After taking a few months off from the game due to a bug with the part of the game I was most excited to play with (drones had a nasty habit of using far more batteries than they were supposed to unless you stayed close by the drone port at all times), once Coffee Stain (the game studio) started showing off what was coming with the Update 5 milestone release I found myself compelled to start a whole new save game.

(You name your “save” which is basically the name of an ongoing session, and then you name the actual save points within that “save,” and yes that gets confusing sometimes.)

Thus I am, one could say, back on my B.S.

The Space Elevator will probably stay there for the duration of this save, but everything around it is subject to demolition once I get to the point of being able to build things “better.”

The initial goal for this save, which I named “eSthetix” because I’m a humongous dork, is to get just far enough in the tech tree where I have:

  • All of the new building parts unlocked from the Awesome Shop, such as the new roof tiles, doors, windows, angled walls, and so forth.
  • Enough building materials (concrete, steel beams, iron plates, silica, etc) production to build whatever I want, at whatever scale I want.
  • The Hover Pack, so I can pin myself in 3D space (provided there’s power nearby) while placing (and replacing) building materials.

That last one’s going to take a while… it’s a Tier 7 technology unlock, and at my current stage of the game that’s an entire Space Elevator bundle away. I don’t even have oil power yet. Getting there is half the fun, they tell me. I guess we’ll find out.

The long-term goal is to experiment with making things look nicer. Architectural styles, fitting buildings into and around the terrain in more visually pleasing fashion, and reducing the overall clunky feeling of my factory builds is what I’m going for here. A lot of that is waiting on the aforementioned initial goal list, but some parts I can work on right away.

For instance, I can abolish my previous tendency to just slap conveyor belt lifts onto the outsides of buildings when I need to move materials from floor to floor. Yes, it made for easier visual inspection to make sure things were working properly, but it sure didn’t look very good. Now I’m using interior vertical shafts.

Eventually all of this will be fully enclosed. During construction a lot of the building is exposed so I can get at all the bits I need.

A surprise benefit of this plan is that I can also use these interior shafts to get power lines from floor to floor, removing another unsightly element of previous builds: Exterior power lines and wall-mounted power connectors all over the place. I mean, you still need at least one wall power connector to get started, but afterward it should be possible to keep things self-contained.

The two-belt wall units allow easy routing of power from floor to floor between them. This discovery is central (as it were) to everything I’m doing in this savegame now.

I started this “eSthetix” save before Update 5 released to Early Access, and was somewhat prepared when it landed. As soon as I could, I started buying the most critical building recipes, such as windowed walls.

I wasn’t prepared for the changes to materials costs, though. Prior to Update 5, concrete foundation tiles and windowed walls and glass foundations had fairly simple costs, mostly just concrete plus iron plates. Now, glass foundations involve steel beams, and windowed walls require silica.

Surprise! Guess who had to get a silica factory going in a hurry!

With that said, one of the new window options is absolutely superb:

This is at my screws manufacturing site next to where the computers will get made. I’m using the interior shafts for moving power and materials from floor to floor, and I can easily see what’s going on with the lifts. I really love the new windowed wall option.

No upper & lower borders means the ability to create tall, seamless panes of glass. The results are marvelous. I haven’t retrofitted my older factories yet, but it’s just a matter of time.

Not long after Update 5 released, the holiday event returned: Ficsmas 2021 commenced on the first of December.

It’s an older meme format, sir, but it checks out.

Unlike last year, when I bought the game after the Ficsmas event had already commenced, I was prepared. I went into it with a plan, centering on the “hub zone” location of my first savegame (called “Rocky Start” for several reasons). The event’s recipes center on iron, copper, and Ficsmas presents (normally harvested by hand from parachute-dropped gigantic present bundles, later generated by “Ficsmas tree” machines you can build) so my old hub site with its three pure iron and one pure copper node was an ideal out-of-the-way place to make the holiday magic happen.

I decided to use the lake itself as my holiday factory site, mainly for the excuse to glass over the entire lake. Admittedly, part of my incentive here is to keep parachute-dropped present bundles from splashing down in the middle of a lake I’d have to swim into to retrieve. Ahem.

Update 5 brought a replacement for the “Paint Gun,” which is the Customizer mode. No longer do you need to run around the western islands harvesting flowers by the bucketful to paint your stuff different colors! Mind you, I didn’t know that change was coming so I… now have a bunch of paint cartridges I can’t really use. (They’re still used for putting decals on foundation tiles. Maybe some day.)

What’s that, you say? Make the entire Ficsmas factory site look properly festive? Don’t mind if I do!

At first I had the swatch set to red primary and green secondary, but everything ended up looking more like what you’d see at a fire station rather than a holiday shop. So I flipped the colors. Luckily, the way color swatches work, that meant everything updated to the new color scheme instantly.

So, as of this writing, I’m waiting for the “advent calendar” to provide a research unlock to progress further on the Ficsmas “tree,” and I’m working on building a computer factory because you need those for so many things later on, like… trains. And unlocking oil power. Which I desperately need.

Same as it ever was. (I love this game.)