Stranded: Alien Dawn - Tutorial

Stranded: Alien Dawn is a survival game where you crash on an alien planet and quickly need to setup a camp, gather resources and research new technology to survive. Soon your camp will attract the attention of the local wildlife – some may be peaceful and just want to eat some free food, others are very aggressive so make sure to craft some weapons and prepare to defend yourself.

Each new game will have you crash at a different location where the terrain and nearby resources (or lack of certain nearby resources!) will challenge your survival. You can force the game to start at certain locations by changing the game SEED. 

Keyboard shortcuts

  • SPACE : Pause
  • 1 : Normal speed
  • 2 : Fast speed
  • 3 : Fastest speed
  • 4: Research
  • 5 : Activities
  • 6 : Schedule
  • 7 : Exploration
  • Q/E : Rotate map
  •  W/A/S/D : Navigate map
  • R / T : Rotate object
  • Z / X : Change elevation of object
  • ALT : Press ALT and move mouse around to look freely

Selecting your team

Selecting the members of your team will have a major influence on how you progress. Some have very useful perks, other are unable to perform certain tasks. When looking at the skills of each team member notice if they are Interested/Uninterested/Incable in certain tasks:

  • Interested = gain more experience and will level up faster, also will gain some happiness by performing this task.
  • Indifferent = will gain a happiness debuff when performing this task, will level up slower and can not level up above level 6.
  • Incable = you can not order them to perform this task at all.

I highly recommend you pick your team from one of these:

Emelin is an Exquisite cook which means all her meals will generate extra happiness to the team. She is also a Cheerful personality with permanently increased happiness.
Jack has high Combat and Physical skill and he is interested in Crafting. His perk is Combat Instructor, which occasionally improves the combat skill of others.
Ken is interested in Combat and Crafting and also has the Experienced Scavenger perk which means he will find twice as much Scrap metal during scavenge operations and expeditions. Ken also has the Bloodlust perk which means he gains happiness when killing or observing death; combined with his great combat skills (7) simply send him out to hunt some animal when his happiness is a low and he will be happy again.
Laara is great for farming as she has the perk Avid farmer which means she will will seed and harvest plants twice as fast. She is also Hardworking which means she has 25% more Movement speed and Manipulation efficiency.
Samantha has good Combat (5) and Intellect (6) skills and is interested in Construction so she is very useful in any team. Her Engineer grants 3x work speed when constructing devices or furniture. I sometimes struggle with her happiness though.
Quinn has good Construction skill (5) and fair skills in Crafting, Intellect and Phycical. With an interest in Intellect he should quickly skill up when doing research. His Explorer trait will save time when sending him on explorations. However, he is indifferent to Combat.
Rita has high skill and is interested in Farming; she also has fair skils in Combat, Healing and Intellect. Her Natural curiosity trait has a chance to field observe unknown species during expeditions and her Cheerful personality gives her permanent increased happiness. I let her Cut and Mine from game start to improve her physical stats – this will become useful when she go on Expeditions as she will then retrieve more loot.
Simon has 5 points in Intellect and is also interested in Crafting. He has the perk Healthy which gives him 100  extra health points and recover health twice as fast;  Trombophilia decrease bleeding by 5 health per hour and Fast walker give him 25% increased movement speed. Assign him to Research first – when all research is done he is also useful at crafting.
Vicente has the Avid farmer perk (similar to Laara), which means he will seed and harvest plants twice as fast. For the Trading Post scenario he is recommended instead of Laara because he also have the Haggler perk which will give you better trading prices. Only drawback is he can’t cook.

Best team for Crash Landing scenario

For the Crash Landing scenario my preferred team is:

  • Ken – 1. priority is construction, next scavenging and crafting
  • Lara – 1. priority is farming, next crafting and handling
  • Rita – 1. priority is going on exploration, next mining, cutting, crafting 
  • Simon – 1. priority is Research, next crafting and handling

Notice: In  this scenario you will often encounter new team members either by going on Exploration or in some cases they simply walk into your camp and ask if they can join; up to 8 team members is possible in this scenary so plan on extra room for housing when planning the layout of your camp.

Best team for Trading Post scenario

For the Trading Post scenario my preferred team is:

  • Ken – 1. priority is construction, next scavenging and crafting
  • Vicente – 1. priority is farming, next crafting and handling. Vicente is great for this scenario due to his Haggler perk that offers bonus on all trading and reduce cost of hiring extra team members.
  • Rita – Main priority is going on exploration, next mining, cutting, crafting 

Notice: You only start with 3 team members in this scenario, which can be frustrating as it will require a lot of micro management to get your camp going and progress will be much slower in the other two scenarios. However, you can hire extra team members by selecting the Trading pod, then Contact the relay station and post a job offer.

Best team for Military Outpost scenario

For the Military Outpost scenario my preferred team is the same as for Crash Landing + Jack (good combat skills + ability to improve combat skill of team) and Emelin, who will boost the happiness of the team by cooking nice meals:

  • Emelin – 1. priority is cooking, next crafting and handling
  • Jack – main purpose is high combat skill but also useful for crafting, mining, cutting etc.
  • Ken – 1. priority is construction, next scavenging and crafting
  • Lara – 1. priority is farming, next crafting and handling
  • Rita – Main priority is going on exploration, next mining, cutting, crafting 
  • Simon – 1. priority is Research, next crafting and handling

Getting started

Hint: You can use SPACE to pause the game or press 1, 2 or 3 on the numeric keypad to change the game speed.

As soon as the game starts after your crash, hit SPACE to pause the game. Right-click your crashed landing pod and select Scavenge Landing Pod; if you have included Ken in your team make sure he is the only one responsible for scavenging as he will loot twice as much scrap metal (see how to setup Activities below). Scavenging is important as it will provide various useful resource like weapons, Emergency rations, First aid kit and Scrap metal.

