blorgon

[Google Docs] Feature Suggestions Document

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First of all, your ideas are awesome! I'd like to see all of them. But you could add better uses for the winch to your list. Like beeing able to connect to it and lower down into deep holes/caves. I think it isn't worth starting a new topic for it, but maybe you like the idea and add it.

winch.png

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14 hours ago, blorgon said:

Haha. What did you have in mind? I was actually thinking it'd be cool to drag crashed spaceships back to base and strip them for parts and metal.

I like the idea of recyclable material as well. In terms of the crash space ships, What if we could rebuild the space ships by collecting all the parts scattered around the crash site. And even then, maybe we would have to build a few more parts to complete the repaired space ship? Maybe make an engineering platform for bases, where you have to build the fuel tank and maybe all the other parts to vehicles. Some incentive to rebuilding a spaceship as opposed to building one, could be special perks on the result ones, like more storage spaces, or unique colors. Or possibly new destinations or unlocks a quest to find a missing astroneer.  Those could go along really well with the idea I had about including an archive/library platform where people could learn about resources, planets, and descriptions such as where to find them and what kind of dangers/storms are on those planets. 

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You have some awesome ideas. The chemistry portion about the rocket fuel is awesome, and I have something I thought of. I wouldn't mind little periodic icons that float next to the names of the ores, it'd be a cool way to enhance identification and actually teach you something at the same time. As of now they're using real world ores so this isn't a difficult thing to implement.

Seismic prospecting and fewer crashed spaceships with higher payloads are fantastic ideas

Edit: The RTS base building idea is great. I'm imagining how that would go and it feels good.
Tech trees! Yes! Tidally locked planets! Love it

Edited by Rolvaag

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3 hours ago, mux951 said:

The discussion about Hydrazine and other fuels is mute because it just covers a tiny aspect of the whole "rocket fuel" issue in real life.

Being an aerospace engineer myself I'd like to give a little insight into the issue, it's not necessary for my opinion though. ;)

  Reveal hidden contents

Everbody thinks about methane + oxygen because it is the way SpaceX does it. But nobody asks why they do it like that, and why nobody else has done it in this scale until now.
Everybody talks about the "simple" sabatier reaction but there is only ONE reason for it: MARS.

According to Elon Musk everthing SpaceX does is to accomplish their true goal: Getting humans to MARS.
Mars atmosphere mainly consists of CO2 which just so happens to be needed in large quantities for the sabatier reaction:

methane spacex mars

Picture Source

The reason why SpaceX is developing their engines for a methane + liquid oxygen fuel mix has only to do with what would be possible to manufacture in large quantities on Mars. It is the "best" fuel for the mission.

This has nothing to do with what would be the most powerful rocket fuel. Looking at current technology and ignoring "exotic" rocket fuel combinations (e.g. plutonium, nuclear bombs, etc...) Liquid hydrogene (LH2) + liquid oxygen (LOX) is considered of being the "best" option for launches from earth. Earth has lots of water, therefore hydrogene and oxygene are readily available. Liquefication and the corresponding rocket engine on the other hand has some serious technical requirements. Using the high specific impulse (read: thrust per kg of fuel) it is possible to use smaller rockets for a given cargo load than using "simpler" rocket fuels. That is why most of the heavy lift rockets on earth use LH2 + LOX as their fuel, because it is the most economical way and increases the payload of the rocket...and because we are now able to manufacture rocket engines that can deal with the problems of the fuel mix (e.g. the very low temperatures)

Then why was hydrazine used for long periods of time? Simplicity!
Hydrazine (depending on the type used) does not need an oxidator and is therefore clasified as a "monofuel". This means that you don't need a spark or some source of heat for reignition in space. As long as the combustion chamber was made from a specific material (platinum, etc.) Hydrazine would self "ignite" (better: decompose) as soon as the fuel is released. This means electrical equipment that needs to survive several days (Apollo, ...) in space and therefore less critical equipment that can go wrong.

