The Complete Beginner's Completely Incomplete Guide to Oxygen Not Included



Note: This guide, and the base shown in it, are a continuation on the base built in the previous section (The Very Early Game).

  • Some rooms give morale bonuses if they meet certain requirements.

  • You can see the available room bonuses and requirements in the Room Overlay (top right, or press F11).

  • The most important early-game room bonus is the Great Hall (+6 morale).

  • The most common maximum room size is 64 tiles. This equals a 4x16 room: 4 tiles high, 16 tiles wide. (Or 18 tiles wide if you include the outer walls.)

  • The maximum size for a ranch is 96 tiles. This equals a 6x16 room. (6 tiles high, 16 tiles wide - or 18 if you count the outer walls.)

For my fellow neat-freaks

  • If you want a(n unnecessarily) neatly structured base, you can make your floors 18 tiles wide and then vary room height depending on the maximum room size.

  • (But be warned: years ago I read someone suggest it on a forum, and since trying it for the first time I have been both physically and psychologically incapable of ever not building my bases using the X tiles high by 18 tiles wide approach.)

Tip: room sizes - and room bonuses


Room bonuses. Barracks (morale +1), Latrine (morale +1) and Great Hall (morale +6).



Under Furniture (bottom left) you will find the Mess Table. Dupes won't share tables, so you will need one per dupe. If the mess table is in a dining room, dupes will get a morale bonus when eating there. There are two different kinds of dining rooms:

  • Mess Hall (+3 morale)

  • Great Hall (+6 morale)

A Great Hall is an easy way to get a good morale bonus. (So please build one.) The standard early game Great Hall includes (all found under Furniture in the build menu):

  • A Water Cooler (as the recreational building)

  • Mess Tables for each dupe (they won't get the bonus if they don't eat there)

  • A plant (as the decor item)

The Water Cooler is unlocked in Employment, the first bit of research in Colony Development (if you have a Super Computer then the Water Cooler is already researched).

The Mess Table is unlocked in Meal Preparation, the second step of the Food research branch.


Water Cooler


Mess Table


Hanging pot


A Flower Pot with a Bluff Briar plant

A plant will require something to plant it in - a Flower Pot, Wall Pot, or Hanging Pot. They are unlocked in the Decor research branch. Because of how I like to design rooms, I use the hanging pot, but any of the three works.

Look around your starting area for a decorative plant. The most common decorative plants in the starting area are Bluff Briar and Mirth Leaf. Either one is fine for this purpose.


Dig up the plant and plant it in the pot. To do that:


  • select the pot, then select the seed to plant in it, then click on Plant.

You can raise the priority of pots to get things planted faster. If nothing happens, you probably forgot to click on Plant (I do that a lot).

  • You can see the Plumbing Overlay by clicking on the water drops in the top right or by pressing F6.

  • You build most plumbing-related stuff through the Plumbing build icon (bottom left). A notable exception is the sink, which is found under Medicine.

  • Plumbing things commonly have an input and an output.

    • White is input: liquid goes in here

    • Green is output: liquid comes out here

  • If something isn't working, the first things to check are the inputs and outputs. A common mistake (even after thousands of hours I still do it) is connecting inputs or outputs wrong.

  • A pipe must lead somewhere for liquid to flow along it. (A Liquid Bridge counts as somewhere - water will flow up to the start of the liquid bridge, even if the pipe goes nowhere after it.)

  • If you want liquid to pour out of a pipe, you need to put a Liquid Vent at the end.

  • Gravity affects liquids on the map, it does not affect liquid in pipes.

Tip: plumbing basics


Plumbing - toilets and sinks. Clean water is pumped to the white inputs. Polluted water will flow out of the green outputs to be stored in a liquid reservoir for later use. I usually leave some space for decor items to be added later, but that isn't necessary. You can instead fit a fourth toilet and sink (or two showers, or a compost, etc.).


There are a bunch of useful things that require plumbing. Let's start with upgrading our outhouses and wash basins to toilets and sinks.






Liquid Pump


Liquid Pipe


Liquid Reservoir

Emptying outhouses and wash basins takes time - and produces polluted dirt and germy water. Toilets and sinks require no maintenance, so it's a useful upgrade.

