Sunday, November 5, 2023

Starbound: Fossils Guide

Starbound is an established open-world game with that nostalgic 2D side scrolling gameplay. Among the many activities (include building your own bases, getting a space mecha, main story quest of saving humanity and all space races etc), a player could also dig and collect fossils to display them in nice looking shelves.

The fossil hunting / excavation part could be a bit confusing initially since there isn't any explanation. It is actually quite simple. When the player sees fossil like symbols underground, the player could activate a fossil brush on these symbols. This activates a mini-game with a screen shown below.

Starbound - Fossil Excavation Start Screen

In the initial screen, the box on the left would have two "soil types" of different colours. The player needs to use the brush (1 of the 5 tools on the right of the screenshot) to brush away loose soil. This would reveal the fossils pieces (and possibly a treasure box as well). The screenshot below is what the player sees after initial brushing.

Starbound - Fossil Excavation Process
The loose soil would be gone, and the remaining are 'rocks' to be dug / knocked away. This is when the player needs to do some planning. Based on the tools (the other 4 boxes on the right showing tools and their dug area that are almost Tetris looking shapes), player could select the tools to dig remaining rocks. There would be clues on screen, i.e. those revealed bones.
Fossil Excavation Tools

The end result is that the rocks are 'cracked / dug' but the player still needs to use the brush to brush away the cracked / dug soil. This would reveal the underlying hidden parts which may include the fossils. After a few tries, the player would know the standard shape of the hidden fossils. The minimum is 9 parts (which would always form a T shape) while the max I have seen is 17 parts. In the screenshot above, 9 out of 11 (9/11) have been revealed. If the player used a tool on the reveal fossil, this cracked the fossil and excavation failed. Likewise if all tools have been used and the entire fossil is not revealed, the exercise failed too.
Revealed Fossil - Successful Excavation
A successful excavation means the entire fossil is revealed and the player gets the random assigned fossil. If the treasure box is also revealed, the player would also get some free items. Initially it is normal to have a few failed excavation but once the player gets the hang of the min-game, especially after recognising some of the standard fossil shapes, it is not difficult at all.
Starbound - Piece of Ixodoom Fossil

The fossils would form part of a collection - some collections are a singular fossil piece, e.g. a fossilized egg or a mysterious skull. A number of the humanoid types collection comprise 3 parts, while the larger versions e.g. T Rex would need 5 parts to complete a fossil collection. The result from each excavation seems to be random - I had some challenging puzzles that gave 1 piece penguin fossil while there were also simple 9 pieces puzzles that gave 1 of the 5 parts complex fossils.
Completed Penguin Fossil - Single Piece
The player still needs to build a fossil display shelf to put the fossils before Starbound recognises the achievement. Yes this is needed even for the single piece fossils. Upon completion, the Collection could also be viewed in the Collection side tab. A completed fossil display would have a red barrier placed in front of the glass shelf. 
It is a fun activity to put all the Starbound fossil collections together, almost similar to a real life museum collection! I've yet to complete all the fossil collections, which I think Starbound would give me an Alien Archaeologist achievement. Have fun!

Starbound - Fossils in Display Shelves

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