While it may seem simple on the surface, Oxygen Not Included is a complicated game that presents a variety of challenges for you to overcome. Things can quickly spiral out of control if you’re not proactively producing food, managing gases, filtering water, and dispersing heat.
For new players (and even myself after 100+ hours) it can be a lot to manage. With that in mind, here is the Oxygen Not Included Beginner’s Survival Guide.
Having three great starting duplicants makes a huge difference, so it’s worth spending a few minutes finding a good combination. The best strategy here is to have each of the three duplicants specialize in a few attributes – rather than everyone having 1 or 2 in a bunch of attributes. As the game goes on you’ll have opportunities to recruit more colonists. Similar to the starting duplicants, there should be a purpose for each new colonist you accept as the game goes on.
Attributes, Traits, and Stress Responses
1. Strong Builder
Try to find a duplicant with construction skill and athletics. The athletics will give them extra carry strength meaning they can bring more building materials to the blueprints and require fewer trips.
2. Avoid Loud Sleepers and Flatulence
Loud Sleeper is probably the worst negative trait for a duplicant because they disturb others at night which removes most (if not all) of the bedroom benefit. Flatulent duplicants are farters, and the gas will build up in your base and need to be dealt with.
3. Gastrophoic Cooks
Make sure you aren’t selecting a duplicant that has a high skill level in one area (like cooking) but has a negative effect that prevents them from performing that job (like gastrophobia).
4. Stress Responses
Every duplicant in Oxygen Not Included has a stress response, but there are definitely some you want to watch out for:
- Binge Eater: overeats when stressed
- Destructive: destroys equipment when stressed (probably the worst)
- Vomitter: they puke up polluted water which can get in your drinking water
Just remember, you don’t have to accept a new duplicant every time! If they all suck, then reject them all and wait for another few cycles for your next chance.
Early Base Building Tips
There’s no right way to build a base – but there are wrong ways. In this next part of the Oxygen Not Included Beginner’s Survival Guide we’ll cover some base building tips to help keep your colony running smoothly.
1. Essential First Builds
When you start up a new game of Oxygen Not Included, there are a few building you’ll want to start making right away:
- 3 cots
- Water Pumper
- Microbe Musher
- Manual Generator
- 2 Tiny Batteries
- Research Station
The cots are for sleeping, the outhouse and wash basin are for the bathroom, the water pumper is to stock the Microbe Musher and Washbasin, and the rest is for food and research.
2. 4 X 14 Bedrooms
I build basically every room 4 blocks high, but especially the bedrooms. Building your bedrooms this size lets you stick 6 beds in each barracks while still leaving two spaces for oxygen production or a statue. Given that your starting area is a limited size, making efficient use of space is important.
3. Start Growing Food Early
You don’t want to rely on mush bars for too long because eating nothing but dirt and water will give your colonists some serious diarrhea. Not only will productivity take a hit because everyone is constantly needed to use the bathroom, but it can also lead to messes, stress, and germs.
The easiest foods to start growing are the Lice Meal and Bristle Blossom (Bristle Blossoms require light to grow.)
Managing Immunity and Germ Levels
Once you start digging outside of your starting area you may notice your colonist immunity dip from 100%. If you notice this, then it’s a good time to start working on some medicine and germ management — waiting until a colonist has slimelung before you start isn’t a good strategy.
Keeping things simple here there are two main ways you can prevent your colonists from getting sick.
- Build a washbasin so your colonists have to wash up before coming inside. Most germs come from outside your starting area so having your duplicants wash their hands will help limit the number of germs that get inside.
- Build an Apothecary and make some medicine. There are 2 types of pills: Placebo Pills and Vitamin Chews. The Vitamin Chews will help prevent your colonists from getting ill in the first place, and the Placebo Pills will help speed up the recovery for those that do contract a disease (like slimelung). Making the medicine is fairly easy, especially for Placebo Pills which just require sand and water. Vitamin Chews require balm lily and coal to produce so you will have to dig to a chlorine area where they’re growing.
Dealing With Stress Levels
Another big factor in setting yourself up for success is effectively managing stress. Of course, massage tables can be used to help duplicants that get very stressed out, finding ways to reduce how much stress they build in the first place is better.
The decor is certainly a big part of your duplicants’ stress level. Fortunately, there are a lot of tips around keep your decor at a nice level:
- Sweep up materials on the floor. After digging out a room and building tile there is often a bunch of materials left laying on the ground which has a negative impact on the room’s decor. To get around this, simply make sure you have the storage containers available to sweep up the materials after building.
- Certain structures, like batteries, have a negative impact on decor. To counteract this, either keep your batteries out of plain sight or add a painting close by.
- Airflow tiles allow decor to pass through. This is a clutch a way to spread the impact of a single painting or statue between rooms.
- Lastly, higher level duplicants have high decor expectations. If you plan on selecting a high-level duplicant or promote someone to a higher level job, make sure your decor is higher enough to keep them happy.
Other Stress Contributors
Unsurprisingly, it’s not just decor that impacts stress. Here are a few more tips for other things that will help keep your colony happy:
1. Food quality matters. It helps to produce the highest quality food you can. This means if you’re going to make Mush Bars then turn them into Mush Fry after, or if you’re cooking Meal Lice then make Lice Loaf instead of Pickled Meal.
2. Build a mess hall. Having a table to eat at gives a small stress reduction (bonus points if it’s high decor)
3. Build “nice bathrooms”. Once the bathrooms meet a certain level of quality your duplicant’s will get an extra “nice bathroom” stress reduction bonus while they’re going #2.
Oxygen Not Included Basic Tips
- Don’t mine the oxylite – it’s free oxygen and saves you from building an
- Build two outhouses early on – so if one gets clogged you have a back-up
- Build your kitchen next to your mess hall – means less walking between the kitchen, fridge, and mess hall (or future mess hall if haven’t built one yet)
- Build a research station ASAP – so you can start researching farming quickly.
- Don’t accept every duplicant from the printing pod – sometimes they’re all bad.
- Room benefits are important – and they aren’t that difficult to fulfill.
- Don’t expand too much too quickly – it’s one of the fastest ways to kill your colony.
- Eating bars of dirt and water makes duplicants sick – Which means they spend all day in the bathroom with the shits
- Start farming early – re: the last tip.
- Trap shine bugs in a grow room – Bristle Berries require light to grow and shine bugs don’t create heat.
- Be careful building a ladder above your main water source – you don’t want someone to piss themselves and have it dribble into your drinking water. Gross.
- Pee can be basically free water – if it’s managed correctly.
image credit to u/Capsup
- It’s easier to avoid creating heat than getting rid of it – once your base starts to get hot, it becomes a lot more difficult to cool down.
- Build insulated pipes leaving your showers – duplicants take warm showers, so insulated pipes helps prevents heating up your base.
- Surround your base in abyssalite – To help discourage neighboring biomes form heating up your base.
- Each gas has a specific weight – which means CO2 will always sink to the bottom of your base (or below the oxygen.)
- Hydrogen is the best gas for cooling your base – recycling cold hydrogen gases through your base
- Be conscious of where you place generators – they (and certain other structures) produce lots of heat.
- 1 farmer can support 15 plants
- 1 rancher can support 2 full stables
Your Colony Awaits
This wraps up the Oxygen Not Included: Beginner’s Survival Guide. Now that you have a better idea of how to build and survive the early cycles of Oxygen Not Included, it’s time to try out some of the tips.
What is your biggest survival tip? Let us know in the comments!