Scientific research overhaul proposal

conscioussoulconscioussoul Canada Join Date: 2015-05-17 Member: 204607Members, Subnautica Playtester Posts: 141 Advanced user

==== Research in Subnautica: a complete overhaul proposal ====


NOTE - this is going to be long and detailed. Bored? Go read the TL;DR at the end.



Research levels
==========

Each item in Subnautica (including each creature, each flora, and each component or fragment) would have 4 different research levels.
  • Level 0 - Cursory Observation: automatically added to your PDA when you discover an item
  • Level 1 - Basic Research: using or interacting with the item to discover its basic properties
  • Level 2A - Advanced Research:  Advanced knowledge acquired using specialized equipment in a lab, observe life forms in their original habitat, develop new blueprints
  • Level 2B - DNA research (when applicable): Transferable genetic properties, high technical upgrades
  • Level 3 - Special hints and large-scale understanding (for special puzzles and story completion only, requires the combination of all research for several items)


Research mechanics by item type
=====================

1) Fragments
------------

Fragments are pieces of technological item either recovered from the Aurora's debris, or (in late game) from the ruins of an anciant civilization. Fragments would look different (both on seafloor and in inventory) depending on the type of fragment, but would always show "unknown fragment" until a type has been researched.
Fragment's research levels:

  • Level 0 - Grabbing a new fragment will add the fragment entry to your PDA. It will show with its current graphic but with the mention "unknown fragment". The text will offer a short visual description of the fragment.
  • Level 1 - First time a new fragment is scanned in a fragment analyzer.  The item is identified and the tooltip will now show for each fragment of the same kind. The text describes the blueprint we think we might develop with it.
  • Level 2 - The second time a fragment is scanned in the analyzer it takes a lot more time as it now has to attempt to reverse engineer it to recover the blueprint. Each fragment will yeld 10% to 20% of a blueprint. Once the analyzer has reached that percentage, no more data can be extracted from it. The player will have to pick more of the same fragment for further analysis.  Text indicates the percentage of completion:
  • Level 3 - Once the blueprint has been found, new upgrades can be developed by finding more fragments.

EXAMPLE FOR THE STASIS RIFLE FRAGMENT
  • Level 0 - "The fragment seems to be made of a piece of two short white tubes, and some sort of trigger mechanism. Further research is required."
  • Level 1 - (after first time scan) "This is a fragment from a stasis rifle.  Analyzing it will enable the recovery of a portion of the original blueprint.  I  may have to find additional fragments to recover the fully usable blueprint"
  • Level 2 - (after detailed analysis of fragment) "This is a fragment from a stasis rifle.  47% of the blueprint has been recovered. I must find more fragments to complete the blueprint!". When you reach 100% a new PDA entry is created for the Statis Rifle Blueprint and the item unlocks on the fabricator.
  • Level 3 - (after you have reach 100%) "This is a fragment from a stasis rifle. I might be able to upgrade the stasis rifle design with this."



2) Flora
-------

Subnautica flora is unique and beautiful, sometime deadly.  One of the greatest drive for exploration would be to collect and unlock all the research for all the flora.  Some research will unlock crafting or may unlock different subquest in the story.

  • Level 0 - Cursory observation.  Added into the PDA when you encounter a lifeform for the first time. To add the level 0 research to your PDA all you need to do is to touch something (hand icon over it), take it in inventory, be attacked by it, etc. Any kind of interaction (other than just swiming around it) will add it to your PDA and show a basic description based on cursory observation.  
  • Level 1 - Basic research. This level is acquired in your PDA when you have either taken a sample of flora (using the knife) or the flora item itself in inventory for the first time.  It would add additional details about a plant potential uses, more detailed observation, nutritional value (if applicable) and raise questions about it's future use, concerns or potential. Thus research level is cumulative and requires level 0 first.  It can trigger when you have been harmed, when you have eaten something, when you have observed some specific behavior, etc.
  • Level 2A - Advanced research. This level is acquired in your PDA when you have specifically engaged in scientific research on the lifeform using some advanced scientific equipment (such as a specimen analyzer in a lab).  Some specimen must be ALIVE in inventory before it can be researched. This research will add information about the creature's natural habitat, reproduction habits, place in the food chain, etc. Level 0 and 1 are automatically replaced by this level of knowledge on a specific item when reached. Living flora must be taken in inventory using the propulsion cannon. (For instance you need to bring a whole cluster of mushrooms). More dangerous spiecies like spikey plants must be put in stasis first, or they will damage the user while they are in invetory until the player is dead or the creature is released. The inventory item would then say "Spikey plant in stasis". Some fauna could be so big it requires a lot of space in inventory to grab (using the prop canon) and may require aquariums or vat tanks or other sort of science storage in a lab to be collected without turning to rot.
  • Level 2B - DNA research.  A sample has been taken in inventory using your knife (or any other mean to get a sample of it - for instance harder fauna may require a diamond knife or a heat knife. Level 1 research will let you know what's needed to take a sample). Sample has been brought to your in-base lab and analyzed using a DNA sequencer.  It doesn't need to be alive. Altnativelty, DNA can be  extracted from more dangerous fauna using the stasis rifle and/or the DNA transfuser item. Data is automatically downloaded in your auto-lab once you reach a base equiped with a lab. The result gives some indication of what property could be inflused with the DNA infuser.

