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Outpost (e)

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ANSWERS TO MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS AND ADDITIONAL STRATEGY TIPS 7/5/94

(This document summarizes the hints and tips from various sources.)


* SEED FACTORY AND ROBOMINER PLACEMENT

Use the Elevation Map on the site map window to choose a landing area. The clear terrain is marked in black, so the best locations are black with red diamonds (which mark potential mines identified from orbit).

When you place the Seed factory, a red "X" will appear on the diamond-shaped tile map.  Run a turn by left clicking on the small planet in the lower right hand corner of the screen, then the turn number will appear below the planet.  When you see the Seed lander on the map (in place of the red "X"), you can start running turns to get the Seed factory started.  Construction tiles and pre-fabricated tubes will appear.  

While the Seed factory is building itself, place a robominer from the tile selector window on one of the red mining beacons nearby.  If you don't see a mining beacon, scroll to that position on the map by clicking on the tile map arrows and watch the box on the site map to line it up with a red diamond.  When you place a robominer on the red mining beacon, you will see the robot replace the beacon.  It will take several turns for the first level of the mine to be dug, after which it will automatically move resources to the Seed factory.

As you run your first turns, keep using the robodozer to clear terrain around your Seed factory.  Also place a robodigger at the end of one of the tubes at the Seed factory construction site so that it can start digging your first underground level.  When the robodigger is finished digging, the robodigger on the map will be replaced with the top of an air shaft.

* BUILDING WITH TUBES

Tubes carry air and power from your CHAP and power facilities. For most structures, a tube connection is required to physically connect them to your existing network of buildings and tubes. Since construction also requires a tube connection on a tile adjacent to your intended building site, you may find that nothing is available in your tile selector window except for robots and tubes.

After placing a tube on a bulldozed section of the diamond-shaped tile map, structures will then appear in the tile selector window if resources are available to build new structures.  When your colony is just starting, tubes will not be available in the tile selector window until you have brought down your first colonist lander.

* IF THE TILE SELECTOR WINDOW IS EMPTY

During construction of your colony, there may be times when the tile selector window is empty.  This means that all the robots are actively assigned to tasks on the tile map, and that no resources are currently available to construct new buildings. Running a few turns will remedy this situation.

* EARLY CONSTRUCTION

In the Construction section of the manual, it is suggested that you build your first few structures in this order:  Agricultural Dome, CHAP, power facility, storage tanks, residential units.  If your morale is falling fast, you may want to build a residential unit or two to slow the fall of morale before you build a power facility (since the Seed provides power for about 150 turns).  

During the first 50 turns or so, you should build SLOWLY---allow each of your first structures to finish building before starting a new one.  While structures are building, you can always bulldoze, mine, and tunnel horizontally or vertically with your robodiggers (assuming you have these robots available when you want them).
Because a SPEW facility provides resources from the sewage  generated by residential units, this is also a good structure to build  early on, along with a warehouse and a robot command facility to make use of robots built by your Seed factory.  Gradually add more mines to keep your resources flowing.  

Remember that an operating SPEW will generate MPG, which will take the place of any resources you may temporarily be missing.  MPG is stored at the SPEW facility and used automatically when necessary to maintain existing structures.  You can check the amount of MPG you have in storage by left-clicking on the SPEW facility to get its report.

* SEED FACTORY COLLAPSE

Remember also that you will lose your Seed factory units (power, smelter, robot factory) after 150 turns, so you must build structures to account for this loss if you want to maintain those functions.

Before the Seed factory units collapse, make sure that your tube connections will be maintained between structures.  Tubes are required to carry power and air, both for construction of new buildings and maintenance of those buildings.  You need a constant physical connection of buildings and tubes to keep supplying power and air to all of your structures, so there must be tubes that bypass your seed factory units by the time the Seed factory units collapse.

* SAVE GAMES

Note that games can only be saved from the main game screen where you see the diamond-shaped map.  If you encounter a problem saving a game, try running another turn before you select the Save Game option.  This will complete the internal processing steps required so that you can save the current state of the game. Running a single turn is accomplished by left-clicking on the small planet icon in the lower right-hand corner of the main game screen.  This screen is the only place where games can be saved.

