Osmos: Tips for a Long and Happy Life

Osmos is just like real life; you float around absorbing biophobes, trying to avoid getting pulled into a giant sun; and just like real life, some tips on sub-nuclear physics and orbital mechanics would probably come in very handy. These tips will help you progress from being wonderfully average, to a little better than average.

Osmos is a game by Hemisphere Games for iPad, iPhone, PC, Mac and Linux, and very soon to be Android too. It includes music from us (Gas, High Skies), and Biosphere, Loscil, Julien Neto and others. It is Apple’s iPad game of the year 2010 and the current TUAW iPad game of the year.

NEWTON’S LAW OF FREE ENERGY
One of the best ways to increase your mass and vector in Osmos is to point yourself at a wall and charge.


The (added) arrows show the direction of your path.

On the above image, your ‘mass’ is expelled behind you (lined up under the red arrows) and will increasingly travel in your direction as you gather speed, following you, so that as you are slowed down by Newton’s First Law (by absorbing motes unfortunate enough to be smaller than you), the same motes you expelled earlier will catch you up and be reabsorbed back into your well-fed self. So now you have plumpness with matching residual motion for free, where you can continue on, absorbing motes in your path.

OSMOTE vs GOLIATH
Just like in real life, other life forms can be larger than you; and just like real life, size is inversely proportional to noggin power/ grey pixels.
You can use your expelled mass to push enemy motes into antimatter to eliminate both at the same time.

Osmos Antimatter

Here I’m (blue) pushing red (A), an enemy mote that is larger and deadlier than me, into green (B) antimatter. Antimatter and matter cancel each other out, so eliminating both.

THE VIDIIAN TECHNIQUE
Further expanding from the Goliath method is the Vidiian Technique.

Osmos Vidiian

With two nearby angry red motes, eject mass into the small one, A, pushing it into the larger, B.

Osmos Vidiian Technique

At the turning point, red A will shrink until it starts turning blue (smaller than you), and so now you can swoop in to harvest its body parts before it can been totally consumed by B. Timing is of the essence, as is a deft touch so as not to plough into B yourself.

REBOUND VECTORS
Rather than expel a lot of mass and so shrink to an insensible size in chasing enemies, you can use the walls to rapidly change direction.

Osmos rebound tip

The enemy is moving left-to-right in the red arrow’s direction; it would take too much mass to change direction to intercept, so if we accelerate along the red vector, we will intercept when we bounce off the wall. Useful later too when we encounter more sentient motes who try to dodge us but dont always anticipate the rebound vector.

ORBITAL MECHANICS
Johannes Kepler was a great Osmos player, especially the Force Reception levels.

Osmos Orbital Mechanics Tip

In the orbital levels (Force Reception) of Osmos we are in orbit around a sun, so how do we move around freely and efficiently?

Osmos Orbital Mechanics Tip

To shrink your orbit and move closer to the sun we need to slow down. Here we’re moving in an anticlockwise direction and just ejected mass in the opposite direction (red arrow), which shrinks our orbit, as you can see by the white circular orbit path. (Note: added red arrow is pointing in the opposite direction of our motion)

Osmos Orbital Mechanics Tip

And so, logically, to expand our orbit we can just speed up, just as if we were caught in orbit around the Moon. I’ve increased our speed by propelling us in the direction of the (added) red arrow which is also our current anti-clockwise path, and so our orbit expands. We can’t see here, but we haven’t escaped the gravitational pull entirely, we just have a large elliptical orbit.
You may already have noticed this effect; as you absorb other motes you slow down (Newton’s First Law of Motion) and so your orbit decreases. Your orbit speed also increases the nearer to the sun you are (Kepler’s Second Law of Planetary Motion)

EPICYCLES
I’ll leave the last, and most complex, tip to Eddy Boxerman at Hemisphere Games to explain how to beat the crazy astrophysics of the Epicycles.

Make a cup of tea and watch in fullscreen.

This is probably the longest and hardest level in Osmos (not including the bonus content). Here’s an example of how to win the level.

Things to notice:
- no randomization required
- took a little over seven minutes, with some time-warping
- you do need understanding and patience. it’s rocket science! ;-)

Long and happy