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Swampy Asteroid seems boring after early game, and some other thoughts


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As alpha access draws to a close I'd like to give some feedback.

First order of business, new traits, which are a mixed bag to me. The flat stat bonuses and maluses seem boring. They may be the most balanced ones, but in terms of fun they can't hold a candle to the Nyctophobia trait (and no, I'm not ashamed of this one). I'd love more unique traits, pretty please. The free skills traits are somewhere in the middle. You can start the game with a Tier 2 (or even 3) miner, a Rancher, and a Mechatronics Engineer, which certainly is a very unique boost. Funny enough, that miner will be unable to dig granite without tier 1 mining skill. But that's fair.

The early game in the starting biome is lots of fun. It's certainly on the easier side of things, with lots of potential water and oxygen-producing resources, and even 4 slugs that give absolutely free electricity. But it's fun, with constant cave-ins, off-gassing. Indeed, what duplicant doesn't like to play in the mud? My biggest pet peeve is that visually the swamp is kind of a blur. Maybe that is befitting for a swamp, but I still don't like it. A lot of elements have a similar palettes and textures, and in the end I gave up entirely on trying to tell apart polluted dirt, polluted mud, mud, dirt, and fossil. I just mined everything away.

The midgame was okay, helped by abundance of ice nearby, so heat is not a problem. But I wonder why all the new wild life is of the KILL IT WITH FIRE variety? (Except slugs, slugs are cool). I guess no sugar for me, because I am so building a flame thrower. Mounted on some tank, just to be sure. Oh, wait, no oil initially. Next plan, DROWN EVERY BUG!

A lot of people rightfully noted how game-changing safe space is. I liked the ease when it came to setting up observatories and rocket pads. It's a very 'ghetto' feel, absolutely in line with the overall experience of the swamp biome. But solar panels? Not so much, they are just too good. But I see no reason why our home asteroid can't have reduced sunlight levels, so solar panels would be taken down a bit, but only on certain asteroids.

Anyways, I loved the cross-asteroid exploration/colonization aspect, done differently with early rockets and teleporters. It's also a stronger exploration experience than the simple map reveal we do in vanilla. Stumbling upon the Gravitas reception hall on some distant asteroid will be a much stronger wow moment for a new player than simply surviving long enough to dig upwards.

My biggest issue is that with only two geysers, both of which are trivial to harvest, the starting asteroid feels pretty boring. So I thought how the biggest map of the cluster by far has the least amount of renewable resources. On one hand, the need for new resources is what's supposed to force the player to explore and expand. On the other, the procedural generation aspect is gone almost entirely. In vanilla you can get all sorts of crazy geyser combinations, some of which can lead to interesting and unique builds.

So why not have both? All you need is to gate geysers behind... something. For example, why not bury a bunch of geysers deep in the magma biome? (maybe embiggen said biome as well, or sprinkle some fully uncovered volcanoes there) Without fibers for suits and plastics for turbines it will be extremely hard to reach them. But once you import these resources from your colonies, your metropole will experience a new phase of exploration and industrialization. Wouldn't that be cool?

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11 minutes ago, Aeshka said:

The early game in the starting biome is lots of fun. It's certainly on the easier side of things, with lots of potential water and oxygen-producing resources, and even 4 slugs that give absolutely free electricity. But it's fun, with constant cave-ins, off-gassing. Indeed, what duplicant doesn't like to play in the mud? My biggest pet peeve is that visually the swamp is kind of a blur. Maybe that is befitting for a swamp, but I still don't like it. A lot of elements have a similar palettes and textures, and in the end I gave up entirely on trying to tell apart polluted dirt, polluted mud, mud, dirt, and fossil. I just mined everything away.

The new starting biome seems tailor made for a top to bottom strip mining operation.  Here we are on cycle 31 without a sweep command having been issued.  Plenty of food from digging.  The only trick is to protect that 5 tons of H20 while you let gravity take care of the PH20.  Granted the gods of randomization deemed this to be a small starting biome with a paltry 5 bog bucket seeds hence the mush bar operation, while the crops come in. But, it's much easier to strip mine then to try and control the ceiling collapses and PH20 playing more traditionally. 

 

STRIPMINEDSWAMP31.thumb.jpg.a07c57abe89b0b182a5ef4222ddea314.jpg

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15 minutes ago, Kderosa said:

Granted the gods of randomization deemed this to be a small starting biome with a paltry 5 bog bucket seeds hence the mush bar operation, while the crops come in.

Are you sure that scarcity isn't pacus' fault? I can't be certain, but it wouldn't surprise me if they ate some of my initial seeds. (I did not have to resort to mush bars, however)

I'm okay with strip mining starting biome from top to bottom being best strategy. I just wish the textures were more distinctive between muds and solids like it is with sand vs other elements of sandstone biome.

