A List of Suggestions for the Future of Barotrauma

I have officially read every thread on the collaboration forum, and have a few ideas that I think will improve this game. I am coming at this game from the direction of emergent story (think SS13), so the ideas are in that vein of thought.
There are a lot of ideas here, some are connected, some are not.

I. Lighting
The lighting in this game is awesome, from the blackness of an unexplored alien ruin to the red glow of a warning light. However, I think that the sub itself needs to be darker. The water outside the sub should begin to darken around 1000 m, which makes ambient light from windows useless without exterior lighting. Unlit parts of the sub (with no ambient lighting) should also be pitch black. The reason for this is simply atmosphere. The ballasts of your ship should be a terrifying place to be with husks about and nothing but the thin ray of your flashlight to push back the darkness. When the power goes out, it should be a horrifying moment when the lights flicker, and the sub goes black.

II. ID System
Every character should have an active ID slot (a box next to your hands for example). This is the ID you are showing the world. Usually, this has no effect. People see you and know your name. When you interact with a door, you can use any card in your inventory (active or not.)

Where this does come into play is with masks. When you are wearing a diving mask or suit, no one can see who you are. If you have no active ID, no name should show up above your head, and no name should show when you speak on either local or radio. If you have a player's Id as active, their name should appear above your head and in all your communications. Finally, if you are using a spawned in ID (say from a container), your name and communications should show the job affiliated with your ID (aka, Mechanic, Engineer, etc.)

This system would increase the ability of traitors to stealth a mission, either by killing with a mask and no ID to prevent discovery over radio, or by taking the ID of another player.

It would also increase the paranoia of players during a traitor session. Is that masked man really your friend Bob? Or is Bob dead and you're next.

III. Weapons

There has been a lot of disagreement about the implementation of various weapons in this game. Having read way too much of it, here is my take. This is a military craft, at least in some form. You are out hunting monsters, and (hopefully soon) will be fighting other submarines with people on-board. Weapons are needed, but balance is important.

A) Melee Weapons
1. The Spear: The spear is a basic weapon (and the ammo for the harpoon gun). It is a mariners best friend when encountered with a giant squid monster. The spear should deal equal damage, no matter how far the target is. It should have a long range, inflict a medium amount of damage, a large amount of bleeding, and be fairly fast to attack again with. A basic weapon for any scenario.

2. The Diving Knife: The knife is a standard weapon of any game. Not only is it an effective means of taking out that pesky target, but it can be used for so many other things later down the road. The knife should have a very short range, deal low damage and low bleed. The plus of the knife is that when you hit your target, you do not follow through on the blow, instead your hand returns to attack position. This means the knife can attack very very quickly, as long as you are hitting your target. This system makes the knife short-ranged, deadly, but skill-driven.

3. The Fire Ax: The ax is the most dangerous of weapons, and only to be used in dire need. It can not be contained inside of an inventory, nor a cabinet (like depth charges and railgun rounds) Instead, the ax spawns inside of a red, glass covered box. When the glass is shattered, an internal alarm goes off (can not be disabled) and state_out is set to 1 (in order to allow for other alarms or alerts).

The ax itself has a shorter range then the spear, and attacks slower then both weapons. However, it deals high amounts of damage and a medium amount of bleed. The weapon also deals more damage the farther the target is from the attacker (an ax deals more damage with the blade then with the hilt). This means that the ax is very deadly if used correctly, but useless in the hands of the incompetent.
B) Firearms:
Yes, firearms again. I think I have some good ideas though.

1. The Rifle: This is the snipers dream. When fired, it produces a bullet that travels perfectly straight until it hits character, creature, wall or water. It deals a large amount of damage (say half a characters health), inflicts a medium amount of bleed and stuns the target for about a second. However, this is a single shot rifle. After firing, the gun cannot be interacted with for half a second (to simulate ejecting the shell). Then, a new shell must be dragged from inventory into the gun, which causes another timer of about a second and a half (to simulate inserting the bullet and bolting). With these timers, a good player should be able to put out one round every 4 seconds.

