Bionics (General balance and other issues)

I see there was a “Great ‘Install Bionics’ Rebalance” thread already, but that was back in august and I’d like to bring up the issue again.

Unless there is a major overhaul already planned?

All I’ve seen so far is the general installation difficulty re-balance that got added in, which I did approve of.

Anyway, getting on with this:

[size=12pt]1) No more instantaneous field-surgery:[/size]
As it is, I can replace my intestines in the middle of the street in a minute. I’m not sure what is in one of those CBM units exactly, but I’m pretty sure it’s not an entire surgical lab setup with time compression. I would suggest multiple “tiers” of surgical setups which would be required for installing any CBM, possibly with more complex or rarer CBMs requiring a more advanced setup to install. For example, the lowly MK1 Storage Battery CBMs requiring not much more than you could assemble with items from a house (knives, scissors, towels, clean water, antiseptic wash, hard alcohol and/or painkillers, etc) along with a large flat surface to lay on (table, counter, etc). Possibly the surgical kit as an actual singular crafted (or found) single use item. A more advanced kit would have fancier things (electronics and robotics?) which could be a rare find or also crafted.
Now that’s all minor detail, what’s really important is:

-Surgery takes a safe place and a lot of time
You can literally be caught with your pants… or intestines… down.

-Surgery consumes resources
Force a choice by player limitations, how much you can even install and making CBMs more of an actual investment.

-Access to advanced Auto-Docs required for top-tier CBM requires end/mid-game access
Low-tier for the most basic is a surgery kit and hard surface.
You should be able to clear out a hospital to get access to a semi-reliable mid-tier auto-doc.
You should be able to clear a couple of Labs to get access to a higher-tier auto-doc.
Maybe a new special encounter for getting access to a top-tier auto-doc setup.

[size=12pt]2) Conflicting Bionics[/size]
I know this was suggested in the prior thread, but it’s a great idea and I’d like to bring this one up again. Remember any of the Deus Ex games, where you had to choose between different Bionics. I think this is a great mechanic for encouraging actual character builds. As it is, all character builds eventually end up effectively the same. There currently isn’t much beyond stats, and even then the stat bonuses you can easily acquire can quickly eclipse any stat deficiencies. Currently the only serious character build differences to be had are from mutations, and that’s because of the conflicting mutations, however that’s considerably more difficult to control into any specific build.

-More diverse mid/late-game character builds
Every character ends up basically the same as it is currently, and that really really irritates me.

-More hard player decisions
For example: Integrated toolset, laser, or flamethrower? Fusion blaster or claws? Expanded digestive system or recycler unit?

It would be really great if Bionics were more of a parallel or alternative to mutations than they are now, which gets me to:

[size=12pt]3) Mutations and Bionics conflict/interfere with each other[/size]
I’m not saying it should be IMPOSSIBLE to multi-class, just that multi-classing should be nerfed. Mutations can damage, destroy, and outright reject your bionic implants, while installation difficulty is greatly increased for certain bionics with certain mutations and once installed actually hindered in some way. The point of this is to again, expand the mid-late game character builds and create more choices for the player while at the same time cutting back on the unstoppable killing machines.

-Cyborg and Mutant like different mid/late-game character classes.
Not impossible to multi-class, but weaker in both if you choose to do so to compensate.

-Both Cyborg and Mutant have conflicting options within their own classes, and between classes
More unified game design here I think with parallel but different player options.

Eh I that’s all I can remember I wanted to post about.

As you might have guessed, the game is actually too easy currently, IMO.
It’s gotten really boring where I spend hours effectively making the same character I just did last game.

I think CBMs were stated as all-in-one surgical installation kits that would still require a skilled team of surgeons/mechanics to install properly. Still, you’re completely right about performing a 5-minute procedure in the middle of the road, although I think you might just need to restrict the auto-doc installations to the high-tier stuff only unless it gives a significant modifier to CBM installation, otherwise you’d never be able to install anything in your safehouse.

Maybe a tiered system where you can only install simple bionics and power systems at first, until you are sufficiently cyberized, whereupon you can start jamming in integrated toolsets and fusion blasters.
Maybe give a flat bonus to future CBM installs from the amount of bionics already installed? (discounting power storage, or maybe dealing with power storage at a reduced rate.)

As to conflicting mutations with bionics… well, it’s a slippery slope.
Steel plating or chitinous carapace? definitely needs a lot of work. Some things just should not be, but the rest is pretty fun.

