Wednesday 14 November 2018

The Future of Dead Frontier

First of all I want to apologise for being silent this past month or so. I will try to explain as best I can why I fell off the radar, and what my plans are going forward.

What Happened
When Dead Frontier 2 first launched I was incredibly happy. We had over 10,000 players online which I feel is a massive achievement for such a low budget game. Just to put it in perspective, due to differences in the way concurrent players are counted, this was probably 4x more players online than DF1 ever had at it's peak. To date over 700,000 people have played the game, and I expect that will eventually reach over 1 million. Our early review score was pretty good too so there was a lot to be proud of back then. I was super tired from working on so many fixes/updates, but things felt good.

However despite those impressive early numbers, it was clear to me that there were definite problems. It felt like every week that passed, we lost a significant number of active players. At first I managed to stay upbeat, thinking that within a month or so the game would settle to a decent number of players, perhaps 2-3k online and that would then give us a solid enough base to ensure that the game would have a strong long term future. However those numbers came and went, and as of right now we seem to only have around 400 online, and it feels like it's still dropping quite fast.

Financially the game has not done well beyond the first two weeks. If you exclude any salary for my time spent, then DF2 just about covered it's development costs during that early period. As of now though, it's only just bringing in enough to cover it's running costs and not much else. To put it into perspective, the 10 year old DF1, that hasn't been updated or had new items released for a long time, is earning 3x more and that ratio is probably just going to increase over time. Of course, with a more aggressive business model, DF2 would be earning more per player, but I'm guessing it would also have even less players than it does now.

The review score has also been dropping. Most early players were DF1 fans and were nice enough to give me the benefit of the doubt, but the newer people coming in now simply don't have that nostalgia so have a lower opinion of the game.

All of the above combined with me being generally tired/stressed/burnt out from development, and a fair number of complaints/insults directed at me created a perfect storm which basically led to me becoming pretty depressed. I basically stopped looking at everything; discord, forums, social media. I even stopped looking at the financial reports and player counts because it was just making me feel like crap. Of course this also slowed down my work speed.

What Now?
I still feel like DF2 has a chance of succeeding once it's finished, so I will definitely be continuing my work on it. Even if it doesn't end up as a success, I still want to finish it for personal reasons.

However DF1 is currently the only game that is actually keeping the lights on at Creaky Corpse HQ, so the only practical course of action is for me to put some more energy into updating it again. Therefore I'll soon be announcing a whole array of new things for the older game.

Although this post looks grim, please don't worry about either game being shut down. As I have mentioned a few times previously, the tech DF1 and DF2 run under means that it would be very easy for me to scale down our servers and keep both games running on a shoestring budget, one which I will happily fund from my own pocket if necessary. Despite the ups and downs, I am incredibly proud of both of these games, and I want people to enjoy them for as long as possible; even if they don't make any money.

Personal Note
Writing this post hasn't been easy, I actually started it over a week ago but I just couldn't find the right words. I really poured everything I had into DF2 and it feels horrible to admit that it hasn't worked out so far. I know that I am letting down a lot of people, and it's something that I will feel guilty about for a long time to come.

Sorry everyone :(

Monday 17 September 2018

Dead Frontier 2: My Early Plans

Dead Frontier 2 was released into EA 12 days ago, and now that I've had some time to reflect and recover, I think it's safe to say that the game is a success so far. Perhaps not the mega hit some of us were hoping for, but it's definitely done well.

The review score is better than I expected it to be this early on, and even though our peak concurrent players has dropped a bit since launch, the total number of people logging in each day (DAU) is actually going up over time. Essentially more people are playing in total, they just aren't playing 24/7 like they were in the first 3 days.

One of my main reasons for launching into Early Access was so that I would be able to get your feedback earlier, and using that go on to make a much better game. That is exactly what has happened, and I now have a much clearer picture of what exactly you guys would like to see.

In this post, I am going to write down what I feel are your main issues with the game, and then I post my thoughts on this, and how I am planning to solve or improve it.

I want to say that at this stage I am not planning to publish a proper roadmap, with exact timescales etc. For example, I could probably promise to implement Outpost Attacks by the end of the month. It would actually be possible to do that, but only by rushing and completely ignoring anything new that crops up as we go; which would probably be a mistake. This doesn't mean I'll be slacking off, it just means that I won't be making any promises unless I know for sure I can keep them.

