Why I find Subnautica unsatisfying in the long run (spoilers)

JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members Posts: 953 Advanced user
I'm dreading posting this, so I want to start by saying that I love this game. I burned myself out on it last summer and have only played in short bursts since, but this game sits in my heart as one of the greats (and it's not even in full release yet). I want to jump back into it as soon as I can and experience all of the changes that UW have made in those six months.

But there is one problem with this game that really bugs me. It may just be a personal thing so feel free to completely disagree, but I find the game very unsatisfying in the long run. It has some glaring issues regarding the expansion of this universe that will leave me wanting so much more after the game ends. Again, these issues may be personal, but I think it would be healthy to get these thoughts out there.

The game starts with you jumping into a life pod and ejecting out of the Aurora. The Aurora explodes, the life pod lands in the ocean and you are left on your own. As you look at the enormous ship on the horizon you may start to ask questions like Where did that ship come from? or Did I have any friends on that ship that I should be worried about? or How developed is humanity? Can they create ships as big as moons or is this ship the largest they can construct? And although you do find out that there were other people on the ship and you read their stories of the crash, you fail to discover whether your character knew them personally. You rarely even hear any mention of where they came from; you only hear about their lives during and after the crash. All you know about them is what they were like and what they did just before and during their time on 4546B.

When you journey to the Aurora you find it irradiated and burning. There are no corpses in sight; only broken technology and PDA diaries. This detracts from the emotional weight of the Aurora crash substantially. I know they were trying to keep an age rating, but this ship doesn't feel lived in at all. There is no sign of human life other than their scattered PDAs. The emotional impact of something is directly affected by your involvement with it; when all I have that links me to this crew is PDA entries it doesn't get me invested. Sure, it's sad that they died, but it doesn't bring with it any real emotional impact. The most emotional part of Subnautica is by far (and spoilers) the Emperor's death and the hatching of her young. You feel something when she dies, and this is because we met her, we interacted with her, we knew her motivations and her struggles and we helped her overcome them. If we were given text that just told us that the Emperor had died and her young had hatched the emotional weight would be nowhere near what it is now.

And this is a recurring theme in Subnautica and my problems with it; I feel a lot more invested with the planet than I have ever felt with Alterra or the Federation. I am constantly interacting with the planet and its creatures, I am constantly watching them interact with each other. I love this planet and everything on it because I've spent hundreds of hours exploring, seeing and interacting with these creatures and everything like that. I haven't seen the Federation or my crew mates in-game so I feel nothing for them.

And here's where it all falls apart for me. This is the main point of this post so I guess I'll just put it on its own line in bold with italics and all that:

What I feel as a player contradicts what my character feels. Our motivations don't align.

When it comes down to it, your character's motivation is to leave this planet and return to Federation space, but you never feel the urge to complete this task as you don't know what your character is going back to. Your main reason for playing this game is to explore and experience the world that you've found yourself on, whilst also building vehicles and bases to suit yourself. There's a real disconnect between the player and the character in this game and it bugs me. In, say, Portal, Chell's task is to escape Aperture Laboratories and maybe kill GLaDOS along the way. You as a player are playing the game to do puzzles and solve them, and you feel a connection with the character because there's sympathy there. You are programmed to hate GLaDOS and see her as an enemy like Chell does, and you want to reach and kill her in the same way as the character. You could even take a newer, simpler game like Enter the Gungeon. The characters you play in that game have a sole task: fight through the Gungeon and acquire the artifact at the end. You as a player have that same motivation because it lines up with your gameplay (that being shooting bad guys, becoming stronger and progressing through the levels).

This is Subnautica's biggest weak point for me; you and your character have very different motivations for doing what they do. The character would B-line for where the plot asks him to go so that he can escape the planet whereas the player wants to explore and get to know the world they're playing in. It doesn't line up and it detracts from the experience, as I'm constantly left asking myself: Why is my character exploring the Grand Reef and looking for titanium to build a base when he already has the necessary equipment to get the the Prison? In this case I either, begrudgingly, go to the prison as it's what my character would do, or I would continue what I wanted to do and still feel that disconnect.

To conclude this, I love Subnautica. I honestly can't get enough. The gameplay is great, the creatures are fantastic and the concept is innovative and fun. The development team is doing an amazing job at fleshing out this world and everything on it. The only problem is that me and my character both have staggeringly different motivations. I play to experience the world that is being presented to me and explore it and discover more about it, but my character wants to get off as soon as is possible, to return to a Federation I know nothing about. This may not be a big problem for many out there, but for me immersion is key. It's difficult to put my mind inside a character who wants completely different things to me.

But that's just my opinion. The disagree button's there if you don't really think I'm on the money.
Post edited by Jamezorg on
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Comments

  • poesbrupoesbru CH Join Date: 2018-01-03 Member: 234783Members Posts: 12 Fully active user
    edited January 8
    I guess you have a point, especially about the aurora conveying no sense of having been occupied. I don't think it's too important, however. It's more of a sandbox experience. Almost seems pathological to dive so deep with your analysis into such a shallow game.

    j/k. but imo the story is fine. It's an enjoyable, increasingly polished swimming sim. I'm fine with the aurora being littered with batteries rather than dead bodies.
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  • JackeJacke Calgary Join Date: 2017-03-20 Member: 229061Members Posts: 580 Advanced user
    That's a very good analysis, @Jamezorg .

