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April 7, 2023

Mod Spotlight: KI5's Vehicles

Welcome to the starting line of yet another mod blog! Whether you’re a sluggish Sunday Driver or a dangerously fast Speed Demon, you could find a new favourite among the wide selection of vehicle mods by KI5.

KI5’s vehicles, with over 25 separate mods to choose from, are extremely popular in our community. With such a wide range of well-crafted cars, trucks, motorcycles and more to choose from, it’s easy to see why.

Most of the vehicles are based on real life models, from boring but practical vans to SUVs and muscle cars, along with a selection of motorcycles and even a scooter, for those continental European vibes. There’s also military jeeps, trucks and APCs that should be very helpful in the fight against the walking undead. A special highlight is the M911, a full-sized articulated military lorry with a selection of attachable trailers that can be used as containers – very helpful for transporting large amounts of loot across the map. Despite being based on real vehicles, KI5’s beautiful models don’t look out of place among our base game’s traffic, and accurately follow our art style.

We followed a trail of skidmarks and broken fences all across the map and found KI5 inside a barricaded garage. They kindly took time away from tinkering with their fleet of cars to answer some questions about themselves and their mods!


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

“My name is Darko, and I’m a 2D/3D artist. I’m also a metalhead, and I work as a graphic designer.”

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

“I think it was 2013, when I was looking for more zombie games after State of Decay. PZ looked interesting so I tried it. It was hard and I was really bad at it, but I played on and off for a few years. Later I got it on Steam and started playing again. I was always a big fan of sandbox games and zombies, but I never experienced PZ’s level of detail and freedom before.”

How did you get into making vehicles for PZ? Have you made vehicles or models for other games before? Do you have any training in 3d modelling/coding etc.?

“A long time ago, around ‘96, my uncle introduced me to MS Paint and AutoCAD. I was maybe 10 years old and it was like magic to me! I got obsessed with graphics, so my parents got me my first Pentium and I started making stuff.”

“My first mod was a map expansion for Need for Speed 3. I’ve modded many games after that, but for personal use mostly. My first PZ mod was also meant to be for my eyes only, but some friends saw it and suggested I upload it. People liked it so I made more and more, and here we are. I am self-taught and I’ve been collecting experience with 2D/3D and anything related to it for the last 20 years or so.”

Tells us about your vehicles. How many have you made, in total? How long does each one take? What is the hardest part of making them?

“There are probably over a hundred in around 40 mods. I never actually counted them! I make them in my spare time, and sometimes I have multiple mods in different stages of development. Mods with the current level of detail usually take 3-4 weeks to make.”

“The hardest part is managing all the separate parts. Every mod has a ton of them and taking care of all their assets, definitions, recipes etc, it can be a huge challenge.”

Your vehicles have that unique “PZ” look. Is that hard to achieve?

“I try to mimic the environment. PZ tiles have many fine details so it’s very hard to match a 3D model and texture to them. I do a lot of tricks with UV mapping, normals, highlights, shadows, and I draw most of the stuff by hand. It’s a challenge but it’s fun.”

You collaborated with IBrRus on the Autotsar Motorclub. Can you tell us about this collaboration? Have you worked with other modders before or since?

“Motorclub was my first collaboration, IBrRus contacted me in late 2021 with the idea for a motorcycle mod. I never did any bike modelling before that, and the workflow was very different from anything I did before in PZ, but I said yes instantly. While IBrRus was taking care of animations and the code, I did the modelling and texturing. Driving those things for the first time was fantastic! It was a whole new experience, with a bunch of completely new ways to kill your character.”

“My next collaboration is with bikinihorst. It’s a library of assets and tools that will support my mods from one centralized place. His code fuels all the crazy features in my mods and, together with my assets, most of it is getting duplicated all over my mods. It’s time to organize it all in one place so we can do even more crazy stuff. We invested a lot of time in it, and hope to have the first public tests soon.”

Are you interested in cars/motorbikes etc. in real life? What would your real-life dream vehicle be?

“My dad used to own various old cars that needed a lot of repair, so I’ve learned a lot about them. I enjoy anything that can be taken apart and restored – cars, electronics, any type of old machinery. My dream vehicle would probably be an old, rusty Defender 130. I’ll buy one eventually and then restore it for a few decades in my spare time.”

What vehicle types or features would you most like to see in future PZ updates?

“I would like to see heavy machinery, big heavy vehicles (and also basements, can’t wait for those!) As for features, I’d love multi-UV shader support for vehicle parts, transparency support for windows, and of course more wheels. We always need more wheels!”

Is there anyone 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?

“First of all, I have to mention Coyote County Araxas, my all-time favorite map. Then Immersive Solar Arrays, They Knew, Dynamic Traits, and bikinitools. There are many more but those are the “must-haves” for me.”

“Special shoutout to my close friend bikinihorst for all the help and support with the evil Lua, and everything else. Also a shoutout to blenderbush, Helixien, IBrRus, the Project Apocalypse crew, and everyone else who has supported me in the last two years.”

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

“Next on my list is a British classic, the original Mini. After that comes a set of emergency vehicles from the ‘90s.”

“I don’t have any specific goals or dreams, but I enjoy making my mods and I have a lot of ideas, so who knows, anything is possible!”

Thanks to KI5 for answering our questions! You can find their vehicle mods here.

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