... a habitat as I stood up the collision got me stuck and the game stopped running for about 5 minutes. I needed to end task to get out. Replicated for the same result.
I just got the most recent build off of Humble Bundle after the announcement today and I was excited to play. However, after downloading it, unzipping it and starting it. At beautiful, 1440x900(i think) it was unplayable. maybe 3 frames a second. After turn quality down to simple, it sped up to around 5 frames a second. I've got a somewhat newish macbook pro(Four Core I7) with a built in Nvidia GT 650M. But... it's just chugging away?
Is there a configuration that I'm not doing correctly? I'm hoping to play this game.
Since the last few versions I've been observing severely degraded memory performance, excessive load times (especially when leaving the habitat, sometimes so bad that the entire OS starts choking, and other background processes also get interrupted/paused) and a lot of storage activity of paging/asset loading during playing.
For a while I kind of assumed that it's because the game is starting to outgrow my system with only 4 GB memory, but now I actually watched the memory use and it turned out it's not that. The game appears to be capped at using only 1.2 GB memory at all times while on the outside map (approx 850 MB while in the hab, and about 700 MB in the main menu), even when at least another 1 GB of memory is reported being still available, while at the same time it obviously has/needs more data to work with as inditaced by the very frequent loading/paging that didn't happen before.
I suspect that this memory cap forces the game process to page a lot more than it should be if it was allowed to use more memory (ideally as much as is reported by the OS being available), and that this excessive paging also interferes with the high volume asset loading during switching from the hab interior to the exterior map (basically the game likely ends up in a paging race condition where it immediately starts paging out assets it just loaded while trying to load more assets at the same time, completely filling the storage bandwidth and causing the aforementioned OS level choking).
If the working set / VM pool requested by the game process, or memory management in general is something that can be configured in the Unity dev tools, it would worth looking into why the game appears to be requesting less memory than it obviously needs.
As sad as it is, poor / inefficient memory management is the Achilles-heel of Unity, but I normally see Unity games trying to hog literally all the memory available in the system (and in many cases then running practically without any storage activity / paging), while Lacuna Passage does the opposite of that for some reason, denying itself of the amount of memory it would need to run smoothly.
When you try to craft/salvage in an unpowered habitat (which doesn't work due to lack of power) by clicking on the interaction node, simply nothing happens, which can be confusing since the "tooltips" still say "left click to interact".
Either deactivating the nodes so that they don't show anything when pointed at, or displaying a message telling the player that the stations are currently unusuable due to lack of hab power could be helpful.
When trying to open (switch to) the "normal" inventory screen by pressing "i" while interacting with a storage area in the habs (but likely any container), the datapad just goes to the home screen then gets lowered instead of switching to inventory. However, accessing any other screen than inventory in the same situation correctly switches to the selected screen, and not closes the datapad.
This is an annoyance especially when you take food out of storage then try to go to the inventory screen to eat it, since you first have to wait for the datapad to get lowered then bring it back up by pressing "i" a second time before you can actually do that.
Okay so this is a collection of ideas and suggestions on how to expand Lacuna Passage in a way that fits its general theme. That is keep things realistic, no combat except against the environment. Some of these ideas are more refined than others. There will also be different ways to achieve mechanics similar to what I'm going to describe here, feel free to build on that or apply changes.
These are some observations I took away while playing the game. Obviously this is subjective and I cant speak for everyone else, so different views are welcome.
LP sets a strong focus on maintenance and resource management. Big pros in my opinion are:
- The detailed maintenance system
- Incentives to go explore and gather for more resources incl. the rover
- Unlock more locations (waypoint stations, habitats ...)
Once the player established his first base in one of the habitats and figured out the maintenance system, the game becomes pretty straight forward: Go out repair everything, preferably at night to make full use of the solar power during day. Basically the only thing the player can do in the habitat is
- accessing inventory
- watch the outside system's condition
- monitor weather
The storms add a nice additional challenge to the game, however I regard this mechanic as incomplete. As a player you can monitor weather and basically have two choices: either stock up, stay in base and sit it out, or change habitat other than that the player is totally passive. In this regard LP is missing opportunities to involve the player and urge him to prepare for and survive the storms.
