Author Topic: [AIW2] Unstable Wormholes  (Read 771 times)

Offline Pumpkin

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[AIW2] Unstable Wormholes
« on: November 11, 2015, 07:34:18 AM »
This is an idea of mod for the possible AI War 2. This mod would add a new minor faction to the game.

Overview

Some wormholes in this part of the galaxy are unstable. They may collapse and become temporarily uncrossable. A Zenith faction is hidden somewhere in the galaxy and is running a golem-sized gravity drill (the ones used by the AI are just downsized versions of this Zenith tech) that causes the wormholes' disturbances.

The humans may seek for this Zenith faction. If they find them, they will be faced with a choice. They may attack them and try to destroy the origin of the wormholes disturbance, or befriend them and gain a handful of special starships able to cross the wormholes even when collapsed.

Mechanisms

Map Generation

On map generation, a percentage of the wormhole links are tagged as unstable. This percentage depends on the intensity: at 0 there is no unstable wormholes, and at 10 they all are. At intensity X, 10*X% wormholes are unstable; for example, at intensity 4, 40% wormholes are unstable. Each tagged wormhole then secretly receives a random period value, which is a number between 1 and the intensity.

Also, one non-homeworld planet is randomly picked. This planet gets one new wormhole leading to one new additional special planet with no AI unit (a bit like a nebula). On this special planet are seeded the giant gravity drill and some Zenith factories. This special planet has no supply, no knowledge, no metal, can't be controlled by AI or humans, and isn't eligible for stuff like nomad wormhole or Zenith Miner Golem attack. However, any ship may cross its wormhole (humans, AI, dark spire, etc).

Wormholes' Collapsing Period

Each wormhole tagged as unstable has an internal counter. This counter goes by 1 each 10 minutes; when it's equal to the period value of the wormhole, it swaps its state: if it was in normal state, it becomes collapsed (and uncrossable); if it was collapsed, it becomes normal again. The counters must be randomly initialized at first or they will be all synchronous at the beginning. However, all the counters up by 1 at the same time, because the player(s) must be able to count and predict wormholes periods (a bit like the Spire Civilian Leaders ticking each hours).

The special wormhole leading to the special Zenith miner's planet has a special counter. When it's in collapsed state, it gains 1 every 10 minutes like a regular unstable wormhole. When it reaches the MF intensity, it swaps to stable state, as if it picked the highest period value at worldgen. But when it's in normal state, it swaps to collapsed on the next timer tick. This means the special wormhole will open rarely (every Intensity*10 minutes) and for a short period (10 minutes).

Display and Journal

The top-left window displaying timers (like CPA, Exo, nuclear eyes, DGLairs spawns, etc) will be able to display one more timer. If the Zenith miner's special planet or the planet on the other side of the special wormhole has a human scout, the timer will display "Special unstable wormhole will [open|close] within X minutes" if X is less than 10.

The galaxy map will have new colors to display unstable wormholes. Let's say green for unstable opened and flashing red for unstable collapsed.

The players will receive Journal Entries, just like any lore-juicy MF. They are written by the scientific team (maybe by characters already seen in journal entries for other MF, or maybe a new one). These are just recaps but I'll fully write them, one day.
- The first journal will be received at the game's beginning, explaining the wormholes' mechanism (they collapse/open accordingly to a period, etc) and hinting that something is causing it and may be canceled.
- The second journal will be received the first time humans scout the planet with the special wormhole leading to the Zenith mining base. This journal explains that a special wormhole with a short opening window has been discovered, and that the scientific team strongly believe the origin of the perturbation comes from behind it. This journal also contains the name of the planet if the players forget it and want to find it latter.
- The third journal will be received the first time the Zenith camp is scouted. The scientific team says the big gravity drill is a living Zenith being and it's causing the wormholes' disturbances; and destroying it would cancel them. However, while the Zenith guards attack any intruders, the scientific team was unable to properly speak to them and if the players want to negotiate instead of killing them, they need to bring a science vessel on the planet.
- The fourth journal version A is received when the Zenith faction is befriended. The journal acknowledges this fact and explain they gave special units able to cross the wormholes. The miners dislike the AI too while they won't fight it alone, they're willing to help the humans in their onslaught. However, they can't shut down the drill, because, y'know, it's a Zenith being and stuff. (Yeah, I hope the actual journals will be better than this...)
- The fourth journal version B is received when the Zenith faction is angered. The journal acknowledges this fact and explain how the faction will retaliate until the factories are all destroyed, and that the wormholes will stabilize once the drill-golem will be destroyed.

