[Below zero] Design pass for pacing && [Shelter]improvements && [Seatruck] Access hatch + surfacing

BoffBoff Sweden Join Date: 2018-08-12 Member: 242804Members Posts: 34 Advanced user
I'm sure we will see balance passes to the seatruck later on as the games main functions and story are merged into the playable game branch.
It will be easier to gauge the pacing and bottlenecks better of which modules blueprints and their unique recipes to be drip-fed to the player with regards to other game loops and mechanics.
But from the pure water mechanics and not the cold/surface gameplay here is the wish-list
  1. shelter
  2. sea glide
  3. mobile vehicle bay
  4. seatruck cab
  5. aquarium (food and drink)
  6. storage (to truck everything back to the shelter, did you get the memo that more storage in the lockers is desired ;) )
  7. Base-builder
  8. pawn-suit to start resource farming and lugging stuff back to the shelter
  9. prawn suit dock
  10. fabricator (build stuff on the fly)
  11. sleeper (I still don't see the value of sleep in Subnautica unless it "heals you" or if being awake too long affects you.
  12. tether

Emotional rewarding the player after strife gives the player a feeling of empowerment.
So having the prawn suit before the dock unlocks, forces players to move the prawn suit around and get annoyed and the joy and relief of getting to be able to move it around with the truck.....joygasm.

Then we have the other balance issues with Storage, power, speed, defences and when the upgrades (via the vehicle bay) are available.
Those can be quickly dealt with in hot-fixes with changes to the code.

That being said these suggestions require a rework of assets and will take time.
Now, these suggestions come from pre-weather (affecting the power(?)) mechanics and cold/heat mechanics.


[Shelter] Improvements

The Shelter should be improved will come equipped with :
  • 2 distilled water
  • 2 filtered water
  • 2 medkits
  • 2 nutrient blocks
  • 2 flares
  • 1 battery
  • 1 battery charging port
  • 1 power-cell
  • 1 power-cell charging port.
  • And if sleep is so important to the game.....a hammock perhaps?

Now this feels like a counter-intuitive approach to the base building of the game, but hear me out.

Gameplay wise it gives the new players a quick leg up into the tools and vehicles of the game and direct insertion into the game mechanics. As I'm sure the sequel to Subnautica will boon more players.

It makes sense in the mindset of Altera "keeping the people alive to avoid lawsuits" - which currently and conversely "abandons" Robin directly who has to fight to stay alive in an inhospitable environment - this approach makes sense after the Alan tainted biosample incident and they would cut off help, but it makes no sense for Altera in the first moments of the game, when they themselves are invested into getting to Alans location themselves.
So giving players a helping hand to get to Alans location is aligned with Alterra and developers purpose here, as that starts the resource collection and building game-loops afterwards the Alan bio-sample giving more resonance.

As for game mechanics, having the shelter better equipped it keeps the player focused more around the shelter and not base-building.
One of the key points of making a base is literally to recharge the power cells and recharge the batteries, having storage, but not in below zero having a weather station?

By having batter and powercell chargers in the shelter, there is less need to make a base initially, it will keep the players in the vehicles longer before they MUST start base-building.
The more tools they make, the more vehicles they have, the more constraining those singular charging stations become.
Which creates (artificially) player tension towards the grind and then the player feels empowerment and relief of having the tools to master their environment.


[Seatruck] Access Hatches
This feels a little underwhelming asset change in comparison, but there are no access hatches on the underside to the seatruck on any of the modules.

This is not an issue for many combinations of modules, as you can always come in through the back door from above/below etc until that is (drumroll), the Prawn-suit-docking module is equipped.
Then there the only access to the seatruck is from the top, nothing to the bottom.

This can course a bit of trouble in the tight canyon areas.
So either we get some hatches to the bottom, or we get to use the back door to the docking module.

[Seatruck] Access Hatches + Surfacing issues
Having a bottom hatch would also make sense if the Seatruck could "surface" fully, and ride on top of the water like a boat but alas the jets on the top.
Not only that but then we have an issue of players having a stable platform to "jump" from, making a new TO-DO ensure all the low-level ledges designed to be non-jumpable.

Currently, there are issues as it stands the Truck has limited surfacing capabilities at the moment, so technically you can get the top of the truck to "surface", pop open the top hatch walk on it's back and look around, And if beached then the truck access hatches are ABOVE water.

There is not a bottom or side hatch to get back into the truck - so the player can literally lose their truck by not being able to climb back up.
So graphically we would then having a ladder to mount the side of the seatruck back inside.












