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Thread: Keeping challenges high

  1. #1
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    Keeping challenges high

    Ongoing discussons with my gaming partner make me post once more (defying my contrary announcements).

    It is along post and as my keyboard has compatibility problems with this forums text editor it was bad to read at first.

    Menzagitat was so nice and edited the text for me :-) TX a lot !


    EDIT: Please scroll down thread to find more suggestions, this time edited by me - not as beautiful as Menzagitat did it :-(

    This thread is mainly summarizing what players say in their reviews and suggest in their postings plus some of our own observations and tries to add all up and suggest solutions.
    Our minds are not perfect and we will surely miss good ideas already posted so be free to expand the thread.
    But please keep to a more generalized view on enhancing game performance to not make the thread too overloaded with details which are better discussed in the main "suggestions" thread.

    Last edited by oh016; 04-06-2018 at 02:55 PM.

  2. #2
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    I will edit your post because I cannot read it
    If you like how it will look, I can delete my comment and you can put mine in the original post.

    (edit below, as good as I could without changing much)

    Ongoing discussions with my gaming partner make me post once more (defying my contrary announcements).
    Notice: I will not edit this text - too long and I still have problems with this forums text editor. Since this text is too long to write it without being logged out by the forum routines I have to copy and paste it. Just fight your way through glued words.

    The big plus of PN is that it is an extremely variable game concerning collecting, mining and construction allowing for a lot of different styles of game-play
    Its main problem currently is that highest technology level and access to everything is reached far too easily and once you have arrived there is no need to do anything more except follow your creativity if you like that. Most players will use what is available to make the game-play as easy as possible and then be frustrated that they are through too quickly. Thatīs simple psychology. Only very disciplined survivalists create their own challenges and those are not the majority.

    So what could be done to keep challenges up but still make it not too difficult to start for newcomers?

    Advanced players know to build an open shelter is enough to be secure from weather or climate conditions. That is not realistic.
    An open shelter should give only 50% reduction of weather or climate impact and only a wall enclosed base should give full security. Working with only roofed shelters reduces or nullifies the need for medication and the effect it has on vitals happens much too quick - just hop in, wait some seconds, hop out.

    Currently Suit Mk4 offers too much protection in the "normal" areas reducing the need for food and drink too much. You can easily keep going for several days without eating or drinking, so once you have reached the level you get superfood and electrolyte water you do not need them any more (except in extreme emergency situations).

    Jetpack hover effect is very reduced in extreme areas (f.i. high mountains, desert) which is very realistic. This makes it more difficult to build or climb in these regions. But the effect can be easily avoided by not going there.

    Mountains at the poles are difficult to pass with an aircraft, but an aircraft will take the player to every other region in the game. As there is no necessity to fly to the poles you can easily get your xenith in the desert. Once the players has success in building a working aircraft nearly every place can be reached easily and fast.

    There is no need to explore the whole planet - a N-S strip on the map will do to achieve highest level. This might be changed by getting the monuments and the need to collect all journal entries into the story, but still it is easy to travel to places when you are already on the highest level, it is just the boring task of many flight hours.

    So some suggestions to make gameplay at the highest technology level interesting again:

    No fly and less jet-pack hover areas (however that is achieved)
    We could think of "alien" technology to explain for these regions. Some or all alien wrecks could be affected in a certain radius (km) and the introduction of further alien artifacts would allow for even more of those areas.

    For aircrafts there could be "alien" air barriers around certain locations - the player being properly informed by some means when he gets close. This would force players to revert to going on foot or using a car or hovercraft to reach a certain location to finish a task. And to carry the necessary materials with him on the journey or to find them by scouting the area around the location. Keeping the temperate biome free from these special features would keep the first phase of the game easy for newcomers and offer the possibility of finding a journal entry that informs them that those are to be expected when he enters other biomes.

    Some "alien" toxic exposition of the area
    • would allow spots with extreme climate distributed over the whole planet, not only in the desert and polar regions
    • the survival should be endangered even with Suit Mk4
    • plants could be one level more toxic there than the players custom setting
    • animals could be plenty and aggressive species independent of settings

    These areas could be optically recognizable from the surrounding “normal" land. And of course, place tasks or interesting items in that area.
    To weigh out things again there should remain sufficient easy to live in areas for beginners and creative crafters.

    Necessity to do tasks
    also in the extreme climate biomes, especially to reach the poles and the lava fields.