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13 minutes ago, Aeshka said:

Are you sure that scarcity isn't pacus' fault? I can't be certain, but it wouldn't surprise me if they ate some of my initial seeds. (I did not have to resort to mush bars, however)

That's entirely possible given the new critter ability.  Time to start building an early seed compactor

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tldr; New starting biome is good.  Rest of the new planet isn't.  Oily planet isn't interesting nor can you really use it without exosuits.  Current rocketry options are not good for this planet.

It sounds like you had a similar experience to me.  I was going to write up a post about the new starting planet, but a lot of what needed to be said has been said here.  I'll echo a few points.  Swamp's good.  Plug slugs are good, but putting them into the normal electric grid is more complicated than most players have to deal with in their usual grids.  Solar is too powerful, or at least too boring since it's an extremely easy set and forget.  Geysers are too easy and aren't that important for a long time given how much water we start with in the swamp.

Now for the rest of the biomes.  Desert is kinda eh.  I like the idea of the new plant that needs critter tending to get the most out of it, so you have mixed farm ranches.  Though once they're in place there isn't anything to them.  Both the critter and the plant need sulphur, which the only practical source of is mining.  So just keep extracting that and there's nothing else to think about there.  Grubgrubs are flat out overpowered, if they're wild.  Just put a couple on each of your farm plots and let them roam around giving huge boosts to growth rates for free.  The rest of the desert is nothing really to speak of.  You get sandstone, copper, and sand from it.  That's about it.

The other two main biomes on the map are ones we've seen before.  Ice and toxic.  The first is a good source of water and cooling, plus wild sleet wheat for free food (though labor intensive when making frost buns).  Toxic is where you get vital resources in algae, coal, iron, phosphorite, and pincha peppers.  Nothing new here, we've seen it before.  Though those peppers aren't terribly useful without natural gas to run your gas range.  It's only noteworthy in that the toxic is harder than usual to get to, so coal power is less practical than solar and plug slugs.  While easy access to ice means that cooling industry is much easier, if you have industry to cool.

Lastly there's the new space biome full of dirt and copper, and the badlands's wasteland with refined iron and coal.  These aren't noteworthy other than being sources of more metal (which we are otherwise short of).

This really isn't much to work with.  After you get passed the early game, you quickly find that the asteroid doesn't offer anything that useful for you to move on.  Oddly the oily asteroid you can teleport to doesn't really add much either.  First there's nothing new there.  It's sandstone, tide pool, rust, and oil biomes.  You can pick up mealwood, bristle blossoms, waterweed, and nosh sprouts from there, but you already have plenty of sleet wheat on the starting planet.  Importing the small ethanol pockets sitting around seems like the only real thing you can get there of use for the main asteroid without exosuits, but the main use of that is for making CO2.

EDIT: Hatches are a big deal and probably the most valuable thing you can get on this asteroid without exosuits.  Unfortunately this is still a critter which takes a long time to build up full ranches and then the industries it supports afterwards.  You'd want them long term, but if you've run out of other things to do a hatch ranch won't give your dupes much to work with in a short time.

Which brings me to rocketry and my main issue with the new asteroid.  Our two fuel options are sugar and CO2.  Yet our only real source of CO2 on the asteroid is likely to be dupes.  Coal is quite limited and solar is easier anyway.  The only good option for making lots of CO2 is to import the ethanol to burn.  Sugar on the other hand comes only from sweetles.  That means a bunch of mandatory ranches for access to regular fuel, since we have no alternative industries to make it that you can quickly scale up into.  Your farm + ranch combinations are also a bad idea for this, since that makes all their eggs into grubgrub eggs which don't make sugar.  We also need the sugar to cook the food from those farms.

CO2 would be a fantastic rocketry option, if we had access to natural gas, wood, oil, or some other new industry/crop that produced lots of it.  Sugar has no building that can be used to make it.  So rocketry is not a natural progression on these starting worlds.  It's something really awkward to go into.  But the world doesn't really have anything to do on it after you get past the start.  It's just a good source of water for later worlds.  So the world feels like one we should be trying to leave, but our tools aren't suitable for doing so.  They involve a lot of waiting for CO2 to build up or for sweetles to gradually convert sulfur to sugar.

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9 minutes ago, mathmanican said:

I build one and set it to only accept seeds with priority 9. Then I proceed to strip mine every last bit of off-gassing stuff.

Right. In the terra biome most of the seeds are getting used as fast as I can find them, but this biome appears to need some very early seed storage

10 minutes ago, DarkMaster13 said:

But the world doesn't really have anything to do on it after you get past the start.  It's just a good source of water for later worlds. 

