Beam Alchemy

Posted On 22 Feb, 2018

A wise person once said, “There’s weed killer in our corn!” but I digress. Today I’m here to talk about shiny beam shaped explosions of fun.

Have you ever thought to yourself “man, these beam weapons are totally cool and no development ever needs to be done to improve them!?” Well that’s the exact opposite of what we’ve been thinking lately. I mean, the next update is supposed to fill out the remainder of the tech 2 tree, and I’ve already revealed that that means missiles, beams, and drones. So lets talk about beams right?

Philosophy of a beam ship

The idea behind beam weapons is that you have emitters, and you have controllers.

The emitters do the real work, taking energy off the power grid, storing it, and using it to provide various arcs that your beam can fire across. They are like the turret mount of the beam world. More of them means your beams recharge faster, sustain for longer, and can handle firing more powerful beam types. I consider emitters to be feature complete, and also cool looking.

Controllers on the other hand…. Well, lets just say Jan has interesting plans for those. If emitters are the “mount” then I guess controllers are the gun right? Seems like it takes the analogy too far. Anyhow, point is that a controller determines the property of a beam weapon, but there’s only like…3 of them! You need a new module for each one and making new modules is hard so…

Beam alchemy

So I guess we needed a way to make beam controllers more interesting from a ship design perspective, and as a result we created beam alchemy. It solves so many problems in such a neat way.

Beam alchemy! That sounds like crazy talk.

Yup. The idea is that beam controllers no longer provide multiple beam types to choose from. Instead, they blend their properties together to produce a unique new beam type depending on which controllers you have used.

It even handles more than one of the same controller, increasing output for each additional controller with diminishing returns of course.

New stats and effects

With the new blending mechanic, we need to really nail down all of the functions and attributes for blending purposes. As such, we have done a lot of work to make sure that beam controllers have interesting stats to blend with other beam controllers such as:

  • damage rate
  • energy use rate
  • range
  • (new)charge duration
  • (new)…other effects

Other effects are the coolest part! Did you ever want a beam that slows your target by increasing their mass?

What about a beam that fires lightning?

How about whatever this thing is?

Our goal is that each beam controller will bring unique properties, unique animations, and unique effects, and that you will have the control to combine them into your own combinations to make the beam weapon that suits your ship best.

We’re also going to put new types of beams onto AI ships so they can ruin your day in interesting and unique ways.