Oxygen Not Included Beginner’s Guide

February 2, 2021

Oxygen Not Included is a survival simulator where players take control of colonists trapped on an asteroid. The duplicants, as Oxygen Not Included calls them, have no memory of how they arrived on the asteroid or what they are supposed to be doing. It is the player’s job to run the colony and ensure the survival of the duplicants. Releasing in 2019, it has become one of the best examples of the genre.

But for those who have not yet tried out the game, it can be tricky to get to grips with everything. That’s why this beginner’s guide for Oxygen Not Included has been made, giving tips and strategy hints for the game. 

Getting started

There are many different tips for Oxygen Not Included. After all, the title has plenty of different systems and gameplay features to understand. So, to ensure that players get the very best beginner’s guide for Oxygen Not Included, this article is split into different sections. Players who need help with specific sections should skip to those subheadings. However, the rest of the guide will provide some interesting learning for Oxygen Not Included even for experienced players.

The first few steps when starting a new game are vital to building a successful colony. It is important not to expand too quickly and overstretch. This will just mean that players don’t have enough resources to do what they want to do and slow down production. Instead, users should focus on gathering easy resources. That means avoiding things like polluted water and oxygen sources. Stick with ones that are easy to acquire and don’t accept too many new duplicants. Wait until you are sure your oxygen supply can support the extra demand. 

At the start, it is a good idea to first build an Outhouse so duplicants can use the toilet. Other important buildings include Cots to provide sleeping quarters. These two buildings should be a high priority as they stop duplicants from getting stressed. It also stops them from having negative debuffs during the early stages when players need to get the most out of every colonist. 

Choosing the right duplicants

Duplicants in Oxygen Not Included have skill points and traits that make them unique from each other. It also means that players need to think carefully about which duplicants they recruit. In that respect, it is important that every colonist chosen has a specific role in mind. For example, the early parts of Oxygen Not Included include lots of builds and digging projects. 

So, at first, it is good to pick duplicants that are good at learning, building, and operating machines. Try to pick at least one digger, constructor, researcher, and operator for each new colony. As you progress, you can then begin to specialize in other areas, picking duplicants with skills in cooking and medicine, for example.

There are also certain traits that are useful or detrimental to the performance of a duplicant. Positive traits are almost always good to have, although some are better than others. On the other hand, some negative traits can be more damaging than others. The following traits are generally not too big of a problem for duplicants to have:


  • Pacifist
  • Small Bladder
  • Gastrophobia
  • Irritable Bowel
  • Squeamish
  • Yokel

Caring for duplicants

Duplicants require a lot of work to keep happy. Otherwise, they can quickly become stressed and ruin a colony very quickly. The best strategy for Oxygen Not Included is to try and keep duplicants as happy and cared for as possible. That essentially means managing certain factors that will keep colonists happy and safe.

The most important need for every duplicant is stress. Practically everything can cause some stress to duplicants. This includes things like a lack of decor, nowhere to sleep or use the toilet, and mess. Having to work longer and harder or do unpleasant tasks — like cleaning up vomit — also increases stress levels. Keeping stress down is important because those who reach the maximum level will elicit a stress response. These can be one of the following:

  • Vomiter – causes vomiting on the floor which can cause mess and pollute water
  • Binge Eater – consumes all the colony’s food supply
  • Ugly Crier – floods the colony with their tears
  • Destructive – destroys nearby buildings and gear

As well as managing the stress levels of duplicants, other needs also have to be met. These oxygen tips for Oxygen Not Included should make sure you also have a steady supply of the resource. Upon starting a new game, players should immediately try to gather extra supplies of calories. This is one of the most important Oxygen Not Included food tips, as without it, players will struggle. The initial supply will only be good enough to last for a few days. The same is true for both oxygen and water, so players should aim to discover sources of both.

How the research tree works

Like many other games, research in Oxygen Not Included allows players to discover new technologies. Concentrate first on research that will be most useful. This will largely be things like Basic Farming along with oxygen and water production. Make sure to concentrate on research that will keep duplicants alive in the initial stages. After this, players can then shift to increasing happiness and unlocking more advanced technology. 

Managing gas levels and using resources

Gathering resources in Oxygen Not Included is a fairly simple process. In fact, anyone who has played this type of game before will likely have a good idea of how it works. However, it is important to also keep an eye on resources that might seem like junk at first. In particular, polluted items are not quite as negative as most players would think. Polluted water, oxygen, and dirt can all be recycled and made into useful products with various machines and technology. This will prove vital once clean supplies run out.

Similarly, it is important to watch out for the different types of gases that make their way through colonies. Heavier gases will fall more quickly and will need a route to follow. If they do not, then they can make entire sections of the colony deadly. A good trick is to use pneumatic doors to let the gas travel freely throughout the colony. 

Learn how to keep workflow steady and efficient

The best way to create an efficient colony with a steady workflow is to utilize priority levels. Every task can be set to a different level of priority, with five levels in total. This allows players to ensure that important tasks are always carried out. Jobs such as resource delivery, operating generators, and working on food sources are all tasks that should be given the highest priority. Players can also tell duplicants to work on specific types of jobs. Doing so ensures that only duplicants who are good at certain tasks will carry them out.

Now that you’ve completed our guide, you’re ready to start playing!

Category: Guides



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