Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead

So as a Survivalist(virtualy, turns out the actual world is pretty rough) and a Roguelikeist I’ve been finally getting into Cataclysm. I really should have been onto this game alot sooner. It’s like Rogue Survivor’s gritty big brother. No tiles yet but the gameplay is much much deeper. I should point out that the dev team has put up a kickstarter to give themselves a Dwarf Fortress style cash infusion. That is, the game is and will remain free but they want donations to fund a period of full time development. Considering the work they have done so far it seems reasonable.

As to the game itself ive been dying horribly and repeatedly in a ‘The Mist’ style apocalypse, minus the actual mist but with all sorts if nasty critters along with Left 4 Dead style zombies. I do like the option for a traditional Romero style scenario. Now I’ve graduated to reading wikis and watching a good youtube series on why everything I’ve been doing with my traditional roguelike attitudes is actually getting me killed quite quickly

I’ve seen this mentioned in the Roguelike thread but considering the depth of this game I would hope to hear from any veterans we may have here.

Tom M

Is that the actual game title or just a catchy forum title? Want to know what to google and not wade through tons of wow results.

Sorry I really should have put links in but on my phone it’s a little tougher for me. It is the actual title although ‘Cataclysm DDA’ is a common search thread too.

Tom M

Link to the project page:

Tom M

This is the best and most fun sandbox roguelike around, even better than Dwarf Fortess fun-wise (and much simpler to understand, while retaining a huge amount of detail).

Nothing beats taking control of a Schoolbus and ramming into zombies. The problem is to find a vehicle that still has gas, or a gas station not infested by zombies. And everything can be destroyed better than Battlefield 3.

I’d suggest getting a square font for these games, though.

Getting a well stocked vehicle can be fiddly but it’s a hell of a lot of fun. And if you do really well you can make a heavily armored murder-van and travel across the infinitely generated countryside exploring and adventuring.

I do wish Rogue Survivor was still being worked on though. They’re two different takes on it. Rogue Survivor is relatively simple and straightforward and puts you in a finite sandbox and lets you have at it with/against NPC survivors that are by and large playing by the same rules you do. Cataclysm DDA is sprawling and random up the ass and has you playing by yourself since (At the moment) NPCs are broken, dumb, and best left turned off. Both a hell of a lot of fun since they’re wildly divergent takes on survival roguelikes. Then there’s Unreal World, but I have yet to give Unreal World a fair shake.

I’m almost to the point where I can process the environment in this one. I’ve managed to poke inside a lab a bit and start to see interesting things. I’ve made better characters but they’re mostly of the make a sharp stick or find a bludgeon and wack a zombie variety. I got a little ways with a guy who thought he was Darryl until he realized he only had one bolt. Yep, hitting my stride now that interesting stories are coming out of my still doomed runs.

I’m using the static spawn, meaning the critter population of a given town is spawned along with the location rather than groups appearing later out of no where. Downside is that there are no shopping sprints before the groups spawn in but it does make clearing a location plausible.

Tom M

I only fiddled here and there with the game, and usually I was just shooting things for fun before being overwhelmed by zombies.

But I think the default strategy is actually wait for the night before heading into town, and use a silent weapon like a bow:

Though with static spawns (no respawns?) it’s probably more doable using guns.

Yeah, guns are really dangerous when used in towns. My favorite starter is smashing benches in the starting shelter until you get a two by four and enough nails, then scrounge around outside for a rock, and craft a nail board. Really solid whackin’ stick. Even better if you can upgrade it to a nailbat, but that requires some looting and luck. Combine that with strategic window and bush use and you’ll be fairly well off to start with.

I especially like it when you start getting fairly well situated and you’re regularly boiling water and cooking meat and have a camp set up somewhere and make scavenging runs. Had one character that was living in an empty mansion well away from the towns. Smashed up a bunch of furniture for fire wood and had a pool for easy access to water to boil. Caught the flu and was living in there sick and miserable for a week or two, even fought and killed a giant wolf spider that got (Probably spawned) inside while sick, then was killed when… A new version of the game came out and I didn’t bother trying to move his save over.

The inventory system is clunky and frustrating but I really like the decision to incorporate volum and weight the way they did. It makes since that you don’t walk around with a magic bag of holding and that the load has to go somewhere on your body. Maybe I don’t understand it completely yet but it would be nice when a melee is imminent to drop a full backpack to the ground with all the clutter together rather than using the multi drop menu.