The only real challenge is raising the temperature of all the polluted and salt water from the slush geysers is to a useable temperature (for conversion to H20 which must be above freezing and for plants which which must be even hotter) is to use the heat from the wasteland biome which slowly rises due to the magma biome below.  I just use gravity to drop most of all that cold water down there where it all heats up for free.

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19 minutes ago, Kderosa said:

The only real challenge is raising the temperature of all the polluted and salt water from the slush geysers is to a useable temperature (for conversion to H20 which must be above freezing and for plants which which must be even hotter) is to use the heat from the wasteland biome which slowly rises due to the magma biome below.  I just use gravity to drop most of all that cold water down there where it all heats up for free.

When desalinating brine minimum water temperature is fixed to 40C, so that was not an issue for me. And when I got to cleaning pH2O I realized there is no free filtration medium falling from the sky, so if I ever need that water, I'll just use fish or good old boilers anyway.

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6 minutes ago, Aeshka said:

And when I got to cleaning pH2O I realized there is no free filtration medium falling from the sky,

Plenty of sand in the desert biome that needs getting rid of in case you need more H2O at some point. Also, some ares of the wasteland are too hot to excavate without scalding. So this kills two birds with one stone. 

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I believe it’s supposed to be boring. You are funneled into exploring other asteroids instead of completely focusing on one asteroid. And honestly this game is mostly pretty boring lol. Digging the whole map isn’t exactly loads of fun. 

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17 hours ago, Kderosa said:

The only trick is to protect that 5 tons of H20 while you let gravity take care of the PH20. 

Don't protect it. The only liquid I try to keep separate are temperature state changing liquids.. like 130 C oil away from water. Even ethanol can be mixed with salt water for me although I will say.. It requires unnecessary dupe work/time to filter it out but still I just strip mine.

16 hours ago, Kderosa said:

The only real challenge is raising the temperature of all the polluted and salt water from the slush geysers is to a useable temperature (for conversion to H20

Soon enough I'll have plastics and use steam turbines to desalinate water but the desalinator itself poops out water at high temperature. The polluted water I use with metal refinery just once and cycle it into a tank of 25 C water (use tepidizer with automation in case it gets cold)

I believe the starting biome is supposed to be easy and a set it and forget type of map where you pull almost all of your dupes out of into other asteroids. You're supposed to just let it work itself providing you water in which this game means EVERYTHING. Good game design in my opinion. 

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22 hours ago, misotoma said:

Soon enough I'll have plastics and use steam turbines to desalinate water

That works well for a standard salt water geyser, at 95C. For the brine one, it takes an incredible amount of energy to boil it. The standard desalinator building is way cheaper.

Unless, of course, you also build a heat exchanger, petroleum boiler-style. Whether it's worth it, idk.

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4 hours ago, TheMule said:

That works well for a standard salt water geyser, at 95C. For the brine one, it takes an incredible amount of energy to boil it. The standard desalinator building is way cheaper.

Unless, of course, you also build a heat exchanger, petroleum boiler-style. Whether it's worth it, idk.

Hmm I was just thinking of dumping it on a steel bed drawing heat from  magma.. using pneumatic doors obviously for temperature control

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On 12/6/2020 at 1:59 PM, DarkMaster13 said:

Which brings me to rocketry and my main issue with the new asteroid.  Our two fuel options are sugar and CO2.  Yet our only real source of CO2 on the asteroid is likely to be dupes.

CO2 would be a fantastic rocketry option, if we had access to natural gas, wood, oil, or some other new industry/crop that produced lots of it.  Sugar has no building that can be used to make it.  So rocketry is not a natural progression on these starting worlds.  It's something really awkward to go into.  But the world doesn't really have anything to do on it after you get past the start.  It's just a good source of water for later worlds.  So the world feels like one we should be trying to leave, but our tools aren't suitable for doing so.  They involve a lot of waiting for CO2 to build up or for sweetles to gradually convert sulfur to sugar.

 

Actually, there's a much easier way.  Pump water from Asteroid 1->Asteroid 3 using the warp pipe.  In Asteroid 3, convert the water into oil.  Pump the oil back to Asteroid 1, and convert to Petroleum.  Burn the Petroleum and Natural gas for CO2.

 

Temperature control is easy.  If you can't regulate by by switching geysers, aquatuners or tepidizers, powered by solar, can manage your heat or cold.

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Swamp asteroid is very...unsatisfying. 

All you do is strive to generate as much oxygen as possible and gather enough water for sieve and then it's a slog. Starting asteroid has only 2 geysers, mostly last or polluted water and establishing a SPOM there is a slow and tiring process.

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