The level design of Dead Man’s Trail on Gamasutra and Screenshot Saturday 4/22/17

Hey all! Today’s Saturday update includes an article on Dead Man’s Trail’s level design, which was featured on game industry website Gamasutra last week.

The level design article outlines things like the team’s design goals for the game’s zombies, how levels were designed to best utilize them, and how we used playtesting to get our difficulty “just right.” It can be found here.

Likewise, we’re hard at work improving some front-end elements and creating our fort interface.

Forts are the last thing for us to add before we are feature complete. We can then head towards polishing the game and pushing towards content-complete.

Look for early access to begin in mid-June! We’ll also be sending the game out to streamers soon!

Press for Dead Man’s Trail and Screenshot Saturday 4/8/17

We’ve had a good few weeks getting press for Dead Man’s Trail and votes on its Steam Greenlight page!

Some highlights:

Bloody Disgusting did a preview, saying “what if you took The Oregon Trail, and threw zombies into the picture? Well, that’s exactly what Pie For Breakfast Studios have done with Dead Man’s Trail.”

Likewise Technical.ly DC  posted a preview and we were also mentioned in the Smithsonian’s Eye Level blog post about the DC game development scene. 

We also have some new gifs and screenshots of the game showing recently added or modified stuff like vehicle breakdowns, the new Plague Zombie explosion, a creepy new loading screen, and tons and tons of zombies!

Work-in-progress new loading screen

 

Screenshot Saturday

We’ve had a busy few months of working on the game and getting some new things in place so we’ll be playing some catch-up with posts. Here are some screenshots for today’s #screenshotsaturday of our tutorial level and some work-in-progress fort interfaces.

Screenshot Saturday – 9/3/2016

We’re back from a short absence with some new things to show off. This week it’s our newly implemented vehicle breakdown system, looting car parts, a preview of looting armor, and other looting graphical enhancements.

FallTravel

Smoke and Sparks
Prototype – graphics not final
TruckFire
Prototype – graphics not final
FlatTires
Prototype – graphics not final

VehicleWindowlooting    FogAndArrows

RiotGear

Screenshot Saturday – 7/9/16

It’s that time of the week! Here are some screenshots from Dead Man’s Trail! Today’s batch focuses on some of the fun features of Travel Mode and a few of new areas in Looting Mode.

So my choices are a terrible route and a terrible route...
So my choices are a terrible route and a terrible route…

ST01 Forest01 CT01

Oh no...
Oh no…
The map changes based on the paths you choose.
The map changes based on the paths you choose.
Morale is at an all-time low...
Morale is at an all-time low…
Ford the horde!
Ford the horde!

Screenshot Saturday – 7/2/16

Happy Screenshot Saturday and Independence Day weekend (and Canada Day weekend for our Canadian friends!)

Here’s a new batch of screenshots showing our new looting environments. Enjoy! Forest01 Mountain01 River01 Town01 country01 country02 country03 country04 desert01 Farm01 Farm02 Farm03

Screenshot Saturday 06/18/16

We’ve been doing it on Twitter at @totter87 and on our Facebook page, but since we’ve been getting a ton on the game we thought we’d make #ScreenshotSaturday a more regular feature on this website. Here’s today’s batch, playtesting our new looting environments!

Bridge Canal Country01 Desert01 Desert02 Desert03 Horde Horde02 NightLight

10 scary facts about DMT – new features revealed!

Happy Halloween everyone! It’s been a while since we’ve been in contact with information about Dead Man’s Trail (DMT), but we’re rising from the dead to show off the results of our hard work these past few months. We’ve been working hard on implementing DMT’s Oregon Trail-like travel mode and are excited to finally be able to talk more about it. We’ve also taken into account the great feedback we’ve gotten from those of you who played the game at Baltimore Artscape and Video Gamers United in DC and we hope you’ll be as excited as we are about some of these new features:

glockRender_NoGlow shotgunRender_NoGlow revolverRender_NoGlow macheteRender_NoGlow katanaRender_NoGlow fieldHockeyStickRender_NoGlow baseballBatRender_NoGlow ar15Render_NoGlow

  1. Weapons, weapons, and more weapons: So far, our DMT screenshots, videos, and demos have featured a modest smattering of our weapon inventory (typically about 2 or 3.) As of this writing, we have 11 unique weapons in the game – 6 guns and 5 melee weapons. Each has their own strengths and weaknesses in their firing speed, range, power, and other factors that you will have to weigh when choosing what to bring into fights.

