Surviving the Abyss Starter Guide

Last Update: January 17, 2023 11:24 AM


Surviving the Abyss Starter Guide - cover

Our Surviving the Abyss Starter Guide will tell you what you need to know to being your underwater base building adventures in cloning!

Surviving the Abyss Starter Guide

In this Surviving the Abyss Starter Guide, we'll break down the basics of this underwater exploration and base-building game.

Surviving the Abyss is not like your typical base-builder. It can be especially challenging if you're not familiar with its mechanics -- and sometimes, it's downright unforgiving. While we can't guarantee your success, we can equip you with some useful knowledge.

Surviving the Abyss Resources

Here are the basic resources:

  • Steel - Used for making Buildings, Subs, and more.
  • Concrete - Used for making Buildings.
  • Quartz - Used for making Buildings.
  • Iron - Used for some Emergent Events, but it is mainly converted into Steel at an Alloy Furnace.
  • Aluminum - Used for advanced Buildings.
  • Copper - Used for advanced Buildings.
  • Lead - No function in the pre-release Early Access version of the game, but its presence suggests the addition of nuclear reactors in a future update.
  • Coal - Used to fuel early-game Power generators.
  • Oil - Used to fuel late-game Power generators. Must be refined in a complex operation requiring multiple Buildings.

Power and Oxygen

As you might expect, you have to provide electricity and air if you want to keep everyone alive in your underwater base. There are three factors to consider:

  • Oxygen - How much breathable air is available. If you fall short, people can suffocate and die.
  • Power - Buildings won't function without Power.
  • Air Quality - Some Buildings (such as the Alloy Furnace) will pollute the air and harm the health of your Crew.

Aside from providing the basics, Air Quality can do some serious damage in the long term if you're not careful. Air pollution can be alleviated by placing Buildings that improve Air Quality such as Oxygen Generators or Air Purifiers. You can reduce the impact somewhat by building the most heavily-polluting Buildings in a separate base with its own independent air systems.

Research Data Points

Research Data Points are used to unlock new items in the Technology Tree. You'll typically gain Research Data Points by Building and staffing a Research Lab, but you can also get them by exploring some Points of Interest or selecting certain options in Emergent Events.

Genomes and Cloning

Genomes are a resource that are expended when you Clone new Crew members. You'll typically get them by capturing Aquatic Life in a Fauna Trap, but you can get some through certain Emergent Events or Points of Interest.


Your Crew are the men and women who populate your base. The first 20 or so Crew members are regular humans, but most of your additions after that will be Clones.

Crew are divided into three types:

  • Generalist - A regular worker.
  • Scientist - A worker with special scientific training.
  • Engineer - A worker with special engineering training.

Some Buildings and Expeditions require one or more Scientists or Engineers to function well. You won't have very many Scientists or Engineers until the mid-game (at the earliest), so be careful with the ones you have at the start of the game!

Crew Relation

Crew Relation is essentially a morale meter. Failing to provide adequate resources, certain events, or the death of Crew Members can result in a negative impact to Crew Relation.

Critically, the death of any Crew Member -- even if it's a Clone -- appears to incur a permanent Crew Relation penalty in the pre-release Early Access version of the game. Try to avoid Crew deaths at all costs or you may find yourself in an unwinnable situation.

Crew also require recreation, housing, and employment. Failing to provide any of these to your Crew will also result in Crew Relation penalties. If Crew Relation falls to 0%, you'll lose the game.


A key mechanic of Surviving the Abyss is light -- you cannot build in the darkness. Light is also used to fend off the Anomaly once it starts showing up.


Submarines are how you get most of your work done underwater. There are four types of Subs:

  • Construction Sub - A Submarine specialized in erecting new Buildings or repairing them. They also transport resources between locations. You start the game with 3 Construction Subs.
  • Mining Sub - A Submarine that extracts resources from the ocean floor. You start the game with 3 Mining Subs.
  • Exploration Sub - A Submarine that can launch Expeditions to discover new Biomes or Points of Interest.
  • Transportation Sub - A Submarine that can move Crew between bases.

There is a cap on how many Subs you can have based on the number of available docking ports. The Central Hub provides 7 docking ports, a Submarine Command provides 2 docks, and the Docks provides 1 docking port. You can destroy unused Subs to make room for new ones.


There are six Biomes in the game. Each Biome has different species of Aquatic Life available, offering up new opportunities for Cloning. You'll have to travel to them first

The Anomaly

The Anomaly is a mysterious creature that will start attacking you after some time has passed in the game. It will damage Buildings unless you force it away by using UV light. However, UV light doubles the consumption rate of fuel while it's active, so consider your options carefully.

Surviving the Abyss Starter Guide - Early Game Base

How to Survive the Early Game

Surviving the Abyss is pretty unforgiving once you've been playing for an hour or so. It's critical to manage your resources carefully and make the correct decisions if you want to be successful.

First and foremost, you should strongly consider playing the tutorial. It will teach you the game's mechanics in a fairly straightforward way.

Once you have the basics, make sure to take time to focus on Building some stockpiles. You'll want to have a buffer that will give you time to secure more resources if you're running low on something. You should keep in mind that you'll need to find more resources with a Sonar Tower, light up the area, and mine them.

You may want to start Cloning right away, but avoid that temptation if possible -- the Aquatic Life available in the Seagrass Dunes biome won't produce Clones that will last longer than a few weeks. Every Crew death (even Clones!) will result in reductions to Crew Relation.

The most consistent strategy I've found is to focus on being able to produce Generalist Clones that are free of Mutations (and thus won't die after 60 days). It's not easy, but it will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.

Don't be afraid to turn off the Power to Buildings you're not using, especially in the early game. You simply won't have enough Crew to do everything you'd want to.

Aside from delaying the production of Clones, I strongly advise that you complete all of the Objectives offered in the early game. Completing many of these Objectives will reward you with additional Crew -- a much-needed resource that will surely help your expansion efforts.

Finally, don't forget to save your game. You're going to want to make a hard save every 15-30 minutes in case you make a mistake that you want to fix without starting over.

In short: the best strategy for surviving is to establish a stable supply of resources, ensure that you have plenty of resources on hand, and wait as long as possible before you start exploring Cloning. If you think you can tackle this challenge, you won't have to do it completely blind -- check out our other guides to learn more about Surviving the Abyss!

Surviving the Abyss Starter Guide - F.A.Q.

Surviving the Abyss F.A.Q.

What is Surviving the Abyss?

Surviving the Abyss is a colony sim set in a secret underwater lab where scientists are attempting to perfect human cloning while facing mysterious entities lurking in the darkness.

Is Surviving the Abyss Multiplayer?

No, Surviving the Abyss is not multiplayer.

Where is the Surviving the Abyss Save File?

The Surviving the Abyss save file is located in:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\LocalLow\Rocketflair\Surviving the Abyss\Saves

Where "USERNAME" is your Windows 10 username.


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More Info About This Game
Learn more about Surviving the Abyss
Paradox Arc
Release Date
January 17, 2023 (Calendar)
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