Some observations on the usefulness of Sustain Life vs Radical Treatment

frostpunk 5 - Some observations on the usefulness of Sustain Life vs Radical Treatment

I've been looking at Sustain Life, vs Radical Treatment, and a common tip I see people being given.

During my Deathless extreme run of a New Home, I went with Sustain Life, and a lot of folks told me to go with RT instead, because they believed it to be more efficient. Granted, Sustain Life worked, so I may be biased, but hear me out.

The main argument against Sustain Life is that your gravely ill tie up Medical Posts until you can get an Infirmary, because Medical Posts can't treat the GI, merely monitor them. But, unless I'm missing something, the Medical Posts actually get tied up longer with Radical Treatment, with greater drawbacks.

TLDR at the bottom.

So let's say you have 10 people who fell gravely ill in the first big temperature drop, and the law just popped for Sustain/Radical.

If you choose Sustain, you give up 50 wood to build 2 medical posts to house your new gravely ill, if you don't want to tie up your existing posts. Then you tie up 2 engineers in each to monitor the sick 24 hrs a day (1/shift). There's no point to having 5 per post if no one's actually getting treated, however, so you just staff the minimum.

18 hrs later, you can sign Care Homes into law. For 25 more wood and 5 steel, you can house those 10 gravely ill indefinitely, plus 10 more, in a better insulated building, with no engineers tied up. Additionally, you can dismantle the extra medical posts to regain your 4 engineers, and 38 wood. So at a bare minimum, assuming 3 hrs to build a care home, your Medical Posts are freed up in about 21 hrs from the gravely ill. They're not cured, but the main argument against Sustain has been addressed in less than a day.

However – an infirmary costs 18 hrs, 60 wood, 40 steel and a steam core to research AND build (give or take), assuming you only have one workshop (which most don't, they've got 4+).

So right around the same time you can be signing Care homes into law, if you've managed your tech tree well and have Tier 2 open, you've finished building an Infirmary, which houses the same staff/patients as those two Medical posts (which you now dismantle).

It also heals the sick in 12 hrs, Gravely Ill in 24 and requires nothing else except heat to do it. So you don't even need that Care Home – you could sign Extra Rations for the Ill into law now instead (which I do).

Final resource outlay to heal a Gravely Ill person on this route:

  • 110 wood (not accounting for dismantling the 2 extra med posts)
  • 40 steel
  • 1 steam core
  • 10 engineers (of whom 6 weren't tied up for the first 18 hrs (or less))
  • Optionally, 10 Food are consumed for Extra Rations.

Time from initial illness to cured: 42 hrs – assuming only 1 workshop (34ish if you use Extra Rations). Even sooner if you researched the Infirmary faster.


Radical Treatment ties up those same 10 beds in Medical Posts for 48 hrs at 100% efficiency. To get 100% efficiency, you have to staff the post with 5 engineers. And since your regular sick still need to be treated you're going to be into building and staffing two more Medical Posts regardless.

Assuming you start research the same time as you would for the Infirmary, a Factory takes 18 hrs (or less), 60 wood and 35 steel and a steam core to research and build. It also takes a staff of 1-5 engineers to run.

So, your next law pops, and you're likely finishing up the Factory, which now sits empty, because it can't make prosthesis yet. But it's ready.

You MUST sign Care Houses, or you can't make prosthesis. Timer is 36 hrs now before you can take Prosthetics, and cost is 25 wood and 5 steel to build said Care House.

You need to build that care house because 30 hrs into that timer, 3-4 of those gravely ill patients will be Amputees, and become homeless without it. And you don't want to do that on Extreme difficulty, or else those amputees might end up getting sick again, double dipping into medical care and taking up a bed. Which, if they fall gravely ill, is 48 hrs with the chance of another amputation.

So unless you intend to make them live on the street for ~10hrs while you churn out Prosthesis at 10 steel each, you'll want the care house.

And fitting a prosthesis also takes 24 hrs in a Medical Post, as it's treated like a common illness. So that patient's recovery time is at minimum 72 hrs, and is tying up that bed the same length of time.

Final resource outlay to heal a gravely ll person on this route

  • 135 wood
  • 80 steel
  • 1 steam core
  • 10 engineers (Who have to be present for 72 hrs (treatment + fitting) of which 1-5 have to stick around also to run the factory and make the prosthesis.

Time from initial illness to cured: 48 hrs (for 6-7 people) -> 72 hrs + for the Amputees, depending on how fast the prosthesis get churned out.


By picking Sustain Life, you save 25 wood, 40 steel, the steam core you use is seeing regular use rather than running in fits and spurts, and your workforce is back up and running twice as fast.

An Infirmary with 10 docs treats the same 10 patients 6 hrs faster than if those same docs are in medical tents, with no amputations, starting from the moment of first research. With 1 round of Extra Rations, it actually takes 47% as long for that first batch, less than 1/3rd the time for subsequent. And again, that assumes you haven't stacked workshops to research the infirmary even faster.

Check my math, but to me, Sustain Life beats Radical Treatment *drumroll* hands down.

Not for reproduction, especially by, who stole two of my previous Frostpunk reddit posts without asking permission to copy.

Source: Original link

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