Author Topic: Strategy Notes  (Read 9187 times)

Offline miqrogroove

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Strategy Notes
« on: November 27, 2007, 01:06:25 PM »
Hello Outpost fans :)  This is my first message, so I want to thank you for making Outpost 1 available for download.  I looked everywhere for my original CD and it is simply lost forever.

After just a few rounds of Outposting, I've noticed a lot of quirks and things that are never mentioned in the official strategy guide.  I'll use this thread to share my tricks with everyone.  We can call it Rob's Strategy Guide.  :)  But feel free to ask questions or fill in any gaps.

Beginner mode is good for learning the game and the different types of buildings.  You will have limited or no problems with resources as long as you establish a mine, feed the colonists, and produce air and power for the buildings.

Easy mode is a crash course in resource scarcity.  You may be raking in 100 smelted resources per turn, but if only one of them is PrecA or PrecB then you're in trouble.  According to the manual, each mine produces resources at a constant ratio, which is 1 per turn for some categories, and 2 per turn for others.

Medium mode enables certain realistic failures.  Hotlabs and Nanotech buildings are going to explode for no apparent reason.  You get a meteor shower alert, followed by an Earthquake, volcanic eruption, wind storm, electrical storm, and a solar flare.  With a DIRT up and running, none of these storms will have any effect on the colony.  You'll also lose a robot once in a while due to accidentally slipping off a cliff or being crushed by falling rocks.

Hard mode.. I haven't played this yet.

The ULBI Probe doesn't seem to do anything.  It is distinct from the VLBI Probe, which you get automatically anyway.  The Interstellar Probe is the one you must have on board so that you can see stats for the planets in the solar system before choosing a planet to land on.

One Solar Power Receiver seems to be more than adequate for all the power needs of a small to medium-sized colony.  I've never needed more than one.

One Geological Penetrator is all you ever can make use of, so only pack one.

As mentioned elsewhere on the forums, you never need more than 3 Cargo or Colonist Landers.  If you pack more, they will simply be stolen by the rebels.

Buildings, Tubes, and Shafts
There's a major problem you will run into if you plan the colony like a checkerboard.  Outpost allows you to conduct air, power, and other supplies through tubes and through buildings.  So long as everything is touching and connected, the buildings will work fine, right?  Nope!  Any time you place a building in between two Tubes, so that the air and supplies have to travel through the building to get to their destination, Outpost limits the range of those resources.  I suspect this is some sort of hard-coded iteration limit.

Knowing three things will help you avoid this problem.  #1 Surface Air Shafts are not Tubes!  They are treated like buildings and will limit the size of your colony if placed between your CHAP, Power, or other structures.  #2 Resources channeled through a building will not travel through more than three Tubes beyond the building.  Anything connected to a fourth Tube will fail to receive power unless there is an alternative Tube route.  #3 You can't build new Tubes until your colonists have landed, which means you can't dig anywhere other than the four tiles provided by the seed factory.  However, if you are willing to wait several extra turns for the morale to recover, you can start digging after the colonists have landed.

More about Tubes and Shafts:
  • Tubes never use resources, so add them generously.
  • Left and Right Tubes have obvious limitations and no advantage whatsoever.  I always use Tube Intersections.
  • Buildings that require Tubes despite their appearance: Robot Command, Solar Receiver Array, Storage Tanks
  • Buildings that do not require Tubes: Landers, Roads, Smelters
  • You need at least two air shafts if you want to start underground construction while digging to the next level.
  • According to the manual, you should be able to build 30 tiles away from the Command building.  This probably means 30 tiles in each cardinal direction, or 15 tiles diagonally.
Seed Factory
The first few moves can be very critical.  However, sacrificing short term-gains for long-term improvements is rewarding.  For example, it is tempting to use the RoboDigger on the first turn to prepare a site for UG Residential structures.  But there is a high cost for doing it that way.  On the first turn, RoboDigger can only be used adjacent to one of the seed factory's Tube Intersections.  The end result is a Surface Air Shaft stuck smack in the middle of your colony's Tube infrastructure.

The strategy I've used successfully is:
  • Doze around the factory area and do not dig in the first 10 turns.  On one side of the factory area, doze only one tile.
  • Set the factory to make Diggers as soon as the factory building is finished.
  • Land the colonists as soon as the Command building is finished.
  • Build Tube Intersections next to all four of the original Tubes.
  • Dig next to the new Tube on the side of the factory that wasn't fully dozed.
  • If you want to prepare your underground level as soon as possible, then remember to build a Robot Command and a Warehouse as soon as the colonists land.  You will be able to start digging the second air shaft one turn after the Warehouse is finished.
All of the seed factory buildings are magical in that they do not require any resources, ever!  The only building I would doze is the seed factory lander, which needs to be replaced with a Tube Intersection before turn 150.  The other buildings provide free services and redundancy over the course of their lifetime.

