Brainless and Listener Zombies

I’ve encountered a fair number of both brainless and listeners. They both pretty much just seem like target dummies for very new survivors to practice combat skills on safely, if you are lucky enough to encounter them on day 1-2. After that they’re pretty much just trash that poses a threat only inasmuch as they can body block for bigger zeds or exhaust your stamina in an extended fight.

I kind of expected the Listener zombies to be very noise sensitive and home in on shouts and combat sounds from long distances - but I really haven’t noticed any such behavior from them? They seem substantially less responsive than a basic zed, even where listen checks are concerned. Dunno if that’s a bug or what.

Have not yet seen a skull zombie as of day 60 or so of a 0.D playthrough.

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Again, unfortunately, hearing is not a ‘targeting’ kind of system. Hearing is more like ‘move over there’ and then confirm the threat with sight. A creature without sight is basically useless. Hence why the brainless basically stand there unless you’re right next to them. I knew this when I created them, I knew they’d be blind and are mostly there for flavor.

The listeners do have the ability to see, it’s just very limited.

I’m going to tweak them tonight, probably increasing the Listener’s sight. I’m also going to reduce the spawn frequency of both of them.

The Skull zombie doesn’t spawn, it only evolves from listener zombies, similar to how the Mangator or whatever doesn’t spawn but can only be evolved to. I may change this as well, since they’re the only real threat in this line of spawns.

I’m going to fiddle with it tonight.

After I make the tweaks this evening, I plan to wash my hands on this zombie species. Feel free to open your own issues or PRs if you’re not satisfied with where they end up.

One suggestion for both the brainless and listener zombies:

While you may want to keep their sight range short - make sure that their low light vision is just as good, otherwise I suspect that their short vision range in the day will functionally become zero at night, which probably isn’t what you want, especially for the Listener.

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That’s actually the opposite of what I planned x_x.

The listener zombies have narrow slits that merely hint at eyes. I’m upping their day vision slightly, but their night vision will remain trash to reflect the fact that they don’t really have good eyes.

Heh. This is something I have a LOT of experience with - having good hearing on a very dark night is often better than sight.

You can track things decently at close range, particularly if they’re moving about clumsily in the dark - within a few tiles this should allow fairly good melee targeting, and would probably be best represented by giving them decent short range night vision, or perhaps IR if they should be able to ‘see’ through smoke and such? (not sure if IR does that in CDDA actually…)

Honestly the ear monster should be a pretty good night threat. Just my two cents

I release them unto the wild. Do with them what you will, I’m out.

I will say that I undershot the frequencies, to ensure they wouldn’t overspawn, that’s the only thing I see possibly being an issue in the future.

Is there any particular reason listen zombies would be fleeing combat after their fellows were killed next to them? Most recent experimental. I encountered a group of 8 listeners and 6 or so shadies. initially the whole group was charging me together but once there were 3 listeners left they all just started running in the opposite direction of me and just keep running. They didn’t even engage me when I started hacking them with a machette.

Another odd note is this whole city is about 40% shady zombies, 40% listener/brainless, and 10% of the other types of zombies. Could just be rng being rng but that seems a little odd. Every listener group is fleeing the same way to boot.

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It could be listeners running to echos from the fighting, especially since fighting is extremely loud if you’ve ever seen you sound bar while whacking away, unless you have ninjutsu.

That IS weird. All of it.

I also have been encountering TONS of shady spawns – I think I found about 17 in a 4 house town. I think the numbers may be getting rebalanced while they’re working on evolutions.

As for them fleeing, no, that should never ever happen. They’re copy-pasted from regular zombies and I didn’t touch morale or anything like that. There’s no reason they should ever retreat, because zombies shouldn’t ever retreat.

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Yea in my experience shady zombies are everywhere, and at night they’re like zombie ninjas sneaking up and spookin the heck out of me when I forget to turn safe mode back on :disappointed:

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Zombies need a central processor to coordinate their movements, otherwise they become inanimate bodies indistinguishable from any random dead body lying on the ground. Said central processor, like actual brains, needs to be cushioned from the shocks caused by moving the body, or else the act of moving, and especially attacking, will destroy it. This central processor is typically built in the skull by the blob, as it’s the best naturally occurring protected location in nearly all Earth life forms.

But the blob is adaptable, and the central processor can be created in a variety of other locations, if the skull is not suitable due to excessive damage. The rib cage can be adapted into a brain-case, or the pelvic girdle, if the particular bits of the blob decide it would be worth it.

Oddly, in my most recent run I haven’t seen a SINGLE shady zombie, or listeners for that matter.

Some brainless, but mostly just standard Zs, mixed with tough, fat, and ferals, occasional dog and rottweiler packs, cops, firefighters, rare military and shockers. A few technicians at special sites, children near schools and swimmers at pools.

No sign of brutes, necros or other higher level Z’s yet - military is pretty much the worst I’ve encountered so far. Evolution seems a fair bit slower or more constrained than in some of my previous games, perhaps because I’m not running with Wandering Hordes turned on?

Monster evolutions were reworked a few months ago. It sounds like you’re on a version with that update.

In the early days, only low tier zombies will spawn. Certain locations are exceptions, but you won’t be seeing necros and such for a while. The soldiers and shockers are the top end of what you should be seeing.

That’s my guess for what you’re experiencing. You’ll start noticing zombie evolution somewhere around the 30 day mark, from what I’ve seen.

No, I have experienced this too. 2.5 spawn rate with x2 evolution speed.

The Aftershock removes those zombies, so that is probably why.

Ok, good. That makes sense. Previously the evolution rate was a tad… aggressive. This version might be slightly on the slow side, but that just means we’ve bracketed the difficulty so the best value is probably somewhere between those values, which is always good to know. :wink: