|Spiffo is a true survivor.
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, either for carrying portable containers or two-handed weapons
4) Inventory menu
5) Character status menu
6) Crafting menu
7) Furniture menu, for moving, rotating, and picking up furniture and bigger items
8) Investigation mode for foraging moshrooms and berries in the woods
10) Current time. Only shown when carrying a device that shows time (Digital Watch, Classic Wrist Watch, or Alarm Clock)
11) Time controls, for pausing or accelerating time. (Not shown in Multiplayer)
12) Moodles, which shows any modifiers on your character
13) (Lower right corner of the screen) Safety System, for toggling PVP mode on or off for you (Not shown in solo or servers that don't allow that feature)
Inventory controls and management
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 control 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.
The character creation menu.
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. Only 1 occupation is allowed and if unemployed is selected, the player has 8 free points to spend on traits. If the player is in the sandbox mode bonus points can be given to select more positive traits.
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 may be likely to find yourself in an unfortunate situation from which there's no escape. It just happens. 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 Materials). 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 completely new player you'll want to read and play through the tutorial thoroughly in order to accustom yourself to the game's basics such as moving around, opening containers, and how combat works.
What To Do Once Spawned
You'll spawn in a house or trailer when you begin in Project Zomboid. Your first priorities upon spawning are getting a weapon, food, and a backpack. If you want to make your starting building a safehouse, make sure ground floor windows have curtains on them. If not, look in dressers and bedrooms for some spare sheets which can be made into curtains. If you are unable to find enough sheets and you see a horde outside of your window; ***don't panic, be cautious***. They won't notice you as long as you stay away from the offending window and keep quiet, as in no running, shouting, or swinging a weapon. Turning off lights in your home will improve your chances of being visually hidden as well. Lights can be toggled by clicking on a light switch in the wall if your character is standing near enough to it.
Sometimes you may be seen. If they're approaching, run away and lose a horde's line of sight. This is done by going into a building, closing the door behind you, and leave through the back (for example). Then try and 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 curtains, 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 sound events like gunshots and screaming. The helicopter noise will occur only a total of two times within the first month, normally around the end of the first week. This but can be ignored if you can find a radio with the automated emergency broadcast system radio station as this will inform you when the helicopter will be coming by saying 'Air Activity Detected'.
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 and water eventually goes out. The power and water will normally shut off anywhere from one to two days from the first day (if you're really unlucky) or 1 month normally. This time can be changed in the sandbox settings.
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 sheets, 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 to get water after the water shutoff)
- Lighters/Matches (For lighting a Campfire with a Campfire Materials using fuel such as Logs, Planks, Books, Skill Books, Newspapers, and Magazines or Molotov Cocktails)
- Nails (Carpentry)
- Seeds Packets, such as Potato, Broccoli, Cabbage, etc (Farming)
- Hammer (Carpentry)
- Trowel or Shovel (Farming)
- Adhesive Tape, Duct Tape, Glue, and Wood Glue (Carpentry and weapon repair)
- Beta Blockers (Medical and as panic can be detrimental in combat)
- ValuTech PortaDisc, 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, duct tape and nail.
If you find a Pistol (disambiguation)
and ammunition, it's probably best to ignore it.
A firearm can make a quiet place swarm with zombies in seconds.
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. Then 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 (either normal or big), 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 sinks and water dispensers 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 food 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 hyperthermia 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. If needed, forests can 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. A backup weapon is preferred but not mandatory. If you have a bag 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.
Update (08.04.2022): The Minimap was not available when this section was created. If you make proper use of the Minimap, it is now nearly impossible to get lost. That being said, it is still important to have an escape route planned back towards the safe-house while exploring dangerous grounds. The way can be frighteningly long, if you happen to become overburdened and heavily wounded.
TV and Radio
During the early days of the plague, while power is still on and the lights of humanity have yet to dim out, you can take advantage of radio and TV broadcasts. Most channels will provide information (read: propaganda and hearsay) which can help lower your boredom. Listening to cooking, carpentry or outdoor living on the Life and Living TV channel will provide a useful boost in your corresponding skill levels. By reading skill books for your level on these topics before watching such broadcasts, you can maximize the early knowledge you can get before the curtain falls on mankind's information age. Just make sure to use electronics with earbuds or headphones, or turn down the volume and watch while in a safe place.
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, wood axe or pickaxe. If you can't find those, a golf club, frying pan, or hammer can be used. 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 it shatters into 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.
