An introduction to the game and a bunch of tips and tricks. Aiming to cover most of the core gameplay.
Obviously this is a WIP. Some stuff might be suboptimal or wrong, and you should feel to point that out in the comments.
I’ll add more as I go, but I’m not going to sit on it until then.
- Technology and crafting
- Tech tree
At midnight, every night, a number of zombies will attack you. To protect yourself, you should hole up in a base containing various defences (usually traps) that will destroy the horde and let you survive until 1 am, when the attack ends.
Usually the zombie attack will build slowly from midnight, ending in a significantly larger final wave.
During the day you will need to:
- Build defences
- Upgrade your skills
- Upgrade your weapons
- Upgrade your crafting benches
- Gather supplies and items from various different sources.
During the night you will need to:
- Hide and shoot at zombies.
Technically, the day starts at 1am, when the zombie attack ends. However, it’s pretty dark at 1am and not the best time to go and explore the town.
I normally harvest basic resources (wood, stone, animals) and build or upgrade items while it’s dark. Then go into the nearest town as soon as it gets bright enough to see properly. Three things to keep in mind:
1. Zombies don’t respawn frequently
2. If you build your base outside a town, there aren’t many wandering zombies (during the day)
3. You will never have enough raw materials
Apart from the inevitable midnight attack, there are two secondary ‘timers’ to track.
The first is your condition, signified by the white blocks underneath your yellow stamina bar. These slowly deplete over time, and determine the cap on your health and stamina. You can restore this bar by eating ‘filling’ foods, such as cooked meats. Blueberries don’t do crap.
If you’re like me and hate the idea of using a food item to refill health while you still have a full stamina bar, you’ll need to ascend to CookieTech (Food Researcher) to avoid it.
One thing that’s worth noting: if you use up all your stamina but keep running, your health will start to decrease too. It’s easy to miss until you’re wondering why you lost hp out of combat.
The second timer is your research. This won’t show up on a bar, but it’s very important, because research determines:
- Which recipes you can make
- Which crafting items you can… craft
- How much you can upgrade weapons
- Whether you can finish the game
You get research from killing zombies, breaking open cardboard boxes, completing tutorial buildings, and opening certain other items scattered around the world (like large first aid kits).
Research shows up in your inventory as note pages, and you can spend it at the Research Desk to improve various skills. You lose some research when you die.
Bases & Traps
It’s much better to have two bases than one. Why? Because zombies damage structures, but only as a by-product of trying to attack you.
Your main base will contain your storage chests, crafting tables, and campfire.
Your trap base will contain… the traps.
When midnight hits (or just before), you’ll relocate to your trap base. The zombies will ignore your main base, and your precious loot will remain unharmed. This is especially important because certain zombies can set things on fire, and you don’t want everything you own going up in flames.
There’s something to be said for keeping your two bases relatively close together, since you’ll be running to and fro between them grabbing resources. But it really is a sound decision to separate them, especially early on.
- Put it on flat ground
- Put it near a town
- Give it a fence or a door to protect you from stray zombies.
- Don’t put it too close to your trap base
- Build a flag so you don’t lose it.
That was easy wasn’t it?
You want it near a town because towns are where you find lots of the man-made materials (e.g. plastic, bits of iron) you’ll need for higher tier items. You don’t want to spend an hour of in-game time running from your base to the town and back, do you?
On the other hand, you could build it in a town. You can build anywhere, including (if you can build stairs up to it) a building’s roof. I suspect that the availability of some tier 1 raw materials, like wood and stone, would be a problem in a town. Plus, your ability to build traps would be constrained by scattered cars, lamp posts and railings.
Either way, building a flag will let your base show up on your map and in your navigation bar. This is a good idea.
- Put it on flat ground
- Put it near a town
- Don’t put it too close to your main base
Kidding. Important takeaways so far:
- Zombies will try to reach you by taking the shortest possible route
This means you shouldn’t provide a ‘short-circuit’ for your trap base. Make sure the route you’ve created hasn’t got any holes in it.
- If they cannot reach you, they will start destroying walls and foundations to get to you
Don’t actually block off the zombies completely. You have to give them a way to get to you, but one that takes them through your traps. Also try to make sure a zombie can’t get stuck by falling off a ledge and landing somewhere out of reach. This will result in attacks on your structure.
- Make your base space-efficient.
Finding a really large piece of very flat ground can be annoying. So build upwards! Large traps like the pendulum can be walked on and reloaded from above.
- Make your base time-inefficient (for the zombies)
If you have a trap that can knock zombies off ledges, try and put it on a corner. If you’re using something that knocks zombies back, like the pendulum, you can do the same thing – or even have it knock them into another trap.
