Welcome, assorted survivors! In this mod blog, we’re looking at map called Clear Cove by Dr. Hollandaise!
Clear Cove is a medium-sized map with five towns to discover, and features many buildings contributed by various members of the PZ community.
Mountport is the seaside town where the player starts, its main attraction being a lighthouse, which is surely a fun place to turn into a base!
Boscage is the industrial town filled with sawmills and timber yards. Starford is the largest city on Clear Cove, Southbrook is a cosy little farming town, and Littlehope is the rougher part of the map. Across Clear Cove, you’ll find a new branch of the Havisham hotel, a docks with a crane, a large StarEPlex cinema, a prison, a military base, a hidden bunker, and more besides.
We docked in Mountport, navigated through the seaside fog, and ascended the winding lighthouse stairs where we found Dr. Hollandaise tinkering away with some blueprints. The doctor agreed to take a few moments of rest to answer our questions about the map.
Who are you in real life? Tell us a little about yourself.
“I’m Dr. Hollandaise, surgeon by day, breakfast cook by night! Just kidding, not that interesting. I’m from the East Coast, and I’ve been a gamer pretty much my whole life. Working on games has been my childhood dream, and somehow I managed to get there as a marketer! I get to do the fun part of talking about games without having to do any of the hard work of making them.”
“Deep inside, I’ve always been a creator, and making stuff for people to enjoy is my trip. I’ve made mini games, mods and game-modes here and there, but Clear Cove is definitely the big one.”
How did you first discover Project Zomboid? Why do you like it?
“I first discovered PZ years ago, before it even had a Steam page! I think Lemmy was posting about it on a forum. There was a tutorial where you have to smother your dying wife with a pillow. I played it a little bit, then left it alone for many years. Then during COVID, while stuck at home, I rediscovered PZ with its multiplayer and its mods. I dove in head-first, and three years later, I’ve played a few thousand hours!”
“I love the amount of detail and mechanics there are – the car system, crafting, fishing, cooking, metalworking, building… so many things to do. The feel is on point, the jump scares are actually scary, the map is vast and expansive. Once you get bored of single-player, you hop on multiplayer servers and suddenly it’s a whole new experience. I love it!”
How did you get into mapping for PZ?
“I got into mapping because I was hosting my own servers and wanted something original and new for my server. After a few hundred hours, you get your first few steps down to a T: find a weapon, then a backpack, a car, some tools and food, build a safehouse. As you know the base map so well, the sense of exploration is unfortunately gone. I wanted to remedy that, for myself and for others, so I created a brand-new map that is fully standalone, in which people could have an entire run in, but would have to actually explore and discover and try to find things rather than always know exactly where to go next.”
“That was my goal with Clear Cove, and that’s why the in-game map doesn’t show you all locations, and why the workshop screenshot of the zoomed-out map is blurred except for the main towns.”
Tell us about Clear Cove. What sort of locations can players expect to find, and which might make a good base? What sort of player will most enjoy the map?
“Clear Cove is big enough that if you’re playing solo you won’t get bored any time soon, but small enough that if you’re playing multiplayer you’ll almost always bump into people (and also still big enough to be able to avoid them and hide, if you want to.)”
“Besides the five main towns, there are lots of points of interests: multiple road stops, some seaside mansions, cabins in the wood, a small forest community, a creepy cult place, industrial docks, a military base… and more!”
“Despite intentionally hiding places from the player, I put hints just about everywhere to them. If you’re driving around and see a random trail going into the woods… there’s probably a reason! If you see a weird marker somewhere, someone must have put that there for a reason. Some things are completely hidden (like the bunker) but I’m sure someone will find them!”
“I designed and balanced the map to be as close to vanilla as possible so that anyone can enjoy it, new and old players alike. I think old players specifically will enjoy discovering a new map – you really get that sense of exploration like you did when you first played PZ. I’ve also seen the map used on roleplay servers too and it works really well because of its size.”
What were the inspirations behind Clear Cove (whether it’s other PZ maps, real life locations, etc.)? How long did your map take to make, in total? What was the most difficult part?
