July 25th 2020 by Tyler "MoltonMontro"
We received a hundreds of questions during the live AMA session hosted on July 14, through the Unturned Official Discord server. Nelson Sexton—creator of Unturned—responded to a lot of them.
This blog post is a recap of that event. Specifically, it covers any questions about Unturned, Smartly Dressed Games, the community, and general game development thoughts. There is a separate blog post dedicated to Unturned II questions.
Due to the live nature of the event, this recap has rewritten some questions and answers for general readability. Some of the more casual or personal questions that we answered have not been recapped. In a few circumstances, our answers have been clarified upon slightly where necessary.
Q: How did you meet modz2much, and what was the deciding factor in choosing them as the collaborators for Russia?
I was interested in experimenting with a collaborative project. I knew Justin from Pine Valley, and talked with a few other modders who were interested at the time to assemble the Russia team.
Q: How did you come up with the storyline?
Unfortunately—difficult to answer.
Q: I spent hours on a design—am I able to get it into the game? If so, where could I submit it?
Anyone can submit designs through the curated section of the Workshop to potentially be sold in the Stockpile as a cosmetic or skin, or otherwise create a mod on the Ready-to-Use section of the Workshop.
Q: If I suggested clothing, could it be added?
Either as mods or through the Curated Workshop.
Q: Is it illegal to sell in-game items for real cash?
The Steam Subscriber Agreement would be the most relevant source for this.
Q: Why did you change the sign colors to require hex-colors instead of the name of the color?
This is a side-effect from upgrading the text meshes. They have a different, smaller set of color names, but this is a rather insignificant downside compared to the expanded rich text offered (such as aRGB). I'll be releasing documentation of it all in the future.—Tyler "MoltonMontro"
Q: Would it be to difficult to add stuff to Unturned Classic? The old version is my favorite version of the game.
Sorry, but I am not sure where those source files are anymore. There are a few reverse-engineering projects to mod that game though.
Q: Will Unturned Antique ever get updated to make it less laggy?
The 1.0 version from 2013? I might not even have the source code anymore.
Development in Retrospect
Q: What is your biggest inspiration/influence for making Unturned?
Originally, DayZ was definitely the inspiration for Deadzone; I wanted to play it with my friends and put in my own changes. It was a huge thrill to meet Dean Hall at the 2017 Game Developers Conference.
Since then, I have not played that sort of game as much because I spend so much time with Unturned, but I continue to take inspiration from other survival games and whatever game I am playing at the time.
Q: What 3.x feature are you most proud of?
Off the top of my head: the Liberator's NPCs and questlines. I think for anyone who has not played the game before, that would be the best content in the vanilla game.
Q: What is your favorite map from 3.x?
Russia has been my favourite map for a long time, however Elver raises the bar so much that it might take the cake.
Q: Out of all the games you could have made, why this one?
One nice benefit from working on Unturned is that almost any feature could be added. There are no limits… except spaghetti code from 2014
Q: What was the motivation of switching to speedtrees and did you have any inspiration from other games, developers, or community members for the switch?
At the time, it seemed like an interesting tool to make the trees look nicer.
Q: What other way could you have seen Unturned taking off? If you didn't develop a survival game, what other genre do you think you would've headed to?
I have been very fortunate that Unturned has taken off as well as it has. Maybe a multiplayer shooter.
Q: Do you regret adding exclusive items into U3 (e.g., Debugger's Beret) that cause people to keep asking for more special items for very specific things that they have coincidentally also done?
The Debugger's Beret specifically has become frustrating because we get a lot of emails each day formatted as "here is my Steam profile link for beret, so I found this bug and thanks bye". The long-term plan is to setup a bug database that earns you points for reporting bugs that gets fixed, and there would be unlocks at point thresholds.
Q: How do you feel about the drift from Unturned being survival focused, into more of a PvP-oriented game with the current state of the community?
To some degree, I think the depth of the survival mechanics was hampered by the foundations of the game. For example: something like batteries in items would be a nightmare to add. With a stronger foundation in U4 it should be easier to expand the depth of survival features to keep PvE interesting.
Q: Will there be a method in the future for players with a low-gamma PC, so they can have a better gaming experience?
