Zombie Panic: Source is a co-op oriented Survivor Vs Zombie multi-player survival horror modification for HL2. While our main priority is to make the mod as fun to play as possible, ZP:S plans to greatly expand on the core features of "Zombie panic" For HL1, with the obvious new features, impressive visuals, and of course atmospheric maps. More importantly ZP:S will not force players to fend against dumb and predictable AI, but instead keep the same intense thrill of surviving against intelligent and persistent player controlled zombies as the original.

Report content RSS feed Half-Life 2 - The Zombie Mods

A look at some of the zombie mods to grace the Source engine.

Posted by SteveUK on May 5th, 2009

Over the last few years zombie mods have gained popularity. Zombie mods usually have similar gameplay mechanics and some have their own unique quirks; for example, Zombie Master: Source has an RTS element where a player has control over the zombies.

Garry's Mod

Garry's Mod itself has resulted in a few gamemodes of its own, like a mod of a mod. The most popular of these is Zombie Survival, which is actually very simple. One player spawns as the zombies, the rest have guns. The zombie player must kill all the other players and there's no real way to "win". Most of the time the zombies will win, but in fact, you really have lost.

The developer of an old gamemode ReDead, which as far as I can tell is a buggy and laggy zombie gamemode, has decided to make a new gamemode for the upcoming Fretta Gamemode Base which I mentioned in a previous blog post. This is a lot like ZS in ways, that being if you die you become a human-controllable zombie, and that kills upgrade your weapons; but unlike ZS it has AI zombies to watch out for which I most definitely welcome.

SNPCs (scripted NPCs) are extremely hard to get to work properly 70% of the time due to there being little-to-no documentation on them. However, despite these possible shortcomings this in-development gamemode has done well. You can preview it by getting the Garry's Mod beta (see the Fretta post) or joining game1.facepunch.com from within Garry's Mod.

It's not really fair to critically analyse gamemodes since there's only so much you can do with the Lua scripting implementation inside of Garry's Mod which really does limit how well you can do things. So I'll leave that up to you to decide whether you like them or not.

Zombie Panic: Source

Zombie Panic is one of the few mods that have been released on Steam, and to be honest I don't see how. Well, now that I think about, a mod with Steamworks should not be an indication of mod quality. The mod is quite reminiscent of the Garry's Mod gamemode Zombie Survival which I got bored of extremely quickly, the entire gameplay is a random player spawning as a zombie while the others get guns and try and kill the other zombies and survive in the process.

This game seems extremely easy when you're on the human side, and as you'd expect it's extremely hard when you're the only zombie. As soon as I typed that sentence I can imagine a million 13 year olds commenting on this telling me I'm a n00b and I suck, well unfortunately it's what makes this game hard to get into. Zombies seem to make a lot of noise, a lot more than humans do which I think makes it little bit harder for zombies seeing as soon as a human hears you they'll turn around and pound you with bullets. It's a sight you get used to.

On humans, it still has its fair share of frustrations. The more experienced players will know as soon as they spawn where the uber powerful guns are whilst you're limited to a low powered pistol which requires a couple of magazines to kill a zombie. So, unless you play the game enough you're not going to have much fun at all, once you've played for a few hours you might get used to it but I lost patience.

Site: Zombiepanic.org
Final Verdict:
5/10. It has some very nice levels and textures, gameplay needs sorting though.

Zombie Master: Source

Zombie Master is the mod I mentioned above with the strategy elements. These RTS elements are pretty basic and don't really affect the gameplay that much, it would be the same if it was entirely controlled with the AI that already exists in the Source engine; the exact thing that's meant to make it different really doesn't make it feel different unless you're the one in charge.

When I first connected to a server it asks you which genre of game you prefer, if you were primarily a RTS or an FPS gamer. I'm sure if you click RTS you have a chance of becoming one next round, but being the FPS player I am, I clicked the FPS option making it so I would focus on the FPS elements. Though, from here it seems that they focused mainly on the RTS element of the game.

