Permanence brainstorm

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Comments

  • trisdinotrisdino Denmark Join Date: 2012-09-16 Member: 159590Members Posts: 66 Advanced user
    Okay, here comes my suggestions. I love permanence, and I love biology, so I would like to see a deep rooted connection with the world. Ecosystems are very complicated and here are the type of things I would like to see:

    - The extinction(or decrease in abundance) of a species predator or competition causing an increase in its population. If this species is a herbivore, it means that there will be more creatures to eat plants and other such things, resulting in a decrease in flora. If this keeps going on for too long, and the herbivore population becomes too bloated, they will completely eat up all their food, and eventually die out.

    - Genetically engineered creatures being able to reproduce and survive in the world. If you create a new creature that is more well adapted to the world than the current ones, it will either out compete them, or force them into new niches. This could either result in the older species going extinct, or having to live very different lifestyles.

    - Animal displacement as a factor. Each area will have its own flora and fauna, with an obvious level of overlap, but, if say, a coral reef is destroyed by a submarine, the animals in it wont just disappear, at least not immediately. If there is another coral reef nearby, they will move there, possibly resulting in an ecosystem loaded with more animals than it can contain. Or, if there are no other coral reefs, while most will die out, some species may be able to adapt and survive under much more poor conditions. Perhaps a small population could still scrape out a living in some harsh environment, dangling on the verge of extinction.

    - The submarine as a part of the ecosystem. After players have been in the world for a sufficient amount of time, I would love to see flora and fauna begin to adapt to them. Perhaps some species of plants would start growing on the submarines hull, while animals would use it for shelter, or maybe in use it for transportation. I would also like to see creatures at first not know how to react, and be foolish, making mistakes like swimming into its engines, or not moving out of the way when it is at full speed.


    Finally, I would like to see the player's destruction of the environment be a very real threat, and one that would be heavily punished. If a player hunts too many species, fishes too many fish, cuts down the kelp forests and mines out the coral reefs, everybody should suffer. The animals and plants start to disappear, the world becomes increasingly empty, and the player
    starts to run out of resources. Eventually, careless players could die from starvation, simply because they did not properly take into account what effects their actions would have.

    Perhaps a player was fully reliant on a huge local herd of gasopods, and for the majority of the game, he had been hunting them. But eventually, one day, when he was getting hungry, and he traveled out to hunt, he could not find any gasopods. He kept searching, but wherever he went, there were no gasopods to be found. As a result, he searched for other food. He remembered that not too far away from his submarine, there was a large flat of sea-grass, filled with all sorts of life, and he went there to hunt. But when he arrived, he realized something was very wrong. The large open area was gone, replaced by a dense kelp forest. Inside it, there was little life to be found, the creatures previously located in the area not being able to live here, and the actual inhabitants of kelp forests not having colonized it. Previously, kelp had been eaten by large animals, but now that they were gone, the kelp spread. So he thought about it, and remembered the great coral reef, located on a rock shelf above a deep drop, not too far away. Yet when he arrived, the place was nothing but bare rock. No longer able to hunt their preferred prey, the large predators of the region had been forced to hunt the smaller things, and as much of the upper places were covered in kelp, they had been forced into the reef. There, they quickly ate everything large enough to sustain them, and eventually, starved into extinction. From there, the reefs ecosystem had broken down, and now, it was gone.

    The next day, the player was dead. He had starved.
    Bandersaurslayer.faithBroseidonFingersAreOptional
  • slayer.faithslayer.faith Join Date: 2007-12-10 Member: 63127Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 79 Advanced user
    Curse you @Flayra ive been thinking about this all weekend. ;-)

    Im excited by some of the ideas around simulating an ecology. Ideas that are tumbling around in my head from what i have seen in the artwork and prototypes are the idea of exploration, beauty, ecology, building and also loneliness/isolation.

    Im a big fan of building games and automation. There was a great 8 bit game which was a space exploration game where you had to do each step manually, but then you got the option to automate it. Eg, mine stuff on earth, build orbital lifter, automate mine, lift materials into orbit, build space ship, automate materials lifting, explore out into space, automate building etc. It made the players do the steps manually for a while and then before they got boring you could build something to automate that step (by then something else was more interesting and built on the thing you just achieved and automated).



    The kind of game play that id like to see is (something like):

    * epic cut scene as mother ship crashes into planet
    - you are in charge of one of a small number of workable escape pods that are tasked with heading out to collect resources for the mothership
    - the mothership has a whole colony in cold sleep who will be awaking over time and needed more and more resources (but also being able to produce more and more advanced stuff)
    - the mothership is a sink for your production and a source for missions and 'master tech' building (bigger subs, advanced rooms and high tech building modules and robots). The mothership is the 'central economy/bank'
    - mothership dropoffs are automated (maybe some fear of infection from people who venture outside its hull, so you are on a 'never return, take one for the colony' type mission)
    - (this isolation and never return idea might be interesting combined with the adapting your DNA with local wildlife... maybe you change yourself to be better at helping the colony, but by doing so you become alien to the colonists)

    * start with a simple escape pod, gather resources, small sub, small cargo capacity, small oxygen/food/energe stores
    - the ocean is the source of your materials for production, it produces 'cash' resources to buy upgrades from the mother ship
    - you need to find resources and 'trade' them for recharges to keep your sub going
    - initially just being able to collect what you need but with just enough 'extra' to save for and build a small store/base
    - have to trade excess for to recharge your sub

    * build a minimal base to recharge/restock your sub locally
    - now you have enough surplus to explore some more around the local area and find 'harvest' areas
    - gather some more high level resources (with less time travelling back to the crashed mother ship to recharge you can do more)
    - collect enough metal to return to the mothership to get a larger sub (repeat this as resources grow, more $$ = bigger sub)

    * start to build automated resource gatherers (metal extractors on geovents, fish farms, geothermal hydrogen fuel extraction, seaweed farmers)
    - now you have even more time to explore, needing only to shuttle completed resources back to base
    - robot collectors from the mothership come online, allow ordering materials and direct trading to main base via comms link
    - start to get missions from mothership
    - start to get larger hulls which can be customized with new special function rooms

    * start to explore (mostly) with the (more rare) resource shuttle runs when extractors fill (they send you a message or it can be monitored on the big map)
    - find more exotic stuff (types of fish, places to explore, etc)
    - more exploration time, less micro manage

    * build a automated transport to automatically pull stuff back to your base
    - shuttle runs now a thing of the past (once enough supply shuttles have been built)
    - your existing network can be run via radio commands from a central map/command room
    - all exploring, missions and production of advanced buildings now (little to no transport)
    - maybe things break down on your bases too so you cant leave them too long or they leak/explode/catch fire (fire being one of the *MOST* dangerous things on ships/subs) Maybe better tech means more advanced repair bots = longer between emergencies
    - you'd want some need to periodically repair your bases (so that if you die, when 'the next pod is sent to investigate' they only find ruins or can only extract minimal resources from the wrecks, so you get a leg up to avoid the tedious bits above on rebuild).
    - maybe meet a fellow trader? OMG another human! (Rare but exciting visits? better deals? weird artifacts? worth breaking exploration or missions to meet a human?)

