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Zombies are the game's biggest threat, the once human citizens of Muldraugh roam Knox County in the thousands. They have an insatiable hunger for human flesh and will not hesitate to kill.
Spawning and Movement
In the beginning of the game, a relatively small number of zombies (ranging in the hundreds) will be thrown in the world. Some will be "ambush zombies" that hide in houses and others will simply roam the street. Hordes will begin to form but will remain uncommon in the first few days.
As time passes, the zombies start spawning at the edge of the map, and reinforcements will constantly pour in to replace any fallen zombies. By day 5, the maximum number of zombies will be reached.
The meta game will move the zombies around in order to create an interesting game. The meta game will create events that will lead zombies to a certain location.
Zombies have a default sight range of 20 tiles ahead of them. If a target is visible in that 20 tile area ahead of the zombie, the zombie will navigate towards the target. When a target is behind a zombie, that sight range is greatly reduced. However, there is a random chance that a zombie may track a target that they cannot see by "smelling" the target. Once the target is within a few tiles from the zombie, the zombie will stop pathfinding and will "lunge" at the target. If a zombie hears a sound that's in range of them (and is the relative loudest sound they hear from their position) they will head to a random point within 50% of the range of the sound.
Movement and Horde Behavior
The zombies in the game are traditional and shamble, but newly-turned zombies move faster. Zombies are attracted to noise, bright light (particularly from a flashlight or fire), and the sight of humans.
Lemmy also provided further information on the behaviour of zombie hordes:
- At the start of the game, there are three hordes of massive sizes ranging in the hundreds or dozens at least. About 50% of the total map zombies are put in a horde, the others are randomly distributed around the map as stragglers and loners.
- Zombies that not in the horde head toward the nearest horde if there are any in the vicinity, while wandering around outside the player's sight. The hordes all move around the map at a slow speed, heading to a random point on the map, then another, then another.
However, at 30 days in the game, the horde movement will be a little more unrealistic. Instead of moving to random locations, they will deliberately search the map until they find the player, and therefore, makes the hordes much more dangerous.
Combat and Damage
Zombies fight by coming up close to the player and then extends its arms. Damages from zombies can result in three ways: bites, scratches, and "punches". Bites are the rarest, but have a 96% chance to infect you, so you obviously want to be careful so you can avoid getting a festering bite. Scratches are quite frequent, but they only have 25% chance to infect you, but they are still very dangerous even so. "Punches" are just wounds that do not break through skin, and having the thick skinned perk can help you turn the more dangerous bites and scratches into less dangerous "punches". Punches do not have a chance of infection, and when you hover over the status bar of the body part, it will only say "slight damage", without anything underneath. Unlike bites and scratches, "punches" do not require bandaging or first aid of any kind, just some time to heal and some minor pain that can be dealt with by utilizing pain killers.
Zombies are also able to deal "door damage". Although they deal relatively little damage (individually 0.02 or so damage every 2 seconds), they can deal a good amount of damage if left alone for a long time or if in larger groups. Zombies banging on doors will attract other zombies, and it will convince them to bang on doors/windows or just mill around until something happens (if there are already too many zombies banging). Luckily, there is a small chance NPCs and players can dissuade the zombies by staying absolutely silent for a good amount of time, but that can be pretty hard when one needs to walk around the structure.
As of 0.2.0R RC1, there are combat animations that were previously absent in any version older that alpha 0.2.0q.
Humans (the player and the NPCs) who get too close to zombies may be bitten, scratched, or otherwise injured. Bites have a 96% change of infection, and scratches have 25%, but both are very dangerous. When a character is infected sick moodle appears to verify it, and the moodle's intensity will slowly increase, until the character has a full blown fever. However, the sick moodle can also happen because the character ate raw or rotten foods or out of the blue. When this happens, there will be no zombification, and the moodle will usually go away by itself with rest and by being well fed, and won't be of much harm to the character except decreased abilities for a small amount of time.