Community Announcements - SDGNelson
Russia Map:

The map you've all been waiting for is finally here - Russia is now available to play!

Russia is Unturned's new largest map clocking in at 4x the size of PEI/Washington/Yukon giving you tons of room for bases and exploration, and through its tiered loot progression provides an interesting blend between survival and combat. Many of the new gameplay features from the past couple months have been designed with this map in mind as well, for example the best items are hidden away in the new radioactive deadzones giving reason to loot the lower portions of the map for gasmasks/filters.

It's also been a bit of an experiment: until now Unturned's development has been entirely solo, but for this project I worked together with several community members popular for their workshop submissions to help on the map. This has proven a very interesting experience, and in the near future I'll be putting together documentation/tips/rules based on what I learned through the process so that this can be expanded to more community-created updates!

Thanks to Justin "Gamez2much" Morton and Mitch "Sketches" Wheaton for their work on the map itself, Alex "Rain" Stoyanov for creating many of the new driveable vehicles and Amanda "Mooki2much" Hubler for several objects/houses. If you are enjoying the map and would like to support these creators consider checking out the new Russia Mystery Box!

View Russia Map Mystery Box

Rather than requiring a key to open, this mystery box is purchaseable for the same price as a key (the proceeds of which are split with the creators) and will probably remain on the stockpile page unlike the normal dropped mystery boxes. On that note: the Hot Mystery Box has been removed from drops and replaced with the Arms Shipment Mystery Box which contains skins for all of the new guns introduced in the Arms Shipment updates!

Update Notes:

  • Added Russia map and associated content.
  • Added Russia Map Mystery Box.
  • Added Arms Shipment Mystery Box.
  • Added effect nodes for different ambient sounds/lighting.
  • Added Precision Charge. [ID 1393]
  • Tweaked to give XP for healing other players.
  • Fixed object power search while loading on server.
  • Fixed workshop to show preview warning with >1MB image rather than failed to submit.
  • Fixed crafting magazines not showing ammo total.
  • Fixed minigun barrel spin not visible to other players in multiplayer.
  • Fixed not playing out of ammo click noise.
  • Fixed some bugs with attachments and skins toggle.
  • Fixed Instinctive Timberwolf skin attachment color.
Note: The creator of Rocket mod (Sven) would like all Rocket server hosters/admins to know that kicking suspect accounts is now enabled by default, but can be disabled in the Rocket config.
PC Gamer

Screenshot via Steam user Sanders, Mordecai

The first thing you ll notice about Nelson Sexton is his work ethic. Since the release of his free-to-play, sandbox zombie survival game Unturned in 2014, he s developed, playtested, and implemented over 150 updates. Each one contains a small parcel of miscellaneous new content that s airdropped weekly sometimes daily into a hungry community. A one-man operation can come with a lot of tedious pressure, but it also means you can deliver what you want without the hassles of a Q/A team or publisher approval. On February 5, in patch, he added a police helicopter, a thief costume, building decay, and back buttons to the main menu. On February 12, in patch, he added pancakes, waffles, pizza, and, of course, a nailgun.

Every day Sexton wakes up and scratches a few more things off a vast itinerary, all small steps towards the everlasting goal of creating the perfectly limitless Walking Dead experience. The audience has waited decades for a developer willing to take that challenge, but instead of a billionaire conglomerate, they found an industrious 19-year old kid.

Unturned has been downloaded 24 million times, making it the third-most-owned game on Steam.

On a day-to-day basis I pick something that looks interesting to work on, work on a bit, finish it, and move on to the next thing, says Sexton. I ll go through these cycles where there s a whole bunch of stuff on my to-do list and I m like I m going to busy for a long time, there s all these cool things to work on, and it ll get closer and closer to being empty and I ll think maybe the game will release soon! But then there s always a ton of new suggestions I want to add and the list gets huge again.

Sexton released Unturned on Steam when he was 16 years old. Since then it's been downloaded 24 million times it currently has roughly as many owners as Counter-Strike Global Offensive, making it, best as we can tell, the third-most-owned game on Steam.