* USING THE ROBOTS THAT LANDED WITH YOUR SEED FACTORY

Your seed factory landed with three robots on board: a robodozer, a robominer, and a robodigger.  While the seed factory is building itself, these three robots can be assigned to tasks on the diamond-shaped tile map that dominates your screen.  When available, these robots are visible in the tile selector window at the top center of your screen.

When you first place your robots, it's wise to place a robodigger  adjacent to one of the tube openings that are part of the seed factory complex.  The robodigger will then start digging a shaft to create your first underground level.  

Place a robodozer beside one of the other tube openings to prepare a building site.  Place the robominer on a red mining beacon (described in the Seed Factory and Robominer Placement section).  When you have placed all of these robots, the tile selector window will be empty.  You must run turns to complete the current activity by those robots.  As each robot completes an activity, it will reappear in the tile selector window for reassignment to a new task.

Explorer robots perform their function automatically.  Each explorer is capable of finding new mines, assuming they have not all been discovered yet.  The starship locates a large portion of a planet's potential mine sites; the geological penetrator probes discover more potential mine sites; and the hardest mine sites to locate can be discovered by explorer robots.  On the easy difficulty level, ten explorers are sufficient to discover the remaining mine sites.

* BUILDING ROBOTS WITH YOUR SEED FACTORY

Once the construction of your seed factory is completed, you can use it to build additional basic robots.  Familiarize yourself with each unit of the seed factory by left-clicking on each of the finished units to read the report that identifies its individual function.  

When you select the robot factory portion of the seed factory, you can start building additional robots.  There is a text entry area on the robot factory report which has a small arrow to its right.  Clicking on the arrow button will pull down the robot production menu. The seed factory can only produce these types of robots.  By selecting one of these robot types and closing the report, you have set the factory to produce one of those robots every five turns.  After you've built one or more of a single robot type, you can go back to this same report and reset production to build a new robot type.
New robots must be stored in a warehouse.  Usually, one warehouse is sufficient to handle robot storage for a long time, since active robots in the field require no storage.  Active robots will last for 200 turns, which is the limit of their fuel cell power capacity.  You must have at least one warehouse to store the robots that your seed factory is building, otherwise nothing will happen.  Then, to activate the robots from your warehouse, you must also build a robot command center (described below).Each robot command center can operate ten robots in the field.

* BUILDING NEW ROBOTS WITHOUT THE SEED FACTORY

The seed factory can keep producing robots right up to the end of its lifetime, which occurs around turn 151.  For this first phase of the game, seed factory robot production will often be sufficient for your robot needs.  However, at some point you may decide to build more.  A surface factory is required to build more robots.  After turn 151, this is your only option for building new robots.  Active robots have a life of 200 turns before their fuel cells die, so you'll start losing them after turn 200, if you haven't already lost any due to accidents.

* ACTIVATING NEW ROBOTS WITH ROBOT COMMAND

However they are produced, new robots need to be stored in a warehouse, from which they are available to robot command units.  Each robot command facility can operate ten robots.  If you want to operate 11 robots, you will need to build a second robot command facility.

If a robot factory has produced robots, and a warehouse exists to store the robots, and at least one robot command facility exists to operate ten of the robots, they will appear in your tile selector window so that you can place them on the tile map.  If all of the currently available robots are active, no robots of that type will appear in the tile selector window.

The radius of a robot command area is unlimited if you have a communications satellite in orbit (assuming you packed one when you left Earth).  If you have no communications satellite, communications towers must be built to extend the range of your robominers and other robots.  Each robot command facility and each communication tower have a communications radius of 30 tiles.

* ROBODIGGERS AND ROBOMINERS

To extend a mine shaft to a deeper level on planets where this is possible, place a robominer directly on an existing underground mine shaft.  This will not affect the functioning of the existing mine.

To extend an air shaft to a deeper level on planets where this is possible, place a robodigger directly on an existing underground air shaft.

* WHEN ROBODIGGERS DIG

On the surface of the planet, a robodigger can only dig a new level when it starts next to a surface tube connecting it to its home colony.  Because the robodigger constructs the air shaft for the underground levels, the tube connection is required to carry air and power to underground structures.

