Sunday, October 12, 2014

How to not starve.

I am sick as hell and I find I don't care enough about Driveclub PS+ Edition's delay to complain about it (doesn't hurt that reviews were mixed-on-the-negative-side). I am thoroughly absorbed in Alien Isolation, and I find myself well beyond whatever had previously shackled my understanding of Don't Starve.

What's beautiful about my new (kinda' vast) appreciation of the game's interlocking mechanics is that, even now, I am aware I've barely scratched its surface - because I have quite intentionally confined my exploration and survival to its literal surface.  I know I can mine these plugged sinkholes in the game, and they will open up into a new subterranean universe to be explored and understood.  I know if I walk through Maxwell's Door, I will embark on Adventure Mode, and I know that if I turn on the Reign of Giants modifier when setting up my game, things will get way crazier.

So much to learn, so much to do.  But it's enough that I feel I've somewhat mastered the "vanilla" game.

My friend, would you like to know how to not starve?  Here's how.  Gameplay spoilers.


  • At the beginning of the game, stroll about, collecting a few berries, carrots, twigs, grass, flint and (make axe) logs. You can do this as you find your way to a map edge (get to the sea). Then, follow that edge, grabbing any edibles you can along the way to fuel your journey. Follow and follow the edge of the map for days upon days, fleshing out the world.
  • If you come across a swampy biome, go into it and make sure you come out with eight reeds.
  • In your travels, you may come across some gold. Slap together a science machine, make a backpack, a hammer and spear, and keep on truckin'. You may wish to break down the science machine to keep that piece of gold - you're going to need it later.
  • If you come across a rocky biome, try to leave with fourteen pieces of gold.
  • As you explore, if you find any pig man houses, break them down. Same with pig heads on poles. The part you really, desperately want are the pig hides, but the cut stones and boards are handy, if you have the space.
  • There are two things you desperately need to survive : a grasslands biome with a decent beefalo herd, a meadow biome with bees and berry bushes and such.
  • Before you set up camp, make sure you know where you can go to gather ore (rocky biome), wood (thick forest biome) and spiders.
  • I tend to set up my camp on the edge of a grasslands biome, so the beefalo are nearby. Beefalo are your best defense against hound attacks (pig-men will aggro hounds on sight, but pig-men are only active during daylight hours. Beefalo will not aggro hounds on sight, but if you lead a hound to their herd, the hounds will momentarily lose interest in you, bite a beefalo, and get killed for it).


  • Create your camp. You will absolutely need a fire pit, a science machine and an alchemy engine (that's eight of the fourteen gold you grabbed earlier).
  • Learn how to farm spiders. You farm spiders like this: make two grass traps, walk up to a spider's nest and wait for the one (or two, or three) spiders to come out. Walk backwards in a line, away from the nest after they aggro you, dropping one less trap than there are spiders, with a bit of space between them (for 3 spiders, drop 2 traps). Whack the spider who doesn't get trapped with your axe/spear - you can stunlock a single spider and take no damage. Pick up the goodies and repeat.
  • Once a spider colony gets to tier 3 (kinda' looks like a three-scoop of ice cream), destroy it. You'll get a ton of silk and a spider egg that you can then place wherever you want - hopefully not a two-day walk from your base camp. The reason you're killing all these spiders is to...
  • Make a Beekeeper's hat and some Bug Nets. It's also helpful to have a log suit. Go capture sixteen bees. Then go destroy four bee hives (run up to the hive, beat it with a spear until it falls apart, run from the bees, come back, collect honey & honeycomb). Obviously, more bee boxes = more honey. I advise spacing them about a half a screen apart, to make collection less hazardous (trust me).
  • Use the sixteen bees and four honeycombs to create four bee boxes. Honey spoils significantly slower than any other food in the game, as it consists almost entirely of sugar, and can be used as a buffer in many crock pot recipes. Note: you can catch butterflies with your bug net, and plant them around your bee boxes to increase the rate of honey production.
  • Make regular trips into the grasslands and get all the beefalo dung you can find. Create four advanced farms. Drop seeds in, and wait. Food will come in about a day.
  • Create coal (burn down trees, whack burnt tree once = coal, and maybe a pine cone). Coal is the best campfire fuel in the game, and necessary to
  • Create two crock pots.


  • Create a tent. Tents are massively important. They refill about 50% of your HP and sanity, at the cost of about 50% of your hunger. If you've set yourself up well for food, that's not an issue. Tents have limited use, so don't use them just to fast-forward time.
  • Build a razor. If your beard gets to full length in summer, shave it off and keep the hair. You can also approach beefalo at night and shave them, to obtain beefalo wool without killing one.
  • Build a shovel. From now on, wherever you go with berries, dig up those berries and hang on to them.
  • From now on, wherever you go with saplings, dig up those saplings and hang on to them.
  • Plant the berries and saplings a half-day's journey from your camp. You don't want a red hound's death burning them down! You must fertilize the berries with beefalo dung or rot, or else they will never produce another berry.
  • Use all the pig hides you gathered from hammering pig houses to create your own pig town, near your camp. Not too near. Pig men are not always allies...
  • Use the pine cones you've gathered to plant a tree farm. You can either burn down your trees for easy charcoal, or cut them for convenient wood (a large supply of wood for boards is best gathered in a thick forest biome).
  • Use the eight reeds to craft two papyruses. Combine that with the remaining six gold to create a bird cage.
  • Trap a bird (make a bird trap, drop it, bait it with seeds), collect the bird, imprison it in the cage. Go farm spiders. Get a ton of monster meat (ideally, 16).
  • Cook the monster meat over the fire, and feed it to the bird. The biid will shit out a brand new, beautiful egg for each piece of cooked monster meat, which is perfectly healthy to eat (ideally, you can then hunt a Koalephant or kill two beefalo, kill eight rabbits for eight morsels, and then cook up a batch of eight bacon & eggs (1 meat, 1 morsel, 2 eggs). Such a bounty would fuel your sojourns to unexplored areas of the map.
  • If you've located the clockwork biome, go back there with a log suit and football helmet on and kill every thing in that place. Collect the gears - don't miss any!
  • Go home and use those gears to make refridgerators.
  • The beefalo wool and silk will keep you warm, the spiders and honey will keep you fed. Live! Liiiiive!

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