What can happen in a zombie game? Need help creating list of encounters/events

I’d need some help. I’d need a list of things that happen in zombie plots (think of typical urban scene: zombie infection occurs, everybody panics and gets eaten, and group of “heroes” spend tons of shotgun shells).

I’m thinking stuff like:

  • Found gasoline!
  • Empty ammo stash
  • Zombie behind the door
  • Flat tire

Et cetera.

If you type a comment, mention if you want your name for the credits, and I might consider it. *Cough*

Help me out, shall you?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. There’s couple of things I don’t do in my life. One of them is “place megahyper-rocket launcher thingy in a zombie game I develop”.


  2. Always wanted to put this in a game… you can use it… forget the BFG, bring in the MFBFG!!!!

  3. – undercover zombie… become a zombie and try stay on the edge of sanity (I would assume hungry drives them insane) so you can change back with an anti-dote – good way to get through a pack of zombies.

  4. – lead zombie only has to spit and throw a dob of fluid to infect other people.
    – zombies work out how to use guns and chainsaws
    – zombies work in packs. A leader controls a set of “runners” who still have legs, and can strike a victim or corral victims, then the slower zombies in greater numbers flood in for the feast.
    – immolation bullets – burns up a zombie in seconds
    – gas pump bullets – expands a zombie like a balloon until they pop
    – unfortunately in a firefight victims can be easily hit by these leading to hilarious gory moments.
    – underwater zombies! Surf zombies!
    – flying zombies!
    – zombie sharks
    – zombie sharks with legs
    – zombie sharks with legs and wings!

  5. Huge thanks to everybody, I’ve glimpsed over these suggestions and these are just superb. I plan to use these as “encounter text” in the cards and try squeeze in credit in the card layout (if fits nicely there), or at least in the rulebook at minimum.

    I’ll be going through these properly and commenting – you are free to suggest more though!

  6. Looking back at my favorite zombie movie of all time, Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds, a lot can happen:
    The “undead” can be very unpredictable, swinging from violent to simply foreboding from day to day
    (they’re always most terrifying when they’re not being violent)
    They will find a way in, especially how you least expect
    People will want answers, and blame will be thrown
    The most damage done is by the people, not the threat
    This phenomenon is scientifically unexplainable
    Outbreaks tend to occur in scenic rural towns
    Suspense should be built up for benign scenarios
    Nobody locked their houses back then
    People will have candid conversations behind each other’s backs
    If there is a love triangle, the “zombies” will fix it
    The fact that people are being eaten alive lets you overlook the fact that that dude is totally 25 years older than his sister

  7. I’m not quite sure what platform you are aiming for, e.g. is this going to be 2D, 3D shooter, etc. but one scenario might go like this.

    I guess you might compare it to a tower defense scenario. You have a house or some other structure, zombies are attacking from various directions and you have to keep them out as best you can. But the real challenge is knowing when to retreat.

    There could a second floor that at some point the player is forced to retreat to. If he retreats too soon, he will be doomed to fail, but he should only retreat when there is simply no other choice.

    When at the retreat point, after some point of time he will have to retreat again, to another room, or maybe a third level. The overall object will be the player HAS to retreat to survive but the real key is surviving long enough so he doesn’t have to retreat too soon and be overwhelmed.

  8. Weapon got jam at an critical moment is the worst situation,
    And I don’t know to unlock doors and windows..
    I like the game but if some one will tell me that things then I can do better in it…..

  9. how about u play as one of the zombie and try to infact the normal humans and let the cops be your enemy

  10. Someone/something of critical importance appears, and you must escort it through a maze of zombie infested streets, never knowing who or what will appear.

  11. Hipsters are gruesomely killed, torn apart and eaten by zombies. Possibly this could happen while they are still alive.

  12. How about you have to use plants like sunflowers, pea pods and melons to defend your house against a tide of zombies?

  13. Lets do a hypothetical.

    You’re the only one in the street, the major hordes are still a few hours away, you’ve decided to bunker down, what is your next course of action?

    What house will you select?