Before we can start farming our own resources we need to observe the local plants. Your first priority should be to locate a white flower (may look yellowish when not ready for harvest) “Bright-leaved flower” (Cloth Blossom) and either “Tall leafy plant” (Graincob) or “Tall grass” (Grain grass) and start observing them; these are important in order to survive your first winter as Cloth Blossom will provide the cloth you need to craft warm clothes and Graincob/Grain grass provide grain used in crafting antibiotics and is also important in order to create Vegetable oil used for crafting Liquid fuel

Hint: You can select a team member and then right-click on a plant to order him/her to observe it. Select the team member with the highest Intellect and order him/her to observe the “Bright-leaved flower” or “Tall leafy plant” as he/she will be faster to observe than members with less Intellect..

Depending on your seed map these plants may be located a long walk from the crash site so also start observing a third plant close to your camp.  DO NOT start observing other resources yet but wait until these high priority plants are completely observed. 

While these plants are being observed look around the map for a nice large flat area where you can build your camp. As soon as you have observed one of the first plants you can build a farm field – doing this will reveal the different soil types; you should try to find a good spot with lots of Loam soil (this will show up in green if you try to create e.g. a Graincob or Clothblossom field). 

Be careful not to create too many or too large farm fields as it will take time to plant and harvest and you will likely not be able to eat all the food before it becomes rotten. For this reason I prefer 6×6 or 8×8 fields for most plants but at least 10×10 for Graincob/Grain grass and Clothblossom as you will need a lot of these.

After you have observed and setup farm fields for Clothblossom and Graincob/Grain grass you should observe other nearby fruit and vegetables. Next you may also start looking for animals to hunt for meat – start by observing “Big horned animal” (Ulfen) as these are important to hunt for both raw red meat and Hide that can be turned into Leather

Trees and bushes should be your priority to observe as there should be plenty of those nearby so you do not need to farm them yourself until later. 

Notice: Depending on your seed map not all the resources listed below may be located on your map – some may be discovered later by doing Exploration (e.g. one of my maps did not have any Smokeleaf, another did not have any Grain grass).


Now is a good time to setup rules for your teams Shedule and Activities. 

Click the Manage button on the toolbar and select Schedule (shortcut: 6) to open the Shedule window. Here you can setup rules for when your team should work, sleep, relax etc.

Be careful not to force them to work too much and also try to avoid wasting too much time on sleep and relaxation. Currently I use thise schedule for all my teams:


Click the Manage button on the toolbar and select Activities (shortcut: 5) to open the Activities window. Here you can toggle on or off which tasks each member should perform.

However, it is much better to switch off the “Simple Priorities” by clicking on it with the mouse. Now you can define priorities for each task with 1 being most important. Notice each team member will go over all their tasks on this list from left to right starting with the highest priority (lowest number). If you do not want a team member to perform a certain task click until the number disappears.

Make sure that the survivor with highest Intellect is assigned to Research as the highest priority and should not do any other tasks in the beginning as it is important to research a few basic technologies to get you camp started ASAP.

Also make sure to set Healing to priority 1 for all members (who can heal).

If you have Ken in your team he should be the only one set to Scavenge as he can loot twice as much Scrap metal.

If you have Lara in your team make sure her top priorities are Harvest and Plant as she can do this twice as fast than the others.

You should also prioritize tasks which the team member is interested in, e.g. Vivien is interested in Cooking and Crafting so these should be her top priorites as a survivor will gain happiness and also level up faster when doing something they are interested in. Likewise do not assign a survivor to a task they are Indifferent about as they will loose happiness when forced to do it!

Building your first camp

You should setup a small camp as soon as possible. Build 4 shelters (click the Camp button on the toolbar, then Shelter) and place them a little apart – next build a Sleeping spot in each shelter. This way your survivors are less likely to disturb each others sleep – if you place the sleeping spots close together they will get disturbed and become unhappy!

Setup a campfire close to the shelters – this will allow the survivors to cook some quick meals. Cut some trees and then build a Large Table and four wooden Chairs nearby where the survivors can sit and eat – otherwise they will become unhappy.


Build a new Shelter nearby and then place a Research desk inside the shelter. Open the Research window (shortcut: 4) and setup a queue of technologies to research. You should focus on researching Weaponsmithing, Antibiotics production, First aid kits and Tailoring first.

Hint: You can build two Research desks and having two people researching at the same time to speed up the research time, this can especially be useful with some of the more time consuming technologies.

Also Lightning rods is good to unlock as soon as possible to avoid survivors getting hit by lightning!

Next priority should be to research Construction basics and start a build a house before winter. Also research Wooden fortifications so you can build fences around your camp and farms.

Building a house

When you have researched Construction basics you can start building a house where the survivors can stay warm during the coming winter.

Notice that the survivors prefer to have their own private bedroom – otherwise they will disturb each other which will reduce happiness. A small bedroom (e.g. 2×2 or 2×3) will give +3 happiness when sleeping but a large private bedroom (3×4) will give +9 happiness. It is important to keep your survivors happy so I recommend you make your building large enough for four 3×4 private bedrooms.

If two of your survivors become engaged you should remove the wall between their room and move their bed next to each other which will improve their happiness. 😉

Make sure you place the house right next to the farms so your farmer(s) don’t waste time walking long distances. Also place a door in both sides of the house so your workers can enter/exit the closest door instead of having to walk around the entire building.

I  prefer building one large building with space for private bedrooms, kitchen, research, workbench, tailor etc. and some storage space. This will save a lot of time when crafting or doing research and also allow you to have your people doing something useful indoor when the weather outside is bad (e.g. toxic ash).