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Gilberticus

Project Zomboid

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Gilberticus    278
Posted (edited)

 Alright, this is a playthrough I'm created for Project Zomboid. Luckily, I can pause and minimize the game, so I can give a blow by blow description rather than having to remember stuff. Now, in the beginning, it tells you that there's no hope and that this is the story of how you died. I bring this up because I don't stack my character's attributes to try to survive, I stack them to try and make a believable character. In fact, from what I understand, there is no "winning" the game, they tell you flat-out that this is the story of your death. So, with that in mind, I'm going to make a character: me.

 You start out being able to pick one of several towns of Kentucky in '93. I only have twenty-one hours in the game, so I don't know the pros and cons of different areas. I'm putting HM3 "Doc" Gilberticus in the "initial infection" scenario at Rosewood, Ky, just because I like the name. Location and date aren't important to me, at least in this run. Obviously, I wouldn't be coming home from the military in '93, I was an alternative rock loving teen at that point, so we gotta alter a few facts slightly, no biggie :)

It's now time to choose a profession and traits. I chose:
 
Profession: Doctor

Traits:     High thirst
              Restless sleeper
              Conspicuous
              Sleepyhead
              Smoker
              Hemophobic
              Weak stomach
              Short sighted
              Cat's eyes
              Outdoorsman
              Gardener
              Former scout 
              Herbalist
              Organized
              Handy
    
 Now, this might look like a bizarre combination. In addition, while FMF Corpsmen are called "Doc", we're not actually doctors. But there's no civilian equivalent of what I was. Also, the nurse profession gets a light-footed perk, which I wasn't. I had just lost the right plc of my right leg and had to wear a brace that was a little creaky, which is also why I gave myself the "conspicuous" trait. I have scrutinized over each one of these traits. Some seem conflicted, like the fact that I'm a doctor who panicks at the sight of his own blood and can't patch up anyone else, but those choices will be touched upon when I tell you the story of Doc Gilberticus:

 Doc Gilberticus joined the military for one single reason; to get as far away from Rosewood Kentucky as he possibly could. It's a little ironic that Rosewood was the one place that he thought of during his whole tour, the one place that he feared he would never see again. Then, in the summer of '93, right before his 27th birthday, he found himself standing outside of his parents home. He arrived there late; he had intended on waking up early to surprise them. That was far easier than he expected. When he left, the darn beagle was the best motion detector on the planet, and he had to pass right by her on the way to his old bedroom. If the motion of him walking by didn't wake her, the creaking of his new leg brace surely would. But it didn't, the dog didn't stop snoring, even when he tripped over her food dish. He managed to sneak to his old room without waking the whole house, set his seabag down next to his rack, and hoped that sleep would come easy. "Please", he told himself "just one single night without the bad dreams". Sadly, even the joy of being home didn't stop the nightmares, and he woke up far later than he expected. He wanted to wake up early to make his parents eggs and bacon, but the house was empty. He heard some type of news over the radio about a potential outbreak, but didn't give it much thought. It was probably some movie ad or something like that. Wasn't there a similar broadcast back in the '50s that caused a lot of panic? Perhaps he had heard wrong. With his parents at work, he ate a quick breakfast and went to unpack his bag. After that, he went to explore the house. Everything was as he remembered. Then, he noticed that the dog was gone, perhaps the 'rents were walking her. He wasn't quite sure of what day it was, so perhaps it was the weekend? He went outside and spotted four people in the street. There was something wrong; there was open wounds and they were walking...like zombies. Perhaps there was some type of horror festival in town? Before he could run through all of the possibilities, they were on him.... and he's now one of the undead. Wow, that sucked, I don't have much time ingame, but I've never died during the first hour before. I'm going to try this again; same stats and town.

