(re-post from the Frontier Forums):
I’ve been playing the Pathfinder update for about a week or so now, and it is an improvement overall. However there are still a few key aspects that really could do with addressing in future patches/updates.
For me the priority issue is still around Navigation:
Sure you can look at a building and use the zoom mode view (‘f’ key) to add a small white dot on your navigation compass (at the very top of the hud), but there are a very limited number you can keep active at one time, and each time you use your zoom view, say to look for new creatures, you risk scanning across any building in range and adding that to your navigation compass, losing the previous one etc.
Also these ‘navigation marks’ are not permanent, nor fully controlled by the player. They can disappear after loading back a save game, or sometimes simply if you fly away from them they can ‘choose’ to deactivate.
In short this system that was added in the Foundation update, has always been a rather ‘hacky’ and not sufficient method of providing on planet navigation.
Why do you want to be able to navigate on planet in the first place? Surely just create a ‘signal booster’ (new in Pathfinder) and use that to scan for places to visit, such as alien bases where there might be a trade terminal. The key word in that last bit of the sentence is ‘might’. Even with the new system of discovering places of interest, there is no sure fire way to find a base with a landing pad and a trade terminal. I’m sure we all love to find those multi-platform trade stations, and if given an option would want to permanently ‘save’ their location on our compass. Sadly we can not currently.
This level of ‘fuzzy’ slap-dash navigation flies against the games background premise of this being a ‘future tech’ universe with all the sophist acted technology you use from game start. You still can not do the most simple ‘ancient earth world’ technology of navigate around the planet surfaces with any accuracy. You can not plan your path, you have to stumble along it. Not a great game immersion mechanism.
The game can cope with this. Points of interest can be ‘saved’ and kept on the navigation compass, that first part of the Atlas quest line where you receive that off-world signal shows the game can keep track of locations and give them prominence on the user HUD. All the places of interest exist and once they appear on your navigation compass via their icons, stay there until you leave planet. So it could be done, real player controlled on-planet navigation is possible, it just needs a system programmed in to make it coherent and logical.
How to do this? Well the simplest solution would be take what we have and make it work 100% of the time, so when using the zoom view (‘f’ key) on a building, make that small white dot icon appear and stay, permanently, while on that planet. Possibly when scanning new locations give the player a pop-up message along the lines of ‘Do you want this new navigation point to overwrite an old one?’, so at least there is some player control over what is kept or not. But the main bug/problem to address with the current system is the non-permanance issue. Fix that and you actually have a rough navigation system.
What I’d like to see is a proper navigation system that fits with the technology of the game (and GUI). So expanding on the basic system above I’d like to be able to go into the ‘Discoveries’ screen and under ‘Waypoints Discovered’ have some GUI element to manage those, have the system above store into this part of the GUI and add the following GUI buttons; ‘Save’, ‘Delete’, ‘Set as Target Waypoint’.
That last one being the most important and putting that waypoint right on the navigation compass at the top of the screen. This way the player can better control how they navigate around a planet and what ‘targets’ they can give priority to (that multi-platform trade terminal for example). To better see the kind of changes I’m talking about I posted a ‘mock up’ screenshot further back in this thread here:
Currently the systems the game gives you (or mostly does not!) just feel off. They are immersion breaking as I’m expected to believe that something we have done since pre-historic times on earth, be able to navigate with some accuracy from point A to point B, and most importantly, back again, is impossible in the universe of NMS where interplanetary flight and flying between stars IS possible. How can that work? How did those NMS civilisations manage to do all that with no actual navigation system? Did they just blunder their way around their planets and universe all by chance?
For navigation in the star map (‘m’ key), they have added the ability to save a star location, so you can go back to it later. That might be enough here? I’ve not used the star map enough to be 100% sure, but I’m about 90% certain this part of navigation also needs more attention, just based on how bare-bones or non-existent it is in the released game.
I can’t make the point strongly enough. Without logical, functional navigation systems, the premiss of NMS falls short, the gameplay suffers and the all important suspension of disbelief mechanism is broken.
Creatures and Discoveries:
There is a system behind what type of creature we find. It is not all 100% random noise. The problem is this system seems just a bit broken or maybe just illogical? We have a few data categories:
Gender, Temperament, Diet, Weight and Height.
Only HG know the specific details of those and how they translate into the creatures we find, I’ve tried to work some of it out, but the names are often so opaque as to make it nearly impossible to be 100% accurate (I’m all ears if you can explain what a ‘rational’ gender is for example!). So for the most part I’m happy to wave my hands and go ‘whatever’. However there are some things so obviously ‘off’ that they could do with some ‘fixes’.
Diet is probably the most obviously odd. Most of the time a dangerous predator will not actually look like or have features we would expect from one, and the opposite is also true, a ‘docile’ ‘vegetation’ eating creature will look like a T-rex, meat-eating teeth and all. Surely this is a bug or un-fixed issue, and if so it has been there from the very first release.
Yes proc-gen is used in part of the way the animals are generated, but like I mentioned it is not all 100% random noise, we do have a pattern that proc-gen follows. So why are we finding the improbable creatures we are? Can the method of proc-gen not for example contain a ‘flag’ so all animals with ‘meat eating’ teeth fall into a ‘predator’ category (meat-eater, insect eater etc). Or creatures with impressive horns/tusks have that influence their ‘temperament’ to be at least ‘defensive’ (or higher) to better reflect their evolutionary path?
I feel there is a whole lot that could be done here to better reflect what we actually see, and also something that might better help creature AI development.
