Don’t Starve Self Sustaining Camp Guide

Don’t Starve Self Sustaining Camp Guide by Zyxony


The aim of this guide is to create a self-sustaining settlement, where you will have a continuous food source, safety from monsters and all resources at your fingertips. It aims to achieve this by the fastest and safest way possible, and by using only the most widely available resources, and thus being applicable to all starting worlds. It makes it possible to ‘beat the game’ at the very first play-through in any newly created world, with no starting research. This guide only requires an area that has rabbits and beefalos to start. Everything else will fall in place with time. It is important to use time efficiently especially in the starting days, so there is emphasis placed upon what resources you harvest, when you harvest and how many you harvest. It is advisable to play as Wilson for the purpose of creating meat effigies.

Day 1: Finding a Good Location

Start by collecting as many flint, grass and twigs (in that order of priority) as possible. Find an area that has lots of rabbits (at least 5, the more the better) and is near to some beefalos (decent walkable distance). If you are unable to find beefalos, see Note at last paragraph of this section. This will be your prospective settlement. Explore the vicinity and continue collecting resources. Create a shovel as Soon as you can and begin digging up grass and saplings. Do not waste time digging up berry bushes, they are not worth the trouble, just collect the berries. You only need to collect 5 food items (carrots or berries) to survive, so concentrate on digging up grass and twigs instead. Try not to eat the food straight after picking up. Always cook your food before consuming, it satisfies more hunger. Create a backpack if your inventory is full. Create an axe and chop down 1 large tree (just one is enough), then use your shovel to dig the stump out. This will yield just enough logs for you to create a campfire for the night.

When evening falls, return to your prospective settlement area. Create a campfire such that the rabbit holes are just at the edge of illumination at maximum fuel (roughly about half a screen away). Create as many traps as you can and place each one as near to a rabbit hole as possible (1 trap for each hole). It is possible to place the trap in such a way that the rabbit is trapped as Soon as it pops out of its hole. Add a log to the campfire to get it up to near maximum fuel. Take note of the light radius and start planning the layout of your settlement. Finish laying your traps if they are within the light radius. You will be able to go slightly beyond the light area safely, so make use of that. Cook some food items (about 5) using your campfire, it is a good idea to keep some cooked food in your inventory too. Tip: Keep hunger at around 50% to 80%, don’t waste food by going over 100%. If there is still time, start planting saplings (not grass), clustering them as close as possible. Saplings do not require manure to start growing, unlike grass. Spend the night planting saplings and thinking about how great your settlement will Soon become. Drop the saplings and grass on the ground of your settlement to free up your inventory. Don’t worry, they won’t disappear.

Even though this guide only requires rabbits and beefalos to start, sometimes it is still difficult to find such an area. Feel free to wander around to find better areas. But aim to settle down latest by Day 3. Wandering around is an unnecessary drain on resources. Also, since this guide relies on killing rabbits only, there may be a risk of spawning a krampus. It may be wise to pace the killing of rabbits to avoid the spawn in the early days. Krampus spawns at around 30 to 50 rabbit kills. Every minute of not killing anything decreases the spawn chance. Thus, it is best to kill all rabbits at night only and ‘play nice’ the whole morning.

Important note: 
If you are unable to find beefalos, just settle down in an area with lots of grass. You can still transplant the saplings, but don’t dig up the grass. Also, you may need to make an early weapon to help against the hounds, since you won’t have the beefalos to protect you. Alternatively, you can opt to be near pigs and feed them plant items (eg. flowers) to make them poop manure.

Day 2: Laying Down Traps

There are a couple of things to do and I ranked them in order of importance. Firstly, you must dig up more grass and saplings to create traps. Make sure that you have at least 1 trap for each rabbit hole near your camp. (Hint: Traps require more grass than twigs to make.) Grass is more common in plains and grassland biome. Saplings are more common in forest and grassland biome. Secondly, you must chop down 1 large tree (and also dig the stump out). Thirdly, if time permits, create a pickaxe and break up any boulders you find along the way. Stop when you reach 12 stones (amount needed to create fire pit). Don’t worry if you don’t find any boulders or have no time. Creating traps is more important than collecting stones. Lastly, collect just enough food items to last till the next day. Remember to bring the food back to cook during the night before eating.

