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Cart #crystal-9 | 2022-07-11 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

Colonize the planet!

To win the game, find, activate and connect 5 ancient crystal drills with the core!

How to play

  • start building solar panels and hydro-power-plants
  • connect them to quarries to get more minerals
  • build more stuff using minerals


O - choose things to build (terrain dependent). Destroy building.
X - construct building. mass building with X+arrows. terrain sensitive. pipette tool.

hold X on building - investigate requirements, connected suppliers and consumers, and the cluster's netto production
keep holding X - show map and stats

Game Mode: Post Apocalypse

You find the ruins of a lost civilization scattered on the planet. The mineral resources have been depleted and the yield of mineral mining is low.

You have to refactor, rebuild and recycle of what is left on the surface.

You can start this game mode from the pause menu.


P#113929 2022-07-03 14:44 ( Edited 2022-07-11 20:39)


@sulai Sorry, I don't understand how to get into this game - I really think it needs more instructions.

I took me a while to realise that building was location specific. So I had to be on a mountain to have the option to build a quary or in the water to build a hydro-power plant.

Once I had a quary, I connect it to a power plant and slowly I get more minerals. This seemed like progress

I created a Land Purifier and put two solar panels next to it. Nothing seemed to happen. When I move over the Land Purifier it lights up orange as do the solar panels. This shows its working ?? But the land purifier didn't ever seem to do anything.

I restarted and there was a crystal drill. So I used roads to connect this to the core. Again nothing seemed to happen.

From what I've seen it looks interesting, but I am just unsure as to what I'm supposed to be doing. I think confirmation that items are working would be helpful (e.g. the quarry lights up when its making things)
It looks interesting

P#113977 2022-07-05 13:16

> But the land purifier didn't ever seem to do anything.

Hold X to see a buildings resource needs. A land purifier requires 3 energy to work, eg 3 solar panels.

Same for crystal drills. They need a lot of inputs, it's best to check what it needs by holding X on the drill.

The game is a lot about production/consumption and routing of resources. For me the routing part is the most interesting. You have to find pathes without cutting off other resources from getting to their destination.

Thank you for your feedback, I'll update the description with some more essentials :)

P#113978 2022-07-05 13:46

@phil I added a description what the keys do.

P#113979 2022-07-05 14:01

I added a new game mode:


You find the ruins of a lost civilization scattered on the planet. The mineral resources have been depleted and the yield of mineral mining is low.

I find this game mode very interesting to play. You have to "refactor", rebuild and recycle of what is left on the surface.

P#114156 2022-07-10 10:10 ( Edited 2022-07-10 10:15)

Been playing this game a lot for the past weeks. So much so, that I've been trying to beat my time. Pretty much speed-running it.

I usually beat it around 13 minutes and finally got to sub 10-minutes. It feels nice!

I've tried post-apocalypse mode, but unfortunately running in that mode sometimes crashes the game.

P#117198 2022-09-11 10:05

There were a few cascading blackouts, and my world turned into a spaghetti pile of wires but I beat it. Great game!

P#129549 2023-05-09 02:10

Cart #yafipijoni-1 | 2023-10-10 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

I had some fun adding more things.

P#135635 2023-10-08 21:58 ( Edited 2023-10-10 09:43)

@sulai so what's the mineral washer for? are minerals a new resource type?

P#135742 2023-10-11 08:08

@spoike They're like Quarrys for mountains (except they work in shallow water). It's hard to make good use of though, requiring much more resources to get running compared to the simple Quarry + Hydropower Plant combo. Might be a good option though if you're really starved for mountains at the start and have lots of shallow water.

P#135756 2023-10-11 14:45 ( Edited 2023-10-11 19:22)

I thought about making minerals an actual transportable resource, but I think 4 is enough as we are hitting token limit already. :)

About the mineral washer I put a lot of thought into it but I'm still not very happy with it, because its use is very niche. It is best when you have very few mountain. They are costly compared to quarries, so quarries stay the go-to option early game. But mineral washers shine when you have only very little mountain! Even though the total setup uses up more tiles, it only uses half of the mountain for the same output compared to quarries!