    I've seen videos of early versions of the game start. The game concept was built around a single player exploring an oceanic world after crashing on it. The details were filled in afterwards.

    This makes me appreciate the start of "Half-Life" (and "Half-Life 2") even more. Many might want to get to the action, but the slow starts immerses the player in what passes for normal (or in 2 abnormal) before all goes wrong. That gives the player a foundation to better appreciate the game that comes. And gives them better founded motivation to make things right. Even "Portal" and "Portal 2" have a founding start before they get into testing or disaster.

    "Subnautica" has the player diving into the Lifepod from an already-crippled Aurora. You don't even see anything of inside the ship. For reasons, when the player returns to the Aurora, there's no bodies. Besides the rating, the lack of other mobs besides the fish and leviathans means no work has been done on immobile or active humans and would be a large change to the game.

    I had thought of a way the start of the game could be changed to give a little background and sense of belonging. I would have the player start in his cabin on the Aurora. Reviewing videos and recordings from home and shipmates. Then an alert would sound and the player would leave their cabin and head for Lifepod 5. This would take less than 5 minutes and wouldn't require new models.

    As much as something like that would help, I think @Jamezorg 's issue would still exist. The player character has a life before the Aurora's crash. They're an explorer, a worker on the ship. Then their life is torn apart with the Aurora being crippled and crashing. Escape in Lifepod 5 and land in 4546B's ocean. They need to survive, explore, and escape. The player behind the character doesn't quite feel the same way.

    I still remember the feelings I had swimming in the ocean that first time. It was amazing. That's what drove UWE to make Subnautica. Making a game around that experience is tough. That's mostly finished and there's not a lot that can be changed.

    UWE needs to release Subnautica now. However, maybe something can be learned to improve this or other games in the future.
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  • AvimimusAvimimus Join Date: 2016-03-28 Member: 214968Members Posts: 400 Advanced user
    My experience is different - after 300 hours I've gradually started to accept the character's actions as natural.

    The lack of satisfaction in the long run is due to the lack of a persistent survival mode:

    Without storms, earthquakes, attacks by creatures or precursor robots on bases, or seasons...

    ...the survival aspect gradually disappears after a while. There aren't any real setbacks. So the game feels like it is meant to end long before exploration is complete :)

    Ralijaasub
  • Calarand77Calarand77 hiding from reapers Join Date: 2016-01-22 Member: 211786Members Posts: 316 Advanced user
    I agree that the other passengers' presence needs to be somehow shown and... proved to the player, for lack of a better word. And you don't even need to show the bodies to create the feeling of loss. All it takes to make this work within the rating is a lone item hand-placed by the devs here and there. More personal belongings - a photo, a sock, a bunny slipper, a fancy futuristic toothbrush, actual paper book, a garishly colored ipod, etc. Little private things that a human being would take with them on a space journey far far away from home, and that would look slightly out of place among the other items in game. Aurora does have a little bit of those, like posters and mascots, but to make this work, we'd need much more, especially in the lifepods and wrecks, to make the ship look actually lived-in. Also, imagine approaching one of the broken pods and seeing a single shoe first somewhere on the seafloor nearby. It would add immensely to both the sense of danger and urgency. Letting the player collect those items, keep them in the base, would in turn help create a sense of longing for lost friends and simply for human contact.
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  • ShuttleBugShuttleBug USA Join Date: 2017-03-15 Member: 228943Members Posts: 566 Advanced user
    Calarand77 wrote: »
    I agree that the other passengers' presence needs to be somehow shown and... proved to the player, for lack of a better word. And you don't even need to show the bodies to create the feeling of loss. All it takes to make this work within the rating is a lone item hand-placed by the devs here and there. More personal belongings - a photo, a sock, a bunny slipper, a fancy futuristic toothbrush, actual paper book, a garishly colored ipod, etc. Little private things that a human being would take with them on a space journey far far away from home, and that would look slightly out of place among the other items in game. Aurora does have a little bit of those, like posters and mascots, but to make this work, we'd need much more, especially in the lifepods and wrecks, to make the ship look actually lived-in. Also, imagine approaching one of the broken pods and seeing a single shoe first somewhere on the seafloor nearby. It would add immensely to both the sense of danger and urgency. Letting the player collect those items, keep them in the base, would in turn help create a sense of longing for lost friends and simply for human contact.

