Game Modes

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Title Screen

There are a number of different games modes available in Project Zomboid. The list of game modes below is correct as of version 40. In all modes, death is final. There is no reloading from a saved game. Only creating a new survivor within the same game is possible.

Tutorial

SpiffoTeacher.png

This is a short introduction on a small map to introduce new players to the controls and user interface. This is a preset scenario with no settings or options to choose.
The tutorial covers the basics of:

Scenario

Each scenario will give the player a new starting challenge they must adapt to.

Initial Infection

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Starting Date: 9th July 1993
This is a non-canon gamemode designed to act as a training scenario for new Survivors. This should be the next step for new players after completing the Tutorial. Zombies are recently infected with reduced senses and limited migration. Water and Electricity will shut off after 6-12 in-game months. Resources are in abundance. The player will get a hang of the game mechanics without being overrun or starved.

• Horde Size: Small
• Zombie Speed: Shamblers
• Zombie Senses: Poor
• Utility shut-off: 6-12 months
• Resources: Abundant

The First Week

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Starting Date: 9th July 1993
Start from the first week of the infection. There is a moderate horde size, since the zombies have had some time to turn. They will quickly shamble towards anything that catches their attention, however with reduced senses. Water and Electricity will shut off after 2-6 in-game months. Houses are unlooted. The player will experience what it was like in Knox County from the early stages of the plague.

• Horde Size: Moderate
• Zombie Speed: Fast Shamblers
• Zombie Senses: Poor
• Utility shut-off: 2-6 months
• Resources: Common

Six Months Later

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Starting Date: 9th December 1993
This is where the apocalypse ends. After 6 months there are very few survivors and a large horde of zombies, since nearly everyone in Knox County has turned. They've had a lot of time to develop their senses and will hear, see or smell anything that gets too close. The Water and Electricity has been shut off for a while and the cities are all overgrown. All the houses have been picked clean, making it very difficult to find anything of any use. It'll be a real struggle to get any kind of foundation set up this late into the apocalypse.

• Horde Size: Large
• Zombie Speed: Fast Shamblers
• Zombie Senses: Normal
• Utility shut-off: Instant
• Resources: Rare

Survival

SpiffoSurvivor.png

Starting Date: 9th July 1993
Starting Conditions are locked on Hardcore. Doors are frequently locked and house alarms are common forcing hordes of zombies towards the player. Strong, tough and basic navigation make these zombies a serious threat, they're nothing like the previously encountered ones. Water and Electricity will shut off in under 30 days, requiring the player to quickly find some sustainability. This is the hardcore experience, survival is highly unlikely.

• Horde Size: Huge
• Zombie Speed: Fast Shamblers
• Zombie Senses: Normal
• Utility shut-off: 0-30 days
• Resources: Rare

Starting Conditions

Choosing the starting conditions will set a predefined player setting, designed to raise or lower the difficulty. Each of these settings goes into more detail in the custom sandbox section.

Easy

XP Multiplier: x2
Character Survival Needs: Very Low
Inventory: Baseball bat, Saw, Schoolbag, Hammer, Water and Food.

Normal

XP Multiplier: x1.5
Character Survival Needs: Low
Inventory: Baseball bat, Schoolbag, Hammer, Water and Food.

Hard

XP Multiplier: x1.2
Character Survival Needs: Normal
Inventory: Water and Food.

Hardcore

XP Multiplier: NONE
Character Survival Needs: Normal
Inventory: Nothing.

Custom Sandbox

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The player is presented with 4 different spawn locations, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. For more details on starting locations, see Knox County. Upon choosing a location, the player now choose their own options, or pick a preset to customise. In the Saved Presets box at the bottom, each default option is the same settings as the previously mentioned Scenarios. The defaults for these presets are shown below.

*NOTE: the Character options have a set default 'difficulty' for each preset*



Population


Zombie Count: Changing this will adjust the "Population Multiplier" advanced option.

Count Scenario
Insane Six Months Later
High
Normal The First Week
Survival
Low Initial Infection
None


Zombie Distribution: Determines whether zombie distribution will be balanced across the map, or focused in urban areas.

Distribution Scenario
Urban Focused Initial Infection
First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Uniform



Time


Day length: How fast the player gets hungry or thirsty is based on the time of day in-game. Therefore, the longer the game day is, the longer it will take to get hungry or thirsty.