Assuming you may have meant low-FPS/low-end, gradually better.
Q: Are you planning to optimize Unturned 3.x for people with bad computers—or there is no way?
There is no easy obvious optimization at this point, but there are gradual improvements in that direction. The next major change to probably boost performance would be the eventual Unity 2019 LTS update. Other minor changes will continue to be implemented gradually.
Q: Have you considered doing any major re-balancing of stats (mostly weapon related) in 3.x still?
At this point, likely only in response to community voice. I am otherwise hesitant to mess with any of the stats.
Q: Will car physics will be improve in Unturned 3.x in some future?
I'd like to improve them, and the vehicle physics profiles were a first step. This remains to be seen though.
Unturned after Unturned II
Q: What is your plan to keep veteran players interested in U3 in the meantime, while we are waiting for Unturned II to come out?
I understand that a lot of veteran players have lost interest in the current version of Unturned which is understandable, so my hope is simply that Unturned II will be worth revisiting.
Q: How will the curated maps will work after Unturned II releases? [...] We feel as if our work will be pointless because everyone leaving and waiting for Unturned II. We don't want to work on a map [...] for a game with no players.
My advice the past couple years has been to make maps if you find it fun, rather than focusing on curation. I'm biased to say this but Unturned still has an active community. Even if you make an Unturned map and then Unturned II mod tools release, it should be possible to upgrade the map to the new game.
Q: Are you going to stop updating Unturned 3.x at some point, perhaps when Unturned II releases?
Less frequently perhaps, but I can't imagine it getting neglected or anything. Unturned is a long-term project.
Q: Could you give advice for staying dedicated to a project? What do you do?
It can be challenging for sure. I don't think I have any special advice considering there have been times when I felt super burned out like back late-Pineridge mentioned in a devlog. Maybe it helps that working on the game is my routine every day.
Q: If one were to get into game development would you recommend learning Unreal Engine 4 or Unity first?
For absolute beginners I recommend GameMaker because 2D is more approachable and its visual scripting is easy. In 3D, Unreal or Unity are both great options. Unity is more flexible and C# is easier, but their direction is a mess right now. Unreal is probably the way to go and blueprints are an easy way to get started.
Q: Do you have any potential inspirations or comments on other currently trending survival games either in development or newly released?
Dead Matter looks promising and is developed by another guy in Calgary—would be fun to do a crossover!
Q: What was your biggest challenge changing over from C# to C++?
At first I was nervous about memory leaks, but otherwise if you like C# then you can use the Unreal C++ gameplay framework without issues. I have read a lot of C++ blogs and whatnot these past few years and now prefer it to C#.
Q: Not sure if this is a question for you necessarily, but will there be any SDG-sponsored contests—like last year's “MapJam” or the art contest—coming up?
I'm not aware of any right now, but if Animatic would like to host the awesome MapJam again I would happily endorse it.—Nelson
Although we have occasionally reached out to community members to offer our official support for their event(s), this isn’t how the events typically get started. Typically, community members have reached out to us shortly before/after announcing their event, in which case we can usually work with them.—Tyler “MoltonMontro”
Q: Will you ever make an Unturned-themed zombie plushie or zip hoodie?
Would be fun! 🙂
Q: Is there a possibility Unturned might have one of those awesome animated stickers Steam has been doing since the sale? I feel like there is great potential, given how comically expressive Unturned characters are! Any more Steam items in general?
My guess is that Valve wants to keep that curated rather than accepting submissions willy-nilly like the old items. Depends on if Valve asks for Unturned items.
Smartly Dressed Games
Where did you come up with the name for SDG?
I think it might date back to 2011 or 2012. No idea why I chose it at the time, but I have committed to it nevertheless. Feels ironic because I do not dress well.
Are you genuinely enjoying the development of Unturned 4.0/II?
Definitely! Sometimes my motivation has varied, but it is my passion project. At this stage it feels like the first bit of back-and-forth U3/U4 development was the prototype, and now we are getting closer to the real thing.
Q: What will come after Unturned II?
Can you imagine how confusing it would be to have Unturned III as 5.0, Unturned 3.0 as I, and Unturned II as 4.0?