Guide for New Players – Project Zomboid

Guide for New Players – Project Zomboid 1 -
Guide for New Players – Project Zomboid 1 -

A guide to help new players on what to do when they first start.


Hello, looking for tips on how to play Project Zomboid? Well you’ve come to the right place! Here I’ll be writing some basics on what a new player can do to survive after they’ve loaded in.


There are several base difficulties and the sandbox setting. The base setting difficulties rank lowest to highest from Builder, Survivor, and the hardest base setting being Apocalypse. After that is the sandbox setting, and the challenges.

  • no weapon starting out
  • fast shamblers / no sprinters
  • high bite rate from behind
  • moderate hearing and sight for zombies
  • helicopter goes by sometimes
  • zombies active night and day
  • zombies respawn
  • meta events like the shot gun, woman screaming, and night/sleep events activated

The sandbox is the best option if you want a customized experience. Want Romero zombies? Or zombies only active at night? Want extra traits without negative traits? Here you can check out what the different settings mean to configure the game how you want.
There are 5 cities/towns, but currently as of Jan 27, 2022, you can only spawn in 4 of them unless you specifically make your own spawnpoint.lua for Louiseville. Louiseville is to the very NorthEast (NE) on the map.
To the NE you have Westpoint. Westpoint is the closest to Louiseville if you intend on driving there. I wouldn’t recommend walking, since it’s a fair distance.
West of Westpoint is Riverside. Westpoint and Riverside are both right on the river so you don’t have to go far to start fishing.
Directly south of Westpoint is Muldragh.
Then to the southwest of Muldragh is Rosewood. Rosewood is the furthest point from Louiseville, so if you want to head there I would suggest starting in Westpoint. Rosewood is supposed to be the easiest on new players, so if you’re not confident in more compact, high density areas, I would suggest avoiding Louiseville and Westpoint for now.
Zombie Count – I would ignore this for now, since you can configure this more exactly in a different part of the settings. If you just want to give a quick choice, the options are: Insane, Very High, High, Normal, Low, None.
Zombie Distribution – This lets you choose whether you want zombies everywhere or only in cities/urban areas.
This lets you choose the time of day, which month, which day, and how long a day is. Fairly easy to understand. PZ seasons are the same as North American weather, so winter starts around November.
Water Shutoff – Instant, 0-30 days, 0-2 months, 0-6 months, 0-1 year, 0-5 years, 2-6 months, 6-12 months
Electricity Shutoff – Instant, 0-30 days, 0-2 months, 0-6 months, 0-1 year, 0-5 years, 2-6 months, 6-12 months
A randomized time for when the water and power will shutoff will be chosen within the timeframe you choose. It’s not a fixed time, so it could happen at any point. They’re also independent of each other shut off, so they might turn off at different times.
House Alarm Frequency – Never, Extremely Rare, Rare, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
This sets whether an alarm will go off each time you open a window or a door in a house you’ve never been in before. They don’t have to be locked before for the alarm to go off.
Locked Houses Frequency – Same as above, just for how often doors and windows in a house will be locked.