- Make your traps reloadable
Traps need to be reloaded. Currently the cost is trivial (literally a branch), but if there’s a horde between you and the trap, how are you going to reload it? Window walls will let you reload items from the other side, while preventing zombies from hitting you (clipping issues aside).
- Upgrade your structures from wood to stone, and from stone to iron.
From night 5 and onwards, zombies that cause fires when they die will start to appear. That means you should try and make your structure stone by then. The whole thing doesn’t have to be stone, just the ground level and the parts where the majority of killing will be done.
Fire zombies also explode, so you’ll need to upgrade to as they become more common. I only just got this far, so I’ve nothing to say past here.
- The shredder is OP.
Put the shredder on a single lane of foundations. It causes knockback, which keeps zombies in the shredder for even longer. And feels a bit like cheating.
- Create a back entrance to your trap base with a door, especially if your base is vertical.
If you get knocked off, you don’t want to have to run your own gauntlet while zombies are in there, because the traps will go off and you’ll get ded. That being said, zombies run quite quickly in a horde, so a couple slipping in behind you is quite possible. You may wish to create a double door ‘airlock’ system, or build a ramp and a jump to give you some space.
Here are some potentially useful discoveries.
- Traps will not trigger on you unless the trap description specifically states it. But you can very easily become collateral damage if a zombie is within range.
- The clawhammer is essential. It makes deconstructing things very fast.
- You nearly always get 100% of your resources back for deconstructing things. So a) don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and b) feel free to get research from the trap tutorials by constructing a trap and deconstructing it, then using the trap machine to make another trap, and so on.
- One pendulum trap is sufficient for night 1 and two will protect you from night 2 (on normal mode)
- Make a place behind your traps where you can stand and shoot at zombies. Arrows can stagger them, keeping them in your traps longer.
- Some zombies can jump up to two stories (and hit you on the third). Build walls with windows so you can block them off while maintaining visibility.
- Build some torches around your base, so you can tell which zombies are coming and from what direction. And to help you find your way if you fall off.
The Killing of the Zombies
Here are things I found helpful.
- Always run with no weapon unequipped. Your weapon weight slowly down your running speed and stamina regeneration.
- Use the bow a lot early on – aim for the head to stagger and do more damage.
- Supplement with the spear at close range. Zombies are very staggerable and telegraph most lunging/super armour attacks.
- The crossbow is amazing, so upgrade it if you find it. It’s great at blowing off heads.
- I’ve found the katana and baseball bat to both be decent melee weapons. The katana can slice off heads, while the bat can smash them. I prefer the katana because it’s faster, making interruption less likely. Also I’m more of a katana than bat kinda guy, if you know what I mean?
- Molotov cocktails don’t do huge damage, but they give affected zombies a DoT that frequently staggers them.
- You can deploy barbed fences pre-combat (like right outside a house full of zombies) to do more damage and make some space.
- You can deploy tactical spike launchers pre-combat if you want to be badass and lug the mats around.
There are a few different looking male and female zombies. Headshots are golden.
She makes a crazy amount of noise – screaming, wailing, anguished cries – the whole thing. Moves reasonably quickly, and can beat the wind-up of your baseball bat with some quick little slaps.
Much more aggressive than the average zombie and can take more of a beating. Like to charge and do powerful combos.
Some zombies are a bit fatter and can take significantly more punishment. I suspect this guy just happens to look a bit like Alex Jones after those ‘supplements’.
This guy has a charge, a slash + combo, and can throw cleavers at you. They’re pretty easy to dodge though, just sidestep. The Butcher has a lot of HP, so expect to go through about two magazines of rifle ammo, assuming mostly headshots. He’s easy to stagger though.
He’s big, he’s bald and he’s a weird off-white colour with lots of muscles. You’re going to want to bait this guy’s attacks, get in a hit, then dodge. High HP like the Butcher. Go watch Frisky Dingo if you don’t get the reference.
You can’t miss these guys when you see them, which is relatively rarely. The have lava-coloured, mottled skin and move around on the ground on all-fours. They can set things on fire and explode when they die, and you don’t want to be close when they do.
If you shoot animals like stags, boar and wolves, they will attack you back. Birds and foxes won’t attack you back, but are harder to kill. Animal bones and skins are used to upgrade weapons and tools, so hoard them.
In general, you should be gunning for boars and stags whenever you see them. Birds too.
There are signs in the game that tell you to watch out for bears.
I didn’t listen. I DIDN’T LISTEN.
Scariest enemy in the game. Travels 3,000 miles an hour and will follow you up cliffs. Basically an unkillable, godless, death machine.