Sunday, 5 July 2015

10 Year Apocalypse


It was the ten year anniversary, on the 3rd July, of the launch of the browser game Urban Dead, and to mark this special occasion the games owner \ designer, Kevan, has sent out a survey for players to fill in. Which was not quite what I was expecting for this landmark occasion.

 Given that the game has not had any significant development in the last five years it's a bit of a surprise that the survey strongly hints at a new wave of features, and that he's finally asking players for feedback\ideas (other than the game wiki suggestions pages, which was little more than player squabbling). But I do feel that this is 3 to 5 years too late to have a major affect.

I did fill in the survey, suggesting that zombies need a boost to non-combat skills to help track down survivors and increase the ruins to force humans into pockets. Plus I asked to bring back some of the special events that are already in the game but haven't been seen in years, such as the April Fool, and the occasional bad weather\snowstorm. Plus there is code from the previous commercial tie-ins from Dead Set and Monroeville that could probably be ported over in some form.

The number of active characters has now stabilised after a constant drop over the years. The population density across the 100x100 square maps is low with only 5775 active characters (from a peak of over 50k) and 2313 active players in the last 24 hour. The living outnumber the dead 3:2 so things are quite cosy in town, more Theme Park than Apocalypse.

Unfortunately the organisations which drove a lot of meta-game activity for both the Humans and Zombies are now basically dead. I've seen the off site forums go silent one by one, including that from the group my survivor affiliated with, the cheesy poof obsessives Tikhon Medical.

My zombie characters have been even harder hit by lack of offsite activity, going from IRC organised strikes with the Malton City Circus (the one thing more scary than clowns - Zombie Clowns! And this was years before Zombieland) to People Before Pulses - the zombie offshoot of Tikhons former allies (the Irish based) 'Legion of the Octopope'. As you can gather Urban Dead always was a silly game, unfortunately a lot of that silliness has now passed from the game.

The game is probably past the point of no return, partially due to neglect, partially due to being from another gaming era, but you would have thought that that Kevan would have implemented some changes to celebrate the anniversary, and maybe have used it as an opportunity to do a mini relaunch and promotion for the game.

As it was, we didn't even get cake.

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