Tuesday, February 25, 2014

How to survive one day in Cataclysm: DDA

Note: This map is for illustrative purposes only. Do not use this as a guide to your own particular locality.

Please note my previous two posts about getting started in Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead (here and here). I still plan to continue with that story - it's winter now for my character, and I do have more tips for beginners - but that's not this post. This is for my readers who are struggling to survive the very first day in the game. (You know who you are. :) )

Welcome to the Acme Model 700 Evacuation Shelter, the finest such structure on the market! With any luck, the U.S. Army will be standing by with helicopters to whisk you to safety. Remain orderly, please. There's plenty of room for everyone.

It's possible, in truly exceptional circumstances, that there might be a slight delay until the next wave of transport choppers arrive. Just in case - as unlikely as that might be - we've developed this little guide to surviving your first day (and night) in a zombie apocalypse. After the shock wears off, you should have no problem at all, especially since you can remain confident that rescue will be coming soon.

For now, it's time to take stock of yourself. What are you wearing? Do you have anything in your pockets? [Press 'i' for inventory.] You've been living in a society of abundance, but that's not the case anymore. Now, you must scavenge for everything, so don't throw anything away. If you don't need it right now, place it neatly in a corner of the evac shelter for possible future use.

Look at everything you own. [While in your inventory, press the letters corresponding to your clothing and other gear. Read everything. It's all important.] Clothing won't just keep you warm, it will - to some extent - protect you from attack, as well. Make sure you keep it in tip-top condition.

Clothing often has pockets, too. You're going to need some way to carry the stuff you'll be scavenging. After all, you'll probably need to leave your hands free for some kind of weapon. Don't have a weapon? Ah, you haven't been listening to the NRA, have you? Too bad.

No, no, don't beat yourself up. The truth is, though a gun would undoubtedly make you feel better, it would probably be counterproductive right now. Guns, after all, make a lot of noise. The secret to surviving in a zombie apocalypse is to draw no unnecessary attention to yourself. Remember, you're prey now, not predator. You won't be stronger than the creatures trying to kill you, so you must be smarter.

Still, you do need a weapon - just in case. Note that we don't stock such things in Acme brand shelters. Weapons and panic-stricken people aren't a good combination, you know. But if you happen to have a hammer and screwdriver with you, you could always disassemble the furniture [from the construction menu (press '*')].

No? Well, if you look outside, you can probably find a rock. Keep your eyes open, and don't go far from the shelter. But grab a rock [wield it] and bring it back inside. (Close the door behind you. It's probably a good idea to close the curtains on the windows, too - just in case.)

Now, we at Acme pride ourselves on the quality and the beauty of the furnishings in our shelters. But sometimes,... well, desperate times call for desperate measures, right? If you smash ['s'] a locker or a bench with that rock, you'll be able to disassemble it into its component parts - not as neatly as you could with tools, but... desperate times. Depending on your strength, it might take several attempts, but it will work, eventually.

Note that we build our evac shelters away from the cities, so it's unlikely that the noise of smashing furniture will draw unwanted attention. But you definitely shouldn't get into the habit of making that much noise!

What then? It's up to you, really. If you've got a pocketknife, you might be able to sharpen a two-by-four into a makeshift spear. Or pound nails into it with that rock, creating a studded club. Best of all might be a metal pipe, especially if you beat it into a makeshift crowbar with that rock - thus giving you both a weapon and a useful tool. You won't be able to carry much, so it's really handy when you can double-up like that.

[I covered this in my second post. Make sure you wield the stone, then smash apart either a locker, for metal components, or a bench or counter, for wood and nails. You can wield the resulting pipe or two-by-four if you want, but you can make better weapons/tools from such things in the crafting menu ('&'). As I noted, I'd especially recommend making a makeshift crowbar.]

Wield your new weapon, but hang on to that rock, too. Put it in your pocket. You can always drop it later, if necessary, to make room for other stuff. After all, rocks are very common. But it's always nice to have a rock in your pocket, so you can throw it at an enemy - especially since you don't have to worry about picking it back up again (unlike more valuable throwing weapons).

Now, before you leave the shelter, check out the basement. It will be dark down there, and there could be something dangerous which has gotten in (unlikely, but possible). It's always best to find out for sure, though. You don't want something sneaking up in the middle of the night! Also, someone might have left some gear down there. Again, it's unlikely, but possible.

OK, now what? Keep in mind what a human being needs for survival: food, clean water, clothing, shelter. You're already wearing clothing suitable for the season, hopefully. (Note that, if it gets cold at night, try gathering up a pile of unused clothing to use as a blanket.) [Sleeping on or near a pile of even ragged clothes will keep you warm at night. Sleeping underground might help with that, too. Eventually, you're going to want to find or make a bedroll or a bed, but that will take awhile.]

Our Acme brand evac shelter will keep you protected from the elements, too. After exploring, come back to sort through your loot, and to store it securely, and to sleep without worrying about rain and wild beasts. So now all you need is food and water - and some way to carry what you find back to the shelter.

Food is usually the easiest, because you don't necessarily have to go into the towns for food. Note: Cities are very dangerous in a zombie apocalypse. When most people have been turned into zombies, the last place you want to be is where there were lots of people. Remember that!

Often, you can find strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and other fruit in the fields which usually surround our evac shelters. Pay attention to the bushes you see as you travel around. If you think they might be fruit-bearing, look more closely. [Press 'e', then the direction, while standing next to them.] Sometimes apple trees can be found in the forests. Wild vegetables, too.

