I've been in love with Subnautica since I played through the escape pod sequence. No game ever made me so immersed from the start. Now, with the launch of Below Zero, I see a chance to make the experience even better with the addition of two things: better modding tools and mapmaking.
Mods for Subnautica are a joy. I don't know how I managed playing while having only five quick slots and I absolutely save a lot of time and nerves being able to autosort ingredients into their own lockers. But there is so much more to be done with mods. Right now the framework for creating them is quite limited by what the game will allow changed. I absolutely applaud the QMod team for creating their amazing work, but there is only so much that can be done with it. I would like to see custom base structures, big glass domes, more vehicles, weird fish and much more that would surely be thought of by the modding community if it was given the chance. Think if this game had the same amount of mods as Skyrim or Europa Universalis!
The second idea, I know, is more controversial. I know the team of Unknown Worlds spoke repeatedly against including a map in their game and I understand their arguments that maps would take away some of the mystery and wonder of exploration. On the other hand, who among us doesn't use maps? The map mod has 130 thousand downloads on NexusMods, it is a chore trying to remember where everything is, it doesn't really fit in with the whole high-tech context (somehow I know that a drowned escape pod is 1452 meters away from me but can't really paint a basic map in my AlterraPaint?), the scanner room makes small maps already, and it's hard to believe the geostationary satellite in Below Zero wouldn't make detailed radar scans of the whole area around the base.
But there is another problem which I don't see mentioned very often: this game is really confusing on lower settings. I guess that the developers play it on machines that are capable of supporting high settings and don't experience this, but when I swim in… well, almost everywhere, I really don't have much points to see and recognize simply because my computer has serious pop-in issues and doesn't render much beyond a short distance. A map wouldn't break my immersion or rob me of wonder – but it would definitely help me not to suffer needlessly.
By all means, make it optional. A great idea would be to make us draw it ourselves in our pads by relying on distance data from beacons and triangulation (like it was done in history). Another would be to let us stitch together data from different scanner rooms, even making their range shorter and their cost higher, just to make it a real achievement. There are many ways for mapping the world in different games and I'm sure some of them can be adapted for Below Zero but anything Unknown Worlds do would be a great improvement for me.
So anyway, this was my two cents on what I'd like to see in future versions of Below Zero. What do you think?
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