O₂ ≠
May 24, 2019 1:16 PM   Subscribe

Oxygen Not Included [YouTube][Trailer] “...developed by highly regarded Canadian team Klei Entertainment, best known for Mark of the Ninja and Don't Starve. It's a sideways-view building and resource management game set inside a giant space rock. I begin the game with three little characters who've been portaled into a small hole inside the rock, armed with nothing more than a box filled with a few days' worth of food and some funky tools for digging. They begin tunneling in order to create more room for themselves, and to yield resources. The inside of this rock is a Battenberg Cake of liquids, solids and gases, as well as organic stuff that is either really useful or absolutely life-threatening.” [via: Polygon]

• Oxygen Not Included is a deep and complex sim that's also easy to jump into [PC Gamer]
“I'm also learning a lot through simple observation. I can see that gases like oxygen and hydrogen float upwards, while others, such as carbon dioxide, settle downwards. As these gases concentrate, float, and swirl, you can easily tell what is breathable and what is dangerous without the colored mists completely obscuring everything else, and there are helpful overlays you can toggle to get an idea of trouble spots. There are certainly challenges in solving the issues of toxic gases mingling with breathable oxygen, but at least it's easy to see those issues in the first place. Water, meanwhile, flows and pools thanks to gravity, but not entirely smoothly: due to surface tension it may cling to rocks or narrow tunnels. Water, naturally, is prone to pollution as well, and can be a hazard like tainted air is. I learned this the hard way when one of my clones couldn't make it to the bathroom in time, and spread piss all over the research area. Way to go, Leon.”
• Oxygen Not Included plays like trying to make a baking soda volcano in middle school. [Kotaku]
“Gases mostly behave like they do in real life. They have different weights and will dissipate in a room accordingly. One of the first things you learn when playing this game is to build your bedrooms on an upper level, because carbon dioxide will sink. If the bedrooms are too low, your duplicants won’t be able to breathe when they’re sleeping. Making sure your base is full of oxygen is a huge part of this game, one I’ve messed up numerous times. Once you get the hang of producing oxygen, though, you can use the other gases in your base for stuff like producing power. I know very little about science, but the way this game forces me to experiment brings out the Bill Nye-obsessed eight-year-old in me. Oxygen Not Included doesn’t tell you the weights of the gases in your base; you mostly figure it out by observation. The pink clouds of hydrogen rise to the top, the black carbon dioxide sinks to the bottom, and the blue oxygen hovers in between. By allowing you to discover these interactions for yourself, the game feels like a sandbox for experimentation.”
• Everything is covered in piss. [Rock Paper Shotgun]
“When I branded my new space colony ‘Yellow Water Station’ I did so because I was prompted to come up with a suitable name for a settlement on the interstellar frontier. But all I could think of was how weird it is that astronauts drink their own recycled and purified urine. ‘Yellow Water Station’ was my puerile attempt at humour. I didn’t expect the new underground village I was building to accept its new moniker with such enthusiasm. Now everything is covered in piss, poisonous red gas is building up in the sleeping quarters, and there’s a dead body at the bottom of one of the aquifers. [...] Suffice to say, the bulk of the appeal here is in trying to manage all the different gases (and liquids) that plague your colonists. Carbon dioxide, hydrogen, contaminated oxygen – all of them are a threat in some way and you will have to research new tools and constructions to deal with them. Gas pipes, pressure valves, air filters, generators, vents, airlocks. You’ll be building all of these in a vainglorious attempt to finally tame mankind’s greatest nemesis – air itself. You might succeed. The people of Yellow Water did not.”
posted by Fizz (37 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I have no graphics card and Fizz must post.

It's alright. I cheered myself up about my dead card by ordering a new one for delivery tomorrow.

Consumer capitalism: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems.

posted by howfar at 1:23 PM on May 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

One of my favorite things to do with these survival sims is set everything up in what I *think* is a stable configuration and then go to sleep to see if anyone is still alive when I wake up.

