Our top tips for surviving the deadly wintry conditions
Winter has arrived, and she's a feisty one, in the simulation strategy game Frostpunk.
Developed by 11 Bit Studios, the creators of This War of Mine, Frostpunk is a society survival game where the player - taking on the role of a city ruler - must develop steam-powered technology to withstand the overwhelming cold weather conditions. You're in charge of the last remaining city... no pressure!
Jumping into the game for the first time, players can be forgiven for not knowing where to start - whether it's buildings, technology or the general care of your civilization. Fortunately, we've put together some hints and tips that should help make the process a little easier.
You could, of course, try your hand at running your own city without our help - hey, we won't take offence - but if you do need some help, we're here for you.
Upgrade and maintain your buildings
Whether it's homes for your people or buildings that maintain their safety, warmth and work environments - maintaining your buildings in these icy cold conditions is vital. Essential buildings to get your city up and running are a Medical Post, Cookhouse and Hunter's Hut.
Tents will also need to be built to house your population, and they must be set up within the heated zones (where the map looks orange) so that people don't freeze to death - if you're near the beginning of the game, you don't necessarily need to build enough tents for every citizen - aim for just over 50% and should be okay for a while!
To upgrade current buildings and unlock new ones, you're going to need a Workshop. Once built, this grants access to the 'Tech Tree' where you can select which upgrades you want.
When upgrading pre-existing buildings, you can actually save a bit of dosh. Instead of placing the new building elsewhere in and around your city, simply pop it over the existing one and the game will re-use resources taken to construct the original.
It might sound like you're overcrowding, but building close to other facilities is a great way to save heat loss and will save you from having to build unnecessary Steam Cores.
Keep your people happy...and alive!
As with any bustling populated city, laws must be put in place to ensure that citizens act in a humane way, despite the frosty apocalyptic-esque surroundings. There are two key components to Frostpunk's gameplay when it comes to citizens, hope and dissatisfaction.
Choosing which laws to introduce first, or at all, can be daunting as it's all about weighing up the pros and cons.
We suggest activating the Emergency Shift law as this allows players to open any mine or plant in an emergency situation for 24 hours. This law can prove useful if generators are on the brink of shutting down and fast action is needed.
Another important law to look at is around food policies, and you've got two options for this one - the Soup Law and the Food Additives Law - both of which increase food production. However, there is a consequence from choosing either one of these laws as Soup law increases unhappiness, while the Food Additives increases the amount of sick people.
It's also a good idea to introduce the Fighting Arena Law and Public House Law, which help increase Hope levels for your people. One law we recommend that you DO NOT establish is the Dueling Law, unless you want your people to solve issues with violence, which will result in a mortality rate increase and a decrease in Hope.
As mentioned earlier, the Tech Tree allows you to upgrade new buildings and features to use in your city to help protect citizens and give them a better life, as well as helping your city to evolve with new buildings. There are four main sections for technologies - Heating; Resources; Exploration and Industry; and Food, Health, and Shelter.
For Heating, we suggest acquiring the Generator Power Upgrade and Generator Range Upgrade, which will allow you to hold high temperatures across a larger area of the city, even when temperatures plummet around you. The Generator Efficiency Upgrade is also handy for reducing the coal consumption of your generator.
Another handy upgrade is the Steam Hub - this is a much smaller heating building and can be built above roads - helping to heat smaller areas of the city without costing too much coal.
For Resources, there are two main mining structures which will help collect vital fossil fuels to help run your city's power. The first is using the Coal Thumper upgrade, which will construct a building that coal deposits located in soil.
Although this can help you obtain a vast amount of coal, it requires around 15 workers to keep it running. Alternatively, you can go down the Coal Mine technology upgrade route, which is available from the first branch of the Tech Tree.
This technology can be further upgraded via the Steam Coal Mine and Advanced Coal Mine, which increases the efficiency of coal acquisition. The Charcoal Kiln, which produces coal from wood, and Sawmill, which allows you to cut down wood located in the vicinity, are two great technology upgrades.
For Exploration and Industry, using the Beacon technology upgrade will allow you to recruit a reconnaissance team to help find valuable resources. You can then upgrade this technology further and expand your team with the More Scouts and Additional Scouts upgrades.
Another two handy technologies to check out are the Beacon technology - which can be upgraded to the Outpost Depot (this allows you to create outposts in designated locations to acquire more resources) - and the Factory technology, which gives you access to build factories to produce Automatons and prosthetics (people lose limbs to the frost, so this is good!).
For Food, Health, and Shelter; there are a number of technologies to consider to ensure that your people are well fed, healthy and have a roof over their head.
The Hunters' Gear technology upgrade can be vital as it allows you to increase the amount of food produced by Hunter's Hut. The Hunter's Hut can be upgraded with the Flying Hunters technology, which significantly increases the amount of raw food collected by workers.
Another option is to develop the Hothouse technology, which can generate a certain number of raw food units per hour, as long as the temperature in the building is at a certain level - this can be further supported by developing the Hothouse Insulation and Hothouse Insulation II upgrades, which help keep the structure warm.
When it comes to health, the Medical Post Upgrade is a must for from the start as it boosts patient healing speed by 10%. Developing the Healthcare Insulation and Healthcare Insulation II upgrades will help maintain the right temperature in the building, similar to the Hothouse.
Progressing from there, the Infirmary technology will offer the same advantages of the Medical Post but with more bed space. This has two additional technologies, Infirmary Mechanization and Infirmary Checklists, which can reduce the number of workers required to operate the building, with the latter accelerating the healing speed of patients by further 10%.
Shelter is pretty easy to get your head around and, as mentioned before, you don't need to build shelter for every single person in the early stages of the game. When you population starts to grow bigger, you'll need to Bunkhouse (level one technology) and the House (level three) - both of which have warming upgrades available.
Building a thriving community is going to be a tough task in itself, but players will have to deal with three major factors if they want to succeed - Cold, Starvation and Diseases.
So, how can you combat each one?
For Cold, a Generator serves a core heating source. Changing the steam level and range will help keep more of your city nice and toasty, but this will increase the coal consumption levels - Heaters and Steam Hub technologies will help create heated areas further away from the Generator too.
For Starvation, the Flying Hunters provides the best efficient method of producing food for your citizens, and it's worth (when possible) assigning more available workers to this area to ensure the supplies do not drop to dangerous levels. If you've approved the Soup or Food Additives laws, you should find life a little bit easier.
For Diseases, prevention and cure stages are important. If temperatures drop too low in houses, or corpses are not dealt with, disease will spread fast. Having a Medical Post will at least help treat those affected by diseases, however it is advised (mentioned earlier) to upgrade to cope with more patients.
Get people back to work by using the prosthetics built via the Factories, or they will become too ill to work and die. If you've chosen the Purpose Law, chances are you'll be dealing with a lot more sick people - a good way to counter this is by using the House of Healing law, which unlocks a new medical building where regular workers can work too.