Reworking Resource Collection: The Refiner

JamescellJamescell American Alpine Biome Join Date: 2015-08-18 Member: 207249Members Posts: 15 Fully active user
I've played Subnautica for a long time before release, and love what the game has become. However, the game is still unpolished in certain ways that below zero has the opportunity and funding to fix.
Resource outcrops stand out as a system that could use some reworking. Every time I break an outcrop some part of me winces at how unrealistic the process is. While not everything in Subnautica needs to be perfectly realistic, hitting rocks that magically drop refined metals strikes me as remarkably primitive and doesn't fit with the high-tech survival dynamic present in the rest of the game.

New High Tech Mechanics: I suggest a refining tool that is always equipped and takes no inventory space. The tool could be mounted on the players arm or handheld. The tool could have a "battery", for the sake of consistency, that recharges when the player swims and when in sunlight- or the tool could sacrifice resource-extraction efficiency to recharge itself. In the latter case, the refiner could perhaps have an efficiency upgrade.

New Resource Models: Furthermore, resource outcrops should be redesigned as ore veins. The collection mechanic could be a multi-left click to keep it similar to the current interaction, or a held left click to make it more similar to the scanner. Either way, some high tech visual effects would occur that make it look like the resource is being sucked out of the ore vein.

Ore veins could either be a texture, or an actual model. I'd suggest a model to make them more visible, but a model that blends well with flat surfaces and perhaps can be stretched to blend with non-flat surfaces. Perhaps veins could yield higher amounts of resources than current outcrops, but appear with less frequency throughout the map. The ore veins would not be hard to find, but would reduce clutter by consolidating resources, as the new ore vein models would be larger/more prominent than the current outcrops.


  • Vesper117Vesper117 Join Date: 2019-03-04 Member: 251513Members Posts: 8 Fully active user
    I like this idea way more than I thought I would going by the title. Another thing someone elsewhere suggested is to have a refinery module alongside your fabricator. You could maybe combine the two and have your suggestion be another (hopefully early game) upgrade? It'd make sense as an actual tool then. You either use the tool to mine the actual veins/ore, or take the rock to be refined at base.
  • JamescellJamescell American Alpine Biome Join Date: 2015-08-18 Member: 207249Members Posts: 15 Fully active user
    I think the whole idea of having rocks sticking out off smooth surfaces like warts is a bit undesirable, and when there is the option of having an equally functional system that looks more polished and realistic, that equally functional option should be implemented.
  • darrindarrin Frankfurt; Germany Join Date: 2019-02-15 Member: 250965Members Posts: 41 Advanced user
    I suggested something similar a while back (see Late Game Base Building)

    Just wanted to point out one aspect: Crushing the outcrops for instant resources has one major advantage: It like an instant reward... and therefore might feel less like 'working'. That's why it's imperative to make the ore veins discovery and actual refinement appealing.
  • JamescellJamescell American Alpine Biome Join Date: 2015-08-18 Member: 207249Members Posts: 15 Fully active user
    I think maybe you misunderstand. The refining tool would always be equipped or given to the player from the beginning and clearly explained, could even be built into the player's suit. It would give instant rewards just the same, the main difference is the visuals of the resources, the visuals of collecting them, and how much you get from a single resource location (you would get more because they would be more sparse)
  • JakobWulfkindJakobWulfkind Montana, US Join Date: 2019-02-28 Member: 251401Members Posts: 7 Fully active user
    I always figured that the outcrops are just materials like rutile, and the various fab tools are removing the oxygen and purifying them during deposition (I'm actually working on a real-life nanomaterial printer that works on a similar principle). Doesn't explain why quartz needs to be collected, though -- the sand and rock should have plenty for the base builder and fabricator to use.
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