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Cargo pod loot tables and playing "naked"

Discussion in 'Survival' started by Therolt, Mar 5, 2019.


Would you prefer one of these options as a solution? (Read the post for context)

  1. Expand the drop table for cargo pod contents.

  2. Nerf batteries and make the Power Cells reclaimable.

  3. Survival Kit variant (low tech processor, no healing).

  4. You're mental, this is a total non-issue.

  5. Other.

Results are only viewable after voting.
Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    Hey all.

    Before the end of early access I was having a game where I would start on or near earth (and promptly make a landing) in only my space suit with just the beginner tools to start out. None of those ships and such that you can scrap for easy loot - this is a super slow start, but the time it takes you to run to and from a cargo pod once or twice is enough for the next one to show up.
    I have been trying this approach to the early game in the release versions and I have come across a few interesting points.

    My primary focus early game has been looting, scrapping or claiming (for the battery power) the unknown signal cargo pods that you obtain every 7-20 minutes. Once I had enough interior plates and construction components I would build storage and a seat in order recharge my power.

    This is where my issue begins:

    I want to build a power source.
    The release version of the game has cargo pods with batteries instead of uranium reactors. (The progression tree would block them out even if they had them)
    • To build a Hydrogen Engine I need (1)Power Cell.
    • To build a Solar Panel I need (32)Solar Cells and (12)Girders.
    • To build a Turbine I need (24)Girders.
    I can piggyback off the Cargo Pod batteries and build a Survival Kit but there is no way I can obtain (3)Medical Components.

    Everything else, while some components are rare such as Large Tube, which to my knowledge is not found in storage containers - but from the pod itself as scrap, the listed items above are not accessible without already having a large grid power source available or the means to acquire a Medical Component.

    Now, I'm sure that most of you here aren't likely to want to suffer the long runs or the wait for cargo pods to arrive in order to get started, but consider this for a moment:
    If your Survival Kit on your starter ship got irreparably damaged or you have been shunned out of your community or pushed away by aggressive players:
    • Are you just going to resign?
    • Hit backspace and die just so you can get an easy way back into the game?
    • What if you are playing on hardcore mode?
    • Or are you going to be a real engineer and build your way back to glory?

    I feel as if there should be a way up from nothing. I'm not going so far to say that you should be crafting your own tools from sticks and stones, but as long as you have power, a welder and a grinder, you should be able to make your way forward even if it takes some time.

    What I think could/should happen (my solutions):
    Expand the cargo contents loot table to include any of those 4 special items that gate-keep your progress.
    (Power Cell, Girder, Solar Cell, Medical Components - and maybe even Small/Large Tubes)

    Or, nerf batteries so they either have <5% power on construction and enable them to be gained through grinding.

    Or, make an alternate variant of the Survival Kit that doesn't double as a healing station so we can skip out on modifying loot tables or nerfing batteries.

    Let me know what you guys think.

    Edit: Link to Feedback post
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    I thought I'd share some screenshots of my current progression in my run where I haven't been able to obtain the above goodies.
    I packed up whatever static base I had and pushed together a car. It takes me less than half the time to get to the next pod and I don't have to do a trip back. Not to mention that the location I started in was 50% cliffs and hills and most unknown signals required some 80 degree hill climbing or significant detours.


    How I get my power (claimed cargo pod remnants)


    A bit of pushing is always required


    The landing gear locked and turned off so I can accidentally hit P or, in this situation, I wanted a third battery but I didn't have enough small tubes.
    • Like Like x 4
  3. DragonShadow Apprentice Engineer

    Sounds like an interesting challenge! Might be a spot where some exploration stuff would be nice on planets to nab some of those components from.
  4. Soup Toaster Apprentice Engineer

    That's a very interesting challenge. Looks like you need to petition Keen to add a rare pod that has some of the stuff you need, or just add power cells to the loot pool. Maybe make the pod with a medium container have a high chance of the good stuff.
  5. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    This is the steam guide I was basing my scenario from.

