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Oxygen Not Included is a Space-Management Game by Klei Entertainment (of Don't Starve fame), which can be described as Dwarf Fortress meets Don't Starve IN SPACE! The player indirectly controls a crew of duplicants awakened deep in a procedurally generated world. From there, it is up to you to ensure their survival. To do this, you have to provide them with basic necessities, including oxygen, climb up the Tech Tree, and try and deal with all sorts of problems.

Currently, the game is available as an Early Access title, and is in active development.


This game provides examples of:

  • Abandoned Laboratory: you can find these in the world as of Outbreak update, complete with Brain in a Jar.
  • Almost Out of Oxygen:
    • Can happen to the duplicants who got themselves trapped in hostile environment... or to your entire base if your oxygen production isn't up for the task.
    • The 'Cosmic Upgrade' update allows duplicants to mine to the outside of the asteroid; directly into the harsh vacuum of space. Naturally, if you don't prepare for it with a well set up airlock system, expect whatever oxygen you have in your base to dwindle extremely quick.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Can happen easily if the player doesn't think their designs through.
    • Surprisingly, a ventilation network is an example. Sure, it gives you a lot more freedom in placing the life support machinery and keeping it cool. Also, watching it work can be fascinating. The problem is that it requires five times more energy to operate than a simple Electrolyzer sitting in the basement.
    • A large amount of duplicants can certainly make expanding and completing tasks easier in the early game... However, too many duplicants can also quickly cause a colony to go under due to not having enough oxygen/food/resources to support that number of duplicants.
    • Having a system of heavy wires strung throughout the base makes it so you never have to worry about wire overload and can have everything connected to a single wire network for easy maintenance... However, heavy wire absolutely tanks overall decor and, in the process, raise stress levels extremely quickly. This means, in the long run, it's better to set up multiple wire networks through transformers to keep decor levels high and stress levels down.
    • Refrigerators. They seem like the go-to for storing foods but, in truth, they're nothing but a power leech. There are many other ways to store food without it rotting or using energy, with the simplest being making a room full of ration boxes filled with CO2, of which the duplicants naturally produce.
  • Big Eater: One of the possible character traits is called "Bottomless Stomach". These guys always eat much more than the rest. Binge Eaters do it only when stressed, but boy, do they stuff themselves...
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Mealwood plant seeds are capable of locomotion, and are called "meal lice".
  • Boring, but Practical: Several items are unlocked early, but will still serve you through the game.
    • Manual Generator always remains useful, since it's a cheap renewable source of energy. Also, it gives your duplicants something to do in their spare time.
    • Algae Terrarium absorbs CO2 and produces some oxygen, while having moderate material consumption rates. Very useful both for early game expansion and mid-game exploration by creating oxygenated checkpoints for your miners.
    • Massage Table can quickly reduce Stress on a single duplicant, which complements the more gradual and over time effect of high Decor nicely.
    • Decor items themselves. They only require tier 2 research, yet you will end up plastering your base with paintings anyway.
    • Mesh tiles, which are walkable and allow building on top of them, yet allow gas and liquid to pass through. Combined with oxygen generating and carbon-dioxide consuming buildings at lower levels of the colony, they allow oxygen to easily rise to where it is consumed while letting carbon-dioxide fall down to where it is scrubbed from the environment, and it does so without a complicated atmospheric ventilation system. Later updates nerfed their usefulness, giving them a heavy minus decor penalty which increases duplicate stress, although they can still be useful if used sparingly.
    • The automation update has introduced many different ways to make an airlock to keep polluted oxygen/other nasty gasses out while keeping breathable oxygen in, using various sensors and ventilation systems... However, the most effective way to make a compact airlock is to make a simple 'water trench'note  the duplicates can run through, which not only ensures no toxic gasses are getting in but also washes some of the germs off the duplicates as they run through.
    • Coal Generators are probably the easiest to maintain for a large part of the game. Not only is coal a semi-renewable resource thanks to Hatches, the downsides of Coal Generators are easily mitigated with some insulated tiles and a deoxidizer.
    • The quickest way to deal with water troubles is to find a steam geyser, set up an insulated pump system to a room made out of insulated tiles and set up a water pump there. Steam geysers are one of the very few places to find a completely clean, renewable water source, with the tradeoff being that the water is near-scalding hot. Insulated tiles and pump systems negate this problem by keeping the heat they generate to that specific room, and the bottled water the pumps generate doesn't heat up the colony much. If done right, you never have to worry about cooling the water.
    • Wheezeworts are by far the best way to cool down your home base as they require next to no maintenance and slowly cool down the area they're planted in. Set one up in your ventilation rooms and you'll never have to worry about cooling the base down again.
