I suppose the question comes down to what effect you are attempting to create. Seeing as we play from a third person perspective, I always thought it was "hokey" to have the entire world change color at night- if i can't target enemies with a laser turret on the far ends of the map, why in the world can i see that far with my night vision? The flashlight, however, makes sense; having a limited beam effect around my character seems logical, and immersive. I can see full detail at night in a small cone of space, and everything else is darker. Perfect!
So when applying night vision, why not do something similar?
My idea would be to have a new item, "goggles," or "helmet" which has a new space on the hotbar (where weapons/tools go).In this hotbar space, one has a submenu, like the modular armors, which can be outfitted with various items, such as:
- Filters: alter the hue by applying various alpha channels. Early research applies X alpha channel through Y number of colors, later research allows for full RGBA spectrum with sliders. Stops people from arguing about what color is best, Allows modders to create "trippy rainbow goggles" for factorio rave scene.
- Low Light Enhancement Module(s): Add contrast/visibility to low light areas,while also increasing bloom/blowout in high-light areas. Would be helpful to increase the darkness at night w/o goggles to make this more valuable. Perhaps allow for multiple modules to intensify effect
- Friend or Foe Identification Module: allows for passive highlight of enemy (and player) sprites, via either an icon/marker, or different color. Perhaps both, as an option (or separate research).
- Targeting Module: Displays an overlay of current weapons range/reach.
- Binoculars/Scope: Increase FOV and/or zoom level.
- Long Range Module: Add additional range to goggles effect. With no module, the area affected by the goggles is a limited, egg-shaped spot, specific to the player, with more visibility in front of the sprite and less behind it. Adding modules increases the draw distance from the player, until it can almost cover the entire screen at full zoom. this allows for that neat "i spun around and saw a bright light, have to readjust" effect as the FOV passes over transition spots or lights, without seeming like a satellite has decided to start simulating absinthe as it watches our sprite.
I'm sure more ideas could be implemented as well, even if only on a mod level. Alternatively, if modular goggles are too free-reign/ inefficient, why not use some of these categories to create different classes of goggles, with set parameters? At first allow only binoculars which allow for zoom levels (or, when removed, keep the screen zoomed in to 50%, adding an increased challenge and sense of a smaller focus/area). Come green science, expand FOV and add basic night vision with a small AOE, and expand via optional research. As military increases, "combat goggles" are available, decreasing contrast but increasing enemy visibilty, and eventually the holy grail becomes available late-game with all features combined/ selected via hotkey, eliminating the need for switching of items?
Including goggles within modular armor seems flawed; i should be able to put on goggles and see at night while still being a fluffy marshmallow without a lick of protection to my name. Maybe this is a better solution?