You’ve completely understood me.
The great problem is that ONI, by being so detailed and apparently semi-accurate to the real world, makes a promise to behave as one would expect according to real-world intuition. And then it completely does not. (All your examples apply, here.) And you’ve wasted the last several hours on something that, according to all reason and all outwardly available information, SHOULD work.
And, then, you’re left facing disappointment and a feeling of great tedium knowing there’s yet more tedium to come as you’re going to waste another several hours cleaning up the mess and trying to put your base back together before trying the next thing.
Or you save before each experiment and load when it fails, sparing yourself only 50% of the tedium in exchange for self-hate and loathing at abusing the save-game system. (Because save-scumming is something I’ve never, ever done…)
Or, you develop the only logically defensive strategy to avoid all this: search the forums for everything and only build what you find, there: water locks, door pumps, dumping 1kg of liquid on vent tiles, etc.
Compare and contrast with anything by Zach Barth. My fault was to approach ONI like a Zachlike or a KSP-like because that was the promise made on the tin.
My other mistake was to try to play the game WITHOUT resorting to wikis and forums and searching the web. Seriously, until the last few days (when I have, as evidenced, fallen out of love with ONI), I did not resort to the web even once. I built a lot of stuff and think I have a fair grasp of everything up until space flight – everything that’s not an exploit, at least. Maybe, if the game had NO in-game database and the only option was a fan-maintained wiki, my feelings would be different – after all, I don’t really have a problem with Terraria and I play that with the wiki open at all times.
Once again, ONI made a promise by providing what I thought to be comprehensive data-sheets on all materials, objects and buildings in its in-game database and so I concluded that I could work out the rest – I looked forward to the challenge – but then it failed me on that count because the in-game database is missing completely necessary bits of information, like the fact that steam turbines overheat even when all available in-game info declares that the max temperature is 1000°C!
Interestingly, I have not found the game to be at all difficult. In fact, all of my “failed” outposts have been abandoned by me because they became too tedious to care for, not because they actually failed in any way. This, too, is a source of frustration.
For example, and probably because I’m a Dwarf Fortress veteran, in my very first outpost, I obsessed over the germ overlay and built airlock doors and hygiene systems like a mad-man to prevent any chance of this thing called “Slimelung” from getting into my base. I did that wrong, of course, because it was my first try and, when “Slimelung” was suddenly everywhere, I discovered that the disease is basically a trivial annoyance at the very worst. I also discovered that all the defensive stuff I had built to try to avoid bringing it into the base as a major annoyance – far MORE detrimental than just letting all the dupes waltz around covered in germs.
I’ve built hospitals in every single colony and NEVER needed one. I’ve accepted dupes that are good at doctoring and can’t dig, thinking that, surely, healthcare must be one of the quintessential needs of a colony, only to learn that doctoring is completely unnecessary and that not being able to dig renders a dupe 99% useless in the early to mid-game. Mostly, stress sits at 0% for all my colonies until it randomly spikes for no apparent reason for exactly one duplicant who is treated exactly the same as all others (who remain at 0%) – then it’s a tedious process of putting them on a relaxing schedule for days until they get back to 0% and life continues.
I guess I could go on forever. I’ll spare you that.