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Alpha 20 goes live for survival game 7 Days to Die

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The Fun Pimps have promoted Alpha 20 of 7 Days to Die to the stable release builds making in the new official update and it's a big one again. Players are clearly enjoying it, with it still remaining at a higher player count than it had been seeing months prior to the experimental version.

Hard to believe this is the same game I funded on Kickstarter back in 2013. It sure has come a long way, both in terms of game mechanics and graphics. Still quite some ways to go on the optimization though, it's still real heavy.

Some of what's new in Alpha 20 includes:

  • A brand-new version of Random Gen World creation with new cities, city tiles and a part system spawner. You will be blown away by it!
  • Over 200 new POI’s and updates to many of the older POI’s. Over 550 Explorable locations total
  • Navezgane has many city improvements, terrain improvements and new rural and wilderness communities
  • Nearly 25 new HD characters with a couple with improved shaders
  • 6 New weapons and 13 HD remakes with the addition of new primitive pipe weapons
  • Overhauled shape menu with hundreds of new shapes organized and buildable from a simple frame with in-game, creative and level design support
  • Block Placement Improvements
  • We have added a Robotic Drone Companion to carry your extra gear, heal you and more
  • Dynamic Imposter System renders accurate changes to POI’s and player bases at far distances
  • Rendering improvements with 100s of new PBR models
  • Quest Improvements including new restore power night Quests
  • AI Enemy Improvements including city spawning, ducking, obstacle attacks, head tracking and burst attacks.
  • Feral Sense Game options for a completely new game experience
  • Vehicle Improvements with coop passenger support and mods to improve and customize your Vehicles

The developer also mentioned recently that they plan to start removing older versions of the game, a bunch of which are available as opt-in Betas. They said it's due to limitations with Steam, so if you do have a game on the 19.x series you might want to make it go out with a bang.

You can pick it up on Humble Store and Steam. Full Alpha 20 release notes here.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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11 comments
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randyl 22 Dec, 2021
My friends and I have been playing A20 Experimental on a dedicated server. There are a lot of improvements and a few issues.

Dynamic rendering is a decent improvement and visuals are a lot better in my opinion but performance and framerate have suffered.

We've disabled Feral Sense and Blood Moon/Horde Nights. Zombie difficulty is ramped up in my opinion. Tier 1 feels about like it always has but by Tier 3 quests it gets brutal. Ferals, Screamers, and Radiated zombies have shown up much earlier. Animals feel about the same with bears and cougars being challenging.

I didn't experiment with new weapons. I went with my favorite stealth build using crossbows and bows with brawling and supressed 9mm pistor as my backups. Using a 9mm pistol on POIs is sometimes a must on T3 and higher. Stealth feels really good still, but takes a little more care and effort.

Building isn't something I've explored a lot [edit: I've built a lot of bases before A20, but not in A20 yet], but I will say the new shapes are welcome. I'm not sure how I feel about the material consolidation for block building, but overall I think I like it.

My job in the group is cooking and I'll probably put points into mining eventually. Cooking is mostly the same, but farming got a huge nerf. I've been buying a lot of potatoes, mushrooms, and blueberries from vendors. The farmer in our group finally got to 3 points in "Living Off the Land" and so we'll start trying to grow more of our own veggies.

The robot companion is cool, but has some pathing issues and sometimes gets stuck in doorways.

Overall the difficulty feels ramped up a bit and there is a lot more requirements for crafting which feels a little grindy. The headlight mod for vehicles is awesome. It's like actually having headlamps. We haven't tried any mods so no comment there. It's a good update and better than I anticipated.


Last edited by randyl on 23 December 2021 at 12:36 am UTC
TheRiddick 22 Dec, 2021
Pretty sure this is running on OpenGL still; quite impressively really. There is a option for Vulkan but its never been updated and doesn't really work; it be nice if they updated Vulkan and moved to it as the default.

Also this be a great game to get VR edition or something down the line.


Last edited by TheRiddick on 22 December 2021 at 4:52 am UTC
KuJo 22 Dec, 2021
I've also had a lot of fun with the game. But, let's be honest: Now already 8 years in development and still an Alpha and "Early" Access?

Will it be the next Duke Nukem Forever (15 years in development)? ;)
Purple Library Guy 22 Dec, 2021
Quoting: KuJoI've also had a lot of fun with the game. But, let's be honest: Now already 8 years in development and still an Alpha and "Early" Access?

Will it be the next Duke Nukem Forever (15 years in development)? ;)
I think there's kind of a key difference there, in that you couldn't play Duke Nukem Forever while it was in development.
syylk 22 Dec, 2021
...And it's 70% discounted in the newly started Steam Sales!
KuJo 23 Dec, 2021
Quoting: Purple Library GuyI think there's kind of a key difference there, in that you couldn't play Duke Nukem Forever while it was in development.
I was more concerned with the development time.
However, I don't think the term "alpha" is right for this version either:
Alpha:
QuoteAlpha is the stage when key gameplay functionality is implemented, and assets are partially finished.[157] A game in alpha is feature complete, that is, game is playable and contains all the major features.[158] These features may be further revised based on testing and feedback.[157] Additional small, new features may be added, similarly planned, but unimplemented features may be dropped.[158] Programmers focus mainly on finishing the codebase, rather than implementing additions.
-> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_development

