Tired of Zomboid’s so-called “proper” zombies? Here are some different preset Zombie Lore settings from various zombie media for Sandbox and Multiplayer.
Project Zomboid is known to be a highly customizable experience, and the way you can change every little way the zombies act reflects this. So, why not tailor the experience to be closer to your favorite zombie media?
Each section will contain a piece of zombie media, a general overview of its history and the characteristics of its undead, then a screenshot of the zombie lore settings you can use for your Sandbox game, and below, some notes and clarifications on certain choices.
This is meant to be a framework to give you an idea, if there’s something I got wrong, or you have a piece of media to add, let me know!
Credit to various game and movie wiki pages for info, I wouldn’t want to play all these games and watch all these movies over again to get everything right.
Project Zomboid (default)
The zombies in Project Zomboid are (very loosely) based off of Max Brooks’ zombies featured in The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z.
A foul smell in the air noticed weeks before July 4th, 1993 is believed to be connected to some kind of airborne strain that infected the majority of Knox County, KY’s residents, turning them into undead.
Three days afterward, the player(s), assumed to be immune to this airborne strain, begin to survive.
Theories to the cause range from an airborne virus, a misfolded prion or evolved Mad Cow Disease originating from Spiffo’s, the work of God, terrorism, or military experiments.
This assumes default settings (Survival mode). Different presets have different settings, but this is assumed to be the “canon” or “proper” zombies according to the developers.
Romero Zombies (Living Dead films)
Romero zombies are the undead creatures featured in six of the films by George A. Romero: Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead, and Survival of the Dead.
Though Night of the Living Dead isn’t the first movie to feature zombies, but it is certainly the film that popularized and set the groundwork for the sub-genre.
As is usual for zombie media, the cause is unclear, but characters theorize about radiation from a NASA probe, divine intervention, and viral infection causing the zombies.
Regardless of how you die during Romero’s apocalypse, you will reanimate a minute or so later. This concept was later used in The Walking Dead, but is otherwise not seen very often in zombie media.
Romero has stated the rules to his zombies change from movie to movie. For instance, if you wanted the zombies from the 2004 Day of the Dead Remake, change them to Sprinters with Saliva Only infection.
Brooks Zombies (Zombie Survival Guide)
Essentially what inspired me to make this guide in the first place, as I’ve read Max Brooks’ two zombie books several times. I’ve yet to read his books about Minecraft, however.
Max Brooks took heavy inspiration from George Romero’s zombies. The key differences are that people who die of unrelated causes do not reanimate, they retain no memories of their former lives, and could never learn anything (say, to not jump off a bridge with their buddies, or learn/remember how to use tools or guns)
The zombies in Max Brooks’ two books, The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, are created by Solanum, a 100% communicable and 100% fatal virus. In this universe, humanity has been fighting zombies for as long as history has been recorded, going as far back as ancient cave paintings. The lack of public knowledge is attributed to extensive government censorship and cover-ups.
In World War Z, a massive pandemic originating from China is initially ignored and allowed to spread to countries around the world. Though most world government’s are initially incompetent in dealing with the virus, they eventually band together and decide to do something about it. Sound familiar? Yeah, that book came out in 2006.
“Imagine the human body as a tool kit. The somnambulist brain has those tools, and only those tools, at its disposal. It cannot create new ones out of thin air. But it can, as you will see, use these tools in unconventional combinations, or push their durability beyond normal human limits.” -Max Brooks, The Zombie Survival Guide
Information directly pulled from The Zombie Survival Guide.
Speed: Shamblers. “The fastest have been observed to move at a rate of barely one step per 1.5 seconds.”
Strength: Normal. “Ghouls possess the same brute force as the living.”
Toughness: Tough. “…there are thousands of ways to kill a human—and only one way to kill a zombie. The brain must be obliterated, by any means possible.” There is no “headshot only” option in Project Zomboid, so just assume that any attacks are aimed at destroying the brain.
