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fearghaill

Jobs for noncombatants?

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fearghaill    244
It's been a week since they arrived in your hometown, and now the entire city is overrun with zombies. You and a small group of survivors have lasted this long in a hastily fortified base, but supplies are running low. There was no choice but to start sending small groups into the city to scavenge for food (and weapons), but you've been left behind each time. They tell you it's to guard the base, but you know it's because you'd be a liability out there. That doesn't mean you can't find a way to help. What sort of activities would you like to see for noncombatant characters left in the base in a zombie survival turn-based tactics game? Improving the fortifications? Crafting makeshift armor & weapons? Training and exercising to be less useless? Jumping off a building to stop wasting precious food?

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Building fortifications, loading magazines for the guns, organizing and preparing food supplies, analyzing maps to plan more successful scavenging outings (even if you don't go along), applying first aid (non-zombie-bite-related injuries), maintaining morale among other survivors, contending with weather-related challenges...

You could keep busy, I bet.

This is a neat spin on the zombie horror genre, I'm looking forward to what other people suggest.

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Funkymunky    1413
discover a long forgotten trapped door in one corner of the fort, which leads you down into the depths of some ancient catacombs, twisting and treachering through room after room of assassin's creed-esque jump puzzles, until you discover... vampires

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Chrono1081    108
I really like the fortify idea, similar to a game called "The Horde" (amazing game I loved it)

I think it would be neat too to see these non combatants get attacked too.



Oh btw Iron Chef...I know where you live :P

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fearghaill    244
Quote:
Original post by Chrono1081
I think it would be neat too to see these non combatants get attacked too.


You mean, like when other survivors try to raid the base? That would be unthinkable.

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Portugal Stew    129
I think the perfect read for you would be The Zombie Survival Guide. The sort of situations it describes don't quite fit what you want, but you can always take creative liberties, especially when the original book took creative liberties in spades.

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fearghaill    244
Quote:
Original post by Portugal Stew
I think the perfect read for you would be The Zombie Survival Guide. The sort of situations it describes don't quite fit what you want, but you can always take creative liberties, especially when the original book took creative liberties in spades.


*grins* I've read it, and World War Z, and have taken some inspiration from both.

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LmT    208
Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
Training and exercising to be less useless? Jumping off a building to stop wasting precious food?


Well that's stupid if you use a skill based system. No one will be able to get their suicide skill above 1!

Jokes aside, you'll need to find a way to make non-combatants worthwhile and useful. Everyone wants to contribute to the action. Without fighting that will be quite a giant task.

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fearghaill    244
Quote:
Original post by LmT
Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
Training and exercising to be less useless? Jumping off a building to stop wasting precious food?


Well that's stupid if you use a skill based system. No one will be able to get their suicide skill above 1!

Jokes aside, you'll need to find a way to make non-combatants worthwhile and useful. Everyone wants to contribute to the action. Without fighting that will be quite a giant task.


In case I was unclear, this is going to be single player, at least for now. It will be up to the player to decide if they want to find a use for survivors with no combat skills or other obvious uses, or take the necessary steps to make sure they can never become a zombie. More people in your party = more mouths to feed.

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Yorumushi    144
It goes without saying that if player chooses to play a noncombatant, then there should be a good reason to do so. Certain position as a doctor or a researcher? A test of wits against the zombies with an inferior character?

Personally, I would choose this option. It would be rather interesting if the only weapon I have against a horde of zombies is my uninfected brain. Just like our community serving priest in half-life 2, just not as crazy-finger-happy.

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Calabi    124
Crocheting, for those old folks who's only other purpose is food in case of emergencies. They could make: Jumpers to keep everyone warm. Knitted pictures of zombie attacks(something to talk about when bored). Makeshift barricade. Weapon covers. Rope to hang yourself when your predicament has become to bleak or the knitware to much.

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Drigovas    509
Quote:
Original post by Calabi
Crocheting, for those old folks who's only other purpose is food in case of emergencies. They could make: Jumpers to keep everyone warm.
Actually, an extension of that isn't such a joke. Simple armor such as tattered clothing or such would likely be easy to come by, but sophisticated armor is time consuming to make and requires some amount of skill. Same goes for weapons, where the time and care required to maintain/create/fuel a weapon increases exponentially to the weapons effectiveness. Sure a knife is nice, and requires only small amounts of upkeep, but a gun is better, and requires careful cleaning [along with eventually requiring individual bullets to be poured, which is a time consuming process]. Mounded cars are a decent fortification in a pinch, but a bunch of unwound shopping carts welded together to make a tangled wall of cables would be far more effective. Also, agricultural practices could likely have to be quickly restarted to alleviate the strain of finding actual preserved food with any sort of long term plan.

