Zombie Fortress is a mod for Team Fortress 2 that’s been around since 2008 (Official 1.0.0 release on September 20, 2008). The earliest reference to “Zombie Fortress” I’ve found is from July 2008, where Lurk (also known as Sirot) posted about a Zombie class on the Penny-Arcade TF2 forums (honestly I’m not sure of the context).
Sirot would go on to iterate on the server mod in an effort to make the mode fun. There were some complaints from other forum members, but one issue with the mod was that we were running it on standard TF2 maps rather than a map made for Zombie Fortress. Sirot created a Blogspot website where he kept a nearly daily account of the project as it went forward.
On August 15, 2008, Sirot posted a map concept for ZF_Industry, pictured below.
Sirot asked if anyone would make a map for the mode and I offered to try running with the rough concept above. I had some rough experience making maps for TFC and some playful maps for TF2 and figured I could make a halfway decent map that was at least partially designed with Zombie Fortress in mind.
I don’t know exactly how long I spent on zf_industry, but I can assure you it ended up being a much larger project than I anticipated. I created the Train Station, labeled “T” on the map above and set up a train to drive through the station. The Warehouse, labeled “W” on the map was placed in a lower area with multiple areas for the zombies to attack from. The Mines, labeled “M” on the map, was never created because I wasn’t confident in my abilities with displacements and never seriously tried making it.
I also created a parking garage structure to get between the zombie spawn and the Mines. Not entirely sure how I ended up with the parking garage.
ZF_Industry screenshots were posted on September 6, 2008 and the initial release candidate ZF_Industry_RC1 was released on GameBanana (Formerly RPGBanana/FPSBanana) on September 21, 2008.
ZF_Industry was the first and only map for Zombie Fortress for a little while there and I made a mistake by adding a capture point area over the entire site which meant the zombies could prevent the players from winning really easily. I remedied this by removing the control points in a ZF_Industry_CPLESS version of the map released on September 28, 2008.
On September 19, 2010 (about two years after release) I found Zombie Fortress again and looked into the ZF_Industry map and found a few interesting things.
The Train God:
I stopped working on the map after the initial release, but a forum called Ubercharged.net (defunct as of 2020) continued playing my map and the Zombie Fortress game mode. Apparently the train on my map was called “The Train God” at some point and inspired a Steam Group with the name “The Order of the Train God” with 174 members.
There was also a poem on Ubercharged.net with a reference to the Train God.
I also stumbled upon Gang Garrison 2, which is a demake of Team Fortress 2 in 2D. Apparently, some people had created a mod called “Undead Garrison” which was basically Zombie Fortress in the demake. I can’t vouch for how far the Undead Garrison mod went, but I do know that someone recreated ZF_Industry in 2D for the mod and that someone else looked at it for long enough to remind the original creator that there’s hills in the background of ZF_Industry.
On March 8, 2010, a remake of ZF_Industry called ZF_Industry_v2_1b2 was posted on RPGBanana/GameBanana by Kontata54. Someone (probably the uploader) decompiled my map and made some adjustments to it, including: a secret room that can explode, the map now takes place at night, and there’s additional details added throughout.
The creator of this remake did not contact me, but he at least did reference that I was the one who made the original in his post.
Here’s a short video of the map “in a nutshell” showing the secret room and the explosion.
The remake of the map inspired someone to write a short horror story about it. The story features some screenshots from the map and references specific features of the map. It’s wild.
Statistics (Updated 12-10-2020):
Teamwork.TF is a website that aggregates and summarizes information collected from TF2 servers. The following is some fun facts about peak players and when the map was last seen as of December 2020.
ZF_Industry_RC1: 3 concurrent players on 26-Jun-2017, last seen on 2018-12-10 (happy anniversary!)
ZF_Industry_RC1_cpless: 30 concurrent players on 11-Jun-2017, last seen on 2020-12-09 (???)
ZF_Industry_RC1_cpless_MAG: 28 concurrent players on 04-Nov-2017, last seen on 2019-06-28 (I attest to not actually knowing where this came from and it apparently is only being played in Asia)
ZF_Industry_V2_1B2: 30 concurrent players on 10-May-2017, last seen on 2020-12-10 (???)
ZF_Industry_V2_1B4: 24 concurrent players on 06-May-2019, last seen on 2020-03-01
I released ZF_Industry back in 2008 and did some brief research to see how it was doing back in 2010. A lot of this information comes from the initial search. Zombie Fortress has grown in popularity, but TF2 as a whole has decreased in popularity over the last 12 years. I’m still amazed that anyone played a map I made and *waves arm at all of the above*.
It warms my heart to have released something that had a surprising impact on the TF2 community.
If you have any stories about Zombie Fortress or screenshots or YouTube videos that I haven’t found in my search, please let me know and I might add a link to it here. I’ve got archived copies of old websites and screenshots and videos living on my external hard drive to look back on in another 10 years.