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Planetary woes, or why I flew off into space.

Discussion in 'General' started by tankmayvin, Jan 12, 2016.

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  1. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,863
    As some of you on chat at the time remember from yesterday I finally decided to bite the bullet and try some planetary based survival. I've been meh about planets in creative but decided to give the whole survival side of things a try. And so this is my saga/rant/suggestion discussion.

    So I booted up a new solar system world, infinite, high asteroid density. All threats turned on and x1 everything.

    Spawed in the lander above the earth-like planet and brought her down safely above what I thought was a nice mineral patch on some high ground in an icy plain. Great I thought, success and the game world visually looks great.

    AHAHA....nope.

    Within seconds of landing I got swarmed by dogs, which while easy to dispatch with the rifle, really prevented me from doing much else. I took about 7-8 dogs before I slapped a pair of solar panels on the lander to avoid utterly running out of juice.

    Ore scouting was insanely time consuming having to fend off dogs.

    @Dwarf-Lord Pangolin made the in restrospect rather obvious suggestion that you start with the bits to make interior turrets and so you should do that before planetfall. So I slapped two of these puppies on the sides (I found out you actually need two for 360 degree coverage cuz of the crappy lander layout).

    Poof, no more dog problem, back to ore prospecting with drill and ship detector. Find plenty of stuff only to realize that mining on planets via suit is absolute garbage. The deposits are all 20-30 meters down, the voxel terrain makes it challenging to dig a ramp (unlike in discreet block based games *cough minecraft, *cough terraria). So you're forced to jetpack a lot. More importantly, on X1 even walking back and forth a couple of hundred meters is time consuming. As much effort as drifting from roid to roid in space, but with an extremely long mining time at the end. I know there are supposed to be surface boulders you can easily mine but damned if there weren't any in like a 20 km radius of planetfall.

    And of course you don't spawn with a hydrogen bottle, and for some inane reason those bottles require silver. So instead of refilling my tank, I'm suiciding when my H2 runs out. A lot. Of Suicides. Many. I don't mind suiciding but man. Even this is a lot for me.

    Also, moving the lander around is extremely energetically expensive and I'm not exactly rich for power.

    So after about an hour, hour and a half of plugging at it, I've realized that I'm basically just treading water. I've built nothing but two turrets and two solar pannels. I've burned through ammo without being able to replace much of it. I've barely collected any ore of note. Basically, I'm going to die, permadeath style and it's only a matter of time.

    So I executed plan B: Which is respawn in a banana boat, burn out of the gravity well and into the asteroid zone to play a conventional survival game with the promise of returning rich and loaded for bear to the planetary surface. Within another hour I've got suit accessible deposits of everything, an upgraded refinery, a bit of every ore in the game in queue in the refinery and the startings of a small ship.

    Now, part of the problem is that I'm a planetary noob but a seasoned space survivalist. But really, a bulk of the problem is that planetary starts have garbage flow and some systematic problems. Sure it's Alpha/pseudo beta, but that's the point of threads like this. So here is a summary of my observations:

    1) Player mobility:

    Movement and world navigation to and from deposits, within ships, for welding, etc is really balanced around 6DOF high speed movement in space. Even with H2 limits on X1 you can cover vast distances quickly and flit around mining/whatever. Tunnel mining in space in a suit is no problemo.

    vs.

    On planets, you're way slower which means the time to travel distance is hugely inflated. Mining by hand sucks and it's all in the vertical relative to gravity which means getting stuck.

    2) Energy cost of doing business:

    In space, your suit is incredibly mobile and long ranged, which means you can park your ship and do all the maneuver via suit. Your suit is cheap to recharge and cheap to maintain in terms of oxy and propellant. Which means you can operate on extremely modest power demands. In space you can always find a location that has sun.

    vs.

    On planets, you're always fighting gravity, and since your suit is relatively immobile your craft needs to do the moving. That is to say you're constantly burning power in a way you just don't have to in space. Nighttime is a reality and there is no easy way to recharge your H2 supply since you don't even start with an H2 bottle!

    3) Hostile environment:

    In space, threats are manageable. There are roid tunnels to avoid meteors and you can hide from pirates, even the mighty Argentavis isn't too bad.

    Cargo ships are an easy/basically free source of stuff.

    vs.

    In planets you're dealing with a more or less constant stream of fairly weak mobs. You need either trenches, welder chains, or constantly feeding guns to keep them at bat. You can farm the pirates but that's not an early start thing, and the mobs literally drop nothing you can use. The dogs blow themselves up FFS!

