/tg/Station 13 - Gernharts alternative, practical, long ass guide to hydroponics
While the normal "Guide to hydroponics" on the wiki is an excellent collection of information I still often encounter Botanists which don't really know what they should do with it. So here is a in-depth step-by-step guide that tells you how your shift should usually go. You should still totally read the guide on the wiki first though, it will make things easier to understand.
DON'T BE SPOOKED.
While I do write down many steps here they don't take long - as long as you know what you're doing.
1. PREPARE FOR HACKING YOUR VENDORS
You just spawned as a Botanist. Here is what you do first: RUN TO PUBLIC TOOL STORAGE. It's usually in the north-west of the map.
You need to grab a Multitool and a Screwdriver. Ideally you also want to grab the insulated gloves, if you can't take the budget ones. Also take a wrench, you'll see why. Then hack one of the vendors there by using the screwdriver and then the multitool on it. Pulse all the wires until you find the one that activates the green light. Remember that wire. If you find the shock-wire remember that instead and avoid it, there is only one so one of the others has to be the green light. Later you'll hack your vendors with that knowledge. You test-hack here so that you don't disable one of your vendors for a while by accidentally hitting its shock wire.
If the greysuits were faster than you and you got no multitool you can ask Cargonia, R&D or Robotics for one. They will usually be cool about it. You can also print them at the autolathe but this early in the shift it probably won't have enough ressources.
2. AQUIRING MUTAGEN - THE FEDERAL FUCKING ISSUE
Mutating your plants and increasing their potency is extremely important. For that you'll need strange mutagen, A LOT of it. There are slow ways and fast ways to get it. If you can't get it you'd be forced to use fertilizer for mutation, which, depending on your luck, is usually so slow that you might as well not bother. BOTANY IS A RACE AGAINST TIME. You can produce a lot of strong things, but you need to work effectively. This is why we try to save time whereever we can - thus we want to mutate fast, so we need fast access to a LOT of mutagen - and also saltpetre while having to leave hydroponics as little as possible.
2.A. ACCESS TO A CHEMISTRY DISPENSER
Go to the Head of Personell and ask him for chemistry access. HoPs are usually experienced and will agree that this makes sense for a Botanist. If not show him this guide, I guess. Or explain to him that, if you were to bother the chemist with each of your requests instead of making the stuff yourself, he'd do nothing else and while you wait for it, your plants will die. This is not a lie. You are not doing this for selfish reasons. The point is that there are TWO chemistry dispensers, so while the chemist uses one you can use the other, even if there are two chemists they usually don't use both dispensers at the same time. Very rarely will the chemists get pissed at you, just greet them and be friendly. Maybe explain it to him. Or send him this damn guide if he doesn't understand.
THE NEXT "2.X" PARTS ARE ALL ALTERNATIVES TO EACH OTHER, BECAUSE THINGS DON'T ALWAYS GO AS PLANNED. SKIP THEM IF YOU GOT YOUR DISPENSER!
2.B. THERE IS NO HoP / HE DOESN'T WANT TO HELP?
That happens. So here is Plan B: Ask the chemist if you can have a dispenser. Explain to him that otherwise you'd need him to make about about 400 units of mutagen and saltpetre (mutation is RNG based so it can be more or less). Yes, you can produce your own, but you need to first get one mutation, then have that grow, then manipulate another plant with the DNA of that plant and then grow that new one. This takes a lot of time and during this time you'll still want to be able to mutate stuff. He will agree 50% of the time, in my experience. Of course this only works if there is just one chemist. If he agrees use a wrench on one of the dispensers and take it home to hydroponics.
2.C. BUT THERE IS NO CHEMIST EITHER / HE'S BEING A CUNT.
Alright then. If there is no chemist, ask the AI to open the doors to chemistry for you and just quickly take one of the dispensers before the doors close again. If the chemist is being a cunt just wait until he's not home and then do this, maybe - this can get you into trouble if this goes wrong, so be smart about your timing. However, this situation is very rare. But IF you do it, make sure to ask the AI via the PDA, not in public comms, so the chemist doesn't notice. Also, always hide the dispenser in your little storage room in the back, you don't want to wake sleeping dogs.