 This time, I lucked out. I'm in a house so nice that it looks like one I built myself in Rising World, for my "red brick two story modern" series homes. Real quick, I'm trying to roleplay this run, so I'm going at it like I've never played before. Normally, the first thing I'd do is raid neighborhood houses for fresh food, sheets, disinfectant, an alarm clock/wristwatch, nails, backpacks, and cookware, and then use my forage skill for rocks, herbs, and branches. The electricity and water go out around week three or four, so I want to eat all the fresh food first, and the cookware is to collect rainwater once the water shuts off. Sheets serve several purposes: I can tear them up to cover the windows, and I can combine the disinfectant bottle with ripped sheets to make sterile bandages. The clock/watch is so I can tell what time it is, as it gets dark in my home with windows covered up. Foraging stuff yields medicinal plants as well as ingedients to make the raw axe. I like to make tons of these: not only do they break easily, but they also increase my carpentry skill. The axe cuts down trees, which I can use to make planks to board up my windows (with nails and a saw to turn the logs into planks). In addition, zombies will break my door down by day 9, so I need to have my carpentry up to at least level 3 so I can repair the door. There's a lot of other tricks I've learned, but Gilberticus knows none of those: he went to bed like normal and woke up to find parents and the dog missing. I found a hunting knife and a wristwatch upstairs (because I would have looked for mom and dad). This is also the first game where I actually have a garage. The door's down, so he opened the side window (because I would have looked for dad there). The garage door looks like it's metal, so this will make a good panic room, but good ole Doc doesn't notice that yet. As before, he went out to the street to see if his parents are walking the dog, and he gets ambushed by six or seven zombies. I've never played with a hunting knife before, but Doc wields it like a pro, and takes down all of his assailants. In the real world, I would have called 911, so being that it's the early 90s in the game, I don't have a cell, which means back to the house. I stayed in there a few minutes, to simulate me trying desperately to call 911 on the landline. No matter what the outcome of that phone call (dead air, I reach someone, or I get one of those automated disaster message things), I'm going next door to check on my parents neighbor, named Tommy, I've known him since I was a wee lad. In the real world, Tommy owns his own trucking company, so he has a giant garage, and that's where I'd realistically find him. In the game, my neighbor also has a garage. The door's down, so he enters through the window. There's all type of stuff in the garage, like a generator (he has one of those in the real world, too, so this run is kind of easy to immerse myself in). Tommy's not in the garage, so Gilberticus checks the house. The door's unlocked, and I find a zombie (let's rolepay that it's Tommy). Gilberticus killed Tommy, and this is where I'd normally loot the crap out of the house, but I'd be distraught that I just killed the neighbor I knew since childhood, so Gilberticus lets the house go. It's about 1630. Gilberticus decides to go home. In the real world, I'm Christian (that's ok to say, right?) so I'd be praying. Now, in the game, I can't justify just standing around, as you're kind of fighting against the clock, so I'm going to read one of the skill books until I grown tired or hungry. I get the hungry icon (they're called moodles in the game) at 1930. That's 3 hours, not an unrealistic amount of time to be praying and freaking out and trying to plan. I mean, Gilberticus just got home from the military to find his parents gone and his neighbors zombified, whom he just killed. Reality is kind of becoming unhinged for Doc Gilberticus. However, Gilberticus still has to eat, so he made chicken and avacado stir-fry. The ingame time is about 2040 (which is a coincidence because it's 2046 in the real world), and my character is completely on edge. That's another reason why I didn't give him a veteran profession; it gives me a desensitized perk that I don't know that I'd have in the real world. Being on edge to this level would cause me to have a cigarette, so Gilberticus searched his parents house for some. He did't find any in their home, nor did he find any in the garage. However, he did find some in Tommy's garage, which I would have found in the real world as well, which is a little creepy. So, he's standing in Tommy's garage, smoking, and a zombie breaks the window to come after him (this isn't a roleplay thing, they break windows and doors, I just didn't know that they could do so on Day 1. He killed the zombie, removed the broken glass from the window (which also isn't a roleplay thing, you get cut if you don't remove glass) and left the garage (I'm not just going to stand there smoking while I have to see and smell a zombie). Outside, he sees that Tommy's door is broken. He doesn't know if the zombie did it or looters, but it's become apparent that he has to fortify my home. In the real world, I'm going to nail whatever junk to the windows that I can, but ingame, you can only nail boards to the window (that I'm aware of), so he searched the garage for nails and boards. He has plenty of nails, but no hammer or planks.