None of my dupes have made it through the night yet. :(
posted by Jacqueline at 1:37 PM on May 24, 2019 [5 favorites]

Inspired by Adam Roberts' novel Jack Glass?
posted by cyanistes at 1:48 PM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Klei makes such well made games. They clearly care about their art and are pushing themselves. Invisible, Inc. is a triumph of a tactics stealth game. Mark of the Ninja is amazing. Don't Starve will have you howling and running from whatever you managed to piss off and shivering next to a fire. I keep meaning to pick up Oxygen Not Included but it's still Early Access I thought so I haven't yet.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 2:02 PM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm absolutely terrible at games like this, but I'll be damned if I'm not having the time of my life fucking up and dying in really absurd ways. Every death is a lesson for next time. This is definitely a game where every choice you make will impact you further down the road (be it in a few minutes or a few hours). I've found watching others play on YouTube/Twitch to be extremely educational.
posted by Fizz at 2:03 PM on May 24, 2019

I keep meaning to pick up Oxygen Not Included but it's still Early Access

It's on it's way out to a full release, probably within a few weeks, so do it now if you want to avoid that price jump, also I've yet to encounter any glitches in the last update, so it's pretty solid.
posted by Fizz at 2:04 PM on May 24, 2019

If you love sandbox games and colony sims as much as I do, you will find this game addictive.

If you're as much of a perfectionist as I am, you will find this game maddening (in a good way, mostly).

As soon as you've started to get one aspect of your colony under control (food production, or CO2 removal), you'll find that some other aspect is well on its way to going lopsided (heat, or sanitation). Your colony is a plate balanced on the tip of a pyramid, constantly tilting in one disastrous direction or another – and your ability to push things in a more stable direction is slow and imprecise.

Much like Don't Starve, it's a game of double-edged swords – everything you do to solve one problem creates some other problem. Generators use up valuable oxygen, and generate CO2. Draining contaminated water into cesspools creates a breeding ground for germs. Expanding your base brings you closer to geothermal hot spots, causing heat to bleed in (forcing you to expand your base even more to build cooling facilities, and to house the builders needed to build them, and the farmers needed to feed the builders).

It's a great game. It's also a sadistic game.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 2:07 PM on May 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

I have many hundreds of hours logged on this one throughout its years of development. Very highly recommended. Looking forward to the extra content coming with official release in June.
posted by randomnity at 2:18 PM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

Love this game, have also logged too many hours (but never built a rocket). Once you get the hang of the basic things, it's very fun for quite some time. Then it becomes frustrating (dupes not doing the level 9 priority thing! for instance). But still fun.

If you want some tips or enjoy watching other people play, I like Wintermute at Grind This Game, or Cryptic Fox.
posted by Glinn at 2:24 PM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I love colony sims & base building games. I'm impressed at how far this has come since the last time I saw some videos of people playing it. But I'm really hesitant on this one because the side perspective (vs. overhead) makes me think that I'm going to fuck up on base layout even harder than normal. That shouldn't stop me, but it likely will. In the meantime, I'll get back to watching my pawns die in horrible ways on Rimworld.
posted by nubs at 2:29 PM on May 24, 2019

I'll get back to watching my pawns die in horrible ways on Rimworld.

I bounced right off of Rimworld. I think the aesthetic of ONI is the main reason why I don't mind dying or fucking up the way I do when I play the game, something about the little duplicants/dupes just warms my heart and it doesn't hurt so much to watch them die or slowly fuck up my colony because I made a series of poor choices.
posted by Fizz at 2:38 PM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

#DwarfFortress has been covered on the blue a number of times, most recently because it is coming to Steam.
posted by Fizz at 3:07 PM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

ONI is great and I'm just waiting for the 1.0 release on May 30th or whatever so that none of my saves get broken.
posted by JauntyFedora at 3:20 PM on May 24, 2019

The only thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth about Rimworld is that the developer only allows relationships between cis, heterosexual couples among your colonists, and he's heard and dismissed criticism/requests about that from non-cis, non-heterosexual players.

Yeah, the the bizarre rationale he had for how and why he set up the relationship mechanics, and his refusal to listen to critique and suggestions for improvement, bugged me to no end (though I thought gay relationships were possible in the vanilla version, just very rare. I could be wrong.) and I stopped playing for quite a while when that all came out. There are at least a couple of mods for it now that rewrite that aspect of the game, so that has helped me with continuing to play it; at the very least, the creator has made the game very open for modding and adjustment by the users.