Length Scenario
15 Minutes
30 Minutes
1 hour Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
2 hours
3 hours
4 hours
5 hours
6 hours
7 hours
8 hours
9 hours
10 hours
11 hours
12 hours
13 hours
14 hours
15 hours
16 hours
17 hours
18 hours
19 hours
20 hours
21 hours
22 hours
23 hours
Real-time


Start Month: The time of year will affect Foraging and Farming. July will have greater harvests, whereas December will have poorer.

Month Scenario
January
February
March
April
May
June
July Initial Infection
The First Week
Survival
August
September
October
November
December Six Months Later


Start Day: How far into the month it is.

Day Scenario
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9 Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29*
30*
31*


Start Time: Changing this will determine how much daylight you have in your first day. Daylight gives a buff to your sight. Zombies are attracted to light sources during the night.

Month Scenario
7 am
9 am Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
12 pm
2 pm
5 pm
9 pm
12 am
2 am
5 am



World


Water Shutoff: The water will randomly stop working any day within this range. For example, selecting 2-6 months will give the player at least 2 months to prepare themselves before the water is shutoff. There will still be some left over water in sinks and toilets, however this is non-sustainable and will eventually run out.

Shutoff Scenario
Instant Six Months Later
0-30 days Survival
0-2 months
0-6 months
0-1 year
0-5 years
2-6 months The First Week
6-12 months Initial Infection


Electricity Shutoff: The electricity will randomly stop working any day within this range. For example, selecting 2-6 months will give the player at least 2 months to prepare themselves before the electricity is shutoff. Which will stop refrigerators and lights from functioning.

Shutoff Scenario
Instant Six Months Later
0-30 days Survival
0-2 months
0-6 months
0-1 year
0-5 years
2-6 months The First Week
6-12 months Initial Infection


House Alarms Frequency: This is how often you will come across houses with an active burglar alarm, which once triggered will generate a loud noise attracting zombies from every angle. Currently (Weather Test 40.3) this is not related to the Item; Home Alarm.

Frequency Scenario
Never Six Months Later
Extremely Rare Initial Infection
Rare The First Week
Sometimes Survival
Often
Very Often


Locked Houses Frequency: This is how often houses will have their doors locked.

Frequency Scenario
Never Six Months Later
Extremely Rare Initial Infection
Rare The First Week
Sometimes
Often
Very Often Survival


Food Spoilage: Defines how fast the food will spoil inside or outside fridge.

Rate Scenario
Very Fast
Fast
Normal The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Slow Initial Infection
Very Slow


Refridgeration Effectiveness: Define how effective a fridge will be at slowing the rate of food spoilage.

Effectiveness Scenario
Very Low
Low
Normal The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
High Initial Infection
Very High


Rotten Food Removal: This value is an integer defining the number of in-game days before rotten food is removed from the map. -1 means rotten food will never be removed. [Default=-1]

Loot Respawn: Items will respawn in already-looted containers in towns and trailer parks. Items will not respawn in player-made containers.

Effectiveness Scenario
None Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Every day
Every week
Every month
Every 2 months


Loot Seen Prevent Hours: This value is an integer defining the number of hours. When >0, loot will not respawn in zones that have been visited within this number of hours. [Default=0]

Months Since The Apocalypse: This affect starting Erosion and Food Age.

Months Scenario
0 Initial Infection
The First Week
Survival
1
2
3
4
5
6 Six Months Later
7
8
9
10
11
12


Darkness During Night: Defines how dark it is at night, affecting the player's visibility.

Months Scenario
Pitch Black
Dark
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Bright


Fire Spread: This is a check box that can be turned On or Off. Disabling this will stop fire from spreading to nearby flammable material. [Default=On]

Generator Working In Exterior: This is a check box that can be turned On or Off. If enabled, generators will work on exterior tiles, allowing for example to power a gas pump. [Default=Off]


Nature


Temperature: This will affect the Weather and therefore your temperature Moodle.

Temperature Scenario
Very cold
Cold
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Hot
Very hot


Rain: This will affect how much rain there is and therefore your wet Moodle.

Rain Scenario
Very dry
Dry
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Rainy
Very rainy


Erosion Speed: Affects the speed of Erosion for roads and buildings. Number of days until 100% growth.

Rate Scenario
Very fast (20 days) The First Week
Six Months Later
Fast (50 days)
Normal (100 days) Initial Infection
Survival
Slow (200)
Very slow (500)


Farming Speed: Affects how fast your crops grow in Farming

Rate Scenario
Very fast
Fast Initial Infection
Normal The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Slow
Very slow


Plant Resilience: Determines how much water the plant will lose per day and their ability to avoid disease.

