Electron Dance

Electron Dance Highlights


Cold Metal

This is the third part of the Subnautica Season. This follows The Glory of the Infinite Sea, on Subnautica enabling accidental discovery, and Beautiful, on the real beauty of Subnautica's design.

Subnautica is fantastic. More or less. The resource gathering and blueprint hunting can get a little tedious, but Subnautica is not alone in committing that crime. Around the waterworld in 80 days, just to find that a blob of blood oil. But this was not the only flaw in the ointment.

Something that, perhaps, should have had more resonance and impact: building a home away from home.

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This is the second part of the Subnautica Season. The first part, The Glory of the Infinite Sea, was about Subnautica enabling accidental discovery.

Spoiler warning! This essay contains spoilers for important discoveries and events in the middle of the game.

I had started to receive radio transmissions.

Subnautica’s radio smears on a little extra story but its primary role is a gentle goad to get players out and about, directing them to other Aurora escape pods which made planetfall. Some transmissions come bundled with a location that can be tracked on the HUD but when I received one with a vague “oh it’s over here roughly” I wasn’t sure, in the wide open sea, whether I would find it. This was Subnautica resisting the siren call of a GTA-style open world; let’s see how the player copes without throbbing, bobbing arrows.

I took a stab. The instructions were expressed relative to the shattered hull of the Aurora and I swam out to what felt roughly the right spot... but I found nothing. I kept swimming away from the Aurora in a straight line, thinking perhaps I wasn't far enough out.

This was before I even had a seaglide which makes travel a lot more snappy and I was swimming without any form of support... but the sea bed began to recede. The deep dark unknown sent a tingle down my spine, like it always did. I gritted my teeth. I knew in my heart that I must have missed the escape pod but I kept going out of some madness. How big was the sea? How far could I go? When would danger visit me? Another part of my brain, however, was screaming at me: Stop! These seas are not meant for you yet! Turn back!

And then something happened which changed everything.

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