Start and setup
During this guide I will teach to you the build order, how to fight monsters, where to find resource nodes and explain to you many of the basic gameplay concepts like moving items on rails, production chains, researching new tech, upgrading buildings and infrastructure improvements.
I will also give you all the information necessary to successfully defend your flying city as you explore your first map and construct all the basic buildings.
Video version of this guide:
One of the main controls to remember is the spacebar key. Because it lets you alternate between the management and combat mode. In the combat mode your clicks control the bots weapons while in the management mode you can construct buildings.
The City Core is the base building you start with. The game supplies you with starting food, planks, stone and repair kits for your Steam bot. It has, at level 1, 50 flux production, 10 capacity for workers, and 15 production of Tesla Energy, power for short. It’s also your main storage building where fuel for flying is keeped.
Make sure to move the repair kits to the Steam bots inventory for later use.
First buildings and combat
The first buildings you need are houses for people because practically every other building requires them as workers. Two is enough for now. These people eat food so you use the cart rails and draw an exit, red arrow, from the core and an entrance, green arrow, to the houses. Pick food as the resource to move. Same for the other house. Each house produces additional flux at the cost of food and power and adds 1 weight to the flying city.
These houses will start to drain your food reserves. To make more food you first need raw purple potatoes, purptato for short. These are grown in farms which require flux and planks for construction. You can’t build anything in the red zone, without expanding the power network. So build in the powered zone. To extend that zone, add tesla towers.
The tato farm produces at a rate of 3 at level 1 and consumes flux with 1 worker. But people don’t eat raw tatos, so you need a food plant. It costs flux and stone to construct and should be between the farms and core for easy transport. Rails start as an exit from the farm, and end as an entrance to the food plant. Carts move the raw tatos to it automatically. Another railway is necessary to move processed food into the core.
Food plant has a high production rate of 18, so you can add many more farms, and even upgrade them to use it’s full capacity. Food indicator will fluctuate a bit until the math settles down, don’t worry about it.
Next resources you need to start producing are planks and stone, as well as research points. Because of this you have to scout the map to find sources of planks and stone. Fighting enemy monsters is easy at start, you can just back paddle using WASD and keep your mouse pointed at them while you shoot using your right click. Repeating crossbows does good damage and you can clear each map section like this.
Just make sure to equip those repair kits using the I key for inventory and clicking on one of the shortcut slots to assign them. Pressing the corresponding key will repair some of your Bots HP, but keep in mind the repair kits have a cooldown. Try not to go too far from your base to find a source of planks because it will be too hard to defend it. Look for the nearest source.
Production & Exploration
When you run into sparkling trash laying around, use your left click melee attack to break them and collect loot which comes out flying. It’s a miscellaneous bunch of items which all have their use, some being far more valuable than others.
Once you locate a bloodwood node, clear it of enemies and in the management mode click on it to be able to construct a Bloodwood cutter. This structure will cut logs which you need to make planks. It will spend flux, power and workers to do so.
Now, you need a long rail line from this cutter all the way to your city limits. Stop there, because you need additional buildings. This being the Wood Warper which does the job of a sawmill, producing planks from raw logs.
Add at least two because the cutter has a high production speed. Draw the rails as entrances to these Wood Warpers. Draw another separate rail from them to the city core and don’t forget the exits from sawmills onto that rail.
These will start production as soon as carts with logs arrive. All this construction will reduce your power and free workers supply. So add new houses along the previous lines of food supply.
Also, increase food production with another farm, and connect the output of that farm to the previous raw tato line.
Flux needs to flow constantly to your city core, so after a lot of construction, add new flux vats. Flux doesn’t need transportation, just like power it’s available everywhere. And speaking of power, it’s starting to run low, just like food.
You can upgrade existing farms instead of constructing new ones. This increases production by half while also costing more flux and workers. You could say it’s more efficient to just add new farms but that will use up A LOT of space.
As for power a generator is necessary and it costs flux and stone and requires workers to operate. These can’t be placed next to each other, so space them out.
Sawmills, the Wood Warpers can also be upgraded for the same efficiency bonus and cost. I would advise saving the game every so often once you have a stable situation.
Upgrading city and production
When your production is stable, you can explore more of the map and search for sources of stone and other special buildings.
Once your flying city upgrades to the village status, with 30 people living in it, you will unlock the research lab and a few other buildings. Return and construct it. If you lack planks, expand your production of them with more sawmills or explore the map until you have enough.
To keep track of the quantity of planks, use this UI option here on the top left to add more resources to the resource tracker. You can edit it however you like.
Stone is mined at nodes such as this glowing one here. When you collect more than 10 upgrade materials, you can use the K key to open up the infrastructure menu to upgrade offense, survival, gathering or administration branches. Each one gives special bonuses so read the tooltips carefully.
With enough planks construct the research lab and a tar extractor next to it. Tar is a resource required for producing research points at the lab. Use rails to supply it. As you can see there is no rail exit from the lab as research is a global resource, like flux and power, and doesn’t need transportation to the core.