In Build 41.50, the skills will be automatically levelled, with no need to click which skill is wanted to level.
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.
Tap the 'interact' key (default E) to open windows. Holding the key will cause your character to climb through an open window. Tapping the key once while facing an open window will close it. Alternatively, tapping the interact key multiple times will cause your character to break the window.
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.
On the Move
When heading out for a supply run, always be prepared. Only go outside during daylight, as you have better visibility during the day. Optionally, start your day by eating something
, refilling your Water Bottle
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.
You'll automatically attack an incapacitated living zombie, keeping it from getting back up if you swing in its direction.
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 (more than five zombies), then the odds are against you. 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.
About one to five zombies at once 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 stunned 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 speed to your advantage. Do not attempt to fight against huge groups of zombies, since it would be a strenuous, long fight with time that could've been spent more productively.
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 you will want each bullet to count. Accuracy is reduced when moving, so get some distance, then stop moving when you fire. Accuracy is also reduced (to complete ineffectiveness) by Panic and by low Aim skill. Because Aim is leveled by hits and at low Aim (below Aim 3) your character will miss often, shotguns are the most effective way to not just fight but to level Aim. However, they so loud that you may attract more attract zombies than you kill. 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 a helicopter, go indoors 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. If you are caught in the open for a moment with the helicopter, it will begin to follow you and lure zombies to you for a set amount of time.
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.
It is safer to avoid combat when possible. This requires seeing zombies before aggroing them. When in combat stance, even with a melee weapon, moving the mouse towards the edge of the screen lets you see farther. Once you know where zombies are, you can keep your distance and slip past them in sneak mode. If you must fight, agro a few at a time and back up to fight them out of earshot of the other zombies. This keeps you in control of the combat.
Escaping a Horde
Inevitably, your character will attract a horde of zombies too large to fight. The more you flee, the more new zombies you run into, so the horde grows in size. Eventually, you will either make a mistake or become exhausted and the horde will catch you.
To escape a horde chasing you:
- Conserve stamina. Human walking speed is faster than even fast shamblers. Sprint briefly only to avoid being surrounded. Injuries and status effects that lower your walking speed make hordes considerably harder to escape.
- Attract all the zombies. Counterintuitively, you can make an area safe from the horde by getting them all to chase you. If you do not do this step, a zombie here and a zombie there can quickly turn into another horde before you get a chance to rest. You can gather their attention by shouting ("Q" by default) or by shooting guns.
- Ball them up. Walk in a circle and back and forth and the horde chasing you will tighten into a ball. This keeps the interest of the zombies at the back and lets you concentrate newly arrived zombies into the horde.
- Lead them away. With all the zombies in the area in a tight ball chasing you, lead them away to some place you don't care about, such as the woods or a street you've already looted.
- Give them the slip. This is what you have been saving your stamina for! Sprint away to get out of hearing and sight range. Once you are far away, break line of sight around the corner of a building or by going deep into the woods. The zombies will pursue in the direction they last saw or heard you, so make a sharp turn to get out of the way of the parade of zombies. You can keep going in the new direction or, with a very wide berth, double back.
You will have to clear a few stragglers and may have to repeat this technique a second or even third time. But when you are done, you can enjoy a pocket of relative safety in which to rest and loot in peace!
Advanced Horde Escape
Two risky methods to lose the zombies are to climb a high fence or lead them into a building. They are worth doing because they are effective with less distance, so you don't have to go all-or-nothing, gathering and losing a huge horde from the entire surrounding area.
A high fence blocks zombie pathing - you can go over, but they have to go around. The ideal escape route then is to climb over the middle of a long fence, which makes the zombies shamble the furthest to chase you. Miscalculate, however, and this technique can put you into the arms of a horde. First, with panic, encumbrance, or certain character traits, you can fail to climb the fence and fall back into the horde chasing you. Leave enough space to survive a failed climb and escape or try again. It is worth the stamina to sprint for a bit to gain a lead on the horde. Encumbrance can sneak up on you - some items are heavier when unequipped, and hunger lowers your weight capacity. Second, vision-blocking fences can hide a horde waiting for you on the other side. So check the other side of the fence before you attract the horde! Finally, if you are holding bags in your hands, you will drop them when you climb. It's better to escape with your life than die with the loot, but it is best to sort the heaviest and least important items into the bags you drop, drop those bags where you have a chance of retrieving them later, and leave loot behind for later so you aren't encumbered in the first place.
