Frostpunk is a game of survival. After the Generator resources are the next most important thing. Without coal your generator will fail, without food people will starve, and without wood and steel buildings can’t be constructed.
Resources are gained in three ways, research, passing laws, and scouting expeditions. The bulk of the resource gains will come from research but Scouts are a valuable tool for finding resource rich places to establish Outposts. These Outposts will deliver high amounts of resources like steam cores on a regular basis.
There are five resources in Frostpunk, six if you include the citizens, coal, wood, steel, food and steam cores.
Getting More Resources During The Early Game
At the start of the game there are only two options for getting more resources, assigning Workers and Engineers to resource piles like steel wreckages or wood crates, or building Gathering Posts and staff those with Workers and Engineers. As time goes on more abilities and technologies will open up, either through the Book of Laws, Technological Research, or Scouting Expeditions.
The primary approach to gaining more resources is through research. One early area of research is Faster Gathering, which increases the gathering rate at resource piles and Gathering Posts by 15%. It costs 10 wood to research making it a worthwhile option during the early game. That also opens the path to Efficient Gathering, which gives another 15% boost to gathering resources at resource piles and Gathering Posts.
Getting More Coal in Frostpunk Through Research
There are three approaches in the research tree to gaining more coal. The first approach is available without unlocking any research tiers first, the Coal Thumper. The Coal Thumper can produce enough coal per day to keep two Gathering Posts busy. The drawback is that it is labor intensive. It takes workers to both staff the Coal Thumper and the Gathering Posts, something there is a shortage of early in the game. There are two upgrades available later in the research tree, Steam Coal Thumper and Coal Thumper Injectors. A Steam Coal Thumper produces enough coal for 4 Gathering Posts and is a tier 3 research item. Coal Thumper Injectors makes Coal Thumpers 15% more efficient at producing coal piles.
Coal Mining is a tier 1 technology. A Coal Mine produces Coal at 240 per standard work shift and must be built on one of three Coal deposits. It unlocks the path to several other options associated with Coal Mining.
A Steam Coal Mine is a tier 3 technology. It can produce 600 hundred coal per standard work shift. The restriction to coal mines is that they require steam cores, a Coal Mine requires 1 and a Steam Coal Mine needs 2.
An Advanced Coal Mine is the final improvement for coal mines, and it takes 3 steam cores to build. It will produce 900 coal per day unless it is placed on an extended or emergency shift. These are a tier 5 research item.
Branching off from Coal Mining is Coal Mining Optimisation and Coal Mining Rationalisation. Both increase the efficiency of any coal mine by 10%.
Unlike any other resources, there is a technology to convert a resource into coal and that is a Charcoal Kiln. A Charcoal Kiln uses “intense heat” that can char up to 70 wood per day into 280 coal. There are two improvements to Charcoal Kilns, Charcoal Kiln Thermostat and Charcoal Kiln Bellows.
A Charcoal Kiln Thermostat enables the Kiln to produce 33% more coal while a Charcoal Kiln Bellows produces coal 33% faster.
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Gathering More Wood in Frostpunk Through Technology
Sawmills are a cheap and easy way to get more wood. They cost 10 Wood to research and 10 Wood to build. A Sawmill will generate 80 Wood per day but it’s supply of resources is limited by its range. Once the timber is used up in an area it must be torn down and rebuilt at another resource rich location.
A Sawmill can be upgraded to a Steam Sawmill but that’s the only advancement available for a Sawmill. A Steam powered Sawmill will deliver 120 wood per day.
There is a Sawmill Upgrade and Range Extension option available. The Sawmill Upgrade makes any Sawmill 25% more efficient, and the Range Extension option extends the range of a Sawmill by 50%.
The other area of research for wood gathering is a Wall Drill and it is a tier 1 research technology. It must be placed in a specific location where wood resources are available. It drills into the wall of the crater around the city and delivers 160 wood per day. It requires 1 steam core to be built plus 20 wood.
The Steam Wall Drill is a tier 3 research option that produces 200 Wood per day. Rather than drilling it uses steam to melt the ice around the frozen trees, enabling them to be harvested. It requires 2 steam cores in order to be built and operate.
An Advanced Wall Drill takes a total of 3 steam cores and produces 240 wood per day by using “advanced steam technology” to free up the frozen trees for use.
Getting More Steel in Frostpunk Through Technology
Aside from gathering Steel Wreckage, which soon runs out, the only other method to acquire steel through research is through a Steelworks. A Steelworks is in the tier of research (tier 0) that is already unlocked so these can be researched for 10 Wood. They cost 25 wood to construct and produce up to 40 steel a day on a standard work shift.
A Steam Steelworks is a tier 2 research item and will produce 70 steel per standard work shift. It costs 30 wood to research and 40 wood and 15 steel to build.
The final advancement for Steelworks is an Advanced Steelworks. It will produce 130 steel on a normal workday and it is a tier 4 research item.
Getting More Resources Using The Book Of Laws
There are a few laws that have a significant impact on resource production. The Adaptation Laws have the Emergency Shift law and Extended Shift law.
An Emergency Shift works a facility 24 hours straight. This more than doubles a facility’s output since a normal work shift is 10 hours. Imposing an Emergency Shift will produce a noticeable rise in Discontent. Once a facility works a 24-hour shift there is a 2 day cooldown period before it can be forced onto that shift again.
Once the Emergency Shift law is passed the Extended Shift law can be passed, which is a lot more palatable to the working public. This increases the workday at the selected facility to 14 hours instead of 10. Unlike an Emergency Shift an Extended Shift can be left in place indefinitely with only a slight rise in Discontent.
The Order and Discipline Laws have two Laws that significantly affect production of resources. The Foreman ability increases the efficiency of a workplace for 24 hours by 40%, so it’s ideally suited to be used in conjunction with an Emergency Shift. It’s still well-suited for use with an Extended Shift as well.
Passing the Agitator law allows an Agitator building to be constructed. They increase the output of any workplace within their area of effect by 20%.
The Faith and Spiritual Growth Laws only have one law with a significant direct impact on production and that is Shrines. Shrines allow people to pray during their work breaks, which not only raises efficiency, it also raises Hope.
Getting More Resources With Scouts
It is worth remembering that Scouting Expeditions are the only way to gain steam cores, plus most of the sites, when explored, will provide resources like food and coal.
Scouts will also uncover places to set up an Outpost for gaining additional resources, although you are limited to two, like a Fishing Village. A Fishing Village sends 100 raw food to the city every day.
They can also uncover an Icebound Dreadnaught which provides 100 steel to the city every day, Tesla City which delivers 1 steam core to the city every day, a Coal Mine that delivers 800 coal every day, or Winterhome, where an Outpost Site can be constructed that delivers 150 wood every day.