1) I definitely agree that performing invasive replacement surgery on yourself should require a hell of a lot more than 5 minutes with a bionic module, but I think that a CBM kit would probably have the minimum tools you’d (theoretically) need to do so, though the chances of success without some external assistance may be questionable.
Significantly increasing the difficulty of installing mid-high level bionics and having an auto-doc decrease risk would be a good soft limit that reduces the probability of “The RNG hates you, find zero auto-docs in a 10sq mi radius”.

Maybe have a high level recipe to construct a lesser auto-doc to compensate those who have bad luck but survive a long time.
Also I’d imagine a cloning facility would be sufficient to install top tier cybernetics even for a particularly stupid character.

2) Conflicting bionics sounds like it’d be a very good idea, but that’s dependent on what the exceptions are.
For example I see no reason somebody couldn’t have laser fingers and a mini flamethrower, they could fit one on each hand. However an integrated toolset should probably take both hands and be incompatible with a fusion blaster arm.

3) I’m not too keen on making bionics and mutations directly opposed or mutually exclusive like 2 class trees in an RPG. Dramatically increased bionic installation risk and possibly losing bionics when you mutate, those make sense depending on the mutation in question.
Limiting or removing functionality from the bionics you can actually have installed, I’m not really sure why it should do that, though some mutually exclusive combinations make sense, it really depends on what extent it goes to.

Nice post, some pretty good ideas here and I like the direction you want to go in, I’m just iffy about some of the details.

Hm, maybe time calls for a blaster/tool arm? I always thought of the fusion blaster was just short of a borg arm anyway lol and god knows it’s a bit of an iffy move anyway. Loss of two-handed weapons for a rather mediocre weapon CBM?

Personally I’d think an integrated toolset could be all packed into one arm and hand, leaving the other free.
Four fingers and a thumb.
So, things to go in fingers: Screwdriver/Soldering iron/lighter/Something else. Finger flashlight? Finger laser?
Then you’d have the larger stuff in your forearm that would fold out into your palm: Wrench/Welder/Hacksaw/Something else.

Can’t see someone fitting a fourth tool inside the average forearm, unless the integrated tools are pretty slim and packed together well, which I imagine they would be, but I guess for a hammer you could just bash nails in with your metal hand anyway. >.>

I like some of these ideas.

Surgery could be more difficult, but nerfing it too heavily will make CBMs useless for new or low-level survivors. I think we can all agree it should take more than 5mins though.

I also like the idea of having more inter-CBM conflicts- as previously stated, things that are common-sense.
CRAZY OVERHAUL SUGGESTION: put together a system that’s kinda like max volume for each body part- stuffing an internal storage, internal furnace & expanded digestive system into one torso is hard to imagine.
Likewise, some CBM-mutation conflicts would be perfectly reasonable if they follow the same pattern mutations do themselves. That doesn’t mean nothing designed for a human can’t work in a slime-tree-man, but increased difficulty and a chance of rejection if you mutate again both make perfect sense, along with mutation/bionic specific conflicts.

As for character classes though, I very strongly disagree. This is a sandbox game, and while nothing says the devs can’t/shouldn’t make a specific ‘class’ or ‘theme’ distinct, they should do that by creating new functionality.
Making an armor skill & expanding it’s mechanics to let the player role-play an apocalyptic knight, that’s well and good.
What they ought not do is try to take what we can already do and try to separate it into mutually-exclusive classes.
Who says I can’t turn my character into superman if I am both able & willing? Key word there being “able”: as in possible according to the game’s objective laws. The kind of ‘objective’ that let some items be absolutely worthless- completely irrespective of any notion of balance.
Don’t be trying to segregate my sandbox toys- if you don’t want to make the same character, dont. Role-play, and impose your own restrictions yah?

I think he was just referring to survivors that would have a tendency to jam every bionic in as opposed to those that slurp sewage for the nice glow.

Also, hydraulic muscles with tentacles. Reminds me of Call of Cthulhu: Dark corners of the earth.
Begun playing that again recently.
Man I love it when you can finally blast those fish-faced freaks back into the primordial soup.

Back on-topic, I’ve put a bit more thought into this. How about a cybernetics skill, maybe have a few skill books for it, but otherwise only raised when you install a CBM. Gives a flat bonus to CBM installation. Moderate increase for simple bionics and power storage, larger increases for more intricate systems. Of course, it’ll plateau out really fast.

As to difficulties and length of bionic installs…

Cranial flashlight: Simple CBM. Only thing is, humans have a fear of letting anything get in their face or eyes. Other than that it’s pretty straight forward. Attach the CBM package to forehead, switch it on and let it install. est. time: 5~15min.

