Verdant Skies is an unique game that I fell in love with pretty quickly but I was really disappointed that there aren’t as many guides for it as I would like. If you’re looking for some tips and tricks on how to get started, what to do or where to find certain resources – this is the place for you.
The basics (tips and tricks)
- Press ‘M’ for map and ‘I’ for inventory. Those two shortcuts will become your best friends. Not only you can track other colonists on it in case you want to talk to them, but it also shows ALL thie fields you can grow crops on. So whenever you find a field, be sure to use hoe on them, if only to mark their location for your future reference and use. The map also shows you which fields are ready for harvest.
- Right mouse click on a placable item will allow you to ‘deconstruct’ it. Don’t worry, it doesn’t destroy your item, just picks it up. To destroy stuff you need to actually use a waste basket in your house, so you can’t do it by accident. Right click on furniture will allow you to flip it from side to side. Right click on a field allows you to remove a crop you might not want to grow there any more. Right click on your domesticated animal provides a way to release that animal back into the wild.
- Your stamina will go down like crazy whenever you do something. Seriously, our character is a weakling. That can be improved by getting better tools (buying their blueprints and making them at the woodworking table) and by eating food to restore energy. Those first few days your best source of food are berries and fish. Berries grow everywhere in abundance. Fishing does not require energy and you can use fish to make sashimi.
- If you run out of stamina you will black out and wake up in the admin building. You will lose the rest of your day. There is a way to expand your max stamina (see ‘secrets’ section – but there are slight spoilers there!)
- Scrap is your lifeblood. You can hardly do anything without it. To that end, you need to save it up at first. Build yourself a basic house when you can, but leave off expanding it for later. You don’t really need an extra big house until you have stuff to decorate it with, and for now your scrap will be more useful for different purposes.
- Speaking of scrap – as soon as you can build a bridge that’s just outside your house to the east. It opens up the eastern plains, which is a very useful area. Not only it’s the only place you can get cow genes from, it’s also the only place that has clay. You will need clay later. Oh, it also has a larger field for your crops just next to the bridge, so it’s a good investment.
- Next thing you should build it a plaza. Not only will it further your friendship with Jade, it’s also a requirement to get another colonist, Skye the photographer.
- Every 5 last days in the 30-day cycle is called an eclipse. During that time your crops won’t grow, no matter what you do. Flowers and berries don’t grow either, so plan accordingly (if you have animals that eat flowers and no saved up stock of them… ugh).
- Do try to unlock Miles the shopkeeper as soon as you can. He will sell you resources that will honestly save you SO much time and energy – wood, stone, copper ore and iron ore
- Dynamite – at this point in the game you need three sticks of dynamite overall. The hardest part is getting fertilizer to craft it. You need 9 fertilizer for each dynamite, but you get only three bags out of one niter. Niter is found in the mining caves and it’s a random drop chance, so you need to be picky about the order you will use your dynamite for. I reccomend using the first one to blow up a big boulder to the north of the town – it will open up another mountain area and a second mining cave, which doubles your chances of getting more niter. Second dynamite stick I would use to blow up a boulder in the first mining cave – just to expand your possible mining spots further. Last dynamite stick should be used to open access to a mountain field – in the area you can get to AFTER you blow up the very first boulder.
- Mining caves – the very first mining cave can be found in the mountains just a little bit north-east from Wyatt’s (the botanist) house. The second mining cave will be accessible after you blow up the big boulder that blocks the way further up the mountain.
- Hungry cave – there is a tiny cave in the north-west part of the mountains, up on the very edge of the map. Something inside demands snacks. If you want to find out why, head to the ‘secrets’ part of this guide.
Equipment and machines
- You will recieve your first set of tools at the beginning of the game.
- First upgrades are unlocked automatically and can be bought from the blueprints machine and crafted from your woodworking bench. You need an improved hoe to use marsh fields.
- Second tool upgrades are unlocked after you get a colonist named Anthony (security specialist). Again, they are bought from the blueprint machine and crafted. You need super hoe upgrade to be able to use mountain fields.
- You need them to be able to walk in the marsh area. You will unlock the quest for them pretty quickly as the story progresses.