To unlock the things needed for this build you will need to research:

  • Plumbing

  • Sanitation

  • Improved Plumbing


They are all in the Liquids research branch.

Building your new bathroom includes the following steps (the order you do them in doesn't matter):

  • Build toilets - called Lavatories, found under Plumbing.

  • Build Sinks, found under Medicine.

  • (When deciding where to put toilets and sinks, remember the stuff about germs and making dupes pass a sink to wash their hands after using the bathroom.)

  • Build a Liquid Pump (found under Plumbing) in a body of (clean) water.

  • Build a Liquid Reservoir (found under Home). Placement isn't hugely important, but try to put it somewhere where it won't be in the way for several dozen cycles (or more).

  • Using Liquid Pipe (under Plumbing), connect the water pump to the toilet and sink inputs - the white bits.

  • Also using pipes, connect the toilet and sink outputs (the green bits) to the input (the white bit) of the Liquid Reservoir.

  • The finished piping should go:

    • from the pump to the white bits on the toilets and sinks.

    • from the green bits on the toilets and sinks to the while bit on the liquid reservoir.

  • When finished, connect your Liquid Pump to your power grid (using Wire, under Power).

Water should now start flowing along your pipe(s) and into your toilets and sinks.

Mouseover your toilet. If everything worked it should say "Lavatory Ready." If it doesn't say that (and trust me - we've all been there), it's time to start debugging - start by checking inputs and outputs.

​Keep an eye on your reservoir tank. If it fills up, your toilets will stop working and your dupes will have "accidents."


(There are two kinds of Oxygen Not Included players: players this has happened to and players this has not yet happened to. Stay in that second group for as long as possible.)

If (or when) your Liquid Reservoir starts filling up, you can simply build a new one next to it. Then connect the output pipe of the first tank to the input pipe of the second tank. That way, polluted water flows through the first tank and into the second one.


Live to pee another day. Polluted water flowing into a second liquid reservoir tank.

Tip: leaving doors open

  • It takes a tiny amount of time for dupes to open doors as they pass through them.

  • If there is no reason for a door to be closed, set the door to be left open.

  • Open doors still retain their other settings - who is allowed to pass, what direction dupes are allowed through, etc.

  • If you have Shine Bugs (the bright, flying creatures) in your base, don't leave bedroom doors open. Shine Bugs can fly in and wake up dupes.

  • A Critter standing on the tile of an open door will get a "Confined" debuff (-10 happiness). So I usually don't leave ranch doors open. (Also, critters that can fly or climb walls will quite happily escape through open doors. And then be all like "Oh, was I not supposed to leave? Sorry, I didn't know.")




Thimble Reed


Hydroponic Farm

Now that you have liquid reservoirs filling up with polluted water, you can head out exploring and get your hands on some Thimble Reed Seeds,

Thimble Reed consumes polluted water and produces something called Reed Fiber, which will be very useful as we head to the mid game - primarily as we'll need Reed Fiber to make Atmo Suits (a kind of protective clothing).


Thimble Reed can be planted in something called a Hydroponic Farm tile (unlocked in the Food research branch). This tile can be connected to our pipe network - more specifically to the polluted water output of our bathroom. And the Thimble Reed will happily dispose of our polluted water for us - and give us useful resources.

How many Thimble Reed do you need to eat up all your polluted bathroom water? That depends on how many dupes you have. And if you have showers.

  • Thimble Reed consumes 160 kg of polluted water per cycle

  • One visit by one dupe to a toilet + sink produces 16.7 kg of polluted water

  • A shower produces 1 kg/second of polluted water. A shower takes 30 seconds. So 30 kg.


Without showering, and using nice round(ish) figures, let's say a dupe produces 20 kg of polluted water per day. Then one Thimble Reed could comfortably handle the polluted water output of 8 dupes. (Though I've never stress-tested this. I usually have showers, and I never do any actual math - I just plant more Thimble Reed Seeds than I need.)

