Reshaping The World: Biome Tweaks, Terrain Structures, Trading Stations, Water, Weather & Disasters

Rafs

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#1
Hi!

On this thread I'd like to comment on existing biomes, their features, what could help each one of them being more attractive and unique, more worth visiting, building a base on, or simply prettier. I'll talk about terrain objects and stations too. And I'll give my idea for Water implementation that I think would be doable, following a common trend in open world games, and fun; as well as weather effects and a couple "disasters".

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Biome Tweaks



Terratech biomes have many distinct features, such as terrain (from rough mountains to flat salt plains), resource diversity, mountainous variations of the same biome, rocks, trees, crystals, and some unique features such as stone pillars, rocky vents and the slipperiness of the glacier ice. However, some biomes may be a little less attractive than I think they should be, and I think some of them can get some welcome tweaks.


Grasslands

The grasslands is an amazing biome. You might need some weapons in the front of the vehicle though to not risk getting stuck in trees or even receiving impact damage, this can chew out some blocks of your tech if it is a big and fast one. The Erudite veins with autominers make it the best way for easy money making, since sometimes you can find up to 7 veins close to each other, usually 3 or 4, requiring little investment in defensive turrets per area of operations.

My suggestions for the grasslands:

  • Make a sub-biome or tweak an existing sub-biome to be rich in Luxite, the yellow regrowing crystal. It would be great to have a place with a reliable quantity of those, even if it was a small and rare biome, I'd be really excited to find one! And perhaps I'd establish a surface mining operation with a rotative anchored tech equipped with flails.
    Or instead of more crystals, bigger crystals.

  • Make or rework one kind of tree to be rich in Rubber Jelly. I have the feeling (may be wrong) that mission rewards give a lot of rubber blocks to overcome the imbalance in rubber you get from tree harvesting, but this is not the ideal solution. The mountain tree for example seems like a good candidate.

Desert

The second biome, one is most likely to go there to mine oleite and ignite, and the eventual surface rocks of plumbite and titanite. The surface can be a little annoying for bases and navigation.

My suggestions for the desert:
  • A sub-biome rich in palms (Cloud Trees), even if decorative. I think palms are pretty and deserve a place where you can find more of them.

  • More rocky objects as terrain decoration (non-destructible), like large rocks.

  • Mesas don't feel so flat and extensive or tall, they feel more like obstacles, hills. I know there is a texture issue with stretching terrain too much vertically, but I think larger mesas would be better than having many small ones, and the flat top would make it distinctive from the mountains biome.
    Add a few palm clusters on top and it'll look awesome.
    And such location would be much more considered for a base, since it would be strategically high and somewhat extensive flat, at least the minimum for a good base (currently, mesas are low and small, uninteresting for bases).

Mountains

A rough terrain like no other, but nice resources here and there, like the unique Rodite.

Some suggestions:
  • The same I said earlier about Luxite can be applied here, and even more, if instead of getting a luxite rich sub-biome for grasslands we got one for the mountains (or bigger crystals) it would make more sense and give more balance to Luxite mining. Because currently, no one will go to the mountains for Luxite, the rough terrain makes it very very unattractive.
    Giving a larger reward like big crystals unique to mountains or any of its sub-biomes would make it worth it.

  • I'd add some snow to the top of the mountains, like above a certain height, it would make it visually appealing and a good environmental indicator of height, so that when you're flying around with your plane not too high and you see a large white capped mountain, you know the damn thing is high and you should avoid it.
    Or make a new separated snowy mountains biome, since the mountains seems rather desert-y and warm (maybe it's the warm colors).

  • A sub biome rich in Salami Trees would look nice too! Perhaps Salami Hills?
 
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Rafs

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#2
Salt Flats

I don't think I got much to say about the salt flats, they are perfect at what they do: they provide easy access to some of its own resources, easy access to nearby biomes, easy base building, almost an R&D map. I think the Salts are in a good place of design.


Ice Biome

I think that's the newest of the biomes, and the idea behind it is very nice, but it needs some tweaks too. It is basically Salts with slippery and rough terrain, no unique "positive" features, thus highly unattractive.

Some balancing suggestions:
  • The most basic balancing measure, buff Celestite spawns, greatly. Give it clusters of it, like grasslands have clusters of erudite.
    Carbite is nice but the flats already has plenty of it and by then it's the easiest thing to mine in the game; but Celestite, not so common.
    And the color of Celestite, even though not ice, remembers it a lot, so having clusters of it on the Glacier will look great and almost thematically fitting.