Other than the RTS elements the game is very bland and the rarity of ammo is painfully excruciating at best. If you find a pistol, it's only gonna come with a single loaded mag. Sure it's "realistic" but it sure isn't "fun" is it? On discovering the lack of ammo, you try and find more but none is to be found, which purposely puts the game in favour of the zombies, unless you're brave enough to face a horde of zombies with whatever melee weapon you have available.

I got bored of this in less than a map's time, it really doesn't appeal to me at all as an FPS fan. Sorry guys.

Site: Zombiemaster.org
Final Verdict:
3.5/10. That's just for the RTS part.

ZombieMod: Source

ZombieMod is in its youth, and has a lot of problems; unlike the rest of the bunch it's the one I believe has the most promise. The reason I believe it has promise is from the fact it is very simple, and simplicity works.

It has two gamemodes, survival and infection. Both are just as simple as each other.

Infection is the zombie gamemode everyone's used to from the other mods where one player is the zombie and must infect the rest of the populace. However, this does one thing differently, instead of dying then respawning as a zombie you instantaneously become a zombie at the spot which is an interesting twist but on near-empty servers this can result in very short rounds, and as soon as the first zombie is dead and they don't infect anyone, the round restarts – this is a bit annoying.

Now, survival, it's exactly what you would expect; constantly respawning waves of zombies rather dimly walking towards you with the objective of killing you. This mode is very, very easy indeed. You can just aim your automatic assault rifle into the abyss and you're racking up lots of kills in no time, and with kills comes money so you can always get more ammo. If it was a bit harder it would be a lot more fun to play, and maybe with a few teamplay elements (healing teammates and such) it should be very promising.

It's not to say that survival will be on-par with what you get from Left 4 Dead, but it has a lot of potential to be a good mod, and with the release soon, release often model and in addition to that it's doing pretty much everything right so far. It just needs to get from the state its in now with no models of their own (they're borrowed, with permission from FPSBanana
skin authors) and many bugs to the perfect third party modification.

Site: Ke0.us
Final Verdict:
5/10, that said this one needs to be watched as it evolves.

And closing…

So in conclusion, mods on the Source engine are currently not very inspired and only one I think has any hope amongst the likes of Left 4 Dead. I think this is a shame, back in the old Half-Life/Goldsrc days there were a lot of mods and many of them experimenting with new game ideas and different tastes on the ones that already exist, why isn't there any more than they are? Is modding getting too difficult or are people just running out of creativity?

A lot of mods are dying within weeks, and it's very annoying to see when some great ideas just get thrown in the trash.

This is an article I originally wrote for my personal blog.

Post comment Comments  (0 - 50 of 88)
awesomepossum May 6 2009 says:

There are plenty of inspired and totally awesome mods on the source engine. (they're just not zombie mods) I'd have to say the problem you seem to find with all these zombie mods is that there is only so much you can do with a zombie mod. Kill hoards, avoid being infected, use blunt objects to bash skulls in. If you make a zombie mod, you are forced to lose a bunch of development time just creating the standard zombie dispatching weapons so that fans of the genre don't immediately pass you over. Perhaps the next zombie mod should try experimenting more and then add in the usual stuff later if it is necessary.

+4 votes     reply to comment
SteveUK Author
SteveUK May 6 2009 replied:

I think that you're thinking in the wrong order. I feel that the basics should be in first, then you can toy with the experimental stuff.

-1 votes   reply to comment
bomblol May 6 2009 replied:

Why bury him -8? Jesus christ.

+2 votes     reply to comment
pedro0930 May 6 2009 says:

I would say Zombie Panic started it all and the CSS zombie mods, which is pretty much inspired by ZP brought this genre to the forefront.

Honestly, a lot of the stuff you wrote here is simply not true. ZM and the lack of ammo appear in the same sentence (alright, technically that's possible, but most maps are extremely generous with ammo)? I also think you should try the RTS part a few times (the main selling point of the mod, FFS) before commenting on the mod. The cunning employed by the zombie master is unmatched by the AI director in L4D can ever hoped to be (since the AI director is not trying to "win", so I guess it doesn't really need to be to terribly good)

+9 votes     reply to comment
SteveUK Author
SteveUK May 6 2009 buried:


This was my opinion after playing it a few times, the FPS part of ZM feels really bland and incomplete. I'll have a go at the RTS side as I might just enjoy the role of being the "AI director".

