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Subnautica scared the absolute goddamn bejesus out of me.

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
I bounced off Subnautica a while back because I didn't know I needed to collect exploding fish poop to make a vital early-game progression tool and that tweaked my already low levels of patience for "gathery buildy surivival" games but I gave it another shot this week and actually made progress and I'm acclimating to the game.

I have a clip from a stream that I had a good time with, kinda rambly but it pays off pretty well:

 

Purple

(She/Her)
The smile that always comes to my face when I see someone playing this game blind and they wander to that part of the map. Just priceless.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
I'm glad I'm going into this game as blind as I am. I have spoiled a lot of shit like what all the monsters look like (which is why I felt so comfortable shit-talking the game and not realizing how intense it actually feels to run into one of these things in the game itself), but sometimes being genuinely lost on what to do next makes slowly but surely figuring it out or exploring thoroughly enough to unlock a whole swatch of new things to make all the more satisfying.

My friend went home last night and I immediately fired up the game. After a couple of hours I decided to call it quits for the night. That lasted 20 minutes and I ended up turning the game back on and played until 1am. I've established a forward base with actual amenities and a scanner room that actually finds useful stuff and I can go 500 meters deep in my little submersible instead of 200.

This of course means I eventually need to actually go that deep which is TERRIFYING. I had a beacon set on this one chasm into a horrible nightmare zone that I called Scary Place.
 

Falselogic

Techno-Threadcromancer
(they/them)
Goddess this game is amazing. I wish I could go back and play it again for the first time because its just something else... And yeah it's gripping. I remember binging on it as well!
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
One downside is that I’m on PS4 and the performance seems to struggle more and more the further I progress.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
That was a huge barrier for me and why I haven't played the sequel yet. I actually had to open my PS4 and clean the fans because the late game kept overheating the system and causing crashes. This is one of my favorite games, like, ever, but it is very rough around the edges.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
Ah geez. I happen to own a copy on steam as well. I think I'll reinstall it on my computer and see if it's worth starting over.

The most aggravating thing I think is how incredibly slowly the zones load in. I've explored a number of desolate caves only to be deep inside them when suddenly all the stuff starts popping in and I realize I'm actually in an elaborate poisonous environment surrounded by hostile creatures. Also one time while searching for metal salvage an entire giant chunk of the ship manifested around me permanently trapping me and my seamoth. It was the only time I had to re-load. It makes me think I'm missing a lot of the experience when I cruise around exploring randomly trying to get a better feel for the map.

That said I'm still putting an alarming amount of time into it. I've started planting beacons at major landmarks so I can expand my scanner network. I built a prawn suit but without a cyclops to cart it around its usefulness is limited.

Also speaking of vehicles... my first seamoth got destroyed. I had finally gotten through the crashed ship and acquired the important plot data within and victoriously hopped in my ride to head back to the lifepod. Just like the first time I explored this meant exiting the front of the ship just close enough to risk encountering the reaper. I just bolted for it. But I made a mistake. When I heard it roar, I wanted to turn back and take a quick look just to see if it was close behind me. It grabbed me and shook my ship to pieces. I very hastily pulled out the seaglide and ran for my life.

It took me quite a while but I finally managed to upgrade the depth on my second seamoth (which I named Jet Jaguar) and the world widely opened up for me. I mostly spend the past few days mining Scary Place for useful upgrades and figuring out the most efficient way to build solar platforms so I could run a water filter in my base without having the farm for biofuel constantly. But after getting deep enough into Scary Place and into a green death swamp I realized I probably need the cyclops and prawn suit to continue much further down. So time to explore more of the map. I ended up doing a pretty huge circle around the map, at one point briefly venturing into the dead zone but panicking and fleeing before anything could come out of the void at me. And I may have spent some time cruising around the place known as the Dunes? Big empty sandy area where reapers be. I ended up circling around the crashed ship and had to pass by the back engines, which was downright lousy with reapers. Luckily my trusty sonar helps me see them before they see me. Still though, a couple times I heard some terrifying attack roars. But I've finally learned not to look back.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
If it makes you feel any better, even the PC version of the game has some serious bugs. I had to abandon a run when a large amount of plot-critical geometry despawned and decided to never return. I think some people have had the ocean disappear on them? You know, no big deal. That said, the game does run better on PC and you'd be surprised how quickly you can get back to where you are now if you choose to restart.
 

ThricebornPhoenix

involved in mankind
(he/him)
I think some people have had the ocean disappear on them? You know, no big deal.
I once loaded in on top of my Cyclops (I had saved while inside) and the game thought I was on land. This is how I can confirm that Subnautica does have fall damage. :/ Any swimming<->not swimming transition should fix it.

