Subnatica Below Zero - Idea for improving the Ice Worm

Muninn_CrowMuninn_Crow Members Join Date: 2018-02-27 Member: 238401Posts: 24 Advanced user
edited September 2019 in Ideas and Suggestions
During my play-through of the Ice Spires region, I was continuously hounded by the Ice Worm without pause. It seems implausible for the worm to move so quickly as to be heard zipping past me to the far side of a box canyon, only to instantly pop up under me in multiple simultaneous strikes. Almost as if there are 10 of them beneath me, yet only one moving and roaring.

The advertisement for the Ice Worm update states that it appears if the player lingers too long. Yet it appears for me the moment I step foot in its territory, and remains underfoot every step of the way. (As I write this, I am hearing it teleporting about mid-roar as I sit against a wall, healing)

My first recommendation would be to actually have the worm as a traveling agent, rather than a teleporting one. This provides the player with even a slight break between attacks, with player movement luring it back to their present location. On top of this, you could add an orange light beneath the ice (coming from its thermal horn) to display its near proximity to the player. This light may not always be present depending on ice or terrain type, allowing for a build up of player fear, rather than the current (and frustrating) insta-death jump-scares).

My second recommendation would be to let the Ice Worm attack local creatures as well. I'm deep in the Ice Spires region, with several (much heavier and thus louder footsteps) Snowstalkers milling about. Yet the worm never attacks them, and in fact, the Snowstalkers join in during Ice Worm kill animations. (Nothing like being devoured by a worm and mauled by a bear at the same time, right? :D) By letting the worm attack other creatures, it helps emphasize the terror of the beast, as well as allow the player to distract the worm for even a brief moment. Currently, the worm appears to have been made to specifically hunt humans. (Much like the Warpers were designed to kill Kharaa-infected creatures)

I love the concept of the Ice Worm, and hope the above is taken into consideration to make them the terrifying threat they were clearly bred to be. :)
Post edited by Muninn_Crow on


  • BoffBoff SwedenMembers Join Date: 2018-08-12 Member: 242804Posts: 48 Advanced user
    I play through on survival and after so much investment of time and effort just to getting to the artic spires - my initial feedback is that we need another stillsuit to craft......but one which is brown in colour and for faecal as well as urine reclamation.

    That ice-worm is scary!!!

    Then it got annoying with the harassing attacks (but still scary with not knowing if each poke was a tease or a precursor (pun intended) to an attack).

    As the op says we need an active agent.
    Players play games and passively learn to reverse-engineer the design of the fun-house by having fun (or not).
    This is why turtle-rock went with an AI-director for left for dead to stop players learning spawn points and safe-rooms.

    I still think to this day having a the old fashioned first-person shooter against "enemy" forces, shouldn't be hand-crafted arenas and spawns. But go rogue like - That these military games should be played against a Real-Time Strategy AI. So troop deployments, barricades. placements of heavy artillery make logical military sense.
    As the dramatic sense of the writers and level designers making the fun house, feels good on the first playthrough, but feels false when you look over your shoulder and at the path of destruction and see the mechanics of the funhouse instead.

    This is the appeal of Open World survival games, as the rogue random elements of an open world steered by simple wild-life logic, seemed to gel so well - and was easy for aspiring game developers to toss together - hence the internet was a-flood the genre.

    But then some company called Unknown worlds had to go and bring a "story" to it all, and raise the level of the genre.

    In my mind the next step would be a GamesDirector GOD AI which is in control of resources, equipment and facilities, weather etc to bring the pain and relieve to the player(s).
    So RNGesus gets replaced by a benevolent or callous god AI controlling the world.

    So the old gamer brain kicks in.

    Like the Ant-lions in HL2. Touch the sand for a second and you are swamped. bounce munitions or physics props on the same area and nothing happens.
    Leading to the player feeling harassed by dev logic more than being hunted by a creature.
    Similarly the stalker "sound" entity just outside the door to the Altera shelter in the first glacier biome.

    My kids have lectured me on all the animations from some youtube videos of the dev area and then warped over there in creative to show off the same animations themselves.
    So I understood there are only certain areas those animations can physically fit, to spawn into - I started to reverse engineer that concept, and look for safety in the area that those animations were not able to spawn in, aka avoid areas that were flat like walls and floor. Static props and curved geography started to look appealing. My kids were shouting to run to the tunnels, as their were curved walls prohibited the spawning of the ice-worm. Those tunnels should be the WORST place to be with that thing whooshing by like a sub-way train.

    I managed to get to the second arena, and also got combo mauled by the stalker and ice worm.
    I limped my way to the ravine area and the rocky outcrops.
    Despite the flat surfaces and the ice worm able to jump and slice through the ice from wall to wall here, my gamer instinct informed me that the v shaped canyons were a "safe" area due to limited spawn places AND from the basic choreography of the geography. The visual cues and environmental threats narrowed and herded the player into that canyon, meaning something other than combat was about to happen.
    Lo-and-behold A precursor facility, and saw the tablet fragment and realised I got to go scavenge for the other fragments.

    Well since I had lost my hoverbike in the first arena, and used up my stockpile of med-kits and used up my only thumper traversing on foot to the second arena. I tried to make it back on foot but couldn't even leave that second arena due to the harassing animations of the ice-worm spawning in far too frequently giving it neither time to attack, retreat and come around for another run. In combination (as the op said) of the audio cues having no relation to the harassing spawns, so it's far AND away and yet over there and now over here.

    So I used my teleporter to back to my sea-truck.

    In my frustration, I then got annoyed by level designers (Seriously I love you! You do an AMAZING job, but understand I just lost a lot of health at that point and I needed to lash out at someone or something ;) )

  • Muninn_CrowMuninn_Crow Members Join Date: 2018-02-27 Member: 238401Posts: 24 Advanced user
    I PM'ed you on the subject just now, but I think it would be worth pointing out to everyone else frustrated by this. I ended up figuring out how the Ice Worm works shortly after my original post.
    It's literally just Mine Sweeper. The game sets a spawn target randomly on the map, with a set radius. The outer edge of the radius is where you hear the rumbling. The core of the radius is where the Worm actually spawns, functioning like a landmine.
    When you hear the rumbling, (against all common sense) just stop in place. Listen to the rumbling, figure out its direction, probe different directions to see where it gets louder or quieter, and then literally just walk around it.
    Suddenly, the Ice Spires became a piece of cake to walk through with rarely any Ice Worm interruptions.
Sign In or Register to comment.