    - at this stage id expect to have a large main base (large and empty or filled with robots), a number of extractors, a fleet of supply carriers doing all the micromanagement work for me,

    (Wow possum just fried itself on the 11k volt power lines outside and we had an hour blackout and this forum post survived the power outage... niiice!! <3 this forum software)<br>
    * explore out and build a remote base further out to allow your sub to explore further out (or deeper) (the base lets you restock your subs stores extending your range)
    - your home base should be large but empty of people (lonely world :-( ) but you should be able to hire specialist robots/macs to do specific things (ie, build MAC support room, spawns MAC robot to float around and do things in your base)
    - building specialist modules on your home base, such as DNA extraction and other bogus service things ;-)
    - at this point production is mostly automated (except for building new resource extractors which requires setup by the player)
    - it should be a lonely existance (no other humans except for the rare message from the mothership)

    - specialist bots such as the DNA splicer let you start to extract abilities from the local wildlife
    - biovats allow production of 'life based' materials (ie, fish + seaweed + glowbat + snarkfin = biolight plates for your sub)
    - after managing oxygen supplies for so long players might leap at gill-mods to allow water breathing but how alien are you willing to go to be efficient?


    * at this point you have a network of extractors and collectors and forward bases and your large main base
    - at this point you should start to notice your influence on the ecology.. those seaweed farms are putting the vege feeders into overdrive, predator numbers spike, feeder numbers drop, predators die off, feeders spring back, etc
    - some meta story? pirate? something that attacks your main base? something attacks your supply collectors/transports?
    - some fast travel method between bases? mothership starts hydrofoil on surface between surface docks on your bases?

    - at this point you have probably 'won' the production side of the game, so im wondering if the next step might be something to do with the player picking a side between the 'local life forms' and the colonists.

    Usually building games hit a 'done it all' stage where you have 'won'. Not sure what to do at this point. :) I do think i would like this journey though. ;-) I think there could be some cool stuff to explore in that local ecosystem vs colonists path, but that indicates that maybe the game might end and my pretty zen world would disappear which would make me sad :)





    Difficulty could be tuned in a few places (and even on the fly):
    * the 'economy' at the mothership (if you need processed food and energy from the mothership then the price you get for your raw seaweed helps/handicaps you a lot) (I assume storing raw fish on a submarine isnt a smart idea :)
    * the 'ecology' system's production values (how much seaweed does a 100m*100m farm produce?)
    * the 'damping' on the swings of the ecology system (ie, how bad do you screw up the ecology by building 1000 seaweed farms.... does it cause critical damage or just temporarily ruin the local area)
    * story/random mission difficulty

    Im assuming that your AI difficulty system would be constantly by your AI story director based on your play style (urgency) and the difficulty setting. :)

    This kind of play would really float my boat ;-), build a bit, learn something new, automate it, move on. End up with a network of stuff to maintain and periodically expand out and explore something new (ie, have time to explore and let the system run itself for a while without needing to 100% micromanage... i can live with a geothermal vent breaking down while im exploring).

    Expand my bases a bit, micromanage for a bit, explore a bit, build a forward base, gather supplies, deeply explore something cool, repeat. Zen joy.

    I think there is some interesting play to do with the isolation of this life and adapting to the local environment (vrs the 'normal' of the mothership colonists).


    You could also do the single player but with community feel of anno2070 where the mothership is like a trading base between all these 'single player' explorers. (Ie, everyone is single player on the same map, but the story has a number of colonists out farming in the ocean) Players could put up old subs for sale and sell their random wares on the 'mothership market'. They could vote on issues (bonuses or directions of the mothership market) "vote: +5% return on seaweed or -5% on oxygen supplies?"



    If unity supports dynamic mangling of models then you could look into a genetic control of creature features, but that way seems to be madness. :-) You could always try and make the game that I hoped Spore would be, if you want to aim high. ;-)

    Im starting to ramble here... ;-)

    Id like to see:
    * sub building (resources -> sub)
    * base building (resources -> base, edit landscape as needed)
    * resource gathering (editing landscape, changing echo system)
    * automation of micro management (resources -> bots)
    * building complex networks (more bases & extractors)
    * exploration (find new resources and pretty)
    * pretty pretty things (awwwwww so cute)
    * simulated ecosystem (at some level, even dead simple) that i can influence
    * tech tree or building up abilities

    Im wondering flexible units is for using something like Genetic Algorithms for tweaking life form shapes/sizes/forms of if thats just a can of insanity. Yeah, id say it is.
    FingersAreOptional
  • trisdinotrisdino Denmark Join Date: 2012-09-16 Member: 159590Members Posts: 66 Advanced user
    So basically, you want to turn a mostly exploration based game into a huge system of crafting and mechanics?

    That seems incredibly far from what it should be about. I would absolutely hate if Subnautica turned into some resource grinding chore. It is against the entire essence of the game.

    Some of the ideas I do like, but there should never be such a complex network of systems about this stuff. As I said, this is not a crafting or fabrication game, it is not about managing a colony, it is not dwarf-fortress under the water, and it is not space base-DF9 but not in space. It is primarily a game about survival and exploration, and while you obviously need other elements to flesh it out, those elements should not begin to bloat, and take up focus.
    Racer1
  • slayer.faithslayer.faith Join Date: 2007-12-10 Member: 63127Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 79 Advanced user
    trisdino wrote: »
    It is primarily a game about survival and exploration, and while you obviously need other elements to flesh it out, those elements should not begin to bloat, and take up focus.

    Reasonable points. :-)

    Although charlie did ask what kind of things people like and thats what i like (and i realise that is just me and others will like different things)

    I do like a relaxed building game (thus the automation etc). I often play anno2070 as my zen game until i rage quit when the production requirements get too complex (then its more work than fun).

    Having a pure exploration game means you are heavy on art assets though.

    An explore, expand out game lets you put in some gameplay that relies of player action too (extending game play in 'script' which should be easier).

    As long as that build process isnt painful but rather relaxing and fun and interactive, i would personally like it.

    Ive enjoyed tinkering with the two prototypes but i didnt sail around much in them because there is no gameplay in them. I can explore, but i last about 10 mins before i have some metal and ive sailed around and then i quit. So I do feel there needs to be some form of gameplay to keep it interesting (atleast for me).
  • trisdinotrisdino Denmark Join Date: 2012-09-16 Member: 159590Members Posts: 66 Advanced user
    The prototypes have nothing to offer, they just give a basic idea of what the game may be like(that, and activate my phobia of deep water)

    On topic, I get that you like it, and I myself have nothing against it. I have 70 hours in anno 2070, it is one of my most played games, and dwarf fortress is hela-fun. The problem is that this game is not either of those, nor is it trying to be. Just as bossfights and turret sections are out of place, so is an incredibly long and complex supply chain. Subnautica is a game about surviving and exploring in the ocean of an alien world, and therein lies its focus.