If low on power or flux keep adding more buildings to produce them, which requires more workers, which requires more food. So keep the production chain going strong and balanced.
The monster heads icons on the mini map show the location of an incoming monster raid. These are strong enemies groups which are going to target and destroy your structures unless you stop them.
Intercept them as far away from the city as possible if you don’t have defenses already set in place. But even if you do, don’t be away from the city during a raid.
Using the R key you bring up the research menu.
Here hold the left shift key to add multiple projects to the research que. Go with the cheapest ones first. To have more workers for future new buildings and more complex production chains, add new homes following the previous design for simple supply of food, which you will need more of, so biff up that supply chain.
New tech and production chains
Once Starwood is researched, you want to produce it at a sawmill. But starwood requires logs and tar. So you need a new rail connecting a tar extract to a sawmill which is upgraded to level 2. As only higher level sawmills can produce more complex recipes.
Switch from regular planks to Starwood using the production menu. Starwood is the required resource for a lot of level 2 and level 3 upgrades. It’s especially useful for upgrading homes which requires stone as well, a resource you are not producing yet.
Make sure to scout again, to find a close by supply of stone. Once you do, clear it of monsters and construct a featherstone miner on it. Again, as with the logs, bring the mined stone to the edge of the city with a railway.
There you need to construct Stone workers which will crush raw stones to a more useful size and shape. If necessary expand your power network with more tesla towers.
Two stone workers will suffice, just make sure to have their rail exits bring stones to the city core. Stone workers are also upgradable for higher production efficiency.
When you notice your sawmills flash a red plank icon it usually means low supply as evident by the low number of carts with logs on the rail from the cutter. If we follow the supply line to the cutter we will discover that it has drastically reduced it’s output because it depleted the resource node. It still produces a bit, so you can leave it in place.
Now you need to use the move option, M key, in the management mode to move your upgraded sawmill to a new location where you will supply them from a new bloodwood node. If you don’t have enough workers for a new cutter just add more homes or upgrade them if you have enough starwood.
Once you construct a new node, draw the rail all the way to your base and your sawmills to restart plank production. You can cross rails, to connect previous input rails and keep things as organized as possible. To increase the production of starwood connect another sawmill to a tar extractor and change it’s production recipe.
More raids will come your way as time passes. Threat level is shown up here, and as cycles run Threat level goes up. As it goes up, more monsters will attack you in more numerous raids. Remember that you can’t stay on any map forever. Sooner or later you will get overrun.
Once you unlock the workshop, construct it so you can turn regular planks into upgrade materials. Rails are of course necessary to carry the materials and bring in the finished product. This is for long term upgrading of your city, buildings and Steam bot. As I mentioned, read the tools tips and pick upgrades which best suit your playstyle and city needs.
Keep increasing the city’s population and production to be able to produce new items you research in the tech tree.
Preparing to fly off
Explore the map to find it’s unique structure. Each map has one. Here it’s chemical ruins, which lets me craft one item if I have the required resources. Engine fuel is really useful as it is the item used to fly your city around the globe.
To expand the city itself, you have to add a new section which you gain by research and simple growth of the city’s population. These new sections will fly with you to the next map.
To fight off more numerous raids you can construct wooden towers which are automated and fire Area of effect projectiles. You can also wall off your city or at least passages to it which enemies will use in their individual raids.
As you unlock new technologies from the research tree, you will start to have more and more complex production chains. Like adding tar to power generators or flux vats to increase their production rate.
You will need to do calculations of how much does one building produce and how much do, one, two or even three buildings it supplies spend. If you are not careful you will have very inefficient production chains eating up your space, city weight allocation and workforce.
When moving buildings to another spot to connect them to a new supply of raw items you can use the O key to disable them. This frees up resources and workforce tied into those buildings.
The R key is used to repair damaged buildings which monsters want to break and tear down. The B key is used for demolition of rails and buildings to get some of the resources back.
If you have researched better combat items for the Steam bot, you can access them using the C key for crafting. There in the equipment tab you can craft that gear and then equip the bot with it using the I key for inventory.
At threat level 5 you will start to feel the heat, depending on your difficulty settings, and should plan on leaving the map. Pack up the buildings you have invested the most resources in. Break down the ones at level 1 which you can cheaply construct again.
Only buildings on the city’s platform will fly off with the city. When you manage the weight, and your city is not over the limit, initiate the take off. This has a charge up timer, it is not instant. Don’t wait around for another raid to show up on your doorstep.
Once airborne you can choose your next stop. Pick the one which has the resources you want to collect or need for building up the city more.
This is certainly not everything you need to know about this Indie gem, because it would require a video several guides. But I hope I have managed to condense everything for starting a new game into this short guide. More videos will follow. Thank you for reading and happy gaming.
I hope you enjoy the Guide we share about Dream Engines: Nomad Cities – Beginners Guide – Building + Resources + Basic Building Info; if you think we forget to add or we should add more information, please let us know via commenting below! See you soon!
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