Power Creeps update

  • Dev Team

    @davaned Power creeps don't have heal abilities on purpose - they are supposed to act along with your regular creeps together rather than poking enemies solo on the other side of the world.

    "Send to terminal" power will be likely added to the Executor later.


  • Dev Team

    @davaned Combining economy and military powers might make choosing options less entertaining. It's a trade-off you have to consider, whether to drop some economy efficiency in order to be able to attack with better efficiency. If all military powers were just a "bonus" automatically, the decision-making process would lose a part of the fun.

  • @artch Excellent, really glad you'll add a terminal power. One of my main complaints about warfare in screeps is its really hard to benefit from it, its almost always purely destructive. Making raiding potentially worth it will be cool.

    I agree with the healing, although maybe an ability that vampire drains another creep hits as an attack that heals the executor. I do like the challenge of having an immortal (via renewal) raiding squad that runs around and can self sustain with mining and renewal.

    My main complaint with military/work not being combined is that there is 99% a right choice. You wouldn't spend your limited power on a creep that has a useless ability. At best right before you plan to attack you will make a creep with the offensive abilities, and then suicide it when you are done with it.

    I think most of the fun comes from thinking of ways to use abilities, not which ones you get to use. But there is definitely some burden of complexity with combining the powers. I think if you get the data on it you'll probably find that its at minimum 90%/10% going to be eco chosen each time. Thats a bit of a shame, because there are so many cool things that are unlocked by the more offensive options, but they are outweighed by the general usefulness of the defensive. Abilities that have offense and defense built into them (berserk unlocks a lot of potential, for example) are really well designed imo. Anyway, just a thought to potentially open up more options.

    As an aside, I'd love to see more abilities that affect the terrain. Like one that creates temporary roads (eg TTL of 10) or swamps, or walls. Things like poison gas or non-aggression safemode zones would be more out there but also options. I think fights in neutral rooms could use some more interesting tactics, and this could be one way to unlock it.

    Quick idea:

    Stasis - Target creep rendered invulnerable and can do no actions for 3 ticks, medium cd, and are unwalkable terrain. Taken out of the battle (shut down their power creep, remove their healer) or defensive to give your creeps time to prepare (save a creep close to death, block a key location, defend against an ability).

    To flesh out the executor drain ability: Drain: Deals X damage (increased by berserk), creep heals for X. Excess healing forms a shield for the next tick. Creep parts destroyed by this lose their boosts.

    This to me seems like an interesting tradeoff of which offensive ability do you pick. Do you pick punch, for the utility? Do you pick drain, for the self-sufficiency? Snipe, for the range? You'd only pick one, maybe two.

  • @artch something I want to both point out and ask: Are there any plans to add more powers to classes after release, or will they remain the same forever?

    I ask because with the current leveling system, it looks very tricky to add in new powers without rebalancing the entire tree from the ground up. It might be simpler to do with the MOBA-like system you said you might be drafting.

    I also wanted to know, since if they are going to remain unchanged forever, I need to spit out my giant list of power ideas sooner rather than later.

    Finally, why do different power creeps have different maximum levels? It would be nice if I could over-level a power creep up to the "global" maximum to gain more hits/carry. It makes sense if you wanted some power creeps to be easier to kill, but it seems strange that it also means those classes can't have as many powers.

    And just because I am going to list some power ideas \o/ I am not going to list costs, durations or cooldowns because those require some amount of balancing thought 😂

    • PORTAL - Creates a temporary portal from the current location to a bus room within N linear range.
    • DISRUPT_LAIR - Adds N ticks to source keep lair respawn timer.
    • OPERATE_NUKER - Temporarily increases nuker range by N rooms.
    • OPERATE_ROADS - Roads in the current room only generate N (fraction) fatigue per weight.
    • DISRUPT_ROADS - Roads in the current room have no effect for N ticks.
    • DISRUPT_MOVEMENT - Adds N constructed walls randomly placed around target position with 1 hit.
    • OPERATE_CONTROLLER - Increases maximum energy used to upgrade this controller by N for X ticks.
    • DISRUPT_CONTROLLER - Prevents using more than N energy to upgrade this controller per tick for X ticks.
    • DISABLE_SAFEMODE - Removes safemode from the current room and puts safemode on cooldown for this room. Can only be used on controllers owned by you.
    • SLOW - Creates an area of temporary swamps at the target position
    • BOUNCE - Any creep that attacks this creep is forced to use a .move() intent in the opposite direction of this creep
    • GHOST - Position information for this creep is unavailable for other players. It reports random positions within the room. It is known to other players when a creep has activated ghost.
    • BEACON - Immediately triggers invaders in the current room, which resets the harvest invader timer.
    • WARD - Prevents invaders from attacking this room for N ticks. If an invasion were to happen during this time, it would reset the invasion timer.
    • SPRINT - Creep can move even if it has fatigue for X ticks.
    • RAISE_DEAD - Resurrects a creep from their tombstone with ticks to live equal to N percent of the tombstone ticks to live. This creep cannot be raised again.
    • DRAIN - Deals N damage to target creep. If the damage destroys a creep part, the part is permanently destroyed, receive X% of target creep's cost as resources, proportional to remaining ticks to live. If amount is greater than carry capacity the resources fall to the ground.

