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Dev Diary 6 - The Seven Wonders of Mars By Boian Spasov from Haemimont Games

Hi folks! With the release looming closer we are picking up the pace with the Dev Diaries. Today I plan to talk about the Wonders in Surviving Mars. But first, let's take a quick trip down memory lane, back to 1999 when, in the words of Douglas Adams, games were real games, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri.

I adore sci-fi games of all kinds, but my single favorite of all times is Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri. I remember fondly so many things about this game, but in the context of today's dev diary I want to talk about the so-called "secret projects". They were an inspiring and very thematic adaptation of the Wonders of Civilization, that proved to me that the concept could work very well in a sci-fi setting.

With Surviving Mars belonging to a totally different genre, our Wonders ended up nothing like the secret projects in Alpha Centauri, yet for me, that was the very first inspiration for them. We wanted to create a set of special late-game buildings that evoke a sense of grandeur and epic scale, each of which feels like both an achievement and a reward on its own.

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Each Wonder is a unique building, representing the pinnacle of achievements in a specific tech field. They are visually impressive, monumental buildings that quite naturally become visual landmarks in your colony once constructed. Wonders are locked behind high-level research, and each of them may be constructed only once per playthrough. As a whole, they feel much more "fantastic" than our regular buildings, based on futuristic sci-fi concepts and possibilities. Wonders are very expensive in terms of research, resources and time to construct, but once operational they provide unique and powerful benefits to the entire colony.

For a while, we experimented with the concept of not having all Wonders available in every playthrough but ultimately decided against this because the wonders ended up both too crucial for our end game and too cool to be available only incidentally.

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As tradition dictates, there are seven Wonders, although I imagine many more will be created as mods or official content in the future. My favorite one is a highly experimental fusion generator called the Artificial Sun, but I already talked about it in an interview a while ago, so I plan to tell you about a few of the others this time.

The Mohole mine is inspired by the Mars trilogy of Kim Stanley Robinson. It provides a constant supply of metals and rare metals from the depths of Mars - something invaluable late game when more and more resource deposits are becoming depleted. It also heats up the surrounding area negating all negative effects of the Cold Wave disaster for any building positioned close-by.

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The Space Elevator is a wonder that speeds up cargo shipments to and from orbit. It can be used both to export precious metals to Earth and to receive resupply materials and prefabs from Earth at preferential prices. Once you construct it trade with Earth becomes much less restricted, not depending on individual rocket capacity and refueling. Since our space elevator is not equipped with life support, you will still need the rockets to get new colonists from Earth, but you will be able to order materials and prefab buildings in huge quantities, as long as you can secure the funding for them.

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I feel very tempted to spoil all seven wonders now, but it is probably best to keep the wraps on at least a few of them until release. It will be fun to see how many you will guess correctly at the very least. And the ones that you don't guess correctly are even more welcome as ideas for the future. So let the speculations commence! What kind of wonders would you like to see in the game?

Pre-Order for Surviving Mars is now live! You can order your copy on PC: http://pdxint.at/2EkHZW0 & on Console: http://pdxint.at/2nT5gIn
 

C.N.

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I would expect at least some kind of meteor defense wonder, and a science/research wonder. The last two are harder ... maybe droid AI networking and cloning chambers?
 

Smikewolf

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6 tech headers on the research tree...

...so the seventh must be to do with wind surfing in a dust storm/dust devil..?

I’m guessing one of them could be some sort of fountain of youth type thing?
 
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Bryartuck

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I'd be buying this game even without the mysteries and wonders, but those just make me want it more. Can't wait.
 

208

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I'm pretty sketchy on even what the regular buildings are, so a few mostly-uneducated guesses:

- a "paradise dome" like in Stellaris
- a colony-wide drone control complex
- canals! Gotta have canals on Mars.
- some kind of arcology that can house a lot of colonists
 

Druzhnik

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Oooo I like the idea of wonders! I like the fountain of youth idea. What about teleportation? Or...a defence system that uses energy from the artificial sun for its beams?
 

Herr Sturmreich

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I wish some of the aspects of this game were part of Stellaris. It would be so much more immersive colonizing a planet and getting to actually see a digitally rendered planetary surface as well as the increasing growth of your colonies, opposed to simply having illustrated surface tile slots. Even better is the idea of when landing your armies to fight alien opposition you can command your ground troops and watch surface battles take place. Combine this game with Stellaris and you have a piece of solid gold.
 