    Will you select a unit with a balcony overlooking a street so you can mount a machine gun?

    How will you seal doors and windows?

    Will you attract zombie attention then try and mow down as many as possible?

    Will you go to other houses to set up distractions for zombies? Flickering lights? Raw meat for them to attack?

    Will you set up a kill switch? A single switch which causes a lot of damage, perhaps even killing yourself? Will you go down for the greater good?

    Of course, in game this can be done that you have several minutes to set up the street like you want then the horde come and you’ve got to go down fighting?

  14. There’s a tradition of zombie movies that should work well in a game: radio and TV broadcasts. (Nowadays, add web sites.)

    They can, according to a schedule you control completely, serve many purposes:
    – Explain and introduce the zombie situation.
    – Diffuse non-obvious and potentially incorrect zombie theory (it’s a sexually-transmissible virus), practical advice (shoot them in the head), assorted rumors (Al Qaeda denies involvement) and government lies (don’t worry and stay at home).
    – Warn about dangers and suggest things to do (the city is being evacuated, they’re concentrating in the hospital, etc.).
    – Provide disheartening or encouraging news of little direct impact.
    – Report about the player’s actions (e.g. man with flamethrower allows family of refugees to escape surrounded house and leads them to the public shelter).
    – Progressively degrade (e.g. missing and presumed undead talent) and suddenly stop, as a sign of the advancing wave of decivilization.

    Mass media are passive by nature, but in a game they can keep the player actively busy in several ways:
    – Obtaining a working radio, TV, computer, wireless network and so on in order to have one’s fix of useful information might be both very challenging and an important priority for the player. For example, there’s a good reason to break into houses with the lights on.
    – Action might involve defending or reclaiming studios and datacenters as beacons of civilization.
    – Beyond simple heroism, the player might want access to mass media because he has something important to say, ranging from exposing the secret government experiments that originated the zombies and the cover-up that followed to revealing a miraculous discovery to use against zombies (e.g. holy water burns them).

  15. Interesting exercise.

    – Zombie swarm; appear en masse from out of nowhere
    – Trapped inside store, house, etc. while zombies mass outside
    – Protagonists disguise themselves as zombies to escape unmolested
    – Protagonists turn on each other due to resource scarcity, differing opinions of how to survive, etc.
    – Zombies emerge from swamps, lakes, etc.
    – Zombies engulfed in flames but not slowed
    – Out of food, out of ammo, out of time (due to impending military nuke, etc.)
    – Mistake zombie for truly dead corpse (i.e., zombies in the morgue begin reanimating; dead friend/family member isn’t really dead, etc.)
    – Car breaks down, radio doesn’t work
    – Build a barrier; eventually, zombies overwhelm or bypass it
    – Infected/zombified soldiers, scientists, etc., perhaps wearing special armor or hazmat suits that make them harder to kill.

    And not sure if this works into your project, but there’s the venerable cinematic “cat scare” — a moment of fright caused by what shortly thereafter is revealed to be nothing to be afraid of, such as the neighbor’s cat jumping out at you. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CatScare Typically precedes actual moment of terror.

    You may wish to check out other typical zombie themes and tropes here: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ZombieApocalypse

    Enjoy, and good luck. Credit me if you’d like.

  16. OHHH and I forgot one of the things, I believe that already a few people mentioned that but, basements, closed rooms, attics, after a period walking/running/crawling in open air can at first induce a relief sensation but also be very disturbing depending on the role of the events, for instance, you have a huge concentration of zombies in the street/garden/zoo?! and manage to get inside a small warehouse there, you calm down and as soon as you enter it but then again if You have to wait there a bit longer depending on the environment you can become very paranoid =X other example for that is (still at warehouse) to enter the first room available and find out that the characters wife/sons where killed by zombies, I really believe that that causes a series of feelings that can make the player merge into the game very easily, and isn’t that what all players are looking for?
    Well, I go now! xP “here I go again on my own!! going down the only road..”

