Subnautica Ideas
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Subnautica Ideas

Subnautica — Expansion Ideas — III

In the last article I explained my ideas on how the base management can be improved in the next Subnautica expansion. This time I will talk about, in my opinion, an exciting new feature: Changes to farming and Alien Containment Unit.

A note: I’m explaining a lot of features but keep in mind the first episode: Difficulty is changeable. So these mechanics could totally be toggle-able.

With that said, ready? Let’s go!

Before I start, a message from future! You can find a list of Subnautica articles, including the behavior series in this publication.

Farming Made Not-so-Easy

Farming in the game is very easy. One trip to the floating island and you’re set. Just lay down the growbed and plant some seeds! Now, things are getting harder!

Crops need suitable environment. This means oxygen and light. The further down you put your base, the slower the stuff like watermelons will grow due to lack of light. Night-day cycles won’t effect the crops. Also, if your base is powered down, they won’t grow and even start withering slowly! If you want to grow stuff in your deep bases, you will need a special upgrade for a multipurpose room: The Greenhouse Module. This module will regulate the environment by spending energy. Also, it comes with its own growbeds! Amount of crops will not matter in the energy spent. Upgrades (read the previous article for the upgrade system) will allow faster growth for more energy or slower growth for less energy spent.

When it comes to water plants, it’s even harder: You can’t just plant anything anywhere! You need them to be in the right zone. Now, this doesn’t mean that, say, kelps will only and only grow in a kelp zone, but they require sun to survive, so don’t expect them to grow in depths of the reef. There are different reasons why each plant is found in a certain zone and even if you can grow kelps in safe shallows, you will get the best results in the kelp zone. Best results in this case is growth speed, rate and amount of “fruits” and finally the seed harvesting efficiency.

Finally, you need rather fresh things to plant. While rotten stuff can be used, there is now a final level of rotten where the living stuff just becomes goo. This holds true for seeds, fauna and flora alike, including cooked ones. So how do you keep things long term? Refrigeration! There is now a new type of locker that can keep food refrigerated. Requires 2 titanium and 1 quartz and requires base power to work but it does not drain energy on its own.

Alien Containment: More than a Fish Tank

To grow things outside their environment, you now need alien containment unit. ACU now drains energy if it’s not empty. On top of that, each plant or animal you put inside will affect the amount of energy. If they are of compatible environment, the rate does not change. If not, energy requirement increases depending on the difference size. For example, Stalkers and kelps together will drain minimal power. Adding peepers won’t change it. Adding a sand shark will increase it slightly (as they live in close environments) but if you add a lava lizard, the energy requirement will spike big time due to a third different environment and also being a *very * different environment. It’s almost impossible to keep up the energy costs of 3 or more creatures if they are from different zones.

Finally, if the amount of creatures exceed the maximum, it will drain more power. To prevent this, there will be a switch to prevent reproduction.

An ACU upgrade will make the unit more flexible, allowing neighbor creatures to be considered same zone and spend no extra energy (in above example, sand shark wouldn’t increase the cost.) Another upgrade will make the tank stronger (why? Keep reading!)

Big Brother is Watching

The main upgrade though, is the monitoring tool. This upgrade will place a console with a screen in the containment that gives you various information such as the creature health, infection status, egg hatching status, growth rates and creature psychology.

Psychology? You ask. Basically the animals inside have a psychology rate that changes with what’s inside, what’s outside, what they see and how they live. Give them their own environment plants and creatures, don’t bother them much and make sure the unit is powered and they’ll be peaceful and healthy. Don’t consider their sensitivities (like exposing bone sharks to bright light constantly), look at them all the time through glass, give them bad environment and you’ll guarantee the demise of the creatures.

The environment, especially the flora compatibility mostly affects their physical health, which may lead to death; while environmental mismatch, being observed, seeing potential prey and trauma (like base being attacked) will affect their mental health, leading to a frenzy where they break the glass and flood the base! Even if they aren’t at that point, you may not want to enter an aquarium of unhappy bone sharks, no one can guarantee they’ll play nice!


So, with these changes, ACU won’t just be a simple aquarium to toss fish in and get unlimited food out. Instead, you need to think about what sort of creatures they are, get samples, create an ecosystem for them to survive.

As with others, more ideas could be added. Imagine a tank upgrade that prevents warping. I guess for what that could be used for…

In the next and final expansion ideas article, I’ll be talking about creature behavior.



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Ekrem Atamer

Ekrem Atamer

Gamer, gaming industry wanderer, development and design enthusiast. Current WIP: TBD