Personally I like it that the fuel is also minable from crystals. As far as we know it might even by Hydrazine, we are on an unknown planet after all. Looking at the fuel condenser we might even be on a planet with a Hydrazine atmosphere! :D

I'm totally on board with having a more complex fuel source (i.e. fuel + oxidator) that is needed for the bigger rockets and shuttles though. Would be great to help scale end game gameplay.

You've made reasonable points, and I'm aware that methane fuel production is very specific to Mars, but it's still more plausible to me as an off-world fuel source than hydrazine.

The big pros for wanting to switch to methane:

  • Extremely simple production process
  • Uses common ingredients
  • Yields multiple resources that the player can then choose how to use
  • Adds more content to the game in both mechanics—the actual act of making fuel—and in the additional equipment needed

This is both good for the educational aspect (the basic concept of the sabatier reaction is very easy to grasp, and it's much more plausible than finding naturally occurring crystalline hydrazine, which I don't actually think is even physically possible, but I don't know for sure), and gameplay, as these resources are relatively easy to find most places.

The big pros for hydrazine:

  • Can be mined and turned directly into fuel without any intervening processes
  • Extremely simple
  • Does not require real-world chemistry

I'm definitely biased, but I'm also trying hard to find any real benefits of hydrazine over methane. Sure, methane requires lots of carbon dioxide, but humans produce a lot of it, and there are geothermal vents on most planets, which could plausibly be venting CO2. That would add even more content simply for the act of capturing and storing the CO2.

As far as you liking the idea of mining fuel from crystals, you'd still be able to do so with methane, as ice would be a major ingredient for the fuel production (and again, also for food/survival mechanics). You'd be mining ice, and rocket fuel would only be one step away, instead of immediately turned into fuel.

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7 hours ago, MarioOriginal0 said:

Hello, I had read the discussion about the rocket fuel. The real life rocket use SRB (Solid Rocket Booster) and LRB (Liquid Rocket Booster). The SRB use several chemical compounds (like RDX and HMX) and they are difficult to create. Instead the LRB  use hydrogen and oxygen that are really easy to create, you need only water and an hydrolysis separator. Another thing that I suppose that is important is a space station to move through the solar system (and the galaxy in the future) where your space ship will be recharged of fuel (if you had send there before).

 

P.S. sorry for my english

The problem with using LOX and LH is that they are extremely difficult to handle. Using them as fuel on an alien planet without proper infrastructure would be a nightmare. LOX + LH is by far the more performant rocket fuel there is, but it's also totally impractical for use on anywhere but Earth

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5 hours ago, Henek said:

Hehe second try

I have new ideas!

  • Malachite: They should change the color of it, the Malachite is'nt yellow, is a beautiful green color.
  • Latherite: True, it contains Aluminum, but it is'nt a mineral like is shown in the game and it's not used to get aluminum, instead they should put      Bauxite, the main Aluminum ore that is used to get aluminum.
  • Titanium: It doesnt grow from the ground, they should implement the Ilmenite, the titanium ore, and melt it to obtain titanium.
  • Lithium: Again, it does'nt grow from the ground, it is'nt a common way of extracting lithium, but there are some lithium ores, I think that the most  suitable one is the Zinnwaldite.
  • And adding many more materials, like Silicate for the solar panels, Gold for electronic devises, 
  • Maybe adding petroleum and refine it to obtain fuel that can be used for rockets, and the way of obtained is by some drill. Make it in a contained space where you cant mess with it, because if it's in a contained space they would'nt have to mess with the fluid mechanics, because you dont see it, the only thing of petroleum that you could see is the tank full of it.

 

I do agree that malachite should be green, and I also considered adding bauxite as a replacement for latterite. I'll probably go back and add that since it does make more sense. I would like being able to mine ores for all the useful metals, such as titanium.

I could've sworn I already had gold in the document, but I guess I was working offline. Gold and silicate will be added.