Food Spoilage – Very Fast, Fast, Normal, Slow, Very Slow
How quickly food spoils.
Refigeration Effectiveness – Very Low, Low, Normal, High, Very High
How effectively your fridge cools your food, and weather your food will be cold or thaw faster.
Rotten Food Removal – You have to set a number above 0 to enable rotten food removal. It’s -1 by default which disables it.
Loot Respawn – None, Every Day, Every Week, Every Month, Every 2 Months
Self explanatory. After you’ve looted a building, how long do you want it to take for loot to respawn? Loot won’t respawn unless you’ve looted the building.
Loot Seen Prevent Hours – Enter the number of hours you want to pa*s before loot will respawn.
World Item Removal List – A list of item types that will be removed after a certain set of hours.
Hours For Removal List – Enter number of hours before the item list from above will be removed.
Removal List as Whitelist – Checkbox. Any items not in the Removal List will be removed.
Months since the apocalypse – 0-12
This will change how much overgrowth shows up, if you’ve surpa*sed the alotted time given for power/water turn off, and if fresh foods are still fresh or not.
Darkness During Night – Pitch Black, Dark, Normal, Bright.
How dark or bright it is as night.
Fire Spread – Checkbox.
Does fire spread or not.
Generator Working in Exterior – Checkbox.
Do Generators work on exterior tiles or are they required to be indoors. Generators create fumes when indoors that can make your character sick, so just remember that.
Initial Gas Station Amount – Empty, Very Low, Low, Normal, High, Very High, Full, Infinite.
As it says, how much gasoline is in the tanks at a gas station.
Temperature – Very Hot, Hot, Average/Normal, Cold, Very Cold.
Rain – Very Dry, Dry, Normal, Rainy, Very Rainy
How often it rains.
Erosion Speed – How fast plants in the environment grow.
Erosion Days – Enter a number to pick how long it takes for plants to grow.
Farming Speed – Very Fast, Fast, Normal, Slow, Very Slow
How fast a plant you’ve planted will grow.
Plant Resilience – Very High, High, Normal, Low, Very Low
Controls loss of water per day and if the plant can avoid diseases.
Farming Abundance – Very Poor, Poor, Normal, Abundant, Very Abundant
How much food a plant will produce
Nature’s Abundance – Very Poor, Poor, Normal, Abundant, Very Abundant
Effects how much food/items you’ll get from fishing and foraging.
Compost Times – 1-12 weeks
How long it takes for food to turn into compost for farming.
Maxiumum Fog Intensity – Normal, Moderate, Low
Turning this setting down might help with latency, and setting this to low will make visibility better when fog is out.
Maximum Rain FX Intensity – Normal, Moderate, Low
Turning this setting down might help with latency, turning it up will make rain come down harder and more abundantly when it does rain.
Snow on ground – Checkbox.
Sadistic AI Director
Helicopter – Never, Once, Sometimes, Often
The helicopter will fly overhead and any zombies in a wide area will hear it and move in the direction that the helicopter was heard hovering over. If the helicopter sees the player it will fly over the area and zombies will be attracted to the area.
Meta Events – Never, Sometimes, Often
Meta events are random events that draw zombies. A woman screaming, dogs barking, and a shotgun going off are some of the few.
Sleeping Event – Never, Sometimes, Often
You’ll wake from sleep in a panic even though there is nothing to be afraid of. This can interrupt your sleep and cut it short.