JimboJamboMaalterommRossum

Comments

  • JimboJamboJimboJambo Join Date: 2018-01-25 Member: 235708Members Posts: 42 Advanced user
    edited July 10
    Boff wrote: »
    One of the key points of making a base is literally to recharge the power cells and recharge the batteries, having storage, but not in below zero having a weather station?

    By having batter and powercell chargers in the shelter, there is less need to make a base initially, it will keep the players in the vehicles longer before they MUST start base-building.
    The more tools they make, the more vehicles they have, the more constraining those singular charging stations become.
    Which creates (artificially) player tension towards the grind and then the player feels empowerment and relief of having the tools to master their environment.
    I wasn't sure about your wish list initially, but I think you nailed it here. I want to start base building as soon as I possibly can, reasons being storage and battery charging. If these could be handled at least in some small way before you get the habitat builder, there probably wouldn't be as much of a rush to get there right from the outset, and I think that's a good thing.

    On the subject of storage, I might also like to echo a suggestion somebody else had: make floating lockers recyclable. I never build them at all because I know they'll be useless once I can make dry storage, so being able to reclaim titanium from them would encourage people like me to be less stingy.
    So either we get some hatches to the bottom, or we get to use the back door to the docking module.

    ...

    There is not a bottom or side hatch to get back into the truck - so the player can literally lose their truck by not being able to climb back up.
    I feel like putting an exit on the docking module is the priority. Beaching isn't the only problem: although the game forces you into/out of the pilot chair upon entering/exiting when your sea truck is oriented vertically, it's possible to have a chelicerate collide with and tilt your truck while you're walking around in the cabin, and for you to "fall" all the way to the back. If you can't exit out the back somehow, you're stuck there until you starve.

    Heck, maybe they could put the exit on the bottom of the module!
    Not only that but then we have an issue of players having a stable platform to "jump" from, making a new TO-DO ensure all the low-level ledges designed to be non-jumpable.
    You can also pilot stacks of modules on land to get to high places. Although you can't swim, you can tilt the modules, allowing you to "caterpillar" around the surface. I'm sure there are many more exploits that I don't even know about. I think the way to go is not to try to make the ledges unreachable, but to make sure that there no serious sequence breaks from going over them.


    +1 from me, though.
  • MaalterommMaalteromm Brasil Join Date: 2017-09-22 Member: 233183Members Posts: 532 Advanced user
    I'm kind of over the fence here.

    On the original Subnautica I've felt this issue regarding the needs for base building, however after getting acquainted with the game loop I did enjoy it greatly. It meant that the pod couldn't pass for a habitat, and every playthrough I've built my first bases on different places. The only base I've ever built in the Shallows was during my first run.
    This makes for very diverse playthroughs, as the resources, tech and dangers immediately available changed drastically.

    A base is more than just a place to recharge batteries or stockpile materials. It is an oxygen refilling safe haven. A vehicle is a mobile oxygen refilling, with some safety, haven.
    I few like vehicles should come a little later, as they effectively allow the player to explore new areas. However I agree that the player shouldn't be forced to build new bases as soon as possible. Particularly new players which, usually, don't know what most things are for and how the game dynamics work.

    There were many sensible suggestions for turning the pod more like a base back in the day, including providing more features to it, as suggested by @Boff. Others suggested that one should be able to build on the pod walls, and even that the pod should work as an initial building block, and allow it to be expanded into a base.
    Any of the above would be okay with me. Another thing I would like to see changed is providing a power level akin to one solar cell to the to the shelter, including the same recharging mechanics. This would teach new players some power mechanics.

    Now on @Boff suggestion for shelter improvement, regarding the items that should be included in the shelter locker, firstly I think that having different water types makes no sense.
    Secondly if you include batteries/power-cells you need to provide a clear reason on why they are being shipped with a shelter. Batteries uses become clear soon enough, power-cells will take quite a while. This shelter is another immersion breaker for me. If they can ship a shelter, why not include everything you need to fully survive?

    I would rather have an abandoned shelter being occupied by the player.

    +1 nonetheless, this is a nice discussion about the game current status.
    JimboJamboRossumBoff
  • RossumRossum Join Date: 2019-07-12 Member: 253707Members Posts: 7 Fully active user
    Maalteromm wrote: »
    I would rather have an abandoned shelter being occupied by the player.


    An abandoned shelter would be cool. Perhaps they get directed to an abandoned shelter that was used by the previous workers and find it damaged or flooded. Then, they can use the repair tool to fix up the leaks while learning about how to repair items, similar to how the player had to repair the pod in the first game. The based un-floods itself, and the player gets access to their first underwater base. They don't have to get access to a habitat builder yet, but would get to see what a constructed base looks like and how to use the repair tool or deal with flooding.

