Project Zomboid has been in Steam Early Access since 2022 and has been constantly updated ever since. This article is a guide for gamers looking to either quickly join their friends online or host their server without worrying about technical details. Additionally, players will find out how their servers can be modified to meet their expectations. This will largely focus on how Steam can be used to streamline the process.
How to play with friends in Project Zomboid
Joining a session is quite simple. If you know a friend who is currently hosting or has found a server, just find them in your friends list while they appear online, and they should show options for Project Zomboid. What you are looking for is the ability to join them in their session. Click on it and you will be on your way. Alternatively, you can search for their server in the “Join” menu, select “Internet” at the top and not “Favorites” and enter their server name in the “Name Filter” box at the bottom left, highlight their server and click on join, after which you will simply have to create your character according to your specifications and expose it in the game world. Make sure to add the server as a favorite if you want to use it in the future too!
How to host
Creating a server in Project Zomboid is quite simple. From the main menu, you just need to click on "Host" and decide on the details of their server name and memory settings, but don't worry too much about those details just yet. On the right there is an option called “Manage Settings” and further on you will see options to create new settings or edit settings if they want to change them. After naming the settings, you'll have access to a wide range of options to optimize the Project Zomboid multiplayer experience for you and your friends. This includes how your server appears in the in-game search function as well as Steam, which you can customize by name as well as whether it is public and therefore will show up for others to find it, whether it is a friend or a stranger.
You can also customize certain features such as presets to change the game world to anything from an apocalypse to a more peaceful construction and survival simulation. You can even customize loot rarity, which can help make the survival experience easier or harder depending on how easily bandages, food, and ammo can be found. The server can also be modified to accommodate up to 126 players. Once you have chosen your settings, save them and click on the “Host game” menu again and click on “Start” in the bottom left. You can also choose whether you, as the host, are in god or invisible mode.
Adding players is much easier after all of this via Steam, as you can simply open the pause menu, click 'Invite Friends', and either click the box that says 'Decline' which toggles to 'Allow' which allows them to join you, or better yet, select the friend you want to invite by their name as it appears, then click "Invite" at the bottom. They will receive a simple invitation via Steam which they can click on to participate. Project Zomboid even recommends invited players not to launch the game before receiving the invitation, and after accepting there will be a message that the game is open with special settings, they just need to click "OK" and they be in your game.
It's a dangerous world out there
Once everyone is on, you'll quickly realize you haven't spawned in the same spot every time. Its good! Even so, part of the charm of this game is getting by while navigating the game map and finding a safe place to meet up and form your party of survivors. Once you do, you'll find that you'll have to learn a lot to adapt to and navigate the infected landscapes of Kentucky.
Project Zomboid Build 41 was released on December 20, 2022, and multiplayer was a hit with gamers and streamers. The game's developers, The Indie Stone, reminded players that despite this improvement, they are still working to improve the experience in the future. The multiplayer experience can be a little frustrating to set up, and navigating the menus when you want to host your own server can be confusing, but we're happy to help with whatever information we can along the way.