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Let's Play PLANETBASE

Helloo, everybody! Today, I am Peitro de Penguin, and today we are going to play... Planetbase!


Yes. I must say, this is more my type of game. I suffer from FPS nausea easily, and I panic
far too much for any RTS. I guess I'm just a crappy gamer in general?

But as they also say, isn't the most important thing is to have fun? And Planetbase is a c̶i̶t̶y̶
settlement-building game in which it is more important to take things easy and plan out your
decisions. It's very relaxing.


I hope you don't mind if I skip the tutorial. It's quite basic. Obviously you have to build
your essential life support structures first and power them before doing anything else. Then you
need to mine raw resources and refine them into usable forms, grow food, etc., etc. We'll be doing
the same thing again as we build the colony anyway.


Touchdown! Let us welcome our intrepid explorers!
Last update on March 29, 1:54 pm by Carlo Marco.
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Of course, in any great undertaking, job specialization is the key. These three workers were
chosen for their hardiness and survival skills. Without them, the colony cannot progress.



And we have one Engineer. The Engineer builds and repairs things. I must say as this point
he is the most valuable member of the team. I gotta keep this guy alive.




Two biologists, they are the life of the colony. We all need to eat.



And the Medic. You don't mess with the Medic. They can take you apart as easily as they
can put you back together after you wreck yourself.



And finally, two Bots. A Carrier Bot and a Constructor Bot. Oho!
I don't think a Constructor Bot can replace an Engineer though. I'm not sure, but I
don't believe they can repair each other.

And that's it for this post. Next we'll see how our colonists fare building their colony!
Their... uh, Planet Base.
Last update on March 23, 3:52 am by Carlo Marco.
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Hello again, everyone. Today were are back in this inhospitably dry Mars-like planet
to build a bountiful colony for some reason. I have no idea. I just go where the job is, que?


We have landed in a place with plenty of room to build. Good. Good. I wonder if those little
hills on the left are minable? If not, there's that mountain to the south, a little walk away.
By the way, I forgot to mention that this game is Early Access, but completely playable, so
there may be new features later. For now, there are no vehicles to build. Everyone has to walk.
But then I guess that's why Bots exist. They're much faster on their treads than any walker. Maybe
vehicles are unnecessary for the game.


First things first, put down the Oxygen Generator. I presume that's what the colonists would
value the highest. What does 'changing the size' mean? Well, larger structures take more Metal and
Bioplastics to build, but produce more. I am fine with the basic Oxy-Generator, it produces enough for
20 colonists.


Woops. Pardon if I skipped a bit ahead here. I thought I was pressing PrintScr but I was
actually pressing F12. So I missed showing you the contents of the Build Bar and the structures
to be placed.
Anyway, what has been built are the Oxygen Generator, and the Water Extractor is that
conical pod connected to it to the left. Water is needed to crack into oxygen and for various other
processes. That big dome to the south is the Storage Room. And that thing sparking being built
to its right is the airlock.

The highlighted thing is a Power Collector, basically an oversized battery. And that unbuilt thing
to the north of it is the Solar Panel. Obviously, we need the Power Collector because the Solar
Panel produces power only during the day.


As you can see, the Oxy-Generator is still unpowered, but it has most of what it needs
to work. The workers are running a bit low on oxygen, but this shouldn't take long.


See? There it is. A big solar installation, isn't it? Look how big it is compared to the habitat
domes. I like it.

Also, you can see the Build bar now. The dome shape is actually the Build Menu, which leads to
submenus for Interior and Exterior structures. Interior being things that people can move through
and connected to each other via access tubes. Exterior structures only require a power line.


Actually, hang on, might as well put down a small Wind Turbine to support the power grid.
Last update on March 23, 3:52 am by Carlo Marco.
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As you can see, the bigger, the more metal it costs. Also, one should also figure in the costs
of the connecting structure - which is 1 Metal. So this windmill should cost 2 Metal at minimum.
Incidentally, the smallest Solar Panel costs 2 Metal +1 for connection. 3 Metal. But it is a prerequisite
before you are allowed to build Wind Turbines.



Wait, it's night-time already?! That Power Collector drained faster than I expected!
Move it! BUILD, BUILD, BUILD!


Wat.


No.



Six dead. Are there survivors? Give me survivors...!


Who the heck are you?!


NOOOOOOOOOOOO!


...
I am so going to jail for gross mismanagement.
Last update on March 23, 3:53 am by Carlo Marco.
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Hello again, everyone! Welcome again to this Let's Play of Planetbase, which is a narrative
format in which we get to vicariously experience the settlement of an alien planet.
Or more accurately, try and fail to play Planetbase, because last episode could only be
described as a catastrophically stupid failure. Our colonists died choking in their space-suits, despite
already having all the necessary life support equipment built because the base could not be
powered in time.



