How "lonely" will the player be/feel?

SolarisSolaris Join Date: 2003-05-11 Member: 16213Members Posts: 185
So we get a whole living world to explore, I doubt the player will be "alone". But how about "lonely"? Seeing how multiplayer is not on the feature list, will there be any other human characters in the game besides the player?
I think having other humans around is important to give the player some feeling of belonging / fight the feeling of isolation. We have a "mothership" (see last blog post), how about a small crew? A scientist (biologist? geologist?), an engineer, maybe even a cook? If there is no crew, will there be an AI to allow some basic interaction/communication? How about business partners that contact you to offer you small "missions" (explore for a terraforming company, get readings for a science lab, do some drilling for a mining corp, etc.)?
I'd be glad for any bit of interaction with other humans between my exploration runs. Just to give me the feeling of "home". What do you guys think? Would you rather being the only human lost in a hostile world?
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Comments

  • Maxx11_v2.0Maxx11_v2.0 Join Date: 2012-11-18 Member: 172221Members Posts: 274
    edited December 2013
    Its just you, your sub and a bunch of sea creatures.
    After clocking in 10 000 hours you may unlock a Mass Effect style romantic story arch with Trixie the blowfish. You also receive a special badge on the forums and a lifetime ban from all venues that have an aquarium.

    Bad jokes aside,
    How much interaction with NPCs will there be (if any).
    Is it going to have dialog and RPG style conversation branches? Is it more of a storyline focused on stuff like log entries and/or the protagonists monologues.
    In fact, to ask a broader question, is there any story at all and if so how do you intend to tell it?
    ellnic
  • willow512willow512 Netherlands Join Date: 2013-12-17 Member: 190203Members Posts: 31 Fully active user
    I thought the idea was exploration/colony building. So I really hope NPC's are part of the experience. :) Doesn't have to be complicated storylike interactions, but as peons doing chores would be fine.
  • SolarisSolaris Join Date: 2003-05-11 Member: 16213Members Posts: 185
    My question wasn't really aimed at story or other RPG elements. With a randomly generated world a coherent story might be very hard to implement seamlessly - and might well exceed the scope of Subnautica.
    But I think there could be room for some form of interaction between the player and other human beings, be it in person (crew of your own mothership, inhabitants of hubs/bases) or via video/radio (people offering you random quests and/or commenting on your progress).

    Let me give two examples:
    1.) In Minecraft you are "lonely". You explore and build, your interaction with other creatures are limited to fighting or domesticating them. They added those villages later, but the inteeraction with them is extremely flat, they are just walking wending machines.
    2.) In the very first "X" game you are stranded in an unknown part of the universe. But ou got other characters to talk to, if you want to. Those interactions gave you a notch into the right direction in the beginning and offered optional goals later on.
    I much prefer the X approach to the Minecraft one, simply because it gives me a reference point and it makes me feel more like a part of the universe than "just" an intruder.

    YMMV of course.
    The first rule of the tautology club is the first rule of the tautology club.
    willow512
  • MMZ_TorakMMZ_Torak Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 3770Members Posts: 1,866 Advanced user
    Auto correct, I am tired of your shirt!
    SolarisMuckyMcFlyharzim
  • willow512willow512 Netherlands Join Date: 2013-12-17 Member: 190203Members Posts: 31 Fully active user
    Solaris wrote: »
    people offering you random quests and/or commenting on your progress).

    I like that! They can comment on accomplishments. And make suggestions about unexplored areas or known but untapped resources. As well as warn you when food/oxygen is getting low or when large predators are spotted. Some of them might make inappropriate jokes. While others are kissing up to the player.

    If you can send them to do stuff in or outside the base they can make remarks about what they did. Or that they're feeling idle. Or that they are uncomfortable with their jobs. They might even suggest jobs for themselves.

    You don't even need to go into rpg like story driven dialogue. Just let the npc's comment on the current state of the colony.
  • Maxx11_v2.0Maxx11_v2.0 Join Date: 2012-11-18 Member: 172221Members Posts: 274
    edited December 2013
    Solaris wrote: »
    My question wasn't really aimed at story or other RPG elements.

    No, but mine was :D

    Solaris wrote: »
    With a randomly generated world a coherent story might be very hard to implement seamlessly - and might well exceed the scope of Subnautica.

