Project Zomboid - nasKo

The public ‘I Will Back Up My Save’ beta for the long-awaited Build 41 is now open for testing by the Project Zomboid community.



The IWBUMS beta is accessible to anyone who plays Project Zomboid. Right click Project Zomboid in your Steam library and hit “Properties”. Then, navigate to the betas tab and select the “iwillbackupmysave” branch from the dropdown menu.

Those who test IWBUMS beta builds must be aware that what they’re playing is a work in progress.

IF YOU HAVE ANY PROBLEMS - MAKE SURE ALL MODS ARE DISABLED - then please try verifying the steam local cache within those same options. If this doesn't work, try a full uninstall and reinstall (while also deleting or renaming the installation folder as well as your user folder in C:\Users\YourUsername\Zomboid). Sometimes Steam updates can be buggy with big updates.

The beta is put out for public consumption for player feedback and bug reports. Please direct gameplay feedback to our forum beta release thread, and bugs to this section of our forums.

For further details on what IWBUMS testing entails, please check here.


Build 41 is the most fundamental and wide-ranging update that Project Zomboid has ever had. We intend it to be a stable foundation for us to build on for many years ahead. For this reason too,however, we anticipate a fairly long public beta while all the various issues presented to us by community testers are spotlit and remedied.

Some key features, primarily MP, are initially disabled in the IWBUMS beta build – and will be turned on during the testing process.

Build 41 currently contains:
  • New gameplay styles: Builder, Brawler and Survivor
  • More deadly ‘Survivor’ (Survival) gameplay balance – player can be dragged down by horde and feasted upon etc.
  • New survivor abilities: sitting, sneaking, sprinting, jogging, racking, reloading, climbing, fence-jumping, collapsing and much much more.
  • New combat, new weapons, new difficulty balance.
  • New character creation – many, many different new clothing options both on spawn and discoverable in the world as loot or on zombies.
  • New zombie behaviour: feasting on recent corpses, lolling against walls, falling over fences etc.
  • Blood system that progressively bloodies bodies and clothing of survivors and zombies
  • New injury system – movement and combat visibly hampered when injured. Lacerations now possible, an injury state that lies between bites and scratches.
  • Improved gunplay: green/red aiming outline, new guns, improved racking and reloading, increased gun loot spawn.
  • Zombie Death Scenes – zombies discovered in the situations in which people died. Prayer meetings, sports-viewing parties, survivor zeds wearing backpacks etc.
  • Situational zombie type/clothing and inventories – cop zeds in police station, firemen zeds in burnt buildings, Chef zeds in restaurant kitchens, bride and groom zeds at a wedding ceremony in church etc.
  • Clothing protection: different clothing provides different levels of protection from zombie attacks.
  • Visibly ripped and damaged clothing.
  • New Sims-style cutaway vision system.
  • Vehicle handling improvements, resizing and appearance tweaks.
  • Updated, remastered and improved Kentucky-themed soundtrack. Original music still in rotation, and also accessible through game options.
  • New SFX: weaponry, zombie moans etc.
  • New water visuals – including visible flow direction.
  • New puddle system during heavy rain.
  • Broken glass and related injuries.
  • Garage doors may be opened / closed and shake when hit.
  • New Challenge maps: Film Set and Kingsmouth Vacation Island
  • 3D Store Mannequins – can be dressed however you like
  • Working washing machines and driers
  • Server-side saving: MP save system now in a server-side database. Offline SP-side, also means no more lost cars via irl power outages.
  • New game cursor
  • New level-up sound, and tweaked levelling system.
  • Faint isometric aiming cursor that shows where you’re aiming in iso space.
  • New loot balance and loot balance system: houses and stores now have loot in the containers you would expect from real life – and not in a jumble.
  • Two tiers of loot priority – allowing for more realistic ‘filler’ loot amidst the more valuable gameplay items.
  • Many, many general fixes including remedies for: floating cars, farming issues, inaudible house alarms, erosion shrubs blocking vehicles, desensitized survivors being panicked by crawlers and much more.

Build 41 and is the first (biggest) step in our overall plan to bring more life, variety and activity to the Knox Event. From this build onwards we will be adding in (and improving) our existing AI work layer-by-layer.

Build 42, for example, will use the power of the Build 41 animations build to introduce animals and wildlife.

We will also be releasing AnimZed, our animation tool, to the community during the IWBUMS beta process – meaning that modders will receive a huge boost in what they can create within PZ.


During the IWBUMS beta process for Build 41 the following features will be re-enabled and/or improved.
  • Multiplayer – alongside significant MP Networking improvements
  • Improved visual fidelity of survivor character and zombies
  • Further optimization to improve performance on both low and high end systems.
  • Sprinter Zeds
  • Fire visuals
  • Tutorial
  • Zombie skin appearance/decay
  • Ability to repair ripped clothing


Due to the extent of engine and gameplay changes in Build 41, existing savegames will NOT be compatible.

At the time of the full build release, for those wishing to continue playing on old saves, a Steam beta branch of the current Build 40 will be available – and will continue to be available at all times.

This will be known as ‘PZ Classic’, and will also allow people to continue to play with their favourite mods until such a time as they are updated.

Click here for a sneak vision into the future beyond build 41!

Project Zomboid - nasKo
Hey all, here’s the highlights of the last few weeks of Project Zomboid development – compiled from the Thursday blogs that appear at and on the PZ Steam boards.

First up, we recently had a full stream for 2-3 hours of the current internal build courtesy of steamer Mark.exe. This can be viewed in its entirety here.

If you don’t have time for that, however, then here’s a quick video that’s shows off most of the things discussed in more detail below.

