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Enable emergent gameplay

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Dear awesome Dev team,

While I recognize that we're all just on the very forefront of what this game will become (pre-alpha now,) based on the core gameplay, I have a request that I've seen echoed or hinted-at throughout both the bug and features request forums since Astroneer was released.

Please facilitate players extending the enjoyable life of Astroneer by focusing on enabling emergent gameplay--- creative, surprising things players will do with tools you make available through progression.

As it stands now, Astroneer has two primary intuitive gameplay focal points that create a loop:

1) Explore & harvest 

so you can

2) Progress in making facilities and vehicles so you can circle back to #1

As far as exploring for the sake of exploring, there is a limit to how much enjoyment can be had out of driving across the landscape or spelunking for the sake of doing so.

The human penchant for exploration has mostly been a means to an end; either expanding our understanding of this universe/context in which we live (science) and/or expanding civilization.  

With the research module and progression thus far, you have the foundation for exploring for the sake of science, but it's naturally limited by what you give us to research and thus has limited gameplay life that is dependent on the dev team creating more and more things for us to research.

Right now, Astroneer is very weak in the other means to an end of exploration; expanding civilization. We have only one very crude construction/deconstruction tool.  And we have a limited number of facilities to research and build that, in the end, focus almost solely upon vehicle creation for further exploration (again, back to the gameplay loop.)

It sounds like you want to keep PvP out of the game and diminish the role of hostile mobs in survival mode.  I fully support this!  It's refreshing to play a game not based on guns and weapons (and I thoroughly enjoy a good FPS!)

However, for players to continue to stay interested and enjoy the Astroneer after full release and between larger updates, me thinks you'll need to figure out what emergent gameplay you want to support with your development efforts or you may risk falling into the trap in which No Man's Sky finds itself.  

Hello Games just released their Foundation patch; players, including me, jumped in and progressed and built all the things and now, the community has fallen off of playing again because we did all the things and stuffs provided by the devs--- it's a roller coaster ride of a frenzy of fun gaming followed by a real letdown and waiting on the dev team to give us something more to do.

Thus emergent gameplay--- you develop the tools we discover through exploration and progression and then we, the gamers, have fun doing things with those tools.  So what will the emergent gameplay be for Astroneer?

1) Will it be further progression of facilities and vehicles to support ever-deepening exploration of this corner of the galaxy?  Interstellar travel to vastly more star systems and more planets?  An ever increasing universe released through patches that open up more biomes/planet types and more resources needed for more tools to explore more to research more to explore more to research more to explore more?


2) Is it building/creation/construction and thus giving us the tools for creative competitive gameplay (players outdoing each other's latest creative endeavors, innovating on each others creative wonders or cooperating to create large build-outs through harvesting/making building materials?)

In my opinion, the first is the weaker choice- at some point, the desire to explore to find more materials to progress weakens... and exploration for the sake of exploration is limited by the visual style of the game (the de-volution into a photographer (making screenshots) has limited gameplay life too.)

I would advocate for number 2.  And it doesn't have to be a Minecrafty building block function either.  Your landscape modifying toolset could become much more diverse allowing for all sorts of creative terrain modification.  The printer could become loaded with simple buildable items (windows, doors, more solar panels, furniture, panels for geodesic domes.)  A manufacturing facility could be created that requires all manner of resources to manufacture, say, a Hypertube to another base... or a warp drive spaceship to take us to another star system.  These forums are filled to the brim with ideas that could be plugged into a system that supports this type of emergent and diverse gameplay.

Thanks for working so hard for the community and for communicating so well with us!

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