Difficulty, pt. 2

Generator Spawn – Extremely Rare, Rare, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
Generators are the only way to power some items, like Fridges, after the power goes out. They run on gasoline and you need to refill them for them to work. They spawn in garages out in the world and this is to increase the chance of finding them.
Generator Fuel Consumption – Enter number here, the default is 1.0.
You can increase or decrease how much fuel is consumed by a generator.
Randomized House Chance – Never, Extremely Rare, Rare, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
This will choose random houses already on the map and board the windows and doors up as though the people living there were trying to survive. No survivors will be in the houses. Sometimes you’ll find dead survivors with guns or other loot.
Randomized Vehicle Stories Chance – Never, Extremely Rare, Rare, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
Crashed vehicles with loot or tires nearby as though the owner stopped to change a tire.
Randomized Zone Stories Chance – Never, Extremely Rare, Rare, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
Not 100%, but it might be the same as the other two, just with the zone.
Annotated Map Chance – Never, Extremely Rare, Rare, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
Loot can sometimes spawn maps, so an Annotated Map is a map that looks like it was used by a survivor. Annotated maps often have bonus loot showing on them.
Time Before Corpse Removal – Enter number, base is 216.
Decaying Corpse Impact – None, Low, Normal, High
This can effect if you become depressed with corpses around or if you get bitten by corpse flies circling a corpse.
Blood Level – None, Low, Normal, High, Ultra Gore
How much blood shows when you kill or hit a zombie. Turning this off could improve latency.
Loot Rarity
Fresh Food – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Canned Food – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Melee Weapons – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Ranged Weapons – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Ammo – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Medical – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Bandages, surture needles, disinfectant, pills
Survival Gears – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Fishing gear, seeds, nails, tools, DIY items.
Mechanics – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Car parts, tools
Literature – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Books, Comics, Magazines
Other – Extremely Rare, Rare, Normal, Common, Abundant
Electronics, CDs, VHS
XP Multiplier – Enter a number, default is 1.0.
Can be improved for faster leveling.
Stats Decrease – Very Fast, Fast, Normal, Slow, Very Slow
How fast your hunger and thirst decrease.
Endurance Regeneration – Very Fast, Fast, Normal, Slow, Very Slow
How fast your character recovers from exhaustion.
Nutrition – Checkbox
Food can change your happiness and mood.
Starter Kit – Checkbox.
You start with a small bag, a hammer, a water bottle, a bag of chips, and a baseball bat.
Free Trait Points – Baseline is 0. Enter number for amount of extra free points for traits.
Player Built Construction Strength – Very Low, Low, Normal, High, Very High
How much health constructions you’ve built have and how long it takes for zombies to break them.
Injury Severity – Low, Normal, High
Effects healing time and how damaging injuries are.
Bone Fracture – Checkbox
Enables or disables bone fractures.
Clothing Degradation – Disabled, Slow, Normal, Fast
Effects how quickly your clothes get dirtied or bloodied.
Rear Vulnerability – Low, Medium, High
This is like PZ’s version of a backstab, but only zombies can do it. How high the chance is of receiving a bite from behind.
Weapon Multi-hit – Checkbox
Enable for your weapon to hit more than one zombie at a time in combat.
Melee Movement Disruption – Checkbox
Disabling allows to attack without interruption when moving.
All Clothing Unlocked – Checkbox
Check to enable a view of all clothing options for your character in the character creation screen.
In-game Map
Enable Map – checkbox
Enable Minimap – checkbox
Vehicles – checkbox
Enables vehicles
Easy Use – checkbox
Enabled it makes cars quiet, they’ll be unlocked, and have full gas.
Recent Survivor Vehicles – Low, Normal, High
Decides if car spawns are good condition
Zombie Attraction Multiplier – Enter number to decide noise level.
Car Spawn Rate – None, Low, Very Low, Normal, High
Chance Has Gas – Low, Normal, High
If it has gas or not.
Initial Gas – Very Low, Low, Normal, High, Very High, Full
When it has gas, how much does it have?
Gas Consumption – Enter number to decide how quickly a car consumes gas.
Locked Frequency – Never, Extremely Rare, Rare, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
How often they’re locked or unlocked, helps to decide if alarms go off
General Condition – Very Low, Low, Normal, High, Very High
Car Wreck Congestion – checkbox
Do you want car crashes and for it to be difficult to get through a street?
Car Alarms Frequency – Never, Extremely Rare, Rare, Sometimes, Often, Very Often
Player Damaged From Crash – checkbox
Car Damage on Impact – Very Low, Low, Normal, High, Very High
Siren Shutoff Hours – Enter number to decide how long it will take for a siren to shut off.
Damage to Player from Hit By Car – None, Low, Normal, High, Very High
Zombie Lore
Most of this is pretty easy to understand, so I’ll just say that Fence Lunge makes it easier to kill them as long as you can sidestep the attack.
Zombies triggering alarms can also create huge problems for you.
Environmental attacks means that they won’t wander and attack bases if they don’t know you’re inside.
Advanced Zombie Options
This is where you can more precisely configure how you want your zombies to behave, in regards to their population, roaming, and how clumped they are. If you don’t want them to respawn turn “Respawn Hours” to “0” and “Respawn Unseen Hours” to “0”. If you want a high pop turn the number up, 4.0 = insane and is the max you can put. Peak day is when the most amount of them appears before the number of them trickles off. RallyGroupSize is how big hordes can be, the distance for it is how far they’ll travel to become a horde, and the radius is how close each zombie will be in a horde. Tooltips can explain the rest.


