I’ve set myself a challenge, playing the PC game Space Engineers in ‘survival mode’. Stranded alone on an unpopulated planet, I must struggle to survive and escape my isolation using only my wits and the resources to hand.
After finding myself stranded, with no way of returning to space, I transformed my small atmospheric landing craft into a primitive shelter. I’ve got all the equipment I need to turn ore into building materials, but I’m running desperately low on fuel and power. If I can gather some uranium ore, I should just have enough power left to turn on my ‘refinery’ and convert it into enriched uranium to power my reactor.
If you missed the first episode in this series, you can catch up here.
I worked through the night on my solar-powered vehicle, and it’s good to go. Although “good” might be an overstatement. She handles like an office chair. I guess the six-wheel configuration might have been a mistake.
This was actually the first time I’ve ever built a wheeled vehicle. There isn’t much call for wheels in the microgravity environment of space.
It took two attempts to build this. On the first version I accidentally built the wheel suspension blocks the wrong way up, resulting in negative ground clearance.
The suspension on the completed version isn’t great either; I’ve already rolled her over once by turning too sharply. Fortunately she landed on her wheels with no damage.
I also managed to flip her like a pancake by turning the springyness of the suspension up to maximum and then releasing the handbrake. I instantly bounced several meters in the air, but again I landed butter-side-up. I guess that means she’s well balanced.
I’ve decided to call this vehicle “Skeleton Bob” owing to the lightweight construction and the feeling of sheer terror I experience while driving.
Interesting fact: I saved on resources by not building a cockpit, as is standard for a vehicle of this size. Instead, Bob is controlled via a ‘remote control block’ connected to a ‘passenger chair’.
So I took Skeleton Bob across the frozen lake and located the uranium rock. Using my hand-drill, I extracted as much uranium ore as I could fit into Bob’s twin cargo containers, and headed straight back.
I eagerly loaded the ore into the refinery, switched it on with only a few seconds of power to spare, and crossed my fingers.
Bingo! Both the refinery and the reactor are connected to a network of automatic ‘conveyor blocks’ and ‘conveyor tubes’, so the enriched uranium was immediately being transferred into the reactor, fuelling the enrichment of more uranium.
Power! Sweet, delicious electricity!
But when I turned around for a second to check that my batteries were recharging… this happened…
Dude, where’s my refinery?!
That had to be the most unfortunate, most accurate, and most annoying meteor collision in the whole history of rocks falling from the sky and smashing into stuff.
I fell to my knees, cursed the vindictive god of Space Engineers, and wept.
I’m still weeping. Is this game over?
To be continued…