    4) Actually building, the whole point of the game:

    In space 6 DOF and no gravity makes building a piece of cake as long as you can reach the blocks with a welder.

    vs.

    On planets, you need scaffolds, trusses etc to make things accessible on foot. Blarg.

    All this to say: There are systematic issues with planetary ops that makes bare bones starts a terrible hurdle in a game that's based around the mechanics of space ops. Obviously this is a WIP but the flow of the start needs work. The lander needs easier/obvious attachment points for pannels and ITs since those are basically mandatory installations within minutes of spawn. Filled bottles are needed in the lander, etc.

    I'm curious to see how people have muddled through this on 1X with PVE. Exactly what they're building, etc, etc. Because for me the obvious solution is to save planets after you've got the infrastructure to carry down with you.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2016
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  2. kingkrieg Apprentice Engineer

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    161
    theres a video guide from a player who tels you how to gather the resources you need and get of planet in about 1 hour (even with jihad dogs) in youtube.

    thats what i do in MP, worked great, once in space wand with asteroid mining, you can alwasy go back to the planet and start a "colony" there - something to note is that "never build big" in a planet.
     
  3. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,863
    Link?

    Also, escaping planets to space shouldn't be the point of planets, and you can escape by changing spawn ships in like...10 minutes ;)

    I don't really think you should ever "build-big" in survival, period. It's just that you run out of anything else to do other than building big things after a certain amount of time.
     
  4. Renfield37 Trainee Engineer

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    97
    Tips I've learned so far in dogless planetary survival is that the dark patches on the land indicate ore deposits. There's dark patches on all land texture variants, even forest.

    I've also been having a hard time finding silver and I'm not sure if it spawns in the ground or maybe just in boulders.

    The uranium deposits are very scant as the veins are really wispy and easy to miss when making bore down holes with a large ship drill. You have to take your time and get out of the ship sometimes to manually get visual on the vein because a camera feed tends to not pick out the thin blackness against the surrounding stone. I sometimes right-click drill right through if I'm not careful.

    For power, I end up attaching 9 solar panels to keep the batteries charged. With the first uranium I first find, I power up the small reactor and let all the batteries get to full charge then I turn off the reactor and keep it as an emergency backup.
     
  5. Dax23333 Junior Engineer

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    657
    At least you diddn't crash your planetary lander into a pitch black hillside and roll down it then discover that all thrusters bar two, all 4 landing gears and the refinery have been obliteriated. That made for an interesting start If this world had dogs enabled I would have been totally destroyed within a few minutes, because all the ammo was in the cargo crate that broke with the crash.

    All of the issues you stated add up to give the impression that progression in Space Engineers is currently backwards. You are meant to start on planets, according the the dev's live stream a while ago, but doing so is incredibly difficult. And that's without idiot pilots like myself crashing thier landers. At the moment you spend hours and hours building rovers, flipping them, crashing aircraft irreparably on the landing pad, slowly mining until you can progress into space where all these problems dissapear.
     
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  6. DS_Marine Apprentice Engineer

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    494
    Doesn't the standard lander comes with 2 o2 and 2 h2 bottles inside the oxygen generator??
     
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  7. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,863
    Oh, I know about the patches. It's just getting anything out of the patches is a chore beyond what it should be. I imagine it's much easier once you have a flying miner, but getting to the point of having a miner is....challenging.
     
  8. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,863
    That is exactly my point. This was my impression playing around with operations in creative and that's definitely my conclusion now playing survival.

    I really hope that planetary starts are always optional.
     
  9. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,863
    Unless I was going insane, mine only spawed with O2 bottles. The banana boat gives you 2x O2, 1x H2.
     
  10. nightwing28 Trainee Engineer

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    5
    In my survival (started before they added the dogs) I'm sure there were hydrogen and oxygen tanks in the planetary lander's oxygen generator. Landing the lander was a pain but luckily I landed near the pole so I always had some sunlight which helped a great deal. It is also a pain that ores are about 30m down but to alleviate the used of the jetpack I mine down at angles and turns so I can simply walk back and forth with my loads. So far I've been able to make it off the earth like planet and land on the moon. Building a bigger ship to get Mars next.
     