I’m glad the kickstarter is working out. For a 0.6 its a pretty complete experince. I really hope full time development gives it some nice polish. All it needs now is a scoring system and then Tom Chick would play.

Tom M

Because it was developed for quite a while, then the original developer lost interest and the project passed hands thanks to it being open source. So now there are different peoples handling it, and most of the game was already in place.

That means it’s already quite mature, and past the point of most other roguelikes.

This amazing game just released another stable version. Three quick posts to break it up, first their announcement:

The Brin release is named in honor of significant improvements to PC/NPC relations. This release, containing over 9,000 changes brings an unheard-of amount of new features and content, most of which wants you dead.

Start your adventure in a wide variety of different locations, with a selection of different starting scenarios, now with unique character traits. Explore new locations, some of which are ridiculously big (did somebody say ‘mall’?), and some of which have inhabitants that don’t want to eat you for a change. Vehicles have gotten some love, and now form a basis for an electrical network should you desire to build one. If you’ve ever wanted to strap a C4 pack onto an RC car and drive it under a Zombie Hulk, you got your chance.

As usual, the official stable builds are available from the website:
Linux Curses
Windows terminal.

Here’s the changelog, I had to remove some sections to keep within the board’s character limit:

Change Log

Random characters have professions applied.
Wearable tools.
Martial arts techniques can trigger when wielding appropriate weapons.
Wing mirrors for vehicles.
Prototype hordes.
Adjust zombie speed with mods.
Made butcher menu’s first entry match the butcher hotkey, so you can just hold down the button to butcher all.
You can dig down stairs with proper equipment.
Scabbards, holsters and sheathable weapons.
At high skills you can quick draw/attack with weapons.
Fish spawn as distinct creatures, and they’re used for fishing checks.
Quivers for arrows.
Furniture can act as a tool.
Corpses rot and eventually disappear.
Armor is assigned to a layer, and armor on different layers doesn’t impose layering penalties.
Destroyed vehicle parts get ripped off the vehicle.
Player can start at various locations.
Special support for mapsharing installs:
lock down debug menu
lock players to their username
more configurable file placement
locks around map files
Language switch is dynamic now.
Guns such as revolvers no longer eject casings when fired, they’re instead ejected on reload.
Internal furnace and Battery System CBMs are toggleable so you’re less likely to eat random objects by accident.
Spending more time near traps has incremental chance of finding them, spotted traps are remembered.
Thrown items above a trap-defined threshold will trigger traps.
You can now peek through curtains and some doors.
Smashing a broken window again clears out the broken glass (relatively quietly).
Autopickup can get at anything you can reach, i.e. adjacent tiles.
Can set exclusion zones for autopickup, so you can avoid accidentally picking up all your stuff in your base.
Contents of books are unknown until first read (which is faster than usual).
Can craft recipes if you have a book in range that provides it.
Can learn recipes by practicing them.
Roof of the vehicle you’re currently in is not drawn.
Faction hostility is back.
Kiln operates without player being nearby.
Radio operated items.
Switched to seed-based weather generation.
Options are only displayed when they are applicable to your build.
Can perform unspeakable acts upon zombies to turn them into your packmule slave thing.
Messages give feedback on melee misses.
Foraging is seasonal, fruits will grow each season, but once picked are gone until the next.
Pet menu to interact with friendly monsters.
Starting scenarios stitch together profession, traits, and starting location.
Picking up and dropping multiple items is now an interruptable activity.
Activatable mutations.
Heavily moddable gun platform.
Fire creates invisible hot air fields, which meander around in enclosed spaces and warm them up.
Factored windchill and humidity into body temperature calculations.
Vehicles smash items when they (wheels) run over them.
Refined vehicle/terrain collisions.
Hulks and Brutes now have a very damaging fling attack.
Jumper cables can be used to link together electrical systems of vehicles, including vehicles outside the reality bubble.
Crafting a large batch of items can apply a discount to the crafting time required.
Overhaul of “cut up” system:
Cannot cut up an item if it includes a material that can’t be cut up (e.g. shotgun).
Cutting up returns items from each material that makes up the item.
Cuting up most items should respect the total volume of the item.
Most terrain can be smashed now, if you can hit it hard enough.
Can turn individual vehicle engines on and off.
Filling an item with water from e.g. a river is now an interruptable action.