2.D. BUT THERE IS ALSO NO AI!
Ok, fuck. Now you COULD attempt to hack yourself through maintainance into the lab and steal it that way - good luck not getting cought. But there is a more elegant solution: Ask R&D, they can build chemistry dispensers. Make sure to offer to grow glowshrooms, glowcaps and ambrosia in return, they need that stuff. To build a dispenser you need a circuit board for it, metal, wires and some other stuff R&D has usually lieing around. Hopefully they will agree, else we'll have to do this the slow way.
2.E R&D WON'T HELP EITHER
This is getting ridiculous. Alright, we got no other choice: Well have to actually ask the chemist for the stuff. There are two reasons we tried to avoid this so much: First, while you stand at the desk waiting for the chemist to finally do your request your plants will die as noone competent will take care of them (coworkers who actually keep plants alive are very, very rare). And also the sheer amount of both saltpetre and mutagen you'll need is a crazy amount of work for a chemist who also has other shit to do. He'll become very annoyed when you want 3 bottles of unstable mutagen for the third time.
Because of that you'll have to MAKE YOUR OWN MUTAGEN: Grow and mutate Bumpkins ASAP in this case, then turn it into seeds, put those in the DNA manipulator, extract the ammonia and put it into glowshroom seeds while removing nutrition from them and also adding the perennial growth trait (you can get that from all sort of plants, anything that regrows naturally). Grow those growshrooms and grind them to get your mutagen. This will take quite a while, so it sucks, but it's all you can do at this point.
3. HACKING & THE STRANGE SEED LOTTERY
So hopefully you got your dispenser in the backroom now. Next step: Hack your vendors. Again, use the screwdriver on them and then pulse the wire for the green light with the multitool. This unlocks very important seeds and fertilizers. Most importantly you can now get two strange seed packages from each vendor. Grab them, then grab the disk boxes from your storage and make a pile of empty disks in front of the DNA manipulator. I recommend putting disks you program on the desk next to it. You use those to download/upload stats, chemicals and traits from/into plants. That way you can basically cross-breed them, creating really crazy and useful stuff. Now, throw the strange seeds into the DNA manipulator. This is where the fun starts: Those seeds have completely random chemicals in them, completely random traits and completely random stats. From them you can get stuff you usually can't produce, including mutagens for different species, crayon powder (dyes), special chemicals for special recipes, cocktails, super strong toxins and much more. Make sure to keep a tab of the chemistry guide open so you know whats what (https://tgstation13.org/wiki/Guide_to_chemistry , strg+F the name of the chemical). Extract all the good stuff onto disks by also putting an empty disk into the manipulator, if you find the gasous Decomposition trait or other useful traits you usually get through mutation you're especially lucky. If you find a chemical that turns people into skeletons, shadowpeople or whatever it is a sign from god and your holy duty to transform the entire station with mutation-gas. But if you find nothing interesting don't worry, there are still a lot of possibilities for both mischief and saving the station.
4. GEAR UP
Lets get to work. First get your equipment and put it in your backpack:
- Cultivator to kill weeds,
- Pest spray to kill pests,
- Bucket to water your plants (set it to 70 units and also use it as a hat),
- Plant bag to carry your harvests around,
- Spade to kill bad plants
- Diethylamine as its the best fertilizer for the beginning, later use Robust Harvest.
Diethylamine is twice as potent as other fertilizers, 5 units give 10 nutrition so set it to that. It also keeps pests away and even HEALS your plant. Once you got something you want to actually mass produce instead of growing it for their contents / mutating it, you'll want to use Robust Harvest instead. This prevents natural mutation (protecting your plants stats) and increases yield by 30%.
Now we will make some more plant disks. Unless your station is complete shit you'll find some wheat on your desks. Turn it into seeds by putting it into the seed extractor, put those seeds and an empty disk into the manipulator. It should have 50 potency and 4 yield. Make a disk for each. Then grab apple seeds and extract the "perennial growth" trait from them, it makes stuff regrow after harvest. You will need those disks later.
