RimWorld Beginner’s Guide

The goal of this guide is not to make you the best Rimworld player in the world. It is a guide to simply help you understand the basics of the game. More advanced guides may come in the future as well as it won’t tell you the Lore of Rimworld, that has been touched on here: Lore of Rimworld.

This guide will cover the basic things such as setting your options for game play, starting a new colony, and basic installation of mods.

Step One – Learning the Options Screen

  • Start Rimworld if you haven’t already.
  • Now, Select ‘Options’ on the right side.
  • You should be seeing this screen now:

Here you will find the options that control how the game displays everything and to some extent plays. The popup is divided into 3 Columns from left to right.

First Column

  • Game Volume: This controls all the sound of Rimworld except the music.
  • Music Volume: This controls the background, ambient, music of Rimworld only.
  • Resolution: This controls the size of the screen Rimworld will play on.
  • Custom cursor: This controls if the game will use either the custom cursor designed for your Rimworld experience or use your system cursor.
  • Fullscreen: this controls if the game runs in fullscreen or windowed mode.

Second Column

  • Keyboard Configuration: Here you can customize the keyboard shortcuts to in game commands.
  • Choose Language: Here you can change the language the game is displayed in.
  • Open save data folder: Just as the button states, opens the folder your save game is in.
  • Adaptive tutor: Turns off or on the in game tutor that repeats its helpful tips every game start.
  • Reset adaptive tutor: Resets the tutor to the start of its lessons.
  • Run in background: This tells the game to either run or not run in the background when you switch to another program or minimize Rimworld.
  • Screen-edge mouse scroll: This controls if the screen will scroll in the direction of the mouse if the mouse cursor reaches the edge of the screen.
  • Pause on load: This causes the game to automatically pause when you load your game. VERY USEFUL!
  • Pause on urgent letter: This causes the game to automatically pause when you receive an urgent notice such as a raid starting. VERY USEFUL!
  • Show realtime clock: This displays a realtime clock on the lower right corner above the game information.
  • Temperature mode: Here you can select between Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin for the in game temperature display.
  • Autosave interval: Here you can select the time frame you want the game to autosave.
  • Show animal names: Here you can select how animal names are displayed in game.
  • Development mode: This turns on or off the Development debug mode. For this guide please leave it off as it can cause odd and unintended things to happen to the game.

Third Column

Last Names of Name… This area is where you can place the name of a character or backstory of a character you want to see in every game. For example, you have paid for one of the Name, Backstory, or Pirate King tier packs.