Like many games of similar amateur origins, Unturned carries the same blocky, easy-to-program aesthetic of Minecraft or Terraria. Your goal is to sustain yourself on a zombie-infested Prince Edward Island, balancing four simple vitality meters representing health, starvation, thirst, and disease. There s a crafting system, a skill system, a fort system, and a number of different servers promising unique spins on the difficulty and scalability of survival. In the two years since release Unturned has added a bounty of new weapons, animals, food items, buildings (anything from a research station to a mine tunnel,) new zombie types, a multiplayer-only arena game mode, and VR support. It s clear that Sexton was influenced by the prototypical DayZ mod, and the promise of a truly visceral, modular, unforgiving, constantly expanding apocalypse that these dreams are all built off of programming skills he honed at 15 is hugely impressive.

Screenshot via Steam user Toomas

Communal bonds

I remember one day I came home from school and I was thinking about adding an attachment system, where you could add a grip to a gun or a silencer or stuff like that, says Sexton. Just in that evening I went through every single gun, added attachment points and the attachments, and by the end of the evening that version was in the game.

In Hearthstone the community pleaded for two years before Blizzard finally acquiesced and gave them access to additional deck slots. EA held SimCity hostage to an always-online disaster until they alienated even the most ardent of Maxis fans. Capcom launched a feature-bereft Street Fighter V to make an aggressive release date, and, to the surprise of no one, has spent the following six months mollifying the player-base. The video game industry is built by giant companies, and giant companies tend to be stubborn, slow, and scatterbrained. Unturned s patch notes are downright giddy by comparison. The game has consistently been in the upper 10 percent of Steam s top 100 played games, and much of that can be chalked up to Sexton s discipline.

For ages everyone had been asking for helicopters and boats and other transportation and I had always said yeah maybe, we ll see. says Sexton. But then there was this two week period [earlier this year] where I was just like you know what? It would just be so cool if there were all these vehicles in the game, so everyone was super surprised because out of nowhere there was this awesome update that added helicopters and airplanes, and the next week I added the boats.

Screenshot via Steam user MoltonMontro

In the past Sexton has given access to his Trello (a project mapping website) to the community so people could always keep track of what new items, features, and fixes were in the pipeline. That s no longer transparent due to the rumors it generated, but he still keeps a clear, open line of communication. The Steam Forums are particularly adorable; a sea of kids throwing out hyper-specific suggestions like better door animations and, um, a zombie-alerting airhorn.

At this point the community and I are always talking, says Sexton. Some of the people I talk to a lot on the Steam forums I end up just adding to my Steam friends list and they ll do bug reports and make feature suggestions. A lot of my best friends are people I met from Unturned.

Christian, a 16-year old who s been playing Unturned since day one, says Sexton s warmth is what makes Unturned special.

It's great to have a developer that is so close to his community, and I feel as though many big corporations that seem like they should know what they are doing, could learn a lot from Nelson about how to manage a community as well as he does, he says. I am surprised Nelson puts up with such a loud audience and manages to continuously implement new features the community wants. [He s] a huge inspiration to me as he talks to the community, and isn't afraid to experiment with something that strays a bit from a straightforward path that Unturned could take.

Sexton agrees that the constant patches are what keeps people engaged. You get the sense that he shares the same vision as his community. Every update makes the game more free, more expansive, more laissez-faire. The long-term goal is to have an experience where a player can do anything, but for now it s nice to know that there s somebody listening on the other end.

A lot of people feel like their suggestions are getting into the game, he says. Every time I put out an update with a comment section I look through them and I see all these people saying hey he added my idea! I think it s unlikely that it s their specific post I saw, but even if it takes a couple weeks before it gets in the game people like knowing that the game is moving in the right direction.

Screenshot via Steam user Lost_S0ul

Christopher had one of those moments. In 2014, around the time Unturned hit 3.0, there were some complaints about the inconvenience of managing your wardrobe if your character was wearing a lot of clothing. Sexton made a post on the subreddit looking for suggestions, and Christopher responded with a mockup he uploaded to imgur.