    They mentioned setpieces, so I wouldn't rule out a coherent story just yet.
  • SteveRockSteveRock Join Date: 2012-10-01 Member: 161215Members, NS2 Developer, Subnautica Developer Posts: 486 Advanced user
    I wouldn't expect any sort of heavy story elements. Maybe light amounts, to set the mood, but we are not making a full fledged rpg. More minecraft than mass effect. Maybe even more lonely than minecraft. That's my gut feeling anyway :)
  • BensonBenson Join Date: 2012-03-07 Member: 148303Members, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Posts: 1,296 Advanced user
    A loose story like "The Surface world is becoming uninhabilable, its up to you to explore the depths of the ocean and establish new colonies for our survival"

    Anyway, being a lone explorer, or small crew of explorers exploring an underwater world and building colonies would be perfect!
    If we are to be damned, let us be damned for what we really are. - Capt. Jean Luc Picard
  • b1.seb1.se Stockholm, Sweden Join Date: 2012-09-17 Member: 159734Members, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold Posts: 61 Fully active user
    If the player would be 'alone', I'd love to see a Captain's Log recording, maybe narrated while you explore new areas or findings.
  • ResRes Join Date: 2003-08-27 Member: 20245Members Posts: 626
    if one of the features of the game is building a colony. I hope that we will be able to go into the colony and walk around into all the buildings we built and see NPC's mingling about at least.
    willow512
  • DC_DarklingDC_Darkling Join Date: 2003-07-10 Member: 18068Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver Posts: 4,381 Advanced user
    if they have captain logs they should make it be voice acted by patrick steward. :D
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  • MMZ_TorakMMZ_Torak Join Date: 2002-11-02 Member: 3770Members Posts: 1,866 Advanced user
    if they have captain logs they should make it be voice acted by patrick steward. :D

    He doesn't live too far from me. I'll hop a subway and see if I can catch him...
    ^:)^
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    Tzudro
  • DC_DarklingDC_Darkling Join Date: 2003-07-10 Member: 18068Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue, Squad Five Silver Posts: 4,381 Advanced user
    Or Kate mulgrew for some more rough character. haha, that voice!

    I do agree you need some interaction with human npcs. :)
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  • TzudroTzudro Miami, FL Join Date: 2013-12-31 Member: 191181Members Posts: 20
    I know I grow quickly tired of the same recycled comments over and over again. I'd prefer strictly text.

    And I would rather not build any colonies either. Want to build colonies? Play Minecraft or Sim City. Building colonies, towns, cities, etc means settling somewhere. Even if you don't stay there, you keep running around picking up supplies and whatnot, you can't go too far or your colony will die. I'd rather keep moving, keep exploring, keep finding things.

    I'm so excited that there won't likely be a way to "win". You just keep going, and if it procedural, it's guaranteed to be always new, always fresh. Even if you think you've seen this particular volcanic field, it's not. It's a new one, a different one.

    That sounds amazing. Literally endless things to discover and encounter.

    Think you really have seen it all and know how to handle fighting off the giant lizard squid because you've already done it a million times? What if they update it with a new set of behaviors? What if this game just keeps growing?

    That's what I see coming down the pipe. The most beautiful, ever new world we'll see until someone else apes them and makes one for space. Boring, overdone, empty space. You think they'll be able to make a trillion planets for you? Not gonna happen.

    I have faith in finding our own eerily familiar unknown world through Unknown Worlds.
    SteveRockwillow512LumpN
  • IronHorseIronHorse Developer, QA Manager, Technical Support & contributor Join Date: 2010-05-08 Member: 71669Members, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Subnautica Playtester, Subnautica PT Lead, Pistachionauts Posts: 8,181 admin
    edited January 2014
    I disagree @tzudro .. i think you can proudly build a fortress somewhere, even if it is temporary and for a useful purpose.

    Maybe a storage drop you are creating to ship out somewhere else.. maybe for fortification from an impending attack from a very large sea creature.. maybe just temporary distraction bots while you carve away at some precious resource under a rock.. the ideas can go on.

    But the point is that saying no to building out an area shouldn't be done with the intention of forcing a gameplay design goal.. in fact it is wide breaths of room that are given in most sandbox / open world games for this very reason.
    You can have a goal, and even a game design and what you intend on the player doing.. and you can accomplish all of this and yet still allow for optional interactions and mechanics such as building up areas, that players other than yourself would be interested in.

    QUOTE (Techercizer @ Feb 3 2012, 10:47 AM) »
    Every time you ask for troubleshooting without providing system info, ATI adds a rendering bug for an upcoming game.

    When you feel you need to be rude or angry about a game, just read these links and remember what role you are playing:
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  • TzudroTzudro Miami, FL Join Date: 2013-12-31 Member: 191181Members Posts: 20
    Allow me to rephrase my thought.

    Building things up is not for me, and I personally feel like it detracts from the core idea of exploration and discovery. There are lots of other "build stuff" games out there. But there are no "explore stuff for the sake of exploring" games. There are games that include "exploration"out there, but you're mostly finding the same thing that everyone else is finding too. This game has the potential to have discoveries no one else will find.

    What I'm saying is that in a game with so many possibilities, it seems sort of contradictory to me too limit exposure to it by bogging players down with building stationary things with its own population that you check on and worry about. I can see the appeal with the recent popularity of other building games (which I never enjoyed), but it's not for me and would feel like I was missing out on something because it's a facet of the game I hate having to do.

