The game offers access to a number of different technologies that unlock new buildings and improve the performance of existing ones. The available technologies have been divided into four categories. Each of them has 5 levels of development, which you can unlock by developing each of them separately. Of course, every technology costs and requires a certain amount of wood and/or steel. Each tech refers to a specific aspect of the city's functioning. This chapter describes the different categories of the technology tree:
This group, as the name suggests, focuses on technologies that allow you to maintain the right temperature in your city. Among the most important improvements are the generator enhancements. With these technologies you can unlock many improvements such as Generator Power Upgrade and Generator Range Upgrade. These improvements are extremely useful, especially at a later stage of the game, when the temperatures drop extremely low. These allow high temperatures to be maintained at quite a distance from the generator. In addition, you can also develop the Generator Efficiency Upgrade technology, which allows you to reduce the coal consumption of your generator. Each of these technologies can be improved several times at different advancement levels, increasing overall effectiveness.
In the same section you will also find the Heaters enhancement. It allows industrial, food, and medical buildings to be heated independently of the main generator. After unlocking this technology, you will find an option on the building panel that will allow you to enable this mode.
Depending on the upgrade level, this mode increases the temperature in the building by 1 to 3 degrees. Of course, this costs you a certain amount of coal, which you can in turn reduce with another technology. This is an extremely useful tech, as it allows buildings far away from the generator to be heated at a low cost.
The last technology you can develop in this category is the Steam Hub. It is a smaller heating building, which can be built above a road. It creates a smaller heating zone, which you can create at any point connected to the road network. As in the case of a generator, you can modify its operating range. To do this, you need to develop further improvements from higher levels. In addition, Steam Hub has two operating modes. It can operate 24 hours a day or only from 8 to 18. The second option is great when you want to use this structure to provide heating to clusters of industrial buildings, as it will save you a lot of coal.
Another branch of the technology tree in Frostpunk revolves around resource management. Here you will find everything you need to keep the mining buildings running smoothly, general technologies that allow you to increase the efficiency of all mining buildings, and finally specialized sections focused on specific resources.
In the case of coal, you have the possibility to unlock two mining structures. The first of them is the Coal Thumper. It is a building that enables you to exploit coal deposits located in soil. In this way, the basic source of coal is created in the immediate vicinity of the structure. Although this solution offers access to possibly unlimited amounts of coal, it requires a very large number of workers to operate. Even upgrades do not improve the situation significantly, as they only generate additional deposits without changing the number of required workers. Therefore, you need to assign as many as 15 workers to each deposit. This is a very inefficient solution and inadequate when time is of the essence. It is therefore better not to invest in this technology.
A much better method of coal acquisition is to invest in the Coal Mine technology, available from the first level of the tech tree. The building it unlocks is a much more efficient way of gaining coal than the previous option. It also features two enhancements: Steam Coal Mine and Advanced Coal Mine, available on levels 3 and 5 respectively. Each of these improvements increases the efficiency of coal acquisition. In addition, on levels 2 and 3 you gain access to Coal Mining Optimisation and Coal Mining Rationalisation improvements, which further increase the mine's efficiency by 10%. These are very useful technologies, in which you should invest as soon as you reach the development level allowing for them to be unlocked.
You also have access to a rather specific technology called Charcoal Kiln. It is available from the first level of the tech tree and has two possible enhancements that you can develop on levels 2 and 3. This tech allows you to produce coal from wood. The technology is useful when coal acquisition in your city is too low, enabling you to use surplus wood to solve the problem.
Also wood has two different acquisition buildings to offer. And like with the first case, you can develop the basic structure, Sawmill, on level 0. This building allows you to cut down wood located in the vicinity. On level 2 you can upgrade the building to Steam Sawmill, which will have a positive effect on its efficiency. In addition, you have access to the Sawmill Upgrade available on level 1, which increases the efficiency of all buildings of this type. And later, on level 4, also Sawmill Range Extension, which increases the range of the structure's operation.
This technology is perfect as a supplement to the second available technology related to acquisition of wood, which is Wall Drill. This unlocks a building, which extracts wood from the ice wall. Although there are no other techs to develop here other than upgrades to the structure itself, it is a technology that is so efficient that it should become your main wood acquisition method.
The final element of this branch of the technology tree is the production of steel. In this case you are limited to a single technology, which is "Steelworks". It has only two improvements to the building at levels 2 and 4. Therefore, this is the technology you must develop to be able to acquire steel for your city.
Exploration and Industry
In this tree branch you will be able to unlock scouts, who will explore and discover new locations on the world map. As exploration is a source of valuable resources and potential city residents, you need to develop the Beacon technology as soon as possible. It will enable you to create your own reconnaissance team. In addition, you will be able to increase the number of teams you can field thanks to two level 1 technologies: More Scouts and Additional Scouts. This will allow you to explore multiple sites at once, which is very useful when a storm is near and you want to check as many points of interest as possible. You can also develop technologies for speeding up the movement of reconnaissance teams on levels 2 and 5.
One more thing you will find here is the Outpost Depot. You can develop it on level 2 if you have already developed the Beacon technology. This will enable you to create a team that will establish outposts in designated locations to acquire resources. This technology works well when you are suffering from a shortage of a particular raw material.
The Factory technology is located in the same branch. It is possible to develop it on level 2. It gives you the possibility to build a Factory in your city, which will produce Automatons and (optionally) prosthetics. All upgrades you gain access to after unlocking this technology are related to improving its performance. These are important technologies if your city relies heavily on Automatons.
Food, Health, and Shelter
The last element of the tech tree is dedicated to all things related to providing for the basic needs of the residents of your city.
In the case of food, the technologies include mainly improvements to the process of food acquisition. Here you will find the Hunters' Gear technology, which is very important because it allows you to increase the amount of food produced by Hunter's Hut from the very beginning of the game. This section will also include the Hunting Tactics technology, which enables you to reduce the number of workers required to operate those structures. Additionally, Hunter's Hut itself can be improved with a level 2 technology: Flying Hunters, which also significantly increases the amount of raw food collected by the structure's workers. These are very useful technologies in the initial stages of the game.
The second option of getting food is stationary. On level 1 you can develop the Hothouse technology, which will give you access to a building of the same name. It enables you to generate a certain number of raw food units per hour, as long as the temperature in the building is appropriate. Further on, you've got level 2 and 4 upgrades, Hothouse Insulation and Hothouse Insulation II, that help keep the structure warm. Nevertheless, the building is not very efficient when you look at its construction costs. The structure's improved version though, available after unlocking the Industrial Hothouse technology, will prove itself to be very useful.
As far as healthcare is concerned, level 1 tech Medical Post Upgrade is the first available technology and a gateway to further developments. It's a very useful technology, because it boosts patient healing speed by 10%. Same as with Hothouse, you will gain access to two technologies on levels 2 and 5, Healthcare Insulation and Healthcare Insulation II, that will help you maintain the right temperature in the building.
The second level of the tree will give you access to the Infirmary technology, which will unlock a structure of the same name. It is a medical building with more beds than the Medical Post, so it's great for larger cities. In addition, you get two very useful upgrades for it: Infirmary Mechanization and Infirmary Checklists. The first of them reduces the number of workers required to operate the building, the second, on the other hand, accelerates the healing speed of patients by further 10%.
The last element on which this branch is focused is shelter. This will help you provide better housing for your city's residents. For this purpose, you will have the option of unlocking two buildings: the Bunkhouse on level 1 and the House on level 3. Both structures have warming upgrades available, which will become very useful when temperatures drop to very low levels.