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[Feedback] Experience so far with the Mask Station (and possible solutions)


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The concept of it for an early game oxygen solution is nice. The dupes bodies are still exposed to the elements and hypothermia/stress, but are actually able to get tasks done. My prior tactic was always making breath pockets with a wheel/algae diffuser. The new masks are a wonderful idea and a more logical stepping stone that just seems appropriate. But there has been some struggle with them and a few concerns on their function.

  1. The 15kg metal is disposable.
    In a game where nothing is either created nor destroyed, but only changing state, where does this go? I watched it as it expired and the metal was just gone. That's pretty pricey for an early game solution that has a tiny amount of oxygen per use. Which brings me to my next concern.
  2. They leak oxygen.
    The dupes drop the mask on the ground as they cross back to the other side of the Mask Station. When they do this the mask very quickly leaks air, maybe around 100g/s. I did observe this air going back into the environment where the Mask Station was sucking it back up for the next mask, but my dupe walked across, mined 2 things, then schedule dinged break time. That was an entire wasted mask. Not a very fun mechanic in that situation.
  3. The dupes always grab a fresh mask, even if they just dropped a full one on the ground.
    I understand there is an assign. But I find 2 issues with that. First, it is very micro-managy for a disposable mask that holds ~20kg oxygen (this is only 200 seconds, or 1/3 of a cycle ((20,000ox/100gs consumption))). Secondly, the Mask Station is spending more power to pull in oxygen from around the environment because the dupe just wasted the time it takes for the station to soak surrounding O2. Which takes me to...
  4. . The Mask Station is prone to overheating itself by creating a vacuum.
    If this is an intended mechanic to prevent it's long term use then I totally get it, but I feel like the fact that their bodies are exposed to the environment is enough downside that you want to upgrade asap to suits anyways. Maybe if you start using automation to control room pressure, but at what point having to use automation is it no longer a very early game solution?
  5. Dupes walk past the station if power is out.
    And maybe if a mask isn't available? I did see them freely walk through back and forth at one point without masks on while they were charging. Early game you're using wheels for oxygen at remote locations, otherwise the mask station becomes unimportant. It is bound to run out of power. If I have a station up it's very likely I do not want my dupes to pass at all without a mask. All they will do is go ahead and run back to gasp for air, stress themselves out, and spam ping me that they are suffocating. Again I could set up a dupe check point for at least the "if power out don't cross" part of it, but at what point is it meant to be an early game solution vs. needing automation solutions?

possible solutions (in order of points)

  1. Return the metal cost.
    I think it's absolutely fair to keep having to "recharge" the mask in some way, but materials vanishing feels neither appropriate nor fun.
  2. Let them hold more oxygen.
    200 seconds is such a small amount of time. In situations where the mask stations are being used by the time the dupes get to their destination to build/dig/telescope the mask is near depleted. I can understand the thought process of not wanting to use too much power/oxygen because they are a one time use, but 400 seconds would be far better, considering the 600 second cycle. ((25 seconds per schedule block, basic schedules will have maybe 1 bathroom, 3 downtime, and 3 sleep. That leaves 24-7x25= **425** seconds of work time. 400 seconds is a fair assessment of a dupe going straight from bed to task until the end of their schedule)).
  3. Return masks back to station.
    Perhaps have an internal storage with a maximum limit of masks. If you want it to be some kind of metal sink for balance reasons then maybe have recharge require a certain "repair cost" based on the amount of oxygen missing from the mask upon it's reinsertion into the station.
  4. Create a minimum pressure requirement and reduce heat output.
    I think this will help solve a few issues I encountered with the Mask Station. Even a low pressure requirement of 500g is enough to help alleviate some of the annoyance it causes with making a near vacuum. I agree 100% with the long term use punishment of heat, but be a little kinder with an early game solution. It can always be easily fine tune dialed later for harder balance.
  5. Add a do not pass toggle to the station.
    Disabling the building to allow passage also disabled it's ability to recharge. If power went out (or sometimes mask was charging) they passed anyways, though I don't want them to. Wanting it to stop pulling in oxygen doesn't mean I want the dupes to pass. Wanting the dupes to pass doesn't mean I want it to stop making masks. A simple button to allow passage, or only allow passage with mask available would easily solve this.

