7 votes

After three years of development and thirty-seven thousand commits from over seven hundred contributors, Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead has a new stable release, version 0.D Danny

8 comments

  1. [5]
    hungariantoast (edited ) Link
    First of all, you can grab the latest stable release from the game's releases page on GitHub. If you want to stay up to date with the very latest changes, which are usually made available twice or...

    First of all, you can grab the latest stable release from the game's releases page on GitHub.

    If you want to stay up to date with the very latest changes, which are usually made available twice or more a day, you should grab the third party launcher program for Windows or the brand new third party launcher program for Linux to automatically fetch and install the latest experimental releases.

    If you're a veteran of the game or are just curious as to what's new, the changelog is available on GitHub.

    Three years since the release of stable version 0.C Cooper, Cataclysm: DDA's maintainer has released stable version 0.D Danny.

    A triumph of open source, collaborative game development, Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead is an open-source survival horror roguelike video game set in near-future New England. The game's setting and gameplay predominantly deals with a zombie apocalypse with added horror elements such as fungi, Triffids, and Lovecraftian monsters.

    As with most roguelikes, the game offers this world to you in traditional ASCII graphics, alongside a plethora of graphical tileset choices for the player to sample.

    The gameplay of Cataclysm is very focused around survival elements, with the player being encouraged to scavenge resources from the towns, cities, and hidden locations scattered across the game's randomly generated maps. Players also have the ability to craft numerous items using an advanced, but relatively realistic crafting system, from makeshift guns, the clothes on your back, to even entire vehicles, the amount of things the player can put together (or take apart) is staggering.

    Players can also build structures and shelter, create and claim farms, taking care of them to grow food, and contend with a fleshed out temperature, season, and weather system that adds a sense of liveliness to the environment of post apocalyptic New England.

    Aside from diving into the expansive and customizable list of options and keybindings in the game's settings menu, the first thing you'll want to do to actually start playing the game is generate a world (you can just key over to New Game on the main menu and select Play Now! if you don't want to bother with generating or customizing anything). This is a straight forward process of choosing which mods you want to enable for that world (they come with nice descriptions for you to read), the options for the world generator itself, and then finally naming your world.

    After you create a world, you'll need to create a character, which is an incredibly important part of the game, and the amount of choice you are given when doing this reflects that. After choosing which world the character will play in and how you want to allocate your various skill points, you'll be presented with several choices of different starting scenarios. While I recommend the default Evacuee scenario for new players, experimenting with these later on can be quite fun as they completely change where you begin your game and some stats and items that your character has. The next step involves selecting your profession, which like the scenario option, changes some things about your character, such as any addictions they may have, their traits, skills, the items they have equipped, and any bionics they may be augmented with (I'll get to those later). After that, you'll then configure you character's traits, stats, and skills. These are fairly straight forward and the game gives you descriptions for everything. The final thing to do after you get through the three sections I just mentioned is to pick your character's name and gender, and start playing.

    Once you are in the game, there are a couple of things you can do to help familiarize yourself with the controls and interface:

    Press the ? key, followed by the 1 key to see the full list of key commands. Press the + key to add a key binding, select which action with the corresponding letter key a-w, and then the key you wish to assign to that action.

    Beyond that, you're ready to try to survive the apocalypse. There is a lot to contend with too, not just zombies, but also other, non-player character survivors and the quests they give out. Robots, monsters, and killer moosen also represent unique dangers as well. Your character's condition, tracked individually for each body part, their nutrition, sleepiness, hunger, thirst and exposure, such as being too hot, cold, or even worse, irradiated, all come together to form a complex health system.

    There's a lot more to the game as well, but the final aspects of the gameplay I'll mention are the mutation and bionic systems, which both help and hinder the player in unique ways. Mutations are biological changes to your character, such as claws for hands, tentacles for legs, gills to breathe underwater, and a plethora of other changes. Bionics are artificial enhancements, such as an integrated toolset that gives you lasers, hammers, screwdrivers, and other utilities packed into your body, the ability to teleport, go invisible, sense living creatures around you, and much more. All of these drastically change the way the game is played. You're not just constrained to surviving in this apocalypse, but are able to thrive in it.