The emergent nature of these games is what always draws me in - the increasing complexity of the situations, the dependencies that suddenly come under threat and turn the game from stable to teetering on the edge of disaster. My current Rimworld colony, which had been doing very well and had me starting to contemplate a spaceship exit, is now on a knife edge after a double whammy of having both toxic fallout & volcanic winter events simultaneously; my food supply has virtually disappeared and I'm going to have to make some hard decisions about the few remaining colony animals.
posted by nubs at 3:21 PM on May 24, 2019

You can mostly mod out the fact that the designer is a dick, for example by completely replacing the sexual orientation mechanics and various other social bits, but Rimworld nags at me despite being a game I love playing deeply, because it just has a little bit of that stink on it. Like the brotastic biographies of pawns...do me fucking favour. I'm guessing they were written by backers, because they're almost exclusively dreck.

Oh and the stupid fucking "misogynist" and "misandrist" traits. Grrrr.

Luckily you can disable or edit this stuff out in various ways. Rimworld is a really good execution of the genre, and I'll continue playing it by finding ways around the crap, but only until I can find something else to play on easy mode as a base-builder/life-sim.
posted by howfar at 3:21 PM on May 24, 2019

Oxygen Not Included is my drug of choice. The only issue I have with the game is all too frequently I am required to stop playing and eat or go to work or something.

I have played many rogue-likes and almost all of the DF-likes (except for rimworld because fuck that guy) and ONI hits the sweet spot in many ways. The artwork is simple but charming and much better than most. You have more than a handful of workers but few enough that you can learn each ones individual quirks. And though the game is difficult it is not the kind of game where the rng or a single misclick can ruin dozens of hours of work.

That last one is one of my favorite things. You have no enemies in ONI but the environment and the laws of thermodynamics. My games tend to end not in failure and death, but in realizing it would be simpler to restart than to redo everything from scratch.
posted by iamnotangry at 3:29 PM on May 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

The only thing that leaves a bad taste in my mouth about Rimworld is that the developer only allows relationships between cis, heterosexual couples among your colonists, and he's heard and dismissed criticism/requests about that from non-cis, non-heterosexual players.

What makes it even more frustrating is how these games are all about choice and freedom. It's such an ugly and conscious choice to hard wire that specific structure into the game rather than just let people be people and play the way they want. Ugh.
posted by Fizz at 3:29 PM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

They're called "Dwarf-like" in that they're like the old UNIX game, dwarf fortress, which itself was a derivation of and transition into management games genre of, I'm guessing here, hack, or other rogue-likes.

Dwarf Fortress was born with an old soul, so I can see why you'd think that, but it was originally released for Windows- Linux support came later. The first public alpha was in 2006, making it a relative newcomer compared to Rogue, NetHack, etc. Adams cites a host of influences including Hack, the Ultima series, and Starflight.
posted by zamboni at 3:47 PM on May 24, 2019 [11 favorites]

I held off on this when it first came out because it seemed like the sort of thing where the mechanics and balancing would be subject to a lot of changes in early access. Glad to hear it's pretty stable now; often by the time games reach that point you've pretty much stopped hearing about it.

Rimworld and Prison Architect are much of a kind, but I don't think PA's politics are really very good, what with it being all about corporate prison management and all. There's something about the nature of this sort of gameplay that commoditizes humanity in a way that is, for me, both a) incredibly addictive and b) incredibly problematic. Even when you replace people with something that isn't quite people but definitely resembles people, it's still not great. I'd love to see a more deliberately enlightened take on such things but I can see why it's hard to do. Haitian household simulator Ayiti: Cost of Life was a lot of fun for me in very similar ways, but there's clearly a Right Answer and therefore a correct way to play, versus letting you explore a lot of different options. And maybe part of me likes venting with a game where I can make people I don't like into hats?

But I definitely did hit a point where I think I'm gotten all the fun out of Rimworld that I'm going to get for quite awhile, so I'm happy to try something else.
posted by Sequence at 4:20 PM on May 24, 2019 [1 favorite]

I thought gay relationships were possible in the vanilla version, just very rare. I could be wrong.

I may have this a bit off, but IIRC Rimworld had an issue where a straight colonist would hit on a gay colonist, the gay colonist would reject them because, y'know, Gay, then the straight colonist would take a mood hit because Rejection -- then instead of setting a flag to update their priors the straight colonist would hit on the gay colonist AGAIN.

The tantrum spirals caused by this were detrimental enough to the colony that min-maxing players started deliberately murdering their gay colonists on arrival, which like WOW NOT OKAY.

I forgot exactly what the developer's response was, but it was considered insufficient & tone deaf...

