@rentechd The current estimation for a fully terra-formed mars does not keep in mind advancing technology at all. Which makes it per definition, the very worst case scenario. I do assume exponential technological growth due to AI and brain-interfacing technologies. Both on Elon Musk's to do list by the way :P
It would likely start by creating a magnetic field, which is the biggest issue to terraforming Mars. The only thing keeping us from starting the process right now. And yes, this could take a long time, but not 1000's of years, likely we'll have the technology in about 50 years or so, then the engineering in 70. Kick-starting the core might prove too difficult to do, but it can be achieved in multiple other ways as you said.
A satellite between the Sun and Mars emitting a magnetic field is the more realistic option in my eyes. But still far from our current capability. The biggest limitations are getting the material there, which the Mars colonization in the coming decades will likely make easier due to breakthroughs in space-travel. And the creation of a giant magnetic field. But that's just a power issue. We just need better solar panels and that problem is likely solvable.
The moment we manage a magnetic field, we'd start creating and spreading human-made bacteria/nanobots to produce the things we need for an atmosphere. Most necessities are already on Mars and do not require asteroids to impact the surface at all. It just needs recombining atoms into the correct molecules, which we are getting much better at at a rapid pace.
Temperatures would rise due to Mars having an atmosphere again.
The entirety of Mars could have an atmosphere in just a few years after having a magnetosphere. Yes we can place plants and animals on Mars to make it look a bit more like Earth, but we wouldn't need those in order to be able to walk on Mars without protection. The bacteria could already provide the function plants have on Earth.
There is a server setting that allows you to choose between following options:
I think the use for these settings is to punish solo-running on the higher settings but to perfectly allow it on the lower ones.
That way big servers can use the higher settings, and smaller ones the lower settings.
Currently the settings are a bit off and one needs some manual adjustments to make it right, but the idea is there and just needs some balancing.
If you want to see how you can start with absolutely nothing and make stuff, that is a video for you. And it isn't even a game. I agree that if you want to have a bootstrapping going on from people to start with, it would be tools like the one made in the above video.
Other videos by this same person show how to make bricks, a simple kiln, and other really interesting devices completely from scratch and only with tools you make from raw resources like a really hardcore wilderness survival experience.
I'm afraid I'll have to agree on the Early Access thing, major bugs will crash the reviews. It's an inevitable fact. Many people are very quick to judge and won't tolerate any game-breaking bugs more than once or twice (if any at all) before leaving really bad reviews.
@JohnK I saw in 6.4, I'm glad to hear it's coming! Are there any plans for npc's or no? It would require a lot of work, so I'd completely understand if not. But it would of course be a nice feature for those with less friends or less time ;)