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Hey all. I mapped out a possible progression as part of a few other ideas. I'm in the middle of a game using this progression chart.

I have to say, it has been really challenging, and really a blast. The hardest part currently has been the fact that you don't start with filters -- I've been following all the Terran rules so far, and just unlocked Filters, so I should be in much better shape.

So far, the gameplay has been vastly changed, and for the better, IMO. On one hand, I got extremely lucky to have a cave system filled with research nodes, laterite and malachite right below my base, but very unlucky that there was very little Resin near me. Rushing in and out of caves before my oxygen runs out is a real thrill, but I'm sure if I had Filters from the start, I would put an even greater premium on Compound. I cheesed out just a tiny bit, in that I glanced through a bugged gap in the terrain and saw Resin right near me, below the surface. I still had to dig a hole and figure out logistically how I could get down and get things up without falling to my death, trapping myself without power, and suffocating.

I've died quite a few times. But the triumph of scavenging the resources to build a generator, or finally build my Smelter was epic! I'm going to keep going on this "hard mode" for a while to see how I do with only building certain things once I've researched a few times on a specific planet. In another post, I will lay out a much more broad and detailed progression idea, but for now I though people might like to try this out as well.

Astroneer Progression Idea.png

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What some may call 'hard mode' I could equally label as 'tedium mode'.  Difficulty for the sake of difficulty "Fight the dragon with your hands, no swords" is hardly inspiring gameplay, or the answer to perhaps bad game design (Weak dragons in Skyrim anyone?)

I have played this game quite a few times now, with different challenges, for example never using Tethers. Sure this was a 'challenge', but it quickly became moot and tedious as all it had me doing was running back and forth between my base more often than I normally would, taking me longer to do the same thing anyway.

In other words, the 'challenge' of not having tethers was simply overcome by 'spending more time'. I don't call that fun or engaging, or even innovative in any way. It also became a moot point as soon as I created a rover, as I could effectively tether to the rover..

So okay, remove the rover for 'added difficulty'. Well that was overcome simply by discovering 2 rocket sites with titanium and creating 2 extra oxygen containers.

So okay, don't use oxygen containers.. Ok, so challenging, but then I'm just back to running back and forth taking longer to do something, but adding nothing to 'fun' gameplay.

We could extend my examples to other 'challenges' like 'never run around, always walk', 'never use vehicles', or 'never use solar panels on backpack'.. If that's fun for people to do, all power to them.

I'd rather see innovation and imagination used when applied to what 'difficulty' is in the game. Its a balance that needs to be found between 'challenging' and 'pseudo-difficulty/tedium'.

Much like in a horror movie, when it's not scary when people just do stupid things - it's scarier when the protaganist is smart, has ability, but simply can't escape and is truly helpless.

 

Okay after all that, there doesn't need to be an explicit "Easy" or "Hard" mode in the game. As was stated in other topics, this would already be handled organically in the game, by creating the challenges on the planets themselves, Terran being the easiest to manage resources, and other planets upping difficulties through design.

 

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I play with no research, one solar, one wind, one battery. 

It's makes decision making fun. I'm fiddling with haing a tether limitation, one or two stacks, 

 

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51 minutes ago, ent|ty said:

Okay after all that, there doesn't need to be an explicit "Easy" or "Hard" mode in the game. As was stated in other topics, this would already be handled organically in the game, by creating the challenges on the planets themselves, Terran being the easiest to manage resources, and other planets upping difficulties through design.

 

I'm not sure you caught what I was going for ... I called it "hard mode" only because I feel the game currently is too easy and isn't much of a survival game when they give you almost everything from the start. The reason I say "Progression", is that certain things should only become accessible when you progress (through researching on a new planet in this case). This challenge isn't to just "take away" elements of the game. Like a lot of good game design ... showing users their current challenge, then giving them the tools to overcome it is where a lot of fun comes from. Take a look through my PNG and tell me what you think. 

Currently I'm on Terran, and my starting equipment is Filters, Beacon and Research Bay. It's made a bit harder because Filters are normally a Researched item -- I'd prefer it if they were available as starting equipment. So, I'm giving myself about 5 or 6 researches to allow myself Vehicle Bay, Smelter, Sm. Generator, and Rover. I just finished up those researches (Thankfully one was Filters, woo!), so I'm going to build a Vehicle bay and Rover next. This makes everything more valuable - mining (or not mining!) oxygen and power. How far I mine, how I use my terrain tool, how deep I go, even what direction I run and whether I should be carrying something!

One of the ideas I'm building into a larger Progression post is the idea of an Escape Pod, which is basically the same as the original Habitat, and is essentially a one-time use Shuttle that can be built from Scrap. Currently, I'll just consider the Shuttle an Escape Pod for this purpose. I might still challenge myself to find a bunch of scrap before I take off on a shuttle.

This is the core concept between progression gating in games. Getting it right, and making it feel authentic is pretty important. Even Minecraft does this by starting you off with literally nothing, then having you harvest wood to build a toolbench, so you can build tools to mine, find better resources, build better tools to mine more stuff faster, which allows you to build more and better items, etc. Another example would be any popular single-player campaign that starts you off with a small weapon, then slowly increases the difficulty while also introducing bigger and better tools to overcome those challenges.

I think what you're referring to is just difficuklty for difficulty's sake. Which I wouldn't discount, because some people love that stuff -- like how popular Skulls became in Halo campaigns.

