Surviving Mars: Colony Building Guide

A quick overview of the highlights of building a full-fledged colony on Mars

Other guides:

  • Surviving Mars: starting guide


Colony building is the core gameplay of Surviving Mars . As soon as the permanent construction of buildings and communications subsides, the fuss begins to maintain and maintain the entire structure that you have heaped up. The effectiveness of these measures will directly depend on how competently you approached the colony arrangement at the very start. Therefore, we present this guide so that a beginner can competently approach the implementation of infrastructure projects on the Red Planet.


First, let’s list the resources through which you will create your first settlement on Mars:

  • The most common deposit where regolith is mined, which, after being extracted with a concrete extractor, is packed into dense bricks – your main building resource. Any building requires concrete in its foundation.
  • Water and air. The foundation of the colony’s life. If oxygen is obtained relatively easily, by means of MOXI installations, which break down carbon dioxide, then you will have to tinker with the liquid. Water can be obtained by evaporating it from the atmosphere (little, but infinitely), or by extracting it from under the surface with an aqua extractor. The influx will be strong, but remember that the field will eventually be depleted.
  • The blood of your economy, because nothing moves or is produced without electricity. At the very beginning, it is produced in two ways: solar and wind generation. There are also Stirling generators and nuclear reactors, but you won’t get to them soon. Stored in batteries.
  • Needed to supply colonists, produced on hydroponic and mushroom farms, or delivered by missiles.
  • They are mined both from the surface of the planet (the remains of meteorites) and from its depths, through mines. They are used for the construction of almost any structure.
  • These compounds are extracted from obsidian deposits from the surface of the planet, or delivered by missiles. When the colony develops, it will be possible to build a fusion plant that will produce them from fuel. Used to create batteries, domes and skyscrapers.
  • Rare metals. Extracted from underground mines and are the main export resource to the Earth. In addition, electronics are produced from them.
  • It is made from water and is the basis for transportation (rockets, shuttles).
  • Spare parts. Manufactured from metal in a factory, required to service everything in the world.
  • Crafted from rare metals, or delivered by rocket. Needed to create and maintain complex instruments and control centers.

Emergency truck is moving forward for emergency

Drones, transporters and shuttles

This is your main workforce involved in building and moving resources. Initially, you have six of them, but as the colony grows, it is recommended to increase their number. You can simply import them from the Earth, if funds allow, or build them on site by erecting control centers (control centers). Remember that they work only within the communication range of the control center, and also require constant recharging and repair. In addition to stationary points, you can use the CU-transporter, which is a mobile base for drones. The rocket is also an impromptu control center until it goes into space.

Transporters are used to collect resources as well as to deliver them to their destination. When you have more domes, it will be possible to organize trade routes for the exchange of products and colonists. Shuttles are the same transport vehicles, only consuming fuel instead of energy, and doing the same thing, only faster (they fly).

Learning is light and ignorance is darkness! Promote energy saving technologies

Communications and energy districts

How to lay the foundation of a colony, we told you in the starting guide . Now we will consider the issues of further construction and development of the settlement, after the laying of the first dome. In this case, it is worth taking care of a continuous supply of electricity. Solar panels are the best place to start, as they only require metal for maintenance. But at the same time, one should not forget that they are useless at night and during dust storms, so a couple of wind turbines should hang out nearby. Connect the cables between generators and batteries and your first energy district is ready!

Solar panels should not be placed in the shade of rocks or buildings as they will generate less electricity. It is impossible to build industrial facilities near generation facilities that throw tons of dust into the air – the panels will become dirty and reduce efficiency. In this case, it is worth observing the basics of energy security. You should not make large and continuous energy regions, which are so convenient to cover from above with asteroids. It is better to approach the matter network-centrically, to spread small islands of generation in space, and connect them with wires, preferably duplicated. Ideally, it should be closed into a single loopback network.

The same principle should be followed for pipelines through which water and air flow. In general, for each individual dome it is necessary to build its own separate life-support infrastructure. The production should be exactly such as to keep the colonists at a minimum of needs for an indefinitely long time. And then these isolated islands should be connected into a common network, with the organization of water towers, oxygen tanks and accumulators. At the same time, transit pipes and cables must be equipped with switches and valves without fail, so that in the event of a breakthrough or short circuit, it is possible to disconnect the damaged section and avoid unnecessary losses.

Since transit communications usually stretch far and are not always covered with a signal from the control centers, you should always have an exit team from the control center transporter (with drones inside) and the remote control transporter (with stocks of metal for repair), which will quickly move out and will seal the breakout. All cables and pipes should have the highest priority for servicing drones, followed by generation facilities, and only then non-critical production facilities.

