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Survival mode tips and tricks guide :) - By CommanderHerpDerp <Mod> (From Steam forums)

Discussion in 'Survival' started by CommanderHerpDerp, Mar 14, 2014.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. CommanderHerpDerp Trainee Engineer

    As most of you will now know... Survival mode is now out... and as some of you will now know, survival mode is not very forgiving.

    This is intentional, as space engineers is a game about engineering in space, as the game title suggests, and space is the most brutal of all environs found in the known universe, Space travel is the most dangerous and unforgiving of all areas of engineering/mechanics, as the loading screen quote says.

    Because a few people have been finding survival mode very unforgiving, and because i have been lucky enough to test it for a while now, I thought i'd share some of the tips and tricks i've picked up along the way, apologies if this is common knowledge to some people, to some it may not be :)

    1: Uranium is your friend...
    ALWAYS keep some refined uranium spare in a container somewhere, there will come a time when your reactors run dry, and you have no power to refine any more uranium, and you're left waiting to die whilst drifting into oblivion. A reserve of refined uranium means you'll always have enough power to refine more, and charge your suit up in emergencies.

    Also be sure to find and collect uranium as soon as possble in all scenarios, it spawns randomly on all asteroids, and is a very deep black in color.

    2: Thrusters don't need to be on for you to move.
    Some of the survival scenarios have limited uranium supplys in the starting ship, so be sure to turn inertia dampeners off (Z) to conserve fuel whilst moving between asteroids. You can also do the same for the jetpack.

    3: Drilling
    Whilst using the hand drill, be sure to hold down T whilst drilling to ensure you collect rocks as soon as they spawn. Alternatively, use a gravity generator to create a gravity field to make rocks collect at your feet whilst drilling.

    4: Scrap is good
    As some people might know, there are some scenarios where you need to grind down parts of your ship to make stuff. Especially on the crashed ship scenario. Once you have ground down enough parts to make an assembler, grind down something like a large thruster (will take several trips to and from the assembler) and use the assembler to DISASSEMBLE the parts, this will give you alot of pieces to start constructing parts for a refinery. Also never throw parts away, always store them, or disassemble them back to base components.

    5: Watch how you grind...
    When grinding something, be sure to watch the indicator on the right hand side of the screen. If the amounts of parts in the thing you are grinding stops going down, and the percentage complete of the thing is going down, STOP grinding, your inventory is full. If you carry one grinding, all parts stored in the block will be released as loose parts onto the ground.

    If this happens, one of three things will happen;

    1: The parts will be so massive (especially in large objects like thrusters/reactors) and they will be thrown through your ship at high velocity by gravity, tearing a very large and messy hole through your ship until they hit space or asteroid.

    2: The objects will be thrown onto the floor, and either despawn as you've reached your floating object limit, or you'll just forget about them.

    3. They'll just plop onto the floor and you'll have to pick them all up by hand which is annoying...

    6: Working together is fun and rewarding

    Try out survival multiplayer with friends, share jobs and complete them in much faster time, welding, griding, drilling and processing is alot for one person to do on their own, but with more people online, you can each do different things for 1 goal and do it much faster, with the added benefit of having friends to talk to and interact with whilst doing it.

    7: Life support

    In survival, the game requires you to have enough power in your suit to power your life support systems, this requires you to charge your suit at either a cockpit (large or small) or by going to the terminal at a med-bay and holding T. This does require the cockpit/med bays to be attached to a ship which is powered, so this goes back to point 1 of always having power and spare uranium to use in case of emergencies.

    8: Beacons!

    Beacons are life savers... Space can be very dis-orientating, and its very very easy to get lost in an asteroid, or just in 3D open space.

    Be sure to place a beacon on your ship as soon as possible to ensure you can always find your way back to it. But beware, on MP servers, if you can find your ship, that means others can too!

    Okay, so thats most of the things i've picked up, i'll be sure to add to this list whenever I find something else thats worth mentioning.

    Also be sure to leave your own comments with tips and i'll be sure to add them in if I think people will find them helpful :)

    Survival is fun, and the developers have put ALOT of work into it, so hopefully i have done them justice by providing you with some ideas to make your survival experience more enjoyable and rewarding :)

    Good luck and have fun engineers!

