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Hard food mode - doable?


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I started a game on "the usual" - that is, hardest possible mode.

I couldn't dig muckroots quickly enough to avoid starvation. Then the last dupe died in sleep after 2 days of non-stop mush bar crafting.

Is hardfood actually doable? I don't mean hardeverything with no deaths, just any form of non-debug hardfood.

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During my best attempt so far, I made it proudly to... cycle 6 (first death). Poor Nails died right in front of the musher, at the very second the very first liceloaf got out. I guess i could have let them eat some of the uncooked mealice but it was a doomed situation in the making anyway... 

I'm not sure it's even mathematically possible to produce as much as 3000 calories per dupe during early game. That means having ~11 mealwood plants for each dupe (assuming the mealice is cooked into liceloaves) and they need it ASAP since the starting nutrient bars are barely enough for 2 cycles. (I had 23 plants by cycle 6). Otherwise can dupes even produce mush bars at a sufficient speed ? I guess if you shuffle long enough for very good starting attributes.

Even if one was to kill off one or two of the starting duplicants, I highly doubt that 1 dupe alone would be fast enough to sustain themself, let alone making progress in the colony. And since they burn 3000 calories per cycle, they starve in less than one cycle and a half.

At first I thought the hardest setting would be 2000 calories per cycle, a more feasible hardmode challenge ... and that's the hungry setting, but then you can't say you have a colony with the hardest difficulty settings, which it's psychologically unbearable. > : ( 

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Ok, I have an approach ("Survival" + "Ravaging Hunger"):

1. Only one dupe eats

2. If that one dupe has enough calories until the next dupe can be printed, it stops eating

3. New dupe eats, old one starves. This gets you 4000kcal for free every 3 cycles.

4. Hatches are food (I saved one, just in case)

With this approach, I have now one dupe that almost can sustain itself with mushrooms at cycle 50 (I go directly for mushrooms) and should get there in the next 5 cycles or so. I also have about 16 dead dupes.  As mushrooms are pretty low maintenance (slime delivery every 2.5 cycles, harvesting every 7.5 cycles), that one dupe can now carefully extend food production. Hence this definitely possible. I am sure my approach can be improved upon, in particular as I have 12kcal wafers left over and I did mine out only something like 60% of the starting biome and I did this on the first try, so some experimentation was involved. Bonus: New dupes give the "OMG, a CORPSE!" emote quite frequently ;)

Altogether it is a pretty different starting experience, but I think it is a nice addition to the game.

 

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Managed to survive the initial stage by rushing agriculture research, building lots of planters and digging out the entire starting biome for all mealwood seeds and muckroot plants. With this I managed to survive without the loss of a single dupe.

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