Zombie Master 2 is a multiplayer RTS/ FPS hybrid utilizing Valve's Source 2013 engine. Players are thrust into the middle of a zombie apocalypse, forced to search the remnants of their world for weapons and equipment in order to remain alive. One player is freed from the weak flesh of his peers. A being of limitless power, he controls the grotesque hordes of undead in a constant battle against what is left of humanity. His name is spoken only in whispers, for fear of drawing his attention. For once his gaze is upon you, the true test begins.

Report article RSS Feed Zombie Master 2 - Progress Report - June 2013

Discussing recent development in Zombie Master 2, including the Source 2013 port, performance issues, custom shaders and future plans.

Posted by npc_violent on Jun 28th, 2013

I'm glad to announce that v1.0.2 is coming along quite nicely. The goal of v1.0.2 has been to fix all issues found in v1.0.1b. To implement features players have requested over time and time again. Even after this article is written, I will still be working on ZM2, finding ways to improve it. With that being said, expect more development after v1.0.2.

The Source 2013 Port

If you are unaware, Valve recently released Source SDK 2013. For the most part, Zombie Master 2 is ported to Source 2013. The only thing left to do is to reimplement all of the shaders.

Be prepared.Macro Manager in ZM2 2013Options in ZM2 2013 Survivor HUD in ZM2 2013 HL2MP Player Animation States in ZM2 2013Docks of the Dead on ZM2 2013 Spawn Menu in ZM2013 Traps in ZM2 2013 50 Shamblers in ZM2 2013

Some of the benefits of Source 2013 include:

  • Multi-core support: Getting the most out of your CPU/GPU.
  • Mac and Linux support: Mac/Linux clients may be released on v1.0.3
  • Updated rendering engine: Improved shadows, updated shaders, multi-core rendering.
  • Updated Steam API: Matchmaking, VPK mounting, new voting system.
  • Frequent updates: Source 2013 frequently updates with fixes and optimizations. Which means ZM2 will update along with it.

However, it seems that Source 2013 is missing vital files that I need to resume porting. Specifically the shader SDK. Fortunately, Source 2013 will be updated with it as well as other missing features in about a week.


After the release of v1.0.1b, the first issue that was looked into was performance. I began analyzing render budgeting and pixel fill sizes to figure out what was causing these performance hits. Most perf hits were caused by having too many render targets processing at once, resource demanding shaders ( Lens flare, SSAO ) and high polycount models. This was solved mostly in the port.

Any unused or duplicate RTs were removed. Certain RTs were resized to quarter or half resolution for performance. The projected texture culling was also updated for performance and stability.

As you may know, the weapon and ammo box models in ZM2 did not have LOD models. Because of this, they render in full detail no matter what distance, possibly causing another perf hit. So several LOD models were made. Here are a few examples:


SMG Ammobox
Revolver Ammobox
Shotgun Ammobox
MP5k World Model
Snubnose Revolver World Model
Glock 17 World Model

Low LOD Polycount


High LOD Polycount


New features

Macro Manager

A new option for the ZM to select that opens a separate configuration menu for macros.
Macro Manager WIP

Selective Colorization

As an alternative to creating several skins and models, I created a shader that colorizes selectively and generates designs. Once we have new hand modeled and rigged, we can reanimate all of the current weapons. Considering on implementing it into zombies and players for randomizing and customizing features and apparel colors.
Selective Colorization Shader
Updated Selective Colorization Shader

Blood Model Overlay

Currently used for melee weapons that cause bleeding. May use for gore effects. Still WIP.Blood Overlay Effect


* Some changes aren't listed*

  • Added blood model overlay
  • Added LOD models: Ammoboxes, weapons.
  • Added map specific cfgs: Mappers can place map specific cfgs in "zombie_masterob/cfg/maps"
  • Added selective colorization model shader
  • Added ZM Macro Manager
  • Fixed/Updated AI: Improved priorities, navigation. Fixed combat states, prediction, flinch anim.
  • Fixed/Updated dynamic damage forces: Improved reponse to attacks.
  • Fixed env_projectedtexture rendering shadows when they should be disabled.
  • Fixed func_tracktrain/func_door crushing players.
  • Fixed several convar discrepancies.
  • Fixed SKS force reloading.
  • Updated "Kill" command: ZMs submits instead.
  • Updated dust particle material: Modified alpha map.
  • Updated godrays: Improved performance.
  • Updated gore: Added bloodstream effect, improved performance.
  • Updated lens flare: Improved performance. Added autoexposure/desaturation.
  • Updated max rendering distance set to 2000.
  • Updated multiplayer options menu: Added "Lens Flare Brightness", "Sticky Radial Menus", "Light Density" options. Removed "Max Update Size","Update Rate per Second", "cl_cmdrate". SSAO, Lens flare disabled by default. Window GUI selected by default.
  • Updated preserve entities list on round restart.
  • Updated sparks particle material: Removed depth rendering.
  • Updated radial ZM interface: Menus stick to edges of the screen.

As I said before, expect more development to happen. New content is being coordinated and created by contributors and newer members of the ZM2 dev team. We're still looking for animators, skinners, modelers, mappers, sound artists and voice actors to help move development along. Any bit of help is appreciated and will be put to good use. When Zombie Master 2 becomes more presentable, we will apply for Steam Greenlight. And for those who are wondering, ZM2 will be published on Desura. That's all for now, till next time!

Thanks for reading,

Post comment Comments
VaTTeRGeR Jun 29 2013, 9:26am says:

awesome, but do you expect the sdk-update to come out in a week or a week of valve time? :D

+3 votes     reply to comment
npc_violent Author
npc_violent Jun 29 2013, 3:02pm replied:

Honestly, I expect it to come out sooner. If it doesn't, I understand it's possible to port the Source 2007 shader SDK to Source 2013.

+4 votes   reply to comment
WaffleAndy Jun 29 2013, 3:13pm says:

Really nice, keep up the good work guys :D

+3 votes     reply to comment
Arkanium Jul 5 2013, 4:48pm says:

Nice! Looks like you're doing some serious work to get the back-end stuff working nicely. I'm sure at this rate ZM2 will become very fun to play.

I'd like to hear in a bit more detail the changes you made to the AI, if possible. :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Guest Jul 9 2013, 3:06pm says:

I am really glad this mod is back, I would way rather play this than left4dead2 over and over again THANK YOU FOR BRINGING ZM BACK

+1 vote     reply to comment
Beeleebee329 Jul 18 2013, 3:25pm says:

Hello, I would like to apply as a voice actor.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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