dogmentation

The randomized Research system is just terrible.

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After investing way too many hours in this game, I've come to the conclusion that the randomized nature of research unlocks is the weakest element of this game.
They're a genuinely bad design choice, necessitating crapshoot dice rolls over and over in the hopes of possibly getting something useful (or at all.)

I bought Astroneer a few months back, and I liked it okay. There were a lot of features lacking, a lot of physics issues, but it's early access, I reasoned. I played it for a few hours, decided to come back and give it a go when there was more to do.  Such is the nature of EA.

I sat down for a serious playthrough back at version 190, and got thoroughly frustrated after spending close to 20 hours over three days, wandering,, digging, and researching random rocks and getting nowhere. I eventually built a gigantic network of beacons and tethers and crudely drawn directional markers (no small feat given the lack of any sort of meaningful navigational tools in this game) in a systematic attempt to find whatever obscure research item I was lacking. I unlocked a bunch of useless crap like filters and augments and 3-person cockpits,  but I never got the trade platform or any of the shuttles, leaving me stranded. I built such an extensive web of bases and tunnels that the game took literally 5 full seconds to save my game every time I got in and out of my truck, and I STILL couldn't find the blueprints I want.

This is absolutely ridiculous. No part of this approach makes any logical sense.

It's nonsense to spontaneously discover the blueprints to a wind turbine inside a spiked berry dug out of a 300m deep cavern. Things like shuttles and habitats should come from crashed ships, not coconuts. At the very least, instead of rewarding the player with a random resource item, pods that contain previously researched items should offer a fragment of another blueprint, or points to spend on a legitimate research tree. Unlock the big stuff from large wrecks, then research add-ons and upgrades from smaller finds. Why am I finding cockpit blueprints before I even find a shuttle? Or going days without  a large solar panel when logically I should be able to research a bigger version of the small solar? I have literally unlocked every part of the shuttle except the shuttle itself.

Even more frustrating was when 197 recently launched, I decided to try a new playthrough. I spent a few hours on a new save, a whole new world, with new rocks and fruits to research. I gathered a giant pile of them, even started taking pictures of every item so I'd know which ones I'd researched and which ones I hadn't. I scanned around ten items scavenged from trees and wrecks, items, which I had NEVER seen before, and got maybe 4 blueprints. Mostly for useless garbage, though I did get a fuel condenser. Out of curiosity I force quit the game, loaded my save again, and this time I got 6 completely different blueprints, and 4 more random resources.  I was under the impression the game is supposed to reward new discoveries with blueprints every time, but clearly it does not, only adding to the frustration. There's no rhyme or reason, and it just ruins the game.

I still like the core basics of the game okay, (it's like a cuter version of Osiris without all the obnoxious creatures constantly trying to kill you) but I don't think I'll be playing it again until there's a more reasonable alternative to the completely randomized research.

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1 hour ago, GoldenOuroboros said:

Reasearch 2.0; it's coming ;)

So I've been reading. It can't get here fast enough. For now, the game is borderline unplayable, when you can devote this many hours to it and get effectively nowhere. I have almost 30 hours in the game and still have not found a shuttle.  These trips hauling a janky convoy of fruit and rocks back to base are getting mighty tedious, to say nothing of the glitch where your spaceman randomly dies every other time you get out of the truck. I am getting really frustrated with having to hike 10 minutes back to my corpse every time the truck decides to kill me on dismount.

In the future, I also hope they implement name-able beacons, maybe some sort of rudimentary map, a vehicle compass. I know the developers are of the "We don't let you have cheats" persuasion, and while I am personally of the opinion that players should always have the option of cheats if that is how they choose to enjoy the game, regardless, some console commands would be really nice for this stage of EA in order to work around some of the incredible bugs.

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I'm looking forward to Research 2.0, but I do wish they'd tweak the current system a little bit.  There's a curve on the output, where it starts as more research, and moves toward more and more resources instead, with only rare unlocks.  That curve needs to be capped, just a quick tweak to that calculation to make the wait for Research 2.0 more bearable.  I can't imagine it would be a big project, just a couple lines to the algorithm, just enough to be passable.  You know, "If Odds<10% then Odds=10%" or whatever.  (But I totally understand if they don't want to fuss with it at all.)

I'm probably going to have to abandon my current save over it.  I've got nearly everything unlocked, down to an unlock every dozen or so chests, and I have no shuttles, large or small.

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Before the research system changed, I saw research as an obstacle, something that I need to complete before I could start with the exploration of the beautiful, procedurally generated planets. I never saw research as the main aspect of the game. (Unlike some others who seem to regard the game as "finished" once they have researched every blueprint.) For me, exploration and discovering places is a core part of the game. And research gave me the means to explore wherever I wanted.

