Author Topic: Returning to Outpost 1.5  (Read 594 times)

Offline Terrapin

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Returning to Outpost 1.5
« on: July 20, 2016, 07:41:45 PM »
Hello Everyone

A couple thoughts on returning to this little treasure. Outpost 1 is not self explanatory so thanks to the many contributors here.

Some very helpful threads:

Strategy Notes,4105.0.html
Nanotech Family Tree,3486.0.html
How to Start a Secondary Colony,4143.0.html

First things first, getting the game running. My copy of Outpost was entombed in a blue CD I created in the 90s like some ancient manuscript containing forgotten lore. Thankfully it still worked. It's an iso image so I copy all of the files into my Dosbox folder, mount it, and run Windows 3.1, which works like a dream in Dosbox, but the setup didn't transfer files into the new directory so I had to copy and paste everything. I'm not a techie so learning how to do all this was a painful effort. Anyway, after I did that all of the animations and sounds popped up and I felt like I was reliving my childhood.

This game is very sensitive to initial conditions, i.e. it's game over if you don't make the right initial steps, so thanks for the above links for getting me started. Forgetting how to play was a problem, haha, but after replaying a few times I really got the hang of it. Now that I've had a bit of experience I can give a few helpful hints in the guide below:

There seems to be four distinct phases of the game - preparation, opening, midgame, and endgame. Start out on beginning difficulty for the first few attempts. Easy mode is a actually difficult without a little experience in resource management, and for heaven's sake do not turn off automatic trucking - you will regret it. The game is notoriously buggy, e.g. orders will disappear, but the 1.5 version doesn't seem to be as bad as the initial release was reported to be. Outpost is an enjoyable game even though it is quite dated, only because of the theme and it features a realistic simulation of problems one might encounter actually colonizing another world. It's also challenging to manage the resources and a good pace of construction.

In the beginning you must select which star system to travel to and pack for the journey. A few of them do not have any suitable planets. Now I remember that the Sun is a G-type star, so I settled on one (82 eridani I think). Now how does one pack for moving to a new planet? Three groups of colonists (labor shortage is a pain), a reactor (it's ok for beginner/easy) and the fusion resources build up in your tanks anyway, a comm satellite so you don't have to build towers, interstellar probe, geological probe for mine sites. It doesn't seem to matter how much food you pack; you will run out as soon as you hit the ground. Follow the sequence to launch and land your probes and colony. Once you arrive at the planet you must select a site. The ideal site has lots of flat land in the middle so the dozers don't take forever, and so all of the mines are close to the smelter. Simply plant the seed colony pod on the square where you want to start.

As soon as your seed colony lands you must set about creating your colony. Layout must be done methodically because like I said the initial conditions affect the pace of the game to follow and your ultimate success in building a sustainable colony. If not done correctly you will end up in a stalemate or everyone will die. Clearing space, digging a shaft, and mining are the first things you are able to do. If you selected flat ground, the dozers only take one turn. Now start connecting tubes radiating out from the seed pod. Buildings must be connected to the tubes, which must directly connect to every other building. I chose parallel lines of tubes double spaced, but your layout choice is your own choice. Your colonists need to breathe and eat so the CHAP and two agridomes must go up if you don't want everyone to keel over and kick the bucket. Two or three mines is enough in the beginning, but build two storage tanks at first so the smelters have somewhere to put the refined minerals. Build more later. Getting extra robots in your toolkit is most useful, so you will need a warehouse and robot command. Set the seed factory to make dozers, and later, extra miners and diggers. Once underground, doze and build residences so your morale doesn't tank. Residences will also produce babies. Don't build too many too quickly. Some useful support buildings are recreation and police so the residencies don't turn into red light districts. It also helps to keep up morale to avoid that fate. Build a SPEW so you can take advantage of recycling and you can use the MPG stored in them as resources. Check the command center and population breakdown to make sure you have enough unemployed workers, and check the smelter and storage tanks to make sure you have resources flowing, before expanding your base. Though the accounts of everything seem a little buggy.

Once everything is setup you are in the midgame. The object of the midgame is to achieve a sustainable colony and then build laboratories and research your way to an Outpost utopia. Steadily expand your residencies so your occupancy stays under 300%, build more robot command, agridome, factories, mines, and storage tanks as needed. Only build what you need. This is an outpost after all and resources are very limited. If you overextend yourself, buildings will cease to function, you will not be able to build, and you will have to bulldoze to conserve resources. If you maintain a surplus of labor and prec minerals then go ahead and build laboratories. Research will lead to specific building upgrades and improvements. The sequence of research is very important so don't waste time on the incidentals. The first priority with research is to make a mad dash to nanotechnology. Follow the research tree provided in the link above. Once you build a nanotech facility and all of the hot lab research topics are green you have reached valhalla - infinite resources and food. It takes a real master to accomplish this quickly, so be mindful of a few other tasks. Robots don't last forever. Their fuel cells last 200 turns. You can combat this by either continually producing them or researching rebairbots and making fuel cells. The repairbot research upgrade is under computer science>artificial intelligence>robotics 1, and you will also need to research robotics 2 under electrical engineering in physics. Humanoid workers are also a nice touch especially if you are short on adults. The alien virus cure is nice, which you might run into in harder modes and the research tree is under medicine>pharmacology>alien pharmacology. Once those research priorities are taken care of, feel free to upgrade whatever you like. The efficiency studies are nice and will give you new buildings. If you don't get nanotech quickly, then the geology upgrades will help you with mining. Mines only last 100 turns per level, so watch out for the white specks on the minimap. The physics upgrades will lead you to the endgame, the final goal of which is to build a spaceport and leave your colony.

The endgame has one goal - leaving and ending the game. That of course is optional. By 500 turns you should have thousands of colonists, an underground system that is several squares on each side and several levels down. Terraforming doesn't seem to do anything, but it is a nice touch. Building a spaceport will activate the launch button on the AI menu, and doing so will end the game. Or you can continue expanding and building. The last link above is about building a second colony on the site, which I have not been successful with yet.

Anyway, I hope all of this wasn't confusing. I probably forgot a few steps also, which is why I recommend getting help from many sources with this game. Cheers to those who understood and benefited from my little rant, or else to those who came before me and figured this all out.


Offline Hooman

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Re: Returning to Outpost 1.5
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2016, 08:09:53 PM »
Nice write up. And quite extensive too, particularly considering it's only your second post.

Offline leeor_net

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Re: Returning to Outpost 1.5
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2016, 01:32:02 PM »
Would like to point out again this downloadable package Leviathan and I put together. Already has DOSBox, Windows and Outpost preconfigured:,5788.0.html

Anyway, beyond that, nice writeup!