 

Day 2. It's 0250 in the game (because I forgot to pause it while I fed my son) so I darn well am not going to be walking around at night. His last activity for the night is putting sheets over the windows. Perhaps blinds will be enough from zombies breaking his windows (I know it's not, but Gilberticus doesn't). He only slept til 0700 ( must have been anxiety over the recent events as well as the nightmares he has). So, first things first = nails, planks, and hammer. Luckily, Tommy has these in his garage. But the question is: will they be enough? I know that it takes four planks to completely cover a window, but Gilberticus does not. Upon returning home, he discovers that several windows have been broken. It dawns on Gilberticus that he's racing against the clock, at least as far as home fortification is concerned. He soon runs out of planks, so he searches the home on the other side of himfor some. The time is currently 1440, and while Gilberticus is a little tired, he can't rest yet. On a side note, I know you can disassemble doors with a hammer and screwdriver, but I've never done so yet, so I don't know if a disassembled door could be converted to planks. Sadly, Gilberticus will never learn what happened to his parents or dog. While he was searching the neighbor's for a screwdriver, my son walked by my desk holding my most expensive smoky quartz cluster over his head. Kids, lol. In my hurry to retrieve the cluster, I forgot to pause the game, so a zombie attacked Gilberticus. While it didn't kill him, it did scratch him, and Gilberticus bled out before he could get home to his bathroom. Rest in peace, Doc. 

Edited by Gilberticus
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Gilberticus    278

Upon reading this, it dawned on me that I never explained why I'd pick a doctor profession yet also have the hemophobic trait. While I loved what I did while I was in the military, when I came home, I didn't want anything to do with what I did while I was in the service. It took me a few years to even pick up a gun again, and I never wanted anything to do with the medical field, even to this day.

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Gilberticus    278
Posted (edited)

I've never had as much fun as I'm having with this and Rimworld. Now, ya gotta keep in mind that I'm completely burned on arpgs, so that might factor in (wish I would have realized that before I bought the Grim Dawn expansion). I kind of fizzed out on Rimworld. I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, but I had to build a whole field of solar panels to fuel one little sunlamp. I'll have to come back to Rimworld later. I contemplated Sheltered, but chose Project Zomboid instead. I was also contemplating Eco, but I'm not a fan of community-based games any more. So few of my friends from the real world play games, and not very many communities are as chill as y'all. I think I might do another run. Hmm, either lumberjack or park ranger.

Edited by Gilberticus
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Gilberticus    278
Posted (edited)

Alright, I was gunna give another run through, a few successful builds that I've made, and a few tricks I've learned. However, the more I play, the more I discover that learning what does and doesn't work is half the fun. Deaths have been more educational for me than my successful builds. One might say "but isn't that every game?" Not for me, it isn't. When I first started Sacred 2, I darn near threw the controller out the window because I couldn't get my Temple Guardians off and running no matter what I did; I needed a guide or two for them. But with this game, if the reader is interested in the game, telling too much would deprive them. But because y'all have been cool, reading while I blather on and on (often about minerals), I can tell you one thing: this is a game to be played at a slow pace. In the beginning, I had read a review that made it sound like you make a mad dash from your starting base to the woods, as power and water were inches from shutting down and hordes of zombies were about to descend on you. That's not the case at all; the only time I make a mad dash is when vehicles/houses have alarm systems. Once , a zombie was wearing a digital watch, the alarm went off and took me forever to figure out what it was; that was a mad dash.But besides that, every excursion from my base has been slow and planned. Sometimes, I've never really moved on from my starting base. I have the river not too far to the north, I expanded my home so I could have a little garden on the second floor, I'm trapping the heck out of the woods next to me; life's good.  