Give most starting professions decent starting equipment.
Nether spawns near corpse spawns.
Capped skill gain from many activities, especially crafting.
Melee weapons can take wear and tear damage based on their primary material.
Categorized CBMs you can get from butchering things.
Armor values nerfed.
Mutagen spawn rates slashed.
Overhauled mp3 player morale bonus to make micromanagement of it suboptimal.
Amount of damage blocked by a block technique based on strength and skill of blocker.
Removed acid rain until it can be made into a local event.
Nerfed speed of many zombie animals.
Starting professions supplied with cold-weather gear to match the expected climate.
Standing in a fire less likely to ignite clothes.
Lying in fire (when one or more legs is at 0HP) causes MUCH more damage.

New monster, Wraith.
Hops, barley, and molasses as brewing ingredients.
Yeast for fermenting brews and baking some bread foods.
Sugar beet as a renewable source of sugar.
Fruit wine and Brandy.
Moonshine and home-brewed beer.
Grappling hook.
Many new house layouts.
Wells and well digging.
CQB CBM that provides martial art style.
Warehouse building.
Decorative terrain and furniture.
Parasites and diseases from unsafe foods.
Curtains for vehicle doors and windshields, privacy please!
Foraging (in bushes, shrubs, trees).
Towel usable for many handy things (still not at HHGttG level).
hehe, honey.
Wearable rx12 auto-injector.
Motel locations.
Slime mutants can slip through tight spaces, spawn friendly slimes.
Some insect-like mutants can sip nectar from flowers (but at a cost…)
Mutagen gives you wings! (butterfly wings)
Bird mutations.
Killed bots drop (disassemblable) broken bot items instead of corpses.
Bear mutations.
Bio operator zombie.
Spider nest basements.
Nice looking road ends and roundabouts.
Exploding gasbag zombies.
Pizza parlor building.
Notes left by other survivors scattered all over.
Brain blob directs nearby blobs to move intelligently.
Mall location.
Several toolbox items to streamline carrying around your crafting needfulls.
Cotton and many cotton-based recipes and items.
Plant mutations.
Audit of all item prices to try and get a sensical baseline for them.
Supercharged military turrets.
Make Fedora activatable, m’ilady.
Road barricades.
Rollerblades and skates.
Evac center and piles of NPCs and missions.
Bandit camps.
RC car and remote-detonated bombs, and a remote controlled lamp.
Automated gas stations.
E-ink tablet and laptops can display recipes and act like books.
Can take pictures of monsters and view them on laptops or tablets.
Fish traps.
A “Thrilling” monster easter egg.
Riot control bot.
Extensive mutation chain culminating with player effectively joining the Marloss faction.
Extensive expansion of Marloss monsters/structures.
Various power substations, with new monsters.
Diesel added as a vehicle fuel.
Added craftable pontoon bridges.
Rat mutants can burrow, Cephalopod mutants can grow a large shell, lizards can regrow limbs.
Many new starting locations.
Curing hides and tanning leather.
Full coverage of tiles in Retrodays and MShock’s tilesets!

Expanded armor layering window.
Added way to swap panes in AIM.
Animation and duration for smoking activity.
Action menu that displays all actions in a tree menu.
Highlight things you can interact with when 'e’xamining.
Many strings are properly pluralized and have support for doing so when translated as well.
Standardized overmap building colors.
Vehicle examine menu shows used/capacity of fuel tanks and cargo space.
SDL builds can play music.
Log messages colorized.
Books colorized by category.
Different weather types get their own animations.
Save/load log messages.
Fuzzy river borders.
Scrolling text animations when things are damaged and on some effects triggering.
Lots of menus now have sorting, categories, and search.
Animation delay option.
Player can write and read sign items.
Added a menu displaying martial art style characteristics.
Perishable and rotting items colorized.
UPS no longer activatable, now act as passive batteries.
Prompt to continue studying a book until all recipes learned.

Greatly sped up construction menu.
Overmap scrolling speed greatly improved.
Turn number added to calendar since it’s called a gajillion times.
Switched a lot of large collections to use std::unordered_map() or std::unordered_set().
SDL framebuffer cache.
Extracted rain animation code from main drawing code.
Tile lookup speedups.

