Zombie Master


Zombie Master

"Zombie Master" is a multiplayer Half-Life 2 modification centered around a zombie-apocalypse. Zombie Master incorporates Real-time Strategy elements for one "zombie master" player while the other players continue to use a First-person Shooter style of play. The goal of the modification is to introduce an innovative game style into the popular Survivors vs Zombies game genre. [ [http://features.mcom/302/zombie-master/ http://features.moddb.com/302/zombie-master/] ] "Zombie Master" is available as a free download to anyone owning a Source Engine based game. The first beta version was released on April 15 2007. The latest version, beta 1.1.3, was released on July 23 2007.

History

"Zombie Master" was originally devised by Angry Lawyer, a developer for the mod. In its early stages "Zombie Master" was called "Conquest: City 17" and had no real connection to zombies since the plan was to use "Half-Life 2's" Combine units and other units from the HL2 Universe for the RTS element. [ [http://www.zombiemaster.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=27001#27001 http://www.zombiemaster.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=27001#27001] and [http://www.zombiemaster.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=27043#27043 http://www.zombiemaster.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=27043#27043] ] "Zombie Master" came into development when Angry Lawyer decided to use zombie units for "Conquest: City 17" and showed the code and idea to friends on halflife2.net. From there team members the GreenBunny and Pi|Mu|Rho joined the team to begin a new take on the FPS/RTS hybrid. [ [http://www.evilavatar.com/forums/showthread.php?t=15976 EvilAvatar.com Interview] ]

Game play

At the beginning of every round, a player is selected to take on the role of the Zombie Master, who then perceives the game through the real-time-strategy view of the map and granting access to all Zombie Master abilities. In nearly all maps the objective is for the survivors (which normally consists of 6-15 players) to complete a series of goals. In most maps this can include retrieving certain objects, destroying certain objects, unlocking doors, and surviving for a given amount of time. In most maps, the end goal is to escape the map. The Zombie Master uses his abilities to attempt to kill the survivors. If all the survivors are killed, the Zombie Master wins. If the survivors complete all their goals (which can sometimes be completed even if all the survivors are dead), then the survivors win the round.There are some exceptions to game play that custom map makers have engineered. This includes "arena maps" which can include having traps that players can operate to kill other survivors, and typically have an objective to survive for an extended period of time with no complex goal. Other creative maps include a version of tetris, where the Zombie Master controls falling blocks and the survivors avoid them.

The Zombie Master

The Zombie Master plays the game like a Real-Time Strategy game. The Zombie Master can spawn zombies at the designated spawn points placed throughout the map. He can control where zombies move or give the zombies orders, and can move around the map freely. The Zombie Master can also use traps put in by the map maker, along with abilities such as explosion (which causes a blast that sends barricades flying, but does not harm players directly) and Night-vision (for dark maps).

In order to spawn zombies and use traps, the Zombie Master uses resources. These are limited, and gradually refill over time, but can be increased by killing survivors.

The Survivors

Every player except for one play as survivors. They play the game like a First-Person Shooter. The survivors use guns, melee weapons and barricades to stop zombies and fulfill mission objectives. They are faster than all zombies except the banshee, and can carry objects, jump, and crouch. In addition, survivors can only carry two guns at any time. There is no way to heal in the game, and once a person dies in-game, they are switched to spectator mode.

Zombie Units

Shambler: Shamblers cost the zombie master a small amount of resource points, and the shamblers are fairly fragile, but with a strong melee attack. These zombies are used in large hordes to clog objective points and corridors. They are the only zombies that can destroy barricades and hit nearby objects into survivors, causing damage.

Drifter: Drifters are floating charred corpses which spit blood at nearby survivors when at close range, confusing survivors by shaking their screen and causing low damage. Drifters are quite inexpensive, and when used with other zombie types they can be devastating, causing survivors to wander into the range of melee zombies. Drifters were made so that survivors cannot run past them without getting damaged, unlike most zombies.