Travel_loadout_window

Graphics subject to change

  1. Inventory loadout: Speaking of choosing your inventory, when you leave the safety of your truck to loot on foot, you can choose what to bring with you via our loadout screen. This shows you your available party members and their current conditions, as well as the items you currently have in your inventory. You can choose which character you’d like to take into looting mode (the ones that haven’t been bitten) and load them up by transferring weapons from your inventory into the loadout window.

Screen Shot 2014-10-31 at 12.03.32 PM

Graphics subject to change

  1. Inventory burden: “You shot 1000 lb. of meat but you can only carry 50 back!” – old-school Oregon Trail players will remember that from their childhoods as making inventory management more challenging by limiting how many resources you could gather. We’ve preserved this feature in DMT with the burden bar that shows up in the loadout screen and during looting mode. As the player’s burden bar fills, their chosen looting character runs slower, making it harder to dodge zombies. As more zombies appear in towns, this can make looting more difficult. Players can drop items by dragging and dropping them from the inventory back into the game window as they run away. They can also tell how heavy an item is by looking at its highlight color – yellow for light, orange for medium, and red for heavy.

supplies

Graphics subject to change

  1. Inventory item types: Players must manage many resources to survive in DMT. There are 5 such resource types in DMT – food, medicine, gas, ammo, and auto parts. Each of these interact with party status in some way.

Characters

Graphics subject to change

  1. Health management: Food is consumed consistently as the player travels. The amount you feed your party as you travel controls how quickly their health deteriorates – generous portions allow their health to stay consistent while meager portions makes it deteriorate more quickly.

If player characters are low on health, their chances of getting sick increase. Units of medicine must be spent to cure illnesses (which include dysentery of course) vary based on the severity of the disease.

vehicle_repair

Graphics subject to change

  1. Vehicle health: Your vehicle loses power just like your party members do. As you travel, you burn gas at a rate dependent on your chosen speed. Likewise, parts of your vehicle – tires, the battery, the muffler, and axles – take damage when encountering damaging trail hazards (rough terrain, fording hordes, etc.) As your vehicle loses total health (the sum of the health of your car parts) you lose the ability to travel quickly and will have to loot for more parts.

Ammo_SmallAmmo_MedAmmo_Large

  1. Bartering with ammo: Ammo has a special function in DMT. It is used both in firearms and to barter for supplies. Players must make the difficult choice of mowing down zombies or conserving ammo for shopping at forts.

morale

 

  1. Morale: The dangers of Dead Man’s Trail are stressful to party members. As travel becomes more difficult (illness, zombie attacks, running low on supplies, etc.) party member morale will suffer as well. When party members are extremely low, they will go crazy and may become dangerous hazards capable of anything from running away with supplies to hurting themselves and others.

Screen Shot 2014-09-14 at 8.15.31 PM

  1. Zombie bites: Party members can be bitten in 2 ways: when the player chooses to drive their vehicle through hordes (fording the horde) or randomly when they are attacked when below 25% health in looting mode. Once bitten, they cannot be cured and will slowly become a zombie. Players cannot choose to loot with these characters anymore (if bitten during a looting mission, the player can still complete it with the current character.) Players may choose to keep these characters alive to take advantage of their unique abilities (mechanics fixing the vehicle, etc.) but risk having other party members bitten if the infection becomes too intense.

Nerd_con_reveal 1920

  1. New characters: So far we’ve been showing off 4 characters – the Redneck, the Paramedic, the College Athlete, and the Mechanic – and showing travel mode with a party of 4. Did you really think we’d limit it players to only 4 choices? The final game will have 8 playable characters, and we’re ready to show off 2 more: the Ex-Con and the Zombie Nerd.

The Ex-Con is a character hardened by years in a medium security prison. While serving time, she could get things from the outside, skills which serve her well when shopping during the zombie apocalypse as she can get special deals on items at forts.

The Zombie Nerd has been waiting for the zombies to come all of his life. His knowledge of zombie movies, tv, books, and video games have given him an edge over people who thought he was a weirdo. He can get extra time when looting, though is unskilled with weapons.

Dysenty zombies