Undead To Rights: Project Zomboid Update

By Adam Smith on August 31st, 2011 at 1:19 pm.

Zombies are basically some kind of metaphor, man. But a metaphor that can chew your leg.
The Indie Stone have announced that the first update for Project Zomboid is now available for download. And that’s not all! They’ve also answered some questions regarding Steam availability and the frequency and girth of future updates. If you’ve already pre-purchased the game and have access to the in development version, the update is available now. The free demo, however, will not be updated so if you want to see the changes in action, it’s time to hand over the clams. Fortunately, that just got easier because the game is now available through Desura. Not Steam though. Not yet.

The developers clearly understand that people want to buy the game on Steam, or at least to access it through Steam. That’s probably because they receive an email asking when the game will be on Steam once every six seconds. Wisely then, they have posted the full details of their current standing and thinking regarding Steam. Now those emails will only come in once every seven seconds.

Essentially, if you buy through Desura you should (I’ll stress and italicise that) be able to transfer across to Steam. At present, the plan is to have the game work through the Steam library sooner rather than later but if you want to purchase the game on Steam “you could be looking at a year, perhaps more”. Perhaps never. As I understand it, that’s simply because of the early stage the game’s at. If you want to know more, you can click through and read the whole post here.

As for the update itself, I haven’t had a chance to give it a proper look unfortunately. I understand it’s less substantial than many people had hoped but it does add modding tools, which is a wonderful thing, as well as the beginnings of more complex NPCs and character customisation. There is a long way to go before this game is everything we and the developers want it to be, sure, but they know that too. I like the idea of smaller, faster updates. It uses the community that’s already there in a (hopefully) helpful way. And I cannot be disenchanted by the ideas and the concept on show here.

The only real stopper

Given all that is not yet in place, the game’s strongest and most unexpected feature continues to be its commitment to the sheer bleakness of this particular end of everything. Most people see the cartoony, simplistic graphics and expect rotting tongues to be poking through the holes in decayed cheeks. The title doesn’t really support the tone either. But it’s there in the one question the game asks of you: “How will you die?” It’s there when you skip the tutorial and John was shocked by it when he first posted his impressions of the game. But that was three months ago and John also said: “If you’re reading this in three months I imagine the game will be unrecognisable.” It’s not. But it is still in active development, with growing support, and the developers continue to communicate their triumphs and their concerns.

Project Zomboid shambled its way into my heart the moment I found out it existed. It’s one of those games that seemed a real no-brai…it was inconceivable that it didn’t already exist. Everyone who has enjoyed The Walking Dead on page or screen wants an everyman zombie apocalypse RPG simulation, right? Everyone who has read the Zombie Survival Guide craves a survival experience that goes beyond have gun, will shoot, with characters and emotions and barricades. That one isn’t even a rhetorical question. It’s a fact. If you ask a thousand PC gamers what their dream game would be, 997 say “an RPG that attempts to explore the horrific imagined reality of a world overrun by the walking dead”. Those exact words. 993 want it to be isometric. Project Zomboid is our best hope at the moment. And it’s playable.

Fires > zombies

The best alternatives? Paw at your screen while reading about Dead State. Or, if you’re lucky enough to get the damn thing running, indulge in some Survival Crisis Z.

A quick word on Desura. Anyone who has followed the development of Project Zomboid to date will know that it has been troubled, to say the least. The team are hoping that the milestone of a first update will now lead to more regular, small updates. The good news is that the hard times, in terms of not knowing if this was a possibility, are hopefully behind them. That doesn’t mean the hard times are over though. Now they face the ultra-hard times of actually making a kickass, complex and highly anticipated game. Desura, from what The Indie Stone themselves say, have been supportive of them and other indie titles struggling for funding in their nascent days. And if you’ve already bought the game you can, if you choose, activate it on Desura like so. Truly commendable. Consider my cockles warmed.

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39 Comments »

  1. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    But is it better than wolves? sorry, I do wish the developers luck though, they could use some after what they have been through.

  2. Alexander Norris says:

    Stop making us want Dead State, please. It isn’t here yet and that makes me sad. :(

  3. Maldomel says:

    So, does it features saves now? It’s the only thing that turned me off this game, knowing I had to replay the whole damn tutorial (or not) each time.

  4. Terics says:

    Survival Crisis z needed several .dll files to actually work but it was worth it. Zomboid on the other hand seems like the dream zombie game. Glad to see its still kicking.

  5. TheApologist says:

    I introduced this game to a few friends about a month ago and it was an instant hit. All three immediately went home and bought it.

    This game could have a massive future, but the updates need to start coming a bit thicker and faster. Hopefully this is the start of that.

    • HeavyHarris says:

      “Thicker and faster.” That’s what she said?

      But no, I agree. I’m so, so, so happy to see the game is alive and well. I was so afraid piracy might put them down for the count =[

  6. wu wei says:

    At the end of the day Terraria is not a finished product either, but comparing the two it’s clear that PZ is still much more in its infancy and lacks some polish. If we do go on there I doubt we’ll have to have a completely finished product, but it will have to feel like a complete game in what is present in terms of polish and content.

