Allows radio contact with other factions and orbital traders.
- 3 ˣ 2
- pass through only
- Cover Effectiveness
- Blocks Wind
- Terrain Affordance
- -200 W
- Required Research
- Skill Required
- Construction 5
- Work To Make
- 2,200 ticks (36.67 secs)
A comms console is used to trade with passing orbital trader vessels and communicate with other factions.
Comms consoles can be constructed once the Microelectronics research project has been completed. They require 120 Steel, 4 Components, 2,200 ticks (36.67 secs) of work, and a Construction skill of 5.
Ordering a colonist to use the console via right-clicking it will bring up a menu showing the available factions or trade ships. Selecting an option will send the pawn to the console. Once the colonist reaches the console, the selected contact will be activated. Pawns that are incapable of Social will not be able to call anyone.
Despite being depicted with satellite dishes, a comms console can and should be placed under a roof. Unroofed comms consoles will short-circuit during rain or snow.
Trade ships randomly appear as part of an event. You will be automatically notified when a trade ship appears if a comms console is powered (ships can still arrive unannounced during a solar flare, for example). In any case, the ship leaves in 16 hours, or 40,000 ticks (11.11 mins), after arrival.
A powered orbital trade beacon is required to initate trade, and items must be placed in a beacon's radius to be traded. While it may seem logical that a passing orbital trader could be contacted from any colony with a comms console, the game does not work like that. Any orbital trade notification is tied to a specific colony, and only that colony has the option to trade with them.
Trade ships from the Empire will only appear if a colonist holds the title of Baron or higher.
At a comms console, you can call on any human faction to ask for the following:
- Request trade caravans. Ask a faction to send a trader of your choosing (bulk goods, combat supplier, exotic goods). The faction must be an ally. This costs 15 goodwill, and has a cooldown of 4 days.
- Request immediate military aid. Friendly "raiders" arrive via drop pod. Tribal factions will politely decline, and the faction must be an ally. This costs 25 goodwill, and has a cooldown of 24 hours.
- Request location of a persona core. Creates an item stash quest containing the persona core. This can only be done once Starflight Basics has been researched, and requires 40+ goodwill with the faction. This costs 1500 silver.
Due to unsafe weather conditions, it may be impossible to call on an ally. This is mainly from temperature, making it more difficult for colonies in extreme hot or cold biomes to rely upon their allies.
A mechanitor can use a powered comms console to summon a diabolus, which will eventually arrive at your colony. This has a cooldown of 2 days and does not consume the building.
Children will use the comms console for Radio talking, which fulfills their Learning need. Using the comms console for other purposes disrupts their play.
Comms consoles are ultimately not vital to a colony's progression, but are very valuable tools when used correctly. Sharing its research with the hi-tech research bench, colonies will naturally unlock the ability to build one. Note that it cannot be uninstalled, only deconstructed, so plan before you place it.
Trade ships are uncommon, but they can provide vast amounts of buyable materials, from steel and plasteel to components to neutroamine, without having to create a caravan. These types of materials can bottleneck a colony's advancement. The further away neutral/friendly faction bases are, the more useful trade ships become. Trade ships will often buy and sell items that are impractical with caravans, including large supplies of stone blocks, which can save a tremendous amount of time in constructing a base. Of course, a means of making money is almost required to actually buy things from trade ships.
Most other uses of the comms console all require an allied faction. Outlanders are preferred allies for trade due to their higher tech level, and thus higher tech items on offer. The Empire will only trade with a Knight/Dame or higher, but is even more advanced. Also, only outlanders and the Empire are at a high enough tech level to send immediate military aid.
Caravans might cost goodwill to call, but being able to specify the trader type and call them almost at will means that large volumes of merchandise can be bought and sold without running into the restock timers of faction bases, or the infrequency of trade ships. It is advisable to gift some portion of what you intend to sell, in order to make up for the net goodwill loss from calling the caravan. Assuming the caravans are being fully exploited for their silver and goods, this is typically only a fraction of the value each call should extract - calling caravans should easily remain profitable.
Finally, asking for the persona core is the most consistent way of actually getting the core.