EXAMPLE FOR ACID MUSHROOMS:

  • Level 0 - "Purple murshroom. These strange but colorful mushroom seem to grow in large cluster on some sort of spongy orange rock."
  • Level 1 -  (after you slash a acid mushroom and get 2% damage. (Or you eat one and get 10% damage). The players goes "Ouch! This burns!!" and the PDA is updated)  "Acid mushroom: these colorful mushroom are sacks of pure acid. They seem to grow in large cluster on some sort of spongy orange rock. I might be able to the acid to make batteries." Reaching this level then unlocks crafting batteries with these mushrooms.
  • Level 2A - "Acid mushrooms naturally grow in acidic areas.  Breaking the fragile mushroom sack releases the acid in the ocean, acidifying the area and enabling reproduction. I can probably use this to favor the growth of more mushroom clusters. I will need a way to measure water acidity." Unlocks the acidity meter.
  • Level 2B - Acid mushroom may lead to DNA modification for acid resistance.

3) Fauna

Not only are fishes beauiful, but knowing what to eat and when is required for survival, and that means learning more about the creatures in Subnautica. Thankfully, you are a scientist! Some very large creatures might pause a challenge for study, but who doesn't want a challenge?

  • Level 0 is acquired when you catch a fish, when you touch a harmless fish (like one of those giant rays in the mushroom biome), or when you collect something that was part of a fish (like a shark tooth). It offers a basic visual description and provides with the name and the picture.
  • Level 1 is acquired when you eat the fish (raw, or cooked, or cured). You need to eat each variation once to learn the nutritional value or damage. It can also unlock when you are attacked by a creature or when you observe a specific behavior for a creature around you.  Description is updated. Some fish do not have a level 1 science because they won't attack you further and may not display any specific behavior.
  • Level 2A - Advanced research is acquired using a live fish caught and then released in your lab's vat tank for continuous observation by your automated laboratory. It will provide you with additional data on a life form's natural habitat, reproduction, food chain, and place in the ecology. Dangerous lifeform must be caught in inventory after they have been sedated using the stasis rifle.  Very large dangerous lifeform cannot be caught in inventory. For these, the player must build a moon pool in the laboratory and bait the creature (either with food or by being the bait!) back to a base created near its natural habitat.
  • Level 2B - DNA is acquired by using the DNA sequencer on live fish, on by placing a dead fish inside the specimen analyzer.The result gives some indication of what property could be infused with the DNA infuser.

EXAMPLE WITH THE PEEPER FISH

  • Level 0 - "Peeper". "This nible fish seem to have a strange eye on its body. It runs very fast."
  • Level 1 - "Peeper will restore 35 food and 5 water when cooked. A delicious morcel!"
  • Level 2A - "The peeper seems to like crystal clear water, and seems to only reproduce in acidified water."
  • Level 2B - Peeper allows the development of faster swiming through DNA infusion.

Research equipment
=============


  • Your stomach: the #1 science tool since immemorial time. May be up for unplesant surprises, but it's always there.
  • Knife.  Best for bringing samples back for DNA studies.
  • Diamond Knife.  Some structures are too strong to take a sample with a regular knife. Use the diamond knife to detach a sample for our studies.
  • Propulsion Cannon.  Perfect to bring back live lifeformes. Also allows ripping the roots of a plant in order to grab it all and plant it back in the lab's vat tanks.
  • DNA sampler.  Sends a dart to penetrate large creatures and get a sample DNA. The dart with the stored DNA must be recovered manually on the seabed and sent to the lab for study.
  • Portable scanner. May be used directly in the water to scan lifeforms for level 0 and level 1 information.
  • Engineering laboratory.  A large technical room only available in bases. Allows for fragment analysis, blueprint development and upgrade development.  The workbench can only be placed here.

BIO LAB
=====



Bio Laboratory.  A special large room only available in bases. Allows for level 2 science research, depending on equipment present:
  • Specimen analyzer / DNA extracter - given a sample of dead tissues, it can extract the DNA and analyze it.  Further creatures of the same type can then be found and their DNA can be extracted and moved to yourself or other creatures using the DNA infuser, but the DNA must be researched first.
  • VAT Tank / fishbowl.  Large glass strycture that can receive one live large fish, or one large plant, or several small, and keep it alive for observation.
  • Auto-lab - computerized automated laboratory that will observe a living creature inside an adjascent tank to extract information about it's reproduction and life cycle
  • Moon pool - large bottom opening with repulsors specially made to contain and study large creatures like the repear, if you can bait one to it.



SUMMARY
=======

TL;DR:  each creature has 4 level of research. Observation, basic research, advanced research and DNA.  Advanced research requires a lab inside a base and the propulsion cannon to grab live creature and put them in large vat tank / aquarium in your base. DNA research requires samples and DNA infusers.  Live creatures can be caught for live studies; large creature must be baited to your base's moon pool in order to research them. Fragments starts as "unknown" and then only unlock a % of blueprint and must be collected to reach 100%. Additional fragments unlocks item upgrades. PDA collects all information. Each science discovery may unlock certain crafting and certain story-based options.



tyler111762TerraBladeVaknathiCoranthredterrierFalcosimudrakuelLumpNSalmonJEDlPunkeroBugzapperHumpfyGab

Comments

  • tyler111762tyler111762 Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada Join Date: 2015-05-17 Member: 204558Members Posts: 156 Advanced user
    with this reasarch id like to see a breeding and farming system with genetics, genetic traits, much like the forestry mod for minecraft. google it if you dont know about it. there should be various types of farms and tanks that you can have (modular degin?) to store diffrent kinds of fish and palnts that have diffrent needs, maybe one needs to have a certain pressure to simulate being at depth, maybe one needs a certain type of biome forcing you to simulate that biome in the tank, there could be fish that need temperature, lightlevels, and plant to survive. the deeper this system is the better
  • TerraBladeTerraBlade Join Date: 2015-05-25 Member: 204886Members Posts: 179 Advanced user
    I rather like this...though not sure about baiting a Reaper to my base, or trying to get a Reefback into the base either. Special scanners unlocked elsewhere not only would make a good Seamoth/Cyclops upgrade but researching these types of fauna more viable.

    As for the tech and fragments, I feel this would be a great way to realistically slow down tech progression without punishing players. It feels organic and realistic, though numbers on fragments required and time to complete would need to be adjusted. Or not, having two or three analyzers working on fragments might be good if we can have rooms to dedicate to research and development.
    VaknathiHumpfyGab
  • Captain_PyroCaptain_Pyro Germany Join Date: 2015-05-31 Member: 205116Members Posts: 274 Advanced user
    edited June 2015
    I think that's as deep as it gets. Kudos to you for coming up with all this.

    I like the fragment idea a lot. Every time i took off to a new biome to collect stuff i came back with three new fragments and ... boom! one's enough. Far too easy to get all the blueprints.

    The research is a little too much for my taste. Though i'd like to build specialized rooms for my base - including a lab - i'm not to crazy about the whole "baiting a reaper" idea. I'm thinking fishtanks and DNA samples of everything that doesn't fit in the inventory.
    I'd also like it to be more on the field research side. Maybe a small sub like the moth, only slower and with one or two extendable "arms" to take samples.

  • CoranthCoranth Join Date: 2015-06-02 Member: 205160Members Posts: 719 Advanced user
    I have no words; this is just awesome! I really hope the Devs see this, or have read it. Would there be any way to bring it to their attention?
  • conscioussoulconscioussoul Canada Join Date: 2015-05-17 Member: 204607Members, Subnautica Playtester Posts: 141 Advanced user
    Coranth said:
    I have no words; this is just awesome! I really hope the Devs see this, or have read it. Would there be any way to bring it to their attention?
    I am not sure, but I have seen many devs in this forum posting on some thread, so I assume at some point or another they will read it.  Also, I have written some links to this post in the relevant card in Trello Design. I also plan to talk to a dev on their chat channel to bring it to their attention. :smile:  Thanks for the great comment!
  • redterrierredterrier dk Join Date: 2015-04-06 Member: 203049Members Posts: 7 Fully active user
    I love the idea for reasearch, it is one of the things I really hope Unkown worlds will add. what I want to suggest is that after you get a fragment past 25% or so you should be able to identify the fragment automatically like they currently do but only after a 25% research level. You may have said this in the text sorry if I missed it.
    great idea though, really good.
  • conscioussoulconscioussoul Canada Join Date: 2015-05-17 Member: 204607Members, Subnautica Playtester Posts: 141 Advanced user
    I rather like this...though not sure about baiting a Reaper to my base, or trying to get a Reefback into the base either. Special scanners unlocked elsewhere not only would make a good Seamoth/Cyclops upgrade but researching these types of fauna more viable.
    True, there are easier ways ;-)
    But O ho behold! It must be quite a sight to see that huge beast tamed by giant science tesla tazers as it enters your moon pool lab and gets "tamed" for study. What a powerful sight!
    Also, if a sentient being is found and you end up having to learn/establish some sort of sign / sonar language, it could be that being itself that would peacefully come and find your moon pool base to say hi at various key moments in the story...

