JohnSmith666

Patch 153 New Research System

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Is it intentional that we are researching stuff like the battery and the solar panel before we get/research the printer? What is the point? How on earth is this good game play? There is only so much compound in the surrounding area to get enough tethers to look for research, or enough oxygen nodules/spawns to be able to just run around and pick up (and haul back) research chests. Unique (looking) research items in the same research family is giving resource drops instead of actually needed research.

Suggestion: Work on either the flow/progression of research, or the algorithm that decides how frequently unique research chests are found near the initial landing point.

Speaking of hauling stuff back, why does clicking the ground freeze all actions and play a tedious 2.5 second animation, especially when juggling multiple research chests  back to your base under a pseudo-time limit (namely your oxygen level) is so vital in this game? Pick up one, drag it, move it, pick up second, drag it move it, etc, only every four clicks you end up misclicking the ground and you are forced to watch your avatar point at something to literal no one else in a single player game.

Suggestion: Bind the (nearly useless) social point gesture to a button, instead of when you (mis)click the ground.

Edited by Wyvyrias
Fixed version number in the title

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Case in point: here's a bunch of useless garbage littering my base because (after 20 chests) I still haven't researched a printer to make anything with it.

 

Also, as you can tell by the smelter in the screenshot, there is an unfinished copper block at the head of the smelter. This is because if there is no room on the smelter's 4 storage platforms, it just wastes the resource, and is also rendered unclickable and unremovable until you smelt something new, continuing the progress of the old one and resulting in ALWAYS having a little dangling bit of copper that does nothing and wastes memory resources on your game.

Suggestion: When the smelter finishes smelting an ore but there is no room to place it, let it fly off the smelter module completely (sort of like what happens when a printer is preloaded with some resource, you click and arrow to swap to a different thing for it to print, and if there is no room on the printer's storage, the loaded resources fly off).

20170421152229_1.jpg

 

Another screenshot showcasing the above problem. This smelter will now ALWAYS have a little piece like this, completely wasting the resource and whatever memory is allocated to it by the game's engine. This also happens when a crane with a rover/truck with a crane and drill head mines a resource and it lands on an 8-piece storage unit; if it is unfinished (not a full piece), it cannot be interacted with, and it cannot be taken off.

20170421152828_1.jpg

 

I actually audibly laughed. Is this game serious?

20170421154110_1.jpg

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You start with only the smelter and the research modules. No vehicle bay, which is why I think getting the 3-seat before the vehicle bay or even the rover/truck is hilarious.

 

Alright I'm starting over, let's see if I get luckier this time? Keep in mind this is extremely tedious because the small solar panels are extremely weak, and the yellow power you find are few and far in between, and a single block of it is hardly enough for this much research.

20170421155749_1.jpg

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I think the vehicle bay should be included with the starter modules since aluminum is so hard to get in the beginning. Especially if you didn't have access to the smelter before researching it. This would give you the chance to find aluminium in wreckage and making a rover which would help progress exploration a ton. Also makes sure you can't get "stuck" i.e. you have mined all the resources in your max exploration range and have no way to extend it further.

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7 minutes ago, solidsteve14 said:

 Also makes sure you can't get "stuck" i.e. you have mined all the resources in your max exploration range and have no way to extend it further.

The current system makes this extremely likely to occur. Fortunately I got the printer on my third research chest, but as you can see in the above screenshots, I never got one after spending about two hours in a single fresh save. Image is in the order of which I got them, as the position of shadows and lighting proves.
 

Edit: Notice how long it takes to open 4 chests one-after-another using the limited power options. I went from noon to sunset because I don't have any stronger power source to work with. Now that I have my printer, I need to hope that I get a solar panel next.

20170421155905_1.jpg

Edited by JohnSmith666

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I think the goal in the beginning is mostly to expand your exploration range. Initially you are limited by your oxygen tank range, then by tethers once you find compound, then once you can get a rover you can go anywhere on the planet if you have a power source. Then you can go to other planets if you get a shuttle. This should be the way the game progresses in most cases. Obviously you could get lucky and bypass some of this depending on your spawn, but from balancing the game I think this is the way it should go in general. You should be almost forced into following this path of exploration until you find/research enough to skip it.

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So after 2 hours in one world, and another 50 minutes in the new world, its clear that patch 135 is just the player running around looking for research. The research around the starting area is absolutely useless and there is no sense of progression whatsoever. Low chance of getting the printer module, still haven't gotten the vehicle bay in any instance, oxygen is a really constricting mechanic now because of the research scavenger hunt, and I constantly run out of tethers/gathered oxygen to do any of this.

Suggestion: Completely rework the research mechanic. Let found research count as "points" you can cash in at the research module, allowing you to work your way up the tree, with vehicle and space related stuff being separate to avoid skipping out parts of the game completely.

