Project Zomboid is out on Early Access; here's our Project Zomboid review.
Over a year ago, Project Zomboid was one of the first ten games to be approved through Steam Greenlight. In March when Early Access first launched they made plans to launch a beta version of Project Zomboid through Steam but it’s taken them another eight months to get their zombie survival simulator into a stable enough state.
It’s now ready and coming out this Friday.
“The hard work, however, starts here,” wrote The Indie Stone in September 2012, after they’d first been Greenlit. “There’s a whole ton of work that needs to be fed into Knox County before it’s ready for Steam. The UI update, the new crafting, the complete PZ Stories, the balancing, the NPC work…. and of course the detailed road map of everything that will follow.
“It won’t be an overnight process getting PZ onto Steam, far from it, but thanks to our community and the good people of Steam we’ve vaulted over one of the most challenging hurdles.”
More than a year later they’re finally ready.
It took them still September this year to successfully integrate Steam into their game. As they put it, “the last technical hurdle” between them and a Steam release. However they didn’t feel they were “ready for even Steam Early Access.” The game had “too many bugs and issues that still [had] to be resolved”. They also wanted to develop a helpful introduction because some players were “still struggling to play without a tutorial.”
As they pushed towards a Steam Early Access release they prioritised the tutorial, bugfixes, and developing Steam Workshop functionality. (A must for their modding community.)
They also had to get the games frame rate to a stable 30fps. Despite its isometric viewpoint and relatively simple artwork, Project Zomboid is a vastly complex simulation. It was eating up processors and causing even powerful computers to struggle to run the game.
Through lots of optimisation they’d solved the problem by the end of October. For the first Early Access release they’re locking the game to 30fps with the option to bump it up to 45 and 60fps in the menu. Their attention turned to “stability, compatibility, bug fixing, polishing, and basically fixing up as many holes and loose ends as possible.”
They’ve a lot of new features and major additions to the game engine planned but they’re waiting till after the Steam Early Access launch to implement them. Major changes risk “completely destabilizing the build before [it goes] onto Steam and risk us either slipping to next year or having an unplayable version on release and potentially blowing first impressions on there.”
Two things lacking from the Early Access build, then, are the 3D engine and NPCs. Following the launch they will begin in earnest to add these features.
Project Zomboid is going to release this Friday and with it increase in price from its current £5 price point to £10. Till then you can pick up the game at its cheaper price through the developer’s website and you’ll be given a Steam key when it becomes available.