(INVERSE) God only knows what the appeal of the apocalypse is, but the destruction of society and its aftermath have been fixtures in film and TV since producers could swing the budget. Far and away, the most popular doom-bringer of modern times is the zombie: The slathering, moaning devourer of human flesh. In the past ten years, the walking dead or the walking infected (or whatever it is that makes them yearn for brains) have destroyed the world in a dozen different ways.
But that wasn’t terrifying enough for a group of nerds who both love zombies and know what the Gillespie algorithm is … here’s a “beginner’s” guide (and congratulations to you if it makes sense). These statistical superfreaks just launched a site called Zombietown, USA that considers many of the real life factors that would yield a legit zombie apocalypse. The simulation allows players to oversee the death of the North American continent, and even play with the specifics of their zombies.
Players can choose how lethal their zombies are by upping the kill-to-bite ratio (lower end of the scale is more lethal) and how fast their undead move by controlling the speed at which their undead walk a mile. Players can choose multiple points of insertion for their apocalypse (but definitely start on the East coast for more effective massacre-ing). Concoct a classic Romero apocalypse or a new-fangled Danny Boyle shit show; the choice is yours!
Perhaps what’s most comforting about the zombie simulator is the speed by which zombies can infect the population. Even with a super lethal zombie chomping along at a really fast gait and multiple outbreak origins, here’s my North America after roughly two months:
That’s not too bad, right? There are still definite pockets of light in the night sky. Maybe I inadvertently imagined a Shaun of the Dead-style zombie apocalypse. Either way, it’s something to look forward to when the zombie apocalypse inevitably happens. Because they’re definitely coming for us, right?
[This post originally appeared on Inverse.com and was used with permission.]