Transmission: Blood + saliva. “Infection can only occur through direct fluidic contact. A zombie bite, although by far the most recognizable means of transference, is by no means the only one. Humans have been infected by brushing their open wounds against those of a zombie or by being splattered by its remains after an explosion.”
Infection Mortality/Reanimation Time: 2-3 days, 0-12 hours. “Hour 16: Coma. Hour 20: Heart stoppage. Zero brain activity. Hour 23: Reanimation.” Project Zomboid sadly lacks more specific options for this. Infection Mortality is mostly based on whether you have Resilient or Prone to Illness.
Cognition: Basic. “The mental capacity of the average zombie ranks somewhere beneath that of an insect…Zombies have repeatedly failed laboratory intelligence tests set at the level of rodents.”
Crawl Under Vehicle: I don’t see why a zombie would do this or why it was even added.
Memory: Long. Zombies possess no memories of their former life, though they will chase humans for long periods of time. Can be changed to Normal.
Decomposition: Slows + weakens. “The average zombie ‘life span’—how long it is able to function before completely rotting away—is estimated at three to five years.”
Sight: Normal. “The eyes of a zombie are no different than those of a normal human.”
Hearing: Normal. “The basic range appears to be the same as that for humans.”
Drag Down: This is observed to happen several times throughout the recorded attacks and World War Z.
Fence Lunge: See Crawl Under Vehicle. “The average living human possesses a dexterity level 90 percent greater than the strongest ghoul.”
Walkers (The Walking Dead)
Zombies within The Walking Dead universe are Robert Kirkman’s version of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead zombies.
It is unknown where the zombie pathogen came from. It may be natural, man-made, or even supernatural.
They are the classic weak, dumb, slow zombies. Still, that didn’t stop them from wiping out the majority of the human population, the army, and the police. Drama, I guess.
Most, if not every human has a dormant strain of the pathogen within them, reanimating them when they die no matter what, unless their brain was destroyed.
This was included in Zomboid as a setting as a clear nod to the series. Though no one in the show or comic got infected from a scratch, you still will with the Everyone’s Infected setting.
There are several mods on the workshop themed after The Walking Dead if you want to further augment your experience.
Strength: Normal. They can overpower healthy humans most of the time, but once they are decayed their strength is reduced greatly.
Toughness: Tough, as destroying the brain is required. Once they decay though, they’re pretty flimsy.
Transmission: Everyone’s infected. This means that if you die of natural causes, or are killed by a human, you will rise as a zombie. You can still get infected from bites. Though you can’t get infected by getting scratched in The Walking Dead, and zombie blood gets in a character’s mouth in the Season 5 finale with no infection, this is just a limitation of the setting.
Infection mortality/reanimate time: “We had reports of it happening in as little as three minutes. The longest we heard of was eight hours. In the case of this patient, it was two hours, one minute, seven seconds.” from Season 1, episode 6.
Sight: Poor, their irises fade and decay rather quickly after infection, and Scott Gimple has said that fire represents two of the only things walkers can still see, light and movement.
Hearing: Pinpoint. They seem to possess heightened hearing, likely to make up for their poor sight.
Drag Down: Has happened multiple times.
Fence Lunge: They lack this kind of agility.
Zombies (Dead Rising)
Zombies are people infected by mutated wasps or other zombies, either through stings or bites, appearing in all games in the Dead Rising series.
Their only purpose is to find, infect, and devour humans. They are slow and dumb, and are easily distracted by bright lights and loud noises. They become more aggressive and tough during the night.
They were previously human beings who were infected with the parasitic larvae of Ampulex Compressa Giganteus, a genetically modified wasp originally created to help curb a meat shortage.
The queen of this wasp was discovered to reanimate corpses. It broke out of containment in a lab and infected Santa Cabeza, a nearby Central American town. American Special Forces would later brutally contain this outbreak.
A man who lived at Santa Cabeza sought revenge for this, and released the queens in Willamette, Colorado, kicking off the events of the game. Similar outbreaks would later occur in Fortune City, Nevada, and Los Perdidos, California.
Transmission: Only bites are shown to infect people. The protagonists of Dead Rising are bitten multiple times and don’t turn, so transmission can be turned off if desired.
