Your spaceship suffered a catastrophic failure in orbit around this fertile planet. Hundreds of crew are clinging to survival in low orbit, aboard the ship's few lifepods. You are the repair and rescue robot, and it's your job to keep them safe until help arrives.
Every so often, one of the orbiting life pods will be damaged and require assistance in the form of a particular item from the game, e.g. steel plates. The pod will crash land somewhere on the map, and from the moment it lands you will need to feed it the ingredient it requires at a sufficient rate to keep the people safe. If a pod lacks the resource it needs, it will begin taking damage and eventually its population will start to die.
Difficulty, Mode, and Settings
The game can be played in two normal modes: rescue and rocket.
In rescue mode, a rescue ship is coming after a certain period of time; your goal is to keep as many humans alive until the rescue arrives as possible. If you don't want to commit to a 20 hour factorio game, play a 4 hour rescue-mode game.
In rocket mode no one knows of your ship's demise and interference from the planet's atmosphere prevents you sending a signal. You must launch a satellite into orbit to send an SOS signal. Your score is the number of people who died when you send the rocket!
In addition to the normal modes there is infinity mode, where the pods just keep coming for ever and ever.
The game's difficulty controls the life pods' frequency, distance, consumption rate, and required items. It can be set to increase according to the number of players. Beware: all that is at all balance-tested is 1-2 players, Normal and Hard.
Quick Start mode gives you a jumpstart, for those who don't like the first hour or so of the game. You essentially skip that part of the game: you start with all basic (red only) techs unlocked as well as two chests full of iron, copper, belts, etc. Life Pods start demanding advanced goods correspondingly earlier.
Preparing for Life Pods
Build Radars to get warning a little while before each life pod lands. First you will learn what it needs, then later where it will land, exactly when it's coming, and finally how much it will need. Build more Radars to increase the lead time of all warnings. When the life pod crash lands it will destroy everything underneath it. Don't stand under a falling spaceship.
Maintaining Life Pods
Each life pod works just like a regular assembling machine, with a single recipe turning its needed ingredient into Repair Points. The pod consumes Repair Points at a regular rate, and if it has none left it begins taking 1 damage per second. Each pod begins with 10 humans aboard; every time the pod loses 10% of its health (1000HP), a human dies. Pods with excess Repair Points will consume them faster and heal themselves, but dead humans cannot be repaired.
Later life pods will require more advanced materials, require more resources per second, and land further away than earlier ones.
Press "H" to see a summary of your life pods.
Stabilizing Life Pods
You can research and build a "Life Pod Stabilization Module." By giving one of these to your humans, they can gradually repair the fundamental problem with their pod. After a long time (4 hrs), they will become fully stable and stop needing further repair. Research and build upgraded versions of these modules to reduce the pod's consumption rate, reduce the damage it takes when unsupplied, or allow the humans to research random technologies at the appropriate level.
Life Pod Benefits
Each life pod provides a large speed bonus: all buildings within a medium radius of a life pod work at double speed. This encourages you to build separate parts of your base around each life pod.
0.0.1 - First version.
0.0.2 - Life pods consumption and demands increase over time independent of your tech, and customizable difficulty and mode. Fixed bug where time until next pod wouldn't display in half the games.
0.0.3 - Initial release on mod portal, minor difficulty tweaks.
0.0.4 - Balance tweak: decrease pod frequency. Bug fixes: Fixed duplicate "time until next pod calculated." Fixed crash when a pod had a fractional amount of repair points left. Fix crash when tech requires non-beaker items.
0.1.0 - Added infinity mode, improved pod demand selection to account for the machine size required to make each thing. Split the time when pods require green tech into "early green" and "late green."
0.1.1 - Removed green beaker cost from Landfill due to life pods in the water. Fixed crash with 0-ingredient recipes that prevented compatibility with bob's mod.
0.1.2 - Fix bug in 0.1.1 where everything got super expensive.
