Tools, Machines, and You!

Weapons, Tools, Machines and You

“A bad workman always blames his tools.” 
Since you’ll be headed off into space with some questionably trained people, you’ll need plenty of tools to distribute the blame a little more evenly!

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Welcome back to another update on how to run your own space colony as part of The UnEarth Initiative. This week we’ll be talking about tools, machines, and the things you’ll need to build if you’re one of those over-achiever types who wants their colony to survive longer than a week.

When we talk about “tools”, we really mean any object that a colonists can carry with them to do their job, whether it’s mining, farming, scientific analysis, or an ill-advised attempt to domesticate carnivorous sand-worms. Tools are distinct from larger machines in that they are portable, but they can only accomplish so much. For example, a colonist may use his Sci-corder to analyze an alien plant in the field, but he will need to take that data he collected back to a machine in his lab before he can tell if it’s poisonous or not. (Or he could just shrug and eat it. But we recommend the former option.)

The first tool every colonist is equipped with is their handy Omni-Tool. You can think of Omni-tools as the modern version of the ancient Swiss-Army Knife. They are small, and useful for a variety of simple tasks, such as affixing wall panels to walls or making minor repairs. And like a Swiss Army-Knife, your Omni-tools can also conceivably be used as weapons. They don’t deal very much damage, but it may be enough to deter an aggressive pest nearby!

The Ever Present Omni-Tool

Beyond the Omni-Tool, colonists can also use tools like the Dig-o-tron 3000 for mining, the Sci-corder for analysis, the Medical Empowerment Kit for first aid, or the Agro-Controller for farming. Since tools are required to complete these kinds of jobs, it’s important to build enough tools to keep your colonists working at maximum efficiency!

To make sure that tools don’t get trapped in any one colonist’s inventory, colonists store tools in lockers. When they need to accomplish a task, they will go to the nearest locker, remove the relevant tool, complete the task, then return it to the locker that it came from (or the nearest locker if that one is full.) This means that it’s critical to build storage lockers near locations that need tools, or your colonists will spend all day hiking up and down your colony just to get the tools they need!

Aesthetically, all tools (except for the Omni-Tool) are two handed, while weapons are one handed. With so many laser-spewing gadgets around, we wanted it to be clear which ones were friendly. The one-handed / two-handed split makes it easy to tell whether that shadowy figure approaching you at night is wielding a Triple-Burst Ion Fragalization Laserâ„¢, or a Medical Kit. The Omni-Tool is the sole exception to this, as it can be used as a tool or a weapon. But its friendly form should be recognizable to anyone who sees it, as you and every other colonist will start with one. (Although more may need to be fashioned if future colonists are born into the colony.)

Know Your Tools!

Weapons are also necessary, whether it’s to drive off a charging alien creature, or to stop that horde of invading aliens (you might have handled that trading mission more diplomatically!) As you research and discover more advanced blueprints, your weapons technology will increase. You may even discover personal shields or automated turrets that can be placed to guard an area. Weapons may also increase the chances of your scouts coming home safely… or they might just upset a pacifist race you’re trading with. Try not to go overboard with your laser-rifle hoarding.

Early Weapon Schematics

Early Weapon Schematics

Now, let’s talk about the big stuff. Machines are large items that cannot be moved by colonists – Fabricators, Plasma Hammers, Dark Matter Injection Molders and similar machines are used for constructing new items. Other machines, such as the Bio-Analyzer are used for doing scientific research and discovering new blueprints. Usually these machines can only be used by one colonist at a time. And while a Rovot may be able to accomplish the tasks that a colonist can do with a Tool, it is more difficult for them to control machines – they may need an upgrade before they can operate machinery at all.

Machines can also cause noise or pollution, so their placement inside your colony is important. No one wants a Nuclear Vise sitting next to their Space Hockey table, much less in their sleeping quarters. Still, machines are central to a growing and thriving colony, and are well worth the resources necessary to build them!


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