Zombie survival title DayZ's lead designer Dean Hall is taking a two-month sabbatical from development to climb Mount Everest in Nepal, he announced on the DayZ blog.
In a post from the Everest Base Camp at 5,400 meters, Hall wrote he has kept in contact with his production assistant Matt Lightfoot and other members of Bohemia Interactive in order to make approvals and receive updates on DayZ's progress.
Hall wrote that community response to player-contributed stories is "massive," and that Bohemia is currently working to implement a structure through which "community written books" will pass through a kind of editorial process before being added to the world. These along with books whose copyrights have expired will be included in the game and readable for players.
Usable radios are also in the process of being added, said Hall. Players will be able to pick up radios, turn them on and off, set their frequencies and send and receives messages through them. The character design "mesh" is also undergoing significant tweaks, and zombie pathfinding AI is being reworked so they can correctly navigate the inside of buildings.
DayZ, which originated as a mod for military title Arma2 and was initially slated to release as a standalone late last year, is still in development, though Hall says his leave of absense won't affect it.
"I realize some people are upset at my departure from the project for two months to climb Mount Everest, but hopefully from this you can see the large team Bohemia have assembled behind the development that are continuing to innovate and develop DayZ standalone in the direction of the game we all want," he wrote. "This is going to take as long as it needs to, we want to release our initial alpha under the architecture it needs to avoid hacking and security issues — this is the only remaining task stopping us from releasing the alpha. But while this task is being completed, we can continue with other activities."
Hall promised more screenshots of the game's current status will be included in the next blog update.