Autonauts Screenshot 1
Autonauts Screenshot 2
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Autonauts

Travel the universe colonising uninhabited planets with the sole goal of setting worlds in motion through the power of automation. Fresh from your spaceship you must harvest stick and stone and begin your colonisation efforts. Create rudimentary crafting items from blueprints and slowly build a number of workerbots to aid in your efforts. Teach and shape their artificial intelligence with a visual programming language, then instruct them to begin the formation of your colony. Marvel as a planet you’ve shaped becomes home to a civilisation of workerbots, happy to do your bidding! Expand further with the creation of colonists; beings that require your assistance to survive. Push your workerbots further by introducing fishing, cooking, housing, and tailoring and help the colonists into a state of transcendence.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Absolutely fantastic game; programming robots is super fun, and automation is even moreso.
H O W E V E R:
I want a way to drag and drop blocks of code into my programs, instead of having to teach every single robot. Please. I need this.

Review from Steam

Great game, but can we get a multiplayer coop game mode?

Review from Steam

While I personally enjoy and recommend the game, it has a few issues that I've noticed in similar economy-style games.
TL;DWR
It's an overall enjoyable game that I still highly recommend, but also features a lot of grinding that comes into play about 10+ or so hours into it that can either be really good for when you just want to get your mind off things and veg out, or can be immensely agonizing when you just want to progress but have to build/upgrade/fix 1000 things first before you can continue.
Pros
- Very casual and non-punishing if you want to take your time to learn things and explore different areas (no starving citizens or random buildings burning down; i.e., no regression of progress)
- Easy to understand beginning tutorials that develop into fun complexity as you progress into higher tiers of science and development
- Cute and quirky graphics and models
- Easy to lose yourself in for hours
- Scratch coding element that greatly encourages creativity and discussion with other players to achieve different things
- A lot of content for the price with plenty of mods
Neutral
- Music leaves something to be desired after a while
- Doesn't showcase useful features like rotating the camera (shift+middle mouse) or how to upgrade bots outside their trade screen (ctrl+right mouse).
- Bots in the middle of a task cannot be interacted with which can be problematic occasionally when you are trying to give them something or change their programming.
- Lacks the ability to disable elements to see through grass, trees, rocks when looking for things that can be easily missed like sticks or seeds.
- Could really use a research tree as many research items are necessary to build others, yet you can research in almost any order which can waste a lot of time if you're new to the game. For example, crude fire, fixing pegs, square frames, and panels should be required research between tiers. That is because it is easy to be tempted to jump straight into clay, animals, or clothing research only to then find out that you can't actually build the stations needed for them until you have those aforementioned items.
- Wish it had more logic options like and, or, equal/greater/less than, additional bot logic such as "high/low on energy", "step count", "track/follow "x" bot", or allowed bots to move storage containers around. There are workarounds for a lot of these, but it usually boils down to "just make another bot to do it" rather than allowing for more complex coding in existing bots
- The "trash can" item requires a few hours to unlock which honestly is about the time you really would actually need it (I'm looking at you turf/hay) but I wish it was there from the start so I didn't have to just let items pile up after storing as many as I wanted for that time being.
- Sometimes weeds or bulrush plants can be extremely hard to find in a bad seed, such as a case where I only had 3 bulrush plants that were all in a far flung corner of the map.
- Wish there was more bot customization than just team name colors, like letting me put hay to actual use to make straw hats for farmers or etc. to make them stand out a bit more from others at just a glance
Cons
So far I only have one example, but it's fairly substantial and complex. The game gets really bogged down about the start of tier 3+ (10+ hours in?) where it starts to require exponential item building in order to progress further. This is because as you begin to finish tier 2 research projects, the wuv (research points) cost increases significantly which requires shifting to a higher civilian tier. But, the items necessary to satisfy civilian requirements such as food, clothing, housing, etc. also go up as well. While this is an obvious step and not bad design on its face, these new items require a lot more production and time to make with a lot of them requiring multiples of previous tiers of the items they are upgrades of. And because although civilians will never die from starvation or such, they will stop giving you wuv if their needs are not met. So you have to increase your production capabilities to meet these new needs.
Food requires 2 of the previous tier food to craft, forcing you to greatly expand your farms to make up for the loss of now only making half as much food as before which also forces you to expand your bot squads for farming and cooking as well as well as expanding and upgrading existing cooking stations.
You also have to begin producing clothing at this stage which adds a whole new section of production to set up and account for.
To build/upgrade the stations needed for these new cooking, tailoring, etc. items, progression comes to a grinding halt as you are forced to rapidly expand all your forester bots, your material bots for planks, poles, pegs, and frames, and your manufacturing bots because most of the buildings in these higher tiers now require a new material, panels.
Panels are especially frustrating as they not only require all 4 of those previous material items to produce, but also in large amounts, which in turn they are required themselves in large amounts because more materials/buildings require lots of panels to make.
It's also about this time that you'll begin to recognize just how ineffective your current base setup is along with many of your bots programming, especially if you're new to the game. Due to how much time you'll have to sink into generating these new materials to reach a stable level of production which, while you're not forced to do so, you will be heavily encouraged to sink a large amount of time into reorganizing your base, upgrading your bots, and reprogramming a lot of them so that they can get to certain materials quicker and/or produce things faster. Now repeat this step for the tiers afterwards.
My problem with all of this is that at times it can actually be really fun and feel rewarding when you realize how you can improve things significantly through simple changes, but that fun can quickly start to feel like a chore when you realize that your seeded map might not allow for certain base layouts early on which can force one or more areas (farm, production, forest, civilian/research) to perform sub-optimally with bots having to haul items long distances which requires building even more "recharge" bots to babysit them so you don't have too. And talking about seeded game worlds...
Similar to another economy game I've played, Graveyard Keeper, which also features automated production of items in a similar vein, both of these games have the same production problem that slows the entire game down where, just an hour ago, you were making steady progress that felt satisfying to achieve. The difference though is that Graveyard Keeper is in a set world that is designed to allow you to ramp up production quickly overtime, especially if you choose to ignore aesthetics over the end game, where as Autonauts has randomly seeded worlds like Minecraft, Oxygen Not Included, etc.
In Oxygen Not Included, I don't feel afraid to start out in a fresh seed because you can get a base operating quickly within an hour and the change in seeded resource layouts tends to encourage new gameplay simply due to what geysers, critters, biomes, or minerals, are nearby as all of which can drastically change your research/build orders in order to utilize those things. However, in Autonauts, the lack of significant changes between seeds, the exponential tier production issues, and the somewhat linear path of progression you have to follow 95% of the time, the seeded worlds thing almost may as well not exist as it feels like more of a setback to start over once you've become invested in a seed.

