The Complete Beginner's Completely Incomplete Guide to Oxygen Not Included
GETTING TO SPACE (DLC)
Getting your dupe space program up and running can be divided into three categories:
I'll go over each category, then show a few example rocket designs to give you some ideas for designing your own.
At some point I'll write more about space, but for now this part of the guide ends with a Now what? section with some thoughts about what you can do when you have the basics of space covered.
DISCOVERING PLACES TO GO
The Telescope (found under Rocketry)
The Enclosed Telescope (found under Rocketry)
You can see a map of space by clicking on Starmap in the top right (or press Z).
Space is divided into a bunch of hexagonal tiles (which is just a fancy way of saying "tiles with six sides").
To be able to send a rocket somewhere, you need to have discovered and analyzed that "somewhere" first. The tiles nearest your starting asteroid are discovered from the start of the game. Beyond those tiles is a band of dark blue tiles, and beyond them the tiles are black.
For the dark blue tiles, the game will tell you if there is something of interest. This will show up as a question mark (?). To see what the question marks are, you need to have a dupe analyze the tile using a Telescope.
Once you have analyzed a tile, you can send a rocket to it. There is a rocket module, the Cartography Module, that lets you analyze as you travel. However, it only analyzes the tiles you fly through and no tiles to either side. (A quicker way to analyze large chunks of space is putting a telescope in your rocket, covered later.)
There are two kinds of telescope: the basic telescope and the enclosed telescope. Both telescopes need power, the enclosed telescope also needs oxygen pumped to its gas input.
Unsurprisingly, telescopes function best when they have a clear view of the sky. (Surprisingly, a telescope can analyze space even without a view of space, if there is a clear view of space to the side of the telescope.)
The Enclosed Telescope requires oxygen (and power)
Telescope use requires a dupe to have the Astronomy skill, which is found in the "research" branch of the skill tree.
Dupes will study one tile at a time. If you open the starmap (and zoom in a bit) you can see what tile they are working on and how it is progressing. (Most tiles have nothing on them, but dupes analyze them all anyway.)
Studying a tile with a question mark will show you what object is there. There are both asteroids as well as other things to be found out in space.
Unlike in the base game, in the Spaced Out DLC you cannot examine all of space from your starting asteroid. When the telescope has examined everything it can "reach" (which is a few tiles out in all directions), mousing over the telescope will show the text "Area Complete."
Now that you know there is "stuff" out in space, it's time to head out for a closer look!
BUILDING A ROCKET
The Rocket Platform (select the platform to build a rocket on it)
To build a rocket, you first need to build a Rocket Platform (found under Rocketry).
Rocket platforms don't need to be built on a "floor" or foundation of other tiles, they can also just kind of float.
Once you have a rocket platform built, click on it and select "new rocket." This will open a list of the different kinds of rocket modules you can build, among them rocket engines.
The engine is the first thing you will build to get your rocket construction going. You can mouseover the different engines to get more information about them.
As a rule of thumb, the more advanced the fuel it uses, the taller the rockets you can build and the farther they can travel.
At the start of the game you won't have access to the more advanced fuels, so you're stuck with short rockets that can't travel very far. That's OK - one important aspect of your early rocketry program is generating data banks for research. And for that you just need to get up into space.
For my first rocket I usually use a carbon dioxide engine. It uses surprisingly little carbon dioxide. Any carbon dioxide you have lying about at the bottom of your map will probably be enough. (If not, turn off your carbon skimmer or dig out an area below it to start collecting some.)
To fuel up your rocket, simply pump carbon dioxide to the engine's input port. (Piping the wrong gases to the engine won't get you to space - consider using a gas filter.)
The more advanced engines will require you to add a separate module for oxidizer - an additional fuel. But you don't need to worry about that now. That will come when you move on to the petroleum engine and beyond.
A Rocket Platform with a Carbon Dioxide Engine. The scaffolding shows your maximum rocket height.
As simple as it gets. You can get to space with just an engine and a spacefarer nosecone. (Carbon dioxide being pumped to the engine.)
The Spacefarer Module. Less space for other rocket modules but more space for your dupes.
Once you build an engine, a scaffolding will appear. This shows you how large a rocket you can build. Each block, or square, of the scaffolding represents one measure of build height. The carbon dioxide engine gives you a maximum rocket height of 10 tiles.