[Nelson] said he liked some of the ideas, specifically the clothing items next to the name bar, and in the next update the icons of clothing were put next to the name plates, said Christopher. I think the reason why the community stays so tight-knit is because they know that Nelson is probably reading what they're saying. The community is constantly discussing new changes to gameplay, rumors, suggestions, and bugs, and Nelson always listens.

Unturned is still free-to-play. You can hop in and enjoy the same experience as everyone else. There are no microtransactions or thresholds, and the only monetization is a one-time $5 upgrade which gives you access to special servers, unique clothes, and gold-plated weapons. This is enough for Sexton to sustain himself, and it s not going to change anytime soon.

I like how people can try out the game and ask their friends to play with them, and they can have fun with their friends, he says. For me the main thing I enjoy about Unturned is seeing the feedback, and I think the reason for that is how it s easy to get into.

Keep on turning

Currently Sexton not in college, but says he ll consider enrolling if he starts encountering problems in game development he can t figure out on his own. He also mentions that there have been offers to take Unturned off his hands permanently.

I think it s just too much of what I do and what I enjoy to sell it, I think I d rather continue on having it being my hobby than have it become some corporate money-making thing, he says.

That makes sense. Technically speaking, Unturned hasn t been officially released. It s caught in that endless development cycle that defines a lot of Steam success stories. Unturned is Nelson Sexton s whole life. His friends, his work, his portfolio, his livelihood, all wrapped up in a single project he started in high school. Will he eventually cash in? Maybe. Notch eventually sold Minecraft to Microsoft for $2.5 billion, and while Unturned hasn t reached that level of cultural ubiquity, it s still been downloaded almost 24 million times on Steam with plenty of branding and monetization options left unexplored. There may come a day when Sexton is a little burnt out and the buyout number is just high enough.

Screenshot via Steam user Hexadecimal

But for now, he s here. Game companies spend billions of dollars trying to reach their market. They invite Wiz Khalifa to play Battlefield One and hire Drake to say nice things about FIFA. Sexton just talks to them on forums. Millions of teenagers have pooled their resources to lift up one teenager to make his game for them. They re all invested in the same fantasy. There s nothing lost in translation.

I love looking at the community-made maps and seeing them doing things I never even thought of. I remember seeing someone who put the kitchen cabinets I intended for the floor on the ceiling. I love seeing how people look at things I made and come up with their own ways of using them. There are maps with giant dams even though there isn t a dam object in the game, says Sexton. It s a special feeling. From the modding side of things, it s crazy to think there are people using my code and they re extending on it, and building on it.

Community Announcements - SDGNelson
Community Announcements - SDGNelson
Update Notes:

  • Added landmark LODs for most large objects.
  • Added automatic landmark LODs for trees.
  • Added landmark draw distance option.
  • Added region complexity to visibility menu in editor.
  • Added config options for losses from combat vs environment deaths.
  • Added buttons to enable/disable skins and mythics in-game.
  • Added new faces and wheel of emotions to gestures menu.
  • Added new hair and beard styles.
  • Added smoothed camera mode. [Default F5]
  • Accepted several new curated workshop items.
  • Improved road vertices to have adjustable offset.
  • Improved spawn tables tool to allow editing.
  • Tweaked undriven vehicles to not damage players.
  • Tweaked muzzles to decrease drop slightly.
  • Fixed barrel bullet drop multiplier not applying.
  • Fixed to include scaling in copy transform.
  • Fixed first person muzzle flash light.
  • Fixed workshop agreement link appid.

Again this week I was mostly working on the new map, apologies for the filler update. As expected more required objects popped up alongside final steps like spawn tables, but everything's coming together so I think it's safe to say you'll be seeing more about the new map very soon!
Community Announcements - SDGNelson
Arms Shipment Part #2 of 2:

Russian survivors have recovered a key military storage depot housing a huge arsenal of Russia's finest weapons, and have begun shipping them out to share with the Coalition. This week the full arsenal of newly uncovered weapons is deployed in Coalition airdrops!

