Green Planet Dev Diary #1: Terraforming

Green Planet Dev Diary #1: Terraforming

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Ivan_Haemimont

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Hi everyone!

My name is Ivan Grozev and I've been working as a game designer at Haemimont Games for more than six years now. I've been fan of Paradox Interactive's games for decades. I've enjoyed thousands of hours of Europa Universalis and Crusaders Kings, always striving to achieve the next world conquest, and I've always loved large scale, long-term games. There's a saying in the design team that we've made a game especially for me. Frankly, I've loved working on Surviving Mars since the start and I'm excited with my current position as the Lead Game Designer for this project.

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Today, I have the honor to briefly introduce to you the second expansion of Surviving Mars, Green Planet.

So, how did it all start? The inevitable truth that surviving Mars' barren deserts would eventually lead to humanity changing the Red Planet has stuck with us since we started working on Surviving Mars over 2 years ago. Back then, we didn't know what the future of Mars would look like, but we did envision that one day we would add terraforming. The growing desire for more late game content among our fans made this vision more and more appealing, as terraforming an entire planet would be a gradual and painstaking process. Believe me, we strived to make it challenging but worthwhile!

In Green Planet, you'll be able to fully transform the Martian surface. Starting with endless, barren deserts and leading to frozen ice caps and fields of lichen, and finally ending with a planet covered with lush green forests and oceans. You'll be able to plant different types of vegetation all across your colony, dig artificial lakes and fill them with water that freezes or evaporates according to the average global temperature, decrease the severity of dust storms as atmosphere improves and watch Moisture Vaporators produce more because of oceans evaporating water into the atmosphere.

In order to do so, you need to achieve progress on four major terraforming parameters: Atmosphere, Temperature, Water, and Vegetation.

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The Atmosphere parameter symbolizes the density and the content of the Martian atmosphere. At 100% Atmosphere terraforming progress, Mars has an Earth-like atmosphere and deep blue skies, capable of sustaining human breathing without artificial aid. There are several ways to improve this parameter, varying from mass production of greenhouse gases to melting the polar ice caps. Initially, it's easy to improve the atmosphere; however, its raising density means that more and more gases are lost due to Mars’ lack of a strong magnetic field. To continue the process, the need for magnetic shields in orbit and massive magnetic generators arises.

The Temperature parameter symbolizes the average planetary temperature. It's necessary for liquid water to exist on the surface of Mars and for more advanced plant life to survive the extreme Martian conditions. The increasing temperature creates conditions for the polar ice caps to melt and changes the existing ice fields into blue lakes, seas, and oceans. Higher average temperature also means that cold waves are shorter and less likely to occur.

The Water parameter symbolizes the amount of water accumulated in the atmosphere and in water bodies on the surface of the planet. Water is a major ingredient in the making of acidic and pure-water rains. It directly affects the output of Moisture Vaporators and is required for more advanced plant life to grow and spread.

The Vegetation parameter symbolizes the sustainability of plant life on the planet. Initially, plant life consists of adapted cyanobacteria and lichen but it will eventually form huge, continent-wide forests. This parameter directly affects the spreading of plants around your colony. On one side, it increases the likelihood that locally seeded plants will spread on their own. On the other side, it guarantees that, over time, seeds carried by the wind will grow in various locations on the map.

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You're probably asking yourselves "How could I achieve all that?". You'll notice that Green Planet has added a new technology field, Terraforming, in your Research UI. The 20 new techs there are harder to research but will allow you to start terraforming whenever you feel ready for the challenge. To begin, just unlock the first building in the tech tree. You achieve terraforming progress by constructing and maintaining terraforming-related buildings, or by completing dedicated terraforming projects such as sending rockets to capture ice asteroids. We're going to talk more about these in the following dev diaries.

Speaking of which, next week on Thursday we’ll have another dev diary all about the new buildings and wonders coming in Green Planet.

Ivan Grozev
Lead Designer of Green Planet
Haemimont Games

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Azurespecter

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As a second bonus to today's Dev Diary, we have the results of our recent poll to name the upcoming animal pack DLC, which releases alongside Green Planet!

TeaserVideo_Thumbnail.png


The four nominations were:
  1. Moo Moo Pack
  2. Pet Project
  3. New Pastures
  4. Project Laika

And the winner is...
Surviving Mars: Project Laika

Named after the first animal in space, Laika was a stray part-husky, part-terrier, female dog from the streets of Moscow. During the Space Race between the USA and Soviet Union, scientists were unsure if humans could actually survive the weightlessness of space. So an animal test was seen as pivotal in understanding the effects of space flight on a living being.

Laika_(Soviet_dog).jpg

On November 3rd, 1957 the Sputnik 2 rocket was launched into outer space, carrying Laika, which became the first animal to orbit the Earth. Unfortunately, during the ascension into space, the craft took damage and the thermal control system malfunctioned. Although Laika survived in Space and records show she was healthy, within 5-7 hours Laika had passed away.

Laika is memorialised as a monument in Star City, Russia, the Russian Cosmonaut training facility.

And now we memorialize her legacy for the upcoming Surviving Mars animal pack DLC - Project Laika

leika_statue.jpg
 
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Zebedee

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Looking forward to seeing how you do this. Good luck!
 

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The fact that creating an artificial electromagnetic field is part of the atmosphere parameter makes me happy. Everything I've read about terraforming Mars points to the planet's lack of a natural electromagnetic field as a huge sticking point, so I'm glad the game is going to address it directly.
 

Alien-47

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I want to play this DLC SO MUCH! I don't think there is a game that simulates terraforming from this point of view. Thank you for finally adding it!
 

DominusNovus

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The fact that creating an artificial electromagnetic field is part of the atmosphere parameter makes me happy. Everything I've read about terraforming Mars points to the planet's lack of a natural electromagnetic field as a huge sticking point, so I'm glad the game is going to address it directly.

Long term, sure. But on human scales? Its not likely to be a major issue.
 

RogalDorn

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Been really looking forward to this! Can't wait to get my hands on it!
 

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The big question I have is whether or not this is going to require creating a new game, or if we would be able to work on the new stuff with previous saves. Just need to know whether or not to bother continuing with the one I'm working on, heh heh.
 

RageOfAnubis

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What we see so far looks interesting, there are so very many ways for this system to affect gameplay and I look forward to seeing what you do with it.

Will Dev Diaries be one a week until release or is the schedule a little more... irregular?
 

Falrinn

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The big question I have is whether or not this is going to require creating a new game, or if we would be able to work on the new stuff with previous saves. Just need to know whether or not to bother continuing with the one I'm working on, heh heh.

I am curious about that as well. Traditionally saves have been compatible in the sense that they will load just fine, but features that require new technologies or new starting conditions have been inaccessible on old saves. However terraforming techs are in their own category, so it might be possible for the terraforming techs to simply be dropped into an old save since they wouldn't have to be inserted in the middle anywhere.
 

TinWiz

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In the Mare Nostrum DLC for EU4 there is a timeline to see how the map has changed since the beginning of the game. Something like that would be fun to see how terraforming has changed Mars from the Red to the Green planet.
 

Ivan_Haemimont

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The big question I have is whether or not this is going to require creating a new game, or if we would be able to work on the new stuff with previous saves. Just need to know whether or not to bother continuing with the one I'm working on, heh heh.
You'll need to create a new game to see the Terraforming tech field and the Terraforming buildings.

For Green Planet we have made a bunch of changes to the code of existing buildings, terrains and logics, which couldn't safely be plugged into older savegames. So, your old savegames won't know about the Terraforming features.

What's that bulldozer truck for?
It speeds up landscaping projects such as flattening of rough terrain.
 
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Joshmaul

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You'll need to create a new game to see the Terraforming tech field and the Terraforming buildings.

For Green Planet we have made a bunch of changes to the code of existing buildings, terrains and logics, which couldn't safely be plugged into older savegames. So, your old savegames won't know about the Terraforming features.

Nuts. I was kind of afraid of that...still, if we get the same starting locations (mine is currently set up in Elysium...Beta, I think), I know where I can restart. :D