Lacuna Passage - Devlog #62 - Inventory Storage and the RTG

The last major component of the interior Habitat, the Inventory Storage module, is complete.  The final third of this module holds the Consumables portion of your inventory.  Just like the other parts of the Storage unit, the items shown here are a visual representation of the amount of food you have stashed.

With the Habitat interior finalized, we only have a few other major art-related tasks for the survival mode left.  Our next highest priority assets are the external maintenance units at Foundation Base.  These include anything outside of the Habitat that you may have to repair such as the Water Reclaimer, Re-oxygenator, and Heater.  Most of these machines will be detached from the Habitat, with buried lines that connect them to structures.

From a game design perspective, this allows us to create some interesting maintenance and upkeep EVA’s where the player can choose to do routine inspections or risk waiting until something fails.  We want these units to have multiple problems that can arise randomly, and also force players to make choices of how to utilize the resources available to them.

For example, each of these units will require a power source.  Solar panels will serve as a common source of power in most cases, but they require dusting regularly and can be at risk during electrical storms.  Another power source that will be available is the RTG, or Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator.  Here’s a quick look at the work-in-progress model we will use for the RTG in-game.

The RTG is basically a vessel that contains a naturally decaying plutonium core.  Plutonium-238 creates heat as it decays, which the vessel uses to convert into electricity.  It can last for over a decade and is a very practical way to power something on Mars.  For Lacuna Passage, the RTG will serve as the sustainable and low-maintenance alternative to solar energy.  It will be a rare find that the player will have to decide carefully what to power with it.

The RTG is something we are very excited to implement because it expands our options for survival elements by drawing from real-world inspirations.  NASA actually uses a RTG on the Curiosity rover.

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Lacuna Passage - Devlog #60 - Inventory Storage

One of the last major pieces we are working on for the Habitat is the inventory storage modules.  The items in your inventory will be split into three categories: materials, equipment, and consumables.  Likewise, the storage unit will be divided into those same three categories to visually represent the items you have stored away.  Here a few pictures of how the inventory storage area looks right now:

As you can see, the crafting materials and equipment sections are complete and feature many different items you may find as you explore drill sites, supply caches, or other Habitats.  For the most part, we simply use crates or boxes to represent the number of items stored in the materials section.  The module has five variations, from empty to full, and as you store items you will see it change to represent its contents.

The equipment section is a little more complex.  The most important pieces of equipment are visualized individually for quick identification.  This is because we want players to choose what pieces of equipment they can take out on EVA’s, leaving behind potentially important or useful tools that they have to keep track of.  Your inventory will fill up quickly with heavy tools, so it's important to only take what you think you need on long trips.  Here’s a closer look at all the equipment stored away:

Each piece of equipment has it's purpose, and knowing when to use them will be important.  Some are easily identifiable with unique models, but some others are only shown stored in a case.  This was intentional to reduce modeling and allow placeholder art for pieces of equipment that may be added in the future.  Currently our Haz-Mat Kit, First Aid Kit, Soldering Kit, and Wiring Kit all share this model:

You will notice that the only difference is the diffuse texture that is applied to each.  We feel that paint color and labels are enough to differentiate these pieces of equipment.  Sharing textures and models between assets is important to reduce load times and file sizes.  As we approach the release of our early access, we will be taking many steps like this to future-proof our game.  Share your thoughts in the comments below.


Lacuna Passage - Devlog #58 - Fitness Station and Inventory Storage

We have been hard at work adding some interesting new interactable “work stations” within the Habitat to give depth to the survival aspects within the game.  We recently completed the fitness station, consisting of the multi-purpose aRED (Advanced Resistance Exercise Device) and a Treadmill.  Fitness is an important factor to consider as you travel across the Martian landscape.  For instance, training at the fitness station will increase your overall stamina and reduce the likelihood of injury.

We wanted the fitness station to resemble some of the equipment used in space today.  The treadmill is pretty recognizable, but the aRED is something you wouldn’t find in your typical gym.  That’s because it uses vacuum pressure to replicate multiple weight-based exercises, reducing the need for unwieldy weights.  Here’s a cool video from astronaut Mike Hopkins showing off how it works.  The vacuum pressure even makes it practical to use in zero gravity at the ISS.

Our next station we are in the progress of adding is the storage area for inventory items.  We want this area to feel easy to access, and show visually what you have stored away.  At any time the player can walk up to any of the three storage areas to access the inventory management screen on their datapad to add or store away items in their backpack.  Here is a first glimpse at how it might look:

This area is one of the more essential components to managing your food, equipment, and crafting materials, so we want it to be rather large and visually appealing.  We plan on adding lots of small details to make it feel like it actually reflects what you have stored away.  And remember, you can find multiple Habitats in our survival mode - allowing you to store away items at specific locations.  Inventory management will surely be key to your survival on Mars.