If you can't build an engine, check to make sure you have enough space above the rocket platform. Scaffolding seems to need a tile or two of clear space above it, before the edge of the map - the red lines.
The maximum height you will be able to build once you have more advanced fuel is 35 tiles. If you want to build rocket platforms in locations where they can stay for the entire game then you need to do some measuring.
A convenient way to measure distances is with the dig command. To measure out how much space you have from your rocket platform to the top of the map, using the dig command, click on the tile above the rocket platform and drag upwards. You can also do this the other way around: measure from the top of the map down, to see how much space your rocket platform will need for any end-game rockets.
In addition to an engine you will also have to build a module for your dupe (or dupes) to be during the trip.
There are two options for this: the Solo Spacefarer Nosecone and the Spacefarer Module. The main difference between them is their size.
The small one includes a nosecone and so is built at the top of the rocket. The spacefarer module requires you to build a separate nosecone.
Both are unlocked through research and are found in the Colony Development research branch.
Getting to space can be as simple as slapping a solo spacefarer nosecone on top of an engine. However, the solo spacefarer nosecone is very small. (So small, in fact, that I have stopped using it entirely - I unlock the Spacefarer Module before building my first rocket.)
Unlocking the Spacefarer Module requires doing a bit of the kind of research that uses radbolts. (But don't be intimidated by this - there is a separate guide for how to do radbolt research. And you won't need that many.)
Whatever build height is left for your rocket you can fill with useful stuff. Have a look at the options. For your first rocket, consider things like solar panels and/or a battery.
To build new modules, click on the engine (or some other module) and press the + sign. It will add the new module above the selected one.
There are also buttons for replacing an existing module with a different one and for deleting modules. When you select a module you will also see arrows up and down, above and below a picture of the module. You can use these to move the module up or down in your rocket.
SURVIVING THE JOURNEY
Inside a Solo Spacefarer Nosecone
The key elements to consider regarding surviving space are oxygen and food. Your dupes will need something to breathe and something to eat.
Both breathing and eating add some additional challenges. Dupes exhale carbon dioxide, which will slowly start building up in your rocket's living quarters. And regarding food, there's the issue of it potentially spoiling during the journey.
Then there are also quality-of-life things to consider. Like having a toilet, a bed, a recreational building etc.
Addressing these issues is made more difficult due to space - or, rather, a lack of it: the solo nosecone is tiny, and the spacefarer module isn't huge, either. You need to squeeze in a lot of stuff in not a lot of space.
To have a look inside the spacefarer modules, and to build in them, click on the module and then select "View Interior."
You can also go straight to a rocket's inside view by clicking on the name of the rocket in the top right. (Under Planetoid you will see the asteroids you have discovered, and any rockets currently on them.
Now, let's move on to designing your rocket.
The main thing I have learned over the course of designing a bunch of rockets is that I'm not very good at designing rockets. But I can at least tell you about some important things to consider.
Don't be discouraged if your first rockets aren't masterpieces. What matters is that they get the job done, everything else is a bonus. Also, you will get better at is as you test (or muddle) your way through getting the job done.
The inside of a Spacefarer Module
For short flights you could just fill your dupe module with oxygen before takeoff. But for any extended trips you'll need something that generates oxygen.
For my early rockets I use an oxygen diffuser - the thing that turns algae into oxygen. (Remember to also bring algae.)
In later rockets, once I have oxylite production up and running, I swap the oxygen diffuser for a storage bin with oxylite, which will offgas oxygen whenever there is space for more.
Power Outlet Fitting. Connects power modules on your rocket with the power grid inside.
When you can build tall(er) rockets, you can build solar panels and a battery module on the rocket, which frees up space inside the rocket. But whatever you can't fit as modules outside the rocket, you need to build inside it.
You need something that generates power - a hamster wheel and/or solar panels. And you need something to store some power - a battery module or a battery inside the rocket. (Well... you could get by without a battery, I guess. But you'd have long times with no power.)
To use power inside your rocket, that comes from batteries or solar panels on your rocket, you need to build a Power Outlet Fitting inside your rocket. That piece connects any rocket modules that produce or store power with the power grid inside your rocket.
White ports are where stuff goes into the rocket. (In the picture, carbon dioxide is pumped to the engine, oxygen is pumped to the dupe module.)
Green ports are where stuff comes out. (In the picture, carbon dioxide from the dupe module is vented into space.)
