Early game guide with notes regarding most common pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Few initial points of interest to be done ASAP at this stage of the game:
- Create a research laboratory to be able to start being independent
- Create construction part construction chain
- Make sure all vehicles are fueled
- Make sure all vehicles and buildings are maintained
- And make sure people don’t starve to death.
While we do start with 2 housing districts and a food market, that distributes food to people, as well as some construction materials and diesel fuel, all of those will run out. We also start with a high amount of maintenance supplies in the starting vehicles but it will not last forever either. All of those issues cannot be fixed with starting technology, so let us get to the construction of laboratories.
Personally, I start with 2 labs, as each laboratory uses up 0.5 unity, and the food supply gives 1.0 unity. At this point, it will reduce the unity generation and our ability to boost construction with it, though it is not a focus at this moment.
You will quickly notice that every building requires construction material to make it though we will need construction I research [shown in orange due to laboratories not being operational yet]:
And here we already can see a new recipe on the right side of the screen – construction material recipe.
Luckily – we can gather wood without any tech and structures, just by selecting a vehicle and assigning, we do NOT have an iron smelting facility though.
One of the most common methods of production chain analysis is the recursive method. We take out the end product and check potential production chains; If we encounter raw material we’re done at this point, and when we find a new material we don’t know yet – we do the same analysis again.
The good news is that iron can be acquired currently in metal caster:
The icon on the left represents molten iron, it cannot be transported by trucks so a molten canal will be needed; we also need to find the correct recipe for that in Blast Furnace:
The leftmost icon is scrap [select the ruined structure in the middle of the original screen and select ‘start recycling’. The second is coal. Coal can be mined, but we have no ability to do so yet. We need an alternate method – charcoal in coal maker:
Well – wood and we’re done.
The second issue you may see is that the sides of the equations are not balanced per 60 seconds. We will make 24 molten iron per 60 seconds with 1 device each but will be able to use only 12 of them to make iron ingots. This means we will need 2 metal casters per blast furnace.
We can also see that we need 9 coal per 60-second cycle, while a single coal maker makes 6 of them. We will use 2 coal makers, for now, this will give us small overproduction of 3 coal to be used elsewhere. We could double the blast furnace+caster and add 3rd coal maker, but we will refrain from doing it for now. We want to limit our use of wood – we need it for construction materials and at the same time – it is limited availability.
The final element I forgot to mention was the ‘exhaust’ gas – second of two products from both coal maker and blast furnace. Luckily it can be removed extremely quickly and without any hassle by connecting the exhaust vent to both the coal maker and furnace via pipe.
For now, the chain will look like this:
These 2 issues mean we will want to get coal as soon as possible, and the scrap metal will run out soon as well – we need to get iron smelted from iron ore quickly.
This is where Vehicles and Mining research comes in.
Entire mining procedure starts with this research:
You can see it also unlocks the recipe for iron smelting from ore. Notably – a new byproduct is created – slag. Luckily it is treated as any other dump material from mining [such as stone and dirt], so we don’t need to worry about that for time being.
While we will focus primarily on coal and iron ore, expansion to the copper is basically using the same process, so just a few notes.
You can use the ‘layers’ menu on the bottom left part of the screen to see resources; For example, this is the base deposit of iron ore:
You will probably notice few things:
- Cylinders representing resources are divided into horizontal layers; each layer represents 1 level of height of resource.
- Some cylinders have a smaller gray cylinder on top of it – it represents the amount of dirt/stone above the resource. Again – single layer – single height level of dirt above the resource.
The good news is that starter deposits are above ground; The bad news is that we will need to get through some soil to get to more materials, especially when it comes to coal.
Slag that is formed from smelting of ore is also a problem in the short run, as undisposed will halt the smelting of ores.
Both issues are easy to solve – just make a dumping area.
Here however is a mistake that some people will make, probably based on real-life dumping sites for mining waste.
Unlike near major mines in real life – here we are on an island. More than that – we are on an island with 3 levels of natural ground [at least]. Additionally, it should be noted that few of the sources are above ground. Let us prepare for the time that we will need to take care of that.
We will make some ramps.
