Video games keeping track of what you do isn’t new. For as long as I can remember, games have been keeping tabs on what you do, how many times you do it and when you did it. As gamers, we expect to be able to look at our stats and find out just how we’ve been playing a game. Rebellion’s upcoming Zombie Army 4: Dead War is no different.
As you play, you’ll get visual feedback on your HUD as you dismember zombies, decapitate them, burn them, explode them and more. In a game with as many zombies on-screen as Zombie Army 4 and with as much mayhem as possible, these numbers rise rapidly.
However, Rebellion isn’t content with letting you just see the numbers grow ever higher. Instead, as you increase these stats, you’ll be rewarded with in-game items and objects. One of these is the sticker-book; a collection of all of your achievements.
Zombie Army 4
Speaking to Senior Systems Designer Vicky Boyce, I got a bit of insight into the processes behind these in-game reward systems.
She told me that while the level designers do “the beautiful things and set up enemy encounters” she “works with the numbers behind the scenes.”
I help set up the collectibles and the achievements and all the numbers behind like that helps support the game.
One thing I worked on was the Sticker Book Collectibles. I worked with the level designers and lead designer to decide what stickers we can reward the player with.
These stickers can be specific to a level, for achieving a certain number of kills, for getting a high combo or for performing something quite challenging. Boyce explained that they come up with a list of things that might trigger these stickers and then she sets up the numbers and coding to make them work.
Boyce went on to explain the way these triggers work.
The code is set up with a system that will monitor and track when an event triggers in the game and I’ll tap into those and say, ‘every time this event occurs, keep a note and keep a record of it.’
When they reach a certain amount, then apply this reward.
While I thought it sounded a bit dry and quite numbers heavy, Boyce assured me that her job is very creative. Coming up with interesting and innovative ways to reward players is something she relishes and she sees her role as helping to ensure players are enjoying the game.
From my time with Zombie Army 4: Dead War, it’s clear that Rebellion has invested a lot of time into making sure the game is both fun and rewarding.
It will be available for PC, PS4 and Xbox One on February 4, 2020.