    I would rather the only interaction you have with other people on your journey is the interactions that happen between members of the crew of your own vessel. As your ship grows, so does the crew. The challenge lies in managing and controlling an increasingly complex vessel and the people aboard...your people.
    LumpN
  • ResRes Join Date: 2003-08-27 Member: 20245Members Posts: 626
    This game has the potential to have discoveries no one else will find.

    Considering it is going to be a procedurally generated environment, no 2 worlds are going to be exactly the same. You will however, as a result of this system, see many features, terrain types, flora, etc... that are the same. Also, because it's procedurally generated, in order to have really "cool" unique areas, those areas have to be built by hand and are inserted in random locations in the game world. You will see those types of locations the same in any world. Maybe with just different types of creatures/plants in them.
  • NebuscelousNebuscelous Earth Join Date: 2014-01-03 Member: 191730Members Posts: 5
    Consider a "home base" where the player can dock, re-supply, upgrade, read codex info and log the discoveries they have made for experience points, money and rewards. This is a central hub for whatever larger people you are a part of.

    The "home base" is however autonomous. The player may interact with it, but does not control, or have to manage it. Perhaps as the player reaches higher levels, the facility grows on it's own. As you advance, so does the people you are a part of. Perhaps the player could simply send data and receive credits remotely, (if they chose to) so quests and objectives could be accepted and completed without ever having to go "Home". It makes very little sense that the player is exploring a new world, with no one to report what is found to.

    This would allow players to spend time around their own kind, if it suits them, and would allow the lone wolves to not have to worry about facility management. It would give the player a hard point in an otherwise tumultuous game world.
    Tzudro
  • ellnicellnic Join Date: 2010-07-19 Member: 72559Members, Reinforced - Shadow Posts: 915 Fully active user
    I am looking forward to a lonely exploration feel as long as it has an amazing atmospheric enviroment
  • willow512willow512 Netherlands Join Date: 2013-12-17 Member: 190203Members Posts: 31 Fully active user
    Not at all.. Homebases are awesome :) A steady place from where you can explore the entire ocean. Starting the game sitting in a lounge with a few colleagues overlooking a coral reef filled with sea life would be just awesome! Perhaps your first sub is already under construction but before it's finished you have enough time to swim over the coral reef and maybe do some preliminary exploration around the colony.
  • SeldkamSeldkam Join Date: 2014-01-01 Member: 191213Members Posts: 801 Fully active user
    How about something along the lines of Mass Effect? Have some NPCs on board the "mothership" sub, with a map or basic lab equipment etc. etc., but there also being a hub where there are some other things to explore like unique shops for cool items ?
  • LumpNLumpN Join Date: 2002-10-30 Member: 1725Members, Subnautica Developer Posts: 142 Advanced user
    Tzudro wrote: »
    Building things up is not for me, and I personally feel like it detracts from the core idea of exploration and discovery.

    I would rather the only interaction you have with other people on your journey is the interactions that happen between members of the crew of your own vessel. As your ship grows, so does the crew. The challenge lies in managing and controlling an increasingly complex vessel and the people aboard...your people.

    This is "FTL: Faster than light" and also what you can get in the "Freelancer" series. And of course you are 100% correct. As soon as there are any means of base construction in an exploration game, it's all about exploring around the base, bringing stuff there, returning after each journey, and the like. See "Terraria" for example. This has its merits on its own but it surely limits the need / will / motivation to go out and out and never come back style of exploration. Almost like Star Trek Deep Space Nine vs. Voyager. I think Voyager wins big time when it comes to exploration.

    So yes, allowing for immobile bases is a serious game design decision. I think this game might be better without basebuilding to encourage exploration. Scattered (!) NPC trade posts (see Freelancer) are okay though.

    Just make the main vessel big enough so that it feels like a home base. You can lie at anchor next to a coral reef if you want to chill a bit. And afterwards you can move on without letting anything behind. Heck it's almost like a home base to go!
  • ResRes Join Date: 2003-08-27 Member: 20245Members Posts: 626
    edited January 2014
  • FlayraFlayra Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment San Francisco Join Date: 2002-01-22 Member: 3Super Administrators, NS2 Developer, Subnautica Developer Posts: 6,941 admin
    Interesting question.

    I hope that the game feels more like a "personal journey", instead of loneliness. Especially if you can put on the Occulus Rift and go on a deep dive, I think the solitude could be a powerful aspect to the game.

    But I hope it doesn't feel lonely. We're actively thinking about ways to get lots of personality into the game, especially through computers and robots that talk to you. If it's still too lonely, we could add in radio logs or journal entries to bring in a more human element.

    If that's STILL horribly lonely, we could hold up v1.0 for multiplayer.
    Charlie Cleveland
    Game Director, Unknown Worlds Entertainment
  • cooliticcoolitic Right behind you Join Date: 2013-04-02 Member: 184609Members Posts: 1,684 Advanced user
    This is a good question. What level of isolation will there be?
    When life gives you lemons, throw it back and demand chocolate.


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