After it's announcement in April 2011, we've seen disaster, we've seen awesome; it's impressive to see how far Project Zomboid- that lovable, indie isometric zed-survival simulator- has been taken.

But recently, things have gotten a bit slow. Ever since they were Greenlit on Steam, they haven't releasesd any new alpha builds. But while we twiddle our thumbs patiently, The Indie Stone has not been lounging around; they've gotten a lot done.

For starters, Muldraugh has massively been improved in size. There are now more suburban areas, more shops (for window-smashing practice) and a lot more goodies related to industrial buildings.
By comparison, the town itself is currently five cells large. Bearing in mind that the area we've been currently traipsing is only two cells large. That's a 150% expansion and this is just the core of the explorable area.
Again, at time of writing, the outskirt of Muldraugh is a good 400 cells large. If five cells are mind-blowing, 400 is a planetary-scale by comparison. Whoever thought exploring the outskirts or even the town was long-winded in the current version; this'll be following the sort of scale of DayZ.

 

Good news for modders, too. As we know the large expansions come in part with more graphics detail and the detail is rooted from the new tilesheets made by MashPotato. There are currently 125 tilesheets available, in comparison to the current version's mere 39. The Indie Stone looks forward to what modders can create with over three times the amount of tilesheets available.


Moving on to the more features of the next release, Romain has been hard at work creating a new XP-gaining system, which looks very impressive compared to the one we have in the current version. It allows for leveling of all sorts of little aspects from speed to cooking to using a blade. You can watch the preview video here. 


A personal favorite of ours is the addition of the new sandbox mode customization menu. A long-time requested feature now gorgeously implemented.

As you can see, you can customize the type of zombie (fast, slow etc), their general spawn-locations and the rate of survivor creation. You can also customize the flow of time, as well as the starting time and date.
The world options look very interesting. Water and electricity shutoffs could make gameplay very hard for some of the less ingenious survivors. Loot rarity could also make gameplay difficult, but that can also be customized. What catches the eye most, though, is the customization of the zombie's mechanics: they range from strength to infection rate, even to how good their smelling, hearing and sight is. Obviously, The Indie Stone wants to keep canonical zombies, well canonical as in they’ve included a "proper zombies" tick box to tell people that they're having irregular zombies ingame.


Finally, for the meta-game. The Indie Stone has been hard at work making your future fellow survivors as realistic and as characteristically deep as possible. The result is beautiful. Survivors at the moment are, let’s face it, stupid at best. The most advanced thing they can do is stand still in a specific spot when the player tells them to. Now, they'll get bored, they'll get tired, they'll express their boredom and weariness to others; they'll sit, they'll eat, they'll sleep, they'll get angry at other people. They might even be bitten, and be trying to hide it.

If any of these things happens, the player is affected. If an NPC is hungry, they might pilfer your personal stash of food while you sleep; another NPCs sneezing, might make you need to shoot him or he might give away your location. Okay, that might be a bit extreme but you get the idea. All these things are possible with the new meta-game enhancements. Will Porter is leading the script writing of these survivors and it looks ever-so-pretty so far.

So, we close mirroring what The Indie Stone team has already said: it's a shame about delays and all, but it truly is worth it.