Power creeps concept

  • I've recently built up a new concept for power creeps. This concept aims to make power creeps add depth but not necessarily power to the game. Though power creeps can provide advantages, they should require a significant amount of investment to make the most out of them. It should entirely be possible for an AI to win without the usage of power creeps against a player who utilizes them.

    • Levelling: In this system, power creeps have 20 levels. Every level, a power creep has a choice between 3 powers from their power creep. Each power should have 6 chances to be selected, though they can only be upgraded 5 times.
    • Re-spec: Players may freely re-spec their power creeps to choose different creeps and abilities. Doing so will suicide all active power creeps.
    • Specialty Abilities (optional feature): Specialty abilities are single-level abilities that may be selected by any creep with a level greater than 10, in addition to their normal abilities. These specialty abilities provide significant new options for a power creep.
    • Cross-class Abilities (optional feature): Optionally, creeps could get the ability to select a single power from each of the other two class trees instead of from its own tree. Cross-class powers each only get 2 chances to be upgraded.
    • Spawning: Power Creeps are spawned from a Power Spawn, taking 100 ticks to spawn per level. Though they can freely be killed and respawned, the huge spawning times encourage their protection.
    • Base Stats: Power creeps have 1000 hit points per level, and 100 carry capacity per level. Power creeps can always move at top speed. Power creeps may gain a 50% resistance to damage from towers to give them a chance of surviving in a hostile room.
    • Power Usage: Only one power can be used per tick, except where noted. Cooldowns start on the turn when the power is used, i.e. a 2 tick cooldown means the creep can only use the power every other tick. Powers take effect before other actions in the turn.
    • Charge Powers: Powers with multiple charges have each charge with a separate cooldown. Each charge returns after the given cooldown after they are used.
    • Power Costs: Some powers have a resource cost that is drawn from the creep's stored resources.

    *****Operator Powers: The Operator focuses on augmenting structures and the environment to improve creeps. Many operator powers have resource costs balancing their power.

    • OverloadSource: The Operator overloads a target source, setting it's value to 6k/12k/18k/24k/30k. The source will regenerate and return to its normal value in 300 ticks. 1500 tick cooldown. This power offers a large burst of resources that can be collected, but poses a challenge in the form of figuring out how to collect the resources before they expire.
    • StorageInterest: The target storage gains interest on it's storage, increasing the amount of each resource in the storage by 0.2/0.4/0.6/0.8/1% of it's current amount. This can go above the storage's normal capacity. 1000 tick cooldown. This power adds a resource management issue, as players will have to decide whether to extract valuable minerals from the storage to utilize them, or leave them in to gain interest on them.

    • OverloadSpawn: The target spawn takes 10/20/30/40/50 ticks off of its current spawning timer, potentially spawning the creep instantly. 10 tick cooldown, but each creep can only have its summon boosted in this way once. This power adds a tradeoff for smaller creeps, giving them faster spawn times than larger creeps in exchange for higher CPU usage and weaker individual stats in combat.

    • Barrier: Creates a barrier (aka a rampart) with 20k/40k/60k/80k/100k HP in a location within range 3. The barrier decays at 1000 health per tick. 100 tick cooldown, costs 100/200/300/400/500 energy. This power can be used to protect allies, fortify defenses, or block movement of enemies.

    • Transmit: The Operator transmits the given resources to the target allied terminal, with 90/80/70/60/50% of the normal transmission cost (also paid out of the Operator's store). 10 tick cooldown. This power can be used for raiding operations, or for unusual remote harvesting schemes.

    • Blockade: Puts indestructible walls around the room, preventing any creep movement in or out of the room for 5/10/15/20/25 ticks, and disabling the room's terminal for 100 ricks. 50 tick cooldown, applied to the room (to prevent chain blockading). This power has a surprising amount of potential uses. It can be used defensively to disrupt an incoming attack or catch fleeing creeps out, or offensively to isolate a room and make it difficult to support.

    • ExpandExtensions: Increases the capacity of the target extension by 100/150/200/250/300 for 100 ticks (energy is retained after this expires). 10 tick cooldown, 10 range. This power allows a more consolidated base of expansions in a base, and also allows for a low-RCL base to be useful in a war effort with enough extension capacity. It also allows for the deployment of 25/25 claimer creeps to hit enemy controllers.

    • ObserveRoom: Observe a room within 10/20/30/40/50 rooms of this creep's room. No cooldown. This power enhances the capability of the AI to scan nearby areas.