    We do not know how difficult it would be to implement these or other comparable features of your own design into the coding - more lagging or problems with planet build would be bad.
    But as you have pronounced the possible addition of further biomes using a more mosaic patterned distribution of the new ones would be the easiest way to disrupt the current linear N-S exploration pattern and add challenges that have either to be detoured or faced.

    A new technology tree with unlocking items by first having to find them might also help postponing high level achievements. But making the task too difficult might frustrate new players. So that is a double-edged knife as it necessitates a radial distribution of availability around the drop zone to avoid too long success-less searching and thus also more coding

    • Since access to the highest level must not be slowed down too much to avoid frustrating players more actions and tasks should be placed on the way to make deviations sensible and interesting.
    • For players on the highest technology level keep challenges up by making some areas very attractive (story, tasks, special resources, artifacts ...) but difficult to reach, give them a special new design (the "whow"-effect) and distribute them over the whole planet

    One last observation:
    We are very happy that weapons are only considered defense tools. But if we are guided towards peaceful play - why do we have to kill animals to get at their journal entries? Would not destroying a nest (not only collecting but complete destruction) be enough to learn the facts about the species?
    There have been new players asking if those entries were still missing from the journal (due to development) as they did not realize what was expected from them.
    Last edited by Menzagitat; 27-05-2018 at 06:44 PM.

  3. #3
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    Thanks a lot for taking the trouble of editing ! <3

    You also clarified the text by highlighting and paragraphs :-)

    As a non-native english speaker I always fight with getting my meaning clear when it comes to matters that are more complicated to explain. Your edit helped a lot with that problem !

    I fear I cannot copy and paste it as this is exactly what glues the words together. And when editing takes a longer time the forum logs me out. I have ended up with10-15 relogs with shorter posts so I did not even try to do this one ...
    Steam is easy to handle but for more serious contributions I always prefer the PN forum.

    So I will just point to your edit in my above post :-)

    I am really very very grateful :-)
    Last edited by oh016; 29-05-2018 at 12:18 AM.

  4. #4
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    I like the way you both think and analyse the game and your thoughts. Something for the devs to chew over and take into account the concerns of a big supporter(s) for PN.

    Some times I do like to change my playstyle depending on where my mood takes me. Some times I like to take the easy approach so I can be creative, others times I really want a hard time in PN. Not combat but challenges. I even like to take my rover over some really tough terrain just to get some challenge into PN. Is it possible? Yes it is and when you conquer that you feal a great achievement has been reached.

    I agree you can literally race thru the tech tree in a relative short time. It does need to be slowed down so it takes you a long time to get the top tier items.

    Yes, you have to build a vehicle to get the rare minerals. Again thats not hard to do at all.

    The concept of PN is there and its brilliant but now the whole process of achieving each item needs to be looked at so you have to take a longer route to get what you need.
    Minerals could be spread out more as currently you just go a few metres and obtain more than you need. So maybe not so much minerals underground would make you travel a bit further to get get the resources you need. Autominers are great if you want a lot of minerals but to me they output far too much too quickly. It should be a slower process which in turn means you need to do other things while waiting for the resources.

    Maybe CB has plans for top tier items to be used more in space travel in the future. We end up with more than we can currently use.

    These are just some of my thoughts and broadly follows the OP comments that things are now too easy to zoom thru the current game.

    One last thought ..... maybe these suggestions could be included in the hard section of play. Sometimes players play easy style other times the hard style.

    I'm sure this thread will include lots of other player's comments on this subject.

    Happy nomading

  5. #5
    Member Krookward's Avatar
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    I do not agree that the progression to the higher tiers must be slower. The highest tiers are usually the most useful ones; when you finally unlock them, if nothing remains to be done then you do not get many opportunities to use the most useful items.

    So, if more things to do are not added soon, it is ok for me to make it slower. If more things to do are added, then I do not think it should be made slower.

    I actually like making the effort to unlock them, but I think a few hours to get first stacks of Co, Al and Ag, and other few hours to get Ti, U and Ag, and other few hours to get Xaenite are enough.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krookward View Post
    I do not agree that the progression to the higher tiers must be slower. The highest tiers are usually the most useful ones; when you finally unlock them, if nothing remains to be done then you do not get many opportunities to use the most useful items.
    True, we do not want to unlock the highest tiers one hour before the game is finished.