So this time, we will focus. All right. After the disastrous first colony attempt on this
planet, a second expedition was sent. Perhaps it's a government. Perhaps it's a corporation.
They bravely go where man has gone and died in before. We shall see if they can make worth
that sacrifice.






Seven brave souls and two bots. May their names resound through history.
Last update on March 23, 3:53 am by Carlo Marco.
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Well. That's not good. This is a much less permissive terrain than our first attempt. The
colony will have to expand roughly in a line going out of the valley.


Ooohkay. There is barely enough room. O2 production, then the airlock, so that people
can get in, as soon as possible, so that they can breathe and not die.


Maybe I should have built this below the pod. To minimize the walking needed to bring
out the building material. True, expansion would eventually be limited by the valley, but we could
just have a second power and life support cluster later...


But too late to change things. Next up, Wind Turbine. The Power Collector was worthless.
It just wasted our valuable building time. It will be useful later, but for now it's a race against daylight.


Over here. It's closer. Hurry! Hurry!


YESS! YES! DO YOU SEE THAT? That humming sound is the hymn of victory! A powered Oxygen
Generator is love. It is life.


The Wind Turbine is producing power. It is actually producing more than we need.


And NOW we can confidently put down a Power Collector.
Last update on March 23, 3:53 am by Carlo Marco.
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And now that our colonists can move around without fear of running out of oxygen, it is
time to build the livable portions of the base. First up is still the Storage Dome, so that we have a
place to put materials without them degrading under dust storms and the heat of an alien sun.


Oho. 7500 kilowatts storage? And the Wind Turbine is actually producing thirty
kilowatts per second? Good to know we won't be wasting power. At a power drain of roughly
ten kilowatts per second, it should take 12 minutes to run out of power for life support.
I read that the structures furthest away from the power generators lose power first,
so building the Power Collector close to the life support systems mean that they will be
powered first, even if total production is below base-wide needs.


And with this, the colonists have survived the first night! What a milestone!
What I am building now is the Bio-Dome, so that they will have something to eat, and up north
the Canteen so that they won't have to keep eating MREs sitting on the floor.


This is the Dorm, a place for the colonists to sleep. After it is built, we will have taken
care of all their basic needs.


I will get into each plant later, but for now these plants are the first forms of Terran life
to be born, to grow, upon alien soil. The yellow plant icons refer to plants that produce Food and
Starch that can be turned into bioplastic. The red plant icons are exclusively food plants.


Building a mine to gain Ore to smelt into Metal needed for building. Only one more
thing needed to go beyond Survival and into Self-Sufficiency as a colony.


What I am placing here is the Processing Plant, where Workers can turn Ore into Metal
and Starch into Bioplastic. Because all rooms require both, the game is recommending that we
should recycle the Colony Ship for extra metal and bioplastic.


Wait, what?
What happened? There's power, there's oxygen, I saw them eating. Why did they all die?! Why?
WHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYY?!
Why.
Last update on March 23, 3:53 am by Carlo Marco.
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[ ... some research later]

Water. They all died of dehydration.
he old saying goes, you can only last three minutes without air, three days without water,
and three weeks without food. Apparently, my assumption that they were taking water intake
from the food trays I saw them eating was wrong. They need to drink from water fountains too.

The Canteen is important more than just as a place where they can sit down to
eat and mingle with each other. The Water Extractor does more than just pull out water for
the O2 generator to crack.

No, I fully accept the blame for this. The game has its logic. I was the dumb one.

Last update on March 23, 3:54 am by Carlo Marco.
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Before I continue with this Let's Play - what do you think about this format? Does it work?

Are you interested in seeing more of this type of narrative?

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I'll take that as a yes. :p
----------------------------------------

Salutations. You have seen what has come before and still you return. For this, you have my
gratitude. Clearly, mistakes have been made. And there can be only one explanation -
Conspiracy!
...
Okay, more seriously - I can think of no in-universe reason why a shoddy administrator as
myself should get to try again for the third time, and this time hopefully not to lead the entire colony
into mass deaths by mismanagement. So I don't think "I" actually exist as an entity in-universe.
Reading forward, there seems to be interstellar trade active in this game. So, a colony effort
like this is probably mundane by now. And given the colonists AI is not particularly... brilliant... in any
capacity, the in-universe reasons for a delay could range from shoddy equipment to faulty pre-landing
information.

It may be accidental... or not.


