Impressions: Project Zomboid

By John Walker on May 30th, 2011 at 10:00 am.

That's no way to talk about his wife.

The Indie Stone’s calamitous path has finally brought it to a place where Project Zomboid is available to play as a cut-down alpha. Those who have pre-ordered the game (and more recently, those who have bought their other games to get a PZ pre-order) will by now have received an email with the link and password. Those who haven’t can pick up one of the older games and get access immediately. Is it something you should be interested in? I’ve had a play of it, and tell you below.

In the zombie apocalypse, I died of cooking soup. My wife was hurt, upstairs in bed. I’d bandaged her leg as well as I could, but we both knew what an injury meant. Having found wood, hammer and nails in the garden shed I’d put up defences on all the downstairs doors and windows, and then we slept.

Incredibly hungry, I set out to find food for both of us, the bleeding in my wife’s leg just as bad. The next door house looked empty, so heading in I made my way to the kitchen and encountered my first zombie. Fortunately the hammer I’d put the wooden boards up with was still in my hand (it pays to sleep with such a thing), so I bopped it on the head and emptied the cupboards. An apple, carrots, and a few tins of soup.

Getting back to our own new home, and after in paranoia hammering up new planks over the door I went through cupboards and draws looking for a pot and tin opener. Combined, and into the oven. Time passed. Very quickly, as it happens. It seems to fly by. I wasn’t sure if it was done. Pootling around in the kitchen I thought I’d check on my wife while I waited. It was with my foot on the first stair that I saw the oven explode in the kitchen. Running in, in my panic I thought to take the pot of soup out and then ran upstairs to my wife. By this point I was on fire, as was most of the house, and my attempt to carry her out of the building was already looking futile. And then I died, about a foot from the front door.

Project Zomboid is not quite the game I was expecting. I knew it was intended to be a survival zombie game, in which your character would have to improvise with what he could salvage, in order to live as long as possible amongst the undead hordes. I didn’t know it was going to have occasional story, a sense of being a real person with a real relationship. I also – I think because of the Amiga-esque graphics seen in the screenshots before release – didn’t realise how dark it was going to feel.

It’s a clever technique, the appearance of a wife. It goes from “man who hits zombies to survive” to “man who needs to stay alive to help wife”. (It would certainly be no bad thing to see the introduction of a choice of sexes at the start to get away from any needless tropes here, of course.) There’s a motivation from the first opening moments, and it’s not bravado. She even warns you not to try to prove anything as you venture out for the first time. It’s the sort of evocative you just won’t believe from looking at the pictures. It’s also important to note if the thought of narrative getting in the way sounds horrendous, this isn’t obligatory. In fact, this opening part of the game is the anomaly, the rest more freeform. There are also plans for alternative narrative openings, motivations, and so on. And a tutorial skip will be added soon.

This version of the game is a very early Alpha. After a run of misfortune of such extraordinary proportions, developers The Indie Stone next found their test code had been leaked on 4Chan, and so have rushed to get this code out to everyone who pre-ordered. Which means that to say it’s incomplete is not only to wildly underestimate, but also to widely miss the point. This is a project at its early stages, intended to grow enormously, with the guidance of those who are playing it. By the time you’re reading this a new update will have addressed my most immediate gripes (adding items to your inventory should get there with a double-click, and dying won’t leave you needing to refresh, I believe). If you’re reading this in three months I imagine the game will be unrecognisable.

Right now you have an inventory that slides out of the left side of the screen, including a button for bringing up the crafting window. Into this you can drop up to five items to combine them, like the soup, can opener and pot for a recipe to last a student at least one academic year. It would be good to see that crafting option a more permanent presence on the screen – in fact it would be great if all the key elements were available to be fixed in place, rather than a second click away. Oh, and I want to skip dialogue please. And…

I love the potential here. And I’m excited by how much has already been achieved. The atmosphere is immediately superb, a big part thanks to the bleak presentation of what is usually associated with such bright, cheerful games. Isometric, chunky pixels feel as out of place in such a world as a smiling doll in a post-holocaust playground. It’s a smart decision. Combine that with some really quite astonishingly good music (I’m leaving it playing as I write this, and fancy writing everything else ever to it just now), intelligently gentle weather sound effects, and a sense of foreboding from one of the best opening lines I’ve ever seen, and they’re onto something. That opening line, white text on a black background before you start: “This is how you died.”

