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Planetary Survival [Planet and Outpost Overhaul Mod Suggestion]


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I think it goes without saying that Bethesda really skimped when they implemented the outpost building mechanic. They also left out some key features from planet generation. So as usual, it will be up to the incredibly talented modding community to fix these errors. I'm not a modder myself, unfortunately, but I wanted to assemble a thread that can be easily referenced for talented mod-savvy individuals that includes the most important changes that should be made to the system. I envision this to eventually be a package of mods that work individually, but also work seamlessly together with no conflicts.

DISCLAIMER: I am not a modder. I do not know the work that goes into creating the awesome mods for games like Skyrim and Fallout 4. I do have some knowledge of what should be possible, but I do not have the technical expertise to implement it. With that being said, here is an overview of what will be discussed here:

- Planet
- Vehicles
- Outposts
- Tech

Planets are amazing in Starfield! It is impressive that while they do seem mostly empty, there is still quite a lot to scan and even find. That being said, it is unfortunate that the feature is as underutilized as it is. There is literally an endless amount of content that can be added to planets, but we got repeated bases, identical POIs, and only a handful of natural phenomena that aside from scanning had nothing to add to gameplay.

These changes should be implemented to fix that.

  • Procedurally Generated Points of Interest.
    We all know that each instance on the planet generates the locations procedurally, but it essentially just plops down a pre-designed model and calls it a day. I believe it would be possible to create procedurally generated POIs using the assets already built into the game. If nothing else, we should at least have multiple versions of each type of place, so I don't feel like I'm literally in the same science lab killing pirates every time I find one. If it can be done, generating rocks, trees, and even buildings should all be placed in a procedural way to increase the variety available to the player.

  • Rivers
    These are actually really important to some of the features in later sections. There are some technical hurdles to overcome (especially the 'instanced' planet maps). Rivers are the most complicated to add, but they may be possible as shown in recent Star Citizen tech demos. Ideally, these would be node-based procedural generations that are implemented at the planet map level. They could be cut or truncated at the borders of each instanced map, if that technical obstacle can't be overcome, but ideally, these would flow from a "mountain" biome to an "ocean" or "lake" biome. There would be three major stages: Tributaries, River Main, and Delta. Tributaries would have an origin point somewhere on the map, and would become larger as they went farther from the point of origin. They would join up with the River Main, which is a VERY WIDE body of water. It could be several thousand meters across in some areas. If the river flows to a lake, there would not be a delta, and instead, another River Main would start flowing away from the lake. If the river meets up with an ocean biome, it will form a Delta biome, which again can be very large, forming islands and such. Modders might be able to add plugins to this, modifying the generation to form waterfalls in some areas, creating swamps in others, etc.

  • Roads
    These should have been in the game from the beginning, along with vehicles. I know exactly why they didn't do it, but that is no excuse. There should be vehicles and roads in the game. Roads would be created in a very similar way to rivers, with different levels of roads showing depending on the types and number of POIs in the area. Roads should connect most POIs, and some of the random generated structures throughout the landscapes of planets. These will be node-based terrain deforms that can gen with different textures. Roads will terrain deform to force terrain under them to stay within a certain angle. probably not larger than 35* or so, and will create sloped surfaces on both sides. Roads should be required to check paths at generation, to ensure they don't split a mountain or anything like that. These will connect two POIs, and will also create branches and "lots" where derelict or working vehicles could be parked, nearby structures. There could also be road-exclusive locations that generate, like tunnels, quarries, and even small towns.

What better to drive on the newly generated roads than vehicles? Below is a list of various types and their functions. One of the main features I want to include is a vehicle builder, similar to the ship builder. You would be able to place modules, replace parts, and eventually construct vehicular monstrosities HAHAAAHA. There would be a module for your ship that would be able to carry these from planet to planet, with certain limitations on where you could take them out. To park them back on the ship, target the ship while in the driver's seat and "dock" with it, allowing for a cutscene of the vehicle loading onto your ship, and dropping you inside the ship as if you boarded it through the regular bay.

  • Exploration
    Fast, light, and equipped with advanced sensors. These can be driven over rough terrain and perhaps have amphibious upgrades.
  • Cargo
    meant to carry a lot of cargo over long distances, these beasts need mostly level terrain to go between places, but what they lack in mobility, they make up for in capacity.
  • Combat
    Ever dream of rolling up on some poor crimson fleet outpost in a tank? Heavy armor, heavy guns, heavy everything.
  • Support
    Some vehicles function just to increase your own abilities. imagine having a vehicle with an animal trap on it? Or one that can collect and harvest plants as you drive it? Maybe one has a built in scanner booster? The possibilities are endless.
  • Mounts
    Yes, you heard right. Tame an animal, and ride it across that desert. Place different packs on them to increase carry capacity or technical features.

