Learning is power. And this week we have empowered the peons to not only read and write, but to learn and research. Technology and knowledge are important parts of Fringe Planet – the peons arrive with no knowledge of the alternative science that they will need in order to survive.
To do this, we have introduced two new items into the game – a bookcase and a research desk. A research desk will allow any peon to research a certain subject, in one of five different categories :
|This research category will unlock various different machines that can be used to automate the peons work. Instead of mining by hand, a peon can research and unlock a mining machine – which do all the hard ore extraction by itself. Further research will unlock conveyor belts and even machines that will do crafting for the peons.
|The universe of Fringe Planet is thick with magical forces. Performing research in this category will help unlock some of the mysteries of the invisible forces that surround the peons. It will allow a peon to harness and use the energies of the constantly lurking spirits that are all around. Finally they can unlock technology to hide themselves from the Aspects, limiting their influence.
|Protection is incredibly important, and learning how to set traps is not only vital to defend the peons from the dangers that await them – but it has the side effect of being able to hunt and gather different food ingredients. Later technology allows for automation of both trapping and hunting.
|Though rather lackluster in excitement, furniture is important for peon comfort and morale. Later tiers allow for stronger furniture, and the final unlock will allow the peons to create a chair made almost entirely of silver – we wonder what that is used for.
|Not everyone is born with the knowledge to survive in an incredibly alien environment. Research in this category should be prioritised – for it unlocks technology that the peons will need to survive.
In order to perform research, a research desk must be built, and the player must interact with it in order to bring up the research menu. This will create a constant low priority research task, which the peons will perform when they have nothing else to do.
Every level of research has an “Amount of work to do” which determines how long it will take the peons to complete that research and as they learn more and more about the subject, the progress bar will start to fill up. Currently these values stand at:
|Work to do
(It takes an average intelligence peon around 10 minutes (if focused solely on research and with no sleeping or eating breaks) – to complete 100 work units of research)
To help lower the research time, the peons may build bookcases, which will speed up the process of research. Every bookcase in the room will speed up the research, and it does this by temporarily buffing the peons intelligence when they are in proximity to a bookcase – so it is a good idea to place bookcases around a research desk, as well near routes they will often travel (from the bedroom to the research area etc;). This buff is timed based, and will stack up to four times.
Bookcases also have the added bonus that they will give a mood buff to any peon that sees them – it’s seems everybody enjoys reading.
This is the first version of the research tree. We’ve decided to keep it linear and simple in order to ease balancing and play-testing. The final research tree will be a lot more complex, requiring multiple previous researches to be completed to unlock certain things (for instance, the Circle of Binding will require both trapping technology to be researched to a certain level, as well as occult research).
And finally, while the peons are research, there is a chance that they may discover a fragment of lore – these currently have no gameplay effect, however they do help to tease some of the lore around Fringe Planet – and may provide clues about the game.
There is a lot more to read about Fringe Planet… why not try: