This guide will help you gain the ability to recalibrate the Stratospheric’s shields, and allow you to access two of the more difficult endings. Note that this guide contains unmarked spoilers.
Guide to Shields and Endings
Recalibrating the shields? What’s that about?
You might’ve seen some references to the above in the discussions here – it’s something that Sol can learn how to do in their prologue (i.e. character creation), which alters several things about the playthrough where you do it. I’m still working on how, but I’m pretty sure one of the things it does is helps out the food supply (or at least reduces the severity of the crisis).
In order to get to it, though, Sol need to fulfil three major pre-requisites:
- They must have Congruence’s master access codes.
- They must understand how the Stratos works.
- They must understand how the wormhole works.
If Sol’s missing any of these three, they won’t be able to recalibrate the shields – either they won’t be able to get access to Congruence to do it at all, or they won’t know how to explain what they need to happen.
Plus, once Sol can do this, you can get two of the trickier endings.
Getting Congruence’s Master Access Code
Step 1: Let Hal die
Yes, this sucks, but you have to let him die in the second Glow attack. If this is your first playthrough, you won’t have the option of saving him – it just happens.
Step 2: Gain access to the Robotics Lab
“But where’s that?” I hear you cry. Low stress – Sol can’t go there at first. Here’s how it gets unlocked:
- Get Reasoning up to 5. How?
- Take the Absorbent Brain Perk during the prologue
- Befriend Tang during the prologue
- Take the Learning Tablet as Sol’s favourite birthday gift during the prologue (not available the first time)
- The option to Register for Engineering Classes will turn up as either a random event when Sol spend a month to study, or it’ll be available immediately. Either way, the option stays available until Sol takes it.
- Get Engineering up to 50. How?
- Study Engineering
- Work in Construction (only if you have it unlocked by talking to Rex later in the game)
- Some events when Sol’s Exploring the Ridge will boost Engineering.
- When Sol goes in to study something, they can get a random event that involves an out-of-control robot. If Sol’s got enough 50 Engineering, they can shut the robot down safely, opening up the lab. Don’t worry if they don’t – the event can happen any time, but it’ll still be there to choose once Sol’s got their Engineering up.
Step 3: Work in the Robotics Lab
If Sol keeps working in the Robotics Lab, one of the events that can trigger involves random things malfunctioning in the colony, which ends up with Sol having to dig into Congruence’s programming. One of the options that’ll come up is something along the lines of “Get to the real cause of the problem.” (I think this also has an Empathy 31 requirement too – don’t remember right now).
Once Sol does that, they find out that things are malfunctioning because Congruence is grieving Hal’s death. This makes Sol realise that Congruence is a person, unlocking the ability to have her as a friend during the prologue – you should see one of the purple information bars below the dialogue box telling you.
Step 4: Choose Congruence as Sol’s childhood friend during the prologue
Next time you start a game, one of the childhood friend options that should come up for Sol during the prologue is Congruence. If you choose Congruence, she gives Sol her master access code.
Understanding How the Stratos Works
Step 1: Raise Sol’s Mental Attributes
Try to get Biology and Engineering up to 100 – that’s where I had Sol’s when they got to the next part.
Step 2: Get selected as Second Engineer
This is an event that turns up around 17 or 18, where Governor Lum announces that he’s taking new people into different positions. When the options come up, Sol should nominate themselves for Second Engineer.
Note that this means that Sol can’t work with Marz to depose him because then the opportunity doesn’t come up. Also, Sol will be vying for the nomination against Tangent, so make sure their mental attributes are maxed out.
Should Sol be successful, you get the Second Engineer card and Sol gains access to all of the Stratospheric’s technical schematics.
Step 3: Read the engineering manuals during the prologue
If you’ve done all that, then the next time you start a game, Sol should get the option to have their dad read the engineering manuals to them as a bedtime story. If they don’t read the manuals, then they won’t know how to reprogram the shields at all, even with the master access codes.
Understanding How the Wormhole Works
The good news about this step? You only need to get an ending.
Bad news? It’s the Transcendence ending. Which is a little involved.
But if you don’t get it, Sol never has the understanding of how the wormhole works – and, more specifically, how the wormhole affects the shields.
I’d keep going but it’s 9.30pm right now and it’s been a long day, so I’ll come back and do this bit properly tomorrow.
Now That You’ve Got All the Pieces, Here’s How You Do It
How to get to shield calibration
- Get Sol’s dad to read the engineering manuals to them.
- Make Congruence Sol’s childhood friend.
- When the ship reaches the wormhole, you’ll have an option to go calibrate the shields.
- Take it, then Sol can ask Congruence to fix the shields using her master access code.
At this point, Sol can make three choices – full shields, half shields, and no shields.
The game proceeds as normal.
The Stratos touches down unharmed, with a lot more of its cargo and geoponics equipment (and dirt) intact. I’m not sure how else this alters the gameplay – I’ll do my best to keep track of it as I play.
If Sol turns the shields off, then you get the Stratos Destroyed ending. Not only does everyone die in the explosion, but the wormhole is destroyed. Obviously, you get a game over.
If you start a new game, you’re treated to a short story sequence about Sol’s life on Earth before the cult compound is overrun, which gets you the Life On Earth ending.
If you start a new game after that, you get the same sequence, but there’s an option to complain about having to go through it again – at which point Old Sol turns up, has a brief chat with everyone, and repairs the timeline.
If you start a new game after that, you’re returned to the regularly scheduled programming.
Also, you know how all of Sol’s friends gradually turn up on the start screen as you get them at 100% friendship? This sequence of events is how you get Sol there too.