Actually, hang on, I'm curious enough now to look this up & get the facts straight. Here's Rock Paper Shotgun's code analysis, and Polygon on the developer's rebuttal, both circa 2016.
posted by taquito sunrise at 6:26 PM on May 24, 2019 [4 favorites]

Also my baby alpacas kept getting murdered by snakes so, y'know, basically fuck Rimworld in the skull.
posted by taquito sunrise at 6:29 PM on May 24, 2019


I have killed nine duplicants in the last 3 hours. I've had to start over twice. I can't figure out electricity.
posted by bendy at 6:48 PM on May 24, 2019

+ Pleasant Chitchat
posted by bendy at 7:33 PM on May 24, 2019 [3 favorites]

I should amend my above comment by saying until you get the hang of it there will be a lot of failure and death. So so much failure and death.

In the early game it is important to not over extend yourself. Only build the minimum you need until you can build the necassary infrastructure.
posted by iamnotangry at 7:38 PM on May 24, 2019 [2 favorites]

The art style of this makes me think it's what human society produces the moment they reverse-engineer all of Invader Zim's tech.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 2:12 AM on May 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

I am a big fan of this game. I have played enough that I kind of want to wait for 1.0, but I am having trouble resisting. Neon Struct, Grim Dawn and Stalker have been providing distraction.

Regarding priority 9 items not getting done, I find it helpful to occasionally select the whole map and reset everything to priority 5, then bump up the few things that must be higher priority again. I've never been sure if I am fixing a bug or fixing my own mistakes by doing this. A little bit of both, perhaps?
posted by quillbreaker at 6:51 AM on May 25, 2019

Glinn mentioned it above and it bears repeating, if you need help, watching Grind This Game’s playlist on ONI really helps. I enjoyed playing the game before but found myself getting frustrated. Once I watched just the first couple of videos in that playlist, my little friends started doing a lot better.
posted by A Bad Catholic at 7:38 AM on May 25, 2019 [2 favorites]

Regarding Dwarf-likes and gay people: Dwarf Fortress added gay people a few versions ago. It took a while since Tarn insisted on having academic references on what percentage of people should be gay. A number of people thought that sounded like an excuse, but in another interview he said he felt guilty after fudging the numbers on cactus flesh density until some fans measured it for him, so I think that sounds legit.

Anyway, he then introduced a system that uses four variables to not just determine if a dwarf is straight or gay, but naturally and elegantly produce straight, gay, lesbian, ace, aromantic, and bisexual dwarves.

Adding trans dwarves IS on the to do list.
posted by Canageek at 8:16 AM on May 25, 2019 [9 favorites]

Dammit, this game is fantastic.

Is anyone else a weirdo like me who constantly restarts the game, deleting all previous saves, until you have a good handle on how to play? I think I've started and deleted 7 colonies in the last 24 hours (longest one has only been Cycle 10).
posted by Gaz Errant at 11:10 AM on May 25, 2019

By the way, if anyone is starting to play and wants a tip, the most useful one I found is be very picky about taking dupes, both at the start and when they pop up. It helps a lot if you keep your colony small for a while, skipping most of them.
posted by randomnity at 11:32 AM on May 25, 2019 [1 favorite]

Piss, shit, and chlorine gas as far as the eye can see.

It's a good game, but I really don't like how much excretia factors into the gameplay.
posted by boo_radley at 1:11 PM on May 27, 2019

whoa that reminded me a lot of Fallout Shelter. I might enjoy this!
posted by numaner at 3:50 PM on May 28, 2019

According to Steam, I've played this game for 77 hours in the week since this post was made. Thanks Fizz!
posted by bendy at 1:37 PM on June 2, 2019

Fizz, I claimed sickness last week to bail out of a job interview two hours before it started.

25% because I felt really nauseous and 75% because I was figuring out electricity in ONI.
posted by bendy at 11:15 PM on June 4, 2019

Is anyone reading these posts down here?

I'm going to keep posting observations in this thread that will get weirder and weirder.
posted by bendy at 11:23 PM on June 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

A duplicant has died at the bottom of my water source.
posted by bendy at 3:33 PM on June 6, 2019

Why do they refuse to dig up the one piece of copper ore they need so I can turn their oxygen back on?
posted by bendy at 3:45 PM on June 6, 2019 [1 favorite]

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