You can hunt, of course, but most small creatures will flee from you. And you should be very careful of larger animals - wolves, cougars, moose - even if they seem to be ignoring you. Stay well clear! However, you can probably expect an explosion in the rat population during a zombie apocalypse, and rat meat is surprisingly delicious. (Or so I'm told.)

Rats are vicious enough to come to you, but easy enough for even the least experienced to kill - assuming you're not unlucky enough to encounter a swarm of them. Throw rocks at them while they're still out of melee range. And if you can lure them into a bush, or onto other rough terrain - while you're staying on flat ground yourself, of course - you can slow them down and make them easier to hit.

Unfortunately, raw rat meat isn't delicious. In fact, we at Acme highly recommend avoiding raw meat in general. Now, you can easily grill a rat steak on a sharp stick, or create a makeshift pot out of rocks [crafting menu '&'], but you're still going to need a lighter or matches in order to light a fire. Most likely, you'll need to raid abandoned homes for those items.

Please note: Do not build a campfire in or near your evac shelter! Violators will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, should they somehow happen to survive the experience.

Build your campfire somewhere safe, where the fire won't get out of control. With a little effort, you can even build a stone fireplace. That probably won't be necessary for just a 24-hour stay, though. [Note that you can build a fireplace with 40 stones. That will keep a fire from spreading inside a building and won't smoke up the place, either. I highly recommend it. You don't want to be standing out in a thunderstorm - or worse, acid rain - trying to cook supper over a campfire.]

Even if you do have matches on you, so you don't have to raid abandoned homes for that, water is going to be the big problem. (Acme Model 700 shelters aren't equipped with modern plumbing facilities, because customers aren't expected to be there long enough to need them.) Even if you can find a source of water elsewhere, you shouldn't drink directly from it. Stay safe. Boil your water!

And, of course, you're going to need some way to carry the water - and any other supplies you find. So you're going to have to chance the edges of civilization - but only the edges, mind you. The further you get into a city, the more dangerous it will be. If there are parks, libraries, shops - places where people would commonly gather in large numbers - stay well away from such places. They'll almost certainly be infested with zombies.

Check the map at the start of this guide. That's just an example, of course. Your own locale will be different,... but not too much different, perhaps. Note the position of the evac shelter. [It's that white plus sign near the center of the map.] That's a typical location for an Acme Model 700 shelter - outside of town, near a road, surrounded by fields - and although it won't necessarily be safe, it will likely be about as safe as you're going to get in a zombie apocalypse.

Now, see that city to the south and west? Stay out of places like that! What you want to do is just creep up to homes in the suburbs, where the zombies might not be so thick. Note those houses on the edges of town, both northwest and southeast of the shelter? (Those closest homes to the southwest probably wouldn't be bad, either, if you were careful, though it would probably be easier to get surrounded there.)

What you want to do is approach a house from behind, so that the house itself will shield you from the sight of any zombies which are further in towards town. Note that this will be your escape route, too. You'll be returning the same way you came, through the open fields you'd already crossed. (You don't want to be running away into an unknown area filled with unknown dangers.)

However, in an emergency, a forest is a great place to lose zombies. Note how that spur of forest to the southeast extends almost to the homes there? That could be useful, especially if you checked the area first. Likewise, a large field of rubble, like that patch [those red 0's] far to the northwest, will greatly slow any zombie - and likely damage them, too. That would be a good place to retreat - around, not through - in an emergency, provided you've first checked that the way is clear.

Zombies normally can't see as well as people, so you'll probably see them before they see you, if you're approaching from the open. [If not, use 'X' (shift-x) to peek around corners without being seen, so you don't walk right out in front of a bunch of them.] If you see too many zombies nearby, or some of the particularly dangerous variants, just back off and try somewhere else.

If you only see one or two 'ordinary' zombies, though, you might let them see you and then lure them back out into the fields, the way you came, and kill them there. Ordinary zombies shouldn't be a big problem if you can fight them one at a time. Pick up rocks from the ground and use them as missile weapons as they approach. Lead them into bushes, which will slow them down.

If you're standing on the other side of a bush, you should be able to strike twice with your weapon and then back away before the zombie can strike at you. Lead it into another bush - avoiding the bush yourself, of course - and repeat. If you have a fast weapon, you probably don't even need the bush. Let the zombie walk up to you, strike it once with your weapon, and retreat. Repeat until it's dead.

Ordinary zombies will only be a problem if they trap you, or if they come at you in bunches. If you encounter the more dangerous variants, run away - preferably before they've spotted you. (Zombies use sight, if they can see you. Otherwise, they'll move towards noise. Finally, if you spend too long in one place, they'll smell you - and they can follow a scent trail, too, if it isn't too old.)

When you can get up to a house without any zombies seeing you - or any that you haven't already dispatched, at least - try to open any doors or windows on that side of the house. Most doors will be at the front of houses, but a few have back doors, and some of those might be unlocked. It's harder to find an unlocked window, but not unheard of.

Don't go around to the front of the house. Don't even go to the sides - not without peeking around the corner first, certainly. If there aren't any open doors or windows, try to pry one open with your crowbar. (Press 'a', then the letter which corresponds to your makeshift crowbar, to use - or 'activate' - it. You'll have to indicate the direction then.)

Prying open a door or a window makes a little bit of noise, but not much. If you attract a zombie, it will probably be only one. There's a pretty good chance that you'll smash a window when you attempt to pry one open, and that makes a little more noise. But not too much, usually. While you're clearing the broken glass from the window [use the construction menu '*' for that], any zombie that heard you will likely show up. Well, just lure it off and kill it. One ordinary zombie shouldn't be a problem at all.