    I could imagine the player picking up some stuffed animal, staring at it for a few seconds, then setting it down on a bed. Small things like that could really show the player was actually connected to the rest of the crew without requiring bodies or voice acting.
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  • Casual_PlayerCasual_Player That...is a really good question Join Date: 2016-08-30 Member: 221875Members Posts: 692 Advanced user
    ShuttleBug wrote: »
    Calarand77 wrote: »
    I agree that the other passengers' presence needs to be somehow shown and... proved to the player, for lack of a better word. And you don't even need to show the bodies to create the feeling of loss. All it takes to make this work within the rating is a lone item hand-placed by the devs here and there. More personal belongings - a photo, a sock, a bunny slipper, a fancy futuristic toothbrush, actual paper book, a garishly colored ipod, etc. Little private things that a human being would take with them on a space journey far far away from home, and that would look slightly out of place among the other items in game. Aurora does have a little bit of those, like posters and mascots, but to make this work, we'd need much more, especially in the lifepods and wrecks, to make the ship look actually lived-in. Also, imagine approaching one of the broken pods and seeing a single shoe first somewhere on the seafloor nearby. It would add immensely to both the sense of danger and urgency. Letting the player collect those items, keep them in the base, would in turn help create a sense of longing for lost friends and simply for human contact.

    I could imagine the player picking up some stuffed animal, staring at it for a few seconds, then setting it down on a bed. Small things like that could really show the player was actually connected to the rest of the crew without requiring bodies or voice acting.

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  • Hulkie2345Hulkie2345 New York Join Date: 2017-08-23 Member: 232598Members Posts: 276 Advanced user
    Your argument makes perfect sense. But this is a issue in a lot of other media's. The goal of Subnuatica is really your enjoyment. The Avatar you play as, and the crews that die, aren't the important parts of the story. Building, the world, and the goals are. Think of it another way. Take the film Die Hard. Hans Grubber takes over a brand new company building in order to steal money. His team takes hostage of over 30 people. Out of those 30 people. The audience only cares about 4. I don't care about the other lives, because I don't know them/they aren't the point of the movie. I only care about John, his wife, and very loosely Mr. Takagi, and the drug idiot who got himself killed. Outside the building, I only care about Officer Powel, and the Limo Drive. While news reporters and other SWAT team members where killed.

    This is a survival game. And the only core part of the game is the surviving location. Yes, it would be interesting to know about more stuff about the character. We do get some ideas of the outside world. From the people that we hear/read logs from. Everyone is unprofessional in Alterra. Because they forgot they left their mics on. So we hear their chatter. It gives you something from the universe. But our care is towards this water planet. Just like how we follow Ripley killing Aliens. VS seeing her at home and feeding Josey.
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  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members Posts: 953 Advanced user
    @Hulkie2345 You have a valid point, and I can see where you're coming from, but I do disagree with it.

    In Alien there is set-up. We learn about the characters in the film, we learn a bit about why they're doing what they're doing, we learn about their personalities and we grow to care about them. When they inevitably die it comes with impact because we know what these characters are about, even just at the base. This is what beginnings are for; hooking us to the characters and setting. And this is what I think Subnautica lacks; a beginning.

    There are two real problems created by this lack of set-up, the first being that we barely even know how the character feels about being crashed here. Alterra could have abused him relentlessly, he could have been picked on, he could have hated time on the Aurora and only be trying to get back to Federation space out of obligation. I don't know; the game fails to give you this bit of backstory. And then there's the problem that I don't know the character's motivations for returning. Did he have a family? What conditions did he live in?

    I can't get involved with the character because I lack sympathy for him. I know barely anything about him and that's where my problem lies. If Alien started after shit had hit the fan and people were sneaking around to avoid the Xenomorph it wouldn't be the same.
    I am currently writing a fantasy novel which I plan to be the beginning of a six-seven book series.
    To sate my thirst for people to read my stories, however, I write one on the forums in the meantime: FE . DC .
  • cels83cels83 Join Date: 2018-01-10 Member: 234929Members Posts: 4 Fully active user
    edited January 10
    Great point, OP. I guess this is part of the reason why the end of the game felt so unfulfilling to me. Instead of finally being able to return home (when we can actually build and fly the rocket), it felt more like leaving home.

    I agree with you that more emotional connection to the main character, who is entirely mute and unknown to us, would have been better. But more than that, I just felt like the game was too short and too easy. I was thinking that the aliens would be coming for my base, or that I had to build a base that could survive periodical reaper attacks. I thought there might be a reason to build new bases later and stock up on lots of resources in case something happened. But then the game was over.

    I hope the game isn't like that on launch day. I would prefer this to be Episode 1 rather than a complete story. What if, just as we're about to leave the planet, we get a message from someone who is still alive, and trapped somewhere? Or what if someone arrives to rescue us, but then we are hired to go back to the planet to look for something valuable in a different region? I guess a proper story could have made the short game more satisfying, if we were just desperate to get back to our family. But maybe not.

    This kind of reminds me of when I introduced my girlfriend to the game "Gone Home". At first, she thought the game was terrifying and she refused to play. An old empty house, completely dark and abandoned? And a letter about the house being cursed because someone committed suicide there? Walking into every new room took five minutes, because every sound scared her senseless. Then it slowly got better. I didn't want to tell her at first that it wasn't a horror game, but ultimately I just said "Listen, there are no monsters. There's no one home. Just explore the house." And she was like ".... oh." What had seemed like a dangerous horror game was basically just a kind of interactive novel where you read a lot of notes and letters and listened to recorded messages.

