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Am I doing something wrong, or does survival have a balance problem?

Discussion in 'Survival' started by Xzanron, Mar 1, 2019.

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This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Xzanron Trainee Engineer

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    5
    Back to space engineers after a long hiatus, and I thought I'd start a survival game.

    The problem is there's no cobalt. I've found masses of gold, silver, but no cobalt. This after hours of flying around in my suit with a drill in my hand.

    I've tried using rovers for scouting, but the area I'm in is so mountainous and uneven all I do is flip them, and there's no obvious why to flip them back right-side-up. I thought I'd instead try to find stuff from the air, but I can't do that because air thursters need cobalt to build (metal grid), and I cannot salvage enough from the lander to make them. Ion thrusters don't need cobalt, but do need a refinery, which I cannot build because I need cobalt.

    I thought I'd build a large detector hoping that maybe that would find some stuff in my area, but it's range is pitiful and it found nothing.

    Basically it seems my entire game has devolved into running around a planet with a drill in my hand hoping to find cobalt.

    Have I missed something obvious? Am I doing something wrong? Or is it game over if there's no cobalt near by?

    My next step is to try and reach orbit with just my space suit.. maybe there's some cobalt up there.
     
    • Like Like x 2
  2. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

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    1,137
    Aye, ‘tis but a random event. Sometimes all I find is cobalt, and pull my hair out trying to find silver and/or gold. Other times it’s something else. I do know that silicon, magnesium, and nickel seem to be everywhere now.
     
  3. CookeRS Trainee Engineer

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    I think you might just be having bad luck, or perhaps 'mountainous' areas are lower in cobalt?

    I'm in a relatively mountainous area, and i've found 2 seperate cobalt deposits about 2-3km away from where i spawned, wasn't too hard to find with a rover & ore detector.

    Good Luck :)
     
  4. mojomann71 Senior Engineer

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    • Like Like x 1
  5. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

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    You're a genius, Gump!

    (Actually, I'm trying to be consistent with the new way of playing, so I'm sticking with vanilla builds until I figure out for myself what a person can and can't do. It's just a personal choice, but I know a lot of people will find your mod useful.)
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Xzanron Trainee Engineer

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    5
    Thanks this is great. It's a shame that the game is basically unplayable without community contributions like this.
     
    • Disagree Disagree x 4
    • Agree Agree x 2
  7. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

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    Wow, I cannot disagree more with this statement. The new gameplay requires a realignment of a player’s thinking to solve engineering problems for generating power and designing and building mobility. Is it unplayable? Absolutely not. It’s certainly not as quick or easy for a player to build his/her empire, but the process nevertheless still occurs.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
    • Disagree Disagree x 2
  8. Xzanron Trainee Engineer

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    Part of this is perspective. I'm interested in playing a game, not a sandbox. Walking around for hours on end with a drill in my hand in hopes of finding cobalt isn't a game.

    I'd love to be able to apply engineering solutions (or let's call them game solutions) to the problem. So let's define the problem:

    1. I need cobalt to build more advanced items
    2. I need to find cobalt
    3. I'm in a mountainous area, so I cannot use rovers
    4. I cannot build anything more advanced because I need cobalt
    The solution I need then is something that will allow me to easily detect cobalt in my area. Without it my game progression grinds to a halt.

    My options therefore are:
    1. Run around all over the place with a drill in my hand and hope
    2. Keep restarting the map until I end up with some cobalt in range of the detector on my landing craft, or I land somewhere that's flat.
    The game therefore has removed all of my practical options for progressing. This is a game balance problem, in some games you could call it a difficulty spike, in this case a cliff.

    This can be fixed in a number of ways and none of them are engineering solutions, they are all game-balance solutions, (in order of my personal preference)
    1. Increase detection range significantly, or make ore detection easier (didn't there use to be "dark spots" you could look for, assuming you had an aircraft. At least then I could have built a really big tower to look around from.)
    2. Allow a way to engineer a better detector (i.e. use current set of mats to better detect next tier of mats).
    3. Tweak the generation system so small deposits of materials required for progression are always near the landing point (this give you a chance at least to get away from bad landing site)
    4. Change the materials balance. (Looking at it, I believe simply removing cobalt from "metal grid" requirements would allow the next tier of progression, as well as atmospheric aircraft)
    5. Change the survival tool as with the mod above
    6. An In-game map with fog-of-war, then at least you could easily track where you've explored.
    I think SE is a fantastic builder and/or sandbox. It's just not a game (yet). Given how great it is already at what it does, imagine how great it could be if it were truly a good game as well.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Malware Master Engineer

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    9,405
    Correct, it's not a game. It's a software toy - making it quite niche software.

