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Bring it on Mars


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#1 silencer_pl

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Posted 30 March 2018 - 07:09 PM

Not so while ago, I've made a colony on Mars in Cydonia region. This was my first take on the game entirely. It went little OK, I had lots of issues somewhere near Sol 100, which I sort of couldn't get rid of them entirely. Having rethink what I did wrong, I've decided to go for another run, but this time it will be THE HARDEST SETTING the game has to offer. If you probably noticed the Cydonia run had difficulty setting of ~350% and it didn't felt too difficult. I only made it difficult for myself, because I was trying to save up resources where I should have been spending them to produce more resources. So with new knowledge let's start a new colony on Mars.

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First the settings. As you can see:

Sponsor: Paradox Interactive,
Commander: Futurist
Mystery: Marsgate.

Yes again Marsgate. From all mysteries this provide the highest difficulty setting from mysteries. So our base difficulty is 290%. The rest will come with landing site. Before however I show you the hardest point, I want to show a few curiosities. If you scan landing sites, you can find "famous" landing sites. There might be more but I found those:

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Pretty neat. And now our target:

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This area boosts difficulty level up to 535%. There are all disaster types, little minerals and the map is split into 5 regions.

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There is the pit in the middle, two upper levels on left and right, and two mountain levels on north and south. The mountain area is high enough that provides 100% bonus to wind turbines, so their base output is 10 power per hour. A little tempting to use, but remember that wind turbines use machine parts for maintenance and you won't be able to produce them in quite a while. The landing site game offers is pretty neat one. There is everything you need for a start. Concrete is a bit low though and there are cold areas. Other good spot in top left corner, but from what I have noticed it's area where meteor storm can bombard you, while I have not noticed meteors landing on the south spot. So let's land in the area where the game shows we should start.
Right as the rocket lands quickly build the Sensor Tower. The futurist commander makes the tower free of maintenance and power. Nearby there is anomaly that provides research points and I need this fast, because looking at the research tree, I have available Explorer AI tech that grants +100 reserach for Explorer Rover, and having 200 research from Sol 1 is better than 100.

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And speaking of research, we have few quite nice techs from the first tier. Farms, more cargo from rockets, $1.000M bonus cash, subsurface heater.
Having landed in cold area, subsurface heater is tempting, but it's sort of is a trap. It uses water and machine parts for maintenance, so before you know it you might be out of both in no time, and being reliable on it, creates additional danger. Better wait if you can sustain it. Probably wait until own production of machine parts and additional moist vaproizer to have steady supply of water + upgrade to have 50% efficiency bonus so you have spare water in case of dust storm.

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In the area of our landing site there are few anomalies like this. As our funding is pretty low, it's wiser to get the cash to deliver more parts in future. That is until you can mine rare metals for money.
So few Sols into the game, and our small base looks like this.

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And it will look like this for quite a while. To expand we need some drone hubs,  that need to be ordered from Earth and considering that we need 100 fuel instead of standard 60 it will take a little longer to do so. Also in the meantime first dust storm:

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Though dust storm spans over entire map, the main area of effect is on the lowest ground. During dust storm, MOXIEs and vaporizers don't work, solar panels only provide 2 out of 5 power, wind turbines generate additional 25% power and everything collects more dust therefore requiring maintenance at faster pace.
At Sol 14, Space Voyager rocket is fulled up and sent back to Earth. Since we are not sponsored by Russia, the travel time is so much faster and soon new materials will be brought back.
With new materials provided we can make steps to start building our first dome. And on Sol 28 we order first colonists.

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Fortunately no Samuel Hayden, Olivia Pierce or Dr. Betruger. We are safe from any Hell Spawns. The first colonists will of course start producing food, and providing additional research, because we need those points.

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Now also armed with the knowledge of the Sanity problem, we should not have problems with people going crazy. In fact they feel a little enthusiastic about this colony.

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So now we wait for the first evaluation. We will probably not get Martian born, as comfort is pretty average. It's enough no to make go people crazy. Once the evaluation is done, we need to start mining those rare minerals, as our funding is almost depleted.

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And here is our current tech tree. Near the end I've discovered the tech that increases sponsor research points so it will be grabbed ASAP.

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#2 silencer_pl

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 07:40 AM

So right now our situation is pretty stable. The first evaluation process goes without any issues.

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Soon after more colonists are brought to Mars and we slowly start to mine some rare minerals, but in order for the rocket to be fully filled on each flight we need more production, and that means more colonists. Unfortunately small domes can't hold that many, so we need another one, that will house more geologists. Additionally we need slowly to start producing rare materials. We already have access to polymer factory.

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Few Sols later we get our sponsor evaluation mission. Scan 30 anomalies. As you can see currently we scanned only few, that were only on our starting piece of land. But to solve half of the problem, a new tunnel was created to connect the western part of the map. Building tunnels costs a lot of materials. Specially machine parts (30). Those parts were brought earlier, but for new tunnel that we will need later, we don't have enough, and not enough funding to bring safe number from Earth. But we have a lot of time to remedy that.
In the newly opened land, we found 4 braketrough anomalies. With Paradox sponsor researching Breakethroughs gives us more people to recruit, which is nice, but we also need other tech too, so it's hard choice what to get. The breakethroughs we found was:

Wireless power: all drone recharging stations have range of 3 hexes and recharge instantly. This is quite cool, because it allows drones more or less work without any stops for recharging. More so with the upgraded battery.
Core rare metals: Provides a very rich source of rare metals. Useful, but not in current state.
Inspiring architecture: Spires increase morale. We will start using spires eventually, but not now.
Autonomous Hubs: This is sort of holly grail of breakethroughs. All drone hubs don't need maintenance and power. It's the same power given by the inventor commander. Saves a lot of power and electronics in the long run.