The primary thing that’s being shown in this video is the rotational animation system that our team, primarily Zac and Martin, have finally managed to conquer – barring polish and minor bugs.
We’re not going to give any indication of a countdown for an IWBUMS release, but eagle-eyed Thursdoid blog readers will have noticed that this was always on of the major barriers to releasing a public beta.

At the time of writing, however, gameplay connected to this new system, still needs to be wired up and polished– and optimization still needs to be fed into the machine to improve performance with large zed hordes and also bolster lower-spec PCs.

Something we are considering is releasing the IWBUMS beta in SP form first – before wiring up the MP during the beta process. Not only would this speed up a release (as there are likely gremlins waiting to jump out on us as there always are) but it will make a lot of sense to test and improve MP on a community server – and to restart all the usual Community Megatests and such to aid with the testing.

Previously, while looking good in videos and such, player movement felt tank-like and sluggish – but now 180s are smooth, combat/defense can take place at an angle and you can move in the direction you want to move in a far slicker fashion.

A big aspect in build 41 has been the combat balancing. We wanted to make the one on one combat feel a lot easier, where fighting with groups would be much much more deadly.
This however has been too successful if anything, and we ended up with groups being SO deadly it was actually near impossible to survive a few fights with small groups, which ended up way too punishing even for ours, the most masochistic of gaming communities. (Sorry)
As such, due to the new animation system’s ability to allow animations to play only on the top half of the body, RJ has made a change that allows you to strafe while shoving and swinging your weapon.

We have also, partly in response to community concerns raised that it would be very easy to ‘kite’ the zeds – continually batting them off and keeping yourself safe from the horde, made sure that hordes are… something of a danger.

Far and away the biggest change in recent weeks came as a result of some serious discussions about the responsiveness of the main player controls.

For the entirety of anims development the mission had been to balance the increased realism of movement and increased presence with the slight lag of control you have from the character moving realistically: with character footsteps actually accounting for movement, instead of an internal switch that’s flicked the moment you press a key.

Many AAA games have a slight delay in movement, even extremely amazing and popular ones such as Red Dead Redemption 2, so overall we thought this was a noble aim. The end results of which however, amidst a lot of positives, led to grumbling from internal testers. This week then, we experimented – tightening it further. Trying to push it to its very limit of control responsiveness, without the animations looking robotic.

We tightened blend times between standing idle and walking, tightened blends when turning etc, and now we think we’ve found a much tighter balance. Most of the internal testers, re-accustomed to the weightier movement through extended play, were already pretty much satisfied with what we had – but all now agree that the tightening of these screws has made things a lot better.

As such we’re now feeling a lot more confident that, after some adjustment period once both beta and final version are live, most established PZ players will have far less issues over how animations have changed the feeling of mobility within the game. Which has come as a relief

Zac’s current challenge is to be able to draw large quantities of articulated, walking, shambling, crawling, eating, and swarming zeds at a reasonable frame rate. Right now it’s okay-ish on a decent system, but wouldn’t stand up to a huge amount of zombie horde herding – which we know is a favourite pastime of PZ players.

Crowd Rendering is a collective term that involves a number of techniques that take advantage of the large numbers of crowds to make the process much more efficient.

To know where to aim, however, it’s a big help to have intimate knowledge of just how the PZ engine is performing, and where the hot-spots are. Toward this end, we are adding a Performance Analyzer module to AnimZed, and will direct our efforts to wherever it takes us.

  • The new Kentucky-themed soundtrack from our music maestro Zach Beever is now entirely in-game for build 41, working with the sadistic music director and has drama calculations tweaked too. The 36 new tracks span 2hr:41m in all, and also come with the gift of a new ‘level up’ noise, for those fed up with the singing lady.
  • Muzzle flash.

  • Survivor Zeds have been added to the roads of the area. They’ll spawn with a bunch of other zombies, but will always carry a good rucksack filled with survival goodies and an annotated map to lead you on elsewhere.
  • Stas’ improved controller work is going to be left until Build 42 so the current gamepad support has been improved to cater with the new movement and combat. L3 (pressing the left stick) toggles sneaking. Right-trigger while moving makes the player run, similar to the gas pedal in a vehicle. Right shoulder button is reload firearm. Left shoulder button is rack firearm.
  • New Blood layer system so clothing closest to wounds gets stained with blood first, before progressively making blood marks on the next item of clothing. So a t-shirt gets a blood stain first, before then starting to make a mark on the sweater that covers it. Quick video of this in testing seen here.
  • A big bugbear in the current internal build has been that the player could drop-dead from bleeding from non-consequential areas – like a gash in your feet. Now all injuries have their own bleeding modifier, so a neck wound has far worse bleeding implications than, for example, your leg.
  • A speed modifier has been added to different body parts – so that injuries on some body parts have a greater impact on your walk and run speeds than others. So, for example, an injury on your upper leg will have less of an impact on speed than one directly on your foot.
  • A ‘player appearance’ tab has been added to the in-game health/skills panel. Here you will be able to make whatever in-game appearance customisations to your survivor that are available to you – dependent on you having the relevant scissors, combs etc. in your inventory.
  • The character customization screen has been receiving some polish– improving suggested player and profession clothing load-outs, making coloration choices less garish and polishing the idles of the character model that you’re dressing up. After much internal discussion on what to give away to players in terms of profession costumes, Martin has been creating some additional branded t-shirts to go with various professions in the game.

We also decided not to keep this rotational disaster in-game, but the modders amongst you will be able to revive it if needs be.

