"Research Tree" and "Reasons for survival" rolled into one package

Zooblesnoops shared this feedback 13 months ago

Survival mode right now is pretty much creative mode with extra steps. But before we get to the nitty-gritty, I want to share a few important pieces to making survival (and indirectly creative mode) work, cooked up with sweat and love in the head:

1. As of now (25/12/2018) each block and place-able component in the game serves a single purpose almost unanimously across player creations, with very few constraints that force the player to think outside the box, besides spacing.

2. The ability to modify world rules that may directly affect creations is a bigger problem than anyone might give it credit for. I don't know about most players, but I typically play with 10x inventory size, refinery speeds, and 5x welding speed. The lack of a common standard here makes it hard to account for what strain a ship might undergo, and in this way affects how players design ships and rovers.

3. Survival Mode's pacing and needs are entirely resource based, and all resources needed from start to endgame are acquirable within an hour of playtime. The rest is spent building, and making sure facilities can keep up with your building requirements. Only deep in space with few to no asteroids is there any "survival" really involved (not that it's entirely a bad thing)

My personal recommendations are simple. First. standardize settings that affect construction design to middle values. 2x OR 5x refinery/assembler speed, 2x welding/grinding speed should do the trick without keeping players waiting terribly long, relatively speaking. Without anything else to do while waiting for material production to finish, it's a real drag to play with "Realistic" settings.

Second, add variation to important blocks without making things overwhelming, and implement it into survival in a meaningful way. The way KSH handled weapons is a very good example of what varied thrusters and weapons should look like, i.e. , "Efficient Atmospheric Thrusters" could apply slightly less thrust than standards, but consume much less system power. "Aggressive Atmospheric Thrusters" could do the opposite, applying more thrust and increasing power draw. "Perfected [Elite] Atmospheric Thrusters" could have the power of Aggressives (with slightly less power draw) in a smaller form factor than other atmospheric thrusters, but a very high resource cost. This kind of "tiered" logic can be applied to most functional blocks, such as gatlings and missle launchers.

...However, how these make their way into the player's hands is important, as making things resource-based only leaves the player with an instant endgame, which defeats the point. I personally like the idea of blueprints for these advanced parts being discoverable from other ships scattered about the game. Wouldn't that make every run-through unique? Exploring the galaxy to upgrade your ships sounds like the perfect survival solution, especially since random encounters are already implemented.

With all this in place, the third thing comes into play: actual survival aspects. By "survival aspects" I don't mean the progression system I just explained (although that's critical to satisfying survival play) but the war on timers that say "you'll die if you don't _______". So eating. Here I'd like to say, make planets necessary. Since they're the only locations with "biological matter" make them the hub for food needs and ideal for survival, where space becomes a harsh and difficult mistress that tries its damndest to swat you back into a gravity well of some kind where the stars don't shine. Allow the conversion of biomatter to "nutrient paste" via refineries, but make it pale in comparison to new, farmable foods: carrots, potatoes, other veggies. Add a new farm block for them. You could even use the same model as good 'ol Oxygen Farms. Make them need oxygen and light to grow and "produce" food.

Done, easy peasy. As long as you're creatively inspired with how tier blocks are implemented and acquired, and make the universe hostile but conquerable with a reason to do so, the survival game will be immensely satisfying. All the best, KSH.

Comments (3)


I would love to see the tiering and the progression system (i don't think they should add food to the game...)


yea same


I want to argue that 1:1:1 and 2:2:2 are the only necessary modifiers. Folks think 1:1:1 is a chore but it ensures that your vehicles have any meaning at all should be a baseline to balance the game around. Keen claims they want to provide "Economy" in the coming year. In multiplayer anyway, the need to build purpose-specific vehicles should be important and provide much needed diversity and more satisfaction in either SP or MP for attacking different problems with different methods.

The current game has no use for anything but a miner and a non miner. You might expand the usefulness of vehicles to a small and a large version of either one, to be generous. We ought to want freighters and cruisers, fighters and transports, etc.

Next up, ORE is too plentiful everywhere and needs to be somewhat more complex. We could probably benefit from adding on 50% more of them and diversification of their uses. Mining should require some level of prospecting and it should feel good to find high value materials rather than just a matter of time as it is now. I'm not expecting the new deep core mining from Elite: Dangerous but...yeah.

As an extension of this, power is woefully under-designed in general. It ought to be conveyed to engines like hydrogen is or supply a new type of wiring block of some kind. Power management being a staple of sci-fi should also be allowed for...but this is getting away from the topic of Survival. I just think that not enough is being done to make this play like a game and Space Engineers could rival something like Pulsar if only the systems were actually designed with care and some thought to how multiple people will interact rather than a single man piloting a capital ship and doing barrel rolls with 20 turrets strapped onto it.

Another topic: Air tightness. I'm happy for them that they overhauled and reintroduced it but it is entirely pointless in the current balance of the game. There needs to be a reason and necessity to get out of your suit to make air-tightness meaningful in any way at all. Further, death needs to mean at least -something- in survival (from a vanilla mechanics perspective) to make that challenge mean anything. This is already provided for in a small way by making limited spawns at Med-bays, I believe. Or it costs silver. I really can't remember. Some kind of loop and punishment for death needs to occur though, as Medbays otherwise become the 'beds' of other inferior games like Ark where you really construct them to let you fast travel and nothing else.

I think it's entirely possible and perhaps necessary that the vanilla survival experience is made to be more complex and at least more challenging than it is now and then allow for private servers to mod out the things they don't want. If a suit is to be meaningful it should probably not be able to thrust you around for very long or very high in 1G, for instance., It's heavy and should slow you down some. If there is oxygen (Earth) you don't wear the suit and can breathe freely and move quickly. Good. In space it's a necessity, you're weightless and it provides you with oxygen for EVA. GOOD. This is the necessary complexity that is currently missing from the game.

I could go on. And on. And on. But, please, Keen, if you're seeing this, consider the points I've made. More complexity of mechanics will elevate this game from a very good lego sandbox to a phenomenal one with meaningful interactions and a solid gameplay loop. Allow for crews to have an advantage being in a single large ship together...make a single pilot fighter fulfill its purpose. Balance weapons around this. Balance personal inventories and vehicle ones to do jobs that make sense. Create some new methods for cargo transportation and transfer. Conveyors are fine but they're boring. I want to be able to detach a module and connect it onto a platform or waiting freighter, etc.


I love the idea for the option for food. Game is way too easy as is. Imagine having a greenhouse on your ship. Suddenly your ship blowing up isnt an easy fix, suddenly you will need escape pods to take you to a planet in the event of a catastrophic failure. "At the moment it's more like oh damn it's blown up, better fix it."