How to Disable Zombies Respawning in Project Zomboid

Are you playing Project Zomboid wishing the game could play out like your favorite Walking Dead episode or zombie movie? In Project Zomboid the game features a respawn system. By default, the game will respawn zombies that have been killed every couple of days. This is kind of unrealistic as it means that your game will always respawn new zombies forever. This has been done to keep the game a challenge over long playthroughs. Have you wanted to actually ‘clear’ a town and make it feel like it was for something? This guide is for you.

Project Zomboid is in early access and is thus subject to constant updates. These updates may change content and mechanics within the game. To keep up to date with the latest development news check the official Project Zomboid website.

How to Turn Disable Zombie Respawns

In order to disable zombies respawning you are going to have to start a new game. You cannot change settings in a game that is already in progress. To start a new game and with zombie respawns disabled do the following steps:

  • Start a new game from the main menu by selecting the option Solo
  • Select the Custom Sandbox option and choose any spawn point you wish
  • Select the Advanced Zombie Options tab
  • Change the Respawn Hours value to 0
  • Tweak the settings as you wish and start the game

By changing the Respawn Hours value to 0 zombies will never respawn in an area once they have been defeated. See the image below for the in-game explanation.

Changing settings so zombies never respawn in Project Zomboid sandbox mode
You’ll find the Respawn Hours setting under the section Advanced Zombie Options

Other Interesting Zombie Spawn Settings

While you are creating a custom sandbox scenario there are a bunch of other interesting settings. You can tweak a lot of different settings in the game here. I will go through some of the interesting options available to the player in terms of Zombie options. It will include some of my favorites for interesting playthroughs.

Zombie Speed Settings

One of the more interesting one I’ve been tweaking in my playthroughs is the zombie speed setting. Under the Zombie Lore section you will find the Speed setting. There are 4 different setting speeds for zombies:

  • Fast Shamblers: This is the default speed for zombies in Project Zomboid. Just a general fast walk.
  • Shamblers: This is slightly slower than the default setting for the game. They will generally move pretty slow. Like your classic TV zombies.
  • Sprinters: Zombies will literally sprint at you. You won’t even be able to jog away from them. Think Dawn of the Dead remake or War Z.
  • Random: My personal favorite choice. Zombies will be randomly fast, slow or regular speed. I think it’s a great mix of all of them. This setting will always keep you on your toes without being overly difficult.
Changing how fast Zombies move in Project Zomboid
Use the Sprinters setting with caution!


You can tweak the senses that zombies have as well. There are three different settings related to the zombies’ senses. Sight, hearing and smell.

  • Sight: You can change how well zombies will be able to see. This mainly just affects how far away the zombies can see you from. The sight settings include Eagle, Normal and Poor from best to worst.
  • Hearing: Affects how well zombies will be able to hear players and sounds in the world of Project Zomboid. This won’t only affects them hearing your footsteps and interactions, but alarms and other sounds. The hearing settings include Pinpoint, Normal and Poor from best to worst.
  • Smell: This affects how well zombies can smell. If you’re planning on roasting up that pork chop you might want to think again. similarly if you think the zombies are too good at detecting your character’s location without seeing them, you might want to change this. The smell settings include Bloodhound, Normal and Poor from best to worst.
Tweaking zombie sense settings
Zombie senses can be customized

Crawl under Vehicle

One of the latest updates to Project Zomboid’s beta included a mechanic where zombies are able to crawl under vehicles. For a very long time players were using vehicles as makeshift fences. This was due to the fact zombies couldn’t damage them and couldn’t get through them. If you want to relive the past and change how zombies can crawl under vehicles, this setting is for you.

There are a few different settings that govern how often/whether zombies can crawl under vehicles. If you don’t like the new feature you can turn it off completely. If you think more zombies should be crawling under vehicles when trapped you can have them do it more often. Check out the image below to see what kind of options are available for this setting.

The settings for zombies crawling under cars and vehicles in Project Zomboid
Change the way zombies move around vehicles


4 thoughts on “How to Disable Zombies Respawning in Project Zomboid”

  1. How do I turn it off or change it in a dedicated server? the ini file has no option that seems to be related to this

    • Hey Joe,

      The main server configuration settings can be found in the ‘servertest.ini’ file. There is another file called ‘servertest_SandboxVars.lua’ in the same (or nearby) location. This one has settings relating to the sandbox options.

      Hope that solved your problem!

    • Hey,

      I’ve just had a look through my local files to try to find where the settings file is located. I haven’t personally changed any savegame settings so before you try it, make sure you do a backup! You’ll have to head to the savegame location by going here: C:\Users\*yourname*\Zomboid\Saves\Sandbox\*Whichever game you wish to change*

      Once you’ve headed to this folder you are looking for a file called map_sand.bin

      Open this up in a text editor like notepad and you can see all of the settings.

      Hope that helped!


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