Idea for new official race: The Automatons

Looking over the archtypes in the Gratuitous universe, there IS one minor one missing. Where’s the army of rebelling killer robots?

Thus, the Automatons: Thier creator doesn’t exist anymore, because they allready whiped them out. Thier prime directive was to keep all unautorized lifeforms from thier home, however ‘unauthorized lifeforms’ soon translated to ‘any lifeform.’ And thus, the Automatons set out on thier programming, as the factories of thier long-dead masters continued to crank out new living vessals.

What’d Make Them Uniqe? - Automatons would have a special factor with thier ships, first being the ships themselves: Increased outer defenses and shields, but very squishy hulls due to all the circuits inside. Additionally, the Automatons wouldn’t need the space for the living, allowing for surprisingly compact ship designs, even Cruisers being surprisenly small for thier class. Third, a replacement crew compartment, called the Master Control Program. This race-specific piece allows for a full contingientcy of crew around double of what’s required from your standard Crew Compartment 3, but requireing a heck of a lot more power.

Any Special Gear? - Beyond the pre-mentioned Master Control Program, this race could have as a focus to thier equipment a more potent version of the Pulse weaponry, with better tracking and faster bullet speed in comparison to standard GSB armaments of similar choice. Additionally,the Terminator Nuclear Missile - this bad boy releases a shockwave effect every time it strikes a target’s hull, recreating a much minor version of the shockwave that Cruisers release upon destruction, and thus giving GSB it’s first splash weapon.
EDIT: Due to plasma being such a smuckish weapon at the best of times, I thought up of a more ‘focused’ design, the Hyperplasma and Cruiser Hyperplasma. Sacrificing some tracking speed, fire rate, and Damage, the Hyperplasma would make the plasma shot go blistering fast and have a much better chance of landing that all-important hit on a target.

Ship Design - This is the hard part. There’s really three types that would really work well for this ‘random force of unstoppable killing machines’

  1. Sharp angles, flat and emotionless, very cubed. The robot designing this would have been looking for function over form, thus this cold metalic greys involved would be rather flat and lifeless in comparison to the vibrent colors of some of the races (Tribes and Nomads in particular.)
  2. If you seen the Trade Federation in the Star Wars Prequals, note the design of the droid armies: Rounded corners, but still rather flat and emotionless, even in thier transports and ground vehicles. The Automatons could take a leaflet from them, using drab browns and tans in combination of rounded edges on otherwise flat and emotionally detatched craft.
  3. Black and white primary colors, with various colored robotic viewports for the ship’s sentience to keep an eye on things. Metalic rods stick out randomly in areas panels don’t cover, allowing for some character on the otherwise oval, smooth-skined shapes. An entire army of GlaDos bots? Perhaps.

Thoughts, other ideas?

i strongly suggest checking out the modding section. its a great idea youve got going! modding allows you to get those ideas ingame! i dont think this will be made an offical expansion, but you could do it yourself.

It’s right here, and has been for well over a year. Next time, lurk more. :smiley:

With regards to the specifics of your proposal, there are more than enough resources available at the Gratuitous Modding subforum to get you started on bringing your idea to life. The “Modding 101” thread sticky at the top of that forum should be the first place that you examine.

Cliff’s already well into developing Positech’s next game, so nothing substantial is likely to be added to this game after the upcoming 9th official race (Parasites) in the next couple of months. While your suggested Automatons race sounds very much like the excellent modder-created Unity race, there’s no real reason why another machine-intelligence couldn’t be modded as a playable race for GSB. Hell, watching them duel each other should be interesting…

Unity adopted a similar scheme of “strong on the outside; weak on the inside”. Nearly all Unity hulls have a -50 penalty to their hull integrity. You’ll have to work harder to make the Automatons distinct from them and from the (soon to be 9) official races. :wink:

Frankly, new race-specific modules and weapons are the heart of what make mod races interesting; of course you’ll want to include some! :smiley:

Here’s my recommendation: first, take a very close look at the full range of existing shipboard equipment and guns. This covers a wide swath of items: beam weapons, bullet weapons, missile weapons, defenses, engines, crew, power, and miscellaneous gadgets. It will take quite a while to examine all of this, but it’s absolutely necessary if you’re going to do a good job of modding. Who wants to waste their effort making a near-identical duplicate of something that already is in the game, right?

Try to identify areas that are under-represented. See if you can create a module or a gun that fills a need which is currently a wide-open territory. This could be a different version of an existing gadget, or even an entirely new sort of device.

