I Had a Chance to Try out Subnautica at PAX EAST!

AV_UltimaAV_Ultima Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2008-05-31 Member: 64367Posts: 26
And . . . It is hard to say what I think of it at the moment. As you know, it is currently in Pre-Alpha and may look completely different when it finally releases. After the 10 minute demo ended, I had a chance to speak with @hugh at the booth for a short while. Knowing the game was very early in development, I simply asked, what will the primary goal of Subnautica be. In other words, what genre or classification will the game fall under, if any. Hugh said there would be no true end goal in Subnautica. Similar to Minecraft or DayZ, the goal is to just explore and create at much content as possible; a game you could just play forever if that is what you wished. To put it simply, an Open World Exploration game. Now, I know what you are thinking, "Ugh! Has that not been done the world over ever since the advent of Mincraft!?". I have to be honest, yes, at this point, it does seem to be a genre that every developer and their mother is jumping into. It is a bit funny, I knew beforehand that Subnautica was going to be an Open World Exploration game when they first announced it on the secret twitter, but the idea of what that meant did not truly sink in until he told me in that booth. I wanted to ask a few more questions, but I had to reach another panel, and he had to tend to other players cycling in.

I am not jumping to conclusions, and neither should you. Again, this game is in Pre-Alpha. It just bothers me that the developers who made Natural Selection, a FPS-RTS hybrid, would make a game based around a genre such as this. Hugh said there would be crafting elements; whatever you get in the game must be made. At the moment, it simply appears to be another generic exploration game. Just another Minecraft, Rust, DayZ, Planet Explorers, Terraria, 7 Days to Die, Starbound. . . And the list goes on. Luckily, the project is still in infancy. A great deal can change between now and release. This could very easily be the start of something grand.

My only request, greatly expand upon the current norms of the exploration/crafting genre. The fact that the game's setting is underwater does not really change anything at the moment. You still find objects and you combine those objects together to create better objects. Gameplay is what truly matters in a game. Do not simply apply known gamplay to a new setting. Expand your gameplay, and create a world around it.

Thanks for taking the time to read this post. I have been playing NS2 since beta, and it has been exciting to watch how far UWE has come. Keep up the good work. :)

Also, a picture of Hugh and I from PAX standing in front of the Subnautica booth. Look at how Hugh is being Hugh!

Comments

  • moultanomoultano Creator of ns_shiva. Members, NS1 Playtester, Contributor, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Gold, NS2 Community Developer, Pistachionauts Join Date: 2002-12-14 Member: 10806Posts: 4,219 Advanced user
    I kinda wish they were going for something a little more like waking mars, or maybe with shades of an old metroid game. I love having the freedom to just explore, but I would like an objective, or a mystery of some sort. My brain demands plot to justify its leisure.
    Walsa2cough29950
  • IronHorseIronHorse Developer, QA Manager, Technical Support & contributorMembers, Super Administrators, Forum Admins, Forum Moderators, NS2 Developer, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Subnautica Playtester, Subnautica PT Lead, Pistachionauts Join Date: 2010-05-08 Member: 71669Posts: 8,193 admin
    Sounds like to me you did not ask the right question. ;-)

    While the end game may be open, there is a huge element that gives distinction from rust or mine craft to Subnautica, one that is the meat and potatoes of the game Imo and is what got me and everyone else truly excited.
    This particular mechanic was explained to people while they waited in line, either by myself or whoever was controlling the exit portion of the line.. though sometimes we didn't always have enough time to explain to 100% of those that came through. (or maybe I was on a break)

    I'll double check today with the team regarding what I can publicly say versus what I was allowed to say at PAX, but if I can I'll update you here to let you know the defining element that got everyone's eyebrows raised.
    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:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Online_disinhibition_effect
    http://www.eldergame.com/2008/06/taming-the-forum-tiger/
    cooliticBensonDecoy
  • Racer1Racer1 Members Join Date: 2002-11-22 Member: 9615Posts: 1,595 Advanced user
    Just because the game doesn't have an "end", it can still very much have goals. Possible goals include missions, upgrading your ship, discovering new lifeforms, achievements, survival from some impending crisis, minigames, etc.
    SirCamOfRoncoolitic
  • AV_UltimaAV_Ultima Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2008-05-31 Member: 64367Posts: 26
    edited April 2014
    @IronHorse‌

