How to bring the colonies out into the open again?

Started by stefanstr, September 27, 2014, 04:49:59 AM

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The issue here is really a stress problem. It is very stressful on a colonist to walk clear across the map to do anything. The colonists need a comfy bed and a hot meal. When they don't find that out in the wild they will get grumpy. We need a survival backpack with a tent and survival rations (that are lighter than regular rations) so that it can provide temporary comfort to traveling colonists. Then there has to be a need to go there. Maybe rework the research system so that the tree is actually out in the world with discoverable relics. However you need to research the artifact for several days which will require some colonists to be away from home for an extended period. Set up a little tent and pack some food for a week so the team can get the research done and return with (insert researchable item here)
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

             - Bernard of Clairvaux


I do quite like the idea of research being somehow tied to exploration and creating another incentive for stepping outside, whatever form that might take (finding artifacts sounds pretty cool from a flavor standpoint). Even if just buffs that boost research speed from "noticeably slow" (it really is rather quick to burn through the whole tree right now) to "comfortable speed". But that's just a very basic idea.


I like your ideas Jstank. Pretty innovative - I don't think any of this has been suggested before.

Tying research to exploration would make perfect sense.


Quote from: ShadowDragon8685 on October 15, 2014, 09:26:55 PM
Quote from: Noobshock on October 15, 2014, 08:23:37 PMAs I said, combat wise it's substantially less forgiving than your average raid in DF (at least if you send people out to fight), for a number of reasons.

Right. Therein is the problem. Fights are ultra-deadly, enemies come in just laughably huge waves, colonists are very hard to replace. and, most damningly of all, we have no choice but to fight, because these colonists are apparently incapable of engineering a drawbridge and a moat, or of simply buying the enemies off.

Whereas in DF, you can say "Well, that looks like a huge pile of shit I don't want to have to deal with. All Dwarves inside, the doors are locked, and the drawbridges are retracted. We'll wait them out."

There are downsides to waiting out a siege in DF, of course: no outside agriculture can be conducted, trade cannot be conducted (and traders who will show up will be attacked and likely killed by the enemy, for which they will blame you uninvolved though you may have been,) migrants who arrive will be at the mercy of the enemy, etc. But the biggest upshot is that the enemy can't get in and wreck all your shit.

This right here. I loved and hated DF for the difficulty, but also the dearth of options that I could perform. I could dam a river, control where it flowed or use it as a weapon. I could huddle up inside or mass an army and storm out to meet the enemy.

Rimworld definitely needs alternate ways of gaining colonists such as reproduction, visitors being so impressed they want to stay, developing advanced methods of trade and communication to encourage new residents. Additionally, I mentioned previously we definitely need diplomatic capabilities, cause right now the grist for the mill feel of the wave after wave simply makes things feel like one long, drawn out Onslaught mode.

The one thing I keep having to remind myself is that Rimworld is super-early in development. I hope that many of the DF features we're used to come in.


I think you mean "plethora" of options, not "dearth." But yeah.
Raiders must die!


The biggest problem with being outside is that fire is the big unquestioned danger in the room.

I read somewhere that everything in Rimworld exists in two states, on fire and about to be on fire. That's not far from the truth.

Being outside risks having your colony burn to the ground too easily. A random lightning strike, a raider punching the wall on fire, batteries that will explode and set fires.

If things weren't so extremely flammable, it'd be more reasonable to build outside. As it is, cave building mostly alleviates that problem.

This isn't to say we need to remove fire all together, but it's such a hazard and the tools to combat it are nonexistant outside of "giant" nonflammable surfaces as fire breaks and pawns who will run through fire, set themselves on fire, trying to stamp out fire. There need to be fire hoses.


I wouldn't say fire is the #1 problem.

I would put it as a very close #2, but fire can even be a bigger problem underground, unless you've built your space dwarf fortress specifically in a manner as to impede the spread of fire.
Raiders must die!


