Portal Storms - tweaks for early vs late game

Seeing as this is a very in-development feature, there doesn’t seem to have been much discussion here, the most recent being about 17 days ago from what I see off hand

The storms appeal to me, in part as an expansion of what’s going on down in the labs - and perhaps paint a better picture of what happened/what is happening in the world.

I’ve got a short list of things which either make the current storms unfun (to me), or break from the ‘lore’ of the world; and hopefully I can get a discussion going or some feedback

  1. Driving is lethal in storms - it was completely non-obvious why my luxury RV ran me over without googling. Not even any notice in the logs - just a very dry message that the RV slammed into me and I’m dead.
  2. Games can start with the weather as ‘Portal Storm’ - if you are playing a scenario with no starting shelter; you have a very short time to find a safe place that may simply not exist.
  3. The sky may break open as creatures crawl in through the cracks between reality; and my dead gran begs me to come outside for tea and biscuits - but all of this ungodly impossibility can’t penetrate a car door. So long as you don’t try to drive, you’re good
  4. All or nothing. Perhaps I haven’t survived long enough for it to evolve further - but the game plan seems to be the same all the time - don’t stray far from your base or vehicle, and whatever happens in the storm doesn’t matter.

My thinking was to downplay the danger and up the “weird” factor of these storms - rather than being overly dangerous, exploring during these storms could become more interesting (but still potentially dangerous).
As far as the stated goal of making this part of endgame - I think this is where I see the break from the games general design. While most every other threat has to go through weeks of evolution to warrant end game gear - Storms are currently more dangerous to early game, and the only gear you need is moms SUV with the windows rolled up.

To bring storms more inline with the ‘it gets worse as time goes on’ - the current formula of evolving with time seems applicable here; and I’m sure that’s already being considered.
But how then, can storms be less lethal early on - and do they need to be outright lethal by nature? Do they need current host of creatures and threats that spawn - or can there be more benign or neutral effects

  • Don’t make driving lethal. This just seems to worsen the current meta of “sit in once place and do nothing”. Vehicles at least, seem like they could be a good way to explore while the storm is going on - making it dangerous could come in other forms. Perhaps they won’t enter a vehicle - but hitting those things with a car could be a bad idea… (or if it’s possible - rewind the vehicle as well so it doesn’t run you over as you drive it)
  • More chaotic effects - particularly effects that apply both indoors or out. These effects could also be used to make storms less lethal early on; but still have the thematic appeal.
  • Less “out to kill you” spawns - i.e. space warping fields, which speed up or slow down anything inside it (creatures, projectiles, etc). Weird wildlife, the equivalent of alien bunnies or deer - just for flavor. Maybe occasional lasting effects on the environment - people shaped trees, things floating in midair, giant whale carcasses etc.

As time goes on, the strength of the storm and it’s effects could become more dramatic - if the engine allows it, possibly altering world tiles (outside the players reality bubble perhaps) or infecting the land similar to how the fungal creatures do. Reshaping these places to some elsewhere’s or elsewhen’s design.
If enough effects can be developed - it might also be possible to have different flavors of portal weather, Portal spring showers vs Portal Monsoons and Portal Blizzards

In summary - make early storms less lethal so gameplay doesn’t grind to a halt, more weird and disturbing events rather than dangerous or exotic monsters.

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I don´t like the idea of portal storms permenantly altering the world mainly becease it could alter your base or other things without you being able to do anything about it (think having half of your crops disappear do to alien grass replacing them).

The current portal storms also remind me of the old acid rain mainly the lore problem it had. This was mainly becease it was so deadly and happened so frequently that most creatures would have dead before the first year including the mutant and invasive ones. The current portal storm als seems to have that problem. You can´t go outside for more than a few seconds without being attacked by something. This level of danger would result in any living creatures dying within the first year and the player being able to walk around a city or town freely after a portal storm for a few hours becease all of the zombies have been killed. I would lessen the chances of things spawning during a portal strom by a lot (think only 5% chance per 5 minutes or so) but also include a lot more rarer but protentially dangerous spawns for stronger portal storms.