This is the eighth Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards.
A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here – so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info.The Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Project Zomboid - nasKo

Hey all, here’s the highlights of the last few weeks of Project Zomboid development – compiled from the Thursday blogs that appear at and on the PZ Steam boards.

Here’s a quick video that shows whereabouts we currently are with the internal anims build, with subtitles to highlight work still to be done – which will also hopefully provide an accurate picture of what it’ll look and feel like to play.

As you can see there’s a lot of general smoothening of rough edges happening on the build at the moment, and likewise alongside our friends at TEA we still need to plug in work on rotational blending, MP hook-ups and the work on the zoom that led to the sharper-looking models we showed off in past weeks.

With that put up top then, let’s have a look at some of the other stuff that’s being introduced into the next PZ build.

In Build 41 we will be adapting the lore slightly (hopefully forgivably) by making it so that the zed impulse to bite someone who’s unturned isn’t entirely removed after their death. Idle zeds will be slightly attracted to human corpses, and will crouch to feed – meaning you can sneak by or attack without them noticing you as easily. This can be seen in the vid below:

Meanwhile, the same event can be added to our growing roster of interesting scenes we can spawn in random houses, which can be seen in the below screenshot– which is also a good example of how neatly ChrisW’s cutaway system will be improving the game.

(Please also note that since this screenshot and video were taken we’ve added in more poses for feeding zombies – so they won’t all be doing the more human-like crouch, and some will be on their knees and pawing at the corpse.)

In the current build the discovery of survivor bodies can be quite crude, with bleach or alcohol bottles scattered around willy-nilly for example. With our new systems we can also quite easily add in bodies that tell a clearer and neater story. Even if it’s as simple, and tragic, as someone who died from self-inflicted gun wounds.


[Traditional disclaimer: work in progress! Improved/sharper character models seen in previous blogs not yet in main test build!]

Here’s a quick vid that shows off the ability to pour out liquid from a container, the ability to sit on the ground to have a rest, and an idle that shows the survivors warming themselves in front of a heat source.
Crikey, this game's quite dark isn’t it?

New animations tied into the new system include: applying bandages and taking pills.

Also, digging graves and pouring contents from bottles out onto the ground. Allowing you to pour one out for your homies, if you so choose.

We will be releasing our new AnimZed dev tools to the community when we release this version (perhaps even when we are still in IWBUMS testing if the documentation is ready) and just wanted to touch on the sort of thing that could be done quite easily with them once they’re available.

For example, a while ago Martin made us some skeleton models. These are primarily intended for use when exposing bone under character flesh when mortal body damage occurs. Likewise, bodies that have been feasted on may have exposed limb bones where the flesh has been picked clean – and on top of that, there's always the opportunity for crawlers to be dragging skeletal bloody legs across the floor and for more damaged zeds to be appearing in Six Months Later and beyond.

All that’s still to come though, and as a quick mod experiment on his birthday (when he should have been having a day off) RJ decided to have a look what they’d look like if used in-game in their entirety.


The results are a bit rough still, but we’re sure you’ll agree: Boom, there’s the beginnings of aHarryhausen or fantasy mod. Good times to come hopefully.

We had been waiting for the animations build to resize cars, due to the difference in size between our old and new character models. Yuri has now done some magic, and readjusted the physics – so now the in-game vehicles look like this. Which, we reckon, is a nice improvement.

Now Yuri is tweaking his water effects, adjusting the intensity of their outlines and improving the banks of rivers, while also looking to improve the vehicle saving system so (very rare) events of car loss can be eradicated.

Something else that might be of worthy of mention, and a quick vid, are some examples of where the new animations system are highlighting ‘in-between’ states that the game could previously get away with – but now either look weird, or have resulted in a show-stopper bug.

A good example of this is when a player either bumped into a zed when escaping through a window, or was very closely pursued by zeds when escaping – this was not only resulting in visual weirdness in the anims build, but also was trapping the player in the window frame for all perpetuity. As such, after a consultation with Animator Martin, we can use this sort of situation for some cool new gameplay considerations.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a WIP animation, and whatever anyone tells you – the big saucepan is a bug that’s already been fixed and won’t be in the final build. (We’re also working on more 'table against window' polish).

On top of this we will be improving this further – perhaps with a zed grabbing and pulling you into the window instead of pushing you out.

Anyway, those are the main headlines. If you’d rather read ‘em on a weekly basis, alongside the smaller details we’re ticking off and issues we’re addressing, then check the website or the Steam forum. Thanks all!

This is the fourth Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here – so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. The Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too. Our thanks to our good friend Xeonyx for creating the header image using the internal anims build. That’s all for now, keep tabs on our website for more every week!
Project Zomboid - nasKo

Hey all, here’s the highlights of the last four weeks of Project Zomboid development – compiled from the Thursday blogs that appear at and on the PZ Steam boards.

First off here are a couple of gameplay videos. This first one is a demonstration of ‘zoned zombie outfits’ – which is essentially the system that ensures that firefighter zombies spawn in fire stations, chef zombies spawn in restaurant kitchens and the like. (Please note that there are a few individual animations in this vid we want to speed up, and in most cases already have done)

Next up, meanwhile, we’ve had some significant improvements and fixes made by Bitbaboon Mark to the core animation blending system in past weeks. He’s fixing a whole bunch of issues, snaps and glitches that have been vexxing us for a long time – digging deep into the code, and doing a total rewire where necessary.

In prior Thursday vids we cut around these uglinesses as much as possible, but they still reared their heads. Snaps between character animations, jarring moves when turning to certain compass directions while strafing, and various other ugly things that we just couldn’t account for were plaguing us – but have now finally been fixed, leading to a far smoother animation blending system.

