Welcome to the first of our RimWorld guides, which aims to set you up with a brand-new colony and piece of land.
Creating Your World
Before you create a colony, you have to decide where they’re going to live. You can do this entirely at random, but for your first game, you might want to make sure you don’t send all your people to freeze on Hoth.
First of all, when starting a new colony, you need to choose a scenario. If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably want to choose Crashlanded, the classic experience. Later on, you can try some of the harder scenarios or even some custom ones from the Steam Workshop.
You’re then prompted to choose a storyteller and difficulty. To get you used to things for now, it’s probably best to choose Cassandra Classic from the portraits on the side — she essentially controls the pace of the game — and ‘some challenge’. You may find as you play that you prefer higher difficulties — or that Cassandra quickly spirals out of control and you prefer the level playing field offered by Randy Random.
The next screen is where you generate your planet. Bung any random old text into the seed box (it can be as rude as you like), then move both bars one tick above normal for humidity and temperature to set optimum beginner conditions (we can only hope). You probably only need 30% globe coverage, so all you have to do now is generate the planet.
Depending on your system, it may take a little while to generate, but once it does you’ll be face-to-face with what will hopefully be your home for more than one year. You’ll see a few icons on the map — these are other colonies. It’s probably best to stay as far as possible from everything but house symbols at the beginning, as these are usually friendly.
While you’re there, take a look round to familiarise yourself with the world. Click on individual squares to find out about their climate and marvel at the automatically generated place names.
So, what are you looking for now? Well, the tile you choose for your colonists will be where they spend the rest of their short and miserable existence, so choose well. Look for a green-ish hex somewhere near a road, then click on its terrain tab to the bottom left. Keep clicking around on the map until you find somewhere where the growing season is year-round, or at least as long as possible.
If you can, try to find somewhere hilly or mountainous (but not impassable), as this gives you more resources to work with. Once you’ve found a spot you’re happy with, you can go through to the next stage — deciding who to take with you.
Choosing Your Colonists
If you have the Prepare Carefully mod (which we highly recommend), you can put a lot more thought and customisation into your colonist, but by default RimWorld sets you up with a bunch to take with you and a bunch to leave behind. You can’t change anything aside from their name and nickname without the mod, but you can randomise them until you get stats you want — or at least get rid of the ones you don’t.
But what makes a good colonist? Backstories are quite important, laying the foundations for many of their abilities, but without the mod, it’s best instead to look at their effects rather than hope to change the cause.
First, see what they’re incapable of. Ideally, you want this to be nothing, but intellectual isn’t too bad to ditch if you have to. You can get away with most things as long as someone can do it and that one person isn’t doing all the jobs already.
Next, look at their traits. You can hover over them (as well as backstories) for a description, but you’ll probably want to leave them as they are. Skills and capabilities are more important.
Unless you get a pyromaniac. Swap out that asshole straight away.
Perhaps the most important part here is their skills: take a look at them. Some have one or two flames next to them, which indicate passions; the stronger the flame, the faster a colonist will learn and level up that skill. Six is generally when colonists are ‘good’ at something, so aim to have a diverse skillset across your colonists and randomise until you get a good-looking score. Above all else, make sure you have a doctor, a cook and someone who can fight.
As for health and relations, the latter doesn’t matter much. Make sure your colonists aren’t missing any major limbs, near death (i.e. old) or fighting a battle with a terminal disease. After that, you’re ready to start!
Well, unless you have Prepare Carefully. Then you can choose resources to take with you.