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Dead Island 2 devs detail its gruesome procedural violence-modelling tech

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Dead Island 2, Dambuster Studio’s upcoming first-person, has put out a few more details about the tech that goes into its zombie pulverising. In a chat with Game Informer, DI2’s senior render programmer and technical art director shone some more light on the procedural FLESH system (Fully Locational Evisceration System for Humanoids) that the game uses to turn its undead shamblers into “meat piñatas”. Fair warning, I’m about to write the words ‘Flesh system’ like a hundred times. It’s too late for me, but you can still escape before the phrase starts to haunt your sleep.

Dambuster has spoken about the Flesh system before, but now they’ve gone into nauseating detail about precisely what the system does and how it manages to do it. The system will procedurally model weapon-appropriate wounds on the bodies of your zombified foes: Knives will slash and hammers will bludgeon, and they’ll pass through layers of skin, fat, muscle, bone and organs to do it. Keep hacking at the same spot on an enemy and you’ll eventually wear through, creating a kind of procedural dismemberment system.

The system applies to every zombie in the game and models all sorts of fine details. At one point, one of the devs beams that they can even apply “bruising around the wounds” of your enemies, depending on the type of weapon you’re using. A boast as impressive as it is disconcerting.

The devs say they’ve put a lot of work into making the system feel right: You’re not going to cut someone in half with a dagger or cause a minor wound with a sledgehammer to the head, but the kind of damage you do inflict will depend on different factors. The zombie’s overall health, how many times you’ve already whacked away at the area you’re targeting, the kind of weapon you’re using, and things of that nature all go into calculating what kind of effects to apply.

It sounds very impressive, and looks convincing in the gameplay clips shown in the GI video (linked above). And while it might be slightly unnerving to hear people lavish praise on a system about rending apart human bodies, Dambuster says it’s going for a “film-style” or “fake real” kind of violence. “It’s not supposed to make you think ‘Oh this is horrible, I don’t wanna see this,’ you’re supposed to go ‘This is horrible, I do wanna see this,'” say the devs.

Dead Island 2 and its myriad crimes against the human body will launch, finally, on April 28 this year, nine years after it was originally announced. You can find it on the Epic Games Store.

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