If you want to win in this survival game, you’re going to need our Scum tips. This is a game that prides itself on the depth of its survival mechanics. There are a lot of meters to track and you’ll need to arm yourself against bears, zombies, sentry robots, and other players, which is a daunting prospect when you’ve just been dumped onto a 144 square kilometre map with nothing but some prison clothes. Thankfully, our Scum guide will introduce you to the lot.
If you die in Scum you lose everything, so getting good at making a fresh start is essential knowledge. It doesn’t help that many of Scum’s mechanics are obtuse, meaning you can often die without knowing why or get stuck trying to perform seemingly simple tasks like loading a weapon or cooking food.
That’s where we come in, with a bevy of Scum tips to get you geared up in a matter of minutes and teach you the basics of this Early Access survival game. So whether you’re after some fast ways to get high-level gear, or want to understand a little more about your character stats, this Scum guide should set you on your way to a long and healthy life on TEC1’s supermax island.
Scum character creation
As Scum is still in Early Access a lot of character stats aren’t accessible, so you can afford to be quite sloppy when creating your prisoner. Age is the first parameter you can change and depending on what age group you belong to, you will receive bonuses or cuts to your four main attributes: strength, constitution, dexterity, and Intelligence. Younger prisoners are stronger and agile, while older characters are more hardy and intelligent. There’s a sweet spot at around 36 where you will have high constitution, reasonable strength, a tiny bonus to dexterity.
Constitution is the most helpful skill for new players as it determines how many health points you have and how much stamina you have – being able to take a beating and run quickly are very helpful early on. So when it comes to the next part of the character creator you can help yourself out by tweaking your body type so that you have a high constitution and are somewhere between thin and muscular. There are some benefits to being fat in Scum, such as being able to live off your fat reserves when food is scarce, but this makes you slower and less healthy, so it’s best to start off in decent shape. So long as your constitution attribute value is set to 5.0 you’re good.
The final part of the character creator concerns your skills. If you maxed out your constitution attributes then you will be able to max out constitution-based skills as well, like running, endurance, and resistance. These three skills will improve your general survivability and make it easier to explore the map, so we highly recommend gearing your character towards this attribute. Other important skills to advance at this early stage include rifles, as you won’t get many opportunities to boost this organically, and stealth, which will help you slip by enemies unnoticed.
Bear in mind that this is just our starter advice. You can specialise your character however you see fit, or go for a perfect balance of all three main attributes, but expect the very early game to be a little tougher.
What to do when you spawn
So you’re in a field wearing a bright orange prison uniform and you have nothing to your name, what do you do next? Aim straight down at the floor and search for rocks, find two, and craft yourself a stone knife. This tool will let you cut materials, open tinned food, and cut down bushes, chop bodies, and craft new items. Next, you’ll want to locate a couple of bushes, chop them up and gather up three long sticks. Head to the crafting menu and turn each of those long sticks into an improvised spear, which will serve you well for many hours. These weapons are good for hunting, but more importantly, they’re essential for killing Puppets, Scum’s equivalent of zombies.
How to kill Puppets
Once you’ve got yourself three spears, one in each holster and the last one equipped to your hands, head towards a settlement and look for some Puppets. Sneak up on one, hold down the left mouse button to aim your spear, and try to land a headshot – if you fail then you’ve got two more spears before you have to resort to your fists. If you’re fighting them near a building you can simply head inside, shut the door and skewer the Puppet through a window.
If you aggro a Puppet while out in the open then the easiest way to take it down without getting hurt is to back away while attacking. Alternatively, you can line up a second spear throw while the Puppet is approaching – they move in a straight line so landing a headshot is even easier.
The biggest difficulty you’ll face early on in Scum is getting a backpack. These items are essential for storing food, water, and supplies, but are tough to find outside of heavily guarded areas. Your goal here is to create a small improvised backpack, which requires more resources than the courier backpack, but rewards you with extra space to hold items.
Once you’ve killed a few Puppets, search them, equip their clothes, and cut your prison uniform into rags – your prison outfit is clean, the rags you get from it can be used to patch up any wounds you acquire.
Kill a few more, cut their clothes into rags, and then break a portion of those down into rag strips. Go and collect a few more long sticks and bring all of the crafting materials over to one of the Puppet bodies as you will not be able to carry all of the components at once. Once you’ve got all the raw materials in one place, you can start crafting the final pieces, like chopping up the body to get bones for a bone needle and making improvised ropes out of the rag strips. With all of the pieces in one spot, you’ll be able to craft a backpack that will should keep you going until you’re able to raid a heavily guarded area.
Setting up a shelter
One of the biggest frustrations of Scum is that its map is so large you’re always at the mercy of where you randomly respawn. Building a shelter will allow you to respawn there whenever you die, provided you have enough Fame Points. These can take a while to grind the necessary resources for – you’ll need to chop down a few trees and bushes, and ferry all of it to a precise spot – so it’s important to choose a good spot.
Ideally, you want to be close to water, a reliable source of food, and a restricted zone so you can scavenge for guns later on. So aim for somewhere out in the wilderness that’s roughly between a lake and a restricted zone – lots of foliage is also a plus as you don’t want other players stumbling upon your shelter.
In addition to a shelter, you’ll also want to build a wooden box to store any items you really don’t want to lose track of or despawn.
