How Does The Generator Work In Frostpunk?


The Generator is your city’s lifeblood in Frostpunk. Without it people will freeze and die, Automatons won’t work, and Infirmaries won’t function and plants in the Hothouses will die. If the Generator becomes inoperative due to a lack of coal or an explosion your city will most likely die.

The Generator settings are accessed by selecting the tallest structure in your city, the Generator. From there you can adjust its range, steam level, turn Overdrive on and off, turn the heat in individual buildings on and off, and activate a temperature overlay for a visual representation of the heat levels in your city.

The Generator works by using Coal as fuel and has several settings, some of which need to be upgraded through research. The default capabilities of the Generator are a steam level of 1, range setting of 1, and an Overdrive switch that raises al heat levels by 1. You can also turn on a temperature overlay that gives you a visual idea of the cold spots in the city.

Frostpunk Generator Range Settings

The range settings of the Generator can be a little difficult to measure but basically ranges consist of “rings” around the city, the higher the setting the more rings it heats and the wider the range. The easiest way to know how wide a ring is to think of tents. Range 1 will heat tents and any other buildings in the first ring, the second ring will heat 2 tents built perpendicularly from the Generator, and so on. Depending on the size of the buildings will determine how many buildings you can fit into a ring. The best thing to remember is that the width of a ring is pretty close to the width of a tent. Increasing the range setting consumes more coal.

Frostpunk Generator Steam Levels

The Generator has 4 steam levels, plus the Generator can be completely be shut off using this setting. Each higher steam level increases the heat level within range of the Generator by 1 level, but the increase is largely dependent on the outside temperature.

There are 6 heat levels, Comfortable, Livable, Chilly, Cold, Very Cold and Freezing. So if the temperature level in a building with range of the Generator is cold, raising the Steam Level of the Generator will increase the Heat Level in the building to Chilly. Increasing the steam level consumes more coal.

Frostpunk Generator Temperature Overlay

The temperature overlay is a visual representation of the heat in the city by color, the bluer an area or building is the colder it is, the redder it is the warmer. The handy thing about this option is the ability to toggle heaters and steam hubs off and on from the overlay. You can switch off a steam hub, for example, to see how much overlap it has with the Generator. If there is too much you can always dismantle it and build it in a more efficient spot. Another option would be the ability to see what you should turn off or on when the Range setting is changed.

Frostpunk Generator Overdrive

When Generator Overdrive is used the heat level in every area within range of the Generator is raised by 1 unless the capacity is increased through research. Overdrive does not consume more coal but it does stress the generator, too much stress and the generator explodes, which means no happy ending for your city.

Frostpunk Generator Consumption Tab

The Consumption tab is an option I often forget to use. This tab gives you a detailed breakdown of how much coal each building or steam hub is consuming. This tab also gives you the ability to turn any building with heat on or off along with the steam hubs.

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How Do I Upgrade my Generator in Frostpunk?

The Generator is upgraded through research in the Heating branch of the technology tree. The first Generator upgrades aren’t available until Drawing Board technology is unlocked. Once Drawing Boards are unlocked two research options are available for the Generator, a power upgrade and a range upgrade.

The Generator Power Upgrade gives you the ability to raise the temperature heat level by 1 in all zones. It also provides the path to further upgrades once the appropriate technology level is unlocked. The Generator Range Upgrade allows you to extend the heating range of the Generator by 1 “ring.”

The Power Upgrade allows research into Generator Efficiency, Power, and Overdrive. The Generator Efficiency can be increased twice, once with an Efficiency Upgrade and then again with Generator Efficiency Upgrade II. Each efficiency upgrade improves the Generator so that it uses 10% less coal.

There are two more power upgrades that can be unlocked through research, Power Upgrade II and Power Upgrade III. Each upgrade allows the Generator to increase the heat zones within its range by 1 level.

The third branch the Power Upgrade unlocks is Overdrive improvements. Overdrive Couplings allow you to raise the heat level of all heat zones by 2 levels instead to 1. One good use for Overdrive is to heat buildings during the day that need heat and then shut Overdrive off at the end of the work shift to reduce the stress. Overdrive does not increase coal consumption.

The final generator upgrade in this branch is Generator Safety Bypass. Bypassing safety features sounds like a really bad idea but it does allow the stress on the Generator to fall 25% faster while reducing stress increase by 25% when Overdrive is on.

The Generator Range Upgrade improvement opens the path for two more Generator upgrades, Generator Range Upgrade II and Generator Range Upgrade III. Each improvement allows the Generator to extend its range by 1 more “ring” when turned on.

Does A Steam Hub Stack With A Generator?

A Steam Hub does not stack with the Generator. A steam hub only raises the temperature in its area of effect to the same steam level the Generator is set at. Any overlap between the two areas of effect is a waste and should be avoided. The best use for Steam Hubs is to heat buildings too remote for the Generator to affect.

When Should I Turn On My Frostpunk Generator?

You actually only need to turn it on for a few hours at night for the first several days if you don’t build tents for your people. Read my Tents or Houses article to learn a lot more about how you can get away with only building tents for your citizens to live in. This allows precious resources and time to be invested in other, more important areas.

I also have an article that gives all the details about when to turn the Generator on and off.

Rich Gallien

I've always liked board games like chess and PC games, especially space based strategy games, which lead to the creation of this site. I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it and updating it with new games!

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