Of course, while I’m excited about potential here, I am more tempered with what’s already on offer. Currently it’s very fiddly, and juggling menus is awkward. I’m also not sure how well suited WASD is to isometric, meaning running perpendicular to the world’s edges requires holding down two buttons at a time. Clearly there’s need for a mute button, and the option to save your progress seems essential. As it is, the narrative of the game’s tutorial opening moments doesn’t come to an end, leaving you with soup in hand. This will be updated soon, with a bigger update due in a couple of weeks that should add unscripted NPCs to the mix.

If you want to play it at this stage you need to pre-order the game. A demo is planned, but has been delayed due to a combination of TIS’s litany of disasters. Pre-ordering now is of course investing in the project, and means you’ll have access to the game immediately, and can follow its development with the frequent updates. To buy it, thanks to those aforementioned issues, you’ll need to buy one of TIS’s older games, which all come with a lifetime purchase of Project Zomboid at the same time. It’s looking like it’s worth the confusion. And when one of those games is Droids, for only £5, it’s a sweet deal. It’s worth noting that PZ plays in Java in your web browser. But it occupies the entire screen area.

So the next time I turned the oven off. My wife was listening to the radio, and I figured I’d hunt around for a bowl or something to serve it in, rather than have her eat directly out of the pot. Turning to go back downstairs I saw the front door was open. I’d definitely shut it. But I hadn’t boarded it back up. I’d boarded it when I was next door, because she was there on her own. But I hadn’t bothered when I came back in. I was running out of wood, and I just figured I should save it for when I’m not there. And now the door was open. And there was a man with a shotgun. He shouted at me. I pulled out my hammer. He shot me dead. And he went upstairs.

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166 Comments »

  1. Guyver says:

    geez… the last part its veeeery creepy-sad.
    was a movie reference or it really happened on the game?

    • John Walker says:

      It really happened.

    • gorgol says:

      IKR! Eeek!

    • Teddy Leach says:

      The same thing happened to me in my third playthrough. In my fourth, I managed to kill him before ge could shoot my wife.

    • Jumwa says:

      That moment was indeed very chilling.

      As trope-y as it might be, the notion of having to protect and do things for your injured wife immediately seemed to stir some response in me that elevated my interest in the game many fold over. Really made the game premise nab me in a way no other has that I can think of. Then hearing about John’s character failing to do so–the second time especially–just kind of startled me. Made me want to go do better and save her in a game I had no interest in until then.

      I suppose it’s a trope for a reason, huh?

    • aerozol says:

      @ Jumwa Maybe less so if you’re not a guy.

    • lemmy101 says:

      I should point out that any sexism or racism in Project Zomboid alpha tech-demo is purely due to lack of art resources and time. :D

    • RodeoClown says:

      It really happened.
      And in the game.

    • QuantaCat says:

      Why would you feel less inclined to save your wife if you’re female? this makes no sense to me.

      As extremely interesting as this sounds, I think I’ll stay away simply due to it being extremely “omg real-ly sad”.
      (also, Im quite annoyed by a friend of mine liking the SAW movies just because its about survival and horror and realistic and etc. This sounds just like the kind of game he likes)

      So bye little game, I wish you lots of promotion and buyers! Ill go work on my infinity engine!

    • TonyB says:

      I think it’s missing Walker’s point to suggest that a female player wouldn’t feel the same need to protect their in-game wife. The trope, of course, is having the vulnerable female needing protection from the powerful male. In this game’s setting there’s no reason why those roles couldn’t be reversed (well, as Lemmy’s already pointed out, no reason other than development resources).

    • Coins says:

      “Zombies don’t judge. Neither should you.”

    • Jumwa says:

      @aerozol

      I didn’t presume to speak for anyone but myself there.

      I would’ve harped on about my desire for male and female options in such games, but I feared I was becoming a broken record on the issue.

      As a matter of course I don’t play multiplayer/co-op games that don’t have a respectable female representation, as my partner wouldn’t be interested in them.

    • Napalm Sushi says:

      That last paragraph reminds me of the part of the Zombie Survival Guide that I found most memorable: that in a full blown apocalypse scenario, in the long term, you would have to leave the remnants of civilisation and settle as far off the grid as possible, because while a well boarded up house with quiet inhabitants could sit unassailed among the undead for as long as its larder lasts, it’s only a matter of time until a group of desperate folk with crowbars come walking down the drive.

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    • rabitjunk says:

      Let’s be realistic for a second:

      1) Men are physically stronger than women
      2) For better or worse, men protecting women (especially wives) is the cultural norm in most of the world.

      Now, I’m not a zombie-apocalypse expert, but it makes little sense to assume that these facts will evaporate on the first munched brain.

      Assuming that the reversed roles are more than just a sprite change, it would most likely require significant extra effort on the part of the developer. Thus I would argue that you should probably have a reason to deviate from the more realistic scenario other than just to be “PC”. Realism (by virtue of numbers) does not equate to sexism.

    • JackShandy says:

      Rabitjunk: The wife, as far as I can tell, acts in the following way:

      1) Does nothing to help.
      2) Must be protected.

      If she acts that way because she’s a woman, the game is sexist. If she acts that way because she is hurt by a zombie bite, then the roles could be reversed with no loss of context.

    • Jumwa says:

      Using ‘realism’ as an excuse to permanently shunt women into lesser roles is silly. Not all men or women are cut from the same cloth. There even exist women stronger than some men. The difference between the average man and woman in physicality is dwarfed by the difference between two men at opposite ends of the spectrum.

    • zeekthegeek says:

      Relax people, it isn’t sexism, it’s just the tutorial/demo that has the male main character. The final game has customized character creation including profession classes (what you did before the apocalypse etc). Gender will definitely be an option.

    • rabitjunk says:

      I’m not suggesting that. I’m just tired of people constantly trying to inject “sexism” where there is none. I’m merely arguing that the scenario, as presented, would in all likeliness be a more common occurrence than the converse (granted I don’t know much about zombie bites, I’m just extrapolating based on cultural evidence) – and thus labeling it “sexist” is disingenuous.

      Contemplating the “evil, secret machinations” of the developer as to why they chose one scenario or another … is tiring.

    • Avenger says:

      Argh. For Christs sake, just replace the woman with a child!

      Inferior to the player
      Does nothing
      Not sexist
      Needs protection
      Emotional bond regardless of sex

      problem solved!

  2. Stephen Roberts says:

    Whenever I have an idea about something, I turn the next corner to find someone’s gone and made it. It’s nice cause it kinda saves me from doing the work, but I start to suspect I’m living in a coma.

    I know they’re not the most original of enemies but the scrounging survival aspect of zombie town is completely ignored in other zombie games. Also, here’s to hoping the zombies don’t run. Ever. I might have to get on board with this right away.

    • James says:

      I understand your coma reference completely. I think I’ll need to order this now…thought I’d wait until the demo, but John felt the need to poop all over that idea.

    • JFS says:

      They will not run. No special infected either. The developers are very committed to the classical Romero zombie lore, and I think that is a good thing.

    • P7uen says:

      It’s like the opposite of Dead Island!

      Arcadey isometric zombie shooter turns out to be bleak long-form survival horror.

      I’ve just picked it up, it’s a thing of beautiful.

  3. Teddy Leach says:

    As far as I know, that whole wife story is just part of the alpha. Most of the design notes suggest a fair bit of freedom when starting the game. You can also hold the spacebar to speed up text. The new update lets you skip the tutorial completely.

    • John Walker says:

      If only I’d thought to say any of those things!

    • Teddy Leach says:

      Ah, so you did! That’s the problem with reading off a phone screen. Sorry, John.

    • DarkFenix says:

      I certainly hope the ‘keep the wife alive’ thing becomes optional (or ditched). It sounds like a chore to me, one that would stop me enjoying the game so much. Kinda like what Dead Rising 2 did, I’m out having fun with inventive weapons killing zombies, but oh shit now I have to go find another bloody dose of Zombrex and trek all the way back to the bloody safehouse. Thanks DR2, I was having fun, thanks for interrupting that.

