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'Finished' on Veteran - My Thoughts


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First of all I would like to say I have loved the game, and hope to see some more content that makes it worth coming back. I think the concept is great, and most of the execution is great, and I probably struggle to articulate which bits are good more than which bits I think need fixing, so a lot of this post may focus on these, but I would recommend this game even in its current state. I also realise that my criticisms and suggestions are easier said than done, and especially game balance is a delicate process, and that I would not be able to create such a marvelous game in the first place. When I say 'finished' I mean I researched everything, built every building including the monument, and was easily sustaining my population without incident even through seemingly the worst hazards. 

So first off I think the game has some balance issues in terms of research at the beginning compared to the end. Initially you have so many different things you need to research and setup in order to survive. You need a kitchen, you need the horn, you need doctors for both your people and Onbu, and you need to feed Onbu. Quickly after that you will need to setup dung collection, composting and decontaminators. It's a lot right at the beginning. Also many of these things require advanced resources to actually build, which you just don't have good access to right at the start. I think at least several of these buildings should either have a basic version that you start with (e.g. what about a firepit that can at least let you prepare a basic meal with berries). At the same time you start with some stuff I would actually consider more advanced. I didn't need farms at all initially, and hence the setup required for those e.g. airwells. In fact setting up farms left me with too few workers to do the other things I needed quickly enough. The tutorial in fact seems to suggest you should set these up just after setting up berry gatherers, which I think is unnecessary, and detrimental if you are playing either without the tutorial or on a harder difficulty. I setup many of the above things before I even started on my first farm.

On the other hand towards the end of the game you have a lot of research that is either useless or super strong. Things like drilling for stone were unnecessary as by the time I got it I had covered a lot of my need for stone already, and even if I hadn't the loss of trust it causes Onbu is too much of a detriment. I felt the same about blood, and while I did collect bile I never really used it. While some of the things that it seemed it might have helped with early on (for instance giving Onbu a boost of energy at a key moment) the requirement for was almost completely gone by the time I got there, as I was now making enough other resources to cover those weaknesses. The food liquidator seemed useless because I was making enough food, and feeding Onbu regularly helped keep trust high. The scout tower on the other hand was a very sudden and massive boost to resources.

Based on these I think one of my key suggestion would be research should involve more 'upgrades' and less on basic requirements. For instance perhaps you start with a firepit or 'basic kitchen' and then later on you can research 'kitchen' and then even 'advanced kitchen'. These should allow you to upgrade the building without deconstructing the original if you want to be more resource intense, or could just be automatic upgrades. Existing buildings should also be able to upgrade without hassle. For instance dirt roads should upgrade to stone roads. They shouldn't be deconstructed.

I definitely think there should be some upgrades that just take effect though. This could give some more depth at end game, and give you more to do. Some suggestions:

  • Worker carrying capacity upgrade
  • Resilient crops (able to grow or at least not die in more weather conditions)
  • Crop rotation - Switching to a new crop in a farm speeds up growth of the new crop temporarily (with a cooldown)
  • More efficient cooking/processing (this in itself could be several different upgrades, for instance more meals from a crop, more fertiliser from dung)

Going back the buildings that make you lose trust with Onbu - they just seem too risky. Nothing caused more deaths and upheaval than Onbu losing trust and no longer responding to commands. It both seemed that I lost too much trust for what I gained. I think the trust loss on these should be reduced, or have further mitigations e.g. using the painkillers stops Onbu losing trust, perhaps as a tool like fertiliser. Also we need more ways to measure trust. I agree this shouldn't just be a meter we can read (or maybe it should but read on). This could have a requirement of advanced buildings (again more options for late game research) that perhaps give more indicators on Onbu's state of mind, like how quickly it is losing or gaining trust, and if not a meter then at least more indicators of how high Onbu's trust is. Right now you don't know if you have lost too much trust until it is too late.

Direction decisions often seem pointless. This might be a bit harder to judge sometimes, and maybe just bad luck but I feel more often than not that the choice of direction I have seems to have very little difference. Sometimes the obstacles in one direction might be a bit further away but they are still the same obstacles, in the same order. Again when you implement more biomes this may help. I realise you don't want to allow players to completely avoid obstacles, or even certain types of obstacles completely, but I definitely want a bit more impact from my choice. An advantage of spending a lot of time building trust should be allowing me to choose which obstacles I face most of the time, or say choosing to face two small poision forests vs one large poison forest. A bit more obstacle variety might also help with this. 

This last one might be a bit of learn to play but I felt buildings required too many people. Especially early on, (again somewhat connected to how many different buildings you need to start), and it is so important to have a good number of people who can move things around, and build things etc. I know the idea is to turn off buildings you aren't using but it still feels like I end up with having too many people having to man buildings that it slows down other progress to a crawl. It may have been my buildings were actually losing too much efficiency from not having enough carriers, but that was hard to judge. I think though this was also reflected in the decision to always pickup more people, which never seemed like too much of a detriment, I always was too short on people to turn them down up until I was basically 'finished'. For those interested I ended up with a population of 150.

