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- 1 Introduction
- 2 Game Progression
- 3 Tactics
- 4 Shelter
- 5 Health
- 6 Weight and Encumbrance
- 7 Skills
- 8 World
- 9 Misc Tips and Tricks
- 10 See Also
Welcome to the beginner's Survival Guide. This guide will cover several topics related to Project Zomboid, and is intended for newer players, but can also be used by veteran players for refreshing and reference. This guide will teach players the basics of survival, combat, and exploration, among other things. This guide assumes one is playing in Survival mode.
While the guide itself is meant to be read as a whole, each section is able to stand alone, and this allows any reader to skip to parts that interest them and there are multiple ways to play Project Zomboid. If you wish to have an original experience without the influence of a guide, try a play-through without a guide first, then try the guide if you are having trouble.
This is Project Zomboid's interface. The elements have been labeled and the legend is as follows:
1) Player character (you!)
2) Primary equip, usually for weapons or tools
3) Secondary equip, often either for carrying a portable container (Plastic Bag, Garbage Bag, Hiking Bag, etc) or for wielding a primary weapon two-handed (if possible)
4) Inventory menu
5) Character status menu
6) Crafting menu
7) Current time (in 24-hour/military time format)
8) Time controls (for pausing or accelerating the in-game time)
9) Moodles (where various moodles appear, here indicating tiredness, hunger, boredom, unhappiness and thirst)
Some features of the interface are less obvious. Firstly, items in an inventory can be selected as a group by holding left click (aim for the item's category text as opposed to the item's name) and creating a selection box within the window. Dragging outside of the window scrolls either up or down. Secondly, individual items can be selected or deselected to form a group by holding shift while clicking all items required. Lastly, items can be dragged and dropped either into new containers or onto the floor by releasing left click outside the existing window.
As soon as you start a new game, you will be greeted by the character creation screen. To get a guide of the character creator, visit the player page. It will guide through and break down all the screens that you will find, as well as explaining traits and perks for different occupations. If you're new, you may want to take the Thick Skinned trait, which will allow you to survive injuries which would be fatal to other characters.
However, do realize the following: death is inevitable. It tells you as much when you start up the game and the first few times you play, you'll may likely find yourself in an unfortunate situation from which there's no escape. It just happens. It's not because you're bad or anything, it's just that you're new. As long as you learn from the experience you'll be in much better stead to play new games with future characters.
Some sample builds follow below, but first, a brief discussion about traits and the tradeoffs of certain traits. Currently the game is unfinished and some traits require balancing, whereas others deal with features which have yet to be implemented properly yet.
Easy manageable negative trait examples would be Coward/Pacifist, Slow Reader, Hearty Appetite, and High Thirst. Coward/Pacifist doesn't have much of a negative impact, as you should run from zombies instead of attempting to fight them early on, until you acquire a Baseball Bat, Axe, or fire (Campfire Kit). Slow Reader doesn't have any "negative" effects, per se, as it doesn't actually lower any skills. It's just a timesink, as reading takes more time than normally, but it isn't an issue as long as you make sure you're safe before you start reading. Hearty Appetite and High Thirst are also not difficult to balance, as you'll be needing to eat/drink only somewhat more, so it's manageable if you keep a steady supply of food/water available.
Sleepyhead and Overweight are less manageable to an extent but are still worth taking. Sleepyhead applies in the same sense of Slow Reader, as you'll need more sleep, so you just need to make sure you're safe before sleeping. While Overweight does reduce your starting Fitness skill by two points initially, it can be balanced if you make a habit of running, and Fitness could rise above normal if you survive long enough.
The start of your adventure can be the toughest part of the game. If you're a new player, you'll want to read the tutorial thoroughly in order to accustom yourself to the game's basics such as moving around, opening containers, and defending yourself. Note that as of build 29, one section of the tutorial is incorrect, Holding left click does not charge an attack as indicated, instead holding ctrl or right click charges an attack. Doing so also enters stealth mode, which can be used for sneaking around.
What To Do Once Spawned
You'll spawn in a house or trailer when you begin in Project Zomboid. One early priority aside from securing a bag/weapon/etc, should be making sure ground floor windows have Sheets on them. If not, look in dressers and bedrooms for some spare Sheets.