The negatives of this weapons are:
1. It cannot be fired under water or into water
2. It cannot be equipped when in the diving suit (the fingers of the gloves would be too thick to fit under the trigger guard)
3. It cannot be put into your inventory
4. If the bullet hits a wall, it deals massive damage to the wall, which could cause a catastrophic leak

2. The Revolver: This handgun is a classic that has ruled through history, and has made its way to Europa. It has a 6 shot inventory (each bullet must be individually loaded), and a relatively high rate of fire (a little faster then the harpoon gun). It deals decent damage (about the same as the harpoon gun) and low bleeding. It does not have a stun effect. This gun is not highly accurate like the rifle. Instead, there is an (invisible) cone that comes from the barrel of the gun. When a bullet is fired, It travels in a random direction within that cone. The higher your weapon skills, the thinner the cone and thus more accurate the gun.

The negatives are:
1. It cannot be fired under or into water
2. It cannot be equipped when in a diving suit
3. If a bullet hits a wall, it deals minor damage. Repeat hits or hitting a damaged wall could result in catastrophic flooding.

IV. Sub Additions

There are people out there who are much more versed in how to create a sub in the editor and what we need. These are just a few things that I think could add a little fun and function to the game.

A) Beacons
Beacons are a low power device that puts out an identification signal to nearby objects (think the label of ships on sonar). The sonar device must be within a certain radius of the beacon to cause its label to appear (100 meters or so). A beacon could be used in a number of ways in the future, for example, a portable beacon to show the entrance to a ruin.

The current use of beacons would be to mark docking locations on sonar. Currently, it is a lot of guess work to dock a shuttle correctly. With a beacon, you would at least know the general location of the dock.

A hardcore use for beacons would be that ships have a large one that powers their identification signal. If it is sabotaged (or power cuts out), rescue shuttles could have a LOT of difficulty locating the missing ship.

B) Naming Rooms:
The status monitor does a great job breaking up your sub into various rooms. Personally, I would love to be able to pull up the status screen in the editor, and name each room. The name would then either be inside of the box (if it fits), or when highlighted, the name would appear at the bottom. This way, instead of telling damage control to go somewhere in the rear of the ship, they can be told which room specifically.

This system would also work great for players new to a sub. Just go to a status screen, and see where each room is.

V. Ruins

The ruins are one of the most interesting parts of this game. With a little overhaul and love, they could really shine. Ruins are basically a dungeon for the crew to dive into. Every great dungeon has four things: Atmosphere, Monsters, Obstacles, and Treasure.

A) Atmosphere
The atmosphere of a dungeon is incredibly important, it gives the player the feeling of fear and draws them into the game. The first time I entered an ruin in this game, I was terrified. It was crazy dark, claustrophobic, and I had no idea where to go or what was around the next corner.

With a couple more play-throughs however, ruins lost that feeling. You pull out your handheld sonar and cut through every wall between you and your objective. These changes would make the dungeons fear-incarnate.

First, only exterior ruin walls should be cut-able. It should take about a full tank of O2 in a cutter to get through. Explosives could also work. This would allow players to enter the ruin from anywhere, but prevent them from simply cutting all the exterior walls until they reach the target.

Once inside the ruins, the interior walls are not cut-able. They can however be destroyed with powerful explosives (IC4 or multiple C4s). The focus should be on the doors. Doors can be cut through using half a tank of O2 in the cutter, or explosives.

The interior of the ruins needs to be made tighter. Currently, the ruin is made of very large rectangles, and all the loot is on the floor. The rooms should be tighter, smaller (Think a long sub hallway or a large ballast). This will make the players feel claustrophobic, like they can't get away if something is around the next corner. Every now and then, the ruin should open up into a large room (the size that are currently being used)
B) Monsters
The monsters are awesome. While more monsters are not needed, they are always welcome. The only change to monsters in this design are that Guardians should only spawn in the large rooms, while husks should spawn both in some large rooms, but mostly in the small rooms.
C) Obstacles
Every good dungeon needs obstacles to try and stop the heroes from getting the treasure. Usually it comes down to puzzles and traps.

1. Puzzles:
Puzzles provide an intellectual challenge to divers, allowing a door to be circumvented without the use of cutting or explosives. Examples of puzzles would be: hit the statues in a certain order, place a certain object inside of an altar (a single slot container), or say a certain set of letters in local chat.

2. Traps:
Traps are punishment for divers who fail puzzles, or don't even attempt them. Examples of traps would be: Physical (statues shoot projectiles, or a door is opened with monsters behind it), Arcane (Active oxygen in your suit is drained, or the water begins to boil dealing damage), or Hidden (Explosives in the door. If the door is cut, the door detonates, killing the cutter).
D) Treasure
Finally we have treasure. Treasure is the artifact at the end of the ruins, and the ultimate objective for the divers. While the current artifacts are fantastic, the more the merrier. The SCP-wiki is full of awesome ideas for artifacts. An example would be an artifact, that when dropped, turns the carrier into an overpowered NPC capable of breaking through walls and doors. The effect would continue until the NPC is killed or knocked unconscious. I would say that 20 artifacts would be needed for good diversity, each with their own image, name and unique effect (this is explained more in the Jobs section)

VI. Jobs

The jobs in Barotrauma are awesome, each with their own role. These jobs offer the opportunity to cause even better story-lines, and even worse mayhem.

A) The Navigator
The Navigator is the First-Mate of the ship, there to serve at the Captains whim. The Captain currently has 2 jobs. He must command the crew of the ship while keeping order, and also steer the sub through the perils of the deep. The Navigator is here to help the Captain in his roles, and act as Captain should he be killed, incapacitated or detained. The Navigator could be the eyes, ears and voice of a Captain who prefers to stay at the helm, or drive the sub himself while the Captain walks the decks.

The Navigator would have access to the Bridge, as well as two random high skill abilities.
B) The Explorer
The Explorer is the Indiana Jones, the Daniel Jackson, the Nathan Drake of the crew (just without the weapon skills). His entire existence is to safely navigate the alien ruins.
NOTE: This role is made assuming the changes in Ruins are made.

The Explorer has the unique ability to read Plaques. When a normal player interacts with a Plaque, they just see gibberish. When the Explorer interacts with it, he sees a message. This message could give a hint about a puzzle, a warning of a trap, or directions to the artifact.

When the Explorer is put in, artifacts should gain a random sprite (one of all the possible artifact sprites), and the name should be removed. When a normal player checks an artifact, it will be called Artifact. When The Explorer checks it, the real name of the Artifact will be given. This way, only with a skilled Explorer will the crew know the danger they are bringing aboard their ship.
C) The Scientists
Scientists are a role drawn from SS13. Many of the great, and horrible, things which happen in SS13 come from Scientists trying to do something cool. That role, and thus that opportunity, should continue in Barotrauma. The lists of scientists, the roles and abilities they could have, can be found all over. A Scientist would have a crafting table (much like the fabricator) which can produce a variety of results. Unlike a fabricator, the results wouldn't be known until the product is created and tested. I could see three scientists who could fit into this game

1. The Biochemist
The Biochemist is a master his art. He can clone the dead, allowing them to live again. He can cure the Husked, release a gas that prevents fires, and create a formula that makes humans breathe underwater. He can also create Frankensteinian monsters from corpses, release a nerve-agent that knocks the crew unconscious, and inject chemicals that turn humans into raging psychopaths.

2. The Physicist
The Physicist is the mad genius, with a mind that warps the very idea of what is real. He can enhance an nuclear reactor to release massive amounts of energy with almost no fuel rod usage, build a teleportation device capable of bringing people from ship-to-ship, even create a device that turns flooded rooms into empty, oxygen rich environments. He can also release an EMP that overloads every battery and junction box, mind-meld with unsuspecting crew to take their places, or build a device that turns man into vapor.

3. The Xenologist
A man with a pure devotion to all things from Europa. His madness is only reigned-in by his un-ending need to learn about the world he now explorers. The Xenologist is focused on the study of artifacts, their effects and possible uses. He can find a way to contain a particularly dangerous artifact, extract positive effects from contained artifacts, and even enhance or immunize the crew. He can also multiply its devastating abilities, use the artifact to call out the creatures of the Abyss, or even turn himself into a walking, functioning artifact.

