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For the discussion of our Sunless Skies, released January 2019.

Design Choice: Thrusters and Full Steam Messages in this topic - RSS

dustwhit
dustwhit
Posts: 4

10 days ago
Hi designers,

I've really enjoyed your game even though open-sandbox, pick-up and deliver, heavy-narrative game play is not really my thing. I think its the superb sound, music, and rich, unique world you've created. Its also fun to set off on a route with a plan, and then see things inevitably need to change and adjust on the journey. One thing I strongly disagree with...

I don't agree with the design choice to have side thrusters cost extra fuel and for full steam mode to cause an initial loss of fuel. My reason - it ruins the fun of using these abilities. Basically, its fun to thrust around the world (not to mention to become familiar with and learn the important combat mechanic) and its fun to initiate the full steam mode. Since you punish the player to use these, I find myself almost completely disregarding them until necessary.

In the case of Full Steam, it feels bad to initiate the mode, and then pass several nodes that I could have harvested otherwise. I don't mind the extra collision damage or difficult navigation controls.

I don't think this balancing of the abilities was necessary, certainly not at the cost of the loss in fun using them.

Have a great week,
dustwhit
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Siankan
Siankan
Posts: 934

10 days ago
I don't quite follow how this is "[punishing]". To me at least it makes sense that your engine guzzles extra fuel when you are making it do something extra, especially the extra acceleration. It's what my car does. Also, if thrusting sideways didn't cost fuel, you'd have the strange anomaly where a stationary engine could do the trick without apparently using its engine at all. In any case, the amount of fuel used is so minuscule that it is unlikely to ever matter unless you 1) have severely mismanaged the engine, 2) have had particularly bad luck, or 3) regularly skate by on a minimum of fuel.

For my part, I usually leave port with 5 barrels of fuel on board (10 when I'm exploring), and I top off when I'm able to. That is enough fuel to cross the Reach in a gas guzzler and still have a bit to spare, even with liberal use of thrusters. I never limit their use, except on rare occasions where misfortune has run me out of fuel and I'm trying (as much as possible) to coast my way to port. They have yet to make any real impact on my ability to keep the engine running, and (on a personal level) have never made any negative impact on my enjoyment of the game.

As for not interacting with discoveries, I'm afraid that's a necessary price of speed. You can hardly stop on a dime when roaring past something, and you certainly can't spend a few hours drilling into a rock or excavating a ruin when your engine is setting new speed records. You have to get off the highway if you're going to see the local attractions; part of using full steam mode is deciding what sort of things you are willing to disengage it for.
edited by Siankan on 11/29/2019

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Prof. Sian Kan, at your service.
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dustwhit
dustwhit
Posts: 4

9 days ago
The amount of fuel used when regularly using the thrusters is easily noticeable (when mousing over the fuel gauge) as opposed to not using them. It's noticeable enough to dissuade their use if a person wants to efficiently use their resources. Maybe I want to more than you - that's fine. I understand the trick or cheat that could result if thrusters cost no fuel - all the same - I believe there are ways around that undesirable circumstance without making them cost MORE on top of the cost of traveling already. I personally wouldn't want to test it, but I imagine that if someone started on one end of the Reach and traveled to the other end, both WITH using thrusters non-stop (just having fun, zig-zagging tapping left and right) and WITHOUT, I'm guessing they would use twice the fuel. Maybe I'm wrong.

I think its a better design choice to not discourage their use. It's a key aspect of the game to learn how to effectively dodge threats. Depending on if your engine is facing upwards or downwards, it can take some time to getting use to properly pushing the correct thruster to go the direction you want to travel for example.

In regards to Full Steam, don't misunderstand, I don't mind that Full Steam prevents a player from interacting with a node, I mind that its unenjoyable to have to decide whether you actually want to turn off Full Steam to interact with the node when you have just paid a burst of fuel to trigger it. It would be much more fun to just initiate Full Steam, deal with all its wonky controls and potential extra damage, and be able to turn it off (with a delay), without having to decide if its worth burning an initial allotment of fuel to trigger it. But I don't mean to go down a rabbit hole talking about nodes - there are plenty of other situations where after triggering Full Steam you immediately may desire to turn it off (through no mismanagement of your own), say, a batch of enemies spawn unavoidably in front of you. I don't see the reason for making it cost the player to trigger it - why not just let someone have fun - it's not like its breaking the game that a player use it relentlessly (its kind of a late game component). After having spent the money to purchase that engine, why make the player question whether they actually want to use it.


edited by dustwhit on 11/29/2019
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