Zafehouse: Diaries v1.1.8 released!

Patch v1.1.8 for Zafehouse: Diaries is now available. This patch improves a number of areas of the game and adds a solid dose of content, including a new dilemma, Overwhelmed, and showering, an idle task.

The custom occupation editor has been expanded on, making it more flexible than ever and we’ve even implemented weather effects to keep things interesting.

The Overwhelmed dilemma has a chance to occur when your group faces staggering odds after breaching a location. You’ll be able to retreat to, hopefully, a safe location or, if you’re feeling lucky, try your hand at more heroic options.

Getting around during a zombie apocalypse is not the cleanest affair, so your survivors will accumulate grime and if left idle, will now occasionally wash themselves. Doing so will provide them with a small morale boost.

We felt the towns of Zafehouse: Diaries were drier than they should be, so now it’ll occasionally rain and storm. As you’d expect, noise doesn’t travel as far under these conditions, so be sure to take advantage of the weather when you can!

Several dilemmas, including the Lynch Mob, Moby Dick and the Girl Scout Family, now feature an assessment of your survivors’ chances if you decide to fight. As a result, it should be easier to make more informed, strategic decisions regarding these encounters.

Finally, for users with high-resolution displays, a scaling option is now included so that game takes up most the screen. It is currently experimental, so if it doesn’t work as expected, let us know so we can tweak it!

The update includes several other tweaks, fixes and improvements, all of which are mentioned in the patch notes on our forums.

Direct purchasers and GamersGate customers, the patch can be downloaded from our support page. For Desura and GOG users, please use the facilities provided by these services to update the game. Note that updates from these distributors may be delayed while the patch is approved.

Zafehouse: Diaries v1.1.7 now available!

We’re happy to announce the release of patch v1.1.7 for Zafehouse: Diaries. With this patch, we’ve taken the opportunity to update a number of images, including all of the in-built survivor portraits and several dilemmas, with high-quality replacements. We’ve also added 16 completely new images for in-game items, which will appear as photos in the diary when you discover them for the first time.

On the gameplay side, v1.1.7 features a new dilemma, called “The Believers”, as well as the Priest occupation to accompany it. A new ranged weapon and ammunition type has been added — the crossbow and quarrels respectively. While the crossbow has a slow rate of fire, it makes up for it by being extreme powerful and very quiet. There’s also the possibility of retrieving fired quarrels when cleaning corpses after a fight, making it more economical than the bullet-based ranged weapons.

Barricading has been reworked significantly. Secured and fortified locations will now impart meaty bonuses to spotting and resilience; noise levels inside will be reduced and survivors will sometimes automatically attack zombies through barricades. Barricades now also last longer against zombie attacks.

We’ve also made a thrilling change to the Infection dilemma. Along with the usual “Let them live” and “Kill” options, there will sometimes be a third option with the potential to save the survivor and rid them of the infection. The price, however, may be too great…

These are the biggest changes in v1.1.7, but we’ve added a bunch of visual tweaks, balance changes and bug fixes we’re sure you’ll appreciate, so check out the full patch notes on the forums.

Direct purchasers and GamersGate customers, the patch can be downloaded from our support page. For Desura users, please use the Desura client to update the game.

Zafehouse: Diaries v1.1.6 – Play Road Kill, an all-new game mode

It’s patch time again folks, and v1.1.6 is a beauty!

The most exciting addition is an entirely new game mode, called “Road Kill”. Search the town and scavenge for parts for a broken-down vehicle. Your survivors will then have to fix the vehicle before they can drive themselves to safety. To support this new mode, we’ve not only added new content, but modified existing dilemmas and events to reflect the altered objective.

The best thing about Road Kill is that rescue is now entirely in your hands — the game won’t end unless you drive out… or die. Even if you do make it out alive, relationships and the supplies you’ve gathered play an important role in just how well you do. How these affect the end result, well, you’ll have to play and find out!

Road Kill represents the largest addition to the game since its release; it really changes the way you approach the game. You’ll have to re-examine those rock-solid strategies that served you well in Classic mode and try different tactics if you want to succeed.

For players who like to share their games, you can now enable sharing functionality via the options menu. When active, hovering over diary entries will show a “copy to clipboard” button. This should make it easier to quickly paste text into forum posts or documents. We hope to expand this feature in the future to support popular social media sites.

As usual, a complete list of fixes, changes and improvements can be found on the forums.

Direct purchasers and GamersGate customers, the patch can be downloaded from our support page. For Desura users, please use the Desura client to update the game.

Zafehouse: Diaries site is live

We’re getting close now. The site is now live and we’ll be adding more info, screenshots and other media over the next few weeks.

Note that the game is in heavy development and the game’s features and design are not yet final.

Head on over to sign up for updates, follow us on Twitter or just drop by the forums and say hi.

Zafehouse makes the move to Direct3D… without the 3D bit

About three weeks ago, I put the finishing touches on the Direct3D 9 renderer for Zafehouse 2. Previously, the game exclusively used GDI+, the default graphics API for .NET. Now it runs on a bizarre fusion, with Direct3D performing compositing and GDI+ painting the final image onto the screen.

Well, except when I use native GDI calls to paint instead. Actually, now that I think about it, GDI+ doesn’t do a heck of a lot for Zafehouse 2 anymore.

Now, this change raises a number of questions: Why not use Direct3D for the entire process? Why change APIs in the first place? Isn’t the Direct2D API in DirectX 10+ basically what you’re describing?

These are all fair questions, and I’m going to try to answer them.

Zafehouse’s audio engine: ADPCM versus xWMA

I might have mentioned somewhere that I’ve converted Zafehouse 2′s audio engine from Managed DirectX to XAudio2 under SlimDX. I don’t believe I mentioned it here, though.

First, history. The original Zafehouse lacked many elements one normally expects from a game. Graphics. A proper tutorial. Sound. These are slowly being rectified in the sequel. Graphics are being taken care of handily, and a tutorial will be implemented once, well, the game is.

Sound… sound was an interesting one. There are many ways to play sounds in Windows and .NET. You can use the basic, in-built functionality in My.Computer. Or you can venture into the slighly more complex world of System.Media.SoundPlayer.

Both, sadly, are kind of garbage if you’re trying to make a game. That is, a game with more than one or two sounds playing at once. There’s also the problem of being limited to PCM as an audio file format. Hey, if I was willing to have Z2 weigh in at a couple of hundred megabytes, then PCM would be fine. Hilariously so.