September 01, 2005

A Zombie Apocalypse

Writing about web page

Hey, with the world going to hell, what better than to escape into a fantasy undead rising? At least, this is one disaster that isn't terribly likely to happen, right? Right?

So, go play Urban Dead now…

Essentially, it's a text based MMORPG. So, graphically and stuff, it isn't terribly impressive. It isn't even technically impressive. But it's good fun. Basically, you play a human survivor in a dawn of the dead type scenario. Every half hour, you get an Action Point to do stuff, and you can save up to 50 of those. You spend your action points hitting stuff (or more typically, missing stuff), moving about (the game world is huge. 10,000 tiles, with about 80% of them containing an indoor tile) and performing various actions. The trick is that if you get killed, you become a zombie, and get to hunt down and chew up braiinss… And the zombies get the advantage that they can't permanently be killed….

So essentially, the humans hide.

Basically, they barricade themselves into safehouses and go out hunting now and then to discourage zombies from gathering. The zombies tend to bash on the doors a bit, and then move on in search of easier targets.

It's kinda interesting watching order emerge in the game world. While the author is himself updating the game now and then, the more dramatic changes in gameplay come from the players themselves. See, after a while, the zombie start getting organised. While before 5 or 6 might attack, rumours are now circulating of a vast horde that have gathered. Over 100 zombies who actually coordinate their attacks, and use human informants and PKers to help out. These guys have simply steamrollered their way through. So suddenly, recently, the balance of power has swung towards the zombies. Even though the humans have tried to form their own groups, they don't work nearly so well together…

So, join the game. Have a go. Help us beleagured humans out. You might enjoy it.

- 3 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. That's excellent.

    To what extent do you think that this is emergent gameplay? On the one hand, it is tempting to credit the author with knowing that the "game" was all about the human element, what people would come up with themselves. On quite the other, this 100 zombie co-ordinated attack is surely "unexpected by the game designer's original intent". It's intriguing.

    Alas, I value my life too highly and rate my willpower too lowly to play any MMORPGs so will remain an armchair speculator.


    10 Sep 2005, 02:52

  2. Mike

    I personally play Urban Dead both as a human and as a zombie. The human side is just like Dawn of the Dead. Currently, me and two other people have barricaded ourselves inside a factory, and make frequent runs for various supplies. On the other hand, being a zombie is great. Slaughter whatever you want, and growl at things. It's really great.

    04 Dec 2005, 03:21

  3. Zach

    I also play as a Zombie and a Human. I figure no matter which side gains control, I’ll be a winner. It’s not a hard game to figure out, but at the same time it’s still a lot of fun. The simple games that remain fun are always the best concepts. Zombie groups have power, but a large group of humans with access to med-kits can be just as good. I just can’t get over how chilling it was to be new to the game and fall asleep outside as a human. You come back the next day to read,
    “You hear a groan near by”
    A ZOMBIE claws at you for 3 damage… and again… and again… you die
    I mean it’s very simple, but scary at the same time. If you use your imagination you feel like it’s really happening. Cool game.

    30 May 2007, 03:43

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