Some traits are better than others, and if you want as many of the good traits as you can possibly get, it helps to know which negative traits to take that are less impactful to your gameplay or in the least less detrimental. Here are some of the better negative traits so you can get more of the positive traits:
Obese – Reduced running speed, very low endurance and prone to injury. -2 Fitness, +10
This might not sound that great at first, but once you realize that it goes away once you level fitness and lose weight, it seems like a really good way to make 10 points. You end up being over 100 (kgs/lbs), and as you lose the weight – which you can do by eating low calorie foods like fruits and veggies, starving yourself, which makes your food last longer or allows you more time to find food, or by exercising regularly to burn off the weight – you end up slowly losing the negative trait over time, the more weight you lose. Compared to underweight, it can buy you extra time to find food if you start in a desolate region. Losing weight if you’re obese is less likely to kill you compared to if you lose weight while underweight. You can avoid eating until your character is is extremely hungry and starts losing health and you just have to eat enough to stop starving to death and then you can continue doing it until your character loses more weight. ~80 (kgs/lbs) should be the sweet spot. Dropping below that weight you’re more likely to die.
Overweight – Reduced running speed, very low endurance and prone to injury. -1 Fitness, +6
This works just like Obese, but with less points and less fitness reduced.
High Thirst – you become thirsty more quickly, +6
This isn’t as bad as it sounds. Your thirst stat decreases more quickly, but it’s really easy to manage, and you don’t have to do anything extra to satisfy it. Even if your water shuts off, having a generator and some water barrels still doesn’t make this a problem. You’ll also find so many water bottles out in the world that managing this shouldn’t ever be an issue. Water is also easier to get than food.
Claustrophobic, Agoraphobia, Cowardly – Fear based traits, +4, +4, +2 (=+10)
These might be more situational, but it can also help you in your early game if you also take the positive trait Adrenaline Junkie, which allows you to move faster when highly panicked. These traits make it so that you are in a near constant state of panic. There is the downside that your accuracy will be reduced by panic, but it shouldn’t stop you from killing zombies, and even if you get unlucky and are overencumbered and being chased you might still outpace the zombies.
The upside to fear based traits is that if you live long enough, say several months, then your panic reduces more quickly over time. This might have the downside that you no longer have your speed boost, but at the same time, your accuracy won’t be as hampered.
There is always the option to take beta blockers to remove the reduced accuracy, which you might take in the beginning anyways.
Smoker – increases happiness and reduces stress by smoking
Personally I never take this one, since I think the cigarettes are better off used for farming, but there is often an overabundance of cigarettes so it doesn’t hurt to use this trait. Still, cigarettes aren’t infinite so unless you’re playing with item respawn on, I wouldn’t recommend it. With how easy it is to manage stress and happiness with everyday things like eating or killing zeds it might not really have a huge impact on gameplay, but it doesn’t have a lot of benefit, either.
Shortsighted – reduces cone of visibility, +2
There isn’t a lot of difference between the cones, so you won’t be suffering a lot because of a smaller view.
Slow Reader – takes longer to read, +2
I wouldn’t suggest this for MP, but if you’re playing single player and can fast forward, the average time for reading is 6 hours, so it doesn’t make much difference. The only real effect it has is putting off changing your bandages or eating, but you can go without eating for more than 6 hours and not die, as long as you’re pacing yourself. This wouldn’t cause any huge problem with increased thirst, either, as long as you have several filled water bottles in your bags before you read.
You can only choose 1 profession, and they costs trait points.
Burglar – 14 points, +2 lightfooted, +2 nimble, +2 sneaking, can hotwire cars, less chance of breaking windows
if you never want to have to level 2 points in mechanics and 1 point in electrical to have to hotwire a car then this is the base profession to go for, since it starts out with the ability to hotwire, which makes it infinitely more useful than most other professions. it also gives you extra skill points in sneaking, nimble, and lightfooted, which do help if you want to sneak around hordes
Fire Officer – 6 points, +1 Axe, +1 Sprinting, +1 Fitness, +1 Strength
Axes are exceptionally good once you’ve leveled them a bit, plus 2 base stats, and increased endurance and speed while sprinting, and for only 6 points.
Lumberjack – 6 points, axe +2, strength +1, faster movement through forests and woods, faster axe swing
Park Ranger – 10 points, axe +1, carpentry +1, foraging +2, trapping +2, moves faster in forests and woods
Carpenter – 4 points, carpentry +3, short blunt +1
This is really good if you want to get started on making water barrels earlier. Short blunt weapons are more common than other weapon types.
Repairman – 10 points, carpentry +1, maintenance +2, short blunt +1
the maintenance skill is good for preventing your weapons from breaking as often, so getting it early is definitely a worthy option
Unemployed – 8 free points to choose on whatever you want.

