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The Runner’s Guide
Six to Start and Naomi Alderman
It’s often said that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. God forbid we should ever face another threat like the Grey Plague, but the history of the outbreak provides a valuable insight into our current situation; the threats we face, the strategies we have developed to combat them, and the terrible human toll of this catastrophe.
“The Magic Bullet”
Before the outbreak, I remember a saying: “Education is the magic bullet”. Bullets are in short supply nowadays, but I’m hoping this book will make sure education isn’t. Having the right knowledge can save lives - and a lack of it can kill - which means there’s no room for idiots here at Abel. Read this book to make sure we’ve got no reason to think you’re one. It’s a tricky time for us. We’re safe, we’re well-fed, we’re even starting to put together a half-decent library. But we’re also beginning to attract attention; from the zoms, from the refugees, from New Canton. That means it’s more vital than ever that every citizen of Abel is as well-trained and well-prepared as possible. So, citizen of Abel, play your part in ensuring the survival of our community by knowing how to ensure your own. Read this book. Evan Deaubl Head of Runners
The origins of the zombie outbreak are still unknown and fragmentary. It’s not just that we don’t have enough information it’s also that we have too much. When the ﬁrst zombies began appearing and communications networks began toppling one after another, we were bombarded with panicky, conﬂicting reports. Some said it was a bioterror attack gone wrong, others thought it was a hoax, yet more attempted to cover it up until it was too late. We’re only a few months after the outbreak, and you can’t blame us for being more focused on day to day survival than unearthing the past. This history is our best guess at what happened. The people who knew the most – doctors, scientists, government ofﬁcials – are almost all missing, presumed either dead or in hiding, and they were ones at the heart of it. When the ﬁrst reports of a new virus emerged in the UK, it seemed at ﬁrst that it could be brought under control, even despite the high fatality rate. The world had a lot of experience from SARS and H5N1. We knew how to co-ordinate research, we’d practiced the drills, we could move fast. If we could keep patients hydrated, provide antivirals, and follow the established procedures, we could handle it.
When the dead began walking, our procedures lay in ruins. Unsurprisingly, morgues were not protected, making standard quarantine guidance a death sentence for doctors or anyone else unfortunate enough to be trapped in hospital wards or quarantined hotels, apartment buildings, cruise ships, or military bases. Most democratic governments around the world were reluctant to declare martial law, let alone order the army to ﬁre on their own citizens. What if the zombies could be cured? Many refused to believe their loved ones were permanently gone. By the time they realised otherwise, we were facing a complete breakdown of civilisation. The world we lived in, powered by hydrocarbons, suffused with technology and criss-crossed with international supply chains, was a brittle one. The pursuit of proﬁt and the adoption of just-intime processes meant that even small disruptions to transport links and power generation could have enormous effects. Power failed in most regions within two weeks of the outbreak. There are supposedly some areas near hydro and nuclear
stations that are still running, but no-one’s sure how long they can keep running without resupply – and since zombies seem to be attracted to them, no-one wants to look inside. Wind and solar power have proved a little more resilient. Most towns and cities lie empty now. All the survivors left early, some in a planned and measured way, but the vast majority in a panic, desperate to get as far away from populated areas as possible. Many of the deaths in the ﬁrst month didn’t come from zoms, but from a lack of preparation and exposure to the elements, or friendly ﬁre incidents. The people who’ve survived are changed; at once trusting and untrusting. We’re holding our breath. The end hasn’t yet come for those who are still lucky enough to be alive, but none of us can see a way to win, either. Survival isn’t a question of whether we have enough bullets: it’s whether we can band together and ﬁnd the will to see this through.
Medical Notes from Doctor Myers
My initial impressions of ZN1, based on observations and emails from other doctors, were of some kind of neurotropic virus that affected the brain, like Japanese encephalitis or rabies. It affected patients differently - some might feel ill for days without dying, whereas others would succumb within hours. It’s clear that we were all too complacent. The authorities quickly discovered that ZN1 is a highly fragile virus, so it uses oral or in some cases, fecal-oral transmission. Both are a damn sight better than airborne droplet contact or direct contact. Even the fact that ZN1 has an abnormally high fatality rate was a positive, in that it meant it would burn itself out with deaths ‘only’ in the ﬁve ﬁgure range or so. As long as we could rapidly identify the infected and keep them quarantined, we could easily keep the outbreak under control. A Category 5 Pandemic was declared after 96 hours of the ﬁrst announcement, activating a worldwide reservoir of personnel and resources with the CDC immediately spinning up their labs to begin creating a vaccine. But then the fatality rate started ratcheting up and we started seeing cases worldwide. It seemed inexplicable how it could have spread quite so quickly. That’s when people started getting scared. We weren’t looking at a H5N1 or a SARS any more, it was more like the H1N1 Spanish Flu - a genuine plague with tens of millions of deaths.
Centers for Disease Control report on ZN1
And then we had reports of people reanimating. As a doctor, I can tell you that we wanted believe it was anything but reanimation that perhaps the patients hadn’t died but instead gone into a coma, or that some other kind of false classiﬁcation had been made. Over the last few months, it’s become clear to me that the virus has variable onset of symptoms. Some people, once infected, might take hours or even days to die and reanimate; others can turn in just a few minutes. I don’t know exactly what governs the
time it takes, but it’s clearly inﬂuenced by the subject’s condition and metabolism. It’s this unpredictability that allowed ZN1 to travel so quickly even a single person with a light scratch could travel for a day or two without being obviously infected. That’s what happened at the Linton Music festival - one person was infected but didn’t know it, bled into a shared water tank, and the next day there were thousands of zoms in the area. At the time of the outbreak, I was a research doctor - I spent half my time as a consultant at a hospital near Abel, and the other half doing genetic research. So I know enough to read early drafts of papers on ZN1, but not nearly enough for proper research - lord knows, I don’t have the equipment here. You’d need DNA sequencers, centrifuges, workstations, cloud processors, clean rooms, confocal microscopes, and that’s just the start. I barely have enough power to charge my medical tablet. There are still some doctors out there researching this, I’m sure. People up in army bases, the CDC. But communication is difﬁcult and there’s too much noise on Rofﬂenet; people are still spreading disinformation about the virus, even now, when we’re so desperate. It’s become too hard to see beyond tomorrow, and with every day that passes, we lose precious resources and expertise.
The Worldwide Spread of ZN1
Well-trained Runners are the lifeblood of Abel; the Township couldn’t survive without them. This document was produced to ensure these brave men and women are equipped with the knowledge they need to survive and succeed in the ﬁeld.
Introduction from Evan Deaubl Runner 7
Runners. There aren’t many of us, but what we do is important. Before I took over, the old Runner 7 gave a speech to a group of new runners. She said it better than I could ever hope to, so I’ve transcribed her words here. I hope they mean as much to you as they do to me. “Alright, listen up. Unless you’ve just stepped in through the main gate and are still wiping the road-dirt from your shoes, you’ll know that Abel Township is a well-oiled, efﬁcient machine. Everyone here has a purpose and anyone who has a purpose has a place here. There are those who understand our bodies, and they help us stay healthy. There are those who understand our machines, and they help us stay warm and safe. Then there are those like you and I. We can’t suture. We can’t weld, we can’t repair a machine or cure an illness. But we have a purpose. We can ensure that there’s always food in our stores. We can ensure there are always pills for our doctors and parts for our mechanics. We can keep fuel in our generators and bullets in our guns. We can keep Abel alive. We can run. That’s right. We’re all Runners. Which means its our job to get out there and do whatever’s needed. Gather food? That’s our job. Deliver messages to New Canton? That’s our job. Stand in the middle of some mudhole ﬁeld while Janine tests out the cameras? That’s our job, too. That’s what Runners do. Look at the people standing either side of you. Those are the Runners who will do your job if you refuse. Those are the people whose lives you’re putting at risk because you’re too tired, or too hungry, or too scared.
So do your damn job. And listen to what we tell you. It’ll keep you safe. These’re also the people who’ll have to put a bullet in your eye if you get bitten. That’s it. Gates up in ten. Stay safe out there.” If there’s any doubt about the importance of the Runners to Abel’s survival, I hope that speech has dispelled it. Without the Runners, Abel would be no different to the dozens of ghost-towns and abandoned strongholds that litter the countryside. Which is why we need to ensure that every one of our Runners is as welltrained & well-equipped as possible. The latter is Janine’s job, but keeping you well-trained is mine. What follows here is a compilation of the best advice we can give to Runners in the ﬁeld. I urge you: for the sake of yourself and everyone at Abel, heed it. Evan Deaubl Runner 7
When you’re out on assignment, good judgement and training are your best assets. The protocols laid out below will allow you to deal with common situations in a safe and efﬁcient way. Learn them - they could save your life.