Most foods have a freshness value that (depending on how you store the food) will decrease over time. Even if you keep food in a fridge, it will eventually spoil.
One way to deal with this problem is to not deal with it, by using foods that don't spoil. Early-game options for this are things like Muckroot and Nutrient Bars.
To save certain foods for use in your rocketry program, you can forbid dupes from eating them. To do this, open the consumables tab (top right) and de-select those foods. Now, no dupes are allowed to eat them. (Try to remember to allow those foods again for your astronaut once they are in space.)
If you don't have any non-spoiling foods, you can still go to space. You just need to keep a close eye on the food in the rocket and try to avoid calorie-disasters from large amounts spoiling at once when you are far from home.
Some space travel, like staying in orbit around your planet to generate data banks, is safe regardless of your type food - you can land immediately should you suddenly run out.
My preferred food for space travel (and for everything else) is Berry Sludge. It is made using the Microbe Musher, and requires Sleet Wheat and Bristle Blossoms.
Berry Sludge never spoils. Which means you never have to worry about the mechanics of refrigeration and food spoiling. Since the first time I tried Berry Sludge I have never looked back - I feed it to my entire colony, both in space and on land.
(I use oni-assistant.com's food calculator to figure out how many Sleet Wheet and Bristle Blossom plants I will need to keep my colony fed. It's a tremendously useful site, worth checking out if you haven't already.)
There are several ways you can deal with carbon dioxide. I'll cover three. (I have used all three methods at some point. These days I use the second one.)
First: by not dealing with it. Simply deconstruct the spacefarer module and rebuild it. You will need to rebuild everything in it as well, but at least you'll be back to no carbon dioxide.
Second: a gas pump and a system that filters out carbon dioxide. I have a mini gas pump that is controlled either with a switch or a sensor that detects carbon dioxide.
It pumps the gases through a gas filter set to oxygen. The oxygen is vented back into the rocket, and other gases are vented out to space. The gases first snake along a pipe network inside the rocket. This is because they only vent to space when on a rocket platform with a gas pipe and gas vent built for the rocket. When in space, the gases are stored in the gas piping.
To vent non-oxygen to space:
Inside the spacefarer module: connect the gas pipe to your rocket's gas input port - the white one.
Outside the rocket: build a gas pipe that goes from the spacefarer module's output port (the green one) to a gas vent that vents out to space.
Third: a storage bin with Oxylite that placed on the floor of your rocket. The game mechanics work in such a way that any carbon dioxide that crosses the storage bin will be eaten up (in effect) by the oxylite in the storage bin, and oxygen will be released instead.
While this is a convenient way to get rid of carbon dioxide, it will also cause the air pressure inside the module to rise so high that dupes will constantly have the "Popped Eardrums" debuff. This will increase their stress.
If you are having problems with morale, try to build a great hall in your rocket. (An example of this is covered in the next section.)
SOME EXAMPLE ROCKET DESIGNS
Data bank generation (my first rocket)
I can't be bothered trying to fit things into the tiny nosecone, so I start with the spacefarer module. I also unlock other space-saving stuff before going to space, like the mini gas pump and the wall toilet.
I use this, or something like it, to generate data banks for research. (Sometimes I make a version that fits two dupes and two orbital collection labs.)
It uses algae for oxygen, so is designed to fit a storage bin for algae and an oxygen diffuser. There is a second storage bin for plastic.
A lot of stuff. To cram into not a lot of space. (The upper storage bin has plastic, the lower one has algae.)
This rocket design is focused on getting the Great Hall room bonus. The two doors are used to seal off machinery that would disqualify the room from getting the bonus. (This is done at the cost of other bonuses - the toilet and bedroom don't qualify for room bonuses.)
Regarding keeping up morale - carpets are your friend. They are ludicrously overpowered as far as decor value goes. That said, I rarely have trouble with moral in space and find that even with no room bonuses dupes are fine. (Though that might be thanks to all the carpets.)
There is no sink - space radiation rids dupes of germs. If you want to squeeze in a way for dupes to wash their hands, consider the hand sanitizer. It uses bleach stone instead of water, so needs no plumbing. And it is only one tile wide.
Regarding radiation: there can be a lot of it in space. Be mindful of the radiation levels in your rocket. The row of plastic on the ceiling is to block some additional radiation.