If you are unable to find enough Sheets and you spot a medium to large horde outside of more than one of your windows, do not be frightened but be cautious. They should not notice you as long as you stay away from the offending window and keep quiet, as in no running, shouting, or swinging a weapon against something.
You may likely have to get out of dodge, unless you like hordes of hungry zeds possibly smashing through your windows. Instructions are below as to what you should do, should it possibly end up this way.
You'll want to run away and lose a horde's line of sight until you can find a better safehouse or if you can, catch the attention of nearby zeds and lead them away from your area before a horde's breaking line of sight, just to make things a little safer. Otherwise, you are fine to stay a night or two if you have enough ground floor Sheets, as long as you're quiet and don't make too much noise. However, keep in mind there may be a risk of zeds breaking in from helicopter noise or ambient gunshot noises, and the helicopter noise will occur only a total of two times for the first month.
Gathering food (eat perishables first, save non-perishables for later unless you're absolutely starving, which is unlikely in the beginning) is also a priority, and so is gathering and filling containers such as Empty Mugs and Cooking Pots with water, stashing them away for when the power eventually goes out. The power will shut off anywhere from one to two days from the first day (if you're really unlucky) or 1-2 months normally.
This list is an example of what to loot, bold is essential, while non-bold is nice unless you can't spare inventory space:
- Bags (in order from worst to best, Tote Bag, Purse, School Bag, Duffle Bag, Hiking Bag, Big Hiking Bag, but a Plastic Bag, Empty Sand Bag or Garbage Bag can be used in a pinch if nothing else is available, and all bags from School Bag and up can be equipped on your back)
- Weapon (preferably a Baseball Bat but a Frying Pan is fine, a Rolling Pin or Golf Club will do in a pinch)
- Water Bottle (a Bottle with Remoulade or Bottle with Mayonnaise can also be emptied to be used as a makeshift Water Bottle)
- Ripped Sheets (Medical, crafted from Sweaters, Skirts, Blouses, Vests, Pants, etc)
- Skill Books (Useful, even if you have a passive XP boost towards a skill)
- Garbage Bags (Carpentry, for crafting Rain Collector Barrels)
- Lighters/Matches (For lighting a Campfire with a Campfire Kit using fuel such as Logs, Planks, Books, Skill Books, Newspapers, Shoes, Gas Can, and Magazines or Molotov Cocktails)
- Nails (Carpentry)
- Seeds Packets, such as Potato, Broccoli, Cabbage, etc (Farming)
- Hammer (Carpentry)
- Trowel (Farming)
- Adhesive Tape, Duct Tape, Glue, and Wood Glue (Carpentry)
- Beta Blockers (Medical)
- CD Player, Cordless Phone, Digital Watch, Earbuds, Headphones, Home Alarm, Radio, Speaker, TV Remote, and Video Game (Electrical, can be dismantled into scrap parts with a Screwdriver)
Granted, the most important item you can scavenge will be your initial weapon. Baseball Bats are top-choice, though Frying Pans are just as fine. Rolling Pins, Shovels, Golf Clubs, Crowbars, and Kitchen Knives can be used as weapons in a pinch, although Kitchen Knives are generally worse than all the listed rest. Axes are ideal if you can find one, and if you're lucky enough to find a Baseball Bat, a Hammer, and some Nails, you can craft a Spiked Baseball Bat which will serve as a worthy weapon for a long time and is repaired using Wood Glue, Glue, Adhesive Tape, and Duct Tape.
If you find a Pistol and ammunition, it's probably best to ignore it. Not only are they heavy but they create an incredible amount of noise which can draw unwanted attention. As of build 32, firearms were majorly nerfed unless you take enough practice and time to level it more than a couple of skill points or pick an occupation that provides boosts to Aiming and/or Reloading. To equip any weapons, put them in your main inventory, right click the item and choose the "equip primary" option. Some weapons can be held in two hands, however, while it increases damage it also takes up both hand slots.
Now you have a bunch of items, storage is something to consider. Typically the kitchen (if there is one) will have the most containers in the most condensed space, and since it also contains a refrigerator and either a cooker or microwave, this area is a strong candidate for most of your early activities. It's also possible to carry even more weight if necessary using personal containers such as School Bags and Hiking Bags, and these can be equipped to your back to free your hands.