Edited by Imelin Cane

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1 hour ago, Imelin Cane said:

Hey all. I mapped out a possible progression as part of a few other ideas. I'm in the middle of a game using this progression chart.

I have to say, it has been really challenging, and really a blast. The hardest part currently has been the fact that you don't start with filters -- I've been following all the Terran rules so far, and just unlocked Filters, so I should be in much better shape.

So far, the gameplay has been vastly changed, and for the better, IMO. On one hand, I got extremely lucky to have a cave system filled with research nodes, laterite and malachite right below my base, but very unlucky that there was very little Resin near me. Rushing in and out of caves before my oxygen runs out is a real thrill, but I'm sure if I had Filters from the start, I would put an even greater premium on Compound. I cheesed out just a tiny bit, in that I glanced through a bugged gap in the terrain and saw Resin right near me, below the surface. I still had to dig a hole and figure out logistically how I could get down and get things up without falling to my death, trapping myself without power, and suffocating.

I've died quite a few times. But the triumph of scavenging the resources to build a generator, or finally build my Smelter was epic! I'm going to keep going on this "hard mode" for a while to see how I do with only building certain things once I've researched a few times on a specific planet. In another post, I will lay out a much more broad and detailed progression idea, but for now I though people might like to try this out as well.

Astroneer Progression Idea.png

Resources graphs aren't really accurate.

 

For example, on Barren there are trace limits of Resin and Compound and you've set them as Common.

Devoid of Coal, Lithium and Titanium. I can confirm at least for Coal and Titanium that it can be found if you dig enough.

 

I'm not going to go in depth with the others but I am pretty sure that those are incorrect (at least partially).

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Just now, piespace said:

Resources graphs aren't really accurate.

That is completely correct -- these are more things that I would expect to see on each planet from a progression perspective. I have a different sheet with what I think is how the planets currently operate. For progression, it made more sense to me to have your first step offworld to focus on researching and dealing with a lack of organic and wind. At some point I moved Solar Panel down to Tundra, and I'm not sure why. I should move it back to Barren, as that is a good hurdle to overcome for a planet with (I think should be) almost exclusively solar energy available to it.

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1 minute ago, Imelin Cane said:

That is completely correct -- these are more things that I would expect to see on each planet from a progression perspective. I have a different sheet with what I think is how the planets currently operate. For progression, it made more sense to me to have your first step offworld to focus on researching and dealing with a lack of organic and wind. At some point I moved Solar Panel down to Tundra, and I'm not sure why. I should move it back to Barren, as that is a good hurdle to overcome for a planet with (I think should be) almost exclusively solar energy available to it.

I personally think that the current solar system is not what it's going to be in the end state. Imagine this is a sandbox where you can test out each type of world individually.

Each planet you see is a type of world. In the end result, I imagine that solar systems will be generated on the spot and can contain any number of possibility.

Example: 2 terran, 1 radiated, 1 tundra with 3 barrens, and in the future possible asteroid belts, comets, other types of celestial objects.

 

You need the homeworld (starting planet) to have pretty much all resources needed for tech tree progression but can lack non-essential resources (like lithium, coal, etc)

This falls under design and it's too soon to actually talk numbers.

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Just now, piespace said:

I personally think that the current solar system is not what it's going to be in the end state. Imagine this is a sandbox where you can test out each type of world individually.

This falls under design and it's too soon to actually talk numbers.

I agree that the layout and availability of planets may change a bit, but I would expect more just an expansion beyond the 6 available now, rather than see 2 or 3 of a given type, or devoid of another. More importantly, I think the current availability and scope of research and resources will likely change drastically before even Beta, let alone release.

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16 minutes ago, piespace said:

Devoid of Coal, Lithium and Titanium. I can confirm at least for Coal and Titanium that it can be found if you dig enough.

I'm thinking now that trace elements on almost all planets is feasible, even in progression, given the idea that your digging depth would be limited at the beginning based on your available tools, but returning later with more things unlocked could be a necessary way to get more resources.

Edit: Especially on Terran.

Edited by Imelin Cane

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2 minutes ago, Imelin Cane said:

I agree that the layout and availability of planets may change a bit, but I would expect more just an expansion beyond the 6 available now, rather than see 2 or 3 of a given type, or devoid of another. More importantly, I think the current availability and scope of research and resources will likely change drastically before even Beta, let alone release.

Well, everything design wise should already be sorted by the time it hits Beta.

Once it's Beta, it should be 95% fixes and improvements.

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The planet Key is excellent.

The amounts are inaccurate.. but mainly because everything is fairly random.. the moon can be born with loads of titanium or none at all.. resin and compound is always found in caves.  So it is common..

All the resources can be found on all of the planets.  Just in different places, levels of biome etc.

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On 2/8/2017 at 6:03 AM, Martin said:

The amounts are inaccurate.. but mainly because everything is fairly random.. the moon can be born with loads of titanium or none at all.. resin and compound is always found in caves.  So it is common..

All the resources can be found on all of the planets.  Just in different places, levels of biome etc.

Yeah, I should have been more clear when I posted this - those were things I was working with as ideas for what could be found, not what's actually available now. Compound and Resin seem to be Rare or Trace on some planets already. Coal tends to be really abundant on most planets (Tundra and Radiated, I've found lots, even just below the surface). And then there are varying amounts at varying depths, though they don't seem to be tied to much progression as of yet.

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