The standalone DayZ game's servers will run on a client-server architecture, the same structure as in most massively multiplayer online games, said project lead Dean Hall recently.
Hall contrasted the DayZ model with that of developer Bohemia Interactive's Arma games, which perform calculations on the client (player) side as well as the server side. According to Hall, the change — which he called "a dramatic plan to change the face of DayZ and how it will hit the world" — was made partly to prevent the performance and hacking problems that have plagued the DayZ mod from occurring in the full game.
Hall explained that the ways in which the mod expanded on its base game, Arma 2, led to "a design that far outreaches it's [sic] foundations." In particular, said Hall, the mod creates a "complex and changing world"; shifting those operations from the client side to the server side and letting the servers run the game world should greatly improve performance. Plus, since DayZ proper doesn't require the elaborate player and AI interactions that are built into Arma 2 — "our zombies don't need to conduct flanking maneuvers, they don't need to reload their magazines," Hall pointed out — the developers have removed them, which will also help.
The change may also have a material effect on DayZ maps, and on the way people play the game. "If this heavy optimization is as successful as it would rationally seem to be on paper," said Hall, "then we will be limited on player numbers not by performance, but map design."
Bohemia is currently planning to release an alpha version of DayZ on PC this December.