Growth vat

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Growth vat

Growth vat

A vat of fluid which can gestate an embryo or accelerate a child's growth.
While growing or gestating, the vat must be fed with a constant supply of nutrition to provide the feedstock for growth. Gestating an embryo takes twice the nutrition of accelerating a child's growth.
Embryos are gestated for 9 days before a baby is formed. There is a risk of health complications.
Child growth can only be accelerated up to age 18, but not beyond. While growing, a child's skills will slowly increase. Children raised in growth vats will have lower skills and gain fewer passions than normal.
The device uses chemical injections, electrical stimulation, and simple mechanite treatments to push the body to grow. Growth vats are often used to quickly manufacture engineered workers or warriors.

Base Stats

BuildingBiotech (Buildings)
Market Value
440 Silver [Note]
30 kg
Path Cost


1 × 2
pass through only
Cover Effectiveness
-80 W


Required Research
Growth vats
Work To Make
8,000 ticks (2.22 mins)
Resources to make
Steel 150 + Component 4
Deconstruct yield
Steel 75 + Component 2
Destroy yield
Steel 37 - 38 + Component 1

The growth vat is a building added by the Biotech DLC. It allows the gestation and accelerated aging of babies and children.


Growth vats can be constructed once the Growth vats research project has been completed. Each requires Steel 150 Steel, Component 4 Components and 8,000 ticks (2.22 mins) of work.


While hosting a human, growth vats require a constant 200W of power as well as nutrition. Both raw and processed foods, including nutrient paste and hay, can be inserted. None of the usual mood bonuses or maluses from different food types, such as from human meat, are applied. Hosting an embryo costs 6 nutrition per day and aging a child costs 3 nutrition per day. The vat's contents can be ejected immediately by the player by canceling vat growth; if it was an embryo, it will be destroyed. When no pawn is inside, the power consumption reduces to 80W

If the vat has no power or nutrition, the being inside will enter bio-starvation, increasing in severity by 50% per day starved, and decreasing 10% per day properly supplied or spent outside the vat. Bio-starvation increases nutrition consumption in a vat by +10% at all severities, and kills at 100%. If a bio-starved pawn leaves the vat, a number of status effects will be applied to them. See bio-starvation for a full list.

Baby creation[edit]

Growth vats can be used to grow an embryo in 9 days, twice as fast as natural pregnancy, and regardless of either parent's Fertility (as long as it's above 0%). This comes without risk to the mother, but the baby can still arrive sick.

Growth vats have a birth quality of 70%. There is roughly an 89.1% chance for the baby to be born healthy.


Colonists under 18 can also have their aging sped up by 20x, i.e., it takes 3 days to age 1 year. This ignores the default 4x aging multiplier for babies and children, so a vat is 5x faster than that. While in the vat, a pawn's needs are frozen like in cryptosleep, and children will not gain growth points. Every 3 days that a baby or child is in the vat, they'll received 8000 experience (before passions or other multipliers) towards a random skill. The skill selected is entirely random and does not prefer passions, though it will ignore skills that are disabled due to backstory or traits. The experience ignores the daily limit of XP to a skill and is not affected by global learning rate (for example, the Fast Learner trait), but is modified by the child's current passion level in the skill chosen.

As a child spends a maximum of 54 days inside a growth vat from birth to age 18, a child gains a maximum of 18 of these experience bonuses, for a total of 144,000 pre-passion experience. If distributed evenly across skills, a child can expect to see an average of 12,000 experience per skill before passions. Ignoring passions that are changed at growth moments, this average XP would cause a no-passion skill to reach level 2, a regular passion skill level 4, and a burning passion skill level 5. Exact distribution will vary randomly, and passions can be altered at growth moments, affecting this gain rate. Overall, however, it is very unlikely for any given skill to reach more than level 8 even with a burning passion in it from the start. A child grown entirely within a vat will have no passions and 3 random traits.