  • Dev Team


    At best right before you plan to attack you will make a creep with the offensive abilities, and then suicide it when you are done with it.

    Since redistribute cooldown will be very long (up to a few days), it doesn't seem to be an easy decision.

  • Dev Team


    something I want to both point out and ask: Are there any plans to add more powers to classes after release, or will they remain the same forever?

    It is possible, but it should be done very carefully.

    I ask because with the current leveling system, it looks very tricky to add in new powers without rebalancing the entire tree from the ground up. It might be simpler to do with the MOBA-like system you said you might be drafting.

    We're working on another levelling system, see this post above.

    I also wanted to know, since if they are going to remain unchanged forever, I need to spit out my giant list of power ideas sooner rather than later.

    I believe Operator skills set is fine for now. We're focusing on balancing them now, not on finding new ideas. Some of your proposals might make it into other classes though.

    Finally, why do different power creeps have different maximum levels?

    Because currently they have different total number of skills.

  • 0_1523651603069_30d9203a-2243-4240-8e05-f91bbf099fdf-image.png

    The new level rings are kind of small. If this is (at least somewhat) representative of the final leveling screen, could these bars become more distinct, and easier to tell apart? Potentially becoming wedges instead of lines.

    Also, the inner ring of GENERATE_OPS obscures the level rings quite a bit.

  • I also think that there should be a way to rapidly select powers. Experienced players will already know what each power does, and will just be annoyed by the the extra expanded section and button press. Holding SHIFT, CTRL or maybe right-clicking would be a sufficient distinction for "just level it up, I don't need to see the description".

    I know I am already annoyed by the extra click while trying to test which powers work together 😂

  • Dev Team

    @Gankdalf thank you for your feedback, but please hold on until we release the second version of this UI, it will be significantly different.


  • Has there been any rough timeline announced? Are we looking at next month? Summer? Fall?

  • In my opinion, powers should be active by default in rooms with no controller (i.e. hallway rooms, SK rooms, and portal rooms). This would solve the logistical problem of how to allow players to activate or deactivate powers in these rooms, and would have a minimal impact on other players. Power activation in these neutral rooms is unlikely to significantly negatively impact an opposing player outside of a battle happening to occur in those areas, and even in most of the negative situations the powers could easily be activated anyways by a power creep rushing the controller to turn on the powers before defenders can be spawned and mobilized.


  • Culture

    @davaned It's been in the next six months for the last 2 years so take a timeline with a grain of salt.


  • I have an idea for slowly introducing power creeps to the game. Certain of the aggressive type power creeps could have a small chance to spawn in level 8 room invasions, or as part of the convoys bringing resources etc.

    Basically, you can have a limited ability set npc power creeps that players can experience before it goes live. That way players will start thinking about countering them before they go live, similar to how room invasions start players considering defense before they get attacked for real.

  • To be honest, I don't see the advantage of the current operate extensions over the previous iteration. The previous iteration provided the ability to load up extra resources into extensions to save on the amount of extensions each hauler needed to visit, save up resources for multiple consecutive creep spawns, and even allow smaller rooms to deploy stronger creeps by buffing up their extensions to a higher level. The current operate extensions does fill extensions faster and can potentially replace one dedicated hauler creep, but since the power creep has carry capacity anyways, it can already fill extensions in a room quite quickly just using its own carry capacity (filling about 100 energy per tick to RCL8 extensions just through withdraw and transfer commands). Increasing extension capacity provides more tactical options than just merely filling extensions.

  • @Crusher48 the cpu savings are non-trivial at a minimum


  • @artch Any updates on the second version of the UI or the testing with MOBA-style leveling?