There is plenty of rolls for non-combatants in the zombie war. Probably even more non-combatant rolls than combatant rolls. There are even more rolls for noncombatants if you consider the games time line to extend beyond the first few weeks... after the process of salvaging everything becomes unsustainable.

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Pzc    216
Depending on the setting and gameplay non-combatants could do chores like gathering firewood (which can be quite important depending on the weather if there's no abundant source of fuel to burn nearby), foraging for food (berries, fruit, potatoes etc.), making clothes, washing clothes and other such activities.

This of course depends on how the player is supposed to get this sort of things done. If it's "manually" by directing the citizens every move it's quite infeasible but if it's more of a list of tasks with different priority for them to do then it's possible.

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NeverSayDie    122
Well, from a military organisation point of view, non-combatants might be covering roles like logistics, medical, intelligence, engineering, training or other combat support roles.

Things like medical, training and logistics might be difficult to keep the player's interest in a hands-on way, but it could always be abstracted. Just assign different balances of personnel to those roles, depending on the situation.

Intelligence/recon. Could be interesting here. Maybe the non-combatants decide to disguise themselves as zombies, and move though the area around the base to build up a picture of where the zombies are and what they're up to. They might not be armed or in large groups like the scavenger folks (perhaps so as not to alert the zombies), but they could also set traps out in the field, trigger environmental hazards, create diversions to draw the zombies away from the scavenger teams, etc.

Engineering. As suggested above, this could involve moving obstacles and fortifications to specific areas, placing traps of various kinds, creating "Tower Defence" like avenues of approach, etc. Provide a "kit" for the player consisting of crates, burnt out cars, traps, tripwires, alarms, etc, and let them lay them out around their base and its approaches as they see fit. Should have plenty of appeal.

Remote/indirect fires. Maybe the characters have access to some kind of weapons system in the town, or maybe they have indirect fire systems of some sort (mortars, etc). The base-bound characters can direct and activate these systems based on the needs of the scavenger teams, who are marking targets and calling in strikes

Hacking. Maybe they can leave the base in a "virtual" way to make their impact. This might involve the usual "24" style sidekicks'-voice-in-your-ear for the scavenger teams; maybe opening doors or deactivating security systems out in the field, using surveillance systems, etc. Taken to an extreme, depending on the tech level you're presenting, you could have a second, "cyber-reality" version of your playing environment (the city), which the base-bound players operate in. (Something all neon and Tron/Matrix style, presumably). Their avatars move around this virtual version of the world, supporting and assisting the real-world scavenger teams. Perhaps the zombie infestation was accompanied by a virtual equivalent, involving computer viruses and such like. The hacker characters will have to deal with these threats in the virtual space, as the scavenger teams have to deal with the zombies.

Well, a few random ideas there, hope it helps.

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AGreen    122
Cool ideas so far,
Might I also suggest, looking for other survivors and tending to their wounds to increase your numbers.

Having a system set up so non-trained, new members could train to become either combatant or noncombatant, and pull their weight.

Depending on the number of survivors you find/want to allow you could take the fortifying a step further to occupying new, surrounding structures and building a larger colony, where more people can be healed/trained faster.

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Sulphix    168
Be kinda cool to have a repairman element. You fix and repair the vehicles the other, more qualified, citizens use out in the field. Hell, you could even test drive it with them to show the combatants how it works.

Of course, this also offers boundless opportunities for fetch quests (fetch me a gun, get me medical supplies, I want chocolate milk!). In all seriousness, there could be some interesting fetch quests implemented.

I'd recommend that in a game like the the player works their way up. You know, the whole arc of being seen as kinda worthless in combat, then the player is needed to perform some rescue mission or who knows what and ends up as a soldier. For a more graphic representation, see Ripley from Aliens (yes, the second one, contains more arc).

But what other specifics could we have... Maybe in a defensive battle, instead of having the player grab a gun and fight, they have to keep everyone supplied with ammo up on the walls. Could be a really interesting mechanic. While there's not much direct fighting, an event like this would allow for a significant weight on the player's actions, and it would allow for some tense moments.

I like this idea. It's nice to see people willing to experiment on the role a player has. A concept like this makes the player more like the narrator in The Great Gatsby instead of the main character. In other words, making the player more observational as opposed to central.