  11. Renfield37 Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    97
    it's not, I chop down the lander as soon as exit freefall. I build an 11 conveyer block extended drilling rig with camera bore sight, 2 sorting blocks, and connector stone pooper. The lander already has everything you need to do this, routing paths and all. My cut in point for the chop is in the bottom left back corner underneath the lander. There's a conveyer block already in place there where you can hook up the assembly to. I can provide pictures on it but I can't record a video because recording with fraps while playing SE would probably make my computer implode. In a few i'll post an imgur album on it.
     
  12. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,863
    Pics would be great. Are you able to swat dogs/bugs too?
     
  13. DS_Marine Apprentice Engineer

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    494
    Hmm yeah I'm also talking about the lander before the dogs patch. Maybe they removed the h2 bottles in current version.
     
  14. Renfield37 Trainee Engineer

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    97
    Here is a picture guide on how I modify the planetary lander into a mining ship off the bat. This is stage 1. I have 3 stages total, right now in survival i'm at stage 2. If you look in the background you'll see my stages set up. I have scaffolding because I test my builds in survival mode on that saved world from time to time and the scaffolding provides a way to run back up if I fall. In a survival mode its easy to modify the stage 1 while hovering as long as you erect simple scaffolds to walk on to conserve your h1 supply, as it takes only 1 steel plate to make a placeholder block and it's instantaneous. Just make sure you keep an eye on your h1 gauge and plan your movements accordingly while your ship hovers in the air. You don't want to fall down and not have a way back up into your ship.



    As you can see with the last two internal ship pictures I have around 4 and half tons of iron ingots left after the construction. This is because beforehand I chopped down several unimportant pieces of the ship and disassembled it all in the assembler.
    The pieces I got rid of are the following: the 2 lcd screens (later to be replaced with 2 wide lcd's instead), timer and programmer (for the time being, they come back later in different spots), the four landing gear, the step ladder extending from the door, and finally the 3 conveyer tubes above the door way.

    The 2 small cargos and small reactor are relocated to the top floor in a new configuration (seen in the last picture). This configuration sets up for my stage 2 modification (turret defenses, added thrusters, power management, etc.)
    I don't begin stage 2 construction on my ship until after my first mining haul, which is extremely brief with the large mining drill, quite laughably so. I actually have to be careful that I don't mine too much as one large drill can accumulate 20 tons of ore before you know it.

    I recently posted a picture album showcasing this modification in Stormtrooper's cyber hound thread earlier today. Here http://forums.keenswh.com/threads/f...-damn-hounds-if-you-would-indulge-me.7378118/
     
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  15. Krougal Senior Engineer

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    1,012
    Cool. Just 1 question. How the hell do you get in and out of it?
     
  16. Renfield37 Trainee Engineer

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    97
    uhhhh, it comes with a door...
     
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  17. Renfield37 Trainee Engineer

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    97
    Oh wait, sorry my bad. You must mean how do you get back up to the door in the event you're on a survival world and you have no h1 reserves right?

    What I do in the dogless world is set up a simple platform with a jump ladder. Since there are no ladders in the game yet I've devised a simple way to create one. I'll imgur that for you guys too. Just give me a moment.
     
  18. Krougal Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,012
    Yeah that lol!
    So always carry some SP and your welder. Kinda a PITA in x1, but then I guess since you've eliminated the need to go mine by hand, no real reason to get out except to build/repair...so yeah, it's viable.
    I'm with OP, I tried to give planet start a fair try (before dogs) but I got bored very quickly. So armed with tips like these I might just give it another go.
     
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  19. AutoMcD Senior Engineer

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    2,369
    Drill into the ground until it lands. Lol
     
  20. Krougal Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    1,012
    Yeah, I was kinda overthinking it wasn't I?

    You know me, I was trying to come up with some kind of solution that included massed turrets. ;)
     
  21. Renfield37 Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    97
    This is my current setup on a multiplayer server, its my stage 2. The ladder I created is something I call a jump ladder, because that's what you have to do to get up it. Until Keen gives us ladders it will have to do.
    One important note you need to understand when traversing the jump ladder is that you need get to the back of the slope block you're on and lead off with w-key before you jump in a quick like fashion, otherwise you will stall mid jump and not make it to the next slope block.



    its a bare bones platform mean to blend in, nothing special. I have one merge block in it that I couple the lander too when I'm in docked mode.
     
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  22. Ronin1973 Master Engineer

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    4,845
    I would suggest landing on a lake where you can see pools of resources. Preferably near a resource like nickel or uranium.

    Suicide dogs don't like trenches. I wouldn't touch down in the lander but hover and build a moat around your landing site that's large enough for lander to sit without the dogs reaching it. But not large enough where a dog might spawn within the moat.