Generally speaking my aim is to first focus on the small improvements which make the biggest impact. Only once we have the core game working nicely will I then turn my attention on big new features and content.

Melee Combat is too clunky/hard to use
I agree that there is a significant learning curve with the melee combat, and that it was incredibly hard to use against groups of zombies. In the last patch I made some changes which I believe makes melee *a lot* more usable, namely: ability to stun up to 3 enemies in one hit, directional stuns, and directional dodge. With those changes I think melee combat with zombies is now a lot more forgiving and far less annoying.

A lot of people have suggested that melee swings should not cause the character to step forward, and/or that you should be able to move during swinging. I actually tried a test version of this melee combat before making the above changes, and I must say I didn't like it. In my opinion it was far to easy to stay out of range of the enemies and just wack them before they got anywhere near you. From an animation perspective, I also felt it looked far less realistic since there was no weight behind the character's attacks. I have sneaking suspicion that if I actually implemented this, there would be a lot of players who would want me to just revert back to the old system.

So, if it becomes clear that the community *really* wants a big rework, then I will probably do it. But for the moment at least, melee will stay roughly as it is and I will move on to other things.

It's too hard to find things/NPCs
I think the best solution to this would be an automap that fills in as your explore, adds names of NPCs, and provides other info which can be hard to remember. I see this as a high priority item, but it will be a fair amount of work to complete so it may not appear for a little while yet.

Missions are too hard/confusing/weird
Missions do definitely have a lot of weird quirks, and other issues that make them difficult to complete. Some are bugs, others are just design oversights. I will definitely be working on these soon. Some people have suggested having a notice board instead of random NPCs as they can be hard to find. I personally think that the automap will solve this problem, and I do like the little extra bit of immersion you get with finding random NPCs in the game world; so I'd prefer not to add a noticeboard if we can avoid it.

Too many loading screens/it should be open world etc
I personally like the loading screens, and it gives the game that nostalgic Resident Evil vibe. They allow people with older PCs to enjoy the game, and they help to make even slow zombies feel challenging. They have also made development *a lot* easier for me, especially when it comes to multiplayer logic.

A criticism I hear a lot for open world games is that the zombies aren't a threat, and that you spend too much time wandering around empty landscapes. This is because it's technically very hard to have enough zombies running around (and other interesting stuff) at once to even remotely fill a large area like this. If DF2 were to go open world, then we'd have the same problems. I also feel we'd lose a lot of our uniqueness and become "yet another zombie survival game".

To turn DF2 into an open world game would mean completely rewriting half of the game. That could mean an entire year with no other updates, and the final result could end up being worse than what we have now. It would undoubtedly introduce a lot of new bugs and performance issues. Therefore I think making the game open world is simply not realistic any time soon. Maybe it's something I could look into a few years down the line, but to attempt it now I think would be a big mistake.

Having said all of that, I do understand that the loading screens can get annoying after a long play session. I think the most reasonable solution here is to simply skew future content towards more & larger outdoor areas with smaller building interiors. For example, a fairly large (but not huge) farm area with just a few buildings to visit, a forest with some shacks etc. Outpost attacks, world bosses and PvP zones will also happen outdoors, so I think that will help a lot to break up the door loading.

Too repetitive
I think this is just a side effect of me releasing such a small chunk of the game and will certainly improve over time. Once OAs, world bosses, barricading, competitions, PvP modes, crafting, clans etc are added I think the game will be bursting with variety. Content updates which not only expand the size of the world, but add completely new location types which again make the game feel a lot nicer too. Unfortunately all of this will take me some time to complete.

So in the short term, I plan to add some random events in the streets (such as bosses and mini-hordes). I will also be adding a dedicated outdoor PvP area. These updates should be quite quick and easy to add, and should make the game a little more interesting while you wait for the bigger updates.

Not enough content
The game does need more content, and it will definitely be added. Personally I'd like to see at least triple the number of weapons/armour/clothing, double the number of enemy types, lots more outdoor & indoor location types, a much higer level cap etc. All of these will be coming, but as with the bigger features, it will take me some time to complete. Instead of doing one big content drop, most likely I'll break them up into smaller sections and release them in between the bigger feature updates.

Inflation/market chaos
This is the zombie apocalypse, not shopping at Walmart! Total chaos is what we want! :)

However, inflation does need to reined in a little and so I will definitely be adding more cash sinks. One idea I quite like the idea of is an NPC that allows players to donate cash. When enough cash has been donated in a certain time period, everyone in the game will receive some kind of bonus (like more EXP). I will also add some more "normal" sinks like dying clothes, buying vehicles etc.

Market UI is annoying
Yes, it is a real pain to use currently, and so I will attempt to rework things to keep it all in one screen rather than flipping between constantly. I quite like this design posted on our subreddit: (by LilManticore)

This is a high priority since the market plays a huge part in the game. It also shouldn't take *too* long to complete.

UI Ugly/Needs Icons
Yes our UI is rather basic and not super fun to look at when compared to other modern games. I would definitely like to improve this at some point. However much like the door loading, this setup has made development much quicker and easier. Having such a simple text based system will allow me to add new features/content at a much faster pace. Therefore I think it would be unwise to move towards prettier, but harder to update system too early. This will be sorted, but right now it is at a low priority level.

Other UI Issues
Other than how it looks, the UI has a lot of other like quirks and can be quite fiddly at times. You guys have suggested a lot of little quality of life improvements (such as use/consume on loot, easier refuelling, sorting, stacking etc)  and luckily most of these will not be especially hard to add in. Therefore I will be looking to apply as many of these as I can in the very near future.

Updates Coming Soon
To sum everything above up, here is what I'm planning to add in the very near future:
  • Mini random outdoor events like bosses and hordes
  • A dedicated outdoor pvp zone
  • An automap
  • Market redesign
  • Small UI qol improvements
  • Small mission improvements
  • Cash sink(s)
  • Bug fixes! (as always)

Updates Coming Not Quite So Soon
After the above are complete, I will mostly like move on to Outpost Attacks and the first content update :)

Sorry for this huge wall of text guys. I hope all of that communicates what's going on in my brain currently, and should at least give you a vague idea of how the game in going to progress in the coming weeks/months. No doubt this will disappoint some of you who were hoping for bigger things. Please do remember that I'm only one guy, with a wife and 4 young kids to look after, so there are limits to what I can realistically achieve.

Still, I really do think that the final version of DF2 will be pretty damn amazing, and I'm really excited about the future :)

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday 8 August 2018

DF1 > DF2 Rewards and Name Reservations are live!

Please follow these steps to reserve your username, clan name (if you own one) and claim your DF2 rewards:
  1. Go to and login to your DF1 account

  2. Put any items you wish to claim (VC, WC, Dusk etc) into your inventory. Items in storage or trading won't count.

  3. Go to the following link:

  4. Read all of the information on screen and then enter your main email address (the one you plan to use with DF2) into the two boxes and click submit.

    NOTE: Once you have entered an email, you cannot change it. Make sure you get it right the first time!

  5. You should then receive a confirmation of your name reservation(s) and DF2 rewards.

  6. If you have any other DF1 accounts, return to step 1 and repeat. You can apply rewards from multiple accounts to a single email address.

  7. When DF2 launches, create an account with the same email address and complete the
    confirmation process. Once that is done, log out and back in again, and you should then have access to your credits and cosmetic rewards. In addition, only you will be able to make a character or a clan with the reserved names.

  8. Enjoy all your free stuff!


  • Once you have linked a DF1 account to an email, you cannot link it to any other email.

  • You can claim rewards multiple times. So for example you can claim at level 200, then claim again at level 325 and get the extra rewards.

  • Multiple DF1 accounts can be linked to the same email.

  • The email you choose does NOT have to be the same as the email entered for that DF1 account.

  • Wraith Cannons and Gau-19s (non unlimited ammo versions) will get permanently marked once they have been claimed. That means they cannot be claimed again.

  • The name that gets reserved is your DF1 username (not the character name, which is not unique).

  • Reserving a name does not mean that you *have* to use it in DF2.

Sunday 5 August 2018

Raw gameplay footage & other news before launch

Gameplay Video
As of today we have just over 42k wishlists on Steam. Even though this isn't quite the 50k target I previously set, I've decided that it's close enough (we'll probably get there by launch day anyway). So I've gone ahead and made an unedited 10 minute video of Dead Frontier 2 gameplay. Of course it's still not 100% done, but I think it's good enough to show at this point. Unlike bigger developers I didn't have time to pre-plan this, or setup anything special to show off; we literally just launched the game and recorded whatever we happened to come across. Hopefully you guys will like what you see :)

See the video here:

Alpha Testing
We began the alpha testing process with just over 20 people a few weeks ago and I'm pleased to say that things have gone very well. The feedback from the testers has been incredibly positive. Whilst there were some issues, they were all fairly minor and I've managed to iron pretty much all of them out already. With just a handful of bugs left to fix I am now very confident that the game will be both stable and fun to play on launch day.

Only 26 days to go!
I can't believe there is less than a month to go until launch day. The time has just whizzed by (for me at least!). I've still got a lot to get done in that time and that unfortunately means that this will probably be my last blog post before EA begins. For those who are interested, this is what I still have to get done (in order of priority):

  • DF1 > DF2 Reward system
  • Final bug fixes/tweaks
  • Books/journals
  • Basic main storyline
  • Server upgrades
  • Final load test
  • Premium cosmetics system
  • Storage upgrades
  • Marketing/Advertising 

That is a lot to get done in such a short period of time, but I think I can do it (just about). Regardless of if I get it all in or not, the game will launch on August 31st (10am BST).

Name Reservation and DF1 Rewards
This is currently the highest priority item on my todo list, and I'm hoping to have this system ready within the next few days. Once it's done I'll be posting in all the normal locations (Discord, Reddit, Forums etc) with instructions on how to claim these.

If you haven't already, please do add DF2 to your Steam wishlist, that way you'll be notified the moment the game is launched:

Thanks for reading!

Friday 6 July 2018

Official Trailer, New Screenshots and More

Offical Trailer Released
I'm happy to report that the trailer for Dead Frontier 2 is now complete and can be seen here:

Hope you like it!

Development News
To be perfectly honest there hasn't been a whole lot more to report from the past month or so. I've basically had my head down, fixing bugs and polishing like crazy for the last few weeks. It's not very exciting, but it's very necessary!

I still have a few features left to complete for the EA release, but these are all non-essential items to the core gameplay, such as payments, support system, DF1 reward system, name reservation, achievements etc. Therefore I intend to start closed alpha testing without these implemented. This should be in just a few days time, and I plan to start contacting people tomorrow. 

Overall I think the game is shaping up REALLY nicely, and I'm now pretty confident that most of you will like it (if not love it) =D

Marketing Time
Originally I had planned that by now the EA version of the game would be totally finished, and I'd be able to focus 100% of my attention on to marketing and hyping up the game. Unfortunately I still have a fair bit left to do including: last minute features, bug fixes, balancing & responding to alpha testing feedback. This means that my marketing efforts are going to take a bit of a hit. I'll still do my best, but it's not quite the ideal situation.

Luckily there is something you guys can do to help. There are a lot of places on the internet with people who might be interested in DF2, such as discords, sub-reddits, forums etc. Unfortunately it's normally not allowed for developers to self-promote in these locations, but in most cases fans posting about upcoming games is fine as long as they are real members of that community (not just dropping in to post a link).

If just 10% of you posted the DF2 trailer link in one location each, that would probably result in a huge number of new Steam wishlists, and would get us over that 50k threshold in no time at all. And as I promised before, once we hit that target I'll post a full 20 minute long video of unedited gameplay footage (which should then boost wishlists 100k =D )

For the record I am not suggesting you all become a bunch of spammers. The last thing I want is for anyone to get into to trouble. So please make sure  that you only post in places where people might actually be interested in DF2 (places dedicated to gaming, zombies, horror etc), follow the rules of your community and (where necessary) get permission from the moderators first.

Thanks a ton in advance for any of you that do decide to do this. And remember sharing on facebook or even just telling your friends directly about the game will also be a massive help.

New Screenshots
In addition to the trailer I've also updated our screenshots and Steam page. 

If you haven't already, please do add DF2 to your Steam wishlist, that way you'll be notified the moment the game is launched:

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Gameplay Footage, Rewards, Release Day & More!

Gameplay Footage
Right now the number of people who have added Dead Frontier 2 to their Steam wishlist stands at just under 20,000. A Steam employee recently said that in order to receive front page promotion from them, games would generally need around 50,000 wishlists just prior to their launch. I would of course *really* like to hit this target but we're going to need some serious help in order to hit that before the end of August. We really need everyone to tell their friends (both IRL and social media) about the game, and try to convince them to add it to their wishlist.

As a small incentive, I have decided to release a raw, 20 minute long, unedited video of DF2 gameplay footage for you all as soon as we reach 50,000 wishlists. The sooner we hit the goal, the sooner I'll release the video. So if you haven't already, please tell all your friends about DF2 and encourage them to add it to their wishlists :-)

Our Steam page:

Honestly this is not something I'd ideally like to do, as I don't think the game is quite ready show yet. However if it helps us get to 50k wishlists I think it'll be worth it.

Don't worry though, even if we don't hit the target there will still be a trailer and some shorter gameplay clips released once we get closer to the release date.

Release Date
After a lot of contemplation I have decided that now is the time to announce the final, fixed release date for Dead Frontier 2 EA. That date is (drumroll please)...

10am GMT on August 31st 2018

I know a lot of you were hoping for July or even June, but unfortunately that is just not possible. I strongly feel that if I were to release the game in the middle of summer that it would be a bit of a disaster. It still needs a lot of polish, balancing and most importantly bug fixing before I would consider it ready for launch.

For those of you who are hoping to beat me with the "neil time" stick, remember that August 31st is still summer so this is not *technically* a delay! =D

Alpha Testing

Previously I said that I would be accepting applications for people who'd like to be alpha testers soon. The plan was that everyone would fill out a questionnaire and I'd review them and pick the best. Unfortunately I've come to realise that this method would just not be practical.

The writing competition had over 1,000 entries and it took Ian and I a long time to go through them all and pick the best. Alpha Testing applications would likely have 10x the amount of entrants and the amount of time we'd need to pick people would be simply unmanageable. So we have decided to scrap the idea of accepting applications all-together.

The new plan is simply that I will be picking people semi-randomly from those active on our discord server when the time comes. If you haven't already you can join our discord server here:

I now expect that the alpha testing will begin in mid to late June (yes I know, *another* delay!)

DF1 > DF2 Cosmetic Rewards
As you may already know we are offering rewards in DF2 for people who play DF1. Basically any credits you bought (including via GM) in DF1 from 2017 onwards, until the EA release of DF2 will be duplicated in DF2 for you to spend there. In addition we are offering cosmetic rewards for reaching certain milestones in DF1. I am please to say that we can finally show you exactly what you'll be getting for each:

Nomad Armour Set

Level 20 or higher:
Nomad Boots
Nomad Gloves

Level 50 or higher:
Nomad Legs

Level 100 or higher:
Nomad Body

Level 200 or higher:
Nomad Mask

Level 325:

Dusk Enforcer

Owning any of the Dusk items:
Dusk Mesh Set

Owning a UWC or UGAU:
(all of the following)




Nine Cutter

Owning a WC or GAU: (both of the following)

Desert Rat

Owning a Vengeance Guard:

Vengeance Guard Set

Owning Ghost Ammo: (both of the following)
Corpse Shooter


Owning an Ultra Boost:
Pumpkin Mask

Hope you like them! =D

If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here:

Thanks for reading!

Friday 11 May 2018

Writing Competition Winners

As you may remember we held a writing competition last month. We had a huge number of entries (well over 1,000) so it took us a bit longer than we had planned to go through them all.

The vast majority of the entries were really good and it was incredibly tough deciding on the winners.  However Ian (Xaelath) and I have finally managed to decide on the winning submissions.

The winners and their entries are:

Armand H,  Police Transcript & DOD Letter

Tsvetoslav S, Horologist

Oliver C, Diary of Tim Newman 1-3

Jesus K, To Maria Santos

Joule P C, Newborn Baby

Vincent N, I told Bill not to bring the .22. 1-4

"Lucian", Flight Transcript & An Essay on the Degree of Consciousness

"BrightsideGuy", Necrophilliac's Note

"Jack", 3 Entries: Notes from Jack/Elizabeth

Abel O, Chili Con Canine

Nadera M, The Stew

Jordan B, Filth outside my door again

Stephanie H, Photographer's Diary

T.S. Eleanore, My Sweet Little Child

"ClockworkCookie", The Beasts 1-4

S. D. Kang, Because she was Penny to me

Jessica N, Mary-Ann

Well done to you all! I really can't wait to put these pieces into the game.

If you are one of the winners you should already have received an email from us detailing the next steps. Unfortunately, if your name doesn't appear above, and you haven't already received an email then that means you were unsuccessful. Even so, thank you very much for taking part and don't give up on the writing! We may very well hold another one of these competitions soon :)

Saturday 5 May 2018

Dead Frontier 2: Tendril Boss, Concept Art & More!

Boss Teaser
So today I was messing around with some ideas for segments we could use in the Dead Frontier 2 trailer, and this was one of the first things I came up with. I thought it looked fairly neat on it's own so figured I'd post it up here for you guys:

If you're unfamiliar with DF1, this is a Tendril; the second most hated of all enemies due to her rapid speed and hard hitting tentacles. I'm pleased to say that we're bringing back this loathsome creature as a boss in DF2. She is pretty much finished and ready to go into the game. I must admit I'm not looking forward to actually fighting her though!

Release Woes
So I know back in January I gave you guys a bunch of options on what we should do with the planned release date. You wanted me to delay the game until it was properly finished, and not launch as an Early Access title. Giving myself the extra time was a *huge* help, and the game is definitely a lot better for it. However I still don't believe it will now be fully feature complete by our Summer deadline. 

I've weighed up the options and I've decided that I don't want to delay the game any further. The truth is I work so much faster when I have a bit of pressure, and another extension might just allow me to slip back into my usual, slower pace. Not to mention, I'm so hyped about the game that *I* can't wait to let you guys in so I've got someone to play with :-)

So the release will be Early Access on Steam. However that doesn't mean it'll be a broken buggy mess either. We will still have gone through an alpha testing period to iron out most of the problems first. My goal is to have a nice, polished core game game loop for everyone to enjoy at launch. I will then get to work on the less critical features such as clan systems, competitions etc.

Writing Competition Update
A big thanks to everyone who submitted an entry for the writing competition. Unfortunately because we've had so many entries (well over 1000) it's taking Ian (Xaelath) and I longer than expected to go through them all and do the judging. I suspect we'll probably need another week or so to pick the final winners. If you're one of the lucky ones you will receive an email from me with details on how to go about getting your prize.

Since I've been bombarded with so many messages from people wanting to support DF2 financially, I've setup a Patreon page here:

I don't want you guys to feel obliged to do this, honestly we do already have enough money to complete the game and the most important thing you can do to help us is: play it, write a nice review on Steam, tell your friends about it etc. But if you're still feeling the urge to send us some pennies it would allow us to spend a bit more on launch advertising (which can make a big difference).

We've recently setup a Discord server for Dead Frontier 2. This is quickly becoming my favourite social platform as it allows me to communicate with players/fans in the most convenient fashion. If you haven't already joined please follow this invite link. I'm online a fair bit there so if you have any questions feel free to drop in and ask.

Other Development News

- After making some optimizations to the multiplayer system I've decided to increase the player limit per instance to 8. This should help to make the game feel a bit more like an MMO.

- Our server company recently had a sale at their Singapore data-center,  so I went ahead and snapped up one of their machines. Now anyone from East Asia or Australia should be able to get a decent ping.

- I'm SUPER HYPED about this game now. It's gotten to the point where it's hard to get any actual work done because all I want to do is run around with a shotgun and blow zombie heads off. I can't imagine how awesome this game is going to feel once I've got some of you guys to play with. 

Concept Art
Here is some of our enemy concept art. These pieces were made by Greg Taylor and Milen Kalachev. Please note that not *all* of these designs will be in the the final game. Can you guess which ones will make the cut?

If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here: :)

Thanks for reading!

Friday 30 March 2018

Dead Frontier 2: Potato Mode, Servers & More

Potato Mode
Ever since I posted up the first screenshots of Dead Frontier 2, one of the most common questions I've been asked is "will my PC be able to run this?". Since the screenshots are fairly modern and shiny (in my opinion anyway) it would be easy to think that DF2 is only going to work on rigs sporting the latest graphics cards, and that people with laptops or slightly older hardware would be left out.

However one thing I've always insisted on throughout my 15 year indie game development career is that my games should run on the most machines possible. So in the last week I've been working on providing as many graphics settings options as I can. You can now literally enable/disable just about every feature of the 3D engine. If you're not well versed on all the different technical details, I've also added some general profiles for different types of hardware.

One of those profiles is "Potato Mode" which pretty much disables everything. I'll warn you, it doesn't look pretty, but I think it's an option worth having for those with weaker PCs.

Based on my recent testing with these different modes, I've now lowered the minimum system requirements to:

OS: 64-bit Windows
Processor: Intel Core i3 or AMD FX
Memory: 2 GB RAM
Graphics: Radeon HD 8550 or equivalent
DirectX: Version 9.0
Network: Broadband Internet connection
Storage: 5 GB available space

These are pretty much the exact specs on my own budget laptop that I bought almost 5 years ago. To be honest, while running in potato mode I suspect that game might even run on something much weaker, but I'm loathed to suggest lower requirements than this until I've been able to verify them first hand. I'm hoping that during alpha testing we'll get an idea how it works on some truly awful hardware =D

Another big thing I've done since the last report is setup all the final servers for the game. The DF1 open beta launch was a huge disaster, and that is something I'm hoping to avoid this time around. I am expecting there to be up to 20,000 players online in the first day DF2 is on Steam, and I need to make sure we can accommodate all of them.

Using and 13 different cloud instances (virtual machines) I simulated over 40,000 concurrent players on the servers. And whilst the loading times did increase slightly, I'm pleased to report that the game was still very much playable and fun. This is honestly a huge win for me, as it was something I was really worried about. It's good to know that if necessary, we can handle 10 times the load that we had for DF1.

For multiplayer, we currently have servers in North America, UK and Poland. I am eventually hoping to add more in South America and Singapore so that everyone can have a nice low ping. However the reality is that bandwidth costs are something like 15 times higher in those areas, so it's only something we can afford to do if the game proves popular in those locations.

General Progress Info
I'm happy to report that my motivation to work hard on DF2 is sky high. One reason why I've been taking so long to get this report written is that I've just been so focused on getting the game done ASAP. At this point all I do breath, eat and sleep DF2.

Just to make you all aware, these features are still missing from the game:
- Clan System
- Competitions
- Item > Item Trade
- Outpost Attacks
- Barricading

My plan is still to complete them all by summer, but for now I am focusing on making the core game (looting, hunting zombies, boss fights, missions, leveling etc) as fun and addictive as possible. If it comes to it, I would much rather release a fun and polished core game, with some features missing, than a boring feature complete game.

That's pretty much it for now, but figured I'd leave you with a couple more random screenshots I took over the last week:

If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here: :)

Thanks for reading!

Thursday 22 March 2018

Dead Frontier 2: Writing Competition

One thing I've always liked in games is the ability to find various notes, journals and books scattered around which contribute towards the atmosphere and develops the lore.

Dead Frontier 1 did have a handful of books you could find with neat little stories in them. However I regret that we didn't have more of them. For Dead Frontier 2 I'd like to change this, and have a far greater variety of these. Whilst I enjoy writing things like this, the truth is I won't have time to make many of these on top of my other programming and design work.

So this is where you come in! 
We're looking original pieces of creative writing set in the Dead Frontier world. We'll be accepting submissions until the end of April. We'll then choose 10 pieces to be put into the final game (or more if there are a lot of really good ones!). Those pieces will be immortalised forever in Dead Frontier 2, the writer will get their name in the credits and they will receive $50 USD via PayPal for each piece we accept.

  1. The piece must be set in the Dead Frontier universe IE the zombie apocalypse. Please no flying unicorns or star destroyers etc. We're not going to nitpick over small details though, and we can always edit out little things that don't quite fit. DF2 is not set in Fairview, but it's fairly close so you're welcome to reference things from DF1 if you wish. The general backstory can be found here if you need a refresher:
  2. It should be in the form of a journal, report, set of notes, book, or something a player might realistically find lying around. Don't write it in the form of an actual story/novel :) If you need some examples take look at these:
  3. Don't make the piece too long, otherwise players probably won't read it. We're probably talking about 150-300 words each.
  4. You can submit as many entries as you like. You can make each entry a separate piece of work or you can chain them together to make a series for the player to collect. You will receive $50 USD for each piece we accept.
  5. Please write in English with good grammar, punctuation and spelling.
  6. Try to be creative! The more unique your piece the more chance we'll choose it. We don't want to end up with 100s of "oh no I'm a zombie, itchy scratchy" pieces :)
  7. Keep the tone dark and serious as much as possible.
  8. It must be your own, brand new, 100% original work (although you are of course allowed to use other things for inspiration etc)
  9. If you win you must sign a short contract with us, which basically allows us to use the work in the game.
  10. You must be 18 or over to enter.
  11. We're just looking for simple pieces of text to add atmosphere. Please don't plan out complex missions or cut scenes etc to go with them

Email all entries to [email protected] with the writing directly in the email as we may not be able to open some types of attachment. Please be sure to include your full name, address (for the contract), PayPal email and name you want to use for the credits (either your actual name, a nickname or a username). If you are accepted your name/nickname will be published in the game credits, but we of course won't publish any other details about you. If you do not have a PayPal account we can always give you Dead Frontier credits instead.

