Zombies: Replenishing the World

One concern that has been brought up by the few people I have discussed this game idea with is: How do you replenish supplies in the world?

This is a very complex issue, that after much though has a very very simple solution, and that is: You don’t. Not directly anyway.

To be honest, one of the problems I have with many games is the endless respawn of stuff. Now, I did say this would be a world of endless zombies, but all my zombie spawns would be “at the edge of the world”. Anywhere a “populated” area meets an “unpopulated” area is a potential spawn point for zombies because they are wandering in from other areas. But monsters and items fading in to view appearing out of thin air while the player watches… not in my game, its immersion breaking.

As for food and other supplies that players go after, in their area they will eventually scavenge it clean, at which point they’ll need to either a) start with the farming, b) widen their scavenging routes, or c) move somewhere else. If they choose a, then there is no need to handle any replenishment of supplies, they will find make them themselves. If they choose b or c… well, you don’t want the world to eventually be totally picked clean, so what you do is, when an area remains “unpopulated” for a length of time, you reset it, and everything goes back to like it was on launch day.

By design, the game will take care of all potential issues except for player memory. Players who used to live in the area that haven’t logged in will have eventually starved to death (as mentioned before, the game is going to have a level of persistance not used in very many games, when you are offline your character is still living), which is one of the factors in deciding to reset the area. However, nothing could be coded to prevent a player from remembering that they used to live in that area but had moved out. They’ll remember clearing the mall and eating all the food, perhaps even burning it to the ground, but suddenly upon area reset the mall will be back and stocked (with supplies and zombies).

The only real issue facing the game is making sure there is enough world to support the players, but that’s an issue that would have to be planned for but addressed only if the game exceeds expectations.


  1. How about having traders in the game? You could have shops set up that replenish themselves because the shopkeeper knows of a “place” to get everything. In a post-apocalyptic world there’s always gonna be the guy who knows how to get things no matter what. You could set up a barter system. Either by trading items you already have for food and supplies or by completing quests which could be large and involved or simply killing a certain number of zombies in the area surrounding his shop to provide him with a certain amount of safety. Then of course you may ask why people don’t just raid the shop? Well I guess they could and you could handle that by giving the raider alot of supplies but he’s cut off his nose to spite his face because that shop will never come back again. Or you could give the shop keeper an unlimited number of strong NPCs that spawn whenever the shopkeeper is attacked, so you could attack him but you’re only going to end up a bloodstain on the floor of his shop.

  2. Good ideas… however, I think the direction that I want to go would be to let the players be the shopkeepers. He can set up his place, people bring him stuff they find that they don’t need or have too much of and trade for things they need. And if they don’t like his prices… well, they could just take the stuff, but as you say, cutting their noses off to spite their faces.

    I think I’d like to keep NPCs in the game limited to the zombies if at all possible.

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