    I've also tried creating a double wall system. The dogs blow themselves up at the first wall and then you rebuild it ASAP. You just need to drop armor blocks and not worry about welding them. Eventually the dogs will blast large enough craters into the ground that they can't get past and you can mine out any areas that they haven't gotten to.

    The dogs aren't smart enough to find a breach in the wall if it's located behind you or off to the side. They go for pretty much the direct path to you or nothing at all.


    I'd definitely play with the suicide dog feature off. It hasn't been balanced properly. They are more of an annoyance than anything.

    I might give it a go in single player to see if I can practice what I preach. I spent a day on our server dealing with mutant mutts and that was enough.
     
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  23. AutoMcD Senior Engineer

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    2,369
    The lander really should have turrets on it if this is how they want it to be.
     
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  24. Stardriver907 Master Engineer

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    3,210
    Well, the game was intended to be played only in space. Planets were added because of demand. The only reason things seem to be harder on planets is because all the equipment was designed to work in space. It's possible that in time there will be vanilla equipment designed to work in a gravity environment. The Shadowflux mods are a perfect example of equipment designed to work in a gravity environment, even though planets didn't exist when the mods were created.

    The hydrogen problem should be offset by the ability to use wheeled vehicles, but since we have little experience using wheels because we don't need them in space, we don't know how to set up wheels properly and resort to flying, which gets problematic. I mean, even the Apollo astronauts got a rover (which, by the way, bounced around like crazy).

    It does seem to me that Keen intends mining to be a space thing. What I got from the various threads devoted to planets is that people wanted planets to be something to explore and build colonies and impenetrable bases on. Your building efforts on a planet are best supplied by resources from space. I can tell right now that my mining empire will probably not spend much time mining on planets, and more time sending much needed ore and/or components to people stuck on planets.
     
  25. Me 10 Jin Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    463
    Here's a brief recount of my first 2 hours on Star System survival x1 (+boomdogs, ~30m days, no meteorites).

    Night 1: Welcome to the Dark Side! I spawn in the blue-brick lander and begin free fall. I shut off the reactor and do a little housekeeping (disassemble bottles and tools and build tier-3 tools). At ~2Km altitude I turn on my dampers and end up hovering at ~500m. The sun is below the horizon, so I decide it's time to arm the lander. My first idea is to use one turret atop 3 pillars on the lander's roof, so I get that done in a couple minutes. The night is well and truly dark, so I have to rely on the flight seat's HUD and the dim outlines of mountain peaks to navigate. I head towards the moon because having the moon in view is important to me :p

    Day 1: Still flying! Battery power is still good. The brightening sky slowly reveals the landscape. Honestly, this could be a game in itself. I can see enough to start flying low to scout ore deposits and boulders. Mid morning, I find a frozen swamp with iron and uranium. Some boulders nearby have cobalt, magnesium, and nickel. I land near the cobalt boulder (i don't spawn with tools, so getting a little cobalt is my safety net) and get ready to start drilling but 3 dogs rush me. The turret kills the dogs and me. I respawn in the lander and go pick up my tools. I proceed to mine a few K of cobalt from the boulder and a few more dogs are repelled by the turret. The sun is setting so I fly over to the uranium I detected earlier.

    Night 1: Batteries are still OK, they've got enough juice to run the refinery for a few hours. The lander's ore detector shows ice, iron and uranium, at depths of 5m, 50m, and 150m respectively. I take my tier 3 drill and start boring a diagonal tunnel towards the uranium. I get about 25m down when I hear the turret just go nuts. It's spraying bullets like there's no tomorrow! I sprint back up the tunnel to take a look and sure enough, dogs are all around me. I jetpack away from the ship and the dogs get picked off in short order. Figuring it was a fluke or terrain cover, I cut back the turret's range and go back to digging. I bore through a seam of iron about 5m thick and continue down towards the uranium. Again, I hear the turret going nuts! And again I rush back out to see WTF is going on. Again it's more dogs that seem invulnerable to bullets as long as I'm underground. Maybe they're doing donuts and throwing off the turret's targeting. I reach the uranium vein and chunk out a few K worth, grab some, then head back to stow my gear and make a few runs carrying nothing but ore. Once, I tripped on a loose chunk of iron on my way down to the uranium and it ganked me from behind.