Note that a windowsill is also a good place to kill zombies, since it will slow them down. (It will slow you down, too, of course, so keep that in mind.) But you're probably going to want to escape the same way you entered the house - and back across the fields the same way, too - so make sure you don't get trapped inside.

Still, houses are full of things that will slow down zombies. You'll want to be careful at any windows - close the curtains, if you can - but even if zombies do spot you, it will take them time to bust in. (Of course, they'll make noise doing it, which might draw other zombies.) Search the back rooms of the house first. If you're noticed, and it gets to be too dangerous, close doors behind you as you escape back the same way you came. It should be safe in that direction, after all.

Now, what are you looking for? Well, lots of things, but you won't be able to carry most of them. Make a note of what's there [press 'N' on the map screen to leave a note] and keep looking. If you find food you can't carry, eat it - especially if it's perishable. Drink any fruit juice you find in the refrigerator, since that won't last long. If you can't carry this stuff any other way, carry it in your stomach!

But you really need to find a backpack, purse, messenger bag, duffel bag, fanny pack - something which will allow you to carry more items without encumbering you too much. Look for clothing you can wear, too - especially if it's in your size. Cargo pants, for example, have a lot more pockets than jeans. If you find a pair in your size, switch clothing.

Some things are small enough to fit almost anywhere, and those are often very useful items - like matchbooks, lighters, aspirin, thread, etc.  Other things might be very nice to have, but if you don't have room to carry them, make a note and come back later. Of course, we at Acme Shelters are confident that you won't have to wait long for rescue. But just in case...

Fresh water is critical. You can live longer without food than without water, and tainted water can easily make you sick. But you can't carry water in your pockets. So look for plastic bottles. Fill them at any convenient water source - don't be too squeamish - but don't drink it until you've boiled the water. Of course, this implies that you've found a pack - or even just a purse - which can hold the plastic containers.

Don't spend too much time at this. The longer you spend in an area, the more easily zombies will be able to smell you - even if they don't see you or hear you first. If you don't find what you need in the first house you try, it still might be wise to escape with what you can and try somewhere else later (after you've dumped off your loot at the evac shelter). It just depends on the situation.

You may think you're a tough guy or a tough gal, but you're prey to almost everything in a zombie apocalypse. Zombies have no fear, and they can easily swarm you - even if you don't encounter any of the especially dangerous variants. If no one else is alive, no one is going to call you a coward for running away. Do you care what zombies think? Zombies have no minds. They can't think anything.

When you get back to the evac shelter, sort through your stuff. Do you have time to try again? Yes, you probably do, if you took my advice to make it quick. Choose a different location and do the same thing. If it's too dangerous, back off. You can be hungry and thirsty and still live - especially if you've gorged yourself once already.

When it gets late, pile your extra clothing somewhere in the evac shelter - maybe in the basement, if it's especially cold outside. Sleeping on the floor won't be much fun, but you'll at least stay warm that way. Remember, you can confidently expect rescue by morning - two days, tops. [Or never. :) ]

But if something does happen, and you need to survive another day - or several other days - keep this advice in mind. Keep your eyes open as you travel - both for useful items/food and for dangerous creatures. Plan your raids on the map. Choose what looks like the safest approach, then get in and get out quickly, using the same path.

Don't be afraid to change your plans if it looks too dangerous. A failed raid is better than being dead. If you do make it inside a house, you won't be able to carry everything you find - not even close. Get what you most need now, and come back another time, if you want. If you haven't attracted notice, and the way is still clear when you leave, it will likely stay clear. Of course, if it wasn't critical the first time, it might make more sense to try somewhere else first.

Whatever you do, do not go into the city. The city will be a deathtrap for you. Probe the edges. Look for opportunities. But don't take any big chances if you want to stay alive.

Of course, it's likely that no one will ever need this guide. Our fine shelters have been designed for ease of rescue. Should you be unlucky enough to need our services, you'll almost certainly find a well-trained, welcoming military force waiting to whisk you to safety. It's almost inconceivable that you might have to wait even a day for rescue.

But we at Acme are determined to cover every eventuality. No, no thanks are necessary. Your safety is all that matters to us.

Note: My other posts about Cataclysm - and other games - are here.


Anonymous said...

I didn't know about the clothes being able to be used as blankets, that's a handy tip. After freezing my butt off I was going to just try wearing everything I could the next night (assuming I'm still alive of course...)

I also tried to sleep down in the basement because I thought it would be safer but was told that the floor was too hard or cold or something like that. Perhaps if I pile the clothes up down there it will be enough. (M1nks)

WCG said...

To be honest, I haven't tried sleeping in the basement - not since I played long ago, at least. On this playthrough, I think I've had a real bed every night - first in the mansion, and then in the science lab. I haven't had to rough it at all. :)

Chimeradave said...

One guide i saw said to make a makeshift bed in the basement

Chimeradave said...

Thanks for this guide. It was written in a really entertaining way. I'm not so confident about that help coming anytime soon. :)

I definitely need all the help with this game I can get.

I've been doing really well at killing zombies for a little while and dying in glorious combat. But I've been doing badly at SURVIVING.

When you try and fight zombies you eventually die EVERY TIME.

I'm gonna try living!

Anonymous said...

