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Suggestion - 3 simple steps to fix Slug problem


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0. Introduction - what's the problem?

At the alpha launch we were introduce to Plug Slugs, critters who eat metal ores and produce power at night. However, wild slugs produced power for free, making some believe that they are overpowered. Other players designed starvation ranches, getting even more free power with inhumane methods. KLEI made a step to fix that, ensuring that slugs provide power based on their happines/calories and encouraging players to take care of them, but this costs great amounts of non-renewable ores, making ranches impossible in a long run. Some may say that you may get rid of your slugs once you reach other means of power production, but as someone who gets attached to my pets - it is not an alluring option for me... To avoid breaking mine and their sluggy little hearts, I'd rather not start ranches only for few cycles and it feels bad when you actively avoid the DLC content...

So, how to fix it?

Step 1. Feeding slugs with refined metals can morph them into inverted slugs, consuming power instead of producing it.

OK, to be honest, this step's idea is not mine. @natanstarke proposed it in "Make a plug slug variant" thread and the idea seems to be appealing for many players. And as long more morphs is always a good idea and there is never enough of them, this really feels like the first step to fully fix slug problem. First of all, refined metal is renewable with volcanos on the map, making it easier to feed the ranches. Second - it can be power sink for the late game, when we produce more than enough power. Great.

But what if players wanted to rely on ranches to provide power even during later stage of the game?

Step 2. Use Shearing Station on inverted slugs morph to obtain metal ores.

Did you notice that slugs are so fluffy? We could use existing building, Shearing Station, to collect the fur of inverted slugs (in this case - metalic wool), and feed it to base plug slugs. This way, the cycle is complete. Slugs eat ore and produce power, inverted morph eats that power and produce ore for the former. Mother nature is happy. This way we could ensure that our power-producing slugs can stay alive and un-morphed during late game. By feeding them with ore, we wouldn't allow them to morph and consume the power. This also opens some potential for nice automation designs, ensuring that we stay at 1-1 slugs ratio.

OK, but if this is closed cycle, how can we get something from it?

Step 3. Use Shrearing Station to increase efficiency of base Plug Slug morph

Back to base morphs and their fluffyness - look, they have plenty of wool. It must be really heavy. If we cut it down, happy little slug would have much more easier life. This way, he could eat less ore or produce even more energy. As a result, we could get something extra from existing cycle base morph - inverted morph. Yes, this would require some job, but what are the ranchers for? They love animals, so let them work with them. And what would happen to the wool after cutting it down? Well - it seems that fiber is out of the picture, since it would be too easy to get it. Therefore, I'd say it could puff into hydrogen.

Summary - what those 3 steps fix?

  1. We get extra morph and we can feed slugs with renewable refined metal
  2. We get power sink option for the late game
  3. We can still use base morph for power without a fear of running out of metal ore
  4. Inhumane starving is gone, but the ranches remain usefull
  5. We get renewable ore source for other desings
  6. We get extra depth for slug ranching and options for nice designs
  7. We get extra usecase for Shearing Station, ensuring it is not obsolete if we decide not to go dreckos
  8. Slugs are happy, ranchers are happy, mother nature is happy, everyone is happy

So, what do you think?

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I killed off all plug slugs. Way too much ore consumption (Ended up struggling with ores coz i killed them off too late).

I guess inverted slugs is something that can be looked into - we have practically unlimited energy at the end.

But the game's space biome is very much over powered right now. I'm 100% relying on solar power. And I got most of the glass from the wrap conduits in the maps. @Ipsquiggle you might want to re balance this.

No meteors means 100% (daytime) solar output. I lined up each biome surface with just solar collectors. 100% clean and unlimited energy.

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4 hours ago, ArunPrasath said:

I killed off all plug slugs. Way too much ore consumption (Ended up struggling with ores coz i killed them off too late).

Yup... thats what I'm talking about... It's a bad desing if best what you can do with new content is to kill it and forget about it...

4 hours ago, ArunPrasath said:

But the game's space biome is very much over powered right now. I'm 100% relying on solar power. And I got most of the glass from the wrap conduits in the maps. @Ipsquiggle you might want to re balance this.

My understanding is that last patch notes removed most of the glass from POIs, so yes - KLEI is aware of it and cheks different things to balance it somehow. On the other hand, if they nerf it too much, swamp asteroid remains with no power source - there are no coal, natural gas, or petrolum sources. And they wanted space to be accesible earlier, so defending against meteors is out of the picture. Someone suggested we could have dust storms sometimes instead, forcing us to clean panels from time to time. It is another nice idea, but in the end I think it is OK if that asteroid had easy access to solar power and struggled with other things, it is fine to have different pros and cons on each asteroid. 