This ramp will give us easy access to the second level of the island with more trees and some iron deposits. The second [shown above the first one, and below for reference] does the same thing.
What to do though if those ramps are complete? At that point, we can exploit the fact we are on an island and use the mining and smelting waste to expand our island area. If we designate ‘level’ near the island’s coast we can expand the natural landmass with the artificially moved ground. This grants us more building area and straightens up the edge of the island. It can be useful for cargo ports as well.
A note however regarding landfills:
This game simulates [while to a limited degree – simulates nonetheless] the difference in how different materials form hills and ramps. This means that a ramp from slag or stone will make the ramp less wide [on the ground] than e.g. sand or dirt.
This in turn means that the dirt can fall and some mining procedures will be impossible due to close proximity to ramps. This is why I tend to make a mining ramp [that does increase the workload to go per level] to allow for deep digging:
There is one more trick, however – all built items are treated as having a foundation reinforced with concrete, allowing for extremely steep walls without falling elements onto mining area, and little to no chance of burying stuff under mining waste.
This means that a simple molten channel can be used as an artificial wall designation. For example:
Remember to pause the construction until you can afford those construction parts – i.e. once the main maintenance, diesel, and food are supplied. This allows us to dig deep without worrying about reducing buildable areas outside of the mining zone.
My personal method is to move it to the middle of a square adjacent to the ones that are to be mined. [3rd and 4th melted duct segment, as each square is 6×6 melted segments]
Additionally – you can move the mining area from the mining tower by selecting it and selecting the area to be mined; I tend to place the towers at the entrances of the mining area that is ‘walled off’ by molten channels.
And finally – the coal source is the source that cannot be mined by a single mining tower completely; There will be areas where the mining tower area will be too small to take care of parts of the mining designation so either creation of a second mining tower or manual reassignment will be needed.
All in all – it will look somehow like this:
Now – you need to choose which is more important – diesel, maintenance, or food.
When you click on your truck and check history – you will see that maintenance should last you for about 40 months if not more [as shown below], food is calculated for you – around 30 months, and diesel is needed for the construction of more vehicles including – excavators. We’ll go with: Food -> Diesel -> Maintenance order; though feel free to play with this order as you see fit.
Food and Farms
Now we have food on our agenda.
The good news is that initially only single tech is needed for basic farming; Another good news is that farming I relatively easy and non-issue in the long run, due to their mostly passive nature in production chains. The bad news is that the first tier of farms is unreliable – they depend on natural rainfall to work, so we will get back to them when we get irrigated farms tech.
- Potatoes produce on average 6 food units per month of farming at 100% fertility BUT
- They deplete soil fertility.
- We can replenish it by letting the farm lay dormant for a cycle [basically grass farming].
This leads to average production of 3 food units per month assuming they have enough water. This is why I tend to start with 3 farms; both to offset the water delays, as well as increase my population capacity based on food.
We can further improve that process with irrigated farms that can accept fertilizer, stabilize water supply, and playing with specific crops, but this will work for now. Food basics set up off we go to Diesel.
First off – to make diesel we need power tech. Once that is done we will be able to invite more people to our island by spending 1 unity per month [worth 2 labs]. We will take care of unity underproduction shortly with water on a settlement after we take care of fuel and maintenance. For now, we can micromanage unity for a bit.
Once power tech is done – we’re building the beacon and fuel generator. We will need the generator for crude oil wells as well.
Once that is done and diesel is the research we basically do the same production chain analysis as we did with iron ore.
You will quickly notice that we need 4 oil wells to fill 1 diesel factory; the Diesel factory also needs coal [we can take care of that with mining now]. So not a problem to find. One tip I would like to share is to output the fuel into some liquid tank, so that trucks do not need to fuel small amounts from internal storage, and take partial packs to refuel the generator. Technically you can also connect the piping system to both shipyard [future] and diesel generator, it’s for you to decide.
Keynote – we have taken care of gases via vents, but here – we also need to get rid of wastewater. Just connect it to the refinery with a piping system. Note however that smokestack has no practical limit to how much gas it can take. The liquid drain pipe can only accept 1 waste per tick. For now – it’s not an issue – it’s the same amount that pipes can transport, but later on, with better pipes – you will need multiple dumps to take care of a single pipe full of waste.