If you encounter useful supplies whilst out on assignment, follow the steps listed below. 1. Can you gather the supplies without reducing the likelihood of successfully completing your primary objective? If so: 1.1. Inform your operator. 1.2. Gather as many supplies as you can safely carry. 1.3. Prioritise high-value and rare items, such as ammunition, weaponry, medicine and electronic equipment. For more information on supply priorities, please see Spotting Supplies. 1.4. Leave any supplies you are unable to carry in a wellsecured cache, properly marked. For a list of ﬁeld signs, please see Runners’ Field Signs. 2. 1.4.1. Ensure your cache is, where possible, water- and tamper-proof, in a location unlikely to attract hostile attention. If you are unable to gather the supplies without reducing the likelihood of successfully completing your primary objective, take one of the following actions: 2.1. Secure the supplies as in 1.4 above OR 2.2. Mark the location of the supplies OR 2.3. Inform your operator of the location of the supplies.
Spotting Supplies: Supplies should be prioritised in the ﬁeld as follows. Please check with your operator and the head of runners to ensure you have the most up-to-date priorities, as these may change based on the Township’s requirements.
e.g. 9mm rounds
e.g. broad-spectrum antibiotics
e.g. tinned or dried
e.g. bandages, blood packs
e.g. bats, clubs, axes
e.g. seeds, hoes, trowels
e.g. .50 caliber
Clothing Entertainment Supplies Broken Firearms
Making contact with potential hostiles is, unfortunately, part of almost every assignment. When this happens, follow the steps listed below. 1. Are the potential hostiles still living? If so: 1.1. Keep your distance. 1.2. Inform your operator of contact. 1.3. Provide your operator with as much information as possible on the potential hostiles. 1.4. Await further instruction from your operator. 1.5. If you are attacked, retreat unless given speciﬁc instructions to attack by your operator. 1.6. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you initiate combative action unless directly ordered to by your operator. 2. If the hostiles are zoms: 2.1. Maintain a safe distance where possible. 2.2. If the hostiles begin to approach, execute a safe retreat. 2.3. Remember: a safe retreat is one which does not lead hostiles towards friendly territory.
2.4. If the hostiles are close enough to create an immediate threat to you, your partner or any friendlies in the area, engage and terminate in as efﬁcient and safe a manner as possible. 2.5. Termination should be carried out using a method which is: 2.5.1. Most likely to ensure the safety of all friendly personnel 2.5.2. Least likely to attract further hostile attention 2.5.3. Least reliant on ﬁnite resources 3. 4. 5. Report all contact to your operator as soon as possible. If any friendly personnel are injured during hostile contact, follow the “Injury” protocol listed below. If you encounter an area in which hostiles seem to be gathering, report it immediately to your operator. Once this has been reported, mark the area clearly as shown in Runners’ Field Signs.
If you or your partner are injured whilst out on assignment, follow the steps listed below. Your prompt action could save your partner’s life or your own. 1. Was the injury incurred during contact with a zom? If so: 1.1. Isolate the injured person and avoid all contact. 1.2. Attempt to calm the injured and assist them in carrying out any last rites they may wish to. 1.3. Using the most humane method at your disposal, euthanise the injured person. 1.3.1. Methods which rely on limited resources (e.g. morphine overdose, gunshot) should be deprioritised where a suitably humane alternative is available. 1.4. Make note of the site for later inhumation, where possible. 1.5. Remove yourself from the site as quickly as possible. 2. Otherwise, where possible, return to Abel for immediate medical attention. 3. If return to Abel is not immediately possible: 3.1. Seek shelter. 3.2. Secure your shelter against incursion. 3.3. Mark your shelter clearly for rescue. For a list of ﬁeld signs, please see Runners’ Field Signs. 3.4. Assess the extent of your partner’s or your own injuries. 3.5. Tend to these injuries until such time as they are: 3.5.1. Healed enough to allow a return to Abel. 3.5.2. Completely healed (whichever comes soonest). 3.5.3. For advice on how to tend to common injuries, please consult with Doctor Myers.
A Spotter’s Guide to Zoms
The least mobile zoms, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous. Most likely to be found in areas which have recently experienced signiﬁcant landfall or around collapsed buildings. In these areas, ensure that you check your route carefully as you proceed. Remember: being surprised is deadly. Engage buried hostiles by assessing their range of movement from a safe distance, identifying a safe angle of approach, and then terminating them as safely as possible.
Many zoms have lost the ability to use their legs, but remain mobile by crawling. They can be easily outrun, but are still dangerous in close-quarters, as they are capable of leaping across distances of up to 5 feet in order to engage.
Best termination practice
Working in a pair • Runner A maintains a safe distance while distracting the zom’s attention. • Runner B ﬂanks the zom and engages to terminate from behind, ensuring no contamination reaches Runner A. When solo • Find an upward slope or staircase to minimise the zom’s ability to engage you from a distance. • Entice the zom to leap while avoiding its attack. • As the zom lands, it is vulnerable. Move in swiftly and strike.
The most common zom. They’re capable of moving around normal walking speed, but move with a distinctive “shambling” gait. Outrunning a lone shambler is well within your capabilities. However, in groups, they can present a signiﬁcant danger due to their tenacity and ability to swamp a runner with their numbers.
Best termination practice
Working in a pair • Runner A maintains a safe distance while distracting the zom’s attention. • Runner B ﬂanks the hostile and engages to terminate from one side, ensuring no contamination reaches Runner A. When solo • Use an upward slope, as above, to gain a mobility advantage over the zom before terminating opportunistically OR • Find a bottle-neck or choke point, allowing you to dispatch of zoms one-by-one, should their numbers present a problem.
Mercifully rare, these zoms are capable of speeds to rival most runners. When encountering a Sprinter, escape should be your ﬁrst priority. Use all techniques at your disposal to gain and maintain a lead on the hostile. In particular, look for upward slopes, uneven ground, or loose stones. While Sprinters are capable of matching pace with most Runners, they lack intelligence and environmental awareness. Use this to your advantage. If you are unable to escape a Sprinter, seek a vantage point from which to engage and terminate. Again, safety should be your priority here, but it is likely that you will need to resort to less favourable methods in order to gain an upper hand.
Runner’s Field Signs
Leaving Transmission Range
Rescue Needed Here
Not Safe After Dark
While it’s usually preferable to communicate vital information back to Abel through your headset, situations sometimes arise in the ﬁeld which prevent this, or in which you may need to leave some more permanent sign for future runners. For these cases, we have developed a series of signs to allow the communication of important information about an area. It is vitally important that you recognise and reproduce these signs quickly, to ensure all relevant information is properly communicated.
Supplies Stored Here
NOTES FROM JANINE DE LUCA This document serves as an introduction to and “owner’s manual” for your wireless communication headset. These pieces of equipment are extremely valuable to Abel as they are the only way for us to co-ordinate runners who are out on assignment. As such, any carelessness on your part that endangers the equipment with which you have been trusted will be taken very seriously. I should not need to stress the importance of you reading this document and considering its “advice” a direct order. Read it thoroughly, abide by its rules, care for your equipment.
Wear your headset at all times, even when on base. We may need to contact you at a moment’s notice. The only time you may remove your headset is during your designated rest period, at which point it should be returned to your operator for recharging. To ﬁnd out when your next six-hour rest period is, check the schedule posted in the Quad. Abel’s radio communications system operates on a VHF radio frequency around 250mhz. This gives us a working transmission distance of 5 miles. Your headset, however, will only transmit back to us within 1 mile of the last ﬁeld repeater. Make sure to check in with your operator as you’re leaving transmission distance. Depending on the particular equipment used to assemble your headset, you may be able to adjust the frequency you’re using. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS. Our aerial operates on a very narrow band and as such you may be unable to ﬁnd our communications frequency again once out in the ﬁeld. Report any unusual headset behaviour to your operator at the ﬁrst opportunity. Do not assume that any problems will resolve themselves with time. Remember, a small fault can become a total failure if not addressed quickly.
Your headset has been designed with a certain level of durability. However, it is not a piece of well-machined electronics of the type you may have been used to pre-outbreak. As such, you must abide by the following rules when wearing your headset. • Do not drop your headset. Most units are capable of withstanding everyday knocks and bumps of the severity you are likely to encounter while in the ﬁeld. However, any serious impacts will have the potential to dislodge delicate interior wiring which is extremely difﬁcult to repair. Do not drop your headset. • Avoid prolonged exposure to moisture. Most units are splashproof, but none are able to reliably withstand immersion. Again, water damage is extremely difﬁcult to reverse, and should be avoided at all costs. All runners have been issued with waterproof headgear. If you are in wet conditions, immediately don this and ensure your headset is well-covered. Upon returning to Abel, report any interactions with water to your operator. • Never expose your headset to a live electrical current. Any external current is likely to short the circuits in the unit, rendering it useless. It should be noted that, as all units are unique, each headset will have slightly different resistances to certain types of environmental factors. In all cases, however, caution is of the utmost importance. Your headset is the most valuable thing you carry. Keep it safe.
