Surviving Mars patched, now contains fewer idiots

There are too many idiots on Mars but that’s about to change. Colony-building sim Surviving Mars, which pleased our Alec well enough when it launched last month, has received its first major patch. The update notes are a treat – not quite Crusader Kings, The Sims or Dwarf Fortress quality, but there’s some solid stuff in there.

“Colonists will no longer try to walk kilometers on foot to resettle resulting in them dying from lack of oxygen”. Like the headline says: fewer idiots.

There are lots of quality of life changes, including an increased zoom out distance, mass drone reassignment and optimisations for aspects of the simulation. All bundled together, they should make for a tidier game, with fewer clicks needed to get things done. The idiot quota isn’t just in the tweaks to colonist behaviour, it’s a specific change: “Lowered the chance for idiot flaw to appear in the colony and applicant pool”.


You can read the full changelist over at the Paradox forums and the major changes are right here:

Science Institute renamed to Hawking Institute in tribute to Stephen Hawking

Added Birth Control Policy in domes. You can now set births to allowed or forbidden (Ctrl + LMB sets birth control policy in all domes)

Increased max zoom out distance

Optimized the way colonists pick workplaces. Colonists should now pick the best workplace for their specialization correctly and much faster

Added “Reassign All” button to drones which reassigns all drones from this commander or orphaned drones in the area

Colonists will no longer try to walk kilometers on foot to resettle resulting in them dying from lack of oxygen

Rover Command AI tech now removes the batteries of all rovers

Added a keybinding (default: i) that hides/shows resource & anomaly icons on the map

Rovers are more likely to effectively use tunnels

Rovers pathfinding improved

Added free camera option in Photo Mode

I haven’t played the game since release day because I’ve been busy with far more important things than Mars-moulding. All of these sound like very good things though – never underestimate the value of pathfinding and UI changes in this kind of game – and I look forward to being able to forbid births when I finally find some time to play.


  1. ShadowTiger says:

    After seeing a similar suggestion on the forums, I ended up purging the “idiot” infestation in rather inhumane ways… but I guess this game encourages you to play from the robot caretaker point of view.

    I think they covered most of the minor issues in the game with this patch, which is encouraging!

    • KDR_11k says:

      I mostly relocate them to the retirement dome where I keep all the seniors or at least forbid idiot presence in domes that have sensitive tech in them. Idiots can still be farmhands, they cannot break those.

  2. Retorrent says:

    Sadly the new patch has broken a lot of peoples saved games. Rockets not taking off and scientist not working despite a lab in the dome. I fixed the science problem by demoing the old lab and building a new one but my rockets are still not flying.

  3. hungrycookpot says:

    I refunded this game shortly after picking it up. Way too many poor design decisions and missing features. They’re fixing them fairly quickly, I just can’t understand why they wouldn’t have taken another month and fixed all the stupid, obvious crap, like not joining domes together?

  4. Railway Rifle says:

    Still looking forward to trying this (and having adequate computing power to run it).

  5. poliovaccine says:

    So is that shuttle deliberately designed to look like a killer whale? Also, in real life, why are we not currently painting *all* our shuttles to look like whales in space??