We gather some of the best tips to help you survive in Project Zomboid. Project Zomboid is a very unforgiving hardcore RPG developed by The Indie Stone. The game is still in early access but has a great deal of content to keep you busy. There is an insane amount of depth and systems already added to the game with the devs constantly working on the game and blogging about it. The following tips and guides are for the Project Zomboid build 41 version. These may not be the best tips for the game, but we will try to go into detail about the 50 most important things you need to know. We are playing the game on the IWBUMS (I will back up my save) beta branch on steam.
This is going to be a list of 50 tips and tricks for surviving and thriving in Project Zomboid. The tips are probably going to be the most useful for beginners but even veteran players may find a lot of useful info that they did not know about. Without further ado, let’s begin.
1. Read through the descriptions of each occupation very carefully when creating your character.
Some jobs have bonuses you may not realize and added permanent experience boosts to skills.
2. You can change the Zombie settings by picking the custom sandbox setting from the starting menu
If you’re just finding the game too difficult to have fun there is no shame in turning down the spawn rate of zombies or even miming them slightly weaker. There is no shame in doing this. I myself have the game slightly easier for when I want to show it off to friends, or am making guides for the game.
3. Only take the necessary items to begin with
You may find at the start of the game some very cool looking weapons or items you might think are important such as cooking pots and planks. At the start of the game your character will have a very limited carrying capacity and trust me when I say it will fill up fast! Necessary items will include a water bottle, food, a weapon, and a couple of spare weapons for when one breaks. Leave those crafting materials behind for now.
4. Find a backpack as soon as possible
Finding a backpack should be high on your priorities list after you have the necessities down. A backpack is the ideal carrying bag as you can equip them to your back to keep both of your hands free.
5. Find any bag you can in the early game
Backpacks, whilst being a must-have item in the game are also going to be pretty hard to find to begin with. To begin with you should settle just for finding some sort of carrying item such as a tote bag or shopping bag. You can equip these as a secondary item so you can still fight with your main hand.
6. Do not underestimate the hand torch
Make sure you find a torch and a spare battery. Not being able to see at night is a huge disadvantage as, if your character can’t sleep, or isn’t tired you will be up a lot of the night. Just because you can’t see your enemies, it doesn’t mean they can’t smell you!
7. Use sneak and get good at it early
Utilize the sneak function of the game. The best way of dealing with large packs of zombies is to never have to deal with them at all. If time is not an issue, you can basically sneak around everywhere. The more you sneak, the better your character is going to get at sneaking. Read our guide on how to sneak here.
8. Watch out for sound creating ground items
Some items on the ground will make a noise when you walk over them. For example broken glass, or twigs in the forest. This can alert nearby enemies to your location.
9. Walk! Don’t run!
Sprinting, as the tutorial will tell you is one of the easiest ways to die in the game. In Project Zomboid, your character has a fitness level and exhaustion plays a big factor in the game. On base settings you can out-walk any enemy in the game so there is no need to run, unless you just want to open the gap between you and the enemies. If you must run, do so in short bursts and keep an eye on your exhaustion level.
10. Sprinting is dangerous
You can also sprint in the game, as the name suggests a significantly faster version of running. Hold down the run key plus the Alt key by default to sprint. Sprinting will may your character tired even quicker than running and be aware that sprinting through trees, running into walls and running over objects will knock your character over and possibly even end up with an injury. Use with caution.
11. Learn how to cook
Follow this guide we wrote to figure out how to cook in the game. In a nutshell cooking different meals will have different effects on your health and general well-being. Being able to craft meals from scratch is very important when living out of town.
12. Cover the windows
You can barricade the windows or doors of a building with nails and planks but what if you don’t have any? You can hang sheets over the windows so enemies cannot see you from the outside. To do so, simply pick up a sheet into your inventory and right click on a window from inside to place a sheet.
13. Make use of skill books
Skill books are books you will find whilst playing Project Zomboid that can increase the multiplier of a certain skill. These make grinding skills a lot easier. For example finding and reading the foraging for beginners book will increase the speed at which your foraging skill raises for the first 2 levels. To get an EXP increase beyond that you must find the next book in the series.
14. Also make use of books with crafting recipes
Some literature items, such as electrical magazine and car manuals will give you permanent skills. For instance some magazine will have crafting recipes for more items. Hover over the book to see what you can learn from the book. If you have already read the book and aren’t playing Project Zomboid multiplayer there is no need to keep it. Simply store it away somewhere.
15. Listen for audio events
Sometimes in the game you will hear dogs barking or gunshots during gameplay. Be aware that these aren’t just ambient noises but are apart of the Project Zomboid metagame. These noises will draw zombies to your location. There is also a larger event called the Helicopter event which is fully explained in this post.
16. Tend to your wounds as soon as possible
Make sure that when you inevitably do get a wound that you tend to the wound as soon as possible. you can do this in the health menu of the game. In Project Zomboid danger is around every corner, you may get a wound climbing through a glass window, a scratch from a zombie or even falling over whilst running. Throwing a bandage on these wounds as soon as possible is important to keeping your moving.