Resilience Scenario
Very low Initial Infection
Low
Normal The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
High
Very high


Farming's Abundance: Will influence how many vegetables a plant will grow.

Abundance Scenario
Very poor
Poor
Normal Six Months Later
Survival
Abundant The First Week
Very abundant Initial Infection


Nature's Abundance: Affects the difficulty of fishing and foraging.

Abundance Scenario
Very poor
Poor
Normal Survival
Abundant The First Week
Very abundant Initial Infection
Six Months Later


Compost Time: Determines how long it will take for food to decay in a composter.

Time Scenario
1 Week
2 Weeks Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
3 Weeks
4 Weeks
6 Weeks
8 Weeks
10 Weeks
12 Weeks



Sadistic AI Director


Helicopter: How often helicopters pass over the Event zone. Helicopters last for a long time, will leave, then come back, bring hordes of zombies towards the player from many directions.

Frequency Scenario
Never
Once Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Sometimes
Often


Meta Event: How often zombie attracting meta-game events like gunshots will occur. This will cause zombies to move towards the direction of the event. It should be noted that this is audio only, following the noise will not lead the player to the source.

Frequency Scenario
Never
Once
Sometimes Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Often


Sleeping Event: Governs night-time metagame events during the player's sleep, such as night terrors.

Frequency Scenario
Never
Once
Sometimes Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Often



Meta


Generator Spawn: Increase/decrease the chance of electrical generators spawning on the map.

Rate Scenario
Very low
Low
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
High
Very high


Generator Fuel Consumption: Impacts how much fuel is consumed by generators. A generator that needs no fuel should be set to 0.0. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=100] [Default=1]

Randomized House Chance: Increase/decrease probability of discovering randomized safe houses on the map: either burnt out, containing loot stashes, dead survivor bodies etc.

Frequency Scenario
Never
Extremely rare
Rare Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Sometimes
Often
Very Often


Annotated Map Chance: Impacts on how often a looted map will have annotations marked on it by a deceased survivor.

Frequency Scenario
Never
Extremely rare
Rare
Sometimes Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Often
Very Often


Time Before Corpse Removal: Number of in-game hours before zombie corpses are automatically removed from the map. Setting to -1 will stop corpses from being removed. (Replaces former HoursForCorpseRemoval server option).

Decaying Corpse Health Impact: Governs impact that nearby decaying bodies has on the player's health and emotions.

Impact Scenario
None
Low
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
High


Blood Level: More of a graphical setting as it determines the level of gore that will generate after hitting/killing a zombie or player.

Level Scenario
None
Low
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
High
Ultra Gore



Loot Rarity


Food: For all the different foods, click here.

Rarity Scenario
Extremely rare
Rare Six Months Later
Survival
Normal
Common The First Week
Abundant Initial Infection


Weapon: For all the different weapons, click here.

Rarity Scenario
Extremely rare
Rare Six Months Later
Survival
Normal
Common The First Week
Abundant Initial Infection


Other: Every other item type that doesn't fit into the above categories.

Rarity Scenario
Extremely rare
Rare Six Months Later
Survival
Normal
Common The First Week
Abundant Initial Infection



Character


XP Multiplier: Affects how much experience the player will get from various tasks. [Minimum-0.001] [Maximum-1000] [Default=1]

Stats Decrease: How fast character's hunger, thirst and fatigue will decrease.

Rate Scenario
Very fast
Fast
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Slow
Very slow


Endurance Regeneration: This affects how fast fatigue will decrease.

Rate Scenario
Very fast
Fast
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Slow
Very slow


Nutrition: This is a check box determining whether nutritional value of food affects the player's condition.

Starter Kit: Start with a schoolbag, baseball bat, hammer, water bottle and chips.

Free Traits: Adds free points during character creation.

Player-Built Construction Strength: Determines the hitpoints of structures the player has built.

Strength Scenario
Very low
Low
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
High
Very high


Injury Severity: Increase and decrease the impact injuries have on your body, and their healing time.

Severity Scenario
Low
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
High


Bone Fracture: Enable or disable broken limbs when survivors receive injuries from impacts, zombie damage and falls.

Clothing Degradation: Governs how quickly clothing degrades, becomes dirty and bloodied. (Can be disabled).

Rate Scenario
Disabled
Slow
Normal Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Fast



Vehicle


Enable Vehicle: Enable or disable vehicles from spawning into the game.

Easy Use: If true, cars will all be unlocked with a full gas tank and low engine loudness.

Recent Survivor Vehicles: Governs whether the player can discover a car that has been maintained and cared for after the infection struck, i.e. is still in working order.

