Improving Ion Crystal Story/Gameplay

ComicalSkateComicalSkate Canada, ONMembers Join Date: 2015-05-28 Member: 204993Posts: 237 Advanced user
edited June 2017 in Ideas and Suggestions
Hello everyone,

It's been a while since I have been here or posted anything on this forum, but I was encouraged by Jonas Grohmann to do this, so I might as well go ahead and get your feedback on my idea here.

So about 3 months ago I came up with an idea for the Precursor Ion Crystals that is mostly story oriented, but could also be transformed into some neat gameplay. I proposed this to Cory Strader, and he said he liked it and that it was very elaborate, but he also thought it would be difficult to convey in-game. So anyway, here it is:

My proposal is to tweak the story behind the ion crystals a slight bit to allow for better explanation of their place in the game and precursor lore and even fill in some plot holes, as well as allowing more gameplay with them if the devs so choose. So, as you all know, currently the ion crystals are a pretty large part of the overall story in Subnautica. While being a large piece, very little is known about them. The little information we have on them is basically saying they are a Precursor super battery, but I feel like there can be so much more to them. They are mysterious and confusing and hard to understand. Some examples to show how little we know about them are; whether or not these crystals are the main way the precursors are powering their technology, or why they are placed in the sanctuary caches in an almost ceremonial way (yes, I am aware that they were originally intended to be powering the data hubs, but what I am proposing could explain why they are there now.) Another mysterious thing about them is why they are being fabricated in the Primary Containment Facility's antechamber. As I am sure most of you know, the PCF was constructed after the original establishment of the 3 bases on 4546B when the precursors encountered the sea emperor species and realized they needed to contain one for study. So what this means is that the 3 bases were constructed without a ion crystal fabricator, or they may have had one of their ship, but either way they had a reason for building a second one in the PCF. So this shows that ion crystals are obviously not their main power source, as the thermal plant was already operational without a way of fabricating Ion Crystals on the planet.

So what I am proposing is that the lore of the ion crystals gets changed a bit, so that they are not only just powerful batteries, but also the main building material for the Precursors. Now I know that sounds weird off the bat, but hear me out. We know that the primary construction material that is used in all their bases is a special alloy created by the Precursors. What is unknown is how they created it and brought so much to build everything, because we know it matches nothing seen on 4546B, so this would mean they would have had to lug a ton of building material with them in the vessel that took them here, right? No, not if the ion crystals are their building source. What I am suggesting is that it is changed so the ion crystals are actually some highly advanced Precursor technology that uses quantum physics, or something, to use the vast amounts of energy stored within the crystal and transform it into matter. This would make sense of how they were able to build all their bases, because if they just brought a ton of ion crystals with them in the vessel that took them to the planet, and used tools similar to our habitat builder but instead using things like titanium, this uses Ion Crystals with programming to take the energy and transform it into any matter they like; in this case their construction material.

This will also explain why the Precursors appear to have such a high regard for their crystals; placing them on pedestals around their bases in a ceremonial fashion and using them as the headstone pieces for what are basically graveyards. This would make sense because the ion crystals would be one of the biggest discoveries/innovations the precursor race ever accomplished. This technology would have brought them to where they are now; having the ability to have large amounts of energy stored in a stable, small, easily transported state, along with the ability to be transformed into matter, would have advanced them centuries in terms of technological prowess.

This also now explains the reason they built the Ion Crystal Fabricator in the PCF. So if they only brought enough Ion Crystals for the planned 3 bases, then when they discovered the emperors and realized they were their best chance for a cure and needed a place to contain it, they didn't have enough Ion Crystals left to build the facility needed to contain such a large creature. Note how the very first room in the PCF is the antechamber with the fabricator in it. The reason this could be is that they only had enough Ion Crystals left to build that much and they needed a place for the fabricator so they could construct more Ion Crystals to finish the rest of the facility.

That is just the lore, you are probably wondering how this could be transformed into gameplay. Well with this established lore that the ion crystals energy can be used to create matter, this allows for the ability to let the player use them to construct as well. What I am saying is we allow the ion crystals to become items like titanium or glass, either with the fabricator; similar to how 1 metal salvage = 4 titanium, or just straight from a menu in the habitat builder. This would reward the player, in yet another way, for discovering the caches, as they hold a bunch of Ion Crystals. This would allow the player to use those crystals he discovers to either build a bit of his base for little cost, or use the crystals in an emergency situation and such. This also is a great rewarding tool for the players who advance to the end of the story, as the fabricator in the PCF will make infinite crystals for them, and they can happily build a big base without needing to grind. Because who wants to grind a bunch when they want to build a cool base after already beating the game?

I don't intend for the crystals to be transformed into literally anything, because that is a bit OP, but maybe basic materials like titanium, glass, and such. Just realizing this now, but it also explains how Ion Crystals and a diamond in the fabricator allow for the creation of the purple artifact, because it wouldn't make sense otherwise how Ion Crystals just transform into the alloy which the artifacts are made of if they are just intended to be batteries.

So what do you guys think? It will be a little more difficult to implement the gameplay stuff, but I think it would go along the lines of possibly having a menu for both the fabricator and habitat builder that is specifically for Ion Crystal - Material conversion, showing the cost in Ion Crystals for certain materials that can be fabricated with them. This ability could be unlocked either when first picking up and Ion Crystal, or along with the blueprints for the ion crystal battery and powercell you get in the thermal plant. Now the story should be much easier. There is no need to explain everything I listed above, but just change a few things, mainly the Ion Crystal data bank entry to say something along the lines of; "Evidence also suggests that the alien race used these crystals as a main construction material. Using advanced quantum technology the aliens had the ability to used the energy stored within to create matter. Having the ability to store vast amounts of energy into a stable, easily transported state, with the ability to transform the energy into matter would have possibly leaped them centuries forward in terms of technological prowess. This may also explain why the crystals seemed to be held with such a high regard; being placed on pedestals, as they would have been a key factor in bringing the alien race this far. Assessment: Could be used to fabricator basic materials if more information can be obtained."

