Also, I see something that should be fixed that if left unchecked might go un-fixed. shading and texture issues I expect to be fixed, since the game is still in early alpha stages. But issue is more subtle and less likely to be spotted by somebody who does not know to look for it. I know this is a bit nit-picky, but it has been bothering me for a couple of weeks. (it bothers me in supreme commander too, which has a similar problem)
Anyway, my feedback.
Saguaro cactus are VERY unique plants in that they only live in 1 very specific part of the world... which happens to be the south west US and Mexico. Dispite many western films and other media might have us believe, these cactus do not exist naturally in Texas, Nevada, or even New Mexico. They, and other familar to American cactus such as the barrel cactus I see in the above image, exist in very small amounts in south California and I think Utah's tiny bit of the "painted desert", but thats it. So their appearance I suspect makes this game painfully obvious to be American since I'm sure many other cultures don't think of them 1st when they think "desert doodat" (I always wondered if that alienates inhabitants from African or Asian deserts who may not even know what they are ? I know Africa has a similar looking cactus that is a lot more "bushy" and lacks the unique saguaro round-ness. I'd be very interested to hear the opinion of somebody from not-North America ).
The main point, however, is not that the main feature here is something unique to 1 very specific, turning what I believe is intentended to be a "generic desert" to a "very specific extremely fertile desert", but the fact that it is standing in... empty sand. Saguaro cannot live in that environment. Saguaro cacti can only be found the "Sonoran desert" and in rare cases similar environments technically outside the sonoran desert. it is only a desert by the amount of rainfall, considering the many MANY unique species of plant, insect, and bacteria found in every square meter. It is actually auguably the Most-diverse non-rainforest land-based ecosystem in the world! (that is a lot more fun to say than to type. My source is from a lecture I recieved Saguaro National Park. <discliamer> It might have been a biased lecture, but I've talked to a masters in ecology student who agreed, but said the "most diverse land-based non-rainforest" award might actually to go an area of south china, but the Sonoran desert would be a close second.)
Allow me to demonstrate (BEHOLD! *stabs woman next to me with keyblade*)
The following are generic "sonoran desert" images. The only place with the cacti seen in the screenshot, and misnamed "desert" due to limited rainfall. Notice how it is totally unlike the above images.
None of these have blank sandy spots like in the picture.... let me find one of the sonoran desert with a "sandy patch"
You will not find one of those cacti in the wild without other plants close to its base.
See, if you take one of those cacti, and plant its seeds in any dry-sandy place... it won't grow. As baby cactus they require the support of the plants and microbes around them. The Sonoran desert has a unique microscopic layer that feeds nutrients and helps trap water. The plants sustain the microbes in the soil, and the microbes help the plants grow, including and especially baby soguaro. The reason that environmentalists hate people who drive four-wheelers in the desert so much is because they destroy this layer. Causing desertification in the "desert", converts it from fertile misnamed "desert" to actual deserted desert with sand and dunes and generally less full of life. Without this layer, many Arizona plants can't grow... and without those plants, baby Saguaro won't exist. No baby Saguaro, no full grown ones like in the Elemental screenshot. (also to note, they take a VERY long time to grow that size. 100~150 years, so yeah... this is surely many generations after the cataclysm)
I'm sure somebody is about to throw a metaphoric shoe saying "shut up landis, we don't care about your realism crap" or a perhaps "its a pre-alpha screen. They will add more desert flora" but I just wanted to be sure that it is fixed (also to inform other people that these are neither "generic desert plants" nor able to survive in the ecosystem that the name "desert" describes. I'm not entirely sure what the tiles that hold those cacti represent, but they should be A: not unfertile and B: contain plants and shrubs around the bases of the saguaro.