Welcome to FortressCraft Evolved!
When starting your first world, it is recommended that you choose either 'casual or plentiful resources'. This ensures you learn as quickly as possible, without seeming like you're wasting time grinding for resources etc.
After the introductory sequence (which you can't skip because it hides the process of setting up the world) you will find yourself standing near the Central Power Hub(CPH). A dome shaped force-field surrounds the CPH and will remain in place until you complete the tutorial.The tutorial will help you with the basic mechanics of the game, such as suit power, powering machines, researching unknown materials, and basic manufacturing to get ARTHER online. If nothing seems to be happening, walk around your CPH searching for floating text instructions that you may have missed. Once you complete the tutorial, the shield will disappear and you will be free to explore the world.
Assuming you picked plentiful or casual for your world then you will already have a small coal vein near the CPH that will provide you with fuel. You should also have a logistics hopper and a small number of basic conveyor belts. Some holographic images will have appeared between the coal hopper and the CPH. Place the belts and hopper, following the holographs to make a conveyor belt system that automatically feeds coal into the CPH to power your base. This is the first hint that the game gives you that, even though you can do things manually, it is usually better to automate. In addition, there are holograms on the left and right of your ore smelter. These are for the larger storage hoppers that you have been given. Place the hoppers, then set the first to "Remove Only" mode ("E" key cycles through modes), and the second to "Add Only" mode. The modes refer to the machines, so setting one of the hoppers to "Remove Only" tells the smelter that it can only take things out of this hopper. The player can always add or remove items from a hopper.
Now that you have a steady source of power for you base, and you're set up to start smelting, let's look at your tools and controls.
Basic controls and tools Edit
The "X" key will select your build gun. This tool allows you to place and break down blocks at almost unlimited range. Left click to place the block that is currently selected on your hot bar and right click to break a block. Holding the "Left Control" key and left clicking will place blocks in "build to me" mode. This will place blocks from the currently highlighted face all the way back to the player's position. Try it out to see how it works. Two things to note about "build to me," first, any blocks in the way will be replaced and permanently lost so be careful, and second, this can eat up a lot of blocks very quickly. Also, holding the "Left Control" key and right clicking will activate "super dig mode." Super dig consumes power at a rapid rate but will allow mining ores and digging through other forms of rock very, very quickly. Unlike some other games, if you attempt to place a block directly below where you are standing you will be automatically moved up on top of the newly placed block. If you point on a item or block and select MMB this blocktype will be selected in your inventory for next placing.
The "F" key will fire your grappling hook. Using the grappling hook you can get around the world easier and quicker. While the grappling hook reloads instantly under normal circumstances, it will have a 5 second delay in some deeper environments.
The "G" key fires glowsticks, useful for temporary light. These consume a small amount of power, so be careful about using a lot of them before you upgrade your suit battery.
The "C" key brings up your self-crafting window. Many items such as decorative blocks and organic materials are only self-craftable.
The "I" key brings up your inventory. It can also be opened when examining a machine, to remove upgrades etc. Drag an item to your hotbar to set it.
Repeatedly pressing the "L" key will cycle through the 4 different brightness levels of your suit's built in head light; off, low, medium, and high. While it gives a light source that travels with you, it consumes a significant amount of power as well, especially on the higher brightness settings.
The "M" key opens up your ore scanner, as you should have learned during the tutorial. The scanner can "Ping Unknown" to locate blocks that have not yet been scanned, "Ping Known Ore" to locate resources that have already been scanned and processed, and "Ping Air" to locate air pockets underground (indicating the presence of a cavern system). The gemstone indicator at the top will light up and the scanner will start humming when near gems. ALT-M will directly do an unknown block ping, and CTRL-M will do a 'machine ping' of your nearby machines.
The "R" and "Shift-R" keys will rotate objects such as conveyors so they point the direction you want them to. Note that rotation will not allow a horizontal conveyor to go vertical, for that you must destroy the conveyor and replace it against the side of an existing block.