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5 hours ago, ArunPrasath said:

I killed off all plug slugs. Way too much ore consumption (Ended up struggling with ores coz i killed them off too late).

1 hour ago, pether said:

Yup... thats what I'm talking about... It's a bad desing if best what you can do with new content is to kill it and forget about it...

 

This sounds like the Klei evolved design process of the original Mass-Regolith-Raining-down-Problem, where Klei listened to its players and forumdupistas and changed things to the better in the end.

Stay on this guys and complain with good design suggestions, then you will probably get what you want. :p

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I am glad that Pether raised the question about our blue fluffy friends. I really like in the game not only strong engineering part of it but also visuals. I never killed pips but always have them in a nice ranch with plenty of food. 

I like slugs visually but clearly they are not that useful in the current state. I did not feed them as ore was not replenish able and they still live on starvation. 

The morph idea is great - normally even with one metal volcano you have a lot of metal to store when you complete construction at the late game stage. I also see the morphed one to have pink color. Or wait a minute, may be 3 morphs (like slicksters):

blue - the original one

pink - eats refined metal and produce even more power (useful on asteroids that have constant meteor showers)

purple - the one which consumes electricity but increase decoration level and can be sheared at the station

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I keep seeing this pop up on the forum and I've yet to agree with any of them.
For me the issue is more what Klei has given as a mechanic to what players have expected from their own conclusions.

I've been running plug slugs on a couple of runs now and I have a ranch with a max of four - I've been getting up to cycle 400ish without having to worry about the food I've been given them (Sweetle and GrubGrub food is much more of a worry but that's a different story). I don't have an issue with giving them metal ores and quite frankly not sure what you guys are saving up for with the absolute abundance of metal there is now in the game (especially compared to how far down the tech tree we can currently go in the alpha)

By the time you can get to refined metal volcanoes you can also get to a huge amount of gold & aluminium.

I love the dynamic of keeping them fed/happy. Nice bit of early power that can be used in synergy with other power systems, some occasional food and some cute fluffy clouds to look at whilst dupes are building stuff. 
 

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I've had the best luck wrangling slugs into a room big enough that they won't get the "Cramped" debuff, then just leaving them there rather than feeding or grooming them. I also keep a hamster wheel around in case of shortfalls. Yes, each individual slug's power output drops over time, but eventually it lays an egg to replace itself. By the time my power needs have outgrown them, I have access to electrolyzer hydrogen and solar panels.

I think they're just fine as a transitional power source. If they were infinitely sustainable, there'd be no reason to move on to later tech.

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If/when infinite liquid ore geysers are not abailable in Spaced Out! now - it's a big problem now indeed.

Technically, ores are infinite thanks to Printing Pod eke'ing them out occasionally - but, anyway, right now there are as much reason for ranching Slugs as it was in vanilla ONI for ranching Pacu.

Pacu got damn great diet adjustment in DLC - too great, IMHO, since there are not much use for seeds anyway... and Slugs with even more harsh diet were introduced!

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I switched from killing slugs on sight to my personal slug Aushwitz, placing them to starve in a small room. They start with 300 w and then gradually go down to 40w. They will produce an egg so I'll just dropit to hatch and forget it. As  long as slugs eat metal they are worthless to me. Even if I will have hundreds of tonnes of metal I will not touch them simply because they eat renewable resource.

Spoiler

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the only problem with slugs is that they eat non-renewable resources. 

If devs make ore resources renewable, it may solve the problem - a simple way would be to have meteors on one of the asteroids. Ore and regolith meteors are needed in the infinite game.

I also agree that morph ideas are viable.

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My take:

  • Night generation is bad due to how restricted in time it is. It means they have to produce a lot to compensate, which is a problem with wires. Slugs that feed at night and sleep in the day would be much more manageable.
  • Ores are bad food when the output is just power+hydrogen. How about feeding them non-meat, non-egg food instead? We have no sinks for low-grade foods (hatches have terrible conversion here).
  • Hydrogen output is more of a problem than an advantage. Remove? Output polluted water instead? Could be really cool if they attached themselves to pipes to output that pwater or hydrogen, just like they attach to wires now.

While morphs might be a cool idea, I don't think that "add good morph, keep old slugs with their problems" is a good solution.

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What if Plugslugs consumed both refined metal and ores but if a refined metal is consumed it will give back ores in return at a 1:1 ratio. 

This would let you get that power from them early game but end game it would still be viable as you don't burn your non renewables.
Also it will be handy when you need the ore and not the refined metal.