    And you know what? I feel a little bit like that with Subnautica. What seemed like a potentially challenging survival game was so linear and easy that it boils down to... reading a lot of notes and letters and listening to recorded messages. Ok, ok, I'm exaggerating. Obviously you have to gather resources and solve a few problems along the way. But the game is still fairly linear and doesn't really present you with any choices that impact the story. You just have to figure out how to find the next PDA and get the next radio transmission, which is quite similar to "Gone Home" in a way. You may encounter locked doors, you may have to come back later to areas that are initially inaccessible. But it's not really too hard to survive, unless you stupidly run into a dangerous creature you can't get away from.

    PS: I still love this game and I had an amazing time playing it. But there's something fundamentally wrong with it, which makes me not want to play it again, and I believe this could be fixed if it was more of a struggle and if I was presented with more choices and different outcomes.
    Omanoct
  • LordBrisingrLordBrisingr Join Date: 2018-01-05 Member: 234829Members Posts: 15 Advanced user
    ShuttleBug wrote: »
    Calarand77 wrote: »
    I agree that the other passengers' presence needs to be somehow shown and... proved to the player, for lack of a better word. And you don't even need to show the bodies to create the feeling of loss. All it takes to make this work within the rating is a lone item hand-placed by the devs here and there. More personal belongings - a photo, a sock, a bunny slipper, a fancy futuristic toothbrush, actual paper book, a garishly colored ipod, etc. Little private things that a human being would take with them on a space journey far far away from home, and that would look slightly out of place among the other items in game. Aurora does have a little bit of those, like posters and mascots, but to make this work, we'd need much more, especially in the lifepods and wrecks, to make the ship look actually lived-in. Also, imagine approaching one of the broken pods and seeing a single shoe first somewhere on the seafloor nearby. It would add immensely to both the sense of danger and urgency. Letting the player collect those items, keep them in the base, would in turn help create a sense of longing for lost friends and simply for human contact.

    I could imagine the player picking up some stuffed animal, staring at it for a few seconds, then setting it down on a bed. Small things like that could really show the player was actually connected to the rest of the crew without requiring bodies or voice acting.

    As soon as i found stuffed animals, and other toys. I made a point of collecting them all, and putting them on a shelf right next to my bed. Their the last thing i see at night, and the first thing in the morning.
  • JackeJacke Calgary Join Date: 2017-03-20 Member: 229061Members Posts: 580 Advanced user
    I think the length of the game is part of the experience. For those who come close to completing the game, how long does it take? I saw a video of someone speed-running Subnautica and was completely amazed at how close they could cut their oxygen and passing through caves. And finish the game in well under an hour.

    In my current experimental game, at just under 24 hours (right before I did an 8-hour test of taking out a prefab minibase in the Seamoth), I was well equiped with the Seammoth and a 2nd main base, already visited Volcano Isle, the Floating Isle, and the Jelly Shroom Cave Degassi Base, as well as the Moonpool, the Vehicle Modification Station, and the Modification Station, as well as all the sea plants I would need and a lot of the blueprints (though still missing a few like the Stillsuit, the Cyclops, the PRAWN (haven't been to the Aurora), and many Cyclops and PRAWN mods.

    So, I've got a lot of game to go. I've never explored the Lost River and below because I've never explored that far. Yet with knowledge, players can speed run the game in under an hour ?!? Sure, an earlier version, and likely with some of the recent changes that low won't be possible. But I can see it possibly still being done in a few hours by players with those skills. Skills I think I would never master.

    In a game I've never even gotten close to finishing. I'm on my 17th game. Most of the preceding 16 stopped around 24 to 48 hours of play time. But a couple got to over 72 hours and a few over 48. Often it was external reasons I didn't continue playing. And by the time I had time for Subnautica again, things have changed so much I often decide to start a new game.

    There's sometime about the amount of time in this game that affects each of our experiences. I'm wondering where my game times compare to other players.
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  • HiguideHiguide NJ Join Date: 2017-04-03 Member: 229385Members Posts: 54 Advanced user
    edited January 10
    the entire point of the game is to move on, adapt and survive, you as a player make your own story and experiences as it goes on. playing the wrong game if you are trying to make a connection with a blank-slate, be just like trying to reflect two mirrors off one another. ex what is minecraft steve's motivation? is he/she creative well-meaning individual or a psychopathic nihilist nobody knows entirely up to the player themselves
  • BaleBale France Join Date: 2015-09-05 Member: 207737Members Posts: 56 Advanced user
    Holy shit. @Jamezorg. Never do that again please. I stopped playing Subnautica for months now and i managed to avoid all the spoilers until now.

    And here i thought reading a post once in a while would be a great idea. Dumb me.

    Please. For all living human beings' sake, do not just write "(spoilers)" and the spoiler right after a blank space.

    I'm gonna suicide now.

    May peace be with you. Farewell.
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  • 0x6A72320x6A7232 US Join Date: 2016-10-06 Member: 222906Members Posts: 4,797 Advanced user
    edited January 11
    If you have spoilers, put them in spoiler tags, like this: [spoiler]JUST SO YOU KNOW DUMBLEDORE DIES!!!![/spoiler] and it will show up like this:
    UWE Community guidelines | Guide to play in VR with Google Cardboard or Gear | Increase Subnautica view distance | Useful info to post with error reports | Recovery of corrupted saved games
    Crashing, lag problems? Or maybe your old save didn't get the latest update? Upload your saved game folder to help the devs troubleshoot, then try clearing your cache directories | Automatic Cache cleaning tool here | How to use the Debug Console | How to play any version of Subnautica using Steam | Tips for Subnautica beginners | Why can't the devs "just fix it"? - a modding session for you to educate yourself with Want more frames? Try adding this to your launch options: -window-mode exclusive
    Slow loading / textures popping in? Try moving Subnautica to an SSD | How to switch Subnautica to Experimental mode (clear cache afterwards) | How to run chkdsk on your drive | How to verify integrity of your game cache (in the "Installation" section) | Blue screens or computer freezing up? Try this fix (updates a corrupted DX10 compatibility file in the graphics driver that sometimes doesn't get updated)
    Subnautica launches in a tiny window? Use Task Manager to Maximize it (Thanks FlippingPower) | How to place your Moonpool so it connects correctly (includes diagrams) | Want to hang out with fellow players and the devs? Subnautica Discord server ← swing on by! | Subnautica mods - Hey look! Mods! | ReShade mods | Humans don't crush at the depths you might think
    Joystick problems? | Xpadder | UJR / vJoy | JoyToKey | Get detailed info for troubleshooting: CPU-Z | GPU-Z | HWiNFO64 | Speccy | Pastebin | Recover the data on your crashed hard disk! | I'm a Total Geek
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  • SkopeSkope Wouldn't you like to know ;) Join Date: 2016-06-07 Member: 218212Members Posts: 1,133 Advanced user
    0x6A7232 wrote: »
    [spoiler]JUST SO YOU KNOW DUMBLEDORE DIES!!!![/spoiler]

    Uh, Spoiler Alert!!
    :trollface:
    I've been skulking around here for almost four years.

    Yet I still have no idea what's going on.
    ShuttleBug
  • GimboidGimboid France Join Date: 2016-03-28 Member: 214956Members Posts: 15 Advanced user
    What if, the transmission that gives you the data to build the escape craft, instead told you that "here are some plans, you are on your own, all hell has broken lose here, half the federaton is infected with some virus" and now you are not just escaping, but bringing the cure to all mankind?
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  • eastofdeatheastofdeath usa Join Date: 2016-02-28 Member: 213559Members Posts: 249 Advanced user
    Great games are built on a back story. Dragon Age Origins had many books and a good story to start out your toon. Skyrim had tons of lore from the other Elder Scrolls. I thinks SN needed a little more back story and some thing more to make us connected to the toon we play...

    The game stops being a survival game as soon as you can grow your food for free. And becomes a exploration game with just two goals, find blue prints from all over the map and cure yourself.
    After 729 hours and 2 years in playing SN I still love this game its more of a place to go to get lost in and enjoy the world that Unknowworlds has crated for us.

    I think the writers let the game down, with so much going for the concept of SN and a great world to play out a story with more depth and some thing to tie me to my toon and make me want to route for them...

    I am looking forward to an expansion and wish lots of success to the devs. for making a good game to lose myself in... May the lore be with you...
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  • Hulkie2345Hulkie2345 New York Join Date: 2017-08-23 Member: 232598Members Posts: 276 Advanced user
    edited January 13
    cels83 wrote: »

    PS: I still love this game and I had an amazing time playing it. But there's something fundamentally wrong with it, which makes me not want to play it again, and I believe this could be fixed if it was more of a struggle and if I was presented with more choices and different outcomes.

    Play on Hardcore mode if you want that challenge.
    Jamezorg wrote: »

    I can't get involved with the character because I lack sympathy for him. I know barely anything about him and that's where my problem lies. If Alien started after shit had hit the fan and people were sneaking around to avoid the Xenomorph it wouldn't be the same.