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2 anomalies provided boost to research, while not much it's something, saves a lot of points in late tech, though generally it's rather 1-2 sols of saving time.

On Sol 44, we rejoice, as we get our first Martian born, but on Sol 56 we say farewell to one of our founders.

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As time goes, we have now 2 domes. So it's full ahead to progress.

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Our research goes steadily, we have enough research power to get new tech every 3 sols or so.

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#3 silencer_pl

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Posted 31 March 2018 - 03:22 PM

In order to fulfill sponsor mission, another tunel was built. Thanks to 2 rare metals extractors and 2 full work shifts each transport carries full stack of 30 metals. This provides a lot of cash few trips and we can order lots of machine parts.
In addition another research lab is constructed in second dome, further increasing our research gain. Having access to the eastern part of the map, our explorer discovered a scenic site.

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While explorer continues scanning anomalies, a third dome is placed under construction. This one will complete the triangle of construction of advanced materials, meaning we will have at least some supplies for maintenance. populating this dome also triggered milestone of having 100 colonists.

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The east side was location bountiful with breakethrough anomalies. We gained lots of new possibilites:

Core Metals: Extremely Rich metal deposits. We have plenty of metal right now and we didn't even start extracting deep resources.
Vector Pump: Moisture Vaporator gets +100% to efficiency. That's a cool upgrade.
Cryo-Sleep: +20 to passengers. Might be useful when we start sending colonists for Mega domes, but considering that we are barely sending 22 because of the unwanted flaws. We don't want idiots, or lazy colonists.
Construction Nanites: Self building buildings. Lowers the need of drones, so drones can handle more on transport rather than building.
Hive mind: Workers in Arcology get bonus to performance.
Martian Diet: -25% food consumption.
Vocation-Oriented Society: +10 performance when super happy.
Safe Mode: Instead of sanity breakedown, colonist falls asleep and wakes up after 6h with 70 in comfort. Meaning no negative traits from mental problems and no suicides.
Hull polarization: Less maintenance for buildings.

Having discovered all those anomalies on Sol 90 we are 6 anomalies ahead of the limit. So this means we satisfied our sponsor. And this probably sparked the coming of our already known enemy:

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Fortunately this time I am in very comfortable situation, unlike in previous run, so I'm not that worried. Also having said that, we are slowly preparing to construct mega dome. The required tech was close enough to medium ones and the gap of 3000 science points was not that big to skip a tech. With mega domes, we can create heavily specialised domes, instead of throwing everything everywhere.
Also no Sol 97 we say farewell to the last founder.

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And finally Sol 100 is reached.

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#4 silencer_pl

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Posted 02 April 2018 - 09:41 PM

So since, we are past Sol 100, then it means only events are the Mystery one. Since I've already had a run with it last time, everything goes the same. However this time I was prepared and had enough materials for the turrets to be placed immediately when researched. However this still did not help from defending ALL of the rovers, since they beelined to them. On Sol 154 the EziCorp was finished, all their drones destroyed and dismantled. In order to get to the last group I had to double tunell to the northern section. First tunnel to the middle section and then to the top. This also allowed for getting remaining anomalies. There were several brakethroughs:

Martian Steel: 25% less metal needed for new buildings - that includes domes.
Prefab compression: Spires can be prafabed on Earth.
Advanced Drone Drive: 50% more speed to drones
Superconducting Computing: This would be super useful in early game. Excess power grants Research Points.

At this stage I did not have that much power in excess and excess doesn't mean stored power in batteries.

While fighting off the Rover invasion, 2 large domes were constructed. One that focused on Electronics/Machine Parts production. The second one for Food production. Later I had to put 3rd one to increase research and more electronics, since electronics where currently prime candidate of being not in enough quantities. Since, I'm now pass both myster and evalutaion, the mission turns into a sandbox. Mind you, that even surviving to this point, it's not settled the colony will survive. Unlike in Cydonia attempt I had rather a firm grip over the situation and colony grew larger and larger, finishing all the milestones, building all the wonders, reseraching everything there could be. And on Sol 254 last milestone was reached:

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Though it was the last milestone, it took another 50 sols to complete every wonder. So here is the colony. First the domes:

Vault of Zombie (sorry couldn't thought of a better name)

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Garden of Thorondor:

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Dome of Slaughter. In the distance you can see Garden of Thorondor plus a clony copy with same purpose. Additionally you can see 3 wonders. Project mohole (produces 50 metals per sol and 20 rare metals per sol). Giant concrete extractor and Space elevator.

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Institute of Pete + Omega telescope.

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Dome of No Regret:

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And a bonus of some Dome taken from the cliff the mission started.

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The wonders:

Well you've seen 5 of them (1 being a Dome). Here is the remaining two:

Micro fusion generator. Produces a whooping 1000 points of energy, and allows constant use of solar panels in small area around it. Good if you have improved solar panels that have +100% to efficiency. Unfortunately I did not have this tech.

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Project Morpheus. Screen doesn't look good. It's just a big "spyglass" on a stick. It makes people better. As you can see from the statistics it generally makes people Sexy Party Animals.

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And that's about it. 535% difficulty tamed.
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