It would also be more fun if the portal storms didn´t just get stronger over time but if they instead varied a lot in strength every time. This would add a element of randomness and unpredictability to it (suits a breakdown of reality well) and means that many portal storms would be relatively benign and you could go about your business as normal at the risk of the storm actually being a stronger one and getting ambushed by some horror.

If you are using an old experimental, you may want to update.

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I can see your point about affecting players property
Perhaps instead, the current kind of dangerous portal storm is limited to specific areas; portal zones that are “points of origin”, where the storms seem to come from - where they occur more frequently, with greater intensity.

Outside of these zones, the threat of the portals is drastically lower - more a time-limited environmental hazard. Rather than constantly spawning dangerous creatures around the player, the portals could take the form of ‘puddles’ of warped reality, areas of effect where time might flow faster/slower, gravity is lower/higher, unusual temperatures, auditory/visual mirages etc. Some may even act as holes in space that lets you warp around the map (only during the storm, and perhaps with limited range)
Creatures might spawn, but in a more limited as less ‘aggro’ fashion - some creatures could simply be alien wildlife, akin to bunnies, dogs or coyotes.

Malevolent or predatory enemies could still work - but the current system of spawning them in close proximity and aggro toward the player is just extremely punishing. Portal storms could be one reason why the occasional nether creature can be found out in the woods though

And I mention the mirages because I love how something keeps calling to me from outside my trailer window. These mirages could be the current possible hallucinations, and if you hide in a storm they just keep doing their magic. If you go outside, mirages/ghosts of people from the past or another timeline act out scenes from the cataclysm, or daily life say

This next part could easily be a feature that needs to be separate from and come after Portal Storms, but just to expand on the idea and how it ties in to portal storms;
Ramza13 mentioned wanting to provide players with an end game challenge with this new system.
I can’t see a good way to make storms function as friendly to low power characters, while also challenging high end players. I had suggested simply scaling over time - but then we put players on a strict timeline to get end game ready; mutating creatures have that kind of pressure - but unlike the storm, you can employ various strategies to avoid them, often limited only by creativity.

So long as you can hunker down in any kind of vehicle or structure - whatever threat a storm has only matters if you refuse to shelter

Hence my thought on zones - and this I suggest with the lore of the game in mind (such as I understand it anyways)
The cataclysm and everything going on was due in large to part, as I understand, to be the US government and departments like XEDRA, who dug too deep into other realities. It seems only natural that the portal storms are a severe side effect, and I get the impression the Cataclysm was a mixture of the blob doing it’s thing, and a series of pseudo-portal storms growing in intensity - until reality broke with the first true, and perhaps strongest portal storm so far. The nightmares unleashed by a zombie apocalypse and bizarre unreal things luring people outside to be torn apart seems pretty likely. When the government desperately tried to fix things - they managed to weaken the storms, but the labs where they didn’t fully shut it down are still hot-zones of portal activity and the anomalies they create. These are the Portal Zones, which sit above particularly dangerous labs. These may also be cordoned by the military, where automated defenses try to contain the dangers within

When a character is eventually ready to challenge the portal zone - it will be well established how weird they are, possible effects, and have some vague idea that it could be like what they’ve seen - but worse. The military cordon could also act as an additional barrier/filter, and fit with the containment efforts by the Government during the end times

Here, the portal storms could be about the same as they are now - they could even be more dangerous, and have some lasting effect on the area.

I definitely have in mind the Roadside Picnic, or games where the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is some radiation soaked, anomaly and artifact filled wonderland of deadly creatures - and of course, there’s always something of interest at the center of it all.
Plenty of people would risk their life for a full Empty; given what it could do…

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Ah good to know; I had been updating but missed this - so I’ve been avoiding driving for fear of a repeat.

I’ve not tried modding or creating content for CDDA before; but I have some background in software and might give it a shot - not entirely sure where to start outside posting here, but the portal zones could be fun if this sounds interesting to others

There is a general feedback thread for this.


Something that would make portal stormes more interesting would be if the also interected caused problems for normal creatures. This would be a potential carrot as it would allow you to walk into a busy city and profit from the general chaos during a heavy portal storm as the zombies are distracted by wierd sounds and fighting illusions and abborations seeping through the cracks in reality.

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