In Stranded Deep, the player will often be forced to leave their home island in search of salvage and other resources. As there is no in-game map or navigation interface, navigating the world can be quite difficult, and can be easy to get lost in, potentially losing whatever progress the player has made on their home island. If the player is lucky enough to acquire a compass, it will make navigating significantly easier, although not flawless.
One tip had been utilized by many experienced players as a way of navigating without the use of a compass, as well as a way to differentiate the resourceful islands from the resource-less islands.
In this tactic, there are four islands that will be discussed: "Home", "New", "Lush" and "Dead". "Home" is self-explanatory; "New" refers to an island that still contains salvage and fresh natural resources, such as wood and rocks; "Lush" refers to an island looted for salvage, but still containing natural resources for future harvest; "Dead" simply means an island that was harvested for all salvage and natural resources.
Starting from the player's home island, a neighboring island that seems close in proximity to the home island should be found before setting off toward it. Once the player has landed, the paddle should be laid on the shore with the handle pointing home; this will help to keep from getting lost by island confusion. The player can then go about business as normal. On the final trip from the island, a crude spear should be left in place of the paddle. In a larger network of islands, this will enable the player to follow the arrows (spears) home.
Once home, the player can then place one of two items in the direction of the recently-harvested island:
- If the player had only taken salvage (thereby rendering the island "lush"), a palm frond should be set to point towards the island.
- If both resources and salvage were taken (thereby rendering the island "dead"), a stick should be placed instead.
- New islands will simply be blank, as they are undiscovered territory.
As the player's network grows, they must be sure to update their indicators and always be sure to leave spears pointing home (especially once the player begins to venture off to further islands as the neighboring ones deplete).
Note: Seeing as leaving salvage and taking only natural resources is very uncommon, in such an event the player should improvise their own item to indicate an island with only salvage left.
Other tips include:
- If the player has acquired a compass, they should make note of the directions in which they are travelling, as well as mark all of the islands that they have visited during their travels on a piece of paper.
- On different islands that have been visited, the player should mark them with structures that appear unnatural (e.g. a pile of rocks, a bed); this, however, requires more resources.