Power storage: Simple. First install would probably be the most difficult, but still quite easy. I’m assuming it would be at least partly modular so additions, further upgrades and tuning would be even easier. 5~20mins.

Ethanol burner: cracking open thoracic cavity and sticking something to your digestive tract. Moderate difficulty, est. 1~2hrs.

Joint torsion ratchet: Let’s say we just add them to the shoulders, knees and elbows. That’s a lot of surgery. Moderate diff, 2hrs.

Fusion arm: Limb amputation and adjustment of bionic to shoulder. Possible death from bloodloss or shock (that would be IRL. I don’t expect that to be modeled ingame, except for a critical failure maybe.) High difficulty, est. 2hrs.

Not quite sure how to rate the future CBMs or the upcoming nether CBMs yet, although I’d suggest high/extreme difficulty with average install times of 1~2hrs depending on the piece.

I like almost all of these ideas from klomvp. The bionic/mutation combination would have to be handled delicately though.

To balance out the bionics, you could find something like a bionic kit that has a selection of three bionics that can be installed in a certain body part. You can select one item from each kit to be installed, and you can install multiple kits. So let’s say there’s two hand bionic kits, one has integrated toolset, adamantium claws, and fusion blaster arm. Another kit has finger laser, mini-flamethrower, and fingerhack. You can pick one bionic from each set to install in your hands. Alternatively, you could have a maximum number you can install in your hands, but still only one from each kit.

They could be split up into bionic kit - common, bionic kit - rare, etc, or even something like consumer grade bionic kit, commercial grade bionic kit, research grade/military grade bionic kit. You could install 3 from the lowest tier, 2 from the middle tier, and only one from the highest.

Also, you should be able to remove and swap out bionics, just so the player isn’t locked into some choice they made a year ago.

These are all good ideas. Some are easier or harder to implement.

This is a really good point, installation should probably be 20+ mins minimum, and more for the more invasive CBMs.

[quote=“Klomvp, post:1, topic:3657”]-Surgery takes a safe place and a lot of time
You can literally be caught with your pants… or intestines… down.[/quote]
This is kind of problematic, possible but problematic. I think the best option would be the “stages” concept I posted in the previous thread, where you prep the CBM, cut yourself open, install CBM, and close up. The way we handle things, each stage would take some time, then complete instantaneously, but you could get stopped at a certain stage.

I like this in principle, just a lot of content to add to make it happen. I think it’ll be worth it in the long run. Probably the lowest level would be assumed to be packaged with the CBM.

I think a decent way to do this would just be a slot-based system, where CBMs have flags like “arm” “forearm”, “hand”, “finger”, “torso”, etc, and two CBMs with the same tag can’t be installed at the same time.

This would mostly be a matter of applying the same tagging system to mutations and bionics, which would immediately make them conflict in a meaningful way. And might also replace the manually-applied conflicts in the mutation system.

I like and hate quite a lot of this XD I FIND MYSELF CONFLICTED SO HERE WE GO…

Bionics should take time to install, you’ll hear no complaints there. I think it’s been discussed before and just not implemented yet. Kevin mentioned something about stages and frankly I can’t help but think that won’t work, mainly because once the CBM is out of it’s container it’s no longer sterile (If we’re gonna fix the bionics might as well do it right) and you can’t exactly hop up to defend yourself your chest cavity open.

An Auto-Doc of sorts would be a nice thing to have, especially for low-level characters that can’t get that “Chance of failure” below 50% that said, having several different Auto-Docs sounds like it’ll just result in randomly generated hell. You get to a Hospital only to find out it’s running the MK I and you’re fucked. Not to mention CBMs are supposed to be bleeding edge tech right? (That’s why we removed the formerly awesome android trait right?) So one Auto-Doc, found in Hospitals and Labs (maybe an extremely low chance in Doctor’s Offices?) instead.

The configuration and compatibility/incompatibility of Bionics is a tricky thing. Most of the bionics don’t really conflict beyond space requirements. The Example you gave, Integrated Toolset, Mini-Flamethrower, Finger-Laser all of them have their specific installation points: Integrated Toolset has heating elements in the palms, and several fingers on one hand, the mini-flamethrower has one finger on each hand, and the finger laser is one finger on one hand. It’s not unreasonable to assume you can install all of them. There are only a few I can really see conflicting and one of them is that Fusion Blaster arm.