Zac’s prepared a video demoing the new blending – although please note he’s running in debug, so this doesn’t represent gameplay.

Speaking of, please note, that we’ve decided to put the completion of the high-res model rendering work described in the last Spiffo update on ice for little longer, since there were still numerous issues with it that meant it wasn’t suitable to put into the main line – and also it kept getting further broken by the flurry of additions and changes from the team’s work described above.

We feel it would be best approached toward the end of Build 41 dev just before IWBUMS, at the point we could get extra resources on board to get it working right. As such all videos until then will use the traditional character resolution.

Zac’s work on masking out different parts of clothing items has resulted in several extremely useful features. First, it now allows us to wear pieces of geometry clothing on top of other geometry clothing – as opposed to being a texture drawn over the character’s skin. This used to be impossible: the clothing worn underneath would always poke through the geometry of the clothing on top, especially when moving.

So now we can layer clothing appropriately, and also spray blood on individual layers and garments – instead of your survivor’s body as a whole.

Our old solution was to to draw underclothing as textures directly on the character model, which unfortunately led to the side effect of them looking like body paint and lacking the bulk of real clothing. Now we can easily turn off areas of the clothing that are covered, so we are provided with many more options.

This also allows us much more visual indications of damage and clothing wear and tear (quite literally).

As well as putting a player’s newly scavenged/treasured Spiffo shirt at risk of damage, this will allow much more variety with zombies in particular. RJ has been adding code to implement this new system to further randomize zombie’s clothing conditions, and tie potential clothing damage into the various game systems for the player.

Our primary rule with Build 41 is that we’re updating animations to complement and add foundation to our existing gameplay, rather than get too excited and add in loads of new systems that could otherwise wait till a later version.

A good example of this is something that’s been in the game for a while, but have always been hidden slightly: our annotated survivor maps that show you the way to various hidden stashes.

Now though, to create a bit of a breadcrumb trail for players to follow, we have introduced ‘uniformed’ survivor zeds. They are the walking corpse of a survivor like yourself, who will not only carry some handy loot, but also potentially lead you to a place of interest.

They will always be rare and spawned in a big crowd of zombies, but also appear bloodied and messed up and wear a neat backpack. One of our prototype Survivor Zeds looks a little like this:

Over with General Arcade Yuri has been continuing his visual effect work – and has fine-tuned his water so that waves and ripples aren’t as small. When it was windy in-game this was fairly uncomfortable on the eyes of our internal testers, so they now look like this.

Right now he’s also addressing something that’s been an issue with cars since their introduction, but that we were waiting to address once the differently proportioned new character models were in-game. As such, say hello to the more sensibly-sized cars that Yuri’s currently updating the physics for:

Here’s a quick run-down of other items of interest that have gone into the internal branch of Build 41 over the past month.

  • Extended idle animations. Depending on your character moodles, pain or other variable, you’ll sometimes see you character scratching an arm, shivering, checking his weapon, wipe his legs to check for blood etc.

  • New timed action animations, alongside fixes for the current timed actions: digging graves with a shovel, looting on the ground or in shelves, cleaning blood etc.

  • New outfits are also being added along with their own zone - Gigamart employee for example, and branded logo-ed shirts for various locations.

  • New animation variants for the player defending against zombie bites. Three new variations of zombies thumping on objects.

  • We’ve gotten ChrisW’s Sims-style wall cutaway system into the main line, but there are still a few issues to work out before its 100% operational.

  • Garage doors can now be opened. – huzzah. We will also be addressing the size of garages on the main map, and at the same time adding some more signage to the Exclusion Zone road network

  • Support for characters to lower and raise hoods on hooded clothing, for example hoodies and certain coats, have been added alongside several new idle animations used when the character has injuries.

  • Zach continues his great work adding more tools and features, this time to allow Martin and the other devs to quickly add and test new costume pieces through the AnimZed editor and preview them in game.

  • We have added many clothing items such as a poncho, hoodies, scarfs, aprons and swimming outfits. RJ also now has hair and beard styles being associated with zone costumes (for e.g. so you don’t tend to get military zombies or cops with hippy hairstyles and big beards).

    Oh, and just today we found a way to make PZ feel a little more American.

    This is the third monthly Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here – so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. The Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too. Our thanks to our good friend Xeonyx for creating the header image using the internal anims build. That’s all for now, keep tabs on our website for more every week!
Mar 7, 2019
Project Zomboid - incogme

Hey all, here’s the highlights of the last four weeks of Project Zomboid development – compiled from the Thursday blogs that appear at and on the PZ Steam boards.

First off, a general ‘recently implemented animations’ video to whet your appetite along with some new Zach Beever musical goodness that will be coming in build 41.

A key aspect of PZ mapping is zoning – which we primarily use to mark up areas that are (for example) suitable for foraging and car spawns. Now however, with different clothing for zombies, we can flag which parts of the PZ map can spawn which particular zombie – or which group of particular zombies.

This, then, is how we can spawn only guards and orange jumpsuit-wearing prisoners in Rosewood prison.

Likewise, RJ has created a ‘wedding’ spawn zone over one of the churches on the map – which ensures that all zombies inside it, and outside for the selected area, have a very high chance of dressing in smart clothing, with a guaranteed bride, groom and church minister amongst them.

This system will allow us to have many and varied different pockets of particular zeds – police in police stations, lumberjacks at McCoy logging, military in military areas etc. Likewise, we will be examining the best methods to make sure that zeds in bathrobes or not wearing clothes are only found in homes and home bathrooms in particular.

(It should be noted that aspects of this will also involve a very slight rewrite of PZ lore in terms of the outbreak, but we had intended to return to the radio/TV broadcasts soon in any case).

