Project Zomboid is a brutal survival sim, one where the smallest injuries can lead to illness and eventually death for the player. The game also lets players plunge into the zombie-infested version of Kentucky without much guidance. Fortunately, surviving your first night in Project Zomboid isn’t terribly difficult. You just have to be careful and considerate and make sure you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Make use of your starting area
When you first spawn in a world in Project Zomboid, you start in any house in the area you chose. Regardless of whether you spawned in a trailer or a two-story house, your spawn location will be loaded with the gear needed to survive in the early days of the game.
Check the home refrigerator and cabinets for food, but don’t overload. It’s easy to get overloaded in Project Zomboid, and realistically you don’t want to carry too much around. Grab a few pieces of fresh food (if available) and a canned product. Canned foods can last forever in Project Zomboid and should be hoarded as much as possible or at least used sparingly. Of course, you’ll also need a can opener to get to the grub in that can, so grab one too.
Once you have something to eat, it’s important to grab a weapon and a water container. Almost anything can be used as a weapon in Project Zomboid, but of course a hammer or wrench works better than a fork. Whatever weapon you find, be sure to get it out of your inventory immediately because you never know when zombies might surprise you.
The kitchen of the building you spawn in should have both a weapon and something that you can use as a water bottle, be it a kettle or a simple coffee mug. With those supplies in hand, you’ll need one more thing before you step into the big, evil, zombie-infested world: torn rags. These can be used as bandages in no time and are made simple by finding some clothes and tearing them to shreds. You can do the same with sheets, although it’s a bit of a shame because clothes are so easy to find and sheets can be used to make ropes or cover windows.
Find a safe home
Once you have some basic supplies, your next step should be: find a temporary hiding place. Take that first big step out the door, gun in hand, and look for a decent house or building to settle in. Most larger buildings – such as department stores or other retail locations – will be more difficult to defend against the undead due to their multiple windows. If you’re just starting out, it’s much easier to find a simple house, preferably with two floors and a fence.
But just finding a house doesn’t really make it a safe home. A bit of base construction is needed to secure a location for a few days of rest. Find as many sheets as you can and use them to cover windows so zombies don’t see you from the outside. Similarly, use sheets to make an escape rope to hang from a second-floor window. If zombies break in and flood the first floor of the house, you have an alternate escape route.
If your character is skilled enough at carpentry and you’ve managed to find a hammer and some nails, you can also start tearing down basic furniture to use the shelves as barricades. Close doors so that there are only two that can be used along with any windows.
With an established safehouse, you now have a place to hoard basic amenities. Use the fridge and freezer to collect fresh and frozen foods, store canned foods in cabinets, and collect any medical supplies you can find.
Start learning skills
At this point in Project Zomboid, you’ve done a pretty good job for yourself. You have basic equipment to ward off the undead and a safe place to stock up. But nothing in Project Zomboid lasts. Eventually the power and water will be cut off and when that time is up you have to be self-sufficient.
When you’re not looting, take the time to sit at home and watch TV. Though your parents may have said it will rot your brain, TV in Project Zomboid can be one of the best things to do in the early days of the game. Turn on the Life and Living TV channel, plop yourself down and you’ll start earning XP whenever a relevant show airs. Cook Show teaches cooking, Woodcraft teaches carpentry, and the survival show Exposure teaches farming, fishing, foraging, and trapping.
While watching TV can earn you a decent amount of XP, you’ll earn exponentially more if you read a book at the same time. Many skills in Project Zomboid are associated with books, all of which apply to different skill levels. For example, if you are just starting out in carpentry, grab and read a book Carpentry for Beginners. Reading it will give you an XP win multiplier for a number of levels, which guarantees that watching TV will give you at least two levels in any skill.
With these skills, you’ll be on your way to surviving any grueling day in Project Zomboid – at least for a while.
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