- Have the storm severely impact the efficiency of solar panels since the dust blocks most of the incoming sunlight. This will severely impact the ability of the player to just sit out a storm in a habitat depending on its duration.
- Have the dust clog up the oxygen generator filters which may lead to an emergency shutdown, forcing the player to go out and clean the filters.
- Introduce a power management system where the player can use the terminal to divert and regulate power as necessary. I.e. turn the heater down in order to save energy for oxygen production at the cost of burning more calories.
To make this more interesting give the player the opportunity to prepare for such events. This will also extend the exploration aspect of the game. Give the player the opportunity to expand habitats by certain components. This is not supposed to be actual free base building instead have there be predetermined upgrade slots in the base (i.e. a wall mounted powercell charger) that are not installed from the beginning but rather can be:
- found as unit
- found by collecting multiple components
- crafted by finding blueprints (i.e. on those data sticks that are already in the game) and using the 3D printer.
Ideas for components:
- [Powercells/Powercell charger]: Has slots for powercells. Powercells are charged by solar panels during daytime. They can be used as emergency backup for the base i.e. to bridge the missing power generation during dust storms. Powercells can be removed from their sockets and used as power source for the rover. To craft powercells the player will need to obtain lithium (i.e. by using the drill rover) among other materials to manufacture powercells. Powercells are also used to power lifesupport in pop tents. If a pop tent is missing the powercell the player needs to install one first in order to pressurize the tent. Also allow solar panels to be attached to the tents additionally so the tent may recharge on its own.
- [Wind generator] the player can find an/or craft to ensure powersupply during dust storms. The generator can be set up on a predetermined lot outside the base.[Air compressor]: Require the player to find/build/unlock/install the air compressor in order to fill empty oxygen tanks instead of directly crafting them filled.
- [Air compressor]: Require the player to find/build/unlock/install the air compressor in order to fill empty oxygen tanks instead of directly crafting them filled.
- Allow upgrades for the rover that can be manufactured via blueprint or found on the planet
- [Solar panel mounting brackets (blueprint)]: Player can 3D print mounting brackets to attach solar panels to the rover
- [Oxygen generator module (blueprint)] Have a slot that allows to mount sth. like the pop tent oxygen generators on the rover. Once enabled the player can recharge EVA oxygen at the cost of rover power drain.
- [Trailer coupling (blueprint)] The habitats have a sealed hatch on the opposite site of the actual air lock. Have one or more modules that can be towed with the rover to attach to the habitats, i.e.:
- [Greenhouse module] with glass dome roof used to grow food
- [Remote control room] that is used to operate the drill and scout rover, maybe add flying scout drones.
- [Recycling module] Used to grind larger scrap pieces to produce granulated material for use in the 3D-Printer.
- [Generator module] A mobile version of the habitat power modules used to power facilities that may be discovered by the player but don't have prebuilt power supply systems attached. For instance there could be a small mining site somewhere.
Sidenote: Instead of having the base extension modules to be towed by the rover you could also simply have each habitat have a distinct module attached. Having to locate them is certainly more interesting but will consume more development time. This could also be done in two tiers. First have the modules preinstalled and later if there is time make them mobile so they can be randomly placed and towed with the rover. Having different modules attached to different habitats also gives an incentive to the player to change habitats more frequently.
- Deployable solar charged floodlights to light areas around interesting locations.
- Allow the player to place custom labeled markers on the tablet map
- Have radiation storms with a very low probability crash a habitat computer. All habitat systems will stop working immediately until the player rebooted the computer.