Buildings are an effective distraction for zombies, because they block line of sight and distract zombies with breaking windows and doors instead of chasing you. But it is very dangerous to lead the zombies into an unfamiliar building. A single zombie or miscalculation about your escape route can slow you enough for the horde to catch you. You can be cornered by narrow pathways, an unexpected locked door, or a dead end. The best building to escape through has been cleared, looted, has doors you can close to slow the horde, and has escape routes ready, such as open windows or escape ropes.
Eventually, you will want to get out of your area. 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 horde, or you just want to reach the Well
. When you know you will not be back home for a few days or moving out, always bring a week's worth of food and water with you. It's recommended to take the road, since you can easily get lost in the vast forest (forests can stretch several cells in all directions). A Tent Kit
may be needed to sleep in if your travels will prevent you from finding shelter before you reach your destination. Campfire Materials
can compliment the tent nicely. Be sure you have something
to light the fire with.
Vehicles are almost essential for long-distance travelling and hauling. Items can be stored in seats and the trunk, allowing for more objects to be brought along at a faster pace and not overexerting your character. Depending on the driver and type of vehicle that's being driven, extra items such as (but not limited to) gas, a Jack, and a spare tire to maintain the vehicle. Don't assume that you're safe within your vehicle. You're at risk of getting into an accident that can either injure or kill your character. These risks are also abnormally increased with car wreckages of previous drivers because of the outbreak. Another effect of the car wreckages is that the vehicle will not be capable of being brought everywhere with you so if you want to continue past the car wreckages, it will have to be done by foot. Keep your eyes on the road, be aware of your surroundings, and be prepared to slam on the brakes if necessary.
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. For 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.
Eventually your character will begin to feel tired. You can rest or sleep in chairs, couches, and 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 still rest in chairs and beds, but cannot sleep, and will never get sleepy.
Over time you will become hungry. The longer you go without food, the weaker you'll become before starvation starts to occur. Eating adequate amounts of edible food avoids that. Be sure to eat perishable foods first as they will expire in one way or another. Make sure to feed your character when they have no hunger-related Moodle, or at least when they're peckish. The hungrier they become, the more food it will take for them to feel satisfied, and the more weight they will lose.
In contrast, overfeeding your character can temporarily make them stronger, carry more items, and gain a positive hunger-related Moodle. Remember that stuffing your character too much will cause them to gain weight and want more food over time.
Portions of food can be fed to your character at a time to manage hunger better. For example, instead of eating whole watermelon, cut it or bash it to make slices or chunks. Then it can be eaten in 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.
When looting, remember to take non-perishables to your safe area. It's also a good idea to keep one or two of these in your inventory, just in case.
To find food that isn't in buildings, 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 Berry (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.
Your character gets thirstier faster than they can get hungry, so it's a good idea to have bottled water as soon as possible. If you can't find bottled water, you can improvise by filling up an Empty Bottle up with water. Dehydration works similar to hunger. The thirstier your character becomes, the weaker they get. Currently, there's no positive-related thirst Moodle.
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.
There are many kinds of injuries that can happen so there are many treatments your character can do to perform on themselves. Keep in mind that you can be damaged by a zombie and not require any method shown below. Being patient and passing time is the best all-round treatment for any injury as long as it was dealt with properly. Good common items to have for treatment are Painkillers, Bandages, Antibiotics, and a Bottle of Disinfectant or something with alcohol in it. If a bandage is needed, make sure to check on it frequently because it could turn dirty and the wound can be infected.
Having a positive Hunger Moodle quickens the recovery process of any injury, fights off infection, and generally makes your character more resilent to sickness in general.
Scratches can happen from crawling through a broken window with no glass removed, climbing over barbed wire, vehicle collisions, or a zombie. If scratched by a zombie, there is a chance of being zombified albeit much smaller compared to being bitten. Disinfect and then bandage.
Common from climbing through windows and falling. It can also be caused from being hit with a heavy bladed weapon like an Axe or getting into a vehicle collision. First use a Suture Needle and then a Bandage. Optionally a Needle with Thread can be used as well but it causes more pain. If there's nothing to stitch up the wound with then applying a bandage will slow down its deterioration and bleeding (be aware that the bandage will become dirty faster).