Non-psychopath parents (including surrogates) will have a −4 My child is in a growth vat moodlet while their kid is inside. This can be altered by ideoligion.Content added by the Ideology DLC

Biological Age Time in vat No Vat
Base Vat Vats: EssentialContent added by the Ideology DLC[1] 400% Aging[2]
+1 Year[3] 3 days 2.3 days 15 days
+3 Years[3] 9 days 6.9 days 45 days
Embryo to 0 9 days 9 days 18 days
Embryo to 3 18 days 18 days 63 days
Embryo to 18 63 days 52.6 days 322 days
Age 0 to 3 9 days 9 days 45 days
Age 3 to 13 30 days 23.1 days 152.4 days
Age 13 to 18 15 days 11.5 days 106.6 days
  1. Growth Vats: Essential does not apply to pawns without the ideoligion, i.e. embryos and babies age normally.
  2. Default child aging value from 0 to 11. Note that children will start to age slower from this speed after reaching 11 biological years of age. See Children#Aging for more details.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Assuming a child between age 3 and 11


IdeoligionsContent added by the Ideology DLC can have an optional Growth Vats precept with two options:

  • "Growth vats: Essential" boosts grow vat speed by +30% (children grow 26x faster) if the child has the ideoligion. Babies and embryos are not boosted. It negates the parent mood penalty. When expectations are moderate or higher, it gives parents a −2 Child not in growth vat mood for their child not being in a vat (stacking up to 3 times), pregnant pawns gain a −5 Natural pregnancy mood when pregnant, and all colonists gain a −3 No growth vats moodlet if the colony has no growth vats.[Verify]
  • "Growth vats: Prohibited" gives negative mood for growth vats in your colony, and when any embryo or child is in a growth vat. The My child is in a growth vat increases to −8 (stacking 3 times, nullified by the psychopath trait), and gives a +1 Child not in growth vat mood for their child not being in a vat (stacking 3 times). All colonists gain a −3 Growth vat moodlet if the colony has a growth vat.

If neither precept is chosen, the ideoligion has no effect.


If the Learning need is nonexistent, then growth vats will not negatively impact a pawn's development:

  • Babies (0-3) can be placed in the growth vat to speed up reaching toddler age. There are no apparent ill effects on the baby, and they even train an age-3 valid skill (Shooting, Melee, Social).
    • However, parents who dislike growth vats gain the −4 moodlet, and it negates the mood buffs from having a happy baby in the colony.
  • If a child (3-13) is at growth tier 8, then no more growth points can be obtained, though children can learn from Work Watching or Lessons. Either way, the benefits are minor: these children will be a few days from growing up naturally.
  • Aging a teen (13-17) to 18 has no ill effect, and removes the body size and work penalties from being underaged. This costs up to 15 days of an almost-adult's time.

In these cases, vats exchange time for the cost of nutrition and power. Each vat doesn't consume much power, while nutrition can usually be solved by simply growing more food. For reference, growing a child is just under 2 colonists' worth of food. An embryo is roughly equal to 4 colonists for the duration, consuming 60 simple meals over the 9 days.

On the other hand, completely vatgrowing baseliners will have them end up being fairly weak pawns. A vatgrown child will end up with 0 passions, very weak skills, and 3 random traits - a wanderer or just about any prisoner recruit is likely to just be better, without consuming nearly as much nutrition. Regardless, vats will ignore the game's natural population curve, and will always be able to fight, haul, and clean competently. Of these, hauling and cleaning can be accomplished with lifters and cleansweepers, both which are cheap and very early on the mechanitor progression path. However, the math becomes less aggressive when one considers available options to increase nutrition efficiency of an embryo. Embryos can be carried by permanent prisoners who can be fed Nutrient Paste directly, and given custom Xenogerms to drastically reduce their nutrition requirements.

With gene editing[edit]

Notice that vatgrowing baseliners will end up with poor results. With the gene system, it is entirely viable to create a vatgrown army, either with in-game gene modding, or a player-created xenotype. The genetics system is a natural fit to growth vats.

For example, a simple xenogerm consisting of Great Shooting / Psychite Dependency / Psychically deaf will create a pawn with a passion and 8 free levels of Shooting, easy mood regulation through yayo, and a hunger rate of only 70%. An amazing Shooting Specialist.Content added by the Ideology DLC Lategame colonies can form dozens of vatgrown soldiers with this xenogerm, completely blasting through the game's intended population level, only being limited by growing space. This becomes even more powerful when considering xenotypes you can create at the start of the game, which can be min-maxed as much as you'd like.


While raw food can be put into the dispenser, virtually any means of cooking a meal gives more nutrition per food item. The absolute best way to prepare food is the nutrient paste meal, which triples nutrition. However, colonists won't automatically dispense nutrient paste for a growth vat; they will only haul meals on the floor to it. See Nutrient paste#Manually producing meals for how you can stockpile nutrient paste.

Without nutrient paste researched, or if you don't want to micromanage everything, baby food is the next best way to prepare vegetables. Simple meals are the next best way to prepare other food items.

