Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Spacebase DF-9 - 6/20 hours

I don't know whether this game sucks or I do. Probably some combination of both. There was a point where the only thing left in my construction queue was a series of life-support modules. I was still under my residency cap, but I was planning for the future. Then, people kept coming onto my station and I went over my life-support capacity. But I didn't worry, because I'd had more life-support queue for quite a long time now and surely my builders would get around to it any second now because there was nothing else in their work queue. Long story short, two-thirds of my population died of asphyxiation before my oxygen levels stabilized. Then my surviving builder finished the extra life-support.

It was a perfect storm of bad risk assessment on my part and terrible pathfinding on the part of the game. I'm not even sure I'm mad (oh, who am I kidding) - it was so farcical that any emotion besides detached bemusement seems inappropriate. It also helped that I managed to survive the oxygen crisis with enough population to make a go at a rebound only to eventually get slaughtered by an endless stream of raiders.

Oh, yeah, there are raiders in this game. I'm not sure why, exactly, considering that there aren't any sort of complex tactical options and your security relies almost entirely on assigning colonists to the "security" job and hoping that somehow their pathfinding allows them to get to the raiders before they do too much damage. It's probably one of those systems that would have been fleshed out more, had the game not suddenly stopped development.

The net effect of things like raiders and space diseases and meteor storms is that life and death in Spacebase DF-9 is frightfully whimsical. I've had settlers run straight into armed raiders, security forces open fire on my own rowdy residents, and an outer-space miner die of asphyxiation right in front of the airlock because he simply would not return to base.

The main cause of death (aside from a single oxygen deprivation incident) has been raiders, though, and that puts me in a bind. You can choose a more isolated starting position to avoid attracting quite so much raider attention, but that means you also get far fewer new settlers coming in on friendly transports. My current base is plugging along, but it has the capacity to hold a lot more settlers, and is growing in size far faster than my population.

It's clear to me now that I have two main things I have to do - 1)install the unofficial patch, because there's no way that the settler AI  can get worse, and if there's even a slight chance it gets better, I have to take it; and 2) actually get good at the game, because a functional AI is going to mean nothing if I can't make good decisions.

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