17. Rip up clean clothing to make bandages
You can rip up clothing that you aren’t using to make pieces of cloth for bandages. Real bandages and adhesives will make your injuries go away faster but sometimes it is important just to stop the bleeding as soon as possible. Kill zombies, loot their clothes and rip them up for some emergency bandages.
18. Change the bandages
Once you have bandaged up that injury that isn’t the end of it. The bandage will eventually get dirty and old and will need to be changed. Whilst changing you should also think about apply some type of disinfectant to the wounded area. You can take the bandages off, clean them with a water source and re-apply them if you are running low on clothes to rip apart.
19. Don’t use guns unless you have to
Guns make noise. Noise being zombies. One of the quickest ways to bring a horde towards you is to go around town popping off rounds at everything you see. it may be tempting to try to level up your shooting skill early with a few zombies but make sure you have an escape plan.
20. Secure a car
Make sure you secure a car as early as you can in the game. Cars are an incredibly important part of Project Zomboid as they help you get around the map a lot quicker than walking and don’t have any negative effect on your health. To drive, you will need to find a car with a healthy engine, working battery, fuel and a key to start it. It is incredibly hard to find all of these things in the same place, but if you do manage to find a car with a key you can just remember where it is and come back later with a fuel can.
21. Siphon cars for fuel
Using the fuel can in the primary or secondary equip spot of your character, you can walk up to vehicles and siphon the tanks of their fuel. Very important if you’ve found a vehicle that can’t run anymore but has a full tank of gas going to waste.
22. Choose the thief occupation to hotwire cars
If you can’t find a key for a car you want you do have the ability to hotwire the car through the vehicle menu. Unfortunately to begin to try to hotwire the car you will have to have a certain level of mechanical and electrical skill. That is unless you choose the thief occupation for your character. in addition to being more stealthy that the average man, thiefs can attempt to hotwire a car from the start of the game. Smash open one of the back windows and climb in the front to start hotwiring the car. Note that cars are not instantly all hotwired the first attempt. You may have to try multiple times to get it working.
23. Some houses have alarms
Sometimes when you break into a house, or even just walk through he unlocked front door, a house alarm will sound. When this happens immediately go in a different direction. Zombies from the greater area around the house will be instantly attracted to the house and the place will be swarming in minutes. (sometimes seconds!)
24. Car alarms
Car alarms work the same way as house alarms. Depending on the settings at the start of the game, car alarms will either run for a set amount of time, or possibly run until the battery is dead.
25. Swap and change car parts
You can swap different car parts into different vehicles. To be able to work on some of the cars in Project Zomboid, you will have to read different Laine’s auto manuals. You can find and exchange different car parts to replace broken windows, exchange busted old budget tires with better heavy duty versions and much more. Mechanics is a great skill to have. It is very rewarding to build up a super car from scratch.
26. Familiarize yourself with the map
The map or Project Zomboid is HUGE. There are so many different locations and building to explore that it can be very overwhelming at first. The Project Zomboid Map Project is an interactive map designed to help you find your way around the Project Zomboid world. It even has a few community maps included. Check it out if you don’t mind having a little bit of an unfair advantage.
27. Use the in-game maps
Maps can be found around towns in Project Zomboid. There are separate map items for each of the areas and some maps have markings relating to important places like industrial buildings and commercial places. You can even mark things on the maps in-game. To mark things on the map use the pen or pencil item on the map.
28. Don’t drive too fast
Driving quickly in Project Zomboid, as in real life can lead your character to an early grave. Avoid driving too fast when you can as the camera won’t zoom out very far to see what is in front of you. you may miss a sharp turn and head straight for a tree.
29. Use the Spear
The spear is incredibly important early game weapon. They are fairly easy to craft and are great at taking down zombies at a distance. To begin with your spears durability will be low, but through continued crafting you will have a great spear in no time. You can basically make them from materials found by foraging. Speaking of foraging…
30. Learn how to forage
Foraging is a great way to find supplies for crafting, fishing and even a little snack if you are desperate. We have an in-depth guide on how to forage if you are interested in learning more. Read it and become a self-sustaining warrior like myself!
31. Watch TV’s to learn
You can sit down and watch television programs to raise your skill levels. Occasionally you will be able to boost different skills at the start of the game by watching the life and living channel. You just have to turn the television on, tune in to ‘life and living tv’ and just stay in the same room for free experience point. Reading XP boosting books will also work with the television skill level.
Generators are very important items for the game. Make sure you read the magazine titled ‘How to use Generator’ to be able to use them. The generator can be used to power all electronics including fuel pumps if you need to refuel it.
33. Time controls
You can fast forward the game if you are getting impatient trying to read a book or do another time-consuming action. You are also able to pause the game if you are in a pinch and are trying to make split-second decision. Though the game reverts back to normal speed when you walk if you right click an area and select the ‘walk to ‘ option you can fast forward the game while you are walking at will.
