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:
- "Use" the pop tent in the inventory, which lowers the Datapad and brings up the placement wireframe.
- Select the location by placing the wireframe and left click to start the deployment.
- The Datapad comes back up with a special, temporarily added crafting plan (all others are blocked at this time): "Deploy Pop Tent"
- This plan requires the pop tent item in the inventory (maybe also one oxygen filled canister, see a bit below?) as input.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.
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