The Start

Once you’ve loaded into your new game, the first thing you want to do is check the area you spawn in to see what items are there. If you didn’t spawn in with the starter pack, you’ll specifically want to look for weapons. Kitchens, garages and utility closets are a good place to look. Frying pans, hammers, axes, shovels, rakes, rolling pins, handheld grills, hunting knife – all of these are good items to start out with. If you can’t find anything, don’t worry, a*suming you’re not playing with sprinters, you should be able to shove zombies over and stomp them as long as you don’t pull more than one or two. I wouldn’t waste time using a butter knife, it will just break in 2-3 hits and do very little damage.
While you’re checking out your space, it helps to sneak with [C] and close any curtains so you don’t attract any unwanted visitors to the house you’re in. Careful around windows and gla*s doors as any zombies facing them will be attracted to you moving around them, and start hitting them to break in. Closing any curtains by right clicking > close curtains from the drop down menu should help you on lower to moderate settings to avoid attracting zombies with noise or sight. Even if you’re not next to the windows, as long as they can see in the house they might see you moving around. Another way to avoid them seeing you is to turn off any lights on in the house. There are light switches on the wall and some rooms have lamps that you have to walk to and right click to turn off. This should buy you a bit of time to look around your new spawn point.
Next it’s time to decide if you want to stay in this base. Are you playing on Apocalypse or harder custom settings? Then you might want to get out of any heavily populated areas. As a new player I would suggest trying out your luck on an easier setting, but it’s your choice.
Having a second floor in your chosen base is usually a must. When playing with helicopter enabled, large numbers of zombies can be pulled in, and if they surround your base it helps to get out from the second floor rather than running through them from the bottom floor. Even without the helicopter, sleeping on the second floor is just safer.
I wouldn’t recommend just vaulting out a high up window, because falling from a second or higher floor can cause you serious injuries that might slow you down, or you could fall into a group of zombies and get eaten. So to get down without getting hurt, you would need to make 2 sheet ropes and find 5 nails so you can nail the sheet ropes to a window so you can get out without hurting yourself. Sheet ropes can be made by combining 3 ripped sheets, and you need 1 sheet rope per floor depending on which floor you’re on. A second floor only needs 2 sheetropes, so you would need a total of 6 ripped sheets in all. You can get ripped sheets from ripping clothes, which you can find off of any zombies you’ve killed, like socks, shirts, or any pants that aren’t made of leather or jeans, or you can find from dressers in bedrooms in your house. Nails can be obtained by disa*sembling furniture or you can find boxes of them in containers, but to disa*semble furniture you need a hammer and saw. For now, just find a base with a second floor. If you don’t feel comfortable enough moving to a different building if you spawned in a building without a second floor, then you can stay in the base you’re in until you can find a better base and move.
To get any items from zombies, or to move base in the first place, you might have to enter into combat. It’s fairly easy. There is the right mouse button which helps to aim with melee and ranged weapons, and the left mouse button hits/shoots. The left mouse button can also shove a zombie, which can either push it back or push it over. Holding the aim can cause you to hit or shove harder, and increases your chances of pushing them over. If you’re fighting a single zombie, pushing them over is the easiest way to get a kill. You just stand on their shoulders and aim the reticle on the zombies head, and click the attack button (left mouse button). You don’t exactly have to aim, since you’ll likely get a clean kill in the first 3 hits, but aiming does make it more precise and slightly increases the odds of killing the zombie in one hit. Less hits means more energy saved.
If you encounter 2-3 zombies, there is another trick that can help you. Say you’re fighting two zombies, and you manage to push the zombie in front over. You could run over and kill it, a*suming you can do so before the second zombie catches up and grabs you, or you could stand on the first zombie and attack the second, and it will prevent the first zombie from being able to attack or stand up again as long as you’re still standing on it. This is effective even without multihit on, and sometimes you get lucky and you knock both over on top of each other. Hitting one if they’re right on top of each other will keep both zombies down until you can kill them. Second tip is that if you knock a zombie over and see it getting up, if you can hit it or push it before it’s on it’s feet again it will get knocked back down, or possibly end up 1 shot.
If you don’t want to deal with the constant pushing and shoving, and you find yourself facing a single zombie, if you can sneak up behind them without getting noticed, you can push them over before they realize you’re there, and you don’t have to waste time shoving them around until they fall over.
Be warned, if you’re exhausted shoving becomes more difficult, so if you attempt this with low to extreme exhaustion, the zombie might not fall, and you might get chased anyways. Always be sure to sleep for tiredness or rest for exhaustion before you enter combat, and don’t overencumber yourself.
Facing a group is more difficult, so rest up before you risk it. There are several ways to kill a horde. The easiest ways are with fire or a shotgun. Molotovs or campfires are good for burning hordes, as long as you have firespread turned on. If not, it probably won’t be as effective, since you would have to make sure all of them get caught on fire. If you’re lucky enough to find a shotgun and a large amount of shotgun ammo, you could also kill a horde that way. Some zombies will have shotguns visible on their backs, but you can also find them in containers in buildings like a police station.
If you see a zombie with a shotgun in a horde and you only have a melee weapon, then your best chance is to pull them away one or two at a time. To do this, you have to approach them from the max view distance. By approaching slowly and making sure to only inch up when a few are facing you, you can limit the amount of zombies you pull. You have to be sneaking to do this, otherwise if you’re close enough you’ll pull all of them. Once you’ve pulled a few, back up out of distance of the rest of them. Give yourself some room behind you in case you need to move. The trick here, if you have more than 2, is to just keep backing up while attacking them. They’ll follow you and you can herd them into a line. All you have to do is keep hitting them, and they have only a certain amount of health, so that after you’ve hit away so much health they’ll die. All you need to do is keep backing up and don’t let them grab you, because if one grabs you and others catch up you could die. Hitting them on the head guarantees a crit, so you’ll deal more damage that way and be more likely to one shot them.
If you’re lucky enough to get a hunting knife from the start, it’s easier to one shot, but getting the 1 shots around the finicky animations is a little bit tricky. You have to stand close enough to get under their jaw after hitting them once, or stand close enough behind a zombie turned away, otherwise you’ll end up only pushing them. Sometimes it will look like they’re about to bite you, but then they’ll instantly die. I wouldn’t suggest hunting knives for a horde, but they’re good for small numbers.