-8 votes   reply to comment
UnInvincible May 6 2009 replied:

It's called the "Zombie Master", hence the title of the mod.

+8 votes     reply to comment
smokeythebear May 7 2009 replied:

Wow this whole 'review' is a joke. I hope moddb staff remove it.

+4 votes     reply to comment
smokeythebear May 7 2009 replied:

Here are my favorite quotes from this crap review. Remember hes talking about the mod hes a dev for...

"It just needs to get from the state its in now with no models of their own and many bugs to the perfect third party modification."

"So in conclusion, mods on the Source engine are currently not very inspired and only one I think has any hope amongst the likes of Left 4 Dead."

"A lot of mods are dying within weeks, and it's very annoying to see when some great ideas just get thrown in the trash."


+6 votes     reply to comment
gregfriis May 6 2009 says:

What we need is BrainBread: Source. :(

The original was so fun.

+7 votes     reply to comment
Sanjuaro May 6 2009 replied:

It still is fun.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Mr.John May 6 2009 replied:

no players?

+2 votes     reply to comment
kmarvell125 May 6 2009 replied:

I agree. Brainbread is the only zombie mod worth a damn.

-2 votes     reply to comment
Mr.John Jun 14 2009 replied:

ZPS is a very good game thinking that It was awesome back in 1999-2001. Then the source engine came and they made ZPS just to re-edit the same idea with bether grapics, so kinda its a remake of the original. Many poor companies that dont make very good games do remake them when they turn out AWESOME. Althrough ZM sucks very hardcore, they do give you a waste of time atleast. ZPS are also a game still on the first level. The game design and level design + skinning/scripting is ORIGINAL! One of the best mods Ive ever played. Only SMOD may beat them, if they tried hard enough, but they failed. ValVe do make good zombey/alien mods but they are basicly the same ideas again and agian, and they do make REALLY bad skins. But it holds..

Cheers to ValVe, ZPS Dev Team, and Agent Red Productions.

ZM fail at alot of stuff!

Also, Brainbread looked bether on the HL engine than the HL2 Engine, from what Ive seen in the trailers. BrainBread ROCKS!!

-2 votes     reply to comment
johnnoz May 6 2009 says:

hmm, i'd have to violently disagree with your opinion of ZP: Source but then again its a game thats pretty community dependant; if your new and you play on with ****** people i can see you getting put off it. Also the human/zombie balance in my experience really depends on the map.

+4 votes     reply to comment
Aaagreen May 6 2009 says:

You forgot Left 4 Dead, the immensly popular zombie mod developed by Turtle Rock Studios.

Just because Valve bought TRS and edited/published the game themselves doesnt remove the fact that L4S is 100% pure mod.

-3 votes     reply to comment
MrTambourineMan May 6 2009 replied:

You got it all wrong, TRS were making L4D in collaboration with Valve to begin with - it was intended as a commercial game from day 1 and since they had this intense collaboration(even before L4D)with each other valve acquired them and helped them make a game. It's really a TRS/Valve joint effort.

+2 votes     reply to comment
francolun Jun 11 2009 replied:

l4d is NOT a mod

0 votes     reply to comment
Swaggletooth May 6 2009 buried:


I would agree with your verdicts on the mods - Zombie Panic Source is certainly a pretty unsatisfying campfest. Zombie Master isn't fun to play either - as much as people might say "it's all about the RTS aspect" only one player can take on that role, so the FPS side should at least be enjoyable.

One thing I will say is that this article seemed quite brief and lacking an overarching structure to it. You obviously know what makes a good game, just try polishing up on your English!

-9 votes     reply to comment
SteveUK Author
SteveUK May 6 2009 buried:


I suppose the writing structure of articles comes more from experience rather than a learned skill. So I'm writing articles for fun in order to expand my skills.

Hopefully, I can discover a definitive structure in order to write my articles with. I kinda write each sections in small bursts and alternate between them which may seem a little unorganised.