    Its accurate up until part 9 where reactor usage is put into use.
    If we still had reactors on the pods I would have had a much more long term power source and wouldn't have to swap battery pods, just loot more uranium.
    All the other limitations I currently have would still apply which means that I still need to obtain ungodly amounts of small and large steel tubes.
    I need 40 large, 60 small for the hydrogen tank, 2 for an 02 generator, 1 for a gyro and 2 for each small hydrogen thruster (probably need at least 3 of them).
    I consider it lucky when the game gives me a spinning drop pod or a thruster pod as they have 2 and 1 large tubes respectively.

    What do you think is the best method for me to go about getting this noticed by Keen?
    In order for me to propose good reasoning, I need to factor in what their intentions are for cargo pods existing in the first place aside from being potential revenue vessels (skins).
  6. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    I used to do just what you've described...start with nothing and race around picking up loot from pods. Maybe it's my imagination, but suit power seems to drain more quickly, and I wonder whether it's even possible to succeed with such a naked start like I used to. I'll have to try it out again.
  7. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    Temperature does mean things to your power. Its best to find someplace at lower altitude thats warmer and is relatively flat. Can't use that hydrogen for long. Early on you just need to salvage enough to make a landing gear (progression) and then a seat and slap that bad boy on a pod (make sure to turn the battery back on after the button press). Apparently you can afk for upwards of 100 days just sitting in a seat.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Soup Toaster Apprentice Engineer

    Spent a while experimenting this morning and you can make a start of it this way as long as progression is turned off. With the progression system turned on the only way to get to the rotor blueprint is by building a wind turbine or a battery, neither of which can be done. You need to be able to connect two small batteries to a basic furnace and the only way to do that with available parts is connecting small grid to large grid with a rotor. We could perhaps ask Keen to move rotors (and maybe pistons and merge blocks) to accessible branches. Perhaps:

    container -> conveyor -> connector -> merge block

    basic refinery -> drill -> piston

    landing gear -> wheel suspension -> rotor

    I think there's a feature request system built into the "support" area of the site. I'll support it of you post it (if that's how it works, I'm not sure). Heck maybe post a new thread in the General Discussion forum and see what public opinion is, I know there's a decent number of us that like rather brutal starting conditions. :)
    • Like Like x 3
  9. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    Good to see someone give it a crack. It really helps in grasping what I'm blabbering about.
    Yes - I could disable progression, but I'm not sure about that rotor merging procedure since most regular merging requires power on both ends and its easy to go from large grid to small grid, but not the reverse.
    But I was watching some interesting !science! videos today so I'll see if the info I gathered is useful.

    I'll go poke gen. discussion then and consider a concise proposal for suggestion, thanks.
    I'm at 25% of the part requirements to get to space so we'll see if I get to space before this issue has a potential fix to it.
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2019
  10. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    BTW, I also checked suit power consumption while on the Earthlike planet; it's a very small fraction of the power consumed when in space or when on any other planet. At some point, when I have nothing else to do, I'll time power consumption on each planet and on space and set up a comparison table.
  11. Soup Toaster Apprentice Engineer

    Connectors need both sides to be powered to connect, but merge blocks and rotors do not. In creative mode testing everything works, so I started an actual survival mode game just to see how long it takes. Well I'm a couple hours in, I've got 5 or 6 batteries scattered around the area waiting to be picked up, my first car is nearly ready to go but I still haven't found any large tubes for my wheels. Once I've got the wheels complete it'll be much smoother sailing. Just not sure how long it's gonna take to get a couple of those crazy roller pods to spawn....
  12. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    I feel ya man. Too bad I'm adamant on using the progression tree because I totally could do a Large to small rotor and then double merge blocks if its being too finicky about connecting the rotor head.
    Spiff brought up wolves in the other thread (they actually drop items) so you could try those if you're comfortable with cheesing 6 AI at once.
  13. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    The wolves don't actually "drop" anything, but you can click on their bodies and loot them (spiders, too).
    • Like Like x 1
  14. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    Its probably for the best that they're just a biting item-sock rather than actually carrying objects. You'd have to worry about some serious clang when they're around.
  15. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    No wolves. None. Nada. And that was after three hours of going after drop pods. I'm so mad I can't talk! :words:
  16. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    If I get my game theory right, the only thing you can expect from dogs/wolves is that they aren't there to be convenient...
    You get 1 wolf for standing still for 25 minutes and 6 when you are paying no attention. (not much luck for me so far also)

    You could add cataclysmic meteors into the mix to keep you even more on your toes. :)
    I know when I had that on, I'd be looking over my shoulder obsessively and everything was stashed in a cave deep enough underground. The result of me staying in that area was that the terrain became so incredibly cratered that you risked serious injury if you weren't paying attention.
  17. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    Hey, I finally got frustrated waiting for nothing, so I added Skallabjorn's CORPS-OF-ENGINEERS W4STED-BOT Spawner at https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1587320997 so something would finally show up (I must've chased after a couple dozen drop pods by then).