CBCIGtoONI_Reed Fiber2.png

Thimble Reed. Hydroponic Farm tiles connected to the polluted water tank output. With Thimble Reed up and running, I got rid of the extra polluted water tank.

​Getting Thimble Reed seeds

The slightly tricky bit is getting your hands on your first Thimble Reed Seed. Tricky in that Thimble Reed grows in the slime biome.

(Officially, the slime biome is called the marsh biome, or sometimes the swamp biome. But if you call it that, none of us will know what you're talking about.)

The slime biome has tiles with Slimelung germs. We'll talk about germs later. For now, remember that when you do decide to head out into the slime biome in search of Thimble Reed Seeds, start by having a look at the Germ Overlay (icon top right, or F9). Then try to find a way to get at some Thimble Reed without digging up any Slimelung-infested tiles.


Digging up an actual Reed Fiber plant will give you a seed. You can also uncover seeds buried in the slime biome when you dig up tiles (that say there is a buried object in them). Also, if you leave Reed Fiber growing wild, you have a small chance of getting a seed whenever a dupe harvests it.

CBCIGtoONI_Reed Fiber.png

Thimble Reed. The green stuff is Slimelung germs. The pink are "Floral Scents" from the Buddy Bud flower in the middle. (Floral scents are a good thing, except for dupes with the Allergies trait.)

The long-term plan

The final phase for dealing with toilet water is to build a chlorine-based decontamination setup that cleans the polluted water from bathrooms and showers and feeds the water back to them.

As long as you aren't running low on water, some Reed Fiber production is a good thing. If you are low on water, skip ahead to the part of the guide where I cover the decontamination build: Recycling Toilet Water. (That section also covers a setup option that doesn't use reed fiber.)

  • Ladders are fine and all, but is dupe life even worth living without Fire Poles? (Rhetorical question - of course not!)

  • Fire Poles allow your dupes much faster movement when going down. (Dupes can climb up Fire Poles if needed, but it's very slow going.)

  • The Fire Pole is unlocked in Refined Renovations in the Solid Material branch of the research tree. Once researched, it is found under Home.

  • There is no right or wrong time to unlock them. But they save your dupes lots of travel time, so I always get them early on.

Tip: Weeeeee! (aka the Fire Pole)



With toilets and sinks built, we can now deconstruct our outhouses and wash basins. This will result in polluted dirt and polluted water bottles.

(If your wash basins have been going for a while, they may already have produced some bottles of polluted water.)

Polluted water bottles emit polluted oxygen, so we don't want to have them lying around. With some plumbing basics researched, we can now get rid of them.

To do this, we will set up a system to dump the polluted water into our polluted water reservoir. This can either be a temporary setup you deconstruct after you're done or a permanent place for dupes to also dump any future polluted water bottles. If you make it a permanent thing, add a sink so dupes will wash their hands as they leave.

The idea, as shown in the picture(s) below, is:

  • build a Liquid Pump (under Plumbing)

  • build a tile on either side of the pump. (For improved airflow use Airflow Tiles - unlocked in the Gases research branch - but it also works with regular tiles.)

  • On one of the tiles, build a Bottle Emptier (under Plumbing) that empties onto the liquid pump.

  • Connect the pump to your polluted water reservoir.

  • Connect the pump to your power grid.

  • Set the Bottle Emptier to "Polluted Water" (I also raise its priority to 6.)

Dupes get germy from carrying germy things - like germy water bottles and dirt. So once this project is done, you will need to do some disinfecting. You can check your germ situation with the Germ Overlay (icon is top right, or F9).

Send germy dupes past sinks (click on them and use the Move To command) to wash their hands and do a large-scale disinfection of the base. Click on the Disinfect buildings command on the bottom right (or press "I"). Then select your whole base.

Nothing happening? If no dupes start disinfecting, you can either raise the priority of the disinfect commands or raise the Tidying priority of one or more dupes.


Temporary setup. When the polluted dirt and polluted water from the deconstructed starter bathroom is dealt with, the left side can be replaced with toilets in preparation for a growing dupe count. (Or that floor could have showers.) Later I would build a compost and bottle emptier somewhere less central. (The ladders were to build the ceiling tiles.)