One of the options for advanced domes


Building a dome for colonists just like that, in the bare Martian desert, is unacceptable. Each settlement should have a practical meaning. For example, there is a field with minerals nearby (drones cannot mine in mines). Place the dome so that its radius covers the resource icon. If you put it a little further, then the workers simply will not be able to get to the place of production. Individual domes can be specialized in the production of something, or made a science city.

With the development of technology, domes become more and more, and the buildings inside – more and more diverse. But at the very beginning, you need to adhere to the following standard: three residential buildings, a hospital, a recreational area, a hydroponic farm, a grocery store, a factory or a laboratory. This is enough for initial provision and reproduction. As the interior space improves, demolish old buildings and build new ones. But do not forget to do it in stages and quickly, so that the colonists do not suffer well-being.

If possible, build domes closer to each other so that their access areas overlap. Then the inhabitants of one settlement will be able to move to another, without using remote control transporters and shuttles. And if there is a factory or a mine at the intersection of fields, then it will be possible to use the personnel potential of both colonies there.

Create industrial clusters


And here the network-centric method of objects spaced apart in space can be thrown into a landfill. Industry is about the enlargement of production capacities, synergy of nearby enterprises and a reduction in transport chains. It is most logical to locate a fuel production plant next to an aqua extractor or a water tower. And there is a polymer plant nearby, so as not to carry canisters. Literally end-to-end there should be warehouses of appropriate resources and landfills for waste. In this way, create well-thought-out clusters that will give the maximum output for sol. Well, and next to it, book a place for the rocket to land in order to take out and bring in consumables.

Strive for complete autarky in your production chains. You will be very short of money, all vital consumables must be sawed on the spot. Instead of exporting rare metals for export, it is better to transfer them to the creation of electronics. Remember that high-tech products are high value-added products. Do they want to make a raw materials colony out of you? Spit in their faces! And excessive dependence on the Earth can later come out sideways. However, I will not spoil …

Be sure to try to fill to the maximum all production facilities where a human presence is required. Drive there even people who are not quite adapted for this work, because the staff shortage leads to a slowdown in production, with the same level of resource consumption. Mars cannot afford such extravagance! The only exceptions are workers with the idiot perk. Allowing such idiots to access complex mechanisms is more expensive – they will break something, the conveyor will stand up and cost a pretty penny for repairs.

Raise the dough

This eternal question of all newly minted Martians, especially in the early stages of the development of the colony – where to get the money? One of the easiest ways: commodity trading. But it is very slow and costly. We will show you how to get a coin from gullible earthlings quickly and without unnecessary hassle. For a start, rely on brains, not mines. There are two technologies in the social branch that need to be learned: “Martian patents” (500M) and “Copyright of the Martians” (1500M). At the start, there is even a commander-politician who has the first technology for deflotting. The second method is suitable for the later stage of the game, and is called the “Space Elevator”. This Martian miracle reduces the cost of putting cargo into orbit and you can sell rare metals for 25-30M, buy electronics for only 10M, and put the rest in your pocket. Corruption? No sir – effective management!

This wonderful, wonderful world!

Martian life hacks

  • “Drone circulation”. For example, you need to urgently move a number of drones from one control center to another. In the usual case, you have to adjust the CU-conveyor, load it with blunt VALL-I, and carry it across the dunes through half a map. But you can make it easier – click on the control center and dismantle the drones, turning them into prefab kits. And then go to the desired control center and instantly deploy, piercing space and time!
  • The Hand of the Lord. It happens that you have destroyed a very important long-distance communication, to which you can cut and saw with the CU-transporter. If you have an extra rocket, then load it with drones and metal, and then put it into orbit. And now you have at your disposal an instantly descent control center with a supply of repair materials. The main thing then is to bring the fuel to the return orbital launch.
  • Sterling’s Generators. Many people underestimate these koloboks, but in fact, before the advent of nuclear fusion, they give real energy independence, especially during crises and accidents, and also do not require maintenance during downtime. Do not forget to only cover them during dust storms, otherwise they will clog.


Such a large and complex process as the construction and development of a colony clearly cannot fit into such a small format. Therefore, a lot will have to be comprehended in practice, empirically. Let’s hope that at least a tenth we have facilitated the laborious process of mastering this alien, but such a wonderful world. In the next guide, we will touch upon such an important gameplay link as colonists. Stay in touch!


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