I have been playing Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead in every moment of my spare time for the last two months. It is a cross between DayZ, Dwarf Fortress, a tabletop RPG and a modern rogue-like. It is free, open-source, in active development and very stable. I would classify it as a turn-based, single-player, open-world, graphical rogue-like about surviving a zombie Apocalypse.

What do I like best about it?

  • It feels real. The level of simulation makes for an authentic experience. For an example check out my game transcript below.

  • The character system is flexible, I have played everything from a Cop to a Hoodlum to a Fireman, which are just three examples of the dozens of professions. Professions are bundles of skills and equipment, which you can modify with attributes and traits.

  • It is hard but fun. I have died to zombie attacks (obviously), but also stepped on a landmine, burned to death in a house fire caused by an insane NPC with a flamethrower, been held up at gunpoint by another NPC survivor, been mauled by skeletal dogs and starved to death during a freezing dark night.

  • You can do almost anything and there is no fixed win state. Some people like to clear cities of zombies, or construct massive fortresses, or withdraw into the wilderness and live off the land, or build Max Mad-style armored cars and race over the landscape, or rebuild a science lab and turn themselves into mutated cyborgs, or restore mansions and live off their hydroponic farms. All of that is possible from a detailed inventory, crafting, construction, repair, disassembly and smashing system where every object can be manipulated.

  • I can picture my character which helps me identify with him. My current character is a Cop who still wears his deputy’s badge over the trench-coat he pulled off a corpse, carrying a home-made staff in his hands and a pistol strapped top his leg, with an improvised bandanna over his mouth to keep the smoke out. Oh, and glasses because he is near-sighted.

  • The equipment described above all has a detailed function. Each piece has coverage, armor value vs various attack types, warmth, encumbrance, storage and layer info. A t-shirt, wool sweater, armored vest or fur bikini are all examples of things to wear on your torso, with obvious differences in coverage, armor value and warmth.

(Note this is from a build from 2 months ago)

I started a log in my current session and I have survived a record one week, I think because I have been extra careful (and gotten lucky).

I am Milspec, the Ex-Cop, with good stats that are even and skill in Handguns, Marksmanship, Bashing Weapons, Melee, Dodging and Survival. I am a fast walker with a light step (less noise), good night vision and leave a weak scent trail. On the downside I have terrible eye sight and need glasses, am a heavy sleeper, always tell the truth, am ugly and to top it off lactose intolerant.

= Day One =

I wake up as Cop in Evacuation Shelter.

I have died so many times I know what to do. I smash some wooden benches and a locker. I make an improvised crowbar from a bent pipe. I use that to smash and clean the broken glass from a window and break up the curtains. I rip the curtains into into rags and pull apart a rag into thread.

Its the morning in early spring and its damn cold outside. I venture out to gather rocks and use thread and wood to make a stone knife and hammer. I spot an opossum and bash it with my crowbar and butcher it with the stone knife. Back inside I take the bones and whittle them into needles. I use thread and needles to reinforce my cloth items until I have enough skill to make light gloves, a balaclava and a simple pouch.

Now that I have some basic warm gear in addition to my starting clothes, its time to head out.

I check a nearby radio tower, its empty. I spot a motel and head there. There are four abandoned cars out front and zombies milling around. I check one car, it has low gas and some battery charge but no tires. Zs get to close so run back to the Evac shelter. 2 follow.

I wait for the Zs to get close then shoot them with my M1911 pistol from medium range. I wait for the recoil to subside between each shot. I manage to kill them all with a few shots each, and the shelter is far enough from the motel where the sound didn’t carry. I used 20 bullets total and am down to 30 left. I holster my pistol.

Picked up the shell casings. Stripped the tattered clothing from the dead bodies. Butchered their corpses and left the tainted meat in the street. Repaired a messenger bag one was wearing and swapped it for my homemade pouch. Wielded my make-shift crowbar.

Head back to Motel. An adult and child zombie come out separately. I lure each into the bushes and beat them with crowbar until they die.

I enter Motel. Pick up lighter, cigarettes, tourist map and a few bags of chips. Some vending machines here, the cash card I found on a previous Zombie will come in handy. In the middle parking area another zombie spots me, and as he chases me a second crashes through the window from one of the far rooms.

