Cataclysm: Dark Days Ahead


I finally found a science ID card and was able to get into the nearby lab. I now have a ton of CBMs. Unfortunately, it took forever to find an autodoc but I finally found one in a doctor’s office in the 6th town I explored. Now I have to decide which ones to install since I’ve only been able to find a single anesthesia kit. That is one rare item in this game. Kind of frustrating, really.

Do you know what the Remote Controller CBM does exactly? Does it work like a remote laptop and allow you to deactivate turrets and sentry bots? If so it’s well worth choosing. If it only allows you to remote control vehicles, then meh.

The town with the autodoc is a loooong drive away so I’m going to have to establish a second base down there for a while at least. That means hauling a lot of stuff in my car. The trunk in the working car I found was so tiny I couldn’t carry much at all so I found a vehicle with some cargo carriers on it and ripped one out and took it home. I ripped out the starting trunk in my car and installed the carrier there instead and now I can carry a ton of stuff. It doesn’t look as nice and apparently you can’t install a trunk lid on it for aesthetic value but it’s worth it for the extra 225L of space.

I’m playing with 91 day seasons and it’s getting toward the end of spring. I need to start planning for winter. What do you recommend? What things should I be getting for food stores that will will last through the winter? Should I be planting stuff at this point? If so, what, exactly? Do you have a video episode for this, maybe?

I found a Chicken Walker blocking one of the roads I was exploring down. I stopped and turned around when it said I was being laser targeted. What do you need to be able to take those out?


Labs can have Autodoc rooms as well and always have 3 anesthesia kits in them so that’s the best source generally.

Ignore the Remote Controller CBM as it does just effect remote control vehicles and your not likely to ever use it.

Upgrading your vehicle with cargo spaces is always good.

I don’t have any experience yet with the new 91 day default seasons so it’s hard for me to give recommendations. I have no episodes for this or for farming (yet). I would suggest you start preserving meat/food though. Charcoal kiln > smoking rack (or charcoal smoker) > smoked meat > pemmican. that’s my usual route to stockpiling healthy food that won’t spoil. with all the new changes to butchering, meat abundance, freezing mechanics, and season length i don’t yet have any personal experience to draw from.

Chicken Walkers are one of the things its best to just leave along. yes, they can be killed, but it’s rarely worth the danger/effort. Roadblocks are the only ‘normal’ place you will run into them (there is a special site where they are abundant, but your not likely to find it anytime soon) and you should just give them a wide berth if at all possible.


Hmmm, that’s maddening because I’ve searched every inch of that lab 3 times and no anesthesia kits anywhere. The lab only has 2 levels. At first I thought that couldn’t be right so I searched over and over for stairs down but nada. There’s a central room (highlighted cyan on the world map) where there are 3 sentry robots and a bunch of nice CBMs in the center with a scientist ID on the floor next to them. I took this to be the “special” room that’s supposed to be on the final floor on labs. After that I finally stopped looking for stairs down.

There is a barracks section in the back full of bio-operators and military zombies that I had to hack a computer to open up. It’s possible that they could be in there since I didn’t kill them all (kind of impossible to do at my current skill levels).

I do have a few charcoal smokers which I used to smoke meat. I ran out of charcoal though. I guess I’ll need to make a charcoal kiln too.


Lab floor plans are random. Autodoc rooms are not guaranteed in any particular lab they are just possible. I seen labs with none and other labs with 4. The number of floors in labs is also random (1-6 floors). When you find that light cyan room with the sentry bots, id card, and loot you have found the ‘treasure’ room and are on the bottom floor of that particular lab. Btw, that is just one possible ‘treasure’ room out of several variations that are randomly selected.

When you go to make the charcoal kiln…set it up in the center of a group of trees/bushes near your base. feed it a bunch of long sticks or logs to burn then haul the finished charcoal back to your base. It’s much lighter and easier to transport than bringing big piles of sticks/logs to your base to burn.


I had a quest to get a black box transcript at that lab so I went back yet again. I went through it top to bottom again looking for the anesthesia kits but once again nada. There was only one section that I hadn’t fully explored and that was the barracks section. So, I went in and cleaned that out too.

I took a bit of damage from the bio-operators in there but they had some nice CBMs when I butchered them. One of them is a recycler CBM that reduces the amount of food and water needed so that sounds nice.

The zombie soldiers had some nice equipment and there was a big armory room with all kinds of ammo and weapons so it was worth the effort, even without the kits being in there either.

I took the decrypted transcript back to the NPC and now I have to go to the location of some hazmat sarcophagus which is out in the middle of nowhere. I think I’ll wait to do that one until later.


So last night I finally found a hospital after exploring a huge chunk of the map. I fought my way in, having to kill 50 or more zombies including 4 shockers and a few spitters. When I got inside, 9/10 of the hospital was destroyed. nothing in there but rubble and even more zombies. I cleared everything out except for a zombie hulk and there was absolutely nothing in there worthwhile. Just a few books and magazines laying around and some smashed electronics.

Is it normal for hospitals to be ruined like this? If it is, I think they should fix that. That might be the only hospital I can find and any autodoc/stem equipment and anesthesia is just rubble. Very disappointing and frustrating.

