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News & Dev
September 21, 2023

Sky High

So… hmm, where were we?

Okay so, recent weeks have seen two mega-merges into our trunk internal testing build.

The first was latest from our MP team, to top up the central development branch with their latest from their ongoing server work to flag up any unexpected issues and to get a few gameplay systems back online in MP.

The second was the guts of the long-awaited crafting revamp from Turbo, which means that the functionality for all our primary crafting stations is now in – and it’s a matter of banging heads together and integrating everything we’ve had stacked up for it.

To this end we’re pleased to announce that we’ve hired yet another stalwart individual from the modding community to aid us in this quest.

We were thinking about the different modders who could give our crafting team a little extra grunt, we have so many amazing ones after all, but the offerings of Soul Filcher stood out as being produce of exactly the sort of brain we needed.

We’re really happy to have Soul officially on the team, and while his initial introductory task has been some tidy-up work and minor improvements on our many and varied different traits he should be diving into the new crafting stations with the others in the weeks ahead. 


The engine upgrade is now in a phase of finding all the edge case issues where something doesn’t render correctly due to the new caching rendering method.

Alongside this, very excitingly, the map team are working on larger buildings and basements to be slotted into the game map.

EP tested out the first building to use the increased floor limits, a literal 32 floor skyscraper which looks super impressive to see in-game. This, as yet unnamed, skyscraper also allowed us to get a fun new animation into the mix as well…

PLEASE NOTE: Impact with pavement is WIP. There’ll be far more crunchy SFX, far less blending issues with the character standing back up, and also more blood obviously. Screaming too.

Elsewhere we are making the most of the improvements to how sprites are cached and handled. This now allows, for example, sprites to be combined with overlays into a single cached texture.

With this we can create nicer, and more accurate, highlighting and borders when they are selected and moused over. As seen here:

Increasingly with the engine upgrade it’s become ever more clear that with it we’ll be able to polish up more oddities and visual quirks of Zomboid in the long term.

If you’re interested, this is made evident by the testing tools that we’ve added to Zomboid’s debug menus that put the new tile depth system through its paces.

In this video you will see a large debug 3d cylinder that can be moved around to test how it interacts with the map environment.

This now interacts with walls and other objects as if they were bona fide 3D geometry within the iso scene, which was impossible up till now. Previously it would have inserted itself in its entirety between tiles laid on top of each other.

This will allow us to increasingly have a more believably 3D looking world despite using 2D tiles, getting rid of a lot of unsightly glitches and potentially opening up other gameplay avenues in the further future.

To be clear, this vid shows the sort of stuff that we’re now able to finally nix – although whether that will happen prior to 42 going unstable or later on is still an open question.

Oh and here’s another player/zed falling vid as we love it so much…


We’ve shown rats in blogs before, but previously they didn’t have many rules or conditions attached.

Now, as we close out what has internally been dubbed as ‘rat week’ we can say that rats will procedurally spawn as the world is explored – and they will also appear in special randomized ‘rat stories’. They can randomly spawn with trash, trash containers, and corpses.

As the days of the apocalypse tick by we will slowly approach the “Maximum Rat Index” –  which is currently two months on default Sandbox settings – which is the point at which rats will have the highest chance of spawning and a higher chance of appearing in greater numbers.

In buildings with rat problems we will also be working with the sound team over at Formosa to make sure we have fun stuff like noises for rats in ceilings, rats in the walls, rats gnawing on flesh, rats scuttling over different floor surfaces etc.

We’ll keep a lid on the majority of our special randomized rat stories, but expect some gross supplies and destroyed loot. That said, are you familiar with the concept of a rat king crown? Google it if not!

Oh, and would you like something to wash down with that bleach?


Lots of fun stuff going into the map expansion, not least the 32 level skyscrapers we have going into Louisville.

Our plan is to have a few of these pepper the urban landscape, where appropriate, for 42 – and then to come back for more fully-fledged urban replanning later down the line.

If you take in all the new basements required for the new build, and the new swathes of land to the west of Muld that are being finalized, there’s a lot of ground to cover for the map team – even if so much of it already in the can. We want everything to be good quality, and don’t want any aspects rushed.

