Author Topic: New cat and mouse gameplay: Cloaked, mobile home command  (Read 865 times)

Offline zharmad

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New cat and mouse gameplay: Cloaked, mobile home command
« on: September 03, 2016, 07:10:07 AM »
Here's a new imagination:

- Humanity no longer start out as owning planets. Instead, they own a cloaked fleet of mobile constructors, fabricators, and command ships. If you are caught, you better run, or risk having to ditch parts of the fleet as bait.
- The AI gains roaming fleets, and is regularly fabricating golems and motherships in a number of key systems  to send out via the exo galactic wormhole.

- New major gameplay is cat and mouse with the AI, distracting them so as to strike and subvert their infrastructure.

- player assets are maintained by hacking and siphoning off the AI infrastructure. End game power is essentially enough to win against single AI death fleets, at which point the AI will start systematically chasing you down. You might own a stolen mothership, or several golems at this stage. Smash & grabs are dangerous but doable.

- you can, of course, actually conquer a planet temporarily and try to build defenses. This is not recommended in most situations.

- your main victory goal is merely to secure enough survivors/cryopods and find a way to ensure humanity's survival. This could be destroying all AI cores and sealing the exo wormhole (isolation win), discover a safe destination then hack one wormhole and escape with your fleet (refugee/scorched-earth win), or make sure the AI loses their universal war without getting everyone killed (military/diplomatic win).

- Progression in the above three alternatives are semi-independent. It's possible, e.g., to contact and interact with whomever the AI is fighting, obtain limited help, but still seal the wormholes and force a trapped alien contingent to fight by your side. Your doomsday project Mark-III nuke can either be used to win your ally's war in another galaxy, or wipe the AI's economy on this one (after you evacuate).

- Time is also ticking. Without your intervention, the AI will inexorably win its universal war, then come back and finish what it started.
« Last Edit: September 03, 2016, 07:17:39 AM by zharmad »

Offline zharmad

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Re: New cat and mouse gameplay: Cloaked, mobile home command
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2016, 09:49:54 AM »
New mechanics to increase interaction with AI:

Clean up after yourself
When you lose ships, the AI will send research vessels to scan and analyse wrecks. If they discover what you are using, they will start unlocking direct counters.
There are several methods to clean up, like reclaiming it fitting missiles at it - but it's always better not to leave them in the first place, e.g. self destructs don't leave analysable wrecks. ;)

The Nuclear options
Both you can the AI are capable of using nukes - but remember that both of you depend on the same rocks for resources. There will also be unlockable technology to detect nuclear-bearing units, so once the AI knows you're willing to play rough, they will likely make repeat performances much harder.

Hide & Seek
The AI has direct vision across the galaxy only as long as it has scouts on every planet, and will respond to their removal by investigation and repair. Your Cloaking Starships and only support a small many *and* it has to protect your moving base, so you have to keep moving and clearing out both scout and tachyon pickets, trying to leave multiple trails so that the AI response fleets don't end up cornering your home fleet. One desperation move might be to take down the local warp gate generator and temporarily trap everything in the current gravity well.
 Eventually the AI will unlock the ability to see how many cloaked/uncloaked units there are even without scouts or tachyons, just like humans in AIW classic. Eventually your holographic decide still become useless.  Drag it out too long, and you will eventually run out of options to hide, and people to sacrifice themselves for you.

Tech race
As hinted above, you and the AI influence each other's technology unlocks. Every card you play buys you a temporary advantage, which can be combined - using one of your known zero day exploits will cause rolling patches, and you can also EMP as many of their cyber warfare centres as you can to gain additional time. But now that you've exposed both tactics, the AI will start sending engineers to shield their buildings and upgrading their software. The first is expensive and weakens their reinforcement. The second hinders their research progress. These delays help in little ways in the overall war.

Timing Windows
 Since the AI is literally rushing construction all the time and sending its newly built deathfleets one by one through the galaxy to their frontiers, this creates a basic tempo over the game: Don't cross the road when the trucks are roaring through. Steal the resource depot when it's actually full.

This also means there are time-limited opportunities. You might only be able to "acquire" that prized capital ship while it's being built, but strike too early and you'll have to wait for the engines to finish building(!) before you can fly it away, while the closest response fleet is beating down your barricades.

Offline x4000

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Re: New cat and mouse gameplay: Cloaked, mobile home command
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2016, 05:13:08 PM »
A bit of this has made it into the game in the form of at least mobile command stations. :)
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