Who are the Runners?
Notes from the Runners
EVAN DEAUBL, RUNNER 7 Beginning your career as a Runner can be daunting, but it helps to remember that every one of us had to undertake their ﬁrst run at some point. Some of our veteran Runners have shared their experiences below, along with some words of encouragement. I hope you ﬁnd them as inspiring as I do.
Jody Marsh, Runner 4
My ﬁrst run was such a disaster. I tripped and fell down a hill, nearly broke my headset and started panicking because I thought Janine was going to kill me. Like, really kill me. She used to scare the life out of me. But it was OK in the end. I actually found an old van full of computers at the bottom of the hill, so she wasn’t too mad. I’m always getting lucky like that, though. Falling over something valuable or accidentally dodging zoms or whatever. Simon - Runner 3 he calls me Clover. Basically, what I’m saying is, you’ll be ﬁne. Just don’t forget to tie your shoes!
It wasn’t as bad as I expected once I got outside, and I was with Evan, so I knew I was safe. Since then, I still get nervous, but I wouldn’t trade that for anything. And if you’re ever scared, just remember: Everyone here is behind you.
Garik Duvall, Runner 20
We were all rookies once. And there’s no-one here’ll tell you it’s easy. It’s not. It’s not easy, but it’s right. It’s right that we’re out there, doing our jobs. Only going to be someone else if it’s not us. And it’ll make you appreciate what you’ve got right here. Food, clothes, clean water - someone had to go out for all that stuff. Someone had to risk their life for the paper I’m writing this on. It makes you think. Makes you thankful. So no, it’s not easy. But you’ll get through it. We all did, and there’s nothing special about us.
Stephanie Miller, Runner 17
I was all nerves before the gates went up, but that helped. It helps to have some nerves, because it’ll give you the drive and the energy to get out there and do your best.
This is an example of the test given to Runners before
Question 1 of 5 You are out in the ﬁeld, when you come across the following supplies. You are only able to carry one of the items. Which would you take?
they are given their ﬁeld certiﬁcation. You will need to score 80% or higher in order to gain your certiﬁcation, so ensure you prepare for your test properly. Once you feel you are ready to take the test, report to your Operator, who will make the appropriate arrangements.
A. A warm, waterproof jacket B. A crate of tinned beans C. A box of 9mm bullets D. A vial of insulin E. A broken cellphone F. A baseball bat
Check Answer 28
Life at Abel
Chances are you’re a fairly new arrival here at Abel. If so, welcome! The following materials should help you get acquainted with your new home. We’ve included a map so you don’t get lost, a few tidbits from some of Abel’s most savvy residents, and a little glimpse behind the scenes at our watercooler chat. Enjoy!
Map of Abel Township
Welcome to Abel
My name is Maxine Myers and I work as a Doctor here at Abel. As you can imagine, this is a long way from Intensive Care at St. Clare’s, but we get by. There are a few other Abel residents who have some experience, and the Runners have managed to bring us enough supplies to create a passable ﬁeld hospital. We’re able to deal with almost everything the outbreak can throw at us. Thankfully I haven’t had too many major traumas to deal with just yet, though; there’s still a shortage of plasma around here. Rest assured, though - if you can get back to Abel alive, we’ll make sure you stay that way. I am, in particular, pleased with the improvements to our transmission range and our camera coverage in the ﬁeld - having such a wide network of CCTV equipment to tap into is a real blessing. My next task is attempting to repair an e-reader picked up by Runner 11. Maybe then we’ll have more than four books to go around. We live in hope.
I’m Sam Yao and I’m Abel’s chief Operator. What that means is I’m the guy who spends his days hidden in a corrugated iron shack talking to myself. Only kidding. My job’s to co-ordinate Runners in the ﬁeld, keep records of what happens during an operation, and make sure everyone gets home safely. I also like to try and keep spirits up in the ﬁeld. I’m a bit of a comedian. I’ve got this one joke I’ve been working on about a Sprinter and a Crawler at a buffet... It doesn’t really work on paper, though. Come and ﬁnd me and I promise it’ll make you double over.
Janine de Luca
My name is Janine de Luca and I own the ground upon which Abel Township has been created. I help to build and maintain Abel’s infrastructure, especially its electronics and security systems. While we are still a long way from creating a completely sustainable set of amenities, we have been making exceptional progress in improving Abel’s facilities in the past weeks.
The Civil Improvement Committee
So now you should be familiar with the layout, history and some of the population of Abel Township. You’ll know where to collect your rations, where to shelter in case of attack, and who to look for if you’re in need of a chat. But in order for you to get a real sense of Abel as a community, we think you need to hear what we talk about at the end of a long day. We’ve included a photo of Abel’s “grafﬁti wall” so that you can catch up on the latest news around Abel and get involved in the conversation! Anna Jackson
Sample Mission Log
ASSIGNMENT SR396 Purpose: Retrieve Fuel Target Location: Motorway Overpass Target Distance: 3km Personnel: Runner 4, Runner 13, Runner 18 Estimated Length: 01:30:00 Duty Operator: Sam Yao Physician On Call: Dr Myers 09:36 09:38 09:46 09:52 09:54 09:56 10:01 Status Check Contact Status Check Arrival at Target Contact Status Check Contact NTR 1 Crawler (terminated by R13) 1 Shambler (R4), No Injuries NTR Area Clear; R4 Commencing Primary Objective 1S(R13), 2S(R18), NI Recovered approx. 2L fuel, R4 continuing 2C(R18), NI 09:16 09:16 09:26 Runners Away Gates Down Status Check Nothing To Report 09:14 09:15 Runners Standby Gates Up R13’s mic volume faint - headset for repairs Gates clear of hostiles; no cover needed
10:03 10:04 10:06 10:08 10:09 10:10 10:13 10:16 10:26 10:28 10:31 10:32 10:32 10:32
Contact Contact Status Check Report Contact Contact Contact Status Check Status Check Report Gates Up Runners In Gates Down Operation End
2S(R13), 2S(R18), NI 1S(R18), 4?SPrinters sighted, Abandoning Primary Objective Returning Abel w/appx.4.5L fuel, 3SP In Pursuit ETA 10:30 R13 Suggests Engage Hostiles, Permission Granted by MDS 1SP(R13), NI 1SP(R18), NI 1SP(R13), Injury Sustained R4(Reported Minor, No Infection Risk), Recommend Immediate Return Abel Runners Inbound, No Threat NTR Visual Contact Established, Runners Inbound, No Threat Gates Clear; No Cover Dr M. Myers Attending
Primary Objective: Complete (4.5L Fuel Retrieved) Kills: 13 Injuries: 1(Mn,NIR) Other Notes: R13 Headset For Repairs
A Brief History of Rofﬂenet
When the Internet was ﬁrst conceived with funding from the US Department of Defence as ARPANET, its entire intent was to be decentralised, and thus resilient in the case that parts of the network might be damaged and destroyed. As a result, you might have hoped that, following the mass societal breakdown during the ZN1 outbreak, the Internet would have survived. Events have not been so favourable. As ARPANET evolved into the latter-day Internet and began to handle many orders of magnitude more trafﬁc, the structure of the Internet drifted from being fully decentralised to instead being supported in many places by ﬁbre-optic “internet backbones”: chains of ultrahigh-throughput routers routing the majority – or even entirety – of any given country’s internet trafﬁc. The greatest problem presented by this evolution of the internet was that power requirements at trafﬁc-switching datacentres increased proportionally with the increase in trafﬁc. Datacentre power consumption soared into the megawatt range and large teams of engineers and system administrators were required to keep installations running smoothly. This in turn meant that whereas the internet had begun as a peer-to-peer network maintained by academics, it was now entirely managed by commercial interests. While the Internet had retained its ability to withstand the total annihilation of any single node, ZN1 proved problematic in that its impact was global. The knock-on effects directly impacted almost every installation handling internet trafﬁc and the result was near-total collapse.
WHAT IS ROFFLENET? Remember the internet? Rofﬂenet is like that, only with far fewer pictures of cats - because it’s much, much slower. But it does work, and it’s become the preferred method of longdistance communication between the few islands of humanity left.