    I'm not excited or anything 👀

  • Dev Team

    UPDATE: New version of the Power Planner tool has been deployed.

    The old version is still available by this link: https://screeps.com/power-planner-old/

    We're looking forward to your opinions what version do you like more.

  • @artch So here is some of my feedback on the new planner user interface.

    1. I don't like having to hover each icon to see what level I need to upgrade it. I don't even care how small it is, it should be displayed somewhere at all times. This is somewhat minor, but I think it is important.

    2. The undo button is nice, but it might be nicer to use a breadcrumb history instead.

    3. There is no undo, decrease, remove, retry or anything when selecting a saved creep for edit. This will get annoying in a hurry.

    4. I really like being able to select powers with 1 click.

    5. Are the checkmarks that show up when you click a power backwards or is that just me?

    Some feedback on potential balance theory

    1. Glad EXTEND_SOURCE got moved to level 10. It seemed extremely powerful for a level 1 power.

    2. OPERATE_EXTENSION still seems a bit odd. It fills fractions of extensions, and according to the current description looks like it cannot be used on Links, which seems a bit odd.

    3. I feel like I have more control over what my power creep can do at all levels, and feel like I have to make hard decisions at lower levels and higher levels. The middle levels aren't all that interesting sometimes though.

    4. Some options are obviously available that weren't before, so there are some possible balance concerns between which version is chosen, but that's obvious. This being one of the power creeps I would use in the new system, which wasn't fully possible in the other system: https://screeps.com/power-planner/?creeps=0_General_105244552c4d5

    5. Why does DISRUPT_TERMINAL have 5 levels if you can only have 3? Okay, so after retrying I am no longer having this issue.

    6. As the most powerful offensive power, level 20 might be a pretty big hurdle to cross for newer players looking to get into competitive combat. The power is almost required to have any chance at taking out some bases, so it would be great if I could access it a bit sooner, but at the same time, it is still the most powerful, so I can see why caution is being used.

    7. The price of using DISRUPT_TOWER seems a bit high to me, but I could be wrong. It definitely doesn't seem like it is meant for sustained use like I originally thought, but rather as a way to recover from a particularly deadly (or lucky) shot.

    I think the new system is better because:

    1. I feel like I am choosing powers that fit my creep, instead of choosing between powers I will never use on this creep.
    2. I can make a purely offensive Operator that can actually make use of SHIELD
    3. I can actually have level 5 GENERATE_OPS, since it no longer conflicts with every useful power.
    4. I feel like modding in new powers on my private server won't be the biggest headache ever, since they can just be added with limitations rather than requiring precise integration into the tree.
    5. Overall it just seems easier to understand. I don't have to stare at it for an hour just to figure out what things I can sacrifice to achieve a goal.

    I feel like some caution might be needed for powers that are too situational or weak, since they will be completely ignored now with no reason to ever take or try them. Harvest boosts come to mind as a similar issue.

    Overall my vote is on the new planner. Still hyped.

  • Culture

    I've only quickly looked at it this morning, but the new planner seems much simpler and easier to understand than the old. I do agree with @Gankdalf though, the level lock should probably be more visible than the tiny lock icon.

  • I like it, I think its a great improvement and a much more flexible design. Also, although I know its not set in stone I like that kill has a huge level requirement now.

    Level Requirements: It would be nice to show visually how close to unlocking something you are, eg how many more levels. "Unlock at level 7" is fine, but personally I'd prefer a red X over the options with a "3" more levels till this unlocks. You could also show the min level requirements on the power description. For example:

    Disrupt Spawn

    lvl 1 3 7 14

    Add 1/2/3/4/5 ticks etc etc

    Creep Templates: As a product enhancement, it would be great to be able to save templates. Eg, a mother hen creep that just sits in the base, generates ops and operates your base.

    Offense/Defense Combinations: I still think it is worth considering combining some of the weaker powers so that the offense/defense versions are a single one. A flexible but weaker power is much more attractive than just a weaker power. For example, having operate observer also allow shielding a room from observation, combining disrupt and operate terminal, etc. Basically, thinking of it more like you're picking specializations that unlock certain abilities (this is an ops and terminal specialized creep).

    Operate Extensions: And I agree, I think the operate extension should be tweaked a bit. This will be one of those powers that can make things much smoother. Allowing it to use energy from a creep/itself/links would be a nice touch. The energy throughput is a bit low but I think it might be reasonable to keep it low.