The water problem has been solved – I found another 3L glass container. So, not the best for hauling around but at least I finally got to drink sweet clean water! I also found a gas station a bit up the road from yet another evac shelter; not a single zombie around and it had some sealed food and drink so I now have 3 plastic bottles full of energy drink which can be reused. The gas station was a bit nerve wracking though as there is only the one door and you can’t draw curtains to cover the windows. I felt so exposed! It also had another load of traps outside closer to town so I might have to put that to good use…  I had great fun leading a few hapless zombies into some bear traps the previous day. It didn’t kill them but one stab with my bayonet blade took care of what was left.

The gas station also has a variety of vehicles scattered around as well as there being an abandoned one on the bridge which I crossed over to get there. Now that is something I could use another guide for! How to understand vehicles. Including finding gear, driving, fixing, reading gauges etc. It took me ages just to work out how to take control of one and then when I tried to start it, found out that it didn’t have an engine! In fact none of them did. There is clearly some sort of engine eating zombie out there…

I did actually find an engine while I was heading to check out the 2nd evac shelter I went to. I was trying to find a container – didn’t find it but I did find a roll mat which might make sleeping a nicer experience (at least I don’t get cold anymore). The engine weighed a ton and I popped a few painkillers hauling it up to the evac shelter. It didn’t seem to cause me any permanent damage – do you know what happens if you just keep on going? Do you get to the point where you can’t move and are thus a huge target for wandering meanies? Anyway, I have an engine but it’s miles away from the vehicles I’ve found and the thought of hauling that sucker through field, forest and swamp (because there isn’t a road) is not very pleasant. I found a road map in the Gas Station so I might try to find a damage car or something closer to the evac shelter the engine is in. I also probably need to find some way of training up mechanics or whatever skill I need as I doubt I have anything in it and I will probably end up blowing myself up!

I found a screwdriver in one of the cars (purely by accident, it isn’t easy to spot items in a car) and I took it back to the shelter and tried to Disassemble some of the furniture rather than smashing it up. I’m clearly missing something. I ‘w’ielded it then tried to ‘D’isassemble the locker by moving into it. Was told I had ‘stuck my screwdriver in the locker’ and couldn’t work out how to get it back! I better not have lot that tool! Sigh – at least the locker didn’t have the potential to explode  I’ve probably just put it inside and can open it and get it out. I had to run off to work so I’ll check tonight.

I think I’m on day 4 now and I’m the scourge of wildlife everywhere. Squirrels flee in terror and rabbits hide their faces! I even made myself a sling but the pebbles you can use with it are rubbish, I do so much more damage with a rock. Unless you can use rocks with slings as well? If not I hope there is some point to them because otherwise I think slings are the most useless weapon out there.

Me like Rocks! UGH!

Oh I’ve got some seeds as well. Hemp and Strawberry. Awesome I can get high and then munch on the berries! All bases covered. I guess I’ll have to hunt up some guide on planting and farming. So much to learn! Such a great game!

WCG said...

I could be wrong, but I think you need a blanket to make a bed, and blankets don't seem to be that common. Hmm,... I've never tried disassembling an existing bed, though. I'll bet that would do it.

I just found another evac shelter and built a fireplace in it, for the next poor soul who might try to find help there. ;) This one had a backpack in the basement and some military gear just outside the back door!

Anonymous said...

You do. You can make fur blankets though; I'm not sure if those would 'count'? (M1nks)

WCG said...

Good idea, John. Living is always a good choice. :)

It's not that you can't fight zombies, especially the ordinary versions, but you need better skills (primarily) and equipment before going all Rambo on them.

So pick your fights. Combat is actually a good thing, if it's on your terms, because it will train your skills. But it shouldn't be your priority at first. Keep in mind what your immediate need, your immediate goal, is.

At the start of the game, you'll have specific requirements. There are a million useful items in Cataclysm, but you can survive without most of them. Focus on what you need. Fighting zombies will normally be a distraction from that.

WCG said...

I can't tell you much about vehicles, M1nks, except to beware of landmines. :) And note that you have to stay on the road with most of them.

If you look at vehicles, missing parts will be colored gray. Note that it might be easier to replace tires than a whole engine. :) Look around.

You can find vehicles which are drivable without repairs, though they might be short of gas (and they can easily break down when you need them most). Check parking lots. Sewage treatment plants are usually placed outside of towns (so they're much safer to get to) and they've often got a parking lot.

I'm still using my shopping cart - and I'm loving it! I suppose it must have some weight and volume limits, but if so, I haven't found them yet. I can take it nearly anywhere, and it doesn't seem to slow me down or make any noise at all. If you can get to a grocery store, I highly recommend looking for a shopping cart.

To disassemble furniture, go to the construction menu ('*'). I think you need a hammer (make a stone hammer, if necessary) and a screwdriver. You don't need to wield them. Just have them in your inventory.

It's a good idea to look at your crafting nenu ('&') and construction menu occasionally, just to see the options, even if you don't have what you need at the moment. (Sometimes, it's easy to get what you need, so pay attention to the requirements.)

I was disappointed with slings, too. And from what I hear, farming is a bit buggy yet. But it wouldn't hurt to try. As you say, there's so much to learn. I haven't even scratched the surface yet. There's so much to see and do that it never gets old.

Anonymous said...

My map has a few of those marked on it and also a mega store that might possibly be a little way out of the main town. It’s hard to tell, most the map in that area wasn’t filled in – just ‘areas of great interest’ apparently.

One thing I did notice was manhole covers scattered all around so I’m presuming there is a whole subterranean level beneath my feet? More than the sinkholes one of my first characters feel in (this was before I discovered the ‘e’xamine option before walking into something….

