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.
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