Overall I absolutely love the Mask Stations concept and I think it is a wonderful early game exploring or building solution and it really helps bridge to the midgame. I just feel in its current state it is almost more taxing to use over just muscling past the dupes huffing and spam suffocation pings.

 

 

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fully support. I tried and stopped using the mask station. I ran through the test game without any suits and masks. If I ran a normal game I would simply do an atmo station as a long term solution. 

I had weird issue with the station. It started working ok for one or two masks and then as the oxygen level drops around the station I could see the following: dup brings metal and makes a mask, as the pressure is low it is not charging and he drops the mask and do another one and he did it like 10 times before I stopped him and turned the station off. and it was like 10 masks laying on the ground!!!

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the mask station is somewhat weird but after some thinking and observing I come to a solution wich maybe is best solution for this building.

on first planet you got plenty of metal-ore but Oxygen is not included.

  1. so get the ore wich was colected from Rover
  2. put it in the storagebin inside the Rocket
  3. get mask
  4. terraforming the planet

oni_mask_usage.png

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Ok, as far as i know the "problem " you're pointing out about the passing dupes without an accessible mask isn't really a problem because in my play through the dupes spot passing when no mask is available what leads to a significant increasing in process time. What annoys me the most are your other points. My dupes dig out one tile and move back just to leave a full mask on the floor.

In my imagination the oxymask thingy works like this: 

You have a station which can hold up oxygen masks that has to be produced with a fair amount of resources available in the first two asteroids. You should be able to feed the station with a oxygen pipe and the mask should be replaced. In this scenario the function is more likely the same as the atmo suits, but why not? This way it is a really good alternative for drecko ranches or other environment where you don't need the hazardous temperature protection and it would work nicely.

Cheers, sorry for bad English 

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9 hours ago, Tanmorik said:

You should be able to feed the station with a oxygen pipe

I actually really like the no-pipe environmental absorption. It's different enough from the atmo suits and easier to function at an earlier stage. I just think it needs a minimum pressure requirement. Early game the 240W (*for the gas pump) can be tougher to come by, especially when we haven't encountered a sustainable power supply yet.

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2 hours ago, Nemisis311 said:

I actually really like the no-pipe environmental absorption. It's different enough from the atmo suits and easier to function at an earlier stage. I just think it needs a minimum pressure requirement. Early game the 240W (*for the gas pump) can be tougher to come by, especially when we haven't encountered a sustainable power supply yet.

Why not both? It should be possible to switch between both modes. I just put a vent next to my oxygenmask station my play through. And even then i have the problem of to slow refill of a new mask.

Edit: i overthink this over again. I am not really a fan of merging two functions. I guess that you can support a oxygen pump when you start building a oxygen mask station,  these station energy cost should then balanced (i don't know the recent amount of power usage).

 

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Feeding the station from the environment seems like a fine alternative to distinguish the device from the exosuit docks. Giving it a decent minimum pressure to operate should fix any overheating problems.

What truly is not fine is however the disposable attitude to the masks. For one it is utterly infuriating to see a dupe pick up another mask, standing right on a pile of perfectly good masks, only to deliver stuff to one ladder, and run back and dump the mask again.

Worst of all, a dupe then runs along to top up the station with a minuscule amount of ore, generating more useless traffic.

I would suggest either getting masks from thin air (dupes also get their tools from hammerspace) or having a one-time cost of refined metal to produce them. This also makes the 200s duration of the mask much more acceptable, suggesting that you should use masks short term. Grab a mask, do a job and return again, instead of wearing them longterm, which would then be rather a job for a proper exosuit.

 

Overall the mask station should not be a hassle to use. It is the lowest tier of environmental protection, and as such should be the simplest to use. Much like the oxygen diffuser as the lowest tier oxygen producers, put down the building, plug it in, and it just works.

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I'd like to start by saying I really love the idea of the Oxygen Mask Station. Having an early game solution for unbreathable or toxic areas is great. It's made all the more necessary by not having access to Atmo Suits until later in the DLC (at least in my current game). However, as others have mentioned I think there's a few quirks to work out.

