Under review

Pop Tent feedback up to 0.62

Mr. Fusion 4 months ago in Gameplay • updated by MarsWalker 3 months ago 10

While crafting something as big as the pop tent should take time, the current 16 hours in one go can be a bit of a problem for several reasons. Maybe a different, multi stage approach, which could still be implemented within the constraints of the existing crafting mechanism, would allow a more flexible time management than having to be locked into crafting mode for the better part of a day. Instead of a single crafting plan that requires materials and results the finished tent, the process could be split into a few separately craftable sub-tasks which require materials and result subcomponents of the tent, and then an assembly task which takes these subcomponents and results the finished tent itself. That way the total crafting time could be preserved or even increased, but it would be split up into shorter individual crafting periods between which the player can sleep, eat, maintain the Hab etc. For example, there could be a "Pop Tent Base", a "Pop Tent Frame" and a "Pop Tent Tarp" (or something, not sure what to call this one) crafting plan which would take between 4-8 hours each to finish using normal crafting materials and result in the special items in their names, and an "Assemble Pop Tent" task which would also take several hours to finish using the special items from the previous tasks and some additonal normal materials (I'd say mostly bonding agents and some structural stuff).

The composition / total material requirement (and functionality) could be tweaked a little to address something I raised in another thread some time ago. Instead of the not particularily intuitive way of having the portable solar panel working when inside and pretending that it's actually left outside while it's clearly in your inventory, the pop tent could have its own embedded solar power generation capability, indicated by needing a few of those solar panel components to craft (as I recall there are two kinds, a metallic and a plastic based/framed, so maybe the plastic one could be the candidate for this). Then, when entering a deployed tent, the portable solar panel would get removed just as when entering a habitat, and the suit would get simply charged while inside as long as it's daytime outside, using the tents embedded panels. It would also explain where the interior light source is getting its power from, and why does the tent needs 2 circuit boards.

The interior light could be changed to something less bright, maybe someting similar to those yellow lights in the depressurized airlock. The deployable pop tent is sort of an emergency measure so its interor should feel a little more "temporary" or "emergency", and a low light level would likely help conveying this.

Even if considering modern composite materials and aiming to make it as light as possible, I'd say the current weight is way too low. Something like at least 5-6 kgs would feel more realistic to me. Yes, it takes a big chunk off the carry weight capacity, but on the other hand it can multiply the time you can spend with exploring without having to return to a habitat every 2-3 sols at most.

The deployment mechanism could be fleshed out a little more, possibly in a way that causes it to take time instead of just magically coming into existence in an instant. One way to do it, without having to add (a lot of) new UI functionality would be to use the crafting feature in a special way to "craft" the deployed version from the inventory item:

  1. "Use" the pop tent in the inventory, which lowers the Datapad and brings up the placement wireframe.
  2. Select the location by placing the wireframe and left click to start the deployment.
  3. The Datapad comes back up with a special, temporarily added crafting plan (all others are blocked at this time): "Deploy Pop Tent"
  4. This plan requires the pop tent item in the inventory (maybe also one oxygen filled canister, see a bit below?) as input.
  5. Input is filled and crafting started as usual, the Datapad stays up for the duration (10-15 mins?) to cover most of the forward view where the pop tent model is placed into the world.
  6. At the end of the crafting time, the pop tent item is removed from inventory, the "Deploy Pop Tent" plan is removed from the plan list (and the filled canister converted to empty).
  7. Datapad gets lowered to reveal the deployed pop tent in the world.

As hinted at above, if the deployment can be made into an actual process, maybe it could require an oxygen filled canister each time to inflate the structural parts which give the whole thing its shape, so that there would also be a "use cost" beyond just the build cost, and it would also limit the number of times you can (re)deploy it before running out of filled canisters and having to return to a habitat.

Since you have added a break chance to some of the reusable items (Oxygen Canister, Backup Battery), adding something similar to the tent would also help offsetting the enormous benefit it provides. By way of an internal "break chance" statistics, it could count how many times it was deployed and packed back up, with an increasing chance to become a "damaged" version after a few uses (not guaranteed exactly after x times, but an increasing chance that caps at a reasonably high value, 70-80%, maybe, after 3-4 uses? the time it spent having been deployed could also count towards this increasing chance, so if it was deployed only once, but been out there for several sols, it would also accumulate break chance during that single use). When it's damaged, it gets added to the inventory as the damaged variant on repacking, which, when present, also adds a temporary crafting plan that requires this special item as one input, some materials (one unit of fabric, maybe also a structural element, and a few weak bonding agents, you get a lot of those anyway so some use for them would be good) as the rest, with the same tool requirements as making one from scratch, and with a few hours of crafting time the result is the normal "good" version of the tent again.