    • Having a colony consisting of only six duplicates. Sure, when the base starts getting bigger it'll make task take longer than it would with a large amount of dups but six duplicates is widely regarded as the easiest number to manage, as they don't take a lot of resources out of the environment and managing their stress/health is incredibly simple, ontop of there being far fewer things that can go horribly wrong compared to having a lot of dups in play.
    • Mealwood is by far the easiest food/plant to maintain, with large farms of it easily being able to carry you throughout the entire game. Even though it's a low-tier food item, it's still high enough that duplicants won't get too stressed from having to eat it, unlike mushbars.
  • Cloning Blues: Averted. Your colonists will even receive a stress-reducing mood-let every time another Dupe is printed.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: It's possible for a duplicant to generate that way - he may be an expert chef, yet inept at other crucial activities.
  • Continuous Decompression: Averted. Gases will leak gradually over time if there is a pressure differential, but it won't cause any noticeable wind. However, it might still end up being deadly if oxygen pressure drops far enough to become unbreathable. Same thing happens when you dig out the stone, thus limiting the ability to rapidly expand your base.
  • Deep-Fried Whatever: The Mush Fry is a deep-fried version of the basic Mush Bar food item, making it marginally tastier and drastically less likely to cause diarrhea.
  • Developers' Foresight: The dev team is really good at replicating even the tinest detail about real life into the game. Even simple stuff like the fact that heat rises doesn't get glossed over; if you build heat generating things in the lower part of your base, even if you insulate it, you can expect temperatures to start rising in your base quickly. If you build it already high up, though, your bases temperature will only rise slowly and usually only around that part of the base.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • Traversing the swamp biome is by far one of the hardest things to do in the game; until you get the Exo-suits, you risk the entire colony getting infected with slimelung, which can kill them quickly if not dealt with ASAP. That said, it is possible to do without Exo-suits if you take things slow by not letting the duplicates spend too much time in them and chip away little by little, use a lot of deoderizers to keep the air clean and make sure to block off any exposed slime tiles in your passageways. By doing this, you can completely negate early game water problems, since the swamp biome has by far the highest amounts of random water pockets.note 
    • Setting up a ventilation system in the cold biome negates all worries about overheating temperatures in your base. Difficult because ice biomes are usually far away from home base and duplicates risk getting hypothermia while they're in there; awesome because not only does it give you a steady supply of oxygen, it also works as an air conditioner.
    • As of the Agriculture Update, colony ventilation systems become this. Crops have broad categories of needs they require to grow which are easy to meet, but they have a much narrower range of ideal conditions under which they give increased output. These include specific temperatures, which are rarely the kind of temperature comfortable for the rest of the base and difficult to keep steady without a dedicated pressurized room and heavy insulation, plus whatever is being done to modulate the air temperature before piping it in. But if it can be done, the crop yield can be greatly increased compared to the same amount of seeds in less ideal conditions.
    • Chlorine: it is a heavy gas found in caustic biomes that is completely unbreathable. However, it is also lethal to germs, so anything placed in a chlorine environment is quickly disinfected. A chlorine-filled storage room is ideal for storing things like slime as slimelung will be unable to reproduce in the storage compactors. This also applies to the rot that makes food go bad over time, so a chlorine-filled room with ration boxes will allow massive quantities of food to be stockpiled without spoilage.
    • Pufts are by far the hardest critters to keep in the game; they naturally produce slime, which spreads slimelung incredibly fast. However, by breeding them you can eventually end up with a Dense Puft; a specific type of Puft that naturally produces Oxylite; a specific kind of resource that naturally outputs oxygen. Getting a large amount of Dense Pufts can easily help deal with oxygen problems in the base and ease up on other resources like algae and water.
  • Disaster Dominoes:
    • Likely to happen, given how many factors you need to keep in mind for your base to function properly.
    • Duplicants with Ugly Crier or Vomiter traits hold particularly great potential for this, since after being stressed out they become a source of stress for everyone in vicinity.
  • Dump Stat: Downplayed As of right now, since the game is still in beta and more new stuff continues to be added but, in any case, once you've completely researched the Tech Tree, you're good to switch your scientist to another job, since there's no real point in having one around. You can also deconstruct your research machines to save on energy/lower ambient temperatures they generate. Again, downplayed since more stuff keeps being added to the tech tree with each update but it's simple enough to rebuild them once that happens.
  • Early Game Hell: To an extent - certain early research needs to be rushed, since lack of it severely limits your ability to maintain your colony.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: You certainly can build one. Supporting it is another problem entirely.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Hatches eat literally any solid materials they can find laying around (except coal) and poop out usable coal... somehow.
  • Fantastic Fruits and Vegetables: Literally every growable crop in the game.
  • Guide Dang It!: Due to being an alpha, the game has some shades of this. Building material system is one of the worst offenders.
