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June 30, 2022

Mod Spotlight: 10 Years Later

One of the unique features of Project Zomboid is our progressive erosion system, with grass and trees slowly taking over the game world as time passes. But those of you who remember older builds may recall when things could get even more chaotic and overgrown, with the world becoming an impenetrable jungle a few months into the apocalypse.

It’s something we intend to return to in future builds, but if you want the Knox of today to have that classic The Last of Us wilderness look you’ll want to look at the 10 Years Later mod by a user named Dane.

The mod adds grass, trees and plants to vast areas of the map, making them look wild and overgrown. Unlike our erosion system, even building interiors are affected, for that true abandoned, apocalyptic look.

Vegetation can be removed by hand too, so you can keep your safehouse nice and clean. So messy can your world become with this mod, that Dane has made some extra versions to lower the vegetation levels, or to make it not spawn indoors or on roofs.

10 Years Later is not a complex mod but it’s one that fundamentally affects the tone of the map, adding an eerie undercurrent to every journey and glance through a window: humanity is truly gone, and they ain’t coming back.

We hacked our way through the dense undergrowth and made our way to the overgrown but beautiful headquarters of Dane to ask them a few questions about themselves and their verdant mod!

DANE

Who are you in real life? Tell us a little about yourself.

“Hi! I’m Dane, short for Jordane. I’m 27, from France, and work as a Project Manager, where I use databases and a bit of web development for statistics.”

“In Project Zomboid, I’m a hardcore player who loves sprinter zombies for the tension they add to the game.”

How did you first discover Project Zomboid? Why do you like it?

“I discovered Project Zomboid on Desura. I liked to take a long break between versions, but started playing it often from version 30.”

“I like PZ because the zombies behave like real zombies who want to catch you and eat you, not just ‘hit’ you to inflict damage like most other similar games. It seems like a detail but it’s what makes zombies such a threat.”

How did you get into modding for PZ? Have you made mods or maps for other games before?

“I’ve never made maps or mods for other games, but I used Valve’s Hammer editor for small projects on a Counter-Strike: Source server that I never shared with the public.”

“I’ve always liked to create, but mostly with the aim of acquiring knowledge to pass it on to others. When I started mapping for PZ, I couldn’t find any tutorials in French so I created my own series on Youtube to help the community, and this led to some excellent maps!”

10 Years Later is a simple mod but one that greatly changes the map. What were your inspirations (movies, video games, real life etc.)? What feeling are you trying to evoke in the player while playing it?

“I’m mainly inspired by The Walking Dead, Dying Light, The Last Of Us, State of Decay, and many similar games, series and books. I also really like the ‘Many Years Later’ concept art by Not_tsarcastic.”

“My goal is to create a heavy atmosphere where nature has taken over and the zombie threat is extremely high, where you wonder if you truly are the only survivor, and if one day this nightmare will end…”

How long did your mod take to make, in total? What was the most difficult part?

“10 Years Later was very simple to create, taking only a single night. I was inspired by Azakaela’s mod Fall Leaves. Looking at the code, I realised it was just overlays so by doing several tests, I started taking the road textures and applying more grass, little by little…”

The hardest part was getting each wall and its orientation, and also listing and balancing the plants (Alree helped with that). I used the mod “Better Tiles Picker” By 金色喵球 & “Just Detect Sprite Texture Name” by Aud to retrieve the sprite names from my console.txt, then added them to the right type of tiles.””

How has the PZ community reacted to your mod? Have they made any suggestions?

“Firstly, I would to thank the Project Zomboid community for the great feedback and suggestions! I put the first version on the workshop because my friends wanted the mod for their server, so some features were missing such as being able to remove vegetation (which is now added). The suggestions were mainly focused on a version without vegetation on the roofs or in building interiors, which I’ve now created.”

What changes or additions would you like to see to the base game’s erosion features? Would you, for example, like to see roads get blocked by new trees over time, even if this would be annoying to players?

“I think we all agree that if the erosion system gave results like this Reddit post by DNAmaster10 and the aforementioned Not_tsarcastic concept, it would be incredible.”

“As for having trees growing all over the place, it could be balanced by an improved logging system. Raven Creek is a good example of how the roads can be blocked by stuff like wrecked vehicles, but it can be fun and add danger to your journey.”

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?

“Thank you to The Indie Stone for granting me this interview, and also to the whole team for making the game!”

“I would like to especially thank/recommend the works of Co’ and Alree who are wells of knowledge and are really great and inspiring. Aud has lots of great stuff too! A big thank you also to Xianah for the French translation of Project Zomboid, and to the French community as a whole.”

“Thanks to the modders and mappers (Chuck, Shark, Azakaela, Dylan, Atox, Daddy Dirkiedirk, Ayrton, Nurver, Aiteron… there are way too many!), the entire PZ community, and finally to my own community of hardcore gamers, Apocalypsium.”

What’s next in your modding plans (either new features for 10 Years Later or entirely new mods)? What’s the dream?

“For 10 Years Later, I have to finish adding the vegetation on some walls, and need to find a way to auto-fill the object.lua file to add vehicle spawn locations on roads in vanilla maps. Then I will try to add trees and bushes (which will not be overlays) to the system.”

“I have no other modding plans, but I’ve been working on my hardcore server, Apocalypsium, for a year. Apocalypsium is a (very) hardcore server offering a unique realistic experience, set ten years into the apocalypse. To give specifics: players survive an average of 6 hours (with a 4.39% survival rate), according to a sample based on 3019 survivors.”

“There is no loot or zombie respawn, the map is huge, and you have the option to spawn at camps near certain towns or random spots across the map. The profession, stats and traits of your character are random, making each new adventure unique. Survival is almost impossible alone, and forces players to play in groups, a huge challenge on a server with no rules! I invite everyone who finds survival too easy to come and suffer with us.”

“As for my dreams for Project Zomboid, I’m in agreement with much of the community: interaction between players to avoid sadness, a melee system with punches and kicks, zombies with different heights/weights, bicycles/rollerblades, allowing zombies to crawl over tables/sofas etc., more skills like intelligence or agility, and more defences and traps for zombies!”

Thanks to Dane for taking the time to answer our questions! You can find the 10 Years Later mod here.

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