I give you, ladies and gentlemen, the antithesis to last weeks shitpost about putting my least favorite enemies in UII. This is an actual suggestion for the heroes and villains of the post-infection world.
The general design philosophy here is akin to halo and doom, several different types of enemies that you gotta fight in different ways. I’ve seen far too many zombie suggestions where the only difference between entirely different types of zombie is an arbitrary percentage. If one thing sounds a lot like another in this post, call it out, I probably just did a poor job of explaining.
As for general influences for what I came up with, the first half-life was a pretty big one. Way back when I first read through Molten’s (excellent) lore and zombie posts, the whole thing was giving me major half-life vibes. I think Romero/L4D-style zombies combined with an almost Lovecraftian extradimensional virus would be really cool.
The Horror Aspect
I’ve seen some interesting ideas to make Unturned darker and more mature, but in general it all relies on imagery, which typically doesn’t work with a low-poly artstyle, some of the zombie concepts for this have been pretty cool, but a lot of them just didn’t fit the artstyle at all.
I would propose, instead of attempting to use low-poly gore, the focus would be on atmosphere, the old silent hill games are a perfect example, they didn’t rely on jumpscares or gore, the atmosphere was just extremely unsettling. I think something similar could be achieved in UII, an extremely foggy night, otherworldly shrieks and cries in the distance, you turn around and there’s a silhouette with red eyes staring back at you. Of course, it would be best if this was only on full moon, so I don’t have to deal with it every time I go to loot a town at 3 in the morning looking for beans.
Now, with all that out of the way, its time to meet our cast!
Superficially resembling 3.0’s walker, the new walker comes with some new tricks, and some new ailments. For starters, not all are the same, RNG would bless some of them with slightly increased speed, and others with slightly stronger attacks. These slightly random stats make it so that they don’t clump up as easily as they do in 3.0.
There would be two systems of pathfinding used, one akin to 3.0’s where some zombies would just make a beeline for the player, while the other would result in walkers attempting to flank and surround the player, ideally both types of pathfinding would be intermixed in the same horde, so that kiting is not nearly as easy as it is in 3.0.
The Walkers have also seemed to have picked up a fear of heights between games, they likely won’t follow you up past the third or fourth floor (unless its a full moon), making high buildings and rooftops somewhat of an escape route, although there would still be mutation that lacks this fear, more on that later.
The Walkers also of course still retain the abilities they had in 3.0, like if the host was wearing armor at the time of infection, the walker will have it too.
“The most common shape the infection takes, most of the host’s original physiology remains intact, while the host’s brain and organs are slowly consumed to provide energy until the form is able to feed. Dangerous in hordes and when facing one unarmed. Characterised by a standard humanoid shape and an apparent fear of heights, walkers will rarely venture higher than two to three stories off the ground. In the early days of the infection, many survivors sought refuge on rooftops and in the upper stories of buildings.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 21)
(Just imagine this guy but green and with claws)
The stalker is closely interrelated to the walker, however it is much more energetic and aggressive, in addition, the stalker does not have the walker’s fear of heights. Stalkers generally prefer to stay in buildings during the day and go out into the wilderness at night to hunt. The stalker uses the v2 denizen, I think looks kinda weird for a player, but it would make for a great monster. They would also feature claws akin to the headcrab zombies from half-life.
Stalkers would also be more intelligent, being able to play dead. I like the idea of the surprise someone would get after stumbling upon a stalker that they thought was dead. Ideally though there would have to be some subtle cue to let you know whether it’s dead or not so it doesn’t get annoying. Stalkers also wouldn’t have an idle sound, they are very much meant to be an “oh shit!” enemy, as in you turn a corner, see one, and go “oh shit!”.
As for their behavior when out and about at night, they would try to stay out of the player’s field of view, relying on stealth to try and sneak up on survivors.