    Btw I don't use mods and have over 3K hours, so it's quite playable without them ;)
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
  10. Soup Toaster Apprentice Engineer

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    183
    I dunno, I think you're missing the engineering side of the game. You can turn the landing pod into a flyer pretty easily. You can grind a bunch of it down and turn it into pretty nice little purpose-built flyer. Then you can use that for ore detection. I've got two starts going right now and one I found two cobalt mines easily, the other took a while. I think you just ran into some bad luck.

    It also bears keeping in mind that you literally only need to find cobalt once, there's enough in a single mine to keep you going for a very very long time.

    Though I do think Keen should really add a "Detector Amplifier" block that significantly increases it's range. The small block detector range feels too short.
     
    • Agree Agree x 3
    • Like Like x 1
  11. Xzanron Trainee Engineer

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    I agree with what you're saying, and I am currently trying to re-engineer the landing pod.. mostly after I realised that there was a whole load of stuff on there that was never used during landing. The scanner range really is a problem though, a 50m range of which 20-30m is depth under ground will not find a lot.

    I'm sort of looking at this "software" in a number of ways. I know it's a sandbox, and I can appreciate it as that. But if I look at it as a survival game then it has a lot of shortcomings.

    What I find interesting is that this "Getting Started" video on the SE channel stops exactly at the point I suspect most "new" players starting with survival will get stuck and frustrated at; the very point I'm stuck at. People looking for a "traditional" survival/builder will probably quit and refund at that point, never realising just how much depth there actually is in SE. This would be a great shame for SE. I want SE to be successful, and for me that means if it advertises a survival mode, essentially a game variant, then I'd like that to be as good as the engineering side of the software.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  12. ObjectZero Apprentice Engineer

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    348
    @Xzanron I can see how this would be a problem for player totally new to the game. I'm back from the age when we had to suite around in space at the very start. This survival version is kind of like being back to that. Suiting around looking for ore...just now on a planet.

    I'm really on the other side of the problem I can find Co but Ag and Au are no place to be found near or far. I'm starting to think there is an area between the ores so they won't over lap.

    Ag & Au
    Fe, Co & Ni
    Si & Mg

    I would really like to see the ore detector range increased or some visual way to figure out where ore might be.
     
  13. Soup Toaster Apprentice Engineer

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    183
    What might be helpful is if you could "ping" for deposits, press a button and it momentarily super charges the detector and for a short time it points you towards any deposits within 500m. It wouldn't tell you what was there, but it would tell you where to look. Maybe that could be a whole new block to progress to.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  14. Xzanron Trainee Engineer

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    5
    I really do think the range needs to be increased, but I'm not entirely sure how easy that is to do for Keen.

    Having read up on the various threads about the ore detector Keen say they are reluctant to increase the range for performance reasons, even the couple of Mods that increase the range warn about performance issues.

    It seems that instead of recording ore locations during world creation, the game actually does a 360 degree scan around the players position of the world in real-time. Which is totally a performance hog, and would increase the required search area by the cube of the increase, i.e. to the power of 3.

    I have no idea how the world generator is written, but recording all resource locations during creation time would allow you to have infinite range detection with no performance issues (other than actually displaying the results). The downside is that you'd need to store all those locations either on disk or in memory.
     
  15. Soup Toaster Apprentice Engineer

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    183
    One thing they could do is add a way to increase the small block ore detector range to the same as the large block ore detector. Occurs to me I've never checked to see if they are different actually but I think the large block detector range is 100-150m isn't it? THe small block is definitely 50-75m.
     
  16. Thermonuklear Junior Engineer

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    609
    I've started a few games on Earthlike and had equally bad luck finding Co, Ag, Au. Marslike is a whole different beast. Seems like anywhere I land I can find all the ores within a 5km radius.
     
  17. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    810
    I wonder if the OP is just looking in paychecks his immediate area... That old fashioned notion (every ore within 19km) won't work in current version.

    You have to travel. Legitimate travel. Like 20-40km. Like a whole different biome as to get different mixes of ore. Same for asteroid clusters.
     
  18. ObjectZero Apprentice Engineer

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    348
    @Calaban My bad luck is kicking my butt in asteroid clusters.

    But I like to also point out if you're not playing safe mode. You can watch the meteor storm and sometime collect a small bit of rare ore. It's never a lot and the ore detector most of the time won't pick up it is. But it's normally enough to make it worth while to watch where they fall.
     
  19. Calaban Junior Engineer

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    810
    I'm wayyy behind the times on the linked video, and yes its badly outdated graphically, but its worth the watch to those like me who may have missed it (and can endure the meme rage enough to make a faction based like it):



    but incidentally, it answers the above reply adequately
     
    • Like Like x 2
  20. odizzido Junior Engineer

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    663
    If you're having issues with flipping vehicles you should build wheels on the top of your rovers as well, so it can flip and still drive.
     
  21. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

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    I wonder, how many newcomers assume that survival mode on a planet would be easier than survival mode in space?
     
