Resources are gathered and used in Surviving Mars to develop the tools and structures necessary to survive. Resources are very different from one another in terms of acquisition, production, and/or purpose.
Resources feel scarce, as resource depletion and scarcity are constant problems players face. Decisions where to land their first rocket and where to expand require careful planning. Scanning for new resources is important. Finding a rich deposit is a cause for celebration. Failure to secure a certain resource is a much bigger problem than in the typical game of the genre - it can even spell out the end of the entire colony. As a last-ditch effort, buildings and vehicles may be salvaged to reuse some of their construction resources in order to survive a critical situation.
Resources are positional - transporting a resource to the place where it is needed is just as important as getting it produced in the first place. The bulk of resource transportation happens automatically once set up, but a specific delivery can be manually ordered in case of an emergency.
Power cables and pipe infrastructure are present in the entire colony. Drone workers and larger vehicles carry most of the other resources where they are needed. Rocket ships land occasionally to deliver emergency supplies from Earth. Getting resources to the places where they are needed should not be trivial - underground tunnels may be required to reach isolated parts of the map and the transportation vehicles usually require resources to perform their function, threatening to shut down your carefully planned systems in case of a Power or Fuel shortage.
Basic resources Edit
- Automated extractors placed on spots rich in sulfur in the Martian soil, dig up the sulfur-rich regolith, and store it as ready to use mix. It is later transported and heated, turning it into strong and enduring concrete.
- Scarce amounts of metals may be gathered directly from meteorite remains on the surface. Exploiting underground metal deposits is more complex and not fully automated - it requires a special building staffed by colonists, so it is not quite possible until the colony houses human residents.
- Rare metals are even scarcer and have a limited use on Mars such as creating electronics. They are valuable enough to be exported to Earth, securing the much needed funding for everything else required by the colony.
- Individual resource deposits offer different resource quantity and grade. Deep deposits cannot be exploited or discovered initially, but become available later in the game.
- Resource extractors produce useless Waste Rock as a by-product. Transporting this waste product to places where it would not get in the way presents a minor problem by itself.
- Food production on Mars is challenging. It is likely that first colonists will have to rely on supply secured from Earth. There are many different types of crops to grow as well as fungal farms offering a more exotic food source.
Advanced resources Edit
- While basic resources are usually produced from resource deposits, advanced resources usually require another resource as a material. They are rarely needed in large quantities early in the game, but are still relevant, even at this stage.
- Polymers, electronics, and machine parts are made in dedicated factories, each of them requiring colonist workforce to function. A fledgling colony will almost certainly not be able to secure the supply of these resources during the early stages of colonization and will have to rely on shipments from Earth.
- Using the CO2 from the Martian atmosphere and hydrogen from water the colony can produce fuel. The process uses a series of relatively simple chemical reactions to produce methane and oxygen which are used as propellant and are needed for the return trip of the rocket ships to Earth. Fuel production is automated and does not require colonists. Processed fuel is highly explosive, so it might be a good idea to store it where it cannot do much harm if an accident occurs.
Grid resources Edit
- Grid resources are distributed through the colony using pre-set infrastructure - a power grid or a pipe network for Oxygen and Water. Both pipes and cables are prone to failures, and large networks require regular maintenance by drone workers. Crops have an impact on the colony Oxygen and Water consumption.
- Different Power sources have their own strength and weaknesses. Solar Panels do not function during the night and take a severe penalty during dust Storms, so the colony has to rely on batteries or have alternative power sources.
- Water on Mars is usually found frozen and underground. If a deposit is not available in the vicinity of the colony, it can also be extracted from the atmosphere, but this method is more costly.
- Oxygen is produced from the atmospheric Carbon Dioxide by a device called "MOXIE". Since colonists die very quickly without this vital resource and the MOXIE can be somewhat unreliable in certain situations, keeping an emergency supply in an Oxygen tank is a must.
Immediate problems such as dust storms, malfunctions, and suffocation cannot be solved simply by throwing bags of money at them.
The Funding of the colony, measured in millions of dollars, is only relevant in dealings with Earth. Players can request additional rockets carrying resources, vehicles, and building prefabs up to the limits of their available Funding and rocket cargo capacity. The payload is fully customizable.
Since the rocket travels for a while, it may not arrive fast enough to solve urgent problems, but may eventually grant a reprieve from whatever crisis players are currently suffering. Keep in mind that rockets will have to be refueled for the return trip and buying new rockets is quite expensive. To maximize the benefits from resupply players may wish to load more useful cargo on each trip than they will immediately need and to secure fuel production before they run out of Rockets. There are few ways to earn Funding and they are not always available.