When they changed the research system, I was annoyed because research takes even longer now. In my perception, the obstacle to overcome before I could start exploring became even higher.

But since then, over the course of several newly started games, I have changed my mind. Now I begin exploring immediately, as soon as I leave the drop ship. I do find research items along the way, and they may or may not give something that helps to explore new areas. But I don't rely on access to particular items; instead, I go along with whatever is currently available to me. No access to a shuttle? Then I continue to explore more of Terran's surface and underground on foot, or go on an expedition with a medium rover. No wind-powered generators or batteries available? Then, during the night, I further explore a cave system or a near mountain using tethers; maybe I will find a small battery among the remnants of a deceased fellow Astroneer...

With each new game, you start in a different, procedurally generated environment. You can have an abundance of resources or a lack thereof. In my opinion, this makes every game unique and interesting with new challenges. I see the research curve as another aspect of this.

I don't think the research system is terrible or even ruins the game. On the contrary, to me, its weighted randomness adds to the variety of the game experience.

P.S.: The game is definitely playable and enjoyable even without doing any research and utilizing only the initially provided blueprints. I can easily imagine System Era publishing a game demo with just this functionality on a small moon or an asteroid.

 

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1 hour ago, Marck said:

But since then, over the course of several newly started games, I have changed my mind. Now I begin exploring immediately, as soon as I leave the drop ship. I do find research items along the way, and they may or may not give something that helps to explore new areas. But I don't rely on access to particular items; instead, I go along with whatever is currently available to me. No access to a shuttle? Then I continue to explore more of Terran's surface and underground on foot, or go on an expedition with a medium rover. No wind-powered generators or batteries available? Then, during the night, I further explore a cave system or a near mountain using tethers; maybe I will find a small battery among the remnants of a deceased fellow Astroneer...

...I don't think the research system is terrible or even ruins the game. On the contrary, to me, its weighted randomness adds to the variety of the game experience.

This is pretty true.

Before the research change, I played every new start pretty much the same way. With the decreased reliability of getting certain recipes, I've had a chance to see more of the breadth of the game. I never had to use some of the items (small generator, for example) because I always had other items to use instead. I like having some idea of where to look for certain recipes.

This is not to say that I'm not glad they are still working on it. But what they have not is not game breaking.

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^^^ I can't agree more with the two previous replies. It is the very random nature of the research, the 'roll of the dice' if you will that has me staying with this game right now. You have to roll with what you have. On one of my most recent games, I toured and based every single planet in the game without a Habitat. On another, I was on my 3rd planet before I ever got the large shuttle. (Made a LOT of trips to each to build the bases!). I find the challenge of trying to go with what you get to be something that really appeals to me right now.

Edited by BHarm
spelling!

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Yes, there is randomness in research but there is also a logical progression and prerequisites. A civilization still at the horse-drawn carriage stage isn't very likely to discover space flight before regular air flight before the combustion engine. Or 3D holographic TV before radio and electricity.

A totally linear, totally predictable research model would be boring and we can argue (I am) that a totally random model isn't fun either. There are many shades of gray between pure white and pure black and that's where (in the shades) good game design is found.

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I completely agree with you its F'ing ridiculous, if i get another piece of compound out of a research pod im going to hurl my controller across the room. I still need a truck and i travel for what seems like miles with the way you have to carry the research then load it up and get compound or a stupid filter WTF SES. they should at least make it to where you will not get resources out of research until all blueprints are collected. the place it and hope shit is for the birds, RNG kills games and its going to kill theirs if they dont do something well for me at least. 

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2 hours ago, Eoghan said:

Yes, there is randomness in research but there is also a logical progression and prerequisites. A civilization still at the horse-drawn carriage stage isn't very likely to discover space flight before regular air flight before the combustion engine. Or 3D holographic TV before radio and electricity.

A totally linear, totally predictable research model would be boring and we can argue (I am) that a totally random model isn't fun either. There are many shades of gray between pure white and pure black and that's where (in the shades) good game design is found.

The current method is definitely gray. Also, I have never thought of it as "The Astroneer is inventing these items". Seems more like "The Astroneer is being rewarded with new schematics and items for things he has discovered".

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We've been play testing the new research method in-house all week. It's... fucking awesome. Can't wait to share it.

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5 hours ago, SES_Adam said:

We've been play testing the new research method in-house all week. It's... fucking awesome. Can't wait to share it.

You're such a tease!  xD

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7 hours ago, SES_Adam said:

We've been play testing the new research method in-house all week. It's... fucking awesome. Can't wait to share it.

Wow, I'm so Excited to see what you have in store xD

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