We’ve been waiting for some important/complex work on rotational anim movements from TEA for a fair amount of the past few weeks – but there’s still been plenty of other areas for us to work in this time.
A few examples of this includes knife attack animations, and tying survivors and zeds getting bloodied by attacks in general in-game.

This has also involved us adding some additional combat skills, and in the process removing the skill point system. From Build 41 onwards skills will automatically level up when you gain the XP requirements, as we felt the manual skill point system never worked particularly well and would do so even less with many more skills.

RJ also adds a note on how running through crowds of zeds will now be a little more fraught with danger.
“One thing that’s new and that people might be interested to see in action, is an effort to make sure players can’t dash through hordes without getting slowed down.”

“As seen in the video below, we’ve now added bumping against zeds. Colliding with one or two while you’re running isn’t dangerous, you’ll just get slowed down, but try running through a horde and you’ll stumble and fall – leaving you temporarily exposed to the encroaching zeds. We might add in a few more different sorts of animations for nudges/pushes, but right now it looks like this:”

Next up, the issue of character and zed model visual fidelity.

An area that was proving strange in terms of 41 development was that somewhere along the way some of the visual fidelity of characters had been lost – and simultaneously, somehow, models looked far more buff/hunky than intended. Feet, also, seemed a little on the large side. After a bit of a dig, we finally located a bug in the exported model data that explained it.

Due to this bug, the lighting of the characters was broken, which resulted in very washed out characters with little lighting shading – which in turn removed definition that made muscles look bulkier. This has now been fixed and, after re-exporting all the clothing, has allowed us to achieve much better character model rendering and lighting than we’ve shown off previously during this recent leg of anim development.

As ever, please keep in mind that we’ll continue to balance/tweak to make sure characters fit their surrounds as well as possible – as well as adjust the models themselves seeing as you can now see individual facial features much more clearly. These caveats notwithstanding, however, we’re pretty happy how they’re looking.

During this process we also focused on another prominent issue: that the character pixel resolution when zoomed in was extremely blocky and lacking in detail. Due to the ways that our initial zoom system handled things, characters were too harshly pixellated. This caused them to be extremely jaggied compared to what it was in the old days, when we were rendering characters to an off-screen sprite before placing them into the world.

So over the past few weeks we’ve been doing some significant work on changing how the game handles the zoom, which in addition to fixing this issue should ultimately lead to slightly more optimized rendering of the game – as well as providing the character models much more detail to play with.

The branch with this system on it isn’t complete – navigating indoors presents issues, mouse input hit-testing isn’t fixed up yet, and we’re having issues with seams between tiles when zoomed out – so it’s not quite ready for integration into the main test build. Here’s a quick video of us running aimlessly around zombies under lights to show it off though.

(Along with some new Zach Beever musical accompaniments!)

Zac and Mark from TEA have continued their work on the tech, ironing out the last few issues with the animation blending, as well as providing some extra cool tools to help us implement and debug the animations (as well as the modders once it releases!)

  • Zac has been doing a whole bunch of optimization work, with fun example vids of his wares seen here with his zombie spawning, and here with multi-threaded rendering.
  • RJ has implemented his previous work on looting improvements – giving us more control over general clutter, and more realistically placed items in houses.
  • Mash has begun creating icons for new clothing and weapons, Will had begun setting naming conventions for them.
  • Connall and Turbo have continued to implement new timed actions.
  • Yuri has finished adapting his water/puddles into Zac’s revamped shader system, and is now experimenting with a particle system that will provide the bedrock for his fire improvements.
  • The other Zac meanwhile, Young Zach, continues to deliver the new South-tinged PZ score that can be heard at playing over the initial video in this blog.
  • Xeonyx is chasing/fixing map bugs in his now complete Kingsmouth Island challenge map.  

This is the second monthly Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here– so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info.The Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Feb 7, 2019
Project Zomboid - nasKo

Hey all, here’s a round-up of recent Zomboid dev. To start with a quick video compilation of stuff the team has been wiring up into our friends at TEA’s animation systems.

Please note that there are still numerous bugs and issues as long as all our combined arms, and it’s hard to get a sustained video without issues and glitches popping up, so this vid is fairly carefully curated – but it does give you an idea of the where we are. (Likewise, if you see something that looks wrong or glitchy, or think ‘hmm, there should be more variation anims in that…’, then we’re probably already on it).

Essentially, TIS coders are currently implementing the game code-side, tying in the new animation system to all the game systems. RJ, for example, has been handling the combat system, tying up all the weapon swing, zombie reactions and various other related anims, and the system is getting close to the quality of the earlier videos of animations you’ve seen, though now tied 100% into the PZ combat, character and simulation systems.

Connall and Turbo, meanwhile, have been concentrating on non-combat related animations, such as reading, chopping wood, painting, eating, crafting, and the countless other in-game actions characters can do in-game that were previously performed like a stock-still robot with a progress bar.

EP has been doing his usual precision striking all across the code base, wiring up the character creation system, connecting model clothing to inventory items in the world, and fixing issues and integrating the codebase across the board.

In the mean-time TEA are optimizing and improving the AnimZed toolset with our requests the more we use it, and alongside general animation requests and polish Martin is experimenting with the gore potential of the system with visible guts hanging out of the front of zombies and such.

Here’s another vid from Zac from a two weeks ago: a walk through downtown West Point to test some of the latest optimization work, and the improved shaders that remove a lot of the bleached-out-ness from proceedings. At the moment Zac is also, still, looking into some further threading optimization as, bizarrely, better machines were having some stutters

This past week we’ve also reimplemented zombies that spawn covered in blood (when the Version 41 is complete blood will gradually appear on most zeds during combat, however), which can be seen below – alongside a few items ticked off the list from Connall and Turbo’s vast timed action spreadsheet.

