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Dev Diary 11 - Da Vinci by Boian Spasov from Haemimont Games

Greetings from the red planet! Our Dev Diaries are back, and we have a new free update coming out hot from the pipeline for you. Codename: Da Vinci. That's right - we changed our naming convention because we were starting to run out of Mars missions and we are planning to support Surviving Mars for a good long while. From now on we are naming updates after great persons such as scientists and space explorers. The reason we chose Leonardo as our patron is that he seems like the best fit for the major feature of this patch - Creative Mode.

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Get Creative!
Existing on the edge between two genres, Surviving Mars tends to attract both players that like survival games and players that like base/city building. While these two gameplay aspects usually work in harmony, sometimes they can step on each other's toes. Since day one we received many requests for some kind of more relaxed game experience with a focus on city-building and aesthetics, instead of survival. Sometimes you may want to quickly create a huge colony for an awesome timelapse video, to experiment with different base setups or just to experience the mysteries without worrying about pesky survival threats.

Creative mode offers this and more! It is implemented as a set of eight new game rules:

  • Easy Maintenance - buildings never malfunction due to lack of maintenance

  • Easy Research - the tech tree is revealed, and base research is greatly increased

  • Fast Rockets - rockets travel ten times faster

  • Fast Scanning - sector scanning is much faster

  • Free Construction - buildings don't require resources to be constructed

  • Iron Colonists - Health and Sanity can't be lowered below 50 and Colonists never become Earth sick. There is no Founder stage

  • More Applicants - start with 500 additional applicants

  • Overfunded - start with $100,000M additional funding
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Starting a game in creative mode will activate all of these rules, but they can also be used individually and are combined with other rules and game sponsors normally. Note that while many bad consequences do not happen in creative mode, the game mechanics still function "under the hood" so it can be useful for experimentation and learning. For example, when you want to check if a particular base setup is self-sufficient - if any resource stays low, this Colony will probably struggle without help from Earth in a normal game. And if you have Colonists at 50 Health or Sanity, they would probably be under the risk of dying or having a breakdown in a normal game.

Creative Mode can be a great way to explore the game mechanics and learn the ropes in a relatively safe environment. Since many achievements are trivialised by the significantly reduced threats, activating some of the new game rules disables achievements for the playthrough.

Storage Management
We improved the controls for managing resources and storage buildings. You can now set a custom Desired Amount for resources in any particular storage. Drones and shuttles will try to maintain the desired amount as a reserve in each storage building (or all allowed resources in case of Universal Depots). This can really improve the efficiency of large colonies and is very useful both when planning a large project and when you know that a particular resource is often needed at a particular location in the colony, but gets there late due to logistic issues.

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We were never entirely happy with the controls for customising types of resources stored in Universal Depots - it was too obscure and even experienced players often failed to notice it without being pointed there explicitly. We revamped these controls in Da Vinci, making them more visible and easy to use.

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Power Connectivity
Prior Da Vinci, each building, had to be connected to the electrical grid with an individual Power cable. Our reasoning behind this decision was that we wanted to make the Power infrastructure more visible and complex to manage. Still, it proved to be more "complicated" than "complex" and too different from the expected practices for a city-building game.

This is why we are changing Power connectivity in Da Vinci, allowing each power producer or consumer to connect to the electrical grid automatically when placed adjacent to another building of the grid. Power cables are still used to extend the grid, but individual connections are not required for each structure.

e1Zl7RLs27InL6_WwEDjN1VcVpJAutUkA5IYnkDITYTo2XMzqnhQzmUgYc4TkVd_ltRQ1oL7aSivbXwZ7LsGumkIhbrNM2Z5aW495KWBHqqvpvjcLmgnMPsWrStDZFedhtbINy_el8xdbHy2KQ


Follow Camera
The follow camera is a minor feature, but I feel it deserves its own highlight in the dev diary because it was requested often. It can be activated for any Drone, Rover, Colonist or Shuttle. The camera tracks the movement of the selected unit and has no effect on gameplay but can be useful to create some nice close-up footage of your colony. It also gives you another way to enjoy all the little details in your colony. Last but not least, following shuttles around feels pretty rad!

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Patch Highlights
Here are some highlights from the new free update:

  • Pacing - increased drone speed, reduced building costs, reduced rocket and shuttle fuel consumption and adding a Stirling Generator to the starting setup all contribute to a more dynamic gameplay experience and less downtime.

