DayZ alpha program detailed

DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall has returned from climbing Mount Everest (no, really), and he’s ready to talk about the standalone version of the game (including a rough pricing structure). Right now, it turns out that DayZ is in a very small, “closed alpha” state with less than 100 people playing the game.

The current crop of gamers has been hand-picked from the community, with just one server running the entire game, but Hall has big plans for expansion, inspired by another super-popular PC release.

From here, once we’ve finished our server/client architecture — because we’re moving it an MMO model — we’re reviewing the situation of that in June, and then we do an alpha, just like Minecraft. People pay X amount of dollars and they get early, cheap access to it, and then once it’s beta, price goes up, maybe, say, $10, and once it goes retail, the price goes up $10.

Hall also explains to Gamasutra that Steam has been an incredible help in making the entire game experience possible. A key part of this is delta patching – “That’s where, instead of downloading the whole file when it updates, it just downloads the part [that has changed.]”

This means that when the game alpha launches later this year, it will likely have two options for fans: A stable build, or an experimental one, which developers were working on just hours earlier.

We don’t necessarily know how it’s going to go. A lot of this is an experiment. But I think it’s a cool experiment, and we’re lucky that we can do that, because of the success of DayZ and the sales of Arma 2, it’s kind of given us carte blanche to experiment. And we’re going to make a lot of mistakes, and we do, but I think that’s good. It’s good for the title and it’s good for us to do.

The full interview goes into some serious detail about the ups and downs of developing DayZ, including the perils of permadeath, the difficulties of trying to be unique, and the many risks faced by the dev team.

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