Rot, Browser, Shotgun: Project Zomboid

By Alec Meer on March 28th, 2011 at 1:01 pm.

you've got red on you. And everywhere else, admittedly.

This forthcoming indie, zombie, open-world, browser-based RPG (IZOBRPG?) was a bit of a Twitter sensation the other week, thanks to him what co-wrote Father Ted linking to it, but mean, paranoid rotters that we are on RPS, we decided to hold off posting until there was some footage to accompany the appealing concept. The 3-man team of Britishers behind it, Indie Stone, are funding the game with pre-orders – so let the below be the shells for your shotgun-of-purchase decision-making. Yes.

The video went to Plughead.net first; you should visit there for explanations from the devs on where the game’s currently at, but dark embeddy magicks allow us to recreate the footage below. Important things of important note: the below is incredibly early footage, it’s not a trailer per se, and the combat only represents a small element of the game. Really, the focus is on desperate survival in a sandbox post-apocalypse world.

Looting, building, running, hiding, fighting, trading, boozing: all these will apparently be possible. Also planned are the likes of depression, drug addiction, sickness and the gradual collapse of societal necessities such as electricity. This is a game of mighty scope beneath the lo-fi, isometric aesthetic. Oh, and death will come to your door: this is about just how you spend your last days.

Read all that? Good. Then forearmed with the knowledge that there is much, much more to it than this, you are ready to watch the combat video.

There are many more details of the many more features over on the Project Zomboid site (look for the blog links at the bottom). It’s playable in either a standalone client or in a browser too.

If your fancy is suitably tickled, you can pre-order the game for £5/$8 here. The money goes directly to funding the game’s development. At least, that’s what they claim. They could be spending it all on bear baiting bets for all I know. I’m pretty sure it’s funding the game, though.

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49 Comments »

  1. Dan Lawrence says:

    It’s all going on ginger snaps and Earl Grey from what I hear. Earl Grey! Imagine that luxury if you can.

    In all seriousness, these are some top chaps with a *firmly* established track record for getting stuff done and this is their dream project. Expect great things.

  2. Quasar says:

    Seems interesting, though I think I’ll hold off until there’s a demo, or at least some kind of beta program. Done correctly, this could be a more action- oriented version of Die2Nite, which I found to be fun in concept but ultimately flawed in practice.

  3. patricij says:

    It looks like early XCOMs a bit…which is GREAT, I love the aesthetics of UFO: Enemy Uknown and XCOM: Terror from the Deep and yes…I’d do something similar with my last days on the earth as the guy in the video…just go out with a shotgun and shoot the crap out of all the zombies. After all, what’s there to lose? As Marcus Aurelius says: “we all lose the same – only the presence.” And if the presence is kind of crap, it’s time to get the most of it :)))
    Ahem, anyways…I’ll be keeping a close eye on it and once there is a beta for preorders, I’ll grab it, so I’ll have at least some fun for my money in case the project goes tits up (in the same way I don’t care all that much if Minecraft gets ever completed…I feel like I already got 10euros worth of fun out of the alpha and beta alone_

  4. crainey92 says:

    Wow this project is impressive, I shall throw them a few quid to aid them in their merciless journey that is Indie, the ultimate test of surivival is it not?

  5. Navagon says:

    So essentially it’s a bit like Zombie Shooter with a bit more depth to it?

    That is pertinent to my interests.

  6. Urael says:

    Looks nice and meaty. :) Throw in a few molotovs (ho ho) and you’ve got yourself a game.

    Not so sure I’m happy about starting the game knowing I’m doomed. Are you sure there’s not at least the merest possibility of survival and rainbows?

    Still, we’re apparently still waiting on that great Post Z-apocalypse survival game experience – that isn’t focused squarely on combat – so I’m happy to chuck a few quid at these plucky Brits in the hopes of seeing one. nifty.

  7. Eclipse says:

    “play in your browser or stand alone”
    I think you should add that to the news :P many people (like me) are not going to spend money on a single player browser based game that can go down any day at any traffic spike. It’s good they’re doing a downloadable version too

  8. Oozo says:

    So, it’s like Dead State then? (How’s that game coming along, by the way?)

    • Sunjumper says:

      According to the information on their forum the game is comming along but won’t be out this year.

    • TheTingler says:

      I thought that at first, but that’s more like Fallout with zombies. This is X-Com meets Left 4 Dead.

  9. Flameberge says:

    I enjoy the player character refusing to move faster than at the pace of a nonchalant saunter in the middle of a zombie apocalypse. There surely must be a ‘run’ key?

    Also: too many zombies. If this is a game about doing stuff rather than just combat, kinda need to tone down the number of Zombies around. But of course, it was just a combat demonstration, so probably filled the area with the meatbags.