    • Kyuuabi says:

      You can suffocate your wife with a pillow to skip the entire keep wife alive part

    • Oak says:

      In Project Zomboid, too.

  4. Valvarexart says:

    This seems fantastic.

  5. Nathan_G says:

    I’ve been following this for a while now, participating in the forums and IRC channel. Really cool guys with a strong vision. The alpha version of PZ is more fully-realised than some actual demos I’ve played. Considering it’s only been out a few days, the number of fixes and changes they’ve already made based on feedback are pretty impressive too.

  6. Lambchops says:

    I put my hammer away, fearing my crazy neighbour. Then he started acting threatening towards my wife. I thought his attention was occupied, so I pulled out my hammer. Soon I was on the floor bits of my inards splattered all over the bedroom wall as my wife looked on horrified.

  7. Koojav says:

    I paid for Minecraft in it’s alpha stage and after that much time it’s still not being close to final version.

    I also got Frozen Synapse in very early beta and now on Steam I could have paid the same amount of cash for complete, tested game.

    Instead of paying now for alpha PZ I’m just going to wait for it to be released, patched, updated and getting a 50% price slash on some christmas. I’m tired of waiting a year for playing a game that I already paid for.

    • James says:

      Yeah…stop injecting temperance and lessons-learned into my ephemeral excitement, sir!

      Good points, though.

    • patricij says:

      Minecraft is coming along nicely, me thinks… I don’t care for it being alpha, beta or final, I’m getting lots of fun for my 10euros (mostly building underwater homes, tho…guess Bioshock spoiled me a bit)

    • Meat Circus says:

      Have you not considered that you might have done a GOOD THING, helping out a tiny studio without the infinitely capacious pockets of an evil publisher to fund their developers such that they might feed their tiny, helpless children and puppies?

      Tell Tiny Tim that Daddy won’t be coming home this Christmas, Foreman Koojay says there are to be no more pre-orders.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      You’ve never heard of pre-orders then? It’s a fiver now, and the price WILL go up when it’s closer to release.

    • James says:

      I think his point was just that alpha/beta/whatever is not a finished game, and there are issues that arise because of it. There are many reasons why preordering indie games can be positive, he just pointed out some of the negative bits influencing his current position. He didn’t tell anyone else what they should or shouldn’t do.

    • aerozol says:

      What did you expect when you paid for an alpha/beta? This is stupid.

    • ffordesoon says:

      I never understand this mentality. “How dare they take my money and give me access to an early version of the game that’s not perfect, but will be brought closer and closer to perfection over time?! How dare they give me a chance to directly influence the development of their game for a few measly bucks?! Bastards! I want a finished product!”

      It’s like, they didn’t force you to give them your money. You knew the deal up front.

      Minecraft in particular is a strange example, because it already feels more “finished” than a lot of boxed PC games. They could stop work on it tomorrow and it would still be more fun than most other games. That they’re still adding game-changing features to it at this point is just gravy.

      “Finished” is an illusory state anyway. I once read that Kubrick was still working on his “perfect cut” of Dr. Strangelove when he died. He was never going to release it, obviously, and he was presumably proud of the film as released, but he kept working on it anyway, because “finished” is just the point at which one chooses to stop and move on to something else. There’s always more to do.

    • James says:

      Aerozol, thanks for that. You’ve set me straight with your straight-talk. You call ‘em like you see ‘em, and that’s why I love you.

      Ffordesoon, notice the difference between what he wrote and how you portrayed what he wrote. Specifically, notice how they’re not at all the same. Also, illusory states aside, if you think Minecraft feels more finished than most games then you have a very interesting idea of finished. Whatever though, I’m hoping you’ll take the time to let me know how wrong I am about all of this.

    • Dominic White says:

      I paid $10 for Minecraft in Alpha, and probably got at least 30 hours play out of it before it hit Beta.

      I’ve paid $10 for finished, complete games on Xbox Live Arcade and gotten under two hours play out of them.

      Who cares whether it’s Alpha, Omega, Gamma or anything inbetween? Is it fun, and am I going to get a decent amount of play out of it? That’s all I care about.