Rate Scenario
Low The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Normal
High Initial Infection


Zombie Attraction Multiplier: Use this to multiply or reduce engine general loudness. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=100] [Default=1]

Car Spawn Rate:

Rate Scenario
Low Six Months Later
Survival
Normal The First Week
High Initial Infection


Chance Has Gas: Governs the chances of finding vehicles with gas in the tank.

Rate Scenario
Low Six Months Later
Survival
Normal
High Initial Infection
The First Week


Initial Gas: Governs how full gas tanks will be in discovered cars.

Level Scenario
Very low
Low Six Months Later
Survival
Normal The First Week
High
Very high Initial Infection
Full


Gas Consumption: The rate in which vehicles will consume fuel. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=100] [Default=1].

Locked Frequency: How frequent the doors of a vehicle will be locked.

Frequency Scenario
Never Six Months Later
Survival
Extremely rare Initial Infection
Rare The First Week
Sometimes
Often
Very often


General Condition: In what condition new cars will spawn.

Level Scenario
Very low Six Months Later
Survival
Low
Normal The First Week
High Initial Infection
Very high


Car Wreck Congestion: Enable or disable traffic jams that spawn on the main roads of the map. [Default=On]

Car Alarms Frequency: The frequency in which a car alarm will be triggered when opening a door. This will attract zombies to the vehicle's position.

Frequency Scenario
Never Six Months Later
Survival
Extremely rare Initial Infection
Rare The First Week
Sometimes
Often
Very often


Player Damaged From Crash: Enable or disable player getting damage from being in a car accident. [Default=On]

Siren Shutoff Hours: Number of hours before the siren sound of a car alarm will stop playing. 0.0 means it will play until the car battery is dead. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=168] [Default=0]


Zombie Lore


Speed:: The speed of zombies when giving chase. Fast shamblers will both run and shamble towards their target.

Speed Scenario
Sprinters
Fast Shamblers The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Shamblers Initial Infection
Random


Strength:: How hard a zombie will hit when dealing damage to both the player and world objects, along with the likeliness they will break the skin when attacking.

Strength Scenario
Superhuman
Normal Survival
Weak Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Random


Toughness:: The hitpoints of zombies and how likely they are to fall over.

Toughness Scenario
Tough
Normal The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Fragile Initial Infection
Random


Transmission:: How the transmission of the zombie infection occurs. Everyone's infected will cause all players to reanimate once they're killed, similarly to The Walking Dead.

Transmission Scenario
Blood + Saliva Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Everyone's Infected
None


Infection Mortality:: How long it will take for the zombie infection to kill its host, i.e. the player.

Rate Scenario
Instant
0-30 seconds
0-1 minutes
0-12 hours
2-3 days Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
1-2 weeks
Never


Reanimate Time:: How long after death before an infected player will be reanimated.

Time Scenario
Instant
0-30 seconds
0-1 minutes Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
0-12 hours
2-3 days
1-2 weeks


Cognition:: How effective zombies are at navigating to reach their target.

Cognition Scenario
Navigate + use doors
Navigate Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Basic navigation Survival
Random


Memory:: How long a zombie will give chase before giving up.

Memory Scenario
Long
Normal Six Months Later
Survival
Short Initial Infection
The First Week
None


Decomposition:: How time will affect the zombie's speed and strength/toughness.

Decomposition Scenario
Slows + weakens Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Slows
Weakens
No effect


Sight:: How large the radius of the sight cone is, and therefore be able to spot a player from farther away, or in their peripherals.

Sight Scenario
Eagle
Normal Six Months Later
Survival
Poor Initial Infection
The First Week


Hearing:: The distance in which they were move towards a noise, such as broken windows or dying zombies.

Hearing Scenario
Pinpoint
Normal Six Months Later
Survival
Poor Initial Infection
The First Week


Smell:: How close the player can be before a zombie will give chase to them.

Smell Scenario
Bloodhound
Normal Six Months Later
Survival
Poor Initial Infection
The First Week


Environmental Attacks: Zombies that have not seen/heard the player can attack doors and constructions while roaming. [Default=On]

Damage Construction: Governs whether or not zombies can destroy player constructions and defences. [Default=On]

Day/Night Active: Governs whether zombies are most active during the day, or whether they act more nocturnally. Inactive zombies will be slower, and tend not to give chase.