    Imagine this.

    You are on a resource expedition to the shallows, collecting much needed quartz crystals, when you hear your PDA computer telling you: "It appears a very large creature has entered your moon base at station alpha. Awaiting instructions." Whaaaa what a feeling! You'd go WHAT?!? and urge back to find something waiting for you...
  • Simking124Simking124 Canada Join Date: 2015-05-16 Member: 204542Members Posts: 45 Fully active user
    This looks like a fantastic idea. A fully developed science system could provide many many hours of fun distraction!
  • drakueldrakuel california Join Date: 2015-06-04 Member: 205230Members Posts: 21 Fully active user
    I like this tiered approach to items. Gaining more and more from the same object as you progress.


  • ReefseekerReefseeker Finland Join Date: 2015-05-21 Member: 204740Members Posts: 110 Advanced user
    edited June 2015
    Living flora must be taken in inventory using the propulsion cannon. (For instance you need to bring a whole cluster of mushrooms). More dangerous spiecies like spikey plants must be put in stasis first, or they will damage the user while they are in invetory until the player is dead or the creature is released. The inventory item would then say "Spikey plant in stasis". Some fauna could be so big it requires a lot of space in inventory to grab (using the prop canon) and may require aquariums or vat tanks or other sort of science storage in a lab to be collected without turning to rot.

    So how does the creature stay in stasis while in inventory? How about some craftables:
    - A stasis box. Like the storage cube, but maybe smaller like 2x2 or 3x3? For longer term sample storaging.
    - A stasis compartment/pocket upgrade to your inventory/backpack/suit. For temporary sample storaging/hauling.

    These could also work as mini fridges/lunch storage (referring to the fridge/freezer suggested in some other discussions). Go diving, bring your lunch, leave with some take away specimens!
    Do not go gentle into that good night,
    Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
  • conscioussoulconscioussoul Canada Join Date: 2015-05-17 Member: 204607Members, Subnautica Playtester Posts: 141 Advanced user
    Reefseeker wrote: »
    Living flora must be taken in inventory using the propulsion cannon. (For instance you need to bring a whole cluster of mushrooms). More dangerous spiecies like spikey plants must be put in stasis first, or they will damage the user while they are in invetory until the player is dead or the creature is released. The inventory item would then say "Spikey plant in stasis". Some fauna could be so big it requires a lot of space in inventory to grab (using the prop canon) and may require aquariums or vat tanks or other sort of science storage in a lab to be collected without turning to rot.

    So how does the creature stay in stasis while in inventory? How about some craftables:
    - A stasis box. Like the storage cube, but maybe smaller like 2x2 or 3x3? For longer term sample storaging.
    - A stasis compartment/pocket upgrade to your inventory/backpack/suit. For temporary sample storaging/hauling.

    These could also work as mini fridges/lunch storage (referring to the fridge/freezer suggested in some other discussions). Go diving, bring your lunch, leave with some take away specimens!

    Sounds great! In fact there seems to be something already on its way in this direction, the botanical analysis machine. So far not a word anywhere about how the devs plans to integrate this. Interesting hey?

    Botanical_Analysis_machine_in_game.jpg
  • LumpNLumpN Join Date: 2002-10-30 Member: 1725Members, Subnautica Developer Posts: 142 Advanced user
    Here, have my upvote good Sir.
    SalmonJEDlLordSablePunkeroconscioussoul
  • PunkeroPunkero Finland Join Date: 2015-04-22 Member: 203733Members Posts: 47 Advanced user
    edited June 2015
    The devs NEED to see this. I absolutely love this idea. It would make the game much longer for most people. Also it would keep many playing until they get every creature and plant examined.
    Suomi PRKL, Torilla tavataan!
    conscioussoul
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