There are four important things to know about placing landers around the seed factory.  #1 Landers can be placed on any terrain.  Do not waste dozed tiles on them.  #2 Landers do not use Tube connections.  Do not waste your precious few Tubes on them.  #3 Landers have to be placed close to the Command building.  #4 Landers don't do anything after they land; they just take up space.  With those four things in mind, you will probably figure out that it is most efficient to place landers as far to the North-East of seed factory as possible.  You are limited to a distance of 5 tiles from the Command building, so you can place the Landers in a diagonal line from 4 North, 1 East to 1 North, 4 East.

On Beginner difficulty, you will find that just one or two operational mines will magically fulfill the resource requirements of the entire colony, with a massive surplus.

On the Easy setting, you need to do some careful site planning.  The limiting resources tend to be PrecA and PrecB.  PrecA is required to keep your Disaster (DIRT) building operational.  PrecB is required to keep your UG Medical building operational.  UG Laboratories use both PrecA and PrecB.

In my experience, it is necessary to have two mines in continuous operation just to keep the DIRT and other basic buildings running smoothly.  For each Laboratory I want to build, I plan on adding at least one mine.

In Outpost 1.5, mines work much differently from the way I remember in the original version.  It is still very quirky, but here are the basics for version 1.5:
  • Each mine level produces 15 units of raw ore per turn.
  • Mines always produce at least 30 units per turn below the first level.
  • A mine left alone will produce ore continuously for about 100 turns and then change to "Mined Out" status.
  • You can dig a new level at any time.
  • Digging a new level magically resets the "Mined Out" timer to 100 turns.
  • Mines produce ZERO raw ore while being expanded to a lower level.
The strategy needed to adapt to these quirks can be quite strange.  To make the most of each mine, you want to dig a single level and then leave it alone for about 100 turns.  If you were to dig a mine all the way down to Level 4 as quickly as possible, then the mine would produce 60 units of ore per turn, but it would be completely depleted after 100 turns.  If you dig progressively, then you get increasing output over the course of 400 turns.

I don't recall this feature being available in the original version at all.  However, it works, barely, in version 1.5, and here are the tricks I know so far:
  • If you've disabled automatic trucking, then you must create a truck route for each new mine.
  • Creating a route while the mine is under construction causes strange things to happen.  Very buggy.  Try to remember to wait until the mine is finished.
  • Using the Delete Leg button causes strange things to happen.  Very buggy.  Use the Delete Route button instead, and start from scratch each time.
  • Truck assignment is extremely buggy, e.g. you can assign unlimited trucks by repeatedly opening the dialog.  If this bothers you, use automatic trucking.
  • Routes are created at the starting point.  So, right click on a finished mine and choose Transit > Routing.
  • Your first few mines will not have any roads nearby, so all you have to do is click Add Leg, then click on the Smelter building.
  • When you've created a dozed or paved road, then click Add Leg, click on the first intersection, then repeat until you get all the way to the Smelter building.
  • The number of ores stored at the mine should slow or decrease.  Nothing else will seem to happen until the truck reaches the smelter, which is several turns depending on the length of the route and the terrain.
  • If the trucking capacity for a mine seems inadequate (ore units are accumulating) then assign more trucks or make a road.
  • To pave a road, you will need to build a new factory, a warehouse, and 2 units of road material per tile.
  • Each road tile requires 6 workers during construction, and there are no limitations on tile placement, so you have to be careful not to pave too much at one time.
  • Remember to update all of the routes if you add or replace a smelter.
There is only one inherent disadvantage to automatic trucking that I am aware of.  When a mine shuts down because it is "Mined Out", if there is any ore in storage at the mine it will not be moved to the smelter.  Despite that, there are huge advantages.  With automatic trucking you never have to build Trucks or roads, ever.  Mine routine is still affected by the terrain and distance to the smelter, but it is soo much easier to not be messing with it all the time.

