Oxygen Not Included is a fantastic survival management simulator, in the same vein as Rimworld and Dwarf Fortress. In the game, players are tasked with giving directions to their in-game characters (called duplicants) in order to produce resources necessary for survival.
Often, sadly, the player will despair as their orders are ignored. The duplicants have a variety of concerns, which generally seem utterly petty in comparison to what you're trying to do.
The game is still in early access, at least until May, and there is currently no way to 'win.' The player's only goal is to create a sustainable colony and survive as long as possible. While the game is straightforward to play, hidden complexity can hamper your efforts at every turn. So, to assist with that, here are some of the most common problems players face and how you can deal with them.
10 It's Getting Hard To Breathe!
Appropriately enough, one of the first problems players face in Oxygen Not Included is... running out of oxygen. That initial supply of air runs out fast, especially if you have any Mouth Breathers among your duplicants.
Using algae in Terrariums or Deoxydizers makes for one of the best early sources of oxygen. Later, if players have a surplus of water, they can use Electrolyzers and Air Scrubbers to convert CO2 into oxygen; both are considered the best options for oxygen production in the mid-to-late game. One easy way to keep air breathable is to create an empty space below your base, for the CO2 to sink down into until you can figure out what to do with it.
9 Feed Us!
The next common problem players face is hunger and starvation, especially with Bottomless Stomach duplicants. The initial sources of wild food, like Mealwood or Muckroot, will run out, and players need a sustainable solution to this problem.
Microbe Mushers are the best initially, as they use water and dirt to create food (farming tiles produce more food for the same space as wild plants). Mid-to-late game, moving over to Bristle Berry production and using Hatches to catch critters is best. Combining advanced agriculture methods with fridges (to store any excess food for future emergencies) will solve many duplicants' hunger problems.
8 Feeling Parched!
Water shortage was an issue that plagued many players until water geysers were added, but they created a host of new problems. Even with geysers providing water, players may still have issues with water shortages if they're hard to reach (or if their colony guzzles water).
Bristle Blossoms and Electrolyzers use a ton of water, so they're best put off until you’re generating a water surplus. Finding ways to recycle and reuse water is always beneficial. The best --and most disgusting-- artificial water creators are lavatories. They use 5kg of sieved water and produce 11.7 kg of polluted water, so purifying and reusing that water can create a huge surplus for a dry colony.
The opposite is also a problem, if you unlock too many geysers early on or your build is generating a surplus of water. With too much water, you run the risk of flooding your base and drowning your duplicants.
The best way to solve this problem is to simply use the water. Don’t be afraid to build more Air Scrubbers, Bristle Blossoms, Fertilizer Synthesizers and other water-guzzling items. This can deal with that excess and solve other problems your colony might be having.
As a last resort, you can wall off the geysers (they'll fill up the space and eventually stop producing water because of over pressurization). When you need more water, simply open them back up.
6 It’s Getting Hot In Here!
All those machines chugging along inside your base can produce a ton of heat. There’s also the issue that, as you expand, you start encountering edges of the asteroid which will flow into your base. Too much heat causes your duplicants stress and prevents plant growth.
The best way to solve this problem is to properly insulate your base, especially when expanding. It won't stop heat transfer, but it will buy you time. Siphoning the heat to other areas also helps.
To remove heat, the Wheezewort plant is immensely useful. The only downside is that they can’t reproduce, so you'll have a finite amount. You can build Hydrofans, but they require a duplicant to run. Ultimately, the best solution is to avoid creating too much heat in the first place.
5 Under Pressure!
Speaking of stress, it can be deadly. If your duplicants’ morale suffers, they will stop following instructions and may even run around breaking things. As duplicants are the only means of manipulating your world and maintaining your systems, managing their stress levels is critical to maintaining control.
Building décor items to make areas more aesthetically pleasant is immensely helpful (take a tip from this image by DeviantArt's DrakensHaven, for instance). Avoiding sanitation issues, keeping temperatures manageable, maintaining proper supplies of food/water and keeping your colony sustainable and functioning properly are key to avoid creating stress.
To bring down stress levels, you can have them rest properly, socialize or get a massage on a Massage Table. Considering higher-level tasks create stress, it’s vital for end-game purposes that you keep these factors under control.
4 Don’t Be Gross!
In such close quarters, disease and illness can be a huge problem for your duplicants. This is especially true when you start using slime, encounter toxic gases or if your duplicants start having the occasional accident before they can reach a bathroom.
The best solution is prevention, so make sure you have sinks in close proximity to anything that produces germs --bathrooms, slime farms and compost to name a few-- to ensure duplicants keep their hands clean.
If a duplicant does become infected, it's important that they are quarantined until cured. You can also heat your water source with a Liquid Tepidizer to kill germs before they reach your colony. In the absolute worst case scenario, you can pump chlorine into an area to temporarily sanitize it.
3 What Happened To The Lights?
With all your machines running, you are bound to run into power outages towards the end of the game. Those manual generators you used in the beginning simply aren’t going to cut it and your duplicants are better served doing other things.
There are a number of generators that use coal, hydrogen, natural gas and petroleum to power you colony, but these require limited or valuable resources and can create problems later on. The best power sources are Steam Turbines, which use heat and solar panels. Until then, you need to limit power consumption while you do the necessary research and start charging batteries if you have any excess going to waste.
2 What’s That Smell?
The asteroid is home to all kinds of toxic gases that can ruin your duplicants’ day, while your machines will generate pollutants that can create unbreathable air. Early on, your best option is to siphon the gases somewhere else until you can deal with them (or even utilize them) later. Creating an empty space below your base is good for gases like CO2 and a space above will handle gases like Hydrogen.
Long-term, it’s better to create containment areas for the gas where you can store it until you find a potential use, like using chlorine to sanitize areas for instance.
1 Meteor Strikes!
After you’ve created a relatively sustainable base after solving all the other problems listed above, your next major concern is the ticking time bomb that’s been counting down while you were playing: meteor strikes.
Meteors have been continually whittling away at the asteroid and creating a massive amount of heat on the surface. This is very bad news for your duplicants. The only thing you can do is to quickly build Bunker Tiles to repel the strikes. You may also get lucky and find ruins near the surface that will also block the attacks.