We’re also in the process of working out exactly which animations will be included in the first release, and what won’t – the Cover System; i.e. ducking behind walls and wall-hugging for example, is a confirmed ‘not 41’ at this point as we want to get the fundamentals right first. (edited)

ChrisW is back with us currently, and working on better internal visuals for buildings. Screenshots probably speak louder than words in this instance, so here we go:

Yuri has been putting the finishing touches on the puddle system, as well as tying it into the 40’s climate stuff, and we’re super happy with how he’s been able to add that visual spark to the water effects in the game. Here’s a video of where he’s up to:

And here also is an earlier video, showing the more WIP shader effects appearing on roads.

Our next plans for Yuri’s visual effects overhaul couldn’t be more opposite, as we want him to give some visual love and attention to fire: one of our most ancient and jankiest looking systems. We’re excited to see what he does with it, and at the same time as a visual boost, we’re planning on rebalancing the way fire works to make it behave more sensibly and better simulate its spread over different materials and tiles.

Stas from General Arcade has been going great guns with our public controller beta, and we’re now well into the bug fixing and polish stage. If you want to check out the latest version, number 14, details on how to join can be found here.

While the rest of the team works on Build 41, we currently have three people on map content. Mash is developing our take on Louisville, while RingoD is providing her with variations on our current housing models so that its suburbs don’t feel too cookie-cutter.
Here’s a rare glimpse of a WIP urban location that’s been prised from Mash’s iron grip, shown with the understanding that the release will be a fair few builds into the future.

Seeing as the main map expansion is still so far away, however, we now also have the New Denver creator Xeonyx working on new locations that will come as a part of new challenges in the main game. Here, for example, is the main resort building on the fictional paradise island of Kingsmouth.

This is the first monthly Steam round-up of development news for Project Zomboid, but weekly Thursdoid blogs are posted both on our website and on the Steam discussion boards. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here– so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info.The Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Jan 10, 2019
Project Zomboid - nasKo

Hey all, quick run around the houses talking about who’s on what this week.

In anims-land for Build 41 Zac’s been looking at optimization, which we’ll be coming back to pretty routinely from this point – as we want to make sure everything is nice and smooth. Here he’s sorted out some locks in the render thread, and from the Before and After you can see a marked improvement in quality.

He’s also working on getting the shiny helmet / coats / leggings shader effect going for different clothing items, and also investigating with Mark as to why over the course of development with the animations system we’ve lost some of the earthy colours and harsher lighting that tended towards a slight over-saturation and bleached effect that doesn’t quite make the new character models fit the scene.

Animator Martin, meanwhile, is looking at all the different locations we’ve got on the map (and those still to come) and creating new outfits to discover in their cupboards and lockers – and likewise to find the local zeds dressed up in.

In other news:
Xeonyx, the creator of the much-loved New Denver / Slocan Lake map, is now working on Challenge Maps for the main game. These, including the Film Studio map we’ve discussed previously, will most likely be a part of Build 41. His current mission is a fictional map called Kingsmouth – a ‘paradise island’ vacation resort in the Caribbean. The map will feature vast hotels, seaside locales, a military installation and much more – but we’ll go quiet on it for now while Jamie gets on with his work. Here’s a quick screen from the map editor though.

Chris W continues his work on improving visuals within buildings – aiming for more Sims-style cutaways and the removal of the circle stencil we currently use. Here’s a quick before and after of the start of this work – the second image showing walls in the foreground cutting away to skirting height – with smooth transitions curving up to full height.

NOTE: Very much WIP and not a finished system, of course. The other room currently isn't cut but will be in the final version. This is just a sneak peak for the WIP system and showing off how the rounded corners look; the goal for the final version is improving vision, not limiting it.

  • Yuri is working on improvements to the way we render the ground surfaces, especially road textures that have been rained on, to complement his recent improvements to how water appears in-game. (This said, right now, he’s shackling a hilarious car physics demon that’s sprung up on an internal server.) 
  • Stas just released an updated Controller Test beta for those helping out with our gamepad improvement scheme. If you are interested in getting a free PZ code for your troubles, then join our band of testers
  • While BitbaboonMark does some TEA-side code repository movements and merging: RJ is doing some improvements to food crafting and prepping a (non-anims) forum test for his new loot table improvements, EP is doing some very exciting experimental work with a new player map system and Turbo is plotting his next move after the successful integration of his weather/shaders in Build 40. (Most likely picking up on his work on in-game devices, or maybe those seasonal sound effects we discussed before).

Community stuff:
We’d like to direct your attention to the new Hashima Island map by Woldren, a map based on an IRL location you might recognise as the place where James Bond shot a woman who had whiskey on her head in Skyfall. It’s pretty damn cool.

We’d also like to direct your attention to the Redboid server, which had a season refresh/reboot/restart yesterday and is a grand place to start your PZ MP adventures if you haven’t done so yet.

If you run a PZ server and would like a shout-out in a future blog, then please get in touch. And while you’re at it -please use these values in Bitbaboon Steve’s recent networking optimization options, as they certainly seem to be helping those currently using ’em.





This week’s infested neighborhood from Dark Oracle. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here –so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. The Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ MailingList that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Dec 20, 2018
Project Zomboid - nasKo

Hello! Merry impending Chrimble.

On Tuesday we ran a pretty successful Community Megatest using our new MP networking system that Bitbaboon Steve has concocted for us. Users generally reported a much smoother experience in overall play, and had a lot of fun with the storms, snow and admin-created blood moons.