  • Going Critical: To an extent - overheated machinery, overloaded wires and overpressurized pipes will break - in latter case, spilling their content everywhere.
  • Hammerspace: Averted in regard to materials duplicants are carrying, but played straight with their tools.
  • Hamster-Wheel Power: Your earliest way to generate power. Boring, but Practical, so expect to use it for a long long while.
  • Helpful Mook: Hatches may not seem like this at first given their tendency to eat resources left out no matter what it is and giving a duplicant a Jump Scare when they accidentally mine one out but the fact that they're not actively hostile to duplicants and make for easy way to get a renewable source of coal makes them a great pet to have around the colony; doubly so if you can lock one in the bathroom/room where a water filtration system for the bathroom is, as their Extreme Omnivore ways makes for a great way of getting rid of 'polluted dirt'.
  • Jack-of-All-Stats: A preferred starting crew should have at least one. Since you start with only three dupes, they will have to do everything. However, you might want to keep a dupe with high Creativity or Learning stats...
  • Locked in a Freezer: Can happen to your base if, in your attempts to prevent the the polar opposite of this trope from happening, you end up over doing it and cause temperatures in your base to start falling drastically.
  • Magic Tool: Your duplicants use these for pretty much everything, from digging to painting pictures.
  • Masochist's Meal: Some starting foods count as these, as your duplicants have varying standards when it comes to food quality. They will eat lower quality food, but they won't be happy about it. The easiest food to make, the Mush Bar, is also the worst, since it's literally a lump of heavily-processed mud.
  • Min-Maxing: You have an opportunity to do this during initial crew selection - or, rather, to reroll the characters until you have a decent set of stats on them. Some flaws are easier to counter than the rest - say, Scaredy-Cat (can't fight), Yokel (can't research) or Gastrophobia (can't cook). You need to be careful, however, or you might find yourself with a crew where no one can perform a particular needed task...
  • Necessary Drawback: Duplicants themselves, as seen in the Min-Maxing entry above. Each of them has at least one negative trait, with certain traits being significantly more annoying than the others. And if they have really good starting stats, or two positive traits, expect them to have very high Decor expectations, meaning they will stress out easily.
  • No Biochemical Barriers: Your crew can eat some alien plants and animals. There are no examples of inverse being true... yet.
  • Nobody Poops: Averted. Dealing with refuse in a way that doesn't leave you with even more refuse is a significant part of the game's challenge.
  • No Conservation of Energy/Mass: Mostly averted. There are bugs that lead to a loss of mass (fan-dubbed 'black holes'), but they are being patched out.
    • Whatever temperature your building materials were will transfer over to the building.
    • While magma makes for a great source of free heat, it's not infinite. If you splash enough water on it, sooner or later it WILL run out and crystallize into igneous rock. Same with the ice biomes - they will eventually melt if you keep dumping heat in.
    • Lavatories and Air Scrubbers (used to remove CO2) produce more polluted water than they consume clean water, due to added mass. Surprisingly, Water Purifier doesn't seem to return the clean water to its initial mass. It causes problems for the players who attempt to create a simple closed circuit system without water reservoirs - the pressure buildup will lead to pipes eventually bursting.
    • Liquid that's been mopped up used to disappear, but as of Outbreak update it's bottled up instead.
    • Played straight with the Anti-Entropy Thermo-Nullifier ruin added in the Automation upgrade. It uses a measly 10g/s of Hydrogen to chill everything near it to potentially -175 degrees.
    • Also played straight with Wheezewort plants, which cool the air around them.
  • No Sense of Mass: The basic cot is made from 100 kilos of raw metal. A simple screen door is made from 100 kilos of metal ore, and the placebo pill is made from 100 kilos of water, and 100 kilos of sand. Gotta figure it 'cures' their disease because "I'd rather force myself to get better than have to try and swallow that. " Three feet of wire (Assuming dupes are around 6 feet / two tiles tall) requires 25 kilos of metal... but the wire can carry a kilowatt and run all the way across the asteroid with no loss, assuming it isn't overloaded and broken.
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Athletics is this, to an extent. Since duplicants show no tendency of prioritizing the nearest jobs, they end up travelling back and forth through the base. Being able to run faster alleviates the issue somewhat.
    • Alternatively, it's Learning, since it determines how quickly the duplicants level their skills.
  • Oxygen Meter: Comes in two flavors: the oxygen overlay that shows you which parts of the map have breathable air, and the individual 'holding breath' meter that appears near duplicants.
  • Percussive Therapy: One possible way duplicants can react to high levels of stress is by breaking things. Including ones their survival is depending on.
  • Placebo Effect: Used by the Placebo Pills in the Apothecary.
  • Potty Emergency: Mush bars, in addition to being disgusting, also cause diarrhea. Unfortunately, because they are so bad, they are usually an edible of last resort for a colony with nothing else to eat, which means that everyone is usually eating them if anyone is. Since diarrhea causes duplicants to need to use the restroom more frequently, expect to see long lines of desperate duplicants waiting to use the colony's lavatory which is full of other duplicants doing their unfortunate business, and pray none of them have a Potty Failure.
  • Potty Failure: Expect to be dealing with these any time your sanitary facilities aren't functioning.
  • Sanity Meter: Stress stat is effectively this. Depending on their stress response, overly stressed duplicants will do things like vomit, break down crying, or start breaking things. Can be decreased with improving Decor, better accomodations, or good old massage session.
  • Sauna of Death: A very real possibility that can happen to your base. When you start out it's fine but as you add in machines, wires, batteries, outside sources of water such as steam geysers and purified swamp water, temperatures in your base will start rising fast. Figuring out a way to regulate the temperatures in your base is usually a major mid-game hurdle most players have to overcome.
  • Schizo Tech: To an extent. Your duplicants know how to build a supercomputer working on water, but making a compost heap requires research.
  • Stock Parodies: One way to reduce duplicant Stress is with art. A duplicant with high Creativity can create "Masterpieces" that resemble Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Edvard Munch's The Scream, Auguste Rodin's The Thinker, and Frida Kahlo's self-portraits.
  • Tech Tree: Present. Since earlier tech can support your crew for only so long, ignore it at your own peril.
  • Too Dumb to Live: It's annoyingly common for duplicants to dig or build themselves into a situation they can't get out of without help, which can turn lethal if they're in an unbreathable environment.
  • Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup: A colony can go under simply from having way more duplicants than it can support. Sure, they can make certain tasks go by quicker in the short run but more duplicants means more oxygen being used, more food being consumed and more duplicants desperately in need of the bathroom, which leads into further tasks that need dealing with which can quickly end up spiraling out of control. This is part of the reason why it's considered a valid tactic to hold off on making more duplicants instead of creating a new one as soon as they're avaliable.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Mentioned in the description of the duplicant trait 'Bottomless Stomach'.
    "This duplicant might actually be several black holes in a trench coat."
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: In the words of the game that this one takes the most influence from; 'losing is fun'. Even if you read everything about the game and learn what to do beforehand, expect a lot of colony deaths before you finally manage to get one that lasts past fifty cycles. Learning how to set up everything to keep duplicate stress down, how to effectively traverse more dangerous biomes, how to handle rising temperatures, keep a steady stream of food and water... It's all a process that has to be learned firsthand.
  • Unexpectedly Realistic Gameplay:
    • Putting materials like slime or ice into storage doesn't make them safe - ice can melt, and slime can still release toxic gas.
    • The Germs mechanic introduced in the Outbreak update means you can no longer ignore basic sanitation for your Dupes. Letting Dupes run around slime and fungus filled caves will get them a lethal respiratory disease and simply not making them wash their hands after using the bathroom will result in mass-food poisoning.
    • Most machines give off heat. Putting too many lightbulbs over your farm can make the crops wither from overheating.
    • If you try to store too much liquid in a weak container, the walls will leak before eventually bursting open.
    • Dupes need O2 to live. If you have too little, they stress out due to barely being able to breathe. If you pressurize your base, you can over-do it and stress them out even more from popping their eardrums.
  • Unobtainium: Neutronium has the highest hardness and lowest thermal conductivity in the game, which would make it excellent for tough outer walls and insulation. However, its material hardness is so high that it is impossible to actually extract. It only naturally occurs under unremovable geysers and at the edges of the world. The next best thing is Abyssialite, which fortunately can be extracted.
  • Upgrade Artifact: Neural vacillators, special Brain in a Jar devices with attached chairs and head covers. A duplicant who uses one will have their genome re-sequenced and will be given one random major positive trait. They can only be found in Abandoned Laboratories.
  • Voice Grunting: In Don't Starve, every character was 'voiced' by an instrument. This time, Klei have used a theremin to generate the varied and adorably expressive noises duplicants can make.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: You do get some rations at the start, but it's up to you to provide your crew with food later on.
  • You Have Researched Breathing: Some of the early Tech Tree borders on this. Apparently, despite having access to printing people and fantastic multitools, you still need to reinvent the compost heap.
    • Another interpretation is that duplicants just ...aren't very bright. They are doing the best they can with the tools they've got and they do seem designed for specifically for survivability rather than intelligence. Rven a scientist dupe is so easily distracted that he repeatedly forget about the disease he accidentally unleashed upon his colony when presented with the possibility of a date with a coworker in the Outbreak Update cinematic.


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