As I keep repeatedly saying, I am continually struggling to understand where the game is going to end up as a final release.
Which is fine. As long as Simon knows where he's heading - then the fact I don't doesn't matter.
My viewpoint is firmly based in wanting a modern Theme Hospital type game. Theme Hospital, Dungeon Keeper, Startopia, Settlers.. pick your favourite.
That is... some form of campaign, with a steadily increase complexity and difficulty, with a narrative and thematic tale being told holding everything together.
I supported Kerbal Space Programme... an excellent sandbox/simulation with a barely functional campaign tacked on. So I'm a bit twitchy.
I'm merely expressing my preference and framing my viewpoint. Maia will be whatever Maia will be.
Which is not to say we can't throw in a few suggestions.
I keep looking at elements of the simulation and thinking "that's cool... but..."
... and in most cases, the "but" is that it doesn't really affect gameplay except as a binary state.
I hasten to add that I haven't played 0.55 at all yet beyond a few minutes here and there.
Up until recently, colonist food was a bit like that. You could be building what you thought was the world's most perfect base... then all your colonists die.
(okay, some bugs have been making that worse, but the underlying mechanic is binary - dead or not dead).
I'm not a game designer... so maybe I'm missing the point. But other (what I think of as similar) games seem to have "chokepoints" of resources which vary the gameplay (shortage of trees, iron ore, money, etc).
Then you also have some external force that introduces a deadline to create tension.
I know Simon has talked about missions to retrieve probes, etc. So there are definitely objective based campaign missions being planned.
Okay. I started thinking about the airflow simulation and how it wasn't impacting how I was playing currently.
Then I thought perhaps it should matter - and to do that, you'd need to remove atmosphere generators.
So I opened up the forums and started this post with the intent of it being a suggestion post about removing atmosphere generators and material blocks.
Along the way, I got to thinking about how it's impossible to "see" how airflow and temperature and food are doing, except when they go catastrophically wrong. And how that's really clever to be "behind the scenes" in the simulation - but if you can't see it, you can't react to it in a positive way.
Then I ended up in full rant mode.
Not sure where that got us. So I'll just wrap up with my original thoughts about atmosphere generator and material blocks.
If airflow is to be important, then the wall mounted fans and their operation need to directly impact the "quality" of the base.
Which isn't needed now... need air?... just add an atmosphere generator to the room. Or build a hydroponics room.
BUT... You could remove the atmosphere generators as they exist right now and make them need to attach to an "outside" wall. In effect, purifying the air from outside.
Now you need to direct air around your base using the air circulation fans in the walls.
Rooms built a long way underground need to have "good" air reach them.
And one aspect that could vary in a campaign mode might be rocks that are impossible to dig out, making it necessary to build rooms a long way from the starter rooms.
(or underground lakes, or lava, or something).
All of which isn't possible if you can just build an atmosphere generator anywhere.
As for the material blocks. If they're made by the smelters and the number of smelters is important, as is the time needed to smelt and colonist availability... the player shouldn't just be able to bypass the whole process and just build dozens of material blocks directly. Not least, because if they are to be removed - then there's the balancing issues to resolve. Right now, I build smelters, but I also build 20 to 30 material blocks in the storage room - because it means I don't need to think about whether things aren't getting built due to lack of resources.
Oh, and now my brain has sidetracked to wanting underground wall blocks that DON'T contain useful minerals. So that you are forced to tunnel to specific mining areas rather than just building a huge monolithic base. (3 cave wall types: ROCK, MINERAL BARING ROCK, INDESTRUCTIBLE ROCK). (I played Big Pharma recently and was impressed how they made room size/shape an interesting gameplay mechanic, in the same way Theme Hospital used to). And yeah... now I'm headed down the rabbit hole of different minerals in different rocks. Other rock types that can't be dug out my IMPs, but can be destroyed with explosives. Bahh, I need to stop.
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