As far as Bionic compatibility with mutations is concerned it’s a bit trickier… There are some that shouldn’t really work together Slime Hands and any hand Bionic for example. There are some that’d need refitting but could still work, any skin-alteration and any alloy plating, but a lot of them wouldn’t need too much work. It’s an interesting balancing factor I suppose but it’s more than a little depressing to think I’d have to pick between say Chitinous Armor and Hydraulic Muscles. It already bothers me that you can’t just drill some holes into a helmet for your antennae, cut larger holes in gloves for talons/claws, but don’t have to worry about modifying pants to fit a tail in there. (You have no idea how complicated it gets trying to put human stuff on anthropomorphic creatures in a logical fashion. It has given me many, many, many headaches.)

That said, while we’re here I’d like to suggest something…

The ability to remove damaged/malfunctioning bionics. The main reason I usually end up save-scumming even for low level bionic installs is if you fuck up that installation and get a malfunctioning bionic, it’s there for good. End of story. To my knowledge there’s no way to remove damaged bionics. If we’re gonna jam in compatability issues I’d love to be able to say swap out a bionic I’ve decided I no longer want for a different one (Possibly with a chance to recover the used bionic?) That said, I find removing/replacing some bionics could be, well more than a little unbelievable: The Fusion Blaster Arm being one of them (Does anyone even use that damned thing?) An equal-exchange thing might be require to make it believable EG Trade out 6 “Volume” worth of Bionic(s) for at least 6 “Volume” of new bionic(s) or implement a few bionic replacements (EG Bionic arm/arms, leg/legs, organs, etc) that would allow for whatever you please. (Think a Robot arm, you don’t need to worry about equal trade, just replacing the ‘missing’ components.) It also goes back to the whole broken vs gone thing we’ve gone over a million times now. That said a bionic limb would make for a confliction with mutation (Or some interesting bionics, Doctor Octopus anyone?)

And now that I’ve thrown that wall of text at you I’m gonna go hammer out some thoughts on Mutation in a separate thread… XD

This is only “tricky” IMO if you’re trying to justify not actually having it limit you. Toolkit would take up the whole arm, finger-bla would take the whole hand. You could have one mini-weapon and a toolkit, or two miniweapons, done. That’s the whole point, it’s ludricrous to have a “swiss army hand” of different CBMs. Yea, this would restrict you to most likely a dozen CBMs installed at MOST.

Along with CBM conflicts would come CBM removal, would always require an auto-doc. Meant to mention that previously, but forgot.

I like the proposed bionics removal, should have a high-risk aspect to it though beside the chance to unable to retrieve the old bionic, like bodily damage or a disability (too harsh?) so the player should really make sure they want to change an installed CBM.

I was thinking that a sufficiently knowledgeable NPC could install/remove/repair bionics for you. One could buy/call in favor/ask as friend/ask as faction member to do this for you.

Ah. People wanting to take the fun things away. I so wish you’d stop doing that.


Meh, I’d rather see a more granular system that involves volume- have that appendage flag, but don’t base the limit on a hard ‘ALL CBMs ARE EQUAL’ rule.

As for mutations, I’d rather have those manually-configured conflicts. It takes more time, but the fidelity the system gives is much better- less gamey.
Time spent on conflicts in this fashion will be returned a thousand fold by everyone that has to deal with it, and a little bit of effort implementing a more complex manual system would save a lot of butthurt later on.
Pretty pretty please?

Regarding the original poster, I kinda liked you’ve noticed the roadkill when clashing CBMs and various mutations. For example, if your skin becomes more slender - it shouldn’t be nanoweaved to the same extent, or should it cause problems? It cries out for some interlocking patterns and randomization perhaps… but it should remain interesting and even inviting in the long run.
On the other hand, I’m not onto the whole “surgery smells bad” vintage wrapper. When I first looked at the list of bionics on the wikis, I imagined a guy with a syringe in his right hand, and a box that’s like the one Oreos come in besides him. What he could use, really, is an anaesthetic - but then you are in pain if you fail an installation, aren’t you? It’s a new age today, eggheads do genome research and suddenly their lab plants make raw energy to harvest. Tomorrow, nanomachines will change the structure of your bones and muscles, it really will be that way. Energy supply is also as logical as the preceedings, there is really no need to think of anyone’s battery supplied ticker at this point. It’s the craziest of things to think about when playing CataDDA but hey, you’re better this way than the one shoving reality shows up your arse on daily basis.
There is, however, a thing I won’t go into - how does one craft him/herself bionic implants. That’s one helluva Integrated Toolset in my head to be honest.

