How to Use Search Mode/Investigate Area to Forage in Project Zomboid Build 41.60 (New Foraging Guide)

Although some of the more exciting additions to Project Zomboid have been the new area of Louisville and of course the long-awaited official online multiplayer, there are other new additions to the game. One major change to Project Zomboid in the 41.60 version of the game is the change to the foraging system. The system has been overhauled completely and swapped out for the new Investigate Area system. This includes a new system: Search Mode.

By utilizing the new search mode in Project Zomboid players can find forage-able items just like they used to with the old foraging system. This article will show you how to forage items with the new system and give you some more information on how it works.

(You can check out a guide to the foraging mode for older builds (pre 41.60) here.

If you aren’t already opted-in to the new version of the game you won’t be able to use the new Search Area mode. Check out this guide to play on the latest test build of the game.


How to Enable Search Mode in Project Zomboid

  • To enable search mode, select the magnifying glass icon on the left hand side of the screen.

The first thing we are going to have to figure out is how to actually enable search mode and use the new foraging system. If you’re coming from an older version of the game you may have already noticed a new icon on the left side of the screen. This icon looks like a magnifying glass. This is the icon you need to select to open up the new Investigate Area menu. From this menu you can enable search mode.

Investigate area menu in project zomboid. Enabling search mode to forage for items
Select the magnifying glass to open the Investigate Area window

Once you have this small menu open you will have an overview on the current location that you are in. We will go more into reading this menu later on. For now, you can select the option at the bottom of this menu that will read “Enable Search Mode”. You will then notice most of the screen will be blurry apart from a radius around you character. This is your character’s current search radius. Your character now has the ability to forage for items around the map.

How to Forage With the New Search Mode

Now that you have the new search mode enabled, it’s time to figure out how to actually forage with it! The new system is based on your character actually moving around looking for items. All you have to do is enable search mode and move around the map. If you look around hard enough, your character will eventually spot an item. When this happens you will see an eye image appear above your character. Stop moving for a moment and a small arrow will appear pointing in the direction of the object your character has found. If you move towards the object, you will be able to pick it up. See the image below.

Showing the eye icon in project zomboid when foraging with the new investigate area system
Look out of the Eye indicator and follow the arrow to discover an item

Once you move towards the object and get close enough an icon will appear above it. You can see in the image above there is just a ? above the item. That is because my character doesn’t have sufficient foraging skill to identify the flowers that they are picking up. Regardless, you can right-click the indicator and choose to pick the item up. This is how foraging works now.

Where to Find Specific Foraging Items

The types of items that you can find through foraging depend on a variety of factors. As mentioned in one of the official blog posts for the new foraging system the types of items that can be found in search mode depend on your location, the weather conditions and also the time of day. The blog posts chooses one good specific example of this mentioning that your chances of foraging and finding a frog would increase outside of the city while it is currently raining.

You can expect to find items such as twigs, sharp rocks and logs outside in the forest areas of the game. Other city-related foraging items like smashed bottles, dead birds and other miscellaneous items can be found in the city. Yes that’s right, you can also use the new system to find objects located within the city areas as well. Foraging is no longer a ‘forest-only’ activity.

Using the search mode in Project Zomboid to find twigs and tree branches
Expect to find items like twigs, animals and rocks out in the forest areas

How to Read the New Investigate Area Menu

As aforementioned you will have to open the Investigate Area panel in order to forage now. There will be a silhouette in this menu. This will help give you an idea about the current location that your character is in. For example in the image above we can see the silhouette of a forest area. This means we will find items related to forest foraging in this area when we search. There area many different forage-able areas to discover. You can see in the image below the picture is changed when we are foraging on a city street.

Investigating an area within a city in Project Zomboid Build 41.60
You can use the search mode to both forage and locate smaller items like car keys easier

Investigate Mode: Weather and Sun Position

There are some other indicators that can be seen within this menu as well. When there are different weather conditions present in the game they will be shown within this menu. Cloudy weather will mean that your character has a reduced vision arc. The search area will be dynamically smaller and you will see clouds present in the Investigate Area panel.

Sun position will also have an affect on your ability to forage successfully. When the sun is at the highest position in the sky your character will have the best chance at finding items. If you haven’t found a working watch at your point in the game, you can roughly tell the time using this menu as well according to sun position.

Leveling Up Foraging Skill With the New System

Wit the old system you would gain a little bit of experience in the foraging skill every time you found a new item. That has not really changed with this new system in Project Zomboid. You will gain some experience in foraging every time you interact with a forage object. You do not gain any experience from discovering any object while foraging.

leveling up foraging in Project Zomboid build 41.60
Higher levels in foraging will allow you to find items that are further away

You will only gain foraging experience when you Pick Up Items or Discard Items. You can’t just walk around discovering items and get experience. This may be subject to change in later stages of the game but if you want to get your foraging level up you are going to want to either pick up the items or discard them. As always, you can find the related skill books in libraries and bookcases to multiply your skill gain.

The New Foraging System in Action: Video

The following YouTube video was shown in the official blog post announcing the new system. For those still confused with how the new system works, check out the video below.


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