I could go hunting for stores but this incarnation seems to have been placed in a pretty sweet spot and I don’t want to throw her life away going looking for things that she doesn’t really need. A cautious approach and slow learning of the tricks of the game seems to be working so far so I’ll stick with it. I checked my kill count the other day and I’ve dealt permanent death to 10 zombies so far. They were only the standard ones and it’s only a drop in the ocean but it’s a good start and I’m experimenting with different hunting techniques, gaining confidence in my ability to take them out so long as I’m careful and use the terrain to isolate and weaken them before closing to melee.

No doubt more gear would be nice but now that I’ve got water, food, warmth and some basic tools, I’ve got the time to build up my strength and knowledge steadily. Who knows, I might be shooting the big bad zombies with arrows rather than rifles if I get skilled enough!

I’ll check out farming and let you know if it works for me.

Anonymous said...

Well farming is so far a bust, I apparently need a hoe (don’t see why a digging stick won’t work – in fact I might try it) and if you make plant food it will make them grow faster. I started nibbling away at some of the houses to the west of the gas station instead. I had some vague idea of building some furniture to make my evac shelter a little more cosy, starting with a proper bed, but after make a stone axe and chopping down a tree I realised how heavy and bulky the logs were. I decided to try to make some cupboards to store the wood in and see if I could drag a lot of it back to the shelter that way. That led to some scouting for some more ingredients for building furniture, which led to a bit of a controlled zombie killing fest. I cleaned out a small section of the outlying houses of the town to the NW of my map.

In one of the houses I found a cupboard and I dragged that outside and loaded it up with everything I had – which was quite a lot by that stage. I am currently waddling around with about two pairs of cargo shorts, two pairs of cargo pants, a hoodie, a jacket and two purses. I must look a bit like the Michelin Man. But just when I was finally ready to go it started to acid rain. So, really I was very fortunate and I was about to get even luckier. I had a house right next to me to wait out the rain and I’d just finished clearing out most of the Zombies in the general area. But if was going to be staying then I knew I had to go down to the basement and make sure it was zombie free – I didn’t want any nasty surprises if I had to stay the night.

OMG I’d stumbled into a total gun nut/survivalists house! The basement was full of shelving and packed full of ammunitions. I probably should have had a clue due to the, I think it was a machine gun, I found above ground and the fact that the house had a single bed and two televisions… Talk about luck, I nearly went right past it; if it wasn’t for the acid raid I doubt I would have checked the basement at all. Lesson learnt!

Not coming from a gun loving country most of the guns I didn’t recognise. It’s going to take me ages to work out what everything is and how to use it. The house contained a couple of kiddie books and one guns and ammo mag to raise marksmanship to 1 and another to raise survival. They were very simple, low intelligence required; I swear the writers of this game have great senses of humour.

Anyway most of the zombies I’ve seen so far certainly don’t need guns but I saw a ‘soldier zombie’ at one point before I bravely ran away, away and I came face to face with a feral zombie the previous night but I’m pretty quick when I’m scared. I might see if I can lure them off and try out the guns. Actually I think I’ll try the guns on some of the peons first; face to face with a soldier zombie is not when I want to discover that I can’t shoot it. And I also want to get some idea of the noise they generate. Maybe I’ll shoot one and stand in one spot and see how many others come running.

WCG said...

Oh, yeah, there are sewers, M1nks. (Note that you need a crowbar to remove manhole covers, though you can enter by the subway entrances, too.) That might be one way to get around town without stirring up zombies.

Of course, it's pretty dark down there. And there might be a few dangers underground, as well. You never know. :) (Seriously, I haven't been in the sewers in this playthrough, so I don't know what it's like now. And you're playing on the 'standard zombies' option, which I've never tried.)

The cautious approach is the one I take, too, because I don't like to die. :)

WCG said...

M1nks, if you chop down a tree, chopping it into two-by-fours is probably more useful than making a log. Unless you plan to build a log cabin on the spot, of course. After all, you can move two-by-fours individually, if necessary, and most crafting blueprints require them, anyway.

With a hammer and screwdriver, you can disassemble furniture in houses, too. That's an even quicker way to get building supplies (including glass, if you disassemble a window).

That cupboard idea is just like having a shopping cart, except that the cart has wheels and moves quickly and quietly. Hmm,... if you find a motorcycle with good wheels - even if it's not in working condition - you might be able to push/pull that, too. I've never tried it.

There's a lot of acid rain in this game (too much, for my tastes - I wish the weather stayed sunny a little longer). And those basements? They don't always have good things down there - and sometimes they have zombies - but it's definitely worth checking them out.

Re. guns, your first choice is between pistols, rifles, shotguns, submachine guns, or launchers (which aren't really for everyday use). There's a different skill for each one (although marksmanship helps with all of them).

Each gun has different characteristics, including accuracy, power, noise, reloading time, recoil, and effectiveness as a melee weapon. They all take different ammunition, too, and that's almost always scarce (which is why it's useful to use a gun as a melee weapon when fighting weak enemies close up).

Some of them can fire bursts, which can be a lifesaver in emergencies. At point blank range, you're unlikely to miss, and you can do a lot of damage even to armored opponents. Of course, that makes a lot of noise and really burns through the ammo.

You can add mods to guns, although they might also have downsides (increased weight, at least). A bayonet can make a rifle a much more effective melee weapon (though not as fast as pistol-whipping a foe).

