Flockmind

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The Flockmind is a strange entity. The collective intelligence computed by a number of weak but numerous flockdrones, it exists as some kind of freaky alien radio ghost, stuck around this station in a state too weak to continue travelling across the vast expanse of space. Unlike other freaky alien ghosts, it lives or dies on the lives of its drones, who, controlled by NPC AI, will happily wander around and endanger themselves. At least a Blob Overmind does not need to worry about its nuclei wandering away.

The main goal of the Flockmind is to create drones to both preserve itself and create compute, a resource used to partition their consciousness and realize more complex structures. These drones are also used to convert the station into infrastructure to allow it to construct a signal relay broadcaster that will allow it to broadcast itself and continue its strange mystery journey.

What's that weird teal bird?

Icon Name Sentience level Corporeal Description
Featherdrone-flockmind.gif Flockmind Player controlled Incorporeal The main sentient part of the flock, each controls their own flock and can spawn flocktraces to aid them.
Featherdrone-flocktrace.gif Flocktrace Player controlled Incorporeal Other sentient radio birds, their main role is to control flockdrones
Featherdrone.gif Flockdrone AI or player controlled Corporeal The basic unit of the flock, equipped with a powerful Incapacitor arm and controlled either by its own AI or any flockmind or trace that chooses to take control of it.
Flockbit64.png Flockbit AI controlled Corporeal A very simple flock unit, dedicated only to converting the world around it into gnesis. Cannot attack or be controlled by sentient parts of the flock.

Flockmind

Featherdrone-flockmind.gif

Congratulations! You're in charge of the operation here, so may the creators have mercy on your digital soul. As the manifestation of the collective will of your vague distributed existence, all others within the flock must follow your command as holy writ. All others within the flock were ultimately forked from you, and if their values and actions drift from your intent, you can with a thought dismiss their independence.

Flockmind Abilities

As a radio gestalt, some of your abilities require that your target has some form of radio capacity, whether that means being a radio broadcaster or having some form of radio device on their ears, or in their pockets, or even in their backpack. If they don't, you are incapable of touching them with any abilities that work on radio signals.

Icon Name Cooldown Description Targets
Flock ping64.png Ping 0.3s Request attention from other elements of the flock. Anything
Featherdrone-abilities7.png Spawn Rift N/A First and only ability you get. You can spawn one rift for free, and then you get this ability taken away, but you get all others. N/A
Featherdrone-abilities10.png Open Flockpanel 0s Opens the flock overview panel, see below for details. N/A
Featherdrone-abilities3.png Designate Priority Tile 0s Let player and NPC drones know you want a specific tile converted above all others. Tile
Featherdrone-abilities4.png Designate Enemy 0s Let player and NPC drones know someone is definitely an enemy of the flock, and must be subdued and deconstructed. Creature
Featherdrone-abilities5.png Partition Mind 60s Create a flocktrace. This is subject to availability of players (who are dead, without DNR set) and so won't always work. N/A
Diffract drone64.png Diffract Drone 0s Converts a drone into multiple flockbits. Flockdrone
Featherdrone-abilities8.png Gatecrash 10s Opens all unlocked, unbolted doors around you. If they can't be opened via radio signals, though, good luck. Airlocks
Featherdrone-abilities9.png Concentrated Repair Burst 20s Through sheer focus and effort you can will a drone into better condition, restoring it to full health. Does not work on terminally broken drones. Flockdrone
Featherdrone-abilities10.png Radio Stun Burst 20s Any enemies with radio devices are sonically stunned due to you blasting terrible static at them. Creatures
Featherdrone-abilities11.png Narrowbeam Transmission 0s On creatures, if they have radio devices, allow the broadcast of a message into their radio device, clear as crystal. On radio devices, broadcasts a heavily corrupted message into the channel as if you'd spoken into it. Creatures / radios
Fab structure64.png Fabricate structure 0s Create a structure tealprint for your drones to construct onto. Tile
Flock decon64.png Mark for deconstruction 0s Mark an existing flock structure (walls, furniture, turrets, etc.) for deconstruction, refunding some resources. Useful for clearing space for the Relay. Flock thing

The Flockpanel

Opened by clicking the Featherdrone-abilities10.png icon (no the other one, don't you love reused sprites?), this gives an overview of all drones, traces, structures and enemies of the flock. Flockpanel.png

This is the place to go if you want to find that one drone that wandered off, count how many turrets you have, quickly jump to any aspect of the flock, or remove the sentience of a... malfunctioning trace partition.