    - CommanderHerpDerp
    • Friendly Friendly x 1
  2. Valdemar |FIN| Junior Engineer

    Add this tip to the list: once you have the basics going, consider another refinery just for the uranium. Since uranium is depleted rather slowly, you can put a bunch of uranium ore cooking into it, and you still have a free refinery for your crafting needs. And it will take a long while until the uranium refinery empties itself (at the current rate), so you can stop worrying about your fuel problems for a while.
  3. pmcd124 Trainee Engineer

    Just playing today, uranium is a bit hard to find

    this is fun though!
  4. ShaggyAMT Apprentice Engineer

    I will add that you should build a micro container-ship with ore detectors using small ship blocks. The ore detector has a bigger range than the drill and having mobile containers helps you get large amounts of ore from a location before returning to the refinery.
  5. Bullfrog Trainee Engineer

    First mining ship is a must. After that just keep adding on to it. Iron ore builds just about everything
  6. TheLightLOD Trainee Engineer

    Ore detector is pretty usefull yeah, so is a container and a small ship drill.

    My ship building sequence went like:
    -Firstly a mobile container, it doesn't need a beacon you just park it right next to where you're working. This one is both usefull to ferry materials to a construction site as to transporting or storing ore/components/ingots.
    -Secondly a very basic small ship miner to help you collect ore 10-100 times faster, alternatively you could built this one first so resource gathering gets a nice eco boost early.
    -Thirdly a beacon small ship, as in literally a cabin with landing gear a reactor and a beacon. This could be an efficient recharge station/beacon hybrid for all players in your base, well assuming everyone can enter any cockpit at least :p

    Oh and before i forget, my miner is a cockpit with a drill and just enough thrusters to move which i clamp with the landing gear so it doesn't vibrate too much or i go full throttle to create a tunnel as that works also.
  7. Bullfrog Trainee Engineer

    I upgraded my miner to a vast array of 4 rows of 3 miners each. With a large reactor(which took forever) this beast brings home a ton of ore and uses very little energy
  8. McHendrik Apprentice Engineer

    A couple tips:

    If you (like me) crank your total objects up pretty high (1000 for me), and want to "get rid of" stone and stuff that has dropped off to infinity (because how else do you get rid of it?) you can do so by changing your game settings to a few objects, load, create a few boulders where you can see them, save, and then go back to high counts and pick up those objects again. Since objects are deleted FIFO, this deletes all the far-off objects falling through space, but lets you continue to run high object counts for mining by hand, etc. This assumes you don't want to keep anything else that's floating around, of course.

    I also found it helpful when I was running 100-200 objects to create a large boulder at the bottom of a mine (bottom due to a grav gen nearby) and to mine like mad until that boulder disappeared. That was my cue that I had mined the max number of objects. I'd then go pick them all up, put them in a container, make another notable boulder, rinse, repeat. This can help a lot with mass mining efforts until you get your first few grinders going.

    Of course, if you're going to do the save/load/save/load routine to get rid of far-flying objects you could also just delete them from the save file, I suppose. But that's "cheating". /grin
  9. Aurenian Apprentice Engineer

    One good tip is to learn how much fuel you need to keep going. Once you get going put a single bar of uranium in your ship and see how much running time you get.
    That way you have a good idea of how much fuel you need to be collecting to keep afloat.
  10. Vermillion Senior Engineer

    Now that the latest update is out, I'm allowed to talk about it.

    Decoupleable Blocks:
    There were a lot of suggestions for explosive bolts, now we have them in a sense. By pointing a small thruster at a "joint" in a ship, but leaving the thruster turned off until needed, you can now seperate ships into different parts.
  11. TheLightLOD Trainee Engineer

    @ Vermillion, that's an interesting concept, now i can make an emergency eject cockpit :D
    Was planning to do so on my Shuttle, but earlier game limitations prevented that...
  12. Mad Mike Apprentice Engineer

    Solar powered cargo tug , with dampeners off, is what I used for a while for hand mining.
    6 thrusters, cockpit, gyro, ore detector a beacon and 2 small solar panels. Then slap a medium container on the back...
    Very useful on x1 means you can stay out till your full.
    Have not tried it with a grav module yet, might work if you add a leg and anchor, then turn off all but gravity.
  13. McHendrik Apprentice Engineer

    I approached this differently. I particularly like having bright lights beamed into the hole from above. So I leave a ship with the grav gen and a few bright spotlights up above me, with a storage container right out in front. Once my pack is full I jet up and empty into the container.