A suppressor (silencer) will limit the noise - but it works best on low-powered guns. (They won't work at all on shotguns, which are always noisy, short-range weapons.) And note that you can make many of these mods, if you can't find them in that basement.

I recommend deciding on rifle or pistol first, so you can train your skill. A .22 rifle or pistol fitted with a suppressor will be a fairly quiet, low-powered weapon with which you can train your skill. Even better might be a BB gun, although they do almost no damage. (But if you can find BB's, you won't waste more valuable ammunition.)

Of course, that depends on what ammo you have available. A .223 might be a good choice, too, for rifles - more powerful, but noisier. Maybe a 9mm for pistols?

Read the description on the individual guns and choose what you need (probably not the most powerful, right at first). Again, ammunition is usually the big problem. You'll waste a lot of it trying to improve your skills. (One advantage to bows is that you can always make your own ammo. That's possible, but much more difficult, with guns.)

In my game, I haven't used guns yet. But I've got two libraries near my character right now, both on the edge of town (more or less), so I'm really hopeful I can get books on rifles, pistols, or archery - or all three.

I've discovered a new science lab, and I've run into enemies (robots) which are probably going to require a different strategy. Well, so far, I've just run away, closing the door behind me. That's been a pretty effective strategy, I must admit. :)

m1nks said...

Started another character with 5 points knocked off the maximum and only a few negative traits (no Far Sighted, Wool Allergy, Ugly, Truth Teller, Forgetful this time around). Made him/her a Hobo and created a new standard world just to see what would happen.

First one crashed and burnt as he spawned in an evac shelter right in the middle of a city with a swamp just off to the side. Decided that one was a dead end and created another. This one went much better but I underestimated the health hit I would get after detox. I didn’t make any blankets and a makeshift bed so now am very sick and can’t get a proper nights sleep because my mouth and head are cold and I keep coughing myself awake. Seriously what is up with the heating system? Even in front of a fire I can’t get warm!

I might be able to rescue myself though by breaking some more windows in my shelter, tearing up the sheet for rags and making some blankets and then a makeshift bed down in the basement. With broken windows it won’t be that safe to sleep upstairs I would imagine. At least water isn’t a problem thanks to a funnel I managed to find but I’ve now run out of food so I might starve a bit until I raise my level up past ‘Exhausted’.

WCG said...

Yeah, that sounds like a tough start - and the beginning game is tough enough!

Note that you can disassemble (or smash) wooden furniture to get two-by-fours and nails, then use those to board up windows, if you want. I don't know if you need a minimum level of Construction skill for that, but I don't think so.

Re. food, I'd just look around for berry bushes. If there's a forest nearby, you can get wild vegetables from bushes, too. Or even find apple trees.

You could also make a stone shovel, then dig pit traps (do it twice to make deep pits). You might be able to catch an animal in them - and kill it, if you put spikes in the bottom - but you'd need to cook the meat, of course. (I don't know if you can eat raw meat in an emergency or not.)

M1nks, note that they've released a new stable version of Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead (version 0.A Kaufman). Here's the changelog.

I haven't tried it, because I didn't want to start over with a new character. (I'm tempted, though, because this one has gotten a bit too easy.) However, I hear that the new version will work with my current save (just copy the save game folder to the new installation), so I'll probably give it a try sometime.

Of course, I'll keep a backup, just in case. :) And some of the changes apparently won't take effect until I move to a new, unexplored part of the map. So I don't know, maybe I'll start over anyway.

Let me know how your hobo makes out, M1nks. Good luck!

m1nks said...

Well I managed to shake the cold. I didn’t manage to make a makeshift bed as I didn’t have enough sinew to make a blanket. However adding the sheets to my pile of clothes got my temperature to comfortable and I managed to find a clear window in the acid rain to go hunting and get enough meat to raise me from famished to normal. The cold went away and so did my temperature issues – I had successfully kicked my addiction and my sickness!

So then I went on a bit of an explore over to a FEMA camp to the west of my evac shelter. Saw a whole stack of zombies and found some interesting gear in some wreckage just outside including a Power Suit. Extremely clunky but talk about protection! I ended up dumping my clothes (because it had no volume) and waddling that monster home in the dark and in the morning left it in my shelter and headed outside to go back to the FEMA camp only to come face to face with a bloody Zombear! I jumped back inside and closed the door which was smart but then it all went to custard. I ran over to where my suit was and put it on, then tried to head east to a lot of traps to try to injure it that way. I just wasn’t using my brain. I should probably have tried dodging around the side of the building and losing it that way. I could have even kept the armour but tried shooting the zombear with my crossbow as I backed up through the various doors – I had access to some caltrops as well I could have used those. What I shouldn’t have tried to do was run in a straight line. It caught me and I tried fighting but it headshotted me twice. Hmmm, maybe I should have worn the helmet underarmour and my pot helmet or something?

Game Over.

I do have a previous save though so I might load it up. These are meant to be learning sessions after all and I’m keen to check out the FEMA base properly. Or I might try another character and some more traits.

WCG said...

Zombears are really tough - as you discovered, M1nks. They're fast, and they hit hard (twice per turn, I think). Without good weapons (or good traps), it's hard to escape from them and equally hard to kill them.

Wearing armor everywhere is important, but there are usually downsides - for everywhere but on your head. Head encumbrance has no disadvantages (provided it doesn't also cover the mouth and/or eyes), so I'd wear as many layers of headgear as you possibly can.

I'm experimenting with the new version of the game, so I created a new world and new character. (I haven't decided if I'll continue with my old game or with this one - or both.)

