My primary strategy for the early game is going to be taking as few techs as possible, to keep the population low and stretch our starting resources as far as we can. As noted in the introduction, I didn’t bring a researcher since we will not be needing to do a lot of fast research. I plan on taking a researcher within the first 10 or so dupes to come out of the pod, to support advanced research, but that is a bit down the line.
Our starting location is a bit constrained by water, so we get the basics set up one floor above the pod. We are likely going to be tearing out almost all of the starter base before we get to a dozen dupes, so this just needs to last us that long.
Next is an oxygen generator and mini power setup to run it. The single tile gap up to the second floor is not letting a lot of oxygen through, so we will need to do something about that. Airflow tiles are a luxury we cannot afford right now!
I’ve replaced the oxylite tile under the bed with sandstone, and manually moved the loose oxylite up to the end of the bathroom. It won’t offgas very quickly but we are going to be doing most of our work on the lower floors for now.
The water to the left is blocking exploration, so I set up some pitcher pumps and bottle emptiers to start manually moving some water down.
While at the same time, start digging out more room for that water to go. I haven’t explored enough yet to determine where I want the main water tank to be, but this will do for now, since we can get it away from where we want our main ladders.
While bottles get moved, I queue up some builds for the research station. We can take up to 3 techs without having to print any extra dupes.
This oxylite is going to be a problem if it disappears while the water is still there. I temporarily put a tile in to block the water from escaping.
The research station is now finished and we need to decide what our three techs are going to be. We won’t be able to get everything we need for a Great Hall for a while, but even a regular Mess Hall is +3 morale, easily the most you can get at this early point in the tech tree. So we queue up the first two farming techs, which will also get us planter boxes, farm tiles, and the grill.
We can wait to decide what we want our third tech to be; any major oxygen production (e.g. a SPOM) will require a lot of techs so those aren’t something we want to work on just yet. But first, a pod activation.
Flatulent and Noodle Arms are things I absolutely do not want, especially this early. Digging and supplying is a good combo, since it will take less of a morale hit to skill them up for exo-suits, but we don’t need a low-skilled digger right now. The suit will improve decor around one dupe and anyone else they happen to be near, so we take that for now. Of course we’re going to need to do some cleaning up if we want it to make a real difference.
With planter boxes researched, it’s time to set up a farming area. We’re mostly going to be living off muckroot for a while, but I want to start growing mealwood to propagate seeds. I’m not sure what the long-term food plan is yet, but we can start multiplying mealwood seeds so we have a large supply that we can use. It’s going to take at least 5 plants per dupe to keep them fed (more likely around 6 due to harvest downtime) so if we want a dozen dupes we’re going to need 5 or 6 dozen seeds. Right now we have two.
This is 17 plants which should be enough for our three dupes (on top of any muckroot we find) but I mostly stopped where I did because of the granite preventing further digging in that direction for now. We haven’t received any skill points yet, so that will have to wait. This turned out to not be a great place to grow food, and you will see why shortly.
For our third tech I finally decide to go with Plumbing, because it is a prerequisite for several items we want to get before too long: electrolyzers, sinks and toilets, mesh tiles, and the water sieve, as well as liquid tanks and aquatuners farther down the tree. More importantly, we can free up some dupe labor by building a water pump to move the water blockade to the left of our base.
As far as why we need to move the farming area, it turns out it’s right next to one of the irregular oil biomes, which is pretty hot. This is not going to be suitable for growing mealwood (or just about anything) and we don’t have insulated tiles so we’ll need to find somewhere farther away from this to do our main farming.
Taking a wider view it seems like directly above our current setup will be close to ideal, for now, until the heat gradually works its way in and roasts the base. The cold biome bottom right is a chlorine/rust biome, and has no ice, so we won’t be able to cool things by moving ice around. It will help keep our water cool for a while, though.
Another printing pod activation with nothing that really interests me. Decorating is nice to have on a researcher because of the fossil story trait but we don’t need to worry about that yet. Supplying and building is a good combination, but again not what we need right now. And there’s not really any single fourth tech that will massively improve our situation, so I take the joya seeds.
Around this time our dupes start getting their first skill points, so it’s hard digging for the miner to get through granite, improved construction for our builder just for the +2 to construction, and improved farming for our farmer/operator to increase the seed chance from our mealwood.
This would also be a good time to assign some first priorities, so our farmer is harvesting most of the mealwood and everyone else is focused on their duties. I later bump up Operating on Turner as well, because the water pump needs powering and we don’t have any other power sources researched. I also bump up life support and toggling on everyone as I usually do – this ensures we can open/close doors and turn machines on/off quickly and makes sure the oxygen generator stays topped off.