      So far, all of the indies I’ve put down alpha-build preorders on have turned out to be more than worth it. I’ll continue to do so in the future.

    • patricij says:

      What Dominic White says…

      But anyway – how EXACTLY is this worse than pre-ordering a game half a year ahead, getting stupid 10percent off, some useless junk (like the bargain bin game from the same publisher nobody’s playing) on top of it with no chance of finding out its quality beforehand as there is no demo…and then finding out the game to be utter-shit without the ability to resell it as it is tied to your STEAM/D2D/GG/GFWL/whatever account?

      I, for one, will rather risk pre-ordering an indie game than this :)

    • James says:

      @Dominic White

      That’s a reasonable viewpoint. I’ve had many hours of enjoyment with it as well.

      I think that the feeling a lot of Minecraft owners have is that the development has dropped off as success/popularity has increased, that’s my main issue anyway. It doesn’t negate my enjoyment of the game (even though I can’t even play it right now), far from it. However, given how many features Marcus has talked about and in many cases promised, coupled with the perceived lack of development, I and others do feel that there is some justifiable cause for irritation.

      The short of it is that I feel like he hasn’t (and probably won’t, to a large extent, given the current planned release date) made good on a lot of his claims for what he would add to the game, even if I ignored every comment along those lines since I actually purchased it.

      I also find the idea that he’s had multiple developers working on the mobile version slightly insulting, given that they could obviously be working on Minecraft itself (which would seem appropriate, given that it is not complete and the pre-orders for it are what pay for their salaries).

      Again though, I’m not begrudging those who are happy with it as is. I do wish that alternative views weren’t so mystifying and/or aggravating to some, though. You though, I like. We should totally hug it out.

    • D says:

      James starts an interesting discussion. It’s well documented that receiving money for doing some task that you previously did for free, cannot avoid devalueing that task in your mind. I imagine it gets quite devalued when we’re talking Minecraft-type money. Another reason can be that the size of the established userbase is involved in decisions about keeping existing systems in place, versus experimentation. But I guess mostly, its just the old predictable development timescales growing as you pile on more and more complexity.

    • Freud says:

      I won’t pay for any beta/alpha. Not because I don’t believe in supporting developers (I do buy a lot of games) but because I simply wouldn’t able to enjoy the games if I did. I would play them unfinished and then be tired of them when they are actually finished. This is why I still haven’t bought Minecraft. I want to see what his vision for the full release is.

      While I have full sympathy for developers being in a tight spot when developing their games I think suggesting that if you don’t buy alpha/beta stuff you are unsupportive of indie game developing is unfair.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I think suggesting that if you don’t buy alpha/beta stuff you are unsupportive of indie game developing is unfair.

      I don’t think anyone’s said that. The developers make their decisions, and you make yours, and everyone’s happy. It’s an opportunity to support and influence development, nothing more. They’re selling an alpha/beta, and if you expect a finished product, you absolutely should not buy it. There are no guarantees.

      Of course, there’s a large advantage is buying the alpha for many of these games even if you’re not going to play it immediately, because there’s usually a large discount early on. The only exception I’m aware of is Frozen Synapse.

  8. Akura says:

    I played it once so far, and i did the same thing as you did: I set the house on fire.

    Extremely interesting as zombie games go, and i already preordered it, so it will be cool to see where it goes from here.

  9. Karol says:

    Rock, Paper, **puts on glasses**, Shotgun.
    YEEEEEEEEEAAAAH!

  10. Barts says:

    How does it compare to Rogue Survivor?

    I thought that RS was one brilliant indie game, if dev added isometric pixel graphics, I think it would be a very strong competitor – didn’t want to say “blow PZ out of the water”, because I have no experience with PZ, but still, I was tempted.

    • Vandalbarg says:

      It’s no where near as detailed yet, but they’re very different games. RS is kinda goofy, and arcadey, whereas PZ, even at this early stage, is, well, see for yourself, even just from the reviews and comments. Goofy it is not.

    • Barts says:

      Frankly, I don’t find RS “goofy”, on the contrary. I liked the detailed level of simulation and emergent stories that resulted from independent actors’ behaviour.

  11. sexyresults says:

    So, why can’t we just buy this game?

