srijeda, 4. siječnja 2017.

Space butterfly

Stareater's native life forms are coming to ruin you day. Or whole year if turns represent years. Lovecraftian space butterfly may look harmless at first, it will ignore your glowing cities and curious star ships, it will go straight for the star in a middle of a system and put a curse on it. It will turn temperate solar weather into living hell with extreme radiation and flaming tongues of solar flares.

Catalyzers (those space butterflies described above) are very old life forms, dating lineage back to the first generations of stars. They were born on rogue planet, a gas giant without a star to orbit about. There the life evolved around utilizing liquid helium and planet's powerful magnetic field. Extremely low temperatures made one peculiar evolutionary advance possible, the fusion catalysis. A life form utilizing it would inhale hydrogen, preform cold fusion and have access to nearly inexhaustible source of energy. At least from human perspective that is. After millions of years, gigantic gas dwellers have had exhausted their hydrogen supplies. Because of it some resorted to preying on others and some to far more radical measures: interstellar travel. Another strange ability of liquid helium's superconductivity is twisting the space itself, allowing life forms to slingshot themselves toward new sources of hydrogen, the stars of their galaxy. Like moths flying into flame, many have died but some were lucky enough to stumble upon other gas giants and eventually evolve the ability to exploit stars. They would devour the galaxy if there wasn't another fantastic leap of evolution, moving through multiverse. Instead of traveling through normal space to another star they could reach much closer (in time, not necessarily distance or effort) another version of their main star, effectively exploiting it over and over. This eventually led to birth of a stareater, a seemingly single star swallowing entity which in fact is a byproduct of much smaller beings.

For now catalyzers are only native life form implemented but more are to come. As it was the case with previous features, my main goal was to work out the foundation and have at least one example of the feature in action. In this sense catalyzers are one example of special participants in the game who partly play as regular player and partly have special privileges. They can make order their fleet on galaxy map and in combat but can live without colonies, can see whole map and spawn "ships" out of thin air/vacuum. It was fair challenge but I now have a system which supports "fake" players without reinvention of the wheel. Theoretically I can add another fake player for parasitic life forms who pray on stareater's organism and have them fight each other. A theory which I intend to put in practice one day :).

Another big deal introduced with this feature is an ability to put persisting traits on stars during combat and they can have active component now. So far traits were passive, a celestial body would either have it turn 1 or not have it ever. Now for example stars with "catalized" trait can actively inflict increased radiation to orbiting planets and ceasing to do so after a few turns.

There are few bug left to iron out, mostly when saving and loading. When I fix them I'll make a new build available for download.

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