Much about this game is unclear, so here’s some things I had to figure out.
Quick Guide to Things I Found Confusing
Press escape to open the reseach menu. In the upper-left of that screen are the game menus for seeing the in-game help, saving your game, and exiting to main menu.
Some buttons are click and hold to activate, such as saving your game, signing contracts, and purchasing land plots.
Click on a research topic and press the ‘Start’ button in the lower right. If done properly and not cancelled accidentally, it will look like research flasks are flying into the chosen research. Just above the start research button is the research description panel which has an x icon for closing it. If you close it you will see your overall research info, such as your research experience and research budget. Increase your budget to over zero before exiting the research screen for the first time. You can increase it to higher levels after some research topics, such as the ‘Advanced Training’. You can research things that you don’t have the experience for; it just takes longer.
Power Units and Sectors
You have one power plant. Even if you build another power unit, it’s all one one power plant. Your power plant can have multiple sectors and you start with one sector. Your Control panel in the bottom of the screen applies to all sectors of your power plant in the same way. To get more sectors, build another power unit, or upgrade a power unit. The research ‘Power unit expansion’ allows the building of second power unit and the upgrading of power units to have another sector. If you build a second power station and then upgrade both of your stations, then you will have 4 sectors.
There is no graphical cue that a sector is operational. As sectors become available, It will open up top-left, top-right, bottom-left, bottom-right on the first page of sectors. Once you get more sectors than that, the pattern repeats on the next page of sectors. You can build/store components in sectors that aren’t active yet but they won’t do anything. If you build a second power unit and then think that it’s represented by the second page and put components in the top-left sector of the second page and you can’t get them to work, that’s why.
Heat and Pressure
Heat and pressure created in any sector is added together and displayed in the control room. Heat needs to be over 100 to make any steam at all, so if you have 2 sectors with boilers and a total heat capacity of 200 or less, you won’t be able to make any power with both of them on. If you try, you’ll get an explosion. To get around this, you’ll need ‘Basic Cooling’ researched to get access to the first heat exchanger. The way it works is that it reduces the total power plant heat by a certain amount and raises the heat of the sector it’s in by that amount. (Up to 30 degrees for the first one without upgrades; don’t forget to adjust the heat sink slider in the control room!). Once you have heat exchanger upgrades, it becomes possible to run a turbine just off of waste heat by getting a sector over 100 degrees with heat sinks. It’s also possible to put a heat exchanger in a boiler room to raise that sector’s heat but heat exchangers don’t have great heat tolerance so they will break frequently if you do.
There doesn’t seem to be a component that helps with pressure like heat exchangers do for heat.
When you do researches that allow for heat or pressure tolerance increases, they can be purchased in each power station to improve the total more.
The game seems to have changed since the tutorial. As near as I can tell, its only useful to put up to two turbines in a boiler sector and one turbine in a heat sink sector.
When cool, you can freely move components around between sectors; active or inactive. If a sector is over 100 degrees its components can’t be moved. You can power down your entire plant in the control room or individual sectors in the sector menu to allow something to cool enough to work with it. Pick up a component and right-click to sell it.
If you see the wrench icon light up in the control panel then at least one of your parts is broken. There’s no way to see which parts are broken, but it’s possible to find out by trial and error if you move a part to an active sector and it doesn’t do what it’s supposed to. You don’t have to, though: If you go to the wrench menu in the sectors there will be a wrench button that allows you to pay for repairs to all broken parts.
Water and Power Networks
You can see water and power network zones as blue and yellow. All buildings must have power access or they won’t work. Power units and water pipes must have water access. Any building you build creates a small power zone around it and power units create a water zone as well. If you build all buildings next to each other, you won’t need to do much with extra water pipes and power lines.
Contracts come in two flavors: A certain level of watts over time and a certain amount of watt-days within a certain time. Sadly, you can’t rush the watt-days one. It will call for a certain level of watts over time just like the first type. If you divide the TW-days figure by the number of months, it’s about 3.4 GW for every .1 TW-days per month. The pay reductions for partially powering a contract are fairly grievous, so it’s better to run your plant below capacity than try to partly fill too many contracts.