    As I said above, I like the basic concept of what you said, but it just should not be that complex. Here is my suggestion for the supply chain leading to submarine fuel:

    Harvest material on ocean floor - Take material into processor on ship - Produce fuel.

    This is a very simple system, but that does not mean it is easy. In order to tie the production of fuel into the games exploration theme, the mineral could be found exclusively in the deep sea, or some other arcane place. Or perhaps the material itself is produced by animals in the world, for example, maybe the "stuff" excreated by gasopods is what you can turn into fuel. That way, you have a reason to seek them out, and explore the area. At the same time, perhaps gasopods have really good and filling meat, which is good for food. But simultaneously, gasopods fill an important niche in the ecosystems they inhabit.

    Now, you already have a complex chain of choices and factors, while keeping the actual gameplay relatively simple and related to the games core themes. There may be many factors at work, but they are not all immediate things the player needs to work on. For example, if the player wipes out the gasopods, they will not be eating kelp anymore, and kelp forests may spread, threatening wildlife that prefers open areas. This is a complex set of chain reactions, but the actual action on the players part is nothing more than killing the gasopods, the rest is just a result. This is how I envision the game working - deep, but with most of the more complicated functionality being more subtle. You will not immediately have a problem when the gasopods are all gone, but eventually, when food runs out in this region, and you want to move, the lack of fuel may spell your demise.
  • slayer.faithslayer.faith Join Date: 2007-12-10 Member: 63127Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 79 Advanced user
    edited October 2014
    If you want to go survival then how about an aquatic version of: [spoilers if you read it all, dont read more than the first paragraph of the plot section] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Martian_(Andy_Weir)

    :)
  • trisdinotrisdino Denmark Join Date: 2012-09-16 Member: 159590Members Posts: 66 Advanced user
    I like the concept, and I do support ideas like growing crops and using technology to survive, hell, I think it is a great idea, but again, I do not want it to go too heavily in the whole tech direction.

    I believe that people become interested in Subnautica when they see the screenshots of tiny humans dwarfed by the magnificent alien environments, they become interested because they want to explore this world, not because they want to grow potatoes. This does not mean that you should not be able to grow potatoes, but just that it should not be the focus. In my opinion, the bulk of the survival aspect should be surrounding the world. As I described above, you should be reliant on the ecosystem for food and resources, and if you over-exploit it, you will pay the price.
  • slayer.faithslayer.faith Join Date: 2007-12-10 Member: 63127Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 79 Advanced user
    edited October 2014
    I just played the 3rd prototype and i spent a significant amount of time in it (well compared to the others). Niiiice. Needing to head out into the depths to collect the different materials was a cool experience. Being able to build all that stuff in your ship was also excellent. All in all i spent a lot of time tooling around in it until i had done it all.

    I take your point about being reliant on the ecosystem, but I also think there is some value in the option of strip mining the environment if the ecosystem reacts to that. That does add a level of complexity and balance, although on the plus side that can be scripted (ie, all kelp for 1000 miles == eco diversity dooooooom in that area).

    But that might not be everyone's cup of tea.
  • trisdinotrisdino Denmark Join Date: 2012-09-16 Member: 159590Members Posts: 66 Advanced user
    I fully support the idea of strip mining, I thought I had made that clear. I just do not want it to take up the focus of the game.
  • MaverickNZMaverickNZ New Zealand Join Date: 2014-10-25 Member: 199115Members Posts: 17
    Flayra wrote: »
    Hey all,


    - Being able to dig tunnels into the terrain with the drill-arm of your exosuit. You could alter the appearance of the landscape or connect caves together.

    What kind of things would YOU like to do?

    Have you guys checked out how they handle mining in Space Engineers? I think its actually really cool how you have to scan to find the location of buried minerals and drill them out (of the destructable terrain) to get the bits you want, you also end up exploring massiver caverns lined with minerals or veins of ore and suddenly realise you are low on power (and/or air underwater) and have to try find your way back to your ship before you run out! :)
    3del!
  • slayer.faithslayer.faith Join Date: 2007-12-10 Member: 63127Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 79 Advanced user
    edited November 2014
    Warning this post contains pie in the sky, freaky, on hallucinatory drugs and out of this world class wacky suggestions, but i figure why not brain dump. ;-)

    edit: bloody hell, im back with an edit! :)
    For anyone interested in this kind of stuff (and looking for a well written overview), i recommend Artificial Life – A report from the frontier where computers meet biology by Steven Levy (his book 'Hackers' is also excellent).

    edit2: struth it takes aaaages to scroll down to the 'save comment button'! hahaha! :)







    Having read charlies post they seem to be aiming for a more undirected and open ended type experience. That sounds pretty cool, but it also sounds like it is going to be quite a challenge.

    Personally (and im shallow ;) my 'steps of gameplay' go something like this:
    * something to get me starting to play (eye candy art, some gameplay type i like (builder, rts, tactical turn based) or some theme i like (scifi, ww2))
    * stuff to keep me amused for my initial playthrough (non-dwarf fortress complexity initally (later on i love that), an 'ooooh wow' factor in art of gameplay)
    * depth to keep me coming back (ie, it does not 'cap out' at a certain mission or have a grind-y mission structure that makes me feel like im at work)

    For me (im shallow, remember) art and 'start mode' (tutorial/initial game play/wow world) get me into the game and gives the game an opportunity for the game to 'show off' it's features before i get tired of the initial burst of 'coooooooooooooool' wears off. Subnautica steam release has that so far and I love the visuals and Im invested enough to play through and build the minisub.



    So to keep me invested from there there needs to be depth. It seems to me you can add depth by:

    * adding other gameplay types to the game
    * adding more biomes
    * adding something interesting in the world




    adding gameplay types

    (this is mostly clearing up my thinking and charlies posted ideas. The real crazy stuff is below.)

    Once you are past the 'pretty' you need something to absorb your time.

    Charlie mentioned different game play modes that the game *isnt* entirely a:
    * sandbox
    * builder
    * survival

    Desired game play mix:
    * exploration
    * discovery
    * theme

    Possible features:
    1) terraforming (building)
    2) more biomes
    3) crafting
    4) actions change the world (suggests ecosystem simulation?)
    5) dna extract/inject for stats or mods
    6) overall goal (all about building, exploring, changing)
    7) base building
    8) add story elements


    Thats a weird set of lists so lets mutate it into points....

    * theme, story elements, overall goal (?) (= human crafted)

    * exploration, biomes, sandbox, discovery (= large open world)

    * actions change the world (= simulation layer + feedback into world)

    * collecting, crafting, base building (= collection, building, crafting)

    * discovery, dna extraction & injection (= ?)


    I dont see how you can avoid human crafting such as scripting/designing in the 1st point (thats the designers job after all). Theme, story and overall goal have to be designed to give the thing a feel/direction.

    Your large exploreable sandbox world gives you the 2nd point.