-15 votes   reply to comment
izzysinz May 6 2009 says:

Whatever your views on zombie master and zombie panic i honestly cant believe you would rate zombiemod higher. the mapping is subpar and they are using 3rd party models and skins (with their permission most likely, i am not saying their stolen) In my eyes a good mod needs originality. i see no originality at all yet in zombiemod. Even the name is appauling. You say simplicity is a good thing, i personally think if you try to simple like this mod has you begin watering down the genepool. The only thing i like about zombiemod is the buy menu, (not original) and the game types.

Zombie master was unbeliveably fun when i began playing with my friends. The level design plays a huge part in this. If you play a server with a dodgy map you will get a dodgy playing experience. Also it relies heavily on the Zombie master. If the master spams out banshees it makes for appauling gameplay. The way it should be done is by teasing players and always letting them think victory is possible but always preparing your traps well.

Zombie panic is one of the most original mods. end of. It has pretty much paved the way for HL2 zombie mods. I personally dont play that much and i can see your arguments against it have a lot of points, but you still can not deny the vast amount of wok and effort that goes into and is still going into this mod.

+3 votes     reply to comment
card176 May 6 2009 says:

Zombie Master and ZPS are GOOD mods don't judge them like that it is so much fun playing ZPS and Zombie Master but playing ZMS WAS boring only infection or gamemodes with PCZ(player controlled zombies) are fun and not laggy(in Frames Per Second). I relied on custom content(maps, upgrades,ETC.) to keep me going but i think you underestimated the possibilities of those mods(except ZMS but that mod is horrible to me the lag when play maps with AI).ALSO you are rating 5/10 TO SOMETHING THAT IS PRACTICALLY THE SOME TO Zombie Master(i mean ZMS not ZPS)

+1 vote     reply to comment
AJ_Quick May 6 2009 says:

well that was pretty scathing...

ZP:S definitely has fun moments, despite its issues... imho

0 votes     reply to comment
Roland_of_Gilead May 6 2009 says:

You didn't mention the most important feature in ZP:S


That's what makes the mod really interesting and dynamic.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Nokiaman May 7 2009 replied:

No. It is most boring feature. Zombs get bored

-2 votes     reply to comment
Daystranger May 6 2009 says:

Agree with arguments about ZPS.
Good maps, some clever ideas.
BUT unbalanced, poor gameplay and crappy models.

0 votes     reply to comment
medve May 6 2009 says:

the problem is that most of the maps suck, and some elements of the games are not really "fun". so valve made an official mod containing zombie mod feautures and hiddensource, and valve named it left4ead. this mod will surely ruin the community: 1 gets allt the zombie players from other mods, 2: for ***** sake it doesnt even have an sdk.

0 votes     reply to comment
naah May 6 2009 replied:

Left 4 Dead is getting an SDK...

+1 vote     reply to comment
Daystranger May 6 2009 replied:

If community is built ONLY because there is nothing else to play, it MUST be "ruined".

Left4Dead is like modding exam:
Highly polished zombie mod gone retail.
Cant keep up with crappy unbalanced zombie mod?
No one gonna miss it.

Personally, I like it.

-1 votes     reply to comment
UnInvincible May 6 2009 says:

Holy lord you need to do some research before you should even think about doing a review. Zombie Master isn't about shooting up zombie hordes, it's about working as a team with the other survivors to complete the map's objectives. The devs didn't want a million weapons in the game because it's unrealistic and is unnecessary. The weapons they have in the game cover every situation you could be in, and since you can only carry one primary and one secondary at a time you need to work with your teammates.

And you admit that you didn't even play as the Zombie Master but you still believe you can judge the game as a whole. You didn't even mention that there are traps that the Zombie Master can activate, which usually makes maps very interesting for the survivors and ZM alike. Now admittedly your experience in the game does depend quite heavily on the map, but that's just a minor annoyance involved with allowing community content. But I believe a good reviewer is supposed to give a game more than 4 minutes of playing time before judging it. Also, if you choose a good server then usually there are regular players who always know which maps are good or bad.

"A lot of mods are dying within weeks, and it's very annoying to see when some great ideas just get thrown in the trash."
Good lord Zombie Master has been around for more than 2 years and it still has full servers all the time.

