Sunday, 12 December 2010

The Compulsion of Infection

Today I want to write about infection. More specifically a Zombie virus infection which as most geeks have one time or another thought about has the potential to destroy life as we know it.

As some of you may know who read this I’m a programmer who is slowly but surely improving his skills and always looking for something to interest me and extend my skills. I recently came to this idea after watching The Walking Dead a series currently showing on FXUK.

Ignoring the series (it’s about Zombies and the fall of society), the thing that interested me the most is that it follows the rules of Zombification or the more specifically the Zombie infection. The majority of these rules were pioneered by George A. Romero who has written some of the most famous zombie films on earth such as Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead (the original) all the way to the more recent films such as Diary of the Dead.

The rules for his zombies and the infection can be found online but what I'm most interested in is the idea that these rules can be written into code and simulated over a timeframe.

Romero’s rules encompass the following areas of zombie actions:

  • Process of infection and reanimation
  • Behaviour such as recall of former actions
  • Locomotion and their movement specifics
  • Physical causes and limits of the virus or reason for reanimation (this one isn’t really needed)

However I’m planning to change these rules slightly and go for the sub-set of rules written by Max Brooks in his books World War Z and The Zombie Survival Guide due to the fact he goes to close description in their “hunting” methods and tracking process.

The Plan…Batman

As a start I'm planning to program this in Java and to simulate the infection from ground zero outwards in a set area of land. I also hope to have different variables regarding the beginning of infection.

To begin with their will only be two starting states. One will be initial inception where one person will have the virus and the outbreak from their. Another will have a single party (1-3 Zombies) will come from elsewhere into the area and cause the outbreak.

For a starting goal the first area will most likely be around 1km x 1km wide and be simulated at 1 pixel = 1 metre level which will allow for a high degree of detail in movement considering the way zombies track.

I do not plan to model weapons or ways for humanity to repel this virus as that is not my original aim but the infection must be modelled to some degree to allow an un-winnable situation.

To begin with the things that are needed are Zombies and Humans with the ability to move while adhering to basic rules (of humanity and inhumanity).

Both need to know their landscape, the area of land also needs to be simulated most likely through a large expanse of white with red dots for zombies and green for humans. Possibly yellow or orange for the infected.

The working title for this is Infection if anyone has anything to add to this in either ideas or articles to the actual spread of a contagion then please contact me.

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