Plastic Bags and Garbage Bags also qualify as containers if there are no alternatives and you need to shift a lot of weight. As mentioned above, equipping a weapon in both slots makes carrying a container in your secondary slot, or "off hand", impossible. It can be useful to organize items into categories such as perishable food (refrigerator), non-perishable food, cooking utensils, tools, books, empty containers, full containers (water), agriculture, medicine, weapons and ammunition, planks, misc, and junk.
Taking care of yourself is important, also. Ripped Sheets (makeshift bandages) can be made by ripping clothes into sheets and are used to stop bleeding after being injured. You'll also need to eat food and to drink water to survive. If you're in a safe location and your character is thirsty, drink some water. You can drink directly from the sink without needing a container, but if you have a water container in your main inventory you'll automatically drink from that as required and this can be refilled as necessary.
Feed yourself every time you get hungry, especially before combat, and always eat perishable food first. Prime candidates for immediate consumption include luxury products such as Pizza, Pie, and Cake. This is because these items aren't ingredients and can't be used to create meals. Otherwise, eat perishable food that restores the least amount of hunger first, or anything 15 hunger and below. Non-perishable items such as Chips and canned food like Canned Soup and Canned Beans are low priority, but should be stockpiled but not consumed unless absolutely necessary.
The effects of being hungry include reduced strength, which can create problems in melee combat. Rest is also important. Try to sleep during the night so your visibility is maximized during daylight when you're moving around. The effects of being tired include reduced awareness which can lead to you being ambushed unexpectedly by zombies which are right beside you, unseen until it's too late.
Every now and then, your character will either get hot or cold. Take off (hyperthermia) or put on clothes (hypothermia) when you see this. A Campfire will also do in a pinch, if you're desperate. Hypothermia will occur more often in the winter, while it's opposite will occur more during the summer. The last thing you need is your character suffering from hypothermia/hyperthermia in a zombie apocalypse.
Leaving your safehouse is never a safe thing to do. You never know when you'll get a chance to get back to your safehouse. You should have an idea of where you're going, and how you can get back. It is easy to get lost in the vast world. Avoid forests and long wide roads like the highway. Forests can however, be used to cut line of sight from a horde. Always take some rations of food and water when leaving as well as your primary weapon and a secondary weapon if your main breaks. If you have a bag (Backpack, Hiking Bag, etc), always put your less needed items in the spare bag and essentials in the primary inventory.
In moments where every second is important, having to unpack something could be your death. Try to also store at least a week's worth of food and a couple of magazines and books in your safe house, just in case you get sick and to stay indoors for a long period of time to recover. To avoid getting lost, you may leave a trail of semi-useless items such as Forks or Spoons lying on the ground, particularly at road junctions, to show you the way home.
Beyond Early Game
If you have found a Hammer and some Nails, barricade all your windows with as many Planks as possible. You can create Planks by breaking interior doors or chopping down trees with an Axe, Golf Club, Frying Pan, or Hammer, though the Axe will chop them down quicker than any other weapon. Remember that you need a Saw to create Planks from Logs. Be careful, and be sure to scout the area for nearby zombies first before attempting any kind of construction! As they will be attracted to the noise, you may end up in a siege in an effort to improve your safehouse's defenses.
Consider installing Sheet Ropes on all of the upstairs windows. In an undead siege, you may end up being trapped in your house's second floor with your first floor swarming with zombies, who are trying to go up to your second floor. You can climb up and down a Sheet Rope, making it a good alternative exit/entrance that zombies cannot use.
Windows are extremely fragile and create noise when they shatter. A Plank added in front of a window will buy some time before the window shatters to a million pieces. You may also want to consider barricading extra doors so that you only have three or fewer doors: a main door, a backup door, and a backup-backup door. Once you have done that to every window in the safehouse, look at the Barricading and Carpentry section to see how you can improve your safehouse to make it the ultimate anti-zombie fortress you can have.
You can also use a Sledgehammer to destroy the staircase to the second story of a safehouse, rendering it unreachable to zombies, just be sure to have a Sheet Rope installed on the north, east or south side window. Destroy the top portion of the stairs first or you wont be able to reach it, and if left there, the zombies can glitch to the top of the stairs if it remains intact.
