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Under review

General feedback up to 0.62

Mr. Fusion 6 months ago in Gameplay • updated by Tyler Owen (Lead Developer) 6 months ago 2

I finally got around to go through my notes collected over many months of playing the various versions up to 0.62, and organize them into something that may raise a few points possibly worth considering. This is more of a collection of general notes, and there will be a separate one for the dust storm feature, and one for the pop tent feature.


Gameplay

Because of how some of the new features added in the past few updates make longer exploration trips easier and much less dangerous than before, and also making the map feel a lot smaller, I think some changes to properties of the player character would be needed to counter some of this difficulty loss. The walking speed should be (somewhat) lowered in a manner that also affects the modified speeds when running, getting tired and thus being slower, and being affected by a storm and thus being slower. Organ integrity loss should start to appear earlier in terms of low calories count and fatigue, but not dropping as aggressively as before the change which caused it to now take a very long time to actually start. So long that I've never gotten it below "degraded" since that change, while before I had it very often into the orange, and sometimes even the red state before getting back to a habitat, which made long exploration trips feel actually risky, unlike now.


Significant levels of exhaustion (such as "Dangerously Fatigued") should require more rest than they do now. From what I've seen, no longer than 6 hours of rest is needed to bring exhaustion back to "Well Rested" from any level, and that feels very short for when someone does as much physical activty as the player character, day after day. Maybe even a non-linear curve would be in order, so that light exhaustion levels could be restored with a small amount of rest similar to how it is now, but the higher levels would need progressively more, even up to 10-14 hours at the lowest level. Another thing could be a "residual exhaustion" effect where the effect of resting would be capped within a period of time (say, within one sol) so that even if you rest for a period that could regenerate it fully, it will only regenerate as much as is allowed within a single period. So if you really exhaust yourself, then you'd need rest periods over several sols to bring it all the way back to Well Rested, instead of just being able to rest for a very long time in one go within a single sol.


There should be some functional difference between Temporary Outpost (pop tent without the life support unit) and Remote Outposts (pop tent with life support). Given the lack/presence of the life support unit, the most straightforward thing would be that in the Temporary version you still need to use suit oxygen and power (and you wouldn't see legs/chest part on the ground in those, only the helmet and gloves, indicating that you are still wearing most of the EVA suit), while in the Remote version you don't (with all suit parts being on the ground).


Navigation

The name of the discovered "white" locations should be displayed (or at least identifyable in some way) on the map, and they should be selectable as waypoints. While previously this would've been of limited use, but now that some of those locations can be used to rest and eat, it would be important to know which ones, so that you can plan your route taking those opportunities into account. Granted, you could take a photo of them as a reminder, but why would you have to do it in such a roundabout way when you have a navigation system that automatically marks them on the map?


World

Depending on their mount condition, or some other factor that would be easy to utilize for this, installed solar panels could be switched to the "dusty" models which are used for the "3 solar panels" blue location, when below a certain condition, just to make them a bit more interesting visually, and switching them back to the clean model when maintenance was done on them. Tied into this, or as a separate feature, the efficiency of the panels could also drop based on their condition, to a minium cap of half or third production at very low condition, to somewhat simulate the accumulated dust reducing their effectiveness.


While somewhere in their description (I think) it is mentioned that the systems are connected to the habitats by cables and pipes buried in the ground, and you can see some of that near the systems themselves, there is no visible "riser" connection on the habitat end. While this is probably not something many would notice, an inconsistency nonetheless. Adding one could even be an opportunity to extend the range of things the player needs to maintain (and use crafting materials for), if instead of just a simple visual prop showing a few cables and pipes coming up from the ground, it was something similar to that of the systems, a "connection box" with a few components like wires, hoses and fuses that degrade and need to be maintained/replaced in the same manner (the metallic tubes, for example, could be a specific kind of component for this).


The habitats have a communication mast or something similar, which has a blinking blue light at the top, like a beacon strobe. However, it can only be seen from very close, even the lights on the sides of the hab are visible from a greater distance. This light could be changed in such way that it would be visible from really far at night, at least from the center of the adjacent "sectors" (those 9 large areas in each of which the habitats may be located), which could result in an interesting tradeoff between having to explore at night, but being able to spot the habitats easier and from much further than the scanner can pick them up when doing so.


The immediate vicinity of the habitats feels a bit too "sterile"; there's the hab itself, the systems, the panel mounts and nothing else. It doesn't look like some place where people used to live and work before whatever happened. Maybe it would be possible to reuse some of the already existing objects to "clutter up" the area a little by things like placing stacks of storage boxes here and there, put a drill rover next to a hab or a scout rover underneath one as if it was brough back from the field and parked there until needed again, place a few of those "oxygen stand" things which can be seen at remote outposts, etc. Not interactable, just props to make the area look a bit more used.