Update Notes:

  • Added Augewehr. [ID 1362]
  • Added Fusilaut. [ID 1375]
  • Added Nightraider. [ID 1377]
  • Added Hell's Fury. [ID 1364]
  • Added Hell's Fury Drum. [ID 1365]
  • Added Ekho. [ID 1382]
  • Added Ekho Magazine. [ID 1384]
  • Added skin layout sources for all of the new guns.
  • Added support for multiple crafting outputs. [e.g. scrapping wooden guns]
  • Added support for skybox low LOD objects and "Landmarks" graphics option.
  • Improved Horde Beacon difficulty/rewards to scale with number of participants.
  • Improved HUD to show gasmask filter status.
  • Improved unplayed characters to show high-tier skillset items.
  • Improved appearance and clothing menus to hide items.
  • Improved editor tank objects.
  • Updated to Unity 5.2.5f1 from Unity 5.2.4f1.
  • Tweaked singleplayer skillsets to spawn with a few basic clothes.
  • Tweaked oxygen to slowly burn at very high altitudes.
  • Tweaked scoped recoil benefit to not apply as much in third-person.
  • Tweaked Vonya magazine to be refillable with 12 Gauge Shells.
  • Tweaked basemap quality to change in editor when painting.
  • Tweaked Vonya firerate and Bulldog/Calling Card spread.
  • Fixed object fuel/water storage not respawning properly.
  • Fixed some graphics bugs with Use_Skybox_Ambience.
  • Fixed rain color changing when using night vision.
  • Fixed Bluntforces missing on Washington.
  • Fixed space underneath tents.
  • Fixed in-game spelling of Teklowvka.
  • Fixed hint/message at same time to cooperate better.
  • Fixed width of doors/gates.
  • Fixed bunker_0 collision mismatch.
  • Fixed mall escalators to match airport.
  • Fixed shadow flicker on terrain.

A few large objects which need to be seen from extended ranges are now rendered past the view limit with the Landmarks option. Modders can add a super low LOD version of their objects named "Skybox" to take advantage of this feature. In the future I'd like to upgrade all large objects and trees to use it.


This week the update was mostly ready to go last weekend, so I've been powering through another ~90 new objects wrapping them up aside from whatever few miscellaneous things are required when finishing the level. On that front the map itself is coming along quite nicely, not too long away now!
Community Announcements - SDGNelson
Arms Shipment Part #1 of 2:

Russian survivors have recovered a key military storage depot housing a huge arsenal of Russia's finest weapons, and have begun shipping them out to share with the Coalition. Starting today Coalition airdrops now contain the first half of these newly uncovered weapons! Next week the second half should be ready for deployment.

Update Notes:

  • Added Teklowvka. [ID 1360]
  • Added Teklowvka Magazine. [ID 1361]
  • Added Vonya. [ID 1366]
  • Added Vonya Magazine. [ID 1368]
  • Added Bulldog. [ID 1369]
  • Added Bulldog Magazine. [ID 1371]
  • Added Calling Card. [ID 1379]
  • Added Calling Card Drum. [ID 1381]
  • Added Use_Skybox_Ambience option to Preferences.json.
  • Improved road vertices flagged with "ignore terrain" to be placable on objects.
  • Improved control panel models and variety.
  • Tweaked acid spit to have separate death message.
  • Tweaked density of acid spit graphics lower and to better reflect damage area.
  • Fixed using players as pillars for structures.
  • Fixed unable to damage/repair moving vehicle as passenger.
  • Fixed floating point rounding errors in all percentage displays.
  • Fixed not showing acid spit with gore disabled.
  • Fixed to prevent sprinting while shooting.
  • Fixed zombies acting while stunned.
  • Fixed editor object target stealing search focus.
  • Fixed viewmodel lights on gun attachments.
  • Fixed light LOD flicker when activated.
  • Fixed to clamp yaw on client.
  • Fixed pitch check order on server.