Mask Reusability - I agree with Whitecold's suggestion of having the masks just be free and like any of the duplicants' other tools. The effective 15kg ore toll seems wasteful and an overhead headache you don't want to deal with early in the game. Keeping the station supplied with enough oxygen seems to be a suitable enough cost already. You could craft masks to make them re-usable, but then you need docks and that's getting closer to Atmo Suits. Not to say that couldn't be the solution, but keeping oxygen masks simple is a good goal.

Air Pressure - Having a setting for minimum air pressure would also really help to prevent accidently suffocating the base's oxygen supply. The default would be something reasonable (400g) but the player could adjust as desired.

Force Dupe Return - This might be a matter of personal preference, but I'd like it if dupes were forced to return back to station when they run low on oxygen. I use the stations as a way of stopping dupes from breathing germs or traveling long distances holding their breath. It seems odd the station would only offer short-lived protection rather than modify dupe behavior past the checkpoint.

Enforce Checkpoint without Power - Early game power generation is pretty unstable, at least in my games. This means that dupes can often just walk past the Mask Station without picking up a mask because the power is out. I'd rather it function as the other suit checkpoints, where the checkpoint itself is not reliant on power. I realize this is tricky though as the Oxygen Mask Station is an all-in-one building. Might need a dedicated checkpoint building.

Largerer Arrow - This a minor nitpick, but it might be a good idea to increase the size of the direction arrow on the station. For newer players, they might not realize they need to rotate the building to work the way they want. Wash basins have huge arrows above them, as they're the introduction to the direction matters concept. The sink has smaller arrows as the player knows what they do at that point.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this building and the rest of the DLC develops. Keep it up guys! :)

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One alternative to mask reusability would be to have the station hold returned masks, but also not prevent a duplicant from requesting a full new mask (at the cost of ore). This would change the cost from every time a duplicant passes the station to every time a mask is fully used.

This means the ore cost still exists (no free masks), but also means nothing is wasted.

The idea is to combine the unused oxygen. If a stored mask and returned mask have more oxygen than a new mask, make a one mask available immediately and store the remaining oxygen and mask inside the station.

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On 12/15/2020 at 9:01 PM, yoakenashi said:

One alternative to mask reusability would be to have the station hold returned masks, but also not prevent a duplicant from requesting a full new mask (at the cost of ore). This would change the cost from every time a duplicant passes the station to every time a mask is fully used.

This means the ore cost still exists (no free masks), but also means nothing is wasted.

The idea is to combine the unused oxygen. If a stored mask and returned mask have more oxygen than a new mask, make a one mask available immediately and store the remaining oxygen and mask inside the station.

I find this to be the best solution for the original idea of the Oxy mask, (a small environmental protection that you should get out as fast as possible). this way you are more inclined to get your atmo suits fast, but making the mask station not be a complete waste of resources.

 

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The issue with absorption of ambient oxygen is that these are often needed at the end of a oxygen friendly area, next to an airlock, where the oxygen is often slim to none (say, heading into a vaccuum, or picking balm lilly).  I end up having to pipe oxygen over to the area where the oxygen station exists anyhow to keep it working.

I agree with this:

On 12/6/2020 at 3:36 PM, Tanmorik said:

 You should be able to feed the station with a oxygen pipe

 

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On 12/7/2020 at 8:36 AM, Tanmorik said:

Why not both? It should be possible to switch between both modes. I just put a vent next to my oxygenmask station my play through. And even then i have the problem of to slow refill of a new mask.

Edit: i overthink this over again. I am not really a fan of merging two functions. I guess that you can support a oxygen pump when you start building a oxygen mask station,  these station energy cost should then balanced (i don't know the recent amount of power usage).

Personally I would prefer for masks to count as suits:

  1. 'Mask' station can hold multiple masks or single suit. This will require an external way to make masks and mask-delivery.
  2. Suit station stays the same, just gets an ability to store both masks and suit (single mask per station)

This will make suits into feasible option inside rockets earlier. Unfortunately proper suit stations are too troublesome in those and take more space than mask station.

P.S. Not sure about jet-suits, perhaps they should be storable as any suit in suit station, just not be fuelable when not in proper station...

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