Weeks, perhaps even months have passed after you started. Zombie blood and corpses litter the streets only to reflect your exceptionally effective survival methods. Unlike most people, you managed to survive this far into the game (this is quite a feat). However, this is where the game truly starts. This phase is your transition from a "survivor" to a "rebuilder": you will have to start building a self-sufficient one-person society. (until the day NPCs are re-implemented}
With the right resources, players can mix items together to create new or better equipment. By right-clicking one of the specified items (with all items of the crafting recipe present in the main inventory), players can create food recipes, enhanced weapons and barricades to reinforce their safe-houses. One can also use the crafting menu below the character status icon to craft items, as well as easily find recipes.
To see a character's skill, open the Skill tab after clicking the heart in the UI (or hotkey 'C'). The "skills" screen will appear and will show you how much skill points you have, which skills you have unlocked, and how far you are from unlocking a skill if you haven't. If you have a spare skill point and an unlocked skill, there will be a "+" sign next to the name of that skill in one of the boxes. A skill that you can put a skill point into will also be gold in color, compared to a locked skill's silver color. Clicking it allows you to distribute one skill point. It is your choice on what skills you need to upgrade, but do so wisely. The Lightfooted and Sneaking skills are perhaps the most valuable as it is of high importance not to be spotted by a zombie while trying to move stealthily.
Scavenging and Storage
You'll never have enough supplies to last you the long term, luckily, there are various places you can loot. If you're careful, scavenging expeditions can be only slightly risky but rewarding.
Picking a Location
Know the type of item that you are trying to find. If you are in need of construction or farming supplies, find a warehouse or hardware store. If you need food, houses and stores will probably be the best bet. Before entering the building, plan your exit strategy. Medical supplies can be found in abundance in a couple of major medical depots, with one in Muldraugh and two in West Point. Make sure that there are at least two entry points on different sides of the building, be it windows or doors. You want to be able to escape easily if zombies become aware of your presence. If you see a broken window, be extra careful, as this can be caused by a zombie that's inside trying to get out, or by a zombie that's outside trying to get in!
Before breaking in, it's a good idea to take a quick look around the outside of the building just to make sure there isn't a horde waiting on the other side of it. Also try to get a good look in though the windows, in case there are already zombies inside. Climbing though a window just to discover that you're entering a room full of zombies is never a good surprise!
Always try to break in as stealthily as possible by going through the side of the building with the least zombies around it. Before you even try to break in, check if any doors are unlocked. If it is locked, you will have to enter though the window, simply move to a window and press E, and wait until it opens. Never smash a window if you can avoid it, as this will attract zombies. Once you have established that the room is clear, close the window again, this will prevent any zombies that may be following you from sneaking in behind you.
Some buildings such as shops will not have openable windows, in this instance you will have to break a window. Don't use the right-click command to smash windows, as this may result in cuts. Instead simply swing your melee weapon at the window as if it was a zombie. Be prepared to run and hide after doing this and keep an eye on the window to see if any zombies are attracted.
When entering any building, there is a chance that a Burglar Alarm will sound. This will quickly attract large amounts of zombies to your immediate area. Run away from the area and try to take shelter elsewhere until the Burglar Alarm dies down. Burglar Alarms will attract zombies from far and wide, so be careful not to run into a horde that's on its way to the house. Zombies will also travel 'through' houses that are in the way, by smashing doors and windows.
Try running back the way you came to the house, as you already know this route is safe from zombies. Failing that, try running towards the east, where there are less zombies (lower right when factoring the map's tilt). A good tactic for avoiding zombies in these instances is to find an obstacle that's parallel to the alarm house, such as a long wall with no windows in it or an impassable fence. As zombies make a beeline for the alarm house, they will have to walk around these obstacles, creating a safe pocket to wait in.
Be wary of going upstairs in buildings unless you have a Sheet Rope on you. If zombies break in and you get trapped upstairs your only way out will be the window, which has a high chance of resulting in death on the first floor above the ground floor and certain death on any higher floors.
Unless you have explored the building before, never assume it is safe, whether it is the inside or the outside. Start out by killing any zombies that are inside. It can be dangerous to fight multiple zombies in cramped and small spaces, if you must face them, it's best you lure them outside to a quiet area and kill them there. Once the entrance is cleared, close all the curtains on the windows and (if available) and add Sheets on the windows without curtains or blinds.
