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Completed

Dust storm feedback up to 0.62

Mr. Fusion 6 months ago in Gameplay • updated by Tyler Owen (Lead Developer) 4 months ago 2

Impact on navigation

Currently, the navigation system appears to go offline when the player is within a certain distance to the center of the storm. While this probably makes it easier to implement, it doesn't really make sense since it results in navigation being offline even when you are standing right next to a WayStat so you should have no problem receiving data from it. What should happen instead is that every WayStat which is currently affected by a storm has its communication range reduced from the default value, based on the local storm strength (you already have this information for each of them in the form of the local visibilty), then check the player's location against these reduced ranges and turn off navigation if the player is not in the reduced range of any WayStat. This effect should also be capped to a reasonable minimum range, so that even at 0% local visibility, WayStats would still have a few hundred meters communication range.


When you are in "Nav Offline" state due to a storm, the scanner range still seems to be the boosted one as if you still had normal connection (according to the ingame description, when you lose navigation due to getting out of range, you also lose the scanner boost). While this is an inconsistency, I'm uncertain about addressing it since the boosted range at least gives some means of navigaton with the rest being inaccessible. If WayStat range reduction was reworked to work as described above, it would probably be less punishing to also properly reduce scanner range when not connected to any WayStat, since it would occur less often with those rules; you'd get the connection / scanner range back if you can get close enough to a WayStat even in a storm area.


I think it would make sense if any Hab with Electrical being online acted as a WayStat in terms of determining "distance to nearest WayStat" for enabling/disabling navigation (they would surely have their own navigation beacon so when you are nearby, you should be able to pick that up) with the same range behaviour as above, and they could also display local visibility data in the Weather App the same way WayStats do (again, the Habs would be an obvious place to install weather monitoring equipment at).


Does the "storm warning" message, and the storm size/speed info on the weather screen need a certain number of operational WayStats? Sometimes I had these during a game, other times I did not, and I couldn't quite figure out the requirement for them to appear, other than probably tied to a required minimum number of WayStats active, but how many? Maybe noting this somewhere on the info pages about either the Weather App or the WaysStats could be helpful.


There's a bit of an inconsistency regarding the communication blackout caused by storms: even when you have no connection to the WayStats for navigation, they can somehow still send the visibility info to you. There could at least be a hint at this link being affected too, for example, the visibility readout could randomly alternate between the normal value and a "???" text at a frequency based on how low the visibility is at that WayStat; I guess the value display has a refresh cycle, so maybe at each cycle a roll could be made to determine if the actual value gets displayed in this cycle, or the "???" text, with down to a capped minimum chance of still getting the actual value at 0% visibility at times.


Sound

The wind sound during EVA feels a bit too clear, it sounds more like as if hearing the wind directly, not through a bulky suit/helmet. It lacks that distinct muffled effect which is applied to, for example, the airlock door opening/closing when outside. Only the wind sound (rumbling) tho, the sounds of the dust/sand hitting the suit is fine (I especially like how direction sensitive the effect is).


Maybe adding some low and dampened wind/sand sounds to the Hab interior when there's a storm outside could make sound ambience a bit more interesting? While the Habs are surely well insulated, a structure as big as them could still pick up some vibration, and there could be "bridges" through which the sound of something physically hitting the outer surface could travel to the interior.


Character control

I feel the movement penalty when being in a storm is a bit too severe, discouraging the player from going out during storms, which can be somewhat detrimental to gameplay as it's not a lot of fun to have to just sit around/rest through a several days long storm. An alternative approach could be to ease up on the movement penalty (it still should be noticeable, just not as bad as now), but increase the rate of calorie use and exhaustion buildup in exchange (maybe even disable running?). These changes would still contribute to lowering the effective range of the player during a storm, but would probably be less punishing than trying to get to anywhere when limited to a snail's pace.


I wonder if implementing a kind of "wind push" when in a storm effect area would make gameplay more interesting or just more annoying? Since wind has a distinct direction (as displayed in the Weater App), on a longer stretch it could deflect the player's movement, eg. if the player is headed North by the compass, and the wind is coming from the East, then the player's actual heading would get offset to North-Northwest. So if they wanted to truly head to North, they'd have to keep towards North-Northeast to compensate for the wind push. Another, mostly just a "local" effect could be that the player would get physically shoved around a bit, similar to what you get when trying to walk in a very strong/turbulent wind and having to "fight" to be able to move towards where you intend to.


Hab systems

Being affected by a storm could increase the degradation rate of / cause extra degradation to all solar panel mounts and RTG slots, regardless if they are turned on/off or have anything installed in them. However, this may also pose a problem: at unattended/undiscovered Habs all mounts would eventually reach 0% (and as a result destroy any solar panel/RTG installed) as storms affect them repeatedly over the course of a playthrough, which would be especially bad for ones the player may need a long time to discover: by the time it's found, all the mounts and their installed components would get ruined while the (current) game balance counts on them as available components to be discovered over the course of the game. On the other hand, being able to remove broken components as items and salvage materials from them could partially compensate for this. Also, once discovered, the player could "storm proof" unused habitats by removing all solar panels and moving them inside.


Another, maybe a bit too punishing (but at least good for crafting) effect could be that there would be a very small chance, which increases as the mount condition goes down, of panel mounts filled with solar panels, regardles if being on/offline, breaking immediately while in a storm, instead of just degrading over time: as the mount condition worsens, there's a chance for the wind to just "tear off" (not actually, just in effect) the panel and completely ruin it immediately.


The HUD and Datapad corruption hints at that there's static electricity buildup/discharge during storms which affects electrical/electronic systems. Tied in to this, the circuit boards of online systems could degrade slightly faster while being in a storm. With a similar reasoning (static discharge messing with the control electronics, causing an overload spike), there could be a small chance of fuse slots instantly breaking regardless of their condition, however, this could be a problem as there's currently no way to make new fuses (there could be, a new crafting pan for makeshift fuses). Another effect could be that systems would have a small chance of randomly shutting down by themselves; effectively the power switch going back to "off" state.


The severity and frequency of all these effects would be based on the strength of the storm at the location of the given habitat.

I disagree with the hab system section. The other ideas are rather nice, but the fact you have to find most components, on top of the fact that I'm pretty sure hab components already degrade faster during storms, just make the act of such a large amount of component failure impossible to recover from, especially after now having extremely low power after such storms. 


However, I would easily agree with this if we could have ways of actually wind-proofing our habitat modules and panels without just making the entire module unusable.

Completed

Almost all of these changes have been implemented in a fashion close to your suggestions except for the sound suggestions which I may still get to in the future. Thanks for the feedback.