Welcome to the universe of Dyson Sphere Program. You’ve probably crash-landed on your first planet, salvaged your landing craft, and already started slowly buzzing down trees, plants, and rocks in order to craft your very first base.
You’re well on your way, but there are a few things the game doesn’t always tell you, or at least, some tips you should know as you get accustomed to its loop. This is an automation game, and much like its predecessors, Dyson Sphere Program is all about creating a product line and optimizing it until you’ve got clean, consistent output. The sun’s energy ain’t gonna absorb itself, after all.
With that in mind, we’ve thrown together a handful of tips to get you well on your way. These aren’t the end-all, be-all; I’m still personally ramping up to what the far reaches of the research tree holds. But getting your head around what benefits you most, and how to best spend your time with as little stress as possible, will make those first hours go a lot smoother.
Here’s what you need to know when you start building your first Dyson Sphere Program.
Embrace the Mess
No, seriously, your first setup is going to be messy. Make peace with that, because it’s part of the fun. The early hours of Dyson Sphere Program are all about just learning the world. You’ll spend a lot of time just figuring out where your primary veins are and how to get them all to one place.
To that end, just build what you can, and don’t be afraid to tear it all up and start over. The nice part is that you can dump almost everything onto the ground and add it back into your inventory to move it around.
So don’t be afraid to get settled, but also don’t be afraid to move things. Your first base might seem great, until you realize that copper is a bit too far away, or you’re working around a lot of terrain. Be ready to tear up and put down pretty often when you first set out.
Maximize Your Inputs
An easy way to contextualize your production is to think of it in “inputs” and “outputs.” Resources enter your base in one way and get output as others. That really forms the majority of your time in Dyson Sphere Program: turning things into other things, always working towards an end product.
Having a steady supply from your miners is critical to maintaining a strong throughput. Most buildings in the game snap to a grid, but miners are the one case where you’ll want to use the Shift key to unsnap them from the planetary grid, because you want to maximize the amount of minerals they’re grabbing from a vein.
We’ll go deeper into these numbers later, but for now, the best rule of thumb is that two miners grabbing at least six mineral icons will be able to adequately fill a belt. That’s our key goal: get a belt that can support a lot of the automation we’re about to create. Also learn to merge your miner outputs into a single lane using a T-intersection to create a single source of a resource. It will come in handy when we start building hubs in the next tip.
Think in Hubs
Okay, your first base is up and humming. You might have a few conveyor belts running from resources towards smelters, cooking up all kinds of magnets, ingots, and other one-step ingredients. Maybe you’re even creating magnetic coils or circuit boards in your assemblers. Now you want to start assembling the figurative sandwich, a combination of all the resources you’ve been gradually building up.
Making complex resources is one thing, but automating the production of the buildings you’ll need will make life so much easier. No more slapping together conveyor belts when you need them; instead, you’ll have a storage box full of them.
Here’s where we use a mix of ingenuity and common ingredients to create a “hub,” or a singular area devoted to creating the buildings we need most. Constructions like conveyor belts, smelters, assemblers, sorters, storage boxes, and more can all be built using five common ingredients: gears, circuit boards, magnetic coils, iron ingots, and stone. Conversely, a sorter—the little crane arm that moves our resources to and fro—can reach out up to three spaces, or “lanes,” away.
By creating five input lanes and a storage box, you can build a line of assemblers that can each grab from the line and drop finished products in a box for your use later. These kinds of “make it and forget it” builds are crucial. While you’re working on large, complex builds to harvest, refine, and combine precious resources, you’re not stressing about having the right tools on you to craft another 20 conveyor belts on the spot.
Cut Down on Clutter With Direct Hand-Offs and Stacking
There are two pretty critical bits of info that can make your life much, much easier. The first is that, while you’ve probably been using sorters to pick up and drop things on conveyor belts, they can also move resources directly between buildings.
As long as buildings are more than one “unit” apart, a sorter can move between them. This is extremely handy for building complex, one-purpose builds, or for putting together the hub I mentioned above. Having raw iron go into a magnet smelter, then directly into a magnetic coil assembler cuts down on both travel time and conveyor belt mess. You shouldn’t always have buildings directly handing off, but if you’re condensing multi-step production down to a single output lane, it can be pretty helpful.
The second part of this is that some buildings stack. The in-game help does tell you that <i>some</i> buildings can stack, but unless you go searching for this info, you might not know how many, or how useful it can be. Storage boxes are the most obvious application, as it expands the amount of items you can store in one box’s worth of real estate.
Labs, which produce and consume science bricks to complete research, can also stack. This means increased output and faster research. Seriously, once you’re building both red and blue science, start making some stacks rather than five or six labs all spread out.
This might sound a lot like my hubs advice, because it is, but a little different. Production hubs, especially early on, can help a lot in automating the tedious crafting you’d have to otherwise do by hand.
