I was thinking of what kinds of non-hostile monsters that could be introduced to the game to add not just new gameplay mechanics, but also fit in with the industrial ambiance visual theme. Each will change how your factory will function and need to be addressed before it gets out of control, and if left alone will present a visual cue of an abandoned factory.
- Rodents - At the bottom of the food chain are rodents. What safer place for rodents from predators are the warm, protected shell of a factory. They build nests inside the machines and go out at night in search of food. A few rodents won't cause any problems for your machines. But as they breed more and more and food dwindles, rodent corpses will start piling up and clogging the machinery, reducing their output.
** Players can ignore a small amount of rodents without any immediate penalties.
** Rodent Corpses can be collected for biofuel
** Rodents will eat anything that can be turned into biofuel.
** Rodents can be eliminated by poisons and traps and other larger meat-eating creatures. Or shooting them.
- Power Leeches - These flying bat-like leeches are attracted to voltage and seek out power poles. Once they find one they latch on and start building a nest that sucks power right out of the power system. Once they grow large enough they'll hatch some young that seek out more power poles.
** Players can ignore Leeches, or even ignore them if they just want to build even MORE power plants to handle the energy drain from the leeches.
** Leech corpses can be collected for biofuel, Rodents can consume leech corpses.
** Leeches can be eliminated by poisons, traps, by turning off the power to the pole, or by shooting them.
- Jack-Kel - These medium sized bi-pedal creatures love shiny things, They especally love your shiny things. They will steal right off of an unguarded conveyor belt. The young ones can only steal from a belt that has stalled, but some Jack-Kel's have learned to swipe off of some slower-moving conveyors successfully. They come out only during the day when shiny things are easier to spot.
** Players can ignore the Jack-Kel's with little impact to the factory. Each successive theft lets a Jack-Kel grab an item of a one-grade higher speed belt. So after 5 thefts they can grab off of a Mk.5 belt no problem.
** Elevating your conveyors, building walls around them, protecting them can negate the impact of Jack-Kel's, where they will just wander your base looking for shiny stuff and can be scared away easily.
** They especially love long, unattended conveyors, This will encourage many players to opt to use Trains to protect their goods for longer distance transports.
- Coal-Slug - That powered up factory produces a lot more pollution than it did before. That boost from the power-slug DNA will occasionally cause a mutation in the pollution that will birth a small black slug. These slugs dont interfere with the base in any gameplay way, but they do start smothering the machines they live on with black-goo. The interaction panel on the machine is inaccessable until the goo is cleaned away.
** Slugs only appear in factories that have Power Shards slotted and are operating at less than 70% efficiency. Avoid using shards pointlessly to prevent slugs from appearing.
** Visual degredation of the machine making it visibly oily and dirty.
** One of the enhancement slots on the machine can be fitted with a new item 'Slugfilter' that will collect the coal-slugs and prevent this build-up from occuring entirely. Coal-slugs can collected and used as a fuel source.
- Vampire Grass - Turns out that the plantlife on this planet have a strange mutation when introduced to a magnetic field and electricity. It grows rapidly and starts to strangle whatever it attaches to. The grass will grow up along buildings like vines and begin to cover the buildings. Buildings that are inactive for long periods of time will become unable to start back up unless cleaned of the vines. The vines will actually clog and slow unprotected Conveyor Belts.
**This effect can be negated by building buildings on foundations instead of bare ground.
**Vampire grass can be removed through interaction or poisons.
I know what you're saying "This sounds like a lot of maintenance work for a game about automation, i don't want to be a space-janitor."
This is a VERY fair concern. So while we're at it, lets create some solutions to these parasitic infestations of our factory.
- Turrets - Automated turrets can be filled with rebar which can scare off Jack-Kel and stationary Power Leeches. If filled with Rifle Ammo they can snipe Rodents, and any mobile Power Leeches as well. Power Shards increase the firing rate and range.
- Lizard Doggo's - The Doggos can be trained to patrol on a route you set for them. They will patrol until they smell or see any rodents and Jack-Kels at which point they will either eat or scare them away. Set them to guard your bases perimeter to prevent any rodents from ever setting up camp!
- Poisons - A throwable poison can be crafted as a weapon. When thrown it will create a pool of poison that effects any creature that doesn't have an FICSIT issued outfit. The poison lasts for a very long duration (10 minutes) and will kill all Rodents, Leeches, Slugs, and grass on contact instantly. Good solution for when you have an infestation and want to quickly solve that problem. Make sure to use that time to protect your base from further future infestation!
- Smart planning - Building on foundations will prevent Vampire Grass from being a problem. Using Trains will protect your distant supply lines from Jack-Kel theft, Building walls around conveyors or enclosing your factory will provide excellent protection from nearly all of these problems.
So what really is the point to these creatures?
They reward and enforce good optimization of your factory and punish chaotic messy implementations. They give a stronger function to building and using Trains, they give a gameplay function to using Foundations and walls, they also reward planning out your factory layout in a way that can easily be patrolled and monitored. It also discourages just idling the game, or abandoning your base for long periods of time as nature will slowly but surely reclaim it. Not to mention the system can be improved upon in the future by providing new critters specific to each biomes, or even mutations created from radioactivity.
Not everything in Satisfactory needs to kill you, sometimes nature adapts.
As Jeff Goldblum once said "Life, uh, finds a way."