  • Ice spires. These unique structures would look beautiful in the ice biome.
    The Ice Spires, unlikely the pillar ones, could come with a mysterious resource inside. You break one and you never know what is coming from (any resource but fibrewood and jelly). It adds some fun and randomness to glacier surface mining, and small quantities of everything in case one wants to fight the treacherous terrain.

  • Another unique feature Ice Biomes could have for positive balancing would be Plumbite and Titanite veins. Though not the most valuable resources, these may feel scarce for mass crafters since you can't explore any veins of it, even though they come in most rocks in most biomes.

  • As for variation biomes, I can think of one with Ice Spires alongside large columns of ice, similar to the pillars but in a slippery environment where you can pretty much crash into then if you're not careful. This is like a harder Pillars, with rewards to match. And a more mountainous version of the Ice Biome, with dark grey mountains surfacing through the glacier, with lots of rocks over it etc.
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Terrain Structures



As for the structures you usually find on terrain, or objects, assets, we have some huge stones, some ruins, and the bugged ramp that blows up techs. I would like to suggest a few other assets:
  • Lost Pillar - A pillar just like the one in the Pillars Biome but randomly in any place of the map. The structure would intrigue new players and would add some sense of discovery and awe when finding the proper biome, as well as giving a slightly better sense of connection between the many different biomes of this world. A tiny detail but really nice.

  • Giant Tree - This one is a slightly more complex object than others but can be equally intriguing. The tree would have many Luxite outcroppings on its huge trunk, as well as "veins" (decorative), giving the sensation that Luxite fused into it to make it grow exponentially; matching the lore.

  • Huge Crystals - Another structure, though interactive, and very rare, is Huge Crystal outcrops. Simple as that, a large structure you keep hitting with your heaviest weapons and get lots and lots of the resource, with or without a vein below.
    This is not meant to be game breaking, instead a mechanic to give the player the sensation of finding a treasure, which is nice in open world games. Players that like planes could become Huge Crystal hunters for example, flying all the way across the map to find those rare structures. Sounds really fun!
    And abnormally huge rocks too!

  • Fossilized Remains - A large creature skeleton, skull, or just rib cage, with a lot of "health", and can be broken with heavy weapons for Carbite and Oleite. I know oil and coal have nothing to do with mineralized fossils but it would be cool nonetheless. Very rare structure.

  • Compacted Scraps - A bit different structure, this one when broken gives random simple components. Uncommon.
 
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Rafs

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#3
  • Ruins Arcs - would look cool too. I guess we have similar things in R&D but I thought of an arc much like Venture starting lines, perfectly round, but made of stones.

  • Ruins Tunnel - A rock like the ramp one but hollow like a tunnel. One could make a base there for the covering, idk, but it would be fun to have one, since the terrain generation engine does not allow caves.

  • Ruins Dome - A round dome shaped ruins, so you can drive around, make a base at the top, anything.

  • Ruined Walls - Large ruined walls, may be a straight wall or a corner, very useful to protect the sides of a base.

  • Abandoned Silo - a special block that you can't move like a trading station, a very weathered GSO silo that whenever you find it, it will be holding random chunks that you can pick up instantly with any collector. Just a tiny thing to give more "life" to this world.

  • Abandoned Storage - A structure of weathered GSO blocks or any other blocks, unmovable, with some Resource Blocks attached, which you can detach and take for you.
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Trading Stations



Trading stations of all corps! Down with GSO monopoly!
Missions given will be the same, as well as the pool of sellable blocks, however their functions will vary, with focus on one or another themed aspect of the corp.
These stations will spawn randomly in the place of a regular GSO Trading Station, varying more the more away from spawn. They also lack the SCU device, unique to GSO stations.

  • Geocorp Trading Station - A big trading station that comes with a built-in refinery, which will pick resources and refine before selling them! Very handy for early quick bucks.

  • Venture Trading Station - A station with built-in batteries, solar panels and wireless chargers, not too powerful but useful for quick recharging a small speedy tech passing by.

  • Hawkeye Trading Station - A station with a few weapons that will fire at enemies, also having a shield and a repair bubble. The bubbles depend on an energy meter that will refill over time when depleted, and the weapons can be destroyed but will be respawned daily.

  • Better Future Trading Station - This station floats (fixed in the air) using a BF anchor. It generates an enormous anti-gravity field around, enough for someone to build a cheap floating base nearby, but troublesome if you don't use thrusters on your vehicle.