I really don’t have much to say beyond throwing the ideas out there, aside from addressing:

On the contrary, I think that the a limitations system for bionics and mutations is quintessential for making this a better game.

Crawling chaos cyborg mutant is the ONLY character option right now. There’s no reason not to install every CBM you find. There’s little reason not to drink every mutagen you find (assuming strong genetics perk). It gets BORING, I kid you not, spending five hours to get the same mid-end-game experience I just had the last ten times. Cataclysm went from a decent YASD rougelike… to DDA which has been sliding into a grind-to-receive Mary-Sue simulator.

It doesn’t matter if I can drill, blast, or phase my way into a thousand cybernetics and mutagen labs:
A game NEEDS character limitations for replay value.

I’m getting the impression you play the game to win bruv. Focus instead on making a character and you’ll get more replay value; builtin limitations not required.

This sums up my feelings on the issue, some degree of realism is warranted but I’ve never been a fan of limiting things for the sake of replayability or balance when we’re talking about a single-player RNG dominated game. Roleplaying adds just about infinite replayability, you don’t have to change the system to play the game in a dramatically different way.
In my experience playing as “Myself, that guy trying to win the game” is never a particularly fun way to approach an open world game like CDDA.

When talking about balance specifically, there should always be challenges in a game, but that means that earlier on you might stumble into something that destroys you (E), and later on you may find it a cakewalk to carve zombies into pieces with your hydraulic muscle powered nodachi.
There shouldn’t be any particular point at which you can’t progress anymore, and ‘stockpiling more ammo, booze, and explosives’ isn’t really what I mean.

Only being able to apply so many CBMs to a given body part sounds like a good way to limit them, I’m not sure at all how to deal with the interaction between mutations and cybernetics, but I know a couple ways I don’t want it to work.
We’re lacking end game content to a certain extent, but that doesn’t mean we should arbitrarily limit cybernetics/mutations beyond whats reasonable in context with the rest of the game.

[quote=“Klomvp, post:16, topic:3657”]I really don’t have much to say beyond throwing the ideas out there, aside from addressing:

On the contrary, I think that the a limitations system for bionics and mutations is quintessential for making this a better game.

Crawling chaos cyborg mutant is the ONLY character option right now. There’s no reason not to install every CBM you find. There’s little reason not to drink every mutagen you find (assuming strong genetics perk). It gets BORING, I kid you not, spending five hours to get the same mid-end-game experience I just had the last ten times. Cataclysm went from a decent YASD rougelike… to DDA which has been sliding into a grind-to-receive Mary-Sue simulator.

It doesn’t matter if I can drill, blast, or phase my way into a thousand cybernetics and mutagen labs:
A game NEEDS character limitations for replay value.[/quote]

Man you don’t need for the game to force things upon you, that what your willpower is here for.

Howerver I think that while things like arm CBMs could be limited to four finger tools (proven that you still have both arms) and then a whole arm CBM (the toolkit) perhaps with options to increase the number of possible CBMs by installing a cybernetic arms CBM.

I dont think we should add limits to how many CBMs you could hold in your torso however (as many of the implied ones sound as small things plus batteries are torso CBMs) and if we are thinking of adding a torso limit we should also be able to have a cybernetic torso CBM that removes the cap.

if we are thinking of adding a torso limit we should also be able to have a cybernetic torso CBM that removes the cap.

I am OK with this.

Base it on total volume- a fusion blaster arm takes up half or more of your ‘arms’ & ‘hands’ space. Meanwhile, light, medium & heavy android torso chassis improve the total volume you have available. Possibly include life-support in the upper-tier chassis.

So you can turn yourself into a quasi-human hulking mechanical monstrosity, or work with a very humanoid, (limited), shell, or stick with your very seriously limited default biological body.

Just increase the volume depending on how mechanized you become, (full arm replacement provides enough space for a fusion blaster or toolkit, plus some for hydraulic muscles).

The system can be expanded and tweaked to a great degree- simple & straightforward.

-idea along those lines: have hydraulic muscles add a multiple of how much space you alocate to it- do this with a fancy menu, or turn the kit into a 10-pack of smaller units- could require at least one installed to use a cyber arm, which would come with the kit.

Shooting myself in the foot by going on, but anyway:
How would it handle infections/wounds? hrm.
Whatever it is, it can require mechanics/electronics to ‘fix’. ‘Bleeding’ can still occur, but hemostatic powder wouldn’t work…this might be complicated.

Well it can be implemented in steps.