The Start, pt. 2

If you can learn to handle hordes with a melee weapon, and you manage to find a gun, you can start raising your gun skills. It’s recommended that you raise your gun skill higher before using pistols and rifles, but if you only have a pistol, you can just push the zombies over and shoot them while they’re on the ground and you get the same xp that way as you would if they were standing up, you’d just waste less ammo from them moving or being too far away.
I would suggest saving better weapons like the Katana for when you have more maintenance skill, since Katana’s don’t have the best durability and they are exceptionally good at killing enemies with low skill required, while also being excessively rare. Otherwise, the favorite weapon of hardcore players is the spear, since you can craft many of them, they have better range than a hunting knife, and they one shot like a hunting knife. The only downside is they don’t have great durability and break quickly, so it’s safer to have higher maintenance or to have several of them, otherwise if you face a horde with them you might find yourself weaponless.
A few more things to help with combat, fences are very good at knocking zombies over. They do what is called a “lunge” over the fence if you have the option turned on, and it puts them on the ground, and while they’re on the ground, as long as you sidestep the lunge, you can easily 1 shot them while they’re on the ground by hitting them on the head. For guns, if you find that the noise of your gun has pulled to many zombies, and you have a vehicle, you can shoot from your vehicle, with the window rolled down. That way you have a bit of added protection while you end up taking them out from a distance.
Once you have a base, and are somewhat decent at combat, you should try to raise your carpentry. Carpentry is needed for water barrels and crafting items like containers, stairs, windows, compost bins, walls, etc.. and is one of the most handy skills. Water barrels are good to have for when the water turns off, and being able to make extra containers is helpful, too. You also can’t move some furniture without a higher carpentry skill, otherwise it will break. You need level 4 Carpentry to make water barrels and level 6 to make stairs.
The easiest way to level Carpentry is by looking for Beginner books. You don’t need these to level Carpentry, but the xp multiplier makes it go faster. If you can find a book in the first day that’s excellent, read it A.S.A.P and then sit down for Life and Living and hope that you can catch some carpentry shows. The book multiplier plus the show can you get you 2 skill points in the first day by watching one episode. So, if it’s that good, when does it air? It airs 4 times a day. The first time around 6-8AM, then around 12 pm, then around 6 pm, then 12 am. Carpentry plays consistently everyday at 12 pm. The shows run for a week before they stop.
For books, Beginner books are levels 1+2, Intermediate is 3+4, Advanced is 5+6, Expert is 7+8, and Master is 9+10. The best place to find books is a school, a bookstore, or a post office. Otherwise houses usually have at least one bookshelf.
After Carpentry, keep an eye out for gardening materials, since you’ll want to get farming started. Seeds, gardening cans, garden sprays, and garden trowels are good for this. Cigarettes and milk, even rotten milk, can be used to treat diseases for farming. If you’ve leveled your carpentry and made some compost bins, you can start putting any rotten food in there to fill up and use the compost for fertilizing your garden. You can also sometimes just find bags of fertilizer around. If you find you ever have any items you don’t need or want, and don’t want them just lying around cluttering up the place, garbage bins have a “delete” option that can let you delete items. So don’t want compost? Throw your rotten items in there.

Skill Up

Good ways to raise your skills.
Carpentry – Building fences/walls, disa*sembling furniture. Putting up log walls doesn’t increase carpentry.
Needed items: Saw, Hammer, Nails
Metalworking – Disa*sembling toilets and bathtubs in bathrooms, since they give more xp than metal chairs, and they’re numerous.
Needed items: Propane torch, Welding Mask
Electrical– Pick up watches from zombies and disa*semble them. Also disa*semble any t.vs and radios you don’t use.
Needed items: Screwdriver, Electronic Scraps,
Mechanics – Collect light bulbs from containers, cars and light fixtures and then go to a car and remove then reinstall the battery, radio, and lights, until you level enough to be able to disa*semble other parts of it without wrecking the car. You can also potentially destroy any wrecked cars to level it, and save any extra parts for other vehicles.
Needed Items: Screwdriver, Propane torch, Welding Mask, Metal sheets, Duct Tape
Sneaking – You can either find a horde and try to sneak near it without attracting their attention, or you can find a vehicle with a siren and turn it on so that zombies will stay focused on it and then sneak around them.
Sprinting – Just run, there is no other requirement. You don’t have to do it because of zombies, either. It also raises fitness.
Fitness/Strength – Overburdening yourself increases your strength, even though I don’t recommend this. Exercising also increases both, depending on which exercise you choose.
Weapon Aim: Either use a shotgun or if you only have a pistol and plenty of ammo you can knock over zombies and shoot them while they’re on the ground, and that will help to raise both your aim and your reload. 1 ammo = 1 xp in reload.
Maintenance – You gain this buy using weapons and having their condition degrade. It increases how long your weapon lasts before it breaks.
Foraging – You have to turn on the search function and walk around until you see an eye. Then go in the direction the eye points to and pick the item up. You can cheat this by turning it on near zombies when they drop items they were wearing, like hats or gla*ses, but the xp is less than if you find items by manually searching.
Fishing: You can level this with spears, a fishing trap, or with a fishing rod. I don’t think they added shotgun fishing.
Trapping: You need to be able to make traps, so you need to find the recipes from books, and then for some of them you need carpentry skill. You make the trap, place it in an isolated spot near some trees, put some bait, like carrots or cabbage, and wait.
Lightfooted: Sneak around quietly and don’t get heard.
Nimble: Jump over fences and don’t fall.

