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Research is currently a pretty simple task:

1. collect "unknown" objects

2. plug into research station

3. hit the button and voila! stuff!

The "unknown" objects themselves seem pretty cool at first but I quickly realized that there are just a few versions of them and despite being organic, mechanical or mineral-esque they all do the same thing. The repetition of the simple steps above becomes a little dry, especially after a few play-throughs when you know what's coming. 

To make the task of researching things a little more engaging and rewarding I had the ideaz of (1) randomizing separate parts of the "unknown's" geometry and of (2) having each unknown/research object unlock a slightly different puzzle or mini-game. A random stack or collection of a few different template geometries (or ideally a whole procedurally generated system for the geometry) could make sure that each unknown looks and feels unique. As for making it interactive: we've seen that finding a specific satellite unlocks a mini-game at your home base and I think it would be fun if each unknown/research object had it's own challenge to solve. This could make it feel like you were conducting the research yourself (could also potentially tie-in with what the result of the research will be, i.e. a spinning puzzle unlocks the drill).

Thoughts?

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I think a neat idea would be either, selecting a blue print and it telling you which types of unknown objects you need (picture or text labels and how many you need) or a combination of you need to discover blueprints then it will tell you what types of objects you need to unlock it.

Option A example:

Tree of blueprints and it shows you what types of objects and how many you need to unlock (some require travel to other planets). EX: select fuel condenser and it will tell you need 5 red /spike research balls and 2 white space ones.

Option B example:

Need to find / discover a blueprint (either new item that needs to be found or current random system). Then it tells you what you need (unknown objects) to unlock that blueprint. EX: walking around a crash site, find a crate with a BP item inside. Pick it up and bring to research base it will tell you to unlock this you need 5 red / spike research balls and 2 white science ones. 

I think this would encourage exploration and lengthen how quickly you can unlock recipes in a fun way. I would be afraid making BPs more rare or behind a puzzle could make it too frustrating and not promote exploration. I want a research system that encourages / excites finding new things and exploring different planets.

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Although I believe they're just placeholders in the game right now, you are right... Each type should use a model specific to the look of it (plant bulb, encrusted mineral, tech box, alien box/artifact), and reflect the possibility of what may included.

Also, research shouldn't always be 100%. Some things will simply remain unknown, or nothing special will be found. Or at worst, for example, a plant bulb produces organic material, and at the extreme, perhaps a pearl.

Researching even coal may expose a diamond, used in other crafts like a focusing lazer or w/e, but may only be found in 1/10 coal, so its expensive to research the coal instead of using it for energy. Risk and reward is always fun.

As you have touched on, unknown tech or alien artifacts may need an "Advanced Research Station" or some kind of extension (found or crafted) that allows a translation/decoder of sorts to deal with alien activity. Perhaps the non-alien tech would require a code, so a mini-puzzle is presented for the player to solve to unlock it, or even put it in an extended "tech decoder: add-on.

Anything is possible, and we can suggest things until the cows come home, but this is the level of depth I would personally like, even though the game is fun as simple as it is right now.

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Adding on to this, it would be nice if research pods would reflect whether or not they've been used. Occasionally, I'll run across something and wonder, "Have I already researched this one?"

Instead of "Unknown" as the name, it could say "Known Object" or something. That way we know, this one is a random item, not a random research.

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On 12/28/2016 at 11:31 AM, Zendule said:

I think a neat idea would be either, selecting a blue print and it telling you which types of unknown objects you need (picture or text labels and how many you need) or a combination of you need to discover blueprints then it will tell you what types of objects you need to unlock it.

Option A example:

Tree of blueprints and it shows you what types of objects and how many you need to unlock (some require travel to other planets). EX: select fuel condenser and it will tell you need 5 red /spike research balls and 2 white space ones.

Option B example:

Need to find / discover a blueprint (either new item that needs to be found or current random system). Then it tells you what you need (unknown objects) to unlock that blueprint. EX: walking around a crash site, find a crate with a BP item inside. Pick it up and bring to research base it will tell you to unlock this you need 5 red / spike research balls and 2 white science ones. 

I think this would encourage exploration and lengthen how quickly you can unlock recipes in a fun way. I would be afraid making BPs more rare or behind a puzzle could make it too frustrating and not promote exploration. I want a research system that encourages / excites finding new things and exploring different planets.

I actually came up with another idea while thinking about Option B. Have meteors fall and sometimes they will contain a new blueprint to be researched. I am thinking this for when new features / blueprints are added to the game they do not have to start a new world to get them, they can be delivered by chance via meteors. This wouldn't be needed if there is an easy way to add items to an already existing world or make an object that contains blueprints that is random like the current system.

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35 minutes ago, Zendule said:

Have meteors fall and sometimes they will contain a new blueprint to be researched. I am thinking this for when new features / blueprints are added to the game they do not have to start a new world to get them, they can be delivered by chance via meteors. This wouldn't be needed if there is an easy way to add items to an already existing world or make an object that contains blueprints that is random like the current system.

Sweet! This could also be another fun hazard to deal with in the game. Also just fun to see some meteors fall and go off hunting for them. In addition to research maybe they could have some rare new resources on them as well. 

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