WHAT IS ROFFLENET? As a runner, you probably won’t come into direct contact with Rofﬂenet, but many of your activities will be related. We receive national bulletins from Narwhal Tower, which may result in missions for you. Keeping Rofﬂenet working means hardware, software and diesel need to be collected, as well as couriered to new enclaves that aren’t yet online. Rofﬂenet also means e-mail. If you think you might have friends and relatives in other enclaves and townships around the world, talk to your R.net operator about getting an R.mail address. After all, there’s a non-zero chance you might be able to reconnect, and incoming emails get printed on Janine’s tractor-feed dot-matrix (at least, until we run out of fanfold) every Wednesday morning. For technical details on Rofﬂenet, ask your R.net operator for a copy of http://narwhal.rofﬂe/docs/ rofﬂenet-primer
Luckily, prior to the ZN1 outbreak, various collectives concerned with the resilience of the Internet in the face of doomsday scenarios had begun designing methods for the creation of alternative networks. Projects like the libertarian Darknet looked at building more decentralised and stealthy networks that would be resistant to interference from malicious governments. We at Narwhal Tower were instead focused on the particular scenario of infrastructure breakdown and how a workable network could be propagated without the freedom to move people or hardware around. Our patterns were called Rofﬂenet, which stands for “Radio Operated Free Form Link-layer Emergency NETworking”. The principle was that, with just a two-directional radio and a laptop sound card, it should be possible to build a rudimentary modem. Once you had a working modem, you should be able to tune into a transmission to download the Rofﬂenet software. The software would include everything you would need to reconnect to the internet via your modem, albeit at cripplingly slow speeds. We had prototype software and a few test networks up and running when ZN1 hit. Thanks to our location away from any urban centres, high altitude, diverse antenna array and frankly massive diesel generators Harold and Horace, we found ourselves routing much of the UK’s longitudinal emergency communication, ﬁrst by voice, and later by hand-patching radio receivers to transmitters. As the situation worsened, many channels went dark as emergency radio operators stopped transmitting and were never heard from again. But some links stayed strong, and grew stronger as survivors entrenched and developed strategies to hold the zoms at bay. We were pivotal in sharing these strategies with other enclaves. A few days in, with four surviving members of #rofﬂenet distributed but isolated around the UK, we dusted off the Rofﬂenet plans and began to rebuild a new Internet. Alex, Liv and Richard, Narwhal Tower
Playing Zombies, Run!
Get the most out of Zombies, Run! with a tour of the app, information about how a mission is structured, outrunning zombie mobs, and how to best expand your base - straight from the designers of the game.
CC-BY lululemon athletica
HOW TO PLAY 1. Buy “Zombies, Run!” from iTunes App Store 2. Put your headphones in 3. Choose a playlist 4. Run, jog, or walk! 5. There is no number 5
Zombies, Run! is running game and audio adventure for the iPhone and iPod Touch (coming to Android in Spring 2012). In the game, you take on the role of Runner 5, receiving orders and instructions directly through your headphones. Hundreds of lives are counting on you. You've got to help your base rebuild from the ruins of civilization by collecting critical supplies while avoiding roving zombie hordes. Can you save them and learn the truth about the zombie apocalypse? Zombies, Run! Season 1 includes 23 story missions and 7 ‘supply’ missions (designed to be highly replayable), representing at least 40 runs worth of gameplay. During runs, you’ll receive story updates in between tracks from your own music playlists and automatically collect supplies to allocate to your base when you get home. The more your run, the bigger your base - and the bigger your base, the more missions you unlock. Note: Zombies, Run! is not a location-based game. While we can use GPS to track your speed and distance, you don’t need to be anywhere special to play and we don’t require you to run anywhere speciﬁc in the game. In other words, we don’t show you a map of places in the real world you need to run to (yet) - you can run around your local park, along a riverbank, across a beach, or on a mountain, and the game will still work ﬁne!
Swipe the screen to see Zombies, Run!
1. Tutorial: We open with a simple (and skippable!) introduction. 2. Home: Get a birds-eye view of your home, Abel Township, along with a ‘Slide to Run’ shortcut to get moving immediately. 3. Missions: Pick a mission to play. You can also resume partially-completed missions, replay old missions, and view Run Logs. 4. Mission Options: Pick a playlist, decide which tracking mode to use (GPS, Accelerometer, or None), and whether to activate zombie chases. 5. Run Display: View your current distance, time, and pace, along with all the supplies you’ve collected and story events that have occurred. Options to pause the mission, and also replay a story or radio clip. 6. Run Complete: View a summary of your mission, including total supplies collected and zombie mobs evaded. Also, tweet your mission summary to your friends! 7. Base Builder (aka Supplies): Tap an area to see its current health and level, and drag and drop supplies on to areas to increase their health. Zoom in and out to get the full detail! 8. Base Builder: Dragging and dropping a supply item.
9. Codex: Find out the story behind the people you meet, places, you visit, supplies you collect, and artefacts you ﬁnd...
Missions in Zombies, Run! last for about 30-40 minutes in total, depending on the length of music in your selected playlist. After a mission, you’ll hear clips from Abel Radio. Supply pickups and zombie chases will continue.
Occur both in time with the story as well as semi-randomly.
Occur both in time with the story as well as semi-randomly and last around 1 min each.
Missions have 5-7 clips at 1-3 min each. In between clips, you’ll hear a track from your music playlist. Abel Radio
A typical mission lasts 30-40 min
If you’re playing on an iPhone and have GPS tracking activated, then you have the option to turn on “Zombies Chases”. This means that during your run, you’ll occasionally hear the game say, “Warning: Zombies Detected”, followed by a continuous series of beeps. This means that you are now being chased by a zombie mob, and you’ll have to increase your speed by approximately 20% over the next minute - or get caught. 20% might not sound like a lot, but it’s the difference between a walk and a jog, or a run and a sprint, so you really do need to pick up your pace if you want to escape! If you do get caught, don’t worry - you don’t die! Instead, you’ll automatically drop some items to distract the zombies and get away.
PICKING A PLAYLIST Music is one of the best ways to motivate yourself while exercising, so that’s why we made it such a central part of the game. We also realise that everyone has their own individual tastes in music, so in Zombies, Run! you can choose your own playlists to run to. If you want suggestions on what might make a good playlist, check out our team’s preferences!
Expanding the Base
THE STORY CONTINUES... The Codex doesn’t just have information about the people, places, and supplies you encounter - it also tells you a little about the special artefacts you collect. If you read these carefully, you may ﬁnd hints about a deeper story than the one you’re listening to during missions...
When you’ve ﬁnished a run, you’ll have collected a range of supplies, from ﬁrst aid kits to ammunition to sports bras. In the Supplies tab, you can drag them on to different areas in Abel Township to build them up (tap an area to see its current health and level). The more you build up an area, the more people can live in Abel Township, and the more missions you’ll unlock. Some supplies are worth more to speciﬁc areas than others - for example, ammo will be more valuable to the Armoury than to the Hospital, so it’s best to use common sense when assigning supplies! You can also learn more about the supplies you’ve collected by visiting the Codex.
The Making of Zombies, Run!
Learn about why we made Zombies, Run!, get the lowdown on the decisions we took when designing the gameplay, art, and graphics, and ﬁnd out more about the people behind the game. You can also read the Mission 1 script, including commentary from the Zombies, Run! team, and listen to the ﬁrst part alongside the script.
Why We Made It
ZOMBIES, RUN! IN NUMBERS 1. Crowdfunding campaign launched on Kickstarter in September 2011 2. Over a month, 3,464 Kickstarter backers contributed, making it the most successful Kickstarter videogame of 2011 3. Zombies, Run! launched worldwide on the iTunes App Store on 27th February 2012 (two days before our own deadline!) 4. Held the worldwide #1 Top Grossing position for Health & Fitness Apps for two weeks 5. In two weeks, players have spent over a decade running - almost 90,000 hours 6. At an average walking pace of 3 miles per hour, that’s well over 250,000 miles, or the distance to the Moon!
Imagine a game where you’re running in the real world and you’re being chased by zombies. Sounds fun, right? That’s where Zombies, Run! came from. Of course, it’s not quite that simple, because if that’s all the game was, it’d get boring pretty quickly; zombie groans can only motivate you so far. But what if there was a story that made you want to keep running? What if there were people who you cared about, mysteries you had to uncover, and a world you wanted to explore? Now that’s an experience that would be different from all the other running apps and games out there, something that would really motivate you to throw on a T-shirt and lace your trainers on a rainy Sunday morning. That’s Zombies, Run! Why a running game, though? The truth is that almost everyone wants to be ﬁtter than they are right now, whether you run a marathon every month or a walk down to the shops feels like an expedition. That impulse doesn’t come merely from wanting to lose weight or look better, it’s because we know that running can be fun - when you get good at it. We’re the same. Some of us run only occasionally and others run 40km a week, but we all wanted to make running even more fun and exciting than it was, and we all wanted an extra push of motivation to get us out there. And using zombies just made sense on so many different levels.
