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.
If you missed the previous episode in this series, you can catch up here.
Yesterday started so well, but ended in disaster. I’d just started to refine uranium ore, and my conveyor network was feeding a steady supply of enriched uranium into my reactor, providing power to my jury rigged base and its depleted batteries. But no sooner had I begun this process than a meteor punched through the lander’s hull and destroyed my refinery.
Disaster! That had to be the most unfortunate meteor strike in the whole history of stuff blowing up!
Being arguably the most important piece of kit in Space Engineers (in survival mode at least) refineries are not cheap to build. While a refinery has relatively few motors and circuit boards, building a new one would require slightly over 1,000 steel plates. That’s a lot – especially considering I only had some 15 left in storage!
Not one to give up, I set about dismantling my base, undoing the good work I’d done over the past several days. I started with the plinth onto which I’d mounted my lander on day one. My lander is now supported by three pillars, and so the blocks underneath it are nothing but a redundant steel floor – removing it provided a few hundred steel plates.
Fortunately, I was able to stop the desecration of my shelter there; I had a brainwave!
With a small amount of charge restored to my batteries and a sprinkling of uranium in my reactor, I could temporarily activate the lander’s ‘assembler’ unit.
The assembler is the second most important piece of kit in survival mode. While the refinery takes mined ore and converts it into metal ingots, the assembler is what turns those ingots into usable components. Cleverly, the assembler can also disassemble those components, turning them back into ingots.
Steel plating is manufactured from iron ingots, which I didn’t have. But the removal of the lander’s engines had provided me with an abundance of ‘motors’ and ‘large metal grids’, which are composed of iron and nickel. So I had the assembler recycle some metal grids and use the resulting iron to make some more steel plates.
Bingo! 1,000 steel plates and one new refinery. What a night!
Powering the assembler had used up the last sliver of enriched uranium fuel. It’s a good thing I put a little bit in my pocket in case of an emergency.
Much of the unrefined uranium ore I’d mined had survived the meteor impact and was scattered about the cabin. I picked it up, stuffed it into the new refinery, and I was back in business. This whole nuclear power thing is a piece of cake!
Next, I patched the gaping hole in the lander’s hull so as to protect the new refinery. Let’s hope the next meteor that hits is a little smaller.
To defend against future meteor strikes I decided to build a turret on the roof. Turrets are great at picking off incoming objects, whether they be meteors, missiles, or enemy ships and players. Supplying them with ammunition requires magnesium, which I don’t yet have, but the sun was coming up and I could drive out and look for some as soon as it was light.
So I built the turret anyway, and connected it to the conveyor network. As soon as I’d finished I stood back to take a picture…
And then this happened…
No that wasn’t poor craftsmanship, it was another damn meteor! Looks like it’s gonna be one of those days… again.
Don’t worry, I wasn’t injured, but the turret is pushing up the daisies.
Time to go find some magnesium.