    Agreed. As I said, I was on a schedule and had to get to other panels. The true question I wanted to ask was, "How does Subnautica separate itself from the many open world exploration games that are out today?". I understand if that will not yet be discussed outside of what has been said at PAX. I just hope, that when the time comes, the game won't be completely advertised as a exploration game. But will focus on those exciting mechanics you spoke of.

    I apologize if I am discouraging anyone at UWE, or on the forums because of my comments. I am just voicing my thoughts on what I see at the moment. You brought your game to PAX for the purpose of getting feedback like this. How many people came through that booth and played? How many asked questions? How many left that booth just labeling it as another survival exploration game? Apparently, I asked the wrong questions and left the booth thinking this. It has been a long while since this genre first become popular. The common gamer may not be ready to jump on board another.

    Just to be clear, I am nowhere near abandoning this game. I really want to see more of it. When I do, I hope there will be amazing concepts that I have not yet seen before in this genre.

    Also, let's not focus too much on my comments about "end game". That was just one aspect. I am speaking on a much broader sense.

    Thanks Ironhorse, I can not wait to see more of dat juicy news. :)

    P.S. I just noticed one Subnautica pun in each of my posts. Quite humorous. xD
  • joohoo_n3djoohoo_n3d Members, Reinforced - Onos, WC 2013 - Supporter Join Date: 2012-10-30 Member: 164703Posts: 216 Fully active user
    @Flayra
    other than terrain test vid and concept art i havent checked it out but i'm worried it will be a pretty game that will not sustain my interest or excitement longer than a few weeks.
    there needs to be a point, some sort of reason, or motivation for what appears to be random exploration.
    something more rewarding than click, make pretty, look at pretty, click, find/observe cool creature, save, share, repeat.

    also it is single player so its not as if we will be able to explore interactively with friends or go on hunts together or create and share custom crafted coral ecosystems??

    i think this is a fantastic project for UWE but i fear youre developing for the developer not the user :(
  • current1ycurrent1y Members, NS2 Playtester, NS2 Map Tester, Reinforced - Shadow, Subnautica Playtester Join Date: 2003-12-08 Member: 24150Posts: 677 Advanced user
    edited April 2014
    moultano wrote: »
    I kinda wish they were going for something a little more like waking mars, or maybe with shades of an old metroid game. I love having the freedom to just explore, but I would like an objective, or a mystery of some sort. My brain demands plot to justify its leisure.

    I think solving mysteries could be a big part of the game. Considering the game is underwater you could do a lot of unique things with giving the players some puzzle to solve about the ecosystem or evolution of a particular species. The player could encounter some unique road blocks for their quest for the truth.
    LerkinOff
  • LerkinOffLerkinOff Members Join Date: 2013-05-16 Member: 185254Posts: 11
    Yeah I also had the chance to try out the demo at Pax,

    Honestly there's not much to say about the demo. Seems like it's more proof of concept than an actual demo but I think it did do it's job in that hinted to the larger goals and intricacies of the game. Anyways here are some suggestions on what to focus on based on what I've seen.

    1. Immersion - I think this is probably one the biggest selling points of this game. In order to make this game engaging the sound design, graphics, music etc.. are going to have to be spot on. A game as slow paced as Subnautica is going to need serious immersion(my favorite example is the metro series) to keep the player interested. I think you guys can handle this though so I'm not worried.