0.1.3 - Overall balanced to be a little easier at each difficulty level. Changed pod distance calculation (grows faster, lower max). Added negative feedback based on dead population. Added crafting time in item value formula. Buffed Radar a lot. Enabled loading non-life-pods games with life pods.
1.0.0 - Balance tweaks, declaring stable release.
1.1.0 - Pods consume hearts per population. Significant rebalance to make it easier; level N is now about as hard as N-1 was before. Changed how Rocket mode endgame works.
1.1.1 - Removed maximum number of pods.
1.2.0 - Compatibility with Factorio 0.14. Maybe.
1.3.0 - Compatibility with Factorio 0.15. Maybe.
1.3.1 - Restore item difficulty tweak due to factory needed.
1.3.2 - Bug Fix
1.3.3 - Bug Fix; apparently now energy_required is measured in minutes.
1.3.4 - Fix bug from 1.3.3 properly; it's still measured in seconds, and there was a different bug. Also add a few items to those that can be requested by life pods.
1.3.5 - Fix debug mode being permanently on in 1.3.4
1.3.6 - Fix bug having to do with empty-barrel item.
1.3.7 - Tweaked settings, increased pod health to 1000 per pop.
1.4 - Overhaul difficulty (make things easier). UI improvements: H menu, pod mouseover. Added "Stabilization Modules"
1.4.1 - Tweak difficulty slightly harder.
1.4.2 - Minor Update.
1.4.3 - Fixed uranium values. Increased difficulty names one step, increased difficulty scale with number of players.
1.4.4 - Gave life pods lots of armor. Biters now basically can't kill them.
1.4.5 - Stabilized pods gradually heal
1.4.6 - Added Quick Start mode. Who knows if it's balanced?
1.4.7 - bug fix
1.4.8 - This time the bug is actually fixed.
1.4.9 - Fixed bug with adding the mod to an existing game. It should work again.
1.5.1 - Large stable release. Unlikely to be future large changes in the next few months (other than bug fixes).
* Added Enhanced Life Pod Stabilization Modules
* Added greedy pods at the end of rescue mode; should make a much more exciting finale.
* Improved name generation
* Better "incoming lifepod" marker
* Code cleanup/bug fixes: removed pod-health-barrels, fixed bug from pods taking negative damage, fixed some items being misclassified as purple-era tech.
* Balance tweaks: decreased tech times a bit, decreased pod frequency variance, decreased distances, quick-start stuff tweaked, value of items produced from complex recipes.
* "H" menu UI improvements: added stable pods, bar turns green when pod will stabilize.
1.5.3 - Bug fix; fixed setting "increase difficulty with player number" (hopefully).
1.5.4 - Bug fixed where it didn't update the difficulty when you changed the setting.
1.5.5 - Bug fix: crash when pods stabilized.
1.5.6 - i18n support, various UI and balance tweaks.
1.5.8 - UI improvements, better compatibility with other mods, radar rebalance, endgame rebalance, refactor item value calculation.
1.5.9 - Fix some quality of life stuff at the end of Rescue Mode (radars no longer detect an imaginary pod after the end, better behavior if you continue after victory, pods can't learn rocket-level tech).
1.5.10 - 1.6.6 - Minor bug fix.
1.6.7 - rebalance value of oil, bug fixes, allow fractional hours in rescue mode.
1.7.0 - Support for factorio 0.16.
1.7.1 - Bug fix (slot_button_style).
1.8.0 - Added easier difficulties, added maximum deaths, removed Artillery from yellow techs.
1.8.1 - Finally fixed the life pods radius bug.
1.8.2 - Compatibility with my other mod (Teamwork)
2.0.0 - Factorio 0.17 migration
2.0.[1-2] - bugfixes
2.0.3 - rebalanced stabilization module cost for 0.17. Fixed quickstart.
2.0.[4-5] - bugfixes
2.1.0 - update science modules for 0.17.
2.1.1 - cleanup code using 0.17 mod api improvements. Life pods no longer provide power.