Creature Trapping

In Outer Colony, wild animals can be captured in traps. A captured animal remains alive, but can then be safely transported for various uses within the confines of its trap.

A video demonstration that shows the basics of creature trapping.


  • Creature traps are special items that are used to lure and capture wild animals.
    • Most trap components, like their walls, can be made from any solid material. However, the strength of the materials used is extremely important.
    • If you make a trap from a material with insufficient hardness, a strong creature may break out of it, destroying the trap. This is demonstrated in the video above. Note that the trap made from solid nickel can hold a short snouted woodgrunt, while the trap made from wood cannot. This illustrates the importance of material selection in manufacturing.
  • Once a creature has been caught in a trap, its appearance will change. At this point, the trap can be retrieved and transported with the captured animal inside.
  • You can open full traps at any time, releasing the creature inside.
    • This is useful in a variety of circumstances. In the video above, I deposit a full trap in a fenced area I built to contain the creature. Since creatures can’t open doors, building and maintaining pens for them is easy.
    • Once the creatures are deposited in pens, they live normal lives. So long as food is available and they’re kept in the right temperature range, they’ll remain alive.
    • If you can capture a male and female of the same species, they can breed. This can be exploited to build and manage a supply of livestock, providing your colony with meat.
    • Be careful! Just because you’ve captured a creature does not mean it’s domesticated. If you manage to catch a frostbull and simply release it in close proximity to people, it will kill them.

Trap Construction


Building a trap from nickel, a high hardness metal.

Creature traps can be manufactured like any other item in Outer Colony. When manufacturing, though, pay close attention to the materials from which you’re building the components. The trap is only as strong as its weakest point, and using insufficiently hard materials will make for a useless trap. If you’re using the trap in a biome inhabited by particularly strong creatures, build its structure from sturdy metals. A frostbull or ice drake will not be contained by a flimsy, wooden trap.

Trap Deployment

Trap deployment works like setting up any other sort of item. Simply use the item placement tool and pick a desirable location for the trap. When you want to capture something in your trap, deploy it to an environment that contains the target species. In the demonstration video, I was aiming to catch a woodgrunt or firncow. Both of these are large species with desirable, savory meat, and they live in cold biomes. I set up the traps near taiga that’s rising into tundra on the adjacent mountainside, and I managed to catch a woodgrunt in short order.

Trap Retrieval

To retrieve a trap that’s full, issue an item retrieval order using the tile demolition tool, just like you would for any other item. A worker will then retrieve the full trap and deposit it in a stockpile that can hold items of the traps category. Once the full trap has been deposited in a stockpile, you can redeploy it wherever you’d like using the method described in the trap deployment section.

Releasing Trapped Creatures

Once you’ve redeployed the trap to a desirable location, you can use the Open Traps tool to release the creature contained inside. First, select the combat icon, shown below, from the toolbar to open the combat tools.


Next, select the open traps tool, shown below, and click on the trap you’d like to open.


The creature it contains will be released immediately, so if it is dangerous and untamed, make sure you don’t have any colonists nearby. Note that wild creatures will do whatever they feel like as soon as they’re released. Generally, this means looking for food, looking for a mate, or loafing about. If they’re in a penned in area from which they can’t escape, make sure that food is available. Ideally, the area should provide the sort of food they eat naturally. For example, if you’re dealing with a grazing species, try to put them in an area with plenty of grass.


My captured woodgrunt, enjoying its new home.

In the demonstration video, my colony is located in badlands, where very little grass grows. I’ve captured a short snouted woodgrunt, which is a grazing species, so I’ve got to come up with another way to provide it with food. If you place a stockpile in the animal’s pen and keep it stocked with human food, it will eat that to stay alive. Providing your livestock with human food is a fine alternative to its natural diet, in most cases.

Posted in Game Design