DayZ Inventory System Concept

The idea of this inventory system came to me about six months ago. I didn’t develop it and waited for a presentation of the official version from developers. Inventory system that was shown on PAX East wasn’t very good in my opinion. Not in terms of UI, that can be improved, but in terms of UX (user experience). Therefore, I created my revised version to show it to community.

I wanted to add a bit realism into inventory, and simplify only the things that could adversely affect player’s experience. The main principle I used was that all items in the inventory have real proportions and occupy actual space in clothes and bags.

Player won’t be able to carry car engine or wheels in his backpack, he couldn’t even put a long rifle in it. Instead, he can take wheels in his hands, or put some straps on it and put it on his back instead of backpack. And a rifle can be disassembled and folded in parts.


1680 × 1050

1366 × 768

Main panels

Panel “On the Ground” shows what lies next to the player on the ground or on the floor.

“Equipment” panel demonstrate all things worn on character. It also shows “Weight” and “Encumbrance” level.

“Inventory” panel displays all items that are in character’s clothes and backpack.

“Weight” level indicate how difficult is for character to carry entire inventory. It affects the duration of sprinting or fast walking. “Encumbrance” corresponds to character’s mobility and affects running speed and reaction.

This panel shows what player keeps in his left and right hand.

Player’s weapons and tools automatically appears in quick Access bar. Of course, player can manage them by himself.

Additional panels

Opened container panel. It can be both a small first aid kit or a box of tools and a tent or a car trunk.

Special equipment or place required for crafting, such as a workbench or campfire, is shown in separate panel.

Collapsed panel. Expends on click.

There is a panel of a dead player’s body. You can switch between his equipment and inventory.

Player can view his character in 3D in the “Character Overview” panel. It can be rotated with mouse.

Screen resolution

Inventory system has two different layouts to completely fit on screen with resolution of 1280 × 768 px and provide more space on the screen with vertical resolution more than 940 px.

2560 × 1440

1280 × 768

According to Steam stats, the number of players with screen resolution less than 1280 × 768 px is about 4.44 %. I think that computers with such resolution can’t handle DayZ, so I didn’t take them into account.

Pockets and backpack compartments

All clothes and bags can contain items. Pockets and compartment are shown by slots, the sizes of which are determined by their actual physical sizes and items dimensions that can be placed in them.

Big backpack compartments are shown with several slots.

Trousers have two special slots called “in waistband” where player can put a small long items like gun, knife or hatchet. It’s good only for short-term carrying because it greatly increases “Encumbrance” level and this items have a big chance to fall out.

Placing items in inventory

Player can drag and drop items into inventory or double-click them to put into the most appropriate slot.

No need to sort items in the slot to place other that does not fit.

When player drags item in the slot, all other items automatically sorts and rotates to accommodate it.

Moving items from equipment panel automatically makes them to fold to occupy less space.

Weapons have their stock folded.

Item that is bigger than inventory slot could be disassembled into smaller parts.

Indicators and item conditions

Items may degrade after long-term usage. Some of them can be repaired, but it’s very unlikely that they’ll last like a new ones.

If player wraps a broken hammer with duct tape it will last several hits and will fall apart again. It’s better to detach a knob, make a shaft from branch and assemble a new hammer.

Bullets and different impacts can also damage items.

Tablet will be very hard to fix in a zombie apocalypse.

Capacious liquid containers have fill indicators. Small containers don’t need them, because their content can only be consumed at once.

Loaded weapons has a bullet counter indicator. Crossed out bullet icon indicates absence of rounds in magazine. If it’s not clear if magazine is loaded in the weapon or not, special icon appears when weapon is unloaded.


Dragging one item to another allows to combine them or perform some actions.

Right-click on item opens an action list. It contains all obvious craft actions, like “Open with a Can opener” for this tin can. More intricate actions can only be discovered by dragging one item to another.


Hovering the pointer over some item causes a pop-up window with detailed information to show up.

Additional information

  • Instead of looking for a tactical belt with lots of clots, player can make his own. He’ll need some pieces of leather or durable fabric and a sewing kit to create a gun holster or a knife sheath and then attach them to the belt.

  • Large item, such as helmet, occupies several slots in the backpack at the same time.

  • Some items in “Equipment” panel can block other slots. For example, motorcycle helmet blocks headlamp slot.

  • Player can carry two car wheels in hands, but won’t be able to run.

  • When player picks up items by looking on them, they automatically gets to his pockets. Player needs to open an inventory to put items into his backpack.

Q & A

  1. 1.Why do slots in trousers rotated horizontally?

    To take less vertical space in panel. It doesn’t affect items disposition, they automatically rotate to fit in slots.

  2. 2.So, how to repair a car if you can’t carry an engine?

    You can push a car to the location of the new engine or try to repair an old one.