    Is Dejobaan’s Kick It ever going to come out of alpha? Steam had no issues with promoting it in the Potato Sack either.

  7. Harlander says:

    I gave Indie Stone some money to support this. I think it’s going to turn into something like Minecraft, Dwarf Fortress, Shores of Hazeron or Kerbal Space Program – I don’t play it much, but it’s good to know it’s out there.

  8. Lambchops says:

    Looking forward to seeing how the update has gone.

    @ wu wei

    As far as I know no (indeeed I haven’t noticed any email updates about it for some time, I’ll need to have a gander to see how it has changed) . But I guess Dejobaan already had a relationship with Steam, whereas this is the Indie Stone’s first effort. It’s probably a wise decision to hold off from Steam until they have something reasonably concrete ready to go.

  9. Tusque D'Ivoire says:

    I don’t own a credit card, so i can’t pay with google checkout. even though i really would like to give them some money now.

    If i buy now via Desura, will i eventually get a steam key? that’s somewhat important to me, too. DRM free is better, but if i need a Digital Distribution Client, i want only one.

    • Caleb367 says:

      Desura gives you an activation key, but can’t tell if it would work on Steam though. An important detail however is that you can easily quit Desura after launching PZ or launch it directly from the bat file.

    • Adam Smith says:

      This is straight from the developers:

      “The route from Desura to Steam is through our own user database. Desura will offer a way for you to register on our servers and get a PZ username / password to your e-mail, and it’s once you’re in our database we’ll be able to assign you a Steam code.”

      Sounds like a ‘yes’ to your question but they do call it a ‘plan’ for which the details ‘are not clear at the moment’. Effectively, shouldn’t be a problem but that doesn’t mean it’s 100%.

    • Tusque D'Ivoire says:

      I’m guessing the ‘plan’ refers to the fact that the game isn’t on steam yet, which is fine by me. If the developers say there will be a way for desura buyers into their own user database, that’s exactly what i was hoping for.

  10. Monkeh says:

    This game is awesome. Bought a few days ago and loving it. :)

  11. Retro42 says:

    Note: It’s easy to downplay the modding stuff as a “small update”. The framework required to enabled modding probably sped up actual development of the game a few orders of magnitude.

    I’ve been playing this an absurd amount lately. The new sandbox and NPCs lead to ….interesting situations.

    • StranaMente says:

      In fact they stated that to add modding they had to rebuild almost all of the code, but now that they did it, they can work with it way better.

    • HeavyHarris says:

      @Retro42: Quite. I walked up to an NPC to see if I could trade or something. Got my face smashed in with a baseball bat…

    • jp0249107 says:

      @HeavyHarris: Right now the devs have set the NPC’s to be hostile to everyone, but from what I’ve read they are at least 90% there in getting NPC behaviors set and mod tools for those NPC’s ready for the eager modding community.

  12. squareking says:

    If this were turn-based, I’d cream my pants. So far, only my undies are creamed.

  13. kuran says:

    Can’t wait to activate my copy on Steam. This game has a lot of potential towards future updates.

  14. Vandalbarg says:

    There are other zombie survival games out there that fit the bill, although no where near as pretty (but substantially more detailed) such as Cataclysm (link to the bay12 thread) http://www.bay12forums.com/smf/index.php?topic=87501.0 and Rogue Survivor http://roguesurvivor.blogspot.com/

    Both are fun, but a lot of people are put off by the roguelike nature of it all despite being fairly simple relatively speaking. Worth a shot while waiting for new Zomboid updates.

    • azathoth says:

      I was going to post about Cataclysm and Rogue Survivor, but Vandalbarg beat me to it. Both are great. Cataclysm is considerably harder to get into, but it’s a more rewarding experience in the end because of the insane amount of depth. The interface and key commands take some getting used to if you’re not familiar with roguelikes. Rogue Survivor on the other hand is a little more shallow, but easier to get into and has a (slightly ugly) tileset if you’re into that thing.

  15. Zarunil says:

    Bought this and really looking forward to playing co-op. Potential of awesome is present.

  16. Big Murray says:

    I’ll admit to trying the previous demo version, and being completely turned off by not being able to figure out how to stop the guy with the shotgun coming in and blasting my head off (despite me hammering all the windows and doors shut to eternity).

    Don’t think I’ve tried it since. Shame, because it’s a great concept.

    • TheApologist says:

      To encourage you, I watched my friend doing a play through of the demo where he wandered off the track a bit, and when he got back to the house he could hear that guy was in the bedroom threatening Kate. He was able to sneak up behind him and crack him over the head with a hammer, saving Kate and getting a shotgun in the process. Cue fun with shotgun.

      It was genuinely a brilliant gaming moment, that seemed to happen organically. And it was one of many.

  17. Renfield says:

    I’ll be very happy to see this on Steam when it’s more done.

    Not that games which aren’t officially finished can’t be played (see: Minecraft); but I prefer my games – unlike my steaks – on the well-done side. :D Unless they’re by Troika/Obsidian, in which case I’ll take what I can get, and hope for the best.

  18. poop II says:

    i want to want this but ive got mad zombie fatigue

  19. flipd58 says:

    >993 want it to be isometric.

    Errr… uhh… no.

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