    You add a meta layer on top to simulate changes to the ecosystem to give you the 3rd point which feeds back into the sandbox to change it as you 'tweak' (as you strip mine kelp those fish that need it move off or die out, as you add kelp farms those fish move in and eat it all and explode in number which makes predator numbers explode etc etc).

    The 4th item is made by tagging objects as collectable types and designing a build tree. You then need to design the bits and pieces that you can build but that all has to be human designed (as far as i can see/imagine). That might require making manual changes to the sandbox world (base building, mining/tunneling, extractors, farmers, whatever).

    The 5th item is *hard* to do in a deep way. You either have to manually design a 'dna tech tree' (effectively like the build tree, find/extract/mix=new designed item) or you need some wacky idea that generates it as part of the system.

    Did someone say wacky idea? ;-)



    adding biomes

    There are two ways to do this...

    Manually: which requires human art/design time. This produces eye-droolingly great art (as we have all just seen in the release) but it limited by the output of human artists to produce.

    Another manual option would be to open it up for community contribution (maybe by making a biome and creature API for the game so people could submit new biome types or new creatures).

    The crazy idea is to automatically do this through evolving creatures and such like *in game* by computer.

    I did some work with genetic algorithms in uni. I put 6 brain celled creatures in a maze and ran it for a few thousand generations and it evolved something close to right hand wall following (a valid maze solving algorithm). That blew my mind! :-). Build the simulation, add creature with inputs (see left/right/ahead) and outputs (turn left/right, move forward), allow to run for 2800 generations from random start and you get behaviour. Wow. :)

    This requires coding time, makes your engine way more complex (maybe, depending on what you can 'farm off' and develop any of it in parallel) and can lead to 'weird' edge cases. Paradoxically it also probably puts limits on your art design (because evolving something that works probably requires putting limits on the possible building block parts and you probably need to make tradeoffs for the art). But it can make an endless supply of new weird and wonderful. :)

    There is some very cool research on evolving creatures.

    Art wise, if you look at that video and imagine those blocky squares being 'predefined parts' of fish (fin, body, gasbag, (each with different stats and effects in the world) and then trying to evolve size+location+movement with genetic algorithms and compare them. That generates your model/size/appearance. You would need to work out some skinning system, but if you are just skinning a defined set of parts, that might be achievable.

    You could have a farm of simulating computers (or piggy back it into the game client) to simulate their movement (generate animations, using physics). This makes your animation for the various moves and also gives them in game stats (size, food value, speed, turn rate, food use per meter etc).

    You can then simulate them vs various other creatures (with modular sensor parts like eyes, electrical detectors (ah-la sharks), pressure sensors, sound/sonar senors and various output devices such as gas-farts, ink sprays, flee-for-your-life etc). Run the simulation *against* various other types of creature. This gives you some meta stats for combat vs various current predators and grazing types, size gives you a 'food value' etc. This can be used for the high level ecosystem simulation and to quickly do easy (light) combat (ie, on contact predator XYZ hits and kills a drifter ABC 24% of the time and ABC escapes 22% of the time).

    You might get preferred biome of various fish types from running the simulation vs predators in each biome to determine how many are killed etc. Swarming vs non swarming behaviour etc. What difference does the color of the fish make in that biome? How much food does the creature get from that biome.

    Samples of evolved behaviour.

    What you would end up with there is a creature built of basic human designed parts but a machine evolved sizing/layout/behavior/stats and automatically generated animations.

    See! I told you this post was 'on crack' crazy. This would be a bucket load of work and is never going to happen, but its a brain dump. So to continue....


    Im game Behaviour?

    As to ingame behaviour that should be able to be simulated too.

    Check out Braitenberg vehicles on google. They are little robot vehicles with a motor on each back wheels and two light sensors (front left and front right) which control the rear wheel speed. If you wire the sensors to the wheels on the same side then the vehicle exhibits light *avoiding* behaviour and if you wire them to the opposite wheel you get light *following* behaviour (more light to the sensor makes the wired wheel move faster.... the behaviour emerges from the different signal/speed).

    Replace light with 'non-me-type fish' sensor and you could have predator prey behavior. Thats probably just about as hard to code as fully human written ai code but more adaptable and evolve-able.

    Now imagine putting different 'sensors' (same-fish left/right, enemy-fish left/right/close, light, dark, i-am-in-vegetation, or even color based sensors (red left/right, green, blue) on the fish in game and wiring them to various outputs (turn left, right, forward, flee/sprint, 'fart', bite, explode, shrink) with various mathematical weights (which you evolve to change behaviour).

    Again each of these sensors is pretty easy to code (and probably needed as an input to any human written AI code anyway) but by making a system where things are 'wired up' you can evolve/change it and get changes in behaviour too.

    Such simple systems can often show very complex emergent behaviours **without** coding in that behaviour manually.

    Schools of fish can be simulated by just adding an attraction to others of its kind (a find-closest-like-me wired to a turn-and-approach-then-follow). Swarm/predator behaviour video. shows a nice behavior of shepherding and this is a pretty good swarm behaviour too, especially at around 3:40 when 'scary' blocks are added. Mostly this is 'i want to be close to other creatures' behaviour and move away from scary things... from that they just glom into swarms and act correctly (for free).

    You could add a 'scream' output to fish which is triggered when they are eaten (or see a predator) and other fish can then swim away from it. Then you can let the system reform the school naturally. It takes work to get the 'inputs and outputs' going and the system working, but once you do get that working, you get complex and natural behaviours for 'free' (emerging from the simple building blocks, without hand coding).

    If you can get this kind of emergent behaviour through simple 'sensors' and 'outputs', it is sometimes simpler than hand coding each behavior in an AI and gives you a more natural result. Yes it presents some additional problems to develop but it *scales*, evolves and is adaptable (which can be more of plus) to changes.

    Art wise, you could even have the 'skin' texture evolved and then simulate the visibility of the creature at various lighting/depths (ie, bright red glowing creatures vrs black ninja colored creatures) to give you a 'target visibility' measure and then let the system just evolve.

    The trouble is that it might evolve into a boring meh-blue color. This is the problem with evolving solutions, they solve the problem given to them and not always the 'look great in game' problem. But then again you might get wondeful results too.

    So as you see, it seems I am on crack. :-)



    adding something interesting to the world

    Ok, so if you *did* do this then you would end up with the interesting end point that might just give you that 5th magical point in the gameplay list for free. You get an adaptable sandbox world which is endlessly variable and replayable. Aaaaaaaaaand.....


    Because the parts that build the creatures are plug and play, you can take a sandshark with parts:

    * cruise fins (speed 80%)
    * sprint fins (+50% speed, 10 seconds)
    * sharp teeth (10 pierce damage, pierce 4cm)
    * burrow brain (burrow into sand and wait)
    * sand biome color
    * 2cm think hide
    * movement detector (10 meters)
    * tracking eyes ([email protected] cone, [email protected] cone, [email protected] degrees) (allows tracking down prey) (*)

    (*) So it can see a long distance in a 30 degree cone (for locking on and chasing), the last 10m cone is for the initial lockon to it's target (and detect other predators) and the middle 15m cone is for tracking targets that try and dodge to the side.