    • lemmy101 says:

      Hey, you make good points here. :) However since it’s a really early build there is no run animation yet. Yeep. You can run by holding shift, but what actually happens is he walks but really fast and it’d look a bit silly for the video so we kept him strolling around.

      re: Lots of zombies. The reason for this is every shot of the shotgun is echoing around the neighbourhood and the zombies are heading toward the sound. You’ll notice it’s only after the player has shot a bunch of times that the zombies start to really crowd in.
      As effective as the shotgun is, if you fire it anywhere near your safehouse then you’re going to get overrun, so should only rely on it for an escape (or during some expedition elsewhere of course). Being quiet and keeping the horde away from your safe-house is key to survival.
      Of course, in the early days of the apocalypse there is a lot fewer zombies, but you’ll see much more than in the video in the inner city area.

    • Tacroy says:

      re: Lots of zombies. The reason for this is every shot of the shotgun is echoing around the neighbourhood and the zombies are heading toward the sound.

      Hah, that’s totally what I thought was going on! I guess this PhD in Zombodynamics wasn’t as worthless as everyone told me it would be.

    • MikoSquiz says:

      You could stick on a sound cue. Any time you make a noise that’s loud enough to alert zombies outside of view (assuming they’ve not been alerted yet – you wouldn’t want it happening *all* the time), pause for just a moment and have an exaggerated ECHO-echo-echo.. to the sound. Underline the moment, as it were.

      (I’m also thinking the shuffling hordes should be making more, smaller noises, to emphasize that you’re surrounded by a mass of the buggers rather than a few noisy individuals.)

  10. terry says:

    Looks interesting, I hope that gameplay is Where Time Stood Still/The Great Escape/Crime Abbeyish but with every item in the world usable a la Dreamweb. Yeah, I don’t ask much.

  11. Nickenstein says:

    Nice one, Alec! :D

    @Dan Lawrence – I think I love you! <3

    @Urael – Molotovs you say? They're already in the works! – http://tinyurl.com/5tw9xpo :D

    • Urael says:

      You absolute Molo-toffs! Nice one! I love a bit of random fire-spread, me.

  12. scut says:

    I’m sick of zombie games, but this looks so promising I think I’m gonna throw down a pre-order. The engine looks like it could be adapted to all sorts of non-zombie types of games, so perhaps if this is a success for the developers we’ll see offshoots.

    • lemmy101 says:

      Thanks :) and yeah we’re developing the engine to be as reusable as possible and have numerous ideas. However this game is obviously our focus for the foreseeable.

    • scut says:

      I put my money down. If anyone else is on the fence with this one, the only other games I’ve pre-paid for are Frozen Synapse and Minecraft, and they’ve been panning out quite nicely.

  13. Unrein says:

    Those graphics are a complete homage to X-Com. Awesome.

    • Hematite says:

      Now I can spend the zombie apocalypse terrified that there’s a Chrysalid around the next corner.

      Awesome ;)

  14. Mccy_McFlinn says:

    Just watched the video and have been debating whether to fork over some cash since seeing the first screenshot. I am painfully poor at present though, so can’t relly justify placing money down for no product (for a while).
    Do we know the planned pricing scheme come proper release?

  15. MuscleHorse says:

    Just showed my support with £8, looking forward to the playable build :3

  16. drewski says:

    So what happens to our pre-order money if it’s never finished? I don’t mind paying for betas or demos so at least I get *something* for my monies (provided they’re actually fun to play) but it seems a little steep to ask for my money on the basis of “no really we’re making a game with it honest.”

    • Chaz says:

      In that case do as I plan to do and keep your money until they release some sort of playable beta à la Minecraft.

  17. Bilbo says:

    Wow, bit early to be taking pre-orders if that trailer’s the best they’ve got.

  18. Sunjumper says:

    I like their vision. My money is theirs.

  19. AdamK117 says:

    Looks good, cant complain at acouple of pound

    • Tacroy says:

      Honestly, I’d probably pay $5 for a game where you saunter around all day shooting zombies like that. It looks very, I don’t know, solid somehow.

  20. sneetch says:

    Very well, I shall give you 5 of your pounds sterling, or GuBuPs as PayPal calls them. Now code boy, code like the wind!

  21. LimEJET says:

    I might have a look into this, and I don’t even like zombie games! As long as they don’t keep that lighting aura thing and add multiplayer, it’ll be proper awesome.

  22. protorp says:

    Looks to be a ZOIDBERG; Zombie oriented, indie developed, broswer executed roleplay game…

    And a potentially mighty fine one at that :)

  23. greyhunter says:

    Its a zombie survival game. I’ll risk never seeing anything for my money, that looks dammed interesting.

  24. MuscleHorse says:

    Did anyone get any sort of confirmation email for their money?

