Devblog #47 - Space Radiation and Armor
Posted on 7th Feb 2019 in Development
Fellow explorers, we salute you! Today we’re going to go in depth about one of the features of the next update that was only hinted at in the previous posts. So tighten the seals on your EVA suits and check your fuel levels, because we’re going to talk about space hazards, armor and maintenance.
We’ve always thought of Hellion as player versus environment kind of game. While this concept is used in many games, in Hellion it is a bit more literal. Space is extremely deadly, that much is obvious, but with the right gear life in complete vacuum is possible. For as long as the technology works that is. Even the smallest malfunction can cause complete chaos, as evident from the many space missions launched during the last century. Hellion’s basic premise was always, what happens when our technology starts failing and ‘ordering a replacement’ is no longer an option?
In Hellion, technology failed a long time ago. When players wake up, they find themselves surrounded by ruins and decaying equipment. Most of the modules and ships you come across went well past their ‘expiration date’ and would have been decommissioned decades ago under normal circumstances. But as we know, the world of Hellion is anything but normal and you find yourself in a situation where all of your gear needs constant maintenance just to stay in one piece. So the question now is: What is causing this decay and is there anything you can do to stop it?
Degradation was always a placeholder, something to tie things up until we implement a proper system. In retrospect we may have clung to it a bit too long. Finding a broken down module and restoring it to working condition is certainly fun and offers an interesting activity. Same can be said about getting hit by a stray piece of debris that creates a crisis situation that you have to resolve.
But the key problem here is that players have no control over these events and no way to mitigate the damage their ships and modules take. All they can do is pull out their welders and start repairing…
First we want to announce that we’ve put “arbitrary degradation” on a one way shuttle out of the Hellion system. Yup, it’s gone. For good this time. No more “walks of shame”, mandatory repair duty and gameplay that feels like a chore instead of being fun and engaging. We are introducing a new system, one that offers a lot more control to players.
Introducing “Space Radiation”. This is a combination of “direct EM radiation” and “ionizing radiation” present at any location in the Hellion system. In short, any orbit you choose to go to will have a radiation value that represents how much damage your ships and modules will take each second while in the area. A separate value also exists for players and will tell you how much damage your character will suffer each second while outside of a ship or station.
Radiation will increase expontially the further you move away from the “sweet spot” of the starting zone.
No system of damage would be complete without a way for players to somehow prevent or at least reduce that damage. For this purpose we are introducing several new parts for ships and modules, as well as armor values for player suits. Armor acts as a direct counter to “all forms of damage”, not just radiation. It will prevent incoming damage up to its maximum value. Any excess damage will be applied directly to module/player health.
Nanite diffuser and nanite cores
A new “nanite diffuser” system is now present in all ships and modules. It requires a new part: the “nanite core” in order to function and will reinforce the module’s hull by adding a layer of armor over it. Any incoming damage that is lower or equal to the armor value will be applied to the Nanite Core instead of the module.
Cores have four quality tiers that can be crafted and come in two variations: AltCorp (civilian) or SDS (military). Civilian cores offer lower armor but exceptional durability (effective HP) compared to their military counterparts. They are designed to shield your modules from harm over long periods of time in relatively “safe” environments. Military cores on the other hand offer exceptionally high armor but low durability as they are designed to shield your ships during excursions into debris fields and from minor collisions. All cores are fully interchangeable and can be used in both ships and modules.
Extra Vehicular Activity represents a huge chunk of Hellion gameplay and we wanted to spice things up with the new radiation system. All suits now have different armor values according to their purpose. The Mk9 pressurized suit offers a decent “radiation armor” value but has added protection from weapons and turret fire, making it ideal for scavenging and raiding. The EVA suit on the other hand features higher radiation protection and collision resistance but no added protection against weapons, making it ill suited for any combat scenario. Also, both suits have four quality tiers.
With radiation and armor in place we are also dividing Hellion into hazard regions. These regions will offer different gear and resources but will require certain prerequisites to be met before they can be safely explored.
This is where the part about “player control” comes into play. With enough information about zones players can easily plan ahead and collect gear and items for the task ahead of them. Want to set up a base in the relative comfort of the starting zone? Civilian cores will get the job done. Want to reduce the amount of maintenance you do? Find or craft higher quality cores. Planning a salvage run through Athnar’s junkyards? Better obtain some high tier military cores, that debris hits hard. Expecting turrets on that doomed outpost? Bring a better suit.
Every time players choose to do an activity, there is a risk factor involved. Entering a high hazard area with inadequate gear is highly lethal but possible. And it creates that high risk / high reward scenario. Whether or not players survive is up to their equipment and more importantly their skill.
That’s all for today folks! Until next time fly safe!
Posted by Zero Gravity team