Project Zomboid is becoming… reanimated!
Project Zomboid earned the love the of many, for a number of reasons. One of those reasons was that the game was relatively undemanding on your hardware, compared to a lot of “today” titles. The Project Zomboid community created their own sprites for in-game items and characters, but as we learn today the sprite system became too demanding for PZ developers, and I imagine for some members of the community as well. What is the solution to this problem?
Project Zomboid facing its “Reanimation”
Sprites are fun to look at. After all, the “Sprite” graphics was seen in the earliest games, before 3D appeared. Every pose was a “picture”. In essence the enemies in Duke Nukem and Doom (not mentioning Castle Wolfenstein) were sprites. What few might realise is that creating a single sprite character takes a lot of time. You need a “sprite” for every direction the character might be looking at, the same for any action the character might perform in any direction. If you added the possibility of changing appearance you would have to add a new sprite set for any “clothing change” the character went through. Of course, the earliest games did not allow that, but Project Zomboid had a number of ambitious points in its agenda which would make the “Sprite” method a true nightmare to work with.
The solution is the use of 3D modelling. Instead of creating a truck load of sprites you simply add a “skin” to your model… and voila! The skin will be transferred to all the animations and actions, making life for modders (and developers) much, much easier. The same applies to the design of weapons, allowing for much greater ease of adding or modifying existing weapons. As seen in the video, the developers and modders will have a much easier time creating, for example, a “running with weapon” animation.
As stated in the original blog post, this new method of animation should not be much more demanding than what the game currently asks of you. When you consider the benefits of this trade-off, the ability for the developers to create countless cool animations with incredible ease future updates will show that “awesome” is just a few clicks away.
I would wish to mention here that the Devs have also stated that the 0.2.0r version of Project Zomboid should be coming out in the next couple of days. An official update would be released some time after that, though no specific date is stated, since (as we can imagine) a bug or similar “shocking” problem could come up, delaying the release.
Fanatyk asked me a question, when he learned of this new Animation update, “I wonder what will Project Zomboid be like, once it reaches version 1.0?”. As I sat there pondering on this Fanatyk then added, “Project Zomboid: Skyrim”. I have a nagging feeling that this might be the case.
May your Machetes never dull!
Alex “WriterX” Bielski