T.V Schedule

Life and Living helps to level some basic skills before you head out. If you can find beginner and intermediate books before sitting down to watch that will help you to level your skills faster, if you can’t find the books just don’t miss the show.
Day 1:
12 AM: Fishing
6 AM: Cooking
12 PM: Carpentry
6 PM: Fishing
Day 2:
6 AM: Cooking
12 PM: Carpentry
6 PM: Farming
Day 3:
6 AM: Cooking
12 PM: Carpentry
6 PM: Fishing
Day 4:
6 AM: Cooking
12 PM: Carpentry
Day 5:
6 AM: Cooking
12 PM: Carpentry
6 PM: Foraging
Day 6:
6 AM: Cooking
12 PM: Carpentry
6 PM: Trapping
Day 7:
6 AM: Cooking
12 PM: Carpentry
6 PM: Foraging
Day 8:
6 AM: Cooking
12 PM: Carpentry
Day 9:
6AM: Cooking

Protecting Your Base

There are several ways to protect your base. The first that most people will know is boarding up your windows. This can be done easily by finding a hammer and a saw and disa*sembling furniture to get planks and nails. You can also chops down trees with an axe and saw wood logs into planks, but this doesn’t produce nails, and you need nails to board up windows and doors. If you find boxes of nails you can do it this way, but disa*sembling furniture can also raise your Carpentry skill. Both ways work, so once you have 3 nails and a wood plank, you can right click on your window and barricade it. You’ll need to do this 4 times to cover the entire window.
The second way to protect your base is by putting up a perimeter wall. There are two ways to do this. The first is by building walls of a house with planks and nails, which you do by building the frame and then right clicking on the frame and selecting the level of wall you want to build. The second is by chopping down trees with an axe and using logs and ripped sheets to make log walls.
Building up walls of a house raises your carpentry skill, but log walls don’t require any carpentry skill and log walls have more HP than a regular house wall. Putting up log walls is also very exhausting, since logs are very heavy. Carrying logs tires you quickly, but it also helps to raise your fitness and strength while you do it. If your character spent the entire day reading and isn’t exhausted by the end of the day you can choose to have them haul logs or exercise to tire them out quickly so that they’ll sleep at night.
The third option is to use metal working once you’ve found a welding mask, a propane torch, and metal sheets, to put metal sheets on the outside of the windows of the lower part of your home. This gives a double layer of protection against any zombies trying to break their way in.
Potentially you can also use noise making items to lure zombies away. Watches and alarm clocks can be set for certain times, so you might be able to set a time and place them around areas so any zombies in the area will be attracted to the noise.


Being attacked by a zombie can injure you, and once you’re injured, depending on what kind of injury you have, your chance of surviving can be lower.
scratches = 10% chance of becoming infected by zombie virus
laceration = 25% chance of becoming infected by zombie virus
bite =100% chance of becoming infected by zombie virus (unless infections turned off, sandbox mode only)
Gear can help to protect you from bites and scratches, albeit at the cost of the gear itself, which usually rips when bitten. Making sure there are no holes in your gear can help to prevent bites. The positive trait “Thick Skinned” can also give mild protection.
Even if you don’t get infected by the zombie virus, if you don’t clean your wounds regularly, your character can still get an infection, and then a fever, and die that way. If your wounds become infected, there’s a chance by continually cleaning your bandages and not leaving them dirty too long that your character can recover from the infection. You have a higher chance of recovering if you clean the wound and use sterilized bandages, too. If it succeeds, after a few days your character should recover and your wounds will disappear.
If your wounds don’t recover, however, you’ll form a fever. At this point you need antibiotics or herbs from foraging to reduce the fever. In all of my playthroughs, antibiotics were hard to find, so your best bet is to check medical facilities or a pharmacy. To get herbs to cure it you have to level foraging, and you have to be lucky enough to find the right herbs for it. You’re more likely to find antibiotics than to find the herbs you need if you haven’t leveled foraging.
To sterilize a sheet or bandage, you need a saucepan or pot filled with water, and you need to cook it in the oven until it’s hot. When it gets hot, right click on it and a new option in the drop-down menu to disinfect rag will appear. This probably isn’t needed, since all you need to do is change the bandages. Sterilizing only reduces the chance of a normal infection, it doesn’t prevent zombie infection.
There are also surture needles for closing lacerations, but I’ve found that I’ve never had to use them.
Other medical illnesses you can suffer from are food poisoning from eating burnt or rotten food, corpse illness from corpse flies, which are the little flies you see swarming around corpses after they’ve sat outside for a while, poisoning from generator fumes or from eating poisoned berries, queasiness or a fever from being out in the elements too long without proper outside gear, hypothermia. You can also die from drinking bleach or burning to death, or from falling from too high. You can also be bitten apart by a group of zombies, or bleed out if you don’t bandage a bleeding wound in time.
For some illneses outside of injuries, like food poisoning, you need herbs from foraging to get rid. Food poisoning can kill you pretty quickly without the proper herbs to get rid of it.


