Immersive Details: Tainted Clothing


I’m back today with another minor addition to the Immersive Details series of posts - a series of smaller suggestions that should collectively work to improve the immersion aspect of gameplay in Unturned II.

This time I’ll be talking about addition of a new mechanic: tainted clothing. This is a feature borrowed from Cataclysm: DDA, particularly because it immerses its players very well, but also because I feel like UII could benefit a lot from this particular feature.

What is tainted clothing?

Imagine you’re extremely strapped for gear, and it’s the middle of winter. You kill a typical Turned walker that happens to be wearing a parka that you want to take for yourself to stay warm. The jacket has gone through a lot - it’s worn down almost to tatters, has a bullet hole in it now, and worst of all, it’s absolutely caked in zombie filth. You shudder; unclear if due to the numbing cold of the Canadian winter, or from the thought of where that jacket has been. Hesitantly, you grab it from the lifeless corpse and proceed to wear it. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

In C:DDA, you have the option to take the clothes worn by zombies that you’ve killed. However, the clothing is tainted and often in poor condition (and will be clearly denoted as tainted, to avoid any player confusion). The main application of this in gameplay is that you’ll be taking a risk by wearing dirty clothing, which may affect your immune health. In addition, if you take a wound in the relevant body part while wearing tainted clothing that ends up breaking your skin, your open wound is almost guaranteed to become infected, making tainted clothing a constant liability. Tainted clothing may also provide ergonomic debuffs, such as impeding your movement slightly compared to their untainted counterparts.

Tainted clothing can be cleaned, but it requires a careful cleaning process that will either be resource or time intensive. Assuming hygiene is a mechanic in UII, you’ll need a lot of cleaning product to fully rid tainted clothing of its filth, and chances are the clothing was in poor condition to begin with, so you end up with a clean but heavily damaged item. (Who knows, maybe this will give a genuine use to our beloved washing machines?)

This provides an interesting alternative to finding clothing normally - adding a new mechanic entirely with an element of calculated risk. At the same time, it makes the Turned a resource in a new way, as well as creating additional threat if you get attacked by one while wearing tainted clothing.

EDIT: Thanks to some comments we’ve come up with a few extra ideas I didn’t think of at first!

  • There may be a distinction between dirty clothing and tainted clothing, with clothing becoming dirty by normal use (taking damage, crawling around a lot, swimming in dirty water)

  • Clean clothing can become tainted if it takes too much damage from the Turned, especially particularly nasty types that rely on biological damage (if we use U3 as an example, acid spitters)

  • Clothing can become dirty or tainted over time just by the player being within a deadzone or excursion zone, adding more difficulty to these hazards.

  • Wearing tainted gloves/shirts/jackets can affect the process of preparing uncooked foods such as raw meats and fruits/vegetables, potentially causing food poisoning. In addition, storing unpackaged food items inside of tainted clothing.

  • Wearing tainted clothing depending on whether it is tainted by zombie filth, blood, or chemicals, either reduces or increases your detection radius to Turned (and other entities) by smell

  • Tainted clothing has configurable chances to infect you or infect your food. Generally in vanilla, an inner layer should be more likely to infect you, while an outer layer is more likely to contaminate food during preparation.


What do you think of a tainted clothing mechanic being implemented into UII?

  • I support it
  • I do not support it
  • I partially support it - and would change or clarify something first (please comment)
  • [null option]

0 voters

Possible Comment Prompt:

Is the filth and wound infection risk enough to justify tainted clothing accessibility, or should it have additional drawbacks? If so, what should these drawbacks be? I’d like to hear your ideas on this.

Do you think tainted clothing should be cleanable?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes, but… (clarify with comment)
  • [null option]

0 voters

Do you think it should be possible to convert tainted clothing into raw materials?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Yes, but you get tainted/non-sterile materials as a result
  • [null option]

0 voters

See also

Immersive Details series

#1 - Identification
#2 - Senses, Distraction, Disorientation, and You!
#3 - Tainted Clothing

Mega-Suggestions: The best of GHJ

Skill System Overhaul
Survival Overhaul
Human Powered Transport


A shame that the dirty clothes aesthetic actually looks better.

Slightly unrelated, but I’d like to see repaired clothing with visible seams and patchwork.

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I’d say that dirty and tainted should be separate classifications. A little dirt on your clothing wouldn’t be too much of an issue and if there isn’t anything serious on it you could easily clean a wound. With tainted clothing I’d expect stuff like blood from the zombie on it or possibly chemicals depending on what the taint was caused by.

If I remember right, Project Zomboid also has a thing with tainted clothing. It’ll tell you that it came from a dead body and you’ll be unhappy from the thought that it was taken off of a body.


Drawbacks: Some more drawbacks is that you have to clean yourself to make sure you don’t infect your food. If you have a lot of flesh wounds you didn’t take care of, you go through the stages of becoming turned. Some stages are irreversible. You need to wrap your bandages with plastic, paper, so the turned blood doesn’t bleed through your bandages or using an anti bacterial spray on your wounds, and then bandage up. Rags would be useless covering up your wounds when wearing this type of clothing.

Pros: You can go through a small crowd of turned, but higher tier turned can detect you, and warn the group.

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Good ideas, keep 'em coming!

I’d agree that there’s room for normal dirty clothing that has just taken a lot of punishment, either from the player taking damage, crawling around a lot, swimming in dirty water bodies, or the clothing itself being left exposed to the elements.

Regardless though tainted clothing would be extremely contaminated, and you can consistently guarantee that all zombies would have tainted clothing, with the disadvantages above. Of course, there can also be exceptions, such as clothing that can’t be tainted at all (open to modders hopefully).

Actually, if we are to see deadzones in UII, I’d imagine that deadzones can also taint clothing over time. Maybe even the excursion zones.

This is interesting.

I really like the idea of food contamination, it would make the player much more cautious when handling food. It should only be applicable if it’s uncooked/fresh food like raw meat, fruit/vegetables, etc though.

As for the latter, I’d rather prefer that your detection radius by smell from zombies is substantially reduced.

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I think the cloth from any clothing (tainted or not) should need to be sanitized before it can has any more medical use than as a makeshift tourniquet.


Blood on tainted clothing should definitely play a part in attracting the turned. Maybe the taint could also be split into categories like Turned, Player (playerName), Chemical/Environmental. Different types of contamination would have different effects but if its contaminated by your own blood, it is safe to wear by only you but it’ll affect how zombies sense you.

I think this should only be for certain types of clothing like gloves that you’d be handling the food with or clothing that the food is stored in.

Maybe contact with the turned can also contaminate clothing. Punching them would taint clothes and certain types of weapons that would seem like they’d splatter blood could also taint the clothing. Putting regular items in contact with tainted versions would also slowly spread the contamination.


Perhaps having tainted clothing on an outer layer would make it less likely to infect you, but more likely to taint the things you interact with.


Just btw I’ve started incorporating some of these comment ideas into the post as an edit!

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One more thing about the smell. Different contamination types should either mask or increase the effect of smell. Blood and certain chemicals with a noticeable odor make it more likely to be detected. Odor-neutralizing chemicals and things with a more natural smell that blend in with the environment would help reduce detection.

Clothing should be able to be patched and stuff with material the same way guns are in 3.0 with scrap metals. I think you shouldn’t “clean” it but instead patch it up.

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I like that idea.

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Patching holes in clothing does seem like more of a priority to be added in my opinion, but it isn’t mutually exclusive with other repairs. Sewing up and patching clothing would serve as a very basic and regular form of maintenance, replacing inserts would just be a quicker but more costly equivalent for more protective clothing, and adding a requirement for cleaning allows the Turned’s clothing to be lootable without making clothing items disposable and provides more of a cost for hanging out in deadzones, so they each have their own niche to fill.

Being able to get a free set of clothes off one zombie you kill seems a little OP to me, so the clothing being tainted gives a good reason for you not being able to do so sounds nice.

Actually a good idea would be to just make the mechanic of repairing and sterlizing clothing seperate, so you can just have tattered clothing and it wouldn’t be disease ridden

This was my original intention.

Clothing from the Turned just happens to be both tainted and damaged, but they’re two separate statuses that need to be solved separately.


That is the kind of idea that fits the game perfectly.
Items that would clean clothes could be water (for dirt), alcohol (for poorly infected clothes) and bleach (for really contaminated clothing).

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Basically my interpretation/suggestion of this post:

  • You can choose to wear outfits you find from zombies, but they put you at risk with things like increased infection from bullet wounds and such and have poor armor stats due to being degraded

  • Maybe they can be cleaned? Or patched up as well to turn them to normal t-shirts/pants?

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