It seems to me that as the graphics and detail of modern games has increased, exploring random planets, and Landers in general are less viable. You cant procedurally generate a whole universe and have it be non-stop thrills (see also No Mans Sky). We just expect too much when you give us a 4k/60fps color view of the universe and its not realistic that it will be entertaining AND magically generated.
It seriously breaks my heart since games like SC II and Starflight are still entertaining to me because of the vast unknowns on the planets you can explore. I know that the Stardock team has been struggling with the 'fun' factor on planet exploration and I can't say I'm surprised. I thought I would try to start yet another thread on it from a slightly different direction. Instead of giving us lots of slick graphics and information, maybe we need less. Imagination used to be an actual THING. It was packed into the box right next to the floppy disks.
I just started playing Scavenger SV-4. The planetary lander system in it has a lot of potential, but much of it is so far wasted. Its feeling is something between Starflight and Duskers and its... Great... in its own way. It feels more like a part of a game rather than a game in itself, but the amount of imagination in it is amazing. Information is extremely limited, video fidelity is super bad, and the lander is a total pig at first. I love it. There is a certain amount of hand waving around WHY it sucks (radiation, deadly whatever, all that) but I found I didn't really care. There were random upgrades of dubious usefulness down there and I really wanted them. Also you cant really repair them since they are alien, so don't loose them.
If you have played SV-4 or Duskers and enjoyed it you will know what I mean. Its decidedly low tech in a high tech universe and it really works for some reason. What are your thoughts?