Anyway, if you managed to get through all of this to make it this far in the reading then I would like to thank you. Please feel free to share your feedback in the comments below telling me what you think or any further suggestions. This was just something that popped into my head, so thanks for your time.

TL;DR: Make the Ion Crystals be a construction material used by the precursor race in the lore, somewhat filling in plot holes in the process, and possibly allow gameplay in which the player can transform Ion Crystals into basic materials.



  • jamintheinfinite_1jamintheinfinite_1 JupiterMembers Join Date: 2016-12-03 Member: 224524Posts: 1,062 Advanced user
    Summarizing long comment: make the ion crystals also be used as a material used by the precursor to build the bases.
    You probably also know me as Terranhawk, aka, the guy who has a Starcraft name but has never touched or seen a Starcraft game in his life/
    I'm both a content and discussion's moderator of both the BZ and SN wikias

    I'm the creator of this Creature Evolution Chart
    I live in the Subnautica side of the forums. IF you have seen me you probably know I suk at speling log wrods and that I'm very sarcastic and don't take things seriously unless called for

    I'm called jamintheinfinite_1 because I was an idiot and made a typo on my email address for the account jamintheinfinite and I was too dumb to know how to fix it.

    s̮̮͇̲̱̻͕͈̠ͪ͐̇̾͒̀͌i̖͈͚̘͈̐̀̈́̃̒̇̀͊ͧ̔̏͒ͅḿ͎͉̜̦̦͓̟̞͗̇͒ͨ̏͌̑ͨͬͬͧͭͥo̩̞̰̮̞̮̼̫̩̳̘͆ͯͣ̓̍͆ͣ̎ͫ͂ͪṅ͖̪̫̘̼̙̪̙̳̰̊̒͋͗ͪͥ̅̑ͤ̆̅ͬͥ̑ͫ ̲̳̟̰̭̖̞͓̙̘͓͔̣͇ͭͥ̂̎̋́͂̋̈́̌͐ͤͨ̀̐̂ͦi͍̫͔̟̰͖͚̫͎̞͚͌ͤ̀͗ͥ͐̂̓ͧs̭͈͙̱̹̬͓̦̝͔̘̼̤͍͎̞̥̎̅̉͛ͦ͒̇͛̎ͬͨ́̍͒̀ͦͅͅ ͙̱̖̳̻͚̳̘̯̲͚̭̟͎̩̤͔̼̩̈́ͤ̋ͪ̿͛ͤͥ̅̒̆̉̓̒̓̅̈̈́̉t̖̞͓̥̤̪̯̘͓͌ͨͮͮͅh̰̙̮̖̆ͬ̎ͫ̿̽̾͋͗̍ͪ͑̀e̳̟̭͇ͤ̃͊̀ͤ̅ͫ̅̒ ̰̗͔̟̼̺̫̲͍̯̥̼͚̦̜̯̣̇̀̅̂̋ͧͦ̊ͥͮ͛̾͐̌͆̔́̎͋ͅb͍̣̲͇͙̞̘̰̫̪̖͔̈̅̃ͬͬḙ͖̠̬͇̦̰̪̟͊̀͐̍̾̓̊s̬͍͈̲̦̥͉̦̼̥͕͍̲̝ͪͬ͆͆͛ͩ̎̓̊̐͗̿̾̊̊t̪͉̝͖̫̼̤̼̩̰ͧ̐̽̋̈́̉̏̃́

  • ComicalSkateComicalSkate Canada, ONMembers Join Date: 2015-05-28 Member: 204993Posts: 237 Advanced user
    Summarizing long comment: make the ion crystals also be used as a material used by the precursor to build the bases.

    I could do a TL;DR on the main piece, but if someone just skips past all the explanation to read your comment, then they will most likely laugh it off, think its the stupidest thing, and move on. Because when I read this comment, that is what I do :P

  • WiirlakWiirlak BlatonMembers Join Date: 2017-05-26 Member: 230772Posts: 95 Advanced user
    I like the idea.
    Maybe when using a ion battery in the Habitat Builder, we could have an option to create using more energy and no material cost.
  • Thunder_StarThunder_Star CanadaMembers Join Date: 2016-06-14 Member: 218587Posts: 7 Fully active user
    Great idea! I love it! Should be implemented!
    ThunderStar :*
  • JhadarSyJhadarSy Members Join Date: 2016-03-29 Member: 215030Posts: 17 Fully active user
    edited June 2017
    Personally, I'd like to see the end game require lots and lots of resources for building the rocket (I recently added a whole post on that topic). I'd like to see Ion crystals be required in recipes for building parts of the rocket. But after the end-game if you are allowed to return to the planet - then yeah, I could see ion crystals making it easier to build big bases and such. That would be cool. Or maybe they could power those alien gates? I've found a couple of those, but so far they don't seem to be located anywhere that would be useful to me. Maybe the player could build bases all around the planet and the ion crystals could power modified scanner rooms to help clean the infection out of each zone. Or neutralize those "slasher" creature/machines? Or power a weapon that's good at killing slashers? I killed one once, but it was crazy hard and took forever. Maybe a system of alien totems spread around the planet and you build a base next to each one and purify the area to trigger the totem? Triggering all the totems could be a secondary end game objective?

    And of course these purification systems could have massive power requirements, so now there would be a reason to build nuclear reactors? Maybe change the reactors so they can ONLY power purification plants, but you only have to put one set of rods into them at each base? Maybe the reactor is build into the purification system and it's a single unit, and does NOT in any way power your base?
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