Be back at your camp by evening and reset all your traps, laying down the new ones to make sure that there is at least 1 per hole. Create a campfire, unless you collected enough stones to create a fire pit. Cook your food, including the morsels. Continue planting saplings through the night. Only use logs as fuel for your fire. You should need no more than 1 log to last the entire night.

If the hell hounds were to attack, run to the beefalos. Continue running through the beefalo herd until the hell hounds start attacking the beefalos. The beefalos should make short work of the hounds. This tactic works at night too, but you will need a torch.

Day 3: Planting the Saplings and Grass

As Soon as day breaks, start exploring for boulders to break. Spend half of the daytime time finding boulders. Stop when you reach 12 stones or run out of time and head to the beefalos area. Spend the other half of the time collecting manure. Also, be sure to dig up any saplings and grass that you see along the way. Chop down another 1 large tree.

Be back at your camp by evening and reset all your traps. Create a campfire, unless you collected enough stones to create a fire pit. Cook all your food. You should be able to survive purely on cooked morsels by now. Thus, don’t waste time collecting berries, carrots and seeds anymore. Please try to refrain from the obsessive compulsion to do so. Plant as many grass as you have manure and fertilise them. For example, if you collected 5 manure, plant 5 grass and fertilise them. Spend the remainder of the night planting saplings. Feel free to drop items on the ground of your camp to free up your inventory, just be careful with food items as spiders and hounds can eat them up.

See last paragraph of previous section to deal with hell hound attack. If a treeguard spawns, lead it far away from your camp and then run back to your camp quickly. Since the treeguard is slow, it will lose you on the way back. This will only work if you run far enough. Make sure it is not near the beefalos or resources that you might need to use.

Day 4 – 9: Laying the Foundation

If you do not yet have 12 stones, continue looking for them to create the fire pit. Meanwhile, spend half the day harvesting saplings and grass. And the other half picking up manure from beefalos. Chop down trees only when necessary, just to keep the log count at around 5. If you have more than enough saplings and grass that needs planting, consider staying at your camp for half a day planting them instead of harvesting.

Always aim to be back at your camp by evening and reset all your traps. Keep at least 1 trap active for each hole. Spend the night planting as many grass as you have manure. You only need to fertilise each grass once after planting. Continue planting saplings. Aim to reach around 100 saplings and 50 grass, the more the merrier. (Hint: Saplings take a longer time to grow.) The numbers may sound intimidating, but it is doable and well worth it. Don’t be lazy! There will be huge payoffs later on. The plants may take a long time to grow but they eventually will, so be patient. Manage your time well, if you feel that you need more grass, focus on collecting manure and grass, but if you feel you need more saplings, focus on them instead. If you feel that you have reached a sufficient number of saplings and grass planted, proceed to the next section.

Day 10 – 19: Crock Pots

Congratulations for coming this far. By now, you should have achieved a basic self-sustaining settlement. You should be able to survive by eating only cooked morsels. And be able to replenish all your traps with the growing plants. But of course, we can do better!

The next step is to create a crock pot. This requires 200 research points and also the ability to create cut stones which requires another 100 research points and a science machine. If you are able to create a crock pot, you may skip the rest of this paragraph. If not, your first step is to create a science machine. You will need to break boulders to find stones and a gold nugget. It is most likely that you already have some leftover resources required to make one. The science machine allows you to research items by breaking them down. You will lose the item but you gain research points. Start by researching your excess twigs and grass, making sure you have enough to continue making traps. Don’t use morsels to research. You will need 300 research points in total, which is around a 100 items. You can try to dig up some graves and research their items. Alternatively, you can choose to play safe by not adventuring out of your camp. While waiting for your research points to build up, break boulders to collect stones. You will need stones to make cut stones for your crock pot. Also, collect some charcoal, read the next paragraph to find out how.

To create a crock pot, you need cut stones and charcoal. Cut stones can be created from stones. Charcoal is obtained when you burn trees with fire. You will need 6 charcoal for each crock pot. Aim to create at least 2 to 4 crock pots. Tip: To create charcoal, go to a barren area, preferably the plains (beefalos area). Plant pine cones to create a small cluster of trees, making sure they are as close as possible. 1 charred tree gives 1 charcoal, so if you need 12 charcoal, plant 12 trees. After planting, create a torch and use it to light any one tree on fire. (Click on the torch, then click on a tree.) Wait for the fire to subside, then chop the trees down with an axe. Go back to camp and create your crock pots.

The main crock pot recipe is 1 cooked morsel and 3 twigs, creating a kabobs. Feel free to vary the recipe by using 2 cooked morsel and 2 twigs for example, according to your resource constraints. From now on, you will only be eating kabobs instead of cooked morsels. (Hint: If you ever have an excess of kabobs, they make for good research items.)

Day 20 – 29: The Basic Settlement

You should be able to live comfortably in your base, eating only kabobs for food and trapping rabbits. Beware of the occasional hell hound attack. Read the previous sections to learn how to deal with them. Take your time to stay as a basic settlement to build up your resources. Aim to research at least razor, rope, spear, logsuit, boards, chest and meat effigy. Build some chests to help you organise your inventory. Wear a spear and logsuit to help with combat. If you played as Wilson, use a razor to shave every 16 days to get 9 beard hairs to create a meat effigy.

Your next priority is to create a meat effigy, which allows you to revive if you die. This is only possible if you played as Wilson since it requires beard hairs. It also requires cooked meat, which can only be obtained by killing pigs or beefalos. There are two main ways to achieve this. Firstly, you can wear a spear and logsuit and try finding a beefalo that is isolated by itself, and try killing it. It is best to kite the beefalo, pulling away just before it attacks and hitting it just after it attacks. If there are other beefalos around when you attack, the entire herd will charge at you. If this happens, run away at once. The other beefalos may give up chasing and we cannot afford to lose our character after so much hard work. Secondly, the other way to get cooked meat is to find a pig village. The best strategy is to follow the rock paths, since most pig villages are on the path. Give morsels to all the pigs in the village to get them to follow you. You can press Ctrl and click on the following pigs to attack them without retaliation. Alternatively, find some beefalos nearby and attack them. However, pull back before your character actually hits the beefalo. The pigs will continue attacking the beefalo but the beefalo will not attack you. Once you get the meat, cook it to get cooked meat and create a meat effigy.

Optional tasks: Research and wear a straw hat just for fun. Build a farm plot and grow some seeds (left behind by birds). You can speed up growth by fertilising with manure.

Day 30+: Rearing Pigs, Breeding Bees and Taming Spiders

Once you have created at least 1 meat effigy, it is safe to explore the world. Take your time to build up on your resources. Plan your trips and start exploring. For example, you can bring a backpack full of kabobs and go on a round the world trip. Look out for pig villages, bee hives and spider lairs. From this point onwards, you are on your own. Feel free to explore the world, teach yourself how to rear pigs, breed bees and spiders (for the silk). Learn new crock pot recipes. Research and try out all the items. Just remember this golden rule: always have at least 1 meat effigy before stepping out of your base. Also, remember to save up for a rainy day, you never know what the game will throw at you next. Good luck!

If you have been using this guide, please post how you have been coping.
You can post a screenshot of your base and tell us whether things are going well.
What do you think is good about this guide and what needs improvement?
Did you discover a better strategy to start a base? Feel free to comment.
In future, I may continue to post guides on how to rear pigs, collect honey, etc. Stay tuned!

Remember, this guide aims to build a self-sustaining base by the fastest and safest way possible, and by using only the most widely available resources, and thus being applicable to all starting worlds. It makes it possible to ‘beat the game’ at the very first play-through in any newly created world.

Random tips 

– Collecting charcoal
Instead of burning down whole forests, go to a barren area and plant pine cones to create a small cluster of trees. You can then burn these in a controlled fashion.
– Research
If you ever have an excess of kabobs, they make for good research items. This is a good way to ‘get rid’ of food before they become rotten, so as not to waste it.
– Beard
If you played as Wilson, use a razor to shave every 16 days to get 9 beard hairs. This yields the greatest hair to day ratio.
– Pig village
The best strategy to find pig villages is to follow the rock paths, since most are located on the path. If you hit a dead end, just backtrack and take another fork in the road.
– Attacking
You can press Ctrl and click on the friendly pigs to attack them without retaliation.
– Farm plots
You can speed up growth of plants by adding manure. You can do this repeatedly until the crop is ready for harvest.
– Werepig (contributed by Kraizee)
Feeding pigs 4x monster meat turns them into a Were-Pig. This is good because, as a Were-Pig, they are guaranteed to drop: 2 Meat, 1 Pig Skin.

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