Post news RSS Introducing RIZN - A Zombie Survival Shooter

The first article for my third-person zombie shooter is an introduction to this solo project that I've been working on for the last two years, covers several recent updates, and also a bit of background about my experience as a programmer and game developer.

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RIZN /ri-zen/ (noun, slang): a reanimated corpse infected with R1Z-N; zombie; undead


With two years of development already behind me, I am quickly approaching a demo release for my third-person zombie shooter/survival game, RIZN. Players begin shortly after having been bitten and infected with R1Z-N and must shoot their way through large hordes of zombies, collecting brain samples for researching a potential cure to their affliction.

Featuring a max zombie count of well over one thousand, you will always be at risk of quickly being overwhelmed by the masses of undead that surround you, regardless of how slow their movement might appear. To add to the difficulty, there's a long list of different zombie types that spawn, including some with an assortment of helmets that make landing that killer headshot more difficult.

The Jackhammer Special Weapon

As the bodies pile up, you'll need to search the surrounding area and collect brain samples to craft Brain Stims that will provide temporary relief to the infection coursing through your body. As you explore quarantine zones, you'll come across research stations where some of these samples can be used to make progress on not only improving the effectiveness of the stims, but ultimately finding a cure for R1Z-N, saving you from the otherwise inevitable turn from human to walking dead.

Weapon Mods UI

You'll have access to dozens of standard weapons, each of which can be fully customized using nearly 100 mods ranging from scopes, stocks, speed loaders, barrels, and more. With a bit of luck, you'll also have the chance to collect all the parts necessary to assemble special weapons, including a grenade launcher that fires soda cans packed with gun powder and a modified electric drill that launches circular saw blades through any skull it comes into contact with.

The Buzzkill Special Weapon

Along the way you'll collect rubber bands, empty cans, black powder, and boxes of nails used to craft ever-more-powerful items that will help you make short work of any large group of undead and deliver maximum carnage. Body parts will fly, heads will explode, and blood will cover nearly every inch of the ground beneath your feet as you toss Powder Kegs, Bait Sticks, and Shrapnails at the masses and stand back to watch the world in front of you get painted in red.

Crafting UI

With over 20 unique characters to choose from, your story will be told through a graphic novel using real-time screen captures and will feature several pages that use an interactable interface to make choices that could affect your experience in big ways. The story will be told through comic book style pages that tie directly into the in-game user interface that's designed to mimic the narrative in every way, and if that's not enough then you'll have an endless selection of procedurally generated cities to keep you coming back for more mayhem via Survival Mode.

I've slated a demo for the end of this year to offer up a taste of the game for free so players can try before they buy, giving them access to several weapons, mods, craftable items, zombies, and procgen levels in an effort to ensure that the game is as ready for its release as possible. My hope is to deliver the zombie shooter experience I have always craved - one that focuses on as much gore and cartoon violence as possible via a world packed with more ragdoll-ready zombies than you've ever seen.

Recent Updates

Last week I finished up work on zombie accessories by adding sunglasses, straw hats, trucker caps, and more to several of the zombies I have at my disposal. These new additions add a nice touch of physics-driven comedy to an already absurd gameplay loop and also provide a nice bit of feedback to the player when headshots land that accents the already existent fountains of blood, skull fragments, and occasional brain samples. These additional items come at no cost to performance whatsoever outside of the brief few seconds in which these accessories are launched into the air, ensuring that my current 1,000+ zombie ceiling remains in-tact and unaffected.

Zombie Accessories

In keeping with adding a bit more uniqueness to the undead, I've also leveraged the Blender experience I've gained these last few years to model and prototype a walker for the elderly. This addition is currently pending as I will still need to overhaul my zombie spawning system before implementing it into gameplay but given that I found the end result incredibly amusing it, will certainly be present in the final release of the game and I look forward to putting the final version in place in the future.

Lastly, I began work on one of the two remaining major game systems that still need to be implemented: zombie attacks. The following depicts the first test of some animations in which the player will be grappled by a zombie and must break free before their carotid is torn away. There will be plenty of other attacks put in place as well, the majority of them will only result in damage to the player and possibly encourage nearby zombies to become ever more persistent in their pursuit of the player's brain.

About The Dev

I currently work as a freelance Unity developer which has been my official title for the last decade. Prior to my switch to this line of work, I hired myself out as a backend dev for mobile web applications. I have spent the last two years of my off time working on this project solo (with the help of the Unity Asset Store) in the hopes that by its completion I would have the zombie shooter I've always wanted to play. Rather than focusing on realism, I leaned into my love of cartoon violence and morbid sense of humor, and the more I worked the more it felt as though these zombies had become my own version of the MythBusters' famous test dummy, Buster. This project is backed by my over 20 years as a professional programmer, 10 years as a professional game developer, and over 3 decade's-worth of passion for video games. My only goal is to provide an entertaining game at a fair price to players who share in my love for games and who may share in my appreciation of airborne cartoon corpses and limbs.

Harvesting Zombies

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