Series Index

Previously: Applied Knowledge

Using the planning mod, we lay out the general idea of our apartment block. We want to be able to convert the bedrooms to single-occupancy luxury apartments when the time comes, but we can still stick 3 cots in the 6-wide rooms for now. In the short term we will probably have around 14 to 16 dupes in this block, but in the long term it will be limited to 12.

One other big change from the last map is we’re going to be managing debris as we go, rather than leaving big messes to clean up later. This is why we have the ladders spaced 3 tiles apart instead of 4, so we can deconstruct the ones above when we finish the layer below. All of the debris will drop to the bottom layer where it can be easily swept up as it’s right next to our main storage. We also highlight some tiles (in red) to preserve for later pip-planting.

There are at minimum 5 techs we need to grab to make this work:

  • Ventilation (for air pumps/pipes)
  • Portable Gases (for oxygen masks)
  • Pressure Management (for passive filtration, so we don’t damage the oxygen mask docks; and for airlock doors, so we can keep the oxygen inside our apartment block)
  • Plumbing (so we can pump water)
  • Air Systems (for the electrolyzer)

Yes, we’re going straight for electrolyzers instead of rust deoxidizers. What about the limited water supply? Turns out there’s a cool salt slush geyser right under our main water tank. We start digging it out and building a tank to hold it.

We take the tank about as deep as we can get without running into the nearest volcano.

Analysis of the geyser reveals it will output about 1.275kg/s of brine in the long term, which would turn into just under 900g/s of clean water once desalinated (or boiled and chilled). This will sustain about 7 dupes, so it’s not a permanent solution, but it will help us stretch our algae supplies and also give us extra salt for the rust deoxidizers later on. Unfortunately, just as we finish analyzing it, the geyser goes dormant.

For now, we plan to run electrolyzers off our starting water supply as long as possible. We’ll also need to prime our bathroom loop with some clean water but this doesn’t take much before it’s self-sustaining.

Work progresses on digging out the apartments, and we put in the great hall and enough bedrooms to move everyone over. The bathrooms will come later.

We are down to our last 3 tons of algae which will not last a long time with 2 oxygen diffusers running. The last algae visible on the map is only accessible by digging into a chlorine biome.

We don’t have the tech yet, or the dupes to get the tech, but we can build the shell of our SPOM while we wait, because we’re going to need that oxygen as soon as we can get it.

Luckily, it doesn’t take long for a good-enough dupe to come through the printer and we get electrolyzers and ventilation tech. For now we’re just running the electrolyzers open since we don’t have doors yet, but it’ll keep everyone breathing.

We can even make use of the freezing brine to cool the output, which results in these unfortunately long pipes. Since we also haven’t yet researched oxygen masks, we run the pipes up to oxygenate everything.

Surprisingly, even without all the doors or tiles in place, the basic shape keeps the hydrogen and oxygen separate.

We also get two more dupes that let us research oxygen masks and doors/airflow tiles, so it doesn’t take a long time to get everything finished. On cycle 98, we’re starting to put in the plans for the oxygen mask docks.

Hydrogen is, for now, being pumped into storage until we can get generators. Without atmo sensors I have to manually clip the wire so it doesn’t pump oxygen into the storage room.

This is also too much power for one wire, and we don’t have any better wires yet, so we start building out a second circuit.

Oxygen starts flowing through the pipes just in time, as our algae has run out.

We also grab one more dupe, #12, to research coal generators, so we can keep the whole thing running. We don’t have hatch ranches up yet so we have a limited supply of coal, but it should sustain us until we can get to hydrogen generators. Once we have coal generators we reconfigure the wires into three circuits, so none of the wires will get damaged.

And while the plan was to wait until we had indoor plumbing to build the bathroom in the apartment block, some dupes get stuck inside waiting for the masks to charge up, so we throw in a couple temporary outhouses.

At one point I didn’t pay close enough attention to the hydrogen pump, and some oxygen gets sucked into the storage, blocking the output. This takes a while to fix and in the meantime hydrogen backs up and starts getting into the oxygen masks, causing damage. We do have gas valves, however, so a passive filter circuit on the lines going to the oxygen masks will solve this problem temporarily.

At cycle 110 and 12 dupes, we’re at least getting somewhere and not likely to fall over soon, but we still have several challenges to overcome:

  • Get atmo sensors and automation (2 techs) so we can run the SPOM hands-off.
  • Get hydrogen generators, smart batteries, and conductive wire (3 techs in total, plus automation) so we can make the SP part of the SPOM, before we run out of coal.
  • Get desalinators (1 tech) so we can start feeding the SPOM with filtered brine.

That puts us at 18 techs/dupes, which is a bit more than I wanted for the early game, but it seems to be about the bare minimum we can get away with. If we want to put them in our existing apartment block we’ll need to make room for more oxygen mask docks and another exit for them. There’s also some nice-to-haves that we’re going to be missing:

  • Deodorizers & carbon skimmers (1 tech)
  • Insulated tiles (1 tech)
  • Plumbed bathrooms and water sieve to make a closed loop (3 techs)
  • Agriculture and ranching (2 techs)

Those would bring our total to 25, which I think would still be somewhat reasonable by about cycle 250. We will have sustainable food through ranching by then, which will also give us sustainable coal power. I’m not going for mega-ranches like last time, just going to build enough to sustain around 20 dupes, with farming taking up the rest of the slack. We’ll want a second apartment block for them, so that’s high up on the priority list, along with a second SPOM just to ensure the oxygen mask docks can stay filled.

The main things we’ll be missing at that point are:

  • Any kind of sustainable cooling solution (the freezing brine will help some, but it probably won’t be enough on its own).
  • This also means no infinite food storage yet, although with one more tech we could probably run a thermo regulator hydrogen cooling loop (without a steam turbine).
  • Refinement, rock crusher, or steel (these will require at least 3 more techs).
  • Atmo suits (but we don’t have reed fiber yet anyway).
  • Shipping/advanced automation. This is going to hurt the ranching a bit, but with 25-26 dupes I think we can have enough labor for it.
  • Anything to do with rocketry. Whatever we find here and on the other side of the teleporter is what we’ll have to work with.

So these are the plans, and we’ll see how closely we can stick to them. You can see how easily the number of dupes can creep up on you with a challenge like this, as almost every early-game problem requires multiple techs to solve and you just can’t get away without them. You have to pick a set of techs to work with, and hopefully they work together in ways that lets you get by. Because even if you want to laser focus on one solution for the endgame, you have to get there first.

I’ll wrap this post up with a screenshot from the last run, where I sent everyone to take care of some escaped hatches.


Programming note: This series (and pretty much all posting) is on hiatus until I get some free time again.

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