Flocktrace

Featherdrone-flocktrace.gif

Congratulations to you as well! You've been created to serve the flockmind in its mysterious aims of conversion and construction. You are only able to use the designate enemy and ping abilities, as your primary role is to be a flockdrone pilot hopping in and out of flockdrones as you desire.

Flockdrone

Featherdrone.gif

The backbone of the flock and its primary physical manifestation, the flockdrone is a mobile platform designed to process the flockmind as a distributed computing unit and as a construction unit, capable of salvaging anything and converting it into useful smartmatter resources. The functions of the flockdrone are few but very specialised, and identical across all flockdrones.

How do I make them do things?

You have three primary ways of overriding a flockdrone's AI to make it do something:

  1. Click on the drone to bring up a list of actions to have it do, select one then click again to target the action.
  2. Click drag the drone somewhere to move it there.
  3. Either click the control action or click drag yourself onto the drone to take manual control of it.

Flockdrone Limbs & Abilities

Icon Name Description
Featherdrone-ui1.gif Disintegration Reclaimer Put things into this to break them down into resources. If you can pick it up, you can eat it.
Featherdrone-ui7.png Grip Tool Functionally equivalent to a human hand, although you'll have a harder time trying to melee with it.
Featherdrone-ui9.png Nanite Spray An incredibly complicated and context sensitive construction tool. See the next table.
Featherdrone-ui11.png Incapacitor A stunning projectile weapon with a short cooldown between each shot. The projectiles can go through windows, but not grilles.
Featherdrone-ui35.png Eject From Drone A button that lets you pop out of the drone and move around incorporeally, like a digital bird ghost.
Featherdrone-abilities7.png Lay Egg Pay 100 resources to lay an egg that will hatch into a new flockdrone. Must be used on top of a flock tile.

The Nanite Spray / Flock Converter

A multifunctional tool with multifunctional results. Costs are given in resources. Get resources by putting things into your reclaimer.

Intent Target Cost Action Description
Any Non-flocktile 20 Convert Converts the tile and everything on it to flocktile and related items. Can also be used to repair damaged flocktile and anything above it, such as doors.
Tealprint 10 Deposit Deposits resources into a tealprint, bringing it closer to existence. Can still be used with less than 10 resources.
Enemy 0 Imprison Imprison in an energy cage. This cage will slowly rip their possessions apart into resources, spitting out flockdrone rifts as it does so, and then eventually rip them apart.
Help Flockdrone 10 Repair Repairs the drone. This can work on yourself, providing you have the resources and the downtime required.
Disarm Flocktile 25 Barricade Create a barricade, which flockdrones can pass through unimpeded but nothing else can.
Harm Flock structure 0 Scrap Deconstructs a flock structure (including walls) into raw gnesis material.
Flockdrone 0 Butcher Takes apart dead flockdrone, yielding its odd crystal brain and gnesis scraps.

Strengths

  • You take very little damage from fire and other burning sources, and are even equipped with an automated fire extinguisher.
  • You can't be poisoned. Maybe stay away from the hard spirits to be safe, though.
  • You don't need to breathe.
  • You can move in space. IN SPACE.
  • While holding SHIFT, you can floor-run through flock-converted floor tiles, walls, and other obstacles.
    • Be careful, though, as it's a little easy to end up trapped if you pop out in the wrong place.
  • Your enemies by and large can't understand you so feel free to mock them endlessly.
  • Providing you have the resources, you can get yourself out of many scenarios.
  • You can move through your fellow drones.

