In Subnautica, the primary method of progression is by scanning broken pieces of equipment that are lying scattered on the ocean floor. This unlocks various tech upgrades, which allow you to explore more and more of the map.

The game starts you off in the Safe Shallows biome, in which you can find some useful tech such as the Seaglide. However, I'm not sure where to go next. The next logical step seems to be to either the Kelp Forest or Grassy Plateaus, to find the Seamoth parts. After that I'm at a loss though.

Do I head straight to the Aurora to fix the radiation? Underwater islands for Cyclops parts? It doesn't feel like the game gives you a lot of direction, and considering the massive dangers of swimming in unknown territory... well, let's say I'd prefer to avoid any encounters with Reaper Leviathans for as long as I can.

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    Ahh I remember your question about the phobia in this game, glad to see you went for it. As for the question, I imagine there may be a map of the ocean world you are in with notes about where to find stuff. But I also feel as though part of the game is meant to be about exploration, meaning they want you to hunt for stuff in the unknown.
    – n_plum
    Feb 24, 2017 at 18:58
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    @n_palum Yeah, I really like the concept of the game, and the mechanics seem pretty good too (I especially like base building). However, to combat my phobia, I've had to read a bunch of spoilers (including maps) on the wiki so I know what monsters are in which biomes... so I am in a way "ruining" my experience. I don't mind though, it's still fun so far. However, the tech progression system is still very nebulous to me. It seems like a lot of the gear required to venture into the "end game" biomes is only located in those biomes... so how do you get the gear in the first place?
    – Mage Xy
    Feb 24, 2017 at 19:11
  • I haven't played it so I don't know exactly how, but as you said, if the better or game furthering gear is in the biomes that contain more enemies, it would make sense. More risk = more reward, in order to progress the tech tree you may have to venture to those places unfortunately.
    – n_plum
    Feb 24, 2017 at 19:13

1 Answer 1


The game intentionally does this. There isn't met to be any sense of "what direction should I go next?" It is an exploration game after all!

I suppose the best course of action is to obtain the Seaglide first (as you have). This greatly increases your movement speed, which allows you to reach more distant places. This can easily be built with materials found in the Safe Shallows (the fragments for the Seaglide can be found here as well).

After that, there are a few things you can do, but I would highly recommend building (or finding) a radiation suit so that you can repair the Aurora's radiation leaks/explore the area around and even in the Aurora before doing any other sort of exploration. You'll find that you'll need a laser cutting tool to open some doors so you might want to build that (which means you'll need to actually explore a little further out and deeper to get diamond), a repair tool to fix the Aurora and some door panels, and you'll need to carry some fire extinguishers (which can be found near the two entrances to the Aurora) to put out fires. Within the Aurora are supplies as well as:

Enough fragments to be able to build a PRAWN suit, and 2 Seamoth fragments (you need 3 to unlock the schematic for it). There is also a pressure compensator you can use to put in either of these vehicles to increase its maximum depth range.

Also keep an eye out for PDAs for lore and for possible door codes.

After doing that, I would do two things:

  1. Learn the Mobile Vehicle Bay schematic and build it (fragments are found in wrecks in the Safe Shallow, Kelp Forest, and Grassy Plateaus)
  2. Find one more Seamoth piece and construct it.

The Seamoth is a major stepping stone. It allows for fast movement as well as a way to get oxygen when you are too far away from the surface to swim back up for air. I would say once you get a Seamoth, you can do pretty much whatever you like including, visiting the floating island, searching for new technologies to aid you further, and building the PRAWN and Cyclops. This will allow you to get to Biomes that you otherwise probably wouldn't (or at least shouldn't) be exploring without a Seamoth and thus enabling you to find more technology and progress further.

As far following the "story" of the game so far, keep visiting the escape pod and checking the communications relay for messages. You'll get signals which can lead you to other life pods, and if you keep checking back, you'll discover that:

A rescue mission attempts to land on the planet for you to be rescued, but is shot down by the massive gun on the Mountain Island. You can even witness it being shot down if you are on the island when the countdown timer expires. There is also an alien facility on this island, which once explored, you'll learn there is another one that is much deeper down in the ocean.

There isn't really a specific tech progression you can follow. You'll need a Moon Pool with the Vehicle Modification Station to build upgrades for both the PRAWN and Seamoth, and a Modification Station to upgrade the pressure compensators further to allow for deeper exploration. The Modification Station also provides a way of upgrading your knife, fins, O2 tanks, and some other things as well.

Really, the pace at which you take the game and which order you find the fragments for these objects is entirely up to you.

  • When you get to the point I am in the game, you end up with multiple bases setup across the map to return to in each Biome. I'm fairly confident that I have made it to the deepest part of the game so far at around ~1700m. Unless the developers add another upgrade to the pressure compensators, that's as far down as you will ever be able to go as well (safely).
    – Timmy Jim
    Feb 24, 2017 at 19:40
  • That's a bummer. I had really hoped to avoid going to the Aurora until I had the Cyclops. Unfortunately, I can only find the fragments of the hull and bridge... apparently most of the engine fragments are in the Aurora itself, or in the mountain biome, both of which are Reaper territory. Ugh...
    – Mage Xy
    Feb 24, 2017 at 20:26
  • @MageXy finding the fragments can be annoying. At least they are fairly large now. They use to just be white small rectangular boxes (some technologies are still that way). I think the underwater islands region has some cyclops parts are no reapers, but it does have Bonesharks.
    – Timmy Jim
    Feb 24, 2017 at 20:29
  • The Mushroom Forests (NW and NE) are great places to visit/scavenge - hint, hint.
    – Alopex
    Nov 26, 2019 at 16:50

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