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A too-thought-out suggestion for Ranching


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               I have to start off by saying when ranching was introduced to ONI I was ecstatic. I adore them and the morphs we currently have and only hope to see more morphs and critters introduced in the future. That being said after well over a year of exploring different mechanics and ways to maximize or exploit critter mechanics I am left wanting more…but only just so. Let me explain.

               In my view ranching has touched on most of the core aspects of ONI which is wonderful, setting itself as a viable core method and approach to colony management and design to provide an alternative to many industrial solutions and introducing different challenges in the process. First and foremost naturally is food. Food can be acquired through various farmed plants of course and that has its own management style, but ranching introduced more complexity through critter care, different material and environment costs to raise them, and even ingenious contraptions with automation or straight up game mods to make critter culling more effective. That alone is wonderful for the game and I love it but it is definitely not the only use for ranching.           

               Next you have your recycling and utility critter ranching; converting less useful resources such as carbon dioxide into oil or petroleum, abundant materials or waste products into coal and sand via hatches and pokeshells, industrial ingredients produced with some clever environment management via pokeshells and drecko, and even a little explored but highly useful alternative to waste water treatment via gulpfish (my personal favorite, far easier than you think). Dirt generation via pips also is critical in the forest biome starts which are also highly useful alongside shove voles for even going so far as to recreate natural zones that once were destroyed so carelessly by dupes! That is incredible!

               Then you get into pufts and morbs! Pufts are a wonderful utility for recycling sublimated polluted oxygen into a useful resource, can be used in the generation of slime for mushrooms or algae distillation, and has a weird symmetry with the unranchable morbs. Ah morbs…my most favorite critter, and yet so neglected. I get that they are meant to be a nuisance and punishment for failing to clean lavatories but they could be so much more. I’ve jokingly talked about florbs and adorbs in the unofficial discord putting out décor or floral scents instead of slimelung as potential morphs. I would love to see my slimy bois useful one day, but alas.

               And then there are gassy moos. They are also adorable. And yet their place as a critter in ranching isn’t particularly effective in my opinion. In order to even acquire them you need to go to space and to feed them you also need to farm gas grass. And they don’t reproduce requiring more trips to space to keep their population thriving. This all requires very late game designs and infrastructure and what do you get for it; a respectable, but not particularly significant amount of natural gas generation. As far as ranching goes I honestly consider the gassy moo more of an aesthetics pet than the longhair slickster and the longhair slickster literally just floats around providing décor and draining o2. By the time you have the technology to get them and ranch them there is a good chance you’ve gotten side tracked and explored the fascinating world of sour gas to natural gas condensing rendering the entire thing a step below useful.

 

               So what is my point? Well, I feel like mid-game ranching falls off, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it does leave an open space that could be explored with new content. Mid to late game critter content is lacking once you rule out the usefulness of moos. So in the interest of that I explored some concepts I had developed for science fiction settings for fun and stumbled on an old idea of mine that I think fits quite well into the ONI universe.

               For your consideration, please acquaint yourself with the Ampere Beetle.

 

               The Ampere Beetle is a multi-life stage critter which progresses from an egg to grub to cocoon and finally to beetle form. Each stage has different requirements and conditions and touches on many of the core mechanics of ONI to offer new ways to play the game, exploit resources, and develop new automation or strategies to maximize usage. Most importantly though in keeping with ONI’s theme of management over combat while there is a conditional stage where the adult beetle may stun or harm others, they are a neutral species just like pokeshells.

 

               Stage 1: Egg

               Ampere Eggs are either generated or laid by adult beetles in soft material tiles as buried objects. They lose viability when not buried unless placed into either an incubation chamber or a compost heap (bonus to incubation in chamber, normal “wild” incubation in compost heap but able to relocate vs leaving as a buried object). Like all critters wild incubation would occur in 20 cycles. If a dig errand is attempted on a buried egg in the presence of an adult beetle the beetle will attempt to stun the duplicant or robo-miner. Eggs will grant a small amount of lime and metal ore.

               Stage 2: Grub

               Ampere Grubs are similar in size and function to drecko, able to scale walls and ceilings. They have a fondness for coal as a food source and will remain in their grub state if only fed coal, refined carbon, or sulfur. What makes grubs unique however is they will also consume tiles of raw ore if given the chance. Wild grubs will consume 250kg/cycle of a metal ore tile and if killed after duplicants can only retrieve 25% of the consumed mass as well as bug meat, as compared to duplicants who when digging a tile receive 50% of the tile’s mass as useable material. Where it gets useful is grubs that are domesticated will instead retrieve 75% of the tile mass, greatly improving limited metal reserves on asteroids with poor metal reserves or limited volcanoes. But you can do more than just killing the grubs. When a sufficient amount of metal ore is consumed, for the sake of argument let us say 5 tons, the grub then will look for a pool of water where it can proceed to the next stage and spin a cocoon.