Step Two – Starting a New Game

  • Start Rimworld if you haven’t already.
  • Now, Select ‘New colony’ on the right side.
  • Here you will find the scenario selection screen. The left side of the popup shows the different scenarios you can select from. The right side shows information about the selected scenario. Across the bottom you have three buttons, “Back” Scenario editor” and “Next”. The Scenario editor is an advanced option to create your own custom scenarios for the game.
  • For the sake of this guide, please select Crashlanded, the first scenario on the left side list.
  • Select Next on the bottom right of the popup.
  • Here you have the ability to select an AI Story teller who will control how your story is told.
    The pictures on the left are the Storytellers, starting from the top, they are: Cassandra Classic,  Phoebe Chillax, and Randy Random.
    The ingame descriptions fit them perfectly and for a new player, I recommend starting with Phoebe Chillax on Basebuilder to get a good feel.
    I personally play Phoebe Chillax on Challenge or Extreme which gets VERY hard at times.
    You will notice separated from the difficulty options is Permadeath mode. If this is on, save game only happens when you exit the game. Additionally, it deletes the save game when you load so that if something happens in game, it is permanent! You have been warned!
  • Select Phoebe Chillax, second face on the left.
  • Select Basebuilder difficulty
  • Ensure Permadeath mode has a red X after it!
  • Select Next on the bottom right of the popup.
  • This is the World Creation Screen. Here you have four options:
    • Reset: Resets the options back to default.
    • Seed: Whatever is entered here will be what the world is generated from.
    • Randomize seed: This will put in a random word, number, letters, and so on into the “Seed” box.
    • Size: This will determine the size of the world map you can select from.
  • For the sake of this tutorial, type Rimworld into the Seed box and leave the rest default.
  • Select Generate on the bottom right of the popup.
  • This is the Landing site screen.
    • Located Top Center is the random World Name.
    • Located Top Right is the Seed name. NOTE: If you like this world and want to play it again, write down this Seed name and type it into the Seed box the next new game you start.
    • Mode, located left side of map. This lets you select the ‘view’ of the map.
    • Select random site, below Mode will randomly select a landing site instead of you picking it.
    • Advanced, located center below the map. This will let you select the size of the map and what season to start the game with. NOTE: Auto for Starting Season randomly picks one.
  • Click on the map anywhere.
  • Notice on the upper left side detailed information of that area appears.
    • Location displayed in degrees.
    • Elevation.
    • Average temperatures
    • Biome type
    • Terrain type
    • Rainfall
    • Stone types
    • Growing periods for crops
  • You will find these very useful after developing an understanding to the game mechanics.
  • Find 25.07E 24.00N on the map and select it. NOTE: actual landing site maps are randomly generated from my experiance.
  • Select Select site on the bottom right of the popup.
  • You are now at the Character Creation screen.
    Here, you can create the characters that make up your game.
    • The top three tabs select between the three characters in this Scenario.
    • The three boxes let you rename them. First box=First name, Second box=Nickname, Third box=Last name.
    • The Randomize button will randomize the name.
    • Clicking on the i next to randomize will give you very detailed information on the character.
  • The remaining information you are looking tells you who and what the character is capable of and why.
    • Backstory tells about the past experience the character had in life.
      This is divided into Childhood and Adulthood, changing as you randomize it.
    • Incapable of tells you what skills the character is not able to do. These can change when you randomize it and are too many to list here.
    • Traits tells you some special things, or bad things that affect the character. These can change when you randomize it and are too many to list here.
    • Skills are a static column. There are:
      • Shooting: How accurate and deadly the character is with distance weapons such as guns.
      • Melee: How accurate and deadly the character is with hand to hand fighting or use of weapons like knives.
      • Social: How well the character interacts with others, such as merchants.
      • Animals: How well the character interacts with and cares for animals. Effects training them.
      • Medicine: How well the character can act like a doctor, patching up injured colonists and animals.
      • Cooking: How well and fast the character can butcher animals and cook food for the colonists.
      • Construction: How well and fast the character can build or tear down structures.
      • Growing: How well and fast the character can plant crops and harvest them.
      • Mining: How well and how fast the character can dig in the hills and mountains.
      • Artistic: How well and how fast the character can create things like paintings and sculptures.
      • Crafting: How well and how fast the character can craft things like tools or clothing.
      • Research: How well and how fast the character can research new technologies.
    • Health tells of injuries, sickness, or medical conditions that may affect the character.
    • Relations tells about relationships between other characters in the game such as spouse, siblings, or children.
  • Go ahead and randomize the three characters until you have what you feel you like.
  • Select Start from the bottom right of the popup.

Step Three – Starting a New Colony

So, you’re still here! Great! Once you understand the game, I’m sure you will find the game very entertaining. I also hope this guide is helping or has helped you to learn and enjoy this wonderful and evolving creation of Tynan and Ludeon Studios!

This guide step is based from the previous guide step so if have not done the above, it may get a little confusing at times.

