Here’s a quick guide and some valuable tips for players who are just getting started in Subnautica.
Subnautica is a resource gathering survival game where you survive on a planet full of water with many different diverse biomes and creatures some friendlier than others. In this guide, I have the intention of giving you the basic rundown and some tips for beginners to Subnautica.
These are the basic gameplay mechanics. W A S D key to move around Spacebar to jump and mouse to look around left shift to run. left click to pick things up/interact with things. right-click to use items in hand. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 control the hot bar. Esc button to pause and Tab to open inventory.
Inside the inventory, things can get a bit confusing but as long as you follow along you’ll do just fine. In the inventory, there are five tabs at the top of the first tab.
The first tab is the main inventory where you equip clothes hold items and equip stuff. To assign an item to the hotbar hover your mouse over it in the inventory then press any key from 1 to 5.
The second tab is blueprints. In this tab, you can scroll through to see all the blueprints you have unlocked. Ie: the items you can craft.
The third tab is beacon management. In this tab, you can customize beacon colors. A beacon is a visible indicator on the hud that appears when you get far away from the location it comes from. For example, if you build your base and leave a beacon so you remember where it is. When you get far away from the beacon you can always see a marker telling where your base is. In the beacon management tab, you can show/hide these markers along with being able to change their color.
The fourth tab is voice logs. Basically, when dialogue happens it shows up in here. So for example, if you got up to get a snack but while you were gone you missed a conversation. So you can go into the voice logs to replay the conversation.
The fifth tab is data logs. In the data logs when you scan something the data goes here so that you can read and learn about the thing you just scanned. Also when you find abandoned PDAS they go into this tab so you can play them and listen to them. (the PDA is what Subnautica calls the inventory.)
When swimming it’s simple just imagine that your character’s head turns to look anywhere you make it look. So spacebar makes the character move in the direction the top of the character’s head is facing. W key makes the character move in the direction the character’s face is facing. A key makes the character move in the direction of his left ear. D key makes the character move in the direction of his right ear. S key makes the character move in the direction of the back of his head. C key does the exact opposite of spacebar.
Health Hunger Thirst and Oxygen
- When you hop into the game you will notice 4 circular bars in the bottom left of the screen.
- The red one is health. Pretty self-explanatory.
- The blue one is thirst. How thirsty your character is keeping a good eye on this one.
- The orange one is hunger. How hungry your character. Pay attention to this one.
- And the large green one is oxygen. When you are underwater your oxygen depletes every 3 seconds oxygen goes down by 3. However, if you are below 100 meters this number is 6 oxygen-depleted every 3 seconds. And if you’re under 200 meters this oxygen depletes by 9 every 3 seconds. You can tell your depth by the number at the top center of the screen.
- Your base oxygen is 45 max.
- If you make a standard oxygen tank then your oxygen goes up to 75 max.
- If you make a high capacity oxygen tank then your oxygen goes up to 135 max.
- If you make an ultra-high capacity tank your oxygen goes up to 180 max. Of course more max oxygen the longer you can stay underwater. You may wonder well how do I refill my oxygen well good question just swim to the surface once you pop your head above the water your oxygen will refill over time.
To gather resources there are 4 ways to gather different resource types. Some you will need to do some are optional. I will mark the optional ones with an O and the needed ones with N.
N, breaking resource outcrops. These are rocks that are just everywhere on the ground walls
On the ceiling, once you left click these 3 times the rock breaks and leaves a resource you can pick up.
Tip: there are three types of outcrops that all house different resources.
N, picking resources off the ground and off plants. Some resources can be picked from plants or
Just picked up off the ground, walls, and ceilings.
N, knifing plants. Some plants will give a useful item when you use your knife on them.
O, drilling large outcrops. Sometimes you see large outcrops. Once you get a drill arm you can
Drill these for lots of that type of resource, you don’t have to do this but it does speed things up.
In Subnautica the way you progress is by first making a scanner. Then scanning enough fragments to unlock a blueprint which you can then craft. Some blueprints can immediately be unlocked by finding a databox. You find these things by exploring.
Tip: The way I played was a lot of fun, each day I would make a plan of action of what direction and where I would explore. This oftentimes helped me make progress throughout the game.
Wrecks sometimes you may find areas with large metal debris littering the ocean floor. These are good for you to find you can explore them and find some valuable fragments and data boxes in them.
Tip: if you get stuck finding a fragment to something some fragments are more common in certain locations. But most of the time the deeper you go the better the loot. So know that you will have to go deeper eventually.
You can make vehicles to aid you through your adventures but overall just be ready to explore and get a fresh pair of underwear because this game can be really scary.
Thats is for basic gameplay and genuinely can believe you made it this far good job here’s a non-existent gold star.
- While tutorials are indeed useful, I personally recommend not watching tutorials, especially on YouTube. I can tell you from personal experience that watching tutorials can ruin the surprise of the game don’t watch any Subnautica related content. trust me on this don’t do it.
- This planet your on is beautiful and make sure to take it in. When building a base don’t just consider practicality also consider the beauty in your base location. It makes coming home after a long trip a lot more welcoming.
- Don’t be afraid to be curious. Unless your playing in hardcore mode then don’t be afraid to get up close to creatures. You never know what ones you can eat or which ones are harmless or which ones are dangerous. If you die you only lose the items you picked up after being in your lifepod or base.
- Scan everything. If your that kind of daredevil then try to scan every creature in the game. You’ll get some serious bragging rights with all your fish friends when you scanned that big baddie.
- Don’t be afraid to explore. Kind of like tip 3 but if you see that weird creatures in the rock or that big cave or that new biome don’t be afraid to explore it. Some biomes give a creepy vibe but are actually safe for you to explore. More often than not exploring helps you get you farther into the game.
- Make every tool and experiment with it. See something broken or something smoking? Try making something to fix it. You’ll never know what every tool does unless you use it.
- Have fun. Theres a reason that I have like 200 hours in the game and say that Subnautica is my favorite game of all time. Do what you want to do. Go wherever you want to go. And see whatever you want to see. In Subnautica, there is no handholding. The game just plops you in and tells you nothing. You’re forced to explore and figure things out. Just enjoy the experience.
- A way you could play if you want to. Hello, I’m going to tell you how I played Subnautica. Each night I would craft items I gathered in the previous day while I planned what I would do the next day. For example, while I was cooking all my fish I would be like. “Ok I’m going to go towards the fogy clouds in the distance and see what’s happening over there.” often times I would get sidetracked and go completely the opposite direction but planning what I would do than doing it but getting completely lost in the process was so much fun to me and maybe to you.
And that concludes this Subnautica guide. Help us improve this guide by leaving your suggestions in the comment section below.