Enter each room cautiously, have your weapon ready and step back immediately (release Ctrl if you were holding it, or you'll attack the door) when you open a door. Pay careful attention to banging sounds. When you finish clearing the inside of a building, check to make sure no zombies outside have been alerted to your presence. Never run while inside of a building unless you are in danger, because running creates noise which will attract nearby zombies.
Items and Their Usual Locations
Certain items are often found in certain containers, and those container types tend to be found in common locations. Houses, for example, are good all-round locations to scavenge. Not mentioning less useful items, perishable food and Water Bottles are found in refrigerators, cooking utensils, seeds, and non-perishable food are found in kitchen containers, books and skill books are found in shelves, medicine is found in bathroom containers, and bags are found in bedroom containers. Rarely there will be a Pistol or ammunition in any of these. If you have enough medicine and bags already, it may save time to ignore venturing upstairs entirely.
When heading out for a supply run, always be prepared. Only go outside during daylight, as zombies tend to grow in numbers at night. Start your day by eating something, refilling your Water Bottle at your nearest Faucet (if the water still works) and making sure you're not carrying too much before going out. Grab any weapon you can find in your base, preferably a good one like a Baseball Bat or Frying Pan.
When outside, try to walk as often as possible. If you ever stumble upon a horde, you'll be able to run and dodge them without being exhausted. Aside from being more quiet, walking will also save up some energy for fighting without getting exhausted too fast. Every now and then, keep your eyes over your shoulder, as you never know which zombies will follow you. Holding CTRL and circling the mouse around the character will make the player look in the mouse cursor's direction, giving you the ability to spot your enemy before they even see you.
If you ever encounter a horde of zombies (let's say more than five?), then you are definitely in danger. If you encounter such a large group of enemies, turn the other way. If you can't, try to sneak past them. But if the vast majority spotted you, run to your safe house (if it's safe and far away) or just to another destination. Try to run 3-10 corners so you can effectively lose the majority and make it much easier to fend off those who are still following you.
Medium sized groups (about three to five) and small groups (one to two) can effectively be dispatched by a Baseball Bat or an Axe (if fought one by one and carefully). When fighting groups, you should use hit-and-run tactics, as zombies do not have much of an attack range, and you can keep exhaustion at bay every 1-3 zombies you kill. Try to spread them out as much as possible by killing the faster ones first. Use the corners of buildings, open windows and open doorways to create bottlenecks to thin out groups. When fighting a group, don't try to immediately dispatch enemies you've knocked down when others are still coming. Instead, use the gap to line up your next attack on the next standing zombie.
When fighting crawlers, try not to fight them from the front. Unless your attack kills a crawler in one hit, you will get injured (and possibly infected), as the crawler does not get knocked back from non-fatal blows. Instead, run around it and go behind it. The crawler has to push its body around 180 degrees to get to you, so use its slow reaction time to your advantage. If it is almost completely turned around, just repeat until it dies. Do not attempt this if you are up against medium or large groups of zombies, as you simply do not have enough time to waste.
Never fight with a firearm unless you are sure that you have enough ammo to kill several times as many zombies as you expect to fight (since firearms will draw attention and are nerfed as of b32). Always shoot accurately, since ammo is quite scarce in Muldraugh (about 2500 rounds for the Pistol in the entire map), and you will want each bullet to count. Try to fight away from your safehouse if you do fight with a firearm. Always be aware of your ammo situation, never fight until the absolute last bullet. Always keep a handful of extra rounds so that you can use them when you need to. Distance is your best friend, zombies cannot attack you if you aren't in arm's length and it gives you more time to reload before they approach you. Moving farther and farther away from your enemies will always help you keep a good distance away from them.
Also, if you hear what sounds like a loud helicopter in the background, then approach the nearest window and wait for a zombie to run past. Depending on the direction it is travelling in, be sure to travel into the opposite direction or make adjustments to your route. This may not have any effect, if there are no zombies within several screens of your location in any given direction.
You are free to go anywhere you want, however, always try to plan where you're headed, what you'll be taking as loot and where you'll be settling in to make a safe-house.
Eventually, you will want to get out of the forsaken city. Maybe it's because there are no more supplies left, or perhaps it's because you want to start anew somewhere far, far away from the infected horde, or perhaps you just want to reach the Well. When you know you will not be back home for a few days, always bring a week's worth of food and water with you. It is best to take the road, since you can easily get lost in the vast forest (some forests stretch several cells in all directions).
