Klei Entertainment has only just released Oxygen Not Included out of Early Access, challenging us to create a thriving colony of duplicants in an alien world. There's a lot to remember and bear in mind here, but since we've been through it all, we've assembled some tips to help you get on your feet in the early stages of your colony. After all, that lays the foundation for your success in the later stages too.
1) Don't be afraid to look for help in the community
Since it's been in Early Access for a while now, Oxygen Not Included has a thriving community, with plenty of videos and forums available to help you out. Don't be afraid to look up the answer if you're confused about something, because even with the many tutorial boxes on the top left of the screen, some things may remain unclear, and you'll need all the help you can get to make your colony a good one.
2) You won't succeed on your first try...
... or maybe even your tenth time for that matter. But the important thing to remember is that you're learning. You can take knowledge from previous runs and use it to improvise, adapt, and overcome, especially when it comes to the schoolboy errors like flooding your colony with water after mining into a lake... not that we've done that.
3) Balance the needs
You have a lot of parameters to juggle in Klei's game, and while some of them might be more vital for survival - like oxygen, for example - this shouldn't come at the expense of something else. Making sure everything is provided for your duplicants is a challenge in and of itself, and by keeping a close eye on things like temperature, oxygen, and germs, you can see what needs addressing.
4) Research is your friend!
At the start of the game you have several technologies at your disposal to help with survival, but that's not going to be enough to thrive. Make sure you build a research station as soon as possible, as this unlocks more advanced technology which in turn helps you expand and deal with basic needs in a more efficient way. After all, you need to expand your colony, and that can only happen with advanced tools to deal with new challenges like gas and inhospitable temperatures.
5) Duplicants are people too
Duplicants might seem like perpetually-cheery little people at the start of your colony, but they're humans with real needs and emotions, meaning they are easily affected by stress, health issues, and happiness. If your place looks ugly, the work hours are long, and there are no beds, this will have a knock-on effect to your colony's efficiency as they become disgruntled, so take care of them and make sure to adjust schedules to fit rest time in.
6) Oxygen rises
This sounds like a small thing, but it's worth noting that oxygen rises in this game. Why is this important? If you feel like excavating a big cave to make for a tall room, this means unbreathable gas will fall to the floor and you'll need more oxygen technology to make it breathable, while a smaller room will keep all the oxygen in there for happy breathing. It's a small thing but makes a ton of difference.
7) Specialise your duplicants
Each duplicant has advantages and disadvantages, i.e. a positive trait coming at a cost, and you should bear these in mind as you upgrade them. As the game goes by you'll get skill points, and a heart symbol indicates what they prefer doing, so you can level them up appropriately. With these skills, you can then do more and use more advanced technology, before then using the priority menu to assign them to different areas.
8) Choose what you get from the printer wisely
In every third cycle (day) you'll get a reward from the printer, which is the portal you started with. This can provide food supplies to help get you through, but honestly, we'd recommend extra duplicants. More hands will help grow your colony, and with regards to the point above, you can also recruit duplicants with different specialties to diversify your portfolio. Choose wisely though, because it can be a long wait for the next drop.
9) Don't be afraid to micromanage
Your duplicants pretty much do what they want without your interference, going about their routine and picking up/abandoning tasks as they see fit, but you can step in to do something about it. Clicking on an item or task will let you change where it sits in the priority list, and you can even whack it on yellow if you need it done immediately. Red alert is for the really bad situations, but you can tweak what each duplicant does in the priority screen in the top right too.
10) Plan ahead
This is perhaps the most important tip, as everything you do in the early hours affects what you'll need to do later on. For example, oxylite will emit oxygen for a while but will degrade over time, leaving you stuck if you haven't got a lot of oxygen technology. Planning efficiently is half the battle with this game, and you'll thank yourself in later stages for having a solid layout and plan of action.
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