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G S Palmer

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All planets look the same.

Sure, an Ocean World looks different than an Alpine World, and a Savanna World looks different than a Tropical World. But every Ocean World looks like every other Ocean World.

Wouldn't it be nice if there was some diversity?

Landscapes
Thus, this suggestion: add the ability to select a Landscape when customizing your homeworld. Tired of the default desert look? Why not try the Dune variant, where it's just a big sea of sand dunes as far as the eye can see? Or the Oasis variant, where your city has grown up around a verdant oasis amongst the sands?

This would be a simple cosmetic change and wouldn't actually change the planet in any way, but it would help them feel more unique. Here's a mockup of what the customization screen would look like:
upload_2020-4-5_17-58-42.png

(Planet art is not mine. It's been taken from the Planetary Diversity mod)

This would allow players to choose what their planet looked like, while random AI empire howeworlds/uninhabited worlds generated in the galaxy would just choose a random landscape.

Here are the rest of the variants that I made mockups for:
Oasis I:
upload_2020-4-5_18-4-57.png

(art from Planetary Diversity)

Oasis II:
upload_2020-4-5_18-5-16.png

(art from Real Space: New Horizons)


Dune II:
upload_2020-4-5_18-4-12.png

(art from Real Space: New Horizons)

Mesa (this would probably be arid):
upload_2020-4-5_18-5-41.png

(art from Planetary Diversity)

Salt Flat I:
upload_2020-4-5_18-6-4.png

(art from Planetary Diversity)

Salt Flat II:
upload_2020-4-5_18-6-25.png

(art from Real Space: New Horizons)

And lastly, the good old default desert:
upload_2020-4-5_18-3-31.png

Suggested Landscape variants
Here's my list of what I think would be some good variants:
  • Desert
    • Dune: rolling sand dunes
    • Oasis: a lush oasis with desert in the background
    • Salt Flat: dried out salt pan
    • Desert: the current default
  • Arid
    • Mesa: Large rocky mesas with a river flowing through a canyon
    • Badlands: Big rock pillars and arches
    • Chaparral: dry, shrubby hills
    • Arid: default
  • Savanna
    • Prairie: big rolling grasslands
    • Savanna: drier looking grasslands with small trees
    • Plains: big and flat
    • Grassland: the current default
  • Ocean
    • Atoll: small, sandy isles with shallow seas
    • Desert Island
    • Volcanic Island
    • Shetland isles: colder, rockier islands
    • Deepsea: out in the middle of the ocean, no land. Kind of like Kamino
    • Island: the current default
  • Continental
    • Boreal: colder pine forest, background mountains
    • Marsh: flat and wet, lots of little rivers
    • Mediterranean
    • Continental: current default
  • Tropical
    • Swamp
    • Megaflora: all buildings dwarfed by massive trees
    • Cloud forest: alpine jungle
    • Mushroom: giant mushrooms instead of trees
    • Jungle: the current default
  • Arctic
    • Glacial: massive glaciers
    • Antarctic: a massive ice sheet with some areas of open water
    • Geothermal: numerous geysers and hot springs
    • Snow: just giant drifts of snow, no visible land
    • Arctic: current default
  • Alpine
    • Volcanic
    • Himalayan: significantly colder and more snowy
    • Valley: a big valley with a small, lazy river and icy peaks in the background
    • Fjord: an arm of the sea between mountainous cliffs
    • Mountainous: default
  • Tundra
    • Steppe: plains with icy mountains in the background
    • Bog: cold, flat, and wet
    • Tundra: current default
  • Gaia
    • Garden: terraced and sculpted
    • Paradise: the current default
  • Tomb
    • Ruinous: broken buildings and rubble
    • Scorched: barren and flat, cracked earth
    • Rifts: surface is broken by massive, smoking rifts that glow with magma
    • Blasted: the current default
    • Graveyard: giant bones litter the landscape
  • Relic
    • No ideas. Probably just more of the same.
In Conclusion
I originally came up with this idea (or something like it) quite a while ago, and a recent post in the forum brought it back to mind. So I thought about it some more, put together a UI mockup, and here it is.

So that's my suggestion. If you have any ideas for improvements, I'd love to hear them.
 
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Methone

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It's a great idea! But one small problem: How do you then handle cases where the homeworld gets terraformed, or changed?
 

G S Palmer

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It's a great idea! But one small problem: How do you then handle cases where the homeworld gets terraformed, or changed?
Maybe you could change the terraforming window from a sidebar on the planet screen to a popup more similar to the planet selection screen? Then the option to choose a new landscape could be incorporated fairly easily.

That, or terraforming just chooses a random landscape.
 

Methone

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Maybe you could change the terraforming window from a sidebar on the planet screen to a popup more similar to the planet selection screen? Then the option to choose a new landscape could be incorporated fairly easily.

That, or terraforming just chooses a random landscape.
Maybe.

Also, as for Relics, it could take inspiration from the various 'special blockers/deposits' relic worlds get?
 

G S Palmer

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Also, as for Relics, it could take inspiration from the various 'special blockers/deposits' relic worlds get?
So you mean you could have variants based on the Collapsed Spire, Flooded Reactor Pits, Massive Crevice, etc?

Also, it would be nice to have a few variants for habitats and ringworlds. Maybe one ringworld variant could be a giant floor window where you can see directly into space through the ground? Possibly under an ocean? That could be kind of trippy.
 

Blue001

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So you mean you could have variants based on the Collapsed Spire, Flooded Reactor Pits, Massive Crevice, etc?

Also, it would be nice to have a few variants for habitats and ringworlds. Maybe one ringworld variant could be a giant floor window where you can see directly into space through the ground? Possibly under an ocean? That could be kind of trippy.
You would think ringworlds could be of a chosen Biome anyway.

Why would a Desert loving race build a Ringworld with continental look to it. They would just build a giant sandbox.
 

Lorenerd11

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Also, it would be nice to have a few variants for habitats and ringworlds.
I'd love a Machine Ringworld, with circuits and machinery instead of a habitable biosphere. Would be perfect for machine empires.
 
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Methone

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You would think ringworlds could be of a chosen Biome anyway.

Why would a Desert loving race build a Ringworld with continental look to it. They would just build a giant sandbox.
Remember ringworlds are Gaia-esque. In fact, the current picture for a city on them is literally "Gaia, but with the ringworld extending up the back."
I'd love a Machine Ringworld, with circuits and machinery instead of a habitable biosphere. Perfect for machine empires.
I really wish we could make cityworld, hiveworld, machineworld rings.
 

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Are those backgrounds from the planetary diversity mod btw?

But yeah, not super big deal but could be cool idea.
 

G S Palmer

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G S Palmer

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This is basically just Planetary Diversity.
Yeah, so what? We're not allowed to hope for features of one of the best mods to actually make it into the base game?

Also, it isn't, because all the planets of planetary diversity all have their own unique habitability, changing the species distribution of the galaxy, whereas this is just biomes of existing planet classes.
 
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kwanzaabot

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Adding mod features in an offical capacity would be greatly welcomed, as Planetary Diversity isn't always compatible with everything.
But yeah I don't think we need to go as far as to add a whole new Landscape UI on top of the planet selection, we just need more starting planets.