This said, we did see a few potential issues around mega-hordes and vehicles that we need to investigate deeper – so didn’t want to inflict our Megatest settings as default ones on players over the Xmas break until we’re sure they’re the right ones.

To this end we’ll be running more Community Megatests in the near future, with different system settings – and some handy network debug tools that Steve is currently coding into the system.

We have, however, also released it into the public build today in Build 40.43 for server owners to play around with – and have already heard some positive feedback. In essence, and with a video deliberately set to explain it best, it looks a bit like this:

In this video there are the two visible circles around the MP player, and then the mini-circles which appear around the zombies. Essentially: every time a circle appears around a zombie it means it’s getting a position update over the network from the server and then wired into your game. The client’s zed placement signals are received – and then the game knows where to show the zed.

The essence of the system is that server operators can now adjust the circle of ‘close dangerous zeds’ and the circle of distant ‘no trouble zeds’ – and the update times. This will cut down on the network traffic taken up by faraway zombies on your screen, and reduce strain on servers as a whole.

[Please note that this vid is an example only and made to explain the system – we haven’t judged what the best radius for these circles are yet and will be running a series of Community Megatests to help us judge what works best.]

So… here comes the science!

In the vid the low priority (larger radius) dictates the zombies which are going to update on the update delta. So every x seconds they will get an update, and in the video you can see these as the pulses. [It’s set purposefully long on the video to highlight it].

Meanwhile the high priority zombies get updated every server frame, and it will send out the closest Y zombies within the smaller circle around the player.
  • ZombieUpdateHighPriorty is the radius around the player for sending the high priority zombies.
  • ZombieUpdateMaxHighPriority is a cap on the number of high detail ones to send, and it will send the closest zombies to the player up to this limit.
  • ZombieUpdateRadiusLowPriority is the maximum radius to send the lower frequency updates to – at 45 this is essentially the entire screen at 1440p fully zoomed out.
  • ZombieUpdateDelta is the time between sending these lower frequency larger blobs of zombies
In the Megatest the values we used were, so if you run a server give it a spin with these and see how it goes:

ZombieUpdateMaxHighPriority 6
ZombieUpdateDelta 0.7
ZombieUpdateRadiusLowPriority 45
ZombieUpdateRadiusHighPriority 20

The next Megatest, meanwhile, will use a smaller high priority radius but a larger cap – to see how it all responds to hordes. It’s all a balancing act, really, so let us know how you get on if you have a play with it yourself.

Sorry for the technical stuff! Here’s some Build 41 stuff to compensate, along with something seasonal that will be one day be stashed in a cupboard in the mall awaiting the Xmas season.

Grant and Zac have been finetuning the clothing and animation modules. Clothes are now shader-driven and individual Clothing items can have custom shaders for special fx. Animations now auto-reload when modified from the Editor, and Martin has also been hard at work adding new clothing outfits, and adding more variety to existing outfits. Here’s a quick vid.
That’s about it for today but Russian holidays mean that Yuri and Stas will continue their 41 work over the Western Xmas on current issues with upturned vehicles and the gamepad bindings screen, respectively, while there’s plenty of other stuff bubbling under too.

There will be a Thursdoid next week, but it’ll be a brief one featuring anything people have done over the holidays, and then back properly in the New Year. Have a great one if you’re celebrating!

This week’s Walking Dead-style not belonging here from non_curo. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here – so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. The Centralized Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ MailingList that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too. Merry Xmas etc hohoho
Dec 13, 2018
Project Zomboid - nasKo

Howdy almost-yuletide survivor.

Today we released our final (sort of, read below for more on that) patch for Build 40. Full patchnotes can be found here, but this covers stuff like:
  • Improved darker nights, and less washed out night-time interiors. Car headlights and flashlights will be more of a necessity now. Sandbox settings also updated, so you can adapt it to a brightness you desire.
  • Improved appearance of weather effects when in a building.
  • Moon calculations re-added to game to govern night brightness.
  • Extended disassemble ability to many more items,including: fridges, ovens, more chairs, washing machines, lockers, fitness equipment, metal barrels and some missing shelves.
  • Some balanced player actions related to injuries, sleeping, window-breaking and bandages in a saucepan.
  • Fixed whisper problems in the new chatbox, stair teleports, rain rather than snow in Winter is Coming, community translation font issues, plumbed sinks not working in MP and various other issues.

While the rest of the team move into the animations build and version 41, we’re leaving optimization specialist Bitbaboon Steve investigating what easy-win MP networking improvements we could potentially still patch into 40.

The first of his discoveries, the removal large number of empty and unnecessary data packets being sent over the server, has been released in 40.40 and should be a mild salve for current lag issues but his investigations also came up with an idea we thought it’d be wise to test out with a forthcoming IWBUMS beta and Community Megatest.

Essentially, Steve has been working on some server configurable optimizations for zombies in multiplayer. Since vehicles, performance in multiplayer servers has seen added strain (particularly in handling zombie hordes) and we’re hoping this might improve matters.

In essence, we’re about to release a test version in which there are several configurable options to allow server owners to fine-tune how much zombie data is sent to their players.

There will now be two ‘player client zombie awareness’ circles: the first a smaller radius that defines at what tile-range zombie positions are sent to clients with a high precision in every frame, and then a second larger radius in which the zombie location information can be sent to clients less frequently. Server owners will also be able to play with how much time there is between the low frequency updates.

On low population co-op servers these values can be set pretty liberally, so the players are getting all zombies in the visible area smoothly. But on high population servers that experience lag issues, server operators can sacrifice the smoothness of zombie movement in the distance (or even cap zombie visibility completely over a certain distance) in order to VASTLY reduce the amount of internet traffic they produce when lots of players are involved.