Activity Scenario
Both Initial Infection
The First Week
Six Months Later
Survival
Night
Day


Zombie House Alarm Triggering: Allows zombies to trigger house alarms when breaking through windows and doors. Enabling this option will cause zombies to constantly be movie around populated areas, making the early game much more difficult. [Default=Off]


Advanced Zombie Options


Population Multiplier: Set by the "Zombie Count" population option. 4.0 = Insane, 2.0 = High, 1.0 = Normal, 0.35 = Low, 0.0 = None. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=4] [Default=1]

Population Start Multiplier: Adjusts the desired population at the start of the game. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=4] [Default=1]

Population Peak Multiplier: Adjusts the desired population on the peak day. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=4] [Default=1.5]

Population Peak Day: The day when the population reaches its peak. [Minimum=1] [Maximum=365] [Default=28]

Respawn Hours: The number of hours that must pass before zombies may respawn in a cell. If zero, spawning is disabled. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=8760] [Default=72]

Respawn Unseen Hours: The number of hours that a chunk must be unseen before zombies may respawn in it. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=8760] [Default=16]

Respawn Multiplier: The fraction of a cell's desired population that may respawn every RespawnHours. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=1] [Default=0.1]

Redistribute Hours: The number of hours that must pass before zombies migrate to empty parts of the same cell. If zero, migration is disabled. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=8760] [Default=12]

Follow Sound Distance: The distance a virtual zombie will try to walk towards the last sound it heard. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=1000] [Default=100]

Rally Group Size: The size of groups real zombies from when idle. Zero means zombies don't form groups. Groups don't form inside buildings or forest zomes. [Minimum=0] [Maximum=1000] [Default=20]

Rally Travel Distance: The distance real zombies travel to form groups when idle. [Minimum=5] [Maximum=50] [Default=20]

Rally Group Separation: The distance between zombie groups. [Minimum=05] [Maximum=25] [Default=15]

Rally Group Radius: How close members of a group stay to the group's leader. [Minimum=1] [Maximum=10] [Default=3]

Challenges

There are currently 6 challenges, particularly hard encounters set in their own maps.

You Have One Day

1. You Have One Day
Main article: You Have One Day (Challenge)

You're back in Knox County. You're back on the map where the Project Zomboid infection first began.

You have one day of relative safety. Zombies will arrive in huge numbers, and they will find you. Where did you use to make your last stand again? Where did you make your last stand in the old days? Better find it quick.

[Our thanks to Community mapper BobHeckling for recreating the old 0.1.5 map with the current PZ toolset.]

Opening Hours

2. Opening Hours

The Mall is surrounded. Once upon a time, it was an important place in their lives. Instinct has led them to its doors. A memory of what they used to do...

You are alone, but not for long. At 9AM the Mall will be ready for business: doors will open, and the hordes will enter.

Be ready for them.

Winter Is Coming

3. Winter Is Coming

It's mid-July, but suddenly there's a chill on the breeze. In a mere three days' time a winter will set in like no other before it.

You awake in an isolated location. You have meagre supplies, and the undead hordes might be slowed by the intense cold - but they are no less deadly.

Wrap up warm, survivor...

House In The Woods - Last Stand

4. House In The Woods - Last Stand

You can hear them approaching. Hordes of deadheads, encroaching on your isolated cabin from every angle. Death is inevitable, but a shotgun is close-at-hand.

Last Stand features endless waves of zombies in ever-increasing numbers. Survive for as long as possible against the overwhelming odds.

House In The Woods - Last Stand Accumulator

5. House In The Woods - Last Stand Accumulator

Another day, another cabin ready to be bloodied. The hordes are upon you, and your death will be as painful as it is gruesome. So go out fighting... Last Stand – Accumulator features endless waves of zombies in ever-increasing numbers. Use money earned by killing zeds to buy equipment, level up and repair your blood-soaked weaponry.

A Really CD DA

6. A Really CD DA

You get out of the shower and fall badly. You're blind drunk, and have a nasty cold.

On top of all this, the house is on fire! Today is definitely not your day.

The name comes from a play on words referencing A Really Bad Day from the game Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead, and is read as A Really Seedy Day.

A Storm Is Coming

7. A Storm Is Coming

Clouds are gathering over Kentucky. The crackle of thunder can be heard in the distance.

As skies darken, the dead that stumble over the earth grow restless.

This is a storm that will grow and fall back in its ferocity, but it will never end.

The Descending Fog

8. The Descending Fog

People first saw it on the water. A faint white blanket over the Ohio river.

It began as a mist. Then it enveloped the town. The townsfolk died screaming in the gloom. Now they walk out there.

Unseen, unheard and relentless in the pursuit of the living.