    • Meat Circus says:

      Shenanigans, I’d wager.

    • sexyresults says:

      edited: Only took about an hour to get my details

    • sexyresults says:

      Oh these are the blokes that had all that trouble with google check out. Dots-connected.

    • Hematite says:

      I’m guessing the alpha access has to come ‘free with another product’ because payment processing companies don’t like taking money now for a product which will, double pinky-promise, be delivered at an unspecified point in the future.

    • lemmy101 says:

      That is *exactly* it. :)

    • sexyresults says:

      Thanks for clarifying.

    • Kdansky says:

      Because google checkout has “no Donations” in the TOS, and they didn’t realize that adding different price points would screw them over. So now, they sell four products at different prices instead. Nicely done.

  12. Leyths says:

    Had a play the other day, was really, really good for the early stage it was in. The atmosphere was incredible, I felt this terrible sense of foreboding the whole time and I felt genuine compulsion to help my wife. Once they’ve sorted out the most annoying issues (having to refresh to restart after death, skipping cut-scenes) I’ll certainly go back and have another go.

    Extremely promising and I hope the final product lives up to its potential.

  13. Tori says:

    This sounds like the game I was waiting a very long time for.
    I hope the devs will have more luck from now and deliver a masterpiece soon.

  14. JYzer says:

    “After a run of misfortune of such extraordinary proportions, developers The Indie Stone next found their test code had been leaked on 4Chan, ” Ah, 4chan, doing for the internet what the locusts did for Egypt.

  15. TheBlobThing says:

    “Later on, there will be some ways to combat zombism, such as amputation. Some of these will depend on what skills/perks you have.”

    Straight from the developers. Awesome! Can’t wait for my key.

  16. lemmy101 says:

    Damn it was just about to go to sleep and we get an influx of orders. :D Damn it in the best possible sense of course, it’s awesome! love you all and thanks John for the lovely write up. I just hope Binky gets up soon to take over the orders really hate the idea of making people wait! :) (we need to get automated accounts sorted!!)

    <3

    • Leyths says:

      Where abouts are you guys based? You always seem to be sleeping during the day! Night owls or dirty colonials? Love the game, great work!

    • James says:

      I’m ordering now, eat it Lemmy!

      Edit: Google won’t take my money for some reason, so you’re off the hook for now.

    • wisnoskij says:

      “dirty colonials”
      Hah, I love that.

  17. lemmy101 says:

    UK :) thank you!

    And yeah we’re night owls :D

  18. hosndosn says:

    Sounds like it’s really detailed, which is something I hoped when I first heard of it. By using the simple, isometric graphics, they can really focus on adding gameplay (wouldn’t be surprised if the graphics engine is more or less finished already). Basically, I hope they’re going more sandbox/Dwarf Fortress in terms of emergent gameplay and storytelling. i.e., you can do anything, even if it doesn’t make sense and they never expected the player to do it.

  19. tomeoftom says:

    <3 John Walker

  20. Vexing Vision says:

    This sounds tremendously exciting for the roleplaying abilities. I’m weird like that. Having options due to different skills/perks my character has appeals to me greatly.

    Colour me interested for a more advanced version!

  21. Sheng-ji says:

    The only thing which puts me off this game is the enforced death. Shame, I’ll probably wait till they add modding support.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Who am I kidding, they’ve done such a good job so far I’ll get it and hope the death isn’t a poor ending!

  22. sendmark says:

    I think there’s a lesson here, if you get caught in a zombie apocalypse, don’t let John be the one to look after you :P

    Sounds a fascinating game. The wife and neighbour aspects are cool, but I’m intrigued with how free roaming and random it could be.A true zombie survival game. Multiplayer at some point would be lovely as well.

  23. Navagon says:

    “Now a real cynical type might conclude that these games had been hastily thrown together so as to legally remove any obligation on them to offer a refund should Zomboid not ever be finished.

    But you’ve managed to make this game sound a lot more fantastic than I thought it was going to be. Kind of like the best bits of those apocalptic flaash games you’ve featured but with open survival gameplay as the focus. That sounds pretty damn good to me.