There are no penalties to anyone for using insect meat, already-butchered human meat, or other usually undesirable food items in a vat.

Organ harvesting[edit]

Children can be organ harvested as soon as they are 3 years old.

  • It takes a total of 90 simple meals or 1620 baby food to grow a set of organs (54 nutrition to grow an embryo, 27 nutrition to grow a newborn to 3). Depending on preparation method, this costs 900 (meals) or 810 (baby food) items of virtually any raw food. 810 corn is worth Silver 891, plus preparation time. Human meat is cheaper.
  • You can harvest 1 kidney (Silver 900), 1 lung (Silver 1,000), and either a heart or a liver ( Silver 1,200), for a total of Silver 3100.
    • If you can create prosthetic hearts, you can spend a prosthetic heart (230) to get both a heart and a liver, for a net total of Silver 4070.

Therefore, each vat-child nets a profit of Silver 2209 in organs by using corn, before Trade Price Improvement and difficulty. But, other than the usual organ harvesting penalties, vatgrowing organs has 2 downsides:

  1. Children have lower HP. If an operation fails, then even a "minor" failure is likely to outright kill.
  2. Children will be related to somebody in the colony. If the parents are not a psychopath, then their mood will be greatly hit.

Basically, an organ harvesting operation using a Cannibalism: Acceptable and Organ Use: Acceptable ideoligionContent added by the Ideology DLC, with a psychopath/prisoner mother and psychopath/slaveContent added by the Ideology DLC father (male prisoners cannot fertilize embryos and slaves are cheap and disposable) is highly profitable, and comes with no mood downsides. You can give the child EMP grenades and make them "guilty", removing the moodlet for colonist death. All that's needed is a good doctor, some medicine, and preferably a hospital bed. Without a pro-organ ideoligion, mood impacts start to matter more, but... it can still be profitable.

Of course, creating a proper organ farm should be compared to the money you'd get from a "normal" Human resources setup. At a certain point, selling human leather and raider organs should be enough money to buy anything you'd need.

Grow soldiers[edit]

Growth vat can be used to create an army of genetically-modified soldiers. All you need is (the best strategy):

  • Prisoners. A lot of them. Used to obtain embryos. Optional, but strongly recommended. Try to use different men and women for every embryo: your soldier will not have debuff "my brother died". Don't use your colonists, or they will have a trait "my son died X3" after every battle.
  • Genetic lab. Implant at least strong shooting and melee to your army.
  • Powerful production facility to give your army at least some equipment.
  • Crypto caskets. For peaceful time.


If you have no other source of Animal Protein this is your best bet aside from buying and raiding. To efficiently use growth vats as a food source you must do he following:

  • When creating your Ideoligion Content added by the Ideology DLC, choose the Cannibal Content added by the Ideology DLC meme, for obvious reasons. You should also strongly consider using the "Growth Vats: Essential" Precept (henceforth to be referred to as "the Precept" or "P"), as it increases the throughput of your growth vats by a considerable amount.
  • To get the Embryos, you'll need to get a lot of female Prisoners and male Slaves. Consider stockpiling fertilized Ova and disposing of all the affected Slaves and Prisoners. You'll have a Grace window of at least 52 days before the first Moodlets start coming in.
  • The Setup
    • To maintain one Baseline Colonist you'll need at least 4 (3.34 w/P) growth vats constantly running.
    • One ideal hydroponics basin setup (24 basins growing rice) converted into nutrient paste meals can sustain up to 12.6 (12.3 w/P) Growth Vats.
    • To efficiently Butcher and Cook the Subjects you'll also need a Pawn with a cooking skill of at least 10 and 100% manipulation (such as a Fabricor)
    • Additionally this method supplies human leather and organs, though harvesting the latter will reduce the amount of meat gained.
    • You can also use the subject pawns for new fertilized ova.

For optimal distribution, 91.5% (90% w/P, always round up when applying) of your hydroponics basins should be dedicated to making rice for nutrient paste for the vats, the rest should be making rice for cooking. Two sets of 24 hydroponic basins and 22 growth vats can grow enough Nutrition to produce roughly 10 (11.5 w/P) fine meals per day, which is enough to support 5 colonists, so this is clearly not very efficient. The construction and maintenance cost of the hydroponic basins and growth vats are also considerable.

Version history[edit]

  • Biotech DLC Release - Added.
  • 1.4.3682 - Fix: Embryo skin color not preserved in growth vat between save/load.
  • 1.4.3704 - Fix: Magenta square fetus graphics when reloading.