You will want to get more crude oil from the world map as well, or at least prepare for such possibility – crude oil on your island will run out, and it will run out suspiciously quickly.
Done? Off we go to maintenance.
Maintenance is quite trivial; Just plop on the maintenance depot. Yup, that’s it. With one detail: You will notice it needs copper. We have a copper mine so it should be no issue? Not exactly. First, we need copper smelting technology.
At this point, you might notice [or not, as I failed to] that there are 2 types of copper ingots. Pure copper, that you’ve been using up to now, especially in construction, and impure copper.
The issue is – the impure copper is the one we have available at this point in time from smelting. So – we get to copper deposit ASAP, create a copy of the iron ore chain, this time with copper, and select different maintenance supply recipe:
Make sure it’s relatively close to copper and iron plate source. This will be useful for purposes of reduction of diesel use but will be needed to automate delivery [high priority in my opinion] of both. Adding conveyors should remove main problems with maintenance as long as materials are flowing to smelters.
Settlement Water and Notes
Our vehicles and buildings should not break down too often now, so let us connect water to the settlement. It seems that 1 water tower or 1 food market can take care of 3 T1 housing blocks, so we’ll make 2 water towers and 1 more food market. Connecting conveyors to the food market from new food storage will be our next priority.
Our only source of water, for now, is rainwater, so off we go:
Piping is quite trivial as we only need to connect it to water tanks, though keep in mind that water tanks that supply the water to the settlement need both power and to remove the wastewater. With our current power use, second diesel can be considered, though I’d recommend moving to the steam tech asap.
Once water is connected additional 1 unity will be generated, so we no longer will have to juggle our unity. With that, we can also start using unity to boost production, especially of the things that require resources we cannot or do not have at this point in time. Upgrade to conveyor system is the most common example as it can boost production reliably and quickly for low unity cost.
Later on, the connection of the energy transformer to the settlement will also be useful, especially as external oil rigs need unity as well, but that is an issue for another time.
Finally your island will look somehow like this:
You will want to replace farms with irrigated farms to take care of limited food production; It will improve your food production and allow you to expand.
You will want to fix your ship soon, and start exploring nearby world nodes – getting an oil rig operational will make it possible for you to maintain your diesel production once limited resources on your island run out.
You will also want to improve diesel production to advanced form ASAP, just as replace diesel generators with more powerful steam generators.
Moving to steel-based maintenance also will make it easier to maintain large fleets of vehicles and large bases. All of that though is beyond the basic starting guide.
- Keep loose storage filled to some degree and start digging another level as soon as you have some time. This will reduce the downtime for purposes of preparation of the next layer.
- Make sure you semi-micromanage the mines. Preparation per layer is key.
- Coal mine cannot be excavated by a single mine controller. Be prepared to split it into 2 pieces
- As you go down remember to keep eye on mining deposit levels [in layer menu]. If they are going down – focus on accessing other iron and coal sources. Neither source is infinite.
- Late game you can use the manual trading process to acquire more coal at the cost of some unity [and one more product].
- All deposits are surprisingly large for purposes of ores
- Remember you can use excess waste material from mines to expand your island or straighten up its edges [useful for cargo ports]
- Expand slowly but methodically. This will lessen the chance that you overextend yourself in Maintenance or Diesel supply.
- Keep an eye on monthly maintenance material use via clicking on maintenance depot
- Keep an eye on monthly diesel use via the graph menu
- Remove distillate from refineries quickly before it becomes a problem.
- You can use Unity to bypass some material requirements early and late games, including getting the ability to make T2 vehicles without glass or electronics.
- Once you find other cities take a look at what they offer some of those resources may be useful.
- People who arrive from beacons bring some resources with them, including fuel.
- Storage can be chained by placing them one behind another with connectors linked. This allows to save materials on conveyors and reduces space waste. Keep them as a buffer for ores.
- Laboratories and beacons that are disabled will not use unity
- World-map oil rigs use 1 unity per month when active, and do require workers.
And that concludes this Captain of Industry guide. Help us improve this guide by leaving your suggestions in the comment section below.