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The slug plug - a way to make plug slugs worthwhile in the midgame


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There`s a lot of discussion about plug slugs being inefficient and consuming valuable resources. The main problem with them is that they produce power for just a small fraction of the cycle. The rest of the time is wasted and given that slugs need to travel to the sleep spot their production is inconsistent. This is why i suggest a special plug station - the slug plug.

It would be a ranching station similar to the shearing station but instead of shearing the slugs will get plugged in to a special box that would allow them to produce power during daytime. It would require a rancher to call the slug in and it will remain there for a certain amount of time or until it gets glum or hungry. It will also leave it during the night. The station would produce half the normal slug power (for balance reasons) and require the slug to be happy to be connected.

This would give us an incentive to use slugs for actual power and try taming some of them, still the ore cost is pretty high but i`ll wait for morphs to adress that. Getting consistent 800W per slug and double that during the night might be pretty good.

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Hmm, honestly i actually like the current concept of power slugs which makes the basically anit-solar panels (used in tandem one has permanent power generation).

The main issue with power slugs is rather their massive metal consumption - and that's mostly because how little the devs care about sustainability. Since the game doesn't allow resource recycling cycles nor did the devs bother to think much about mid to long term gameplay, we only have a few volcanos as our only metal source. The DLC in particular comes with a special metal scarcity while the devs add stuff that destroys metal left and right (power plugs, oxygen masks) because the maps have more then enough metal for the first 10 cycles and everything besides that is apparently long term gameplay, so no need to bother balancing it.

Hmm, i just noticed how salty and upset i get about it. But then again the apparent lack of any consideration for sustainability including in the early cycles really annoys me because how one dimensional and linear it makes the whole DLC gameplay. 

As for the power slugs... just change their diet. maybe it's okay that they eating some metal. but maybe after consuming a specified amount a power slug should become "fully charged/developed" (maybe also change visually like it does from a baby to a mature slug) and from that point on it will have a different diet needing something more sustainable? that would unfortunately still deplete metal because slugs don't live forever and "charging" new ones would cost new metal. But that can be tuned to a manageable amount... unless of course a dead slug would drop something that could be recycled back into metal. And even if their power output remains the same (which is low on average for a late game power option) if their diet is easy to maintain, it doesn't really matter. 

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I actually really like this idea Sasz. However I would go even further. Such an additional, specialised infrastructure needs to be extra rewarding to justify the cost of research & initiative (initiative is essentially the cognitive load that comes from doing things in ONI. Even basic operations & conversions can be very complicated, which means that the pace of play in ONI tends to drag as the player is provided with more things to do. Each task costs initiative on the part of the player, since only the most advanced players will have internalized the game's systems well enough to do multiple things at once). A Slug Plug should double the power output of the Slug, meaning a sudden burst of high-power for the short period that the Slug remains happy & not asleep.

Additional notes

  • Plug Slugs should get a "Recently Plugged in" debuff which prevents them from being plugged in in consecutive cycles. This limits the absolute output of a Plug Slug stable. If a happiness cost were additionally attached this could also be used to create an optimization opportunity for players who are willing to micromanage how long their Plug Slugs remain plugged in.
  • Slug Plugs should cost Refined Metal and be in one of the final two critter-branch researches (aka the two nobody gets until they have to). Slug Plugs would thus serve as a reward for players who are patient enough to keep their Slugs around into the late game despite their extremely poor efficiency.

While I still strongly feel that Plug Slugs need a non-Metal diet, your idea goes a long way to making them more viable over the course of a full game. It also opens up the fun space of a Plugged Slug being the "default" power source for rocket exploration.

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What if different grades of wire allows them to output differently? For example they output more power when connected to conductive wires, and even more when connected to heavi-watt wires and so on. Maybe make the wire material matter in their productivity as well since different metals have different conductivity and all that. This way they'll scale with your tech and planning, instead of just how much metal you can afford to waste.

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