Guide for Tin Can – The Survivors Guide: A comprehensive guide to surviving
In this guide, I will be discussing in depth the mechanics of all the events and modules the game has to offer, as well as some of the trickier components, as well as tactics for dealing with what the game has to throw at you.
A lot of the enjoyment of Tin Can comes from figuring this out yourself. Read at your own risk.
What a strange item to start the guide with! However, the fact is electricity is the lifeblood of the Tin Can. It provides power to your life support systems and is debatably more important than said systems. Unfortunately for you, you will regularly find yourself in situations where you cannot generate power. This will be discussed at length in the Events and Atomic Pile sections of this guide, but for now I will focus on what you have when the atomic pile fails you: batteries.
Whenever a system lacks the power it demands, it will drain power from the battery inside of it, should it have one. It is for this exact reason that I recommend you start your run by removing every battery from every system that has one. Most systems can still run at reduced capacity when low on power, which means the only time you actually want batteries installed is when your systems have no power at all. On a working system, this should only occur during an electromagnetic storm.
A word of caution though: Currently the only place to store batteries is on the floor (the devs have a battery drawer on the way), so be careful should you ever need to open the airlock. Items can be sucked out when you do that.
With proper power management, your starting supply of batteries can last you well over an hour without recharging, so I encourage you to scrap them when they’re empty. (my recent >1 hour hardcore run only fully drained 3 batteries).
Know Thy Pod (Information for all systems)
When a system with a monitor is receiving insufficient power, the monitor will turn off. There are two things you can do here.
- If you simply want to know if the system is powered at all (many systems run fine on partial power) check the fan on that system if it has one. The fan is actually not decorative; the speed it spins at indicates how much power the system is receiving.
- If you need the screen on to help diagnose a problem, put in a battery. All systems with screens have battery compartments. Try not to leave it in for too long though. Electricity is everything.
Don’t ignore bad fuses. They will quickly turn a bad day into a worse one.
The Life Support Trio (O2, CO2 and N2)
The systems themselves
These systems are fairly simple to use. The scariest thing that can go wrong with them is the pump breaking. This will cripple your life support significantly more than any damage to the electrical components. Furthermore, the pump is extremely expensive to repair and the only ones on board are in these three systems, the Temperature Manager and the CO2 Recycling Station, so repairing it is a must.
The oxygen and CO2 systems can be safely turned off for a short time without the atmosphere becoming unbreathable. Keeping these systems off as much as possible is essential to keeping your power consumption low during certain events.
The nitrogen system can be safely left off for long periods of time if you want. This can be useful if you need to replace one of the pumps in another system while repairing the original.
To reduce your workload during events, you should always change out the CO2 and O2 canisters between events, regardless of if they are in actual need of being changed.
In an emergency, a canister can be opened and closed by dropping it and pressing F on it. Be careful though, opening it will cause it to fly around the pod (quite far if gravity is off) and a full canister contains enough gas to severely overpressurise your pod.
The Repair Station
The saving grace of your pod. Don’t bother repairing screens and try to avoid repairing data cables unless you are really running out of functional or semi-functional cables.
On dismantling: The warning lights present on most systems can be disassembled! If you are attentive and check the screens from time to time, you will find that you can scrap the warning lights from many systems without much penalty. The buzzer is a separate component and will still alert you if something needs your immediate attention.
The Lighting Systems
Your pod contains two lighting systems, the Main Lights and the Emergency Lights. One of the first things you should do when starting a run is switch from the Main Lights to the Emergency Lights. The Emergency Lights consume far less power, so much so that it’s typically safe to leave them on during Ice Nebula and Star events. They are dimmer, but most of the time you will be able to see things just fine, and the rest of the time you have a torch.
Whether or not you agree with the above advice, it is inevitable that when things start breaking, the first system you cannibalise MUST be the lighting system you aren’t using.
The CO2 Recycling Station
An extremely important and easy to overlook system.
PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO THIS SYSTEM
The CO2 Recycler has no screen, no warning lights and no buzzer. If something breaks and you aren’t paying attention to it, you won’t notice a problem until you try to replace a canister from the life support system and find that the CO2 canister is still full and the O2 canister is still empty. Your death is practically guaranteed at that point.
Similarly to the life support system, damage to the pump will affect the conversion speed far more than damage to the electronics. If you notice a severe problem with the CO2 Recycler, this is the best place to start.