  17. Knifes!!
    Or some other kinds of blades, it’s not that usual, to be more precise I can only recall a knife being used against zombies(in a “cool” way) in the movie Planet Terror (not counting with Resident Evil, just tired of the umbrella corporation)..
    Why knifes? Well, I believe it creates a bit stress/anger in player because, it’s still a weapon and You can defend or attack but!, not giving that much damage sometimes can become a pretty good challenge.
    If a critical-hit system to benefit ONLY knifes, also a good detail, or the possibility to stealth kill (somehow I remember Manhunt and picture the whole game but with intelligent zombies).
    That is one of the details in zombie games that most of the time “turns me down”, not having “smart” zombies..
    A sex scene between zombies would be hilarious xD
    Well, if You want some more opinions/ideas feel free to contact me, about the nick for credits, CyberSpaceGod I Am! (Serious Sam style xP)

  18. How about annoying tagalongs that you are compelled to protect? I’m thinking little sister. You could abandon her, or try to keep her alive long enough for her to become useful. Meanwhile, maybe she panics, and runs off or something, or makes noise if you’re trying to be quiet. It could play into a achievement system.

    Also, PLEASE don’t have boss monsters or elite zombies. In classic hardcore zombie stories they are dangerous in large numbers, not because they are individually dangerous. Have our characters stuck in a completely surrounded building, trying to decide if they can make it across the street to the gun store. Deciding how long they can hold this massive weapons platform with no food.

  19. 1. Zombie antidote
    -A kind of cure for zombie, to return to normal human beings
    -4 states for people: normal, infected but curable, zombified but curable, zombified and incurable
    -Limited stash of zombie antidotes

    2. Holy path vs Guns path vs other paths
    -Like Magic user and Warrior classes in RPGs, player can go on holy class progression path or guns/strength/weapons path to destroy zombies

    3. Strong and diverse zombie characterisation
    -the cunning zombie.. plans and strategises
    -bimbo zombie
    -the all brawn and no brain zombie
    -the artistic zombie
    -… etc, caricatures of stereotypes in our society

    4. Sex sex sex
    -Zombie with hyper sex drive…

    5. zombie mosquitoes..
    this is getting far-fetch… but oh well, why not….

  20. i was thinking more along the lines of you find your self waking up in a hospital its dark you find a dead body of a cop with a flashlight but his gun is missing ( i dont know why make up something) you grab the flashlight and search around not knowing what happend you then eventually end up outside where you find yourself in a military checkpoint it is abandoned but you look around for clothes and the whole thing happeing is wierd so you grab a spare gun from the supply area then you venture out into a zombie filled city in search for survivors and the truth on what happend to the world but thats just my idea

  21. Plot points for a zombie game?
    The recreation of the same bacterial infestation that killed the dinosaurs.
    An inanimate bacterial sample is found in a diansour bone and the Army runs tests on it to see if they can use it as a weapon.
    Well I have always liked the biological weapons lab experiment getting out.
    Maybe it is this radioactive bacteria that makes everyone go crazy, but the side effect is reanimation of the most animistic side of humans.
    The rest of the brain is dead, and the body, but the animal instinct to eat and kill is still there.
    You could have zombies that are just people infected by the radioactive viral test sample ArmyMil0438-2012. Also code named Red eye, because it makes the zombie like infected have glowing red eyes from the radiative component and the blood collected in the eyes.
    Scary red glowing eyed zombies with a radioactive signature. The signature makes them trackable on the HUD radar.
    Headshots are required to completely kill them since the radioactive bacteria resides in the brain and spinal column.

    So you need to collect samples of the bacteria to give to scientists so they can find something that can kill it, or protect the un-infected.
    Sample collection of different strains can be through out the entire game.

  22. Have it placed in New York City and have different types of zombies

    Make the team 4 becasue all systems have only four players but have more online.

    Have a part when there are zombies attacking them and they have to go on top of a tall building (Empire State Building) and have big fight scene and at the end you get cornered and two players should parachute off the building right before it collapses (Two player campaign co-op only but more online). Then your character wakes up and you find out you were caught before you died.