    Quote Originally Posted by Krookward View Post
    So, if more things to do are not added soon, it is ok for me to make it slower. If more things to do are added, then I do not think it should be made slower.
    This part I do not understand. The condition in the "then" branch should be inverted I maybe?

  7. #7
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    I can not imagine that at the current state of the game longer high level expansion will be added soon. This would mean a second stage of the game - a "main game after the intro game" scenario.

    I think there are currently enough not finished features in the game that might be easily used to make progress slower but more interesting to players.,

    But I consent that SOME end game WILL be needed too in the future.

    But I think (and hope) the last is already on the devs list in some design not yet known to us

  8. #8
    Member Krookward's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Menzagitat View Post
    This part I do not understand. The condition in the "then" branch should be inverted I maybe?
    Haha, right. I put it wrong. I meant what you thought.

  9. #9
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    This is a 24 sized planet played on the hard level, set to max terrain height and normal water level.

    Red box is where I failed in my fist attempt to get silver because I ran into steep hills with dense woods where I had to cut myself through just to be finally beaten by deep lakes and lacking tire traction. Tried to build a bridge but ran out of material, besides that it was an extremely tedious and boring process which would have frustrated most players .....

    Green box shows the area that was necessary to travel to achieve highest technology and have plenty of everything.

    So that still leaves nearly the whole planet to be covered by a story ....

    Graphic, atmosphere, animations, animal KI excellent, functionality of blocks very good, still existing lags, bugs and glitches (hopefully) can be coped with, the story can be expanded.
    The main problem is the planetary layout ...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #10
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    Some afterthoughts mostly stemming from my gaming partner:

    Important issue of new players not understanding the games difficulty levels:

    Judging from reviews:
    Some new players enter the game at the easy or normal level - which is reasonable - and do not realize that they miss challenges like highly toxic plants or godillos hurling stones. So these players write rush reviews on animals being "boring" and hunting for resources being too easy.

    Another type immediately jumps into the difficult level and is frustrated by being killed several times during early game-play because they do not yet know enough about the game to expect that and then write "sucks because no fun dying all the time"

    So there is definitely more in advance information needed on difficulty levels.
    And perhaps some additional weighting too - some minor attacks in normal level maybe should be more present or get more effective once the player leaves the starting biome or be effective in certain biomes with f.i. different colouring of plants.

    Also it should be reconsidered if players really should be reset to basic equipment when respawning.
    That can get very annoying in cases when a player has equipment at the highest level, is taken by surprise and is not able to respawn at a base with sufficient resources to craft a new one.

    Players criticise too easy found ores, too difficult found ores, no shovel for holes cut into the ground:

    Give them scanners with limited reach to locate surface ores and mine ore deposits but instead of placing the deposits everywhere in their assigned biomes place them there in richer clusters with empty spaces in between. Necessitates travel, adds using an item (perhaps upgradable?), keeps players from cutting holes, makes it not so easy to find ores without scanner.

    Faster running out of ores once using mining machines depending on game difficulty chosen (so builders can choose easy and still get enough). Currently too much overflow.
    EDIT: Sorry oversight of mine: Johndai wrote it further up !
    Very good remarks of Johndai :-) All of them to be seriously considered and contributing to better gameplay. TX for your contibution!

    Scanners could also be used to get biome name and general idea what resources are to befound there once players are close by.

    Scanners could also have a long distance function (like some "static interference") to give a rough idea that a signal is in a certain direction without clearly locating it. Can thus be used to guide players to alien wrecks - but then there should be something more interesting in the wrecks than only journal entries - building plans, rare materials ...
    Thus alien technology would not appear on radar until found which makes hunting for it more of a challenge.

    Players criticise Not enough "content":

    Add some rare ores for special constructions or advanced level constructions or for endgame.
    As players might find them but cannot yet use them add tooltips telling them that is something special and they should keep it or a tooltip to use their scanner on it to tell them that.
    (BTW add optional tooltips anyway to be turned on or off - some players like them, some donīt)

    Add more but special and RARE and possibly even dangerous plants to be used in special medication or food recipes.
    For example"normal" thermal injection does not help much in lava fields -special plant derived "anti-heat" injection could enable players to stay there longer for a certain mission. Same goes for poles - special "anti-cold"injection. But keep the "normal" thermal injection in also.

