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Devblog #48 - Economy

Everyone faring alright in the great void, any problems? Nothing to worry about, just make sure you have your welder, gun, ammo, batteries, drill, spare cans, jetpack, a backup weapon and stimpacks on you at all times and you should be fine. Right? Yeah… that’s a lot of gear to carry around… So this time we are going to talk a bit about economy and itemization in Hellion.


Basic resources


Or consumables if you like, are all essential things your character can’t function without. No oxygen and you’ll suffocate, no fuel and you won’t be able to move. Unlike other settings where movement requires little or no effort, vacuum as you all know, is a bit different. Early on in the game’s development we realized that building gameplay solely on “survival” mechanics wasn’t quite cutting it. Say we chose to deprive players of the most basic resource like fuel. That’s it you’re dead… It won’t matter if you have enough power or oxygen, if you can’t move you’ll die eventually and the only option left to you is to activate a distress call and wait… Not particularly engaging, or fun for that matter.


Sure, we could have just added a myriad of different problems that force you to “eat, sleep and drink every 15 seconds” but that also didn’t sit right with us. As things stand Hellion is a game with somewhat slower pace and we felt that adding all of these problems would turn gameplay more into a chore that something fun and engaging (one of the reasons why we’re removing degradation). We want players to “create their own problems”... in a manner of speaking. Every time a player ends up in a tight spot we want to give them a “way out” and in case they don’t make it… Every player needs to know how they ended up in that situation, why they died and most importantly how to prevent it.


Crafting 2.0


As we’ve stated in our previous blogs space radiation and armor are coming to Hellion and with them a completely new exploration and survival experience. To spice things up we’ve also revamped our crafting system with new resources and blueprints. In order to craft any item you will now require a minimum of 2 things. A blueprint and some crafting resources.




All characters start with a set of basic tier 1 blueprints which include items like suit, jetpack, helmet, nanite core, warp cell, drill and similar items. These are all things that your character will need in order to survive when starting out. In order to craft other items or higher tier versions of the ones you already have you will need to find a blueprint.


Blueprints can be obtained by dismantling items in the fabricator module. Items dismantled in this way will award you a blueprint for that particular item but will not provide any crafting resources.


Blueprints are also tied to a character on a particular server, so even if your character dies and you lose your base the blueprints you obtained will stay with you even if you select a “fresh start”. The only way to lose blueprints is to delete your character from a server completely.



Crafting Resources


As the name implies these are the resources necessary for crafting. They can be divided into two categories: recycled and refined resources. Both can be obtained by recycling items in the fabricator module, but these will only award a fraction of their crafting cost. To recycle any item you will need to use the fabricator’s “shredder”.



As before “scrap components” such as broken armature or shattered panels remain the best source of recycled resources and they can be easily obtained from the junkyards. There are four recycled resources and they are, in order of rarity: Carbon Fibers, Alloys, Circuits and Superconductors.


The second category of resources you will need are “refined resources”. These are most easily obtained by mining raw resources from asteroids and refining them using the cargo’s refinery. Resourced that you can mine and their refined counterparts are: Ferrite > Nickel-Iron, Mafic Rock > Silicates, Titanite > Titanium, Rare Compounds > Rare Elements.



Rarity and zones


Rarity of any given resource represents the amount of effort needed to obtain it and not just “how often you come across it”. Rarer resources will often be located in deadlier debris fields and zones with higher radiation, requiring players to craft better gear. While it is possible to obtain these resources with inferior equipment it is very risky.


Not only will different zones (planets and moons) have different resources, the resources you find will also vary in quantity. Some areas will offer better mining opportunities while others an abundance of salvage. You might find yourself planning a trip to one of the planets or moons, simply because it has the highest concentration of the resource you want.


To make things a bit more interesting basic consumable resources won’t be readily available everywhere you go. They will be plentiful in the starting area, but Ice and Dry Ice for example will become scarcer and scarcer as you move closer to Hellion’s blazing heat but abundant around frozen gas giants. Similarly, Regolith which is the sole source of He-3 consumed by the reactor becomes more and more plentiful the closer you get to Hellion but is virtually non-existent in outer regions.


Itemization and Equipment


This finally brings us to equipment. Most items in the game now have tiers just like parts. An item that is one tier higher requires additional “rarer” resources to craft but also offers substantial bonuses over its lower tier counterpart. Different nanite cores will offer improved armor necessary for mitigating damage in dangerous debris fields or high radiation zones while different suit types will offer different protection values against radiation and gunfire. In both cases higher tiers will exponentially improve your survivability. Better weapons and ammo will be more expensive but offer advantages needed to overcome stronger turrets. Better mining gear will help you extract resources faster which becomes crucial when mining an asteroid on a doomed orbit.


Now to address the number of items you need to carry around with you, as mentioned in the beginning. Higher tier items will also indirectly optimize your loadout. If you invest time and effort into a better suit with higher oxygen capacity, carrying cans becomes redundant. Same can be said about raw canisters, batteries and hacking tools freeing up inventory slots for additional stimpacks, ammo or anything else you might need for the task ahead.


Everything above leads to one thing. No matter where you choose to go, or what you decide to do, there will be a challenge to overcome, but you will always be able to plan ahead. Will you postpone that trip to Askatar until you craft better equipment or, rely on your piloting and EVA skills to compensate? How high you decide to raise the challenge bar is up to you.


Finally, as you may have guessed already, when it comes to blueprints and items, having a blueprint is only useful if you have access to the resources necessary to craft it. For some players using the item will be better than dismantling it for a blueprint, but the risk here is that they might lose it. What if you traded someone for the resources or blueprints that you need? Or… stole them from someone… The choice, as always, is up to you.


Oh and we almost forgot! Expect this update to land in around two weeks, as soon as we are done with balancing and bug fixing. That’s all for today!


Until next time, fly safe!

Posted by Zero Gravity team