    There's also a subreddit for the game.

    I've also made some other comments about C:DDA on Tildes before. You can read them below if you want a few more details about what's possible in the game:

    C:DDA is an open source, zombie survival roguelike where, like Dwarf Fortress and its adventure mode, you can create multiple characters in the same, randomly generated world.

    There's not as much explaining to do here as was needed for Dwarf Fortress as the permadeath in C:DDA is pretty simple. If your character dies, you can make a new character, find your old character's body and loot (or what's left of them) and then rinse, wash, repeat. This matters a lot more in C:DDA than it does in Dwarf Fortress' adventure mode, because in C:DDA you live and die by your loot. While it's annoying enough to lose the character you've been training as a master mechanic so you can build an eight-ton, 200MPH capable battle bus mobile base (yes, this is something you can actually do), it's arguably more annoying to lose the books and other supplies you were using to train that character, like the atomic nightlight that let's you read and craft in the dark, or the anvil that it took a whole year (in-game) for you to craft.

    Of course, that doesn't mean characters themselves are worthless in C:DDA, not at all. There's plenty of drawbacks from having a well developed character die, such as losing the integrated tool-set bionic system that gives you screwdrivers and lasers in your arms, or the tentacles mutation that, as you might have guessed, replaces your appendages with a weaboo's wet dream.

    This is why I mentioned in the beginning of this comment that the implementations in the context of the game is what is important. In Dwarf Fortress, recovering your adventurer's loot is hardly a priority, because pretty much anything "powerful" in the game can be easily found at other locations, you just might have to fight dozens of zombies and kill a necromancer all over again to learn the secrets of life and death, but it's totally possible and quite frankly, easily replicable. Dwarf Fortress is, after all, still in alpha, despite being seventeen years old. C:DDA on the other hand, has the success of a player's run practically be defined by the loot, bionics, and mutations you gain, and that's why I actually like the game so much. It's a real pain in the ass to lose a character that can teleport through walls or has a scythe for an arm, but at least the loot they carried and the bases and shelters they built can still be reclaimed with the next character. It's quite an interesting balance that is largely based on the items alone, and everything else is just a reaction of that.

    You can of course turn this off in C:DDA's options, forcing a new world to be generated for each character, but that isn't the default behavior.

    https://tild.es/a7a#comment-2jj2

    Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead might be my favorite open source game at the moment. It's a post apocalyptic roguelike with zombies, monsters, robots, and all kinds of dangers. To start a playthrough, you choose which mods you want to play with, set your world generation settings, customize a character for that world, with dozens of starting locations, professions, and scenarios, and try to survive. Development is very active, with usually five to ten commits a day, bringing tens of thousands of code changes every week.

    The stable build (Cooper) is very old and outdated, though a new one should be coming soon, but you can download a community made launcher to automatically update the game to the latest experimental version (that updates several times a day) which makes playing the game, installing mods, soundpacks, and keeping up with development a breeze. Like most rougelikes the game can be played in ASCII, but has several tilesets built in as well.

    Cataclysm: DDA has a rep for its difficulty and depth, but the game is actually pretty easy to learn, it's just hard to master. Surviving is difficult and the game has been pushing for realistic gameplay (in a world with zombies, giant ants, and murderous moose) for awhile now.

    The list of things you can do in the game is massive. You'll obviously be scrounging towns and cabins for supplies, bashing and butchering zombies, and rolling around shopping carts like it's The Road, but you can also create your own vehicles, weapons, and even structures with the extensive crafting system.

    Your character has individual health stats for various body parts, your clothing and items can also be damaged and worn down, your character gets fatigued, needs to sleep, eat, and drink, and temperature can play a very big role in your character's comfort and survival as well.