    Some plant when crafted into a special nutrition or drink item could add to energy but when effect wears off give a certain amount drainage like coffee.
    Necessitates suit MK4 hunger, thirst, sleep resistance to be tuned down - it is not logical anyway. Just keep higher resistance against body damage and better/longer hover, the rest of effects should be only minimally better than with other suits.

    Not enough food variants in currently - and not of much value some of them. It is truely realistic to thrive on capsules as astonaut but players love to have a choice of recipes and hunger values effects and they will hunt for better stuff than what they currently have. And grow special plants in special glass houses - perhaps even to get biomasse in a moderate way

    Some special material could be used to create floating "wheels" or bags or something similar to enable people to cross over water. Material to be found with scanner only in starting biomes close to water or even in the water biome close to beaches.
    Would perhaps also lead to a device to pump up the floating item so could add to machinery.

    Add more animals - depends on your programming capacity so that might be difficult to achieve.
    At least make it more obvious to players that specimens in a family group have different behaviours. It is something quite new in survival games to have animals that are not only simple aggressive attackers getting in the players way but have kind of personality so MAKE IT KNOWN to you players that you did some extremely good work there!

    Meteorite showers could be a danger as well as add new materials to the game (stems from my partner, I am not quite convinced that is a good idea but he voted it in)

    Non constructive orientated players have trouble to design crafts and bases:

    Add YOUR OWN blueprints ONLY for: Simple base, simple car, simple hovercraft, simple aircraft.
    Players can still make their own crafts or make the blueprinted ones better if they want to.
    And share blueprints of course.

    Some players are simple minded: So they will need a tooltip what parts they need to build the craft from the blueprint or a special building machine where they add the blueprint to and then are told what materials they need to add to the machine to have the stuff created. Would thus add to "machines" too.

    Blueprints could be found in wrecked human bases at certain stages of gameplay so adds to exploration. This should not be too difficult to program as journal entries are created in a chronological form as well.

    Blueprints could be a means to transport crafts through alien portals so players will not be stranded with nothing on the other side.

    Players have problems to cross over water in early gameplay:

    Alternative to adding some floating items: Make hover pads available earlier.
    Could need more material, or special material to be found with scanner only in starting biomes close to water or even only in the water biome close to beaches. Hoverpads could be slow and energy consuming in the beginning but upgradable to the existing hover pads once players find silver & co deposits.

    Players report about: Boring flying around

    My gaming partners pet: Add jet engines with speed limit 120-150 for faster travel. Could use the routine that is currently creating the "wheel speed cheat" effect/glitch.
    Would at least partially counteract the boring travel issue survival games (not PN alone) are constantly fighting against.
    Needs blueprint again.

    Freely roaming animals

    Your idea and a good one and some more "content" chance there:
    Currently"reinforced" walls are not really reinforced - a xenotaur bull can brake through in a nightly attack not to talk about godillos again.
    So this would add the chance to create the need to upgrade walls with special materials to be found in advanced gameplay.

    Freely moving animals should not roam the starting biomes anyway - better for new players and primary survival.

    Our own ideas on one of last developers postings

    If you are still willing to work on PN to get to the stage where it is mostly reviewed as REALLY GOOD survival game - it absolutely has the potential, although unluckily not all players currently do recognize the very detailed programming that already went into it:
    Let part of your team do whatever Craneballs needs to be done currently. No naiveté there on our side.

    But set the other part on PN, announce a pause for a certain time, get the bugs fixed as much as you can by one half of those assigned to PN and let the others assigned to PN get the story ready and add as much new gameplay CONTENTS (not meaning blocks, that is not the current priority) as you can manage by using already existing good ideas of yours.
    And there are also a lot of people around in this forum having better ideas than us two oh016s to enhance gameplay!

    We fans of PN realize what is currently in there - the love for detail, the many creative options - and there are always some new players calling the game addictive.
    But to have high sales numbers with the "normal" majority of players you need still better peformance (we can live with some problems as we know how to manage them but others are not willing to do that) AND "eye-catchers" - a lot of different stuff though not much difference in scripting routines.
    Players are fascinated by variety.

    When that is at least partially achieved resurface in glory to get good reviews (hopefully) !!!

    But please do not forget: You must keep players informed - AT STEAM TOO - on what you are doing - at least from time to time. Silence to most people means death :-/

    Speaking openly as always and hoping not to be damned for it.
    Last edited by oh016; 04-06-2018 at 05:34 PM.

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