Make the maintenance system more sophisticated. Instead of having only components outside the base failing also allow parts of the base itself to malfunction. The player can access the components in- and outside the base by using an electric screwdriver (tool needs to be found) to unmount maintenance panels.Each panel is labeled with an ID. Each panel covers wiring and components for certain systems document this in the PDA (schematics with explanation and panel ID). In case parts of the base fail the player has to consult documentation and then use a circuit tester to identify broken wiring/components and replace it accordingly. Systems that could be maintained this way could amoung others be:
- Base Computer
- Waypoint Network
- Depressurization of the airlock
Again this list is not complete. If you have any questions ask away. Feel free to modify or build upon ideas.
I really like the general idea Lacuna Passage is based on: the environent is your worst enemy a lot of focus on maintainance and resource management. Actually this made me buy the game, because this is rather unique so far.
However in the current state the effective playtime one can get out of LP is rather low. I do understand that LP originally was not planned to be a super long game. Then again both on Trello and here in the forums I saw that there are features in the pipeline that make LP potentially a very long lasting or even "endless" game (i.e. the green houses).
I believe I have a bunch of ideas that are very compatible with LPs theme so far but can greatly improve the long term motivation of the game. Before I start to propose things I'd like to know how I can present the proposals here so that they are maximally useful.
- Should there be one proposal per post or is it better to make a big brain storming post and pick the viable ideas out of that one and put the distinct viable" requests in seperate posts in a second iteration?
- How complext can a feature request be before becoming useless because it exceeds the time allotted for development?
- Is there somewhere an overview of features that have been suggested but rejected. This would help to not bring up this stuff another time.
I would say that one larger post with your most generalized suggestions would be a good place to start if you have lots of ideas. Myself and other players can comment then and we could break out individual concepts into their own more detailed posts.
Complexity is difficult to gauge unless you are familiar with the background systems programming that has already been done. Some things that people think would be very difficult are actually relatively simple because I have created the gameplay systems to be extendable. Other things you might assume would be simple are actually quite difficult because I haven't built the game in a way that would support it. Most times the thing that ends up being the most time consuming is asset creation. If I have to do a lot of that myself or pay contract artists to create lots of assets then that is somewhat prohibitive, but if it is a really good idea I can still rationalize putting the resources towards it. So with all that said, I don't think there are any ideas too crazy to suggest, but just keep in mind that it may just not be feasible.
I don't think I've really kept close track of rejected feature requests. A few off the top of my head:
- Extensive base building. (Doesn't fit the theme of the game I'm trying to make.)
- Customizable character, male or female. (Story mode will only be the one character so I don't feel like accommodating custom characters just for the survival mode.)
- Visible body from first person perspective. (Still not impossible, just a matter of development time.)
- Weapons or enemies. (Again, just not the kind of game I'm interested in making.)
I'm sure there's others I'm forgetting, but ultimately the survival mode that's available now is just a testing ground for the story mode, so if a feature would be out of place in the story mode then it's unlikely that I would put resources towards it for the survival mode only.
To me the rover driving sound is pretty weird. It feels too loud an becomes rather annoying after a short while.
If an electric vehicle makes a humanly audible sound at all I'd expect it to sound similar to the sound in this video.
This video gives another example (which might be useful as inspiration for the sound design). However with the rover accelerating much slower than a F1 car this sound would be too aggressive and loud.
I am aware that mars's atmosphere is thinner than earth's and has a different composition. This would probably cause sounds to become lower pitched on mars. Since we are wearing a pressurized suit I'd expect the helmet to filter high pitched noises from the electric motors rather well. However I'd expect to hear dull, muffled noises caused by driving over smal rocks or uneven terrain.
Suggestions for improvement:
- Change the electric motor sound based on the samples above but make it rather quiet
- Use the electric motor sound in the acceleration phase but (almost) mute it when having reached travel speed (like in the 1st video)
- When moving with travelspeed dull muffled sounds caused by the terrain should be audible
The following video could be a good reference point for the terrain sound while driving (minus the occasional cracking underwood and humming sound on the right channel). Of course it would need to be damped because of the thinner atmosphere and sound damping caused by the EVA suit:
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