    Now you can find a sample of a sand shark, extract it and change it (or add it to a new creature).

    You could do weird things like:

    * extract the texture/skin of one creature and add it to another (and it would simulate the results of that change for predator/prey) (if you change it to green, maybe it starts to burrow into kelp areas instead.)

    * extract a 'part' and add it to a new fish (lets add a 'spine spitter' to that schooling prey fish and see what happens or lets add the kelp digestion part to the sand shark and see what it does now (does it evolve size as a defence or does it start to swarm? do the teeth go away now it cant eat fish? does the hide get thicker?))

    * change a part's 'settings' (eg, change the size of an eye to make it see further or the thickness of skin for defence)

    For example, lets change the eye tracking to [email protected] degrees and 30 [email protected] degree cone. Now maybe it becomes a cruising hunter rather than a burrower (because these super eyes allow it to find food at such a distance)? Maybe it no longer needs the sprint fins and instead evolves a cruise speed of 110% so it can just run down it's targets. Maybe you can add a 'spine spitter' and it becomes a ranged killer with no defensive hide? Maybe the burrow brain and the movement detector die off once the better eyes are added? Maybe staying 'sand colored' is no longer important and it becomes bright fluro green.



    Good API design

    A lot of this takes testing and tweaking to find good algorithms and such. I guess at this point (now that ive committed to writing this bloody much) i'll put in a vote for a good modding api in the system.

    For example if the meta-ecology layer had a clear API, you might be able to farm off the development of that to some other developer (who would take sample creature combat stats and feed them into the ecology simulator and look for good settings).

    Eg, each square has a terrain type, populations of vegetation type/size, groups of fish type/number and the ecology algorithm runs a simulation and feeds new values back (ie, change in vegetation size, fish number) by simulating schools eat kelp, predators eat school fish, kelp grows, fish spawn if well fed or die off if hungry. Run that for a while to find algorithms that produce stable populations.

    (Yes i realise that having evolving fishies will change the meta-stats for the fish types and make the system more unstable, but you'd need a ecology algorithm which avoided extreme cases and had some good negative feedback to pull the ecology back into sane ranges...... this is what you'd need the algorithm for.)

    Same with fish part behaviour. If your 'fish part' API had a reasonable set of values, you might be able to get people wiring up swarming behaviour or hunting behaviours.

    (What im too tired to write is make a good api with clear inputs and outputs and then others can develop this in parallel maybe that is fodder for a new post). :-)

    Blllurg... fingers getting tired.... stopping now... really...




    Well done!

    Dont you have a day job? How did you read this much typing ;-). Seriously great job getting down this far. I wish i could give you a forum badge for it. "I survived Slayer's post of 2014" badge earned.

    Realistically though I dont think this will happen because it is:
    1) so complex and requires so much work
    2) is the kind of thing you need to be *starting* with in the design

    Still I would love that kind of stuff and I can dream, right? :^)
    Post edited by slayer.faith on
    LumpN
  • FingersAreOptionalFingersAreOptional Someren, The Netherlands Join Date: 2014-11-05 Member: 199461Members Posts: 18
    There were two things that were mainly the cause of me buying Subnautica in this earliest stage (outside of the fact that I can give a lot of feedback during development). The first thing were of course the visuals. And having seen what Unknown Worlds had done in NS2, I wasn't expecting them to screw up that part. The second part was a lot bigger than just "this game looks great". That was the part about marine biology, and that is exactly the part that I would like to see more of in the future.

    Now, enough about the things that have already happened. It's time to look at the future.

    One major thing I'd like to see in the future of Subnautica is a concentration on exploration, research, and experimentation, with not as much focus on things like digging, structure building, and combat. I'll go over these six things one by one, telling you why I'd like, or wouldn't like see those things.

    Exploration
    What is the first thing you do when you crash onto an unknown planet, and you're the only survivor? The first logical thing is checking if there's other sentient beings around to help you. But those are nowhere to be found in Subnautica (which is something I'd like to stay that way, at least during the beginning of the game). So with the search of sentient life still in mind, you'd make sure you have a basic food supply, and you'd look around for things that can help you survive and progress.

    Research
    Having crashed in a pretty lively part of the planet's oceans, there is an abundance of food. There's fish everywhere, and there are all kinds of plants that can provide the things you need. (You could even add some kind of source of drinkable water, but that would make the game too focussed on survival.) But as stated earlier in this thread, life underwater is fragile. So to make sure you won't mess up your food supply, you'll have to check out which creatures eat what, and how long it takes for things like plants to grow back to their full size.
    Next to that, it's also nice to know which creatures are dangerous and which ones aren't. And in case you're going to use their DNA later on, it might be a good idea to see if they have any interesting abilities.

    Experimentation
    You can't just keep harvesting plants forever. Perhaps you could take some samples and grow a little garden inside your submarine, and depending on your standards, you could do some genetic modification to make them grow better. Or you could start experimenting with DNA on yourself or other creatures (which is my favourite idea so far). You can move around creatures, introduce predators to new preys, and the other way around, just to see their behaviour change. Maybe you could even try cloning creatures. Become an underwater Frankenstein!

    Now the things I wouldn't like to see too much of.

    Digging (and mining)
    Making the bottom of the ocean a bit more flat, just so you could place some equipment is a nice idea. But the last thing I'd like to see Subnautica become is an underwater Minecraft. There are already plenty of games which have ruined their potential by focussing too much on implementing that what made other games popular. Besides, if your actions in Subnautica can be punished for not being eco-friendly, lots of digging might even ruin your gameplay by making the water dirty, and the organisms die around you.

    Structure building
    It seems incredibly hard to create a mechanism for building good-looking underwater bases, which isn't completely immersion breaking. Perhaps it would be a possibility though to create some kind of self-building base, which folds out on the bottom of the sea when placed down.

    Combat
    Hunting creatures and fighting off predators would be logical things to put in a game that takes place at a crashed spaceship in the ocean. But something I wouldn't like to see is a huge arsenal of weapons, and some kind of common, sentient enemy, which you'd have to fight off every now and then.


    To end this post, here's a list of loose things I'd like to see in the future. These are things others have already posted about, as well as some new ideas I came up with.

    - Destructive seaquakes
    - Weather

    - DNA shots that temporarily give you special abilities
    - DNA shots that permanently give you special abilities with serious side effects

    - Signs of other crashed spaceships
    - Signs of intelligent life (perhaps extinct)
    - Lots of room for conspiracy theories that the gamers can come up with themselves

    - Terrifying creatures
    - Adorable creatures
    - Gigantic creatures
    - Shelled creatures
    - Creatures causing whirlpools
    - Pets
    - Weird(er) looking deep sea creatures
    - Lots of creatures being passive towards you after the crash, but can become more aggressive or scared depending on your behaviour.