    Oh, yeah...now we're cooking with gas. I set up a "trap" that was a U-shaped corral using light armor block scaffolds; the bots would "hog-up" against the block scaffolds and I could grind them to death at my leisure. The backpacks they drop can contained just about all the different parts you could ever want. Heck, I even got some superconductor and reactor components. I finally got one to drop 7 power cells (another dropped 7 solar cells, but you need 8 for a small-grid panel!), so I built two small batteries on a rotor frame with a small head (you need two to power a basic assembler). I had gathered a lot of parts from all the pods I looted, so building the assembler was a snap. I rendered some excess steel plate back to ingots, then built a couple hundred girders, the missing ingredient for wind turbines. After building five at an optimum height and spacing, I can run a basic refinery, O2/H2 generator (for hydrogen fuel for my jetpack), and a regular assembler. From now on the rest is just empire building. But I want to continue it and see if I can build a space-capable craft using non-nuclear power supplies. I'm away for a few days (business trip), so I'll continue the saga when I return.

    I hate using mods to solve a problem, but the wolves just wouldn't come out to play. I don't know why.
  18. Casegard Trainee Engineer

    I think the loot table is fine the only thing that is, in my opinion, missing is ice on planetary pods.

    But you are right with the energy source for large grids.

    I tried a somewhat similar challenge with no mining and wanted to see how far you can come. But it turned out there is no way to get a power source for a large grid.
    My suggestion would be to move the unlock of the rotor to the basic assembler (maybe the basic refinery but this would be a bit to easy).

    This would need you to gather a couple of pods to get the computers and then you can connect your small battery to the large grid to make some girders (deconstruct some things for it). You also would need to have a very close look at your energy so you have enough for the kick start. In your challenge you would need to gather a couple of pod batteries and make it somehow to the kick start

    Another very interesting change (though very unlikely to happen) would be to make the survival kit refine scrap metal. Then you could refine the scrap that you get form the pod batteries and can make some girders for a windmill.

    Well, I think it is very unlikely that they change anything so you can make your own start challenge. Right now the option no voxel deformation means pretty much game over from the start :(
  19. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    Interesting thoughts, @Casegard. Here's a summary of power possibilities when starting "naked" on a planet (not a moon; you have plenty of jetpack juice to make it into space from a moon and loot derelict vessels for their power supplies, or capture a passing pirate ship), i.e., only with basic tools and O2/H2 bottles, and relying entirely on looting drop pods and what they currently supply in their cargo containers:

    1. Wind Turbines: You can't build wind turbines without girders, so those are out.

    2. Solar Panels: You can't build solar panels without solar cells, so those are out.

    3. Batteries: You can't build batteries without power cells, so those are out. (The one caveat is having wolves enabled; looting wolves sometimes yields power cells.)

    4. Hydrogen Engines: You can't build hydrogen engines without a power cell, so those are out. (The same caveat applies here as for batteries.)

    5. Reactors: You can't build reactors without reactor components and/or uranium ingots, so those are out.

    In summary, it is not currently possible to start "naked" and progress. You can, however, "survive" from a power standpoint because you can place a passenger seat on a small-grid battery from one of the drop pods and recharge your suit. But be mindful that drop pod components explode after 14 minutes, so their usefulness is very limited.

    (NOTE: If the map you're playing has pirate installations and drones are enabled, you can troll for drones and grab their power sources. The planetary drones haven't been upgraded and still retain their original small-grid reactors.)
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2019
  20. Casegard Trainee Engineer

    Who has a jetpack :) .. just kidding.

