Trouble with making the world I want

After playing my first few runs of the game, I’m confident I know what sort of game experience I want. The only problem is setting it up.

I’m trying to get a longer game going, so a slower (higher) evolution factor. I set this at 5.0 in world gen. But to make up for that I want a huge amount of zeds, so I set the spawn rate up to 1.30.

My experience in these short lived games has been the exact opposite of what I want. I’ve been run down by full grown headless horrors, Zeindeer, Zombie predators, and once when I somehow made it to day three. A zombie hulk. All in small packs or just by themselves. This isn’t even mentioning all the smaller specials like spitters that I also thought were supposed to be late game. I think I see on average four ‘normal’ zombies per game.

So, I clearly don’t know what I’m doing. I was wondering if anyone could help troubleshoot my world so I could get one with lots of zombie spawns but a slowish evolution rate. I don’t mind some specials to start, but please no more zombie predators right outside my starting door :’)

here are some of the things I suspect:
The first suspect is my start. The challenge: abandoned. It doesn’t say it directly, but could it be I’m being started way deeper into the cataclysm than day 1? If it is this and I’m just dumb, is there any way to adjust the game files to wake up day one?

Randomized initial day: -1. The settings say that it has no effect on food rot and monster evolution but hey, maybe I’m out of the loop and this is bugged? My spawn delay is set at 0.

Mods: secronom, Secronom Lore, magiclysm, Arcana, afteshock, C.R.I.T, crazy cata, cata++, Blaze industries, and DinoMod. I guess Secronom is responsible for a lot of the deaths I’ve had. I could take it out, but I want the zombies there, I just want them to be more endgame. I also deleted the .json for ranged cata++ monsters because I don’t like them. Maybe just outright deleting the file had an effect on the spawn system?

City size/ spacing: 11 and 5 respectively. Still adjusting these a bit for personal preference. I know this has an effect on spawn number, but could it have an effect on quality as well?

I know this is a big ask to help me set up a specific world, but I figured it would be quicker to ask and see if anyone else already had experience rather than tinkering around myself for hours.

It’s probably not the cause of your problems, but the more zombies you have, the more advanced ones you will get, because the advancement is based on probabilities, so if you have 1% chance to get an X advanced zombie on day 1 and change the probability to 0.1% but the number of zombies to be 10 times as many, you’ll still have about as many advanced zombies on day one as you had before these adjustments (“about”, because it’s not exactly the same probabilities, but close enough in this case).

unless you’re “experienced” in the game (and I say that as a relative term, since its hard to define being “good” at cataclysm besides being able to reliably survive a week in any scenario) it is strongly recommended not to install secronom as the new zombies ramp up the difficulty

also you might want to try the classic zombie mod