I've got the Night Vision trait this time, too, but my vision range at night is much smaller than in the previous version. Anyway, I made a night raid on a clothing store and found a trenchcoat, raincoat, and messenger bag, then I filled them up with stuff from some nearby homes and headed back to the evac shelter.

And I ran into a moose. The thing with moose (and bears) is that they're not hostile until you get too close to them. So "safemode" didn't stop me from running right up next to it, at which point it turned hostile.

I was still in my first day, completely unskilled, wielding just a makeshift crowbar, so I tried running away from it, but it was faster than I was. So I tried losing it in a nearby house, but it was still faster than me - even at climbing through the window.

So in desperation, I tried beating at it with my crowbar and eventually drove it off (without killing it). So I went out the back of the building again, ran towards my evac shelter, and ran directly into another moose. Heh, heh.

Eventually, I drove that one off, too, but my trenchcoat was completely destroyed and most of the rest of my stuff was damaged. And I've got zero Tailor skill (not to mention no needle and thread).

Oh, well, I'm just thankful it wasn't a bear! There's no way I would have survived that.

I'll probably post something about the new version in a day or two.

m1nks said...

Does the Waldo tileset still work with the new version?

Not that I've downloaded it yet but I think i will for my new game.

WCG said...

Yes, the Waldo tileset still seems to work. Unfortunately, the developer of that has abandoned the project. In this thread, page 4, someone updated the main file a bit. I'm using his revision, and it seems to work fine.

Undoubtedly, there are missing images (which will remain as ASCII symbols, I assume), so I really hope that someone else picks it up and continues working on it. I really like the tileset, at least partly because it's big enough for me to see easily.

m1nks said...

Started a new victim, another hobo with some interesting trait choices. I knocked the starting points down some more to 15 and took Addictive Personality to see if that made my detox harder as it’s supposed to. I’m not sure but I think it may have had a killing effect on my stats; even with Fleet Footed she was barely crawling along at one point and she seemed to drink her booze a lot faster, it barely lasted a day this time around and made the pressure even more. At one point I noticed her intelligence was 2! It’s true – drink is the devil…

She has had some pretty good luck though – I found a Public Works that only had a couple of Zombies around and it was a treasure trove of tools. It even had a working car which I’ve left there for now (I nearly left my corpse there at one point as I was being tracked by a bear and I ducked in there and snuck out the back way after being bitten by a coyote – note to self, next time don’t leave doors open!) I was planning on raiding some corpses I saw outside the houses in town but couldn’t find them in the dark so in desperation snuck into a home and found a treasure trove of food in the basement. Including a proper bed! As I was nearly out of booze by that point I decided it was definitely the best place for me to detox. So this time around I had a proper bed, kept warm, got some decent sleep and kept eating nutritious food and drinking lots of water. It took a couple of days but everything went very smoothly. That’s currently where she is at. No cold yet but I’m not sure if that is because of my much better detox – better sleep, good food, staying warm etc or my dust mask I’m wearing or even because I picked the Disease resistant trait. Or simply because it hasn’t hit yet.

BTW I’m trying out some different Traits this time around, ones which I think sort of match her profession. Like Gourmand which says you are used to eating unusual foods and get pleasure out of eating, and Disease and Poison resistant and a few others I can’t remember right now. This game is too painfully addictive.

Curse You!

WCG said...

Heh, heh. Yeah, it's addictive, isn't it, M1nks? :)

I tend to like the early part of the game the best. But then, I prefer the early part of all RPGs, when your character is so very weak and where nearly everything you find is a valuable treasure.

But there are so many different character choices and so many different experiences when you start a new world or a new game in Cataclysm. You just never know what to expect.

Re. diseases, you might try taking a vitamin every day. As an alcoholic hobo, that might be even more important for you, especially if you're not eating a balanced diet. :)

m1nks said...

Some truly awesome quotes from the Cataclysm forums. They are a great read:

Using the "Craft as long as possible" to make small strings from the thread, I first use up all the thread I'm carrying, then start autocrafting from everything around me. I crafted for at least three days straight, occasionally passing out from exhaustion, but never stopping. When I finally figured out how to stop, I was starving, dehydrated, and noticed there was a bear nomming on my face.

So, I made a hyper awesome trigger happy black belt. I raided a toxic waste dump and took a nap there, trying to force him to mutate into something.
I woke up with no strength, intelligence, dexterity, or perception. I couldn't escape, even with my new tentacle legs. I just sat there and waited for the radiation to kill me…. somewhere, there is a squid swimming in a pool of sewage who is a master of kung fu.

“Children I typically lead through caltrop fields until they (evidently) just have their legs shaved off and flop around as an angry torso until they get a caltrop through the eye.”
Find me one other game where this sentence is relevant.

I literally cannot land a single blow on a cougar. I have to throw my water bottles at them to kill them. While hilariously entertaining, I prefer not to have every experience with a cougar be a badly torn up and bleeding torso.

Tell my shopping cart I love her...

I can barely be moving due to my skin melting to acid rain while carrying a giant V8 engine, but it's alright because those are some damn good toast 'ems.

I used a mininuke as a hand grenade.

Acid Rain makes you pain. Moose is a jerk. You bleed? (possible explanation as to why your character is dead)

A bear apparently decided to attack my car while I was looting in a nearby city... It appears to have sniped out my car's alternator and battery with the precision of a bulldozer, and now I'm stuck in the middle of a zombie infested city, at sundown, in an acid drizzle, 2 trunks full of loot, and a nonfunctional car.
This is going to be a fun night.

