Fully Automated Crafting Systems in Survival Ascension
Fully automated component based crafting systems are not in scope for version 1.0, but I wanted to give you some additional details and insights into where I would like to go with this concept. First, you will need to understand a bit more about the intended scope of the game.
Survival Ascension is a game about humanity, the challenges we have faced in the past, the challenges we face today, and the challenges we may face in the future. While it is set in the far distant future, it takes you through those challenges from pre-historic technology levels to far distant future technologies and the challenges they could present. It wraps it all in the harsh reality of life and the constant struggle for survival.
In order to truly understand how we got where we are today as a species in terms of the technologies we have and the challenges we face, you need to really experience some of the struggles of the past. For example, we take fire for granted today, but in pre-historic times, mastery over fire could literally mean the difference between life and death. Survival Ascension gives you a safe way to experience that struggle, as well as numerous other challenges faced as humanity progressed through the various technological ages to present day. But, as technology has become more and more advanced, it has also become more and more complex.
Consider the most technically complex thing you can think of that humans constructed in the middle ages. Some might say a large castle or other structure, but really that was mastered thousands of years prior. While it may take proper planning and organization and a lot of labor, it's not particularly complex and people had been doing it for thousands of years already with just a few basic ingredients like stone, mortar, and wood. But, what was technically complex in the middle ages were various types of siege weaponry.
Constructing siege weaponry required choosing the correct type of trees for the lumber, cutting and shaping it correctly, reinforcing certain parts while allow other parts to bend, sometimes treating the lumber with complex chemical mixtures, a fair number of parts which had to fit together correctly, etc. If everything wasn't built just right, the weapons would fail -- often catastrophically. And they did have a surprisingly high failure rate which cost a lot of lives.
Now compare the siege weaponry of the middle ages to a modern day kitchen appliance. The siege weaponry consisted of a few hundred parts at most. A modern kitchen appliance consists of thousands or tens of thousands of individual parts. And despite the number of parts, we mass produce them by the millions per day.
As technology progresses, so does complexity. So the game will simulate that increasing complexity to some degree. As you move into more modern forms of technology, you will start to see components coming into play where the components may not be particularly useful on their own, but they need to be crafted in order to make some more complex item. In order to build a something as complex as a modern day vehicle, you will need to have automated systems put in place to get the job done.
To start with, you will simply have a lot of different crafting stations where different types of items can be built. NPCs can be assigned to those stations to run them. NPCs can also carry parts around between stations as needed. The initial version of the game will likely simplify and hide a lot of these mechanics. However, I'd really like players to truly experience the increase in complexity as technology progresses by eliminating the simplifications and providing things like conveyors and pick and place devices and input and output queues and storage, etc.
With this type of system implemented, and when combined with the structure building capabilities, players would be able to create complex industrial buildings for crafting various different items. These could be turned into blueprints or even algorithmically generated with the build system and placed into the environment.
The reason I want this experience in the game is because at some point, technology gets so good that a lot of that complexity can vanish. Today we can manufacture 3D printers which print metal parts from metal powders. Some of the most advanced designs can even incorporate insulator materials and conductors and print complex circuitry. These devices allow you to put in refined materials and fabricate complex parts in a single print job. Imagine what awaits in the future when advanced nanotechnology is brought into the mix. Players will be able to experience the expansion of complexity as technology progresses, as well as the eventual collapse of that complexity into refined simplicity. Such manufacturing technology from the future would look like magic to us today.