Having trouble making money? Constantly in debt to loan sharks while you feebly grasp for the fruit juice you just painstakingly synthesized, only for it to drop out of your desperate hands and shatter on the floor? There is still hope.
We've all been there. Twenty bucks left to your name, rent is around the corner, the cat needs to be fed, 50 ml of coffee in a beaker stored somewhere underneath a heap of cardboard boxes, and you are considering drinking that insecticide you just synthesized after you realized that the contract asked for just 0.3% more acidity.
The tutorial of the game is a great introduction to the basic controls and the general outline of the game's chemistry system, but not a perfect one. There are several things it does not touch upon at the moment of writing, but seeing as it is still in Early Access that is very understandable.
This guide serves as a way for people confused about the mechanics to be able to play around more freely without having to go through the debt-inducing trial and error process.
Cooking 101: Fresh-baked Chemicals Like Momma Made
So, for the sake of less confusion, I'll use this particular contract as a great example. It's got everything the more complex contracts ask for, while still being simple enough.
The contract calls for Soy Sauce, which must have:
- 29% OR LESS Acidity
- 31% - 84% Flavour
- 6% - 54% Smell
It also calls for one trait: Artificial Additive. Luckily, that is a very cheap and easy one to find when brewing anything involving the food industry. To the lab we go!
The first step ofcourse is buying the ingredients you'll (roughly) need. At the beginning of the game, it's more important to be cost effective than to be picky with what goes into your soy sauce. It... It's powdered eggs and MSG, r-right? Just like in real life?
You can actually use the small gray area to type in a trait you can sort by, and click the icon next to the sort by text to drop it down to all the icons representing the properties your formula can have. A quick search for Artificial Additive shows that it's present in MSG and in Powdered eggs... Which, luckily, both have the right properties to be added into the mixture without too much hassle. More complex contracts will require you to carefully dose certain compounds to make sure all the traits you need are in the mixture, without it exceeding one of the limits or not reaching a goal.
Get yourself an empty flask and get ready to mix!
Mixing 101: How to Science
Place your empty flask directly on the scanner. This makes measuring out your additions a lot easier in the long run, trust me. This way, you can see every small change in the properties of your compound, as well as see how many traits it currently has. You can also give it a very very hilarious name.
Basically, keep one eye on your contract specifications, and another on the scanner as you add in your ingredients. Be frugal! You don't need to hit that 84% taste, your employer will be just as happy with 52.9%.
So now you have a jar of MSG and egg powder, and it fits the bill on all the specifications, as well as having the required trait. (Protip: Experiment with traits. Even stuff your employer doesn't ask for can be added, if you think it'd make the mixture better. Baby Oil is only good when it can also be used as floor wax, in my opinion.)
Slam the flask in the mixing machine.
If you take a look at your brew under the scanner now, you can see that it still has all the traits and specifications. However, during more complex contracts, some degree of trial and error is necessary to reach your goal. For instance, if a contract asks for a whole bunch of complex traits that are only found in a single ingredient each, it would get extremely frustrating trying to dose it in a way that reaches the % needed to add the trait to the final mixture.
Don't fret. You can actually just make a sort of dummy mixture, where you dose out enough of each trait to fully count, and then mix it. Due to it now being mixed, you can use that new mixture as an easy way to add every trait you desire at once to the mixture, without dicking around with 50 beakers of unlabeled goop.
So now you have a 200 ML beaker full of perfect, artisanal "Soy" Sauce. What's next?
Penny Pinching 101: How to Screw Over Your Boss and Make Millions Doing It
Congrats! You have made 200 ML of the stuff your boss asked you for. Now, grab an empty beaker and pour in about 125 ML of it. This is your stash now.
That's right, the contracts only need a flask with 75 ML of the mixture to consider the job completed!
Another thing the tutorial forgets to mention: You can actually submit a sample as a Query. This is handy for when you have a large batch of something, but aren't sure if it hits the required criteria.
We are very confident, though. Hit submit, slam the package through the mail chute, and reap the benefits!
"But wait!!!" I hear you ask. "The ingredients to make that stuff cost more than the job paid!" You are completely right. Your employers are scumbags. They'll almost never cover the costs of ingredients, broken bottles, coffee mishaps, or drunken games of "how many bottles can I stack on top of eachother without the tower collapsing".
Fortunately, there are no laws against just using your leftovers to brew some magic of your own. Remember those 125 ML you saved up?
Place it under the scanner, and fill her up! Use any ingredients you have left and know you aren't going to use for your next contract. When it's done, put it through the mixer again, and place it near the sales terminal, this time selecting "Put on sale".
Now you just wait a bit. Drink some coffee, or take a 10 minute nap (god knows you've earned it). Eventually, someone will have bought your mixture, upon which you just bring the box to the mail chute like you would with a contract, and enjoy the money. Do note that with most contracts, you actually earn a LOT more from the various leftovers and failed mixtures that you pour together than you do from the actual contract. The real reward comes in the form of Prestige, which unlocks new world events and higher-paying contracts, as well as more advanced loans for when you find yourself in a pickle.