As some of you may know these new guns were actually worked on/found in the files over the last two weeks. Previously when fully focused on working on a new map the updates were paused while everything came together, but this way there's still something new and fun to check out. In reality the majority of my work this week was on more new objects:

Community Announcements - SDGNelson
Update Notes:

  • Added acid spitter zombie.
  • Added supply airdrops.
  • Added ability to repair bases with blowtorch.
  • Added Friendly/Hostile Sentry. [IDs 1372-1373]
  • Improved fuel to store liters rather than refills.
  • Improved vehicle info to show health.
  • Tweaked bullets to travel instantly in easy mode.
  • Tweaked dirty water infection higher again now that it can be purified.
  • Tweaked Flanker zombie to be slightly more challenging.
  • Fixed chest hits to combine shirt/vest armor.
  • Fixed plane/heli exploding when reaching skybox.
  • Fixed jumping twice in the same tick.
  • Fixed generator fuel update reliability.
  • Fixed background noise in wood timber sound.
  • Fixed stuck blowtorch particles when swapping perspective.
  • Fixed burner and street light LoD.
  • Fixed airport spawning festive pants.
  • Fixed parkour hood icon.
Acid Zombie:

You can recognize this new zombie by the cyan acid foaming around its mouth. If you don't take care of it quickly enough you might find your exit path blocked by a burning puddle of acid!

Supply Drops:

When you hear the roar of a massive plane's engines you might want to turn to the sky to try and spot if it's a dropship! If you follow it you'll see a care package dropped out of the rear cargo hatch parachute down loaded to the brim with high-tier loot. The frequency of these airdrops can be setup in the config events file, and the airdrop command will force trigger one.

Friendly/Hostile Sentries:

The new friendly sentries can be used to create a safe public space because they only shoot players who pose a threat by for example having a weapon drawn. On the opposite end of the spectrum the hostile sentry is much better than the neutral one for interior base defense because it is absolutely merciless.
Community Announcements - SDGNelson
New Zombies:

The zombies have got some new abilities! Keep an eye out for the Flanker zombies which can stealthily attack you from behind, and the Burner zombies which explode in a burst of flames spreading to other zombies. The Mega zombie has also realized he's strong enough to tear concrete right out of the ground for use as a projectile - so you're no longer safe just out of reach! Mind you this is only the beginning...

Update Notes:

  • Added purple "Flanker" zombie.
  • Added orange "Burner" zombie.
  • Added ability for mega zombies to throw boulders.
  • Added muscular body mesh for mega zombies.
  • Added ability to purify dirty water in canteens with tablets.
  • Added pilot outfit. [IDs 1358-1359]
  • Added "Whitelisted" command to enable whitelist.
  • Added Preferences.json file with viewmodel fov/offset options.
  • Improved queue to prioritize whitelisted players.
  • Improved appearance of ghillie suit foliage.
  • Tweaked fire outfit to be fireproof.
  • Tweaked sentry health and made rangefinders more common.
  • Tweaked claim flag health higher.
  • Tweaked generators to burn fuel more slowly.
  • Tweaked seeds to grow more quickly.
  • Tweaked explosion sorting priority.
  • Tweaked chart/GPS to be salvagable.
  • Tweaked to show hints for -VR and MSAA + Deferred.
  • Fixed case where server lets in more than max players.
  • Fixed character height change when swapping on/off ladder.
  • Fixed editor to clear trees with no asset when saving.
  • Fixed all pistol sights being slightly misaligned.
  • Fixed birch rampart client/server collision difference.
  • Fixed climbing ladder from prone/crouched position.
  • Fixed to force into prone when loading and player doesn't have enough headroom.
  • Fixed instantly reloading bolt action rifles.
  • Fixed raining in paintball arena.
  • Fixed tossing throwables through glass.
  • Fixed old hat using new hat state when swapped.
Viewmodel Preferences:

You can finally customize your viewmodel! I've elected to hide it away from the option menus however, as changing from the default settings will reveal issues in the animations especially with a high FoV. Tweak at your own peril!

