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


I asked the community what things they wished they had known when they started. Here's what they said. (Presented in alphabetical order.)

Want to add something to the list? Wonderful! Head over to the Feedback section of the guide and drop me a line.

By blakemw

You don't have to vacuum out the steam chambers in many cases.

If a steam chamber is full of carbon dioxide or any other gas heavier than steam (which should be all common gases except oxygen, poxygen and hydrogen) then that heavy gas will simply be destroyed by water-steam interactions as water drips into the steam chamber.

On the other hand if the steam chamber contains light gases, namely hydrogen, oxygen and poxygen, you can create a "hood" to collect those light gases. This steam turbine has a hood that collected the oxygen:


If you like you like can use diagonal construction to fill the hood in and delete the pocket of light gas though often I just leave it, because it allows for easier duplicant access if I want to open the steam chamber again.

If the area the steam chamber is in only allows access to dupes in atmo suits you can even use an inverted gas lock construct to expel the light gases while allowing dupes to get inside the steam room to fix things, and constructing it is approximately zero effort unlike liquid locks:


In the ideal world you later build an insulated tile to physically seal the steam chamber, however the lock doesn't leak that much heat (at least if containing oxygen/poxygen) and is extremely stable under the right conditions, even being immune to one failure mode that liquid locks can suffer: vaporizing, an inverted gas lock has no problem with 800 C steam if something goes horribly wrong with the Steam Turbine setup. The main three ways this kind of lock breaks is if a Duplicant breaths out a CO2 packet inside it (hence dupes must wear suits), if a Duplicant drops bleachstone inside it, or if the light gas pressure gets vacuumed to below 1 gram/tile.

In fact if you can be completely confident that no heavy gas packet will ever be found in the area, you only need half of the light gas lock, in the above screenshot you don't need the 3 insulated tiles on the right, they only serve to prevent a carbon dioxide packet sidling in sideways. You can sometimes have this confidence if duplicants are suited, and you have nothing like a coal generator or bleachstone above the setup.

In any case I no longer have to waste minutes of my life ensuring that the steam chamber is a clean vacuum, if it's heavy gas I just fire it up, if it's light gas I leave a hood or inverted gas lock and fire it up.

By GeePaw

  • You must master bridges, both gas and liquid. They're not simple or obvious, and they're super important.

  • Watch co2 and dig down, skim it, or stash it. Dupes going to breathe kills efficiency.

  • Learn both liquid and gas locks. Neither are perfect, both are incredibly useful.

  • A generic storage area for the volatiles -- slime, oxylite, bleach stone -- is an early must.

  • Read the Compendium of Amazing Designs. Many of them are buildable very early on.

  • You can build infinistores for gas & liquid as soon as you have airflow tiles & mechanical airlocks. Learn the two-gas pour-in liquid store.

  • You can build, in particular, a gas slop-infinistore, and put every random gas in it until you're ready to take advantage of it.

  • You can be very clever with nature reserves, extending them across multiple layers for your dupes to walk through. +6 morale for a quarter of the day.

  • Start stashing the output immediately, of any geyser cool enough for you to handle.

  • Use local materials. If you can't, bring in your outside materials to a nearby container, before you start the build.

  • The canister-filler and canister-emptier are more useful than they might at first seem.

  • Heat is the big death. Declare a cool zone and obsess over keeping heat sources away from it.

  • Labor is the little death. Train a mechanical engineer from very early on, research shipping, automate every stupid little thing.

  • You can core a swamp biome safely with just o2 masks. Put a co2 lock at entry, spam deodorizers.

  • You can core a caustic biome naked. Enter middle or above through a co2 lock. Put an oxidizer on the far side. Dig dig dig.

  • The biggest heat-source from a metal refinery is the exiting coolant. Immediately sieve it and stash it in an insulated infinistore.

  • Once your o2 production is stable, use excess liquid to drive hydrogen production.

  • As previous respondent said, glossy dreckos are over-powered. Get a ranch up as soon as you can. This one is lovely.

  • Get to the oil biome as soon as you can. A little oil is nice, a lot of lead and diamond is super-nice.

  • Medicine is largely irrelevant, aside from zombie disease. A couple of triage cots will last you the whole game.


Most important thing, and I was very slow to understand this:

It's a sandbox game. You can't win it. You can't lose it. You can't cheat.

There's no right way.


Play a seed as long as its fun. Then replay it again for more fun, or start a new one. 

By Sasza22

  • Setting free time at the start of the cycle instead at the end will ensure dupes won`t lose sleep during recreation activities

  • Instead of sweeping debris make floors; when dupes dig the natural tiles debris will fall down. Do it from the top down and all debris will end in the bottom with your rooms clean

  • Setting a low capacity fridge with higher priority near your mess hall and a bigger capacity one in a CO2 pit will save a lot of dupe travel time

  • Early mealwood farms can be converted into drecko ranches later in the game

  • Pumping hot water (geyser water) through an ice biome is a nice way to cool it down for bristle farms just be careful not to freeze the water in pipes. The biome should last a while but watch out for melting water so it doesn`t flood your base

  • To send an exact amouint of resource through a teleporter in Spaced Out you can fill a container with the desired amount and set the loader to sweep only (with manual operation enabled) then pause -> uncheck the resource in the container -> order a sweep before it hits the ground. Make sure the loader is high priority

By Saturnus

  • Digging oxylite doesn't reduce the amount of oxygen it gives off but slightly reduces the rate at which it gives off oxygen

  • Don't waste time cleaning the outhouse/lavatory after each visit. Go into the germs overlay and disable auto-disinfect

  • Bad decor can only give you a max morale penalty of -1. Don't waste time cleaning up and decorating the base until later.

  • It's faster to deconstruct and build a new outhouse than it is to clean a full one

  • Repairing wastes resources. Let the building break completely instead to deconstruct and rebuild it.

  • Muckroot have infinite shelf-life. Don't waste time storing it, and generally only have it around for food emergencies.

By zach123b

For me it'd be the early game stuff, like 5 mealwoods per dupe, dig 3 tall steps so you don't need ladders until later, and dig 4 tall tunnels then replace the floors with tiles top to bottom for less clean up.


Then midgame stuff like the plastic presses suck and glossy dreckos are overpowered, ice biomes are great for placing an aquatuner, better to chill o2 out of an electrolyzer than the water going in, slicksters are great for meat but not for oil production, use excess water for hydrogen/power production.


Then more advanced stuff like steam turbines delete up to around 877k dtu/s for power but can delete much more heat, aluminum is best metal, berry sludge doesn't expire, ethanol can delete heat, salt can multiply heat, steel has a range for being melted which can be made from an aquatuner in a vacuum, liquid steel in a metal refinery is great for petrol boilers, petrol boilers are great, sour gas boilers for insane power production, glossy dreckos to sour gas to natural gas.

You know, simple things that make the game easier that don't stand out, or cool machines like that steam compendium had... looks like it got updated with Spaced Out stuff too:

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