Creating a Family
When you begin a game the first thing you see is the character creation screen. Here you can customize the name, appearance, attributes, and traits of your family which consists of 2 adults, 2 children and a pet dog, cat, horse, fish, or snake. Keep in mind the purpose of each of the attributes and try creating a balanced family to make playing the game easier.
When you begin the tutorial you must first open up the shelter. Right-click on both of the entrance doors to allow your family members in. Once the family is inside, close the doors behind them to prevent radiation particles from getting into the shelter. Now you must turn on the shelter's power to make it habitable. On the far right room of the shelter is the generator, right-click it and select "Add fuel" to provide power. With the power on, the shelter's water and oxygen filters on the surface should be working, allowing the space to be livable for your family.
Now that you have completed the tutorial you are free to begin exploring and crafting.
Setting up an Expedition
First things first, set up an expedition into the wasteland to collect supplies. Right-click on the map and click "Setup expedition." You can select up to two characters to send out on a expedition. Scroll through them by clicking the green arrows next to their portraits. Once you have selected the characters you wish to send out of the shelter, you will be able to plot their exploration route on the map. Select destination waypoints by left-clicking, and remove waypoints by right-clicking. You should start out with 2-3 locations such as small farms or small houses nearby your shelter. Be sure to create waypoints at these locations so that your expedition party can obtain items from them. Only nearby locations will appear with icons on the map. To find more locations, you will need to eventually explore out into the fogged, unmarked areas of the map. Keep in mind that the greater the distance plotted, the more water your party will need. Water is also required at the shelter so be sure to not use up all of it for your expedition.
Once you have made and confirmed your expedition route, you will need to equip your characters. First make sure you left-click a gas mask and equip it. Gas masks are required when venturing out into the wasteland to prevent your characters from dying from radiation poisoning. It is also a good idea to bring weapons to fight off any encounters with NPCs that may occur. Left click a pipe to also equip it to your character. Since you don't have any better weapons or rucksacks to increase inventory space yet, confirm your selection to begin the expedition. The characters you chose will walk to the entrance doors which you must open for them. Once they climb out of the vault door they will walk off screen and all that's left is to wait as they venture into the wasteland.
NPC Encounters and Loot
As your expedition party comes across any locations or NPCs to interact with they will send in radio transmissions which you must accept by right-clicking the radio or pressing R. When encountering NPCs there are different possible outcomes that are affecter by your character's attributes. Trading with NPCs allows you to barter using the items in your inventory. Recruiting NPCs will cause them to eventually show up at the shelter and become a playable character. Fighting NPCs gives you the option to kill or subdue them, allowing you to take their items when incapacitated. Fleeing will try to avoid the encounter, however some NPCs will be able to chase your characters and initiate a fight anyways.
Different locations during an expedition will grant different kinds of loot. For example small petrol stations will contain tools while shacks will have weapons. Items may be looted from locations or dropped off from the inventory to create space for more important items. Inventory space during expeditions can be increased by equipping rucksacks.
Crafting and Repairing
Meanwhile your remaining family members are free to fix up the shelter and begin creating items. Select a character by left-clicking them or cycling to them with Q or E. When a character is selected you can command them to interact with objects by right-clicking them. The first thing you should do is upgrade the shelter's work bench to allow access to more items to create. Right-click the work bench and upgrade it to level 2. While your work bench is being upgraded you can command another character to craft items with it. The first mandatory items you should create are a bed, toilet, and shower. Interacting with these items is the only way from keeping your characters's stats low and preventing them from dying while they're in the shelter. Make sure to keep an eye on the integrity of the items at your base. If an item's integrity reaches 0% it will break down and no longer be able to be used. To raise an item's integrity, simply right-click it and fix it. To fix the water and oxygen filters make sure your characters wear the hazmat suits that can be found in the lockers near the entrance. Always wear a hazmat suit when on the surface above the shelter to prevent radiation poisoning.
Pretty soon you will run out of space to build new items in the shelter. New shelter rooms can be built by selecting one from the work bench and then choosing a space adjacent to an already existing room. Your character will walk behind the sedimentary rock wall and begin digging away space for new items to be built.