Project Zomboid zombie survival simulator official artwork without the logo

If you've ever used a Molotov cocktail or a pipe bomb in Project Zomboid, or simply watched your own house go up in flames due to a faulty generator, you've probably noticed that the fire system isn't exactly polished. Fire not only spreads in a weirdly slow fashion and seems to engulf objects that would in reality be fireproof, but it only ever does anything if you're nearby. So if you would set a building on fire, leave for six months and come back, you would find that the blazing inferno was patiently waiting for you exactly as you left it.

Two years ago the Project Zomboid team set to work on greatly improving fire and making it far more realistic, though the importance of the big multiplayer focused Update 41 forced them to redirect their efforts to more pressing matters. Now that things are less hectic, work on the fire system has been reignited!

While there is still a lot of work to be done, you can expect the new system to take into account temperature, material types, volume and surface area, heating energy and a variety of other factors when deciding how objects should burn, with the intent being to make fire spread in a sensible and realistic fashion. Even more interestingly, under the new system fire will spread based on the direction and speed of the wind so even a small mistake can quickly spiral into a gigantic problem, while rain will be able to put it all out so things don't get too out of hand.

The Project Zomboid team is also working on making the game 'remember' what is going on with a spreading fire after the players leave an area. If this ends up being successful, you'll be able to use fire traps to clear out untold hordes of zombies while being at a perfectly safe distance yourself. Sure, there's a chance you'll burn down half the town in the process, but sometimes that's a risk well worth taking.

Fire is also getting a brand new set of visuals, including new animations for both players and zombies that have caught fire, along with new sounds to really make it sizzle. Much like everything else the visuals are still unfinished, but here's a little sneak peek at the work in progress:

If all of this looks as enticing to you as it does to me, I'm afraid I have a tiny bit of bad news to deliver - the fire revamp is currently not a confirmed part of Update 42. That one already has an absurd amount of content planned, including the long-awaited arrival of NPCs, so cramming in even more might not end up being possible. Still, development on fire is now once again underway, so I'm sure we won't have to wait all that long in order to see it in action.

Whatever the case may be, I'll make sure to let you know once more information becomes available. Until then, you can read a little bit more about Project Zomboid's future over at the official website.