Geoffrey is way too busy to do a design article this week. He's got to get all the features locked down before he's allowed out of his cage again. Fortunately, he and Foge took some time to do this miniature Lifeline Q&A. Can you play as civilians? No, in Lifeline you’re a soldier. The civilians are NPCs. Will the civilians defend themselves or just cower like baby rabbits? Will the scientists you are supposed to save help protect the camp, or just be dead weight? The scientists you are responsible for evacuating are largely unarmed, with poor physical skills and no gun training. So while they will defend themselves when they're out in the open, they won’t do it well ... and once they're in the base, Geoffrey says it's up to you to keep them safe. They won't be dead weight for long, though. Periodically, they will be extracted to a safe place, leaving you room in your community to go out and rescue more. In Lifeline, you answer to a chain of command, and your orders are to rescue important people with the skills that your superiors think might be key to ending the outbreak. As Vienna Cho will remind you, though, there are plenty of other civilians out there who also need your help, and you can choose to rescue them, too, if you decide they're worth your time. Will fuel become more important? Why, yes, there are going to be new uses for fuel. We’re not ready to go into details, yet, but we’re planning another design article after we get back from PAX. (Note to any reporters/bloggers/vloggers attending PAX: You should totally make an appointment with us. ) Will guard towers upgrade to manned turrets? No. There are defenses to invest in at the base (and some new facilities we’ll be unveiling as we get closer to launch), but the guard towers are just a place for soldiers to stand with their weapons. Will there be any new weapons? Yes. Not a kajillion of them, but some nice new toys. Can you manufacture machined suppressors? No, your field workshop won't be that well-equipped. But as Geoffrey says, “a soldier has other ways to procure advanced equipment when needed.” Can you still level up stats? Yes. Can you explain how the timing works? Is the whole thing timed, or is it just timed on missions where you have to evacuate the civilians? I mean, if I don’t rescue a civilian, can I just wander around for a bit? Let me just quote Geoffrey rather than fake it: “There is a cycle of building pressure in the city's zombie population. When it reaches a breaking point, the zombies attack your base, and you need to be there to defend your civilians. That is where most of the time pressure comes from. “Civilians you are asked to rescue also have a limited shelf life out in the wild. You can choose whether and when to rescue them, but they won't survive for long on their own. "There is not an overall time limit, however. As long as you're staying on top of the periodic orders that come down from HQ, and you aren't getting your people killed, you can stick around for quite some time to explore the outskirts of the city." So, this is like a tower defense game? There’s certainly a bit of that feel to it, sure, especially when we’re talking about defense. You need to invest in and plan your defenses, and fend off waves of attackers. But it’s still State of Decay. We think the psychological issues and the simulation systems of State of Decay make the experience awesome, but you’ll have to let us know what you think!