DayZ: a game born out of starvation and desperation in Singapore and Brunei

DayZ, the Arma 2 mod that just became a standalone game, is all about the experience of surviving, starting with nothing. And while DayZ creator Dean “Rocket” Hall may not have been born in Singapore, his much-lauded game arguably was.

Before he was a developer, Hall was a member of the New Zealand armed forces. In fact he had joined the air force, and then left and moved into game development, but he grew disenfranchised with the games industry and rejoined the military, enlisting in the army. In 2009 he was selected for an exchange program with Singapore’s armed forces, and it was during this exchange that he took part in a training exercise that became the inspiration for DayZ.

The goal of the exercise was for participants to survive in the wild in Brunei, finding their way to a preset extraction point through the jungle and then camping there until the exercise concluded. But Hall misunderstood or was misled about the directions during the training phase, and was under the mistaken impression that when he reached the campsite, there would be additional food provided. He ate all of his rations while marching to the campsite, and when he reached it, there was no food. He now faced the prospect of surviving for the better part of a month without food.

A campsite in the original DayZ mod.

A campsite in the original DayZ mod.

He nearly starved to death. He lost 44 pounds. What little food he could find he couldn’t keep down, and he spent most of his time lying in camp, not moving or speaking, sometimes plotting raids on his fellow soldiers’ camps to steal their food. At the end of the exercise when the group linked back up and a fellow soldier gave Hall a biscuit, he started crying. The experience also destroyed his digestive system, which eventually required surgery.

But the experience also showed him how emotional survival can be, and he was inspired to get back into game development so he could work on a survival sim. In a hotel room in Singapore, he started tinkering with Bohemia Interactive’s Arma 2, and the rest, as they say, is history! (But actually, if you want to know the rest of the story, check out this excellent feature on Hall on Dorkshelf.)

(via Dorkshelf, Wired, etc.)

The post DayZ: a game born out of starvation and desperation in Singapore and Brunei appeared first on Games in Asia.


The post DayZ: a game born out of starvation and desperation in Singapore and Brunei appeared first on Games in Asia.
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