A few quick notes, some of which I did report in game:

  • The disable and deconstruct button are right next to each other, one could easily be moved to the opposite side, and they are both the same colour, and the flag for them is also the same color. This can lead to an easy missclick without noticing. 
  • The report for Onbu ending an action sometimes seem to be the same as starting. Like Onbu sleeps, it says Onbu sleeps again when he is waking up.
  • Sand/Glass is too scarce/you need too much for how much is available. Cottages probably being the biggest sinner in terms of sucking up this resource. Glass was by far the limiting factor for me finishing up the game, every other resource seemed in plentiful supply. This might be fixed with new biomes I know are part of your roadmap. Right now sand only spawns in desert, whereas pretty much every other resource can be found in at least 2 biomes or some other way.
  • A few things could be made more obvious in the tutorial and in game information:
    • Crops start rotting once they have fully grown. If your farmers don't get to them in time they just decay. I have no idea how many crops I actually wasted this way before I realised but I think a lot.
      • On a sidenote you can assign these to be harvested like trees and your general workers will come help to pick them up at this stage.
        • On another sidenote I still have no idea if people assigned 'harvester' will just automatically help if they have nothing better to do. They should if they don't already.
    • Farmers will assist with crops in the plots of other farms if they are both set to the same crop.
    • While the potential space for farms is huge, they can't cover nearly that much space even once fully manned. 

Here are some ideas I would like to see implemented as new content, many potentially deepening the research trees:

  • A town bell. This would be used to implement preset conditions to your buildings that you can set up e.g. what crops are being planted in different farms, which buildings are active or not, or even how many man them. You could then have it ring in different ways to command all your people to switch. For instance a desert setting to tell everyone to switch from beets to corn or cactus, and your kitchens to the appropriate food, then a mountain setting to switch back to beets. Another bell could be for spores, telling your manufacturing to shut down but your decontaminators to open and your doctor's to be fully manned.
  • A command bridge. This could be a direct upgrade to the horn. This would allow you to potentially give some more advanced commands on the map. Nothing too much I think, but I feel like sometimes I end up watching the map just to wait for the right point to tell Onbu to stop. The bridge could potentially allow you to mark points to automatically give Onbu a call to stop (which may or may not be trusted as usual) once you reach that point and gives the player an alert.
    • Taking this further could be an advanced bridge, or 'the helm', a pun in that it would both go on Onbu's head and it would be used for directing Onbu. Potentially this building could only be built at very high levels of trust, and loss of trust below this level will cause Onbu to shake it off immediately. But it could be used to help automatically navigate some obstacles if you have marked them out on your map e.g. timing for tornadoes and crossing spore clouds.
  • Heaters/coolers. Keeps off the worst effects of a cold snap or heat wave to your crops, stopping some from perishing and allowing others to keep growing during this time in an area around it. Heaters might use biogas or bile. Coolers would use water.
  • Zoologists - based on the above idea of studying Onbu closer, to potentially unlock things like more ways of monitoring trust.
  • Animal farms - A variety of different animals could be kept for different purposes. Food seems an obvious one, but something like horses could decrease the time it takes for your scavenger posts to explore points of interest.
  • Ways to expand your building area. This seems like it will be necessary as you add content, as the current content takes up a lot of the potential space:
    • Scaffolding. Add some buildable areas to the edge of Onbu. May be more vulnerable to storms, as the scaffolding could be damaged and the building lost entirely.
    • Onbu convoys! This might be a dlc or expansion, as I imagine will take a lot of work, but how about the ability to have a second or even multiple Onbu? Getting additional Onbu would be a large investment in resources before it will trust you/is capable. You would also need to build infrastructure to allow travel between the two, bridges? a lot of balloons? Lifts that require both Onbu to be lying down/sleeping to allow people to get off, run along and get on again? There might be several ways of gaining a new Onbu:
      • Sick Onbu - This Onbu is badly poisioned and will die without treatment, an investment of medicine could get it back on its feet.
      • Starving Onbu - This Onbu has been unable to find food and will die without nourishment, an investment of food could get it back on its feet.
      • Neglected Onbu - This Onbu had a previous group of nomads on it, but they mistreated it and has shaken them off. It is weak from the blood, bile and stone harvesting from it and distrustful of nomads now. As a benefit to rescuing this Onbu existing buildings may be found/repaired on its back.
      • Baby Onbu - Turns out your Onbu has been pregnant all this time! On around day 200 your Onbu gives birth! This could be a major event that:
        1. leads you stranded wherever you are, lying down, for some time (potential mitigation having above mentioned zoologist allows you to a) find out your Onbu is pregnant and b) induce or delay labour by a small amount to give you some leeway to find a good place to stop for a while.
        2. Causes seismic disturbances that can damage buildings.
      • After birthing the baby will require feeding to help it grow stronger and building of trust before it can act as additional land. It is a smaller plot and may have some additional mechanics. For instance it is smaller and therefore always considered at ground level for purposes of toxicity. Again a research option might be to build a large crane that allows you to lift it up at the cost of energy for the mother.
  • Multiplayer - I realise this is probably especially a pipe dream to add in, but I think any game is made better with friends, even sometimes if you don't directly interact. If you can just join up with your friend, walk down the same path with your Onbu side by side that would be nice. Even potentially some asynchronous elements would be nice perhaps? E.g. you find the remains of another player's Onbu who failed at the distance they made it. Sometimes you pass close enough to the Onbu of another player that you can see their Onbu for a little bit, see their buildings and what they have done etc.

I realise this has turned into a very long post but I hope you find it helpful, and that you like some of my ideas. Again though loved the game.

Kind Regards


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Wuaaaaa, thanks for all this feedback :)

Many of the things you wrote were also mentioned by other players and some of those are already on our radar to fix / balance / add. I can't comment on all points, but thank you very much for your detailed write-up. Glad you enjoy the game and we're looking forward to improve it further :) 


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