syterth

Thoughts on the Pre 1.0 release

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I played for about 30 minutes. Given that there's no impetus for building, I think that's plenty. I'll patiently wait for the full release to fully explore!

First impressions: I turned to the side from the initial start and I was immediately struck by the newness of the topography. It was not a shape I was used to seeing in Astroneer. It was great! I have nearly 150 hours clocked on Steam, so it made the game very new again. My immediate thought was to find a tunnel and go spelunking. I strapped a full backpack of oxygen tanks and carried a resin for a mid-trip oxygen filter and went down.

The caves also felt new and interesting. This particular change stuck with me from the initial discussions in the last video with Adam discussing Terrain 2.0. The claustrophobic nature of the first level of caves was a pleasant change. I think Astroneer could really capitalize on the idea of nearness to the player as they dive underground. Even above ground in some instances. Every cave should not be huge and cavernous. Make us dig a bit to access the full path of the cave. I'm fine with that. All new and exciting!

I dug down further. The second layer was also quite nice. I enjoyed the change in shapes. This layer was much more geometric. The ground had crystalline like shapes. I actually really felt compelled to jump in this layer. Skipping from section to section was nice. This layer felt quite different from the first cave area.

Finally dug into the core area. It was massive. Felt very cathedral like, and I appreciated that. It imparted a sense of wonder, and I will build a base in this layer someday. Thinking about the effort to dig down and transport everything and the time to travel to and from...That's daunting. My one issue with this layer (and maybe even the second, now I can't remember) there was a visual bug where it appeared as if the sun was penetrating all of those "miles" of rock. If it's intentional, I want some explanation. Flora that emits lots of light, or glowing crystals, magma...Something. Just having the inner catacombs of a planet lit by the sun is ridiculous and offputting. I did appreciate the views, but make me work for them. I need some lights strapped to my person so I can illuminate the darkness.

Kudos for drastically changing how Astroneer looks! I hope that this really improves the diversity on any given planet, but also makes each planet feel hugely unique beyond some color differences and slight differences in topography as is the current state of the game. I also hope that the different layers of a planet do not behave similarly from planet to planet. If the first is cramped, the second is less so, and the third is quite open every time....Meh. That would be lame. A tunneling vehicle now seems more necessary. Or making the drill on the front of a rover actually work in a useful way...

That's all I have. Like I said, I can't wait! Hopefully I don't have anything important going on in February.

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The new cave system is fun. I would love to be able to slice the planet and see the entire cave system like they had in one of the dev videos. 

I very much want to keep a sandbox / creative mode (like the test planet) for release.

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It's nice to see how the game looks change for the better but there are still issues with such basic things like game not displaying on primary monitor and not saving display settings...

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I mostly agree with syterth's assessment and want to add my own impressions after having played the Exotic Moon tech test for several hours. On first sight, it looked different and pretty, and it actually is. The landscape both on the surface and underground is much harder to navigate when compared to the planets we are used to in Astroneer. Instead of having difficult terrain only in limited areas that can be circumnavigated, the Exotic Moon mostly has rough terrain with occasional, relatively flat calderas. First, I was a little annoyed by this. But now I do enjoy the different playstyle that comes with this moon. I can't just drive basically whereever I want. Instead, I scout with a buggy as far as I can, then continue on foot with tethers to figure out where to build a makeshift road in order to proceed further. It is much slower going than usual, but now I find this relaxing, chugging along in a general direction that I want to explore, using the terrain tool sometimes like a machete, sometimes as a bridge building tool or as a miner's pickaxe to make way. As a side effect, once you have the roads, it is much easier to find your way around and back to base, even without using a single beacon. I find myself planning out in advance where I really want to explore before actually heading off, because it takes so much more effort to go places. For example, I use a small shuttle to get an overview of the moon's surface and decide where I want to go next, i.e. the nearest caldera, or an interesting looking mountain range. I haven't been much in the caves yet (apart from digging to the center of the moon), but what I saw so far appears to be a nice addition to the variety in caves. It seems to be harder to get around, too, but it is a relatively small moon, after all, so distances are generally shorter than on planets, especially underground, where the radius and thus paths along circumferences are even shorter than on the surface. As for terrain 2.0, I found that it performes worse than terrain 1.0, i.e. there is a lower frame rate right from the start. I do like that it is possible again to add terrain directly under your Astroneer, and that uprooted trees disappear instead of becoming even more of an obstacle by lying on the ground. However, uprooting those new plants does neither make them pop nor drop any seeds for me. (I only know of this expected behavior from videos of other players.) I wish that it would be possible to remove all rocks using an inhibitor mod. The bigger ones don't seem to be affected by it, I have to dig them out before they disappear. In conclusion, I'm looking forward to having the Exotic Moon added to the solar system of the main game. If its more demanding landscape will be limited to this moon, then it will be fine, in my opinion. As for creative mode, I already said in the release notes thread that I do like how in-game items are used to implement it for the terrain tech test. My only suggestion for improving it would be to turn both the resource plinth and the gifted amount of bytes into items which the player deliberately has to take in order to use them. For example, place them inside a chest similar to the one used in the tutorial, or make them a choosable startup package/cargo drop offered by the landing pad.

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14 hours ago, Marck said:

I mostly agree with syterth's assessment and want to add my own impressions after having played the Exotic Moon tech test for several hours. On first sight, it looked different and pretty, and it actually is. The landscape both on the surface and underground is much harder to navigate when compared to the planets we are used to in Astroneer. Instead of having difficult terrain only in limited areas that can be circumnavigated, the Exotic Moon mostly has rough terrain with occasional, relatively flat calderas. First, I was a little annoyed by this. But now I do enjoy the different playstyle that comes with this moon. I can't just drive basically whereever I want.

 

This is fine for you but I'm sure the majority of players will be annoyed by this because the old planets were much more fun to navigate. The problem is also the driving physics which clearly doesn't work on a rough terrain.

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