There’s also a FEMA camp nearby so I guess I’ll try that next.


Hospitals have a ton of zombies in them nowadays. The only suggestion i can make if you plan to raid one is to make sure to stay out of reality bubble range until your ready to make the attempt. If you linger in the area of the hospital you give the zombies time to demolish the interior walls (causing roof collapses). Once you are ready for the attempt, circle the hospital in a vehicle while blowing the horn or firing guns to draw as many zombies outside as possible. Then either lead them away and circle back or kill them if necessary. Either way the goal is to get as many of the larger zombies out of the hospital as quickly as possible to minimize collapses.

I think you are starting to see why veteran players tend to go with mobile bases. If things don’t work out in an area we can just drive all of our stuff to a completely new area instead of being tied down to a certain spot. It makes frustrations like your hospital situation a little easier to handle.


Thanks. I drove right up to the hospital and started my assault immediately. I’d say about 50 or so came out to meet me but there were still probably another 25 or 30 inside once I killed the ones outside. Maybe that hulk was the problem.

My “mobile base” right now is a small, very fast car with a lift on the front of it. I’d love to have something bigger but before I attempt it, there are some problems I’m not sure how to resolve. Hopefully you’ll know the answers.

  1. Any time I drive over even the smallest bush off-road, I get tons of damage to my car that has to be repaired. I’ve been very careful since to drive it only on pavement and dodge any debris in the road, no matter how small. That has eliminated damages. Is it possible to build a vehicle that can drive off-road? I’d need one to circle that hospital, for example. Would a heavy frame and large tires prevent that kind of off-road damage from constantly happening?

  2. Very (very) often I’m driving along and there are multiple vehicles blocking the road. Because my car is small, I can squeeze though usually. What do you do when you have a large mobile base in those situations? How do you get by? Especially when it’s in the middle of a city.

  1. Installing a vehicle welding rig is the key. Once you have one installed (preferably with solar panels/arrays and a few storage batteries) you can quickly repair any damage the vehicle takes using the vehicle power supply. Heavy frames and armor on the front end also help of course.

  2. Ummm…i NEVER drive my vehicles into a city if i can help it. That’s a really good way to get killed. About the only time i do that is when i am driving a new vehicle OUT of a city or if the terrain (forests/rivers/bridge) forces me to. Even then i will scout out the shortest route i can manage before attempting it. If it’s vehicles on a bridge blocking the way you can either get one running and move it, disassemble enough of one to get by, or RAM it out of the way (vehicle welding rig heavily suggested if using this method).


Well, of course I don’t drive though a city until I’ve killed all the zombies there first. I drive up to the outskirts and park and then start killing my way though the city. Once it’s purged of zombies then I go back to my car, drive through the city and on to the next one.


Heh, ahh…the good old days of clearing a city. i miss those happy times.


So, if you’re not clearing cities so you can drive though them to get to the next city, how do you do it? Do you just drive around the city? Cross-country, though the forest, rivers, swamps and everything?


I go off-road driving quite often, both to go around cities and to find body sites (soldier and scientist being the most important). Once you get used to dodging bushes/rocks you can usually do it quickly and safely even in small vehicles. there are so many variables to the situation though (binoculars/telescope to extend your map vision, type of vehicle, can you weld it back together, gas/power factors, terrain blockages, etc) it’s hard to give a ‘one-size-fits-all’ suggestion.


I went to the FEMA Camp this evening and it turned out to be surprisingly easy to clear. I killed a bunch of soldiers (including 2 with flamethrowers) and scientists and got 2 scientist IDs and 2 military IDs. Also got some nice CBMs from the scientists.

There were two labs nearby so I headed over to the nearest one and on the way found an RV that’s in pretty good shape and it looks like I could fix it up pretty easily. Right near it is a SUV with a minireactor and electric motor. I’m wondering if I should try to plop those into the RV. The RV has a regular frame so I also wonder if it’s possible to replace that with a heavy duty one instead without tearing it apart completely. If not, should I just use the parts from both vehicles to create a custom heavy duty RV? If I do build/repair it there, is there any way to tow my original small vehicle behind or would would I just need to abandon it there?

The lab is interesting because on the 3rd level it looks like there is a lab train station there that goes to this big underground complex via an underground subway system. I’m intrigued and must explore that.

It also has an autodoc and even some anesthesia to add to what I’d already found elsewhere. Jackpot. I’ve killed lots of scientists and another bio-operator there and gotten some even better CBMS so time to become the bionic man.


The more I play this game the more convinced I am that this is the best/deepest roguelike out there. It really is a rabbit hole that you can end up going very deep down once you start.

I been worked on my first mobile base all weekend. I found an RV that wasn’t in terrible shape so I used that as my starting platform and made many modifications.

It had a V6 gas engine originally but I found a V8 engine on a police car and replaced it with that. I also found a badly damaged mini-reactor in a SUV and installed that and repaired it. I then found a large electric motor and installed that as a second engine. I have it set to just run off of the gas engine and if I run out of gas the backup electric engine can take over and get me around. That way I’ll never be stuck out of gas.

I added a second gas tank (why not) and it originally came with a 60L tank installed with clean water in it already so that was a bonus.

I installed solar panels and 4 storage batteries for extra juice in running everything and to make sure I always have a way to recharge no matter what.

I found an armored Humvee with a grenade launcher and a turret so I ripped those out and installed them for defense. I also pulled some heavy frames and composite armor off of it and added those to the front as a hardened ram bar in case I have to ram any zombies. The rest is still regular frames and no armor since I didn’t want to make it supper heavy and kill my gas mileage.

The Humvee also had 33 inch armored wheels so I added all 4 of those to the rear of my vehicle and put 4 of the original 24 inch wheels on the front. I kept 2 of those for spares since I figure if I hit stuff the front tires will take the worst of it and need replacing.

It came with a mini-fridge and range so I just added the chemistry station and food buddy. I don’t really need a welding station since I have an integrated toolset CBM that has that included. Maybe I need to add a forge though, I’m not sure.

It came with a bed originally but I removed it. I ripped out the front seat and replaced it with a reclining seat so I can sleep there instead. It works great.

I have a lift on the back and it works great to get heavy stuff off other vehicles but you can’t use it to install heavy stuff in YOUR vehicle, which sucks. Then I found that I could construct a folding telescopic crane that solves all my problems. It’s basically like building folding shopping cart except you put the lift on the frame and casters instead of a basket. Once you’re done with it you can just fold it up and stick it in a storage box. It works great and I’ll probably remove the boom crane from my vehicle now as it’s not needed anymore.

I added a bunch of storage but I can, and most certainly will, add more whenever I need to.

Anyway, this is what it looks like so far:


Oh those poor wing mirrors. If you don’t like replacing those every 5 minutes you can pop them off and re-install them in the front corner of the vehicle (where the headlight graphic is). this turns them into ‘inline’ mirrors instead. It cuts down on the rear view angle slightly but vastly improves their life span. A chemistry station with a pot in storage nearby provides the exact same benefits of the RV Kitchen unit so no need to have both. I tend to go solar on these types of vehicles for the free energy. if you decide to go that route keep an eye out for bubble cars that can provide upgraded solar panels and enhanced electric motors.


Thanks for the tip on the mirrors, I’ll try that now. I’ll also get rid of the RV kitchen. I’m still trying to figure a lot of this stuff out.

Do you have a storage battery installed as your main vehicle battery instead of a regular car or truck battery? If that’s possible to do it would help a lot.

I have indeed gone solar in that I have 6 solar panels on the top to provide extra power. I haven’t found any of those upgraded panels yet but I’m looking.

I currently have a large electric motor installed but I do have 2 of the enhanced electric motors in storage that i found on a sports car. Looking at the wiki info, it looked like the enhanced motors are slightly more powerful but are half as durable and suck up considerably more energy so I went with the reliability/economy over slightly more power. Is there another reason I should consider switching to an enhanced one instead?

I’ve been wrestling today with getting a good view behind my vehicle when driving. I installed a security camera on the back and that works great except at night. So I stuck a 3rd headlight back there and 2 more floodlights. Now I can see great at night but it sucks battery power like crazy when they’re on. It drains the battery down pretty fast even when the engine and alternator are running.

What happens when your main engine’s battery runs out of power, does it then start using your extra storage batteries for power? I sure hope so or I’ll have a problem.

Edit: I just replaced the original car battery with a storage battery i pulled off a tank so that appears to work fine.


Yeah, it makes no difference what battery is installed. They all work the same just with different capacities and mounting options. They always drain/charge from top to bottom on the list and the first one must reach 100% before the next starts charging. Solar can get pretty fancy with upgraded/reinforced/quantum/array options available. try not to place any on the outside edges of the roof if possible. You can also repair batteries but they must be removed from the vehicle first, then re-installed.


Thanks! I had a few solar panels on the edge so I moved them.

I had been wondering about not being able to repair batteries so that explains it.

I feel like my mobile base is in pretty good shape now so I hit the road. I’m exploring my 3rd lab now and it’s an ice lab. The second lab I explored had 6 levels with an autodoc and some anesthesia on every level but the last. It also had a ton of scientists and bio-operators so needless to say I have a lot of nice bionics installed now. One of them is the internal temp control cbm which is saving my ass in the ice lab. The third ice lab level is -37 degrees with at least one more level down. Brrrr.

So far it doesn’t have many scientists but what it does have is giant burrowing moles, which I hadn’t seen before. It also has a ton of living quarters that have a LOT of food lying around. The most I’ve seen anywhere in the game. My kitchen in my base-mobile is well stocked up now for a long time.


Be careful in area’s with the moles. They knock down walls which can give turrets unexpected sight lines which can ruin your day pretty quick.

Ice lab’s temperature drops roughly -30 degrees per level so you can kinda figure your clothing needs ahead of time. If you don’t plan to fight much or can at least control when it happens you might consider layering up. You can wear two copies of any particular item (two thermal electric suits, two winter jackets, two flannel shirts, etc). Just be aware of your movement rate and hit penalties when doing that.