    At one time I had a refinery door next to the storage container too. For some ores that refine fairly quickly (Fe, Au) this extended my available space a lot more, by compressing them into ingots almost as fast as I could mine.

    I took that ship apart once I had a good system going with small ship drills, but after the last patch, big drill ships aren't working right. I may have to go back to mining by hand or at least picking up the boulders from the big drills by hand. In that case I may dust off this concept large ship again, at least for a while.
  14. wasteland.soldier Trainee Engineer

    Great thread. A couple thoughts to add...

    Maximizing travel efficiency (especially important in early game)
    The most energy/uranium efficient way to travel (especially long distances) is to go by jetpack. Burn up to 104 in the direction you like, and hit X to turn off your jetpack completely (if in a ship, hit Y to turn off the reactor). This consumes even less energy than just turning off inertial dampeners. If you need to make minor course adjustments, just press Z to turn off inertial dampeners, and THEN hit X (or Y in a ship) to turn your pack back on. You can now make adjustments, and either return to a power off state, or press Z again to stop.

    Don't Crash!
    Inertia dampeners will always (jetpack or ship) stop you faster than trying to move backward. Just release the controls completely to achieve maximum deceleration.

    Get a mining ship ASAP
    In games with many people, you won't be able to hand drill effectively, as the item limit will keep smacking your ore globes in the face before they spawn. This means you need to build yourself a small mining ship with at least one drill as soon as possible, to avoid going uranium-dry.
  15. Alek10 Apprentice Engineer

    Another great tip if you want to save time and material, you can create a small ship, consisting of 1 landing, then 2 light armor blocks, on the first one you place a beacon and the other a small reactor.. Make sure to start building the small ship the place where you want a beacon. The beacon will have its own power supply and dosn't need as much material as a large on. You can also put a solar panel on, but that will just need more space.
  16. Valdemar |FIN| Junior Engineer

    This one is obvious but...
    If you want quick upgrade to your pathetic rescue ship, consider enabling cargo ships in world settings. But beware! Most of the ships have warheads and internal engines hidden inside the walls, so enabling dampeners equals boom if you didn't check the ship carefully.
  17. RavynKnight Apprentice Engineer

    One thing that i have found that makes grinding/welding a LITTLE less tedious is what i call the flop switch method (I literally just came up with that name so if anyone else can think of a more whittier name for it please suggest it ;))

    Basically when you are ready to start welding a rather large set of armor blocks (heavy armor especially) get a full load of steel plates with your welder.. then just hold down the mouse button or LftCtrl button depending on how you weld and quickly rake your welder across a line of blocks until you see the red letters saying you don't have enough plates on you anymore.. then back track and start welding on the first block you started on.. weld until it "flops" to the next visual stage of construction then move to the next block that has a full steel plate count.. weld until it "flops" then "switch" to the next block.. do this up and down until all the blocks that you emptied your inventory into are done.. then repeat for the next full load of plates..

    same thing with the grinder only in reverse.. grind a select group of blocks down switching to the next block every time the visual "flops" to the next visual then "switch" to the next block.. when your inventory gets full or your suit needs energy.. dump off your plates and recharge..

    here are a couple of animated gifs that i made of a military mine layer i captured unscathed and stripped everything but the armor blocks and grinded it down.. every time i needed to recharge my suit i took a screen shot.. as you can see i have another hulk of concentrated steel plates of a second mine layer that i am going to save for later because the first one took so long to grind down that i need to set the grinder down for a while lol but these images kind of illustrates what it is i'm talking about..