*BONUS* VII. Bases

I am currently unsure of whether bases are a necessary part of this game. Everything here could be replaced by turning "Base" into "Crashed Submarine". However, I am putting this in here in the hopes that it inspires someone with an awesome idea.
NOTE: Bases depend on the ability to have multiple subs and larger player counts per server
The reason for bases is simple, it enhances potential stories. With Sub v Sub coming (hopefully) soon, we must begin to gaze into what that might look like.

In Sub v Sub:
Cargo: Sub X tries to get to exit while Sub Y tries to stop it
Monster: Sub X and Y compete to kill a monster
Salvage: Sub X and Y compete to see who can get the artifact to the end first.

These are an awesome step. Bases provide the next level.

Bases would be a new submarine class called "Structures". Structures are larger then a normal sub, but have no engine nor ballasts. Structures are built onto a solid metal platform with struts underneath it. No part of the structure can go beyond the platform in the horizontal direction, nor underneath the platform in the vertical direction. In the middle of the platform, its a hatch.

The Structure is built on top of a very large alien ruin. The only way in or out is through the hatch. The entire focus of the Base is on the exploration of the ruin, and locating the artifact deep within.

If you look at Roles, the Base is where the Explorer and the Scientists would be. The Sub would simply contain (roughly 8 ) players filling the standard roles, plus navigator. The Base would have the standard roles plus the enhanced roles, but with less emphasis on Engineers and Mechanics (roughly 16 players in the base).

Why are Bases important? Lets look at the standard game-play options, now with Bases.
NOTE: The following modes discount a second sub trying to stop the first.

Cargo: Warning! The Nuclear reactor on the Base has been Sabotaged! The Nuclear Reactor on the Base now must have 2 fuel rods to run, and produces half the power!
Sub X must brave the depths to bring Base Y a case full of fuel rods. When the case is offloaded, Sub X must return to start for another. Base Y must try and reduce power-usage, while still searching for the artifact. This ends when the Artifact is retrieved and Sub X can take its crew, the artifact plus the survivors to the end.

Monster: Base Y is being attacked! Base X is constantly assaulted by monsters both from the ocean, and from the ruins. They must hold off until Sub Y can fight through, rescue the survivors, and get out.

Salvage: Multiple Artifacts detected! Sub X must fight its way to Base Y, while Base Y attempts to locate and bring home all of the artifacts within the Ruin. When Sub X arrives, it will help with the ruins, and with the security of the Base, until it can evacuate the survivors and the artifacts.
Thanks for your time!

Re: A List of Suggestions for the Future of Barotrauma

I would like to tell my suggestions and comments.

I agree to the players that think there should be much less lightning in the game to promote the use of flashlights, flares and subs lamps.
- the ocean should be completely dark, as well as unlit parts of the sub, ruins, etc.
- the player should have 1 meter vision around self anyway.

The idea: to give the player the sense of cold, dark embrace of the distant planet's ocean where lightning is as valuable as oxygen.


Omni, I cannot agree to your view on the weapons. As the game is set in the interplanetary colonial future, there is no place to 4 sec reload rifle and revolver, to my mind.

Look at this. Rework the harpoon gun. Let it be futuristic handheld railgun, with a flashlight and the ability to see biologicals through obstacles, in red light(only in the same beam as flashlight). Same spear capacity, battery powered. Let it light the area around with blue light when fired.

When implemented with the dark ocean, just imagine blue flashes coming from a "panic fire" of divers who try hard to catch the attacking swarm in the beam of light, standing back-to-back.

However, I agree that we need somekind of diver's knife for everyone. Other melee suggestions are good, but we should not overload the game with objects. Everything has to serve its purpose and avoid multiple items doing the same.

The idea: the harpoon gun should give you the sense of might, being capable to defeat or scare the small monsters away from you, as long as you have the batteries and ammo.
The humanity is able to produce weapons to counter the threat of monsters, isn't it?
The scarcity and expensivness of such advanced weapons should be very well empashised.

Sub additions

Beacons is the perfect idea! Let me suggest some technicals: Sonar should be able to see other active sonars, as in real life, however they really cannot provide identification. The sonar monitors should mark any other sonar(infrasound emitters). For this purpose, however we should add a real sonar transducer(the emitter) to the sub, connected to any onboard sonar monitor. For the purpose of the game another "machine" is enough.