“The Stalker, a mutation that meets the unfortunate criteria of being both dangerous and relatively common in certain areas. Much of the host’s muscle mass is eaten away, resulting in a tall and lanky appearance, and the host’s thumb, index, and middle fingers are extended to form long claws on both hands. Stalkers gain their name from their habit of venturing out of the cities at night to stalk the wilderness. They tend to be a relatively intelligent form, able to perform actions to trick their prey, such as playing dead. Stalkers typically remain silent until startled, however on the full moon they often emit screeches and cries of an otherworldly nature. Luckily, Stalkers are solitary predators, they will not form hordes with other infected forms. Downing a Stalker in melee is difficult, but not impossible, although it is advised to be wary of their claws, as they can cut deep and cause substantial bleeding.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 24)
The UII spitter probably wouldn’t be too much different from 3.0’s, the only gameplay changes I could think of were to revise the pathfinding so it tries to put distance between itself and the player, allowing it to use it’s main attack effectively, and decreasing the interval between acid salvos, in an attempt to make them a little more dangerous.
“A peculiar mutation, the spitter seems to have “evolved” the ability to spit acid at its prey through the use of glands in it’s stomach and an enhanced gag reflex. The acid is very effective against almost anything organic, and will even chew through thin metal sheeting, highlighting its potency. Attacking a spitter unarmed is not a wise idea, as soon as they are startled, they will attempt to put distance between themselves and their target so they do not burn themselves with their own acid, ranged attacks are the preferred way to combat spitters, but one must remain on the move so as not to get caught in the spitters line of fire.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 23)
Much like 3.0’s flamer, the boomer’s main attack is exploding. There’s… not much else to it, maybe having a bigger explosion in exchange for being rarer?
“Boomers, as they’ve been nicknamed by survivors, are infected forms that will attempt to approach their prey, and then set off a chemical reaction within their stomachs that results in a violent explosion. Firearms are a necessity when dealing with boomers, as it’s difficult, if not impossible, to kill one in melee and get away before it explodes. Boomer detonations will also typically alert other turned to the presence of a survivor.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 27)
(no image cuz’ they’re basically just a walker)
A former survivor that has fallen to the virus. Not really sure how to balance them as they might be carrying top-tier loot or just a shovel. Admittedly I don’t really have anything to say here as I only remembered them when I was almost done with drafting this post, so I’m leavin’ shades up to discussion.
Alright, so under my suggestion, in UII tanks and megas would be 2 separate types, tanks are just like 3.0’s megas, they have lots of health and they throw stuff at you. Megas, are now bosses, and they don’t even have to look like tanks, mega is just a general term.
So far as gameplay changes, tanks in UII would be able to pick up environment objects and throw them at players. Not really sure how it would work on a technical level though, so it might not be feasible.
“Somewhat of a rare mutation, tanks are infected humanoids that produce a chemical cocktail akin to heavy steroids, resulting in unrestricted muscle growth. It also makes them highly aggressive as they must feed in order to sustain this growth. They are known to pick up large objects and throw them at survivors during combat. Tanks are very strong and as a result they hit like a train in melee, so guns are the best way to deal with them, high-capacity magazines are recommended.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 22)
As I said above, a mega is just a general term for a boss, there is no one type of mega, it can be anything from a former human to some massive infected fly (which is why there’s no photo). The only similarity between megas is that they tend to be pretty big.
“Mega, catch-all slang used by survivors to describe an infected form that, for reasons that can only be speculated, has transcended it’s physical limitations and grown to an excessive size. In addition, many form mutations such as expelling acid and/or fire from special glands located in their throats, among other, rarer mutations. They are very resilient against generic small-caliber ammunition, big-bore firearms and/or armor-piercing ammunition are needed to down a mega, as well as a team of hardened survivors.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 25)
Is extradimensional even a word? Basically, if the virus comes from another dimension, you can assume it’s infected some weird shit over there. The above image is just one possibility, so all the modders out there can go nuts with weird enemy design. These forms would mainly be encountered on excursions and near excursion portals.
“Unfathomable horrors from beyond time and space, extradimensional forms are creatures from dimensions the virus has already taken over, as it is trying to do with ours. At least that’s what the rumours say, if anyone has ever encountered an extradimensional form, they didn’t live to tell the tale. Giving advice on how to deal with them is difficult, as most regard extradimensionals as nothing more than campfire tales.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 38)
The “good” faction, these guys mainly devote their time to attempting to rid the region of bandits, so if you’ve got a bad enough rep, you might wind up on their hit list.