- Zaheen (the doctor) will gift you an insect jar shortly after he arrives at the colony – it’s a scripted event, can’t be missed. Zaheen’s collection depends on those bugs. You always need to catch the bugs in matching pairs and they spawn randomly in their designated biomes, so it’s not that hard to find a pair, just takes a bit of time to walk around and look for them.
- One of the two main crafting machines in the game (the other being the woodworking bench). You will recieve one from Jade for free pretty early on (you will need to trigger a cutscene with her and Rosie in the administration building). You will craft almost all your machines using this printer.
Crops and farming
- At first the easiest way to obtain seeds is to go around the map and check bird nests – if they are flashing/shiny that means there’s a seed packet inside. The result is random when it comes to a type of seed or its quailty.
- Seeds are automatically collectes in seed boxes. You can have multiple boxes (in fact, I would reccomend having one next to each field) and they all share one inventory.
- You need to use hoe on fields first before you can plant seeds. Normal hoe for plains fields, improved hoe for marsh fields and super hoe upgrade is for mountain fields.
- There are six plains fields in total (two locked on eastern plains until you build a bridge), three marsh fields (you need marsh boots first) and three mountain fields (one locked behind a big boulder and another one locked just a little further up after the first boulder).
- As far as I know (I’m still a little early in the game myself) crops will grow without you watering them (probably because of rain) but watering makes them grow faster (I know I haven’t watered my marsh fields that much and the plants still grew). Unless seeds have the ‘needs water’ trait – in which case they will not grow without your help. If you leave a fully grown crop unattended for some time, they will go back into the seed stage.
- Sprinklers are a semi-automatic watering system. Unless there’s something I don’t know yet, you actually need to click on them to make them water the fields around them. If there’s a way to make them fully automatic, without your actual involvement, I haven’t discovered it yet.
- When you collect your first crops you will unlock the botanist, Wyatt. His house it just up and a little to the right of yours, real close. Until you can save up money and items to make your own seed extractor and gene combiner, you will stalk Wyatt’s house almost religiously, since you can use his equipment every time you want.
- Seed extractor is just that – it uses crops you grew to change them into more seeds. Usually two seed packets per one crop, sometimes more. If you don’t extract all of your crops remember to remove them from the extractor! They will stay there until you manually pick them up.
- Genetic combiner is where fun really starts! You can combine two seeds packets of the same type to mix their traits and quality. Move the scissors around to see what result you can get (there’s a list of genes on the side that you’ve already discovered) and when you are happy with the result click ‘splice’ to cut the genes. You will recieve new seed that you can label to pick it up in your inventory more easily. (Also, just as it was in case of the seed extractor, don’t forget to actually pick up your seeds from the machine when you’re done.)
- If you have differently labeled seeds of the same type and plant them both, crops that will grow from them will also have their labels and occupy two slots in your inventory – crops with different traits do not stack.
- There are many beneficial traits that you can combine, but in general I think the best are:
- ‘regrow’ – crops will keep growing without you needing to replant them, until you right-click on the field and remove them once and for all by clicking ‘pull out crops’
- ‘yield 1’ and ‘yield 2’ – you get more crops out of a single field then you normally would
- ‘grows anywhere’ – crops with this really good trait will grow outside their normal biome (i.e. mountain crops will grow in plains and vice versa)
Similarly, there are some traits I found to be disadvantageous and tried to cut them out of my genes, even if I ended up sacrificing some other, useful traits:
- ‘needs water’ – plants will not grow unless you water them
- ‘needs fertilizer’ – a really annoying trait for me, since fertilizer is hard to obtain in the early stages of the game
To get an animal you need an animal incubator first (from a 3D printer). You obtain gene samples from animals living in the wild (using the syringe you will get from Jade as a part of a story progress) and then you can use those collected genes to incubate yourself an animal.
Animals, just like crops, have different traits you can splice using special equipment. They can have different temperaments and eat different things – like flowers, wood and stone (*sigh*). They produce an item every couple of days and then need to be fed again.
Animals need to be assigned to pens. You get two pens for free from Nessa but you can craft more from woodworking bench.
So far I found them in marsh and mountain areas. They produce eggs.
Cows are found only in the eastern plains area – you need to build a bridge to access it. They provide milk.
I seem to find them all over the place, but most commonly on the plains. They produce wool.
I usually find them wandering around the town at random times. I’m not entierly sure what this one does, yet.