Upgradeable Stations

A feature for someone who thinks they might stay in the same area for a while, the ability to invest money in a trading station to upgrade it. The levels would be simple, going from lvl1 Basic, to lvl2 Improved, to lvl 3 Advanced.
All stations with those upgrades would get a larger selection of buyable blocks at lvl 2 and 3, and an additional daily mission for each corp at lvl 3.

The stations unique functions would be augmented at each level, with GSO getting a larger SCU radius at each level, Geocorp with more built-in refineries and instant delivering capacity; Venture with more energy, panels and rechargers; Hawkeye with more weapons and an additional repair bubble on lvl 3; and Better Future with a larger Antigravity field and stronger effect (going from 50% to 75% to 100%).

As for upgrade prices, I think each corp should have their own price for each level, with BF lvl 3 topping at 1kk. These upgrades should also give you XP with said corporation, since you're making an investment in their facilities.

Base locations doesn't last forever, so this investment will have to be well thought of. I think this feature adds a lot for the game, even more for crafting runs on campaign where you'll definitely spend some more time in the same place.
 
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Rafs

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#4
Water


A recurring suggestion (there's even a mod of it), that since my time here I have hardly seen a more "elaborated" implementation of it.
So I decided to come up with one, this may or may not be helpful for the devs if they ever decide to go for it. What we do know is that they won't do it poorly, they'd rather not do it; but neither consume too much development resources on this feature as the game has so many other areas requiring attention. So it has to be good and not too hard to implement.

My view on water is that you can do it reasonably well by looking at other open world games we have; mostly those where you can't alter terrain. In my view, a body of water would be static, with some graphical effects on it but nothing that would change its hitbox or layout.

  • Water would be composed of a surface level and all the region below it; thus "surface" and "underwater". The surface would have basic interactions surface water has in other games, at most providing little resistance to things going in or out of it (surface tension).
  • The inner side of water, the water body itself, would provide upwards push on blocks of lower Density, a new stat that is a reason between the block mass and size, simple as that!
  • Also it would impose some movement resistance the larger the tech is (we can't measure tech "shape" for hydrodynamics, so we measure the spaces occupied by blocks to measure the size, the average volume; as in a simplistic theory a smaller tech should face smaller water resistance).
  • Bodies of water could be lakes, oceans (essentially bigger lakes, like an entire biome of water), and rivers.
  • Rivers would provide a directional push in its "flowing" direction on anything under surface level. Water would have flowing graphical effects and said pushing effects on techs, nothing else. Just special effects and vector force effects.

All these mechanics seem rather simple to me (as most as water can be), and I hope they are doable.
Going further than that in complexity would add very little to the game at a high cost, from my experience with open world games. This is the standard water (static) ever since the first 3D games until nowadays, and only games dedicated to terraforming mechanics have water as non-static bodies, instead being "masses" you can manipulate. We surely don't need this and don't have the resources for this.

Now that water has been explained, we can detail the bodies of water and their relationship with biomes, as well as the resources they may come with.

  • Grasslands - This biome will have small lakes, sometimes with stones at the bottom or at the borders. Sometimes a river will come from a mountainous grasslands biome or any other nearby mountains and glacier and connect/end in a lake or ocean biome. Rivers are rich in ores such as Plumbite and Titanite, but entering it might be dangerous because of the pushing effects. As for boat navigation, following the currents would be safer on deeper rivers or those cleaned of stones, as impact damage could eat away some blocks.

  • Desert - No bodies of water here, except for an Oasis biome on lower terrain levels, full of trees around, and some rocks. A non-water lake, a lake of tar, would be an interesting feature, one with strong tech slow-down effect or movement resistance, with many Oleite seams around.
    A tar sub-biome would be great too, the best place to get Oleite but hard to navigate.

  • Mountains - Most rivers will start at the sides of mountains, from a very thin body of water that gets wider and deeper gradually. A good point for starting a river, in terms of graphics and visual, would be a special terrain object like a cluster of non-destructible stones. Another starting point could be a lake on higher terrain, like on a plateau. Also, eventual small acid lakes that deal damage on any techs entering it, surrounded with many Rodite seams; non-water but similar. An acid lakes sub-biome would be nice too.
 
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Rafs

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#5
  • Pillars - No water here.

  • Salt Flats - The flats wouldn't have rivers crossing then, to keep its plain surface, but under sea level they could have a thin layer of water, like some real salt flats we have. Salt flats wouldn't go much lower sea level either, so that they don't become enormous lakes. Above sea level, they would remain dry.