+9 votes     reply to comment
Rukus_ May 6 2009 says:

Zombie Surivival is a rip-off of Zombie Panic, so it sucks. Zombie Panic itself has been in the works since 2004 and I think they have a pretty good balance. You just have to play more than ONE ROUND as the zombie to figure it out.

Playing a zombie is much like playing a spy, except no backstabs.

+4 votes     reply to comment
pupkin May 6 2009 replied:

ZPS is way better then ZMS, at least they have custom models, and dont steal anything. Also they have a lot of great maps, something ZM:S doesnt have for sure. And btw, sry but I cant understand how you can judge over the community and gameplay of the mod when you say, you played once on a server. May it be ZM or ZPS, there are great frienly AND mature players on both games. Of course there are kids too, but they are on most games, whilst you use that fact to put down a certain game. Also I can't agree about ZM, it can be incredibly fun, if you play on a good map with friendly people (who are on most servers) and a skilled ZM, you get a gameplay even better then L4D...

+2 votes     reply to comment
AlCool May 9 2009 replied:

L4D barely has gameplay.

+3 votes     reply to comment
PrivRyan May 8 2009 replied:

don't forget no cloaking either :p

+1 vote     reply to comment
Knights May 6 2009 says:

Wow steve, thankyou for your pointless deprecated opinions on these mods. You should get your facts straight with ZPS and Gary's mod first off, ZombiePanic came out before Gmods ZP rip off came about. I love how you are basically comparing this too L4d too, as soon as I saw that I knew where this whole thing was going. ZPS has the player count considering it has being out so long now so that must mean we did something right, so please **** off.
Love Knights

+10 votes     reply to comment
CSargeP May 6 2009 says:

Well you just ****** off a large chunk of the mod community. Obviously these mods are doing things right if they still have a loyal fanbase after all this time. And obviously you don't know your *** from your elbow when it comes to playing a zombie mod. If it's not your kind of thing that's fine, but don't scare away new players just becuase you didn't like it.

+8 votes     reply to comment
jk6959 May 6 2009 says:

The sheer lack of experience of the reviewer in these games is ridiculous. Playing just a map of Zombie Master and judging it on that is completely stupid.

ZPS - I find this game pretty good, and had more replayability than L4D did before the survivor pack (don't play either atm - third year finals looming). I'd give it 7-8/10 as there are enough fun maps and can get great laughs with good teams.

ZM - This game is unique in the FPS / RTS feel (Haunting 2.0 for UT3 feels similar) and it can be great - but:

1) The fun/quality of each game is based on the ZM > Map > Team
2) Having human ZM feeling like AI ZM is stupid, humans have funny plans, talk to you, spam the sh*t out of you and screw up. Being ZM on Tetris_New_42 or w/e it's called can be hillarious.
3) If you like the challenge - lack of ammo is fun // If you don't like the challenge, try different maps or even Upgrades servers

Zombie Mod Source - Only a little experience here - it seemed to have potential, but in the state I last played it, I had more fun with other games (If you like the Wave of Zombies thing, or even the Zombie Master Thing - Look at Haunted for UT3, really cannot recommend this enough for HL Zombie game fans - Moddb.com)

+4 votes     reply to comment
Armageddon104 May 6 2009 says:

Okay this is all not very good...

+2 votes     reply to comment
rellik_pt May 6 2009 says:

zps can be fun if you know how to play and cleary steveUK you dont.

i can say your reviews are the worst i see in moddb. one server one map and the game sucks?

so the shotgun sunrise a zombie mod is what a 1 in 10 just for having one map and full bugs?

+2 votes     reply to comment
LokiFoki May 6 2009 says:

Anyone seen that SteveUK is in the developer group of zombiemod:source and listed as a developer of said mod.
So how can he make an unbiased review of those zombie mods? He can't!
And why does he sound so negative a about zombie mods in general? He seems to be a developer of one of those mods! He just badmouths every zombie mod except his own.
The reviews of ZM, ZP:S and that garry thing are just negative. The review about *cough* his own *cough* zombiemod:source is quite balanced and ends with stuff like "the developers are doing everything right" and "it has a lot of potential".