Understanding the UI Edit
Most of the UI is pretty self-explanatory. Top left is your health, suit power bar and depth meter. Top right is your external and internal temperatures, and environmental hazards. You'll be researching suit upgrades to deal with them, such as heaters and filters. Above the temperature gauge are three line indicators that represent how well your PC can handle running the game: FPS is red, Draw Distance is green and Shadow is blue. Right off-centre bar means your PC is doing great at the current game setting and you could go higher if you want, middle indicates good setting and left off-centre tells you your PC is struggling and you should perhaps lower the game setting.
Also in the top right is your messages. You can set a personal reminder by middle-clicking on a blueprint, so you don't forget to build something as you get distracted around your base. Ore Extractors can have their messages disabled if necessary.
At the bottom is the hotbar. You can select an item using a number key, or by scrolling the mouse wheel up and down. CTRL-scrolling will jump a whole group and F1-F7 will select a group. You can also middle-click on a block in the world to select it for building, without taking a hotbar space. When an item is in the hotbar, it is stays there even if you no longer carry any. If the item is self-craftable, such as torches or space windows, if you try to place it while carrying zero you will automatically craft it.
Directly above the hotbar is a battery charge level indicator for ARTHER. Embedded in the indicator is an arrow that will always point you towards your CPH. Directly below the hotbar is a battery charge level indicator for the CPH, which doubles as a day/night indicator. Yellow represents daytime while blue represents night. This is accurate even while underground.
First steps Edit
One of the first things you need to do is locate resources. Dig a hole straight down to about -100 or so and grapple your way back up. Building a roof four or five blocks above your hole will make grappling out much easier. Go to your research station and process the different materials you have collected. This will allow you to get the various types of nearby rock out of the way so they don't show up on a "Ping Unknown" scan. You can also scan and or break down some nearby trees to keep them from showing up as well.
Next, using your scanner ("M" key), and ensuring the scanner reads Ping Unknown, activate the scan by clicking the left mouse button. Anything that starts glowing is an unknown object. A large and clumped up unknown object is likely an ore vein. Go to a large one nearby and hold down the right mouse button to scan the unknown block. After you return to your research station and process it you should find that it is either tin or copper ore. If not, keep looking. Return to the ore vein and place one of your Ore Extractors down and add power to it. Next, find the other ore and place an ore extractor there as well.
If you get lost while searching for ore, look around the sky for the purple beam from the CPH. Failing that, there is a tiny orange triangle right above your hot bar that will always point you back toward the CPH. Also, you can try the "K" key which will activate the holobase overlay.
Now, you need to automate the extractors. You should have a few Basic Laser Energy Transmitters (basic LET or T0 LET). Place one of these next to the CPH or a power storage block(PSB) and it should receive power from there. Rotate the LET to face in the direction of an ore extractor. Place another in the path of the beam and point that one again in the direction of the ore extractor. Keep building lasers until you can direct the beam into the extractor so that it now receives power directly from your CPH. Repeat the process for your other extractor.
Now that you have power to the extractors automated you should focus on removing ore manually, and placing it into your smelter back at the CPH. Depending on your game settings it can take anywhere from 2-25 ore to make a single bar.
Now you have a couple of goals:
- Going down 40-70 meters will allow you to find Iron Ore the third T1 ore. This will allow you to build Pyrothermic Generator and Storage Hoppers
- Using 1 copper bar to make Basic Conveyor Belt. You can then connect a hopper to the Ore Extractor(OE) and then use the belts to automate transport from the OE to a hopper connected to the smelter, this will allow you to automate input to the smelter. You should build two hoppers next to the smelter, set one to remove only and put the ores in there and the other to add only, the smelter will then put the bars into this hopper.
- Building a Slime Attractor will be an good early source of easy Pristine Phosphorescent Glands and Perfect Faceted Eyes. The glands are used to make Coal Enrichers, which is a good way to increase you power production. The eyes create a really good early game lens to speed up power transmission and are used in the strongest laser turret.
- Building Basic Smelters early on allows you to speed up bar production with little cost. It uses twice the amount of ore to produce one bar however, ore is easy to find and if you aren't smelting ore at full speed you are wasting time!
- Follow the missions in the top right hand corner, they'll help you out