There are pieces of gear in PZ that give you some level of protection from bites, scratches, and the weather. If you’re lucky enough to find them, here they are.
Firefighter Helmet – 100% bite protection, 100% scratch protection, 65% insulation, 55% wind protection, 60% water protection
Riding Helmet – 100% bite protection, 100% scratch protection, 0% insulation, 0% wind protection, 0% water protection
Hard Hat – 100% bite protection, 100% scratch protection, 15% insulation, 25% wind protection, 50% water protection
Nuclear Biochemical Mask – 100% bite protection, 100% scratch protection, 50% insulation, 65% wind protection, 100% water protection (hard to find)
There are other helmets with good all-around stats but they decrease swing/attack speed.
Hockey Goalie Mask – 30% bite protection, 50% scratch protection, 25% insulation, 55% wind protection, 0% water protection
Welder Mask – 30% bite protection, 50% scratch protection, 25% insulation, 55% wind protection, 100% water protection
Denim Shirt – 7% bite protection, 15% scratch protection, 45% insulation, 55% wind protection, 0% water protection
the only good shirt with protections
Police Bulletproof Vest – 30% bite protection, 55% scratch protection, 100% insulation, 15% wind protection, 30% water protection, Non-repairable
Firefighter Jacket – run speed reduced to 87%, attack speed dropped to 90%, 50% bite protection, 70% scratch protection, 25% neck protection, 85% insulation, 85% wind protection, 80% water protection, Non-repairable
Leather Jacket – run speed reduced to 95%, attack speed dropped to 97%, 20% bite protection, 40% scratch protection, 50% neck protection, 40% insulation, 60% wind protection, 40% water protection, Repairable
Firefighter Pants – run speed lowered to 82%, 20% bite protection, 30% scratch protection, 85% insulation, 85% wind protection, 80% water protection, Non-repairable
Leather Gloves – 15% bite protection, 30% scratch protection, 75% insulation, 75% wind protection,
Military Boots – stomp power 250%, run speed lowered to 85%, 100% bite protection, 100% scratch protection, 55% insulation, 65% wind protection, 80% water protection
Military Desert Boots – stomp power 250%, run speed lowered to 85%, 100% bite protection, 100% scratch protection, 50% insulation, 60% wind protection, 50% water protection


Cooking isn’t too complicated. Turn the oven on, place the food in, turn it off before it burns. Microwaves are good for thawing food, but the ding they make can draw noise if you’re not careful. This shouldn’t be a problem on easier difficulties, only extremely difficult settings in sandbox should really suffer from this. Burnt or rotten food can make you sick.
If you want your character to lose weight while still eating, eat low calorie foods like fruit and vegetables. If you want them to gain weight, eat high calorie foods like rice, cereal, canned oats, pasta, ice cream, junk foods, peanut butter, and meat.
Cooking can pa*sively reduce your unhappiness and boredom if you’re actually making meals and not just eating single items. If you make a meal with at least 3 different items you’re more likely to get higher levels of happiness and stress reduction in your meal, you’ll have leftovers so you’ll have several meals, not just one, and if you cook the right items you can also separate the items so they aren’t as heavy.
Peanut Butter and chocolate reduce boredom. Sodas, junk food, and alcohols like wine reduce unhappiness.
Drinks like coffee or tea can reduce your fatigue.

Unhappiness, Stress, Boredom

There are a few ways to reduce unhappiness, stress, or boredom, a fair number of them are pa*sive so you don’t have to go out of your way to do them.
Killing zombies and running around outside of your home can prevent your character from getting bored.
Prepping meals with at least 3 or 4 ingredients can pa*sively reduce your unhappiness. Even eating junk food or drinking alcohol can reduce your unhappiness.
When you watch Life and Living on T.V before the shows stop, you can reduce boredom that way. There are other t.v shows that will also reduce unhappiness. You can also play VHS tapes and listen to CDs to reduce boredom.
Taking antidepressants can help to reduce your unhappiness.
If you yell at a zombie and it hears you, it can reduce your unhappiness.

List of Items To Look For

-Melee Weapons
-Bandages (ripped sheets or medical bandages)
-A watch
-A pot or saucepan
-Beginner books/a t.v/recipe books
-A hammer and a saw
-Gas cans
-A car (carkeys or level mechanics 2 and electronics 1 if you don’t have burglar profession)
-A generator or two
-A gun and gun ammo
-Welding Mask and a propane torch



Written by Pavlov

Here we come to an end for the Guide for New Players – Project Zomboid guide. I hope this guide has helped you with your gameplay. If you have something to add to this guide or believe we forgot some information to add, please let us know via comment! We check each comment manually by approving them!

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