With that in mind, let’s have another more detailed look at Xeonyx’s ‘scraper showcased in the first video. What a beaut!

Elsewhere, what better place to explore in an update where lighting and lightsources are going to be far more than an issue – than Ayrton’s spooky abandoned orphanage in a forest?

All the cool kids will want to hang out there, we’re sure.

Finally, for a map expansion we need signs for homes and businesses. So expect all sorts of new fun stuff, alongside adverts and map-reveal flyers for them on the radio and in peoples’ homes.


Alongside other new clothing, bags, holsters, and functional gear in 42, we’re also adding fully featured military webbing and SCBA gear.

The webbing provides two hotbar slots that can be used to attach walkie talkies, special new angle headed clip-on flashlights, and appropriate knives. The SCBA gear, meanwhile, provides one. Military webbing also serves as a wearable container that is superior to wearing fanny packs.

Some of this coolness can be seen in the following video – alongside the shemagh scarves that will allow British fans of a certain age cosplay as Simon Reeve.

As seen in the next video, SCBA gear is also functional in that, when it has an attached tank with oxygen remaining and is turned on, it will protect the wearer from inhaled atmospheric hazards. This also applies to the Hazmat suits.

We have also made Gasmasks functional, although they require filters that are drained by exposure to airborne contaminants, and have added Halfmask Respirators that use different filters that are consumed at a faster rate.

Some other, appropriate, masks will now also provide mild protection from corpse sickness. However, your character will remove and replace their mask when eating, drinking, smoking, taking pills, and such.

Engineer characters, and characters that learn the recipes, can also craft improvised gasmask filters, as well as recharge gasmask and respirator filters. All of these new items spawn in appropriate locations, vehicles, and on appropriate zombies.


One of the primary complaints we get about PZ, and a rightful one, is our lack of support for higher resolution monitors.

There have always been workarounds, but they haven’t been effective enough -and on a 4K screen the resolution makes our UI look to be a size that only a furrow-browed ant could use.

Well come 42 unstable (hopefully – it’s a big task) our local hero Fox will have climbed Resize Mountain – and up-rezzed our entire UI to make it far more amenable to those lucky folks with super-snazzy monitors. So good news for many, we hope.


In 42 not only are we adding visible holsters, in multiple colours, but also special shoulder and ankle holsters.

Shoulder holsters will conceal the holster and handgun when garments like jackets are worn over them, and also can store two pistol magazines as a container. Ankle holsters can only hold the m36 Revolver currently, and the holster and firearm will be concealed by long pants, skirts or dresses.

You’ll be able to find them on both existing, and new, zombie costume types – and we strongly suggest seeking out a plainclothes police detective zombie. (Might be tricky though).


  • Following the successful integration of the effort and body noises from real actor people in a real recording studio into the game we’ve decided to get a load more done (three new men, three new ladies) so we get a range of different-sounding people – which in turn will make for more interesting character creation, and for more variety when players stand and fight around each other in MP.
  • For the longest time, since forever in fact, alcoholic intake hasn’t had enough impact on the player – outside of some fun stuff when drink-driving. We haven’t gone as far as implementing a whole new animation set, but as a fun little side project you might find a few extra complications next time you’re utterly shit-faced.


A MASSIVE thanks to everyone who bought a Steadfast Spiffo from Makeship!

We sold 2000 more plushies than the first run of Spiffos due to your amazing charitable instincts – and we raised over 73,000 US dollars for Cancer Council Queensland in memory of our friend Vicki Ann Woods!

Thank you so much for helping us with this, and we hope you enjoy your Steadfast Spiffo when he arrives on your doorstep later this year.

We’ll see you back here next month (details on the temporarily monthly Thursdoids here) for more cool stuff. Thanks again all x

A changelist of all our pre-release and post-release patches since the 41 beta began can be found here. The Centralized Block of Italicised Text would like to direct your attention to the PZ Wiki should you feel like editing or amending something, and the PZ Mailing List that can send you update notifications once builds get released. We also live on Twitter right here! Our Discord is open for chat and hijinks too. Experienced games industry gameplay coder and want to join Team Awesome? Jobs page here


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News & Dev | 19 October 2023
Stable Build: 41.78.16 | IWBUMS Beta: 41.78.16 | Version history | Wiki
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