If you can't squeeze in enough storage bins for everything you need, you can use some space-saving shenanigans. Fill a storage bin with something you need, then deselect its contents so they drop on the floor of the rocket. Then reassign the storage bin to be filled with some other material you need. Rinse and repeat until you have all the resources you need littering the floor.
(Remember that you can change the maximum content amount of the storage bin, if you need a smaller amount of something.)
Water is stored in a long section of pipe. The water is used in the Wall Toilet. Output piping isn't necessary: after use, the toilet empties itself out the other side of the wall. (Vents into space.)
The mini pump sends gas to a Gas Filter. Oxygen is pumped back in through a vent. Other gases are pumped into a long gas pipe that can store the gases during a trip.
The gas pipe connects to the spacefarer module's white port. It vents unwanted gases to space whenever the rocket is landed on a rocket platform that has the necessary gas piping (as covered earlier in this section).
(You can ignore the confusing piping on the bottom left. It was to pump in some oxygen during construction of the rocket interior.)
In this version the gas pump is controlled with a switch. (Remember to turn it off after a while!) Another option, which I use in my later rockets, is a carbon dioxide sensor on the floor.
There is also a way to filter out carbon dioxide without using a gas filter. This will save you a lot of power. I haven't been able to decide if I consider it a brilliant use of the game's mechanics or a brilliant abuse of the game's mechanics, so I don't use it. But you can find such designs online.
Colonizing other planets
I don't have any specific design I always use, but I'll add one version here so you have a design to start from and improve upon.
When colonizing other planets you might want to have a rocket you can use as a temporary home for your dupes while you get some initial building done. If so, having atmo suits is a good idea.
The atmo suit docks are hooked up to an oxygen supply at my home asteroid to give them an initial supply of oxygen. (You can hook up the mini gas pump to your atmo suit docks to fill them during a flight, but it is very slow. If you do that, add a switch so you can start the pump whenever you want.)
The rocket has a great hall, but that comes at the cost of storage space: there is no space for storage bins for bringing materials to (or from) the planet. To transport materials, you can swap out the phone or mess tables for storage bins, or remove the doors between the great hall and the beds to get space for two storage bins.
This design uses oxylite for oxygen production during flights. (The storage bin by the toilet is for oxylite.) When landed at my main base it takes in oxygen from the base.
Water is stored in a long section of pipe. The water is used in the Wall Toilet. Output piping isn't necessary: after use, the toilet empties itself out the other side of the wall. (Vents into space.)
Oxygen coming in from the base fills the atmo suit docks and then leads to a vent in the rocket. The mini pump pumps carbon dioxide out the rocket's output. A gas filter sends any oxygen back into the rocket.
The gas element sensor is set to carbon dioxide.
Since I use Berry Sludge, which can't spoil, the refrigerator doesn't need to be powered.
There is much more to space. A key element to exploring it, and getting at the resources that await further out in space, is being able to get further out into space.
Upgrading your rockets so they can go further will require researching new kinds of engines, and getting your hands on new kinds of rocket fuel for those engines.
I tend to do a lot of my space exploration and colonization with the (larger) petroleum engine. (There is also a smaller petroleum engine.) So that is one option for a next goal in your space exploration. (How to get petroleum is covered earlier in the guide.)
Once you upgrade to the larger petroleum engine, you will need to add fuel tanks to your rocket. You will need one tank for solid oxidizer (either fertilizer or oxylite) and one or two tanks for petroleum. Two tanks gives you twice the flight distance: you can travel 10 tiles with one tank of petroleum, 20 tiles with two.
The small petroleum engine doesn't need a separate fuel tank, but it does need a small solid oxidizer tank.
The best engine in the game is the liquid hydrogen engine. It uses liquid oxygen as its oxidizer. So it requires both hydrogen and oxygen in liquid form, meaning very, very, very cold. (To get to those levels of chill you will want to first get your hands on super coolant.)
If you do get so far as to being ready to switch to the hydrogen rocket - congratulations! Sadly, I'm not the guy to help you with that. Whenever I build liquid hydrogen and oxygen making contraptions, I just do whatever Francis John says to do (and then cross my fingers and hope I didn't screw anything up).
You can find an overview of such a build in the builds section: Liquid hydrogen & oxygen, small. It also has a link to Francis John's YouTube video explaining the build.
A final note, on analyzing tiles in space: if you build a telescope inside a dupe module, the telescope can be used to analyze space tiles. Common practice is to build it against the left wall of the module. (Which has to do with the telescope's area of effect.)