    There might be an explanation about restricting how many habitat builder tools are allowed planetside due to an incident where a sea monkey managed to steal one from one of the workers. The base's fabricator lacks blueprints for the builder and Alterra isn't allowed to drop one in a supply crate if there's a risk the local wildlife might get to it first.

    Then sometime later in the game find a few shoddily constructed base components built somewhere and a sea monkey holding a habitat builder in it's hands, or in it's nest. Cue Robin getting some kind of reward from Alterra if she she retrieves it.
    BoffMaalteromm
  • BoffBoff Sweden Join Date: 2018-08-12 Member: 242804Members Posts: 34 Advanced user
    edited October 9
    Had we discussed the game flow and need to improve the pacing.

    I just feel the September Update really helped get stuff moving with the "emergency" and more plausible that Sam needs to start scavenging from scratch instead of having ACCESS from the Start from the almighty Altera which then cuts of access sometime later on in the game after the biosample.

    I thought, dang, yet another forum suggested that the community got squeezed in, but nope, that was UnknownWorlds themselves.

    Well done Devs.

    You deciphered my post to what *really* needed to be fixed ;)

    But I *really* dig these "repair abandoned base" ideas.
    One of the hallmark sci-fi tropes is moving into a deserted abandoned base that clearly had seen trouble, and the occupants had clearly "lost" the battle.
    Then the protagonists detect danger on the horizon, and wind up having to go patch up, bunker down, and go through the same scenario themselves but this time - the writing of what is about to happen to the player, is already on the wall.....in the prior occupants' blood :D

    This is also plays of the riff of the first game with research into the Virus, that had failed and wiped out the precursors, the degassi and now the player.


  • BoffBoff Sweden Join Date: 2018-08-12 Member: 242804Members Posts: 34 Advanced user
    edited October 9
    With regards to water - It's an OCD thing.
    We got different sizes of water bottles that fill up by 50% and 30% and then we have 100% meter that doesn't "spill over" - no pun intended - like the food meter which can go above 100%.

    So why waste a water bottle which will boost your water level up by 50% when you are at 70% water, you lose a whole 20%.
    And the Water seams to decrease really quickly.

    Sure I could wait, but with that bruteshark nibbling on my flippers and no space to pick up that Lead somethings has to be "consumed".

    I think I have seen this suggestion from another forum member.
    "Why can't we" collect the water from all the smaller bottles of water into a big bottle.
    I mean they take up the same inventory space regardless if its a 50 or 30cl bottle. So that community member has a valid point (sorry for being too lazy to search the forums for your name and your post).

    This would be nice so the players, don't need to spam their inventory with half a dozen filtered water bottles. (4 to replenish from 20% to 100%) and 2 moreover to cope with getting back to base.

    If I recall correctly, there was an pre-early-access build that the "influencers" (youtubers) showed off, which demonstrated a micro inventory for the dive-suit itself, specifically for consumables like food and water.

    This may sound handy on the outset, a modification to your suit or ait-tank, that allows for water and food storage.
    But it just becomes a buffer or an extension your original water meter
    And that would be the same mechanic as the air-tank itself, - modifying to improve capacity. Then you distance yourself from the "survival" aspect, as it's keeping a meter full not keeping the player Hydrated.

    So I think just the mechanic fabricating bigger water bottles from multiple bottles (or fish)
    A better mechanic with player agency/autonomy as it involves planning before their trips.





  • MaalterommMaalteromm Brasil Join Date: 2017-09-22 Member: 233183Members Posts: 532 Advanced user
    Boff wrote: »
    "Why can't we" collect the water from all the smaller bottles of water into a big bottle.

    Agreed, they focused too much on the mechanic of "bigger" bottles being more valuable since it saves on inventory space. But, as you put it, it doesn't make much sense. Maybe focus on water farming mechanics instead of inventory space management.

    There are so many fun things that could be done.
    For example, vehicles have infinite oxygen capacity and the explanation for this is that they generate oxygen locally through electrolysis. Currently when we produce oxygen through this method, either in submarines or in space, the co-produced hydrogen is discarded (it being explosive and all is something we don't want in either scenario). In a, not much, higher tech setting this hydrogen could be stored and late combined with oxygen to produce energy, water and heat, three resources in the game.
    I would love to see vehicles after a long dive returning to the surface, recovering some of the spent energy and producing some water.


    I haven't played the new patch yet. Originally I planned on staying away from development and wait for the finished product for a more immersing experience.
    I've failed miserably.
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