    My standard setup for all games is everything to min (even the weld and grinding speed to 0.25)
    - with this settings you really have to think twice about what and when to do something. For example grinding a pod by hand can take up to 7min with a starting welder. This means if you run to a pod you don't have enough energy to grind it down. Because of this I have a lot of very small remote controlled tool drones for pretty much every task. And you can feel the power of each tier of the tools

    I can't remember when I last played with jetpack on. Jetpacks make things way to easy in my book. Like you said - fly to the first cargo / pirate grind it down and you have no problems. Not using a jetpack makes you build stations/ ships in a way that you can reach everything very easy and logistic is a key part for every build. I very much like this.

    If you like a challenge (and I know you do :) , I have read your no helmet challenge) turn down the friendly antenna range to zero and no GPS. This will give you a real feeling for distance. It is so easy to loose your direction. And you will start thinking about navigation points, lighthouses and many more.

    Sun rotation 24h. This made me actually think about a meaningful lighting pattern in my bases. Also you can now use the sun (or better your shadow) for navigating. Fly in the direction of a drop pod and have a close eye on your shadow then you can use this to find your way back. The best moments in space engineers came from this setting. Sitting on the roof and waiting for the sun rise because all energy was drained in the middle of the night - the moment when the solar panels finally turned on was epic.
    The windmill made this setting a bit questionable but I still keep it for the day and night gameplay

    In most of my games I restrict myself from mining until I made it to space. Because it provides no real challenges. You can build a small remote drone and have all resources within a couple of hours.

    With all these settings space is an entirely different problem. Try to survive in space with no jetpack and no gold for an gravitation generator :) I can assure you you will build complete different ships from now on.

    I never played with planetary drones enabled (thats the "easy start" I guess?). Cargo and pirates in space are enabled and most of my games end when I finally could make it to capture one. Because most of the time you have no resource problems any more.
  21. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    Oh, man, I'm not masochistic. I'd never have the patience that you exhibit!
  22. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    Merge block and rotors are locked behind batteries under the progression tree so this is not feasible from my game settings. You can say "just turn that setting off" but it should be possible to progress under the worst case scenario with the default settings.
    I was going to build a hydrogen tank under my game rules in order to get to space but that takes nine years to do so.
    I got creative in using an atmospheric rocket to bring me part of the way into the atmosphere.
    I then ejected and flew the rest of the way on just my suit hydrogen - no extra tanks.
    Escaped the gravity well at about 80m/s and with 5% hydrogen left.
    Its just enough to get home and land safely or just enough to risk going to raid a pirate encounter if you don't run out of oxygen/power first.

    Another 24 hours playing the game would have been about the time required for me to get the rest of the Large Steel Tubes I needed to build the hydrogen tank and thrusters if I opted to go for the no-jetpack-to-space route.
    • Like Like x 1
  23. Casegard Trainee Engineer

    Thats why I made this suggestion :)

  24. Therolt Trainee Engineer

    Yeah my bad. I miss things when I get distracted while reading forums.

    Fair point, but using rotor size connections is more of a niche mechanic and while I agree that the progression tree could be tweaked, I don't think that this specific problem necessitates such a solution.
    In other terms: I don't think Keen intended rotors to be the primary mechanism for you to be able to build your base from the ground up. Especially in an emergency scenario.

    It could just add a "power connection" type block that would let you plug one cable into another and achieve an electric bridge.
    They could also make that range sensitive and non-physics based so they would only have to calculate the range between both sockets and it wouldn't generate clang.
    Getting a new block noticed, popularised, approved and implemented isn't an easy or fast process.

    I learned after someone pointed it out to me in the forums, that wolves have extended drop tables (which includes things like power cells), but a majority of the player-base has them disabled by default because its an experimental feature.
    Enabling wolves solves my problem, but ideally the solution is within the intended route of the game-play loop.
    *something > disaster > have to rebuild > lacking vital components > acquire those components somehow > get back on your feet > repeat/exit

    I target loot pod drop tables for change mainly because its a very low effort operation for Keen to do and secondarily it raises the importance of the event - this has a potential secondary effect of increasing their revenue from skins.
  25. Spaceman Spiff Senior Engineer

    Preach it, brother! I’m in full agreement with you on this.
  26. gorgofdoom Trainee Engineer

    Lol. You could also use the economy to build yourself up from scrap. :D
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