  • Survival - Health and Sanity threats from disasters have been increased and are now randomized per colonist - you should expect more deaths and mental breakdowns when things go bad. Pipe Leaks and Cable Faults now only happen because of disasters, increasing the demand on your grid during Dust Storms. Solar Panels now don't work at all during a Dust Storm.

  • Quality of Life - You can now cycle between the unemployed, homeless, free residences and free work slots by clicking on the corresponding icon in the Infobar. Turning off a Dome manually now automatically turns off all buildings within, conserving power and resources. Placing a construction outside drone commander range is now indicated more prominently. Several on-screen notifications about colony problems have been improved.
What do you think about the new changes? Where would you like to go from here? Keep the feedback coming - we are listening!

p.s. The new Patch is coming (very) soon, so keep an eye out for the Patch Notes!
 

Sulkey

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"Pipe Leaks and Cable Faults now only happen because of disasters"
Cant say if I like or dislike that
 

scaper12123

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"Pipe Leaks and Cable Faults now only happen because of disasters"
Cant say if I like or dislike that
Are you kidding? They could have been an interesting aspect of colony management and ensuring redundancy but in practice I don't think anybody has paid much attention to pipe leaks and cable faults. They're annoying and hard to isolate without cutting off important things from the grid.
 

MilkInBags

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Pipe Leaks and Cable Faults now only happen because of disasters, increasing the demand on your grid during Dust Storms.

That’s quite a big change on gameplay. Could be interesting to make it a game rule that affects difficulty?
 

Cymsdale

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Pipe Leaks and Cable Faults now only happen because of disasters

Woohoo! That "feature" was the most obnoxious part of the game.
 

MGoods

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Power Connectivity
Prior Da Vinci, each building, had to be connected to the electrical grid with an individual Power cable. Our reasoning behind this decision was that we wanted to make the Power infrastructure more visible and complex to manage. Still, it proved to be more "complicated" than "complex" and too different from the expected practices for a city-building game.

This is why we are changing Power connectivity in Da Vinci, allowing each power producer or consumer to connect to the electrical grid automatically when placed adjacent to another building of the grid. Power cables are still used to extend the grid, but individual connections are not required for each structure.

e1Zl7RLs27InL6_WwEDjN1VcVpJAutUkA5IYnkDITYTo2XMzqnhQzmUgYc4TkVd_ltRQ1oL7aSivbXwZ7LsGumkIhbrNM2Z5aW495KWBHqqvpvjcLmgnMPsWrStDZFedhtbINy_el8xdbHy2KQ

Any chance of getting this for pipes too? It bothers me that if two buildings each have a blue 'pipe-connection' hex on the other building's 'Hex that is actually part of the building that the blue hex will connect to if a pipe is put in the blue hex' they don't just get hooked up into the same water/oxygen grid. (love this change btw, my inner efficiency nerd is already dreaming of new layouts)
 

candyalien

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I would love to see the bug fix patch notes. In particular that these reported problems are being addressed:

Users with nVidia drivers are getting this error in the game log:
[d3d11 error] ..\HR\reRenderDevice-d3d11.cpp(3076) : -1070859808 : The video card has been physically removed from the system, or a driver upgrade for the video card has occurred. (-2005270523)
Often many times, and it causes the game to crash or hang eventually.
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...s-freeze-then-crash-to-desktop-win10.1112256/
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...r-freezes-within-minutes-of-gameplay.1109367/


Drones cannot perform maintenance on the mega domes
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...erform-maintenance-on-the-mega-domes.1110502/


Mouse cursor problem in Linux
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...viving-mars-mouse-cursor-issue-linux.1111716/


Power, Water & Maintenance Tutorial Freezes
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...r-water-maintenance-tutorial-freezes.1107362/
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...econds-of-starting-tutorial-missions.1105525/


Rovers get stuck, need to be moved manually or destroyed
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...-bug-drones-not-responding-invisible.1103336/
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...ving-mars-game-goes-into-slow-motion.1108971/


Cable fault animation missing
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...g-mars-cable-fault-animation-missing.1109982/


"Printed Electronics" breakthrough returns electronics instead of metals
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...eturns-electronics-instead-of-metals.1111754/


Corrupted graphics in Linux with AMD Vega video card
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...urviving-mars-corrupt-graphics-linux.1106888/

We will release the patch notes when the patch goes live next week. This is how we usually do it.
 