    - Cosmetic items
    - Beautiful nights
    LumpN
  • GunnieGunnie U.K Join Date: 2014-10-16 Member: 199000Members Posts: 10
    edited November 2014
    Something I would like to see is remains of a previous civilization. Something like roads, bridges, villages or citys from before the water level increased.

    -This could open up new goals from an exploration standpoint - who or what were they? what happend to them? etc the possibilities are quite open and can be expanded.
    -A source of new or exotic materials for scavenging as well as the usual metals and ores.
    -Discovery of Technology that can be incorporated into our own.
    -Research into the new materials and tech ( probably via the fabricator )


    To further expand and flesh out the ideas, the buildings, materials and tech could be mostly buried by sand and silt (as they would be) with just a few clues visable that something is there. This would then require you to excavate rather like an archeological dig and gives a good use for the Exo-Suit and encorouges exploration to find more ;)
    New and exotic materials opens up expermentation with the fabricator to 'discover' new crafting recipes and equipment that can be crafted from them.
    New Tech and Research into it could also be quite a lot of fun "okay, so you found a wierd looking thing that looks impressive.....but you dont know what it does, how it works or how to turn it on"
    or if you press random buttons on it, it self destructs and relocates your head to another biome.

    This would also open up the possibilities of wrecks from the previous civilization to be found and explored.

    Anyways, I hope you like my idea's and that they are of some use to you.

    Edit: Just to clarify, this is ALL one idea and everything is linked together in that idea. :)
    Post edited by Gunnie on
  • clankill3rclankill3r Join Date: 2007-09-03 Member: 62145Members, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 204 Advanced user
    I think creating good gameplay is the hardest part. How can you keep subnautica interesting for longer then a week? To begin, I think the game should have a nice curve, from being easy at start to close to impossible at exploring certain depths.

    I think the survival aspect could be the biggest part in this so exploring gets a purpose. If the game is only about exploring it would get boring really soon.

    How I would like to see it:

    After the crash, you have plenty of supplies for the first few days. This implies batteries, food and medical supplies against bleeding, infections and sickness.
    You can't live from this forever so you have to explore.

    The mothership is like your base. One important thing is that you can dry sea plants in it. Needed for crafting. And store items.
    However, there is leaking water in the ship and one day the mothership will sink to the deep. It will sink deeper then you could go at the start because of water pressure and the amount of oxygen you have. That it sinks will be a disadvantage in the start but later one it will be advantage for exploring even the deeper world.

    Base building.
    Like in project zomboid, base building allows you to travel further. You can make safe houses to store supplies and hide from creatures.

    Food.
    You can eat plants and fishes. They can have different effects. Once you have eaten a plant you know next time what the effect is. Your blood type can be an influence for this.
    Most will work against hunger, others could have a drug effect that worsen or improve your hearing and/or viewing abilities.
    Some food can have an effect over a long time, this could be positive and negative.

    Permadead.
    When you die you loose all except the bases you builded. This however is still a big loss since you loose all your abilities. Your resistance against sickness etc. is back to zero.
    It could also be that you spawn miles and miles away from your previous location, maybe never finding the old location back again?

    Teamwork
    It would be nice if you can work together with other people, if you find them (would be nice if this could take really long, maybe with leaving marks in caves). Other people could be hostile but since the nature of the game, I think most people will be friendly.
    (And the more dangerous the animals will be, the more likely people will work together (this is the problem with dayz, zombies are not a danger)).
    Going in a group would also give a lot of advantages:
    Working together would allow to build bigger bases and faster since everyone could bring tools and materials. It would also allow to fight bigger fish, like the onos fish :smiley:

    Backpack
    The more you have on you the slower you will be. This is important to make certain choices. Do I bring medical supplies? Do I go with the weak light weapon or the strong one?
    Let's say you travel heavy, you have to fight a certain creature cause it's attacking you and swimming away is not an option. By the time the fight is over your almost out of oxygen, to make it on time you could drop some gear so you can swim faster to reach a place with oxygen in time. However, the gear you drop will sink down into the deep making it a submission to get it back. You also had the option to drop some gear before engaging the hostile fish, this makes you more combat effective, but that way you know for sure you have to look back for your dropped gear.

    Anyway, please make it so that the deeper you go the harder the game will be!


  • MycroftCanadaNSMycroftCanadaNS Halifax Join Date: 2014-11-01 Member: 199263Members Posts: 302 Advanced user
    edited November 2014
    trisdino wrote: »
    So basically, you want to turn a mostly exploration based game into a huge system of crafting and mechanics?

    That seems incredibly far from what it should be about. I would absolutely hate if Subnautica turned into some resource grinding chore. It is against the entire essence of the game.

    Some of the ideas I do like, but there should never be such a complex network of systems about this stuff. As I said, this is not a crafting or fabrication game, it is not about managing a colony, it is not dwarf-fortress under the water, and it is not space base-DF9 but not in space. It is primarily a game about survival and exploration, and while you obviously need other elements to flesh it out, those elements should not begin to bloat, and take up focus.

    I agree, I do not want to see it become craft heavy like Minecraft has become (Mods). Having too many things to build & craft would become burdensome. I don't mind if people like to create modifications later on that would expand on the building side of things but to have one hundred things you can create would make me feel like I just spent eight hours at work, and the game would stop being fun.

    Just my personal opinion.
    Al Swearengen: Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back.
  • LumpNLumpN Join Date: 2002-10-30 Member: 1725Members, Subnautica Developer Posts: 142 Advanced user
    Warning this post contains pie in the sky, freaky, on hallucinatory drugs and out of this world class wacky suggestions, but i figure why not brain dump. ;-)
    The number of words in your post is too damn high! But there are some marvels in there. I'm not going to address every point though.

    In general please keep in mind that we are making a real game for real gamers, not a scientific artificial life simulation for lab dwellers. The problem with artificial life is that it tends to be intriguing at first but just not fun to play. In games you want the actions of the player to matter. That is very hard with simulations. They tend to either spin out of control by themselves or reach a stable equilibrium that the player is unable to disturb. In both cases the player doesn't matter. You don't want that in a real game. That said we certainly want to promote emergence.

    We are surely adding more gameplay, more biomes, and more interesting things to the world. So I'm pretty sure you will be pleased with what is to come. We will do these things "manually" in the sense that there is human art/design time involved. It turned out that the quality of computer generated content is just not good enough for us. That statement is true in pretty much every imaginable way: environment, textures, plants, creatures, parts, behaviors, you name it. There is a lot of promising research in each of these areas but they all are very narrow in scope and not ready for the real world yet. We get much more bang for the buck doing stuff manually.
    Check out Braitenberg vehicles on google. They are little robot vehicles with a motor on each back wheels and two light sensors (front left and front right) which control the rear wheel speed. If you wire the sensors to the wheels on the same side then the vehicle exhibits light *avoiding* behaviour and if you wire them to the opposite wheel you get light *following* behaviour (more light to the sensor makes the wired wheel move faster.... the behaviour emerges from the different signal/speed).