We also wanted to make a game that worked for as many people as possible - not just people who lived in cities or athletes for whom a 5k is merely a warmup. That led us down a careful game design process and it’s why Zombies, Run! doesn’t do a lot of things that many people expect a running game should do. The game isn’t strictly location-based (yet) because not everyone lives near mapped points of interest or runs along roads; it doesn’t punish players for running slowly, because we don’t think that’s the right way to motivate everyone; and it doesn’t make you look at your screen all the time because we know that’s distracting and potentially dangerous. What’s left? Audio - one of the very best and most-overlooked ways of telling stories. And so in Zombies, Run!, we combined a compelling story with light game mechanics that didn’t stray too far into the world of gamiﬁcation, but instead supported the experience. When we launched Zombies, Run! on Kickstarter in late 2011, we weren’t sure what to expect. We thought it was a great idea and we trusted that other people would as well – enough to decide to crowdfund the game instead of going the usual route through investors or publishers – but there’s nothing scarier than putting a project out there, especially as a smaller indie developer, and just hoping people will support it.
One month later, with 3,464 supporters, it was clear there was an appetite, and six months later, with the community’s support, Zombies, Run! was launched for the iPhone and iPod Touch (with Android coming in Spring 2012). In the ﬁrst two weeks of release, our players have spent over a decade playing Zombies, Run! and walking, jogging, and running the distance to the Moon. It works, and we couldn’t be happier that we’re helping people to run farther and faster than ever before. Zombies, Run! isn’t a game for everyone. That’s what happens when you give a game a story with real character and heart. But maybe it is a game for you. And that’s all we wanted. Everyone at Six to Start, and Naomi Alderman
The logo and icons for Zombies, Run! were inspired by trafﬁc sign symbols because of their clear-cut and bold visual style. For example, the logo’s running man character was based on the one seen on the usual Exit sign. Thick borders and brightly-saturated colours are used in the item icons to give clarity and to colour-code the different item groups. This bold visual style used throughout the design sets a realistic and serious tone to the game as it works very well contextually since it is based on our current real-world signs. The base environment design was initially drawn like an infographic showing growth of the buildings as coloured bars. This looked a little abstract and did not really indicate too
well the development of the base ‘texturally’ – you don’t really get much satisfaction for seeing some building that has improved, because they are all bars in just different lengths and limited colours. So to resolve this, actual buildings with detail are drawn in like SimCity. The perspective is also changed to isometric to allow the buildings at the back to be less obscured. This perspective was tricky to draw at ﬁrst, since everything has to be accurate in angle. A door was used as reference to draw the buildings and ensure that they are all consistent to scale. Estee Chan
Artist and Graphic Designer
Our initial infographic-style basic display
Buildings in Abel Township
The ‘Sleeping Area’, which became known as Housing. There was a great deal of discussion internally about how the residents seem to knock down their housing so frequently...
User Interface Concepts
Early concepts focused on a more futuristic and stylised view of the base.
Directing the Audio
From our earliest discussions about Zombies, Run!, it was clear that quality audio was absolutely vital to its success. With the right actors, the right sound design, and the right set of performances, it seemed like we had the opportunity to make something really special. No pressure. In approaching the recording, there was one thing I was horribly conscious of: that game audio too often sounds like every actor was not just recorded at a separate time and in a separate room, but in a separate space-time continuum and reading completely different scripts. So I set myself a rule for the recordings: wherever warranted in the script, and wherever technically feasible (always an important caveat), we’d record all dialogue between two characters with those two actors actually in the same room. In the end, we managed to accomplish this for about 90% of the dialogue in the game, which I was incredibly happy about. Maybe I’m just being idealistic, but I think you can tell. When you listen to Jack (Rhys Jennings) laughing at Eugene’s (Nathan Nolan) story of losing his trousers in the Quad, you can hear them bouncing off one another. When you listen to Dr Myers (Sally Orrock) comforting Sam (Phil Nightingale) as the soldiers gun down his ex-lover, you can hear her place a gentle hand on his shoulder. And when you listen to Janine (Eleanor Rushton) berating Sam’s choice of condiments, you can hear his cheeky grin as he responds. Recording season one proved to be a massive amount of fun, and being able to give a group of talented actors the time and space to
develop performances they were proud of was incredibly gratifying. Hopefully you’ll agree it was worth the effort!
Mission 1: Jolly Alpha Five Niner
Matt: Our Pilot is played by Julianna Lisk, who's also Runner 6. Julianna was great to work with; her chilling dying-pilotzombie noises completely deﬁned how we wanted our zoms to sound. In order to get her delivery right here, to give the sense of her speaking over the sound of the helicopter's rotors, I had her put on some headphones and played loud death metal while she delivered her lines. I'm not sure whether it helped or not, but it was fun.
1. THE HELICOPTER FX: CHOPPER NOISE The player is sitting in a helicopter buzzing over zombie-infested territory. In the plane is also a PILOT, female, mid-20s. They’re heading towards Abel Township, a small isolated settlement in a sea of zombie-land. PILOT
So, you can see the city now as we loop round. Well, they call it a city… Not much more than a few fences to keep the zoms out. <slightly mocking> Sea of Zombies, Tiny little island of humanity. I just don’t know how they live like that.
Naomi: Almost from the start of thinking about the game we wanted the ﬁrst episode to start in a chopper. In fact, this was Matt's idea, and the moment we all heard it, we went "yup, that's where it begins". We wanted to drop you into the middle of the action, to set up a lot of questions and drama, to give you a reason to be running for your life the ﬁrst time you went out, not just out on a "normal run". And we couldn't really do the whole 'breakdown of society' plot that zombie movies usually cover... we needed to start much later than this. "Get from the choppa!" was a great place to start.
Adrian: If you've played this mission, you'll know this line was cut. Why? It sounded too much like "silly zombies," which would've been a bit out of place.
<decisive. But ambiguous: does she mean ‘we’re here to help’ or ‘we’re here to kill them all’?> Well, I guess they won’t be living like that much longer. <to you>
Listen to the mission audio.
Best heard with in-ear headphones.
So I expect you’re not allowed to say what you’re being dropped into the township for, huh? <pause> Nah, I thought not. I know how it works. They don’t even tell you till you get there. <on radio> Abel Township, Abel Township, this is Jolly Alpha Five Niner from Mullins Military Base. We’re 5 miles out approaching from the east at one thousand one hundred feet, bringing in med supplies, some vac-packs, shelters and a temporary loan of one of our people. Abel Township Jolly Five Niner requesting permission to land? YAO Got that. Er, I mean, roger that. You’re clear to… yeah you can come on in. PILOT Roger Abel Township, heading down now. <to you, more quietly> I can see clear as day we haven’t got half the supplies we usually bring. That means we’ve lied to the township. <pause>
Adrian: And here we have the classic 'protagonist can't speak' moment, used so well by developers like Valve!
Matt: Casting Sam Yao was really important, given that he's the voice we hear most often. We needed someone friendly and warm, but with a sort of nervous edge to him. Philip Nightingale proved to be just perfect for the part, and he was a real joy to work with. Which is always a plus when you're spending several days in the studio with someone. Naomi: What I really loved about Phil's performance was that he was able to bring both a vulnerability and a light comic touch to Sam.
Alex: This became both my favourite and most hated line of the script. I've listened to the ﬁrst part of Mission One ("ZRS1M-E01-01") easily more than a hundred times while testing the ZRRunController, the "engine" that manages the game sequence while you run. For me this line always stuck out, being highly recognisable even playing through headphones on the other side of the room. When the intensity of concentration in the ofﬁce reached fever pitch in our ﬁnal weeks of development, Matt and I would start yelling passages from Mission One Clip One at each other to defuse, and my favourite was always "PROJECT GREENSHOOT? NEED TO KNOW BASIS?"