               Stage 3: Cocoon

               Ampere Cocoons is where things get intriguing. Having stored 5 tons of raw metal ore and subsisting off of carbon products typically used to produce power, refined metal, or the byproduct of sour gas processing Ampere Cocoons do some fun alchemy. Over a 5 cycle period the raw metal stored in the cocoon will be converted into refined metal with a portion of the heat needed to melt the raw metal into its liquid form, much like the refinery, being transferred to the water the cocoon was formed in. This can result in steam production so careful moderation of the water temperature would be wise. If the cocoon ever dries out the process stops and the cocoon begins to lose viability, eventually cracking and dropping a casing to be crushed for lime and a mix of refined and raw ore depending on how long the cocoon was submerged as well as bug meat. While submerged the cocoon will electrolyze water at a very slow rate, taking in the hydrogen to power its refining and releasing oxygen, after all large insects only get so big because of the available oxygen in their environment. If allowed to progress through all five cycles the Ampere Cocoon will “hatch” into an adult Ampere Beetle.

               Stage 4: Beetle

               Ampere Beetles are large (roughly similar size to gassy moos) insects which are docile and bear a pair of horns resembling the prongs of a taser. They produce a passive electric current in the immediate 3 tiles around them, capture-able with perhaps a new type of wire or rods as a ranchable passive power source similar in function to shinebug reactors but legitimately intended and functional without significant FPS loss. As mentioned before, attempting to dig an egg an adult beetle lays will cause them to agro and if they catch a duplicant or robo-miner they will expel an electric shock which can stun and possibly cause damage to machinery or injure duplicants, but will not attempt to continue the fight, just stop the act. Different beetle morphs with different properties could be generated depending on the metal they were fed with as grubs, including but not limited to elegant beetles for gold, steel, and so on.

 

               Additional concepts to support this idea;

               New microbe musher recipes;

Grub Meal – Crafted with a mixture of coal and fertilizer, instantly causes vomiting if consumed by duplicants, if fed to grubs will allow them to consume higher tier metals (presumably you would start with grubs only able to consume copper/aluminum and further beetle generations would produce new grub morphs that would naturally be able to consume higher tier metals, but this would allow you to shortcut the process through food preparation).

Enriched Grub Meal – Crafted with a mixture of enriched coal and sulfur, instantly causes vomiting if consumed by duplicants, if fed to grubs will allow them to consume any tier metal

Pacu Pellets – Crafted by mushing bug meat with sleet wheat grains, causes food poisoning if consumed by duplicants, functions as an alternative to feeding pacu algae and would be more sustainable and reliably produced.

Grubsteak – Crafted by mushing bug meat with meal lice, grisly quality but edible.

 

               New electric grill recipe;

                              Grilled Bugsteak – Grisly quality meal with high kcal content “Rich in minerals!”

               New gas range recipe;

                              Bugsteak Salad – Poor quality meal crafted with grilled bugsteak and lettuce

 

               New Duplicant traits;

                              Insectophobe - +5% stress when near beetles, will vomit if fed food with bugmeat in it.

                              Gourmand - +1 food quality to any meal they consume with bugmeat in it.

               New décor options – can display beetle shells when they die as art pieces, or crush them in a rock crusher to retrieve the refined metal.

               Potential new biome subtype; Hive – Rich in coal and some metal resources with minute amounts of water and oxygen. Would serve as a starting point for the critters to generate in as they would be unlikely to progress through their life cycles without duplicant assistance, but could sustain themselves as grubs until encountered and ranched appropriately.

 

               And that’s all I got at the moment folks, but I hope it was an entertaining read. Chiefly my thoughts on this were to design a creature which would make ranching more engaging and deep while staying true to mechanics and design principles currently in ONI. I hope that has been achieved and look forward to reading your feedback. If you like it, champion it!

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I like the idea of an energy producing critter. Imo it should have it`s own building where the ranchers call it (like the shearing station) and it produces power over time if it`s happy.

I like the idea of a multi staged lifecycle. Other critters could use ti as well, like the pokeshell (it`s suposed to molt multiple times not just 2 based on the description).

I still have my hopes for Gassy Moos producing milk at one point. Could be just a food item that you could ue as an ingredient or just drink.

I like the idea of alternate pacu food.

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Although the idea is VERY intriguing, I feel like something this complicated will never be implemented. It also requires so much interaction that it is basically it's own game.

On the other hand, breaking your concept into different objects would give very interesting additions. Ranchable electricity and stage developement are very neat ideas. Eating tiles and giving back more then the expected 50% is actually a genius idea, congrats on that, there is a lot of creativity to be had around that.

Aside from the too many traits and mechanics on the same object, your ideas are very interesting and the way you developed them is very very tematically close to the game, the name Ampere Beetle on top. Well thought!

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