The interaction area for repacking the tent can be a bit unintuitive to find for the first time (or even realizing you can repack it), being on the back side of the tent. I don't really have any better idea at the moment tho, other than maybe extending it to include the sides too. It would also be nice if it took some time to repack, but that would require some kind of UI addition, or a process similar to what I outlined above for deploying it, some kind of "fake" crafting plan which is added/activated when using the repacking interaction node.

When deployed, it could add a location to the map in case you leave it deployed then wander off. Although this could be achieved by placing the custom location marker, that would tie the function down making it unusable for its original purpose of marking something (else). Or, you could take a photo, in this case that would kind of make sense. I'll leave this one here anyway.

Is the tent supposed to be persistent between saves? It appears to stay around when you enter and exit a habitat within a single game session which hints at that it should be persistent (unlike the dropped boxes which disappear on transition), but it disappeared when I rested/saved in a Hab, quit the game and then continued at a later time. If they are not supposed to be persistent (although I'd prefer if they got saved when left outside somewhere), ample warning should be given as they require a significant amount of materials to craft so losing one between saves could hurt (so far there was only one time I could actually make one, and once lost, I didn't have enough materials left to make another one in that game).

The craftable pop tent should be visually different from the ones found at outpost sites, since those were made in a proper factory back on Earth, while the craftable one is just a patchwork of whatever salvaged materials the player character found and glued together.

I think this idea is good, but I disagree in that way of use oxygen canister. You must have a canister to deploy it but when recovering it will return the amount of oxygen not used for respiration inside the tent less some amount in looses in the deploy and recovering process.

I like this idea, but I have a few ideas to add onto it. Instead of the entire pop tent being assembled in the hab, you craft a frame, a base, and a canopy. Instead of assembling it there, instead you have to assemble it outside, when you deploy the pop tent. Pop tents are meant to be fast deploying, in an emergency. The build system it currently has is good, but instead you have to place the base, then the frame onto the base, then the canopy onto the frame. 

I like the O2 container idea, but I think instead it should run off of your suits O2. Think about it, that canister has half of what your suit has. You run through what your suit has in roughly half a sol, without running. What if you're doing this for a dust storm, or to recover from being dangerously fatigued? That canister is going to run out, and you're gonna asphyxiate.

So, have it run from your suits air, instead, I think, is a good idea.

Under review

I like the suggestion Mr. Fusion made to have there be a "use cost" for deploying pop tents. What if the pop tent simply required 10% of your suit's oxygen to deploy and inflate but then still just used your suit oxygen for breathing while inside? The loss of 10% suit oxygen to inflate could be balanced by further reducing the consumption rate of oxygen while inside (which makes sense since you are sitting completely still or sleeping) and you can still refill your suit oxygen while inside with a oxygen canister from your inventory. Technically since these pop tents don't have an airlock there would be a loss of oxygen every time you enter or exit, but that seems like it would be overly punishing and not very fun.

A whole canister felt to be a bit too much even to me, actually, so draining a smaller amount from the suit suit supply indeed sounds better. This, however, will require an extra check somewhere in the deployment process to ensure that the player won't run out of suit oxygen immediately during deployment or during the next few in game minutes of being inside. Can't deploy if suit oxygen is below 20-25% or something?

Yeah, that's kind of what I was thinking too. Does that seem like a reasonable barrier at the expense of saving the game while on EVA?

Yes, I think it would be a reasonable tradeoff. I'm not even sure about reducing the oxygen use when inside; it does make sense in terms of less activity meaning less oxygen used, but I don't think the oxygen budget is that tight in general that an occasional 10% loss would seriously upset it and needing to be given back in another way. That wouldn't really be added usage, just converting an over time use into a single one time use.

Actually, putting more stress on it would probably work towards making exploration feel more risky again, so maybe even the deployment cost could be a little higher, 15%, or even 20%, since, as you've also mentioned, it would, in a way, include the air that needs to be used to refill the tent every time the player leaves and reenters.

You say there would be a loss of oxygen every time we entered or exited. Wouldn't 'all oxygen immediately rush out upon opening the hatch?  Or does Mar's atmosphere allow oxygen to leak slowly, idk? I had wondered myself how we are getting in and out of the pop tents without losing all oxygen. I'm not complaining though.

My answer for a lot of these types of issues so far is "because video games". That's not a great explanation though. Some parts that would be more realistic wouldn't be very fun for the player, and other parts I just haven't quite figured out how to best design a solution yet and so I just ignore it. Technically you would lose oxygen every time you enter or exit, but that seems especially punishing for a mechanic that is intended to be used as a safe space.

Hahaha, good answer and yes you are right. After the Recycle grenades in the game Prey, who can argue with most game mechanics? Kudos to you though for keeping it as close to RL as possible.

This just came to me. You said it's "Because video games" but you could also say "Artistic license"  ;)