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Thread: There and back again. TheMartian's tale

  1. #1
    Kickstarter Alpha Nomad
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    Aug 2016
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    Post There and back again. TheMartian's tale

    This story has no dragons. Or elves. Or dwarfs, goblins, orcs and most certainly no hobbits!

    And, no lonely mountain. Just a lonely nomad on a lonely alien planet.

    One sunny day somewhere on planet 0.5.4-survival-test-2 after building a beautiful two story base, complete with uranium reactor, garish white lights and a viewing deck TheMartian decided to pack his bags and go on an adventure. Filling his Mk2 jetpack with enough goodies to last through a goodly number of second breakfasts and elevenses he set off north to discover new biomes and hopefully find a stash of elusive xaenite so he could upgrade his rather dismal equipment which was a barely adequate Mk2 standard.

    Northwards he trekked, from the temperate climes of his home into sub-tropical forests where he met new and interesting beasts. And killed them. At first progress was quick, but entering the tropical zones the land became very mountainous and the forests were as thick and foreboding as Mirkwood. Here the land was terribly broken as though a giant had scooped chunks of the earth away from hillsides with his oversized hand. Terrible rains of searing radiation pelted our intrepid explorer and he was forced to take many breaks in his hastily built stasis chamber.

    As the tropical environment took its toll, TheMartian realized that soon the daily second breakfast and elevenses would have to go and rationing would need to be introduced if he were ever to make it out of the building horror of the tropical biome. Ever resourceful, he gathered materials and food stuffs and soon built a makeshift home providing food, wonderful food and lots to drink. With such an abundance of resources become apparent he even managed to make the most delicious dishes and refreshments, guaranteed to keep an adventurer on the go for many an hour.

    Northwards he pushed, and as the tropics gave way via long stretches of water and inhospitable terrain to sub-polar regions, he sighted rocks containing the elusive xaenite! Whats frabjous day this was. Quickly he mined the precious metal. Oh, my precious! And soon upgraded all of his equipment to Mk4. Emboldened, he packed his final camp and headed north, eating up the miles and feeling confident in his new armour and weapons.

    But as he entered the polar biome, conditions became worse. Freezing cold started to eat into his bones and a terrible thirst gripped at his throat! The land became barren of all life and there was naught to sustain him on the uncounted miles. Freezing cold seas sapped his strength as he half flew, half swam them until gasping his last breaths did he manage to build his stasis chamber and then collapse into death's cold grasp.

    With nothing to sustain him on the long, long journey over the frozen pole and so distant from home, seemingly as distant as his home planet so many light years away, he lurched from one mile to the next, exhaustion from the conditions wearing him to near death, with little to no food to live by and then waking again in his stasis chamber the next day ready to repeat the whole cycle.

    Day after day the nightmare continued, and yet our plucky explorer managed to gather enough of the precious xeanite metal in his pocketses to last for many a long year to come.

    Soon though, the polar wastes gave way to the first vestiges of hardy vegetation and animals brave and hardy enough for the slightly better conditions. TheMartian felt like this was paradise compared to the trial just endured! Quickly he gathered resources and replenished his pantry, enough to see him for the long trip home as somewhere in the depths of the polar nightmare, his pointer to home base had flipped over and the journey home had begun!

    And now, emboldened and refreshed and with improving weather and terrain, his suit and jetpack worked so, so much better. In the frozen wastes it was as though his equipment was defective and feeble. Now however he could fly for long, long distances and swim underwater for an age before running short of breath. No more cold fingers of death reaching through his Mk4 suit pulling the life from him like some vampiric wraith bent on sucking out his soul.

    With only a few stops and benign terrain TheMartian made headway at a rapid pace until he crested on final hill and saw in the near distance the beacon atop his abode, shining a golden shaft into the sky. He was home! Back to his little base of humming bio generator, FAD, other machines and beautiful, sterile, unfurnished and garishly lit home!

    TheMartian had done it! He had been there and back again and come home with a sackful of booty to sleep on like a Smaug on his treasure horde!

    The End.

    I hope you enjoyed my little ditty. If English is not your first language I hope you managed the style. It's probably not something you see every day

    Now, on more serious matters, a little analysis of my experiences of this journey some critical comments.

    I like the biomes. There is a definite feeling of what each one is by the vegetation, animal life and atmospheric conditions. It rained a lot in the tropics, snow in the polar regions. Transitions between biomes was gradual and one got a real sense of moving from one to the other in a natural fashion.

    One criticism I will make is the polar and sub-polar biomes do not have any pack ice or ice floes/ice bergs. This needs to be included to make the biomes more realitic, especially given the effects of the temperatures in these regions.