The Battery Fast Charger
This device is why I put so much emphasis on conserving as much battery power as possible. This is, without question, the most dangerous system in the pod. Using it is a punishment, and from a game design standpoint, I agree with that decision.
All that being said, it is still possible to safely recharge your batteries if you are careful about it.
Why it’s dangerous.
The Battery Fast Charger draws a tremendous amount of power when in use. When you first plug in a battery, the entire pod will lose power as the Atomic Pile is slow to warm up and produce enough power.
When the battery is removed, the Atomic Pile will be similarly slow to reduce it’s power output and as a result it will likely blow the fuse in every system in the pod as a start.
How to operate it safely.
To install a battery without blacking out the whole pod, you have two choices:
1. Put your systems on battery power and just suck up the fact that you’ll have to drain your fresh batteries to charge your dead ones.
2. Turn off the Gravity Generator and install the battery as fast as you can. Faster is only better because when you turn off the Gravity Generator, the Atomic Pile will start producing less power, meaning a worse power shortage the longer you take to get to the Charger.
Both options will still put strain on the Atomic Pile, so the removal of the battery must still be performed with care.
Charging multiple batteries
This is risky and takes a little practice, but if you want to charge more than one battery you can “hotswap” batteries by holding a battery to be charged in one hand and having the other hand free. In rapid succession, use your empty hand to remove the charged battery and quickly install the battery you were already holding.
Be aware that hotswapping still causes power surges and will heat the installed power transformer significantly. When doing this, keep the components drawer for the Fast Charger open and if the power transformer starts glowing red hot, it’s time to stop.
Safely removing the final battery is comparatively simple. You need to turn off the Atomic Pile before removing the battery. You may need to wait a short time for the Pile to cool.
The Main Computer
If you’re a vet of this game who has memorised all the error codes, you can just scrap this for parts (for now, but the devs have Plans for it).
If you’re like me and can’t memorise all of that, the Main Computer is a pretty important piece of equipment. It has a long boot sequence and it consumes the third most power of any system, so if you’re booting the systems of the pod after an event requiring a large scale power down, I’d recommend making it one of the first systems you turn on, after basic life support. It’ll make the rest of the pod slower to power up, but when your oxygen system is flashing half a dozen error codes you’ll be thankful to have it online as soon as possible. Saves looking for the book then scanning a really unfriendly page full of codes and meanings.
Not really a system, but important to know about in any case. Its only (helpful) use is to vent the atmosphere in a serious emergency. Every reason you have for opening this can be taken care of by another system if you can get that system working again, so think carefully before opening it.
- The airlock will leak atmosphere if you leave it unlocked.
- If you open the airlock, loose items will be sucked towards it and can even fly out of the pod irretrievably.
- Any Oxygen and CO2 (which gets recycled into oxygen) that escapes through the airlock is gone for good.
The Gravity Generator
Ah the Gravity Generator. It’s not at all relevant to your survival, you could leave it off the whole game and not suffer any consequences. But we all know that the zero gravity handle locomotion in this game sucks, so you’ll probably want it on. It consumes the second most power of any system in the pod, so be aware of that when you turn it on.
Currently you cannot be crushed to death. Shout-out to jimmyb2013 who managed to purposely get the gravity up to an astonishing 38.8G’s!
The Temperature Manager
Beyond basic repairs, you’ll probably touch this system the least in the entire craft. It contains the legendary liquid nitrogen canister, which you can open to lower the temperature of the pod in an emergency, in exchange for increased air pressure. This can be alleviated by opening the airlock, which also cools the pod, but you should only do this in an emergency.
The Atomic Pile
The core of your pod. This generates all of your precious electricity. The atomic pile works by producing electricity based on the temperature of the pile, which will slowly increase or decrease to meet demand. A pile that is generating too much power will blow fuses and damage components of systems with bad fuses.
The temperature of the Pile is only affected by the power demand and the Ice Nebula event. The Star event does not increase its temperature.
Currently there is no reason to remove the radiation shield other than to get the achievement for dying every possible way. The pile itself will never be damaged in current builds, and maybe in future builds too, as the devs have expressed plans to rework the power generator entirely.
The asteroid field is the first event you will encounter in every game, and the only event that is guaranteed to cause damage to your systems. All you need to do is hang on to a handle and start repairing any damage that comes up. Hanging on is actually optional, but if there’s an asteroid strike while you aren’t hanging on, the screen will shake violently and you will drop whatever you’re holding. Very annoying.
Currently this event applies damage to random components in the pod. In future this event will also have the chance to create punctures in the walls of the pod that will vent your atmosphere until repaired.
