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Modular Outposts

Every space colonist or survivor worth his weight in air should know how to construct and maintain his own outpost. Today we are going to dive into the game mechanics behind base building in Hellion.


Base building... a different approach

Traditionally in survival games base or home building is fairly similar and straightforward. You get the resources, open a menu, click on a tile and voila! Your structure pops into existence. In Hellion, however, we opted to do things a bit differently. The focus is on salvage and repair rather than straight out building. Each outpost is a combination of multiple system modules connected by corridors and junctions. The outpost that the players start with is the most basic station layout in the game. Enough to keep you alive for a few days but not good for anything else. In order to survive, players will need to upgrade and modify their starting outpost. To do so they will have to go out in search of new system modules. Each module adds some new functionality to your station allowing players to transform the basic layout they start with into a sprawling end-game complex.


Early concept of outpost modules


There are many types of modules and some of the most important ones are Solar Power Array, Fusion Power Supply, Life Support System, Docking Port/Airlock, Cargo Bay, Station Command Module and Fabricator Module – all linked by corridors and junctions. Simple enough, right? Well here’s where things get complicated…


Scavenging – the big part of base “building”

The world of Hellion is a deserted wasteland and most stations that used to manufacture ship and station parts were destroyed or vanished without a trace. In order to upgrade their stations all players will have to go out into space and look for useful salvage among the derelicts and debris fields of Hellion. Sometimes the players may get lucky and find a separated module drifting along the orbit, but more often they will have to explore broken down outposts in search of parts and modules in "good" condition.


Severed corridor module


Most of the modules that can be found in the abandoned outposts will often be too damaged to salvage. The rare few sections, not entirely destroyed, are the ones that can be repaired and reused. To do so players have to leave their ship and manually detach the module from the rest of the station. All modules have a built in RCS maneuvering system that can be accessed and refueled. Once the module is separated players can use their ship to tow it back to the outpost. At the base, the players have to attach the module to one of the outpost’s free junctions or corridors. Before the module can be activated, however, it will often require extensive repairs. This is where things get tricky.


The tricky part

Every station features a basic power grid system. If your station cannot produce sufficient power, the module you’ve just repaired and attached will be offline. If the life support system of your outpost is at its limit, the module may not have gravity, air or heating. You can temporarily fix some of these issues by docking your ship and letting the outpost syphon power and life support directly from the ship’s systems. You can also upgrade your power supply module to produce extra power or just get another one and attach it to the station. The more modules you add to your base, the more complex the system becomes but offers additional functions that would otherwise be unavailable to you. Keep in mind that many systems like power supply or life support consume resources that will need to be replenished regularly in order for them to function properly.

In addition, each module has several specific parts that help it run efficiently. All of these parts can deteriorate over time or break down if the module takes damage. When a part fails or breaks down completely they will need to be replaced or repaired depending on the module. One example of this mechanics are the air-filters found inside the Life Support module. While the filters are running at full efficiency the air quality remains constant and oxygen is consumed slowly. Once they start to break down the air quality will gradually drop until the filters fail completely. The station will then begin consuming stored oxygen at a rapid pace until the filters are replaced or the oxygen supply runs out.


Various system parts


Stay tuned for more content updates in the following weeks where we explain more of the core gameplay mechanics of Hellion. We are also getting ready to roll out more in-game content and show you some of those features in action. Until next Wednesday...


Posted by Zero Gravity team