You will need to create a Tent to sleep in if your travels will prevent you from finding shelter before you reach your destination. Additionally, you may also want to build a Campfire Kit, if you have any food that you want to cook, but beware as the light from the fire will likely attract unwanted attention from nearby zombies.
Of course, eat perishable foods first. When looting, remember to take non-perishables to your safehouse. It's also a good idea to keep one or two of these in your inventory, just in case. Make sure to feed your character when he or she has no hunger Moodle, or when he or she is Peckish. If you wait until they are Hungry, it will take a lot more food to fill them up.
Another thing you can do is only feed them portions of food at a time. For example, instead of feeding a Peckish character a whole watermelon, cut it or bash it to make slices or chunks. Then you can eat 1/4, 1/2, or a whole slice or chunk. This can still fill your character up but without wasting so much food. If you're in early game and there's still tons of food lying around, you probably don't have to worry about perishable food conservation, as most of it will rot later anyways.
To find food that isn't in houses, go closer to or into the woods. Right click a ground tile and select Forage. Depending on your character's Foraging level, you can find things ranging from perishable Berries (Be careful with berries, though. All berry types stack, so take caution to avoid eating the white ones that will poison your character), and to non perishable Mushrooms, insects, Frogs, Stones, Chipped Stones, Twigs, Tree Branches, Worms, Logs, and Wild Eggs. Foraging does tire out your character, though, so make sure the area is safe or you may find yourself exhausted and with a horde near you.
Lastly, we have farming. To farm, you'll need various tools, seeds, and water. Plant your crops in a protected area, since zombies can trample and kill your plants. They can also hide in nearly grown crops and are difficult to see. If you wait until your crops are blooming, you can collect seeds, too. Don't wait too long or your crops will rot.
Wells & Rain Collector Barrels
Within months or weeks, the water supply will be cut off. You'll have some stockpiled water but that won't be nearly enough for you to live off of in the long term. One option is to find a Well, which will you give you an endless source of water. There are two known Wells, one is in a farm north of the city. The second is located at a cabin in the woods, slightly closer to the city (almost directly Northeast of McCoy Lumber). If you want to get to one of the Wells, consider living in the farm, which is far away from zombies and has plenty of space for farming and construction.
The best option is to create several Rain Collector Barrels, which may be quite costly in terms of the resources that need to be used. Whenever it rains, these barrels will collect the water from the rain. Although one barrel will not give sufficient water for long-term survival, having many of these barrels will give you enough water to hydrate yourself as well as farm for food without having access to a well. As of build 31, water from these barrels will be tainted. This can make your character sick. You can collect and/or drink river water as well. It will also be tainted and require purifying like rain collector water to keep your character safe.
To purify water collected from the river or Rain Collector Barrels, place down a Campfire with a Campfire Kit and put the water container in the Campfire inventory as you would cook something raw like a Chicken or an Egg. It should purify and be drinkable without any ill-effects once the green skull icon disappears from the water container.
It's inevitable. One of these days, you'll fall down a window by accident or a zombie will bite you. Depending on which injury you have, a certain treatment comes with it. Having Bandages and Painkillers on hand can be useful if something ever happens to you. Leaving an injury untreated can lead to health loss and even death.
To treat a Scratch, a Bite or a Bleeding injury, apply a Bandage to the wounded area. Medical care can be applied via right click contexts from the health tab of the character status window. To see if you have any injuries, click the heart button and open the "health" tab, this will open the character status window. Sleeping, as well as being well fed will speed up the healing process.
Weight and Encumbrance
In the single player game, your character will begin to feel tired. You can rest or sleep in most chairs and in beds. If your character is too agitated, they may need Sleeping Tablets to sleep. On most multi-player servers, sleeping has been disabled. You will still become exhausted from exertion, and can rest in chairs and beds, but cannot sleep, and will not ever get sleepy.
Throughout your adventure, not only does your character gets hungry and thirsty but can also suffer from other conditions such as anxiety or depression. These status effects, called Moodles, can be treated with varying methods from the use of consumables to just letting a wound heal depending on the character's need. In example, a bored character can be removed by reading a Book or a Magazine, and also moving about outside. The Moodles will also display signs of injuries, which requires first aid.