We think this will sharply decrease the amount of work the server needs to do and should lead to a much better player experience with a little bit of visual compromise toward the edge of the screen. Distant zombies might pause a bit or appear to teleport slightly between updates, but these movements are also something we’d hope to blend better (and make far less noticeable) with the added functionalities of the animations build. Server operators can decide on their own level of compromise too.

This work is pretty much done, and as such we will add it into the IWBUMS beta as soon as it’s clear there’s nothing from 40.40 that needs hot-fixing. Please keep your eyes on the forum if you want to participate in a special Yuletide Megatest.

This week in TEA-land Grant has improved things dev/modder-side with live texture reload, through upgrading the Filewatcher mechanism. It now watches the media folder instead of polling individual files, and is much more efficient. Upon a texture filechange, the game now reloads it live and in-place. This should make iteration times on textures much easier and faster.

Zac, meanwhile, has fixed up AnimZed for Animator Martin to the extent that he can now get a lot more variation on different individual outfits. Take these cops for example:

Martin has also been creating a better range of skin tones for player characters, to allow for better customisation should people desire it.

  • Stas has just updated the Gamepad Test beta with a lot of fixes, for our lovely select bunch of gamepad testers. If you fancy helping out with this part of PZ work, and earn yourself a free code, then enquire within.
  • RJ has been tinkering with in-game loot, and has occasionally been popping into the PZ Discord to look for willing testers. The overall plan is to have more information in the game code in terms of what’s a desirable item, and what’s junk – so we can then fill containers with a lot more realistic junk items even on higher difficulty levels. He’s also experimenting with having more specific containers in homes for more specific items (all the cutlery in one drawer, male clothes in one wardrobe, female in another etc) but the jury is currently out on whether it actually detracts from the looting gameplay.
  • ChrisW’s work on in-building Sims-style cutaways and the abolition of the dithered circle view stencil continues. As seen here both with, and without.

Today’s warehouse horde from Frank. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here – so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. The Centralized Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZWiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOurDiscord is open for chat and hijinks too.
Dec 6, 2018
Project Zomboid - nasKo

Hey all, Thursday greetings.

We’ve currently got the final Build 40 patch in a public IWBUMS beta, and since last week have released 40.37 and 40.38  into it. This includes Turbo’s new night shaders and more colourful/useful interior lights, flashlights and headlights as we felt that Build 40 had moved away from what we wanted in this respect. You can see the video of this from a previous Thursdoid here.

So far IWBUMS testers have reacted really positively the new nights, which is heartening to see. We’ve had quite a few comments like “Night-time looks like the old PZ nights and flashlights finally have a function, this is amazing!” and similar, which is exactly what we were hoping for.

IWBUMS beta 40.39 was due for release today ready for the public patch, but Stas is still hitting a chatbox whisper bug with a code hammer. It will also add in, upon arrival, a fix for players getting wet in some player constructions and add back in the system we have that governs on how dark nights are depending on how bright the moon is.

Turbo has also added the dither circle stencil to the weathermask system (the ring of visibility around the player) when it comes to being inside buildings, which really improves the look of it all. Here’s a video of it without, and here’s a video of it with.

Work continues with the AnimZed tool, clothing, layering, spawned zed outfits and similar. There’s still loads of stuff to do under the hood for 41, but we’re now in a position to hopefully provide more visual updates in blogs each week.

This first video touches on what we discussed last week – the ability to layer clothing in whatever order we/you please for added player/zombie variety.

This allows for full length clothing items like dresses, different sorts of shoes, the ability to wear an apron under a jacket, different underwear etc.

This week Zac has also added a zombie spawn test function that creates zeds wearing different outfits from our assigned collection – or all dress the same. This is so we have a convenient way of testing all the different randomized and non-randomized clothing items at once.

Finally for this section, here are some of the dev-defined Career Zed outfits that the system’s easily conjuring up for Martin. 

Yuri this week has continued working on the code for calculating the direction of water movement that we discussed last week – meaning that the game now knows where water should be still and where it should flow.

He’s also fixed some model issues he was having with the anims build, and improved the way banks look. As we’ve said before, it might look too realistic in some aspects of it – but the different quality options give us room to play here.

Chris W is back with us and back in the code, picking up where he left off with improving the way that building interiors are displayed – to the extent that one day our aforementioned friend the dithered visibility circle stencil will no longer be a requirement.

“I’m replacing the old method of stencilling out walls that obscure the interiors” he explains.  “The new method will cut the walls down to ankle height, so you can still see where they should be.”

“The system uses shaders to combine multiple texture samplers, while the old method used multiple passes. When it’s finished, it’ll include curved transitions between the full walls and the cutaway walls. You can see my first work on this in the screen below, but there’s still a lot to change and fix.”

  • Stas continues his work on the ControllerTest Build, with a fixes version released to testers today. If you would like to join in the test beta and earn yourself a free PZ code, enquire within.
  • Bitbaboon Steve is back with us and investigating ways to optimize MP.
  • RJ is looking into ways to allow us better control over our loot spawn system and difficulty levels, given the many new items that future builds will bring.
  • Mash continues with her work/marathon in the creation of our take on Louisville, and is currently creating the crumbier/seedier end of town.

This week’s plea from the forum from Sick Boy. A general list of stuff added to PZ, and vids of features being worked on, is kept here – so you don’t have to plough through endless dev blogs for info. TheCentralized Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send blogs like this and patch notes direct to your mailbox. We also live on Twitter right hereOur Discord is open for chat and hijinks too.

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