With everything else somewhat taken care of, I begin planning the next stages of the base. Starting with the farming floor above our current bathroom/bedroom level, and an expansion upward to capture some naturally growing plants. The screen door in the top right will keep the shine bugs in the same room as the bristle blossoms, which will be nice to have once we get a cook.
The central floor layout is 36 tiles wide, 18 either side of the center of the printing pod, with a 3-wide ladder shaft either side, and ancillary rooms can go outside of those. This general plan will get us a lot of rooms in relatively temperate areas of the map.
At the very top is a slime biome that is too cold for the slimelung to have survived, so this can be completely dug out with only polluted oxygen emissions to worry about – but without slimelung, there’s not really any big problem with polluted oxygen. The only downside is we won’t be getting deodorizers for quite a while, so any polluted oxygen will have to be breathed or just stick around for a while.
Another pod, another 3 nopes. The brine comes out cold and we’re going to use that to cool off where we dug into the oil biome a little bit.
The other dropoff pit will be for polluted water, which we have no way to deal with right now. But, our sinks are generating quite a bit so we need to put it somewhere. Over on the side of the map means the polluted oxygen should stay relatively contained. We have no way to build airlocks yet, and probably won’t for a while, but constraining it to two tiles that could possibly emit polluted oxygen is a lot better than having bottles laying all around the place.
I’ve also moved the outhouses into a place that we can turn into plumbed bathrooms later, and since we’ve dug out some granite by now, made the floors nice. I really need to get around to sweeping up though. And so this is the base after a dozen cycles.
We could grab 3 dupes in quick succession to be able to get plumbed toilets and water sieves, which will also start increasing our available water supply, with nothing else consuming any right now. We’ll need to find some way to get the food poisoning out of the water, but we have enough chlorine/rust biomes around that we can probably set up some kind of room to do this (but we will also need airlocks and water tanks, which will need at least three more dupes – 9 total). With our current food and oxygen production, 9 dupes is not sustainable in the slightest.
There’s also not a ton of algae around; with 3 dupes our currently mined supplies will last about 20 cycles and we can dig out about another 20-30 cycles worth. So I think the immediate future plan is going to be:
- Set up the expanded farming area. Get as many mealwood plants going as possible. Take a second farmer if one comes up in the pod. We should have enough dirt to run a lot of dupes on mealwood for a long time.
- Continue exploring up and down on the map. Finding an ice biome would be nice to help mitigate some of the hot zones, and finding other potential food sources would also be great. We have about 5 hatches running around, so maybe take a rancher if one comes up in the pod? Ranching will only require one more tech to unlock, so that tech pays for itself if we use a rancher dupe to unlock it. We won’t be able to get incubators, but just having groomed hatches laying extra eggs will be good for expanding food potential. Finding fish would also be nice.
- This also means we should take a cook as soon as one comes up. And since we’re going to need a kitchen, we should also get a mess hall-to-later-become-a-great hall built.
This is at least 3 dupes we can take if they become available, and in the near term I can see us needing at least 7 more techs:
- Ranching (for food)
- Air Systems (Electrolyzer)
- Sanitation (Plumbed toilets/sinks)
- Filtration, to unlock…
- Improved Plumbing (for water tanks)
- Ventilation, to unlock…
- Pressure Management, for airlocks and airflow tiles.
Airlocks and water tanks let us create a chlorine room to store polluted water with food poisoning that comes out of the bathrooms. We wouldn’t have sieves to turn it back into clean water unless we took another tech (Distillation). Alternatively we could skip #5, 6, and 7, and get Filtration into Distillation (for 5 techs total), and send the filtered but contaminated bathroom overflow into an open plan electrolyzer. We’ve got enough space to let the hydrogen float up to the top of the map for now. I will need to do the math on how much oxygen you can get out of 8 dupes’ worth of bathroom overflow, but it’s probably not enough to stretch our algae supplies very much.
And I am now seeing an error in the above plan: we also need to spend 2 techs to unlock advanced research. So let’s revise this plan.
- Air Systems (for rust deoxidizer)
- Pressure Management
This lets us set up a rust room with air filter (that we should probably replace with a powerless mechanical filter before too long) with 8 dupes. So we also need to pick out 5 dupes to take. I think the order of preference for those would be:
- Researcher (only need one)
The rust room will let us build up with just these 8 dupes for a while, while we get the ranches going and continue to explore and expand. There are a lot of ways we could go after that, which will depend a lot on what we find while exploring. So: