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Storm should affect solar panels further away from the center

Mr. Fusion 3 months ago in Gameplay • updated by Tyler Owen (Lead Developer) 2 months ago 4

The dust storms currently seem to affect solar panel efficiency only extremely close to their center. I've gotten full recharge rate from a portable panel near a WayStat reporting 20%-ish visibility, and Hab systems were showing full recharge rate already while visual storm effects were still distinctly visible, with what I'd estimate as 70-80% or so visibility (the Hab was roughly half way on a line between a WayStat recently returned to 100% and one showing 48%, a little closer to the 48% end).


I think anywhere where the visibility is not 100% and there is any kind of storm effect visible, solar panels should be affected, with maybe a slight non-linearity towards the center.

Completed

I think I've found a compromise. I didn't really want to make the dust storms even more difficult by having them affect solar panels more, so instead I have made the visual dust effect ramp more slowly. So when you first enter a dust storm it will be very faint and the dust visibility will get worse exponentially as you approach the epicenter. Before it was more of a linear change from the outer edge to the center, so the sun seemed to get covered faster. As you mentioned this seemed incongruous with how your solar panels charge rate is affected. The charge rate based on distance to storm epicenter is not changed, but it should feel more in line with the visibility. I have not affected the visibility % indicators either because I still want you to be able to see a more linear distribution of the size of the storm as it approaches.

Although I only lived through a few storms so far, so my exposure to them is somewhat limited, I don't feel them being particularily difficult aside of the initial surprise and the following adaptation to the first one you ever encounter. If anything, they should have a much larger area of effect, one that corresponds to their current visible effect range (as it is in version 0.58.1) instead of reducing their visible size to match the area where they affect recharge rate, which currently appears to be very small, especially compared to the size reported by the Weather app of the datapad. The initial 7500m storm in the Big Storm scenario seemed to have an effective radius of maybe 1500 meters at best, at least according to WayStat readings, but the area where it in fact impacted recharge rate seemed to have at most a few hundred meters radius, about maybe the innermost third/fourth of the area you could esitmate by looking at the WayStat readings, which is way too small in my opinion.


Instead of the current very dense, spot like area of effect with a well defined and sharp edge (not currently matching the visual size), they should have a larger area where the effect ramps up slowly towards the really bad conditions close to the center. That way even a storm that's not passing directly through a Hab area would have some effect on gameplay by reducing solar panel output. Something like, the outer 50% of the storm radius would represent 35% of the effect, and the inner 50% would represent the other 65%.


If I may use The Maritan as an example, while travelling to the MAV, Watney did not notice being in a storm for days at first at all, only that there's something off with the harvest rate of the solar panels, as the storm was already impacting their recharge capacity well before it had any visible effect. Something more along those lines, only scaled down to fit the size of the game world here, would work better in terms of making the storms having a bigger impact on gameplay.


I'm planning to eventually make a larger feedback/suggestion post regarding the storms and how could (should?) they be iterated upon to provide a larger set of difficulties/threats to manage, but I'd like to experience a few more of them first to have a more consistent picture of how they feel now.

I'll certainly be revisiting some of these things in the future, but as far as I can tell in my testing, your solar panel charge rates are impacted as soon as the visual effects are visible. Of course, this is still relative to your distance to the epicenter, but it is there. I look forward to hearing more of your feedback after the 0.59 update.