Quote from: ShadowDragon8685 on October 19, 2014, 03:15:57 PM
fire can even be a bigger problem underground

How do you end up with things on fire underground? You have rock walls. I've always been of the impression that that's the point building underground. At most, a table and chairs might burn and maybe a lamp if it's close enough. Maybe a hydroponic room if you use one, but I don't usually.


Quote from: dd0029 on October 19, 2014, 03:58:13 PM
Quote from: ShadowDragon8685 on October 19, 2014, 03:15:57 PM
fire can even be a bigger problem underground

How do you end up with things on fire underground? You have rock walls. I've always been of the impression that that's the point building underground. At most, a table and chairs might burn and maybe a lamp if it's close enough. Maybe a hydroponic room if you use one, but I don't usually.

I said "depending on how you build." And remember that if nothing else, power conduits will burn. So will walls, if you use them instead of power conduits lying on the floors. And doors, and furniture.
Raiders must die!


Just take a page from Minecraft: put patches of lava in the mountain. Your miners could outrun it, but not your base.


Quote from: Tynan on September 27, 2014, 07:54:18 PM
Good discussion to have. Thanks for bringing this up.

It is a tough balance problem to solve. I think the best, most obvious solution is to put players on the offensive more often. I tried to do that with sieges and the ship part, but I think it's not quite panning out that way with sieges. So maybe I could rework sieges and make them a bit more common, and perhaps add another kind of threat or opportunity that draws people out of their base. Anyone have any thoughts about what this could be?

Adding some further mood penalties for being underground for long periods may be a viable option as well. You can live underground, it's true - but it's really awful to be underground all the time.

Quoting a post from a month ago here but I have to say, that seems like some really bizarre logic and I'm surprised almost nobody commented on this. Sieges are a threat against which the only effective defense is dwarfing. They are part of the problem and making them more common would only force even more people underground because they don't want to deal with the tedium of having mortars bombard their colony and/or conducting counter-battery fire. I'm really surprised to hear they were intended to put the player on the offensive because even though I'm pretty decent at the combat in this game it never occurred to me to actually assault the fortified position with raiders outnumbering me at least 5:1 when it was so much easier to just put up mortars of my own.

Maybe if it was more like the crashed ship part in that attacking it is manageable (meaning less raiders, though I haven't played much Alpha 7 yet so I don't know how the new balance is yet) while the threat increases constantly from a mere annoyance to an actual threat (maybe have them mine surrounding metal to build more mortars or something?) it would be more enticing to go out and attack them although it still wouldn't affect dwarves since they're still immune to mortar fire. Maybe if the whole "intelligent raids" thing everyone keeps mentioning was implemented they could have some way of recognizing underground bunkers and instead of shooting at colonists just take out aboveground defenses/energy production and then assault the now defenseless colony entrance to steal from the trade zone. That way digging in would protect your colonists from sieges, but not your infrastructure and resources and you might end up having to defend against the eventual raider assault manually.

On that note I also want to mention the paradrops right on top of you as another major reason that I think makes people want to hide in bunkers more than anything. Considering how killbox-oriented the defense in this game is (something that I won't elaborate on since it's been done to death in this thread by now) enemies that can just circumvent your killbox are a terrifying prospect to players and the only effective defense is to again, dig into a mountain.

What I think the problem here is that those two threats are both very potent and nearly omnipresent. Raider attacks are a common occurrence and a good portion of them will be sieges or drop pods so it evokes this player mentality of having to constantly be prepared for massive assaults from without and within or face certain annihilation. Maybe if these attacks were toned down in severity (and by that I don't mean just less attackers but more of the intelligent raids mentioned above, so for example if you kill off half the raiders but have to fall back and they just beeline for your stockpile you lost some potentially critical resources but your colonists survived and "defeat" becomes a less daunting prospect) and frequency to make them more of a rare threat rather than a constant annoyance players wouldn't feel the need to be constantly prepared for hordes of barbarians charging their gates to wipe them out to the last colonist and we would see more people choose less defense oriented playstyles.