Permanent setup. This setup combines showers with a compost and polluted water disposal. Showers provide some benefits but aren't strictly necessary. (But know that many of us will silently judge you if you don't give your dupes showers.)





Polluted water - including bottles of polluted water - emits polluted oxygen (unless the air pressure is very high).


Check the Oxygen Overlay (top right or F1) and you are likely to see some areas of polluted oxygen. Let's clean them up.

Thankfully, this is no big deal - it can be done with Deodorizers. They are unlocked in Decontamination in the Gases branch of the research tree.

When you have them researched, put them in areas with polluted oxygen. (You can delete them once the air is purified.) When placing deodorizers, keep in mind that polluted oxygen tends to move a bit from side to side, but not really up and down.

Deodorizers require sand and a small amount of power, so remember to connect them to your power grid.

Keeping an eye on heat. I started close to a hot area (a "caustic biome"). It is already too hot for Mealwood to grow in the bottom left. If I want to stop that heat from creeping into my base I can add a layer of Insulated Tiles. They are unlocked through researching Temperature Modulation in the Gases research branch.

  • It might not seem like it when you first start playing, but heat has ended many a game of Oxygen Not Included.

  • The way heat usually gets you is your food: Mealwood and Bristle Blossoms stop growing at temperatures above +30 C.

  • When you get your hands on late-game cooling technology you will be able to laugh in the face of heat. Until then you need to be somewhat cautious of it.

  • Machines and such generate varying amounts of heat. You can see the amount something generates under Heat (in the build menu or by clicking on it).

  • The amount of heat generated is given in DTU/s. I have absolutely no idea what that is. But comparing buildings will give you some idea, e.g.:

    • a Ceiling Light generates 500 DTU/s

    • a Coal Generator generates 9 000 DTU/s


  • Try to keep buildings that generate significant amounts of heat a fair distance away from where you grow food.

Tip: heat and food




Coal Generator


Power Transformer

The hamster wheel is adorable, but takes a lot of dupe time. Also, you will eventually need more power than a hamster wheel can provide.

You can free up dupes for other tasks and have more power available in your power grid by upgrading to coal power. (If this seems intimidating, don't worry - you'll have it up and running in no time.)

Let's cover some of the basics of the upcoming build.

Coal Generator basics

The Coal Generator uses coal to generate power. As byproducts it generates heat and carbon dioxide.

Each Coal Generator can generate 600 W of power. (By comparison, the hamster wheel can generate 400 W.)

Wire overload basics

You can connect several Coal Generators to your power grid. However, the basic Wires you have used so far to connect things to your power grid can only handle 1000 W before overloading. If a wire overloads, it takes damage. After taking enough damage it breaks.

However, power wires only overload through buildings and machines using too much power, not through lots of power just being available on a power grid.


Meaning, you can have lots of Coal Generators hooked up to your power grid without doing any damage to your power wires. The central issue isn't how much power your power grid can produce, but the total amount of power actually used at any given time.

Power transformer basics

We will want to design our power grid so we avoid wires overloading. This is done with the help of power transformers. A power transformer limits how much power buildings and machines connected to it are allowed to draw from the grid.

If buildings and machines on our power grid need more power than a transformer will let through, then you will have a brownout - some machine(s) will not work. But your power wires won't overload.

To solve the problem of machines needing more power than a power transformer will let through, we can add another power transformer and split off some machines to that grid.

  • There are two things to keep in mind:

    • How much power the various buildings and machines in your base can consume.

    • how much power your wires can handle.

  • Remember that not all power consumers are active all the time. A water pump uses 240 W when pumping water but 0 W when idle.

  • There are two main kinds of power wire you will use to connect stuff in your base. They have different upper limits before overloading:

    • Wire: 1000 W

    • Conductive Wire: 2000 W

  • You can use power transformers to limit how much power a wire is allowed to draw from your grid. Machines that would send a wire over the transformer's limit will not get power.

  • There are two different Power Transformers

    • The Power Transformer lets through 1000 W

    • The Large Power Transformer lets through 4000 W

  • The Power Transformer pairs nicely with standard Wire - both have upper limits of 1000 W.