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    this is how i grind/weld in the game.. it takes the monotony of having to weld 130+ plates for heavy armor and keeps the whole build feeling like its going somewhere quicker..
  18. Teravisor Apprentice Engineer

    You can make sloped medium armor. Yes, medium.
    By mixing heavy and light armor slope you use a little bit more than half resources(meaning half weight), a little bit more than half time to make(a double welding speed compared to heavy!).
    Defense is between light armor and heavy armor. Basically all parameters are between light armor and heavy armor - thus it's medium armor.
    Limitation: only sloped armor, very tricky on corners.
    And a screenshot how that armor looks from side

    * From heavy armor side it is smallship smallthruster-proof.
    * Has better defense from weaponry from light armor side(per tests in 01.023 version of game)

    P.S. learn to engineer, not beg! We do have medium armor!
  19. Bental Trainee Engineer

    I built a reclaim ship. When I notice a cargo ship coming close, I get into my large sized ship containing just a big container a some rows of landing gears. I fly over to the other ship, clamp it, use my own dampeners to stabilize it and strip it there. If you have a container right next to where you are working and somewhere to recharge very close by, it halves your working time.
    Also, for things containing high part counts, like large thrusters and gyros, I grind them to 5%. Unload, click the briefly and my inventory is instantly full again.
  20. PLPM Junior Engineer

    I´ve seen things like medium armor and "faster" welding in this post... but you guys, have you heard of using catwalks and the tilted windows in interiors? it can mean up to the double in space efficiency, and that´s not even counting you use less than a fifth in resources against a normal armor block and the weight is just about the half of a full armor block and etc, etc. you can make tiny sized vessels BEASTS comparing weight and size against functionality.

    you guys should try it!

  21. eyedentify Trainee Engineer

    I would like to give my experience in building a somewhat controlable mining ship.
    1. Have enough reactor power so that your thrusters can work at full capacity without ever making power use go into RED figures.
    This is key, i was not doing this as a noobie, and my ship was flangling wildly and was hard to controll, after doing some experimenting
    i came up with this rules of thumb and it makes mining ship construction so much more enjoyable. Know i can actually controll the mining ship.
    The rest is up to piloting skills :)
    2. This is only my humble opinon, might not be to everyones taste. But have atleast 3 blocks for seperation between drills and also 2 thrusters in each direction you want to be able to control movement.
    3. allways have Ore detector on both mining ship, transport ship, shuttle. Makes surveying so much easier.
    Hope it helps. But point 1 is the one with most real use application.
    Good luck fellow miners out there in space, and remember in space no one can here you cry after you drop a boulder on your toes... :)
  22. Bobylein Apprentice Engineer

  23. Bendy237 Trainee Engineer

    Thanks for the tips guys great thread. FYI when you take control of cargo ships I haven't run into any booby traps. But I have noticed you can overload the reactors by trying to stop a ship too big with inertia dampeners. Sometimes its fatal sometimes not. Good luck and happy building
  24. Lysanderize Trainee Engineer

    Reactors can't overload and make damage, it's because of the explosion of warheads that are "activated" when you switch on the inertia dampeners
  25. Zourin Apprentice Engineer

    Some of the best ideas starting out I've found:

    1: Basic Miner ship, build it, armor the fenders. Don't forget to connect everything via conveyors. Even if you don't add additional storage containers, you want to at least want 1-2 connectors to 'dump' ore, which will be important for your first station.

    2: Get a Collector+Refinery pair running, and attach Connectors to a mining ship. Rule #2: Avoid having to move everything yourself. The first 'new station' I build is a collector, a large station container, and (up to three) refineries directly attached to the container. I build a 'landing platform' around the collector for my mining ship to park and unload. I later route it to a pair of assemblers. Refineries process very slowly, so having as many as realistically possible will speed things up considerably. I also installed a connector to 'eject' unwanted stone supplies taking up space.

    3: Build a 'Breakdown" facility. The fastest way to resources is by grinding ships down and recycling parts. The problem with this is your paltry inventory space (and I'm playing on '1x'). Rule #2 again. Don't move sh*t by yourself. Build a bin in a gravity well that you can (tow) your starter ship/wreck over and grind it down. Have collectors at the bottom routed to a large container and an assembler for recycling. Just grind the ship down and let the parts fall into the collectors. The larger the facility, the more 'salvage' you can wedge into it, and the less towing of limbs you'll need to do later (So balance your needs vs your available resources appropriately). Consider chopping up and towing large chunks of spacecraft to 'decomission' big ships bit by bit.

