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Getting started guides around the web
Some useful guides can be found at the steam page of the game:
Getting Started Guide
If you start playing the Survival mode of Subnautica, the main goal after being spawned into the world is to get Food and H2O (Water).
After you spawn you'll sit at a level of 81% Health, 51% Food and 90% H2O - so it's time to hurry up and get the supplies rolling. Your Lifepod 5 has a built-in locker that contains two nutrient blocks, two filtered waters, and two flares.
However, before being able to do access this locker, you must extinguish a fire that has started in your Lifepod. Extinguishing this fire acts as a short tutorial to basic game mechanics, so food and H20 don't drop.
Your best bet is to get yourself a pair of Fins to increase Swimming Speed and a Survival Knife to defend against predators (only sometimes, always try to swim away before attempting to attack!) harvest life forms, and gather certain materials. You will need materials to build these things, for example, Quartz and Titanium. Titanium is the most common material in the game that is used in crafting, and can be made out of Metal Salvage, which can be collected from the seabed. Coral Tube Samples, Bladderfish (fauna) and Salt Deposits can also come in handy to craft what you need, especially filtered or disinfected water.
The game begins in a Biome known as the Safe Shallows. It still provides you with all the things you need at this point so you don't need to stray off too far yet. Just don't venture into the caves unprepared, as they are home to explosive Crashfish.
From the first time you dive, you should be on the lookout for a few materials to get access to necessary items and supplies. Here are two short lists for your focus:
Priority List in Order
- Scanner Tool
- 1x Standard O₂ Tank
- Food, especially Cooked Peepers
- 1x Survival Knife
- Filtered or Disinfected Water
- Repair Tool
To get these items here's what you should watch out for:
Gasopod (Peaceful, but don't get close!)
Stalker (NOT peaceful!)
Crashfish (If you hear a high pitched grunting, swim away!)
Priority List in Order
- 1-2 Metal Salvage
- Peepers or other fish (about 2-3 for starters)
- 2 Quartz
- 2 Creepvine Seed Clusters (From adjacent biome called the Kelp Forest, with the tree-like kelp)
- 1 Copper Ore
- 2 Acid Mushroom
- 1 Salt Deposit (for Disinfected Water)
- Coral Tube Samples (a couple; also for Disinfected Water)
- Cave Sulfur (found in caves inside Sulfur Plants, but be careful, when they are approached a crash fish will suicide bomb you if you are too slow!)
How to get basic supplies
Quartz - White crystals on the ocean floor, but mostly in caves.
Acid Mushrooms - purple mushrooms found growing on the ocean floor, usually in groups, when you try to collect their seeds using the knife be aware the Acid Mushroom will have a small explosion of acid and it will inflict damage.
Salt Deposits - White rocks, similar looking to quartz, however, they have a blocky build.
An important component in the lifepod is the Fabricator. The fabricator serves as the main means of crafting and new recipes will be revealed when you scan fragments or gain certain materials. Using the fabricator will slowly drain Energy from the three Self-charging Power Cells on the bulkhead. The Lifepod also comes with a Medical Kit Fabricator. Every 30 minutes it will fabricate a new Medical Kit and start beeping to let you know it is complete. (New fabrication only starts after the Medical Kit is taken from the fabricator.)
The storage area behind the ladder where excess items can be stored is also important as it contains supplies, like water and food. However, items can also be dropped on the seabed under the lifepod if the storage is full. Just be aware that Stalkers like to collect metallic items like salvage.
Until it is fully repaired by the Repair Tool, the Lifepod can drift in the ocean.
Your Lifepod comes equipped with a small radio, which will allow you to receive broadcasts from other lifepods. Following these broadcasts is usually a good idea, as they can lead you to new areas and new components, but be sure you are prepared before setting off. You will need to repair your Lifepod before using the radio, and this can be done so by using a Repair Tool on the broken wiring panel.
The Scanner is perhaps the most important item in the game. You need to get a Scanner tool for fragment scanning, because most important tools require fragments. To craft the Scanner, you have to have 1 battery (2 acid mushrooms and 1 copper) and 1 titanium.
Metal Salvage & Oxygen Tanks
Pieces of Metal Salvage are scattered about the ocean floor. Watch your Oxygen as you look for Metal Salvage and get yourself at least three pieces for your first Tank and potentially a Survival Knife. Then take the Metal Salvage to the fabricator and craft Titanium. This tank gives you 30 extra seconds of oxygen (Total of 75 seconds). They take up four slots of your inventory.
As soon as you have the 2 Creepvine Seed Clusters, 2 Quartz and Titanium you should craft the Fins and Standard Oxygen Tank.
Peepers (or other food fish) & Food
When it comes to food the Peeper makes for a nutritious choice at +32 food points. It's easy to spot (big yellow eye) and can even be used as a lure to keep Stalkers away. Garry fish are easier to catch but not nearly as nutritious, weighing in at a measly +18 food points. here are all the edible fish in the Safe Shallows:
The downside to the Peeper: It's fast. Crafted your first pair of fins you should be able to catch a few. 1 Creepvine Seed Cluster should do the trick.
When you catch any fish, you take them to the fabricator to analyze the fish and cook/cure it. If you just eat a normal Peeper you will lose -15 water. Cooked fish will rot over time, however, if you don't eat them immediately; the advantage to curing fish is that they'll be preserved, but you need Salt to cure them and they will dehydrate you.
Titanium & your Survival Knife
While you are looking for metal salvage, try and see if you can spot Limestone. With some luck you'll find Titanium within the first couple of outcrops, looking in enclosed areas like in large tubes or caves may increase chances of finding Titanium. These nodes also contain copper, which will be useful for building batteries for your tools.
As soon as you get your titanium and a Creepvine Seed Cluster (= 2x silicone rubber) you can craft a Survival Knife.
Coral Samples & Water
As you now have a survival knife, it's time to get some Coral Samples. Look out for a Coral (the big coral tubes you can also swim through) and strike it with the Survival Knife. After you've done that, you'll need to craft Bleach with the Coral Samples and Salt Deposit. Now you can craft disinfected water, which adds +30 to H2O.
If you can't make it and it's an emergency, just go after some Bladderfish. They can be used to craft filtered water. Not as good as our initial plan but still a solid +20 to H2O.
Dealing with Radiation
Once the Aurora explodes, harmful Radiation will spread into the waters surrounding it, extending almost one kilometer out from the Aurora. The radiation will keep you from exploring large areas near the Aurora but can be circumvented by crafting a Radiation Suit. The radiation suit requires two Fiber Mesh that can be crafted from four Creepvine Samples which can be acquired by hitting creepvines with the survival knife, and two Lead. Lead can be harvested from Sandstone Outcrops. Once the radiation suit is crafted the radiation suit, radiation helmet, and radiation gloves will be acquired. All three of these items must be worn to fully protect against radiation damage. The radiation can be stopped but that is up to the player to figure out how.
As you explore more of Subnautica, you will begin encountering creatures that do not want you in their territory. The most common dangerous creature is the Stalker, who you will encounter at the Kelp Forest. The creatures will become more deadly the deeper you go, and it is best to avoid the Aurora, as there is often a Reaper Leviathan guarding it.
You've made it!
If you made it here you'll be able to survive your first days and nights in the alien world of Subnautica. Feel free to keep this Wiki open in case you get lost or need some information - but most importantly at this point - start exploring and enjoying the game. :)
What to do next?
Now that your more immediate needs have been taken care of, you'll want to start exploring - however, your ability to explore is limited by how much equipment you've discovered and built. The biomes surrounding Lifepod 5 gradually get deeper and deeper, as well as more dangerous. While it's not required to discover every available piece of technology or point of interest, it will definitely help you along the way. Here are some suggestions for how to proceed, in no particular order:
- Find and scan Seaglide Fragments and build a Seaglide to increase your speed and exploration range
- Locate the other Lifepods for extra provisions and even a full Radiation Suit - the Lifepod's Radio will send you messages where they are located, assuming you've repaired it.
- Find the Multipurpose Room fragments from the Degasi Seabases.
- Build a Seabase to store your inventory, grow food and have access to more tools than the Lifepod provides. You can build Waterproof Lockers as temporary storage (should you need it)
- Explore Wrecks for Fragments and supplies; most of the more advanced equipment and technology you will want, can be found in these locations
- Build a Mobile Vehicle Bay and a Seamoth; so you can easily explore deeper waters and other biomes farther away from the Lifepod (requires you have found the blueprints in the appropriate wrecks first)
- Build a Cyclops as your mobile base (requires you have found the blueprints in the appropriate biomes first)
- Explore alien bases to progress in the story.
- Explore the wreckage of the Aurora (requires a Radiation Suit) WARNING: There are very dangerous creatures around the Aurora, so be careful!
- During exploration of the Aurora, you can find all fragments of the Prawn Suit. You can use it to build the Prawn Suit for exploring deeper Biomes or for mining Large Resource Deposits.
While you can play the game at your own pace, the game will direct you towards certain story events that need to be completed in order for you to progress further and eventually escape the planet. These events can be completed at any time, but will oftentimes steer you to new locations and require you to have found certain items (whether it be a vehicle that can go deep enough, or various keys) to access them. Use this wiki if needed, but try to avoid spoilers as not knowing what will happen next is one of the key parts of the game. If you don't know what to do next- Dive Deeper.
Good luck and watch out for Leviathans!