With that in mind, let us carefully inspect the planetary conditions before we land. And
yes, I have named the future new settlement "Perpetuance". I hope I'm not jinxing the settlers.
More importantly, the planet has a thick C02 atmosphere. That sounds a bit odd to me,
since I was thinking that such conditions should be warm enough for water to remain liquid instead
of trapped subsurface. Mars is arid mainly because it is a frozen desert.
Unfortunately, making our landing points the poles does nothing. There are no polar caps.
I guess the point here is that this red planet is not really meant to represent Mars, but Tatooine.


Wait, what? That's a thing now? I have to worry about combat? As if my job wasn't hard
enough, there are space pirates!
...
There are space pirates. I really should have expected this.


Whoosh.


Welcome to Perpetuance, people. I'm not going to bother going through your names
anymore. Not that you are, uh... disposable... but because it also wastes page load times with
screencaps. Once the population swells, I'll have a hard enough time trying to hunt you down
trying to build some sort of ground-level narrative.
This is because Planetbase lacks a Pause key that freezes the game, instead of pausing
behind an active window. It also has three time settings: 1X, 2X, and 4X; but not going into the
reverse of normal speed: maybe 0.5X, and Pause. I hope they put that in later.


Oh. Oh! Is that our landing zone? Well this is good. This is very good!
I can work with this.

Last update on March 23, 3:54 am by Carlo Marco.
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Oxygen Generator, and then Airlock. The Airlock is right in front of the pod to minimize
walking. Both structures cost 1 metal and 1 bioplastic each, but the connecting tube between
then costs another 1 metal and 1 bioplastic, for a total of 6 metal and 6 bioplastic that must be
moved.


Smallest Solar Panel costs 2 metal, while the Water Extractor costs 1 metal. However
the connecting pipes between them only cost 1 metal. They seem to be working fast.


No, don't do this to me. As soon as I said that, you guys started to slack off. The O2
Generator needs water. It's already powered. Maybe I should have gone for a build order of
O2 -> Water -> Airlock -> Solar Panel instead...?

No, no, this is not a twitch game RTS where actions per minute matters that much. Hopefully.


How are we doing on suit oxygen? Good? Good?


Now that the Water Extractor is nearly built, lesson learned we should build a Wind
Turbine asap instead of wasting time until near dark. We can avoid having to build a Power Collector.



What?! The connection has not been built yet? The metal is there, where is the Engineer
or the Construction Bot? Stop hauling junk and do your actual job!
Though this does imply I should not have too many construction orders up in queue lest
my colonists lose sight of what needs to be done.


And I forgot to lay down the connector between the Solar Panel and the Wind Turbine.
What am I doing. I might have seen it built and then been comfortably ignorant until it's dark
and then everything dies. Hoo. Good thing I caught it in time.


So you're building that now. Thank you.


And we have air! Sweet glorious AIR! Wunderbar!
Last update on March 23, 3:54 am by Carlo Marco.
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Actually, hang on. I just remembered something about this.



The room is filling up with breathable air. There's still enough oxygen in the suits, but
soon the colonists will be entering the airlock and the connecting tunnel to be able to breathe
easy before going back. The larger the room, the more work the Oxygen Generator has to do
to keep the oxygen levels optimal, but in reverse the larger the room the slower it will lose
good air.
So this tunnel alone as the air reserve feels mildly dangerous to me. I mean, if I have
placed things properly, we should not fear losing power overnight, but maybe we need a larger
safety margin than that.


Hmm. Storage Dome or Power Collector? Decisions, decisions.


Eh, let's go with a Power Collector.
And LOOK! They're all inside the base!


Okay, go ahead. Take a breather. Rejoice in your symbol of survival, this marvel of
modern engineering. Check it over to make sure that nothing is amiss.


Now get back to work.


Now where should I put this Storage Dome? As close to the entrance as possible?
That location looks better for something that needs to be constantly powered.


You might be wondering, why do I insist on placing the Storage Dome first before
other essential habitat structures like the Canteen or the Dorm? Well, if you think about it - it
doesn't sound very restful to constantly see and hear people tromping about and boxes being
driven through the middle of the place where you sit to eat and relax.


Ohboy it is night-time. Sure hope there aren't any vengeful ghosts haunting this place.
Last update on March 23, 3:55 am by Carlo Marco.
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Hmm. There's a bit of a traffic jam in the airlock. I am not certain how many people
can enter or exit at once, but the game did warn me this might happen. We will see what we
can do about that later.


Since the materials for the Storage Dome and its connecting tube have already been
delivered, it is time to add the Canteen. So that our colonists won't die from something as
easily preventable as dehydration.

