Creating our first indie game #6 — The Martian Habitat: An Automated Base

In this serie we share our plans, our progress, our success and even our struggles making our first indie project Rokh, a multiplayer survival sandbox game set on Mars.


Hey Colonists,

We hope you enjoyed our Pre-Alpha Footage from GDC. If you haven’t seen it yet, check it out! In the past few weeks, we took the time to present all the potential our building feature brings to Rokh’s sandbox dimension. We especially showcased the tile system and the freedom it allows, empowering the player to build a base on Mars the way he wants.

Developing your habitat into a fully equipped, autonomous base is the first step. But thanks to the in-game programming system, one of the craziest features we’ve integrated in Rokh, you can achieve the ultimate building experience by turning your habitat into an automated base. Without entering into too much detail about the in-game programming system, for which we’ll publish dedicated blog articles, here are the amazing possibilities it creates for your habitat.

Take control of your habitat

In Log 5, you’ve read how you can integrate your outdoor survival devices (resource extractor like the ice driller, gas reclaimer, solar panels…) into a closed circuit with the storage and refining devices inside, thanks to the wire and pipe combinations. You can also add a main console to this closed circuit, a computer.

Automate your survival on Mars thanks to the in-game programming system

With that console, you can control every device in your habitat as soon as it’s linked within the circuit. It creates a lot of possibilities: you can control your airlock (lock and unlock it), remotely launch your devices outside (e.g. launch the extraction of ice by the ice driller outside your habitat, control the pumps, transfer liquid and gas from one tank to another), start the refining/smelting of raw resources according to your criteria (duration, number of units…) or automate your defense system.

These are just a few examples. The possibilities for your base are huge, considering the number of connected devices you’ll be able to plug into your habitat and integrate in a circuit. Each one of them will have various control options you’ll play with using the main console.

Concept design for different habitat elements: consoles, remotes and storage chest.

We’d like to push this feature even further: introduce a remote control system of your habitat. Once you have crafted and installed a radio tower on your habitat, it will generate a network within a certain distance around your base, working like a Wi-Fi Hotspot. Using a remote or embedded console in your suit, you’ll have full control of your base. Imagine: you’re exploring Mars, you receive a notification that another colonist is trying to raid your base, and you can control in real time your defense system!

Program your devices

More than taking control of your devices for basic functions, the in-game programming system will allow you to make your devices execute more elaborate tasks. For example: a supply chain between an ice driller, a pump and a dirty water tank.

So what happens when the dirty water tank is full, but the pump is still running?

You have four potential outcomes here:

  1. The lowest tensile strength link in the chain will explode
  2. The player manually shuts off the pump and ice driller before something explodes
  3. The player adds a release valve and spill pipe somewhere in the chain, but the excess resources are wasted
  4. The player uses the programming system to automatically turn off the pump and ice driller when the tank reaches a certain percentage filled as a conditional

Enabling players to automatically prevent catastrophic base failure is one of the primary goals of the programming system. But also by programming your devices, it allows you to set a custom behavior (e.g. defense turrets power up if an alarm is tripped).

What’s coming up next?

Next week, we’ll start a new theme by showing you how the tools in Rokh will be strategic for exploration, harvesting and in general, survival.

In the meantime, check out our new videos on Youtube, and continue to post your questions on our social channels.

Cheers, Colonists!

ROKH DEV TEAM


Originally published at www.rokhthegame.com on April 8, 2016.

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