VR Level Editor:

Rather frequently Vive owners have been downloading Unturned for the VR mode (quite reasonably) assuming it's the main game, and are disappointed to learn it's currently only for the level editor. It's also annoying for non-Vive owners having the SteamVR category and SteamVR launch options.

To help with these I've disabled the VR support info from Steam, and added more in-game information about launching it from the editor menu. While all recent editor upgrades have been applied to the VR version as well I do still want to do some VR specific upgrades, for example adding physical tools and a toolbox to carry them in, but judging from the negativity surrounding the initial VR update these should be prioritized after the core game's development has settled down.
Community Announcements - SDGNelson

Today marks 2 years since Unturned launched on Steam! To celebrate this anyone who plays will get dropped the Anniversary Gift Bag which contains a bunch of party hats and a new mythical.

It's been a lot of fun working on the game this whole time. I hope you've enjoyed playing it! Thank you for all your support, and I'm looking forward to more awesome updates! :)

Update Notes:

  • Added Anniversary Gift Bag.
  • Added queue for getting into full servers and "Queue_Size" command. [Default 8]
  • Added config options for full moon/beacon XP multiplier.
  • Added config option for player armor multiplier and disabling fall damage.
  • Added destructible object examples.
  • Added graphics option for terrain heightblend.
  • Added Paintball Arena map.
  • Improved spy image to show in pause menu.
  • Improved Arena mode to work with barricades/structures.
  • Tweaked to include econ icons in extras folder.
  • Tweaked dirty water to not be quite as bad.
  • Fixed broken road fence using wood fence material.
  • Fixed metal library not marked as locked.
  • Fixed tank crosshair showing in third person.
  • Fixed hiding snow/rain by deleting ambience file.
  • Fixed hiding flashbang by disabling HUD.
  • Fixed blowtorch can't be used on invulnerable vehicles.
  • Fixed nearby menu to work with vehicle passenger list.
  • Fixed climbing ladders rotated to intersect objects.
  • Fixed crash when display case has an item with no asset.
  • Fixed invisible ornamental tree leaves.
  • Fixed third person target point when aiming at the sky.
  • Fixed to show localized text in pause menu map name.
  • Fixed makeshift vehicle placement radius.
Community Announcements - SDGNelson
  • Added Paintball Gun. [ID 1337]
  • Added Paintball Hoppers. [IDs 1339-1344]
  • Added Farm Plot. [ID 1345]
  • Added Flashbang. [ID 1346]
  • Added Minnow, Goldfish and Bass. [IDs 1347-1352]
  • Added Stealy Wheely Automobiley. [ID 1353]
  • Added ability to lock vehicles and vehicle context menu.
  • Added casting strength to fishing which affects time to catch item.
  • Added "Spy" command to see from a player's perspective.
  • Added config option for spawned quality values and bullet rarity.
  • Added "critical" recipe ingredients to hide colored cloth buildables without flare.
  • Improved animal AI to form packs and work together.
  • Improved canteens to base stats on where the water came from rather than losing quality.
  • Improved sensitivity option to be unclamped.
  • Improved Gold skins to shine streaks occasionally.
  • Tweaked low caliber bullets to not damage armored vehicles.
  • Tweaked APC/tank to absorb some explosion damage for passengers.
  • Tweaked asset loading bar to show out of estimated total.
  • Tweaked max FoV lower to 100 degrees from 120.
  • Tweaked fuel canisters and fishing rods to no longer use quality.
  • Tweaked punches to no longer damage vehicles/resources.
  • Fixed exporting spawn tables a second time.
  • Fixed horde beacon queue not progressing properly.
  • Fixed blur when swapping from zoom scope to sight.
  • Fixed rampart/post blueprints to match walls/pillars.
  • Fixed vehicle exit/climb snap to take character radius into account.
  • Fixed prone character to better align with floor, radius matches standing.
  • Fixed exiting vehicle while item is busy.
  • Fixed fishing line visuals in first person perspective.
  • Fixed not keeping reference to turret state when changing attachments.
  • Fixed scaling of resized objects' children.
  • Fixed berry seed leaf colors not matching bushes.

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