T-Virus Zombies (Resident Evil)
Developed by Umbrella in the late 1960’s, the goal of the “t-Virus Project” was to eliminate the need for a large-scale conventional army and generate revenue to go to their eugenics program, the Wesker Project.
By 1978, development moved from creating a lethal virus to one that would mutate hosts to become stronger and remain alive despite organ failures and brain damage, the latter leading to murderous aggression and obsessive hunger to the state of cannibalism.
Dr. James Marcus’ research reached a breakthrough on 13 January 1978, which warranted the official coining of the name “t-Virus”. Zombies are the typical result of t-Virus infection on humans. Zombies are distinguished by their cannibalistic urges and active necrosis of the epidermis, giving them the appearance of walking corpses.
They are infected either through a contaminated water supply (how the Raccoon City outbreak began) or infected bites and scratches from a virus carrier.
Most protagonists in Resident Evil are bitten a lot and never turn, so infection can be disabled if you want. Disabling Drag Down would also make things a bit more fair.
Twitchers (Afraid of Monsters)
Twitchers are the main enemy encountered throughout Afraid of Monsters, a free horror mod for Half-Life that OG Half-Life fans will remember. It is perhaps best known for its creator going on to make Cry of Fear.
In the mod, David Leatherhoff is a man addicted to painkillers. After an overdose, he begins to see terrifying creatures, the Twitchers being one of them.
Whether his experience is a nightmare that he wakes up from and survives, or a drug-induced murdering spree of innocent people that ends with his arrest, is determined by the ending.
The creator has explicitly stated that the Twitchers aren’t zombies, so what does this have to do with Project Zomboid? Well, a Russian mod creator by the name of Qualfire made some great mods that bring the Twitchers to Project Zomboid. So, I had to go all out.
Textures: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2499635888 – [steamcommunity.com]
Animations: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2590814089 – [steamcommunity.com]
Sounds: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=2726226499 – [steamcommunity.com]
Most of these require manual replacement of files.
Nazi Zombies (Call of Duty)
You drove them deep into the heart of the Reich. You thought they were dead. You were wrong.
Element 115 is a special element deliberately released into several different dimensions by the Apothicons, a race of otherworldy creatures that seek to spread chaos throughout the universe.
Meteors containing the element hit Earth at some point. The element was later discovered by Dr. Ludvig Maxis with his newly-created Group 935 set to study it.
Exposure to the element causes short-term memory loss, psychosis, delusion, paranoia, and most importantly, reanimation of dead cells.
The zombies were to be used as super-soldiers by the Germans. After creating them, the Germans realized that they were uncontrollable and would lead to mankind’s destruction.
These zombies are not known to bite or scratch, and merely beat uninfected humans to death. They are relentless in their pursuit, and always know where you are.
Speed: Fast Shamblers, because though they sprint once you get to certain rounds, this would get pretty unfair.
Common Infected (Left 4 Dead)
The Green Flu is a rabies-like pathogen that struck the eastern United States in Valve’s two Left 4 Dead games, first appearing in Pennsylvania, and later spreading to the South.
What little story there is can only be gleamed from graffiti on the walls, the dialogue, and the comics.
Explanations for the cause of the infection vary wildly, there are different pieces of graffiti claiming that it may be a government conspiracy, an alien plot, or an act of God.
It defies all research, as it mutates near-daily, sometimes it’s airborne, sometimes it’s not, sometimes it creates Special Infected with superhuman abilities.
Interestingly, they can sometimes be seen vomiting, attacking inanimate objects, fighting each other, or leaning on a wall, perhaps implying the virus is slowly killing them.
Strength: Normal. Though they can break walls and doors in seconds, they would kill you very quickly if they were Superhuman; so, up to you. If only there was an option between Normal and Superhuman.
Toughness: Fragile, in-game they can be decapitated with a swing of a guitar, killed in a few 9mm bullets, burn to death in seconds, and die instantly if you land on their head.
