Proper progression - i.e. time for hard decisions, Keen

lkjnmko shared this feedback 11 months ago

The current survival overhaul arguably doesn't touch the core gameplay experience, and the currently implemented progression system (having to build certain blocks to unlock certain other blocks) is arguably unimaginative, arbitrary and ultimately simply tedious without providing any adventure, challenge, or sense of accomplishment.

Just like before, the game still starts with having to select a "scenario", and then having to select a "spawn point", which can be basically any planet or moon. This doesn't align well with the goal of shaping Space Engineers into an actual, complete game experience, since such experiences are built upon deliberate decisions made and constraints introduced by the game designers.

I suggest the following implementation of progression into the survival overhaul:

  1. Select a single default world, and designate default settings that are considered to provide the "normal" gameplay experience. Hide all "scenarios" and world options under some other menu point, e.g. "Custom game", which players can find if they explicitly intend to have a non-vanilla experience.
  2. Select a singular spawn point in the world. For example, make all players spawn around or on Earth. Having a default spawn point saves players from thinking and second thoughts, and helps providing a stable foundation for a progression system built around actual physical locations in the world.
  3. Tie the technology/block unlocks to physical locations, where players will optionally have to face various challenges. The goal is to give meaningful, real challenges to players, with tangible goals they can actually achieve through building grids and working with evolving constraints.
    A broad example of such a location-based, arguably meaningful progression system that should be relatively easy to implement:
    – Tier 1: Game start, tutorial contents...
    – Tier 2 unlock: The player has to collect an item at a location on the moon, which means being challenged to build a viable space ship with the limited selection of available blocks. The location on the moon can be a ship wreck, an abandoned base, a hostile alien base, a drop pod, etc. The collectible item can be any sort of classical "data cube" that simply unlocks Tier 2 blocks after being touched, or it can be even a physical item that players need to place on/in their assembler/suit.
    – Tier 3 unlock: The player has to collect the next item on Mars. This item can be located at the heart of a modestly sized alien base that the player will need to defeat before being able to access the technology unlock.
    – Tier 4 unlock: The player has to collect the next item on the alien planet. This item can be guarded in a large sized alien base with more advanced weaponry, requiring the player to utilize the previously unlocked technologies, build efficiently, and execute an operation in a skilled manner.
    – Final challenge(s): With all technologies unlocked, the player could be challenged to build a large ship that is capable of traveling to a far-away location (i.e. jump drive) and defeating a formidable NPC ship or base. This location could be made to lack natural resources, introducing the risk of being stranded if the player loses their jump drive. Completing this challenge could simply give a Steam achievement to the player, a skin, a trophy block they can place on their ships/bases, or even a unique functional block which cannot be manufactured.
    – General considerations: The unlocks should be designed to challenge the player into building something that is non-trivial with the limited available blocks. This increases the feeling of reward once the player finally unlocks the next tier. And collecting the next tier unlock should try to force the player to utilize the previously unlocked blocks in some way. Finally, a few unique, non-manufacturable blocks/components could be a great way to introduce scarcity and risk into the game: the player would feel more involved emotionally due to the mix of feeling more empowered but also fearing to lose their unique blocks.
    – Alternative block unlocking mechanism: Instead of item-based "tier unlocks", the player could simply gain the ability to build "advanced" blocks after first finding and deconstructing them. For example at Tier 2 the player could be directed to find a crashed probe or ship, containing some blocks they can't build yet. But after deconstructing these blocks on the wreck, the player gains the ability to build them himself/herself.

Comments (4)


Good Writeup. I don't have to agree with all but you took time and most makes better sense than the current implementation, Tasks., Real accomplishments. Build a hut to live in. Not build a hut so you can have a battery. Der? What? Lol

I like the implementation of a progression tree based upon, Cough cough, Progression, rather than access to certain blocks by building another block. For example, a jump drive is not available to a new player because they need the right resources. time and effort. So, in effect, the game already has progression due to build requirements and its own learning curve, If you need to slow me down, limit the resources or the tool speeds. Slow the Refineries and all. Simple. Don't make me build an antenna if I don't want one. If you want me to build an antenna.... Make me need it. "Build an antenna... and then you find a small drone to control?" Give me a real, tangible reason and I may go along with it but simply to slow my game play down? I feel like I am being dumbed down.

Assigning my own accomplishments at my own pace has always been it for me. Many firsts. Some obvious likeMy First hydro rocket to space, first jump, etc. Some less obvious. FInding my way home after a bugged jump drive sent me to the super far edges of space. It was a long voyage home. Clang will be missed and NOT missed. Some will know. Sometimes things just work too well.. well, except the same obvious ones.

Give me a badge or something (I made it to space and all i got was this t-shirt). But if we need progression, it should typically not unlock a new tech unless specific to the chore. It should generally unlock a higher tier tool or block. In the case of a trip from a planet to space, perhaps you earn better Tier 2 hydro drives? Only modestly better output but enough that you say "Cool, that was fun and worth it" with FUN being the keyword. You make me feel like I have to go clean my room before I can go outside to play...


I like the Idea of progression, but your events are to scripted and wouldn't work for multiplayer (If someone loots everythink how should the second one get it). So why not lock those modules behind resources only found at those planets/ dungeons(there must be many of them spread all over the planet). This would add the necessity to go back to those locations if you run out of these ores.

Being forced to start at a location sounds like a good idea!


"the currently implemented progression system (having to build certain blocks to unlock certain other blocks) is arguably unimaginative, arbitrary and ultimately simply tedious without providing any adventure, challenge, or sense of accomplishment."

hear hear! +1

hope its ok, im gonna leave a link to something along the same lines.

in the perfect world i see these two suggestions working in tandem in some form. :)


I don't necessarily agree with everything you're saying but I do agree that there needs to be set goals.


  • you need to decide what early, mid and late game is
  • the current block progression is unchallenging and doesn't encourage going anywhere or doing anything apart from sitting in one place grinding/welding blocks.
  • you need an interesting way on giving choice on block progression. There are many ways to do it... Kerbal Space Program way where the block progression is opened via research that's collected and returned. The Rust way where items are found around the world via blueprints. Both would be viable in SE Survival.
  • you need to give the player goals to do outside of the block progression so that late game is still interesting
  • single player needs a win scenario