Creature AI has improved quite a bit, ‘predator/prey’ behaviours is very obvious now for example. It might just be my experience of the game (so elements of chance) but with the updates it seems we find creatures more frequently and in greater numbers. I think I preferred the earlier game parameters where animals were more rare (but still too frequent perhaps?). Especially with the additions of the ‘rovers’, all the animals around should make quite a mess really?
What I’d love to see along with a more logical creature generation, is to get some more animal behaviour types that reflect the ‘type’ of creature they are and behaviour towards the player. Currently, except for a few top predator types (if there are any on a planet), most animals ignore or run away from the player.
How neat would it be if say ‘large’ (larger than the player) animals are a little les prone to running away, or even if not a meat-eater/insect eater (predator) but with horns/tusks or just a chance of belligerence of size, would occasionally give the player a ‘whack’ if they got too close. We should perhaps be trained to be a bit more respectful to all the alien life around us? A mother with her young? A herd of ‘defensive’ but mostly peaceful herbivores we blunder across? It just feels there are lots of possibilities for more realistic animal/creature behaviours, and maybe a little gameplay livening up at the same time?
The second part of this topic is to mention the non fauna discoveries, all those rocks and plants that count towards nothing really, maybe a bit of cash when uploaded. For us planet explorers can we have more please? Maybe just underneath the ‘Records’ entries for all the fauna, a little entry for ‘Flora’: x1 of x2 discovered. Where x1 is the current count and x2 the planet total of available flora discoveries. Just a single line of the GUI would do. Then maybe when that gets to 100% provides a boost to the amount of money you currently receive for a full planet fauna discovery rating? Maybe an extra 50% to the reward? Plants matter too, in terms of a planets biodiversity, and rocks have their history and mineral value. They both should count more prominently.
Lots of improvements have taken place here, which is awesome. Ships now have a value and that class system is…class! LowFlight™ ‘Lite’ is now included as standard. Let’s keep improving things here
1. Why save on ‘exit’ from ship?
I mean why was that decided to be the method and not save on ‘entry’ to ship? I jump in and out my ship like a lunatic before taking off. What happens if I get that bug that flings me hundreds of feet away! What happens when I forget to do that in/out/in dance before taking off to leave a planet and then meet some nasty pirates before my next jumping out of the cockpit animation! I die, and get to do a lot of back-tracking gameplay. So please for all things rational make the game save when entering the ship. It just makes the most sense, logically and gameplay wise, surely?
2. Scan in space:
When pointed at a planet to get info on the planet, is good. Can that be expanded upon more? There is not a ‘ships scanner’ component (we have shields, engines and weapons) to upgrade, but what about adding something to the ‘Class’ aspect? Like give ships with a better Class rating more data on the scanned planet? Add temps, weather type, sentinel level. e.g.
Class C = just main mineral types found (default scan mode)
Class B = mineral types + temps (e.g. -16 to +19, a range of the day/night temps)
Class A = mineral types + temps + weather (safe or hazardous:type= heat/radiation/cold etc)
Class S = mineral types + temps + weather + sentinel status (low, standard, threatening etc)
Or if possible to add a ‘ships scanner’ component, have that upgradable to reflect the same kind of in game functionality. Being able to decide what planets are safe to land on, before actually jumping out into their atmosphere, seems like a sane decision for any explorer?
3. Granularity and ship systems:
Keep expanding the variety to the different ships systems. My understanding is that now with the ship Class system and ship type (fighter/trader/explorer etc) you get different ‘performance’ depending on that mix? So keep at that stuff, keep adding to the layers of complexity and variety here. Why not add a class system to ship sub-systems also?
Pulse engine class C,B,A,S, where each step increases the speed of that engine. Launch Thruster class C,B,A,S, where each step increases the efficiency of the launch thruster (reducing fuel to launch).
each ship subsystem can be purchasable at a space station and there could be a price-inefficency aspect added related to your base ships Class. So fitting a class S pulse engine in a Class C ship costs more than doing the same in a class B,A and S ship, with the S Class ship being the cheapest to upgrade the subsystems to S level. Depending on how valuable you want the rare Class S ships to be, you could also have slight performance degradation if fitting higher class sub-systems compared to the base ships Class level.
This kind of ‘granularity’ to the ships would add more personality to them, and a certain uniqueness that players would probably enjoy tinkering around with while growing more attached to them.
4. Still no ‘cockpit look’ functionality for mouse/keyboard!
I bought a gamepad (the decent Microsoft one = £30) just because of this, and guess what; I hate using a controller to play the game, it just feels so ‘diminished’ somehow, so loose and inaccurate. Just horrible compared to the freedom of mouse and keyboard. But we still have no way of moving the cockpit view around us like you do with that second thumbstick on the gamepad. Please just map a basic left-right-up-down option to the ‘arrow’ keys or something, anything. We will manage to contort our fingers to be able to use it when we need it, just give us the chance to try please.
I could write more. While the game has improved in leaps and bounds over the updates, we still have some aspects that could maybe be looked at improving to better ‘round out’ the overall gameplay experience, some of those above might do that. Many of these kinds of posts are very subjective. Some people really want to fly unicorns I expect and until they can NMS will be a shadow of the game it could be etc etc.
I’m pretty certain many peoples response to the ‘Navigation’ issue I see in NMS would be along the lines of,
“just build and use more signal boosters dude. You will eventually find that trade centre.”
And that is not wrong, but, it completely IS wrong in relation to the gameplay, game background, game immersion and aspects outside the game like pretty much any game in a simulated 3D space has some sort of navigation system, waypoint system and the ability of the player to control that system. I have no idea why NMS refuses to also, when it clearly could, and be all the better for that. So in short the main points I picked here, I think, are not about unicorns.