Alternatively, see if you can improve on the performance of a select few existing items. The key is to make an improvement that’s not so small that it presents no practical difference from whatever item you based it on, but also not so huge that it’s clearly over-powered & unbalanced, and breaks the functionality of the official vanilla game. Avoiding those extremes is perhaps the key challenge that a GSB modder faces, as over my extremely long tenure with this game I’ve seen some really crazy stuff that could not possibly avoid making all existing items of the same type instantly obsolete. Do yourself a favor and don’t go there. :smiley:

Don’t just morph into a modder instead of a player, though. :wink: Why is that bad? Because one of the biggest dangers in modding GSB is surrendering to the temptation to make yourself into the equivalent of a two-legged idea factory, without having sufficient range of experience in how the game actually works or why it works the way that it does. There are many subtle interactions which occur “under the hood” but which can have an effect during battle that is all out of proportion to their apparent size or importance. If you want your mod to avoid running aground on those treacherous reefs, a working knowledge of the subtleties is needed – not just a theoretical knowledge.

There are no mod-accessible, area-of-effect (splash) weapons that can be used offensively. Sorry. :frowning: Believe me, I have wanted one for nearly two years! The only AOE weapon I’m aware of in the entire game is the Swarm DLC race’s Smart Bomb Generator. It’s a hull-mounted energy unit that fries all missiles, rockets and torpedoes within a spherical volume around the ship carrying it (friendly ones as well as well as hostile ones), but it cannot be used to hurt a ship. So the splash effect of a Terminator missile is going to have to be left out.

OK this deserves special mention.

You said that you want a super-fast plasma projectile, and are willing to sacrifice some of the weapon’s other stats to gain that speed, right? Be aware that the projectile’s speed is NOT what influences the weapon’s chances of a successful hit in this game. The weapon’s tracking value does that. If you’re going to mod some content for GSB, you’ll need to get really familiar with that. :slight_smile: Let me explain further…

For every weapon in the game, the calculations to determine whether it’s a hit or a miss are run at the moment of firing – NOT at the moment of visual impact. When a missile or a plasma leaves its launcher, the game has already internally determined whether it’s going to strike the target – these are not self-guided seeking weapons. They get initial targeting data passed to them from their launcher and that’s all. The visual progress of its journey is purely gratuitous [there’s that word again :slight_smile: ] from that moment forward.

Beam and bullet weapons’ targeting works in the same way even though it’s not immediately obvious in the beams’ case because of their nearly-instantaneous “travel time”.

I hope that the above clarification makes sense.

While this part may seem intimidating in a purely technical sense, I think it can be overcome as long as your creative vision for the ships’ appearances remains clear in your mind. There’s very little among the multi-racial assortment of official GSB hulls that is as angular as you seek, so it’s possible you’ll have to venture outside of slicing and dicing this game’s ship sprites to create what you need. Time-consuming, yes, but technically quite possible.

By the way, GIMP or Paint Dot Net is all you should need program-wise to create ship hulls, fighter hulls and weapons textures for this game. The other members of the Friendly Community Mod Squad are very experienced in this, and can surely answer specific questions how might have as you work through it.

I like where you’re going with this idea. Aside from the impossibility of AOE weaponry in this game, I see no reason why you can’t mod the Automatons into being.

Just be certain to begin “on the right foot” with regards to keeping all the many different items in your mod (hulls, modules, weapons) in balance with the same sorts of items in the official vanilla game. It’s much harder and more frustrating to create a large body of unbalanced content and then try to impose order upon it later on when it’s nearing completion. A mod race that can mesh with the official races almost seamlessly and engage them in combat with a fair chance of victory on both sides is much more interesting and useful than yet another over-powered s00par k3wL mod leviathan. :wink:

Anyhow, if you haven’t done so already you should go to the Gratuitous Modding subforum and create a new thread that’s devoted to your Automatons mod race. The members of the Friendly Community Mod Squad are nearly the only GSB players who still post to these forums with any regularity, so you’re very lucky in that you can still get questions answered. We FCMS folks won’t do things for you, but we will definitely help you learn how to do things yourself – ultimately making you a much better modder in the process.

To be fair, I didn’t realize the creator moved on to another project allready. My mistake >,>;

Ya, I shoulda looked before blabbering, though glancing over Unity, it seems to have similar archtypes, but imo Unity seems focused on the gunplay as well as squishy innards. When I pictured the Automatons, it was more ‘utility and better spambeams’ in thoughts ^^;

Not idea burnouts, it’s me one weakness D: Considering I gotta read up on all this, though, good advice ^^;

Bugger >,< Well, thought that counts. Don’t want to make it a LULIHAXOR missile either, as that’s what most missiles are anyway (to some extent). May just shelf that idea in favor of more dakka weapons.

Tis does, thanks for the enlightenment.

Have Gimp on here, tried to figure out how to do something graphicly related to Second Life and my head almost asploded from technical overload x,x; still, I’m sure when I get to that point I can stop derpin so much about it. As for splicing the sprites, I figured I’d only resort to that for last-resort. After all, it was more official race suggesting, not actual modding (though it seems like everyone’s suggesting going full project with it now :p)

Seen a few of the mods there (Heck, I currently have a horde o Pumas and a certain Dreadnought farmin more honor as I type) but even still, it’ll be a lot more learnin then expected, which isn’t that big of a deal to be honest.

i support the idea, and this race would be more like the Borgs from start trek, but without purple ships