A survival fan with thousands of hours on survival games and still a desire to chop trees.
Upgrading Your Base
In Icarus you have to use the tech tree to unlock new materials to use when building. This is important as different materials are vulnerable to the environment in different ways, especially the earlier ones such as wood, which can quite easily burn down or otherwise take damage from storms. However, you can't simply avoid shelter while you wait to level up enough to unlock more secure building types. You may have to build less durable bases in the meantime, and upgrade them as you reach those tiers. In particular, upgrading wood to stone is likely to be important as stone does not take damage from early storm types and is likely the standard shelter type to go for. Fortunately, the game allows you to upgrade your existing building with a convenient tool, but it's not a completely straightforward process. This guide will cover how to upgrade your base so you don't have to entirely rebuild from scratch or manually destroy a piece to replace it with a higher tier material.
Unlocking the Upgrade Hammer
The Upgrade Hammer unlocks on the tech tree in tier 1. You must first unlock the Repair Hammer in order to unlock it but it otherwise does not have any prerequisite tech. However, you do have to wait until level 5 to unlock it, but that isn't a particularly long wait. After unlocking it on the tech tree, you can craft it freely from your character inventory for some fiber, sticks, and stones. It's overall quite cheap to reach, but it's a major convenience for base building. It will meaningfully improve your early game as you can avoid rebuilding your starter base by upgrading and expanding from it.
Using the Upgrade Hammer
Using the Upgrade Hammer isn't the most intuitive, but it's pretty simple when explained. To use it, simply:
- Craft the building parts (EX: stone wall) you wish to upgrade to, and place them in your inventory.
- Equip and hold your Upgrade Hammer.
- Hold R to open the menu where you can select which material you wish to upgrade to (EX: stone). This is similar to swapping a wall to a door or window.
- Walk up to the building part you wish to upgrade, ensuring you have the right equivalent upgraded part in your inventory (EX: have a stone wall in your inventory to use it to upgrade a wood wall).
- Left click to upgrade, your old building part will break away, make a sound, and leave you with the new building part in its place.
- The older part will then be in your inventory.
It's quite nice that the upgrade conserves the original part for expanding or building additional bases elsewhere. This makes it a bit less painful to start at lower building tiers and work upwards. However, those lower tiers have their own downsides so you may not want to use them at all. In that case you can destroy them for a partial refund of the cost to craft them and use those resources elsewhere.
Upgrading your buildings in survival games is fairly standard though the method through which you do it isn't necessarily. The approach Icarus takes is certainly acceptable and I personally appreciate getting the old building parts back after an upgrade. That being said, it's fairly unclear how to use the upgrade hammer and feels a bit unrefined. I also had a few issues getting certain building parts to upgrade. However, those issues aside, it's incredibly convenient and efficient to be able to upgrade or expand from your starter and avoid having to rebuild or trash the entire thing. I expect it to be a common activity in most prospects as people want to get started but need to reach iron before they can make a stone shelter more durable to storms. The resource refund is also quite nice. Nearly every resources seems to be continuously useful and re-usable so while I may not want thatch or wood building parts anymore, destroying them for their parts will be useful for a dozen other things.