    2. Complexity/goals - Ironhorse briefly hinted at some of the power you have as a user like being able to destroy a whole species(not sure if he actually mentioned specifically this). I think it's going to be essential to find a balance between complexity of the systems within the game and the goals of the user. Basically what I mean is that the user should have an idea of what they are capable of and what their objectives are while the overall plot/larger goals should be a mystery to them. It's all about finding that balance between complexity and simplicity, something ns2 does perfectly. (sorry if this one is confusing )

    3. Unique/engaging gameplay - I think this is by far the hardest one to accomplish but also the most important. It seems like Joohoo_n3Dd kind of alluded to this. I honestly don't really know what to suggest but some gameplay feature that distinguishes this game from similar games is what's gonna make this game a huge hit. All I can say from the demo is make sure the game is not just about traveling to one place, clicking things, and then moving on. Maybe have battles with huge sea monsters or portals to another dimension at the bottom of the ocean that huge aliens are coming out of that can only be stopped by giant mechs, I really can't think of anything.

    4. Gorge sea gliders

    I'm sure this all may seem kind of obvious but I guess this is all I can really think of right now based off what I saw. Anyways I'm sure Subnautica is going to be awesome in the end and wish you guys the best.

    P.S please make NS3 with matchmaking like csgo and dota after subnautica :)
  • deathshrouddeathshroud Members Join Date: 2010-04-10 Member: 71291Posts: 1,193 Advanced user
    edited April 2014
    really wasnt sure what to expect, tbh. an exploration/survival game was certainly not what i was expecting. could be interesting but im not sure on the setting i mean its completely underwater?

    i guess i was expecting some form of multiplayer team game akin to ns2 but underwater and prehaps without a commander as such

    but what i really really want is an xcom terror from the deep style of game with real time exploration instead of its turn based isometrical away missions. turning subnautica into a strategy game agaisnt an underwater civilization of sorts and retrieving and studying what you find and bring back with you on your sub
    AQ-Brainfood
  • BensonBenson Members, Reinforced - Shadow, WC 2013 - Shadow Join Date: 2012-03-07 Member: 148303Posts: 1,296 Advanced user
    Personally, I find games with a high "risk" involved very engaging (think FTL)

    With how large the world of Subnautica will be (I imagine), starting over every time your sub gets destroyed could be a little too much, but there does need to be some kind of risk to keep things engaging. (sub gets destroyed, lose some tech and have to recover it from your wreck, Diablo style)

    after all, if Star Trek taught us anything, its that exploration is dangerous :P

    Risk + some kind of long term goal = fun for long time
    If we are to be damned, let us be damned for what we really are. - Capt. Jean Luc Picard
    LerkinOff
  • Squeal_Like_A_PigSqueal_Like_A_Pig Janitor Members, Super Administrators, NS1 Playtester, NS2 Developer, Reinforced - Supporter, WC 2013 - Silver, Subnautica Developer Join Date: 2002-01-25 Member: 66Posts: 2,816 admin
    edited April 2014
    LerkinOff wrote: »
    All I can say from the demo is make sure the game is not just about traveling to one place, clicking things, and then moving on.
    The game will be much more then that, don't worry. The PAX demo was just a glimpse into the world of Subnautica, not a representation of the full game by any means.
    really wasnt sure what to expect, tbh. an exploration/survival game was certainly not what i was expecting. could be interesting but im not sure on the setting i mean its completely underwater?

    i guess i was expecting some form of multiplayer team game akin to ns2 but underwater and prehaps without a commander as such
    I'm sorry that you had expectations of this game being a multiplayer NS2 type game underwater, but I think we've been pretty clear up to this point that that is NOT what Subnautica is. I also wouldn't necessarily classify SN as a "survival" game. That, to me, implies a game approach where you are always on the verge of death, where you are constantly worrying about running out of food, of getting cold and having to build fires, of always having to fend off wild creatures, etc. While there are certainly going to be gameplay elements that pose a threat to your survival, I wouldn't say it is not to a greater degree then in most game genres.

    Also, while the bulk of the game does take place underwater, we do have plans for a small amount of exploration on land, as well.
    Vetinari
  • AV_UltimaAV_Ultima Members, Reinforced - Shadow Join Date: 2008-05-31 Member: 64367Posts: 26
    Multiple devs have personally said on here that it will not be your typical exploration game.

    All I needed to see.

    Absolutely can not wait for more information. :)
    Gibs
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