5. YOUR FIRST PLANT, FINALLY
Grab seeds for Ambrosia Vulgaris. Plant them, then take your beaker out of the grinder. Put it in the chemistry dispenser, be it at chemistry or in the backroom of your department. Set it to 30 units, then add Phosphorus, Radium and Ammonia. Thats how you make unstable mutagen. Take out the beaker with the mutagen in it, set it to 5 units and use it on the Ambrosia until it turns into Ambrosia Deus. Then do the same thing with the Deus, keep using the beaker on it until it turns into Ambrosia Gaia. You might have to refill the beaker if you get bad luck, mutations are random, each 5 units you got a 10% chance for a species mutation.
Afterwards you'll probably see some lights blinking on the tray:
RED means the plant is damaged, you can heal it with Diethylamine.
BLINKING RED means either weeds or pests. Use the cultivator on it, if that doesn't help use pest spray.
YELLOW means in needs nutrition, again, give it some Diethylamine (or later: Robust Harvest).
BLUE means it needs water, set your bucket to 70u, fill it at the sink or the water canister, then use it on the plant.
GREENS means its ready to be harvested. However, use a plant analizer on the tray to check the stats: If the yield is 0, take a bottle of EZ-Nutrient, Left 4 Zed or Robost Harvest, empty it on an empty tray or with harmful intent and fill the mutagen into the bottle. Set it to 2u, use it on the plant, scan again, repeat until the yield isn't 0, then you can harvest it. By using 2u you guarantee a stat mutation and also waste less mutagen.
Watch your Gaia like an eagle. It HATES weeds and will quickly be overtaken by them so as soon as they appear use the cultivator on it. Don't leave the Gaia alone even for a minute. You should also use this time to grab some white beet seeds, plant those and mutate them into red beets, those have an extremely important trait. You can also use this time to grow some stuff for the chef, ask him what he wants, just make sure gaia and red beet stay a priority.
Once both the gaia and the red beet are harvested, turn them into seeds. Also buy some nettle seeds. Take them all to the DNA manipulator, it's time for some science. Turn the red beet into a Densified Chemicals disk. That trait DOUBLES potency, basically, and you want it in all of your plants. Then extract Weed Adaptation from the nettles. This makes plants immune against weeds and will prevent them from being overtaken by them, extremely useful. Now we put a lot of disk data into our gaia seeds: We want them to have at least 50 Potency, 4 Yield, Densified Chemicals, Weed Adaptation and Perennial Growth. Also, important: Remove Nutrition and Vitamins from it, we want the pure Earthsblood inside the Gaia, and lots of it. Why? Because it can be used to upgrade trays.
6. ABROSIA GAIA, YOUR BEST FRIEND
Plant the modified Gaia. Now we pimp it even further. Grab your beaker, empty it, then put it in the chem dispenser again. Set it to 20u, then add 1x Potassium, 1x Nitrogen and 3x Oxygen. Set the dispenser to 10u and repeat. That way you get Saltpetre. We need it to increase Potency. Again, put it in an empty bottle of one of the basic fertilizers, set it to 2u, then spam it on the Gaia until you used it all up. This will raise the Potency to 95. If you want you can make a little bit more and even raise it to 100 that way, but 95 is good enough. Also use Robust Harvest on this new Gaia instead of Diethylamine, now we want to keep the stats and a high yield. When it's ready to be harvested turn some of it into seeds and plant those again until you got around 4 plants. Grind the rest up in your grinder, then use the pure earthsblood from your beaker on one of your trays with the Gaia in it. After adding 20 units of pure Earthsblood it turns golden and now it will never again need to be cultivated, fertilized, de-pested or watered, it is completely self-sustaining. Use the extra Gaia you planted in the same way and upgrade all your trays with it. Use Robust Harvest on the trays before you upgrade them though, as it keeps the 30% yield bonus that way. This will make your life so much easier. That way you can actually leave without your goddamn plants dieing.
Also, Earthsblood is the strongest healing reagent in the game. However, it deals some brain damage, so you can't use too much of it without healing that brain damage, too. So Medbay will appreciate it if you deliver some of the gaia to them. Tell people to only take one bite if they take damage so they don't roast their brain.
