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'DayZ' scrapping zombie AI pathfinding in favor of all new system

'DayZ' Navigation Mesh Screenshots-slide0
Photo courtesy of Bohemia Interactive, used with permission

One of the more notable oddities with “DayZ” stand-alone on Steam Early Access is the tendency of the zombies to find ways to get stuck in walls or floors. If you think it’s because they act like walls aren’t there, you’d be right. Zombie AI pathfinding is one of the things that Dean Hall and the rest of Bohemia Interactive plan to address, according to an update Saturday.

The “ArmA II” engine was never designed to handle the type of behaviors and situations that crop up in a zombie survival games like “DayZ.” Bohemia Interactive has attempted to alter and upgrade the AI and pathfinding to better accommodate zombies with separate systems to handle outside and inside buildings but it never bore fruit. As a result, Hall announced on the official Tumblr that the team is scrapping the current system and going with a new approach that uses navigation meshes instead.

“A small program was developed to read through the world, load all the objects, and then work its way through tracing billions of lines to calculate the ability to move,” Hall explained. “This then works out not only where outside you can walk, but inside as well. It gives great precision while still working for a very large scale world both indoor and outdoor.”

You can see examples of the navigation meshes in the slideshow gallery but there’s a potential performance impact here as Hall says the new meshes will eat up about 600mb of extra memory. The plan though is to mitigate this by upgrading the “DayZ” servers to 64-bit.

In addition to the navigation meshes, the “DayZ” team is working on a new rendering system for the game along with removing the action system that is activated by the mouse scroll wheel and replacing it with something simpler. There’s also new content coming to the experimental severs including buildings and animals plus a new large-capacity police vest. Fireplaces are on their way as well which means allowing players to not only “craft” fireplaces but chop down wood trees to obtain wood as well.

There’s no word on when all these changes will make their way into “DayZ” other than to say that the team is committed to monthly stable updates to the game. In between, there will be experimental releases to help with the release of stable releases.