  • Note that the Large Power Transformer will allow a draw of up to 4000 W, which is more than the 2000 W the Conductive Wire can handle before overloading. So you need to keep an eye on your potential power consumption, using the Power Overlay (icon in upper right or press F1).

  • The general approach is to use (Conductive) Heavi-Watt Wire to connect power generators to batteries and power transformers. And then use (Conductive) Wire from the transformers to your machines etc.

Tip: power - power transformer and wire overload basics

With the lecture out of the way, let's get building.


You will need three research unlocks, all in the Power research branch:

  • Power Regulation

  • Internal Combustion

  • Advanced Power Regulation


When choosing a location, keep in mind that coal power plants generate heat and carbon dioxide. That said, this is a small setup and can be built in a temporary location.

  • Build a Coal Generator

  • Build a Jumbo Battery

  • Build a Power Transformer

  • Using Heavi-Watt Wire, connect the Coal Generator(s), Jumbo Battery and Power Transformer

  • Using Wire, connect the Power Transformer to the existing Wire network in your base.

Since your coal generator will need coal, it is a good idea to put a Storage Bin nearby and set it to only accept Coal (under Consumable Ore).

Without automation, your Coal Generator will run day and night, even when your battery is full. This isn't a big deal over short periods of time. But sooner or later you should get around to automating it. (Again, don't be intimidated - it sounds more difficult than it is. I'll walk you through how to do it later in this guide.)

Oh, and with this new source of easy power, if you haven't yet built a Refrigerator this might be the time. (Unlocked through Agriculture in the Food research branch.)


I have the power! It isn't much, but it'll do for now. (I will add a second Coal Generator once I get around to automation.)

​A note on power transformer connections

Power transformers have two connection points. The upper one is for incoming power from power producers, the lower one is for power going out to consumers. (One way to remember which is which: look at the arrows on the transformer. A lot of power comes in by the big arrow, a little power goes out by the small arrow.)

A note on battery placement

Place batteries on the Heavi-Watt Wire side of your power grid. Basically, anything that produces or stores power is connected to Heavi-Watt Wire.

  • On the upper right of your screen you will see a dropdown option that says "Resources" and a smaller text that says "See All."

  • Click on See All to see a list of all the resources you have discovered so far.

  • By selecting resources from that list, they will be added to your screen, showing how much you have of those resources.

  • Use this to keep track of any resources you are interested in. A particularly important one is algae, as that is what we use to produce oxygen. We are also interested in coal, as we need that for our coal generator(s).

  • Coal is under "Consumable Ore"

  • Algae is under "Organic"

Tip: keeping an eye on resources


Dupes exhale carbon dioxide and certain machines (like the Coal Generator) produce it. You can get a better view of carbon dioxide levels using the Oxygen Overlay (icon in the top right or press F1).

When carbon dioxide levels rise up into your base, dupes will have to run up into the oxygen layer every so often to gasp for air. So having a machine (or worse - a bed) in carbon dioxide isn't great.


Oxygen Overlay. Carbon dioxide is starting to build up. The new Coal Generator will only make things worse.

There are two approaches to carbon dioxide buildup in your base: Deal with it later and Deal with it now.

Deal with it later

Since carbon dioxide is heavier than oxygen, you can postpone solving the problem with a carbon dioxide pit: basically just a ladder going down, with a few tiles dug out around it. (See the above picture for an example.)


You can extend the ladder further and further down as carbon dioxide piles up in your base. But digging a deeper and deeper carbon dioxide pit will become slower and slower as dupes need to hold their breath for longer and longer as they go further and further down to dig.

Deal with it now

Later in the game there is some limited use for carbon dioxide. But now let's just get rid of it. We'll do this with a Carbon Skimmer.

Carbon skimmer basics

  • The Carbon Skimmer is unlocked through research: under Air Systems, the second step in the Liquids research branch.

  • The carbon skimmer uses water as its input and outputs polluted water.

  • (Though polluted, the water is germ-free.)

  • The carbon skimmer only gets rid of carbon dioxide - it does not produce oxygen.

Carbon skimmer placement

The carbon skimmer will define the point where carbon dioxide buildup ends and oxygen (or chlorine, if any has gotten into your base) begins.

When deciding where to place your carbon skimmer, one option is to put it at the bottom of your base. (Or to dig down to what you think will be the bottom of your base once you're done expanding.)


Another option is to put it further down your ladder network. You will eventually want to dig down to the oil biome (but don't go there without Atmo Suits! - we'll cover them later) and other biomes below your starting biome. A carbon skimmer further down a ladder network will ease this exploration.

Wherever you decide to place it, the concept is a self-contained loop:

  1. The Carbon Skimmer uses water to get rid of carbon dioxide, and produces polluted water

  2. The polluted water is sent through a Water Sieve that removes the pollution, turning it back into water

  3. The water is sent back to the Carbon Skimmer - and the loop starts again from the beginning

Maintained by SomeRandomFinn


Carbon Skimmer and Water Sieve. Connect white to green and green to white.

The above picture is what you are aiming for.


  • On the left there is a Carbon Skimmer (unlocked in Decontamination in the Gases research branch)

  • On the right is a Water Sieve (unlocked in Distillation in the Liquids research branch)

  • Both machines require power

There are two empty spaces between the Carbon Skimmer and Water Sieve. This isn't necessary, but it will be useful later when we add automation to the design.

Any time you connect piping you have a good chance of misconnecting piping. So let's go over it.

  • The Carbon Skimmer uses water and outputs polluted water.

  • The Water Sieve uses polluted water and outputs water.

So we connect the Carbon Skimmer output (the green bit) to the Water Sieve input (the white bit).


Then we connect the Water Sieve output (the green bit) to the Carbon Skimmer input (the white bit).

Almost done. Now we just need to add the final element: water.


Just add water. A temporary setup to get things going. The Liquid Bridge at the end is to stop the system from overfilling.

You can run a water pipe from your water supply to your carbon skimmer. But it might be quicker and easier to instead build a temporary setup to pump in some water.

The above picture shows such a temporary setup:

  • A liquid pump (powered) with a tile on either side to keep the water in

  • A Bottle Emptier that empties onto the pump

  • The liquid pump is connected to the Carbon Skimmer input. (Clean water passes straight through a water sieve. So you can actually connect the liquid pump to either pipe.)

    • For this connection, use a Liquid Bridge for the final connection.

    • The white end of the Liquid Bridge should connect to the pipe coming from the Liquid Pump

    • The green end of the Liquid Bridge should connected on to the pipe leading to the carbon skimmer input (white) pipe.

  • The Bottle Emptier is set to water and - IMPORTANT: click on "Enable Auto-Bottle"

On Enable Auto-Bottle

Without this enabled, dupes will only be allowed to empty bottles already lying around your base. Enable Auto-Bottle lets them also get water from a pitcher pump to empty in the Bottle Emptier.

On why there is a Liquid Bridge in the build

The reason for the liquid bridge has to do with how liquids and pipes work in Oxygen Not Included.

The Liquid Bridge works such that it will only allow water to pass over it if there is space in the pipe it is connected to. Liquid bridges are useful to avoid over-filling a pipe network.

Once the system is primed - when there is water running in our infinite loop - you can deconstruct the temporary setup.


On deconstructing pipes

Deconstructing pipes with liquid in them will cause the liquid to spill out. You can empty liquid from pipes (into bottles on the ground), but this requires the Plumbing skill - two skill points spent in the Tidying skill tree.

Sand and composts

The Water Sieve needs sand to purify water, and produces polluted dirt in the process. So it is a good idea to have a Storage Bin somewhere nearby, set to store sand (found under Filtration Medium).

You can also put a Compost nearby to deal with the polluted dirt. Or you can have your dupes run it up to some other compost. (Or you can just ignore it. Which seems wrong, but is also entirely possible.)

  • All those resources you dig out? When they are lying on the ground (or worse: the floor of your base) they aren't just resources - they're debris.

  • Debris has a negative decor value. Lots of debris means lots of negative decor. To open the decor overlay, click the cactus (top right) or press F8.

  • To keep your dupes happy and stress-free, you want to keep their morale up. And, as you probably guessed, debris is bad for morale.

  • At some point, you will want to clean up the debris around your base. There is no right or wrong time to do this - some do it early, others wait 50 or 100 cycles.

  • Of particular importance are places where dupes spend a lot of time. So bedrooms are a good place to clean up first.

  • There are two main options for cleaning up:

    • Storage Bins

    • The Automatic Dispenser

  • The Automatic Dispenser is like a Storage Bin, except it doesn't store things. (So it isn't that much like a storage bin, really). Instead, it dumps debris on the tile next to it.

  • The downside of an Automatic Dispenser is that the resources on the ground count as debris. The upside is you can gather an endless amount of resources on one tile.

  • The Automatic Dispenser is unlocked in Smart Storage in the Solid Material research branch.

  • The Automatic Dispenser has a power socket, but you don't need to power it if you are just having dupes dump debris in it.


  • Remember, whichever you use, that you need to set what categories of things to accept.

  • To designate debris to be cleaned up, select "Move debris into storage" (bottom right, or "K").

  • You can set Storage Bins and Automatic Dispensers to "Sweep Only". Then they only accept materials that you have selected to be swept.


  • NOTE: With an Automatic Dispenser, you may need to set it to Sweep Only, otherwise you will create an infinite loop: dupes keep picking up and storing the same material that the dispenser keeps spitting back out. (Unless you are dumping things somewhere dupes can't reach them.)

  • If necessary, you can also use Storage Bins to gather lots of stuff in one place.

    • Set it to sweep only and to accept all materials

    • Issue your sweep command

    • Whenever the Storage Bin fills up, empty it (by deselecting all contents)

    • Then just start again from the top, until all sweep commands are taken care of.


The decor overlay. Rarely a pretty sight when you're just getting started.

Tip: cleaning up Debris - Storage Bins and the Automatic Dispenser


You may have noticed a lot of activity around your Mealwood. That is because Mealwood needs to be "fertilized" every cycle. In practice, that means dupes need to supply dirt to the Mealwood.


You don't need to worry about your dirt levels for a very long time, but If you continue with Mealwood as your only food source you will eventually run out of dirt.

One option is to switch to Bristle Blossoms, which only require water. Though then you will instead need to keep an eye on your water supply, and will eventually need to tap into a geyser to fill up your water supply. (See Getting (more) water for an introduction to water geysers.)

  • Bristle Blossoms need light and water to grow

  • They will not grow in temperatures above +30 C

Switching to Bristle Blossoms is in no way a necessity. But, if you have the water (and a little bit of power) to spare, it is a way to save dirt and dupe time.

There is a special tile, the Hydroponic Farm tile, that allows us to pipe water directly to whatever is planted in it. With those tiles and a light source, all our dupes will have to do is harvest the Bristle Blossoms when they are ready.

  • The Hydroponic Farm tile is unlocked through Agriculture in the Food research branch

  • The Ceiling Light is unlocked in Interior Decor in the Decor research branch. (You probably have it already.)


How many Hydroponic Farm tiles your ceiling light can cover depends on how high up you place it.

  • If you have a four tile high room, a ceiling light will cover 7 tiles: the tile under it and three on either side.

  • If you have a five tile high room, a ceiling light will cover 9 tiles: the tile under it and four on either side.

  • NOTE: A ceiling light will not offer sufficient light if you place it six tiles up.


If your room is 18 tiles wide, a five tile high room means two ceiling lights can cover the entire floor.

Bristle Blossoms produce Bristle Berries. Dupes can eat them as such and they can also be cooked into Gristle Berries, which increases both the calories and quality you get from your Bristle Blossoms.

If you have access to Sleet Wheat then, combined with Bristle Berry, you can make Berry Sludge. Berry Sludge is a good meal, but the really amazing thing about it is that it cannot spoil. This makes it an excellent source of food for rocket journeys (in the DLC).

Another option for upgrading to something better than Mealwood is ranching critters and turning their meat into barbeue. Hatches are a popular starting critter. They can survive in higher temperatures than Mealwood and Bristle Blossoms and they don't require water. Hatches also produce coal.