    Have a scene in a hospital because one of the main characters is bitten and later attacks you and you have a big battle scene and finally kill him.

    Have the cause of the virus because of H1N1.

    Have a whole background to the story that has different events in history such as World War II and Vietnam and the Cold War and Iraq.

    And if you need any more ideas I have tons and if you could put my name in the credits, that would be great.

  23. With the success of the Swedish zombie film “Let the Right One In”,any way to have children in the mix?…Good ones,not so good ones? I’m sure you’ve considered the VERY fast moving zombie as well too. It’s always a good idea to have the very reliable,trusted human that may or may not turn against you,etc.

  24. – A survivor sees a loved one they thought was dead
    – A zombie wearing full body armour
    – Crazed individual unable to distinguish between the zombies and the living
    – One of the survivors twists an ankle
    – Eating spoiled food

  25. You must fight against someone of your survivor in your group, because he went mad, when he looses his family and now is totally crazy, he blame you for his lost… and try to kill you… of course he’s a strong guy full with ammo and guns xD

  26. A stairway down in a damp room, concrete walls.Needed supplies are down there just visible, once you hit the floor zombies from under the stairwell come out for you!
    The character has to go into their parents house..parents come out as zombies, what do you do?
    Character has to board a bus half filled with seemingly normal people, finally you have found normal civilization, but behind the row of people are zombies!
    Your gf/wife is found about halfway through the game,she has a bite and is injured but appears fine,as the game progresses she slowly changes.

  27. The correct spelling for my name is Artur Correa

  28. Hey,

    One thing you should consider is the emotional states of the characters. The real driving force behind a zombie movie/comic/game is how people react to this and that event.

    There is a freeware game (arena shooter) called ‘Let’s Shooting Love’ – It’s not a zombie game but bare with me – in it your character mets other women who have different emotional states. When you unite with them your weapon changes and the longer you stay with the the more your weapon changes…also how you move is affected.

    The point is that with so many zombie games out you need a factor in your game that you can use to write off of and that will make it stand out.

    You can have key emotional responses like:

    -Fear (makes the character more cautious – slower moving with bouts of flight for any little thing – which can disrupt how the group or main character survives)
    -Anger (makes the character more prone to going ahead of the group or main character – meaning more danger – maybe having to heal him/her more or cut him from the group)
    -Insanity (character is incoherent or worst, a real wild card on how they respond to the player)
    -Depressed (character not willing to do much outside of the bare necessities)

    You can even have dmg affect or change their emotional state.

    My name is above if you want to credit with this. Also, I’m a writer so if you need a hand with scripts let me know.

    As always I enjoyed Dead Wake quite a bit – So good luck.

    Oh – Check out my thread on ‘Free And Legal PC Games’ if you like to find the game I mentioned above and more.

  29. Zombie pool: Something like a backyard that has a pool full of zombies.

    Exploding zombie heads: If you found a dead zombie’s head, you can use it as a granade.

    Armed Zombies. Why only humans can have a shotgun?

    Rescue mission. It could be a mission where you have to rescue some non infected humans. But later you discover that some of them were infected…Too late !!!

    Zombie traps. Some traps made by zombies, can make them appear intelligent.

    Infection vector. The infection could be transmitted by a vector ( a kind of spider for instance) You must shot then all !

    I would apreciate some mension of credits

  30. – Players come across a recently-deserted fort… It’s obvious by storage that it’s only been deserted for a short amount of time, and it’s also obvious that it was intentionally deserted with no intentions of returning, but there’s no explanation as to why. Then, hit them with either a zombie swarm that would have been big enough to see coming from a tower, or have the zombies that the old survivors kept in their basement break out.

  31. You should try doing something like idk… Underground train smashes with zombies behind all that or something like that.

  32. *Digital Camera for recon.

    *Custom make your own vehicle and have a level where you can kill zombies with an SUV/Car/Truck etc until you run out of gas.

    *A method to calm your crew from panicking, which increases a sense of urgency among your crew.