  • Ice Biome - The sides of the glacier are great for starting rivers! Also, lakes and river would be very cool on the ice biome plains.
    Maybe even a frozen lake biome with a thin, treacherous layer of ice, which breaks in sections (these broken sections regenerate individually, daily). Thin ice breaks with weapons, impact damage or tech weight. Celestite could generate more underwater.


New Biomes

With water and its mechanics, we can get new Biomes.

  • Ocean Biome - A biome where terrain creates a large valley or hole, filled with water, with some underwater terrain variation but generally deep; sometimes underwater mountains will generate islands. The border of the water would have sandy beaches, as well as the underwater terrain texture. Islands and beaches would have desert palms.
    Underwater, re-growing strange corals would provide plumbite and titanite, and very deep there would be Oleite seams, with some thermal vents too.
    A great place to build a floating base, perhaps have a real anchor for it (a titanite cable anchor, deployable like BF anchor). And easy to navigate around if you have a low-density hull tech, or hovers.

  • Arctic Biome - A variation of the ocean biome, with random crusts of breakable ice on water surface that melt and regenerate daily. Celestite spawns underwater.

  • Swamp Biome - Another possible biome would be the Swamp, with puddles and lakes of water (perhaps muddy water). Maybe a new type of swamp tree rich in Rubber, not many rocks or hills, making the place relatively plain in a larger scale, similar to grasslands.

  • Volcano Biome - A biome with lava lakes would be feasible in this Water Implementation mechanic, since lava wouldn't be a flat impenetrable surface, instead acting similar to a body of water. Although none would like to enter it, with the heavy damage on any blocks that touch and enter lava (more than acid lakes), as well as an almost trapping resistance to movement. But the biome would come with plenty or resources to reward brave players, like Carbite + Fibrewood yielding trees and plenty of Ignite and Rodite.

  • Jungle Biome - Not so necessary but worth mentioning, since Jungles would be denser in vegetation than grasslands, making this the best place for wood, but annoying to navigate too. And plenty of water with large rivers and lakes! Casually, rocks and luxite outcroppings.
 
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Rafs

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#6
Weather Effects


I think I don't like weather effects much... well my notebook doesn't (I always have to turn it off in games) xD But most people like it, and usually talk about this when commenting on water, perhaps they want it to have a connection of sorts?
Anyway, water and weather (rain) must not have a connection, because then water becomes a non-static feature and may led to many problems. So no floods for terratech, or anything that changes water from its position in the terrain.

My view on weather is simple, as it is on water. I thought of each weather effect lasting for a day, and some biomes would be immune to such weather (for example, it may rain everywhere in the world, but deserts will remain sunny), or have a different weather effect simultaneously. I came up with several weathers:

  • Rain - Reduces solar panel efficiency and makes ground a little more slippery, but increases tree growth rates on the next day, as well as Luxite crystals. Deserts and Pillars keep the sunny weather. Ice biomes have a snowing effect instead of rain droplets.

  • Thunderstorm - Reduces solar panels efficiency but may spawn lightnings, with will randomly hit trees and techs. Techs with shields are protected from lightning damage, although it may overload the electric system turning off bubbles for a moment. Anchored bases may opt to use a Lightning Rod that charges batteries when hit, which are much more likely to attract lightnings.
    Deserts experience dry thunderstorms, and Pillars have greatly increased lightning spawns.
    Ice Biomes experience Blizzards instead that reduces view distance for players and aggro range for enemies and AI techs.

  • Windy - A weather that introduces some pushing effect like water streams do, and the higher the height, the stronger it is, with noticeable effect on planes or light weighted techs on top of mountains and glaciers. If wind power generators ever get implemented, this would help those generate more power. Salt flats however have stronger winds regardless of height.
    Deserts experience Sandstorms instead that reduces view distance for players and aggro range for enemies and AI techs.

  • Magnetic Storm - A storm that creates auroras on the sky. Radar blocks are turned off, but all Crystal resources get a distinctive shine effect, making them easier to locate even from far away. Bubbles may get unstable and rarely reset, individually and randomly. Pillars may spawn new spires in locations where they have been harvested, which will also shine.
 
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Rafs

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#7
Disasters

Briefly, I'll talk about rare events that have some effects on techs with negative and positive outcomes.