  24. Notelpats says:

    I watched some of the gamplay on paulsoaresjr’s channel and immediately went to their website to buy the game. It’s rather neat even though there isn’t that much to it as of yet. Looking forward to seeing what the devs are going to do with it.

  25. Edawan says:

    So, is this game really taking place in a Sims neighborhood ?

  26. sexyresults says:

    Just me or can others not load the game? Maybe their servers are taking a hammering

    • lemmy101 says:

      Make sure you have latest Java installed (java 6 I think) and also try restarting your browser from scratch and if all else fails, test it in another browser. :)

    • sexyresults says:

      Yes was a problem at my end :)

  27. MD says:

    Sounds a lot more interesting than I’d expected! I’m not into zombies, plus they’ve been in everything ever over the past few years, but you’ve got me fairly keen to try this. I’ll wait til it’s done though, as I can’t really afford games right now, and especially not taking a risk on an early release.

    • MD says:

      Actually, stuff the early release thing, that’s usually worked out in the past, and I reckon they’ll either pull this off or at least create something flawed but fun enough to justify the price. If I had money to spend I’d be all over this.

  28. I LIKE FOOD says:

    Zombies look like martians.

  29. Dominic White says:

    I’ll be preordering this (ahem, sorry – I mean buying one of their existing games) as soon as I get my disposable income for the month, which (coincidentally) comes from writing about indie games.

    That, and it looks like it’ll run on this ancient laptop. My main PC is out of commission, and stupid dabs.com have something like a 4-5 day backlog on emails so that I don’t even know whether they’ll take the dead component(s) under warranty yet.

  30. lemmy101 says:

    Dominic, it’s probably worth holding out for the public demo that’ll be coming soon, we’ve had a few problems on a few makes of integrated graphic cards on old laptops involving the wife being completely invisible. I’m certain they are resolvable, and it’s only a small selection of people effected, but as to when we’ll nail it down I can’t say, so as of yet I feel I owe it to warn you before you put your hard earned monies toward it.

    • Tom OBedlam says:

      This sort of dev response is why I love the indie industry (indiestry?) so much

  31. Stupot815 says:

    I was planning to wait until it was finished before I bought it, but now this version is doing the rounds I’m getting excited again.

    I’ve a couple of questions:
    How big is the game world, currently?
    Can you drive vehicles?
    Is there a ‘Dawn of the Dead’ style shopping mall that can be used as a base? Oh man, that would be epic!

    • crainey92 says:

      Currently the world is rather small and only includes about 10 buildings (correct me if I’m wrong) none of which are a mall and you cannot drive cars (don’t know if that’s going to be in a future build either) but you must keep in mind that this game was only announced official about a month ago I think and this is just a early release tech demo. It’s incredible how quickly the team are updating the game, for example there is a massive list of changes done in the last patch as can be seen on the wiki pzwiki.net/wiki/Version_history.

  32. lemmy101 says:

    Not too big at the moment. It’s basically one suburban area. It will grow in successive updates and shouldn’t take too long for the world to grow to a good size.

    No vehicles.

    And of course a mall is a prime candidate for a new map section :D

  33. Cradlejoe says:

    This looks like it could be THE zombie game…

  34. Untitled says:

    Everyone that got excited about that Dead Island trailer, needs to know about this game.

    Spread the word!

    • bill says:

      Yeah, lemmy, you should definitely do a backwards time video of the wife and of John getting blown up by his soup. In slow motion, with haunting music.

    • Untitled says:

      The internet would be taken by storm. In other news, Heinz have seen a 50% decrease in tinned food sales.

  35. ZIGS says:

    Is it just me or does this sounds exactly like Dead State (or vice-versa)?

    • Chuck84 says:

      It does seem similar, though Dead State is slightly larger-scale, in that you have to manage a team. And of course it’s turn-based, rather than real time.

      Fortunately these both look freakin’ awesome.

  36. subactuality says:

    Oh my god, I just accidentally One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest-ed my wife. This is startlingly dark and emotionally evocative, I sincerely feel terrible about this.

    • Kits says:

      Yeah…not sure what that reference is, but I’m assuming you did the same as me and used the wrong item on her. It was very much “oh god, how do I stop it” sad and depressing moment..