Again, for the purpose of the game, let the handheld sonars provide identification. They may be thrown away enabled, with batteries. Add a checkbox "beacon" with a text option, to use handheld sonar as a beacon. Of course, batteries will drain faster with both "sonar" and "beacon" enabled. Ship identification may be set in transducer machine options.

Please, make the sonar monitor plain black, to see clearly the display. Many pilots have killed the crew hitting a moloch on full ahead because they didn't see it on display because of light background.

I think we need one more way to control the ship. Let the pilot use WASD to set the level of ballast water and the engine "force" output. Generally, I think the game has too much "drag-drop" interface.

Let the sonar operator set the range. 2-3 range scales will be enough. 50m, 100m, 200m for example. Please add one slim range ring on the monitor at half of range. These will greatly help the operator to estimate distances, by idicating the range scale in use and one or two fixed rings.

The turret railruns should be equipped with a searchlight, in case of implementing the true darkness. As it is a futuristic weapon, let it be provided with a line, that indicates the exact direction of shooting. The turrets with powerful searchlights will provide situational awarness and support to diving teams.

Furthermore, I suggest implementing somekind of long-range shooting ability. Let this be this way: the operator of the sonar can provide the shooter with the direction (in deegrees, clockwise, from 0 to 360) of the target. The railgun control has a text field to enter this direction, and a trigger to fire (hardcore af) or just a small reading near the sight line so the shooter can adjust exact direction with a mouse. The sonar, for game purposes, can register the sounds of explosions or big hits(such as target hit by shell).

Thank you for your attention, I would explain anything in other words, if anybody has problems understanding my poor English.

Btw, Barotrauma is a great game, many thanks to devs who put efforts to making it!

Re: A List of Suggestions for the Future of Barotrauma

I love the idea of the beacon being the sonar monitor. It would definitely simplify things and keep items to a minimum.

I totally get what you are saying about weapons. For melee weapons, i think you might be right. The intention was for there to be a "standard" melee (the spear) that was easily accessible. The diving knives and the axes would be more powerful weapons, though limited by skill. However, it could cause unnecessary item crowding in the game.

For firearms, I really like the idea of the panicked fire from the harpoon gun, but I still believe that the firearms are a vital piece due to the upcoming Sub v Sub modes. Many of the items on the sub give me a Cold War vibe, which might be why i defaulted to bolt action rifle and revolver. I think the ideas are sound, but to bring the weapons to the setting, I would make these changes:
1) Rifle is handheld railgun. After firing, it has a 2 second cooldown time to reset, but no timer after putting ammo inside. Otherwise, functionally the same as the bolt action rifle.
2) The Revolver is a pretty much a revolver, just with sci-fi stuff

The reason for the specific design of the firearms is to prevent a player from wiping out the entire crew with a single gun (Which is the reason for no fully automatic weapons, and low ammo counts). They are also designed to work in-tangent with the harpoon gun, not replace it. Firearms will rarely ever be used to kill monsters (due to issues with the round going through or being shot in water). The primary goal of firearms is to defend the ship from invading crews, or for attempting to take an enemy vessel.

Re: A List of Suggestions for the Future of Barotrauma

In this post I'll attempt to lay out my concept and vision on ruins.

I completely agree with Omni that we need a atmosphere of fear and mystery in ruins. However I oppose the idea of setting up direct barriers like uncutable walls, I think the barriers should be indirect. Let me explain step by step.

First, the ruins should consist of the exposed, above surface structure(s)- entrance(s) and a complex embedded in ice/rock: tunnels, rooms, shafts. So, there is no way to get to the deep parts of the structure directly. In other words, ruins are mostly stuck in ice/rock and only some rooms/structures are exposed for the players to cut/enter, that lead further and deeper into the complex.

The Dangers
Diver takes his plasma cutter, cuts one of the inner walls....BOOM....the room was not flooded-it was filled with explosive gas and now half of his team is dead, all the equipment is scattered around, the sub above him, that provided light and cover is severely damaged with random debris from explosion and wave....(exploding door is too little to stop us from cutting, yeah?))

