Learning helper

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Some of the lessons in the Learning Helper. From earlier versions.

Learning helper sits in the top right of the screen. If something happens relating to a concept the player hasn’t learned, that lesson will be activated and shown on the learning helper. It can then be opened and read. Lessons are automatically marked as learned when the player does the necessary interaction, and can be marked as learned manually. Lessons are shown as needed by circumstance, or on a slow timer. The overall idea is that you’ll never be shown a lesson you already know, but always be shown the lessons you need to know now. It can be expanded and searched for any lesson, so you can look up how to do a specific thing at any time.

The learning helper can have custom lessons added by mods.

List of lessons


Name Content Activation trigger
Animals don't attack doors Manhunting animals generally won't attack doors or inactive turrets.
You can escape them by getting inside or behind a wall. But they'll wait for you. [1]
Bills tab To make colonists work at a table, select the table and open the Bills tab. Here, you can say what meals to cook, what things to craft, what creatures to butcher. ---
Build orbital trade beacon To send items or silver to orbital traders, you must build an ORBITAL TRADE BEACON and place a stockpile of items near it. ---
Capturing When an enemy is downed on the ground but not dead, you can CAPTURE them.
To capture, select a colonist, right-click on the incapacitated enemy, and select Capture. You'll need an extra bed marked for prisoner use.
Drafting To control colonists directly for combat, Draft them by selecting them and hitting the DRAFT button.
A drafted colonist will do only what you tell them, and can only take combat actions. Those with weapons will use them when possible.
Don't leave colonists Drafted forever - they'll starve and become unhappy.
Door opening speeds Doors open at different speeds depending on what they're made of.
Warning: Stone doors open very slowly. Anyone passing through will be significantly slowed down.
Drug addiction You can inspect your colonists' desire to take a drug in their Needs tab.
As long as their need level is at zero, their addiction changes to a "withdrawal" state which can have various negative side effects.
However, after long enough in withdrawal, their addiction will end and the drug need will disappear.
Drug burning Drugs can be useful, but can also lead to harmful addictions.
If you want to avoid drugs in your colony, you have the option of burning them at a campfire.
Drug policies You can assign colonists to take specific drugs on a specific schedule. For example, you can make them take anti-malaria drugs regularly, or drink a beer a day to stay happy [2].

Open the ASSIGN tab and press the 'Manage drug policies' button. Create a new drug policy. Then, you can assign this policy to colonists.
Colonists can still take drugs not in their policy. You can tell them what to do, but they also follow their own desires!

Interacting with traders You can talk to people with ? over their heads.
Select a colonist and right-click on the character with ? attached to his head.
Prisoner tab Look in a prisoner's 'Prisoner' tab to set how they'll be treated. You can set whether they'll be recruited, ignored or executed, whether they eat, and what kind of medical care they get. Colonists with the Warden work type will interact with the prisoner. ---
Reforming caravans After an encounter, you can easily re-form a caravan by using the RE-FORM CARAVAN command in the World view. ---
Rescuing To rescue a wounded person, select a healthy colonist and the right-click on the wounded one.
If you rescue a non-colonist, they won't necessarily join your colony. They may simply walk away after healing. If you want to guarantee that they join, capture them and recruit them.
Set what plant to grow You can set what to plant in a growing zone. You can even grow trees!
Just select the growing zone, open the Growing tab, and click the 'plant' button.
Shield belts Shield belts stop ranged attacks from coming in or out. They have no effect on melee attacks.
To fight against shield belts, either concentrate a lot of gunfire on the target, or fight hand-to-hand.
TV for sick people Sick people can watch TV while laying in bed. ---

Using the comms console To communicate, select a colonist and right-click on the comms console. ---
World view camera movement Zoom with the MOUSE WHEEL or <Zoom in key> and <Zoom out key> keys. Pan with the {Key:MapDollyUp}-{Key:MapDollyLeft}-{Key:MapDollyDown}-{Key:MapDollyRight} keys, or by MIDDLE-CLICKING and DRAGGING. At start
  1. They will attack doors if they see a colonist go behind it to hide.
  2. Not recommended as colonists drinking a beer every day will quickly get addicted and suffer from various alcohol-related ailments.