    Replace light with 'non-me-type fish' sensor and you could have predator prey behavior. Thats probably just about as hard to code as fully human written ai code but more adaptable and evolve-able.

    Now imagine putting different 'sensors' (same-fish left/right, enemy-fish left/right/close, light, dark, i-am-in-vegetation, or even color based sensors (red left/right, green, blue) on the fish in game and wiring them to various outputs (turn left, right, forward, flee/sprint, 'fart', bite, explode, shrink) with various mathematical weights (which you evolve to change behaviour).

    Again each of these sensors is pretty easy to code (and probably needed as an input to any human written AI code anyway) but by making a system where things are 'wired up' you can evolve/change it and get changes in behaviour too.

    Such simple systems can often show very complex emergent behaviours **without** coding in that behaviour manually.

    This is going in the right direction. As said we want to promote emergence. Having these kinds of simple building blocks that interact with each other in a very fluid way is the key for emergence. I'm sure we will see much more of these kinds of sense & react behaviors. Oh and by the way, we are already doing the school of fish attraction, find, and follow thing. Granted it's not as apparent yet as should be.

    I don't think we want to "optimize", "simulate", or "evolve" these kinds of things though. I much rather have manually designed creatures that behave in a very distinct and cool way than some kind of indistinguishable soup of evolved behavior that are "optimal". In fact what does that even mean? If you really understand nature you will see that evolution is not about optimization but about exploration.
    You could add a 'scream' output to fish which is triggered when they are eaten (or see a predator) and other fish can then swim away from it. Then you can let the system reform the school naturally. It takes work to get the 'inputs and outputs' going and the system working, but once you do get that working, you get complex and natural behaviours for 'free' (emerging from the simple building blocks, without hand coding).

    If you can get this kind of emergent behaviour through simple 'sensors' and 'outputs', it is sometimes simpler than hand coding each behavior in an AI and gives you a more natural result. Yes it presents some additional problems to develop but it *scales*, evolves and is adaptable (which can be more of plus) to changes.

    Scream/scared is a good example of a simple sense & react behavior. Charlie will like this. I think we all agree that there is lots of potential for really cool emergent behaviors by combining simple sensors and reactions. This is exactly the kind of stuff we want to have more of to make the world feel alive, complex, and intriguing.
    slayer.faith
  • slayer.faithslayer.faith Join Date: 2007-12-10 Member: 63127Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 79 Advanced user
    Now the things I wouldn't like to see too much of.

    Digging (and mining)
    Making the bottom of the ocean a bit more flat, just so you could place some equipment is a nice idea. But the last thing I'd like to see Subnautica become is an underwater Minecraft. There are already plenty of games which have ruined their potential by focussing too much on implementing that what made other games popular. Besides, if your actions in Subnautica can be punished for not being eco-friendly, lots of digging might even ruin your gameplay by making the water dirty, and the organisms die around you.

    Structure building
    It seems incredibly hard to create a mechanism for building good-looking underwater bases, which isn't completely immersion breaking. Perhaps it would be a possibility though to create some kind of self-building base, which folds out on the bottom of the sea when placed down.

    I agree that id hate the game to be a digsim (given the above ground part is so prettttttty!) but I also like to be able to build and customise.

    Maybe the base could be underground which:
    * removes the need for external art
    * makes bases expandable
    * opens up the possibility of collapses or floods or tunnelling into caverns

    The look for the inside is going to be uuuuugly when compared to the outside, but this is the future so we can have wall panel screens cycling through images from player dropped cameras on the outside. (Ie, render the boring metal inside of the building but also render images from outside on some of the wall panels?)

    I think there is some game value of having a comparison between underwater and 'safe' base.

  • slayer.faithslayer.faith Join Date: 2007-12-10 Member: 63127Members, Constellation, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 79 Advanced user

    I liked the procedual worlds video. Nice :) Damn you for getting me onto aigamedev.com!!!!
    LumpN wrote: »
    In general please keep in mind that we are making a real game for real gamers, not a scientific artificial life simulation for lab dwellers. The problem with artificial life is that it tends to be intriguing at first but just not fun to play. In games you want the actions of the player to matter. That is very hard with simulations. They tend to either spin out of control by themselves or reach a stable equilibrium that the player is unable to disturb. In both cases the player doesn't matter. You don't want that in a real game. That said we certainly want to promote emergence.

    *nod* agreed. Your comment about simulations spinning out of control (and you **DONT** want that to happen in game) or reach equilibrium are right on. But the player could be the thing that lets the simulations escape the 'local minimum' that the system has stabilised on. Eg, sandsharks are not going to evolve the ability to dig, but the player could manually *inject* that trait in.

    Another point against my post is that evolution does not work on game play time-scales, so you can probably throw away the stuff on evolving the fish shapes and move styles. Having said that im guessing you dont want players manually changing the shapes/sizes/features of creatures either (or you hit the same problem of people screwing up the designs).

    LumpN wrote: »
    That statement is true in pretty much every imaginable way: environment, textures, plants, creatures, parts, behaviors, you name it. There is a lot of promising research in each of these areas but they all are very narrow in scope and not ready for the real world yet. We get much more bang for the buck doing stuff manually.


    My post above is a complete mess ;-) in that it mixes the possible places you could add this simulation into a giant vomit of text ;-). Ive been thinking about rewriting it or updating it in some way but im too scared to try. ;-)

    Trying to boil it down I think the real question here is what is static vs changeable.

    * What parts of the system is changeable?
    * How do players change those things?
    * How are those changes fed back into the running world?

    Can I capture a Spadefish and change it?

    Can I change the physical bits of it? Can I add a sandsharks teeth? Change color? Size?

    Can I change the behaviour/stats of it? Can I open a window and tweak the 'brain' that runs the behaviour of the fish? Can I make it see further? Can I add a 'sand cloud' ability and tie it to the 'enemy closer than 10meters sensor'? Can I make the thing swim faster?

    Can I suck abilities out of it and gain them myself? How does that work? Are creatures just a bag of 'abilities' that you can extract and use?

    Can that change the world with this? How do these changes feed back into the system? Does the new type of fish take over additional areas in the game? Does it push out the old Spadefish? Does it escape the sandshark now? What happens to the population?

    There are so many levels at which change can be plugged in. Im curious to see where UWE goes with subnautica. :-)

    On a personal level, Im quite interested in you if or how you'll look at the meta-level ecology part of the game. Make it an api that we can play with and i'll be happy chap. :-)


    LumpN wrote: »
    I don't think we want to "optimize", "simulate", or "evolve" these kinds of things though. I much rather have manually designed creatures that behave in a very distinct and cool way than some kind of indistinguishable soup of evolved behavior that are "optimal". In fact what does that even mean? If you really understand nature you will see that evolution is not about optimization but about exploration.