I lure them back in the office, and position myself on the far side of a table and chairs. They have to slow down to cross the obstacles and I beat them with the crowbar, at one stage they both make it to me but with the next hit the closest dies. The other dies soon after.

Walk the inner perimeter of the motel and check all of the windows. Two are smashed where the zombies came out. Everything is quiet. I clean the broken glass from the window sills then climb through and unlock the door from inside.

The rooms are tidy with beds, dresser, chairs and a back bathroom with a toilet full of water. I know what will happen if I drink that water without boiling it, and I don’t have a bottle handy to get the water.

As night falls I am back in a motel room, there is a real bed so I will be warm for the night. The plan is to get some sleep, head back to the evac shelter to get the cash card and try my luck with the vending machines. One bottle is all I need - ideally two. If the cash card fails there is always my crowbar.

= Day Two =

Sleep well in the bed but wake up hungry while its still dark out. Make way slowly back to motel office. Smash vending machine with crowbar which sets off alarm. A wealth of cans and bottles fall out and I quickly grab as many juice bottles as possible. A zombie appears almost next to me - I didn’t see him walk up in the darkness. I decide to run, fleeing out the other exit and back to my room.

I drink some juice while waiting for him to follow me. He will try and climb through the empty smashed window if he sees me, which is awkward for him and gives me the advantage.

Smash my crowbar against the wall to make some noise and attract the zombie. While waiting notice I am chilly with only my sheriff’s shirt and a t-shirt on my torso and arms. Its 24 degrees F in the middle of an early spring night in the Northeast Atlantic coast, I will need a jacket. Being cold slows me down and dampens my mood a bit but I am not bad off with my gloves and balaclava.

I wait until dawn, then leave and hunt down the zombie. I check all of the doors to the rooms and grab a few items like a phone book, map and bible from some drawers. A hungry coyote that has been hanging around the parking lot tries to jump me, I kill it, butcher it and take its bones.

The Motel is safe, and its more comfortable than the shelter. I consolidate everything in the Motel into one room, filling the cabinets, and make a run back to the shelter. I cut up the useless clothes into rags and head back. On the way the light snow turns into rain, soaking me and ruining my mood.

I cheer up after a snack of smoked meat and fresh water (from the vending machine). I flip through the Bible, it will cheer me up if I ever need it. I flip through the phone book, reading that will only sour my mood. I check the tourist map, showing me the major roads in the area as well as a few major landmarks. I wait out the rain, getting thirsty.

In my haste I accidentally drink a bottle of water I filled from the toilet. Ugh, that is going to hurt at some point. Yup, there we go. Food poisoning. I am slower, my stats take a hit and my mood decreases. Oh god that was stupid (“bottle of water” vs “bottle of clean water”).

I eventually vomit, which makes me fell better but also makes me hungry.

I enter an adjacent room, smash up some furniture and stack some wood in the bathtub. I go back to my room and craft a pointy stick from a board with my knife. I grab the raw meat I have been collecting, enter the room next door, and light a fire in the bathtub. This keeps the fire from spreading and allows me to cook some meat. The room fills with smoke and I start coughing, so retreat for fresh air.

I use some rags to make a bandana, cover my mouth, grab more wood then head back into the lightly smoky room to finish cooking. I cough some more but manage to cook all of my meat, finally backing off when I cough so hard I hurt my chest,

I now have a repeatable, if inelegant, way to cook raw meat I get from butchering wildlife and to boil the unclear water than I can collect from the toilets and the pool. That, plus the real bed and the solid roof, is the basic recipe for survival.

I craft some improvised lock-picks from the scrap metal and work on the doors that were locked. I slowly get one or two open, damaging the crappy picks while doing so, and stumble upon the motel workshop. Its a wealth of equipment, including a simple crafting book, flashlight, duct tape, screwdriver, superglue and tons of other things. It pays to be thorough!

I completely smash up one of the vending machines to get the metal lumps, tubing and rubber hose. I make a few more lock-picks but my skill is terrible and I break most of them. I resort to smashing the windows of the last few rooms to loot them, ripping up the curtains for more rags, string, etc.

By the time that is done it is nightfall. I eat, drink and slip into bed. I survived for a second night.

