Last week, we covered 7 Days to Die, an upcoming zombie survival game. We got a big response to the article, so we contacted Joel from ‘The Fun Pimps’ to tell us more about the project. 

Hi Joel, what’s your role within The Fun Pimps?

Everything has a purpose and survival buffs will appreciate the attention to detail.

I’m the lead game designer but I wear many pimp hats for this project. I mostly create art and animations when I’m not balancing the game, which is a huge task for a game like this. There are so many recipes and things you can build, it’s an endless process tweaking the loot lists and values. I’ve learned a lot of trivia making this game, one of the main goals was to not have any useless clutter in the game. Everything has a purpose and survival buffs will appreciate the attention to detail we’ve spent researching ores, plants and potential uses of everything you can find in the game. Like the desert yucca plant can bear fruit, be used for weaving ropes and baskets, and other real world uses so we make sure to make the most of every item we add to the game.

Where are you guys based?

We are primarily located in Dallas Texas but we have contract workers in the whole country and also overseas in Europe. We have regular meetings using Skype and tools like Google documents.

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A nice bit of subterranean zombie action, in this exclusive screenshot sent to us by the Pimps.

In a short amount of time, 7 Days to Die has generated a lot of hype around it. What do you think it is about sandbox zombie survival games that gamers love so much?

Well I think there is a survivor in all of us. The freedom that a sandbox world offers to allow you to go anywhere, do anything, and face challenges on your own terms strikes a chord with a lot of gamers out there. And 7 Days to Die maximizes that freedom since you can build your own fort, destroy anything, loot, craft weapons, traps, and other useful items in a world full of flesh eating zombies.

Could you tell us some more about the survival features in 7DTD? How will you implement things like the hunting shown in the trailer?

This is a thinking mans game, where setting up a fort during the day and rigging the place with traps, building or reinforcing walls and anything else you can think of to keep them back and away is a wise move.

First of all you need food and water. Secondly you will need shelter because at night the zombies can run as fast as you can and unless you have some serious weapons it is very unlikely you can survive out in the open at night. There are just too many of them in your face. This is a thinking mans game, where setting up a fort during the day and rigging the place with traps, building or reinforcing walls and anything else you can think of to keep them back and away is a wise move. Hunting is just like in real life. You see a wild animal you can try to kill it with whatever weapons you have at your disposal. And then you can loot it’s meat, eat it raw, cook it, or even make a stew with other foods and gain benefits than by eating it raw doesn’t give you.

We’re very interested in the “Dynamic Block Stability Physics System”. Could you tell us more about what it might mean for a player building something in the game?

Well for starters, a floating block is not possible. Everything has gravity and weight. And if you build something out too far from a supporting structure a large section of it will snap off and fall down. If you are below it, that means you could take damage or die from being crushed by the weight of the falling structure. Also each material has its own structural integrity which means iron beams can extend out further than stone or wood can without collapsing. When an improperly supported block has too much weight on it even from the player or zombies it can fall beneath their feet.

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You list on your website a “zombie nomad mode”. Could you tell us more about it?

Zombie nomad mode is a multiplayer game mode feature we have planned for beta but we aren’t talking about it just yet.

 A lot of people have compared 7DTD to games like Minecraft and Dayz. What will you bring to the table in order to convince people this isn’t just another Minecraft knock-off?

For one, the zombies are a real threat. I loved Minecraft but I didn’t like how easy it was to just jump on a block and put another block under your feet and build a tower to the sky and be safe within a few seconds. In 7DTD the zombies will attack the blocks below you and bring the tower down or even dog pile on each other like in the upcoming movie World War Z. Or they can rip your house down if its weak. Secondly the world is hand crafted with points of interest. This gives the player a reason to explore. Although we are considering a random world generator for online play and user maps as an option. 

In 7DTD the zombies will attack the blocks below you and bring the tower down or even dog pile on each other.

Another concept MC rarely uses that we are really pushing is multi staged crafting. For example, you craft a weapon from a barrel, a trigger assembly and a stock. This is after smelting ingots and forging tubes, chopping trees and sawing wood, etc. Then after the weapon is created, you can still tape a flashlight to it or enhance it in other ways. We’re pushing for a deep crafting experience where there is reward for innovation and experimentation.

And finally, and probably the biggest difference is that we are planning to add RPG elements so I’d hope people compare us to Fallout 3 more than DayZ. There will be skill leveling, perks, item degradation and repair, stealth, diversion tactics and quests using DSTS or our Dynamic Story Telling System in the final version of the game. I’m a huge Bethesda fan and I’ve never even played DayZ so if any of their concepts are similar then it was purely by coincidence.

Thanks Joel. Finally, will the game have an extended alpha/beta testing period?

Yes. We want to make the game the best it can be and nothing good is ever rushed, and community feedback is important to us.

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7 Days to Die is due to be released in October 2013. More info can be found on the official website.