Keltia_Vikinga

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nice for power & storage !
about that electric depot, would be nice if it could feed the transport rover for its full capacity - currently, it brings a bit of products in front but we have to select 'load" for that rover each time until it gets full....
 

Promethian

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We will release the patch notes when the patch goes live next week. This is how we usually do it.
Can you at least confirm if the "if you use an Nvidia card your computer cannot play the game" bug has been fixed? Because I want to be excited for this update but until I know I'll actually be able to play I'm going to remain ambivalent.
 

Keltia_Vikinga

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Can you at least confirm if the "if you use an Nvidia card your computer cannot play the game" bug has been fixed? Because I want to be excited for this update but until I know I'll actually be able to play I'm going to remain ambivalent.

I would love to see the bug fix patch notes. In particular that these reported problems are being addressed:

Users with nVidia drivers are getting this error in the game log:
[d3d11 error] ..\HR\reRenderDevice-d3d11.cpp(3076) : -1070859808 : The video card has been physically removed from the system, or a driver upgrade for the video card has occurred. (-2005270523)
Often many times, and it causes the game to crash or hang eventually.
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...s-freeze-then-crash-to-desktop-win10.1112256/
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...r-freezes-within-minutes-of-gameplay.1109367/


Drones cannot perform maintenance on the mega domes
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...erform-maintenance-on-the-mega-domes.1110502/


Mouse cursor problem in Linux
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...viving-mars-mouse-cursor-issue-linux.1111716/


Power, Water & Maintenance Tutorial Freezes
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...r-water-maintenance-tutorial-freezes.1107362/
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...econds-of-starting-tutorial-missions.1105525/


Rovers get stuck, need to be moved manually or destroyed
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...-bug-drones-not-responding-invisible.1103336/
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...ving-mars-game-goes-into-slow-motion.1108971/


Cable fault animation missing
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...g-mars-cable-fault-animation-missing.1109982/


"Printed Electronics" breakthrough returns electronics instead of metals
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...eturns-electronics-instead-of-metals.1111754/


Corrupted graphics in Linux with AMD Vega video card
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/foru...urviving-mars-corrupt-graphics-linux.1106888/
 

Nero616

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Pipe leaks and cable faults only happening due to disasters is a great thing, IMO, but not being able to order a drone to fix it will be even more annoying, since the drones will have to fix more leaks at once after a dust storm.
 

adil3tr

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I probably won’t use any of the new rules, I like the economy of the survival systems, but the improvements sound great!

Can you please add a rule that only removes the founder stage? When you play the game a lot it can feel like an unnecessary speed bump.
 
Last edited:

Yssie

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Power Connectivity
Prior Da Vinci, each building, had to be connected to the electrical grid with an individual Power cable. Our reasoning behind this decision was that we wanted to make the Power infrastructure more visible and complex to manage. Still, it proved to be more "complicated" than "complex" and too different from the expected practices for a city-building game.

This is why we are changing Power connectivity in Da Vinci, allowing each power producer or consumer to connect to the electrical grid automatically when placed adjacent to another building of the grid. Power cables are still used to extend the grid, but individual connections are not required for each structure.

Finally! Can we have that very same improvement on pipes too?

Really liked the new changes. Good job! :)
 

Blizzard_Haemimont

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Any chance of getting this for pipes too? It bothers me that if two buildings each have a blue 'pipe-connection' hex on the other building's 'Hex that is actually part of the building that the blue hex will connect to if a pipe is put in the blue hex' they don't just get hooked up into the same water/oxygen grid. (love this change btw, my inner efficiency nerd is already dreaming of new layouts)

Thanks for the suggestion! Just to be sure that I understand it correctly - can you illustrate with a screenshot?
 

Blizzard_Haemimont

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Finally! Can we have that very same improvement on pipes too?

Really liked the new changes. Good job! :)

Thanks!

Pipes do not work the same way as cables since they have to be connected to a specific hex near the building, so it is not as simple as just replicating the cable functionality. Still, we are looking into alternatives. No promises, though!
 

