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Community, Modding
November 18, 2022

Mod Spotlight: Community Map Jam

Good day, exhausted scavengers! This time we have not just one but FIVE community made maps for you to explore, build, fight and die in. All five were entries to the Halloween Community Map Jam run by Pertominus on their Discord server, and are a diverse collection of spooky maps that are fun to play all year round.

Backrooms by Azakaela (previously featured on this very mod blog) is inspired by the “Backrooms” creepypasta, where a person finds themselves in endless, haunted yellow corridors, stalked by strange, unknown entities (though in PZ, those entities are a little less “strange” and a little more “zombified). Peles Mansion (based on Peles Castle in Romania) by Daddy Dirkie Dirk is an elaborate and beautiful mansion featuring many custom tiles, while Finnegan Mental Asylum by Fred Cooper is a sprawling, infested complex with a prison and implied experiments – very unlike the benevolent activities of our canon Finnegan Research Group.

Gabester (of Elysium Island) is the creator of The Museum, another sprawling complex, this one filled with a variety of waxwork models, custom tiles, and (with the proper mods installed) some cool old-world weapons to fight the hordes with.

The final entry is the winner of the map jam: Overlook Hotel by Pertominus themselves, an incredibly atmospheric recreation of the famous hotel from The Shining, filled with recognisable locations (and that famous, awful carpet).

We wanted to find out more about the map jam and each of the maps, so we tracked down Pertominus themselves. They kindly took time off from typing “all work and no PZ makes Jack a dull boy” to answer our questions!


Hi Pertominus! Before we dive into the map jam, tell us how and when did you discover PZ?

“I picked up Zomboid in 2015, logged a couple hundred hours on it, and put it away until Build 41. Since then I have stacked up over two thousand hours, mostly playing multiplayer with friends on the Aussie Survival Server.”

Tell us about your own maps and mapping experiences prior to the community jam.

“Prior to Map-Jam I had only published Christmas Village. It’s a quirky seasonal map that I created for a Christmas event, to play with friends. It should have been as fun to play as it was to make. Instead, it got almost everyone killed (sorry, gang)!”

Please give us an overview of the Halloween map jam, and tell us a little about each of the entries. Have you created or participated in other map jams before?

“The 2022 Map-Jam was an idea originally proposed by Azakaela who wanted to expand the contest after the 2021’s ‘A to B’ Map Jam. Just like a ‘game jam’, a ‘map jam’ is an accelerated creation event where themed maps or buildings are created in a relatively short time frame, and the end results are shared publicly. The rules were pretty simple: anything creepy-crawly, spooky-scary, that goes bump in the night or gives you fright!”

Finnegan Asylum, by Fred Cooper

“The Finnegan Asylum, only loosely associated with Finnegan Research Group, was the first entry to show any serious development in the contest. Its huge layout is impressive enough but especially so for a first time map maker! Fred Cooper didn’t miss a single tile and kept improving the map even after the deadline. It’s a challenging but rewarding map, it fits into the vanilla world and has all the necessities for survival. I would recommend bringing the entire faction and a trailer of weapons for this challenge map. I’m definitely thankful to Fred Cooper for showing interest early on and motivating others to compete.”

The Museum, by Gabester

“The Museum was a late entry for the Jam but showed up with dozens of previously unreleased assets that were an absolute crowd favorite. It’s got a few secrets hidden inside and several fantastic references from the Mapping Discord, but Gabester really outdid himself with the Steam preview video, it’s a must see! The Museum was actually tied for first place after the judges voting so we had a difficult tie-breaking decision to make.”

Backrooms V3, by Azakaela Redfire

“Aza managed to keep development of this HUGE map secret, and then revealed that it was completed and ready to go weeks before anyone else. It was impressive how fast she got through it considering the restraints of working with buildings that size. There are a lot of confusing passageways which are the same but in the centre and towards the edges there are some very unique scenes which are worth surviving to explore.”

Peles Mansion, by Daddy Dirkie Dirk

“Dirkie smashed out this entry over two days in the final week of the competition, but it’s still packed with content. It has heaps of custom tiles, some made specifically for this map! It’s in a really nice spot and intentionally hidden from the map so it would be a really cool place for a hidden base/event on servers.”

Your spectacular Overlook Hotel map won the map jam. Can you tell us how you made it? How long did it take?

“Overlook took me a solid month to finish. I based the exterior appearance off the Stanley Hotel, which inspired Stephen King to write The Shining, and I was fortunate in this case because the building is so well photographed. Google Maps even has interior walkthroughs of the building for the numerous hallways and suites that I had no inspiration for. The Shining is also a bit of a cult classic so naturally there are dedicated fans who anonymously compile floor plans and reference images for no reason at all. I browsed a few of these sites as well and they were a huge help! With all this great reference material all I had to do was find the closest tiles visually.”

“For the interior of the Overlook I tried to recreate the iconic movie design. the carpet, the walls, along with the blood and some easter eggs like the skeleton room and the chopped door.”

What tips do you have for anyone trying to win a map jam?

“I think it depends on the judges, we had a good mix this time! Players like one thing, server admins like another, and modders/devs look for something else entirely. The best advice is to get started early! share WIP images with the community, and encourage anyone who is considering making an entry to do so. So even if you don’t come first you still win a load of fun and friendship.”

Do you have any mapping tips in general?

“We always say start small! There are a lot of benefits to this besides just setting an achievable goal. Seeing the entire map making process from start to finish helps you optimise for a larger project, set up the tools correctly, get the most out of presets, establish your workflow and build up your custom assets.”

Is there anyone in the PZ community (or beyond) you would like to give a shout-out to?

“Hell yes! Thanks to all the Unofficial Mapping Discord admins for helping out with the organisation of the Jam, to Gabester for being such a good sport and competitor, to Dirkie, Azakaela and Fred Cooper for participating in this year’s competition to Nasko and Ayrton (the TIS devs who helped judge), and thanks to NoMiS, ItsAmelora, AuthenticPeach and RoyaleWithCheese who also judged. Be sure to check out their channels!”

Outside of the jam, which maps or mods by other users do you enjoy or find interesting?

“I’m somewhat of a collector so I have almost all the maps! I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite but a fun mod we fought to have installed on the server that I HAVE to recommend is Edible Junk, because I think eating crayons is just harmlessly funny.”

What’s next in your mapping plans? What’s the dream?

“Short term goal is to finish my Phoenix map, which some might remember from pre-41. Long term goal is to help get the Simpsons-Springfield and Fallout community projects into a releasable state. Both of these are huge projects that intend to be complete overhaul mods so there is lots of work to be done, not just mapping!”

“Future map jams are guaranteed. We haven’t decided on the next theme yet but we’re also toying with the idea of a smaller scale building jam!”

Thanks to Pertominus for answering our questions, and to everyone who entered their map jam! You can find all five maps here.

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