You've been scratched or bitten, and although you've patched yourself up you begin to feel queasy as the night sets in, coupled later with anxiety, is an extremely strong indicator that you've been infected, which unfortunately is incurable and always fatal. Granted, as your health deteriorates you can keep yourself well-fed to keep the zombification process at bay, but unless you have a constant supply of food, this is ultimately a losing battle. You'll be joining them soon.
Or perhaps you've been careful for months, holed up in a barricaded fortress with a dwindling food and/or water supply, determined to never remove the barricades from the front door. Whatever the case, death seems inevitable in Project Zomboid.
Fortunately, death is not necessarily the end. After your character dies and the game informs you of your survival time (record this if you're interested in keeping a high-score), you can create a new character in the same world and journey back to the place you died in order to collect supplies or reclaim your safehouse. However, any skill points put into non-initial build skills will be completely lost. If this option interests you, there are things you can do before you die to ensure any future reclamation is easier.
Firstly, if you know for sure you're soon to expire, it's best to store your inventory in a container. If your character turns, s/he'll begin wandering mindlessly as a zombie, so your inventory will be lost forever. Secondly, you can drink bleach to accelerate the process and restart promptly with a new character. If your character dies due to damage (zero health), they'll leave a corpse behind which you can find in the world, however, at least with single-player survival, this isn't guaranteed: Containers are the surest way to ensure your items can be found again.
Cooking is a skill that allows the player to craft food recipes that restore much more hunger, and/or boredom and unhappiness. It also determines the likelihood of burning certain food items, such as meat. Those foods usually have an Uncooked or Raw prefix in front of their name. As of build 30, Cooking level seven allows the player to use rotten ingredients in some recipes. Cooking can be done on any heat source, from a Campfire to an Oven.
In a zombie apocalypse, nowhere is safe. However, that can't stop you from fortifying a safe-house of your interest. Some buildings are safer than others. A two-story house with multiple doors and few windows are recommended. In case of an home invasion, you can always escape through a window using a Sheet Rope. For maximum protection and stealth, board up every window with Planks and Sheets.
Carpenters equipped with a Sledgehammer can destroy walls, doors, and window frames to salvage Planks. If you run out of Planks, you can use an Axe to chop down doors. Chopping down doors will yield one to two wooden planks, along with Door hinges and Doorknobs. Another alternative is to chop down trees. Taking down a tree will yield one to five Logs. You can then use a Saw to craft Logs into Planks.
Later in the game, once you have the tools and resources for larger constructions, you should think about the use of wall pieces. A perimeter wall will prevent zombies from seeing you in your house and will muffle sounds further. Furthermore, you will have more time to escape should your safehouse be invaded. A perimeter fence (any material) can be used to slow down zombies during an invasion. If you have the time and resources, you can make makeshift structures.
Please take note that constructing a safe-house will make a lot of noise, which will draw any stragglers nearby. Any carpentry jobs should be done during the day and when the outside is relatively quiet and zombie free.
Farming is essential for late game play since electricity will eventually go down and you will be forced to eat non-perishables, which aren't exactly plentiful in Muldraugh.
Trapping is a source of food. The player can trap small animals and use them as food. You will need to build traps (which require special skill books to learn the recipes, besides mousetraps), and use bait (such as Carrots or Cabbages) to bait the trap for a successful catch. Planks, Nails, and Twine are the most common crafting materials for traps.
Some areas can be foraged in, such as the woods surrounding buildings. Right click on the ground and the Forage option may appear while the progress bar fills. If it does not. look elsewhere near the area you're in or move closer to nearby woods, but be cautious because of hiding zombies in cover.
Depending on your characters Foraging skill, you may find edible plants, or building materials like twigs, branches, rocks, etc. Basic shoddy tools can be crafted with these foraged materials if you need a Hammer or Axe in a pinch, but they are not durable.
It is a bit of an understatement when people say the map is huge. Since it's well...huge! To give you an idea of just how big the map is, here are some figures courtesy of harakka and blindcoder. The map is 20x20 cells + another 12x6 cells. Each of those cells contains about 300x300 tiles. Now some of you will be going "But of course, my good lad!" others will be going "It doesn't sound that big." Here's a picture to show you how big one cell is. Each black square is roughly the size of one cell.