    I mostly agree, although I think its a combination of the two. :-)

    I think its about exploring/searching the possible solution space to find the optimal solution. The power of evolution is that it tries all the solutions it can (limited by the fact that it can only make limited changes and can be trapped in 'local min/maxima') (most of the solutions are *BAD* and lead to death) and will eventually optimise (to *a* not *the* solution) without knowing beforehand how to get there. That rocks my world. :)

  • FacepunchFacepunch Canada, Eh? Join Date: 2012-12-23 Member: 176042Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 7
    Control of where your mother ship crashes at the start of the game, each area with it's own benefits, say you crash in a shallow area, the front of your ship will be totaled but the ship will probably not sink so you can revisit it to gather more resources, but if you crash it in one of the deepest part of the ocean it will sink but it will not break, you have to get out quickly and you will not be able to get back to it again until you have a ship and/or a genetic upgrade that allows you to dive to the bottom of the ocean, but it is more rewarding because you don't have to repair it once you reach it and it can serve as a more functional base, not only that, but crashing deep in the sea you have less chance of killing things, but with the first option you run the risk of hitting a coral reef or wiping out a creature in that area due to habitat destruction.

    The second thing is when you leave your mother ship, your actions affect the way the creatures act toward you, say if you exit the ship and shoot everything like Rambo, everything will run and hide from you, making things harder to catch, whereas if you are peaceful and gentle when you meet the creatures (assuming they are not predators) they will not run from you, making them easier to harvest and catch. Also, when you are mean to predators early on, they will probably stay away from you, but if you're timid around them they will see you more as prey than predator. This idea also goes hand-in-hand with my first idea in the sense that if you crash and kill everything, the survivors will be frightened of you, but if you crash and kill nothing they will probably get more curious than fearful after your ship sinks.

    Tell me what you think?
    Sir_zino
  • LumpNLumpN Join Date: 2002-10-30 Member: 1725Members, Subnautica Developer Posts: 142 Advanced user
    Facepunch wrote: »
    Control of where your mother ship crashes at the start of the game, each area with it's own benefits

    Let me tell you a story about what makes me mad in games: When I'm required to make an uninformed decision that has far reaching consequences I'm unaware of. Like selecting starting stats or race in an RPG. I feel like I'm almost certainly making the wrong decision and will be wasting a lot of time because I will have to start over once I understood the system. I don't think it's good design.

    Explaining all the consequences in also not an option because as a new player you want to dive into the game as soon as possible. Nobody reads manuals. And making the consequences less severe really makes me question the need for a player decision in the first place. This of course was an opinionated rant, please take it with a grain of salt.

    Don't get me wrong here. I do like the general idea that the crashed ship affects the ecosystem a lot and I can see some additional replay value if it would crash in another location. I just don't think it should be the first decision a new player should have to make.
    Facepunch wrote: »
    The second thing is when you leave your mother ship, your actions affect the way the creatures act toward you

    We certainly want your actions to matter and have the creatures react in a natural way. If you are a bad guy creatures will flee. But only those that witness you being a bad guy. Same for being nice.
    Jorken
  • MycroftCanadaNSMycroftCanadaNS Halifax Join Date: 2014-11-01 Member: 199263Members Posts: 302 Advanced user
    LumpN wrote: »
    Facepunch wrote: »
    Control of where your mother ship crashes at the start of the game, each area with it's own benefits

    Let me tell you a story about what makes me mad in games: When I'm required to make an uninformed decision that has far reaching consequences I'm unaware of. Like selecting starting stats or race in an RPG. I feel like I'm almost certainly making the wrong decision and will be wasting a lot of time because I will have to start over once I understood the system. I don't think it's good design.

    Explaining all the consequences in also not an option because as a new player you want to dive into the game as soon as possible. Nobody reads manuals. And making the consequences less severe really makes me question the need for a player decision in the first place. This of course was an opinionated rant, please take it with a grain of salt.

    Don't get me wrong here. I do like the general idea that the crashed ship affects the ecosystem a lot and I can see some additional replay value if it would crash in another location. I just don't think it should be the first decision a new player should have to make.
    Facepunch wrote: »
    The second thing is when you leave your mother ship, your actions affect the way the creatures act toward you

    We certainly want your actions to matter and have the creatures react in a natural way. If you are a bad guy creatures will flee. But only those that witness you being a bad guy. Same for being nice.

    I like your way of thinking LumpN, you are definitely on the right track here, and you are right, no one reads the game manual anymore.
    Al Swearengen: Pain or damage don't end the world. Or despair or beatings. The world ends when you're dead. Until then, you got more punishment in store. Stand it like a man... and give some back.
  • zetachronzetachron Germany Join Date: 2014-11-14 Member: 199655Members Posts: 1,189 Advanced user
    LumpN wrote: »
    ... Let me tell you a story about what makes me mad in games: When I'm required to make an uninformed decision that has far reaching consequences I'm unaware of. Like selecting starting stats or race in an RPG. I feel like I'm almost certainly making the wrong decision and will be wasting a lot of time because I will have to start over once I understood the system. I don't think it's good design.

    Explaining all the consequences in also not an option because as a new player you want to dive into the game as soon as possible. Nobody reads manuals. And making the consequences less severe really makes me question the need for a player decision in the first place. This of course was an opinionated rant, please take it with a grain of salt.

    Don't get me wrong here. I do like the general idea that the crashed ship affects the ecosystem a lot and I can see some additional replay value if it would crash in another location. I just don't think it should be the first decision a new player should have to make. ...

    I've played a lot of different RPG's, with and without hard decissions. I never liked decissions put into skills and therefore wrong skilling with restart to do better. I liked the auto-skilling of the Elder Scrolls Bethesda started to use. Let the player decide and skill by its own actions himself.

    When it comes to greater game changes through decisions it never worked with games on global changes. I remember for example Bethesdas inability to change the Wasteland after FEV poisoning the purifier. So I would never blame devs for not being able to reach that goal.

    But I don't think its necessary to understand all consequences for making decisions. Decisions are that way even in real life. You can only guess the outcome and many backfires with opposite consequences than planned have been seen in history. And you can learn, so you won't regret restarting even in real life.

    For a good gameplay it might be best to avoid the irreversability in real life of decissions, but given the consequences in slow steps to allow actions to revert them in time. Why not let people learn by doing what can happen? If you can really change an ecosystem in the game then with a repair option unlike real life. You could allow going a certain species extinct (over-harvesting or dna-creating a new predator, etc.) and see the ecosystem change. But you could allow reviving an extinct species and regrowing its population.

    Polution like in the real world effecting ecosystems massively is never seen in games. For example, when a battery is used up in Subnautica it vanishes simply. No waste disposal problem - no ecosystem problem. Or let me imagine all those dropped items in Skyrim lying rotting around or dead people getting eaten by rats increasing epidemies (this was tried in Dishonored a bit).

    The crashed ship location is a hard irreversable decission with almost no learning aspect, so I too would consider this as a poor choice. When it comes to the ship, I would rather let it slide down a deep abyss, so it would take the player a long time to gather all resources and tools for an expedition that could successfully get to the ship without dying. Inside the giant ship you could have lots of extra gameplay in a separate world space (maybe a later DLC).
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