Outposts are a joke. It was the single thing I was looking forward to most, and by far the most disappointing feature. Honestly, the number of fixes this feature alone needs deserves its own thread. Really, it would be pretty cool if we could just merge Satisfactory with Starfield, which is exactly what this proposal aims to do, essentially. The major things that need to be fixed are: Outpost objects/buildings, resource Management, Defensive mechanics, and Terrain Modification. A new feature would be Colony Building.

  • Outpost Buildings/Objects
    - Basic foundation
    - Basic Wall (half length of square hab, and whole length of square hab, snap points with 90* available. Also full and half length walls for manually creating hexagonal rooms)
    - Basic Roof
    - Bracing beams/pillars/crossbeams/support decor
    - More options for changeable snap points (windows/walls/doors)
    - DOORS?!??!
    - More options for swapping, such as changing the roof, changing the interior appearance, changing floor appearance, creating raised/lowered areas, toggling railings or placeable snap railings, togglable walls (for building connected interiors between habs)
    - Interior walls
    - Landing Pads have snap points for foundations, containers, airlocks, habs, and decorative items like cranes, pipes, belts, etc
    - So much more
    - Air purifiers and Oxygen generators are needed to make a hab livable. These can be built inside or outside at specific snap-points.
    - Water and food are now required resources to keep NPCs around the Outpost happy, so sinks, showers, and kitchens are needed.
    - placeable Stairs and walkways for foundations, interior habs, etc
    - buildable node-based roads within outposts
    - More
  • Resource Management
    - A new structure/object for logistics.
    - snappable conveyor belts for building real factories (think Fallout 4, not Satisfactory)
    - Control panels to access materials in connected containers
    - Piping for liquid and gas materials (plus great for decoration)
    - Larger containers - like BIG
    - Ability to set a container to accept only one item
    - Ability to auto-drop or auto-pick-up items onto your ship, such as keeping a minimum or maximum item count
  • Defensive Mechanics
    - Ability to build walls (node-based) around an outpost
    - Watchtowers can be designated with guards
    - Additional defensive structures, such as Anti-ship guns, Missile launchers, defensive positions, sandbags, more and bigger auto-turrets, various strength doors and gates, alert systems, town-gathering places, etc.
    - Medical system, where crew and other NPS, and the player, can go to heal up.
    - NPCs can be wounded, get sick, or have other ailments.
    - Defend from nature by combating the elements - build sheltered walkways that NPCs will prefer in inclement weather.
    - Attacks with numbers and equipment based on outpost wealth
    - Raiders may bring ships or vehicles to attack

  • Terrain Modification
    - By far the most challenging feature to implement, but I'm sure modders are up to the challenge! To be clear, this does not need to be voxel based like NMS, it just has to adapt to a couple of things using placement modifiers. So if I want to have my landing pad lower down, I can place it and the terrain will deform within a set limit to it.
    - The same goes for hab units, it would be nice to set some of them back into hills just a little
    - Roads would deform and smooth the terrain around them
    - various structures would have a minimum deform, so instead of building a weird concrete foundation under my cargo storage, it would slightly deform the ground to better suit the container.
    - If someone is feeling extremely ballsy, they could attempt a terrain deform tool, that would allow the player to manually flatten, raise, or lower terrain. Not sure how this would work without voxels, but it might be possible.

  • Colony Building
    - This is a brand-new set of features that would greatly increase the joy of building outposts.
    - Once a certain threshold has been reached, and certain requirements met, an outpost can be upgraded to a Colony
    - A colony has additional building options, and significantly expands the borders of the Outpost
    - Colonies generate passive income through trade (much like Fallout 4)
    - Colonists are non-controllable NPCs that will populate a Colony as requirements are met.
    - You must provide colonists with Food, Water, Shelter, Income, Entertainment, and Security
    - I envision this more like Rimworld, where each colonist becomes a very important part of the colony, performing various tasks to increase the value of the colony and assist in production or income generation.
    - Each colonist will have traits, i.e. Rimworld
    - Colonists can die, either in combat raids, or from natural causes
    - Notification system assisting in colony management
    - Population Cap of 100 Colonists per Colony
    - Colonies can trade with each other using land-based means if they are on the same planet and within a certain range
    - All new tech progression for colonies
    - Colony management tools, allowing you to customize uniforms for different jobs, weapons, etc
    - Enact raids on other colonies


  • There are a lot of technical limitations for Starfield, but I have faith that all of them can be overcome
  • One of the biggest obstacles is the way the map generates - overcoming this will lead to many more abilities as outlined in the above post
  • Node-based procedural generation is pretty new tech, but I know it can be done.
  • The sheer number of features that COULD be added to Starfield is immense. Outposts/planets are only one aspect.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to read this! I look forward to feedback and additional suggestions.

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