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Safe Zone - Travel across a zombie-infested USA to a safe zone on the West coast.
Safe Zone - Travel across a zombie-infested USA to a safe zone on the West coast.
167 backers pledged $6,047 to help bring this project to life.


For this update, we wanted to get your opinion on a design question that has been bothering us for a while. Because the game is played from an old school, top-down forced perspective, we have a couple of options for how to handle going up and down stairs in Safe Zone, and wanted to give you guys a chance to weigh in on it.

Option 1:

The player clicks the staircase and a dialogue pops up, asking if he would like to go to the next story. If the player clicks yes, the current floor fades to the next floor, which is placed directly on top of the first floor. The player character is moved to the top of the staircase on this floor.

  • The same method can be applied to ladders, ropes, and other transition objects.
  • It would have a cool 3D look to it. Things outside the building would get smaller as you went up.
  • Ease of transition. There would be no struggle to shoot down the stairs at a zombie on a level below you, with the floor of the second level in the way of your vision.

  • Interrupts flow with a brief loading screen, and by moving the player character slightly.
  • Enemies would need a new (probably less intuative) method to chase you up stairs.

Option 2:

The player walks up the staircase the same way he would walk anywhere (the arrow keys or WASD). There is a quick fade as the next floor loads, but it is offset from the first floor by the height of the walls. The player character’s position does not change on the screen.

  • No load screens between floors
  • You can be chased up the stairs by zombies.
  • The player character’s location on screen doesn’t change

  • We would need to use a different method of transition for ladders, ropes, elevators, etc.
  • It would take longer to initially load a level, or else there would be a load whenever the player entered a building.
  • The player can’t shoot between levels if he is being chased up stairs.

We are leaning towards option 2, but we want to hear all of your thoughts. What do you think? Do you have a third option we haven’t considered? Leave a comment and we can discuss!


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    1. John Skotnik on January 19, 2012

      I also support Option 2

    2. Blind Eye Games Creator on January 16, 2012

      Hey guys, thanks for your responses! We are leaning even further towards option 2. The big issue seems to be shooting between floors, and we are confident that we can work that out.

      We'd still like to hear from you, so post your thoughts, as stay tuned for future updates. We are definitely going to ask you for input in the future, this turned out great!

    3. Kirt Dankmyer
      on January 16, 2012

      Option 2, with maybe Option 1 for ladders and whatnot.

    4. Missing avatar

      Scatter on January 15, 2012

      The worse thing a game can do for a player is something automatic. Getting to close to a stairwell or a ladder and being sent somewhere I didn't want to go is beyond frustrating. It's a game killer.
      And yet being prompted if I want to go up stairs or up a ladder also bites.
      Using a quick prompt might be your only option. You may have a "use" key... have the player hit with the option "use" stairwell or "use" ladder. Yeah it sounds silly but the player obtains control.

    5. Missing avatar

      on January 15, 2012

      something to consider:

      An issue with option 2 (that has always driven me crazy on games) is that if you are running around and over shoot you can (by mistake) go upstairs and then be boxed in. I would recommend if this is used there at least be a confirmation pop up... or the option for a confirmation pop up in the configuration.

      Issue with option 1: if you are being chased and do want to go up stairs/rope/etc you would need to stop running to click

      Preference Modified method 1:

      Personally I would really like the effects as described in option 1 (even with the loading screen) but instead of clicking; have it be a run to (or onto) that location with a game pause pop up asking if you want to "go up stairs/down stairs.. etc)

      I think this solves most of the issues as the function/method could be used for all elevation changes.

    6. Richard Petrie on January 15, 2012

      Reviewing the post, I ask, why not have option one, but no clicking? Why not just "when player (or zombie) collides with rope/ladder/stair teleport to the new map? Maybe play an animation the makes it look like the player is moving on the ladder or something.

      Have the bottom half of the stairs on the first map, and the top half of the stairs on the second floor, both 2d.

      I would actually prefer method 1, but without clicking, and without popups. I would like an almost completely keyboard based action game. You have your use key, your inventory key, etc.

    7. praguepride
      on January 15, 2012

      I would lean towards 1 because if you can be attacked on stairs but cant shoot i can see frustrating deaths.

      Although the popup boxes are interrupting I find accidentally transitioning due to error or mistake more frustrating. I like the ability to abort.

      Then again to keep the difficulty curve up you cant allow players to transition to escape mobs.

      Perhaps a system that tracks how many mobs are around you at transistion. Thej when you spawn in the new level, 3 seconds later the mobs start spawning at the loading zone.

      It could be made really intense with a big 3...2...1 timer

    8. Missing avatar

      Leo Caldwell on January 15, 2012

      I can agree with option 2. I'm wondering, however, why you can't shoot enemies who are chasing up up stairs this way. This is being designed for the PC, at least to begin with, so it will be a "you shoot where you click" deal, right? if that is the case, then shouldn't it be possible to, at the very least, have the bullet 'drop' down one level when going over stairs, if you aim onto the stairs? I'm not much of a coder yet, but shouldn't that just require having a pair of areas which say "If player is shooting from a location in box one, and is aiming for a location in box two, the bullet switches to floor one when entering box 2" or something like that? I could be incredibly off, but I'm just trying to help with what possibly little knowledge I have.

      Of course, the whole thing would become potentially monstrously more complex depending on individual level design if its NOT a "point and click" setup, because having the shots automatically go down stairs when shooting from a possible angle would necessitate all stairs that go down also have a wall directly past them. so that zombies can't be just past the stairs and be untouchable from some angles.

      I hope this helps.

    9. Missing avatar

      Nohurtme on January 15, 2012

      I'm liking option 2 too, option 1 could still be used with the ladders and ropes and whatnot. It'd be nice to not get interrupted every time you went up or down the stairs.

    10. Richard Petrie on January 15, 2012

      I have to go with 2, just because I hate games that push weird dialogue boxes on the player. I hate almost all types of in-action popups.