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On 5/6/2021 at 10:31 AM, Coolthulhu said:

My take:

  • Night generation is bad due to how restricted in time it is. It means they have to produce a lot to compensate, which is a problem with wires. Slugs that feed at night and sleep in the day would be much more manageable.
  • Ores are bad food when the output is just power+hydrogen. How about feeding them non-meat, non-egg food instead? We have no sinks for low-grade foods (hatches have terrible conversion here).
  • Hydrogen output is more of a problem than an advantage. Remove? Output polluted water instead? Could be really cool if they attached themselves to pipes to output that pwater or hydrogen, just like they attach to wires now.

While morphs might be a cool idea, I don't think that "add good morph, keep old slugs with their problems" is a good solution.

night generation is good as you have solar panels at day time. Yes, it is short in duration but slugs are very powerful if fed. Let's say Klei will make them produce at daytime but reduce the power output by four times to balance, do you like such idea?

the greatest sink for ANY food is resin tree.

the setup is already very simple - seal the top and put a pump to take out hydrogen which is more valuable than p oxygen; extra power source

if we have unlimited ore, slugs become very useful but in the current stage it is hungry wild 

image.thumb.png.07ab646b617eb27d97982efbd4f8d1b8.png

a problem with slugs and wires?

Spoiler

image.thumb.png.de5212442e6b98b05b4d446eacd103e5.png

image.thumb.png.1747e9943a7bd016747058f92aa46406.pngss

 

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20 hours ago, KonfigSys said:

night generation is good as you have solar panels at day time.

The problem with this is that once you can actually use solars properly, you don't need anything else for a long time. And once you need something else, you can use ethanol.

19 hours ago, gabberworld said:

still its better than nothing even if you not feed them. i personally see that they more useful at early game

Removing the hydrogen output would help with that. By the time you can filter hydrogen, slugs are already bad.

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On 12/6/2020 at 7:58 AM, pether said:

 

  1. We get power sink option for the late game

It's not really a power sink if it enables plug slugs to become viable.

On 12/6/2020 at 5:58 PM, Kevdog said:

I think they're just fine as a transitional power source. If they were infinitely sustainable, there'd be no reason to move on to later tech.

Depends on how they're balanced. If Klei can get the means of obtaining mineral ore as hard or easy as other power solutions it be a matter of choice (the more choices the better in my book) or what the specific map layout allows.

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On 5/6/2021 at 12:31 AM, Coolthulhu said:

My take:

  • Night generation is bad due to how restricted in time it is. It means they have to produce a lot to compensate, which is a problem with wires. Slugs that feed at night and sleep in the day would be much more manageable.
  • Ores are bad food when the output is just power+hydrogen. How about feeding them non-meat, non-egg food instead? We have no sinks for low-grade foods (hatches have terrible conversion here).
  • Hydrogen output is more of a problem than an advantage. Remove? Output polluted water instead? Could be really cool if they attached themselves to pipes to output that pwater or hydrogen, just like they attach to wires now.

While morphs might be a cool idea, I don't think that "add good morph, keep old slugs with their problems" is a good solution.

For some reason this made me think that maybe plug slugs should eat ores and excrete ores (same or different somewhat randomized).

I actually like the fact that they excrete hydrogen; I just don't like how little hydrogen and power you get for the non-renewable ores you sacrifice. I think that changing the mass-energy ratio of transformation for plug slug metabolism, so they eat say 1 Kg/cycle of ore + y Kg of (gas or liquid)/cycle then excrete (less than 1 Kg of some ore [possibly rare ores]) + some amount of hydrogen + some amount of power would be interesting. The mass-energy on the consumption side should be roughly equivalent to the mass-energy to the excretion side. I would be delighted if the amount of ore they consumed actually was influenced by the SHC of the ore consumed, so they'd need less iron ore to meet their metabolic needs than say gold amalgam, and it would be best if they sought to eat high SHC ores before low SHC ores.

In the current situation, they eat 60 Kg of metal ore/cycle but only produce a maximum of 120000 joules in power and 3 Kgs of hydrogen. 60 Kg/cycle for 120000 joules of power or 144000 joules if you burn the hydrogen in a generator is very very expensive given that you're burning metal ore like coal; it makes the slugs a nuisance if anything. In terms of mass, a plug slug is roughly 10x cheaper than a coal generator to maintain and produces 2000 joules of energy per Kg consumed which appears favorable, but the differences in availability of coal and the utility of the materials makes it a very unfavorable exchange.

If we adjusted the current situation pretty much as it is so that the power we're getting is equivalent to the power they're consuming then a tamed plug slug would eat roughly (15.55404145 Kg of copper ore at 20 C) per cycle. Less iron ore or less copper if the copper is hotter.

And to keep with the theme of things. Make them slightly radioactive.

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