Transmission: None or blood + saliva. In Left 4 Dead, all playable characters are immune. Bites and fluids seem to be the main mode of infection as seen and heard many times. If you’d like to play with infectious Sprinters..well…you could, I guess.
Infection Mortality: Very inconsistent, so I went with hours. It happens in seconds in the comics, graffiti has answers varying from 5 minutes, to 1 hour (Church Guy), to 2 hours, to 3 days, to 4 days.
Reanimate Time: Instant, as it is an infection and not the classic reanimated dead.
Cognition: Basic, as the infected seemed to have lost many of their higher brain functions. They will charge into fire, explosions, jump off buildings, etc..
Memory: Long, because they will keep chasing you for quite a while. Can be changed to whatever you want.
Sight: Poor. They react strongly to bright lights, and their vision is clearly irregular as seen in the comics and in Versus. An infected will ignore a survivor in front of them to go chase boomer bile, or a blinking pipe bomb.
Hearing: Pinpoint. Crescendo events attract infected people from very far away. Can be changed to Normal to be a bit more fair.
Drag Down/Fence Lunge: They never do this.
Rage Virus Infected (28 Days Later)
Scientists at Cambridge Primate Research Centre were trying to develop an anger inhibitor, and used the Ebola Virus as a delivery system. Isolated genomes in the Ebola Virus mutated into, ironically, the Rage Virus; the chimps they were testing became enraged and uncontrollable.
Disgusted, the scientists left the facility. Later that night, animal activists broke into the lab, and released one of the infected chimps. The chimp infected them, and the virus quickly began to spread through Cambridge, and eventually all of Great Britain.
People infected with the Rage Virus are overcome with uncontrollable fury. They are extremely contagious, and the virus can overtake someone within seconds. They relentlessly seek out uninfected humans to brutally kill them.
Strength/Toughness: Normal. You can tune these down if you want it to be a bit easier.
Transmission/Infection Mortality/Reanimate Time: Blood + Saliva. In one scene, a single drop of infected blood fell on a character’s eye, and they turned within seconds.
Cognition: Navigate. They know their way around to unseen targets fairly well.
Memory: Short. In one scene, a man shut and locked a door on a small group of infected, and they banged on the door for four seconds before giving up to attack someone else. In another, a large group of infected gave up a chase after a group of survivors got in a car and drove off.
Decomposition: Slows + weakens, as the eventual starvation and lack of self-preservation of the infected is an important plot point.
Sight/hearing: Normal, can be turned down if you want.
Day/Night Active: Night. Numerous survivors consider it safer to move during the day. In a few scenes, the infected emerge at night, or do not pursue a group out into the daylight.
Drag Down: Would be on, but this is very unfair with Sprinters.
Fence Lunge: On, as it seems like something they would do.
If you want to recreate the zombies from the film Train To Busan, they are largely the same as here.
Runners (The Last of Us)
A newspaper found at the beginning of The Last of Us states that an outbreak of a mutated strain of the Cordyceps fungus spread to the United States due to infected crops from South America in late September 2013. Several companies had already voluntarily recalled their food products from the shelves, but it was too late.
The infection spreads through bites and exposure to spores. Those infected will become a Runner within two days, with increased irritability and hostility towards others being key symptoms. Their skin is pale and, as the eyes are first targeted by the fungus, runners have poor eyesight, but maintain some human characteristics.
In several months, roughly 60% of humanity was killed or infected by the fungus, later referred to as Cordyceps brain infection.
It’d be cool to have zombies mutate into other forms over time, but without extensive mods being made, we won’t be able to fully recreate The Last of Us. There were mods made, but they’re rather old and I can’t find much information on what, exactly, they added.
Project Redpine is a promising unreleased map mod that looks to capture the overgrown aesthetic of The Last of Us, we’ll just have to see if/when it releases.
These settings also make the zombies resemble the ones from Zombieland, if that’s your jam.
Here we come to an end for Project Zomboid Zombie Lore Settings from Games-Movies & Show hope you enjoy it. If you think we forget something to include or we should make an update to the post let us know via comment, and we will fix it asap! Thanks and have a great day!
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