We’re always hard at work on our next Project Zomboid update, as you can see in our Thursdoid blog posts. However, with so much information, it may be difficult to remember just what exactly is in our next update, so we’ve decided to put all the important information on a single page.
Our next update is Build 42 which aims to overhaul crafting and is intended to provide the following things to Zomboid:
At present, long term survivors often run out of objectives once they get a well-stocked and secure safehouse.
We want to provide many more objectives a settled survivor (and/or community) can undertake. More things to build. More opportunities to craft. More ways to be creative.
We want servers to be able to run well into the ‘Alexandria years’ and for players to experience life much further within the post-apocalypse in an interesting way that feels and plays different to the early chaos.
We want to give players more interesting professions and activities to contribute to a survivor community.
Part of this is reshaping how the skill and XP system work to both make individuals less capable of mastering everything, while making their initial potential a lot higher without grinding if they spec into a particular skill heavily.
While the zombie apocalypse will always be our core focus for the vanilla game, we want to provide a breadth of survival mechanics and content that, especially with mods, make a solid foundation for many other varied survival experiences outside the looting and zombie gameplay.
Finally, we believe the new crafting systems themselves are solid enough for our amazing modders to run wild with — and we honestly cannot wait to see what they come up with.
Planned (subject to change) new features include:
Underground, as well as basements, you’ll find bunkers, panic rooms and “Wayne’s World” sets spawning on your regular looting sorties — and they will appear underneath whatever houses could potentially fit them in. The frequency of their appearances will also be governed by a Sandbox option.
If you don’t want to head into the dank underworld, why not head upstairs in our new skyscrapers? You’ll find up to 32 zombie-filled floors. Just make sure you know the way back down.
We are also implementing more advanced and accurate interactions between 3d and 2d elements in our world by using a depth buffer, and better and more efficient chunk caching. For more technical information, see this Thursdoid. Basically it will make our game look nicer, while also bringing a large performance boost. Pretty clever!
We’re building a new lighting propagation system that has light bounce off walls and leak through windows, doors and other spaces more realistically, allowing for more natural ambient light effects and getting rid of those nasty room-based lighting issues. Note the video below shows the system as a work-in-progress.
Build 42 will bring a wide variety of new crafting machines and methods including pottery, metal forging, stone working, brewing, and pointy metal weapon crafting, and attendant occupations and skills.
Crafting machines will have tiers from primitive Stone Age style furnaces, to advanced electrical machines that can only be found pre-existing on the map (though you may be able to craft less-professional looking alternatives).
Most items that one could reasonably expect to be blacksmithed can be blacksmithed, and in most cases the resultant item is a more rugged, crafted version than the default version of the item that you may be used to.
There’ll also be clay and stone walls, new wooden walls and constructions, food preservation methods, drying racks, shelters, and even more!
Wild animals can be tracked by their paw prints and droppings. They will be important to B42 for both reasons of ambiance and necessity — it will make your experience feel no end more engaging to see deer skittering through the treeline, but also will make hunting a viable survival technique — and one required for some of our advanced crafting recipes when society is long-gone.
Crops now take a realistic amount of time to grow before they can be harvested. Crops also feature realistic growing seasons, with optimal months to plant your crops, as well as ones where they are doomed to failure. Attempting to grow anything other than houseplants indoors will also be doomed to failure.
Slugs and snails are new garden pests, that can be dealt with using commercial slug and snail killer. Rosemary plants, and chickens, also serve as means to control slug infestations. Plants will also benefit from regular weeding.
We also have herbs, which have shorter growing seasons, and can be repeatedly harvested, and you can also propagate new herb patches with fresh herbs. You can use potatoes, onions and garlic as seeds to plant new patches of vegetables.
In addition, many farming tools have been “Stardewed”. For example, when you have a hoe equipped, and are in the combat stance, you can use the action key to dig a furrow. Likewise, if you have seeds in your hand, are in the combat stance, and are facing a furrow you can use the action key to plant seeds.
New crops include Corn, Peas, Garlic, Barley, Flax, Hemp (industrial), Hops, Rye, Sugar Beets, Sunflowers, and Tobacco, and many herbs like Rosemary.