    I still only care about Ripley (and her cat), at the end of the film. All the other characters are ultimately unimportant to me. Same goes with Aliens. Ripley, Newt, and hicks. Everyone else I don't. It still happens in those films. Because Ripley is still the core character. While Newt and Hicks are the only ones that earned caring. Here's a big question. We always want lots of story for characters. Is it wrong to create a character that has no personality, and just a single purpose? Like Subnautica's player Avatar. The only thing we really know about him: Male, likes the punk look, loves to swim. Who is Steve in Minecraft? No one. The character doesn't even exist in Minecraft Story Mode. There is only one story element in Minecraft. Kill a dragon. Nothing else has a purpose or matters. Besides surviving and building stuff. Subnautica is Lord Of The Rings to Minecraft. When it comes to story. I care more about the mother Leviathan, than Steve. I also consider the planet itself, the precursors, PDA/AI, and Alterra characters too. Would I like more towards the player Avatar, sure. But I'm not miffed that he is a blank slate.
    Post edited by Hulkie2345 on
  • poesbrupoesbru CH Join Date: 2018-01-03 Member: 234783Members Posts: 12 Fully active user
    Someone asked about how long of an experience. I have about 100 hours and I'm not sure I'll play much more (will certainly try when released). To play through again will probably take me about 5-20 hours. Inventory and storage is too tedious to do much with the crafting system. All the while it's way too easy, likely because it has to be balanced for gamepad users. Perma-death isn't the solution for me, since it's still possible to have some kind of silly accident, and then I would want to minimize that risk by making the experience even shorter (2 hours?). 120 hours is satisfying enough. Meaningful threats, and power, food and water being relevant beyond the first couple hours would have been nice.
  • gamer1000kgamer1000k Join Date: 2017-04-29 Member: 230121Members Posts: 296 Advanced user
    Definitely some valid points here, especially with the in-game descriptions of Alterra. Based on the limited information we have in-game on the outside world, I'm not sure why the character would want to leave.

    Plenty of other games and movies also make this mistake, but a bit more world building would have been nice.

    Also agree that the Aurora doesn't feel like a real, lived-in ship. Especially the interior layout doesn't really make any sense at all. Right now it's really just a "dungeon" that needs to be completed.
    SnailsAttackJackekingkuma
  • SnailsAttackSnailsAttack Join Date: 2017-02-09 Member: 227749Members Posts: 519 Advanced user
    Calarand77 wrote: »
    I agree that the other passengers' presence needs to be somehow shown and... proved to the player, for lack of a better word. And you don't even need to show the bodies to create the feeling of loss. All it takes to make this work within the rating is a lone item hand-placed by the devs here and there. More personal belongings - a photo, a sock, a bunny slipper, a fancy futuristic toothbrush, actual paper book, a garishly colored ipod, etc. Little private things that a human being would take with them on a space journey far far away from home, and that would look slightly out of place among the other items in game. Aurora does have a little bit of those, like posters and mascots, but to make this work, we'd need much more, especially in the lifepods and wrecks, to make the ship look actually lived-in. Also, imagine approaching one of the broken pods and seeing a single shoe first somewhere on the seafloor nearby. It would add immensely to both the sense of danger and urgency. Letting the player collect those items, keep them in the base, would in turn help create a sense of longing for lost friends and simply for human contact.
    I hadn't quite thought about all that too much. Now that you mention it, adding stuff like this could add a lot to the overall feel of exploring the Aurora or abandoned lifepods, or even just hearing the crew member's radio messages.
    Calarand77
  • JamezorgJamezorg United Kingdom Join Date: 2016-05-15 Member: 216788Members Posts: 953 Advanced user
    Hulkie2345 wrote: »
    I still only care about Ripley (and her cat), at the end of the film. All the other characters are ultimately unimportant to me. Same goes with Aliens. Ripley, Newt, and hicks. Everyone else I don't. It still happens in those films. Because Ripley is still the core character. While Newt and Hicks are the only ones that earned caring. Here's a big question. We always want lots of story for characters. Is it wrong to create a character that has no personality, and just a single purpose? Like Subnautica's player Avatar. The only thing we really know about him: Male, likes the punk look, loves to swim. Who is Steve in Minecraft? No one. The character doesn't even exist in Minecraft Story Mode. There is only one story element in Minecraft. Kill a dragon. Nothing else has a purpose or matters. Besides surviving and building stuff. Subnautica is Lord Of The Rings to Minecraft. When it comes to story. I care more about the mother Leviathan, than Steve. I also consider the planet itself, the precursors, PDA/AI, and Alterra characters too. Would I like more towards the player Avatar, sure. But I'm not miffed that he is a blank slate.

    Sorry, I just can't get behind you on this one. If you want to play the game like that then that's absolutely your choice and it is in no way my intent to change your mind. You've got an opinion so stick to it. I'm just going to throw mine out as well.

    I would argue that where you only care about Ripley at the end of the film, I don't care about my character in Subnautica all throughout. He has no development, no backstory, no hook, so we don't have any reason to sympathise with him. And you argue that the PDA, the Emperor and all of these other entities are characters, though all save from the Emperor are bland in their own rights. The Emperor had development. She had a backstory, a motivation, a hook and we sympathised with her. She was a character. The PDA doesn't do this. In my eyes the PDA is uninteresting and is just a machine to give the player info. I would be fine with the PDA filling this role if the game wasn't already so devoid of life and character already.