In this case, a repository is more for keeping a set amount of crafting resources on hand, as a “just in case” scenario. As more and more craftable items become available, you’ll probably start running into cases where you need just a small stack of say, prisms or glass, to finish building one thing you need.
Using a few spare smelters, assemblers, and storage boxes can help build up back-ups for these crummy situations. Once you start flying from planet to planet, it’s also just a nice way to build up various amounts of resources you might not need now, but later. When I found my first silicon-rich planet, I immediately mined three different veins and started automated feeds of everything I could make with the silicon, from basic refined versions to a few simple recipes. My main goal was solar panel construction, but having a few deposits of glass helped in the long run.
On this note, changing the setting to modify the space in a box reserved for automation is really helpful. You probably don’t need a storage box’s worth of glass, but ten full stacks is great. Make sure to adjust it so you don’t spend half of a vein on resources you’ll never use.
Keep Some Fuel in the Tank
Your world is becoming smaller, hubs are connecting, and you might be looking to expand to new worlds. It’s a big universe out there, and those stars aren’t going to harvest themselves.
So while you’re collecting the resources you’ll need to establish offworld mining operations, just remember: dedicate a fair amount of your inventory, a whole third if you want to be on the safe side, to just fuel. Your mech needs fuel! It can’t just run by itself all day, and while some upgrades allow it to gradually regenerate charge, you’ll always need some fuel in the tank.
This is fairly important when you’re on the ground, as an underpowered mech means being woefully slow and crawling from plant to plant, trying to scrape together some biomatter to get to your next stop. But in space, if you’ve hit the jets and run out of fuel, that means hurtling ever-forward without a way to turn. There are plenty of horror stories out there about missing the mark and flying away from your precious system. While you can always load an old save, it’s just easier to keep some spare fuel in reserve.
Don’t Forget to Upgrade Your Mech
It’s easy to get caught up in researching the shiny new tech once you get a fresh kind of science cube rolling into your labs, but don’t neglect upgrades for your mech.
Some enhancements are actually crucial, like gaining the ability to fly and “sail” to other planets. Others improve your inventory capacity or let you recharge energy while just idling, flipping through menus. Honestly, the best ones add more construction drones and improve their speed, allowing you to quickly assemble long strips of conveyor belts much, much faster.
It might seem like an obvious tip, but seriously, it’s easy to tunnel-vision on shiny upgrades like Interplanetary Logistics or Advanced Thrusters. While those might radically change the shape of your game, little mech upgrades can make your life so much easier.
Watch the Power Grid
Rapid expansion can lead to undue burden placed on the power grid. Resources are important, but you’re going to need some serious power to fuel those dozens of assemblers you’ve placed all around the planet.
Wind turbines are nice, though they quickly become obsolescent as new forms of energy generation open up. Thermal generators can produce a fair bit of energy, and by chaining them together with sorters, you can condense their presence on the world. (I really only recommend chaining two thermal generators directly together though, as more seemed to put a strain on getting enough coal to the deeper generators.)
Solar panels are the first big step forward. Once they’re available, stick a ring of them at whichever pole of your planet sees the most sunlight and welcome your new fount of power. Once you can automate production, the “solar belt,” or a ring of solar panels along an entire planet’s equator, is a popular build.
Eventually, you’ll start firing solar sails out towards the sun and building up energy through the Dyson Sphere Program. Even then, make sure you’ve got a decent amount of energy coming in at all times. It’s a shame to lose productivity just because you’re running a planet off a couple wind turbines.
Keep Track of Ratios for Recipes
Alright, at this point, you’ve got the general loop of Dyson Sphere Program down. Build a hub, automate what you can, condense resources into input lanes and start generating some high-end products or science cubes.
My best late-game tip, which is about where I’m at currently, is to start paying attention to ratios. Early on, this stuff isn’t as crucial; just knowing the golden ratio of six minerals to a miner can get you far, and it’s pretty easy to visually recognize when an iron belt needs another smelter to keep up with the assemblers.
Once you get to complex, multi-ingredient resources that you need to automate, the numbers are much more important. Some might take extra amounts of one kind of basic resource, so you’ll need to produce more of it to compensate. Others might create interesting problems, like too much of a single product or runoff resources that can’t be utilized or refined until you get more tech researched.
Even just building the crude oil pipeline and refineries you’ll need for red science cubes, the second tier of research materials, will start to introduce you to these concepts. It might take some paper math and a calculator, but the easiest way to find info is thankfully right there in the game. Hovering over recipes on certain buildings will tell you how much input they need of each resource, and how much it generates in the span of a minute. Knowing these ratios can help you pre-plan your new hubs much more efficiently. If not, you can always look to YouTube videos of much smarter people to get some ideas, or browse the subreddit to see what kind of builds people are planning for each resource type.