Hunger and thirst
Thanks to Scum’s simulated metabolism hunger and thirst are more nuanced than in most other survival games. For the most part surviving is as simple as eating and drinking, but finding enough food and water when your hydration and thirst meters are nearing nil can be tricky and have dire consequences should you leave it too long. It’s therefore best to eat little and often as you adventure, and to always keep a store of cooked meat and water back at your shelter.
Food and water won’t immediately fill those meters either: anything you consume will have to work its way through your stomach, intestines, colon, and bladder before you feel the full effects. So if you’ve just eaten a whole steak, don’t panic that your energy meter is still empty. The most helpful indicator is in the top right corner of the metabolism tab and shows your calorie intake versus what you’ve burned – keep the two relatively close and you won’t dramatically increase or decrease in weight.
It’s also worth noting that, much like in real life, you can’t eat several steaks and expect that to be all of your nutrients taken care of for a day. Eat too much of the same thing in Scum and you’ll likely vomit, emptying the food from your stomach before you can digest any of its goodness. Make sure you never fill your stomach past 100% to avoid chundering all your hard work away. You will need a variety of food and drink to ensure your body is running at maximum efficiency, so don’t shrug at some salt or vitamin supplements, you might not need it now, but you will eventually.
The steadiest source of food is wild animals. These are easy enough to hunt once you know how, and will reward you with stacks of meat and fat to keep your body ticking over. You’ll want spears or a decent rifle to easily secure a kill, so don’t embark on a hunt unless you’re properly equipped.
When you hear or see an animal, hit crouch and start slowly moving towards it with your weapon drawn and ready to fire the second the animal notices you. If you’re using a gun you will likely stun your target for long enough to get a second shot in, however if using spears you will likely have to chase down your prey and even track it using focus mode so that you can secure the kill with a second spear.
Scum cooking guide
Basic cooking will massively increase the effectiveness of meat and is all you need to survive, but it involves a few more steps than combining fire and meat. First you’ll need to make a fire, then you will need to light it with either tinder, a fire drill, a lighter, or gunpowder. Next you will need to craft a meat skewer, so you need to forage a long stick and some steaks. To cook it you will have to select the meat skewer in your inventory, then look at the lit fire, hold F, and select cook.
How to get guns in Scum
Acquiring useable guns in Scum is effectively the endgame. You might stumble across some odd rounds here and there, or a magazine, or even an actual assault rifle, but you’ll need all three to be able to fire it as nature intended: full-auto. To make matters worse there are a lot of different guns in Scum, and parts for any of the them are exceedingly rare.
The best way to acquire guns in Scum is to set up camp nearby a restricted zone, which are easy to identify thanks to the robot sentries patrolling their perimeter. These spawn weapons, ammo, attachments, magazines, grenades, and military gear like ballistic vests, helmets, and large rucksacks. It might take a couple of sweeps to get all the right parts, so having a campsite nearby will give you somewhere you can sort out your inventory and restock between raids.
The robots will kill you in seconds if spotted so lay low and sprint between buildings to avoid taking any damage. The game is still a little buggy, which allows the mechs to occasionally shoot you even when you’re in cover, so prepare yourself for the worst.
Don’t forget to piss and poop
Part of simulating a metabolism is simulating the excretion phase. Make sure to check your colon and bladder volume and empty them accordingly. Forget to do so and you’ll soil yourself, which dirties you clothes and is also just plain embarrassing – sort yourself out. Hit tab, click on the picture of the toilet and you’re good to go.
A lot of Scum’s controls are counter-intuitive or simply not explained, so here are some useful hints:
- You can control your speed with the mouse wheel
- Enter switches between first and third-person perspectives
- V toggles combat mode
- Drag and dropping is the best way to equip objects
- You can right-click on objects in your inventory to see more options
- Hold F over another player to invite them to join your squad
- Hold down right mouse button to enter focus mode, which is important for hunting animals
- Press X to go prone
General Scum Tips
An unloaded weapon is still useful
Other players aren’t to know if your gun is empty or not, so you can still benefit from running around with an assault rifle out even if it’s useless. It might dissuade another player from ambushing you and save your life.
Keep large bottles
Large soda bottles seem like wasted inventory once you’ve drank down all their sugary goodness, but they can be refilled with water at lakes and water pumps, so keep them around.
Use stealth against groups of Puppets
Guns make short work of Puppets, but if you fire a shot in a Puppet-infested town you’ll have a horde breathing down your neck in no time.
You can throw anything
Just thrown your last spear? Not to worry, you can stagger Puppets by throwing practically anything at them. Just equip an object to your hands and you should be able to throw it: scrap metal, melee weapons, and even the arm you just chopped off a corpse are all viable throwables.
There are often alternative crafting components
It’s easy to be put off the idea of crafting some objects when you see the long list of crafting components, most of which you haven’t even encountered yet. However, most crafting recipes can be completed using alternative components, which you can find by clicking through the small arrows on each item in the crafting menu.
You can layer clothes
Try on as many clothes as you can as this will maximise your carry space and you will quickly learn what items of clothing fit where. Military gear has the most pockets, so try and kill some soldier Puppets to get this early on.
That’s it – our complete list of Scum tips. You should now have everything you need to thrive in this brutal survival game. If you’re missing anything then check out our selection of Scum admin commands – these let you skip the grind altogether and hop straight to the high-end gear. Right, now you’re fully clued, go out there, kill some puppets, and don’t forget to empty your bladder every now and again.