    As for the question you propose, I think that it's completely fine to make your player character an uninteresting husk, but only when your game doesn't ooze potential for a story. Steve was just a vessel through which you played Minecraft; Minecraft had no story, Steve had no hook or motivation because there was no reason. It was just a sandbox game where you ran around and hit trees with your bare fists. Same goes for games like Terraria; there's no story, therefor there's no reason to make the main character interesting. Subnautica's different, though. You're meant to feel for your character; he just lost an entire crew, is stranded on an alien world, is lightyears away from a possible family, and so on. We hear about the Federation. Did he have friends in the Federation? Where did he rank? In Minecraft we never hear of a kingdom that you're trying to get back to. The first you hear of the Ender Dragon is when you take that portal and see it for yourself, there's no quest to try and kill it.

    When you're trying to make a game with heart and story, no, I don't think it's okay to make the player character just a vessel through which you experience the game. But good point.

    I am currently writing a fantasy novel which I plan to be the beginning of a six-seven book series.
    To sate my thirst for people to read my stories, however, I write one on the forums in the meantime: FE . DC .
  • JackeJacke Calgary Join Date: 2017-03-20 Member: 229061Members Posts: 580 Advanced user
    edited January 14
    poesbru wrote: »
    To play through again will probably take me about 5-20 hours.
    You can finish a game in 5 to 20 hours ?!? I want to say "HOW ?!?" but I have seen a speed run video on an earlier version, so it's possible somehow. But I can't see how I can remember enough just to cover the distance fast enough. And to do so must ignore most of the game.

    In the games I've played so far, I get to 48 to 72 plus hours but no where near the finish. I've just gotten to the start of the Lost River and I don't explore as much as some others must. My current game is at around 32 hours and I have to explore for large wrecks for blueprints and Cyclops Engine frags and then there's the Aurora and the Degasi Deep Grand Reef base before I can even think about going for the Lost River.
    Post edited by Jacke on
    The 'e' is silent. BRING BACK "Great job not dying." !!!
    SnailsAttack
  • poesbrupoesbru CH Join Date: 2018-01-03 Member: 234783Members Posts: 12 Fully active user
    Jacke wrote: »
    poesbru wrote: »
    To play through again will probably take me about 5-20 hours.
    You can finish a game in 5 to 20 hours ?!? I want to say "HOW ?!?" but I have seen a speed run video on an earlier version, so it's possible somehow. But I can't see how I can remember enough just to cover the distance fast enough. And to do so must ignore most of the game.

    In the games I've played so far, I get to 48 to 72 plus hours but no where near the finish. I've not even gotten to the Lost River and I don't explore as much as some others must. My current game is at around 32 hours and I have to explore for large wrecks for blueprints and Cyclops Engine frags and then there's the Aurora and the Degasi Deep Grand Reef base before I can even think about going for the Lost River.

    Well the first run took me about 80 hours. I was thinking that's in the high range. After all, one could just swim through the game, including all of the lost river through to the end, with just melon seeds and the mats for a tube and a thermal plant. Everything else is optional.
  • JackeJacke Calgary Join Date: 2017-03-20 Member: 229061Members Posts: 580 Advanced user
    poesbru wrote: »
    Jacke wrote: »
    poesbru wrote: »
    To play through again will probably take me about 5-20 hours.
    You can finish a game in 5 to 20 hours ?!? I want to say "HOW ?!?" but I have seen a speed run video on an earlier version, so it's possible somehow. But I can't see how I can remember enough just to cover the distance fast enough. And to do so must ignore most of the game.

    In the games I've played so far, I get to 48 to 72 plus hours but no where near the finish. I've not even gotten to the Lost River and I don't explore as much as some others must. My current game is at around 32 hours and I have to explore for large wrecks for blueprints and Cyclops Engine frags and then there's the Aurora and the Degasi Deep Grand Reef base before I can even think about going for the Lost River.

    Well the first run took me about 80 hours. I was thinking that's in the high range. After all, one could just swim through the game, including all of the lost river through to the end, with just melon seeds and the mats for a tube and a thermal plant. Everything else is optional.
    How do you swim through the game in the Lost River and below and not run out of oxygen ?!?

    I did a run in the surface biomes to test a mobile prefab base to try to scan for large wrecks, with little success (thinking to try again). I had a Scanner Room and a MPR with a Bioreactor and grew Marblemelons for food, carried as seeds. Carried on a Seamoth with a max depth mod and 3 cargo mods. Preparing and running that mission with only 2 base setups and a quick run back to my main base in the middle took 8 hours, bringing the game up to that 32 hours I mentioned before.

    I can see easily taking well over 100 hours just to finish my first game, either this one or the next after launch.
    The 'e' is silent. BRING BACK "Great job not dying." !!!
  • OmanoctOmanoct Join Date: 2018-01-14 Member: 235046Members Posts: 2 Fully active user
    cels83 wrote: »
    I hope the game isn't like that on launch day. I would prefer this to be Episode 1 rather than a complete story. What if, just as we're about to leave the planet, we get a message from someone who is still alive, and trapped somewhere? Or what if someone arrives to rescue us, but then we are hired to go back to the planet to look for something valuable in a different region? I guess a proper story could have made the short game more satisfying, if we were just desperate to get back to our family. But maybe not.

