We are still mostly in a holding pattern until we get some good dupes to unlock ranching tech and a few more things we’ll need to go with it. In the meantime we’re working on stabilizing the base further so we can safely take on additional dupes.
First off, we don’t have insulated pipes or insulated tiles, so the oxygen filter setup is cooking our mushrooms.
We’ll remove the farm tiles that are in this area, and replace with a double layer of igneous rock tiles, which should help contain the heat a bit better. Some will still leak out through the pipes, but we should be able to manage well enough to keep our mushrooms growing.
We can’t set up a ranch yet, but we can move the eggs we have into the ranch area, which will save us some wrangling later.
Three printing pods later, we finally get a dupe we want to take. Only having one advanced miner was really slowing down exploration.
And with that we can finally research ranching.
I’m planning on using this ranch design which doesn’t require automation to build at first, but it does need mechanized airlocks:
Otherwise we have nothing to build the ranch buildings on, and if we build them on normal tiles and then replace them, all the hatches will fall out. Luckily we get a good dupe on our next printing pod and get that research started, which also gives us deodorizers and carbon skimmers as a bonus.
So this will let us build the ranches, but there will be no automation and we’ll have to manually move eggs around to keep them from being overcrowded. Not ideal. The first level of automation requires critter sensors and basic automation, which will cost us four techs (and require four dupes).
But there are some upsides to this. First off, automation is good in general; we don’t have a lot of the sensors we need (or other components of automated systems, like smart batteries) but at least we can start wiring things up. Secondly, this unlocks some other useful things along the way: flower pots so we can decorate the place (and make our mess hall into a great hall); fridges to keep our pickled meal fresh for longer; park signs so we can finally make use of that pip and get more morale bonus; and lighting so we can make our work areas a bit more productive.
One really nice thing about this map is that we do not need to research metal refining or even the rock crusher to use automation. The oil biome we cleaned out gave us a ton of lead, and there’s also refined iron that can be mined out in various places around the map. We obviously want to get refining eventually for steel, but for now we can get by without it.
Not long after, we get another dupe and can start on this research plan.
We start some renovations around the kitchen and great hall: Adding a second grill (we now have two cooks); converting the tiles in the food storage pit to igneous rock for better insulation; and moving mess tables around to make room for the great hall layout. At some point I also moved a few wheezeworts into the farming areas to better control temperature.
With this many dupes it doesn’t even take a full cycle to renovate the great hall.
The wheezeworts are also mutating some of our mealwood seeds. We can’t do much with this yet as it requires 3 additional techs for the botanical analyzer, as well as radbolt research which we’re not even close to unlocking.
Between the wheezeworts, removing the hot debris, moving the hot oil, and breaking into the cold biome, we’ve turned the ranching area into a very livable place. We also start throwing in deodorizers all over the place to take care of the polluted oxygen that’s been accumulating for a while.
We also wrangle up all the hatches around the map and end up with one and a half stables worth of critters.
And we grab another miner and automation tech.
One of our original dupes finally gets the skills to unlock mechatronics engineering. We don’t have any of the tech for that yet, but it’s very close to the tree for smelting, which we want soon, so it won’t be too much of an additional burden to at least get auto-sweepers for the kitchen and farms.
Taking a look around the tech tree in general, here’s the things we need to get to prepare for the middlegame:
- Two more farming techs as already discussed for automating the ranches.
- Three power techs: Sound Amplifiers (smart batteries), Advanced Power Regulation (hydrogen generator, power transformer), and Low-Resistance Conductors (conductive wire and heavi-watt conductive wire, plus large transformers). This also leaves us one tech away from steam turbines once we get materials research going.
- Five refinement/automation techs, as in the above image.
- Five plumbing techs: Sanitation (bathrooms), Filtration, Distillation (water sieve), Improved Plumbing (water tanks, insulated pipe, hydro sensor), and Liquid Tuning (radiant pipes, aquatuners).
- Two gas techs: Temperature Modulation (insulated tiles) and HVAC (gas tanks, temperature sensors, radiant gas pipes).
- Four other techs: 3 to get atmo suits, and one for more automation sensors.
That’s 21 more techs, which would bring us to 35 dupes in total. Running purely on rust that would require 7 rust deoxidizers running, which will burn through our rust supplies very quickly. We need to find water sources fast, and get a classic SPOM running. There’s a good amount of ice we could dig out and melt (also temporarily solving our temperature problems) so the main thing is looking at the tech we need. Two of the three power techs are an absolute must-have, the third a bonus to let us start on our main power grid; we will also need insulated tiles. Radiant pipes (three techs at minimum) are almost certainly needed, since we don’t have gold or steel, so we’re building the whole thing with materials that overheat at 75C. And we’ll need atmo sensors which are…somewhere in the tree. And add on one more for radiant gas pipes.
That’s 8 techs just to get the thing built, and a few more to make it work well. We also need 2 more to finish automating the ranches. Can we survive with 24 dupes until we get all the research and building done? Stay tuned to find out.
While exploring we’ve also uncovered two of the story trait buildings – the ancient fossil and critter flux-o-matic.
We have plenty of fossil around from the irregular oil biomes so we’re in no hurry to get the fossil excavation done. But if we can activate the critter flux-o-matic we could transform our hatches into stone hatches without having sedimentary rock! The question is if we have five critter species we can use to activate it.
- Dreckos can be had with some digging
- There’s that one pip we have around
- Sweetles are available in the desert biomes
- And uh, well…
There are shove voles in the space biome but I don’t want to breach that area until we have atmo suits and can seal them off from the main base. There’s also a few slicksters around but they all seem to be in rooms with zombie spores so I don’t want any part of that right now. That leaves shine bugs as our last option. We can move an egg into the room and wait for it to hatch.
At 97 cycles, we have 14 dupes, 14 techs, and some plans.
So there’s three main plans for the next couple dozen cycles:
- Finish the first stage of automating stables, which will require 2 more dupes.
- Get to the critter flux-o-matic, get it activated, and start transforming hatches to stone hatches.
- Get 8 more dupes and techs for a SPOM. Continue exploring and looking for water sources. Hope we can survive with 24 dupes until the SPOM comes online.