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Hey guys! So this is my first time posting on the forum - I'm absolutely in love with the game, and since it's so early in development I thought I'd share a few ideas of what I think would really add to the whole experience :) NB I've attached some pics to illustrate my ideas. The simpler drawings are my own, but the rest are all taken from google images.



Molten planets, also called lava planets, are a hypothetical kind of terrestrial planet with a molten surface covered mostly by lava (Fig.1). These could be young freshly formed planets which have yet to cool down and solidify completely, or planets with an extremely close orbit to the parent star. Although there are no known such planets in our neighbourhood, there's a number of potential candidates such as Alpha Centauri Bb, COROT-7b, and Kepler-78b. Given that the Astroneer solar system already has a completely frozen planet, I thought it would be fun if it also had a polar opposite - an extremely dangerous yet rich world which would make survival a real challenge (Fig. 2).



Imagine a harsh and barren landscape of ash and fire. Spewing volcanoes can be seen all around feeding into rivers and lakes of molten rock that divide the surface into a jigsaw puzzle of crusted plates (Fig. 3). The rock here is freshly formed, probably basaltic or granitic in origin, with hard angles and sharp points, primarily of a dark grey or black colour creating a hard, rugged geomorphology. With all the tectonic activity, the surface is broken by sudden deep gullies that plummet straight into the magma beneath. Plumes of molten rock shoot into the sky like geysers periodically, whilst vents billow clouds of steam and gas. On the surface crust, amid the sharp angles of the rock are special formations in strange hexagonal patterns forming huge octagonal geometric columns (see the Giant's Causeway in Northern Ireland). The entire atmosphere has an orange glow, as clouds of billowing steam and smoke are lit up by the glowing fires from below. This landscape is meant to be difficult to traverse, with all the molten lava and massive cracks in the ground using a rover or truck for long distance travel is going to be very difficult, or at least, very slow going.



By far one of the most important features of the planet, volcanoes of all sizes are common all over. Some continually spew lava from their craters, whilst others erupt in a more dramatic fashion, but more on that in a moment. These volcanoes will be the most dangerous feature on the planet, but they will also be the most important in terms of resources. Volcanoes will be extremely rich in rare minerals and atrifacts, especially around the mouth and crater of the volcano or at the banks of molten rivers, thus making the trip to such a perilous area worthwhile. Replacing the typical storm will be the affore-mentioned eruptions, which will only occur on the largest volcanoes in the area. The eruption will begin with a with a huge explosion triggering a torrent of lava to spill from the crater. This lava will affect the sides of the volcano as well as a small radius around it. Next will be a huge ash cloud whilst huge boulders and chunks of rock rain down from above. This part of the eruption will come shortly after the initial explosion, and will act almost the same as storms affecting the whole area, with the exception of different coloured smoke and flaming rocks falling from above rather than the usual blocks flying in from the side. In addition to this, lava could strike between from the charged gas clouds in any direction, as is seen in real life eruptions (Fig. 4). Since it is an eruption, and since I'm a fan of dynamic landscapes, perhaps it would be interesting if each eruption noticeably changed the shape of the volcano and nearby area. Any tethers, vehicles, or bases in the way of the lava should either be destroyed, or at the very least partially buried under a new layer of rock. A counter to this would be a kind of strong shelter module, but that's an idea I'll discuss further in another post I have in mind. 



In certain fields of flat land, magma will periodically shoot from the ground in a massive plume - imagine a geyser with lava replacing the water (Fig. 5 & 6). These geysers will be surrounded by small pools of lava and small cracks radiating from the centre, with several geysers found near each other in a rough line forming chains, and all going off within a short span of each other or occasionally simultaneously. These magma geysers would be more for aesthetics or to create an obstacle than anything else, but they could contain artifacts to make them worth searching for. 



Just like the hydrothermal vents found at the bottom of the ocean, large chimney-like vents will populate the landscape in clusters, constantly belching massive plumes of white, grey, and sometimes yellow smoke and steam (Fig. 7 & 8). There should be two types of vents, one spewing toxic gas, the other oxygen which the player can harvest; however these two types of vents should be almost indistinguishable in order to pose more of a risk. The only observable difference should be in the lifeforms growing at the base. Additionally, if geothermal energy is implemented, these vents could be used as the energy source for the module. 



Given such a hostile environment, there should be few life forms on the planet. The only living beings should be a few lichens or primitive bacterial growths, with the only substantial organisms inhabiting the base of the previous vent systems, which will be teeming with biodiversity like their hydrothermal counterparts. Long tube worms grow in dense branches from the bottom up towards the plumes of steam, whilst smaller sedentary organisms like sponges or barnacles should crust the chimney. On oxygen-producing vents the tube worms should have obviously blue feathers, whilst on toxic vents these feathers would be yellow or red, allowing the observant explorer to not the danger before approaching.



As mentioned earlier, this planet should be extremely rich in minerals and deposits, but all should be in hard to reach areas such as in volcanic craters or near lavafalls. There could even be a type of useful mid-late game mineral found only on this planet, perhaps in the form of towering white crystals contrasting against the black rock and red hot magma. There should be very few caves on the planet...but the few that there are could be filled with those octagonal pillars and giant crystals I just mentioned (Fig. 9 & 10) :)


Anyway, that's pretty much it. Feel free to discuss or debate any part of it or even to suggest your own thematic ideas! :D 




Volcano 1.jpg




Volcano 3.jpg


Volcano 2.jpg


crystal-cave (3)[2].jpg

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19 hours ago, ORION said:

EDIT: In the Volcanoes paragraph, "lava could strike between from the charged gas clouds in any direction" should have the word 'lighting' instead of 'lava'.

EDIT your EDIT:  "lava could strike between from the charged gas clouds in any direction" should have the word 'lighting' instead of 'lava' should have 'lightning' instead of 'lighting'



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8 hours ago, Extra Dip said:

Sounds really cool. It may be pretty hard for them to have the volcanoes change the terrain though, because that would have to be constantly updating.

Yeah in hindsight would probably be quite tricky to implement, but perhaps instead of the terrain changing every single time a volcano erupts there could be a small random chance of the immediate surroundings and slopes changing during an eruption event. In doing so new mineral deposits could be created, as if the volcano was replenishing the resources, thus adding further to the risk-reward factor of settling so close to an active volcano :D

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I like this idea but traveling would be tricky in a rover. I think we would need some other form of transport such as the jet pack or climbing aids such as winches. Much rather this sort of environmental challenge for me than introducing enemies and weapons.

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On 2/18/2017 at 6:33 PM, time_trial said:

I like this idea but traveling would be tricky in a rover. I think we would need some other form of transport such as the jet pack or climbing aids such as winches. Much rather this sort of environmental challenge for me than introducing enemies and weapons.

My thoughts exactly, I think the extreme conditions of different planetary environments should be the greatest challenge to overcome in the game, rather than the typical aliens wielding space blasters :P 

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