Annyeonghaseyo, chingu! Your mod correspondent Pat Brennan here!
We were delighted (and surprised!) to see Project Zomboid get a huge boost from South Korea a little while ago. At one point 30 of the top 50 most viewed PZ streamers were Korean, and it’s in no small part thanks to a map based on the real city Daegu, made by a user named diofss!
South Korea’s third largest city, and historically known for its production of apples and textiles, Daegu is probably best known to us in the West as the home of Bong Joon-ho, the Oscar-winning director of Parasite and Snowpiercer, while young people who like young people things will know that two members of the K-Pop band BTS (V and Suga) also hail from there.
Diofss’s map reflects the great density of the city, with a lot more zombies compared to our base map, and taller and more numerous buildings. The map is not only dense but absolutely effin’ huge as well. It’s a massive achievement.
With numerous apartment buildings, office blocks, convenience stores, and suburbs filled with Korean-style houses, the map once again illustrates the great imaginations (and diversity!) of our map-making community.
Diofss has created many custom textures: shops have Korean signs, apartment buildings have Korean mail boxes, and even the vending machines, electrical poles, and rubbish bins are accurate to the area.
The super-mapper has also kindly agreed to answer our many questions about his map, and has provided pictures of his upcoming Seoul map. Who knows, we might even one day be able to take a train to Busan!
Who are you in real life? Tell us a little about yourself.
“I’m just an ordinary art teacher who loves zombie survival games!”
How did you first discover Project Zomboid? Why do you like it?
“I’ve been playing PZ since the Desura version, way back. Zombie survival games are usually my cup of tea but many of them aren’t really survival-oriented, or they are unrealistic and filled with limitations – unlike PZ.”
How did you get into PZ mapping? Did you have experience making maps for other games previously?
“I’ve never made another map. I found all the necessary resources on the Indie Stone forums, the Korean Zomboid Community, as well as YouTube. Daegu Metropolitan City is my first work and as such it means a lot to me (although there are many things in it I wish I made better).”
Can you tell us a little about the real life city of Daegu? How accurate is your map to the real city? Are some areas more detailed than others?
“As you can see on the map, there are many large buildings in a very dense urban landscape. Daegu is surrounded by mountains so it was quite easy to set boundaries and define a storyline.”
“All those buildings, colorful ad signals, crammed houses, cars parked in a chaotic way… they are all part of what Koreans call “Hell Cho-seon” [Cho-seon is the several-century-long traditional name of Korea].”
“There are no elements that are really specific to Daegu but overall the map looks quite close to the real thing, especially the buildings. I looked at the real map and made sure to recreate the main layout. Obviously, without being able to commit full-time to the project, there are some details that need more time to be developed.”
When did you start developing your Daegu map? How much time have you spent making it? How has it changed and developed over time? What are you biggest challenges?
“I made this all on my own over 4 to 5 months. I think I’ll keep on updating it as time permits but honestly it’s been built from the beginning on such a huge scale that it’s become difficult to manage. The most difficult aspect was the lack of a copy feature so that I had the drag all the buildings manually one after the other. Currently, I’m struggling with curves in order to make roads perfectly smooth.”
Your Daegu map is extremely popular with Korean streamers on Twitch. Are you surprised by this? Why do you think people responded so well to your map? Are you happy to be a “PZ celebrity” now?
“I was so surprised and I’m just grateful that many people like it! As I said earlier, this map is still not finished, and I’m the one who knows that best. I was afraid people would criticize me for those shortcomings, since I already have some negative experience with people saying harsh things. Still today I hesitate to look at people’s comments, but there’s lots of positive feedback too!”
“For me, the danger with survival games is boredom as soon as you become too secure. This is where a Korean city such as Daegu makes things harder: the higher density in a geographically restricted area means more zombies, thus more challenge. It’s just so different from Kentucky. That’s probably a reason why this map became so popular. Obviously, Koreans also like it because it’s based on place they know!”
Is Project Zomboid well known in South Korea? Is Twitch the service everyone uses to talk about PZ or are there other websites/apps etc. on which PZ is popular?
“PZ was originally known to some extent (there was a lot of buzz around Build 41 and before that, the vehicle update) but I think the Daegu map did a lot to make it more well known.”
Is there anyone in the PZ community (or beyond) you would like to give a shout-out to?
“I want to thank all the people across the world who enjoyed playing my map, whether in Korea or anywhere else. That gives me the energy to keep on working hard. In the end, it’s all about you guys, not me! And I can’t thank The Indie Stone enough for making such a great game.”
“Finally, I want to thank the maker of the Sema map, “Swollen Sea Mustard”, who helped me a lot with my own map.”
What’s next in your mapping plans? What’s the dream?
“I’m working with a pal of mine on a map of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. We’re trying to make it feel as Korean as possible, and it’s about three times[!] bigger than Daegu. Here are some pictures. And thanks again for shedding light on my map!”
Thanks to Diofss for taking time to answer our questions! You can subscribe to the Daegu map here.