New features and functions are still and always being added to 7dtd. You can't even begin to talk about a "feature complete".Although they have already reached Alpha 20 (!!!!)! Do they even intend to be finished sometime?
Purple Library Guy 23 Dec, 2021
Quoting: KuJo
Quoting: Purple Library GuyI think there's kind of a key difference there, in that you couldn't play Duke Nukem Forever while it was in development.
I was more concerned with the development time.
However, I don't think the term "alpha" is right for this version either:
Alpha:
QuoteAlpha is the stage when key gameplay functionality is implemented, and assets are partially finished.[157] A game in alpha is feature complete, that is, game is playable and contains all the major features.[158] These features may be further revised based on testing and feedback.[157] Additional small, new features may be added, similarly planned, but unimplemented features may be dropped.[158] Programmers focus mainly on finishing the codebase, rather than implementing additions.
-> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_game_development

New features and functions are still and always being added to 7dtd. You can't even begin to talk about a "feature complete".Although they have already reached Alpha 20 (!!!!)! Do they even intend to be finished sometime?
Come to think of it, modern games don't really work with that whole model. For a lot of games, there really is no alpha/beta/complete because there are always new features being added after "completion", making it unclear just what "complete" even means for them. As a result, a game can be in a condition you might think of as done or late beta in terms of polish, assets and so forth, but major new features are still being implemented.

Actually, that's true of most open source software as well. You might say the whole alpha/beta/shipped paradigm is tied to the dominance of physical media: It's important if you're going to be pressing the software on DVDs and sending it off to stores. You have to define a finished product to ship, and efforts and stages have to be defined around that end goal. If it's distributed digitally and can be updated automatically on an ongoing basis, the whole concept gets a lot less relevant, or at least a lot less necessary.
KuJo 27 Dec, 2021
Quoting: Purple Library GuyCome to think of it, modern games don't really work with that whole model. For a lot of games, there really is no alpha/beta/complete because there are always new features being added after "completion", making it unclear just what "complete" even means for them. As a result, a game can be in a condition you might think of as done or late beta in terms of polish, assets and so forth, but major new features are still being implemented.

Actually, that's true of most open source software as well. You might say the whole alpha/beta/shipped paradigm is tied to the dominance of physical media: It's important if you're going to be pressing the software on DVDs and sending it off to stores. You have to define a finished product to ship, and efforts and stages have to be defined around that end goal. If it's distributed digitally and can be updated automatically on an ongoing basis, the whole concept gets a lot less relevant, or at least a lot less necessary.

So you're saying that calling a game "Early Access" for 8 years and being in an alpha stage (so not even a beta stage!) for 8 years is "normal"?

If so, then you and I have different understandings of "normal". Because having a game in alpha for 8 years, but not even having dates for a beta or an RC - let alone a "final" - that's not normal. And without knowing as a gamer, "WHEN can I finally expect a permanently stable version?" Why this is important ... here:

I played the game very intensively from Alpha 5 to Alpha 11. But to have a full-wipe of the servers / savegames with every alpha release - you lose the fun of the game. That's why my game colleagues and I gave up the game afterwards. Building a new fortress from scratch every time, only to start everything over again with the next alpha - you have to be a passionate masochist to still have fun with

Above all, it's a burner to release an unfinished PC game on the consoles. But since the console manufacturers don't allow "alpha" versions to be sold, the versions there were declared as "final" ... which is why these versions are now stuck in Alpha 13.

The game feels unfinished after 8 years, despite the undeniable fun factor, and has declamatory shortcomings and a visually arguably utilitarian UI. I'm seriously wondering if Fun Pimps will ever release a final version, if they're going to fine-tune all the alpha features in a beta, or if they'd rather tinker with new features for all eternity. An official Rodmap has not existed for ages.
Anza 27 Dec, 2021
Quoting: KuJo
Quoting: Purple Library GuyCome to think of it, modern games don't really work with that whole model. For a lot of games, there really is no alpha/beta/complete because there are always new features being added after "completion", making it unclear just what "complete" even means for them. As a result, a game can be in a condition you might think of as done or late beta in terms of polish, assets and so forth, but major new features are still being implemented.

Actually, that's true of most open source software as well. You might say the whole alpha/beta/shipped paradigm is tied to the dominance of physical media: It's important if you're going to be pressing the software on DVDs and sending it off to stores. You have to define a finished product to ship, and efforts and stages have to be defined around that end goal. If it's distributed digitally and can be updated automatically on an ongoing basis, the whole concept gets a lot less relevant, or at least a lot less necessary.

The game feels unfinished after 8 years, despite the undeniable fun factor, and has declamatory shortcomings and a visually arguably utilitarian UI. I'm seriously wondering if Fun Pimps will ever release a final version, if they're going to fine-tune all the alpha features in a beta, or if they'd rather tinker with new features for all eternity. An official Rodmap has not existed for ages.

I think you are close to crux of the matter. In general software development doesn't mandate one true release process. There are guidelines sure, but they don't have to be followed in order to develop software.

Endless tinkering is most of comfortable state to be in. That sure isn't best way to make money though. For getting out of that loop is where the actual roadmap might help. Other way to finish the development is to just get bored with the project and announce that it's done.

One the positive side, 7 Days to Die still has six more years to reach Duke Nukem Forever (not sure when 7 Days to Die development actually started though). Star Citizen might have bit head start though.
Purple Library Guy 27 Dec, 2021
Quoting: KuJoSo you're saying that calling a game "Early Access" for 8 years and being in an alpha stage (so not even a beta stage!) for 8 years is "normal"?
No, I'm saying what I said. Maybe try reading it. It was a more wide-ranging comment on the continued relevance, or lack thereof, of the whole concept of "alpha" and "beta" given current approaches to game distribution and maintenance.
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