Welcome back to the mod blog for the latest scoop from the Knox Event! This time, we look at two extremely popular mods from Authentic Peach, namely Authentic Z and AuthenticAnimations. If you’ve seen a PZ character lying in bed or sitting on a chair there’s a chance that you have Authentic Peach to thank for it…
AuthenticAnimations activates some of the unactivatable placeholder animations created by TIS’ resident animator Martin, which aren’t quite ready for our base game. Sit on chairs, lie on couches, and tremble in fear by finding the new options on the emote menu. There’s even a set of animations for someone being smothered. We wonder what future purpose those could serve…
Authentic Z, meanwhile, adds hundreds of new clothing items from clown noses to stovepipe hats to military webbing, and over a hundred new zombie outfits that spawn in the appropriate locations, like ice cream workers, fishermen, and dozens of unique zombies inspired by other media such as Resident Evil, Shaun of the Dead, and Left 4 Dead to be hunted down.
It also adds new versions of existing items like football jerseys, t-shirts, wedding dresses, bulletproof vests and backpacks, along with some goodies like a flare gun, glowsticks and smoke grenades.
A major feature of the mod is the ability to modify backpacks with extra “slots” or pouches which visibly show attached items on your character. This allows you to carry water bottles, tools, and even a Spiffo teddy on your back, saving you space while looking cool (and/or cute).
Now it’s time to take out our reporter’s microphone, track down the unique character known as “Authentic Peach”, and activate our “ask questions” animation!
Who are you in real life? Tell us a little about yourself.
“I’m a college student studying computer engineering and a part-time computer repair technician.”
How did you first discover Project Zomboid? Why do you like it?
“My friend Clerkius recommended Zomboid to me about eight years ago. I picked it up in mid-2014, back before nolanritchie’s car mod, when only Westpoint and Muldraugh existed. I loved the base-building aspect of the game and especially the elements of base customization! If you look at the zombie game genre, these two aspects are either underdeveloped or non-existent in the grand majority of games.”
How did you get into PZ modding? Have you made mods or maps for other games?
“I haven’t modded any other game. I was inspired to begin when the clothing and animations update of Build 41 was announced.”
You collaborated with Ravenim, and previous mod blog star Azakaela on your AuthenticAnimations mod, and Michael Chickson on Authentic Z. How did you first come into contact with them? Which parts of the mods did they help with?
“It is a funny and wholesome story with AuthenticAnimations. At the time, Azakaela already had a few significant mods under her belt whereas Ravenim and I were just beginner modders trying to tie things together with strings and rubber bands.”
“One day, we were looking through the game’s file directory and found loads of animations that were unused. This was before the game’s vanilla emote wheel was implemented. Ravenim and I figured out how to link these raw animations with framework files to have them work in the game. Azakaela then took up the torch and had them initiated with the recipe system. It was a fun, tag-team group project. Sometime after the emote-wheel was implemented, I updated the mod to fit the theme and added some custom art.”
“AuthenticZ has been my personal project since late 2020. At first I solely used base game assets to make new outfits, but once I learned 3D modeling, the sky was the limit! 3D modeling was my Covid Project. I learned how to do it with two months of watching Youtube videos. It just goes to show that you do not have to go to school to learn these art-based skills.”
“I had Michael Chickson join the project earlier this year since I noticed we had similar interests and prospects. He has contributed a few outfits worth, such as the cultist zombies. However, he has had to step away from modding, unfortunately.”
Can you tell us more about your Authentic Z mod? How many items does it add to the game? How does it change the experience?
“AuthenticZ adds clothing for zombies and players, with appropriate placement and rarity, and more functionality and customization to items. It adds a ton of stuff that only can be found on certain zombies.”
“If I was to count the number of items, it would be 808, but that would be including different item states. 600 is a more meaningful number. Prior to modding, I loved to ‘cherry pick’ special zombies in a horde. It’s an extreme case of loot-lust where you would kill the zombie wearing the rare clothing item, and doing it in a way where it doesn’t damage the item. I find this mini-game extremely addictive and I especially flush it out in Authentic Z.”
Authentic Z also features some unique zombie spawns, with many references to popular culture. Do you have a favourite unique zombie? Any tips for players wanting to track them down?
“With about 150 outfits made, at this point, I no longer have a favorite. Some of my favorite zombies include the Ghostbusters, cheerleaders, and clown zombies. I also have made five types of clown zombie outfits. I suggest looking at the hitlists that you may find at the libraries or bookshelves. The screenshots have distinct hints of where they may be located. If you are totally stumped on finding a particular outfit, try looking at the Crossroads Mall or Grand Ohio Mall, where the spawns are randomized by the mod.”
Authentic Z features a lot of new items and clothing like bulletproof vests, a more advanced backpack system, wearable lights etc. What are some “loadouts” of your items you would recommend for different activities like exploration, zombie combat, PvP play? And which would be your coolest and most fashionable outfit, regardless of how practical it is in the zombie apocalypse?
“Definitely try out the tactical webbing for its attachment slots. Wearing it with a military flashlight will give you the edge during nighttime combat situations. I, myself, usually wear impractical outfits whenever I can. I feel that the meta for outfits, typically, is the full military gear getup. So I definitely recommend mixing it up.”
“Having your character wear a special/ridiculous/silly outfit gives them a unique sense of personality! For female characters, I usually choose one of the cheerleader outfits or the female Mime. For male characters, I like to dress as Ghost Face from Scream or as a clown.”
AuthenticAnimations allows the player to activate some of our hidden placeholder animations. Which of these animations would you most like to see in the game itself?
“We made the mod because we did not want to wait years on end to see these animations in action [editor’s note: watch it, mate]. We made it to give content creators a toolset to express whatever creative work they have in mind. iBrRus’s True Actions mod has implemented the sitting, laying down, and sleeping anims quite well. I would like to see the vomit and crawling/prone anims implemented since these will flush out new aspects of the game.”
Is there anyone else in the PZ community (or beyond) you would like to give a shout-out to? Which mods or maps by other users do you enjoy or find interesting?
“I always play with the mods made by iBrRus and his team, and Shark and Chuck’s Expanded Helicopter mod. I encourage anyone to escape Raven Creek with the Autotsar Motorclub mod with a high vehicle spawn – the most fun I ever had in Zomboid!”
“Special thanks to Scavenger and Shark for continually pushing me to the next level. I would also like to give a shout-out to Lizardman who did the new artwork for AuthenticZ. I would also like to thank all the Twitch streamers who motivated me and gave me meaningful feedback and ideas.”
“I would also like to thank the dev team for making the game as moddable as it is, and working with modders to free up code and create more ways to mod. One of the phrases I live by is ‘Show me the tools, I will show you what I will make with them.’”
What’s next in your mapping and modding plans? What’s the dream?
“I have a finite amount of ideas that I want to burn through with Authentic Z, such as tackling dismemberment and fat zombies, then afterwards I will do a lot more with animations. I have been working on my own dancing mod with the goal to make it more silly and rambunctious than the True Actions Dancing mod (also one of my favorites). I livestream on the weekends if anyone wants to tune in and follow the journey. I try, whenever I can, to teach people how to mod Zomboid. I also plan on writing up more documentation on various modding techniques to help accelerate prospective modders’ projects. So far, I have made a 3D modeling to Zomboid guide which can be found here.”
“Everyone has their own interests and unique perspectives. If everyone knew how to use the tools and the various modding methodologies, we would see a huge wave of creativity!”
Thanks to Authentic Peach for taking time to answer our questions! You can find all his mods here.