How to Play Guide for Aven Colony

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This guide is intended to be a quick introduction to Aven Colony that will help you understand the systems underlying the game and survive the first hour.

Intro

  • Your goal is to create a self-sufficient colony on the surface of Aven Prime that can sustain a large population and withstand what the planet can throw at it.
  • First, while the game certainly appears to be a purely real-time strategy, it's actually closer to turn-based strategies in mechanics:
    • The game is divided into sols, which are an Aven Prime "year". Every sol is divided into four seasons, which last a set amount of hours and impact productivity:
      • All calculations are done on a per-hour basis. Every time an hour elapses, the game recalculates all variables.
      • Spring, Summer, and Fall last 37 hours each and give 100% farm productivity. Winter lasts 56 hours and gives 0% productivity on farms. Solar panel and greenhouse productivity is halved.

Colony

  • The one major difference from most city building games is that all structures can be passed through. Colonists will enter buildings to get to their destination. However, tunnels are still the most vital part of your colony, as they allow colonists to easily get around, while passing through building impacts morale.
  • Colonists aren't dumb. They will naturally try to find the most optimal job for themselves and switch to whatever's needed most by the colony. While you can micromanage them at every level, it's not strictly necessary to achieve success.
  • With that in mind, you first need to take stock of your colony and the area. Check your landing zone, then pause and look around.
Time controls are as follows
Pause (1 on the numbers row), 1x (2), 2x (3), 4x (4), and 8x speed (5).
  • What you're looking for are: Arable land that doubles as a water-rich area (use the Overlay button in the lower left to switch them on and off), iron and copper deposits, and geothermal vents. These dictate your colony's layout. With this data, create a rough outline of the colony, deciding where to plant farms, storage depots, and so on and so forth.
  • You first need to provide for the colonists' basic needs. Start by building farms (they can later be replaced by greenhouses) and water pumps (or atmospheric condensers) to bring the food and water intake to positive values.
As the game says, water is only pumped to a specific level, either 16 or 22 units per colonist to avoid clogging up storage, so don't worry if the indicators at the bottom show 0 for water, that's good.
  • Continue by building tunnels to reach the iron or copper deposit. Plop down a mine on it and a nanite processor where you need.
  • At this point you have secured a flow of food and water (so that your colonists not die) and income to build with. Your next step should be building an immigration center to allow for new colonists to arrive.

Colonists

  • Your focus for the duration of your administration. Colonists require adequate housing, food, water, and employment at a minimum. Attending to all their morale requirements guarantees a speedy development for your colony.
  • The most important thing to remember is that morale makes or breaks a colony. Keeping your colonists happy maximizes production and can even boost it beyond what's usually available for a colony.
  • Once you have a flow of colonists arriving (usually six to nine per trip), you need to look after your colony's needs. It's better to be cautious than bold - if you have to beg forgiveness, chances are you've expanded too far and ran out of nanites for building, usually while colonists stage a protest or a plague spreads throughout the colony. In particular, remember about lightning towers to protect yourself in wintertime.
  • In general, focus on the needs in the order of immediate impact:
    • Food is always a concern. If you have farms, remember that the ground freezes in winter, which means that for 56 hours you will have no food income from them. Ensure you have a decent stock (about 20 units per head is the bare minimum) before winter hits.
    • Air quality needs to be looked after at all times. If it's anywhere below 90%, it starts to negatively affect morale. The effect stacks over time and once it gets low enough, it starts to affect health as well. A good rule of thumb is to have an air filter for each 2x2 square of pollutants (every building pollutes, with generators and mines the largest contributors).
    • Health requires at least a hospital to be set up. While it's not a huge concern initially, you can be quickly overwhelmed by a plague if you haven't plopped it down in advance.
    • Crime, consumption, and entertainment start becoming a concern once your colony starts growing beyond the base concerns. Take care of these in this order, as crime significantly drives morale down.
Notably, except for consumption and entertainment, you need to look after your colonists from their way to work to back home.

Expansion

  • Aven Colony is noticeably freeform in terms of planning out your development (within the limits dictated by your development). Depending on the conditions, consider expanding in the following directions:
    • With good baseline growth (visible on the farming overlay), you can experiment with enhancers and alien food, requiring a research center and a chemical plant or mill.
    • Zorium deposits can quickly provide for all your power needs, with the caveat that they generate major air pollution and require a significant number of staff.
    • Or you can try for a trade hub and expedition center to bring down goods from the colony ship or send out expeditions to locate cargo pods, earn commendations, and reduce the threat to your colony.
  • When you get tired of management, zoom in to buildings or colonists (C toggles surveillance mode) to eavesdrop on them... You can learn interesting facts!