Crafting

Changes which increase the component degradation rate and/or result in more components becoming broken should be paired with reworking how the breaking of slots work so that the broken component is not completely lost but can be removed from the slot and salvaged for a reduced amount of materials.


To increase the potential need of system component crafting, a "power on shock" effect could be added to the systems. Each time a system is powered on, there would be a small chance of not more than one of their "internal" components (excluding the solar panels and RTG if installed) instantly breaking regardless of its slot condition. The individual chance of the various components breaking could be slighly offset based on how easy is it to replace them, eg. circuit boards should have somewhat lower chance to break, while carbon filters or fuses, for example. could have slightly higher, and it could also be influenced by the slot condition, higher ones being less likely to break than lower ones.


There is an inconsitency regarding RTGs and the hab systems having premade slots for them. If the systems were designed to be powered with RTGs, then why would they be carried off site and buried instead of being used for just that? And if they were not, and it's the standard safety measure of moving the potentially radiation hazard RTGs off site and bury them, then why do the hab systems still have a slot for them? One solution to resolve this could be that the systems would not have RTG slots initially: they would have to be crafted as a makeshift addon, and installed on any specific system you want to use an RTG with. This would also be a crafting opportunity both in terms of just utilizing the mechanism for something, and building the slots requiring crafting materials you may need to find/salvage first.


Currently the only way to acquire fuses is finding them, unlike the rest of the hab system components which can be crafted. While there are quite a few of them around, if component degradation is changed, there might be a need to be able to make new ones eventually. Since they can be, even if not completely safely, substituted with a suitably sized non-conductive body and a conductive filament of the right cross-section, a crafting plan for "Makeshift Fuses" could be added, requiring maybe scrap plastic (saying that there must be something in that that can be used to make the bodies) or something similar, one piece of wire and cutting and engineering tool to make a number of them (5-ish, maybe? one doesn't require a whole lot of materials so they should come in batches of several per a single crafting job).


Depending on how the materials are distributed between the various components and other salvageable items, maybe it would be possible to randomly offset the initial component spawning on new game creation in such a directed way which would result in a shortage of a certain component, but an abundance of other components which yield the materials needed when salvaged. Something like "Component A", made of materials A and B, is created in extremely small quantity, while there is an excess of "Component B" made of materials A and C, and "Component C" made of materials B and D. Then the player would need to sacrifice one of the few Component A to get the crafting plan, then salvage the abundantly available Component B and C to get the materials needed for making enough of Component A. This would create a more dynamic crafting situation from game to game, where the player would need to recognize the above situation for the specific items in that specific playthrough, and work out the conversion process between the abundant items and the one that's in shortage.


The ratio of materials/salvageable items vs. components could also be offset to promote crafting instead of just being able to use the existing abundant supply of replacements. If possible, a set of new salvagable "junk" items could be added which serve no other purpose than to be salvaged, but their presence makes sense, things like "Torn Pop Tent", "Shorted LiPo Battery", "Spare Comm Module", "Broken Datapad", "Cracked EVA Helmet", "Shattered Solar Panel", "Overloaded Power Tool" etc. This ratio, if possible, could also get offset geographically, so to speak; more components and less materials in/near the Alpha hab, and more materials and less components in/near the other two so that more crafting would be needed to bring those online.

I don't think you realize something, based from your earlier posts. YOU CANNOT CRAFT FUSES. You cannot. This stuff would pose such a big problem early game that I'm very sure it would turn away many people. I can tell you for sure the majority of games one person would start, they'd die and restart because they'd just be spawned back into a fuseless, broken, worthless hab. 


I agree with most of the other things, but I have one thing to add.

The little connection box that would have fuses and such... Why? That makes no sense, the modules already have fuses and hoses. I do however, have a idea for this. Have the modules, but no diagnostic bit and no maintenance required, apart from storage tanks, the solar panels, and the RTG. This box could be either all in one, or split into sections. Twenty slots for fuses, four for hoses, four circuit boards, five wires, and a diagnostic screen somewhere.


To some degree, just walking to one box rather than running between four modules, having to quickly run inside to grab something, then come back and run around the modules again. It's just very tedious often. 


Everything would function the same, the power switch at the same spot, component failure due to power still running through so you'd still have to turn off the module.

Under review

I'll just comment on one thing quickly, Fuses and a few other exterior module components will now be craftable in the next update. I think circuit boards are the only thing that still cannot be crafted. I'll come back to these other suggestions later.