Yeah. I know. You don’t know anything.”Project Greenshoot”? Need to know basis? – oh yeah, I heard them tell you that just as you boarded – and then you’ll find out what your mission really is. But you know if you and me pooled info maybe we could… FX: Noise of gunfire. Rocket launchers. Someone’s shooting at the chopper. PILOT What the hell…? They’re shooting! That’s not coming from the township! Who the hell has a rocket launcher in this sector, who the hell has…? FX: A crash of engines, the high-pitched whine of something going very badly wrong. One of the rockets has hit the chopper. PILOT We're hit. I've lost the tail rotor. Mayday Mayday Mayday. <This should be said fast maydaymaydaymayday, but calm - you want to remain cool and calm on the radio so your calls can be understood>
Naomi: In fact, this line [“Project Greenshoot...”] that will now never leave Alex till the day he dies wasn't written by me! We'd been toying around with different names for the player's secret mission. I'd written ﬁrst of all something odd like "Project Manticore", but we wanted something people could easily spell if they wanted to discuss it in a forum! Then I came up with Project Reed, but David Varela, who read the scripts for me, pointed out that that could equally be spelled Project Read. At the very last minute, on the day we were recording, I was still making handwritten changes to the script. Nathan, the actor who plays Eugene, suggested "Project Greenshoot". And there it was, to torment Alex forever...
Jolly Alpha Five Niner is going down three miles east of the township. Two souls on board. Aircraft is grey with black lettering and trim. We're going in hard brace brace brace. FX: MASSIVE CRASH A voice comes over the radio. YAO
This is Abel Township calling, this Abel Township calling. Supply copter can you hear us? <aside> They’re going down fast, holy moly. <to us>
Richard: It looks so simple on the page. The parachute noise was recorded by ﬂapping a duvet cover around in my living room. The tree crashing involved an afternoon of running around a forest, beating up trees and generally looking like a lunatic to any by passers. Matt: It wouldn't be the ﬁrst time you'd received funny looks in the name of a sound effect...
Naomi: We had advice from a backers who's ex-military on these lines, on how they'd be spoken and what they'd say. Their advice is why the pilot sounds so cool under pressure.
Naomi: This used to say something else. I had a lot of swearing in the script. Adrian made me take it out. He was right. But still. I like swearing.
Can any of you hear us? Open your chutes! Jump! Jump! FX: A rush of air. The chute opening. A crash through undergrowth. FX: Heavy breathing. In your ears. Your breathing. FX: Crackle of static YAO Hey, hey. I um. This is Abel Township calling, over.
Richard: This has been ignored. I decided it might feel weird to have someone breathing down your neck. I thought the player would probably be able to provide their own foley FX when it came to breathing.
Alex: We don't tell you where to run in our game, or base the game on where you are running. And, given that we don't have an inﬁnite amount of time in which to record hundreds of permutations of the same dialogue, instead, Naomi gave the script a sense of place using generic features that you might see on your own skyline. At the least, we hope this prevents the mention of landmarks from jarring with your real-world experience — but ideally, we hope that when Sam mentions the tower you can look up and know exactly which one he is referring to, and perhaps even make it your destination. Matt: This actually worked really well for NPR's tester - she heard the line about the tower, looked up and recognised something in her environment. It was fun to hear that.
<aside> They’re not answering. Their comms equipment coulda been fried. FX: sound of your parachute unclipping, a heavy fall to earth. You landed in some trees but you’re OK, on the ground now. YAO
Listen, if you’re alive, if there’s anyone alive. This is Sam Yao from Abel Township. I’m just the… I’m just the radio operator man, I’m not supposed to handle this stuff. FX: crackle of static You’ve come down in a nest of hostiles. They’ve heard the noise. They’re coming. There are… thirty. No, forty. No… crap. Your only safe path is towards the tower, you should be able to see that from where you are. If there’s anyone alive there, just run. FX: very faint, distant moan Run! <play opening track>
Matt: I love the sound design here - it gives a great sense of place & situation.
Naomi: This is the key moment for me. On the page, and even in a TV drama, this could be a cheesy line. But I spent a lot of time writing this while listening to the music I listen to when I'm at the gym, to get myself into that mindset. And my thought and I think it works - is that actually when you're really out there it's pretty awesome to have someone shouting in your ear telling you to run!
The Complete Mission 1: Part 1
On the opening track of Zombies, Run!
Naomi: There needs to be a theme tune. I envisage heavy rock drums and high octane distorted guitar. Something akin to the Buffy theme.
Best results with in-ear headphones.
Matt: I totally agree. The ﬁrst time I played this mission I had "Dyer's Eve" by Metallica kick in at this point, and it was incredible. Alex: We had many ideas for how we might do something special for the ﬁrst track. We explored composing our own power track, or automatically searching the runner's music collection for candidate tracks from the correct genre. Ultimately, though, we left the track to the player's choice - any runner who has spent a little time perfecting their playlists should get an earful of their own favourite music to kick off at this point. Adrian: I have always been impressed by the atmosphere conveyed in Assassin's Creed 2 when, after you've waded through what seems like hours of boring futuristic nonsense, you climb up your ﬁrst tower and you get the beauty shot - along with some fantastic music. But unfortunately we couldn't ﬁgure out how to do it here given our time and budget. Naomi: Yeah. The ﬁrst time I played it through, at this point I got a polka? Which was hilarious. But I think that's ﬁne really - it's a funny idea for a game and we've tried to make it both fun and funny as well as scary and intense. So I like the possibility of weird juxtaposition too!
2. THE DOCTOR. YAO
Wow there’s… there’s someone alive down there. Running. Hey, hey can you hear me? <aside> No answer. Still, look at ‘em go. Heading for the tower just like I said. <to us> OK, running person, if you can hear me… you’re going great. The main group’s behind you and you’re going to come out of this forest soon but there’s a… <pause> yeah, I can’t think of a phrase that’s not “small army of zombies”, sorry, don’t do so well under massive pressure, there’s a one of those directly to the east of the trees, so if you head more towards the old saw mill, you should be able to see its massive red signs from where you are… <pause> <aside> Man. Look at that. They’re changing direction. They can…
Matt: This line is very whedonesque. In a good way.
<to us> You can hear me! OK, OK, we can keep you safe. It’s cool, it’s cool, we can bring you in. <aside> No we can’t ask them that. They might be injured. DOCTOR
All the more reason to ask them that. <to us> This is Doctor Myers, only medic here at Abel Township. Lord knows I’m sorry to ask you this, but your route will take you almost past the old hospital. We know there’s medical kit still there from the first wave of infection. If you could pick up even one or two that would help us. SAM YAO
<to Doctor> It’s too dangerous. You know what happened to Runner 5… DOCTOR
The zoms have all followed the noise of the crash. SAM YAO
But what about whoever fired that rocket launcher?
If someone wants to kill that runner, taking an unusual route will make it harder not easier. <to player> I don’t want to be hardheaded, but everyone in this township earns their keep. You should be able to see Robinson hospital now – one of the buildings, Gryphon Tower, is the tallest in the abandoned city. And if you can’t find anything… we might not be able to let you in when you get here. <play music> <during music, ding two medpacks>
Matt: One of my favourite things about Mission 1 is the way we're introduced to Abel before we arrive. lines like this, combined with the way Sam & the Doctor debate the player's fate, give us an immediate sense of Abel as a society. Adrian: One of our beta testers mentioned this line speciﬁcally as his favourite!
3. CHATTING WITH SAM SAM YAO
OK, OK. Man, that’s great, you’re making good time. No broken legs I guess! Hey, listen, I’m gonna call you Runner Five. Just ‘cuz… I don’t know your name, and we just lost a runner. In that same hospital you’re running through now. She was so fast, and really funny, and clever, and me and her we sort of… <a sigh. yeah, Sam was totally in love with the previous runner 5. She was perhaps not in love with him. It’s a more wistful what-if scenario> … she was amazing. But hey, you could be our new Runner Five. <nervous laugh>
Adrian: This whole sequence ended up being rather lengthy in the ﬁrst cut, which slowed the mission down too much. It's nice to have a pause in between action, but not too much. Alex: For me, "our new runner ﬁve" is a story in four words. Naomi: Yeah, for me too. I think it says so much about the apocalypse.
If you make it back alive. <chatty now, just keeping you occupied> Yeah, the runners are pretty important to keeping us going here… any fuel we have goes to working the generators and the truth is if you’ve got two legs and you can go above a slow shamble you’ll be able to stay out of the zoms’ way, am I right?
Naomi: Ah, a justiﬁcation for "we don't just drive places" and "even if you're walking, it's ﬁne". Good to get that in early ;-)
<checks the scanner – we can’t see this obvs but there’s a distinctive ‘scanner ping’ noise, or maybe just some switches flicking>
Adrian: Of course, you aren't really going through the ground ﬂoor of a hospital. But we ﬁgure that by this point, the player gets that this is ﬁctional. At least, we hope so!
Richard: There is no scanner ping noise, I thought it might be confusing rather than distinctive. What there is, if you listen carefully, amongst the switches is Sam taping a screen. This is a recording of me ﬂicking my whisky glass, ﬁlled with "inspiration", one late night in December. The "inspiration" was Glenﬁddich 15, in case you where wondering.