That being said you have to keep in mind that this game is still an alpha and I imagine the overall gameplay still has a long ways to go and will evolve as new features are added. Right now raiders have to be omnipresent because there are only two things to do in the game, building and fighting and taking one of these out is going to become very boring quickly. But once new aspects like diplomacy or exploration or whatever else is on Tynan's to-do list are added it will give players more stuff to do and the constant fighting can give way to a more diverse gameplay experience.

So there it is, a wall of text way more massive than I originally intended and probably going to go unread, but those are my thoughts on the matter.
"The power of friendship destroyed the jellyfish."


Really?!? You didn't EVER break a siege with a single colonist?
Give him a M24 and make him take pot shots at the mortars (or anyone so dumb to not take cover) And when they are gone, along a lot of siegers, they will attack.
"You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant."
    Harlan Ellison


Quote from: Wex on October 20, 2014, 01:17:32 PM
Really?!? You didn't EVER break a siege with a single colonist?
Give him a M24 and make him take pot shots at the mortars (or anyone so dumb to not take cover) And when they are gone, along a lot of siegers, they will attack.

That is an exploit more than anything and believe it or not, not everyone sees 50 guys in power armor putting up sandbags and immediately thinks of a frontal assault. Instead the natural reaction for me (and I think for a lot of players) is to put up my own mortars and soften them up from afar because not everyone expects the AI to be so blatantly exploitable. And I think that illustrates the big problem, whether you can fight off raiders yourself or not a lot of people see the constant Zerg rushes and their natural reaction is to go for maximum defenses, i.e. mountain bunkers and killboxes. I've been doing a couple outdoor colonies now trying to restrain myself from using killboxes and while it is definitely manageable it does not seem like a very viable strategy when you come into the game as a first time player and once you've acquired the tower defense mentality it'll dominate your playstyle so what I think is needed is for the game to give a message to players that its okay to try and fight raiders head-on and that they don't need to put down giant doom fortresses to survive (for that to happen this actually has to be true first of course).

It might be worth considering making the first sieges very early so they occur before any defenses can be put up or raiders get too numerous. If its 4-5 colonists against 4-5 raiders with pistols I think a lot more people would feel inclined to take the offensive approach on their first siege, setting them onto the path of active combat rather than tower defense.
"The power of friendship destroyed the jellyfish."


Another "problem", addressed earlier in the thread, is that replacing colonists lost to anything is a comparatively difficult task so most people become extremely risk averse. Because, for the most part you are riding the knife edge and losing a key person can be devastating. If replacements were more assured, it might make players more open to risky ventures.


I really enjoy building into the mountain. I like the feeling of safety, even if it makes many things a lot more challenging; fertilizer pumps / hydroponics, relying on geothermal energy and trying to minimize energy expenditure, huge walk distances when I want to hunt / gather stuff from crashed pods or dead raiders, etc. So it makes ONE thing (defending against raiders) easier while making everything else harder. That seems like a fair trade in my book.

Anyway, here are some of my thoughts on the issue:

1- The raiders dropping right on top of you event is extremely annoying, and this alone is the reason I moved from a half-outside, half-underground base to a completely-underground base. I think this needs to be removed altogether.

2- The mortars and alien ship events are great. I really enjoy taking the offensive with a spec-ops team, taking out key targets and forcing them to attack my base. More of this would be nice.

3- Perhaps adding an air quality mechanic could add an interesting challenge to underground bases? You would have to build ventilation shafts, air conditioners, etc, and have multiple exits from your base to have good air circulation. Diseased people could infect others if there isn't adequate air conditioning, and you could also encounter poisonous gas pockets in the mountain which could force you to seal off the area or abandon your base until it gets cleaned up by your air conditioners. Other things like corpses, forges, fireplaces, etc could also reduce air quality, as would the number of colonists living inside of course.