Surviving is hard in Project Zomboid, you’ll die at some point but here’s a guide with 10 beginner tips to help you delay the inevitable.

Not sure where to start? Check out the best spawn locations for beginners.

1. Taking Things Slow

Zomboid takes patience. It’s not the kind of game you rush out guns blazing. There are zombies everywhere, you don’t want to attract them.

So take it slow. Clear out zombies a few at a time and move from one building to the next to gather your basic loot.

2. Have a Looting Plan

There’s so much you can pick up in Zomboid. It can be tempting to grab everything but knowing what you actually need will help you avoid being weighed down.

You won’t be able to carry much after spawning so here are some essential items to grab first:

  1. Ripped Sheets – Rip up some clothes. Hopefully you won’t get injured but if you do you’ll be able to stop the bleeding right away.
  2. Water Bottle – You don’t want to be constantly returning to a tap (even a cup or tumbler will do in the beginning).
  3. Melee Weapon – Frying/Griddle Pan or Rolling Pin are easy to find. They are great starter weapons and can also be used to break windows without risking injury.
  4. Bag – To help you carry more. Even a tote/plastic bag will do.
  5. Watch – Grab a digital watch off a zombie. It’ll tell you the time and temperature.
  6. Tools – Pen and Eraser (to mark your map). Can Opener (to open canned food). A Hammer and Screwdriver for carpentry and dismantling doors.
  7. Medicine – Keep an eye out for Painkillers, Sleeping Tablets, Vitamins and the rare Antibiotics.

Looted your home but still nothing to break windows? Press “e” to try and force the window open. Many windows will open after around 4 tugs. If the lock breaks just try another window.

3. Gear Upgrades

Whilst we’re on the topic of items, here are some some easy to find upgrades to look out for:

  • Bag – Carry more with a Schoolbag (found in school lockers) or Duffel bag (Vehicle Trunk, Sports Store)
  • Melee Weapon – Deal more damage with a Baseball Bat (Sports Store, Gym Storage), Crowbar or Lead/Metal Pipe (Sheds). These Long Melee weapons will allow you to attack from a safer distance.
  • Armor – You can wear layer on layer of clothes. But it gets hot! So you’ll need to be a bit selective with your armor in the warmer seasons. Denim Shirt and Jeans offer good protection without too much insulation. Military Boots and Baseball Helmet will give 100% protection for your feet and head. Gloves (vehicle glove box) and Scarf will help protect your vulnerable hands and neck.

Weapons can be attached to your back for quick access, even when you are wearing a backpack.

4. Remove Glass from Broken Windows

Before climbing inside you’ll want to remove glass from that window you just broke. You’ll need an item equipped in your hand, even a pen or spoon will do.

5. Watch TV (Life and Living)

You can catch the Life and Living TV channel daily at 6 and 12 (AM and PM). It’s a quick way to level up your carpentry, cooking, fishing, farming and foraging.

Here’s how much exp you can get by watching Life and Living

6. Peeking Doors, Windows and Corners

One way to die is to be surprised by a zombie. Face the door before opening it. Or better yet quickly open and close the door to take a peek.

This is especially important when you hear banging on a door and are unsure how many zombies could be lurking behind.

As for windows, if the curtains aren’t drawn you can simply look inside. If it’s covered it’s time to find another entrance.

Consider taking a wide arc when approaching corners. Avoid hugging the wall and turning corners, who knows what you’ll run into.

7. Quick Combat Tips

  1. A zombie’s weakpoint is its head. Even if you don’t have a weapon using spacebar you can push a zombie to the ground and stomp on its head for a quick kill.
  2. If you’re facing multiple zombies consider luring them to a nearby fence. The zombies will climb over but fall prone. Giving you a bit of time to finish it off.
  3. No fence? That’s ok, zombies can’t get up if you stand on them. Push one over, stand on it and dispatch the other. This tactic can be quite useful when fighting multiple zombies.
  4. You’re most vulnerable in between attacks. So you’ll want to avoid swinging at air. Change the Display>Cursor>Aim Outline setting to AnyWeapon. The green outline will let you know when a zombie is in attack range.

Use a blunt weapons against zombies with clothing you want. Sharp weapons will leave your loot with holes.

8. Steralized Rags and Bandages

Disinfect and steralize your rags and bandages to prevent and treat infected wounds. You can use Bottle of Disinfectant or Bourbon. Alternatively just boil some water with a cooking pot.

9. Your First Vehicle

Once you have your basic gear you’ll want to find yourself a vehicle. Vehicles will allow you to carry more and travel further.

If you’re not using the burglar occupation you’ll need a key to start the vehicle. The easiest way is to go from car to car to check the glove box and the vehicle keyhole itself.

Once you have the key your car will likely need to be refueled before it can move. You can siphon fuel from other cars with an empty bottle or gas tank (found in car trunks). You’ll just need enough fuel to make it to the nearest petrol station to top up.

Reach Lv. 2 Mechanics and Lv. 1 Electrical to hotwire cars.

10. Sandbox Settings

Survivor mode is a quick way to start a game. But if things are a bit too hard here are some Custom Sandbox options to dial down the difficulty:

  • Population>Zombie Count> Low
  • World>House Alarms Frequency> Never
  • Character>XP Multiplier> 2.0
  • Zombie Lore>Speed> Shamblers

The above are just some simple adjustments you can make. There’s a bunch you can tweak but you probably don’t want to make it too easy.

Too many zombies? Here’s how to turn off zombie respawn.