    • lemmy101 says:

      Crumbs, you make a good point. I’ve quickly added a page to paypal saying thanks and explaining that we’ll send out user / pass once the paid-alpha is released, a silly oversight there but then we are new to this ;D. In the meantime we are working to extract the emails from our mail anyway and we’ve always planning on sending a big thank you / update out to all soon. x

      lemmy

    • MuscleHorse says:

      Not that I suspected that you took my money and ran, more I thought Paypal had messed up as it sometimes does.
      I assume a forum is in the works, so I can demand features such as tying zombie shoe laces together, bear-traps etc.

    • lemmy101 says:

      already there: http://theindiestone.com/community/ :D

  25. One Pigeon says:

    Looks pretty good. The premise seems to be a more interesting and involved Survival Crisis Z. I think I shall be throwing my pennies into the ring

  26. Bhazor says:

    Oh christ I miss Nazis.

    That’s how sick I am of zombie games, I now long for a return to WW2. It’s not like its been totally exhausted, I mean the manshooting bits sure but why not a game based on managing Bletchley Park or organising a French resistance or a city managing game during the Blitz or at the peak of austerity?

    Anything but more frickin’ zombies.

  27. Lambchops says:

    But can we talk to the zombies? And will they just talk about poo? I can’t commit until these questions are answered!

  28. Mattressi says:

    Wow, this looks great! As some have said, it seems like this could be the highly sought-after first zombie survival simulator (unlike the numerous zombie shooting simulators that are everywhere).

    Barricading sounds awesome and the spreading fire sounds very inventive. It really sounds like these guys are going to pack in the features, which is pretty unheard of with zombieshoots; though this seems like it will be far more than a mere zombieshoot.

    I’m really excited about this. The only thing that’s stopping me from putting my money down is that some of the things the devs are saying make it sound like they’re flat broke and desperate for money to continue. I’d like to help a very promising dev team out (hell, I’d buy copies for my friends and be willing to pay extra to play an alpha or beta version of the game, because it that sounds that awesome), but I’m really worried that if they’re this close to being broke and unable to work on it, my money might just be completely wasted. I guess I could just throw down the $8 and wait until an alpha is released to buy more copies; it is only $8 after all.

    • lemmy101 says:

      Suffice to say that we’re definitely okay now for the next month, probably two, thanks to all the lovely people round here and other sites being all awesome and lovely and showing their support and interest in the game.

      So yeah, the ‘flat broke’ stuff was mainly written before that. And yeah, we completely were. Still are, technically and we still need money to support development, but we now have money to survive and pay the bills/rent till end of April, which will take us to the first demo of the game.

      And if the interest and the support then matches or exceeds what it has been today, then we’ll be totally fine. for a month or two after that. :) There will reach a cut off point around that time I imagine where we should be able to support development indefinitely. I don’t want to say ‘hey, we’re all sorted now thanks everyone! as if everyone stopped donating/pre-ordering thinking we were all sorted, then ultimately we would run out and fall short. But thanks to everyone who donated / pre-ordered, we’re well within the ‘safe zone’ to be able to project how it will go and to be quietly confident that we’ll manage to pull this off.

      Besides, if it did all go tits up and we had to get jobs, we’d not abandon the game anyway, it’d just slow down development a good deal.

    • Mattressi says:

      Awesome, that’s great news :) I was worried that this might be too ‘niche’ (the only way I can rationally explain why no one has capitalised on a zombie survival RPG before) and that you’d only get a handful of people who’d put any kind of money down for it; but if you’ve got a months worth or more out of just these initial press releases, it makes me much more confident that there’s an interest for these types of games. I know, it probably sounds cynical (and cheap) of me to wait to see how many others put money on it before I do, but if I pre-ordered every game that I liked and later nothing came of it…well, I might even be able to afford one of those ridiculously high priced mainstream games ($90 AU over here!) :P

      Anyway, good sir, you’ve convinced me. I’ll definitely put down $8 now and later I’ll likely end up putting down more for friends and family when a co-op build is released and I feel like forcing them to play with me. Good luck with the development, I can’t wait to see how this turns out :)

  29. lemmy101 says:

    <3!!!! :) Cheers Mattressi!

  30. Player2 says:

    I don’t know if it’s been pointed out yet, but this reminds me greatly of Survival Crisis Z, from Ska Studios. Always wished they’d add multiplayer and a bit more combinable stuffs, and it appears these gentlemen are doing just that. And more, I’d imagine.

  31. Tycow says:

    Donated, and donated some more! Sent the link to some of my friends who are also planning to buy it.

    This is looking really promising Lemmy… I’m hoping this will be the game that Fort Zombie wasn’t.

    Keep up the good work. :)