- SCRAP – one of the most important resources in the game. It can be found all over the map. Not terribly rare but not overly common either. It’s a good idea to take a day every couple of game days to just wander the entire map and collect as much scrap as possible.
- FLOWERS – they grow everywhere and having three of each color (red, blue and yellow) will allow you to craft bouquets at woodworking table. You can sell them for money early on and they are also used in some of the collections for colonists. Save them up if you can – some of your animals will eat flowers and they don’t grow whenever there’s an eclipse, so you might want to have some on hand, just in case.
- WOOD AND STONE – building resources that are in abundance everywhere. Takes 4 hits to take down a tree or a rock. Can be bought from Miles’ shop.
- CLAY – found only on eastern plains (build that bridge first!). Looks like rectangle-shaped patches of brown mud. Depletes as you dig it, but comes back in time. There are three clay patches for you to dig. Clay is used for pottery and circuit board making. Also used in some collections for colonists.
- COPPER – found only in caves (random chance). Can be bought from Miles’ shop.
- IRON ORE – found only in caves (random chance). Can be bought from Miles’ shop.
- NITER – found only in caves (random chance). Used to make fertilizer (1 niter = 3 bags of fertilizer). 9 bags of fertilizer are needed to make a dynamite.
- SALTY CRYSTAL – found only in caves (random chance). Can be thrown into a grinder to make two salts. Alternatively, salt can be bought from Miles’ shop.
- RUBY – found only in caves (random chance). One ruby is used as ingredient in crafting a sprinkler. Two rubies are needed for genetic combiner. One is needed for Nessa’s collection, one for Jade’s and another one for Miles’.
- SAPPHIRE – found only in caves (random chance). One sapphire is needed for crafting animal incubator and processor unit. One is needed for Nessa’s collection, one for Jade’s and another one for Miles’.
- Jade Washington, the administrator – in game from the start
- Rosie Martinez, the mechanic – in game from the start
- Wyatt Jones, the botanist – you unlock him quickly, after planting and harvesting your first crop. Very usefull colonist, his house/lab has seed extractor and gene mixer you can use freely.
- Nessa Collins, the zoologist – you get her after completing the ‘Recruit the zoologist’ quest. To unlock this quest you need to build a bridge to eastern plains first. Jade will then give you a syringe to collect a sample of animal DNA. After you do that, Nessa will arrive at the colony.
- Miles Kelly, the shopkeeper – somewhere after the first week or so in game, when you talk to Jade, she will give you a quest to ship a certain amount of items for profit. Once you do, Miles will be unlocked. His item stock changes every day AND he sells usefull resources, like stone, lumber, iron ore and copper, thus saving your time and energy.
- Zaheen Patel, the doctor – once you get wetland walkers boots, Wyatt will ask you to find ‘an interesting specimen’ in the marsh area – it’s a huge red mushroom in the middle of a tree circle, on the western part of the marsh. Doing the quest will unlock the doctor.
- Skye Miller, the photographer – she will arrive at the colony once you build Pioneer Plaza
- Anthony Washington, the security officer – you need to complete Miles’ ‘Survey the caves for gems’ and ‘Come talk to me’ quests. Eventually, after talking to Jade, you will unlock Anthony.
- Ramón Martínez, the nurse – you need to construct the western expansion first and raise Rosie’s relationship high enough, to trigger the scene where she’ll talk to Jade about her brother. You also need to construct the hotel.
- Yuki Fujita, the performer – not sure yet, haven’t gotten that far
- Kenji Yamada, the artist – not sure yet, haven’t gotten that far
- Sasha, the tailor – not sure yet, haven’t gotten that far
- Fishing does not require energy. It’s a great source of food early on (sashimi) and Skye uses them in her collections.
- It’s possible (and even recommended, for the achievmenets) to spear two AND three fish at once.
SPECIAL FISH: (They do not count towards achievements or collections.)
Down from Rosie’s workshop, at the edge of the water, there is a code machine that you can put secret codes in and obtain items as rewards.
THE HUNGRY CAVE
High in the mountains there is a tiny cave and something in it demands snacks. The first time you feed it a correct item, you will get a reward, which are
Food items to feed to the cave are:
Reward: Jade’s tall bookcase
Reward: Jade’s rug
Reward: Jade’s bookcase
Reward: Jade’s alarm clock