The need to water your crops will now extend to houseplants. Potted indoor vegetation that players find in the world will now be living — similar, but not identical, to crops. They need to be watered, can fall victim to diseases, and will become visibly unwell before they die and become a dried husk.
This also means that they will be another cool signifier of the days that have elapsed since the beginning of the Knox Event — since in time all the plants in homes, shops, the mall etc will wither and die.
Knox Country is expanding with three towns and numerous smaller map locations, along with updates to the existing map.
Find new vehicles with liveries specific to towns, like a local sheriff. None of the areas will be as dense as Louisville, but they will be filled with unique and fun places to visit and survive in.
The apocalypse will never sound so good thanks to our new dynamic music system. As long term players will know, our OST came from the musical brain, delicate ear and dainty fingers of Zach Beever — one of the most important people we came across in the earliest days of Project Zomboid and whose work many of you have heard over thousands of hours of play.
What Formosa have been up to more recently is taking the original arrangements and stems that Zach has provided to create variations of our beloved soundtrack that have variations of different intensities. The composers who have ably taken on this task are Armin Haas and Matthias Wolf — both of whom have nailed it.
Players have experienced the first stage of this system in Build 41, with action music which is specifically when players are in combat with the undead.
For 42, this music has been worked into a new adaptive exploration soundtrack. Based on in-game events, a music intensity parameter is adjusted and the soundtrack adjusts accordingly as well. The aim is to have the exploration music reflect the more exciting times as well as calm moments in the game in a better and more organized way.
Suffer in silence no longer! As well as coughing, sneezing, and breathing hard, you’ll now be able to hear your character’s “hey!”s and “psst!”s.
There will now be four male and four female voices that you can choose at character creation stage, which will also mean that in MP those around you will likely have slightly different puffs, pants and combat exertions.
Likewise, having a more particular sound to your voice and character will likely be good for your own personal RP reasons.
Stuff your closet with dozens of new clothing items and varied containers. Dress practically in a SWAT uniform or as a football player, or find spooky masks and pretend it’s Halloween. Camp in style with a variety of new tents, as well as sleeping bags which can be packed away and attached to your backpack.
Now clothing items and body locations can have set definitions — which then instruct the game to use alternate clothing models in particular circumstances.
So a different arm guard model, for example, will be automatically used if the character is wearing a bulky jacket. We feel that this will have massive potential for modding.
On top of this we have also made it so accoutrements like limb armour (shin pads, for example) can go on either limb; you can wear just one, or a pair, or a mismatched pair.
In addition, helmets/headgear/masks all now affect your vision cone and your hearing (modestly) which we’ve added as a balancing measure for when crafted helmets are in the game.
Fishing is now more fun with many new mechanics. A unique random seed procedurally determines where groups of fish will be located in PZ’s waterways, the radius of the different zones, and the base number of fish that could be found within them.
You’ll see this through splashes of water, which will depend on the groups of fish. So, the more fish in the fish group area, the more splashes on the water’s surface of the water. As such finding the best place for you to fish will be a big part of the system’s revamp.
Each group will react to the noise by the noise that goes on in the world too. So, if there’s a loud noise then the fishing circles will stop being active for a certain amount of time. If you craft some chum, meanwhile, you’ll also be able to attract a group of fish — for a limited amount of time.
Have some meta-fun with updated and improved Discord integration, which will allow for powerful features to help roleplay servers and those running gameplay events, as well as general integration features.
Currently, chat within Discord rooms should be transmittable into the game chat and vice versa — but the code used is somewhat outdated and it doesn’t work brilliantly. Some may say: not at all. Server owners choose not to use it. With 42, however, everything will be polished and sparkly new.
What’s more, server operators will be able to allow Discord commands to trigger Lua code on the server, for example to begin a timed event and trigger changes in gameplay. Likewise, this will also allow for custom Lua to trigger messages sent to different Discord channels on the Discord server.
Another feature we intend to include will allow for admin controlled radio/TV scripts to be executable from multi-line text from the Discord server, to avoid admins having to quickly type out multiple pre-written text lines manually in the heat of gameplay.