Nero616

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Thanks for the suggestion! Just to be sure that I understand it correctly - can you illustrate with a screenshot?
I think it is ment this way.
When placeing a Building, there are those yellow hexes where the pipes connect.
When the yellow hexes of one building overlap, those buildings should be connected to each other in the pipe system without the need to place a pipe there.
 

Blizzard_Haemimont

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I think it is ment this way.
When placeing a Building, there are those yellow hexes where the pipes connect.
When the yellow hexes of one building overlap, those buildings should be connected to each other in the pipe system without the need to place a pipe there.

Got it, thanks!
 

MadTruman

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For aesthetic reasons alone, I want more in-dome building options and skins. A 3 hex space pub where colonists can do some light drinking, a farm-based spire that produces food or mitigates food consumption (something I wish the Hanging Gardens did anyway considering they're usually an end game acquisition when Comfort can already be better managed), or a 3 or 10 hex spa that regulates a little Comfort and Sanity are just a few ideas.

Change the appearance of buildings when they've received Upgrades. For example, add a visible fuel receptacle to extractors, add a solarium to the top of Infirmaries and Medical Centers when they've been upgraded for Relaxation, and add some robotics animation when an AI is regulating production and extraction buildings. The domes should be more interesting to explore as they are improved instead of looking so similar from early to late game. How about an immense 30 hex in-dome building (a Wonder perhaps) that has the whole colony benefit - perhaps a grand museum, an opera house, or an amusement park?

Allow more ambient changes, like brightness and tint of lighting. Allow a change to the appearance shuttles (and have them be responsive to Priority ratings).

Allow Fuel to supplement the power grid by some means, and maybe allow a version of pipes that can convey fuel in a way that doesn't require drone intervention. Allow fuel pipes to overlay life support pipes if the player chooses, but increase the risk of a disaster destroying anything sharing a fuel pipe's vicinity.

Make colonists more demanding as time goes by. Consider a quality that they eventually develop (Seniors in particular and/or a colonist Flaw that implements it early) that requires additional regulation. Something like "Enlightenment" that is regulated by the presence of libraries, universities, and vocational buildings.

And please allow some way for the Sanitarium to address ALL basic colonist Flaws, even if it takes additional time and/or temporarily lowers the colonists' productivity. The fact that hypochondriacs and loners can't be cured is particularly vexing given the resource and time investment of having that spire in the first place.
 

MGoods

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I think it is ment this way.
When placeing a Building, there are those yellow hexes where the pipes connect.
When the yellow hexes of one building overlap, those buildings should be connected to each other in the pipe system without the need to place a pipe there.

Nope

20180801144045_1.jpg 20180801144100_1.jpg 20180801144108_1.jpg

In these three screenshots I am placing a moxie and an oxygen tank. The moxie has 2 groups of blue hexes, each group connects to a hex that is a part of the building, where the pipe physically joins the building if you put a pipe in a blue hex. The oxygen tank has 1 group of blue hexes, which connect to a hex that is a part of the building, where the pipe physically joins the building if you put a pipe in a blue hex. Lets call these 'hexes that are part of the building' "connection hexes".

If I place 2 buildings, and for each building at least 1 of the other building's "connection hexes" is inside a blue hex of the other building, they should be considered part of the same oxygen/water system and be linked by a pipe (graphics only, don't auto place a pipe in some adjacent hex, just have a pipe going straight from one building to the other, no pipe-only hexes required)
 

Blizzard_Haemimont

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Nope

View attachment 393787 View attachment 393788 View attachment 393789

In these three screenshots I am placing a moxie and an oxygen tank. The moxie has 2 groups of blue hexes, each group connects to a hex that is a part of the building, where the pipe physically joins the building if you put a pipe in a blue hex. The oxygen tank has 1 group of blue hexes, which connect to a hex that is a part of the building, where the pipe physically joins the building if you put a pipe in a blue hex. Lets call these 'hexes that are part of the building' "connection hexes".

If I place 2 buildings, and for each building at least 1 of the other building's "connection hexes" is inside a blue hex of the other building, they should be considered part of the same oxygen/water system and be linked by a pipe (graphics only, don't auto place a pipe in some adjacent hex, just have a pipe going straight from one building to the other, no pipe-only hexes required)

Thanks for the explanation. Visualising the pipe this way will probably be very tricky, but I understand your suggestion now.