    4: Build a cargo transport and design a ship docking interface that allows for item transfers (likely in zero-g). Use landing gears as 'clamps' on the ship (it doesn't work so well station-side, unless you like de-clamping all ships simultaneously). Congratulations, you can now logistically connect stations!

    Also, learn how to control your gravity generator. One of the first things I do is halve the range, bring the height down to 15, and the acceleration down to around .3 (This makes the area 'safer' and more or less optimizes power drain). You can create 'elevators' by having a 0 depth, 0 width, X Height gravity generator that is set to -.6. Actually, this generates TWO elevators (One above, one below the generator). Happy designing!

    Rule #1: Don't Die.
  26. Aurenian Apprentice Engineer

    Don't forget to turn connectors off when you've finished dropping stuff into storage.

    I can't count the number of times I've spaced ore or components because of this :p
  27. JTMC93 Apprentice Engineer

    If they are on a Station you can make sure there is a collector in a funnel below the connector to catch anything excess. I do this with my ammo resupply dropper.
  28. Parasite Trainee Engineer

    If you're playing with Cargo ships enabled.
    Acquire a Private Sail or Business Shipment early on, the Solar panels on either of these vessels will provide enough power to run a dedicated medical bay in case a uranium shortage, the Latter also include an assembler.
  29. Namdoolb Apprentice Engineer

    The private sail should also convert pretty nicely into a mining ship now that we have the big ship drills.

    The solar panels gotta go (but you're doing that anyway), besides that all you really need to do is relocate the front thruster.
    Build a drill on the front, fit an ore detector and a connector (optional but advised), and you're good to go.
  30. ndwar Apprentice Engineer

    A really good, quick and dirty hint that nearly everyone I play with goes "That is a great idea!" That only really works if you decide to start with just the starter ship. The new starter ship comes with a collector attached directly to the refinery, and a gravity generator.

    To begin with turn the gravity generator off, as well as most of the non essential flight systems. Pick an asteroid and get there.

    Next, climb out and modify your starter ship. Just cut into it and get as much sheet metal as you can without destroying the ship. You want a funnel built around the collector, angled slopes and inverted slopes being the obvious choice for a nice 9 ring of blocks to begin with.

    Now park under some Uranium as your first ore, and configure the gravity generator for maximum height, minimal width and length so that it covers the collector and the ore you are about to mine, and mine away. The ore falls off straight into the collector and into the refinery, giving you unlimited energy for now.

    Next, build an ore detector. I usually go straight onto the starter ship for convenience more then anything, as this is a mobile working platform to work underneath. I have seen some people try and build a mining ship straight away and honestly, who am I to say you are doing it wrong. Finding some of the materials with your pathetic hand miner can be infuriating, however acquiring enough Platinum for a large ore detector can be just as bad.

    And now you have all the tools you need to start work on a base, big ship, or just advance your starter ship. If you went with ore detector on the starter ship you can now attach large drills around the collector for a better mining base. I seriously suggest on 1x1x1 settings to start work on a refinery as soon as possible. At the moment I have 8 in a base and we are seriously thinking of advancing how many we have. Then more assemblers, etc etc.

    My very last tip. ENSURE everything is hooked up by a strong conveyor system. Large pipes for items and small pipes for ore. On large ships/stations this doesn't matter, but for small ships double check where you want items going.
    The reactor should be hooked up to the conveyor system using small piping, as it takes Uranium not items. Grinders/welders all want to be hooked up using large piping as items travel through these. Connectors are used for items, but Ejectors can be used for ore and 9 Ejectors in place of one Connector is a lot faster.
    Large piping need a middle ground as well, large doors will not hook up to small pipes and vice versa. The Large Conveyor block is built with the new interface for this very reason, giving up to 6 small outlet pipes as well as allowing larger items to course through the system.
    For my mining vessel output I have all the small drills hook into a large cargo container. From this I have a connector attached at the base of my ship, and from the connector I have 9 small ejectors. I built it like this mostly because it was always going to become a multi tool, however because the connector has small doors on all 4 sides, I could attach the system like this and it is just as effective if I had place a large conveyor before the ejection system.

    Edit: For a quick hint it quickly became a wall of text!
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