...It was decided to barrage the exposed structure from sub's railguns in order to destroy any possible monsters and clear out quite a hard labyrinth at the entrance. Divers direct fire, significant holes in the structure beginning to develop...BOOM...EM blast wave takes out divers' equipment, electrical grid disruptions in the sub, fires, no light, no radio for a minute at least.... Nobody knew there was a mysterious stone feature/plate/artifact glowing with magic/electric symbols just inside one of the rooms....and it didn't like that rough handling....

...Diver team cautiously makes its way through completely dark, tight tunnels, deciding where to cut and where not, taking any possible precautions. The tunnel leads to room with air pocket...you notice a glowing feature at the wall, direct your light towards it.... the game ended for you now, you will forever stay still, looking at this mysterious glowing artifact unable to speak or move. Your teammate starts running around and shooting every weapon he has at random directions.....of course he is, there is a load of monsters attacking him right now....the matter is, he is the only one who sees them.
(shit bricks bonus: you suddenly discover rotten human bodies in diving suits standing still/ floating dead and looking at the mysterious light at the top of the room.

Idea: There should be ways to discourage players from making their way to treasures directly and aggressively. Teamwork, simple advance planning and assessing should be promoted. That's where Omni's explorer class may be handy-to advice the divers where they should cut, or where is better to follow the corridors, the features and dangers.

....Team A cuts holes in the exposed(not covered by ice/rock) top wall of a room, that contains artifact which generates enormous amout of water pressure(capable of instant killing human in a diving suit). This enables team B to safely enter the room from the labyrith and grab it. (assuming water pressure from artifact is deadly in rooms and corridors, but only pushes away team A divers who cut the exposed wall)....(or team A barrages the wall from sub's railguns or blows the wall with c4 charge)

Ruins should contain numerous random features and artifacts. Planning and assessment should be based on evidence(strange sonar distortions, sounds, explorer's advice, effects on some equipment, magnetism, water pressure/flow anomalies) and experience of players. Moreover, I suggest that the exact position of the artifact is not marked in salvage missions. However, the ruins should be compact enough to let players find the one in question.

Personally, I am not a fan of classic dungeon puzzle-traps solutions but I am sure there are a lot of players who like it so puzzles definitely should be implemented. Random artifact sprites are obligatory, to my mind. The role of the explorer class has a weight, taking into account Omni''s and my suggestions.

I have some more suggestions and comments on Omni's ideas, I will post them soon.

Re: A List of Suggestions for the Future of Barotrauma

I really like the idea of indirect barrier, however I think both ideas could work well together. The reason I had uncuttable walls was that I couldn't think of large traps that would punish cutting. However, these indirect barriers are awesome!
I still think its important to have puzzles (even if you can just cut your way through), as this gives a different way to play and thus more emergent narrative opportunities.
Example: The Explorer wants to do the puzzles while the rest of the dive team just wants to cut. That is just story waiting to happen.

I didn't even think about the ship simply firing its railguns into a ruin to circumvent it. I do like the idea of the EM trap to prevent that.

Re: A List of Suggestions for the Future of Barotrauma

To the random artifact sprites idea if one is not the explorer:

Making artifact X look like artifact B,N,K,G,etc. just because one isnt skilled enough is fairly weird to me, and just makes things unnecesarilly complex, yet I Do agree with mistaking one artifact for another.

I think that there should be kind of artifact groups, which are different artifacts with minimal differences in design, forcing one to look at the details of the artifact to distinguish them, als an explorer, of Course. Other divers Are simply going to See no difference at all, and can just determine the group of artifacts the artifact belongs to, taking away the "its all Random" feeling and giving atleast some chance of completing the Mission, incase of an missing/dead Explorer.

I'm Frost.

Re: A List of Suggestions for the Future of Barotrauma

I love the IDCard idea, expanding on that, we could have a button to hide/show the id card,
we could use this to disguise while wearing a suit, either by disabling the signal to hide our name,
or displaying another name/signal to disguise as that player:
Pressing a button we can hide our identity to the rest of the crew,
it could change the range at which the rest of the players can see our name,
or completely hide it while wearing a diving suit.
The usual hotkey system
or this one, acting as a toolbelt