= Day Three =

The next day I dig a shallow pit outside in the dirt, fill it with splintered wood and light it. The smoke dissipates in the air and the fire is contained in the small depression. I cobble together a cooking surface with some stones and proceed to cook up meat and boil water. This will work better.

I check the 4 abandoned vehicles carefully. There is a little fuel in some, but none with fuel and wheels. I don’t have the right tools to swap wheels around (need a wrench at least) so will have to come back to this later.

I wander over to the radio tower and spot a moose. My pistol flies out of its holster and I kill it with a few shots. This is a bonanza of meat, sinew, bone, fat and fur hides, which will really help with my crafting.

As I drag that all back to the Motel it starts to rain. I stubbornly try and cook in the rain. I manage to light a piece of wood and cook one chunk of meat but the fire goes out. I try again and again, using a charge from my lighter each time, but eventually the wood is too charred and wet to continue.

I decide to stay inside for the rest of the rainy day. I read the Crafting book, which slowly increases my fabrication skill and teaches me some new recipes like for a hacksaw, shovel, hoe and other useful things. I eat and drink from time to time, but other than that time passes quickly until I run out of light. I have a flashlight but no extra batteries, it is stupid to use it up just to read a book - so I go to bed.

= Day Four and Five =

I spend the next two days in the same way: hunting in the morning, cooking up my catch (and storing the extra meat in the cabinet - which won’t forever), staying dry and healthy and reading my book. Eventually I can’t get any more skill from reading alone, and I can’t learn any more recipes without actually trying out some things.

I fix up a long sleeve underwear shirt to keep me warmer, and take a few hours to rip up more rags and string and make myself a trench-coat. I remove my sheriff’s shirt but pin my badge back outside of my trench. With the balaclava covering my face, the bandana over my mouth for extra filtering and a Red Sox baseball cap on my head to keep the sun out of my eyes - I look like a real survivor. Especially when I add my new raincoat and rain hat (made out of empty pretzel bags I looted from another smashed vending machine).

I could go on forever like this but I don’t want to. I have learned some useful things from the book but they require better tools, including advanced things like an anvil, welder, metal saw and the wrench I need for the car tires.

There is a good sized town just north of me. I am going to brave it one night and risk myself to get more … tools. And maybe some sugar and salt, or pasta and rice, this cooked moose meat is getting dull.

= Day Six =

I pack up some food and water, some basic tools, put on my rain gear and head out one morning through a steady drizzle. A stray dog sees me and follows, curious, staying a safe distance away. I wander southwest first, down the open road to a small farm that was close.

The grass in front of the farm house is littered with traps, tripwires, pits and a nasty looking bear trap. A few black rats come out but keep their distance. Another wild dog approaches and gets in a fight with the one that was following me. Its still raining and I want to get under some cover, but the thought of stepping into a bear trap keeps me cautious.

I gather some vegetables from the farm plot then work a chain pulley to open the doors to the large barn. Inside are some good tools, including a real crowbar (instead of the thing I made on my first day from a bent pipe), and luckily a wrench. I run the items back to the motel.

On the walk back a moose wanders too close and gets angry and charges me. I barely get the pistol from the holster when it grazes my arm, causing me pain. I fire once at close range and it dies. I fire at the stray dogs as well, I don’t want any more chances. The pain will subside eventually, unless I can find medicine like aspirin, but until then it slows me down and distracts me.

In front of the farmhouse a deer walks into one of the bear traps and is instantly killed. I climb carefully over the fence and circle behind the main house. I spot a few more bear traps. I test an idea I had and throw a stone I gathered - the trap snaps shut and I can now pass safely. I throw rocks at the traps blocking the back door, disarming then and entering the building.

Inside of the storage house and main farmhouse is a good load of stuff. I get a motorcycle helmet, an outdoor survival book, another lighter and a talking doll that can be unloaded to get batteries and dissembled to get plastic chunks and some RAM. I also found a USB stick with some software on it, I doubt I will ever get to do anything with the software or the RAM.

= Day Seven and Eight =

The outdoor survival book is important, so I spend two days indoors reading it, getting my skills from 3 to 6 and learning more recipes. During that time I eat and drink and sleep, comfortable in my motel room. At the end of two days some of the cooked meat has gone rotten, so I drop it in toilet in an empty room. I also make myself a backpack, finally ditching the metro-sexual messenger bag for something with more storage (but also more encumbrance).

