Flieger, grüß' mir die Sonne, grüß' mir die Sterne und grüß' mir den Mond. Dein Leben, das ist ein Schweben, durch die Ferne, die keiner bewohnt! - Hans Albers, F.P.1 antwortet nicht (Adaptation in the 80s: Extrabreit)

Sunday, 27 March 2016

Easter Holiday: Subnautica

I needed something of a holiday, but Hawaii is too far and too expensive to travel to. In comes VR. There was a game on steam with 40% off, early access, costs less than a dinner. Subnautica. A survival game: A spaceship has crashed, you are sole survivor on a water world. It sounds grim, but frankly, the game projects a kind of "holiday on a lonely island" atmosphere, with plenty of diving opportunities. Graphic and sound are very well done. A perfect virtual holiday. This is only half joking, because it really was similar to that holiday-ish feeling; you have something to do but it is not too stressful and you have plenty of time to admire and enjoy the beautifully done environment. The occasional sea monster can - with proper caution - be viewed from a safari tour distance and provides for a measured shivering tension.

Alone on an alien planet with the crashed mothership. Creates quite some hydrophobia in the beginning. Scary the thought of having to get close there; but at some point in the game, you have to. Until you can craft a scanner and a "magic base builder tool", the game makes you indeed feel pretty much "Hansel and Gretel" kind of lost in a scary subnautic forest - with lots of sea monsters, of course!

During days, in the "Safe Shallows" provide for the said holiday diving experience. Just a proper holiday resort is missing, but don´t worry, the game lets you construct one to your taste!

Once I am ready to do som "basic base building", life gets a bit more comfortable. This is my first outpost in the Kelp forest, where you can find important resources for some basic equipment.

For better equipment and advanced resources, I need to venture deeper. This is an outpots in the Grand Reef area, absolutely necessary in order to grasp some much needed air supply and bake some fish for food in between the diving tours.

Even deeper we must go, finding scary large wrecked parts of the mothership. In a later stage of game development, those will be the place for all those equipment scematics, which currently are scattered about in "chests".
Key is to find in the Grand Reef the scematics for the "Moonpool" building, which allows the little submarine "Seamoth" to recharge its energy for free; four solar panels in your base are enough for that purpose.

My main base, after some upgrading. With enough resources, the base could grow much larger, but I like it as is. Up there are the living area plus the submarine hangar, down there is the entrance and the "worklab".
I like to have a part of my base on the surface. I am no fish, after all. It´s a nice little holiday resort. All power to VR! (I don´t own VR-goggles yet, but this game will support them)

Further exploration remains scary. Here the biggest and meanest beast, the Reaper, after it had a little bite of my submarine. Thanks to an installed repulsion weapon, I can make it away alife. Those are moments where you are almost jolted out of your seat, thanks to the game´s superb graphic and sound design.

A key secret place to find is this floating island, if you play in survival mode. It has fruit trees and vegetables, which finally alleviate your fish diet and provide for a sustainable food farming right in your base. Yeah, no more hunt&harvest tours, we slowly claw our way back to civilisation!

"Current final challenge" is to get back to the wreck of the mothership Aurora and stop the radiation which is bleeding out and slowly waisting the surrounding. I haven´t found any gun scematics and had to best the trip just with a radiation suit and my trusty knife. A tense experience for sure.

My current "end-game" base. It has renewable fruit and vegetable plants and even the fish are harvested from a large aquarium which spans three levels (the only place where fish actually do proliferate, as they were getting scarce in the sourrounding because some sea monsters eat them, too).

The game still is an "early access" version, I have invested about 18 hours and experienced most of its content. As I said, a nice little virtual holiday in between with a lot of fun!

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