    *A scenario where you get bitten and turn into a zombie. The effects of turning take about 5 minutes and start effecting your movements, temperament, vision until you finally turn and try to kill/infect your friends

  33. -Survivors: Struggle for survival, people turning on each other, need for basic supplies such as food and water. Develop emotional bond with these survivors including background story e.g. looking for a lost daughter then have them brutally taken away by zombies to try and create an emotional response/attachment from the player towards this survivor

    -Government: Where is it? What are they doing to help? To make it feel like a realistic story the plot, things such as this need to be considered and explained so it feels more real.

    -Looking for family

    -Find clues as to how the outbreak happened

    -Search for a cure

    -Interesting environment: Not an encounter or event but a city such as London with lots of side streets with a mix of history and modern styles would be perfect for this sort of thing. A city full of glass skyscrapers in very defined blocks might not achieve the same effect.

  34. You know that the cold would be more of an problem, than help?
    No heating… People will get hypotermia… Zombies aren’t affected by cold, unless it’s -39 or -43 celsius degrees…

  35. – zombies hidding in trash cans (good to scare the “poop” out of the player)
    or in the trunk of the car which you drive to the safe spot?

    – one of friendly NPCs is infected but noone knows and suddenly…you know? Or you could even know that he’s infected and crying for not killing him and it’s up to you to decide (it’s a stress point for a player. It adds some adrenaline?)

    I’ll let you know if I come up by anything more :)

  36. Hi..

    ..maybe zombies eating zombies….like based on age targets….

    John Popadiuk
    Creator of Pinball Wizard! for iPhone

  37. – choice between weapons/ammo or food/meds
    – attempt to save other capable survivors
    – only form of transportation is a car/truck with no roof or windshield
    – found colonial era ship cannons
    – must cross area littered with zombie corpses, some dead, some just waiting
    – zombie heads chilling under desks
    – zombie falls through rafters/vents

  38. – boss fight (think Resident Evil Nemesis or the Axe-guy from RE5/Afterlife movie),
    – animals turned into zombies,
    – hot lady fighting almost naked,
    – evil corporation,
    – underground places (severs, basements),
    – prison or hospital with insane people.

  39. -difrent weapons
    -super zombie like nemesis
    -zombie animals(dogs,cats,ravens)
    -difrent city not ny maybe helsinki at winter blood look cool at snow
    -level system like diablo vitality, small guns etc.
    -hack and slash and lots of item around
    -u can use zombie blood like walking dead and smell like zombie a few min
    -if you use helsinki it will more survive cuz its cold in finland u know :)

  40. panic attack
    found a sick person, will they turn into a zombie?
    dead battery
    padlocked door
    floor cave in to the basement
    zombie in the back seat
    pick on person to hold back the tide while the rest escape
    trading dilemma (need keys for a lock but trader wants your battery for your get away car)

  41. -A Particular zombie may be holding a key or an item of interest to the group of survivors. Must find this zombie and recover item.
    -Players need to search for materials to reinforce safe house.

  42. only have a certain amount of supplies, have to make a choice of giving some to another survivor. If the player gave them the supplies they come back and help the player later on, if not they die?
    I’ll have a think of a few more :)
    good luck with it.

  43. Zombies cut into pieces are still alive.

    Two people are separated. Each has half of what is needed to survive (e.g. one has the gun, the other has the ammo).

    Frozen zombies thaw out.

    Helicopter or industrial equipment lops off zombie heads.

    Zombies are not attracted to animals. The trained dog can go where the humans can’t.

    One survivor recognizes a zombie as a former friend/relative, and won’t kill them.

  44. Hi!… I’m reading The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection from the Living Dead, from Max Brooks. 7 bucks at amazon…. It would give you a lot of zombie expertise.. ;)

  45. – weapon jam at critical moment
    – person survives battle but has a bitemark, slowly turns
    – ambushed by another group of survivors
    – found a safe haven but now others want in as well
    – army is sent in but eliminates zombies AND people
    – radio signal of group promising safety, turn out to be insane/twisted/lying
    – one person is left behind, need to go back for them

Comments are closed.