    Also, the progression of the biomes didn't make proper sense, entirely. On the planet the sun rose in the east and set in the west (like Earth). I set out heading north and from my starting point it was temperate, then sub-tropical, tropical, sub-tropical, sub-polar, polar (now at the most northern point of my journey), then heading south, sub-polar, sub-tropical, tropical, sub-tropical, temperate (back home). At the most north point in the journey the sun was low on the southern horizon. That would align with an Earth like orientation to the Sun. Given that I would have expected to encounter a south pole. I did not, so it doesn't make any sense in that respect. Just a minor point (and I don't miss not having a south pole after freezing my ass off so much already), but if the aim is to make the planet realistic to a greater extent then the rules of celestial mechanics need more consideration.

    In general, this was quite well done. I encountered plains, lake, seas, rolling hills, rocky sections, mountains (of varying heights and slopes) and cave systems. No real issue here.

    One major problem was the extent of "broken" terrain. Lots of holes in the ground (probably from the cave generator algorithm). This needs work, especially if wheeled vehicles are expected to be used. I found a particular problem in the tropical biome where it was very hilly and extremely large trees growing on the side of the hills had huge chunks of ground missing from the base of the tree and down slope. Additionally with the extent of water that is around, some form of water borne transport is needed e.g. hovercraft.

    The environment of each biome in general exhibited conditions one would expect, Rain, snow, temperature, Additional aspects such as radiation and poisoning are nice touches.

    The impact of adverse environment effects however need balancing (or fixing). I found (even wearing Mk 4 suit and jet pack) that as the biome became more extreme (e.g. from temperate to polar) the ability of the equipment to offset the effects became exponentially worse (instead of linearly). So for example in a sub-polar region, I might lose temperature at a rate 2 times over a temperate biome, but the polar might be 8 times over a temperate climate. It just seemed far too extreme given the level of equipment I had (all Mk 4).

    In particular I found in the polar region the most dramatic effects on:
    temperature loss
    water consumption
    jet pack flight time
    suit energy recovery time
    oxygen usage and recovery time (usage underwater and then recovery flying over water)

    In short, the Mk 4 suit and jet packs were almost useless. Given the expected bonuses of the suit I expected better and the jet pack should not have suffered in its flight time regardless of conditions.

    There doesn't seem to be any way of swimming without being fully underwater and eventually suffering oxygen debt unless one can jet pack out to recover. This needs work, else the more advanced suit should provide a far longer time underwater before getting low on oxygen.

    Jet pack needs more utility in flight. A key that allows one to hover a set height above the ground would be nice. At the moment one has to modulate the spacebar to ensure one doesn't get too high as the suit power drops so you don't injure yourself on landing. Maybe the Alt key could do this and keep the person say 2 meters above the terrain as long as the key is pressed.

    Water gathering. This is a chore. One press and hold down for 4 seconds (?) to get one water is a real pain. Please make it 2 or even 5 water per press. We have real lives to lead other than mindlessly pressing a key for minimal return.

    Dead mobs rolling down hills. Annoying in the least. I got smart and blasted a hole in the ground down slope they could fall into so I could loot them easily, but still, it needs to be fixed.

    Can't move because my foot is caught on the edge of a storage box (or some other minor object). The number of times I had to jet pack out of this situation....

    Lastly, I can't think of anything else to do in PN. I built everything I needed to build (I'm still not happy with the building system or unlock system, but that's another issue I detailed elsewhere), seen different biomes, effects and circumnavigated the planet. I hope there is more in the works to keep me interested beyond this.

    There is probably more, but it's late and I'm tired. If I think of anything else I'll add it to this thread.

    TheMartian is out!

  2. #2
    Kickstarter Builder Nomad
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    Feb 2016
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    This story has no dragons. Or elves. Or dwarfs, goblins, orcs and most certainly no hobbits!
    Great, now even my mom will let me read it

    All kidding aside, some good points and suggestions here. I must admit that I think the downhill rolling animals are funny and I apply the same solution as you do. I'd say this might be connected to the same issue the physics engine is having with driving uphill, the downforce is too strong.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Wazbat's Avatar
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    Jun 2015
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    This is suprisingly well written

  4. #4
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    Jul 2017
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    Made me think I should write something (fiction) in a similar vein.
    Not to show off anything
    Last edited by Trilobyte; 09-09-2017 at 10:04 PM.

  5. #5
    Kickstarter Alpha Nomad
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    Oct 2016
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    I had a south pole on my planet

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