7. LETS GET DOWN TO BUISNESS
The true power of Botany lies in the crazy DNA-manipulated plants it can create. No matter the situation of the station, Botany can grow a plant for it. Chemicals react with each other within the plant so if you put the chems from one plant into another you can get crazy results. Here is an example so you get the idea:
Let's say you want to make the good old EXPLODING BANANA. All you need for that is potassium, which is already in bananas, and water, which you can of course get from watermelons. So you put the water-DNA into the banana seeds, grow them, harvest them and BOOM, you just exploded upon harvest since the chemicals mixed upon harvest, releasing the explosion. Well that sucks. We want them to be grenades, not a suicide button. There is a trait for that: Seperated Chemicals. That way the chems DON'T mix upon harvest. You can get this very important trait by mutating berries into glow-berries. By the way, those also contain the Strong Bioluminesance trait which can also be very useful. Anyway, so you add that to the bananas, too, throw them at the fucking chemist and... nothing. Damn. Wait, is he picking it up to eat it? Naw, he doesn't trust you. Ok, we'll have to add another trait: Liquid Contents. You can get that from tomatoes, EZ PZ. So we add that to the bananas too, throw one at the chemist and FINALLY he explodes. Doesn't even destroy the station, just hurts the chemist. Neat.
So basically whenever you want to make a grenade, you have to add Seperated Chemicals and Liquid Contents.
What you want to grow after you upgraded the trays depends on the situation. Here are the most common examples, you can look up the plants at the official guide for Hydroponics at https://tgstation13.org/wiki/Guide_to_hydroponics . Also for all those recipes you should always add Perennial Growth and Densified Chems, of course.
- A LOT OF PEOPLE GET HURT:
Make a better Ambrosia Gaia. Take the one you already made and add to it:
Omnizine (Ambrosia Deus) (another strong healing reagent that heals everything, but slower than earthsblood)
Bicaridine and Kelotane (Ambrosia Vulgaris) (heals brute and burn damage)
Sugar (White-Beet) + Water (Watermelon) + Hydrogen (Grass) = Mannitol, heals the brain damage from the earthsblood
If you want to try REALLY hard you can even add Oculine from Carrots, it heals eye-damage, and vitamins from Sweet-Potatoes.
- THERE IS NO COOK:
Watermelons have 20% nutrition and can be sliced into yummy pieces, you can add Densified Chems (Red Beet) and vitamins (Sweet-Potato).
- PEOPLE ARE DEAD AND CLONING IS FUCKED:
You can clone people by injecting their blood into replica pods and then grow those.
But if you're ROBUST you'll make "Strange Reagent" instead which REVIVES THE DEAD (unless their bodies are completely fucked):
Omnizine (Ambrodis Deus) + Holy Water (Holy Melons) + Ammonia (Blumpkins) + Radium and Phosphorous (Glowshrooms)
- I WANT TO GAS PEOPLE:
Be it in a good way or bad way. You can make the gasous Decomposition trait yourself by adding together:
Sugar (White-Beet) + Potassium (Bananas) + Phosphorous (Glowshrooms) + Seperated Chemicals (Glow-Berry) + Liquid Contents (Tomato)
You can combine that with other chemicals / recipes as long as those three chemicals won't react with thats already in them and thus cause problems. Remember: If you forget the Seperated Chemicals it will explode into gas upon harvest. Give pure gas grenades with nothing else in them to the chemist, they can inject their own stuff and make their own special grenades, might make them like you more.
- THE LIGHTS WENT OUT:
Take Glowshrooms (remove Radium) or Glowcaps, ideally add Strong Biolumiesance (Glow-Berry) and Densified Chemicals (Red Beet), then plant them everywhere (activate them in hand). They spread relatively quickly. You can also carry one in your pocket to always glow. Higher Potency means stronger glow. (If you want to spread darkness instead use Shadowshrooms.)
- I / SECURITY NEEDS WEAPONS:
Ohhh boy. So the classic choice here would be the Deathnettle. But you can also take its traits and acids and add those to the Novaflower so when you hit people they also start to burn. Maybe also add some poisons from Poison- or even Deathberries or Destroying Angels. If you add mute toxin from Mimanas your enemy can't even scream for help. And there is lots of other stuff you can add too, creating the ultimate melee-weapon.