“My very first inspiration is the vanilla PZ map – nothing will ever beat that IMHO. Huge, sprawling, detailed, varied… I would look at how vanilla did things a lot when making my map, how neighborhoods looked, how fences were placed, how sidewalks were made, etc. All those small details nobody thinks about made me realise how much work went into the vanilla PZ map. As for the general layout of things, I actually zoomed in on rural Kentucky in Google Maps satellite view and pulled some inspiration from there!”
“The map took me about 150 hours over a month to make, but I had never made a map before, so that included learning. If I had to make my own buildings too, it would have probably taken twice that long. (To be honest, I did make another map called “Osteo Island” but that’s a horrible map no one should play! I leave it up as a daily reminder not to release things I’m not 100% confident in.)”
“The most difficult part was learning how to use the mapping tools I think, but DaddyDirkieDirk has a WONDERFUL tutorial series on Youtube that will guide you step-by-step. You’ll straight up know how to map for PZ after listening to the first few, it’s awesome. I love that guy!”
Your map uses some buildings made by the community. Can you tell us about some of these creations? Do you have a favourite?
“Credit where credit is due: ALL the buildings (except two or three small ones) were made by the community! I wanted to release a map within a reasonable timeframe and I knew that making my own buildings wasn’t going to cut it.”
“There are some incredible buildings made by the community and I was so thankful to be allowed to use them for Clear Cove and to showcase them to the world. The classic icon of Clear Cove, the lighthouse building, was made by Pe2h. It’s an awesome building! I also love the Havisham resort, a huge, detailed build by Ktorr2, and lots of buildings by lots of people on the PZ Mapping Discord!”
“If anyone in the community wants to help make buildings but never have before, the tool to make buildings for PZ is really like furnishing your home in The Sims. It’s very fun and if you’re feeling generous, you could share your buildings for other mappers to use in their maps!”
Tell us about releasing the map. How did the community react? Did they have any ideas? Also tell us about the fun trailers you made!
“I didn’t really make a fuss about the map while making it. I spent most of the time in the Unofficial PZ Mapping Discord’s voice chat talking to people while working on it. Sometimes I would join a voice chat on the official PZ Discord and stream my mapping, and people would jump in and be curious about what I was doing, it was cool!”
“When I did release it, a lot of people started playing it. It was on the front page of the workshop for a few days, and I was getting comments every day, it was kinda crazy! Streamers were checking it out, server owners asked me if they could use it on their server (which of course you can, you don’t have to ask!), it was awesome to see people enjoying all the hard work I put into it. Lots of people had bug reports and suggestions, which I incorporated into updates.”
“I’ve worked on a lot of trailers in my day job so I knew I had to do something fun for the map, so I made two! One is the more classic, action packed trailer, and the other is a funnier trailer meant to feel like a dystopian tourism advert for Clear Cove that obviously goes wrong, considering the brain munchers. I even got a professional voice actor for that one! The trailers were about 5 hours of work each, but I had a blast.”
Is there anyone else in the PZ community (or beyond) you would like to give a shout-out to? Which maps (or mods) by other users do you enjoy or find interesting?
“I don’t like “shout out” sections because I’m always anxious I forgot someone, so if I forget you, that’s just because I’m a scatterhead, not because I didn’t appreciate your help or presence!”
“Firstly, DaddyDirkieDirk. without whose tutorials I would have never even started. Then all the fine folks on the PZ Mapping Discord for sharing their buildings and answering my GAZILLION questions while I was developing the map. Everyone there is so cool and encouraging, we WANT people to make maps so no one is shot down even if all they ask is dumb questions (me). Anyone who makes buildings and shares them, you the goat!”
“I play with so many great mods I couldn’t name them all, but I’d like to give a shout out to Chuck (the guy that made the expanded helicopter events and another million mods) for always answering/helping out on the PZ. He’s a cool dude.”
“And of course The Indie Stone, for giving us these tools and supporting mods and the community so actively, you folks are awesome and you deserve all the success.”
What’s next in your mapping plans? What’s the dream?
“I’m currently waiting for the new update which will add basements and skyscrapers and all that cool stuff. I’m still internally debating whether I’m going to update Clear Cove to support those features, or just make a sequel to the map (Clearer Cove? Clearest Cove!?!) with all the new stuff, we’ll see!”
Thanks to Dr. Hollandaise for answering our questions! You can find the Clear Cove map here.