The seed factory's smelter is more than adequate for all of your colony's needs until turn 150.  If you are having a resource or supply-chain problem early in the game don't bother building a smelter, it will probably make your problem worse!  The only reason you would need more than one smelter is if you see units of raw ore accumulating at the smelter building while there is spare capacity in your storage tanks.  However, it is still very unlikely that you are having a refinery shortage.  It is more likely that you are mining ore at an unreasonably high rate and would not need the extra capacity even if you had it.

As a rule of thumb, it will take more than 10 turns to build a new smelter and have all of your trucks making deliveries to the new building.  Plan to start building a smelter no later than turn 130.

The first smelter upgrade is achieved by completing the entire Physical Chemistry branch of research.  This is very difficult and unnecessary to accomplish before turn 130 unless you are playing in Beginner mode.

Remember, smelters do not use Tubes!!  I highly recommend placing your new smelter away from the colony and roughly equidistant to your mines on an existing or planned roadway.  This gives you the huge advantages of having shorter supply lines, while using only one smelter and saving space in your colony's central area.

Storage Tanks
My least favorite thing about Outpost is the need to store processed resources, which end up consisting mostly of unused Tokamak fuel.  One trick for freeing up storage space is to right click on a tank and select Transit > Transfer assets.  If you tell it transfer some FusionA and then click No on the trucking dialog, then that amount of FusionA magically disappears from that tank.  :)

This building is a very mixed blessing.  It does one important thing: It turns sewage and dozed buildings into MPG, which literally replaces any smelted resource.  There is a huge potential downside to this.  If your colony is experiencing a shortage of one or more resources, such as PrecA, the MPG are used in its place without your knowledge.  The way this usually appears is that at first everything is going just fine even though you are not accumulating any PrecA (or whichever) in the storage tanks.  You get lulled into a sense of comfort, and then all of a sudden the MPG runs low, and you realize your colony doesn't even have the capacity to manufacture a RoboMiner.  Now you are in quite a bit of trouble.

UG Residential
These buildings provide a boost to the colony's morale while also creating the danger of a rapidly mushrooming population.  In Beginner mode, the number of Residential buildings has little or no affect on morale because it is so easy to make the colonists happy.  I created a Beginner colony with 10,000+ colonists and got so tired of building these things that I just stopped, and the morale only went down to 990. :P

In Easy mode, you will get a huge morale boost when the occupancy rate is less than 200%.  Above 200%, the morale number will level off or change very slowly.  Above 300%, you will get a huge penalty in morale.  As you accumulate morale bonuses for playing the game well, your colony can withstand higher occupancy rates.

Each UG Residential adds +5 to the birth rate, and believe it, folks!  I recommend keeping the occupancy rate between 200% and 300% to help prevent out-of-control population growth.

Morale, and Keeping a Lid on the Population
As the game progresses, you need to know that UG Residential buildings and Morale are your enemy!  They are the biggest factors, other than death, in the size of your colony's population.  Keeping morale low has two huge benefits.  #1. Morale has a huge impact on the birth rate, and you don't want that to be sky high.  #2. If morale goes too high you will get an influx of rebel colonists.

Some other posts in this forum suggest starving or trading the colonists to eliminate students.  That is unnecessary and more time consuming than the low morale strategy.

The Outpost manual says Luxuries are the key factor in morale.  That is totally untrue.  The key factor, by far, is the occupancy rate, followed by research upgrades.  If you don't believe me, try building a colony and continuously adding UG Residential buildings so that the occupancy rate is 90%-100%.  The morale will be instantly pegged at 1000, and you will absorb the rebel colony within the first 100-300 turns, with an astronomical baby boom.

To strike a balance with births and deaths, here's what you need to know:
  • Morale must be above 450-500 to keep the Factories running smoothly.
  • As you achieve morale boosts by doing research, you will be able to increase the occupancy rate to over 400% without destroying morale.
  • Fewer UG Residential buildings mean less births.
  • If morale starts going up above 600, stop building UG Residentials or you will be in danger of receiving rebel un-defections.
  • You will get a gradual rise in occupancy and corresponding morale penalty if the birth rate is still high.  Wait until morale is down near 500 and then build one or two UG Residentials to stabilize morale again.
  • Eventually both the population size and morale will stabilize.
  • Police stations are very handy for fine-tuning a couple points per turn because they can be configured for positive or negative morale.
  • Don't build UG Medical, and don't research Physiology, Embryology, or Immunology.  Doing any of those things will decrease the number of natural deaths and throw off the balance.
Around turn 100, click on the diplomacy buttons to establish trade with the rebels.  This is a wonderful solution to your problem of accumulating Fusion materials.  The rebels will buy them from you and sometimes even give you MPG or PrecB in return.