That is 8 days alive, the longest I have ever made it. I try my wrench on the cars, but find I need a hacksaw and a lot more mechanics skills (I have none). The need to explore takes hold again - hacksaw or bust!

I equip up with basic tools, rain gear, a little food and oh yeah my new quarterstaff (the hand grips made from a leather apron I found in the farm workshop). The tourist map showed me some smaller roads outside of the city, I head there. On the way I pass a military crash and luckily grab a bullet resistance vest - too encumbering for now but essential if I ever need to raid.

Close to the town a few zombies spot me and peel away. I lure them into the thick trees and kill them, one, two, three total. One had a wristwatch which I take, finally able to tell the exact time. On the road is an abandoned car with what looks like all four wheels. I keep creeping closer.

The rain clouds clear so I strip off my water proof-gear, allowing me better movement with my torso and arms. Two more zombies come around the building, slowly, and a chipmunk and rabbit startle and flee into the forest. I duck around the back of the houses, open a fence gate, and peek past the far corner of the house.

Two zombies smash through the windows of the house next door, and two more come from the woods. I try the backdoor and get lucky, its unlocked, so I dash through the back bedroom, ignoring the personal effects on the floor, and squeeze past another door which had been half-barred shut with a refrigerator.

I exit through the front door onto the main street. 5 more zombies out here - all alerted and heading for me. I head diagonally away from them stopping briefly to check another car. It has wheels, doesn’t look more than dented and has gas and power. It would be crazy to test my luck and try to start it now so I mark my map to come back later.

I am faster than the zombies and they are all behind me, so I run down the street back towards the woods that separate me from the long field to the motel. I make it back by 8 am. My early morning scouting expedition turned up some good next steps - I want that car, and will have to figure out the right way to deal with all of those zombies.

I am feeling confident one on one, especially with my nice quarterstaff and more especially when they are slowed by underbrush, but 10 on 1 along a suburban street is not a fair fight - for me.

I start to explore north towards the large town. I can see the zombies from here, but I can also see a wide range of buildings and shops and places with loot and ammo and interesting food.

I wield my crowbar and get closer, its time to see if I can survive a real fight.

Great posts milspec. I can’t wait to dive into this again.

Are any of the newer tilesets good? I remember playing some of the earlier ones and I think they made it more difficult to figure out what was what, especially when it came to the different types of zombies. And on top of that I think the viewport/visible tile radius was very limited (compared to the ascii).

I prefer MShock24 tileset, new since the last stable release. Here are a few images of the same scene at the three different zoom levels. Note the big black bits are because LOS is blocked behind the building.

Here is the map for some context:

I started at the white dot and am currently at the yellow dot (which I added). It was a random character Start Now, and I ran into the middle of the nearest town. You will note all of the zombies and effects - this guy is about to die. This is not the kind of game where you get to charge into town on the first day.

I still like more the look of my stuff ;)

Sprites only for the common/background stuff, and ASCII for actual symbols:

Or down to standard ASCII:

Thank you guys. This game is great!

Cataclysm DDA just released a new stable version “C” Cooper. This is still my most-played game over the last two years - more than Dominions, more than Civilization, more than anything else in my Steam library. Its my go to game for long flights.

For extra realism I create myself, which helps me remember to run away from anything too scary:

Strength: 7
Dexterity: 8
Perception: 9
Intelligence: 10
Positive Traits: Fast Reader, Accomplished Sleeper, Gourmand, Night Vision
Negative Traits: Flimsy, Heavy Sleeper, Lactose Intolerant, Near-Sighted
Skills: Computer 3, Cooking 2, Driving 2, First Aid 2, Handguns 2

Windows version with graphics: (I recommend MShock24)


  • Monster infighting.
  • Fires warm the air around them, including you.
  • DeathCam shows what happens in the world after you die.
  • Aiming system overhaul.
  • Enhanced turret controls.
  • Clothing modifications.
  • Lots of craftable pottery, explosives, metal goods, clothes and food.
  • New action menu for triggering items.
  • Improved layering and encumbrance system.
  • Huge performance improvements when dealing with many nearby items.
  • Backward compatibility with 0.A and 0.B saves.

I won’t spam you with the 115 line patch notes, they are here: