|Developer(s)||The Indie Stone|
|Publisher(s)||The Indie Stone|
|Director(s)||Andy "Binky" Hodgetts, Marina "Mash" Siu-Chong, Will "Velvet Owl" Porter, Chris "Lemmy" Simpson|
|Programmer(s)||Chris "Lemmy" Simpson, Romain Dron, Tim Baker, Andy "Binky" Hodgetts, Paul Ring|
|Artist(s)||Marina "Mash" Siu-Chong, Andy "Binky" Hodgetts|
|Writer(s)||Will "Velvet Owl" Porter|
|Genre(s)||Role-playing, survival horror|
Project Zomboid is an open world survival horror video game in alpha stage development by British and Canadian independent developer, The Indie Stone. The game is set in a post apocalyptic, zombie infested world where the player is challenged to survive for as long as possible before inevitably dying. It was also one of the first five games released on the alpha funding section of the gaming portal Desura.
The Indie Stone were subject to a high-profile setback within the indie gaming community following the theft of two laptops containing code for Project Zomboid. Since then, Project Zomboid has appeared on Steam Early Access and continues development to this day. Project Zomboid is The Indie Stone's first commercially released game. As of May 2016[update], Build 34 was released as stable, and the next build was in development.
The aim of Project Zomboid is to survive in the zombie-ridden Knox County, which has been quarantined by the government. The player has to manage such things as hunger, tiredness, pain and mental stability to stay alive. To do this, players must scavenge for supplies to keep themselves alive for another day, while avoiding the roaming zombies. The game uses the traditional Romero style slow-moving zombies, though certain zombies are faster than others.
The game itself features two gameplay modes: Survival mode and sandbox. In survival mode, the player is first tasked with creating a character and then surviving as long as possible after the character spawns in one of four cities in Knox County. Alongside other towns and points of interest, the player has the choice to begin the character in Muldraugh, Riverside, Rosewood, or West Point. The sandbox mode allows players to change various gameplay mechanics of the game such as the speed and numbers of zombies inhabiting the world, weather conditions, and item availability within the world.
Additionally, the game features a set of 'challenge' scenarios, which are unique compared to the traditional gameplay of survival. This includes last stand mode, where the player must survive against either waves of zombies or a steady flow of zombies, earning cash for killing zombies that they can spend on ammunition and weapons. When creating a character the player must choose a profession, each with its own perks, and then choose the character's traits. Each trait has a points value assigned to it, either positive or negative, depending on if it is a good trait or a bad one. The player begins with 8 trait points available (if unemployed occupation is chosen), which can be used for positive or negative traits. The player needs at least 0 points to continue and play the game.
The game was first released on April 25, 2011 as a tech demo. It is written in Java for its portability, using LWJGL. As of November 8, 2013, Project Zomboid was released on Steam's Early Access. In February 2014 the Indie Stone released a multiplayer version of the game publicly for the first time.
The Indie Stone have been notably plagued with problems while creating Project Zomboid.
Funds frozen by PayPal and Google Checkout
After The Indie Stone's PayPal account was 'limited' briefly, before the decision was ultimately reversed, the team became "wary" of PayPal and opened a Google Checkout account, which proved to be a much more popular purchase method than PayPal. In April 2011, a month after the account was opened, Google Checkout took issue with The Indie Stone selling "donations," blocking new transactions and removing access to the funds in the account, which comprised 80% of their income to date. Asking Google Checkout for clarification, the team received only an irrelevant stock reply. A day later, The Indie Stone were contacted by someone from Google Checkout stating that their funds would be available "soon" and clarifying that Google Checkout offered a "pay what you like" feature.
In May 2011, PayPal placed their account "in a permanent limitation" with a held balance of £4,454.47. Developers Chris Simpson and Andy Hodgetts later explained how they "didn't pay close attention to terms and conditions in PayPal or Google Checkout," and that "the problem was selling a product that didn't currently exist," leading The Indie Stone to instead sell "the world's worst games" with the Project Zomboid Alpha advertised as a free bonus.
Leak to public distribution
In June 2011, soon after the game's release as a paid pre-alpha tech demo, the game was leaked, and unauthorized copies spread to many other websites. The unauthorized version of the game enabled downloading from the Project Zomboid's servers with the press of an 'update now' button, regardless of whether the user already had the latest version. In order to avoid paying for these downloads, The Indie Stone took the customer-only paid version offline, and instead, released a free "public tech-demo" for download the next day.
Theft of developers' laptops with source code
On October 15, 2011, the flat of two developers of the game was broken into. Two laptops were stolen from the flat, containing large amounts of the initial game code which had not been backed up externally. This resulted in severe delays to the game development. Due to this setback, they gave a presentation at Rezzed entitled "How (not) to make a video game", going over some of the lessons they have learned since starting the project.
- "APZDTISA #3: This time with LIVE MULTIPLAYER!". Project Zomboid. 17 February 2014.
- Greg (14 September 2011). "Alphafunding for Indie Games". Desura Community. Desura. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- "Games released by The Indie Stone on their IndieDB profile". Indiedb.com. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
- "Two Step". Project Zomboid. 16 May 2016.
- "Survive". Projectzomboid.com. 20 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-03-29. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
- "It's Been A Long Road…". Project Zomboid. 4 November 2013.
- "Game Developers Who Don't Hate Piracy Get Screwed By… Piracy". Kotaku article. 20 June 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- "Google Checkout Woes". Project Zomboid. 25 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2013-04-05.
- Walker, John (2011-04-26). "Google, Can Indie Stone Have Their Money?". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
- "Happy Days!". Project Zomboid. 26 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-12-18.
- Good, Owen (9 October 2011). "Frozen Account Further Sours PayPal's Terrible Reputation with Indie Devs". Kotaku. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Simpson, Chris (2011-05-23). ":(". the Indie Stone Community Forums. Theindiestone.com. Archived from the original on 2011-10-12. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
- Tom Senior (25 July 2011). "Project Zomboid's eureka moment: "we started selling the world's worst games"". PC Gamer. Retrieved 2013-05-15.
- Wesley Yin-Poole (20 June 2011). "Pirates force Project Zomboid offline". Eurogamer. Retrieved 21 August 2011.
- "Sorry we've had to take the game down for the day". 2011-06-18. Archived from the original on 2013-02-14.
- "FREE PUBLIC TECH-DEMO RELEASED!". 2011-06-19. Archived from the original on 2012-03-26.
- "Project Zomboid Burglary: Statement". Archived from the original on 2013-03-18.
- Good, Owen (16 October 2011). "Burglary Delivers Huge Setback to Indie Game Project Zomboid [Updated]". Kotaku. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
- Conditt, Jessica (16 October 2011). "The Indie Stone is burgled, loses code for latest Project Zomboid update". Joystiq. Joystiq. Archived from the original on 2015-01-31. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
- "Project Zomboid Rezzed Session - How NOT to make a game!". YouTube. 2012-07-10. Retrieved 2013-05-15.