Edited by Gilberticus

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Gilberticus    278

I can tell you one thing, though; negative traits aren't what's killed me, stupid mistakes combined with a lack of preparedness does. My "worst" character has outlasted my "best one" all because of a stupid mistake. I had a sweet, sweet setup; out in the woods, low zombie traffic, plenty of canned foods, rainwater collectors, this dude was in it for the long haul. There were two little items keeping me from being self-sufficient; a shovel and a gardening can, that's it. Luckily for me, I knew exactly where the hardware store was. I had a big ole vehicle in pretty good shape and a spacious trunk, so I was going to make one final run and load up the trunk with every tool and nail I could find (tools do break). I normally have a backpack full of food and medical supplies, but I left it behind in favor of an empty hiking bag, so I could cram that one full of anything else I'd need. One last run, and I'm golden. I made it to the hardware store just fine. There was even a rack of beef jerky, so I could stave off any hunger on the drive back. Vehicle's totally loaded, I found my shovel and watering can; I'm pretty stoked. I get in my vehicle, cruise off, and a tire blows. I hit a tree at full speed; deep wounds full of glass. That's still not a biggie, because I have tweezers, needles, and thread. Now, I don't have any bandages, but even that's not a big deal. The weather's still nice, so I can rip my pants up for bandages. The bad part: I forgot to wash my pants after I had been foraging in the woods yesterday. I even had plenty of soap back at my base; I just plum forgot to wash. So, I had to wrap my wounds with dirty bandages, which means infection. I don't know whether infection or bleeding out kills faster, because I also didn't have enough bandages. So, my big lumberjack survivalist mountain man is shuffling the streets of KY, with all the other zombies, just because he was so impatient that he tried to combine three excursions into one.

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rm3000    82

Man, you're making this sound interesting!

I'll have to somehow tackle my need to survive (in a game), but your narration is quite mouth watering, despite that little 'zombie' fact. Oh, is this some hardcore mode or is it always a new game after death?

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Gilberticus    278

It's always perma-death. Now, there might be a mod that changes death into like a knock-out scenario, where you lose parts of your skills or inventory or some other penalty, but I'm unaware of those. The only mod I'm rolling with is "Knap a rock", because the game doesn't offer it and that's a skill I've acquired in the real world. The game does have hardcore mode , though. I'm playing with normal conditions, where I start with a baseball bat, hammer, a bottle of water, and chips. Hard mode starts you with just food and water, while hardcore starts you with nothing. In addition, there are different sandbox scenarios. I play in the initial outbreak scenario: zombies are slow, houses are unlooted, and electricity and water are still on. There's the first week scenario, where water and electricity are about to shut off, and houses are unlooted. Six months later scenario has electricity and water off, houses are ransacked, and the zombie horde is large. And then, you have hardcore mode, with a giant horde and death is waiting at every turn.

 

There is also a challenge mode. In one, you only have a day to reach safety. In another, you're defending your cabin in the woods against endless hordes. In another, you have that cabin, but you earn money to upgrade things and skills. There are also a few other challenges, but I haven't played those.

 

If interested, Project Zomboid has a free demo on Steam, but it's not the sandbox survival mode, it's the Last Stand challenge (if I remember correctly).

Now, if you like the "man versus nature" type of survival games, I can recommend several; none of them feature zombies. One of them does feature cannibals: The Forest. Subsistence is  an escaped convict versus nature and other humans. I know the humans can be shut off, but I don't think the wolves and cougars can be shut off, as that's the main source of meat. My warning there: it's bloody. You see blood splash as you plunge your knife into a wolf, hear the knife cutting through meat and stuff.

 

However, you might be thinking "I like crafting and building, I like hunger and thirst dynamics, but I want it in a scifi setting." My recommendation there: Eden Star.

 

But what if you're thinking "I like building and survival stuff, but I don't like the first person perspective. I want a third person perspective. In addition, I want a squad; nature can be lonely at times." One word there: Kenshi.

 

I also have Survivalist, Judgment: Apocalypse Survival Simulation, Empyrion, Force of Nature,  and Conan: Exiles, but I can't recommend them, as I forget why I stopped playing them.

 