The Basic Research Topic does not lead to any Results.  According to the Outpost manual...
Basic Research will accelerate all current research after about 100 turns.
This is extremely important.  You could build 10 Laboratories all working on Basic Research, and it will never end or accomplish anything.  It seems sufficient to work on this topic until the progress meter resets to zero, and then stop working on it.  I would bet you can skip it entirely.

When a Topic is finished being researched, if it does not lead to a Result you will not be notified.  So you need to have a habit of checking the lab progress at least every 5 to 10 turns.  The fastest way to do that is to go to the Master Laboratory Report, sort by Topic, and look for any that say None.

Some Results appear to be duplicates or cumulative.  Many times when the "You've Made a Bold New Discovery" message appears, nothing new is listed under Results.  So, I imagine there are several Topics that lead to morale boosts and such.

Important: AFIAK, none of the building upgrades, except for the AgriDomes, have any impact on game play whatsoever.  They seem to be mere eye candy.  The manual mentions upgraded buildings are less likely to break down, but that isn't even a possibility in the Beginner and Easy modes.  BTW, if you're into eye candy, try researching Systems Analysis > Efficiency Studies 2 as soon as possible.

After finishing the AgriDome and Nanotech research, HotLabs are useless and should be dozed.

Listed below are the key Results you will want to achieve as a high priority.

The Sociology > Social Stratification Topic leads to the Improved Morale Result.  This is also true for several other topics such as the Humanities.  Morale upgrades will enable you to survive with higher residential occupancy rates and other harsh conditions.

The Plant Biology > Agriculture 1 Topic leads to the first AgriDome upgrade.  New AgriDomes will produce 12 units of food instead of 10.  This topic takes a long time to research.

The Medicine Topic leads to the Suspended Animation and Hotlab Results.  Genetics research will be available in the Hotlab as soon as you build it.

The Artifical Intelligence Topic also leads to the Hotlab Result and will make the CS > Nanotech 1 Topic available to you.

In the Hot Lab, the Genetic Engineering Topic leads to the Life Extension Result.  The Genetic Engineering > Agriculture 2 Topic leads to the second AgriDome upgrade.  This research goes much faster than Agriculture 1.  New AgriDomes will produce 14 units of food.

The Power Generation > Alternative Advanced Systems Topic leads to the Geothermal Power Result.

For Nanotech research.  I think it involves researching the first branch of Chemistry topics, Theoretical Physics > Quantum Mechanics, CS > AI > Robotics 1,  Physics > EE > Robotics 2, CS > Nanotech 1, and Physics > Nanotech 2.  Once you get to Nanotech 2 you have to remember to drill down the Replicator tree to get the types of nanites you want.  Mining nanites are very handy because they fulfill the resource requirements of all the buildings!

Two of the requirements for a Mass Driver are Mathematics and Superconductivity.  Little or nothing else is required, but the Mass Driver does nothing for you.  It is only a prereq. for the space program.

Here are some other, probably useless notes I've taken:

The Geology > Terrestrial Geology > Mineralogy Topic leads to the Find Mine Resources Faster Result.

For the Terraforming Microbe, research all of the Biology topics except Physiology, Embryology, and Immunology.

The Systems Analysis > Efficiency Studies 1 Topic leads to the Administration Facility Result.

The Systems Analysis > Efficiency Studies 2 Topic leads to the Tech Level Advance Result.  This instantly gives you the building upgrades for UG Residential, UG Recreational, UG University, UG Laboratory, UG Administration, UG Medical, UG Police, SPEW, Hot Lab, CHAP, DIRT, Police, Robot Command, Warehouse, Storage Tanks, and Comm Tower.

The Alien Pharmacology Topic leads to the Alien Virus Cure Result.

The Basic Astronomy Topic leads to the Meteor Alert Result.

The Stellar Astronomy Topic leads to the Solar Flare Alert Result.

Disappearing Robots
Each robot comes with a fuel cell that will last 200 turns.  After that, the robot will simply disappear.  Usually around turn 220 is when you notice you can't find your Robos.  Keep some extra Trucks and Miners in a warehouse, and keep an eye on that warehouse!  Also, if you didn't build a factory after turn 150, remember you're going to need a new one around turn 210.  Predictably, this is going to be a problem again around turn 440, etc, forever and ever.