  • Earthquake - A rare event that happens randomly in any region of the world. Whenever an earthquake is about to happen, a huge circle will be shown on the map, like the invasion one but much larger, and you'll have time to prepare for it.
    The impact of the earthquake is on rigid anchored structures, applying some damage to them (BF anchors and techs using them are immune). A way to overcome this is simply un-anchor all rigid anchor structures in the affected region.
    The positive outcome of an earthquake is despawning destroyed rocks remains and empty seams, and respawning those in random locations (I don't know if the game keeps track of destroyed rock numbers but it should replenish the same quantity overall, or simply make the same rock "grow" again in the same place, which is weird). Or at the very least, make all exploited veins regenerate, ready for another round of automining.

  • Tornado - (suggested by @DROTC ball) On Windy days, on a given biome, the sky can turn darker; the indication that a tornado will spawn nearby. It can happen on almost any biome (excluding ice, desert and mountain).
    It ravages the landscape moving in a random line before disappearing, not too straight but no sharp turns either. It destroys trees and crystals (but not rocks) and lifts the resource chunks, spreading them all around. Whenever it encounters an anchored tech, it won't un-anchor it, but can detach low density blocks and throw them away (same for heavy techs), as well as pushing up light weighted mobile techs and throwing them, possibly making them crash on the floor.
    Deserts (and also Salt Flats) have the Dust Devil, a smaller and weaker version of a Tornado, but much more common, and happening regardless of weather.


About other possible disasters, I can't think of good ones with positive/fun effects and easy to implement, I'll leave that open for suggestions.
Just don't suggest anything that changes terrain (impossible) or have too many griefing effects on techs, this is bad design and Terratech doesn't need it for the sake of disaster coolness. Or something too graphically complicated, like Tsunamis involving moving masses of water etc, this is impossible.

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I think that's all (phew).

Have a pic with most ideas (for inspiration):

Biomes, Terrain, Objects and Water.png

Do you have a feedback you'd like to voice on biomes? Any ideas to improve them?
What other terrain features and objects you'd like to see?
Do you think water is a feasible game mechanic?
Any other weather ideas? Disasters?

Thanks a lot for reading!
 
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Epic afdc

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#14
I kinda dislike the idea of tornados, unless there is a counter to them, since you mentioned lighter blocks getting ripped off, maybe you can use that gravity magnifier from better future to keep even the lightest blocks from flying off.
I do like the ideas of environmental hazards like the acid lakes and lava pools though, it’ll make the game far more fun and challenging! These also give me some ideas for blocks! These blocks are the fireproof blocks and wheels! All corps make them and they are heavier and take more bullet/explosive damage, but they are almost completely unaffected by fire and lava!
And the ideas of oceans puts in many opportunities for new blocks and maybe even completely new corps focused on boats and submarines!
Maybe one can even find wildlife in these new biomes? Ohh the potential is absolutely endless!!
 

eddie

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#15
I've came up with a disaster:

Meteor & Space debris:
In some rare occasions, there will be meteor or space debris falling from the sky, causing damage around the point of impact, this event will happen to all biome, but more often in ice and mountains due to they're closer to the sky.

Meteor comes in various of sizes, small ones will just shatter into rare resource blocks in mid air, large ones will stay on ground, letting you mine it with your tech, the largest will cause mass destructions, turn the place into a smoking crater, but also leave large meteorite in the middle that you can crack it down with auto miners. space debris are similar, but they give random components instead of raw material.

If these misfortune(or fortune) form above are gona come at you, there will be a impact alert just like those invasions, so you have time to run.

In even rarer occasion, there will be meteor storm when multiple impact will occur within a short period.:rolleyes::eek:
 
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#16
The best part, is that they already have plenty of terrain objects in the RnD chamber, ready to be added in the campaign. Now, these aren't as functional as the 3 currently available, (you can't really build on them, though, that just might be my lack of imagination) so I think, they should be a lot rarer, to have that "Oh, hey! I found something!" factor.
As for the resources, I always felt like the system is way too rigid. Yes, certain minerals are more abundant in certain places, but it's not absolute. Wouldn't it be great, if you found an ignian crystal in the mountains, or a steam vent in the glaciers? I'm not saying, fully randomize it, just give it that small chance to surprise us.
 

eddie

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#18
Yeap ! - New weapon for Reticule Research - Meteor magnet - Drop a meteor onto your target o_O
Yeah, just launch a beacon, and the beacon will shoot tractor beam to grab random object in orbit to its location, asteroids, space junk, satellite, UFO, you name it!:rolleyes:
 
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