Hopefully that puts things into perspective. Now, the place is huge and it's easy to get lost, so if you would like a helping hand in navigating the map, then you can go check out this Knox County map, it can be especially useful for new survivors as players have marked points of interest. These can include where a decently supplied place is, good fortification locations, to everything your heart desires. So, remember to give it a look if you want.
If you find some odd anomaly around the map, such as a place you can't enter but seemingly could, invisible walls, etc, then you might want to get check out forum thread. Report the problem, so that the developers can fix it! It's incredibly important to report bugs!
Temperatures will change according to the seasons. Wear less clothes to cool off during a hot summer day, or put on a sweater as cold fall nights approach. During the winter you may need more than warm clothing. Campfires or other heat sources will warm you up.
Light can make it easier to see when looting, but being in a well lit area makes you more likely to be noticed by zombies (especially at night). Lights in buildings can usually be switched off. Flashlights are a handy portable light source, but require Batteries to operate. Lamp on Pillars can be constructed to add light to player made structures.
It may rain randomly. Being outdoors in the rain will make your character damp. After enough time in the rain you will get soaked and have a chance of developing a cold. Once out of the rain, you will slowly dry off. You can speed up the process with a dry Bath Towel, often found in bathroom cabinets.
Between 0 days and 2 months after world creation, the water works will fail.
The player will no longer be able to drink out of sinks, bathtubs, or toilets, and he/she won't be able to fill up Water Bottles. Once this happens, water sources will only provide a small amount of residual water (a Water Bottle or a Cooking Pot worth) and then will cease to function. At this point, the player must either keep moving to live off of the little water remaining in taps, find a Well, or build Rain Collector Barrel.
Between 0 days and 2 months after world creation, the power will fail.
Refrigerators will no longer preserve food and lights will no longer turn on. You cannot cook food either, except with a Campfire or a propane-fueled grill. Pretty soon, all perishable foods will go bad and you will have to survive off of your non-perishable foods unless you can farm, fish, forage, or trap for your own food.
There are currently two random events that happen throughout the game. Sometimes players can hear either gun shots or helicopters overhead. They both have the same function of mass migrating the zombie population and don't come from any actual in-game source. When you hear them, be weary of changes in zombie positioning and movement.
Misc Tips and Tricks
Here are a few things to always be wary of while playing the game. Being mindful of these things will help you survive longer in Knox County.
- Be aware of the noise you make. Zombies are attracted to noise, which means in the event of shooting, or entering a house which has an alarm active, it's best to get out of there. If possible, get as far away as you can from these places as a zombie horde will start migrating toward the source of the noise.
- You can use Alarm Clocks to create stationary distractions for hordes, the noise they make will lure them over to it where it was dropped once it goes off.
- Beware of open ground. Open ground is deadly in many ways. Project Zomboid works on a line of sight. You can only see what you're looking at. That means there could be zombies that see you but you can't see them. Open ground with little cover creates a higher possibility of a zombie noticing you, then what are the odds of the others noticing you? So remember, always look around. Look behind yourself regularly to make sure you're not being tailed.
- A building is never secure until you make it secure. Never assume a building is empty. Make sure all the doors are closed to stop zombies wandering in. Until you have searched the entire house, consider it a dangerous location. Once you know it's empty, then start closing curtains for some privacy. After that, start looting.
- Don't overreach. Trying to be too ambitious your first time around will get you killed. Attempt actions in moderation. The first day you could go to the house down the street, the next go to the street down the block. Do not take extended journeys unless you are prepared and experienced.
- When there is no door, there is always a window.
- When possible avoid jumping out a window on a second floor or higher without a Sheet Rope. From the second floor you have a small chance of surviving. Any higher and you will die. This escape method should be a last ditch when above the ground floor.
- Planning is crucial. Return to your safehouse by at least 8-9 PM and be sleeping by 10-11 PM, depending on how early you want to get up in-game.
- Bandages are a life saver. You should always take some with you just in case. Ideally, make them from spare clothes using the "rip sheets" menu command; currently (aside from regulating temperature) this is the only real purpose spare clothes serve.
- If you have the time, always inspect dead zombies. You might find interesting items or keys. Zombies may drop keys for buildings, regardless if they originally spawned in said building or not.
- When you are scavenging and have some space left, always take the items you think you don't need for now, they might be useful later on.
- If you have the patience for it, moving while sneaking (hold Ctrl), can earn you a small stream of constant XP.