Playing to Thrive

So now your colony is developing at a healthy rate. You want to move to the big time: to perform scientific research, increase morale, delegate tasks, and spy on rival colonies, just like leaders did back on good old Earth. In a word, you wish to thrive.

You need information to make intelligent decisions, and there are plenty of sources in Outpost. Your AI will provide you with a variety of reports at any time. If you would like an overview of your planet, the Executive Summary Report is available either through your AI or through the Command Center. This information includes the total number of active mines, the current pool of available resources, and how many Agricultural Domes are producing food, among other things. There is also a Detail button under the Population entry, which will provide you with a breakdown of your population categories. (See Chapter 11 for details.)

A left-click on most buildings will give you a report on that facility. These include individual mining reports, factory production summaries, warehouse and resource storage reports, and laboratory research reports. A request for a lab report will also enable you to choose which area of research that lab should pursue.

You can reach the Help file either by right-clicking on the chrome ball in the bottom left-hand corner of your screen or by clicking on any part of the main game screen when the Tile Map is displayed. This will give you a dialogue box with a context-sensitive Help option. Contextsensitive Help will send you directly into the portion of the Help system that relates to the part of the screen you clicked on.

The Outpost Evening Star, your colony’s newspaper, disseminates information to the colonists. Your AI then condenses news items into briefs as an Executive Summary. The newspaper is a good way for you to gauge the opinion of the person on the street; or the person in the tube, as they say on your planet.

When your original colony has reached a reasonably stable condition, extra resources will start to pile up until you’ve reached the conditions that allow you to start a secondary colony. You will know when this condition has been reached if you watch for a new Command Center to appear as an option in the Tile Picker window at the top center of the main game screen. If surplus conditions change and reserves drop below minimum, the Command Center option will disappear from the Tile Picker window. The surplus resources required to start a new colony are as follows:

  2 Robodiggers, 2 Robodozers, 2 Robominers, 2 Trucks

  100 units each of Metals A, B, C and D
  40 units each of Precious Metals A and B
  50 units each of Minerals B and C
  30 units each of Fusion A, B and C

  70 units of Mineral A
  100 units of Food

  2 unemployed colonists

Once a new Command Center is placed on a new colony site, the items listed above are transported as a basic package used to start the new colony.

To monitor the conditions in your new colony, remember to left-click on the Command Center in the new colony to view its Executive Summary Report. Then, if you want to switch back to the control of your main colony, click on your home Command Center.

The chrome ball icon at the bottom left of your screen represents your Artificial Intelligence, or AI. Your AI will serve many critical functions, including warning you of impending disasters and allowing you access to a general help file. When your research in the field of computer science has developed sufficiently, you can switch from micromanagement to macromanagement through the use of multiple AI managers.

You’ve been overseeing every aspect of colony management since you started the game, which can be a logistical nightmare when dealing with multiple colonies. Multiple AI managers can handle some of the administrative tasks so that you won’t have to worry about every clogged toilet on the planet.

Please note that when multiple AI managers are first made available to you, they may be unstable. You must do sufficient research into AI personalities to ensure that your AI managers will respond to your commands in an appropriate way. If you are dealing with an unstable AI, you may tell him to build Agricultural Domes for 200 turns, only to find after 200 turns that he’s been building Communications Towers. And if your AI screws up, you can be sure that in this, as in all things, your population will blame you.

With macromanagement capability, you have the ability to specialize an individual colony’s function. With the basic necessities of life and connections to a few good mines, a colony can become a power center, a recycling center, a smelting complex, a storage complex, a bedroom community, or a shopping mall. As long as these specialized colonies are connected by trucking or a good Monorail network, then you have a powerful method of management available to outwit your competition.

Once the multiple AI personality research has been completed, one new personality will be generated approximately every 100 turns.

Assigning Work to a New AI

Once you’ve started a new colony in the normal manner, and you’ve done the research that generates multiple AI personalities, the AI interface will become available.