34. Avoid the rain
Rain, in the game will make you cold and wet. In project Zomboid getting a cold can eventually lead to a greater sickness and death. Could have just been avoided by heading inside and getting warm.
35. Start your farm as soon as possible
If you are planning on having a farm in Project Zomboid, which you definitely should, you should get it started as soon as possible. Crops take a very long time to grow in the game and should be started immediately. Even if you think you still have enough food to survive for a while get those cabbages ready.
36. Utilize Fire
You can use fire to take out large groups of zombies at a time. Fire spreads in Project Zomboid Build 41 and will go from zombie to zombie if they are clustered together. You can either have zombies walk over a campfire that you have lit or craft a Molotov using a whiskey bottle and a rag.
37. Pick up house keys if you find them
Whilst you looting buildings in Project Zomboid you may come across the former owner of the building in a zombified state. Chances are they will still have their house key on them. Make sure you collect that house key if you are not yet finished with the house. There is always the chance that a horde will arrive on your location and it having a locked back door and no way of escaping is fairly common.
38. Find protective clothing
Make sure you check the clothing of the enemies that you dispatch of. When you hover of the item and you have something already in that slot the game will compare the 2 items and tell you whether the piece of clothing is better or worse than the one you currently have equipped. Notable stats include how much the clothes insulate and how much protection they offer from bites or scratches. For example the military books will make your feet completely immune to scratches and bites. Try to keep them clean as well to avoid infection.
39. Scream and shout
You can press the shout button (Q by default) to bring zombies to your area. This is great for clearing houses or areas when you want to know just who is lurking around. Sometimes it is better to walk into a house and get all of the enemies out rather than waiting to be surprised. Whilst sneaking you can also do a quieter version of the shout the same way to lure in zombies that are already relatively close.
40. Zombies can’t break through cars
On the current build 41 version of the game, zombies have no way of getting in or around cars. You can use this to you advantage by using cars to make a fence in your bases entry/exit. That way you can climb in one side of the car and exit out the other through the vehicle menu. (As of the latest update in Build 41 zombies can now crawl under cars to get past them)
41. Focus on a weapon type
The more you use a weapon, the better you are going to get with them. You can find the different weapon types in the skills menu such as blunt and short blade. Once you find a weapon type you like, focus on levelling up that one as if you change weapons you will have to start from scratch again.
42. Have multiple safe houses in a town
Make sure you create multiple safe houses or mini bases in each area of the Project Zomboid map. Every now and then zombies will find out your location and swarm you. You never know when you will randomly run low on food, or need a quick stop for medical supplies. That is when having multiple bases in the area will come in handy.
43. Keep an eye on your weight
Make sure you are not becoming over or underweight by keeping a track of your weight in the health tab. An unhealthy weight will make your character weaker and overall less fit. You may also have an increased chance of injury by remaining over or underweight in Project Zomboid. Certain foods will be better for gaining or maintaining a certain weight.
44. Keep tweezers on hand
Tweezers are helpful for removing shards of glass when injuring yourself in Project Zomboid. You will always need a set, especially when multiplayer comes around. I say that because you can also use tweezers to remove bullets from under the skin. When PvP comes to Project Zomboid you better be ready.
Make sure you learn the ins and outs of construction if you are planning to build that perfect base. You can even build an entire base from scratch in Project Zomboid.
46. Bring a friend!
Project Zomboid is a couch co-op multiplayer game. You can play with another friend in split screen via a drop in drop out system. Simply have them press A on a controller also connected to your PC and they can create their own character. Useful for basically everything in the game, depending on the friend.
47. Use the second player yourself
If you find yourself a loner like me you can even use the second character yourself. Perhaps you don’t want to risk losing your hard-skilled survivor, or maybe you need a different character with a certain set of skills? Use the menu to create a second player and control them while the other sits with their feet up in your base.
48. Watch gameplay videos on YouTube
One of the best ways to learn how to play games is by watching other people that have been playing for a while. Everyone has different tactics they use in the game and you can always learn new information by watching people doing ‘lets play’s or playing the game on Twitch.
49. Check out the Project Zomboid Reddit
The Project Zomboid has its own dedicated subreddit. At the time of writing it has just over 47,000 redditors subscribed to it. If you have a question that hasn’t already been answered by the community the best place to ask is there. It is a great forum to follow to hear about the latest updates in the game and new gameplay tactics.
50. Enjoy dying, it will happen eventually
Project Zomboid is a difficult game. With death around the corner at every turn due to , starving, running out of water, falling in the forest and getting a bad infection, you are eventually going to find yourself back in the character creation menu. Remember that losing a character is all apart of the game. Dying is fun! The sooner you accept that it is alright to lost a character every now and then the more you will start to enjoy playing the game.
That concludes our list of 50 tips and tricks to help you survive in Project Zomboid for build 41. We hope these tips will keep you out of the grasps of those undead roaming the street and help you thrive in Project Zomboid. If you have any top tips you think can help out players, new or old, feel free to share them in the comments below. Thanks for coming and good luck out there survivors!