Surviving Mars’ Lead Designer Discusses Modding Support, How Mars Mysteries Work and Difference Between PC and Consoles

Haemimont Games are mostly known for their city building and management titles, with Tropico and Grand Ages franchises as their crown jewels. Back in August 2017, the studio announced Surviving Marsa colony-building simulator where you manage resources and help humans turn Mars into an inhabitable planet.

Lead Designer Boyan Ivanov was recently featured in an interview with WCCFTech, where he discussed several topics regarding Surviving Mars, including modding support, post-release plans and how the development team adapted the game’s PC controls to suit console players. Ivanov clarified how players will come across those “individually crafted Mars mysteries” during their playthroughs and how often will they pop up.

While the base gameplay of Surviving Mars is grounded on plausible science and our current understanding of Mars, mysteries explore the unexpected and fantastic element of SciFi, like encountering a strange phenomenon, attempting to interact and study it and the result of those interactions.

Mysteries also tell a story and introduce new exciting elements to the mid and late game. With each mystery we do a twist on a certain mechanic – sometimes the mystery might change the weather on Mars or introduce a new disaster, or maybe the colonists will suddenly start to develop strange new traits. Players will have to react to these events and take action if they want to bring the mystery to a satisfying conclusion.

He continued to discuss the performance difference between PS4 Pro and Xbox One X. Surviving Mars runs at native 4K and 30fps, however, the Xbox One X will use up more memory on textures than Sony’s console.

For this kind of game – long vistas, thousands of tiny and frequently moving objects – we decided to prioritize resolution over framerate, so all console versions target 30 fps. The base consoles run at native 1080p, Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro – at native 4K. The graphics settings are approximately what you’ll get on PC at the “High” preset, with the only exception being Xbox One X, which gets to spend more memory on textures.

While the same textures are authored and shipped at the same resolution for all platforms, higher memory platforms get to stream them via a larger buffer, so in busy situations – say, a late-game colony with varied buildings zoomed up close – the Xbox One X will display higher resolution versions of some. There are no other graphics settings differences between Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro – Surviving Mars is a very CPU-heavy game, and the difference in CPU power between the two is smaller than the difference in GPU power.

Finally, Ivanov revealed the studio is willing to add Steam Workshop for players to create their own mods and share it with the community.

Yes, Surviving Mars will have Steam Workshop integration and will allow players to create and download mods on launch. Modding is something that we are very excited about and we can’t wait to see what mods our players will come up with.

Surviving Mars releases on PS4, Xbox One and PC later this year.