    This kind of reminds me of when I introduced my girlfriend to the game "Gone Home". At first, she thought the game was terrifying and she refused to play. An old empty house, completely dark and abandoned? And a letter about the house being cursed because someone committed suicide there? Walking into every new room took five minutes, because every sound scared her senseless. Then it slowly got better. I didn't want to tell her at first that it wasn't a horror game, but ultimately I just said "Listen, there are no monsters. There's no one home. Just explore the house." And she was like ".... oh." What had seemed like a dangerous horror game was basically just a kind of interactive novel where you read a lot of notes and letters and listened to recorded messages.

    Created an account here just to agree with your comment lol (not really, but close!)

    I heard about an expansion sometime back and wonder how interesting it would be if, while leaving the planet, you are contacted by survivors of the...Sunbeam vessel that picked up your distress signal and subsequently shot down. Instead of leaving, you redirect your course to their location, only to encounter similar survival issues - perhaps having to rebuild your broken escape rocket?

    I agree though, there is no sense of loss or compassion for those who died. My only thoughts when finding damaged life-pods was "hmm...I wonder why the flotation systems didn't deploy on this one either" and "oh, this one's empty too". At one point
    when I realized the Warpers were hunting survivors,
    I felt kind of sorry for them drowning in the abyss, but otherwise it was more disappointment than sympathy.

    The lack of weapons helps add a sense of danger to Subnautica though, which is nice. It gives you that feeling of "Can I survive another Cave Spider?", though once you get the Prawn Suit obviously your survival-ability skyrockets. At that phase, I feel the game loses much more of my interest from a survival point of view, and focuses more on exploration.

    At least I understand more why the Devs have chosen not to allow us to colour our bases (I think the ability to change wall/cabinet colours would be phenomenal, for various reasons) but it would give us even more attachment to the ocean world 4546B and less reason to return home.
  • poesbrupoesbru CH Join Date: 2018-01-03 Member: 234783Members Posts: 12 Fully active user

    Jacke wrote: »
    How do you swim through the game in the Lost River and below and not run out of oxygen ?!?
    you have mats for a small habitat, power and melons. Deconstruct and reconstruct along the way?
  • JackeJacke Calgary Join Date: 2017-03-20 Member: 229061Members Posts: 580 Advanced user
    poesbru wrote: »
    Jacke wrote: »
    How do you swim through the game in the Lost River and below and not run out of oxygen ?!?
    you have mats for a small habitat, power and melons. Deconstruct and reconstruct along the way?
    I know that's possible. I just don't know how you get through the entire game in 20 hours using that.
    The 'e' is silent. BRING BACK "Great job not dying." !!!
  • cels83cels83 Join Date: 2018-01-10 Member: 234929Members Posts: 4 Fully active user
    Hulkie2345 wrote: »
    Play on Hardcore mode if you want that challenge.
    Hardcore mode is not a bigger challenge in this game, really. As with most other survival games, hardcore mode just means that you have to spend a lot of time preparing every time you go out the door. You spend more time making sure you've got enough batteries, water, first aid kits, etc. But it doesn't really make the game more difficult. It's not that hard avoiding Leviathans and other dangerous things until you have a good enough vehicle to either survive their attacks or hurt them back.
    Omanoct wrote: »
    Created an account here just to agree with your comment lol (not really, but close!)
    I heard about an expansion sometime back and wonder how interesting it would be if, while leaving the planet, you are contacted by survivors of the...Sunbeam vessel that picked up your distress signal and subsequently shot down. Instead of leaving, you redirect your course to their location, only to encounter similar survival issues - perhaps having to rebuild your broken escape rocket?
    I agree though, there is no sense of loss or compassion for those who died. My only thoughts when finding damaged life-pods was "hmm...I wonder why the flotation systems didn't deploy on this one either" and "oh, this one's empty too". At one point
    when I realized the Warpers were hunting survivors,
    I felt kind of sorry for them drowning in the abyss, but otherwise it was more disappointment than sympathy.
    The lack of weapons helps add a sense of danger to Subnautica though, which is nice. It gives you that feeling of "Can I survive another Cave Spider?", though once you get the Prawn Suit obviously your survival-ability skyrockets. At that phase, I feel the game loses much more of my interest from a survival point of view, and focuses more on exploration.
    At least I understand more why the Devs have chosen not to allow us to colour our bases (I think the ability to change wall/cabinet colours would be phenomenal, for various reasons) but it would give us even more attachment to the ocean world 4546B and less reason to return home.
    I agree that the lack of weapons is really nice. Similar to Alien: Isolation. You can slow the monsters down, but you can't kill them outright.

    Subnautica seems like it was a huge success, so it would be surprising if there was no sequel or expansion. In my eyes, it seems a bit coincidental to have the main character accidentally get in the same situation twice, but they might ask him to go back again, like Alien 2. :)
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