HvZ started at DSU around 2009 but a one of our schools computer game design professors and some students. Since, there has been at least one game run every semester, though the tradition has been one weekend game (Friday/Saturday/Sunday) and a two week game (Wednesday – Wednesday), much like what we’re running this semester. Every game has been different of course. We’ve run specifically winter games and last year, I wrote an iteration of the game that ran in reverse, with the majority of players starting as Zombie and a group of humans coming in to “cure” the virus. We’ve also implemented some features like the shop which was so popular we’ve brought it back almost every game since.
Wednesday, the game started at noon as per tradition and we kicked it off with, unfortunately, kind of a shabby mission. We were expecting to see some awful weather on Wednesday. It tends to be just our luck that the weather turns sour as soon as we start HvZ. Even our weekend game was blasted by the weather. Thursday before it started, the temperature had been about 50°F, turned around to a 25°F weekend, and then it was beautiful on Monday again. But Wednesday didn’t turn out to be as bad as they predicted and we’re looking at great weather for most of the rest of the game. Which is awesome because last spring game, we had to cancel the game part way through due to a winter storm that cancelled school for two days.
Our Wednesday mission was relatively basic, with the players being asked to cross campus, meet with our Scientist character, and then decide as a group if they wanted to see what was in his mysterious crate or in his pockets (both of which were loaded with stuff) before returning to lunch. The mission was mostly set up just to get some game currency out to the players quickly. The currency is made up of a combination of Mardi Gra beads and plastic coins.
The beads are great because they hang in trees really well while the coins are easy to scatter on the ground. It’s been a great motivator to keep players outside and active but it also allows them to purchase items like reduced or increased stun timer for the zombie horde, a stun reversal pill (which is real candy so I mean, you can earn free candy by being a zombie) and even a free pass to class if you get enough coins.
Thursday was free of any missions and meant to simply let players play which went well and we saw our Patient Zero (what most games call their OZ) create a power zombie who turned quite a few humans within one morning. Last night we had another mission, much more of a traditional mission that we do almost every game, called Smoking with the General. The main idea is for the players to get together (back in the day it used to be a much more influenced event but we’ve sense asked players to keep the partying to a minimum during the mission) and tell stories, figure out a riddle, or work together in some way. So we hid a huge rebus puzzle in envelopes around the area of a statue of one of our schools former Presidents, General Beadle, asked humans to find them, and then figure out the puzzle which contained the details of today’s mission.
It went well without a single human death and they managed to solve the puzzle so I would say so far, the game has been a success. Thank god, because I’ve been so busy with our campus’s production of Brighton Beach Memoirs going on, I’ve been busy with dress rehearsals and my job so this game has been a bit more pulled together last minute then our usual games.
Speaking of which, I’m off to another game planning meeting! Mission this afternoon! Will update soon!