Lodged foreign objects
Bullets and glass shards can be lodged inside a deep wound. They must be removed to prevent complications as a result of stitching up the wound. They can be removed with fingers, but using Tweezers is a faster and less painful process. Then, disinfect the wound and deal with the deep wound appropriately. Leaving the object inside speeds up the rate and heightens the chance of the wound getting infected. Out of all the injuries, this is the most likely one to cause infection- particularly for the Deep Wound that it was lodged in.
Zombies are the only source of bites. Out of all the injuries, this is the most efficient way to be zombified. Disinfect, bandage, and then pray.
Usually caused from being lit on fire. Disinfect and then bandage. A burn follows a fracture in terms of the time it takes to fully heal.
Fractures can happen from extreme vehicle collisions or jumping from a second-story building and higher. A Splint must be made for each fractured limb. Movement will be heavily restricted and even more so when wearing a Splint. Resting and sleeping a lot speeds up recovery. Avoid moving too much as well. Out of all the injuries, a fracture takes the longest to heal back up. Once every week after the first week, take off the Splints to see if the fractures are still there. If so, then simply reapply without moving.
Disinfecting isn't necessary for survival, but it prevents infection. Infection makes the affected area in a worse condition and has greater negative impact on your health.
Depending on how your character dies, they have a chance to emit loud screams of agony which can attract zombies. One of two possible outcomes will happen to your character when they die.
This is just a regular and normal death. It happens when you fall from a great height, being killed by another player, or bleeding out from being cut on a window. Your character's corpse will be lootable and contain everything in it while they were alive with the exception of what they had in their hands. The items in those hands will be scattered about on the floor around them instead.
The most common process that occurs after death. After keeling over, soon they will get up as a zombie with a Zombified Moodle. They can't be controlled by the player, and they behave like a normal zombie. Note that they still keep everything they had on them when they were alive. Zombification happens faster if they bleed out shortly after being scratched or bitten by a zombie even if they technically wouldn't have succumbed to it. Interestingly, the zombified character doesn't drop what they had in their hands while they were alive unlike a normal death.
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.
Logs are an efficient source of Planks, provided you can find a Saw
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 is 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 get rid of them. Materials are rarely yielded from destroying rather than disassembling.
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. 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. Be sure to let plants go into seed bearing stage to have a continuous supply of seeds.
Fishing is another alternate source of food. For this, you will need a Fishing Rod and Bait.
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.
All areas can be foraged in, and different areas result in different finds. Click on the magnifying glass and enable discover mode.
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. Higher level foraging results in food such as berries, mushrooms, and even animals. Sometimes you can find medicinal herbs.
One black square is one cell which contains 300x300 tiles.
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.
- See more: Weather
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.
Miscellaneous 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.
- You can only see where you're looking towards. Watch your back.
- Beware of keeping Alarm Clocks or Digital Watches! They may have an alarm already set on when you pick them up. Be sure to disable them so you don't unknowingly become a walking dinner bell.
- While you have running water, fill extra containers with water (mugs, pans, buckets, spare water bottles etc) and stockpile them. When the water is shut off you'll still have some water to spare that won't need purifying.
- Being out in the open is a double-edged sword. There's little cover, meaning there's a high possibility of zombies noticing you.
- Until you have searched the entire building, consider it a dangerous location. Once you know it's empty, start closing curtains and any outside doors and windows for some privacy. After that, start looting.
- Know when to commit to a fight. If fighting, make sure it's extremely imbalanced to your favor.
- Jumping off from the second floor should only be a last resort. Any higher than the second floor though, you will die.
- Be indoors by 8-9 PM and be sleeping at 10-11 PM. Visibility thanks to the sun will make surviving easier.
- 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.
- Inspect corpses. They can have interesting items or keys to either buildings or vehicles.
- When you're scavenging and have some space left, take a few items you think you won't need for now. They might be useful later on.
- Moving while sneaking can earn you a very small stream of constant experience. More experience is earned if sneaking around zombies that aren't alerted to your presence.
- If you have friends and a vehicle in the apocalypse, it's recommended to carpool with them. Not only will it save gas by having only one vehicle at a time, it'll generate less noise compared to having each friend have their own vehicle.
- Before opening a door listen for any sounds like footsteps, banging, groans, bags unzipping, or struggling. They will give you clues on who and what could be on the other side.
- At the very beginning, there will never be a zombie in the building you spawn in. Of course, that doesn't mean it's invulnerable to zombies walking inside it later!
- If you manage to find car in relatively good condition and enough gas, you should consider establishing your safehouse in rural area, as it is less dangerous.