Ive been playing Cataclysm for a few years now (of course not constantly ^^) and recently “finished” another run after becoming more or less unkillable.
After thinking about ways to increase the difficulty (without screwing over newbies) ive had this idea:
Zombies or more accurately the blob become aware of you specifically after a while.
The blobs objective is to invade earth and probably the rest of the dimension and its very intelligent though not while it inhabits the zombies. While im not entirely sure if it possesses a hivemind it should be able to gather at least some intelligence about your exploits.
A survivor who cleared several towns and survived a hulk, the strongest “soldier” of the blob, should merit some attention at least.
So after you meet some requirements special hordes would come after you.
These would originate from a special rare laboratory. While the labs as they are now researched pretty much everything these labs were meant to research XE037 exclusively, where it was observed in conditions similar to its homeworld/plane. There the blob could assume its natural form (whatever that is) and of course be much more intelligent.
Now after the cataclysm these labs could form command centers of the blob and produce much more elite zombies (or other things). Maybe survivor zombies get herded there and implanted with a limited “blob brain” enabling them to use ranged weapons.
These “elites” would follow the player over great distances and use at least limited tactics and might even adapt.
For example if you constantly drive around in a deathmobile with tons of turrets installed they would not attack while you were near it and would try to remain unseen (or even more terrifying use a rocket launcher). They might ambush you after you looted yet another lab waiting on the top floor. If you survived an ambush composed of enemies that use electricity and took no damage from it, because you wore a faraday suit you wont get that same enemy composition for a while at least.
They could mine the roads leading to your base or install other traps at high value targets.
Maybe burn down that forest you fled into after escaping?
Perhaps even poison food at a grocery store you are likely to loot next.
And lots of other things that could surprise even hardened survivors.
Maybe warn the player beforehand (one day before) to instill paranoia like “Just before you fall asleep you hear something whisper outside.”, “You feel watched.” or when coming back to your (unsecured) base “Something feels wrong”/“You smell something rotten.”
One of the ambushers could drop a map to the special lab (perhaps left in a pocket by the previous owner of that body) and a keycard enabling the player to end the threat in that area for some time or permanently.
Earlier i mentioned survivor zombies being “upgraded” in these labs, which could mean after you finally die and start with another character you could meet your old self. Perhaps as a boss at the aforementioned lab? The difficulty and loot of such an encounter would balance itself. ^^
This should provide players a challenging endgame without making the early game harder. The requirements for attracting the attention of the blob could be set in the world options (abstracted as a number) when you start a new game.
Sorry if my english failed me somewhere (x
Only as optional thing.The game would be unfair if blob AI was too smart.
I rather like this idea, though, I somehow doubt the Blob itself would use something so common as repuposed lab tools as it’s command center.
Except of course that the some of the labs probably still serve as very likely locations for extra-dimensional portals and nexus to allow for ‘mass injection’ into our dimension ‘imagine a wave of syrupy black pouring through out of a fracture in the air… half formed and twitching geigeresque creatures forming and redissolving into this expanding un-sea.’
Then again, various higher value infected like the Masters, Necromancers, Bio-Operators and Scientists might retain the human knowledge and individuality required to take advantage of human tools in the pursuit of their dirrectives. Hell, I doubt the blob even consciously acknowledges the human technology beyond their simple ‘nutritional value’ as raw resources and leaves the exact implementation of outfitting local kill teams up to those ‘immune systems’.
Sending out hunting teams to track and hinder you specifically if you cause it enough irritation though? That certainly falls within the realm of ‘organized immune system’ and I like that. “Restrict, Cull, Cauterize, Stabilize.” Balance is achieved naturally in that early characters are unlikely to cause enough mayhem to set off an immune reaction in the greater organism (unless they somehow cleared a town with a lucky mininuke in week one.)
The Mi-go and certain other otherworldly abominations I can see as taking advantage of and salvaging human technology (likely dissembling and reassembling it in terribly wondrous ways, like hateful little artifact generators.)
Meanwhile the fungus seems to value communication and diplomacy on an individual level, so it probably has no problem seeing the ‘little picture’ players operate on and understanding the value in ensuring their fungal cults have enough 9mm and Molotovs to take down Blob mobs and Triffids.
Zombie masters and necromancers are already described as having greater intelligence than other zombies, so there’s no reason more intelligent zombies shouldn’t exist. An idea I just thought of would be a sort of assassin zombie. An evolution of the shady zombie, it works in groups and tries to ambush survivors from the shadows. Especially active during the night, lurks in darkened buildings during the day.
A single entity that controls everything and is essentially omnipresent sounds a bit cheaty. NPC’s are a bit shallow - why not have large NPC factions that will hunt you down and manipulate your buddies to give out your whereabouts?
Would be pretty hilarious to have a faction searching for you while you’re in another factions stronghold, and would then become intense when you see the enemy faction leader striking some sort of deal with the allied faction leader who just sworn to protect you.
It’d be less “shooty shooty smash smash” and more careful prepping, if you piss off a faction you’re going to have to use all of your wits to make sure that a search squad of five won’t gun you down.
I like the idea of the blob hunting you down. Even more, I’m pretty sure ideas exactly like this one were suggested long ago, sadly no one really worked on it? There are few programmers, which is bad. But the idea is great!
Even more, sending more specialized, more intelligengt zombies would be great. Zombies with weapons even.
After all the blob could control them like that I guess?
To be honest the blob is more of an excuse for the gameplay, and sometimes people take it as something that does not have to be changed at all. But hey! The blob is ours after all. It’s just a narrative device, an excuse for the zombies. Don’t let that not make the game more interesting. It’s a ge after all!
The funny thing is there are a LOT of programmers working on dda, but a lot of the things we’re doing are rather ambitious, so progress in some areas is slow.
The dda project has the resources of a small indie studio, but think about how long indie games take to get released. The main difference is we focus on content and internal systems, where most games this size are focusing on graphics, animation and real-time control handling.