Barotrauma: How to Read Alien Text

Archaeology isn’t all dig sites and tiny brushes.

Getting involved with a submarine simulator when we have a fear of deep water wasn’t very smart. Practice and good gear help, but something about the vast black expanses gets under our skin. While we continue to struggle with our fear of the ocean, here’s how to read Alien Text in Barotrauma.

How to Read Alien Text in Barotrauma

To read alien text, players must clear the Alien Ruins and use a special item named “???,” a circular tablet with strange symbols etched into it, to decipher it. The Alien Ruins can only be found in the third biome, Aphotic Plateau, and beyond. This is ultimately a good thing, as alien ruins are dangerous in ways a newer crew won’t be ready for.

Before you seek out Alien Ruins, you’ll want a well-upgraded submarine. Aim for Tier 2 or higher; we prefer the Herja. Bring Steel Bars and Titanium-Aluminum Alloy to upgrade the hull strength as high as you can manage. This will help you survive the most dangerous waters around the ruins. Special ammo types, like Depleted Fuel Coilgun Ammo from the Electrician’s Military Applications Talent, are also helpful.

Items to Bring for the Alien Ruins

We’ll need other items for going inside the ruins proper. The depth will be beyond what a standard diving suit can handle. You’ll want Combat Diving Suits at a minimum. You can buy these or craft these at a fabricator (it will show you the recipe when you select it). Don’t use the Exosuit – it’s too slow and awkward for these places.

Alien Ruins Barotrauma

We also recommend more powerful weapons than the Revolver and Harpoon Gun. The Security Talents Weaponsmith and Munitions Expertise will allow you to craft Riot Shotguns, SMGs and their ammo. The Ruins are cramped at best, so their short range is not a problem. If ammo supplies are tight, you can use Boarding Axes. The recipe is unlocked from the Boarding Party Talent, also under Security.

You’ll want an Alien Curio, Trinket, or Ornament before you enter. These objects are used to interact with alien terminals. In terms of medical supplies, bring Calyxanide, Bandages, and Morphine. Flares and Flashlights are helpful but not essential.

Clearing the Alien Ruins

There are several threats in the ruins. We’ll cover the Guardians first as they’re the most complex. These half-machine creatures patrol the ruins. They are armed with harpoons and steam sprayers. You can see their weak spot, a dome-shaped head, at the bottom edge of the next image, right by my cursor. They’re fast, but they can’t fit in the smaller maintenance vents; use them if you’re losing the fight.

Guardian Barotrauma

As they drop to critical health, they will start beeping and flee for a Guardian Pod. These pods will repair them. Find a connected alien terminal, insert your Alien Curio, and hit the red button to detonate the pod. Destroy any Guardian pods you find as you explore, this will eventually make it impossible for them to heal.

Alien terminals can also be used to unlock doors and disable traps. Traps such as the Gravity Sphere are wired to terminals a couple rooms away. Be careful near vents, as these can spawn small red enemies called Swarm Feeders. They can easily be killed, even with tools like the plasma cutter, but they are numerous.

You will sometimes find Husks that have gotten lost inside or near the ruins. Listen for their growls. Due to the more cramped tunnels, you’re likely to get bitten before you can respond to them. Take them out, and inject Calyxanide to avoid infection.

Finding and using the ??? Tablet

Once the ruins are emptied of threats, start looking for crates. These are large and small boxes, and they can blend in with the background due to the dim lighting. Sweep each area with your suit’s headlamp. 

You may have to explore a couple of ruins before you find the tablet, but they have other good loot, like rare materials, and extra Alien Curios can be broken down for more. You’ll eventually find an item labeled “???” with the description, “Strange symbols are etched on this circular tablet.” We found ours in a small room off the maintenance vents. This is what we needed.

Reading Alien Text Barotrauma

All that’s left to do is use it. Swim up to any Alien Writing on the walls of the ruins with the tablet in your inventory. Interact with it, and you will get a message that you feel something from the tablet. Choose to listen closer, and you will ‘hear’ the translation of the text. We were hoping they would at least label the different wings of the ruins. What we got instead… well, we don’t want to spoil the surprise.

That ends our guide on reading the alien text in Barotrauma. Is it just us, or is Europa even less welcoming than usual? Looks like 1.0’s remaining secrets aren’t going without a fight. We hope to cover more of this beautiful and deadly world as we continue diving inward.

See our Barotrauma Section for all of our guides on the game.