This is all very limited and walled off, and the game side Lua will require custom code to allow for these Discord interactions, so there won’t be any security risks associated with this Discord interoperability.
For planned roleplay events or custom server game mode events, though, this should provide many cool tools for server operators to play with.
A huge (huge) amount of work has also been put into putting player and inventory actions onto the server rather than operate on the client too — which should make things a lot more secure in general.
Build 42 will bring an official mod manager, along with UI improvements for large resolution monitors. No more squinting and/or magnifying glasses required!
Please note this isn’t full procedural generation and not intended to create random towns and cities, and at least for now, is purely to provide random wilderness.
It will allow for the current borders of the premade map to cease to have a black impassible border, and will instead allow players to be able to explore outside the confines of the map a very, very large (though probably not infinite) distance.
The second purpose will be to allow for servers to be able to generate a complete wilderness map with no towns, roads or other signs of civilization.
A new fluid transfer system to allow for cocktails and concoctions both helpful and strange, along with new fluid containers. Essentially all fluids will be defined and stored in a global registry, which is where we as devs can add new vanilla liquids — but also will make the system very moddable.
Each definition will store basic info such as ID, name, colour etc — then has different categories it can belong to like Beverage, Alcoholic, Fuel, Flammable and such. Beyond that we also tie in properties per litre of this particular fluid: for example Carbs, Proteins, Alcohol percentage or Energy if it’s a flammable fuel.
Liquids that are hazardous or poisonous can also have modifiers that configure the maximum poison effect, and how the effect behaves when mixed. Ever wanted to make a bucket of whiskey mixed with bleach? Now you can!
With all our new crafted weapons, there will also be a more in-depth melee weapon part system. Some weapons will have handle and head conditions tracked separately, as well as the sharpness of any attached blade. Aside from being used as part of the “guts and bolts” of the crafting system, this also allows for a more interesting procedural weapon upkeep and breakage system.
The upkeep stuff is intended to be warm and immersive, but without an excessive amount of micromanagement. With weapons like the hatchet and spear, you can use the classic items like Duct Tape, Wood Glue, or Zip-Ties to repair the handle, or carve a new one and replace it.
Sharpness affects weapon damage and criticals. Weapons at 0 sharpness can still be used to kill, but are less effective, will take longer to chop down a door or a tree, and will accumulate damage faster. Sharpness can be restored using a Whetstone, but is temporarily capped by the weapons Head Condition (or general condition for items like knives). Minor head damage can be repaired with a Whetstone, greater damage with a Grindstone, and a broken blade can be used to make a smaller blade or other item.
With the procedural damage system, Sharpness, Handle Condition, and Head Condition all are affected by usage and combat, with Sharpness generally draining the fastest, followed by Handle Condition. When Handle or Head Condition hits 0, the fun stuff can happen with Procedural Weapon Breakage. With the Hatchet, when the Handle Condition reaches 0, the handle breaks, and the Head goes flying.
With a larger Axe or other weapon, you may end with a usable crude wooden club in your hands. Spears basically work the same way, but leave you with a broken stick in your hands and can leave the Spear head embedded in a zombie. When Head Condition reaches 0, the Handle still breaks, but a broken Head is left on the ground or in a zombie, which may be salvaged to make something new. Broken Handles can generally be carved to make smaller handles or other wooden objects.
Just to underline our continued dedication to handcrafted mapping, we have a backlog of many and varied Challenge maps and spin-off maps waiting in the wings for main game inclusion.
The one now stumbling and blinking into the stark and glaring light of day is Xeonyx’s “Many Years Later”. Given the sparsity of ‘normal’ looting spots this is due to be another of our test beds for our revamped post-apocalyptic crafting, but it’s pretty fun in terms of just how full of despair it feels.
New environmental storytelling and lore in the form of readable fliers and newspapers, book titles, vehicle liveries, TV and radio stations, annotated maps, random world stories, and hundreds of new decorative items!
A new cleaning system to make your base look even nicer. Finally, get rid of the grime on your walls!
Thousands of bug fixes, typo corrections, quality of life changes, networking improvements and other things too numerous to list!