Zenith Faction Neutral

There is X Zenith factories scattered all around the place (X is equal to the intensity). Each factory can support a certain amount of Zenith ships; if the ships are destroyed, the factories slowly rebuild them; if the factories are destroyed, the maximum amount of ships drops (just like spire ships do if spire shipyards are destroyed in the Fallen Spire MF/Campaign). Maybe the Shattered Pillar's ships can be reused (both art and stats): 3 Palisades, 3 Bulwarks and 1 Monolith per factory.

These guards are hostile to any other ship, be it human, AI or any other faction. This mean they will attack any trespassing Dark Spire, Roaming Enclave etc. (While I'm thinking about this, it would be both fun and thematic if the preservation wardens would regularly attack the miners.)

If the players bring any scientific vessel on the miner's planet, the MF switches to friendly and the players receive the fourth journal, version A.

The factories and the Drill Golem are neutral and are not automatically targeted by player's ships (FRD and stuff). However, if they can be manually targeted. If a factory or the golem itself gets hit by a human attack, the MF switches to hostile and the players receive the fourth journal, version B.

Zenith Faction Befriended

If the players manage to bring a scientific vessel on the Zenith planet, they will be able to translate and communicate with them, and reveal the Drill Golem dislikes the AI and is willing to help humans.

When the faction switches to friendly, the each player gain the control of a factory able to produce up to X mini-drill starships (X is equal to the MF intensity). These special starships are able to cross collapsed wormholes (because y'know, they're drills and can fore through the fabric of space and time and cross even a collapsed wormhole).

Also, the guards will invade the neighboring planets on each wormhole's opening. The guards will then follow the allied logic (just like the dyson's gatlings, resistance fighters and zombies do).

Zenith Faction Angered

If the Drill Golem or factories are attacked, the faction switches to hostile. The corresponding journal is received and the following behavior will occur.

The guards will exit their planet on each wormhole's opening and attack the humans in an Exowave-like pattern. The factories must be destroyed to reduce and finally cancel the waves.

The Drill Golem has powerful weapons and will use them against invading humans. When it's destroyed, the unstable wormholes immediately and permanently revert to normal state.

Integration

Lore Integration

- Zenith are known for having technology messing with wormholes (see the Nomad Planets MF) and being fond of mining (see the Zenith Miners MF). This is thematically coherent.
- Gravity drills already exist: the AI is supposed to have scavenged Zenith tech.
- This faction may have links to the Shattered Pillar, the Zenth faction of the Nebulae scenario. Hints maybe be seeded in the journal entries.
- Living Golems tend to be moody, don't they?

Strategic Integration

- Human warpgates will be useful (at last!!!) to deal with isolated human worlds, especially on a tree or tree-like map.
- Having multiple production worlds will be useful: having space docks only in the homeworld won't be viable anymore as a ship-based defense may be unable to defend all human planets.
- AI Waves will ignore collapsed wormholes if they are regular waves. However, threat and cross-planet waves will "normally" suffer collapsed wormholes' uncrossability.
- Choice! Yay! I love when MF give moral and strategical choices!

Programming Integration

- The Nomad Planets MF already changes the wormholes links. However it never cut the graph. This MF would make some places temporarily unreachable and the pathfinder must handle this for this MF to be doable.
- Achievements! Yay! Here's the proposal.
* "This drilling noise drove me crazy" -> "Kill the Zenith Drill Golem and stabilize the collapsing wormholes."
* "Ride the drill" -> "Win a game after befriending the Zenith Drill Golem."
* "The gravity never bothered me anyway" -> "Win a game with the unstable wormholes MF enabled without angering or befriending the Zenith Drill Golem."

Play Tests

Play tests will need to check and tweak (or define) these parameters.
- If 40% unstable wormholes for the "middle ground" intensity is too much, it's possible switching to a quadratic formula: at intensity X, X^2 wormholes are tagged as unstable. Intensity 0 is still "no impact" and 10 is still "100% unstable", but lower intensities have a lower impact. For instance, 2 is 4%, 4 is 16%, 8 is 64%.
- Same thing for the collapsing period.
- Are the colors for the galaxy displaying unstable wormholes okay? Aren't they confusing? Are the clear?
- How powerful are the Zenith guards? Which stats? Same as the Shattered Pillar's ones?
- How powerful are the mini-drills granted by the friendly MF? Which stats? How fast (because their role will be to defend or attack quickly through collapsed wormholes)?
Please excuse my english: I'm not a native speaker. Don't hesitate to correct me.
Pumpkin>> Do I need another cure about paranoia on top of overexcitement?
Mal>> We play AI War, enthusiasm and paranoia are both required!