I agree the OP seems over complicated, if I’m following correctly it’s proposing 4 semi-overlapping systems to manage this, that’s too much. Just the ui to expose all of that is going to be downright silly, and it’s going to be very involved to make tradeoffs.
In more detail, I don’t follow the argument about using surface area as the primary limitation, there are tons of bionics that have no external exposure through the skin, too many to relegate to a fallback like “essence”. The argument about linking them to organ groups is likewise flawed, a large number of very important internal bionics simply take up space. Using body surface area as a proxy for internal volume seems likewise problematic, I don’t see anything backing up the assertion that they’re closely related.
Setting aside the rationale, I don’t see how this maps to a slot-based system, and even more so, I don’t see how we can expose both the system itself and the rationale in a unified way. A critical aspect of a system like this is making it understandable to the player, and this proposal doesn’t seem to be doing that in its current form.
I could see multiple bionics being combined when created, but not in an ad-hoc manner when installed. Re: your example, there would be a toolset-with-flamer bionic that would have the functionality of both bionic at a lower installation cost than installing both individually.
As in, there’s an installation kit you need to find in order to install bionics? This is a possibility, but does nothing to limit the number of bionics the player can install, so it’s off topic here.
This is not a feature we must keep, I’d be totally fine with installation of more bionics being irreversable.
I could see this being part of the balance for the system, but not the only drawback. For one thing it does nothing to address the simple conservation of volume issue, where you can currently install more volume of bionics than the entire volume of your body.
I think this is a key piece of the system as well, but it’ll be tricky to get right. This is going to be our version of the essence system, except the tradeoff isn’t magic vs cybernetics, it’s mutations vs bionics. Both mutations and bionics should draw from a shared pool of resources, but I’m not sure how conflicts should be resolved when they occur.
Switching to a proposal, here are my basic assumptions:
- All bionics and mutations consume space when installed.
- Some bionics and mutations additionally consume specific areas of the body, e.g. eye augmentation, arm replacement, modified digestive system.
- Placement of bionics and mutations must be detirreversible.
Proposal that meets the above requirements.
- Each bionic and mutation receives a body part and a “volume” expressed as a proportion (number between 0 and 1)
- Optionally, bionics and mutations can have additional tags that cause them to consume a proportion of more specific parts of the body, such as eyes or digestive system or hands.
- If installation of a new bionic would cause any proportion to exceed 1, the installation is not allowed.
- If acquiring a mutation would cause any proportion to exceed 1, there is a conflict, which the mutation system can resolve by failing the mutation, triggering a different mutation, rejecting a conflicting bionic, etc.
There has been a proposal to allow more extensive cybernetic upgrades, up to and including limb replacement, which would allow higher volumes of bionics to be installed, at the cost of preventing or removing mutations and imposing maintenance costs and stat changes on the player. This is a cool idea and is like to keep it in mind as we proceed, so we don’t end up making it difficult to add later.
* The reason for this is to avoid ordering constraints. I.e. installing bionics in the order A, B, C should have the same outcome as the order C, B, A. If bionics are allowed to be installed “wherever there’s room”, it’s possdible to end up in a situation what certain sets of bionics must be installed in a certain order. That’s non-obvious to the player and a pain to deal with, so let’s not do it.