    Day 2: Now that my refinery is merrily munching uranium (with some cobalt on the back burner), I'm ready for a permanent base. But before that I need a short break. I go AFK and leave my char standing next to the cargo containers. I come back looking at the respawn screen. I don't know how it happened, but a dog slipped past my turret and exploded under the lander, taking out one landing gear, 2 thrusters, and the ore detector. I decide to take the turret off the top of the ship and put turrets on the front and back instead. While I'm cleaning up the damage to the lander, I outfit the refinery and assembler with modules. I make a first iteration of a turret pylon (small ship battery and solar panel rotor-merged to a station with a turret), which seems to do a good job of covering the far side of my construction site.

    Everything after that is pretty much just building a normal base and a scouter ship. Dogs are constantly bringing in materials, including the occasional Kg of magnesium powder! Sure gravity makes everything harder and slower, but I personally like the challenge.

    Some tips:
    1. Don't conserve hydrogen at the start. Saving hydrogen costs time. Ice is plentiful and easy to collect. Refill your suit at the medbay.
    2. Interior turrets are your friends... unless they shoot you... or shoot your ship/station. Take a good look at your turret settings.
    3. You can walk up a 1x2 slope. There is a 1x2 sloped window block. I cannot overstate how convenient window block scaffolding is.
    4. R-click with a hand drill and walk forwards to bore a smooth tunnel. Crouch to make the tunnel slant downwards.
     
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  26. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

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    2,863
    I like this, some questions:

    Have you tried on X1, and with dogs on? That seems like it would take one hell of a lot of time to weld up.

    Also, does the lander come with all of the necessary comps, or do you have to do any mining/refining/assembling?

    Either way, that's still a TON more work/effort than boosting to space and doing a pre-planet survival OP.
     
  27. tankmayvin Senior Engineer

    Messages:
    2,863
    The lander medbay is conveyored? Dammit....I was just killing myself constantly.

    Where are you finding mats from the dogs? They never dropped anything for me or is the stuff just phasing into the ground and you have to look careful, or do you have to loot the body like a character?
     
  28. Cheith Trainee Engineer

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    20
    Definitely 2 x Hydrogen bottles and 10K of ice in the lander. Really hard to run out unless you are careless.

    Just to add in my 2 cents, especially on turrets - I usually put 4 on the bottom corners of the lander before I land.
    I also pick a landing spot with Mg first so that I can make more ammo - though in reality your initial 300 rounds will last for a fair amount of time.

    My biggest issue so far is that I end up relying on the lander too much and thus, if I crash it while going for more minerals, I have problems in keeping going. Still, it is all experimentation at the moment.
     
  29. Me 10 Jin Apprentice Engineer

    Messages:
    463
    Yeah you have to loot dogs in person. Which kinda stinks because if they dropped components you could set up a giant ant-lion contraption to kill dogs and funnel their loot into collectors.
     
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  30. Renfield37 Trainee Engineer

    Messages:
    97
    No, I play on X10 dog-less multiplayer servers currently. I checked the initial components though on both X1 and X10 and you get the same amount in both instances. However, there are some really weird things I found out too.
    The complaint you made about not having h1 bottles coming stock with the lander is true. I did not know this.



    If you look in this pic it shows my initial load in on the X1 world and the inventory of the oxygen generator (might need to click it and zoom). Notice the weight and volume but yet nothing exist in the hold. Interestingly, I reloaded, not from a save, but from a fresh start of the same custom world file and when I looked in the inventory again the oxy generator was still empty but the numbers attached to kg and L were gone as well. This time it was truly empty. Bewildered, I reload the same custom world again, but this time I had went into the settings and switched it to X10 beforehand. When I looked in the inventory this time it was still empty and had no readings again. After this, I made a fresh new custom star system world and loaded it from the start as X10 and everything that was suppose to come with the oxy generator was reappeared (10k ice, 2 oxy bottles, and 2 H1 bottles). The reading for the volume of the oxy generator was 4120 L or so. I notice from the previous X1 world picture that volume cap in that world is only 4000 L

    So in conclusion, I don't know what to tell you except that something is bugged here and if you're trying to play an X1 world on survival right now you have to immediately go to an ice lake or snow mountain and pick up some ice as soon as your lander gets down. It really is a shame this bug is shorting you out on H1 bottles, and since I still haven't found silver to make them yet in game on the multiplayer server I play, I can see that being a dire situation in terms of needed mobility early on. So yes, you have a very valid complaint on this matter and I will check the bugs threads to make sure this has been addressed.
     
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