Project Zomboid is a freeform sandbox RPG that challenges players to survive as long as they can during a zombie apocalypse. Death is always a certainty -- the challenge of the game comes from surviving as long as possible.

Developer The Indie Stone decided early in the game's life that it would follow the Minecraft business model that has worked so well for Notch and his team at Mojang. That is, players are able to prepurchase and play the game in its current state now, with major updates being regularly provided to those who have supported the game's development financially.

The first of these updates has now hit the game, providing players with a greater degree of character customization; a new sandbox mode; new items and, notably, full modding support.

"We still have a long way to go," said developer Chris 'Lemmy' Simpson of The Indie Stone. "We're overjoyed that such a strong community has grown around us, and are coming with us on what we hope will be quite an amazing ride."

"It's brilliant to see the fans of games like Project Zomboid fund development,"said Scott Reismanis of digital distributor Desura, who put a new "alpha-funding" system in place in response to demand from developers and the community. "We knew there had to be a way for gamers to pay for early access to projects they want to see developed, and we were delighted to help out."

You can download a pre-alpha demo for free from the game's Desura page now, or preorder the game by purchasing alpha access from the same place. Find out more on the official website.

This article originally appeared on as Indie Zombie Survival Sandbox Project Zomboid Gets First Update