Hulk: Hulks are colossal beasts which are fast, powerful and can take vast amounts of damage. They can take away half of a survivors health with a single hit and make good assault troops. While useful in taking out survivors, it's expensive for the Zombie Master. The Zombie Master can save his entire resource stockpile and spawn mass amounts of Hulks at the map's endpoint, effectively creating an impassable wall for the survivors, sometimes until all the survivors are dead or too frustrated to continue the round. Most maps have protection against these "Hulk Spams". However, "Hulk Spams" are used quite often

Banshee: Banshees are the fastest and most agile units in the game (faster than the players). They can leap great heights to anywhere on the map and can jump into survivors, causing low damage. They also have a close range attack which causes much more damage. They are often used to panic survivors and are currently the most expensive unit in the game. While quite weak, the banshee can hardly be hit when moving due to hitbox problems. This makes it the (perceived) hardest to kill zombie type, despite its low hitpoints.

Immolator: A thin, charred reanimated corpse, immolators scream and light themselves (and anything near them) on fire when they die or see a survivor. They then charge towards the survivor, causing large amounts of damage at close range. They are currently disabled due to animation problems, but will be present in the next release. Many maps have additional code allowing the implementation of functioning immolators, but due to the mentioned problems they are used rarely. If they were fully implemented, immolators would be the most expensive ZM unit in the game. On some servers, immolators can be spawned using an administrator command, which is usually the only way to summon one.

Arsenal

While every map is different, a basic selection of weapons is available to the survivors.

Guns

*Pistol (resembles SIG P226): A weak semi-automatic pistol that can hold a maximum of of four, twenty round clips
*MAC-10: A support weapon that fires a series of low power shots at a high rate of fire. However, these quickly run out of ammo, but are useful in clearing out groups of Shamblers and Drifters.
*Shotgun: A gun with a devastating effect, canceling out the need for precise aiming in any case. Excellent at close range.
*Winchester Rifle: The rifle is used to shoot zombies off a distance. This sniper's weapon is slow to fire, slow to reload, but can hold large amounts of ammunition (but, however, it shoots 11 rounds.). Its firing rate means it is impractical for close-range use. To counter, it does the most damage of any gun in the game. To make the weapon even more powerful, it has a zoom function for shooting zombies at longer ranges. Most players often fight over this weapon, due to its rarity, accuracy and power.

Explosives

*Molotov Cocktail: These flammable liquid filled bottles will be added in the next update. They are being designed to counter large spams of shamblers and hulks.

Melee

*Fists: These are the default weapons at the start of a round. They have low damage.
*Crowbar: The crowbar is a balanced melee weapon that is slightly slower than the fists, but is more powerful, making it effective for fast, moderately tough opponents such as the banshee.
*Sledgehammer: The sledgehammer is the most powerful melee weapon in the game, but has the slowest swing rate. The sledge can be swung overhead for heavy damage and a 1 sec swing lag, or swung under and up in a slashing motion for very heavy damage, but with a 2 sec swing lag. Assuming it lands a direct hit, the sledgehammer's secondary swing can kill a shambler, drifter or Banshee in one hit.
*Holdable Flashlight: It is a beta item but with the proper console command you can hold a flashlight.

Maps

The original Zombie Master build included three maps. All of these maps where extremely popular when first released, but have now been largely replaced by new user-created maps.

Warehouse: A small, enclosed map where players must outmanuver zombies between rows of stacked boxes. This map was popular because it was an excellent map to learn the basic functionality of the game and the basic design of the map was especially suited to the game's theme. This map was updated in version 1.1.3.

Docks of the Dead: A large, non-linear map where players must retrieve various car parts from a drained canal in order to repair their truck. The two goals of the map is to retrieve car parts while also defending the garage in which the survivor's truck is located. If the Zombie Master fails to prevent the survivors from getting the parts, he/she must overpower the survivors defences and destroy the truck before time expires.

Miner Inconvience: Was the first linear map with advanced objectives and triggers. The map is set in a sleepy mining town where the survivors must retrieve a ladder, destroy power generators to bypass a fallen powerline, outrun zombies in a graveyard and then lower an explosive device beneath a tomb to destroy the zombie master's source of power. The map was highly praised for fun and innovative objectives and balance.

Popular user-created maps

The Zombie Master community now largely runs on user-created maps.

Actual Tetris: A literal rendition of tetris. Surviors must run through four levels of platforms while dodging Tetris objects that the zombie master drops. The Tetris theme song loops throughout the entire course of the map. A round of this map can be completed in less than a minute.

Asylum: Survivors start out trapped in a cell, which opens shortly after a set timer. From this point they must navigate to a large room where they then must get a wheel and battery. After this they get into an elevator that takes them to the second floor, which is where they then must stay for several minutes. After that they make a rush to the roof where they meet a helicopter and win the round.

