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Great to hear that automation is next on the agenda and the prototypes i have seen are were already quite interesting. Given that the game has quite a few recipes to go through we will have enough automated production lines to build and setup - so this will be the biggest content update in terms of time needed to fully go through it. Therefore I am soo looking forward to it. But as it is still in a development I would like to address the typical balancing issues that come up with any such concepts. First of all there is the issue of resources and sinks. It doesn't make that much sense to automate production in the case one needs only a few processed resources. For example producing diamonds wouldn't be worth the effort as we currently only need a very limited amount to build a personal drill and perhaps another for a vehicle and that's it. So a central problem with games that have good automation is that they need to setup proper resource sinks to motivate automating in the first place. On the other hand automation itself partly serves as a big sink itself because in order to setup a production line we will likely need to build multiple chemical labs each dedicated to a specific recipe and build a lot of logistic in between that'll also need more power - all those buildings take quite a bit of resources to build. So that presents another problem: as of now all resource deposits are limited. So if that remains unchanged then some planets might get mined dry to meed that demand. However we've already seen the resource extractor prototype which I assume will last a lot longer than a regular vain, but endlessly? Infinite resources sources can often trivialize a game - especially one originally balanced for limited amounts. I mean resource acquisition so far is a central gameplay aspect that drives exploration and I wouldn't want it to be lost. From games like Satisfactory I know that it leads to player rarely leave their base at all - which I disliked since that game has quite a beautiful world to explore, too. resource vein types: also please consider making different deposit types for the hand tool and the resource extractor - well, if the total amount of mined resources will differ between the mining methods. Otherwise experienced players will try minimally mine deposits near their stating base with the hand tool so they remain available for the extractor later while new players will realize too late that they have created a big logistics problem for themselves. New logistical/exploration challenges: If resource extraction can be automated too (i.e. via the extractor) we finally will have a big motivation to setup additional outpost and even underground bases for those resources. So please make sure we have the good automatable resource sources far apart to give us some proper challenges, both for exploring and logistics. Power management: underground bases offer a unique challenge and with automation we will finally have some decent power consumption. So managing power generation could be quite a fun because generators even have their own automation line to keep them going (though this requires some trigger system to shut them down when batteries are full: like a new battery building that can turn off all buildings on the same platform when it's charged and turns them on again, when it deletes). Bun sadly we have RTGs in the game that scratch that content almost entirely because they are a energy source that beats all others in every possible way. So please bring back energy management before automation update goes live.
I noticed that hydrazine (and ammonium in general) is extremely important to travel on another planet, and yet it is hard to find, and even worse you can't extract them from a "mineral extractor". So even if you find it, you are going to slowly run out, especially if you use more than one spaceship. So I have some suggestion: make ammonium craftable. Of course for balance reasons, it should be hard to do it. However it should use items that the mineral extractor can extract, the ideal would be: Getting stuff from a mineral extractor (let's say compound) Getting gas from an atmospheric condenser (Nitrogen of course) "cooking" them in the chemistry lab """""mass""""" produced ammonium So that is possible to "never run out" of hydrazine, but it is time and energy consuming. Right now, I'm mass producing large wind turbine using resources from the mineral extractor, and shredding them in exchange for ammonium. I know that I could just explore more, but I find exploration for the sake of resources farming very annoying. What do you think?
Frankly, Hydrazine is worth way too much. I get to a certain point in any point of Astroneers save where I'm simply grinding away, using the fuel condenser and trading Hydrazine to get any and all resources I need, and I find myself with very little or no reason to go out and explore. I think that this needs to be balanced by doing one of two things 1. Making Hydrazine worth nothing as a trade commodity (unless a dynamic player economy is in place), or by 2. Making Hydrazine tanks/fuel containers cost Titanium to build, much like oxygen tanks, and said tanks you would be able to refill with the condenser, but a filled fuel tank wouldn't return once traded and would still be worth its current trade value. As it stands currently, fuel-and-trade is too easy to justify any other form of gameplay. I think it stands as the single most important issue to address about the core "feel of the game", it doesn't promote exploration at all. It just feels cheaty! Thanks in advance for the consideration, I know you guys must be swamped. Keep it up, cheers!