  22. Roxette Senior Engineer

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    All of them, I think.
     
  23. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

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    A very good point, although the newbie might panic if they realize that their suit's power drains very, very quickly compared to the Earthlike planet experience. With a cool head, grinder, and guts, you can overcome many of the myriad derelict vessels and stations and reap huge rewards significantly more quickly than on a planet.
     
  24. Therolt Trainee Engineer

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    Being in space is like the lottery compared to cringing your way out of the stone age on a planet. I really appreciate the incentive that garbage power levels provides for wheels though.
     
  25. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

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    1,137
    I'm playing through my own recently posted progression scenario entitled Alternative Start Earth - Lost in Place (https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1682729925) where the goal is to start with a backpack of parts and survive long enough to get off Mars and back to home on Earth. I've got a barebones ship I've built that's entirely powered by hydrogen engines and hydrogen thrusters, complete with a jump drive to make the trip home. I'm just about ready to launch; filling the hydrogen tank and eight hydrogen engine tanks takes a long time when playing at default survival settings, then I have to top off my eight small cargo containers with ice. This exercise has demonstrated to me that this process is just not practical in a long-term sense. Hydrogen just doesn't have the power density for day-in and day-out space travel compared with uranium fuel, not to mention that you're constantly having to retrieve ice for fuel.

    I believe the only good path forward, when working with planetary vehicles, is to build a small mining ship using hydrogen engines and thrusters, load up a cargo container with enough components to build a refinery and enough solar panels to power it, blast off into space, locate a uranium deposit, build a small refinery complex there, mine the uranium ore, refine it there, and carry the uranium ingots back to the planet (much less mass for re-entry, powering everything with uranium fuel. The need to constantly mine ice would be eliminated. That's how I would do it.
     
  26. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

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    In practice, air and temperature are closely linked; the one time the distinction became relevant was when I when chasing after a cargo ship with an oxygen tank and a hydrogen tank, and died when I ran out of power. When I tried it again, I just got my starter ship closer before jumping out.

    Come to think of it, the practical effect of temperature is that there's little point to carrying an oxygen tank, since you'll probably need to recharge your power before you need to recharge your air anyway.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  27. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

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    1,137
    I came to the same conclusion. In space I carry neither; on land I carry only hydrogen.
     
  28. Monkworks Trainee Engineer

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    I never liked starting on a planet. I created a save where i have a small minimal ship just outside a planet's gravity as a start.

    I wanted to comment on the investment that is necessary to enjoy all the depth in the game. I recently trying to pull a good friend into playing with me. he played for about 20 mins an reported that the time investment to get passed the learning curve was too much for him and he didn't have that type of time commitment required.

    I think I lot of players will feel the same way.

    You're going to need to do a lot of playing just to understand what you can and cannot do. The survival mode is a kind-of false survival mode. I still have to change it out to creative when things go wrong, but only in situation where the result was out of my control and the issue was created by the game not me. I then save as a creative game and fix the issue so i can continue with my survival game...so it far from perfect...

    I wouldn't want a dumbed down version of this game to appeal to a wider audience that would turn me off. So i am happy to have this simulation software where i can play around and have fun and make the best of it!
     
  29. FoolishOwl Junior Engineer

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    I usually don't persist with playing survival, but this time around I decided to stick with it. I started in space, though, and with Doctor Octoganapus's Perdiso System. I worked to the point where I had a ship that could land on an Earthlike planet. And as before, I looked around, and thought it was pretty, and I didn't want to mess it up with a bunch of ugly buildings that don't fit the setting. I'm currently working on building a base on a moon, where there's relatively low gravity and no atmosphere. Gravity is a disadvantage, and atmosphere means ion thrusters don't work as well as atmospheric thrusters that are dead mass in space. Building on a moon is entirely about aesthetics; aside from perhaps limiting possible directions of attack (which isn't really a concern), there's no advantage and mostly just disadvantages to building on a planet.

    I tend to think of planets in SE as parks: you visit them, but you don't live and work in them.
     
  30. dispair Apprentice Engineer

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    241
    My last three games started in mountains, one in an area so steep that wheels where impossible. I can't find "markings" in mountain areas that hint at ore. In the nearby grassland ore is easier to find.
    I think the basic drop pod should start higher and have a tiny bit of side thrust so the player can attempt better landing results. In my third game most of my work was done flying in my suit, three hydrogen bottles. It was a lot of work to get a flying miner, but it is the nature of the game.
    I can see the aggravation, the ore is deep to make getting it a better challenge, but the small ore detector is almost useless in the mountains. The hand drill is useless in the mountains.
    My suggestion for a new player, if you do not land in a grassland, restart the mission. Planets are a great challenge, much more fun than space, and mountains are just not fun. I like the idea of building a tiny wheeled rover to go hand mine and explore. Then work up to a mining ring or a flyer. More progression is more value.
     
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