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speciesUnknown    527
Any fortified location is going to get dirty. Give them a mop and bucket, and prevent any infections. Or, strap explosives to them and ask them to run into the middle of a crowd of zombies. BOOM! In all seriousness, I would never find myself in this situation because I keep myself in good health and stockpile weapons every day, to prepare for the inevitable zombie war. Those who survive are all similar people. Anybody else can be given a mop and bucket, or given the task of hammering extra nails into the fortifications.

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Hk    132
Well, I encourage you to implement non-combatants, because non-combatants are the reason why you are still kicking after a medium time. Its all ok, if you can kick Zombies outta the way, but after a day of kicking, you are going down.

You can see this in Tremulous (www.tremulous.net). Its a mod of Quake 3. You have 2 teams, aliens and humans. Both have a base that consists of a main building, some combat-enhancing building (medistation and armory for humans, gives health and guns, booster for aliens, increases health and gives poison), spawns and defenses. Furthermore, each player can choose to be a fighter or a builder everytime he spawns. Once a team loses all spawns and all living teammembers, the team loses.
While it is true that good fighters can win against weaker teams without someone building, you just lose against any better team without a well-built-base, no matter how much you rock.

Jobs for Non-combatants?
Well, rather ask: what do you have to do in a fortress in the middle of a zombie apokalypse?
At first. BUILD A DAMN FORTRESS! *ahem*
Furthermore, you will need to establish supplies, that is, food, ammo, water and you must manage medical treatments, quarantines (he is hurt! Was it a Zombie? No clue! Just put him in the cupboard and look what happens in 10 days!), communication (I mean. you think you survive all by yourself until the end of days?), coordination, information and all this stuff. There is lots to do.

So, the question is rather: What can be interesting to play.
At first, I think the manager would be an interesting job. You have to manage everything. Where do the searching parties - if there are any - go. What equipment do they take? Do we build more fortifications? Where do we get guns? Do we use guns at all?
This might turn out into some heavy turn-based management-game.

Second, defensive engineer. You have to coordinate a certain amount of other engineers/unqualified guys to put up defenses so you will survive. Thus, you have to decide: Where do what defenses go? Who will figure out what you can do with that truck full of bricks the scavengers found?

Third, as someone said, you might play as a scout, going Metal Gear. Dont be spotted, find things. However, this turns towards action a lot more than the other 2 ideas up there.

I think you could turn the farming and the medical aspects into casual games, but since I tend to dislike those casual games, I don't want to think about that too much. :)

However, I think a combination would be real fun. Think of games like Star Wars: Republic Commando. You are an engineer, and you are roaming a Zombie-infested city with a bunch of ex-soldiers. You are with them to be able to grab important things a soldier might not spot, and to be able to do... stuff? Stuff like quickly fixing jams or evaluating possible outpost-locations, by checking energy and supplies or something like that. Of course, because you are just an engineer, you don't get all the fancy guns, but still, you are sorta helpful, heh.

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LmT    208
Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
More people in your party = more mouths to feed.


Sorry for my mistake. Would it be possible to not worry about running out of food if the player can manipulate the amount of manpower at his disposal to overcome the objectives before food becomes an issue? Having the ability to win by killing your party or by letting them live would cater to players of different skill and open up more choices.

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Si Hao    166
Well, as a non-combatant you can always keep the zombies busy while the others are busy doing useful tasks. They call this role - bait - just don't run into dead ends, and if you do that is helpful by saving food and resources for the team :P

You will also need clerks, lookouts, labourers, someone to brace the door when the zombies are battering your door, help to distribute ammo and supplies during a siege since you need the fighters on the front line, just some ideas.

Edit: Some ideas for a 'bait' character, example of skills -
Walk Loudly: attracts zombies in a larger radius around you.
Lucky escapee: able to find ways out of a tricky situation allowing escape routes when trapped.
Shout loudly "I am here" - cooldown 10 mins, useful in attracting almost all zombies in the vicinity, use sparingly may not survive the experience.

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fearghaill    244
Quote:
Original post by LmT
Quote:
Original post by fearghaill
More people in your party = more mouths to feed.


Sorry for my mistake. Would it be possible to not worry about running out of food if the player can manipulate the amount of manpower at his disposal to overcome the objectives before food becomes an issue? Having the ability to win by killing your party or by letting them live would cater to players of different skill and open up more choices.


Oh, I fully intend to leave it up to the player to decide if they want to try and save everyone they come across, or keep their team small. Of course, steps would need to be taken to make sure the useless survivors they leave behind can never become zombies...

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