Dean Hall prepares to climb Mt Everest last year. Photo supplied.
From top of the world to top of the gaming world, Dean Hall
has done it all.
The 32-year-old climbed Mt Everest last year and last month
sales of his computer game, DayZ, topped one million.
More than 142,000 copies of the game were sold online for
$US29.99 each (about $NZ36 at the time) on the day it was
released in December.
Sales of a million copies were recorded by January 14, less
than a month after it was released and without marketing and
with the game not yet ''feature complete''.
Mr Hall, formerly of Oamaru, and now living in Prague, said
the growing success of the game had made him determined to
produce a ''great'' final product.
DayZ puts players into the fictional post-Soviet world of
Chernarus, where an unknown virus has turned most of the
population into zombies.
Players are part of a vast online world, where they can join
up or fight with other online players.
It was the unstructured nature of gameplay which made it
appealing, Mr Hall said.
''I've described it in the past as almost an anti-game, in
that it breaks many of the typical rules of game design,'' he
''There is no real sense of balancing or an effort to make
''The situations are presented to the players and it is up to
them to make the best of it.
''This makes the world and the situations which occur very
compelling and give them meaning.''
As the game was unfinished, players were involved in its
development, which would continue for about a year, he said.
The game had gained so much attention it even caught the eye
of rapper Jay-Z.
''During the early stages of the DayZ trademark registration,
Jay-Z's lawyers requested the application be changed,'' Mr
''DayZ was also trending very highly as a search term at the
time, at times typing JayZ was showing DayZ videos higher [on
the search list].
''We just said that we didn't feel there was confusion and
that we weren't going to change the application. It was no
big deal, but it was a bit of a laugh.''
Mr Hall previously served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force
and the New Zealand Army and these experiences had provided
some of the inspiration for DayZ.
''While on my survival training in the Brunei jungle, I was
captivated by the emotional changes and situations I
''But I figured there had to be a better way to experience
these than exposing soldiers directly to the dangers,'' he
''I then decided I wanted to make something more
''I ... ended up showing them to my commanders in the army.
Some were really impressed, but overall I think it was
considered a bit far-fetched.''
Mr Hall was recently back in Dunedin visiting family and it
reminded him of how much he loved the lifestyle.
''As much as it's exciting to work overseas, I can't wait
until I'm back in New Zealand permanently.''
He hoped to open a video gaming studio in the South Island in
the future, he said.
''I think New Zealand is a massively untapped industry for
video games,'' Mr Hall said.
''Video games like DayZ cost very little to develop, and
generate hundreds of millions of dollars. They require no
manufacturing, just the imagination and skill of those making
''I think video-game development could be a bigger success
story for New Zealand than films, if given the chance.''