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Outpost Zero: 10 Tips to Get Started

Red Thomas Posted:
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I’m becoming a big fan of Outpost Zero.  I still feel they’re a little early in development, but they’re on the right track to distill down a lot of the essence of what makes survival games fun.  Then, they’re taking that essence and adding a bit of their own flavor to create something uniquely their own.  I’m digging it and would like more folks to have a chance to enjoy it, too.

That said, getting past the initial barrier to entry can be a little haphazard, so today I thought I’d list out a few things to help you get started in your own game.  While the tutorial gets you pointed in the right direction, there are a few key points that could use a bit more development.  Thus, here are ten tips to getting started in Outpost Zero.

Capitalize on Death – After you die, you re-enter the map via drop pod to the surface.  This is a great time to look around and spot key resources from above.  Resources like Uranium are critical to getting your automation going but can be hard to find if you don’t know where it is.  While dropping, look for the tell-tale bright green that signifies concentrated Uranium deposits.

Check Power – Inspect any power plant to see your current power draw, as well as current production.  This helps you to know when you’re close to running out before you build that new pylon to power extra extractors.  Nuclear power seems to be the most efficient but use whatever is abundant near your base location.

Approach your generator and a tooltip will popup with your current production and consumption.

Upgrade Power – This seems obvious, but it’s easily missed.  The first upgrade just requires ten steel, so getting a tier two reactor or generator might save you some space in that early base.  I typically build two steam generators or one nuclear reactor and then upgrade before building more.

Create Storage – Build and upgrade storage in your base early.  Drones that are collecting will drop supplies into storage, and other drones will pick up resources from storage to keep power running and automated tasks going.  That goes for personal storage, as well.  Build a backpack upgrade as soon as you can, so those resource runs are more efficient.

Automate Steel – I get steel production going early by setting the fabricator to repeat the recipe and assigning a drone to crafting.  The drone will pickup iron and carbon from the in-base storage and keep the steel production going, which makes upgrading to tier 2 a lot easier.  You’ll need a lot of steel for later upgrades, so a solid steel production is the gift that keeps on giving.

Close Your Doors – By toggling the field on your door, you can lock your base when you leave.  This prevents players from wandering in and stealing your stuff, but it also stops your drones from wandering out and getting picked off by random mobs.

Compartmentalization – Divide your base up into sections where different areas are for specific functions, and each are isolated from others using closed doors.  This locks drones into specific areas to keep them on task, and it makes it harder for anyone breaking in to get away with all your hard-earned resources.  Dropping the occasional small turret inside can also help create a more secure base.

Upgrade Tools – Upgrade your harvesting tools as soon as possible.  It’ll take less effort to harvest each node, which makes each trip to collect resources that much more efficient.  Upgrades are also critical to harvesting some of the more important early material, like Uranium.

Drones occasionally disable themselves. If you dome across a healthy drone that doesn’t seem to be working, hit Q on it and check the ‘Powered On’ box in the top right.

Start Smart – Initial base location can be important.  Missing resources like carbon and iron can slow down your advancement to second tier, so build your base in range of nodes that can be auto-harvested for passive steel production.  You can run afield for higher-end materials like Uranium later.

Catch ‘em All – There is a random chance on each tick while harvesting to spawn a rare element.  Iron spawns Titanium, for instance.  When that happens, harvest the rare element.  It looks like it disappears if you complete the node before harvesting, and no new ones will spawn while the one is still unharvested.  These uncommon materials are used in advanced manufacturing, so they’re important.

I hope those tips help you get started in Outpost Zero and smooth out that initial learning curve.  There’s still a lot I expect will be added to the game while it’s in early access, and I’m hoping to see another repeat of a certain other successful early access in the same genre.  Based on what we already have, I’m pretty sure that’s a fairly safe hope.  Good luck, robo-settlers!


Red Thomas

A veteran of the US Army, raging geek, and avid gamer, Red Thomas is that cool uncle all the kids in the family like to spend their summers with. Red lives in San Antonio with his wife where he runs his company and works with the city government to promote geek culture.