Right now, excavation is pretty much limited to a single tile of depth and the good ol’ excavator. I get the feeling that this is likely in part due to technical limitations, but if overcome, excavation could become a much fuller and more engaging part of MC2, possibly even introducing room for lore. In my visions for a new system of excavation, settlements could eventually dig holes a hundred tiles deep with the help of a new branch of excavation-related techs, structures, and vehicles. Scarce or “delicate” resources such as clay would be found in abundance at specific depths and many new structures would be specialized to tap into underground phenomena, for example, magma-powered electrical plants or supercharged water pumps. Terrain editing would also become available with vehicles called Landmovers, allowing you to form artificial mountains or reclaim islands on ocean worlds.
The major gist of this new excavation system would be the separation of the ground into many roughly-defined layers
, each containing distinct resources and geological features, though different world types would have disparate layer compositions as well as their own unique features. Rich deposits of Crystalline could occur in heavily saturated caves on Frozen or Desert Worlds, rare heavy metals could be scattered beneath the surfaces of Lunar Worlds as a result of ancient meteorites, and naturally, oil deposits could be found beneath the ocean floors on Ocean Worlds. Alien ruins would also become more and more common at greater depths, eventually culminating in an ancient layer of all planet types housing the remnants of a staggeringly advanced Alien civilization.
The Alien layer
would contain hundreds of unbuildable Ancient Alien buildings clustered into small outposts and larger cities in various states of disrepair, spaced relatively far apart from each other. These Alien buildings, operating beyond the knowledge of the current corpus of Ancient Instructions, could produce valuable resources such as artifacts to any settlement which harnessed them, but all Alien settlements would be guarded by extremely powerful automatic turrets, capable of vaporizing a Main Battle Tank from three chunks off. In fact, they'd deal extremely high, unmitigated area damage, so that low-level settlements would not be able to immediately tap into them. Many of the “true” alien buildings found in a conquered alien settlement would provide powerful and unique benefits to its conqueror, such as specialized Artifact production or efficiency boosts for certain utility providing buildings in other settlements. A new intermediate class of "inspired" alien buildings would also be exclusively unlocked by controlling alien settlements.
- Deep Excavation (existing tech, unlocks Excavators with 5-tile excavation range)
- Advanced Geochemistry (requires Deep Excavation, unlocks entry-level elevation-specific structures and Survey Probes, gateway tech to other excavation-related techs)
- Earthmoving Techniques (requires Advanced Geochemistry with a level 3 settlement, unlocks Landformers for filling in holes/creating mountains and Borers with 10-tile excavation range)
- Underground Infrastructure (requires Advanced Geochemistry and Ancient Alien Manufacturing with a level 4 settlement, unlocks more permanent elevation-specific structures and large Mobile Excavation Platforms with 20-tile excavation range)
- Ultra Deep Exploration (requires Underground Infrastructure and Artificial Intelligence with a level 4 settlement, unlocks expensive Quantum Boring Platforms with 50-tile excavation range)
- 3 tiles: Alien structures begin to appear occasionally
- 6-10 tiles: Planet-specific underground phenomena begin to appear
- 15-17 tiles: “Intrinsic” underground phenomena such as saturated rock begin to appear
- 20-23 tiles: Isolated alien structures begin to appear very rarely
- 37-40 tiles: Alien layer begins
Overall, this system might end up significantly changing the progression to Alien and subsequent tech, but I believe it will be a good thing for preventing Alien Artifacts from becoming just another individually nondescript resource as it did in My Colony. Bast took steps towards making Artifacts special with the initial introduction of the excavation system, and similarly with Spice and Spice Veins. MC2 was designed in 3D, so I think it may as well play into that topographically as well. Thanks for reading, and let me know what you think of this idea in the comments!