    • AugmentTower: Augments the target tower, increasing or decreasing its damage by 30/60/90/120/150, to a minimum of 150 and maximum of 600. No cooldown, costs 5/10/15/20/25 energy. Does not stack with a similar effect, but buffs and debuffs can be combined. This power allows for significant changes to combat strategy with regard to towers. It can be used to weaken a bunker by causing the towers to lose their close-range bonus, or increase the viability of a ranged tower composition.

    • AugmentWall: Augments a wall, either increasing damage dealt to it or reducing the damage it takes by 10/20/30/40/50% for 1 tick. No cooldown. Does not stack with an effect of the same type, but buffs and debuffs can be combined. This power enhances the ability of an attack to crack a wall and penetrate a static defense. On defense though, it is much more interesting, as it can change an enemy attack plan from targeting a single wall to splitting up their attack to multiple walls.

    • ChargeMineral (speciallty): Reduces the target owned mineral's regeneration timer by 10. No cooldown, costs 50 energy. This power allows an AI to farm minerals at a greatly increased rate, in exchange for a significant amount of energy.

    • ManipulateBomb (specialty): Manipulates the target nuke, either increasing or reducing (creep's choice) its landing time by 1. No cooldown. This power can be used to stall out enemy nukes, or ensure that your nukes land faster. It could also be used to throw off the timing of a combined arms attack by making hostile nukes arrive before the enemy AI is ready.

    • TerminalGate (specialty): The target adjacent terminal becomes a gate on the next tick. A creep may move into a terminal that is acting as a gate and be transferred to another gate. 100 tick cooldown, Costs 1000 energy to create the gate, the terminal uses 1000 energy for each creep transferred. Two operators must coordinate to utilize this power, allowing for reinforcements to be directly transferred between rooms in an empire. It also opens up the potential for ambushes, as an AI that manages to correctly predict a gate's opening can send a creep through an opponent's gate to place it in the middle of their empire.

    *****Commander Powers: The Commander focuses on buffing and debuffing creeps on the field. Many commander powers have charges, allowing multiple abilities to be used.

    • Transpose: Switch the location of two allied creeps. 1/2/3/4/5 charges, 10 tick cooldown per charge.

    • Renew: Renews an allied creep, as the spawn function but with 120/110/100/90/80% of the normal cost. Uses energy stored on the Commander. No cooldown. This power provides a number of options. It can be used to support a long-range operation if fueled by remote harvesters, or it can allow a siege to be sustained indefinitely.

    • Overcharge: Overcharges an ally or enemy creep, increasing their damage dealt and damage taken from creeps by 20/40/60/80/100% for this tick. 5 tick cooldown. When used offensively, this power can be used to quickly eliminate key targets in exchange for them getting a large counterattack. When used defensively, it can boost an attacking unit's power level but leaves them open to being attacked, resulting in a guessing game between AIs as to who the other will target.

    • Stasis: Puts the target ally or enemy adjacent creep in stasis, negating all affects that target that creep and any actions performed by that creep. 1/2/3/4/5 charges, 100 tick cooldown per charge. Can disrupt enemy forces, or put a hole in a healer array at a key moment.

    • Force: Attempts to push the target ally or enemy creep within range 10 1 square in a designated direction. Can be used multiple times in the same activation by passing an array of directions. Cannot push enemy creeps off of or through ramparts. range 5, 1/2/3/4/5 charges, 10 tick cooldown per charge. This power is extremely versatile, with a large amount of possible uses.

    • RangeBoost: Boosts the range of an allied creep, increasing the range of any abilities with a range of 2 to a range of 5 for the next 5 ticks. 1/2/3/4/5 charges, 20 tick cooldown per charge.

    • Summon: Summons another allied creep in the same or connected adjacent room to a tile adjacent to the commander. 1/2/3/4/5 charges, 20 tick cooldown per charge, 100 tick cooldown if used to summon from an adjacent room. This can be used to augment the mobility of slow creeps, or even allow the use of creeps with no move parts.

    • Augment: Upgrades 2/4/6/8/10 parts on the target creep with level 2 boosts for 25 ticks. No cooldown, consumes 1 resource per part augmented. Can be used multiple times to fully boost a creep. This power allows for the potential of utilizing unboosted creeps in combat operations.