When you click on the “Assign AI to Colony” button under Macromanagement, all your available AI personalities are listed by name in the “Assign AI” column. Click on an AI name, then choose a colony name from the “To Colony” column.

Now you want to tell the AI you’ve assigned to the colony how you want the building program managed. This is done by selecting one of the options from the “Building Emphasis” column, such as Agricultural Center or Storage Complex. If you choose the Deassign option, the A I assigned to that colony will halt any current building program there and wait for further instructions, conserving resources in the meantime.

If an AI personality assigned to a colony turns out to be unstable, you can Deassign it. Once you have done the research to solve AI Personality Problems, all AI's will be updated.

In Outpost, as in life, the morale of the population is dependent on many factors. Significant rises in morale mean you’re doing a good job; they lead to a higher birth rate, a lower death rate, and increased production. Drops in morale mean you’re a failure as a leader; they result in a lower birth rate, a higher death rate, decreased production, and colonist defections to the rebel colony. Of course, if your colony’s morale soars, rebels will defect to you. It’s that kind of capricious behavior on the part of the colonists that makes your political life uncertain, and makes the morale model too complicated to explain.

When trying to determine how your population will react, think how you would feel in a given situation. If, for example, someone forgot to tell you to evacuate the surface during a solar flare, you might get a little grouchy. On the other hand, if your leader provided you with sophisticated Luxury Items such as whoopie cushions, your morale would rise. Okay, maybe that isn’t such a good example. Play with the model. Poke it and see what happens.

Morale has a direct effect on factory production quantities, so you must try to keep it as high as possible. The best way to directly manipulate morale is through providing colonists with Luxury Items. The planet’s hostility level will have an effect on morale, as will the crime rate. Technological advances will also have a positive effect, so perform scientific research and bulldoze old factories to make way for new, improved factories. And whatever you do, don’t make the mistake a certain 1980s presidential candidate made and assume you can get away with anything. They’re out there. They’re watching you. And they know every move you make.

Tiles enhancing morale are: AgriDome, DIRT Facility, Nanotechnology Facility, SPEW Facility, Terraforming Facility, Commercial Structure, Park/Reservoir, Recreational Facility, Red Light District, and University. Tiles detrimental to morale are: Tokamak Containment, Hostile Police Station, and Hot Lab. The next chapter discusses morale in more depth.

Research is a means to an end, and should be pursued with vigor. One measure of victory is establishment of a space program for your colony, and this cannot be achieved without a lot of research in every field. You must also do research to engage in terraforming, improve the quality of life for your colonists, and increase their morale.

Scientific research is the key to your continued survival and the advancement of your civilization. A lot of scientists think they’re too good to work in the SPEW. You should put them to work doing research in active labs as quickly as possible, to keep their morale high. Just as their morale is affected by their positions on your colony, the rate of research progress will be affected by your colony’s overall morale.

When you click on an active lab, you’ll get a lab report. This report will tell you of any operating problems the lab might have, what its current line of research is, and how much progress has been made. The report will also give you the opportunity to assign the lab to a research area.

Basic Research will accelerate all current research after about 100 turns. AIs assigned to Basic Research labs do not affect the rate of progress. AIs can, however, make a difference when assigned to specific Applied Research.

When you have completed a given area of Applied Research, the result benefits the colony. Some areas of research were mastered on Earth, but because you brought only the basic necessities of life with you on the starship, technology must be reestablished or subjects rethought from your new planetary perspective. The number of turns required to make progress in Applied Research varies, and can be positively affected by the presence of an AI.

Terraforming is the process of making an Earth-type environment on another world. Obviously, if you could manipulate the climate of your new home in such a way as to make it more like your old home, that would be a good thing. Your colonists would certainly like being able to breathe the air, and morale would go up accordingly. You can’t just start terraforming, however. You’ll have to do extensive research, and even then some planets just aren’t appropriate for transformation into replicas of good old Earth. Mars-type planets are the likeliest candidates, a fact which should influence your choice of a planet destination if you wish to engage in terraforming.

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  • Last modified: 2017/05/28 21:47
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