Petroleum is tricky, because that requires there to have been a LOT of life on the planet earlier in its history, and right now the planets are pretty sparsely populated with small, spindly plants. I'd personally rather not see petroleum in the game.

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2 hours ago, Acclazit said:

First of all, your ideas are awesome! I'd like to see all of them. But you could add better uses for the winch to your list. Like beeing able to connect to it and lower down into deep holes/caves. I think it isn't worth starting a new topic for it, but maybe you like the idea and add it.

This is a good idea. Rappelling should definitely be a mechanic in the game. It'd be neat to find large sinkholes on asteroids and moons and cenotes on Earth-like planets.

Edited by blorgon

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18 hours ago, blorgon said:

I've been putting together a document detailing some of the features I'd like to see implemented/fleshed out for both near and far-future updates.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/10H0Ugr6eBaprVS47GXBRecQgcad4lMLupQjOPaJLvE8/edit?usp=sharing

I turned commenting off in the document so that any discussion happens here. Let me know your thoughts!

Cheers!

NTORqab.png

This needs to be a part of the game fast. We need automation, but I do understand stabilization of the game but we need this. I've already put thirty hours in and I'm looking for new content.

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2 hours ago, seejay3210 said:

Conveyor System

Railway

Yep, there's actually already some stuff in the document about using pneumatic transportation for short distance (intra-base) resource transfer, and road-building/track-building for inter-base transport.

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4 minutes ago, blorgon said:

Yep, there's actually already some stuff in the document about using pneumatic transportation for short distance (intra-base) resource transfer, and road-building/track-building for inter-base transport.

Awesome can't wait to dive in.

 

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6 hours ago, Henek said:
  • Lithium: Again, it does'nt grow from the ground, it is'nt a common way of extracting lithium, but there are some lithium ores, I think that the most  suitable one is the Zinnwaldite.

Honestly, lithium extraction from Zinnwaldite is a pretty complex process. Much more plausible is evaporative extraction using brines, which is the primary method we use on Earth, and is less intensive than other methods.

This would introduce new mechanics, such as building evaporation pools and other terrain shaping in order to make an area suitable for extraction. It'd also introduce a new type of biome, an arid basin with geothermal activity and permeable aquifers. This would also provide an area for extracting water, and using geothermal energy, so it wouldn't be a single-resource biome.

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Mods, can we please get a way to edit posts?

I forgot to add that lithium extraction from pools would also help to break the monotony of just mining/drilling for all our resources.

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7 hours ago, Henek said:

The COcan be obtaine by burning coal, because if we want to use the methane as rocket fuel, we will need a lot of it.

This could be one method. I think the biggest benefit of moving to a methane production process is that it opens up multiple ways to gather and use multiple resources, as opposed to a single resource that you can mine from caves, and condense on a fuel condenser which will probably get nerfed or completely removed in the future.

As far as the amounts needed for production, this is where artistic liberties come into play. Yes, technically it takes a lot of material for the process, but it can be simplified to the point where it's more in line with the game's simplistic style right now. We won't need to gather 20 or 30 stacks of carbon dioxide just to make two or three units of fuel; it'd have to be more balanced for the sake of gameplay.

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14 hours ago, chaosrock said:

I would suggest adding seasons to the list. On the terran planet, having the four typical seasons would be cool. Storms more often in winter and spring, long days in summer (for solar power), short days in winter, and plants harvested in the fall might give 2x the output.

The more I think about this, the more it seems unlikely. Firstly, programming world-wide changes would be a huge project, and secondly, discernible seasons would only really come from longer years, as seasons take a long time to sort of stabilize. If the planet's year is as short as the ones we have now, then "winter" would be a few days long, and the climate wouldn't really change much in any significant way that would look "wintery".

I like the idea, but due to the size of the planetary system and the length of years and the fact that all of that would need to be overhauled, it's probably not going to happen.

