Hey y'all. It's BIT (Brex Idea Time) again!
One of my favorite places to fortify during the fall of Knox County is the Muldraugh Police Station, as I often RP as the last surviving police officer in Muldraugh and make it my mission to reclaim the police station and turn it into a functioning safehouse. Problem is, it's not the most defensible location. Lots of smashable windows in the front, and a waist-high fence around the perimeter of the station that does f**k all to keep out the zeds.
Now, usually, I just board up/sheet up the windows and proceed to either A) tear down the useless waist-high fence and replace them with walls, B) simply build the wall in front of or behind the fence, or C) just say "f**k the fence" and leave it as is, dealing with any zombies that enter the perimeter as they come.
As you can imagine, none of those options are particularly viable. Option A is time-consuming, Option B is awkward, and Option C is a death sentence. That got me thinking about how to improve and expand the available defenses that can be built and utilized to protect your safehouse, wherever it may be. So here are a few suggestions I came up with:
1) Plywood boards. As anyone who lives near a coastline in America can tell you, plywood is the cheapest and most readily available material to use in order to board up the windows of your home in the event of a hurricane. In-game, plywood boards would be an alternative form of barricading windows, slightly stronger than simple planks but much weaker than metal sheets. All you'd need is a hammer, nails, and a sheet of plywood (which could be scavenged from any warehouse or hardware store.) It would also solve one of my biggest peeves in-game: barricading over broken windows, because wooden planks (and sometimes even metal sheets) tend to "float" in the air when placed in certain types of broken windows, especially if the windows are cleared of glass. A plywood board covering up the hole would be a viable solution, covering up the hole in the window while also serving as a decent barricade. It could also work for certain doors too:
2) Traps. While there are a few trap-like tools that experienced survivors can craft in the base game, they're not the best at keeping out zombies from your base. So instead of flame traps made of bottles of vodka or pipe bombs crafted from cans of hairspray, lets keep it simple. How about bear traps? A ditch filled with wooden spikes? Trip wires? A highly-skilled carpenter or engineer could go full-out Home Alone and create a whole host of booby traps to kill Zombie Harry and Zombie Marv.
3) More perimeter defenses. Like I mentioned above, the ridiculously short fence around the police station in Muldraugh is a bit of a peeve of mine. So instead of tearing it down or trying to build around it, why not include certain ways to improve perimeter defenses? How about some wooden spikes surrounding the perimeter? Piles of barbed wire in front of the fencing, a la Rainbow Six: Siege? Maybe with certain fences you can even build on top of the fence, such as adding wooden barricades or barbed wire to keep zombies from climbing over as seen here in my second favorite zombie game of all time, State of Decay:
Now I know that some players use crates and boxes as barricades to block zombies from climbing over waist-high fences, but that to me seems more like an exploit of the zombie's pathfinding AI rather than a legitimate strategy to keep enemies at bay. I mean, they're just f**king boxes. There should be an option to construct additional defenses on top of or around waist-high fences in order to keep zombies from climbing over without having to waste time and effort building an entire damn wall.
4) Junk walls. For that perfect post-apocalyptic look, just cobble together whatever scrap 'n crap you can carry and construct a shoddy makeshift wall that, while not particularly strong, serves as a cheap temporary barrier between you and the zombies until you can create your real walls. It can be made of practically anything: logs, metal sheets, planks, siding, plywood boards, scrap metal, you name it. One or two zombies against a junk wall isn't much of a problem, but be warned: a horde of those f*ckers will tear it down like it was made of tissue paper. It's only meant to serve as a temporary barrier until you gain the supplies to build actual walls. For a decent idea of what I'm talking about, take a look at the junk walls from the game Fallout 4:
5) Using furniture to barricade...properly. The addition of movable furniture to the game allowed for players to use everyday objects as measures of protecting their safehouse from the zombie hordes, as seen here by a player barricading the wide-open plaza of the Sunstar Motel:
That's a good start and is definitely what most people would use to barricade their homes in the likely event that they don't have access to wooden planks, a hammer, and some nails. But it's still rudimentary; furniture and objects can only be moved from their original position to a new position. I think it should go a little further than that. How about overturning sofas and beds to block hallways and act as cover from gunfire? Bookcases and refrigerators that can be pushed in front of windows? Chairs that can be wedged into doors to keep them from opening? The possibilities are endless, but I recognize that this particular suggestion may not be entirely possible, given the nature of sprites and object manipulation within the game. It's not a huge deal, but the devs did say they want to implement the ability to use furniture as barricades...well, I'm just trying to expand on that idea a little.