Lt Loco

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  1. (Given) Power: Artificial Sun
  2. (Given) Trade: Space Elevator
  3. (Given) Metal: Mohole Mine
  4. (Required*) Water: There's already a reclamation center tower that's supposedly 70% efficient, but that's not really a wonder. I'd suspect either a canal aqueduct, or some form of mega-moxie. That might be the tower in the first screenshot - might be both water generation and wind power.
  5. (Required*) Concrete: Some form of soil converter.
  6. Food: Terraforming Equipment. Slowly raises soil quality for the entire map, improving all farms in your colony, increasing the range colonists can walk on the surface, and inspiring colonists (happiness boost).
  7. Medical/Lifespan. Something that increases the lifespan and general health of all colonists, as suggested above. Could be a literal fountain of youth, could be something more like genetic engineering.

*Remaining resources will need infinite supplies as well, so if it's not this, it's something else.

I wouldn't expect:
- A housing wonder. Colonists need to be useful, which means they need space to work.
- A science wonder. All the wonders are end-game techs, so are by nature after tech is done
- Cloning. I get the feeling that we will be attempting to limit population growth by end game.

Also, INFECTION LEVEL ALERT! Is it sad that I'm excited to see disease in the game? EDIT: Apparently it's one of the mysteries. Still cool though.
 
Last edited:

Revan Katarn

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Mmm...without haven't played the game is hard to tell wonders. Maybe I would expect something Dune-related, either for soil improvement or for water reclamation. Or maybe something related to psychohistorians, although what can it do... predict events? (doesn't sound very useful, though). Or, finally, not really sci-fi but more fantasy, an alchemy factory! To transmute random or not-so-useful stuff into rare metals! xD
 

Mauer

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I was gonna say some terraforming wonder as well, but it seems to me that would require the inclusion of a whole mechanic to transform Mars and thus something more likely to be seen in an expansion.

Cloning chambers sounds interesting, as a way to get more population without relying on Earth so much.
 

jakt

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Not by the Mohole on Moho in Kerbal Space Program?

The Mohorovičić discontinuity, which is called the Moho for short, is the boundary between the crust and the mantle. Frankly, both KSR and KSP are referencing a real life thing called Project Mohole https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Mohole , so this is really a reference to the real-life project that actually existed. However KSR came first before KSP, and made giant mines in Mars which increased surrounding temperature, so I can see that's why it is referencing that http://kimstanleyrobinson.info/content/mohole
 
Last edited:

TheDarkMaster

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I was gonna say some terraforming wonder as well, but it seems to me that would require the inclusion of a whole mechanic to transform Mars and thus something more likely to be seen in an expansion.

Cloning chambers sounds interesting, as a way to get more population without relying on Earth so much.
Cloning was mentioned in the 'Inner Light' mystery event they showcased in the last dev diary. So those are already confirmed to be in the game. Whether it's a wonder, something you can build a lot of, or purely tied to the mystery remains to be seen.

The Mohorovičić discontinuity, which is called the Moho for short, is the boundary between the crust and the mantle. Frankly, both KSR and KSP are referencing a real life thing called Project Mohole https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_Mohole , so this is really a reference to the real-life project that actually existed. However KSR came first before KSP, and made giant mines in Mars which increased surrounding temperature, so I can see that's why it is referencing that http://kimstanleyrobinson.info/content/mohole
"In the borehole pressure mines 100km beneath Planetsurface, at the Mohorovicic Discontinuity where crust gives way to mantle, temperatures often reach levels well in excess of 1000 degrees Celsius. Exploitation of Planet's resources under such brutal conditions has require quantum advances in robotic and teleoperational technology."
  • Morgan Industries, Ltd., "Annual Report"
 

Fmello

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As long as atmosphere levels remain low and electro-smog is not all-pervasive, a huge radio telescope (or a very large array, like spread out over a third of the planet) could be a nice thing for plumbing the depths of the universe.

Also, once more than seven wonders exist, making some of the mutually exclusive is another way to limit people without limiting them. Like the "Huge Array" (or "Huge Radio Telescope") wouldn't work as well together with the previously suggested "New Earth Terraforming", and definitely work badly with the "Tesla Power Transmitter" wonder that means electricity/power is distributed everywhere without any need for wiring/infrastructure.

So that was two suggestions (a bit too outlandish to be guesses, I'm guessing ;))
 

DominusNovus

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Whomever designed - in universe - that fusion plant needs to be fired. So inefficient.
 

mrinku

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So... what's that first picture of? Looks like a big magnifying glass or something.

Here's hoping that one of the wonders will be a pyramid! :)