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Oxygen Not Included: Beginner’s Guide


I love mindless games. They are the perfect thing to just throw on and play for a few hours without taking up a lot of brain power. Which is perfect for after a long day of work. One of the game I would slot into this category is Oxygen Not Included. And yes there is some strategy that has to go into the game in order to build a sustainable colony. Especially when it comes to oxygen, sanity, temperature, and resources. So here is a very basic beginner’s guide on how to set up your colony for success.

Choose Duplicants Wisely

Every duplicate has their own attribute and traits from cooking, medicine, creativity, tinkering, and more. You don’t want to choose all duplicants with the same attributes or that will make tasks hard. But also watch what their traits are as well as their stress response. Some duplicants cannot perform certain tasks or can cause disruptions at night if they are a loud sleeper. As for stress response, you don’t want duplicants who are destructive as you’ll be constantly repairing things or sending them off to relax, so they don’t destroy things. I prefer my duplicants to have a vomiting or ugly crier stress response as then you only need to mop the floor if they get too stressed out and not have a vaulable resource or machine be down.

Duplicants also expect certain levels of decor and taste in food quality, if your colony doesn’t meet the standards of that duplicant their stress level will increase by 10% per cycle. And every time they level up, these two attributes will also increase.

Managing Stress

There are four stress responses that duplicants can have:

  • Binge Eater: Duplicant consumes entire food supply in the colony.
  • Destructive: Duplicant inflicts damage to nearby structures and equipment.
  • Ugly Crier: Duplicant cries and floods colony with water.
  • Vomiter: Duplicant vomits and floods colony with polluted water.

Symptoms of their stress response will start if their stress level reaches 60% and trigger when it reaches 100% so you have some time to react and get them to a stress-reducing areas. Having paintings, sculptures, potted plants, brightly-lit workstations, assigned cots and mess tables, quality food, and plenty of clean oxygen can do wonders in help keeping that stress down.

Managing Resources

Pollution may seem useless and troublesome but it’s honestly the key to sustaining your colony with the use of items like Air Deodorizer, Compost, Fertilizer Maker, and Water Purifier. Also printing duplicants sparingly goes a long way in making sure there is enough resources for everyone. You don’t have to print them when they become available.
Another key thing is review the map for water as it’s the lifeblood of the colony. If there’s not enough water, you won’t make it. So choose or restart with a different map.

Food is extremely important in your colony. Duplicants need a steady supply of calories to keep running around like headless chickens. Duplicants will burn about 1,000 kilocalories (kcal) per day, 1,500 if they have the Bottomless Stomach trait. You start with 20,000 calories worth of rations, but you’ll need to supplement this before long. Usually excavating nearby chambers will provide the colony with Muckroots, Meal Lice, and Bristle Berry.

Food should be your priority for now as you will start with only 20 field rations in your ration box and each Duplicant will eat 1 per day. You can gather a few Muckroot and Meal Lice growing wild around your base, but they are not a sustainable and are only a supplemental food source for now. Build a Microbe Musher, a Manual Generator, and a Tiny Battery to start producing Mush Bars, otherwise your colony will starve in a few days. It is also a good idea to build a Wash Basin at the entrance(s) to your food generation/preparation area to avoid contaminating food with Food Poisoning Germs. These are unlikely to be infectious for the first several cycles, but it’s better to be safe, as illness can be hard to stop after an outbreak starts. Once you unlock the Planter Box (first item on Food branch of the Research tree), you will be able to grow your own Mealwood plants and make steady supply of Liceloaf with it. Note that Mealwood still produces Meal Lice fairly slowly in Planter Boxes, so you will want to unlock Farm Tiles (which halves growth periods) through the Meal Prep (post-OU) research item soon.

Managing Gases

There are several types of gases and like in real life they have different weights. From lightest to heaviest is Hydrogen, Helium, Polluted Oxygen, Oxygen, Natural Gas, Chlorine, and Carbon Dioxide.

Allow gas to travel freely by placing Pneumatic Doors throughout your colony. This prevents unbreathable gas from getting trapped in parts of your colony and makes gas management easier.

Maintaining a Steady Workflow

Use the Prioritization command on the bottom right-hand corner to signal which tasks are the most important. In the top right-hand corner, you can select JOBS and manage each Dupe’s tasks. Make sure they’re assigned to tasks they’re good at while also keeping in mind they should play a part in keeping things running smoothly. High priority tasks can include Manual Generators, Microbe Mushers, resource delivery, and any sudden accidents that might occur.

All tasks are set to a priority of 5 by default but Prioritization begins with the lowest being 1 and the highest being 9.

A Dupes primary job will always be their highest leveled skill. And you can wake up Narcoleptic Duplicates by clicking on them and using the Move To command.

The first few days of a colony shouldn’t be too stressful. With a supply of Rations, blocks of Oxylite, and easily accessible food, its hard to die early on. But mismanagement early on can make later days much harder, and cause your Colony to go kaput sooner than you’d like.


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