I haven't encountered that one in quite a while, so maybe they fixed it in one of the post-launch patches.
 

Paul le Fou

Pickle Bus Owns Tulip Town
(He)
I've had this on my radar sonar for so long, and the sequel just came out, right?

I think I have the first one on Steam, having picked it up for 5 bux at some point. Though I heard the second is basically just an overall improvement. I can just go straight to that without playing the first, right?
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
I haven't played the sequel yet, but that isn't what I've heard at all. I highly recommend playing the first, it's one of the best things in the world.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
100% play the original first, it’s the better game and it sets up the story for the second. It would be pretty confusing and counterproductive to play them in reverse order.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
Ok wow. WOW! I greatly underestimated how dramatic the performance difference would be between my computer and my PS4. The game loaded SO FAST. I couldn't believe it. And right away even in the pleasant shallow waters I could tell a dramatic difference in level of detail as well as ease of finding materials. I was just going to try it out to see how it measures up before at least finishing a playthrough on the PS4 but... I just played for an hour and made all my starter gear lightning fast soooo...

edit: God for real though I mean the game looks SO GOOD. I thought it looked good on PS4, performance issues be damned, but man, it's stunning.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
That's one place where the sequel really improved things, the lighting in Below Zero is miles ahead of the original game. If they ever patch ray tracing into these games, I might just have to pick them up on PS5 and play them again...
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
So like... the honeymoon with the PC version has worn off a little bit. As I am still noticing a lot of graphical bullshittery. But it at least corrects itself a lot faster most of the time. But like, I don't think graphical flaws are enough to prevent me from wanting to finish this motherfucker and now I'm like do I go for the comfort and convenience playing a slower, clunkier version on my PS4 or a faster, more computer-cooking version on my laptop? Hard to say.

I fear I may go the absolute madman route and just have two simultaneous playthroughs going.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
Ok well, I discovered some new shit. Is it alright if I just post shit unspoilered here? I feel like people are most likely to read about Subnautica scaring the bejesus out of me if they're familiar with the game already.

So I got up to the whole Sunbeam getting shot down part again and somehow missed the second purple tablet in the alien facility. This made me remember that I had found one wandering the island before so I started wandering the island. It was only at this point I discovered you can run. I did a lot of very very slow walking on the PS4, assuming that you were supposed to move slow on land to make the water feel more at home. It was also at this point I discovered that though the map is set, the game is nonetheless more open ended than I thought. I found a big alien arch I was able to activate and teleported to THE OTHER FUCKING ISLAND. This shit blew my mind. I ended up finding a couple of abandoned bases and unlocking the multipurpose room without having to go into the Purple Hole. I had assumed that was the only place you could find one. Then I freaked out a little when I realized I was lost and couldn't find the portal, not wanting to swim 2000+ meters across potentially very scary territory to reach my seamoth. But freaked out less when I discovered how much edible fruit there was on the island. And then I found the teleporter anyway and got back to the initial base. I also decided to leave the gutsy way and swim out through the moonpool.

By the way on PS4 Run I didn't have a seamoth at the time of the Sunbeam's arrival so I went all the way to the island with my seaglide on the surface, too afraid of how far it was to look beneath. When I took the seamoth this time I discovered the tiny army of warpers surrounding the place and got warped out multiple times. So... those guys suck.

I've now built a scanner room with a moonpool right next to my lifepod, mainly just so I can get started on upgrading my seamoth as quickly as possible. My playthroughs are now wildly diverged and I'm loving the contrast.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
Remains one of my all-time favorite games.

Side note about all that fruit if it didn't hit you: Pretty much every plant in the game has a different harvestable item using the knife vs. using your hand, or has one for the knife if there isn't one by hand. One of the two is going to be plantable in SOME kind of growbed. And melons in particular grow so fast and give so much food and water that while there's plenty of other ways to never have to worry about food or drink again, keeping really even just like 4 slots of a growbed reserved for them is my personal favorite.

Oh and a massive time saver related to that one: P.S. Gel sacks are plants.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
I love how open-ended the game is when you get down to it. I've gotten totally addicted to my PC run. I've built a kickass base with two(2)(!) moonpools and a nuclear reactor and a probably obsolete biofuel reactor that I should probably just remove when its juice runs out. I got the drill arm and the grappling hook for my prawn suit so I think I'm ready to take it D E E P E R and even without the upgrade it's got enough storage space to simply pack up a bunch of building materials to get a starting base going once I hit wherever I go with it. It's pretty fucking cool the way this game opens up is what I'm saying.

And it's amazing how much progress I make when I just forget all that stupid planning and building shit and just kind of wander for a while. There's almost always something interesting to be found, some schematics to unlock and useful resources to stumble across. And then there's the adventure. I came up to the Void at one point and decided to go just far enough to get a look at one of the big blue bois. It was very very dark. I was wondering if I had gone far enough. Did I hear something?