Approximately eight zombie children arrived and ate me.

Oh cataclysm, you so CRAZY!

WCG said...

Heh, heh. Those are great, M1nks. Thanks!

That's one of the great things about Dwarf Fortress, too, reading about the experiences of other players. These kinds of games don't tell a story. Instead, players create their own stories through both random encounters and their individual decisions - the kind of character they create, the world they find themselves inhabiting, and the choices they make throughout the game.

You might check out UnReal World, too, when you need a break from Cataclysm. That probably won't be any time soon, though, since this game really is addicting.

m1nks said...

Some more:

Real men fight jabberwocks in hand to hand combat with a bottle of orange juice.

'Shitloads of nearby petrol? MOLOTOV! NOTHING can go wrong!'

Good news: It turns out that when you're being chased by two Jabberwocks, the two will fight to the death in their haste to kill you.
Bad news: The surviving Jabberwock will still chase you, and it is PISSED.

Man, that conversation was just surreal... kill an enemy then superglue some skin to your face during the night. Or, you know, staple it to your face. I don't think I had realised the depth of the game.

May Urist McSurvivor forever rest in peace pieces.

I'm getting kinda tired of starting new crappy characters who have even less potential for finding gear because my last dead crappy characters went and looted all the good easy to grab stuff before thoughtlessly getting themselves killed.

m1nks said...

Well I’m wondering where all the nasty critters are hiding. I’ve got a kill count of 500 or so zombies but nearly all of them have been of the bulk standard variety with the odd Cop, Feral and Soldier sprinkled in. Oh and a few Zombears. My latest is now well and truly ensconced in her house and has just so much gear that she leaves nearly everything that she finds as she’s got around 3 of everything as it is. I’ve yet to work out how guns work but I am taking a few small steps in that direction. The trouble is she’s really good at bashing the stuffing out of the standard Zombies with her quarterstaff (BATTER UP!) and rounding those skills off with using her crossbow and throwing knives. She has the Forgetful trait so skills have a habit of slipping away unless I make a concerted burst and work them up. Dodge is the worst – I want to work that skill up (currently it’s 4) but the only way is to engage in melee and let things try to hit you which is not a strong survival ploy.

She’s gotten so confident it’s going to be a shock when I finally find anything remotely difficult. Right now it’s ‘cannon’ fodder all the way. At some point I’ll work out how to fix/improve cars and other such things. Right now she’s pretty good but she (me) has a lot to learn.

BTW have you ever run across a Granade (Kevin)? I thought it was a standard grenade and I had a big group of zombies coming for me so I chucked it and rounded them up; when it went off there was a big ‘blast’ radius which I was inside but nothing happened. So far I’ve found two, the second one I set off raised my stats hugely. Strength I think went from 10 to 19! And it seems to be permanent.

WCG said...

Are you still playing with the "standard zombies" option, M1nks? Maybe that's why you're not seeing anything really dangerous?

I always turn off skill rust, because it doesn't make sense to me (and it certainly doesn't seem fun). If you don't want to go that far, though, there are other settings. You could have it depend on your intelligence stat, for example. (Then again, if you chose the Forgetful trait, you deliberately chose to increase the rate of skill rust, huh?)

And no, I'd never even heard of the Kevin Granade. (For that matter, I have yet to find a regular grenade.) According to the wiki, though, that item has unpredictable effects. You were lucky. (Incidentally, it's apparently named after the current project manager, Kevin Granade, which explains the unusual spelling.)

m1nks said...

No I'm not but I'm thinking that because this world was orginally created with Classic Zombie that is all I am going to get now even though I have a new character. I might have to create a whole new world perhaps?

I've also turned on NPC's but have yet to see one; although with all the complaints about how rubbish they are I might turn that off in the next one.

If I'm going to do that think I guess I should download the latest version and have a play with that. Pity, she's a good character. Sill time to play with a default character now I've gotten a bit better at the game mechanics. Let's see how long this one lasts....

WCG said...

Yes, that's probably right, M1nks. 'Classic Zombies' is one of the World Defaults options (so are NPC's), so they're set when you first create a world. I don't think that changing those things during a game has any effect on that game.

I could be wrong. If you go to a different part of your world, so the game has to spawn everything, you could start seeing the weirder monsters and NPC's, but I doubt it.

So, if you start a new game with the new version, are you gong to include dinosaurs? :)

m1nks said...

No, no dinosaurs. I thought that was meant to be a joke. Do you play with them enabled?

WCG said...

There's a dinosaur mod which is included in the new version of Cataclysm. I haven't tried it, but when you create a new world, you'll be given the option to choose mods.

I don't know the details about it. This dinosaur mod made more changes than just adding dinosaurs, apparently, but I don't know how much of that is in the mod which comes with the game.

I think there are four or five mods which are included in the game download, and two or three of them are enabled by default (not the dinosaur one, though). The others seem to be just additional weapons.

Since I'm not a gun nut, I disabled one of the mods which added rare and unusual guns (there are already a million kinds of guns in the game), but kept a couple others (one including Medieval weaponry, as I recall, but I haven't seen any yet).

If the dinosaur mod just adds dinosaurs as possible creatures you could encounter, that would be one thing. If it changed the whole theme of the game, that would be quite different. At the moment, I really have no idea what it does.

The original mod removed dogs and worms, and I kind of like worms. (Have you encountered worms yet?) It made guns more powerful, too, and... well, changed other things than just adding dinosaurs. But again, I don't know how much of that is in the mod included with the game (not all of it, apparently).