I’ve made it to the forever star a couple times now and I thought I might share some of the things I’ve learned on this journey.
Tips and Trick for New Captains
This isn’t a tutorial or a guide and any suggestion I make can be ignored, part of this game is making the ship your own. Also, while I have done some experimentation, much of this information is anecdotal and might be wrong.
Delete the helmets
The first thing I do when I start a new game, before I even unpause for the first time is find and delete the helmets. There is, at the time of writing, a bug where crewmembers who put on helmets no longer appear when selecting shuttle crew. Inevitably the crew with the best callsigns will immediatly put on helmets if they have the chance. Feel free to build new helmet racks later in the run when you’re more likely to be boarded and less likely to send out away missions.
This might be a little bit exploit-y but I find it very useful. When you build a robot charging station it produces a new robot. If you delete that station the robot is not deleted and you get all the raw materials back. Theoretically by building and deleting charging stations you could have an infinitely large robot crew. I usually stop at 9-10 robots since that is about how many a single charging station can keep charged.
Robots don’t get any off duty time. They don’t play games, read, or eat. They only build connectedness by chatting with crew members as they pass in the hall once in a while. This means they will become isolated, lose morale, and fall into despair without any intervention. Having ten robots fall into despair can be a real hit on the hope meter. However, as long as the drain from isolation isn’t amplified by stress or other negative conditions it can be negated by a full hope bar and those few interactions with the crew. This means the secret to keeping your robots happy is prevention. If their emotional state is stressed or any other negative trait their moral loss from isolation is doubled. Since they can only have on emotional state at a time we can replace that stressed state with inspired or focused so their moral can rise again. The best solution is getting an engineering officer with the trait that prevents all crew from becoming stressed. Failing that, use the manifest to check on your robots once in a while. If they are anything other than stable, inspired, or focused you need to do something. Giving a priority order of Inspire to the robot will send the princess over to talk to the robot and change it’s emotional status to inspired for a while. Alternately, you can set the ship to yellow alert for a short time to give everyone on the crew the focused emotional trait. As long as you take care of your robots they will take care of you.
You don’t have enough suppliers
You don’t have enough suppliers. Everything on this ship is waiting for a supplier to provide it. It doesn’t matter how may engineers there are if there are no materials being delivered to the construction site. Put as many crew as you can in the suppliers. Put an uncomfortable number of crew into the suppliers role. Then transfer a few more just in case.
Shuttles consume a small amount of resources when being repaired. If you are out of metal or plastic then shuttles will not be repaired. If you are struggling to keep your shuttles in good condition this might be the issue.
There is no reason to use any crew other than combat crew in your shuttles. The benefits provide by other crew types don’t matter if the mission fails. In a similar vein, the only callsigns that matter are lightfoot and ox. Any crewmember with a leadfoot callsign should be transferred out of combat immediately just in case. There is a case to be made that crew with other call signs should be transferred out as well to increase the chances of finding more lightfoot and ox signs.
PS: the tutorial doesn’t say it and it’s not always accurate, but the crew usually change uniforms between shifts. When picking a crew for a shuttle you are about to send out look for crew wearing their jackets.
Do as many salvage missions as you can. Stack the crew with lightfoot and ox signs to up the chances of success as high as possible. The bulk of your plastic and composite resources will be coming from these missions. Look for Verdant and Beacon planets as they’ll sometimes have two salvage missions available.
Unfortunately, there is only one way to do power right now. Get yourself some fission reactors as soon as possible. The need for external resources makes the other power generators too risky and unreliable right now. It might be possible to run a ship on fuel-burning reactors but biomass is a difficult resource to maintain. Don’t ever use the fusion reactors. If you include the cost of generating the water it needs it outputs 20 power unmanned and 100 power when operated. The fission does 50 and 100 and doesn’t die when you run out of water.
You’re gonna need a lot of condensers. Like a lot. Expect to have around 20 by the end of the game. Condensers consume oxygen so don’t forget to drop a couple extra generators in the condenser room.
Shrubberies are bad. They eat your precious water and provide only the barest whiff of oxygen. The description says they can also produce biomass, but I’ve never seen one do so. Unless you have extra water and like the look delete all the shrubberies.
Don’t run out of biomass. Biomass is constantly needed and if you ever run out it is possible to for it to end your journey. Since you need to have biomass available to build new algae crops you can find yourself in a position where you cannot build new crops until you shut down essential systems and wait for your current crops to produce enough to build the new ones. This can lead to food, power, medical, morale, and being on fire issues making it even harder to get biomass back.
I would also recommend checking on your algae crops regularly and especially after loading a saved game. Sometimes scientists will get stuck attempting to harvest an algae crop but it won’t work and they’ll just keep trying. If you see a scientist stuck on a crop deactivate and reactivate the crop to reset it.
Oranges are the best. With a grow light in the room oranges not only make the most food per hour, but also do it for the fewest resources and labor. I’ve found that a single orange crop can support around 18 crew.
One kitchen can feed 36-40 crew assuming you have enough suppliers to do the cooking. Although extra kitchens aren’t going to hurt you. I recommend feeding them organic food from the salad bar. A little extra healing for essentially free is great.
Benches are a trap. A crew member needs about three hours of sleep in a bed at night to fully recover their rest. Crew can also recover rest by sitting on benches, but benches fill the rest bar at about half the speed of a bed. This means that a crew member who sits on a bench will stay there for six hours or until their shift starts. They will have less time to eat, drink, bathe, and socialize. Delete all benches, it is better to have an exhausted crew than a hungry, starving, and isolated crew.
In my experience you’ll need at minimum one bed per eight crew, but it would be safer to have one bed per six crew.
It doesn’t seem like it would make a big difference, but getting a small manufacturing plant with a couple plastic and metal machines early can pay off big later. The extra resources these produce will add up over time and help fill the gap later on when there is little time for away missions.
Storage will become an issue long before you realize that it is an issue. Everything will look like it’s working but as soon as the storage limit is hit biomass, food, metal, and plastic will stop producing entirely. The primary culprit is material. Hopefully the developers have some cool plans for material, but right now it is essentially useless and fills up your stockpiles quickly if you are running lots of away missions. Don’t forget to build some storage rooms with lots of shelves in them pretty quickly.
Don’t ever build lots of refrigerators. They hold a quarter the amount that shelves do and require power. Build shelves and leave the stockpiles for biomass, medi gel, and food.
A technique I have found very successful is using what I call seed rooms. Instead of blocking out a large area for a new room, build a small two square seed room of the type you intend to build with a power switch and an oxygen generator in it. When the seed room is complete, use the adjust room size tool to expand it to the final size. Now your construction crew can work in the comfort of gravity and breathable air. This extra step speeds up construction significantly.
While the description says the jumplight auto calibrator is 50% slower it is in fact about twice as fast as the regular jumplight calibrator. That is assuming the jumplight calibator is fully manned, after accounting for shift changes and delayed operators the auto calibrator can be up to four times faster. Build jumplight auto calibrators and send your scientists to the greenhouse where they’ll be more useful.
Do what you want
This is a game that everyone is still learning about, players and developers alike. Feel free to ignore my advice and play the game any way you like. I know I’ve really enjoyed playing this game and I hope you do to.