If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here: :)

Thanks for reading!

Sunday 18 February 2018

DF2 Gameplay Video, Steam Page & Release News

Steam Page
I'm pleased to report that our Steam page is now live:

The main reason we've done this early is that it's important for us to get a lot of follows & wishlists on Steam, as this helps to make the game more popular once it's released. So if you could log into your Steam account, view the above link and then click "Add to wishlist" that would be really helpful. It's probably a good idea to do this even if you are already signed up to the mailing list, or are following us on social media, because unfortunately there is no guarantee you'll always see our news (due to spam filters etc). The Steam system is much more reliable at reaching players.

Gameplay Video
As a requirement for making our Steam page live I had to post a game-play video, so I've made a very quick sneak peek. Hopefully this will give you guys some idea of how the final game will look and feel. As always though please remember this is not final, and I do expect that the actual game will be even better than this:

Release Date Change
If you remember last month I asked the community about the best course of action going forward. I was slipping behind schedule and the April 2018 release date started to look a little hard to hit. I got an overwhelming response, and by far the most popular option was to delay the release and try to have a much more complete game on launch. So that's exactly what I'm doing.

The new target date is Summer 2018, ideally July. That should give me plenty of time to complete all the core mechanics. I apologise to all those who were really looking forward to playing in April, but I really think that waiting a bit longer will be well worth it in the long run.

Progress Report
Since the last post I've made a lot of improvements to the game. Combat, especially melee is feeling much nicer and I've added a lot of active abilities such as dodging, kicking, sneaking etc. In terms of features the missions, boss & NPC systems are now complete. I've also pretty much finished the UI and menu designs.

It was actually quite a relief to know that you guys weren't going to rage about a delayed release, and as a result I'm no longer "rushing" which I feel has meant that the quality of my work has improved.

If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, like/follow/subscribe/wishlist us on social media (especially Steam!). All those lovely links can be found here: :)

Thanks for reading!

Saturday 13 January 2018

Dead Frontier 2: January Progress Update

Unfortunately I don't have a whole lot of meaningful progress to report today. The normal cocktail of the kids being off school for the holidays, Christmas gatherings, a bout of the flu and the all our company & personal accounts being due in January basically left me with no where near as much time to work on DF2 as I had planned. Although I have made progress in many areas, I haven't gotten to the stage where I feel comfortable enough to mark them off my checklist as "done". I can tell you that I am currently working on the noticeboard/mission system and I hope to have it totally complete before the end of this month.

Still as time rolls on I have to admit that the April 21st launch date is starting to look a little shaky. I still have a lot of features to implement and even once those are all finished, there will still be a lot of work to do in terms of setting up the final server machines, load testing, play-testing, balancing and marketing. The way I see it there are a few possible options:

Option A
I launch publicly on April 21st no matter what, as "Early Access". Any features that are missing at this time will have to be implemented post release. I believe this is easily possible, but means that the initial game will have less to do. It also means that it will take a lot longer for the final features to be implemented, as I will no doubt get sidetracked with other issues (cheating, abuse, balancing, bugs etc). Some early players may lose interest too quickly and leave before they see the game in it's final form.

Option B
I launch the closed beta on April 21st, inviting a good chunk of people (perhaps 2000?) but not everyone. This is similar in some ways to Option A, but because it's not a huge amount of people there should be less distracting issues to sort out. I should be able to get the final features done much quicker, whilst also learning some valuable information about the game. Downside is many people will still be unhappy as they have to wait. In addition videos/streams of early bugs and issues may cause people to lose interest in the game before they even get to try it.

Option C
Delay the release until it's properly done. This should in theory give us the best game possible in the shortest amount of time. My current thinking is that an extra 2 months would be more than enough. However even this cannot be guaranteed and I am aware that shorter deadlines do make me more focused. I definitely don't want to become the next Star Citizen, delaying the release for a year or more etc.

I honestly haven't decided either way yet. What do you guys think? I'd be very interested to hear what you all think in the comments section. As normal I'll be keeping a close eye on these for the first few days and will do my best to reply to as many of them as possible.

So this post isn't just a bunch of boring, ugly words: behold! Shiny concept art & new logo!

If you'd like to stay up to date with DF2 developments, please sign up to the mailing list, Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, and subscribe to the Reddit forum (probably the best place to ask questions). All those lovely links can be found here: :)

Thanks for reading!