“A faction made up of ex-military and law enforcement who seek to keep their oaths to protect the innocent. They are often friendly, but view the likes of bandits and cultists as utter scum who must be done away with if humanity is ever to return to the top of the natural order. While generally thought of as a force of good, they can often be misguided in their attempts to make the wasteland a less hostile place. Some of the worst atrocities that have taken place after the infection occurred at the hands of the Lawmen.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 18)
The most common human antagonists, bandits are a decentralized collection of thieves and murderers whose only connection to each other is a mutual non-aggression pact. Bandits would range wildly in skill and equipment, but even one bandit at the wrong time could be deadly. Some might be willing to leave you alone if you drop some gear, others will shoot you on sight. As far as tactics go,some bandits prefer to stay behind cover and flank the player over rushing them head on, whereas others would lay down suppressive fire to allow their buddies to get the drop on you, some might even attempt the stealthy approach.
“A bandit’s danger lies in its unpredictability, different gangs often have widely varying codes of conduct, if they have one at all. The tactics they use are very much determined by the resources available to them and personal preference among their ranks. It is generally recommended to avoid bandits at all costs.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 32)
These could be used as a variation of the bandit, but ideally their tactics would be different enough to warrant them being a different enemy. The main difference between bandits and cultists is that bandits have regard for their own life, cultists do not, and they reflect that in their tactics. Cultists will rush the player over open ground in an attempt to surprise them by initiating close-quarters combat. If they aren’t doing well in a fight, they might try to attract hordes of the infected to the player’s location.
“Individuals often react very differently when put in a situation of life or death, some will lie and steal to survive, some will hole up and cry, and others will seek to put their faith in a higher power, for better or for worse. The final group became the Cultists, a cabal of fanatic marauders who believe the apocalypse is divine. They see themselves as crusaders fighting the hubris of the human race, often taking part in acts outsiders would see as heinous, such as ritualistic consumption of the infected. They believe that any attempt to resist the infection is heresy, when one of their own contracts the virus, they are given powerful hallucinogens before being sacrificed. Due to their rather… unhealthy lifestyle, Cultists are often less intelligent then the average human being, a result of having trace amounts of the virus eating away at their brains for long periods of time. Cultists are best avoided, as despite their low intelligence, they have unparalleled devotion and ferocity; upon losing battles, they will often try to attract large turned hordes to devour their enemies, as well as themselves.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 35)
The Mountain Men
My personal favorite, The Mountain Men, heavily inspired by the HECU from half life and the faction of the same name from the tv series The 100.The idea is these guys are the big dogs, the NPC bosses akin to the attack helicopter and tank bosses in Rust. They patrol military bases and and other high-tier loot locations to prevent their ordnance stockpiles from falling into the wrong hands.
They mainly serve the gameplay purpose of making it so fresh spawns can’t just run into the military base, if you want raiding gear you have to fight for it. They also serve to keep larger groups in check, as they may see them as a threat. Actions like building massive bases and gathering raiding gear are a good way to provoke them. The mountain men remain clad in gas masks that heavily distort their voices (like the HECU).
“A reclusive, militaristic society, the mountain men lack immunity to the airborne strain of the virus, requiring them to wear gas masks and reside in sealed bunkers originally built in case of nuclear war. Their relative vulnerability resulted in a shared sentiment of paranoia and xenophobia, which heavily influences the actions they take out in the wasteland. Rumour has it that the mountain men were founded by the post-infection remnants of the defense contractor Scorpion-7, a potential reason for their technological prowess. They are by far the most technologically capable faction in post-infection North America, commonly making use of helicopters and armored vehicles.” (Surviving The Apocalypse For Dummies, page 15)
That’s all folks, I wrote this all in one sitting (took about three hours) so I might’ve missed some spelling errors, so if you see one point it out. As always, I look forward to discussion down below.