There is a way to alleviate this problem by researching CS > AI> Robotics 1 > Repairbots.  After that, you will need to build about 4 or 5 Repair Robots, add a Robot Command to accommodate them, and build a factory whose sole purpose will be to manufacture new fuel cells.  Keep an eye on the warehouse inventory and be sure there are always at least 5-10 fuel cells on hand.  If you run low on fuel cells then you must make more than one factory produce them.

I don't care what the manual says.  If you used a Geological Penetrator to find the mine sites, then Explorers don't do anything, ever.

Multiple Monitors
Simplicity is one of things you have to love about Outpost.  :P  It is fully compatible with positive and negative coordinate spaces, so open up that Executive Report, all of your Laboratory dialogs, and drag them all over to another screen and leave them open!  This makes the game work much more smoothly as you start to take the turns faster.

The Rebel Colony
If you allow your colony's morale to increase near 1000, then the rebels will un-defect to your colony.  You then have the option of essentially playing two games at the same time.  Just keep in mind you are inheriting a failed colony.  In my opinion, it's a waste of time trying to undo all of the bad planning and resource problems over there, unless you enjoy the challenge.  You can safely ignore the other colony.

End Game
So, you've managed to stabilize the population with a 415% occupancy rate and 520 morale, several morale upgrades, little or no medical services, and you've got 16,000 smelted resources and 6,000 goos after trading away your Fusion materials.  What now?

One of the more relaxing outcomes of a round of Outpost is to not build a Nanotech facility right away, but let the colony coast on tanked resources for about 350 turns.  Doze your smelter, your mines, and the tanks as they empty out.  Building a second SPEW will enable you to hold out even longer!

Before you run out of goo, be sure to build a Nanotech facility.  Then you can start dozing your AgriDomes.  But there are two things to watch out for.  #1. AgriDomes provide 1-2 morale boost each, and dozing them will screw up your morale balance.  Be prepared to construct new Recreation, Park/Reservoir, Police, Commercial, and UG Factories to offset the dozed AgriDomes.  #2.  Never doze all of your AgriDomes.  Nanotech facilities are incredibly unreliable unless you are playing in Beginner or Easy mode.  If you lose all of your Nanotech facilities, you can survive on one or two AgriDomes and goo until a new Nanotech is built.

Nanotech Buildings
Never build a Nanotech facility in the center of your colony as a status symbol.  These buildings will blow up literally every 50 turns or so.  What you need to do is choose a nice tube, and extend it with tubes going one or two tiles in each direction.  Then build a new Nanotech facility at the end of each tube about once every 15 turns.  This arrangement will prevent the Nanotech facilities from destroying each other or their Tube connections.

Space Program
What they don't tell you in the manual is that the Mass Driver building is a prerequisite of the Space Port building.  I recommend saving the game before you do this because I've seen Outpost quit itself after building the Space Port.  That is not the end of the game though :) Not quite yet.  In order to build the Space Port you will also have to research almost every topic available to you.  The only ones that are definitely not required are the morale and health boosters such as Physiology, Embryology, Immunology, Sociology, Humanities, etc.  Also, you do not need to research Terrestrial Mining, Tectonics, Mineralogy, or Vulcanology.

To build Terraforming facilities, you will need to research all of the Biology topics except for Embryology, Immunology, and Physiology.  There may be some other requirements, but you can probably figure out which ones they are.  After that, you have to accumulate 10,000 building-turns.  :(  So if you are going to Terraform the planet, you will need a very stable colony.  AFAIK, the options in the Terraforming menus don't do anything other than turn the facility on or off.  Build as many as you can and set them all to produce Nitrogen, then you just have to survive hundreds of turns FTW.

« Last Edit: November 30, 2007, 12:40:11 AM by miqrogroove »

Offline Sirbomber

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Strategy Notes
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2007, 08:43:14 PM »
Don't double post. Use the edit button to add on to your old posts.
Though I guess in this case it's okay since you are posting somewhat important information. Just don't get in the habit of doing it.
"As usual, colonist opinion is split between those who think the plague is a good idea, and those who are dying from it." - Outpost Evening Star

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Offline miqrogroove

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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2007, 03:05:23 PM »
Okay, I think it's finished now.  Feedback?  :)

Offline Falciform

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« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2008, 04:42:09 PM »
That's pretty good.  I don't really agree with the whole "keep population from raising real quick" thing.  I always tried to get as many people as possible, so I could expand as fast as possible.

Offline Leviathan

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« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2008, 09:48:51 AM »
Nice post man. And welcome to OPU.

Glad your enjoying Outpost 1, you should come play Outpost 2 now :)