ASTRONEER Research.png

Edited by JohnSmith666

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You made a pretty excellent point, especially on your first post about the frequency and stuff, therefore I fully approved and supports your suggestion for that

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@JohnSmith666 I really like your suggestion of a point based research, but I think there needs to be some element of chance and randomness to what gets researched. Maybe there could be a combination of both. For instance you could group research rewards together that have the same point tiers. There could be a group of 3 rewards that you can spend X points for a chance at one of them. Once you unlock one, the next time you unlock one of the others in that group. I don't think you should be able to get resources from research until you have unlocked everything in a group. This gives you the choice of using research to unlock new items or to get resources for the things you have unlocked.

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@JohnSmith666 I am seeing similar issues.  

I think rewards need a weighting (or the existing weighting needs adjusting) so that we are more likely to see the more useful early game research first, as this will smooth out the curve and make things a whole lot more "fun".  I think also that certain rewards ought to be "gated" behind others, as in your example of 3 seat coming before vehicle bay, this should not happen.  The vehicle bay should be a gate for the other vehicle related rewards - seats, large storage, rover, truck, shuttle, winch, etc.  None of those should occur before Vehicle Bay.

All that said I think the change is a NET positive, because..

I like that we start with less, it feels like more of a game with more of a challenge and less like a do anything you like sandbox.  I prefer adventure mode minecraft to creative mode, so I will prefer a more gameified Astroneer too.

I like that we get small items as rewards for already researched containers and not just resources, the goal of making containers we've already seen more valuable has been achieved, but only somewhat.  I'm not going to write home about getting "filters" out of one, for example.

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5 hours ago, JohnSmith666 said:

 

I actually audibly laughed. Is this game serious?

 

Same problem here.  I've researched the truck, shuttle and spaceship but still do not have the printer or vehicle bay.  One research crate I found gave me "Researched:   ".  Seriously.  A new crate and it gave me nothing.

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The suggestions of having a point based research system with random options would be great. To try to learn the next "Manufacturing" advancement (Printer, Vehicle Bay, Trade Platform) you need X points but don't know which type of manufacturing components you will have with those points (thus don't know which of the three you will get). However, you can then decide to spend points on different "Blueprints" for Printing, or Vehicles, but again won't know which you will get. This keeps the randomness but gives a chance for skilled planning of development tailored to your play style and the challenges of your starting point (which I think should be even more randomised - with harder options to start on another planet).

Yet either way, as many have pointed out, the most frustrating (gameplay) and illogical (immersion) consequence is to "research" or "discover" the blueprint for some device without the underlying knowledge of the manufacturing methods to even construct it. This really must be fixed, and soon to allow for true testing of the underlying system mechanics before building even more content into a flawed system.

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*Sorry this edit won't go through:

The points system also incentivises going on deeper/farther exploration missions to get resources that don't occur on the surface, which are worth far more points. This also leads into having not just points but different categories of points (Manufacture points, blueprints, Suit Tech, Genetics, Physics, alien?, ???) where certain resource chest types, and thus certain technologies, cannot be discovered staying on Terran. This links in to the many other discussions of creating benefits to exploring beyond Terran. All of which helps frame the buildup of content and play depth.

 

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Not a fan of the Point Based idea but do agree the research progression needs changing, my suggestion would be "Pre-requisites" for certain research items. For example the starting research RNG chart would only contain "Printer, Vehicle Bay, and a few of the personal printer items (battery, oxygen tank, and wind turbine for example)

Once you unlock the printer most of the printable research items get added to the potential pool, unlocking the vehicle bay adds the potential for rovers and shuttles, 1 seatter etc being researched.  The rest gets unlock when you get off world research (landing on another planet adds the potential for a space ship to be researched for example) or hitting hidden figures like gather 20 resin unlocks the crane, 20 ore unlocks drill head and so on.

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On ‎4‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 4:00 PM, solidsteve14 said:

I think the vehicle bay should be included with the starter modules since aluminum is so hard to get in the beginning. Especially if you didn't have access to the smelter before researching it. This would give you the chance to find aluminium in wreckage and making a rover which would help progress exploration a ton. Also makes sure you can't get "stuck" i.e. you have mined all the resources in your max exploration range and have no way to extend it further.

All this change does is increase the time it takes to advance to the "endgame". Bad game design that a lot of games are using. If they kept the difficulty of finding chest, but made it so you choose what research you get in that chest, it would solve the "cheated" feeling that players are getting. Nothing wrong with strenching a game out as long as you feel the game is treating you fair.

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I was going to do something similar, but for the interest of cleanliness I'll tack on here:

The weighted system is a good start, but is in no way better than the original. Instead of min/maxing to find a new one of each research item I now find myself plodding back and forth picking up EVERY research item in the hopes that one may "unlock" my way to more gameplay. Although, I will admit I didn't read all of the above I will put my thoughts down here and hope they don't trod on too many feet:

Gating + Weighting:

Right now the system uses a weighted return system which lets you get any object from any node. Any object regardless of its usefulness to the player in the current state of the game. A great start, but there needs to be an added "Gate" to some items IE: You should not be able to unlock a truck, shuttle, or spaceship at all until AFTER you have the vehicle bay. So a gating system for teir-1 objects might look like so:

Unlockable:

Printer, Vehiclebay...etc

Not Unlockable:

Storage, Battery, Generator, Truck, Space Ship, Shuttle, Winch, Habitat,...etc.