Another personal favorite of mine would be the Tesla-Shroom. Add Water to Glowcaps + Seperated Chems + Liquid Contents. When thrown it will release a thunderbolt to the nearest target, shocking it and usually making it fall down, turning it into an easy target. Since you don't even have to aim a whole lot it's one of the most overpowered weapons you can make.
- THERE IS A BLOB:
Take the acids from Deathnettle and add them to a gas grenade plant (see above). If it's immune against acid try some combustable gas instead (corn oil) and throw a lighter into it. Or bomb it with exploding Bananas.
- THERE IS A CULT:
Add Holy Water from Holymelons to a gas grenade. Bonus points if you also add concentrated capsaicin from Ghost Peppers, that stuff is basically teargas and makes sure the cultists stay in the gas long enough. (Always add that stuff to offensive gas grenades.)
- FUCKING LIGGERS:
Add unstable mutagen from the Blumpkin-Glowshroom-Combo to gas, when people breathe it in their race will change.
- THE STATION IS A FUCKING MESS:
Again, take gas, this time add Ammonia (Blumpkin) and Water (Watermelon) to create Space Cleaner. Throw them at messes and when the fog lifts there will be cleanliness.
- PEOPLE SHOULD JUST FUCKING CHILL:
Add Frostoil from Ice Peppers to gas. It's basically Freon. Freezes the ground, super annoying.
Make sure you don't accidentally freeze yourself to death though.
- I WANT SOMETHING LESS PERMANENT THAN ICE:
Then use space lube from Blue Tomatoes or Blue-Space Tomatoes instead of Frostoil. Also a great present for the Clown.
- I WANT CARPET EVERYWHERE AND GROWING IT TAKES TOO LONG:
Mutate Blood Tomatoes and add Space Drugs from Cannabis to it, then add gas. This gas will then spread carpet.
- HOW DO I MAKE PEOPLE GROW HUGE?
Fly Amanitas, they contain the famous growth serum.
- I NEED AN ARMY.
Turn yourself into a Podperson using a Replica Pod. Then grow Killer Tomatoes. Activate them to spawn them as a mob. They won't attack Podpeople so they are on your side. Remove Liquid Contents from them.
- I WANT TO RANDOMLY TELEPORT MYSELF AND OTHERS.
Check out Blue-Space Tomatoes or Blue-Space Bananas. Doesn't work in gas, sadly. You can also use this to break into rooms by teleporting into them with a little bit of trial and error.
- GOTTA GO FAST!
Speedboost drugs are: Ephedrine (Coffee Robusta), Meth (Omega-Weed) and Morphine (Reishi Mushrooms).
- WOODY NEEDS WOOD.
You can grow your own wood by planting Towercaps. You need wood for drying racks, in case you want to smoke something.
That's all I can think of right now but there is more, especially because of the strange seeds. Read https://tgstation13.org/wiki/Guide_to_chemistry , check which chemicals are available through botany, maybe you'll get another sweet idea.
Remember, a robust Botanist analizes the situation before he decides his daily little science project. It's a huge waste of time to get strange reagent when there is not a lot of death. No point in making lots of weapons when you're no antag and there isn't much security to work with. You get the idea. After you got your earthsblood-upgrades always ask yourself: What would help the most right now? (Unless you're an Antag in which case the answer is Killer-Tomatoes.)
8. STEPPING UP YOUR GAME
R&D can upgrade your DNA-Manipulator, raising the cap for stat-disks like Potency or Yield. This can be extremely helpful if you don't want to spam Saltpetre all the time so ask them. In return give them some Glowshrooms, Glowcaps and Ambrosia Gaia for research (stats don't matter for that).
You can create lots of useful stuff with the biogenerator. Simply add a beaker and throw stuff with lots of nutrition into the generator and then you can produce stuff like monkey cubes and leather for those sweet leather jackets.
One last brotip: Always start by using the trays at the back of Hydroponics. That way people who pass by don't see you. It never hurts to stay under the radar - especially if there is a chemist looking for his dispenser...