Huh. Yeah, OK, your pace is good, but maybe head through the ground floor of the hospital? There’s a little swarm gathering in the parking lot I don’t like the look of and… <checks the scanner, that ping again> Yeah, that’s good. You could even pick up anything interesting you pass. We think there might be some… well, we sent the old Runner 5 there looking for some file the Doc’s interested in. So, you know, if you find anything officiallooking lying around… <next music track> <during music ding another few medpacks and ‘you have found a file of documents’>
4. THE FILE SAM YAO Hey, there you are! I’ve got you on camera now, great to see you, even though you’re kinda blurry! Huh, what’s that you’re carrying? Look at this Doc, Runner Five picked up something in the hospital. DOCTOR Is that the Centers for Disease Control file? SAM YAO What’s that? DOCTOR <very cool, official> … Runner 5, I don’t say this lightly, that box could be worth your life to protect. Don’t drop it. SAM YAO What is it? DOCTOR It might be nothing. It might be everything. SAM YAO So a pretty narrow window of definition.
Naomi: So we have three story strands starting off in this episode, playing off each other: what's Runner 5's secret Project Greenshoot, who shot the rocket launcher at the helicopter and what's in the CDC box? Getting anywhere near answering those questions will take the whole rest of the season, and probably longer (but don't worry, I do in fact know the answers :-) ) Adrian: Good job we don’t have a smoke monster in this game, then...
DOCTOR What’s that shadow over there? FX: ZOMBIE GROWLS SAM YAO Oh no. This was what… when we sent her out, this was what happened. They’re following you Runner 5. The swarm from the carpark, they’re following you now, run! FX: LOUDER, NEARER ZOMBIE NOISES <BREAK FOR MUSIC>
Alex: A fair way into the development process we realised here that simply gluing together the two major features of the game (great story, and zombie chases) would take the whole thing from "pretty cool" to "totally awesome". If you've enabled zombie chases and we have enough data to tell how fast you're running, Sam's instruction at this point triggers an actual horde of simulated zombies to chase you down. Your range ﬁnder starts to beep, a voice tells you they're just 100m away, and if you don't pick up the pace they'll be clawing out your eyeballs in no time. RUN! Adrian: It is, in fact, totally awesome. I had to test this mission many, many times, and it was still fun even after the tenth time!
5. THE SWARM SAM YAO
<worried> They’re so fast, why are they so fast? They never run, why are they running? Runner 5, Runner 5 they’re gaining on you! FX: ZOMBIE MOANS REAL CLOSE
Adrian: Full disclosure: it doesn't matter if you speed up here or not. We debated whether to remove this or not, but decided that it worked well enough in the story to justify keeping.
Runner 5! You’re not far from the gates now. If you can keep going we’ll send some people with guns out to meet you. Only one zombie is close to reaching you. Just put on a burst of speed now! FX: A SPECIFICALLY FEMALE ZOMBIE MOAN, VERY VERY CLOSE. SAM YAO
Oh god it’s her. I can see her. It’s… it’s the old Runner 5. She’s the one chasing you, she’s… she’s still wearing her uniform, she’s… <Sam is pretty choked up by this. As you would be to see the girl you really fancied turned into a zombie>
Matt: Our very own Victoria Grove, who has a truly incredible voice. Adrian: A tester claimed that this was a male zombie. Nuh-uh!
Runner Five. It’s Runner 7 here, head of runners. The Doctor’s told me you’ve found something useful in the hospital We’re sending out a couple of people to bring you in. Just keep running. As fast as you can. FX: FEMALE ZOMBIE RIGHT IN YOUR EAR Don’t look back. She’s right behind you. Just run. <BREAK FOR MUSIC>
Naomi: I love this line, and I love the way Stephen Guy delivers it. I hadn't thought much of it in the script, but in the reading it becomes so sinister. Adrian: This moment triggers a zombie chase, if you have GPS activated. Two sprints in a row what are we trying to do you poor players?!
6. THE BASE FX: BURST OF GUNFIRE BASE SOLDIER
This way! This way! Run! FX: FEMALE ZOMBIE MOANING AND GROWLING WITH RAGE SAM YAO
They’re going to shoot her… I can’t watch, I don’t want to… DOCTOR
<interrupting, kindly, softly> It’s what she would have wanted Sam. You know it is. She wouldn’t have wanted to live like this. BASE SOLDIER
Run! We’ve got her! FX: A SINGLE GUNSHOT PENETRATES THE OLD RUNNER 5’S HEAD FX: A LAST RATTLING COUGH FROM THE OLD RUNNER 5 DOCTOR
<satisfied> Got ‘er. SAM YAO
Raise the gates! Raise the gates!
Matt: These lines represent my single, embarrassing cameo in the game. Urgh.
Matt: Sally's delivery here kills me. This moment was really key for us developing the relationship between Sam & Dr Myers, which really paid off in later missions. While we recording this moment, Naomi and I decided that, were we playing the game, Sam & the Doctor would be our ship of choice.
FX: SOUND OF GATES RAISING VARIOUS VOICES
<general hubbub of welcome> Welcome! Hey, you picked up medpacks! Want some water?
Naomi: Yeah, man, I didn't Adrian: I really like how this provides you with a sense of home, and of the desperate need that the people of Abel Township have. Tinned food is what they want.
Great to meet you, come sit down. What were you doing in that helicopter anyway? Did you bring any food? Any canned food? Dried food? Hey! Good to see a new face! The Major’ll want to see you when she gets back… <Not over headphones now but in front of you> SAM YAO Hey, good to see you in the flesh! The… totally unbroken skin not bitten by zombies flesh, right? Step back, step back everyone, don’t crowd, give Runner Five some space. Can’t take in so many new faces right now!
realise how plaintive that line would be, but when I heard it in the cut... it's that moment where comedy and horror shade into just absolute tragedy. Ugh.
<very soft> You think that’s who they’ve assigned? For Project Reed? <Bam. The End.>
Matt: I love that we get to do the dramatic twist ending here. Or, as I like to call it, 'pulling an Abrams.
Meet The Team
ADRIAN’S PLAYLIST 1. The Execution of All Things by Rilo Kiley 2. Queen Bitch by David Bowie 3. Walk On by U2 4. Immigrant Song by Trent Reznor & Karen O 5. Theme from the Grafﬁti Artist by Kid Loco 6. TRON: Legacy and Reconﬁgured 7. Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones 8. A New World by DeVotchKa 9. Here it Goes Again by OK Go 10. Apotheosis by Austin Wintory 11. Rebellion (Lies) by The Arcade Fire 12. Moulin Rouge End Titles 13. Portions For Foxes by Rilo Kiley
Adrian Hon, Co-Creator and Producer
Running and I go back a long way. At school, everyone did 5k runs, which is simply painful if you’ve never really run before. So I swore off running. But then GPS happened, and running got interesting. Over the years, I used progressively more sophisticated GPS watches and smartphone run trackers, and eventually worked my way up to doing 40k a week (and believe me, it’s deﬁnitely more fun to run when you’re good). But I didn’t forget what it was like when I was starting out, and that’s why working with Naomi, Alex, Matt, Estee and Richard on Zombies, Run! has been an absolute pleasure. We’ve made something that I know will help motivate people to run farther, faster, and more frequently - and have a lot of fun in the progress. Naomi’s scene-setting in Mission 1 and the up-tempo launch of Mission 3 never fail to get me moving. Matt’s relentless dedication to directing the audio and writing the fantastically funny and immersive Abel Radio keeps me going further. Alex’s single-handed development of the app quite literally made the game possible, and his implementation of zombie chases have made a good game into a great one. Richard’s brilliant work on the epic Mission 1 intro brought our ﬁctional world into reality, and Estee’s art and graphics for every part of the game, including the beautifully detailed Abel Township and lovely game tutorial, easily equal the best out there. I hope you enjoy the game as much as we enjoyed making it!
Naomi Alderman, Co-Creator and Writer
Oh how can I pick a favourite thing? It’s all so much better than I was imagining in my head the day Adrian and I started talking about this crazy idea. Estee’s graphical work has been phenomenal - I especially love the icons and the satisfaction of levelling up a part of the base. And although I know *literally nothing* about how the back-end’s been constructed I know that it’s been incredibly complex, painstaking work and the fact that it all works so smoothly is testament to a huge amount of work by Alex behind that glossy facade. I would basically like to celebrate though how incredibly funny all the guys working on on the project are. If you could eavesdrop on our ZR Skype chats, you would be doubled over with laughter. It’s been a huge amount of work to make the project - and there’s more work ahead - but it’s also been hilarious and enriching. The kind of fun you imagine it might be to work on a game, and which it often isn’t. This is the fabled work that is “more fun than fun”. My playlists are ridiculous. And I have to tell you, I was listening to my ridiculous playlist when I was writing the game, to remember what it’s like to be out there pufﬁng and panting even while I was sitting at my desk (it’s pretty hard to write while running. Or even walking!)
