Work in progress: Google Maps in ZOS for iOS

Hey everyone,

Since getting back into development of Class 3 Outbreak and Zombie Outbreak Simulator a few months ago, my goal has been to alternate my time between C3O on the web and ZOS on iOS. So after releasing the ‘get to a building’ objective for C3O a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been working on ZOS for iOS.

In my last dev post for ZOS for iOS a couple of months ago I had just tried out the new Google Maps SDK for iOS. Although I was able to get the zombies/civs to draw over the map okay, I couldn’t get them to synchronize properly. While panning/zooming, the map would lag behind the people, and so it would look like the people were sliding around on the ground.

Well, after trying numerous approaches I have now figured out a way to get the people and the map to synchronize properly! Here’s a quick video showing it in action:

This Google Maps version of iZOS is currently a bit of a hack, so there’s still a bit of work involved in getting this ready to release. But now that I’ve gotten it to work, bringing Google Maps back to iZOS is just a matter of when not if! :)

My plan for the next update of iZOS is to offer a choice of 15 maps – the 5 offline maps which are in the current version, plus the 10 Google Maps which were in there before iOS 6 was released. Then in the next update after that, I’ll expand the Google Maps further to support all 2000+ maps available on

Unfortunately the Google Maps SDK for iOS doesn’t support iOS version 4.x. So in the next update I’ll have to change the minimum supported iOS version to 5.0 (iZOS currently supports back to 4.0). According to my Flurry analytics, around 6% of ZOS players in the last month were running iOS 4.x:

iZOS iOS versions

The stats for ZOS Free are similar: most players are using iOS 6.x or 5.x, with only about 2.5% of players in the last month using iOS 4.x. So if you’re one of these people who are still running 4.x, you’ll need to upgrade if you want to download the next version of ZOS. However if you don’t want to upgrade your version of iOS you should still be able to play the old version of ZOS. The App Store app on the device should ignore the update, although the app may get deleted if you sync with iTunes.

Also, it looks like I probably won’t be able to get Google Maps to work on the original iPad 1. Although the Google Maps SDK for iOS does work on an iPad 1, and although ZOS itself uses as little memory as possible, when they are combined it’s still too much – and so ZOS crashes too often. According to the Flurry analytics, around 4% of ZOS players in the last month were using an iPad 1.

iZOS device usage

And similarly, around 3% of ZOS Free players in the last month were using an iPad 1.

The reason we originally removed Google Maps from ZOS was because Apple replaced Google Maps with their own Apple Maps in iOS 6. However, the iPad 1 doesn’t support iOS 6 – the highest version of iOS available on an iPad 1 is iOS 5.1.1. Therefore in theory it might be possible for me to bring Google Maps back to the iPad 1 by using the method ZOS originally used – avoiding the use of the new Google Maps SDK for iOS. In practise though, supporting multiple different methods of displaying maps may just be too complicated. However, I’ll keep it in mind as I’m finishing up the Google Maps update for ZOS. So if you have an iPad 1, I might be able to bring back Google Maps in the future – but only if you’re not still running iOS 4.x!

Now that I’ve reached this milestone with ZOS for iOS, I’m going to swap back to developing the web version of C3O. The feature I’ll be working on for C3O is to add a new objective type which map authors can choose. This objective type will require the player to rescue a named civ who starts the game locked in a building chosen by the map author. After that update, I’ll come back and finish off the Google Maps update for ZOS on iOS.


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