* WHEN PEOPLE ARE DYING TOO FAST AFTER LANDING 

It is often wise to leave your colonists in orbit for the first 20 turns while your Seed factory and its robots are doing their jobs to get the colony started.  This number will vary somewhat depending on how much life support and food you brought with you on the starship (you packed it at the Ship Configuration screen before leaving on the trip to the new planet).

After you bring your first colonist lander down to the surface of the planet, you have about 20 more turns in which to make sure that a CHAP facility is built.  Some people may die in the meantime due to accidents or old age, depending on the hostility level of the planet you've chosen.
* WHEN BUILDINGS GO IDLE

Buildings go idle due to lack of resources, power, or people.  In the case of laboratories, they can also go idle if they are not assigned a specific line of research.

If a particular structure's report shows its status as "idle," you can find out what resources it needs by clicking on the "Needs" button at the bottom of the report.  (In the case of the CHAP facility, the CHAP facility report is reached through the Executive Summary Report buttons).

CHAP facilities and power facilities are at the top of the priority list when resources are scarce, allowing you time to react to the resource shortage.  Bulldoze unnecessary structures, particularly if you have an operational SPEW facility to recycle the bulldozed building materials.  Make sure you have operating mines, an operating smelter, and sufficient space in your storage tanks to handle the processed resources coming into your colony.

If buildings are only idle due to a lack of people to operate them, you can bulldoze unnecessary structures to free up employed workers, or wait for your population to grow and age so that you have a larger available work force.  They will all age as you run each turn.

* POPULATION DISTRIBUTION

In the Executive Summary Report, you'll find a "Details" button in the population section.  Clicking on this button shows you the current breakdown of your population by category: infant, student, worker, scientist, or retired.

You will witness population explosions on occasion.  This will be apparent when you see more infants and/or students than workers or scientists.  Workers and scientists are required to operate your facilities, so this is a limiting factor to your colony expansion.  Only time will age your young people to the point where they become workers and scientists.  Universities help to shift the student and worker groups into the scientist group by bringing up the general educational level of the population. 

It is not possible to assign the adult population to specific tasks. One of the limits on building new structures is whether or not enough colonists are available to build them and staff them.  If they are available, they will be assigned to those structures automatically when you build them.

* WHY PEOPLE DIE

People die naturally from old age or by accident.  These deaths will occur no matter what you do.  Deaths also occur due to starvation or lack of air, and these are the deaths you can do something about.  

When you receive a death message after running a turn, it may not mean you're doing anything wrong.  Check to make sure that you have enough food being produced by your agricultural domes (one unit feeds ten people), and that your structures are getting enough air.  If you have handled those requirements, then you know they're dying due to old age or accident.  

After turn 60, deaths by old age or accident are reduced because the first part of the colony has been built, the weakest people who survived the trip have already died in the hostile environment, and construction accidents are fewer because the workers have learned safer techniques.

* RESOURCE MOVEMENT FROM MINES TO COLONY SMELTERS

Mined ores are stored at each mine shaft until a full load is ready to be moved by the truck assigned to that mine.  When built, each mine has one truck to automatically move ores to the Seed factory smelter or to the high-capacity smelter you can build yourself.  Storage tanks are also required to receive the smelted resources and make them available to the colony.  You won't see these trucks operating, but they're on the job.
* TRUCKS

Trucks can be produced by your surface factories.  These trucks will make a slight difference in the speed of your resource movements between the mines and the smelters and the storage tanks.  These trucks are not affected by the robot command facility limit of ten robots each.  Internally, a truck is created to serve each mine when new mines are built.  Any trucks you build will remain in your warehouses unless one of these mine trucks breaks down, at which time your trucks will be used automatically.  On the easy difficulty setting, it is possible to get through most or all of a game without using these trucks.

* ROADS AND MONORAILS

Although there are no roads or monorails in this version of Outpost, resources are moved automatically from place to place as necessary. Each mine has a truck assigned to it when built, which will move a new load after enough ore has stacked up at the mine.  

* SOUND CARDS

Any sound card supported by Windows will work with Outpost.  During the Installation process, the question regarding the Roland sound cards (MT-32, etc.) is asked so that the special music file for those sound cards can be loaded instead of the standard music file.
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