Assorted Questions from a Half-Competent Survivor

I’ve made it to day 15 with my latest character, the longest I’ve lasted. I’m in no danger of starving, and zombies aren’t a constant threat either, so I’m at a stage in the game where I’m not sure how I should be spending my time. I’ve mostly been reading skill books and digging through the crafting lists for advanced stuff I could make. Most of these questions stem from not being able to make any of it. If you’re only able or willing to answer one of these, that’s fine.

How do you get new crafting recipes? I know you can learn some from books, but would you eventually learn them anyway if you raised the related skill to a high enough level?

How often will you fail crafting if the difficulty is higher than your skill level? How many levels behind do you have to be before it’s not worth it to try? Does trying harder recipes give you more skill %'s if you succeed?

Does crafting raise the related skill level if it’s an advanced enough recipe, or does it only raise your fabrication skill?

What’s the chemistry set for? I started with level 4 cooking and I’d think that a chemistry set would let me make some drugs or cool chemical weapons, but the only craftable in my chem tab that requires it is acid water for acid bombs. I can make black powder, thermite, and gas bombs without it. Do I just need a higher cooking level?

I want to make a new wood door in my house but there’s a wall in the way. The only way I know to get rid of a wall is to burn or smash it down. I’m NOT going to risk burning it, and smashing it could still make the roof fall in. Is there a safer way to do it?

I never get any tallow or fat when I butcher animals. I have level 3 survival and a hunting knife with 30 butchering.

I have the Light Sensitive mutation that’s supposed to give me -1 to all stats when I’m in sunlight. “In Sunlight” shows up in Effects in my character panel, and my stats all turn red like they’re decreased, but they’re all unchanged. Other stat alterations from drugs and alcohol still work. I also have a Dextrous mutation that works, and gives me +1 Dex. On that note…

When should I update the game? When do you update it? Experimental builds come out three or four times a day. I don’t know what they might have fixed or what they might have broke, so I’m tempted to just stay on the version I have, that I know works for the most part at least, until another big update comes out.

And here’s a list of materials I want but don’t know where to find. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of good documentation out there for items, most of the time I’ve found this kind of info on the forums or subreddit.

charcoal smoker
oxidizer powder
rubber hoses
aluminum powder
chromium oxide
electronic scrap
copper wire

If you notice an absence of anything I ought to be looking for, go ahead and point it out.

Thanks for your help!

EDIT: Oh I forgot, can you tailor clothes to make them fit you? I only see options for repair and reinforcing. I there a difference between tailor’s and sewing kits?

I’ll answer whatever I can. I’m semi-competent at the game myself though I’ve yet to reach end game on any character.

  1. Levelling up your skill and books are the ways you’ll get 99% as far as I know. One uncommon way ia getting sd cards and using the ink tablet. They have music, photos ( morale boost ) and sometimes recipes ( mostly food ).

  2. It depends. I think INT also influences it but I don’t know the definite chance or if it exists. I don’t think I’ve ever tried any recipe that was higher than 1 level than my lvl so I can’t say. Just do the recipes on the same level your skill is. I think the biggest factor on skill exp gain is crafting time ( and focus obviously ).

  3. I believe crafting used to raise both the main and secondary skills but that was removed. Only the main skill gives exp. No clue what you meant by the fabrication bit.

  4. The only use I have for chemistry set is for making the onboard chemistry lab since it has built-in water purifier.

  5. You could try to jackhammer throigh it. Be aware the roof might still collapse but it probably is safer than just smashing it. Alternatively build a wall right next to the wall you want to destroy to possibly ‘strengthen’ it. No clue if that will work.

  6. Small animals won’t give you fat ( you craft it into tallow with water ) so try a moose. Have a fun deathGood luck.

  7. Never had that trait so I can’t help you with that.

  8. If you’re lazy like me every 2-4 weeks seems optimal. This way you should avoid upgrading to a build with game breaking bugs. If you want to know what was changed use this site:

Hope I helped.

EDIT: Forgot the latter part.