  • The center popup tells you the basic story of what happened to bring the three pawns to this location. The map background is likely different from the posted screenshot but that is ok and expected.
    What you see besides the popup is:
    • Top center: Colonist Bar displaying your colonists.
    • Across the bottom: Your toolbar from which you control the game.
    • Bottom Left above the toolbar: As you move your mouse around the screen, you will see it change to display information on the tile below the mouse pointer.
    • Bottom right above the toolbar, starting from the top:
      • Real time (If you have this option turned on in options).
      • Temperature of the tile under the mouse and if indoor or outdoor.
      • Weather
      • Date
      • Time Dilation (AKA: Speed control of game).
      • A series of icons with red X and green check marks that affect how things are displayed on the screen as well as things such as automatic home area expansion. Hovering your mouse over them gives a brief description of them.
  • Go ahead and click the OK on the popup in the center of your screen if you haven’t.
  • If your game is already moving, press the spacebar which pauses the game.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are trying to play on a touchscreen, as of this guide’s creation I have not been able to move the map around by touch control! This is something I am sure Tynan and his team will fix in time.
  • At this point in the game, either scroll around using the arrow keys on the keyboard OR hold the scroll wheel (mouse button 3) down on your mouse if you have one to move around. If Edge of screen scrolling is on and you are playing full screen, then you can also move the mouse cursor to the edge of the screen you want to scroll to.
  • Notice all the items with a red X on them? Those are items currently sat to ‘not touch’ for your colonists.
  • Go ahead, if you haven’t and unpause the game for about five to ten seconds then pause it again. The colonists should now be on the ground.
  • Double click on one of the colonists in the colonist bar. The map will center on that colonist.
  • At this point, they are wandering around aimlessly waiting for you to tell them what is needed.
    • Notice on the bottom left, a new window appeared. This shows what is selected. In this case the colonist.
    • You should be seeing this:
      The box shows several things. Starting from the top left to right:
      • Colonist’s name
      • How the colonist reacts to danger (currently default to flee). Clicking this you can change their actions.
      • That fun i again that displays detailed information about the character.
      • The health of the colonist.
      • The mood of the colonist.
      • The current Restrictions of the colonist.
        • The current Area the colonist is allowed to go into.
        • The gender of the colonist along with physical age and in brackets is the chronological age.
          NOTE: The difference between Physical and Chronological age is this, Chronological age is their actual age timewise including the time in cryostasis (frozen sleep). Physical age is the actual age the body is due to the effects of cryostasis slowing their aging down to a near stop. So someone 51 going into a cryostasis pod for 275 years would chronologically be 326 years old, though their body is only 51 years old. This can sometimes create an illusion of a parent being younger PHYSICALLY than a child because the parent at say 21 went into stasis while the child waited until 31 to do the same thing. Waking up at the same time, the child will be 31 while their parent is still 21 physically!
        • Below this line is what the character is currently doing. In this case, wandering for my character selected.
    • Above the box are 5 buttons.
      • Social: Displays the social interactions with other pawns and animals.
      • Gear: Displays all the equipment, apparel, and inventory of the pawn selected.
      • Character: Displays the basic character information such as skills. (We will come back to this one in a moment.
      • Needs: Displays all the needs and mood effects on the character. Likely one of the most viewed tabs for me.
      • Health: Displays the current health along with any injuries or permanent effects like lost limbs. There is also a tab at the top for Operations, allowing for bionics to be added or organs and limbs to remove.
  • Now, click on the Character button.
  • What you are looking for is both Shooting and Melee.
  • Now, select the other two colonist and look at the same skills.
  • Have the one with the highest shooting take the Survival rifle. Do this by selecting the pawn with the highest shooting and then right click on the survival rifle and select ‘equip survival rifle’.
  • Do this again with the pistol for the next highest shooter.
  • Finally, have the last one equip the knife.
  • Now, everything that crashed down with them has a red x on it so they can not pick them up on their own. Click on the blue object with the red cross (medical supplies). Notice down to the right of the information box there is a hand with a red x in it? Click it and a green check mark appears.
  • Do this for the rest of the immediate area around the colonist. Should be logs (wood), silver (used as money), components, and survival rations. NOTE: objects such as survival rations and wood can be double clicked to select all that are visible on the screen.
  • If no steel was in the immediate area, find the closest group of it and select at least 4 or 5 of them. You will likely need to unlock more.
  • Now begins the fun part. You will likely want to zoom out some and try to find an area that can be built on with decent soil nearby to grow crops and a place easily defended. If your area is without large hills or mountains (Be careful of mountains!) then find an area at least suitable to build a structure on and plant crops near by. Keep in mind you will also later need to build solar panels. Being close to a steam geyser later in game is also great for power generation.
  • Once you decide on a location, click Architect on the bottom toolbar.
  • A window with 12 options pops up. For now, click on Zone/Area.
  • A new toolbar across the bottom opened up. And should look like this:
    I will explain these.
    • Cancel: This shows up in almost all toolbars and is self explanatory. Cancels order.
    • Deconstruct: this tells the pawns who have construction assigned to them to deconstruct whatever you select with this option.
    • Stockpile Zone: A very important zone. This is where the pawns will carry stuff to that you want to keep. Zones can also be fined tuned from another menu down to just 1 item.
    • Dumping Stockpile zone: This is the area you create to have pawns carry unwanted things like rubble and slag. Put it someplace out of sight so the pawns don’t get a negative mood hit from the junk being ugly.
    • Growing Zone: Another important zone. Place this on the best soil near your colony for the grower pawn to clear then plant the selected crop. More later on this.
    • Delete zones: Does as it says, deletes the zone area where selected.
    • Expand and Clear home area Used to fine tune your home area.
    • Expand and Clear build roof area: Tells your pawns to either build roof areas outside of closed in rooms or to remove them once built.
    • Expand and Clear no roof area: Again, tells your pawns where not to build a roof in a closed in area or to go ahead and build it again.
    • Expand and Clear snow clear area: Useful in an area that snows to tell the pawns where to keep clear for easy movement.
    • Expand or Clear allowed area: This becomes very important when it concerns pets/animals as well as people. It lets you manage, expand, and remove those areas so like during a toxic fallout, the pawns know not to go outside!
  • Ok, now that you know what all the tools do on this menu, select Stockpile Zone.
  • Place a stockpile by clicking and dragging it across the area you want.
  • Unpause the game and watch the pawns start taking everything to the stockpile.
  • Now, the next very important thing to keep in mind. People, animals, and many stockpile items NEED shelter!
  • select Architect from the bottom toolbar then on the menu select Structure.
  • You see the same Cancel and Deconstruct, but now you have Door and Wall!
  • For now, click the wall. It should already be Steel selected which is fine and good.
  • Draw out a box, 10 tiles x 10 tiles.
  • Select the door tool, selecting steel and place a door on the side closest to the stockpile.
  • Now, click again on Architect and select from the menu, Furniture. Another menu opens!
  • Now you see a toolbar of all the available furniture your pawns know how to build.
    For now, select Sleeping Spot and place four of them inside the box along 1 wall. NOTE: you can rotate furniture with  Q and E before placing.
  • Select Animal Sleeping Spot and place one inside the box near the same wall.
  • Now, go back to Zone/Area and select Stockpile Zone again. Starting to understand where these are now, hmmm?  
  • Place a stockpile INSIDE the box filling at least half.
  • Now, click on the stockpile. A new menu opened and an optional menu on the information box called Storage is on top.
  • Click the Storage button and a new menu pops open.
    Now a whole set of options are availible!
    • Priority: up top sets how important this stockpile is over others.
    • Clear all clears everything so nothing is selected.
    • Allow All selects everything so everything is acceptable in that stockpile.
    • The two slide bars control minimum or maximum quality and hit points the object requires to be placed in this stockpile.
    • Below these is the objects you want to include in this stockpile. They are too numerous to list here.
  • Select the green Check next to *Allow rotten and turn it to a red X.
  • Excellent! Now do the same next to Raw resources.
  • Now we are going to get a little tricky. Click the word Raw Resources and it opens up a sublist. We want both Wood and Hops (two perishable raw resources) to be indoors. Turn those checkmarks back to green!
  • Down where it says Corpses you see a yellow half-circle. Click that twice and make it a green Check.
  • At the top, click Priority: and select preferred.
  • Very Good! What you just did is told the pawns, everything on the list to prefer moving indoors. The rest and anything that doesn’t fit to leave outdoors. This way it will protect perishable items such as food from weather.
  • Now, if you look around the map while the pawns are busy working you can examine the materials of the hills and mountains. What you are looking for is the different colors and textured rock to find compacted steel, compacted machinery, silver, gold, and so on. Start by mining the steel and machinery (the two most needed). OH! How do you do that? Great question!
  • By now I am sure a lot of the game works through the Architect menu, so go there and select Orders.
  • Several new things are here. As you likely have figured out by now, hovering your mouse over each of these items brings up a very detailed description that Tynan worked hard on.  Really, that was a lot of work entering it all into the game so I’ll stop stealing his thunder! This GUIDE is hard enough work, lol… I love this game and hoping you will too so I don’t mind the work. Least I can do to give back to Tynan the joy he has given to me!
  • Moving forward, select Mine then either click each tile at a time or select an area to mine out. Try to focus only on the desired stuff like Steel and Machinery.
  • Now that you have learned about mining resources needed to keep building and improving, let’s focus on food production!
  • Go back to where the colony is and pick an area near it that has good or at least decent soil. If you hover your mouse over it on the bottom left you can see fertility of the soil. Try to get an area of at least 70%.
  • Now, click on Growing Zone (Hint: under Zone/Area) and drag an area at least 6×6. Now repeat that at least three more times! I typically set up six areas of 6×6 size.
  • Next, click on one of the Growing Zones you made. A new toolbar comes across the bottom.
  • Here you can Rename the zone, hide the color of the zone, delete it entirely, select the type of crop, or tell the growing colonist to sow or not to sow. To sow or not to sow, that is the question! Sowing means to plant for some of us who have (had) to look up that term! Don’t worry, some of us just are not meant to be a farmer or have been exposed to it.
  • Select the fourth option and a menu of crops appears. Some have minimum skill levels listed, but that is ok if none of the colonists meet them. Eventually they will!. Pick potato as this first field. The next field, pick rice. The next one, pick corn. The next one, Healroot. (Even if you can’t grow it yet!) If you have more fields, I like to grow at least 1 field of cotton for clothing to keep the colonist warm and happy and often plant strawberries or a field of trees for harvesting wood regularly without having to ‘harvest’ them manually. NOTE: Some crops like trees and corn take a long time to grow.
  • Now that you have crops growing, awesome! But wait… where do the colonists that can cook, cook? Awesome question! Thanks for asking!
  • Click on Architect and go to Production! Here we have a toolbar full of production tools! Everything from a crafting spot and stoves to research benches and tailoring benches!
    You will notice I have already built a fueled stove inside and the butcher table outside. Additionally, I gave the interior some light by building a Torch lamp.
  • Now that you have both a butcher table AND a stove built, you have to give them Bills for the colonists to work.
  • Let’s start with the Butcher Table, click on that once built then click Bills above it’s information box.
  • Click on Add bill and select Make kibble for the pet. Dogs and cats eat kibble or your own food! Kibble for pets means more food for the colonist in the long run.
  • Notice now it is listed with 1x. That is a small amount and it only does it one time. So click where it says Do X times and select Do until you have X. Note now it says 0/10 or that you have Zero of ten in stock.
  • Click Details… and WOW a complex looking popup appears! It’s actually easy to understand. Just read the areas one at a time. What we are looking for is the middle left area. First, click the -25 to bring it to 1 then click +25 twice so we have 51. This will keep a good amount in stock for the dog or cat you started with. Click Close.
  • Next click Add bill and create a bill for Butcher creature. This one, we want forever so simply click Do X times and change it to Do forever.
  • Now to explain why Kibble is before Butcher in the priority order. You see, if kibble gets low the pet will go and take from the regular food pantry. Bad for the people considering the butcher table is used for both butchering animals AND making kibble. IF you have a hungry pet and three animals to butcher, you will run out of kibble before you finish butchering the creatures. So if the kibble gets low, the cook will stop butchering to make kibble then go back to butchering. 
  • Now, once the fueled stove is done, click on it and add bill. Starting with the hardest, Lavish meal (which gives more happiness) and last simple meal. Now you may encounter a popup saying you need X skill level for this meal. That is fine. Clear it. Your cook eventually will get there and the stove is now ready for when they reach it. Until you can build a freezer (using Air conditioners sat to below 32F or 0c in an inclosed area to store the food), have all of the meals sat to Do until you have 10 (x) times. this way it minimizes spoilage.
  • There! You have sat up this colony to be somewhat self sustaining. Though… you may want to check your Work menu (toolbar across the bottom) to make sure your pawns sat for hunting have a firearm (not melee). This way they can hopefully kill what they hunt before it attacks them.
  • For now, we are going to hunt ONE animal for meat. Until crops grow, this is easiest way to gain food.
  • Look for maybe deer, a megatherium, elephant (though they may attack), Ibex (kind of like deer), or some other non-predatory animal. Steer clear of anything that says ‘boom!’
  • Once selected, select Hunt from the bottom menu then the hunter pawn will go out and hunt it.

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