From square one, I knew that drones would be a major part of this game. I'm surprised that I kept from writing the page for so long. (Still March 30th) In retrospect, it may have been best. My earlier ideas about the game did change over the course of the project and I'm almost certain that if I'd written about drones much sooner, I'd have had to rewrite it to keep things straight. While it's not evident on the surface, I felt great about this node. Everything clicked, as if the rest of the project was a puzzle and I'd just inserted a piece that fit perfectly.

Unfortunately, after this page, things in my personal life turned upside-down and school tightened its noose. On the bright side, I got an A on my philosophy midterms. Sad truth is that I didn't touch this site for two solid weeks since I posted this node. What I did in April: commerce.

To a Remnant, Drones are like fingers to the body of the vessel. They are responsible for any job too small or too delicate to be dealt with by the entire vessel, including scouting, repair and construction, boarding enemy vessels and helping take out smaller craft in combat. Though they vary by role, most drones are roughly one quarter the size of the Remnant itself. As such, there is a limited space for drones aboard a ship.

Another factor limits how many drones the player can control: their interfacing attribute. The more advanced a player's interfacing abilities, the better drones function all-around. While the player can stretch their interfacing skills to the limits and control many many drones, they will find that controlling only a few drones really does have distinct advantages (as they tend to die less, which is cheaper!)

Drones themselves come in a few categories: combat, scout, construction and infiltrator. Of each of these types, there are many different models and 'brands' which all are slightly unique. Some may have more armor than the average drone, or work faster, or be better all around. Some take up less space and are cheaper but perform poorly. Finding the right drone for the job at hand can be tricky but may make a big difference.

Drone Production & Stowage

Drones can be purchased from various NPC dealers or produced at a drone factory. Drone factories are components which must have at least one 'vent' either to the exterior of the ship or to a drone stowage bay. Drone factories are typically only equipped to produce one type of drone in addition to construction drones, though advanced models can produce all types and models. Drones built in the factory immediately appear in the conjoined stowage bay. They can also be 'retired' back to the factory, where all of their raw materials are recovered.

Stowage bays contain a certain amount of 'drone space' relative to their size and quality. Stowage bays must have a 'vent' to the exterior of the ship and may have many. The more vents, the faster the drones deploy and return. Damaging an enemy's drone stowage bay before the drones deploy is a surefire way to bring their little helpers out of commission.

Note that drones typically are not capable of interstellar travel and must be stowed in order to be successfully transported between systems.

Combat Drones

Combat drones are controlled similarly to the strike craft in Homeworld. They attack enemy vessels immediately upon release, picking smaller craft as targets (if fighter drones) or larger craft (if bombers). They may be manually direct to attack a certain enemy, though their actual flight patterns, weapons used, etc. are entirely automated. Combat drones have a toggleable behavior to either return to their bay if damaged or fight to the death. Beyond that, combat drones are a very simple yet very effective edge in battle.

Scout Drones

Scout drones are scanners, cameras and sensors attached to rockets, essentially. They travel faster than any other slower-than-light craft and can 'see' quite far despite their size. While scout drones have limited uses, they do have abilities which prove them to be very useful. Most scout drones sacrifice some visual range in order to 'cloak:' to become essentially untargetable and invisible to enemy sensors. They appear to be floating specks in space, yet they report enemy movements, hull compositions and weaponry. Though scout drones can be targeted (albeit not easily) while their engines are firing, some are equipped with miniature slamdrives. These powerful engines expend half of their fuel going to one location and half coming back. This allows scout drones to slam to a point in the enemy's route, or to fly past them undetected. Once the enemy has passed, the drone can return. Drones that overshoot enemies have an opportunity to make a second pass, in this case.

Infiltration Drones

Infiltration drones are some of the most specialized tools in the Remnant universe. Build like pointy missiles, these drones are deployed in pods which must be launched directly at a target ship of sufficient size. Upon impact, these drones begin to bore into the hull of the enemy ship towards key components. While most useful against human vessels which contain hallways and living areas, infiltration drones can be used in multiplayer to target and destroy specific components.

The main use of infiltration drones is against biological NPCs. When breached by these drones, the enemy ship will begin to flounder as the crew is forced to fight against the invaders. The player's interfacing capability is very dependent on the success of these drones, as is the amount of damage inflicted to the crew areas of the target ship by the player. If the drones survive long enough to reach the cockpit, the enemy ship will surrender and fall under the control of the player.

Construction Drones

The basic drone in many senses, ship modification is made manageable and fast by these hard workers. Though construction drones automatically repair the player's ship, they act on ship modification instructions foremost and speed the process up significantly. Construction drones also have the privilege of harvesting raw materials from pretty much anything in space, as well as the ability to take components and resources from enemy wreckages and reverse-engineer them. Note that some construction drones are far better at resource harvesting than reverse-engineering and vice versa. Having a few of each tucked in a small drone stowage bay is beneficial to every Remnant player.

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