  • Charcoal Smokers are rather easy to craft. I personally prefer food dehydrators ( they are uncommon but can be crafted with decent electronics I think ).
  • Ammonia is somewhat common in houses ( thougn I didn’t see much recently ) along with bleach. No clue if it can be crafted.
  • Can be crafted, not sure about the exact skill lvl, jist get your cooking up.
  • Another rather easy craftable. You need bleach ( or lye powder ) water and something else I can’t recall of the top of my head.
  • Break refrigerators for hoses.
  • The only place I ever found sulphur is near lava. You will take heat damage so be careful. You’ll get a chunk that can be crafted into usable sulphur.
  • No clue about Niter. Are you sure you didn’t misspell it?
  • Get aluminium cans and sand ( bash sandbags in basements ) and you can craft Aluminium Powder.
  • It’s craftable. Get your cooking up and hopefully a copy of chemistry textbook.
  • I think to get the scrap you need to disassemble damaged electronics.
  • Bash ovens for some ( along with the ever useful heating elements which you should collect ) or loot an electronic store for literal hundreds of it.

Yes, there is a difference. Sewing Kit won’t let you modify clothing ( also it stores less thread but who cares about that ). To refit clothes they have to be fully repaired. It goes like this:

Repairing > Refitting ( If needed ) > Reinforcing

Lots of good info, thank you! I’ve got a lot of good projects to pursue now. Didn’t misspell “niter”, it’s an ingredient in saltpeter. It might listed as “nitre” if the game has a British-English setting. Need it to keep making bombs and ammo after I run out of scavenged gunpowder.

I prefer a smoking rack to preserve meat. You need a few levels survival and contruction I believe.

Honestly if you have any questions on items, monsters, crafting recipes, etc. It’s all here on the item browser.



For experimentals, I personally update them when there’s some new update/rebalance that everyone starts to talk about. But you can get the cataclysm game launcher which automatically updates your experimental version.

Number your questions next time - helps with the answers, if someone doesn’t want to answer them all.

  1. Some recipes are “auto-learn” - that is, once you can craft them, you know them. Others aren’t - the only way to get them is to have a book (or the other rare methods KiBoy mentioned).

  2. Only the main skill.

  3. Chemistry set is has the “chemical making” quality (or whatever it’s called), and almost all the recipes that need that are a) fairly high level cooking and b) are not auto-learned, so go find some books.

  4. Different animals have different amounts of fat you can get. Once your survival is high enough and you have a decent butchering tool, you should generally get all that there is to get from a corpse (CBMs are random from a list by corpse type, with a random chance to get burnt out bionics instead - nothing that I know of helps there). Good sources of far are bears, moose, and giant frogs. Lesser sources would be wolves, giant crayfish, and wolf spiders. The most amazing and ridiculous source of fat is the giant slug, but they’re very rare and a big of a pain to kill. Give CRAZY amounts of fat, though.

Best place to get most chemicals is in labs. Also, you can make bleach and ammonia… with a chemistry set and the right recipes and skill. Best source for copper wire is Home Improvement Megastores - I’ve never seen one that didn’t have over 1000 copper wire (most recent one I looted had 3400). Electronics stores usually have some, and occasionally have lots. Easiest source for electronic scrap is disassembling a computer (good source of several other things, too).

No problem.

Now that I think about it, I think I’ve only found Niter once. I think it was the school chemistry storage. You might try to avoid making explosives with it since it seems so rare ( at least early and mid game ). Molotovs are perfectly viable and are very easy to make. A smoke bomb can also be very useful to cover you escape in case you come face-to-face with a lone tank or a horde you can’t take on yet.

I like using the improvised weapons that don’t use gunpowder-based ammunition ( like pneumatic assault rifle, even if the single pebble per reload is annoying ). At least you should do so until your weapon skill is decent enough.

Alternatively, you can disassemble the ammunition you don’t need. Should help keep your bullet count up.

About the updating part. You can get a launcher which updates the game automatically when new experimental build is up and it updates some mods for you. Isnt that great.