    Oh yeah, there's also a comfort and encumbrance system, so doing things like murdering people might make you sad, and wearing three Kevlar vests might make you waddle like my great aunt, but that's up to you.

    (I swear I am almost done)

    The game also has NPCs and quests, though those features are quite limited at the moment. Quests have good variety though, from "go find this item for me" to "our entire party just got wiped out by some Lovecraftian creature, go kill it."

    There is also a mutation and bionics system that your character and NPCs get to take advantage of. This is really where the game shines. I can't really give a good description, much less a list of things that mutations and bionics allow you to do, but if you want to shoot lasers out of your arms or have eight tentacles for legs, welcome to the apocalypse.

    https://tild.es/99i#comment-2dnw

    (I wrote this topic out two days ago in anticipation of posting news of the stable version's release to Tildes, and I actually posted this topic two hours after the stable version's release, late at night. I did not proof read this before posting, so if there are any errors, message me and I will fix them.)

    6 votes
    1. MimicSquid Link Parent
      I recall reading your previous descriptions of the game and being interested; it looks like now is a great time to check it out. Thanks for sharing such a cool thing.

      I recall reading your previous descriptions of the game and being interested; it looks like now is a great time to check it out. Thanks for sharing such a cool thing.

      2 votes
    2. [3]
      ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
      Sounds enticing. I can't picture the kind of gameplay it has, though. Can you compare to any popular game that might play similarly?

      Sounds enticing. I can't picture the kind of gameplay it has, though. Can you compare to any popular game that might play similarly?

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        hungariantoast Link Parent
        About the only thing remotely similar to Cataclysm, in my opinion, would be Project Zomboid, but that's a real-time isometric game, whereas Cataclysm is a top-down, two dimensional, tile based,...

        About the only thing remotely similar to Cataclysm, in my opinion, would be Project Zomboid, but that's a real-time isometric game, whereas Cataclysm is a top-down, two dimensional, tile based, turn based roguelike.

        If you have ever played a game like NetHack, Brogue, Dwarf Fortress' adventure mode, TOME, Elona, or any other roguelikes, you'll have a general idea of what the controls are like.

        2 votes
        1. ThatFanficGuy Link Parent
          That sounds... both exciting and intimidating. I'll give it a shot when I can. See if it works out for me.

          That sounds... both exciting and intimidating.

          I'll give it a shot when I can. See if it works out for me.

          1 vote
  2. [2]
    nothis Link
    I just spent 5 minutes clicking links, searching the web, reading the subreddit, and I know how many commits were involved in making this, but I still don't know what it fucking is. Not even a...

    I just spent 5 minutes clicking links, searching the web, reading the subreddit, and I know how many commits were involved in making this, but I still don't know what it fucking is. Not even a screenshot! Jesus, people, all those hours spent on it and not a single one on trying to present to people what this is actually about? It's a rogue-like, then?

    3 votes
    1. MimicSquid Link Parent
      It is a roguelike, in the old-school, super complex and dense sense. I'm just trying to figure it out now, and I'm intimidated by its depth. Character creation offers several dozen presets, or you...

      It is a roguelike, in the old-school, super complex and dense sense. I'm just trying to figure it out now, and I'm intimidated by its depth. Character creation offers several dozen presets, or you can pick for yourself from a broad pool of perks and skills.

      As an example of complexity: each tool can vary in how good it is at different tasks, so despite both being knives an exacto knife will do better at certain tasks than a survival knife.

      It's worth a look, and I get the feeling it'll be great fun once I get over the initial cliff of understanding, but it doesn't ease you into it. You get a giant wall of options (admittedly, each with an explanatory tooltip) right from the get-go.

      4 votes
  3. teaearlgraycold Link
    I find the organization of their source code pretty old-school, but if it works for them then they shouldn't change it.

    I find the organization of their source code pretty old-school, but if it works for them then they shouldn't change it.

    2 votes