ASTRONEER – How to Play Hardcore Mode

This guide is to help players get a general idea of what to do when starting on the Hardcore custom gamemode. This guide should, in theory, apply to any gamemode where you start with nothing (including your base) and have to get oxygen quickly. Also, there will be no photos and formatting will be bad, but if anyone wants to, they can make their own expanded guide using this as a base.

Starter Guide to Play Hardcore Mode


Welcome to my guide! Here, we will learn how to start out when playing the premade “Sylva Hardcore” custom gamemode.

This should also, in theory, apply to any other gamemode where you start with literally nothing except your backpack and terrain tool. I will assume you already knew how to start a custom gamemode, so lets get onto the action!


Once your drop pod hits the planet surface, you would think the next step is to jump out, but I would stay in your drop pod, enjoy the free oxygen, and scout out the area around you.

You should be looking for various resource sites, crashed drop pods, and other abandoned structures within 30 seconds of your landing place, since the moment you leave your drop pod, it will take off without you, never to be seen again. Once you are ready, hop out, and begin your race towards a reliable oxygen source.


Once you get out of your drop pod, you are now on the clock since you don’t have a base or a landing pad. No free base, no free oxygen, it’s that simple.

Quickly run over to any resin you may have seen, dig it up, and make one or two oxygen filters. Remember, they are temporary solutions as they will get used up over time. Also, don’t go crazy with the crafting, because again, you don’t have a base making free electricity for you.


Now that you can last more than 30 or so seconds on this planet, it is time to start looking for a power source so you can keep crafting things in your backpack. Start looking for any compound or abandoned structures nearby.

  • If you find compound, make a small generator, dig up some grass, and remember to turn it off when you are at max power.
  • If you find an abandoned structure, look around for any small wind turbines or solar panels, anything that you can use for power.

Once you find a somewhat reliable power source, you should start working your way up the series of printers to make a small base.


Get some more compound, and make a small printer just like normal. Remember, you can’t power it from the generators inside of your backpack.

Personally, I forgot that you could put down small generators by themselves and link them up with cables, but in case if that is too easy. Look for any abandoned platforms that still have working cables in them, you might find one if you are lucky and can skip using some of your precious resin.

Start crafting a medium printer, alongside a platform to put it on, and remember to keep gathering resin and crafting oxygen filters.


So now you are probably thinking, “Man, I am tired collecting all this resin just to use it on something that I can’t keep all the way to the end of the game, when can I get my oxygenator back?” and I hear you.

Run around and research any small things you can such as plant samples which give 10-20 bytes, or shells found in the forest, which give 20-50 bytes. If there is a gateway nearby (The purple, alien-like structure) approach it to get 500 free bytes, since you can claim it from the backpack’s mission log. You probably should’ve been doing this at the start, but it is stressful as is.

Your goal is to get enough bytes to research the smelter and tractor blueprints. The smelter is used to create aluminum, and the tractor can create oxygen. Any vehicle can create oxygen, including those spheres at rare structures, but the tractor is the cheapest and easiest to obtain.


Once you get your hands on a smelter, now is the time to find some laterite in the mines. Make sure to bring plenty of oxygen filters since there is no resin in the caves as far as I know.

Find a path down into the caves, find laterite (This dark red / blue material) and dig up a few chunks of it. If you wish, you can also dig up quartz to craft some beacons so you won’t lose your base. Hopefully you remembered your way back up to the surface, but you can still dig your own path back up.


Now that you are back at your base, nearby resin reserves running low, you can smelt some of that laterite you got to make aluminum, 2 pieces to be precise.

Head over to your small printer, and make a tractor, don’t worry, you won’t need a rover seat to get in it. Now you should have a source of free oxygen, but it still isn’t as reliable as the ol’ tether network as we are all used to, especially with how easy it is to tip over.

Finally, Oxygen!

Now that you’ve got a permanent source of free, portable oxygen, it is time to start looking for some clay. You can either find it on the surface of any planet, or make it yourself using a soil centrifuge from the medium printer, but you’ll have to unlock it.

Get some clay either way, go back to your smelter, and make some ceramic. Now you have two choices.

  • Research the landing platform, make a large printer, and craft it. You should now be able to turn in the missions with items as rewards, just so happens that one of the first ones is a free oxygenator.
  • Research the oxygenator itself, and craft it using ceramic and aluminum.

Now that you finally have an oxygenator, you can connect it to one of your base platforms which should allow you to finally run around your base freely, alongside using those tethers you kept finding at abandoned dropships.

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