Consider this setup: left and right produce the same amount of minerals (1/s). Right uses more space and more minerals to build, but only one tile of mountain is required!

To improve on that effect even further you can use the new coal liquifier to double resource output in form of oil and turn it back to coal using the refinery. Using this to your advantage, theoretically, only 2 mountain tile is sufficient to play through a whole map!

Output of this setup is 4 coal. Using only 2 mountains!

However, I'm still not completely happy with the mineral washer as a new building, simply because its use is very limited to that single case. In all other maps it doesn't make much sense to build it as it makes more sense to stay with quarries. I would like to add some property to make this building more viable while not compromising the usefulness of quarries. Any ideas guys? :)

The other two buildings, liquifier and refinery play into the same thought. They are thought to help out in extreme maps with either very limited mountain access or very limited deep sea tiles. Not sure if that makes much sense from a game design perspective, because through them you can get all resources (coal, oil, minerals) even on maps with mostly land tiles.

Those 3 new buildings do work very well in the Apocalypse mode! Simply because they offer more ways to deal with difficult situations. Maybe the solution to all problems is just to make the Apocalypse Mode the default game mode? But that would be brutal for new players. Apocalypse is already brutal for me I admit :D Ultimately hard, but as far as I know always solvable.

P#135757 2023-10-11 15:29 ( Edited 2023-10-11 15:35)

@Verb I just read your message, you got my intention absolutely right! Very well found out! :D

@Verb and @spoike I'm also just amazed people actually play this (brutally hard to control) game to this extend! :O I take my hat off to both of you! :)

P#135761 2023-10-11 15:52

@Verb & @sulai: Ah, I was a bit confused because I thought "minerals" were "stone" because you got them from a quarry.

Yeah, I should do another try to the Apocalypse mode. Though last two times I tried the game crashed. Also it appears that some of the LUA memory isn't properly reset each time you restart the game (at least from SPLORE).

The controls are fine once you get used to it. I like that you can just hold down the build button and move the cursor around to quickly build multiple structures. The controls becomes muscle memory after a while. It's a fun little city builder game, probably the only one in PICO-8 that I've played this extensively.

P#135787 2023-10-12 07:50

Thank you for your thoughts, that's very interesting to me!

I also got an idea about how to make the 3 new buildings more viable! Going to try that idea in the next days :)

About the crash please post a screenshot of the error message if you happen to stumble over it again, I'll try to fix it!

P#135790 2023-10-12 08:37

Cart #hobihopuni-6 | 2023-10-17 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | No License

I added high mountains ranges! There is a continuous map generation parameter ranging from oceanic to flat lands (mixed) to medium mountains up to high mountain ranges. All map types require different approaches, also depending on the specific local situation.

I'm quite happy with this solution as it reduces the amount of usable mountain tiles and by that makes the 3 new buildings viable on all map types. It also adds interesting decisions on high mountain maps about when and where to open costly mountain passes to allow venturing out into neighboring valleys, or how to widen existing passes to squeeze through that precious crystal connection line.

P#135819 2023-10-13 01:03 ( Edited 2023-10-17 22:47)

I started surrounded by mountains and peaks. Managed to purify my way through a narrow gap with only a few high mountains I think. After purifying most of the planet, I focused on building as many quarries and mineral washers as I could to get my crystal pipeline through the peaks. It was going pretty well up until the game crashed. I was quickly replacing a coal burner with a liquifier to bring a crystal online but I guess the game didn't like that :P Not sure if this is unique to this version or not.

Haven't played too much of the new Apocalypse mode, but digging around for materials & blueprints on a tight budget is an interesting new challenge.

P#135844 2023-10-13 16:13 ( Edited 2023-10-13 18:59)

Hey thanks for posting the crash, I found a fix and updated the cartridge in the previous post!

Also props for taking the challenge working through the high mountains! While the other maps are more or less mass building these mountains make me stop and think. Kind of a puzzle :)

About the Apocalypse mode: I like the idea of it, but I think it's not yet very enjoyable. It's probably more of an experiment in the moment.

P#135862 2023-10-13 22:41

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