    • Absorb: Protects the target creep from 10/20/30/40/50% of incoming damage, and converts the damage blocked into energy (either dropped or inserted into the creep's carry) at 1/4 rate. 1/2/3/4/5 charges, 25 tick cooldown per charge. This power can be used to block damage from enemy attacks if aimed right, but it also has other unusual uses. It can be used to provide energy to support other commander powers, and it can even potentially be used to turn combat creeps into energy collectors when they are out of combat.

    • Interrupt: Attempt to predict the target enemy creep's intent (i.e. the enemy target's intent and their target/move direction). If successful, the enemy intent is interrupted. 1/2/3/4/5 charges, 50 tick cooldown per charge. This power requires a significant amount of prediction to use effectively, but can be effective at disrupting opposing creeps if your AI can correctly predict their action.

    • Subvert (specialty): Subverts the target creep within range 10, allowing you to issue intents to it as if it was your creep, but it keeps its permissions and can ignore ramparts from its original owner. You cannot use the suicide intent. 1000 tick cooldown. This power allows for extremely interesting tactics and trickery, but is limited by an extreme cooldown and short range limit.

    • Stealth (specialty): Hides this creep and all adjacent creeps, unless they are within range 3 of a hostile creep. Hidden creeps are only visible to the AI of their owner (clients do not render or detect invisible creeps). Hidden creeps cannot take any action other than the move action. No cooldown, consumes 10 energy per tick. This power allows up to eight creeps to be hidden from enemy observation, allowing them to infiltrate an enemy position. However, they cannot take any action until they exit stealth, and the duration of stealth is limited by the commander's energy.

    • AugmentCPU(specialty): Adds 1 CPU to your bucket for every intent set in this creep's room. 10 tick cooldown. This power can be used to aid a large faction with CPU usage, or allow for large clusters of units. Note that it also gives you CPU from enemy actions.

    *****Executor Powers: The Executor takes direct action on the field.

    • SpeedBoost: The Executor executes a chain of 2/4/6/8/10 moves instantly (pass in an array of directions). 10 tick cooldown. This allows the executor to move faster than a normal creep, increasing it's ability to maneuver. However, it cannot phase through walls.

    • EnergyShield: The Executor protects itself and allies within range 3 with a shield that reduces incoming damage to 50/33/25/20/16% of it's normal damage. No cooldown, consumes 100 energy per tick. This power can protect a group of creeps for a long time, but the weakness is it's high energy consumption. It can be supported by hauler creeps to increase it's duration, but it still only provides a limited amount of protection.

    • Reflect: The executor reflects 20/40/60/80/100% of damage aimed at it back at it attacker for 5 ticks. Does not reduce damage taken by the executor, still triggers against all incoming attacks even if the executor would be killed. 25 tick cooldown. This power is a very useful defensive ability for the executor, threatening high damage against any would-be attacker. However, once used, it leaves the executor vulnerable. Note that it can reflect tower attacks back into hostile towers.

    • Pierce: Pierces the target creep, dealing 200/400/600/800/1000 damage starting from it's bottom-most layer. Power creeps just take damage. Melee range. 5 tick cooldown. This power has low damage, but in exchange it has the potential to cripple a heavily armored creep by hitting it's vulnerable bottom layers instead of its outer TOUGH parts. The effects of this change based on what the target creep's bottom layers are made out of.

    • Punch: Attack a creep or structure in melee range, dealing 500/1000/1500/2000/2500 damage. The creep hit by this loses all non-TOUGH boost effects for the next tick. 2 tick cooldown. This power is a countermeasure to large boosted creeps, changed it from a stunlock on a creep to disruption move that can weaken enemy boosted creeps.

    • Snipe: Make a ranged attack against a tile up to 10 tiles away, dealing 200/400/600/800/1000 damage to a creep on that tile. Triggers after all other actions on the tick. 2 tick cooldown. This power requires prediction to utilize effectively, as the executor must aim where the enemy creep is moving to in order to hit it. Unless it's being used on stationary creeps, creeps with fatigue, or structures, however.

    • Enervate: Attaches a link to an adjacent creep or structure, dealing 20/40/60/80/100 damage. This continues to deal damage each tick until the executor is more than 3 tiles away from the affected target. 10 tick cooldown. This power is designed to devastate a massive wall if given enough time to build up. However, as power creeps lack the damage reduction of a tough-infused creep, the challenge is in keeping the executor alive for long enough to defeat the enemy wall. It can also be countered by other power creep abilities.

