Sunday, July 24, 2016

Early Access to Subnautica: An Underwater Crafting Survival Game

By: Katlyn Ashe

So you’ve crashed onto an alien planet that’s nothing but ocean. First things first: Don’t panic! The ocean may be scary, but your life pod is equipped with everything you need to survive. All you have to do is gather the materials!

To get started, go exploring. Your life pod should be somewhere in the safe shallows, so you don’t have to worry about enemies right away. Be sure to keep an eye on your oxygen as you explore the area around your pod. Your main goal for this first trip is just to familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Now, if you’re choosing to play in survival mode, you’re also going to need to keep an eye on your food and water levels. But not to worry, there should be fish a plenty around that you can convert to food and water. However, you’ll have an easier time catching them at night, so plan accordingly.

Now, as you explore you’re going to find things such as quartz and scrap metal, as well as various ores inside breakable limestone outcroppings. These can then be used to create tools and materials in your fabricator. However, don’t go overboard gathering supplies. The supply bin on your life pod is small and you can always come back later to get more.

Tools of the Trade

There are a few tools you should focus on getting right off the bat. Most of these items can be made using the basic materials found around the life pod, but a few will require more exploration before you’re able to craft them. First and foremost, you’re going to need a knife and a scanner. You also might want to think about investing in an extra oxygen tank so you can explore further below the surface and some fins to help propel you through the water faster.

To make the knife, you’ll need one piece of titanium and one silicone rubber. The titanium you can find in the limestone outcroppings or fabricate from scrap metal. The silicone rubber can be made using two of the glowing seed clusters from creepvines. Stay alert while gathering the seed clusters, otherwise you might encounter your first aggressive enemy. Stalkers are shark-like fish found in the kelp forests and, as their name suggests, they will stalk and attack you. But not to worry, if you do get bit while gathering materials there is a medical kit fabricator in your life pod that restocks every thirty minutes.

For the scanner, you’ll need two titanium and a battery. To craft the battery, you’ll need a piece of copper ore – found in the limestone outcroppings – and two acid mushrooms which can be found all over the ocean floor. The scanner is probably one of the most important objects you can craft. It allows you to scan the fragments found in various areas. Most of the early fragments appear as rectangular white boxes. However, a few of the fragments, such as the Seamoth fragments, will appear as actual partial fragments of the object itself. Once you scan enough fragments for an object, its blueprint will appear in your PDA and you’ll be able to fabricate it once you’ve gathered the required components.

As for the fins and oxygen tank, you’ll need two pieces of silicone rubber, titanium, and a piece of glass fabricated from two pieces of quartz. Once you have these, you can start exploring in earnest and deciding where you want to build your base! You might also want to think about getting a flashlight, which can be made with a battery and one piece of silicone rubber. Other useful items to have right off the bat are the Seaglide – which you get from fragments – and a welder which will allow you to repair your life pod and your Seamoth.

Home is Where the Base is.

Now you’re ready to build your base! To do that, you need to fabricate the Habitat Builder which requires a computer chip and a battery. To make the computer chip you’ll need two pieces of table coral, which you can cut off the sides of rocks with your knife, a piece of quartz, and a piece of silver ore. The silver ore is found in sandstone outcroppings. I suggest looking in the grassy plateau biome which can be recognized by its mostly flat surface covered with bloodgrass. When building your base, there are a few things to consider. Your first instinct may be to place your base right beneath your life pod so that you can have quick access to your fabricator. However, you can add a new one to your base later and would be better off building where the safe shallows meet a kelp forest and a grassy plateau biome. This will give you access to a wide variety of resources without having to travel too far.

Another thing to consider is how you’re going to power your base. While just starting out, solar panels should be fine. However, once you begin expanding, adding appliances, or if you decide to place you base in a deeper biome, you’ll want to look into building a bioreactor or a nuclear reactor to boost your base’s power as the solar panels only charge during the day. Also, keep an eye on your base’s HP system; if you build too much the structural integrity of your base will fail causing it to fill with water, giving you and your welder an otherwise unnecessary task to take care of. You can avoid this by placing foundation squares under your base and by turning some of your walls into reinforced panels which will add considerable HP to your base.

Speaking of appliances, one of my favorites is the water filtration system which eliminates the need to gather salt and common coral – used to make bleach – in order to have a regular supply of drinking water. This appliance will also give you salt at regular intervals, which can be used to cure fish. Cured foods do not decompose as quickly as regular cooked foods so they can be kept in your pack until you need them, making them perfect for long exploration trips.

Here Fishy Fishy!

You can go fishing whenever you want, however I recommended going at night because the fish are more docile, making the process considerably easier. You can also build an aquarium inside your base, eliminating the need for constant fishing. In order to do this, you need to have a base that is at least two levels high, keeping in mind that the aquarium takes up the entirety of the room, so you will need to build this as an add-on to your actual base. If you place two of the same species in the aquarium, they will breed until there are ten in total. You’ll want to place several different fish inside the aquarium to prevent getting sick from only eating one type. You can also plant a creepvine cluster inside the aquarium for a constant supply of seed clusters without having to fear the stalkers.

I Can Fix It!

The last thing you really need when you first start out is the radiation suit, which allows you to go near the Aurora without being injured by the radiation. You can fix the radiation leaks inside the ship with a welder; however this is not necessary right off the bat. When you do decide to go to the ship and repair the leaks, you’ll need several health kits as the ship is plentiful with enemies. You can build a stasis rifle which will freeze the enemies and allow you to pass, but this isn’t necessary with enough health kits. Once the radiation leaks are fixed you’ll be able to take off your radiation helmet and replace it with a rebreather, allowing you to stay under water for longer periods of time.

Other than that, just have fun exploring the vast biomes that surround your new home. I guarantee your curiosity will never be sated and that new surprises lurk around every cave and underwater mountain. Not only that, but since this is an early release game, there is always something new coming to keep you hooked to your underwater home. Just beware the reaper!!!

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