Blue Velvet: Survivors must navigate through a street to reach a train station. Once there, survivors must access the maintenance elevator to get to a secret research base beneath the rails. Survivors must plant explosives and destroy the source of the zombie's infection and escape before the fire engulfs the underground base.

Basin: Survivors complete goals around the land surrounding a toxic lake. The end goal for the survivors is to reach and defend a fishing boat that will take them to the center of the lake until they are rescued.

Cage Fight: A frantic arena map where survivors must retrieve 15 batty briefcases and drop them into a hole on a raised platform. The map appears to take place in an abandon basketball court of some kind that is enclosed in a cage. The Zombie Master controls a huge amount of brilliantly creative traps. The Zombie Master can unleash monstrous mechanical creations such as the Villainous Vending Machine, a giant drinking water machine with a foreward laser grid that vaporizes any survivors it runs over. Others include the Laser Ball, a rolling red ball that also vaporizes players instantly, the wheelmonster, a similar device to the Laser Ball, the Satanic Seagull, the Ripper and a UFO spacecraft. The Zombie Master can also utilize fans to suck players in, gas vents, rockets and water pipes to kill survivors. In fact, the zombie master has no points where can spawn zombies whatsoever. In some rounds, survivors can play basketball in a separate area of the map.

Country Train: Survivors must retrieve 5 briefcases and load them onto a train that arrives later in the round. The survivors must also protect the train station or the Zombie Master will overrun it. Both the survivors and the Zombie Master can utilize the dark, country location of the map to hide themselves or zombies in. This map supports immolators. This map is popular for its frantic gameplay and non-linear objectives.

Gas Dump: Survivors must infiltrate a desert gas station and plant explosives. Gas Dump is praised for its original location, its infamous "tornado trap" and being a visually attractive map. However, because Gas Dump is one of few maps that supports HDR, some players complain about the heavy performance drain.

High Voltage: Was one of the original underground military/research base maps created by a fan. The goal for the survivors is to escape the facility. The map earns its name due to a lot of objectives where survivors must activate generators, reroute power...etc. High Voltage and other similar maps such as Vault and Underground are still played, but not nearly as popular as they once were.

One Small Shamble: A map that is set aboard an eerie moon base. Survivors must navigate the multiple level moon base unlocking doors, opening security checkpoints, and dodging traps. The goal is to retrieve a box and bring it back to the spawn point. One Small Shamble is by far one of the most complex maps to have been released and is both praised and disliked for that reason.

Ship: A simple map consisting of a ship with three decks (a bridge, a living quarters and a cargo hold) where survivors must prevent the Zombie Master from destroying the ship's three masts for six minutes. If the masts are destroyed, the ship will sink and the lifeboat will disengage. It is very difficult for the Zombie Master to win the round as even if the ship has been sunk, survivors can stay alive on floating masts or the lifeboat. The only way to kill the survivors is to use the "cyclone trap" to force the players into the frigid water.

Uphill Struggle: A small map consisting of a beachhead and a cliffside bunker. Survivors must blast through a part of the cliff to reach the top of the hill where the generator is. Survivors must find a fuel can, refill the generator and wait for the bunker doors to open. Then they must defend the inside of the bunker until toxic gas is vented to kill the zombies.

Redqueen: A very popular map, based on Resident evil movie. Survivors must escape a facility full of traps and zombies. Before the end of the map, a survivor must sacrifice themsleves for the Redqueen (a zombie with a child's voice) to continue.

Development Team

A complete and up-to-date list of developers and contributors can be found on the team page. [http://www.zombiemaster.org/team.php team page]

Notable Mentions

* Zombie Master was featured on Steam News [ [http://storefront.steampowered.com/Steam/Marketing/message/1045 Steam Message ] ] via the Steam Client
* [http://features.moddb.com/302/zombie-master/ ModDB Review]
* [http://www.game-reviews.ca/1563-Zombie-Master-Half-Life-Mod-Screenshots.html www.game-reviews.ca review]
* [http://www.halflife2.net/2006/06/05/interview-with-zombie-master/ June 2006 Interview with developers]
* Mentioned in PC Zone UK and included on cover disc (#184 Sept 07)

References

External links

* [http://www.zombiemaster.org The Official Zombie Master Site]


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