The Generator is life itself for your city. It must be used often enough to keep everyone from freezing and to keep buildings functioning without eating up all your coal reserves. So, when do you really need to turn it on?
There is no “hard and fast” rule to switching the Generator on or off. The best indicator that it is not being used often enough is a high number of sick and gravely ill people or disabled buildings due to being too cold.
If you build tents you don’t need to turn the Generator on for the first four days. The temperature will drop on the fourth day so turning it on then, at least part of the time, is a necessity.
If you don’t immediately build tents then the Generator needs to be turned on a minimum of 2 hours, preferably between 2 am and 4 am every night when everyone is sleeping, so no one freezes to death in their sleep. You’ll end up with sick people, but no one will die.
Your medical system will be quickly overwhelmed if the majority of your people become sick and production will suffer due to an insufficient work force, so balancing the right amount of heat versus the supply of coal is a technique that will have to be mastered.
If you like seeing a thermal heat image of your city you can turn on the temperature overlay. The redder the area the warmer it is, bluer means colder.
How To Activate The Generator In Frostpunk
Starting the Generator is easy. Click on the generator, which is in the center of the city and is the tallest structure. Select the steam level and range setting, and it will start generating heat automatically. Not all range settings or levels are immediately available, those need to be gained through research.
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Frostpunk, When To Use Overdrive
Overdrive is best used in one of two situations. The first is when you need to raise the heat level in surrounding areas and need to conserve coal. Rather than increasing the steam level, which consumes more coal, you can put the generator into overdrive, which does the same thing without increasing coal consumption. The tradeoff is added stress on the generator, exceed 100% and you can either damage or destroy it.
One is example of this is to use it is when heat demands are the greatest. For example, you may have a lot of buildings during the day requiring heat that are shut down at night. Rather than use up more coal by increasing the steam level during the day you can use Overdrive instead, which consumes no additional coal, but it does put additional stress on the Generator.
The second situation is when the Generator won’t heat the surrounding areas even when running it a maximum setting of steam level 4 and a range setting of 4. This will most likely occur during the height of the storm.
Initially Overdrive raises the heat level by one within the range setting of the Generator. There is research available that, when completed, will raise the temperature by two levels instead of one.
Another area that I don’t use often enough is the Consumption tab of the Generator. This tab has a consumption bar showing how much coal you are bringing in and what the current rate of consumption is. A green bar means you’re bringing in more than enough coal while a red bar indicates the exact opposite.
What makes this tab really handy is that you can see each building that is consuming coal through the use of its heaters. Each building is listed along with how much coal it consumes per hour. What makes this tab especially useful is the toggle switch allowing you to turn the heat off and on for each building. No more guessing and searching for buildings that need to be heated or that need to have the heat turned off, it’s all right here at this screen. If you have any doubts, you can click the magnifying glass next to the building name to go directly to the building. Some of the buildings consumed a lot more coal than I expected.
Coal consumption is pretty easy to understand as well. You need 6 coal to turn on steam level 1 and it uses 100% coal consumption. The actual amount of coal use varies depending on the number of buildings you have with heaters and steam hubs. Steam level 2 is 200%, steam level 3 is 300% and steam level 4 is 400%.
The amount of coal to increase the steam levels increases by 6 coal per level, all the way up to 24 for steam level 4. There is no cost to change the range setting, but it does increase or decrease the amount of coal consumed per hour.
Do Frostpunk Steam Hubs “Stack” with the Generator?
The simple answer is no, they do not stack. Steam hubs operate at the same temperature as the generator itself, so overlapping their areas of effect with the Generator will not increase the heat level in the overlapping areas. Simply put, Steam Hubs are simply an extension of the Generator, meant to heat areas outside the range of the Generator. They can’t be used in place of the Generator either, since the Generator must be active for the Steam Hubs to function.
Does Frostpunk Generator Overdrive Consume More Coal?
Again, the simple answer is no, it does not consume more coal. Overdrive raises the temperature level by one unless Overdrive Couplings have been researched, which raises the heat level by two instead of one. Drafting Machines need to be unlocked first and it costs 30 wood and 20 iron to conduct the research.
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Generator Safety Bypass can also be researched. This is available after Automatic Prototyping is unlocked and reduces the Generator stress increase rate by 25%, plus it allows the generator to recover from the stress 25% faster. It costs 120 wood and 80 iron to research.