For four years, the Project Zomboid team have committed to allowing players total freedom within the walls of its maps. Freedom to collect, craft and kill; anything to stave off madness and starvation.
Like an undead horde clattering against a chainlink fence, the upcoming Build 33 is going to break down those boundaries. In Creative Mode, players will be able to plonk walls wherever they like – perhaps adding an extra couch and picking out some new tiles for the floor too.
And once they’re done, with their house, district or city, they can pop it straight on Steam Workshop.
“When we started Zomboid, and agreed upon a static map for the game, we (perhaps optimistically) anticipated hundreds of maps for players to download to provide almost unlimited amount of exploration,” wrote The Indie Stone.
“This didn’t quite happen. The learning curve for the toolset, the drudge of copying files, the exporting and all the rest made it an intimidating process. Creative Mode, we hope, takes all that away.”
The mode introduces an interface that resembles the original Sims, and doesn’t take players outside the game. From the usual isometric perspective, they can place stairs and windows, install cupboards of varying sizes, and rotate lamps to illuminate the scene.
It’s a granular level of detail – but the system scales up too. Whole buildings can be copied and pasted, and entire blocks uploaded to the Steam Workshop.
Everything you make can be shared there – currently via an external app, later in the game itself – and anything you’re subscribed to will automatically become available to place as an object in Creative Mode.
With the option of editing the official map or building a totally new one, there’s the possibility of tailored, high-concept worlds.
I envisage buildings in the shapes of letters, spelling out long pieces of prose across a cityscape. Or maybe just The Walking Dead’s prison, since new creations will be multiplayer-compatible.
“Then if all servers have their own unique maps, who’s to say we couldn’t see about giving them an option to have their borders connected one day?”, mused The Indie Stone.
The first version of Creative Mode will cover basic house construction, furniture and landscaping – but grow to encompass tools for road systems, gardens, erosion and all sorts. Think you’ll take advantage?