I wonder why such a review ends up on the moddb frontpage. I always thought everything gets checked before being shown there.

+20 votes     reply to comment
DjBourgeoisie May 6 2009 says:

Pretty poorly written reviews and obviously not a whole lot of thought put into writing it imo. On the one hand he states he wants to see originality but then trashes the mods who do things outside the norm (zombie panic and zombie master). Exactly what is he comparing these mods to exactly, retail titles? I found the quote "Zombie Panic is one of the few mods that have been released on Steam, and to be honest I don't see how" to pretty much prove the writer has no clue. There is a reason Valve offered them a steam slot, hmmm could it be alot of people play zombie panic source? Pointless article.

+9 votes     reply to comment
Pwnzorman May 6 2009 says:

Try playing games for more then 10 minutes before making reviews. k thanks bye

+9 votes     reply to comment
worbat May 6 2009 says:

I stopped thinking this might be a decent overview when you added 'source' on the end of zombie master. How can you write a review when you can't even get the name right.

Also you said you played each game a fair bit and yet you said on one of the mods that you played for 10 minutes.

"I got bored of this in less than a map's time"
And you did not touch the RTS element. How is this a fair review. Honestly why is this front page.

+9 votes     reply to comment
omegamaelstrom May 7 2009 replied:

Quite frankly, if i got 'bored after less than a maps time' i would never play it again either. It's the only one that I haven't played though. But I imagine if i don't like the other 2, i won't like ZM either.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Ynkyr May 6 2009 says:

People like zombies. Everybody should have one!

+2 votes     reply to comment
OkeiDo May 6 2009 says:

Most people have said what needs to be said but I feel this must be said again. Why is this on the front page?

+8 votes     reply to comment
Tokoya May 6 2009 says:

...Not to bash on the Zombie Mod Source devs, but what exactly do they have that the other established zombie mods don't already do better? Yeah the game does have potential, but I hardly see how potential puts it above a Valve approved mod?

I call shenanigans!

+3 votes     reply to comment
jk6959 May 6 2009 replied:

They don't have their own skins, they don't have bording up defensive areas... it was just surviving waves of zombies. If it's fine-tuned more it could be reasonable, but it'll never be ZM/ZPS, and if you're into the surviving waves of zombies just watch UT3 Mod The Haunting 2.0 // UT2k4 Killing Floor, both are much better examples.

+2 votes     reply to comment
broadsword May 6 2009 says:

Anyone who can say ZombieMod: Source is better then Zombie Master need to get their head taken off. Actually, this whole list sucks... I mean, I personally think Zombie Master is ******* amazing 8/10 at least but 10/10 for me personally because I have had so much great times with it. Zombie Panic is right on par with ZM, a bit less fun to play but really pretty for a mod and it also deserves an 8/10. ZM:S got the five it deserves. Anyway, your opinions sucks, your standards are too high, GTFO.

Why is this on the front page?

+5 votes     reply to comment
Aimforthehead May 6 2009 says:

'zombie' as a gender isn't necessarily unoriginal, it all depends on how the gameplay, story, and characters develop and represent themselves.
The only problem with these mods is they focus too heavily on the action aspect, when that's not what makes a good zombie game/movie/anything. It's the emotional part. Hiding under a bed because the room has 3 zombies that are trying to find you, being stuck in your attic and running out of food but your house is full of zombies, etc.
For me anyway, that's what I love about zombie stories, how the people try to cope with it and how they respond, and the environment and stuff.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Killer_man_1996 May 6 2009 says:

some zombie mods aren't mentioned like OMFGZOMBIESLOL...

+3 votes     reply to comment
UnInvincible May 6 2009 replied:

This man has a point. It is my personal opinion that OMFGZOMBIESLOL completely revolutionized the zombie mod, and maybe videos games as a whole, forever.

+4 votes     reply to comment
SupaNinjaMan Jun 6 2009 replied:

I was going to say they missed omfgzombieslol.

I likes it bunches.
(that's why i'm the only person to release a map for it.)

+1 vote     reply to comment
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