Finally, what if you like hunger, thirst, building, and crafting, but don't want such a hardcore experience? What if you want a little more of a relaxed vibe, without a 'smiley, happy, good time animal friends bobbing up and down in unison' type of deal? What if you're tired of "twelve sticks plus twine equals small shelter" type of deal: you want to build your shelter brick/block/rock, and stick at a time? I feel you there, that's how I like to build, rather than choosing a bunch of prefabricated buildings. There's a game I have for that, which is 1/3 building, 1/3 exploration, and 1/3 survival. That would be Rising World. The cool part about that: crops can fail, rot, freeze, and be destroyed by hard rain. You have to dress in accordance with the weather, otherwise disease ensues. There are critters, like bears, cougars, and wolves, that will maul you if you're unprepared. Also, death isn't permanent, but you do lose your items, requiring you to find your body. There are a lot of cool other features: pirates, factions to befriend or alienate. There's an electrical component that's as simple or complex as you want. Then, there's trains and vehicles. The bad part: most of what I've mentioned isn't implemented yet. This is made by a one-man team. While I have total faith that the game will be finished, it's been in early access for four or five years, and updates are slower than cold maple syrup. If this game sounds promising, I'd put it on your watch list and wait for it to finish UNLESS you love building as much as I do. I love city building games, but I dislike the fact that all I can do is place buildings: I want to build them myself. That's where this game shines right now. I've built everything, brick by brick. I have every type of home you can imagine: Modern, castles, Victorian, Georgian, Mediterranean, fantasy types of things that look like wizards live there amidst an enchanted forest, cabins; everything. I have every type of store you can imagine; fast food (like Gilbey's, Kentucky Fried Gilbert, McGilberts), police stations, Gilberticus university, Gilbey's Believe It Or Not (an aquarium), just everything. The bad part there; I don't have them built in survival mode, I've only built them in creative mode and saved them as blueprints. The reason: there's going to be world-breaking updates soonish. Another aspect that some might consider "bad": just because you can build all this stuff doesn't necessarily mean you can have people actually living in them. There's a possibility that when the game's finalized and I lay all of this crap, it's going to be me walking around an empty town. I don't have a problem w that.

 

Now, finally, you might be thinking "Dude, I asked you one freaking question, and I got paragraphs of crap I didn't ask about." If that's the case, sorry :) I'm trying to be a little more social online, plus, I like to give options. Plus, I'll be real with you: I'm procrastinating cutting a bunch of thundereggs I got in Oregon the other day.

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Gilberticus    278
Posted (edited)

I'll tell y'all one thing: it's the little things that impress me about this game. I had my base set up: garden, water collectors, compost piles for fertilizer, shelves stocked with canned food. However, I didn't really feel like transitioning from my starter base to my self-made one yet, so I started playing with the cooking mechanics. I was able to make: spaghetti, bacon cheeseburgers, hot ham and cheese sandwiches, coffee, tea, BLT's, just a variety of stuff. It impresses me that the game recognizes that you get more comfort from cooking a meal rather than just cramming ingredients in your mouth. I don't know if y'all have been in any survival types of scenarios, but it doesn't take a stretch of the imagination to believe that a fresh cup of tea improves your mood far better than having to suck on a tea bag (I've been there). Little comforts go along way, man :)

Edited by Gilberticus
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Gilberticus    278

Alright, after 100 hours of the game, I think it's time to try a mod or two. Hydrocraft seems to fix every little nag I've had about the game, as well as some I was unaware that I've had.

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Timotheus    94
On 4-8-2018 at 7:21 PM, Gilberticus said:

(...) I contemplated Sheltered, but chose Project Zomboid instead. (...)

I absolutely hated Sheltered. :lol: I have PZ since pretty early in their development, when the only character you could play was “baldspot” and there was only one map. No such thing as traits. Etc. The game has come a long way since then though I haven’t played it in years.

 

Edit: jikes, that was back in 2011 apparently:

 

Edited by Timotheus

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Gilberticus    278

I think I made the right decision. Sheltered sounded kind of fun, until I saw some of the negative reviews and went to Youtube.

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Gilberticus    278

Timo, should you decide to pick it up again, I highly recommend trying the Hydrocraft mod. :)

 

Now, I still love this game. While I enjoy the gameplay, my favorite part is still character creation. Specifically, I try to create occupations that aren't in the game. For instance, I tried to pick traits that an Ensign from the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps might have. When I go with red traits, I try to go with ones that might fit my character's personality, rather than just trying to balance out my greens. Or, something else I try to do (which I admit... might be kind of nerdy) is recreate some of my favorite characters from shows I like. How would Dwight from Haven behave? Or Duke Crocker? Or a challenging one (since we don't know much about him) : Agent Howard? I don't like Nathan, so heck with him. Or, sometimes I try to recreate real people. How would Robert O'Neill act if he suddenly woke up in Rosewood? Or Chris Kyle? Granted, I don't know either of these men very well; we weren't/aren't exactly drinking buddies, but I think I have a good feel for those two.

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