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5 hours ago, Rolvaag said:

little periodic icons that float next to the names of the ores

I'm assuming you're talking about the table of elements squares as a pop-up icon when mousing over the element? That'd be awesome.

22-Titanium-Tile.png

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3 hours ago, blorgon said:

You've made reasonable points, and I'm aware that methane fuel production is very specific to Mars, but it's still more plausible to me as an off-world fuel source than hydrazine.

The big pros for wanting to switch to methane:

  • Extremely simple production process
  • Uses common ingredients
  • Yields multiple resources that the player can then choose how to use
  • Adds more content to the game in both mechanics—the actual act of making fuel—and in the additional equipment needed

This is both good for the educational aspect (the basic concept of the sabatier reaction is very easy to grasp, and it's much more plausible than finding naturally occurring crystalline hydrazine, which I don't actually think is even physically possible, but I don't know for sure), and gameplay, as these resources are relatively easy to find most places.

The big pros for hydrazine:

  • Can be mined and turned directly into fuel without any intervening processes
  • Extremely simple
  • Does not require real-world chemistry

I'm definitely biased, but I'm also trying hard to find any real benefits of hydrazine over methane. Sure, methane requires lots of carbon dioxide, but humans produce a lot of it, and there are geothermal vents on most planets, which could plausibly be venting CO2. That would add even more content simply for the act of capturing and storing the CO2.

As far as you liking the idea of mining fuel from crystals, you'd still be able to do so with methane, as ice would be a major ingredient for the fuel production (and again, also for food/survival mechanics). You'd be mining ice, and rocket fuel would only be one step away, instead of immediately turned into fuel.

You are right, the sabatier process is pretty simple, but only in the chemical sense. Practicaly speaking it is much harder to realise due to its ingredients which are not that common on a solar scale (looking at space travels inbetween planets in the solar system). There is very little water to be found on most planets, let alone in a mineable state or quantity. Even CO2 is not that easy to get. Combining both these ingredients is very hard to find (solar scale!).

Take Venus for example: 98% CO2 atmosphere, but no water to be found due to the extreme temperatures and pressures (~90bar @ "sealevel"). Not even talking about the sulfuric acid clouds and rain...

Saturn would be another example: 96% hydrogen; no CO2 or water; trace amounts of methane. You "just" need to syphon the hydrogen from the top most layer of the atmosphere and liquefy it in space, which gets pretty easy because it's already pretty cold out there. Why bother with methane on a solar scale when hydrogen is by far the most common element?

Concerning finding water and using the astronauts CO2 production as fuel. A human under rest exhales about 0.6 kg of CO2 per day. Combine that with a fuel consumption of several kg per second for a moderately sized rocket engine you can extrapolate that 1 Astroneer would have to spend at least 1 year on the planet under ideal circumstances (low gravity, next to no atmosphere,...) just to get back into orbit. No "space hops" to other planets. ;)

Also concerning the vents: there are more liquid sulfur geysers in our solar system than CO2 vents...

Take Saturns moon Titan for example. It is an ice moon. And the only one with a dense atmosphere in our solar system. No CO2 there, but methane in the atmosphere and possibly methane rain and lakes. Why bother with the sabatier reaction?

If you want to educate the player you should do it properly. Finding crystalized hydrazine on any planet is just as likely as finding strange gas plants, as is finding water and CO2 in just the right amounts, states and quantitys you need to make methane.
So why force a chemical reaction onto any planet when there are less planets with CO2 than hydrogen as an atmosphere? Just let us mine "fuel" and forget that it once was even called hydrazine. :)

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1 hour ago, mux951 said:

You are right, the sabatier process is pretty simple, but only in the chemical sense. Practicaly speaking it is much harder to realise due to its ingredients which are not that common on a solar scale (looking at space travels inbetween planets in the solar system). There is very little water to be found on most planets, let alone in a mineable state or quantity. Even CO2 is not that easy to get. Combining both these ingredients is very hard to find (solar scale!).

