from escaping successfully if surrounded and swarmed (or with the only exit clogged with zombies).

Secondly, the enter-able building can act as a temporary outpost. With a claw hammer, some wooden planks and nails, one can barricade the entrances of the building. After doing so, the player will then need to clear the floor of any lingering zombies. Once both of these criteria are fulfilled, you can then press "O" to enter the Outpost Mode. But be warned, for these temporary outposts don't usually last very long before the system will spawn a mass of zombies to try and break in.


Dead Frontier - Lootable Object
Be it within the Inner City or within buildings, all lootable objects are highlighted in yellow with a "?" on it. To search the object for loot, all you need to do is to stand close to it and then press and hold "E" for a few seconds. If there is anything loot-worthy, a pop-up window will appear asking you if you would take the item.

Possible items that can be looted range from food, medicines, ammunition, weapons, armours, clothing, miscellaneous items to even cash itself. However, to actually perform the looting sequence might prove to be a tough challenge (especially in highly aggressive areas) because the persistent mobs spawning and chasing after you might not give you the chance to do so.

Aggression Spike

Dead Frontier - Swarm of ZombiesDead Frontier - Siren
When an aggression spike occurs, you will start to notice that the usually empty or nearly empty streets suddenly becomes filled with zombies spawning all around you or rushing towards you from out of screen. A tell-tale sign which signals the start of this spike is the sudden change in the tempo of the background music. When this happens, it is best that you abandon whatever you are doing and run towards the nearest end of the map area. Or if your confident enough, just stay and enjoy the killing spree brought forth by the spike.

From what I know, there are various conditions which can bring forth this aggression spike.

  • Weapon
    The different kinds of weapons in Dead Frontier is actually "coded" with a default "noise" parameter. Depending on how "noisy" the weapon you use to kill the zombies around you, this can bring about an increase in the spawning of zombies as well as "informing" nearby zombies of your presence.

    Typically, the most "noisy" and aggro-attracting weapons are chainsaws, machine guns, shotguns and the like. Pistols and rifles are less noisy in comparison to them while melee weapons are the least noisy.
  • Time
    While this factor is less important than weapon used, it does still contribute to an aggression spike. As your character stays hanging around at a particular location or map area, you will slowly attract more and more zombies until at last a spike occurs.
  • Siren
    This is one zombie you should steer clear of unless your looking for trouble. Although it doesn't attack you, it is by far classified as the most threatening zombie in Dead Frontier for the sole reason of its shrieks.

    If you fail to dispatch this zombie before it notices your presence, it will start to run around shrieking. This zombie actually acts like a siren (just as its name suggests) and its shrieks will rapidly increase the aggression level around you. Soon, you will literally have all the zombies in the map area chasing after you.
  • Opening of Inventory or Map
    This factor is actually more of preventing abuse rather than being a feature. Usually, when we try and open the map or inventory while in the Inner City, a timer will count down and then the map or inventory opens. During the time when the map or inventory is open, the player becomes "untouchable". But because of this safety feature, some players tend to "abuse" it to escape from mobs. Thus, the programmers came up with "coding" the game in such a way that when you use the map or inventory, you will increase the aggression level around you.

All in all, Dead Frontier isn't too shabby, but prolonged playing of this game will tire out a player due to its repetitiveness. All you do is run around killing zombies, trying to loot food, medicines, ammunition and cash for survival.

Previous: Dead Frontier (Part Two)