Once the Printer becomes unlocked THEN you can start unlocking printable items. Same with the vehicle bay. And unlocking one or the other now increases the number of OTHER items that can be unlocked thus pushing, say, the vehicle bay into a rarer category, but not so rare that you may get a truck before the ability to build it.

This will allow for the same random nature of some objects to offer some unlockables without the issue of having a Truck you can't craft or an object you can't print.

Backpack Vs Base:

Early game the player relies on their feet and their tethers to keep them alive. Later game you have a portable "life support" in the form of your vehicles. Once this threshold has been crossed there is little need for MOST backpack items. With the current system you're as likely to unlock an airtank as you are dynamite or a printer.

As such it's suggested that backpack items have a MUCH higher chance of research than any base items. This will allow/force the player to continue to look for researchables on foot while providing them with the necessary survival equipment to do so at longer distances without using all their compound on tethers (unless they choose).

This also means that consumable backpack items should also have a higher chance of research than reusables as such:

Teir1:

Power Cells, Air Filters, Terrain Analyzer(The sooner the better),...etc

Teir2:

OxyTank, PowerBank, Wide Mod (other mods that I may not have found),...etc

Teir3:

Generator, Wind Turbine, ...etc

 

Now that the player can be kitted out in high gear that will let them travel far and wide while still maintaining an early game feel and a high danger level (IE: Lost=Dead) without suddenly going from not able to go anywhere or get anything to being able to go everywhere and get everything (thus ending all reason to continue). Also, the backpack items do no preclude the discovery of a vehicle bay, but are just more likely to happen first.

 

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to be honest, i believe the new patch is making the game to hard. printer and vehicle bay are essential to the game, and if it takes you one hour in a new world to even get them, it make the game incredibly harder.

i believe the printer and vehicle bay should become tier one again.

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If I may, I would like to make a suggestion. When I started my new world yesterday I was all excited with the prospect of exploring this new patch/update. Soon as I landed I began to build my base and once I had a decent place set up I started looking for research. At first it wasn't so bad, I was unlocking the drill and winch and other stuff but then things began to turn for the worse. I started having to look farther and farther away for research only to drag it a mile back home and find it only contained compound. Its now been 10 hours on my new world and so far i have yet to unlock the Vehicle Bay, the most basic building required to actually START playing the game. To be honest I really upset at the fact that I've pretty much wasted ten hours "trying" to play this game. I'd rather not have to spend more than 20% of my time grinding when I could be out in space exploring the things which make this game truly beautiful.

So finally for my suggestion(sorry for the rant) Every other well balanced game out there that relies on research uses a very simple concept: The research tree. there is no point in unlocking the crane if there is no truck to put it on, and there is no point unlocking the truck if you can't even make it. You can still keep the random aspect but first make it so you have to unlock both the printer and Vehicle Bay before everything else. Thanks for your time.

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After a few months break from the Astroneer, I returned to the game with the last update. Although I love this game since the start, from the perspective of passing time I have to say that:

Both current and previous research systems are really bad. I think the entire research part of the game should be redesigned. In crafting there is a whole missing level, intermediate between raw materials and very complicated structures. This is unintuitive. I think it would be a good idea to introduce the components: universal (battery, connectors, plastics, metal alloys, electronics) and specialized (turbine blades, wheels, combustion chambers, photovoltaic components, specialized electronics, etc.). Components would be used in a higher-tier printer. By combining different types of them in different quantities, we would create larger structures (like solar panels, turbines, vehicles, battery batteries, generators, etc.).

Some plans to build basic components and structures would be unlocked on startup. Other would be discovered, but not randomly. Technology must have its branched tree to leave the player with the choice. I do not see the use of a research station - when you find an artifact, you should get a science bonus or ready blueprints immediately. The compromise would be to launch a handy artifact scanner.

The key elements of the game are exploration and progress. Exploration from the beginning was amazing. Before adding another nice gadgets (tnt, tools), please concentrate on the core of the gameplay.

Edited by gp.

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On 4/22/2017 at 5:27 AM, JohnSmith666 said:

 

I actually audibly laughed. Is this game serious?

 

My educated guess, based upon my own futile attempts to unlock the Vehicle Bay, and all of the failings by everyone else that I have read here and elsewhere, is that the developers forgot to include the Vehicle Bay in the patch update.  Of course, they will never admit that.

Edited by Maaaatie

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28 minutes ago, Maaaatie said:

My educated guess, based upon my own futile attempts to unlock the Vehicle Bay, and all of the failings by everyone else that I have read here and elsewhere, is that the developers forgot to include the Vehicle Bay in the patch update.  Of course, they will never admit that.

I actually got the Vehicle Bay as the first research on my second save. I think it's just the broad random research possibilities keeping we from getting researches that make sense for game progression.

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