    • antizyme says:

      Egads… I was just trying to prop her head up to make her more comfortable. Next thing I know… accidental euthanasia :(

  37. jealouspirate says:

    Looks very interesting, I might have to pick this up. I don’t much care about just shooting zombies, but the survival aspect is quite appealing.

  38. RetroVortex says:

    I pre-ordered this 3 times. :D
    (While its cheap, while its fairly early and less popular, plus I love giving my friends presents!)
    I love these guys. Great people, and the game itself is coming on greatly.
    (Far better than what I actually expected at this stage! XD)

  39. Temple says:

    Liking the write up, just played this last night and it might be of interest to some -sort of a resource management zombie flash game.
    http://armorgames.com/play/10572/rebuild

    It managed to give me a sense of impending doom as my soldiers died leaving scientists to await the horde.

  40. Lewie Procter says:

    Top tip:
    Don’t try to make your wife more comfortable by giving her another pillow.
    D:

    Edit: So I am not the only one.

    • clippa says:

      Ha, that’s exactly what I did. Playing the good Samaritan gets you nowhere :(

    • fucrate says:

      Probably could have used a “Are you sure you want to kill your wife?” kind of popup :\

  41. nootron says:

    Wow. That end made me shiver. Sounds like a dreadfully awesome game.

  42. Coins says:

    So uh, no paypal? I thought they solved those problems?

  43. Dao Jones says:

    Oh wow! Great game to start off my Memorial Day! ;) After reading this, I told myself I would NOT start a fire. I figured the oven would have some type of timer and… fire. Turned around to get to my wife and a flood of zombies came in! I tried to fend them off but alas, I failed (love the little “rat food deceased” tip!). At least the fire killed all of the zombies!

    And my wife. :’(

    I also believe as long as you hold Ctrl or something similar while clicking items, they automatically go in the inventory. Old WoW player here. :p

  44. Big Murray says:

    This is sounding even more awesome than I thought it would be. The concept of there being other characters and actual reasons for going outside and doing things is just so enticing that I think I’m going to go and put my “pre-order” in.

    I hope they don’t remove the wife thing from the final version, or they at least realise what an awesome idea it is and implement more similar concepts in.

    • CaptainBinky says:

      *Everything* in the tech-demo is indicative of the sorts of things you’ll see in the full game. Except the bugs – we’ll fix those ;)

  45. paulsoaresjr says:

    Even in its current state, it’s amazing. I love the old school isometric feel…reminds me very much of Fallout and Jagged Alliance, etc. BTW, if you want to see PZ in action, I have a 2-part “test drive” video series so far (with more to come)

  46. Tatourmi says:

    Will there be any kind of multiplayer? That would be quite the awesome thing.

  47. Zarunil says:

    I’m very much for isometric old-school games, and John’s article is enough to persuade me into pre-ordering. Will it be shit? I just dont know, but it looks fun!

  48. Muzman says:

    Is it just me or does the game sound great but the name, not so much?
    Not that it’s a major obstacle, but still…

    • Martel says:

      I agree, it feels a little clunky. Not sure what a better one would be though, so take that with a grain of salt.

      I did buy a copy, it just sounds too good to pass up.

    • JFS says:

      It may be not that elegant, but it sure is a refreshment from all the “Dead XY” and “XY Dead” zombie games.

    • Muzman says:

      Yeah, no ‘dead’ is good. And there’s a lot more planned for it than this tutorial/alpha scenario I guess.
      But when all this drama was going on (is still going on) glancing by at the stories, the screenies and the name without looking any harder, a suspicion had started to form that maybe they were just charging for some zombie craze cash in game and maybe there was something slightly scammy about it we hadn’t heard of.
      Hey, vague ill judgements are a privilege we all enjoy from time to time.

      In that case particularly this is probably the most awesome piece of press they could get. Certainly removed any such thought from my mind (helps that they’re making a good game too of course).

  49. bluebogle says:

    I get more excited about this game with every update. Hope to buy into it soon enough.

  50. fuggles says:

    This sounds really intruiging. I hope you add the potential for kids, pets and actually winning. I will be watching this and I really like that you devs are here on RPS – it shows you care!