Really, people? The Water extractor is there. Right there. Have you lost the technology for
water hoses? If I were to design a water plant, of course there would be some flow valve
accessible from the outside. A large part of that structure has got to be a water tank.
Unless, of course, a completely sealed Water Extractor is designed to prevent
sabotage of the water supply. Not that it would stop a determined attacker...
And on that note, the pirates physically attacking the colony and shooting up the
colonists should be the worst possible way of trying to gain loot. Bombing down their
external life support devices while blockading the airlocks would be a sufficient threat. If the
colonists don't shove their goods out, the space pirates won't leave until the people inside
are all dead, and thus they can take whatever they want anyway.
That's sad. Life on the frontier is hard enough without having to leave in fear
and distrust of strangers.

!
What was that just now? Did you hear something?


Aaanyway, the Dorm goes here, right past the Canteen. I am just going to assume
either of these structures have the hygiene facilities. It makes sense to have them connected.
Eat, sleep. Wake up, eat. Go to work. C'est la vie.


The Storage Dome and the Canteen Dome were built at almost the same time and
now the Construction Bot is moving to connect them.


And done. The Oxygen Generator is chuggling along slowly trying to improve the
oxygen mix through the suddenly enlarged working area. Completing the tunnel should have
thinned out the 02 levels all through the base. But once it is done, it should take longer for 02
levels to drop again. Life support for organics isn't like cutting off electricity for machines.
I blame bad scifi for this. It makes sense with spacesuits and diving air tanks, but not roomfuls of air. At
standard pressure air only goes 'bad' as each breath replaces oxygen with carbon dioxide. It underestimates
the hardiness and
will to survive of the human condition.

Now let's inspect what we can do with the Canteen.
Last update on March 23, 3:55 am by Carlo Marco.
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These are the things that can be placed inside the Canteen. They all cost only Bioplastic.
We have plenty of bioplastic.





A Meal Maker for comestibles, and because no one is actually a trained cook, which should
involve water seriously, water is in food, but I'm going to stop harping on about that.

Tables to sit and rest, and the water fountain because the body needs more liquid intake than what
just food can provide. Unless it's things like soup, but I suppose there would only be increased fluid
loss via the salt content?


And a big screen for news and shows? WHAT news and shows? Are there other colony
attempts on the planet? Do you guys have such casual FTL communications you can stream
interstellar news and programs?
Or is this actually happening within one star system? Is this the Universal Century?
... no, not enough Space Colonies for that. That's more Startopia than Planetbase.


And a potted plant because why not.


So just put them all down, I guess?


No, that plant over there is a route hazard. Let's relocate it to a less impeding spot. Now all we need are some Bith musicians and to turn the lights down looow. Dath-dat-dat-da-da-dah-dadadadada-da-dah. Cantina! John Williams!
Also, the Dorm has already been swiftly built, so let's look that that next.
Last update on March 23, 3:55 am by Carlo Marco.
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The only thing I can put in the Dorm are beds. Underwhelming.

Eight beds for seven people. That's settled. Unfortunately it is now daytime, so no one
had any good night's sleep.
And excuse me if I segue here a bit, but earlier I had compared Planetbase to a similar
other old management game I played - Startopia. It has a similar premise, in which you establish
a colony from nothing, but the difference is that you do so on a space station. You are required
to build life support rooms; beds, foods dispensers, sanitation, entertainment and such; and
also workplaces.
And a very similar and tragically underappreciated game is Space Colony. Unlike
Planetbase it is far more limited in scope, but that allows for a limited roster of distinct colonist
personalities - very much a The Sims in Space.
Another survival considered making a Let's Play of is Life in Bunker - a game about
building a habitat underground... a Vault, one might say... for your people to wait out the
apocalypse. Not a nuclear apocalypse for a change, but a comet impact and somehow you
must keep your people alive through five hundred years until the outside can support life
again.
In all cases, the 'plumbing' was a separate room from all others and Dirtiness is
a factor that affects health and morale. Everyone needs to take showers and take a dump.
That is something I'll recommend to the developers of this game - it could use a Sanitation
Dome to make water a more important consideration than just for oxygen cracking and
drinking. And even more pressure to put on power generation.
Wait, am I saying "This game isn't hard enough, make it harder"?
Murphy, no. Pls no.


Well someone needs to sit down and rest.


Let's see what the company gave us for our survival. Plenty of metal and bioplastic
still usable, plus whatever we will have once we recycle this Colony Ship. I'm actually a bit hesitant
now to recycle this pod, for historic reasons.

But if missions like these are common, such sentimentality is... unproductive. It's not
like it packs any engines still capable of bringing the colonists back up into space. It only had
enough fuel to brake in the atmosphere.


So what do they have to eat? Pasta?


Everything's PASTA!
How did you folks die from dehydration? HOW?! You need to put pasta in hot water to
make them eatable! Else it's just dry hard crunchy bits that would tire your jaws making you
lose more energy trying to chew them than what you'd gain eating them!
How?
How indeed.
Last update on March 23, 3:56 am by Carlo Marco.
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