NAOMI’S PLAYLIST Some songs I listened to a lot while writing this (don’t judge): • Another One Bites The Dust by` Queen • Crash by Gwen Stefani • Jump by Madonna • Ready to Go by Republica • Everywhere by Fleetwood Mac but the club version from the Queer as Folk soundtrack I have terrible taste in music. But hopefully good taste in stories.
MATT’S PLAYLIST My working playlist is pretty long, so I’ll just give you a quick tour of the highlights: 1: Retreat! Retreat! by 65daysofstatic The perfect thing to kick you off the starter’s block. Great to accompany that ﬁrst cup of coffee. 7: Queen Bitch by David Bowie I defy you not to feel uplifted by this; one of my favourite songs, inspired by one of my favourite bands. Speaking of whom: 14: Sister Ray by The Velvet Underground This one won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it’s an absolute masterpiece. I probably listen to this song about twice a day. Go ahead, judge me. 45: Flight of Icarus by Iron Maiden There’s something weirdly inspiring about the pomp of Maiden. This sits in the metal part of the playlist, which tends to hit around mid-afternoon when I really need a pickup. Finally, 70: Land by Patti Smith A writer I adore just totally blowing it away. Yes, please. “aww, pretty boy, can’t you show me nothing but surrender?”
Matt Wieteska, Sound Director
There’s been so much great work on Zombies, Run! that’s it’s really hard for me to choose a single highlight. When all’s said and done, though, I’d be remiss not to call your attention to our wonderful voice cast. We had the privilege of working with some talented, committed actors on Season One, and their performances really brought our story to life. In particular, I want you to listen out for the alarmingly realistic portrayal of Molly by Emma Lock in mission four and Victoria Grove’s incredibly moving work on missions eleven and twelve. We had crazy fun with the entire cast, and I think that comes across in the audio. Great job, guys! I’m not much of a runner, unfortunately, due to some medical issues (no, not lazyitis), but I’ve found my own way to enjoy the Zombies, Run! experience: walking, alone, as the sun comes up over Highgate Cemetery. Spooky.
Estee Chan, Artist and Graphic Designer
If I have to pick one thing I really like about the game, then that would be the integrating of your music to the game’s radio show! It’s a novel idea and you feel genuinely immersed into its world because of the excellent emotions and realism put into the voice acting. In terms of running – I haven’t been doing that for years! This probably explains why I’ve been getting more and more random aches and pains now, since I do just sit and work at my desk for long periods. So being part of the team making a fun running game is very inspiring, and to my surprise I have indeed started running again – woohoo! But just to make it last and not put too much pressure on myself I’m keeping it to just Sundays for now, since Sundays are reserved for leisure or casual activities, roast dinners, strolls along the beach (if you’re lucky to have one nearby) and more wandering pigeons.
ESTEE’S PLAYLIST Some music I found works well with Zombies, Run! are: If you want the run to feel ‘super-EPIC’ then ﬁlm soundtracks work very well. If you watch a lot of anime like me, you might have heard of the Ghost In The Shell movie soundtracks – a piece called Attack the Wakabayashi from the second movie is brilliant. Another good one is Dou (Movement) from Black Magic M-66, which has a nice 80s-run away from the Terminator-style feel. If you want a juxtaposed ‘weird-eerie’ kind of atmosphere when you run, then you should listen to happy/bouncy music like Halcali. The kind that should sound innocent, but is changed when placed in a serious context. It’s a little like the feeling of when uplifting ragtime or happy old jazz music is played in a horror ﬁlm...
ALEX’S PLAYLIST Ambient music for coding and relaxing: • Owsey’s remix of Gotye’s Somebody that I Used To Know (Google it!) • Arrival of the Birds by The Cinematic Orchestra • La Ritournelle by Sébastien Tellier Noisy music for hacking and running: • Beautiful Lies by B-Complex • Summit feat. Ellie Goulding by Skrillex • Depth Charge by Zircon
Alex Macmillan, Lead Developer
Zombies, Run! is the largest creative project I’ve been a part of to date, and so was made up of a lot of entirely new experiences for me. I have vivid memories of sitting down for the ﬁrst time with Adrian, Naomi and Matt in a central London café and having the concept explained to me for the ﬁrst time. Back then, not knowing Adrian and Naomi so well (Matt and I had been friends and collaborators for years already), my strategy for coping with large amounts of new information was to make as many notes as possible, and I ﬁlled two sides of A4 with tiny doodles as Adrian and Naomi built a picture of their game. Those doodles became my architectural blueprint for the app. When I’m writing code, music helps me get into two different kinds of “zen state” — ambient, chillout music helps me relax when piecing together the structure and components of the application, and angry electronica and drum and bass helps me power through the code line-by-line.
Richard Bell, Sound Designer
My favourite part of this project was the recording sessions. Despite the frequent calls of "BUS!" and "AIRCRAFT!", as we paused recording due to exterior noise, I thoroughly enjoyed being in the room with Matt and the actors. It's always a pleasure when everyone has a sense of humour. The actors were all excellent and no one batted an eyelid when they saw the "recording studio" we had built in Matt's bedroom: mattress against the wall, duvet over the shelves and air mattress wedged into the corner to deal with a problematic echo. Back in Edinburgh, working on the editing, Skype has provided me with the ofﬁce chat and prevented the potential onset of stircraziness. Having such immediate access to the rest of the team for clariﬁcations and distractions made it much more fun.
RICHARD’S PLAYLIST Sound design makes it difﬁcult to listen to music as you work so my list includes tracks to triumphantly export missions to: • Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen The Boss. Who else? • Decimate by David Ford Addictively chirpy. Great refresh for the ears. • Rambling Man by Laura Marling Seems oddly appropriate. • Apocalypse Please by Muse Mostly for the title.
Zombies, Run! was created by Six to Start and Naomi Alderman.
Adrian Hon Naomi Alderman Matt Wieteska Estee Chan Richard Bell David Varela Alex Macmillan Co-Creator, Producer Co-Creator, Writer Sound Director Artist, Graphic Designer Sound Designer Script Consultant Lead Developer
Philip Nightingale Eleanor Rushton Sally Orrock Clare Kissane Rhys Jennings Nathan Nolan Jennifer Tan Russell Barnett Stephen Guy Daltry Nick Kay Thom Nelstrop Victoria Grove Sam Yao Janine Doctor Myers Runner 8 Jack Eugene Runner 4 / Nadia Ed / Lem Runner 7 Runner 10 Runner 3 Paula Runner 6 / Pilot Molly
The Lead Author of The Runner’s Guide v1.0 was Matt Wieteska. Layout and design by Adrian Hon, art by Estee Chan.
Juliana Lisk Emma Lock
Lisa Long, Jo Goodson, Tim Cooke, Kickstarter, Adele Keating, Nick Watson, Martin Roth, Idil Sukan, the London Jewish Cultural Centre, Julia Jones and Shauna Reid of Up and Running, and forum members of the class of Spring 2011.
Get Zombies, Run! for iPhone & iPod Touch
Zombies, Run! includes:
ASIHTTPRequest by Ben Copsey © 2007-2011 All-Seeing Interactive FliteTTS.m by Sam Foster © 2010 Sam Foster
Search for Zombies, Run! in App Stores worldwide.
Requires iOS 5. Works on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod Touch 3rd
Flite by Alan W Black © 2000-2008 Carnegie Mellon University cocos2d for iPhone © 2008-2010 Ricardo Quesada, © 2011 Zynga Inc FontLabel by Kevin Ballard © 2009 Zynga Game Networks Glyphish Pro by Joseph Wain © Joseph Wain
Gen, and iPod Touch 4th Gen.
Coming to Android in May/June 2012.
Keep in Touch
Follow us on Twitter at @zombiesrungame Visit our website and join our mailing list at http://www.zombiesrungame.com
Thanks to Freesound.org for facilitating such an incredible database of sounds. Thanks, and credit, in particular to the following Freesound users: AleXtreme.de, Benboncan, CGEffex, Corsica_s, Erdie, Gelo_Papas, Inchadney, Kolezan, Matt_G, RHumphries Many thanks also to Andy Farnell of http://obiwannabe.co.uk for his invaluable Pure Data tutorials on sound synthesis.
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