WHAM. Something big HIT me and knocked the health of my seamoth to 24%. I immediately panicked and fled towards my beacons as fast as possible. I never even fucking saw it. That made it so much fucking scarier.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
How I keep track of all my shit:

 

ThricebornPhoenix

involved in mankind
(he/him)
I got the drill arm and the grappling hook for my prawn suit so I think I'm ready to take it D E E P E R and even without the upgrade it's got enough storage space to simply pack up a bunch of building materials to get a starting base going once I hit wherever I go with it.
Just a quick heads-up about inventory: drilled resources go directly into the PRAWN inventory; if the PRAWN has no space, they drop in the world instead. I think some deposits can drop up to around 15 pieces, although average is closer to 10. If you're using the PRAWN for both drilling and general storage, you'll have to keep a close eye on it.

The storage upgrade module only adds one row to the PRAWN's default inventory space, rather than adding a new 4x6 space like it does with the Seamoth. I still swap over the one freebie when I'm done with my Seamoth because... why not? You probably can't make most of the other upgrades for the PRAWN yet, anyway.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
Always good to know where your Walky Bois are at.
This guy Subnauticas.

Speaking of storage space on the Seamoth, I have Jet Jaguar fully kitted out. Max depth perimeter defense and the sonar, oh god the sonar. I re-loaded intentionally for the first time today and lost like 30 minutes of progress because I was over in Blue Bubbles trying to find a good place to establish a new base and the JERKFACE Leviathan would not get off my ass the way most do when I show proper submission and flee in absolute terror whenever something screams at me. Long story short motherfucker bit my damn Seamoth apart and I decided to re-load rather than lose everything in the upgrades, as well as everything in storage, optional upgrades for swapping out, several weapons and tools... losing that MF be expensive. Do note that not once in that entire debacle did the idea of actually using the perimeter defense shock, something that I installed for literally this exact kind of scenario, cross my mind.

I then proceeded to go straight back to Blue Bubbles when I played again later and established a new base there called Terror Alpha. Fun fact about Terror Alpha, is it's got a surprisingly straightforward and peaceful route to the Bone Zone.

The Bone Zone is the base I established earlier down in the poisony swamp area with the giant fossils. I did it by doing exactly what I suggested: packing my inventory and the Prawn's with the building materials necessary to establish a moonpool and a scanner room and provide them with thermal power, then constructing everything else on-site. My path was to go, on the submarine equivalent of on-foot, through Scary Place (blood kelp chasm) with absolutely no assurance that I would be able to get back up.

So I got to a point where I couldn't proceed with expanding the place without a replicator, and low and behold, I forgot to bring Table Coral. Now I would, much later in the day, google Table Coral finally and learn of my mistake, but it's important for this story that you know that as far as I was concerned, the only place on the ENTIRE MAP where Table Coral could be found is the Safe Shallows. I had no idea that it was actually all over the place in plenty of other biomes. So every time I need some I would head all the way back to the Lifepod.

So here I am, I've realized I forgot to charge my batteries before departing and I can't build a charger because I don't have a replicator to create the necessary components. I've got one full battery and my Seaglide is almost dry and I don't aaaaaaactually KNOW if I can glide from the Bone Zone back up to Forward Base or The Surface without drowning? Long story short I could it was fine but it was harrowing. And yeah later when I came back down in Seamoth and confirmed that there is indeed Table Coral all over the place down there I felt mighty dumb.
 
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Purple

(She/Her)
Oh yeah. The Bone Zone as you call it has nearly every resource in the game, and generally in huge quantities. If you aren't too intimidated by the baby ghost leviathan hanging around it's an excellent staging ground for late game stuff. Also I just love the aesthetic. Definitely worth heavy exploration to see all the fun features.

Also if I could give you one piece of I don't think particularly spoilery advice for this stage of the game- Maybe revisit the two mushroom forest biomes, or if you're really feeling adventurous, the crash zone, and finish getting your Cyclops part scans. It makes late game exploration feel a whole lot safer and it's basically a huge base you can take with you.

Another fun late-game trick, especially in hotter areas- If you don't feel like bothering with vehicles or very long air pipes, as long as you have the parts on you for a foundation, tube, hatch, and thermal (or a couple foundations, multipurpose, bioreactor, and some eggs or something) you can just kinda crawl along quickly throwing up an impromptu survival tent every time you need air, dismantle it, and carry on.
 

air_show

elementary my dear baxter
Yeah I think the last scannable debris I need to find is one lonely cyclops engine part. I’m gonna have to get a bigger scanning network going in the shallow areas methinks.
 
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