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Flockmind feedback (spoilers?)
I was asked to make this a forum thread, so here be

I wanted to bring up a few things I encountered with the Flockmind (I know it's WIP, but in case nobody's encountered these yet or someone is working on it). It's my favorite antagonist aesthetically and in concept, and I hope it continues to get updates in the future. I've been playing around with it a lot on a private server; I've got a few funny ideas in mind for how they could become a pacifistic conversion cult (assuming the crew play along) or even help out around the station by plugging holes, like robodrones, if they were trying to play nice.

What follows is mostly my thoughts, some interactions I've spotted, and a little bit of inevitable jank.

  Converting bits of asteroid (say, around the station as a starting base) completely removes all light from the tile, making it pitch black, which could be advantageous for the flockmind hiding from players but manually possessing a drone makes it impossible to see anything, haha.

  It's more resource-efficient to take a bulb out and disintegrate it for points before converting the tile the light fixture is on, as even without a bulb it will still make a cabochon you can turn on and off for light. The converted flock-light (I'm not saying cabochon again) seems pretty dim, which makes dimly lit converted hallways stay really dim and turns down the lights in the rest of the converted station, I wish the drones could either make brighter lights or see better in the dark since they can't carry their own unless they go steal a flashlight.

  Sometimes things just vanish from the drone's hand while manually possessing it, I've only had it happen twice and I'm not sure how to reproduce it, it seemed like throwing an object was related or at least close in timing both times. One was some metal sheets, one was a phaser I was tossing around.

  Marking tiles as priority doesn't seem to alter at all which tiles they convert when guided by AI, so some kind of text denoting that it's used for player-controlled drones would be helpful.

  The sentinel structure attacks bounce to drones, interrupting their attempts to cage a target as it gets increasingly fried from being zapped a bunch (and also making it exceedingly difficult to drag them away to stop being interrupted). This does not spark joy

  As a controlled drone, keep 40-60 materials on hand if you can help it. You need it for cages, sure, but also if you're floor-walking and pop out on the other side of an unconverted wall, you'll need to convert the floor under you and the wall to get back the other way (or just convert the wall and deconstruct it if you don't care about said wall).

  Sometimes an item mid-disintegration can be dropped back on the ground, but it keeps the wobbly disintegrating texture, which I hope is intended cause that's neat.

  I know it's based off of how flammable something is, but compressed matter cartridges being only 18 points when disintegrated feels wrong. Also, the way the system is set up, getting your hands on a jumpsuit locker is one of the best fuel sources for the flockmind, because jumpsuits offer a whole bunch of material as take forever to be fully deconstructed.

  While I was possessing a drone, a guardbuddy was able to begin handcuffing the drone while it was holding an item, but when stunned to dropping it the handcuffing was stopped. I don't know what would happen if it were to finish the cuffing.

  Transforming an electrified grille into a barricade means the barricade is electrified to the touch. Unsure if intended, but if so a good tool for the flockmind to keep in mind. Drones are unable to bring themselves to hurt their own buildings barehanded, but while holding a tool a possessed can easily destroy them in 12-ish hits; the structures are super, extremely fragile because there's no cooldown on attacks to them, so killing them with even a screwdriver takes only a second or two if you click fast.

  Assuming you have the AI upload under your control, if you unbolt the AI mainframe from the floor and scoot it aside, you can order a collector (or a sentinel) to be built under the mainframe, then re-bolt the AI in place and the building will still be constructed underneath the core, with the AI mainframe on top. On that note, the turrets in the AI upload shoot right through barriers, they don't hinder the shots at all. This in turn means you can build a barricade on top of the turret to shield it from attackers (the turret will end up beneath the barridace), and it won't be impeded. I did test putting barricades on flockmind buildings, but they both end up on top of the barricades.

  Any kind of window will turn into a translucent gnesis window when converted (with a barricade underneath if there was a grille), even steel-reinforced plasmaglass. The same goes for walls, they all turn into gnesis weird glowing walls, even the reinforced ones. Funnily enough, you can deconstruct some weird walls to get gnesis sheets though, and manually make a reinforced wall from there if you want, which just happens to be made of gnesis. This unconverts it for the purposes of their floor-walking, though, making it unsuitable as a starting point and allowing them to get stuck - this may be good for the crew to keep in mind as a weapon against them (though they can just reconvert it into a weird wall).

  Floor-walking on an already lit-up tile (near a collector) will not give away which tile you're on (because it's already lit up), which could allow you to hide if for some reason you need this particular drone to not be seen for a minute. On collectors, I thought they collected energy based on how many tiles they individually lit up, so you'd want to checker them, but it turns out you can just place them next to each other with no loss to efficiency unless they're all near a wall. It's unclear how much power a single sentinel takes, so I'm not really clear on how many collectors you'd want anyway.

  I don't know if it would be overpowered to allow, but having some kind of option or toggle for an energy cage feed materials into a nearby building before pooping out a dozen eggs would make it much easier to construct defenses. I thought about maybe placing the cage on or near the building, but uncontrolled drones just walk all over and bump it about like monkeys, so unless you could wrench it in place somehow that won't work.

That's about everything I discovered, hopefully this helps in some way
Not sure if it's a bug or not but flockdrones can't point-blank people who are laying down, which makes it difficult to ensure someone is stunned long enough to cage.
I've had it bug where I couldn't attack or target anyone or really do anything a bit into a round as flock, I just couldn't do anything the rest of the round.
I think the person working on flock has been keeping all of the changes, and updates, and stuff they're working on for flock private for now, could be wrong but i believe i heard that somewhere
(03-21-2021, 08:11 AM)Rilor Wrote: I think the person working on flock has been keeping all of the changes, and updates, and stuff they're working on for flock private for now, could be wrong but i believe i heard that somewhere

That's believable but it also makes it harder for people to post feedback on their code, similarly to ranching.
Right I'll just clear the whole code thing up right now.

I spoke with Moonlol a few days ago and notified him of this thread. He said he was already aware of this thread but that he's been taking a bit of a break from flockcode. He did say however that the code is on github, whether he means under his github account or in the public code for goon, I'm not certain but I imagine it's probably both.

That aside let's maybe not spread rumors like this in the future as it can confuse people and complicate things, and people fresh to a topic are more likely than not to believe rumors.

Please also note that Moonlol is not on the dev team, unlike Ursula and their ranching code, so anything Moon tries to change or add to flock to the main code will most likely be in a PR on the github before it gets merged.
Thank you for the clarifications Drago.

Further observations: Airbridges break whatever system is used to transmit power through converted floor tiles, it will work fine initially but if the airbridge is retracted, even if the floor tiles are replaced or the air-bridge is re-established it will no longer transmit power along that route.

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