See this comment in response to the amounts needed for the process:

As far as these ingredients not being common, you're talking about our own solar system, which is fine, but the argument doesn't apply to the planetary system in Astroneer. There's clearly mountaintops with snow in the game right now, and it'd be dreadfully easy to add ice caps to some planets like those on Mars as well as moons and asteroids with ice-filled craters. Water won't be as scarce in this planetary system as you're implying. As far as carbon dioxide, our Astroneers are constantly sprinting and working hard. It's not that far-fetched to imagine that CO2 scrubbers would provide a decent source, especially in a multiplayer game. Again, volcanic activity, and hot springs are also good sources of CO2. You can also burn organic material. It's not like players would have a hard time finding any. And the relative distribution of sulfur geysers in our own solar system again doesn't apply here.

In the comment I linked to, I describe that some liberties can be taken to make the gathering of ingredients for the process a little bit more balanced for the sake of gameplay. It's a less egregious artistic liberty than mining hydrazine crystals. And again, the benefits of using liquid methane also include the fact that it adds more content to the game, more resources, and more ways to use those resources, which gives players options in terms of how they want to spend them. There needs to be more than one use for something in a game in order for it to feel useful—this is what makes sandbox games fun, people finding new uses for what they're given to work with. Hydrazine has only one purpose in the game right now, but the byproducts of the sabatier reaction process can be used in many different ways.

The idea is to be able to provide players a way to set up an almost completely closed system. One method might be burning organics for power on a generator, a byproduct of which is CO2, which can then be collected and used in the sabatier reaction, the byproducts of which can be used to grow more organic material to burn in the generator. I'm just thinking out loud here. There are SO many ways to utilize these resources. The gameplay would be so much more rich than just harvesting some crystals in the ground and powering your spaceship. The possibilities exponentially increase when given the extra resources and equipment to play with.

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And again, since I can't edit my comment, I wanted to add:

There's abundant plant life on all of the planets, which means there's groundwater, which means it can be made to be harvest-able at some point, which means players won't be limited to harvesting ice exclusively for the hydrogen, it will be attainable anywhere.

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13 hours ago, Vinnie said:

I like the idea of recyclable material as well. In terms of the crash space ships, What if we could rebuild the space ships by collecting all the parts scattered around the crash site. And even then, maybe we would have to build a few more parts to complete the repaired space ship? Maybe make an engineering platform for bases, where you have to build the fuel tank and maybe all the other parts to vehicles. Some incentive to rebuilding a spaceship as opposed to building one, could be special perks on the result ones, like more storage spaces, or unique colors. Or possibly new destinations or unlocks a quest to find a missing astroneer.  Those could go along really well with the idea I had about including an archive/library platform where people could learn about resources, planets, and descriptions such as where to find them and what kind of dangers/storms are on those planets. 

I definitely like the idea of being able to repurpose crashed spaceships/shuttles more than creating brand new ones from scratch.

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16 hours ago, blorgon said:

Honestly, lithium extraction from Zinnwaldite is a pretty complex process. Much more plausible is evaporative extraction using brines, which is the primary method we use on Earth, and is less intensive than other methods.

This would introduce new mechanics, such as building evaporation pools and other terrain shaping in order to make an area suitable for extraction. It'd also introduce a new type of biome, an arid basin with geothermal activity and permeable aquifers. This would also provide an area for extracting water, and using geothermal energy, so it wouldn't be a single-resource biome.

True, thats much better, as you said to break from monotony. Also they could add water pipes to transport the salty water into the evaporation pools.

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5 hours ago, Henek said:

True, thats much better, as you said to break from monotony. Also they could add water pipes to transport the salty water into the evaporation pools.

It'll be pretty cool if the devs end up giving us dynamic water (which will be a serious undertaking). Dam-building and other water management mechanics will be really interesting (would love hydroelectric generators, for example).

Edited by blorgon

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