6) Concertina wire. Often mistaken for barbed wire, this can be used a form of fencing or other barricade, and is actually much harder to penetrate than barbed wire. Stick a ring of it on the walls and fences around your safehouse or set it up just outside your front step and watch any unfortunate bastard who wanders into it get caught and bleed like a stuck pig:
I believe the item "Razor Wire" is in the game, but it doesn't really have much use at the moment. Well, razor wire could be used to construct razor wire fences such as the one in the picture above, keeping out (or at the very least slowing down) and intruders.
7) Tire-stack fences and barricades. Players who have been experimenting with the recent vehicles test may have noticed that, for all the benefits of finally having a car in Project Zomboid, they don't really make for the best fortifications. Being physics-enabled objects, they can be hard to manipulate into proper positions and can experience glitches when used to seal off a doorway from the outside. Besides, good luck finding enough workable vehicles to build a proper perimeter out of. You can't even use the vehicle wrecks as there are no tow trucks in game. But you should be able to use something else: the tires.
We've seen dozens of eco-friendly aficionados do all sorts of crazy things with tires, but one of the most common uses for old tires outside of recycling is for holding back earth or water in retaining walls like these:
Now, I don't know about you, but a ring of tire stacks filled with earth sounds like it would form a damn-near impenetrable barricade against both zombies AND gun-toting survivors. Hell, as seen in the photo, they may even be used as miniature growing plots! Instead of retaining water or earth, these tire walls would retain the undead.
8) Turrets. What's that? You found a Humvee on the highway with the Browning still attached? And it still has ammo? Well how about you relieve that vehicle of its precious cargo, set it up on top of some sandbags, and lay waste to any zombie hordes that step within a hundred-foot radius of your safehouse. But be warned, zombies are attracted to noise, and a .50 caliber machine gun is LOUD.
9) Noisemakers. Got a horde on your tail and don't want to lead them back to your safehouse? Getting royally f*cked by an unfortunate house alarm or by some d*ckhead flying overhead in an Apache? Well why not make some noise of your own? Set up anything from fireworks to remote-controlled explosives in specific areas, and trigger them in order to get the zombies off you. With proper planning, you could even control the movements of the horde and perpetually keep them away from your safehouse, barring any unfortunate circumstances beyond your control. Just be careful: noise carries in Knox County, and you may end up attracting a lot more danger than you intended if you're not careful.
10) Body walls. Yeah, you read that right. Body walls. Piles of corpses stacked thirty feet high around your base. A scene straight out of 300 or Game of Thrones. You've slaughtered so many zombies and now their decaying corpses litter the ground around your safehouse. Now you could do the smart-but-boring thing of burning and burying the bodies, or you can do the dumb-but-awesome thing of literally stacking their bodies on top of each other to form a barricade around your safehouse. Not only is it a testament to your zombie-killing achievements, but it has one more practical purpose: masking your smell. Now this would NOT work like in The Walking Dead, where covering yourself in zombie guts or keeping de-jawed zeds on chains close to you would make the zombies think you're one of them and not attack you. The zombies of Project Zomboid operate on sight, hearing, AND smell, so if they see your ass or hear your f*cking around, they're gonna come after you. But having a wall of rotting corpses potentially robs the zombies of one of their keenest remaining senses, tricking them into thinking that the only thing in the area is smelly rotten death. And zombies can't eat smelly rotten death. Again, if they see or hear you, they'll be on you like white on rice on a sheet of paper in a snowstorm. But otherwise, they might just pass you by...provided you don't stink even worse than a literal pile of walking corpses.
Well, there you have it. Ten ideas for improvements to base defense in PZ. Have you guys got any other ideas for stuff that can be implemented to assist in defense?