Below you'll find some useful images and descriptions of major gameplay elements of Frostpunk. This is a rough "Getting Started" guide that is in a rough chronological order of what most players will experience during a play through.
You can move the camera with your mouse while holding the right mouse button. You can also use the WASD keys or just move the mouse pointer to the edge of the screen. To zoom in and out, use the mouse wheel. To rotate the camera, press the mouse wheel and move the mouse, or use the Q and E keys.
Resources and Workforce
Resource management is crucial to the city's survival. You need Coal to power the Generator. Wood and Steel are necessary for construction and research. Steam Cores are a key part of advanced buildings. Raw Food is used to prepare Food Rations in the Cookhouse. Later in the game, more types of resource may appear.
The temperature inside a building depends on the power setting of the Generator (if the building is in a heat zone) that building's insulation and the condition outside. There are six temperature levels:
Keeping homes and workplaces as warm as possible helps prevent people from getting ill. Some workplaces might become inoperative if the temperature falls too low.
You can speed up time by clicking the game speed buttons found to the left of the temperature at the top of the screen. You can also bind keyboard shortcuts to the game speed buttons in the settings menu, which can be accessed by clicking on the icon in the upper-left corner. The game will slow down to normal speed when something important happens as well as each day at 05:00. You can pause the game by pressing spacebar.
Use the Construction menu at the bottom of the screen to order the construction (or dismantling) of buildings and streets. Only people who are nut currently at work can build structures.
Buildings inside the heat zone are warmer and provide better living and work conditions. To make the best use of the heat zone, buildings are placed on a radial grid. All buildings must be connected to the Generator by a Street in order to function.
The Generator heats a circular zone around it. consuming at least 6 units of Coal per hour. You can research Generator upgrades that raise the heat output, expand the heat zone and reduce Coal usage.
The city wakes up at about 06:00. People have some free time until the work shift starts at 08:00, unless there's construction work to do. After they finish their shift at 18:00, they are free... to help with construction again, which can keep them up well past midnight. You can extend the 10-hour work shift if you sign certain Laws.
Food and Hunger
The Cookhouse prepares meals for people. It produces 2 Food Rations from 1 unit of Raw Food. Raw Food is provided by Hunters and Hothouses and is sometimes found by Scouts during their exploration. When there are no Food Rations to be had, people will start eating Raw Food.
Hunters leave the city to hunt in the Frostland for food. They work from 6pm until 6am. Initially, they bring up to 15 units of Raw Food from each hunt. Research upgrades to significantly increase hunt yield.
Illness and Healthcare
Cold homes or workplaces cause people to get sick. Without proper care, they can become gravely ill and might die. The sick can be treated in Medical Posts, but the gravely ill need an Infirmary to be treated. Until you build one, you can save their lives by signing one of two laws: The Radical Treatment law allows you to treat the gravely ill in Medical Posts, but some of them will be left as amputees.
Use the Workshop to develop new buildings and improvements.
Research is grouped into tiers. You have to research a tier upgrade before you can start researching technology in that tier. Researching each topic costs resources and takes time.
Children can't be employed at all initially. You can check your workforce distribution by clicking on the icon in the bottom right corner.
The temperature in the city is constantly changing. Pay close attention to the forecast for the next five days that is shown to the right of the temperature at the top of the screen. A thermometer icon indicates the direction of the temperature change. Hover the mouse over it for details.
When it gets colder outside, the temperature inside buildings drops as well. Buildings differ in the amount of protection they offer from the cold. To see all factors affecting temperature in a building, hover the mouse over the thermometer icon in its panel.
Scouts are self-sufficient and can venture great distances from the city. They may find precious resources, survivors and perhaps shed light on the world and its fate. The progress of your scouts is shown through the icons in the upper-right corner.
All structures in the city must be connected to the Generator with streets, otherwise they won't function. To build a street, open the Construction panel and click the Build Street icon.
In extreme circumstances, the Generator can be put into overdrive. This will increase the heat it provides, but also put the Generator under stress. Keep an eye on the stress gauge. When it reaches 100%, the generator will explode.
You can store up to 900 Coal and 300 of every other resource here. When this limit is reached, the gathering of extraction of a given type of resource will stop. To raise this limit, build a Resource Depot and set it to store the desired resource. Each Resource Depot can store 900 Coal or 300 of any other resource.
Once they reach an unexplored site, scouts will await your orders. To issue them, click the highlighted icon. Scouts will often need your decision on how to deal with what they find. Note: Scouts carry the resources they recover with them, so in order to make use of those resources you need to call them back to the city and wait for their return.
People may become amputees as a result of serious frostbite, work accidents, other mishaps or after becoming gravely ill and being saved by Radical Treatment. The amputees can't work, but they still need to be housed and fed. Later in the game, you can research upgrades that will help you find solutions to this problem.
Hope and Discontent
Hope and discontent also change due to random events and the death of your people.
There are two types of buildings with area effects. Some buildings, like Sawmill, have an area from which the resources can be gathered and some others the area in which they can affect people (e.g House of Prayer) or places (Field Kitchen).
Send an Outpost Team to establish an Outpost in Frostland at a location rich in resources. The Outpost will send these resources to the city once per day until you order the team to return to the city.
The Londoners are a group of people who are so frightened by the situation that they want to go back to London in a misguided belief that it's the only way to survive. People will join the Londoners when the Hope level is low and leave them when it's high. The Londoners will challenge your rule, provoking conflicts and urging others to leave the city. The intensity of the conflict depends on the general condition of the society.
The Automatons can replace entire crews at most workplaces. They are produced in the Factory and work 24 hours per day. Their initial efficiency is 60%, but it can be raised by researched upgrades. An automaton recharges itself twice daily from the Generator or a Steam Hub without interfering with its operation.
You unlocked a new building ability by signing a law. Building abilities can affect society in many ways. Each has a cooldown and many also a cost. You can find out more about a given ability in the building's panel.
Coal Thumpers wash Coal from cracks in the rock to the surface. You can order people to gather the Coal from the piles directly, or employ them in Gathering Posts. More than one Gathering Post might be needed to collet all the coal efficiently.
The Storm and City Readiness
This is the beginning of the end. The storm is coming and when it reaches the city, there will be nothing more you can do but wait it out. The storm moves towards the city, destroying and killing everything on its way, including any Outpost Teams and Scouts caught on the Frostland. It will bring with it extreme cold which will render some facilities inoperative. The city has to be well prepared to survive this natural disaster.