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Issue 5.1


Postmortem: Zombies

How I raised the dead with REALbasic

Issue: 5.1 (September/October 2006)
Author: Joe Strout
Author Bio: Joe Strout thinks that "Zombies: Postmortem" would have made a pretty clever name for this game.
Article Description: No description available.
Article Length (in bytes): 27,621
Starting Page Number: 15
Article Number: 5110
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Excerpt of article text...

In May of 2003, I happened across a book at Amazon.com called The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead. I wasn't really a fan of horror movies in general, nor zombie movies in particular. However, this book caught my imagination. Zombies started haunting my dreams, surrounded by formulas for zombie population dynamics, plans for surviving my next zombie invasion, and most of all, thoughts of what a fun game it would all make. Like a creeping, undead horror, this idea just kept coming after me, and wouldn't let me go.

But I didn't have time for any new projects, so I threw the idea out to the wild -- the wild in this case being the REALbasic-games mailing list (see sidebar). I laid out the idea for the game, and nearly begged for someone to pick it up and develop it. Alas, no one did, though it did generate quite a lot of interesting discussion. Chaz Larson pointed out some zombie simulations available as Java applets, and others compared and contrasted the idea to other games, from old mainframe games with ASCII art to modern strategy games like Warcraft 3.

Much discussion centered around whether it should be a real-time strategy game, like Warcraft and Myth, or a turn-based one, like Civilization or the classic Avalon-Hill games (for our younger readers, those were played with "tokens" and "dice" on something called a "table"). I favored the turn-based approach for several reasons. One was just to be contrary; there are already a lot of real-time zombie shoot-em-up games, as well as real-time strategy games that are sufficiently zombieish to satisfy players who like that sort of thing. Another was that I often lack the patience to master reflex games myself; I prefer games where I can play as fast or as slow as I like.

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