Zafehouse: Diaries. Characters relationships

Zafehouse: Diaries

Relationships are one of the most important aspects of our life because they are about everything. Everything in our life depends on relationships. All the things we are doing have relationship context. So why do we skip such a big part of our life in games? Why do we miss an opportunity to learn how the relationships work by means of games?

Let’s look at some more advanced cases of character relationships in games, shall we?.

“Zafehouse: Diaries” is a tactical game about surviving in zombie apocalypse by achieving some kind of team-based task. You have a crew of 5 characters at your command and you have limited time to complete the task. It is not a linear zombie shooter. It is about teamwork in a rough environment. Each of you characters has its own history and soul. You can’t make characters like each other. You aren’t puppetmaster; there are no paper dolls. You should gather your guys and manage them carefully to slowly build up relationships in the team. Good relationships mean that you have much bigger chances to win the game.

Relationship Representation
It’s simple. Each team member has a colored line to each other member of your team. The color of the line represents the relationship between two members. The color may vary from green to red, where green means good relationship, and red – tense relationships.

Establishing Relationship
As I’ve mentioned before, each member of your crew has its own personality. Personality includes age group, gender, background, occupation and prejudices against other members. At the start of the game you receive a random group of people who may not like each other or can already be in a relatively good relationships.

Relationship meaning
Bad relationships between two members mean that they will do one task really badly – they can’t fight zombies, they can’t search houses together, they can’t make anything together. If you assign one task to two members they may even fight with each other and receive injuries. Your progress will be very slow in this case.
On the other hand, if you have good relationships, your productivity will increase. You will gain synergy and momentum in all kinds of tasks.
Moreover you should deal with a negative feedback loop in this game. The relationships will become even worse automatically if you don’t deal with it. But if you are good enough and already have created nice relationships you will receive a positive feedback loop.

How can you manage relationships?
There are two ways you can change relationships: by means of rumours or indirectly by means of careful crew management.

  • Rumours
    Probably the first thing in a game you should do after beginning is to spread a rumour. The type and setup of the rumor influences the group’s opinion about the member. It may be positive and negative if you are not accurate enough.
  • Crew management
    There is a lot of indirect ways to influence the relationship.
    + Professionals work together at one task. They will like each other more. Even if they clean corpses together.
    - A professional work with an amateur at a task. They will hate each other.
    - Two amateurs work at a task. If they can’t achieve anything, they will blame each other.
    + Overall progress. If you find a clue to a rescue, everyone become a little bit happier.
    - Two guys have bad relationships and work at one task. They will hate each other even more.
    - Guys with very bad relationships located in one place will fight.
    + Two guys have very good relationships. Everyone in this place becomes happy.
    - Domestic disputes. If there is only one shower in a house, expect a trouble.
    ++ Hold a feast. It is the best way to improve the relationships to a great extent and break a negative feedback loop. It’s hard to achieve, but it’s worth it.

Relationships in Zafehouse: Diaries play a major role in overall game process. This game teaches you that good relationships in a team are a must and without it you will fail. Also this game teaches you that musicians are crap. Really. They can’t even clean corpses! Developers created a realistic and precise relationship system. It’s difficult to modify this game and make this system even better. Great work.

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