Review from Steam

Autonauts is a lot of fun and deeply satisfying, as long as you accept that you need to automate everything. Gathering resources? Automate it. Using tools? Automate it. Building structures? Automate it. Gathering three stray berries from a field? Automate!
As soon as you think, "I only need one steam engine, I'll just build it myself," the game suddenly becomes overwhelmingly complex, with recipe after tedious recipe spread across a dozen crafting stations. No, you automate that crap with an army of builder bots. You don't build one flywheel, because they've already filled a crate with them and you have a bot whose sole purpose in life is to stand around holding a flywheel waiting for a blueprint in need of one.

Review from Steam

I could tell you a million things that are wrong with this game, but with 1500 hours spent on this game, you can rest assured that they don't keep it from being addictive.

Review from Steam

Pros:
- Super easy and intuitive to learn mechanics
- Super chill
- Good feeling progression
- Basically Satisfactory crossed with Scratch.
- Sickeningly sweet
- Cool robots
Cons:
- I want to like it and I appreciate what it's going for but the aesthetic is so over the top childish it comes off as patronizing. Dialogue and tooltips range from basic to straight up toddler speak.
- Keeping colonists happy and healthy is a chore. You need to have a team of robots prepared for EVERYTHING, keeping them fed, replacing their worn-out clothes, keeping them entertained, FIXING THEIR HOUSE WHEN IT COLLAPSES.
- Additionally, keeping colonist happy is key to progression, otherwise they stop producing "wuv" and you can't research new technology. And they get very, VERY needy.
- Despite it's "baby's first video game" aesthetic you're going to have to fire every neuron in your brain to program your bots efficiently. Because of the limitations of drag and drop code you're going to need to find some very creative solutions.

Review from Steam

An automation game that lets you make robots to do anything for you, by first copying you doing it manually once. The only thing i have not tried to get bots to do, is to choose research and place blueprints. In this way, every bot working, is just a shadow of your past, but on repeat!
There is some conditions to their tasks like "Repeat until hands full" or "Locate *Thing* in this large area", as well as more tools they can use to further specify their tasks, but there are no other things other than special crafting tables.
To make buildings, you must place blueprints, but bots can build it with materials.
Bots can move materials from A to B, they can search for raw resources, they can craft new things by using crafting tables, they can tell when their hands are empty and grab fresh tools, they can run out of power, they can charge other bots that have run out of power, by just cranking them up. There is loads of hardships, and bots are part of the solution every time!
But every bot has a limit to how many things it can do, so you must try your best to break down each problem into the smallest tasks, so one bot can deal with part of the work. Bots are smart enough to pause working when they try to do *something* but there is no room to put stuff or no available items to take. They will then wait and search until they can resume work.
Soon enough, you get to have citizens, and the whole goal of the game is to satisfy citizens needs. At first they only need food, and this drops small hearts called "Wuv", that must be fed to the research station to unlock new things. There are 7 tiers of needs, and everytime a citizen gets all their needs met for a specific tier, they will drop heart containers worth 1 point for tier 1, 10 for tier 2, 100 for tier 3 and so on.
The tutorial is very good, but there are some GLARING omissions to what you can do when teaching bots:
1. If you need to do an action multiple times, you do not have to record that action multiple times, you can copy any instruction with Ctrl + C.
2. Repeat loops can be made to Break if some action inside fails, like if there is no Discharged bot in the search-zone, the search loop can break, and another zone can be searched afterwards.
3. When selecting the zone to search, the search can be set to different patters like ALL tiles, every other row, -column, -tile, and more.
4. Bots and whole bot teams can be paused, stopped, resumed and told to "Come to me".
5. You can copy the mind of one bot, and paste it into as many bots you want.
6. Bots can learn to subscribe to an area, which can then be moved later, and all bots will update with the new area definition.
7. Bots can learn to Shout specific commands, and they can react to hearing such commands.
It feels really nice to finally be able to command one bot after another and then feel sure that the task will be carried out. It ends up being a fun challenge to get all the moving parts in order, just so the robot team can create a mushroom herb mix to feed the colonists so they reach the next tier.
Very much recommended!