- The Ice Nebula event significantly cools the Atomic Pile, thus reducing power output considerably.
- The Ice Nebula event will try to cool your pod’s atmosphere until you freeze to death.
The biggest threats from this event are a broken Temperature Manager and improper power management. To survive this event, you will be turning off most of the pod’s systems, so you will have access to ample replacement parts for temporary fix. Don’t try to use the Repair Station, you won’t have the power for it.
Surviving the Ice Nebula is easy. When you get the alert, turn off every system except the Atomic Pile, the Temperature Manager, the Oxygen Generator and the CO2 Scrubber. These three systems will be running on partial power, but so long as their pumps are working, they will all keep up just fine without batteries, and remember you have spare pumps in the Pressure Regulator and the CO2 Recycling Station. In fact they’ll keep up so well that you can turn on the emergency lights if you want.
Note: This is actually so easy that I expect the devs will make it harder. If you find that you still don’t have enough power, read the section on Electromagnetic Storms for how to be yet more efficient with your power.
The Star event (also known as the Hot Nebula, indicated by “External temperature rising!”) causes the temperature of your pod’s atmosphere to rise significantly. Contrary to popular belief, this does not heat up your Atomic Pile.
There are two strategies here. The most well known is to turn off the Atomic Pile and run vital systems (The Temperature Regulator, The Oxygen Generator and The CO2 Scrubber) on battery power.
My strategy is the same as the Ice Nebula. Turn off everything except The Atomic Pile, The Temperature Regulator, The Oxygen Generator and The CO2 Scrubber and just wait it out, without leaving anything on battery power. The reduced load on the Atomic Pile will reduce its temperature, reducing the temperature in the pod. The temperature in the pod will still reach the red zone, but will not actually get hot enough to kill you.
Note: As with the Ice Nebula event, this is easy enough that I expect the devs will make it harder. If you find that you still don’t have enough power or get too hot, use the first strategy or read the section on Electromagnetic Storms for how to be yet more efficient with your power.
The Electromagnetic Storm produces random, powerful and highly damaging surges of power to the pod’s electrical system. Any systems that are connected to the electrical system and turned on will take a lot of component damage.
Turn off everything. Install batteries in the Temperature Manager, Oxygen Generator and CO2 Scrubber and remove the power connectors from these same systems. You’ll probably be having breathability issues by now, so turn the O2 and CO2 systems on until that’s fixed, then turn them back off. The goal here is to drain the batteries as little as possible.
From here on it’s just a game of juggling those three systems until the storm passes. Keep an eye on the values panel and turn on systems as needed. In the Medusa, where these systems can all be reached without having to move, this shouldn’t fully drain any of the batteries, but on larger pods you may find that you need to leave a system on while you move to another part of the pod to tend to another system.
When the storm passes, make sure to reconnect the power connectors and remove the batteries before you try to turn the systems back on for good.
This is a complex one, and rarely encountered.
- The player and any loose items will be pulled in one direction.
- The air pressure inside the pod will begin to climb or fall.
- As the event comes to an end, the pressure change will be reversed i.e if the pressure increased when the event began, it will decrease as the event ends and vice versa.
This event is just about managing the breathability of your atmosphere. You’ll want to minimise the amount you compensate for the change in pressure. If the pressure rises initially, you may need to vent some air if the Pressure Regulator can’t keep up. Similarly, if the pressure drops initially, you may need to pressurise the pod, resulting in the potential need to vent the pod when the event ends.
In the main branch, encountering a second Black Hole event will crash the game. This is fixed in the beta branch. See discord.gg – https://discord.gg/6aMxU5A for access.
The future of the game
Right as I was about to upload this, leaks and fire got pushed to the beta branch.
Leaks appear during the Asteroid Field event or if your pod is overpressurised. They will leak atmosphere and can be fixed with the dedicated leak filler that starts in the pod, just lying on the floor. They may also appear randomly. The changelog reads “You should have two or three leaks in about an hour, so don’t forget to look for them!”
Fires appear at random, currently approximately every 30 minutes, but can appear more frequently in damaged components. How aggressively the fire burns depends on the oxygen content of the atmosphere, so fires can be smothered by removing the atmosphere, but a much better way is to use the fire extinguisher.
I hope you enjoy what we shared today about Tin Can – The Survivors Guide: A comprehensive guide to surviving. If there is anything, you want us to add, please let us know via comment below! See you soon! And thanks!
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