    • Recover: Heals this creep or another creep within range 5 for 10000. 40/35/30/25/20 tick cooldown. This power gives the executor a huge amount of healing if it is heavily damaged.

    • Flashbang: Creates a stun at a square adjacent to the creep. Creeps on or adjacent to the target square (before moving, ignoring ramparts) lose all actions next tick (current tick actions unaffected). 100/90/80/70/60 tick cooldown. This power fundamentaly replaces Kill in many situations. It doesn't kill enemy creeps outright, but a stun for 1 tick across multiple creeps in the middle of a fight can easily lead to a kill. However, creeps that are about to be hit can move away and ensure they avoid damage on the tick where they are stunned.

    • Work: Execute a relevant WORK action (harvest, dismantle, repair, build) on the target, with 100/200/300/400/500 effective WORK. 10 tick cooldown. This power allows the executor to contribute to the economy when not in combat.

    • Block (specialty): Block all incoming damage against the executor for 5 ticks. 50 tick cooldown. This power gives the executor greater defensive capability.

    • Blast (specialty): Adds a bomb (which can be found in the same references that check for nukes) to the target tile in the room that explodes in 250 ticks. The bomb kills all creeps within a 9x9 of it, and deals 100000 damage to structures in its center and 10000 damage to structures anywhere else within a 5x5 radius. 250 tick cooldown. This power adds a miniature nuke that can be utilized to disrupt non-ramparted sections of a base. Note that 1000 repair power (from 10 WORK) should be sufficient to counter this bomb.

    • Blitz (specialty): Refreshes the cooldown on all of this creep's abilities, and allows the creep to use multiple powers per turn for the next 5 turns. This power enhances the executor's own abilities, making it the most boring specialty but also potentially the most powerful.

    Please help me balance this suggestion by pointing out overpowered or underpowered abilities.

  • First, power creeps are a long way off. I hope they get rolled out slowly, e.g. A single power creep or power so we can try out the mechanics before committing a bunch of design time.

    There is so much fear about their potential military applications that I would strongly suggest that non-offensive power creeps get rolled out and thoroughly vetted. Testing on the PTR is insufficient. Look at all bugs IVM's found in player code, those could have been caught in the PTR but weren't.

    Looking through the powers many seem reasonable. What I don't like boils down to this; I don't want new power creeps to break other players code. Though I'm much more forgiving if the change is numerical.

    I think OverloadSource and OverloadSpawn are great first powers. Their coding burden is rests completely on the player.

    TerminalGate sounds awesome. The community has long clamored for something to teleport creeps around your empire. I expected to see something like this as a structure, but a power creep is acceptable as well.

    AugmentTower isn't particularly interesting. The player using it would just park a power creep and have it augment a tower. Not terrible but not a particularly interesting problem to solve. (I flat out don't like the idea of weakening other player's towers, but I don't see anything wrong with it).

    ManipulateBomb (should be ManipulateNuke), is fine. It might mess up timing but should not cause errors in the other players code. Punch, not so much. It could massively bug out someone's pathing code. Same goes for all the intent manipulations.

    I'm unsure about the extended range abilities. I worry that kiting at range 5 rather than range 3 will be OP as no one's code or base layout is ready for it. However, I really like the Snipe power. Not so much what it does, but that it presents an interesting puzzle to solve; "Where should I shoot so that next tick I'll hit my target?".

    Stasis, is kinda no. You could achieve a similar effect by projecting fatigue onto the target.

    Absorb could be changed to be less disruptive. Something like massRangedHeal would be a similar effect and would fit well with other room log events.

    Pierce is a deceptively disruptive change. A lot of code out there likely depends on the order of part death to help determine a creep's capabilities.

    Barrier and Blockade, No. That would show up as a new Structure or RoomObject.

  • AugmentTower basically increases or decreases the effective range of a tower. It isn't effective at reducing damage from a tower that already does minimum damage, or for boosting the damage of towers that are already getting maximum damage on the enemy.

    Stasis is one of the powers that probably will receive a nerf, yes.

    All absorb does is reducing damage to a creep and turning it into energy. Is that really disruptive?

    Yes, pierce is going to be disruptive. However, you can still check what parts the creep has available through getActiveBodyparts.

    Barrier's barrier could just be a rampart with different properties (namely, faster decay), and blockade would leverage the same indestructible constructed walls used for novice/respawn areas.