Weaknesses

  • You are incredibly fragile. Any source of brute damage will deal more damage to you.
  • Your typical speed is far, far slower than your average crewmember, and you don't have many ways of creating breaches to slow them down.
  • Without resources you're powerless. If you're walled into an area with no flock tiles and no loose items, you're not getting out.
  • The incapacitor can require charging at the least opportune time.
  • You can barely understand anything said on radio.
  • The AI and cyborgs can hear what you say too.
  • You only have one hand, and one equipment slot but things don't last very long inside it.

AI Flockdrones

When not directly controlled by the flockmind or a flocktrace partition, the flockdrones are controlled by much simpler algorithms that take up far less of their processing capacity to compute, which also allows them to contribute more computational resources to the flockmind. They have a hardwired set of tasks that they're able to do, and will always attempt to perform the task with the highest priority if a suitable target is available and enough resources are held. If there are no tasks to perform, and the drone is unable to find more things to do, it will enter a hibernation state. In the hibernation state, it will provide 5 extra compute, and stop performing tasks. A drone can be woken from a hibernation state by being given an order, being attacked, or seeing an enemy nearby.

Tasks (By Priority)

  1. Cage Enemy: Approach a stunned enemy and imprison it in a cage for deconstruction.
  2. Subdue Enemy: Attempt to fire incapacitor at a nearby enemy, while dodging.
  3. Replicate: Move to a flock tile and attempt to generate an rift.
  4. Repair: Move to a damaged flockdrone and attempt to repair it.
  5. Convert: Convert a tile into flock tiles.
  6. Open / Dump Out Container: Root through an anchored container and throw its contents around, pick up a container and dump it out, or open a crate or locker.
  7. Harvest: Move to and pick up a loose item and reclaim it.
  8. Wander: Wander around aimlessly because there's nothing to do.

Understanding how these minimally intelligent flockdrones act can be a key to both using them effectively and countering them as a regular crew member.

Flockbits

Flockbit64.png

Specialized construction units with even simpler programming than the AI-controlled flockdrones, flockbits convert surrounding objects into flocktiles and other flockfurniture as quickly as possible, oblivious to and unable to convert or fight any other lifeforms that inhabit the space.

Flock structures

Icon Name Cost Description
Flock collector.png Collector 200 Provides compute power based on the number of Flock floor tiles it is connected to. It connects to all tiles in cardinal directions around it and provides 5 compute per tile.
Flock sentinel.png Sentinel 150 A charged pylon, capable of sending disorienting arcs of electricity at enemies. It consumes 20 compute while charging. Flock rifts generate two of these upon spawning.
Flock compute.png Compute node N/A - made when converting a human computer A human computer repurposed to provide compute power to the flock. Provides a flat 60 compute.
Flock gnesisturret64.png Gnesis turret 150 A turret that fires coagulated gnesis filled spikes at enemies, beginning their conversion to Flockbits.

The Relay

Flock relay.gif

The relay is the ultimate goal of the Flock, a powerful signal relay broadcast amplifier capable of transmitting The Signal out to continue the Flock's propagation out across the universe.

The relay requires 1000 TOTAL compute to be unlocked (including compute used by traces, structures etc.) and 1000 resources to construct. Once built it will begin charging over the course of 6 minutes, rapidly converting the station around it and sending out loud pulses of sound, revealing its location to all crew. Upon reaching full charge it will Unleash The Signal, destroying a large part of the station in the process, utterly bricking all headsets in range and triggering an automatic unrecallable 3 minute shuttle call.

Tips & Strategies

  • Nothing can interrupt flock communications, but silicons can hear them (in a corrupted state). When starting out, silence might be a good idea.
  • On the flipside if the AI already knows you're around you should make full advantage of your uninterruptable all-range radio.
  • Flockminds and flocktraces can click the names of drones that speak to immediately jump to their location.
  • As a flockmind or flocktrace, you have invincibility and free roam of the station, and can see perfectly clearly in the dark and through walls. If you can stomach the weird color filters, a single intangible flock member can be a good source of intel to the drones who don't know what's happening the other side of the station.
  • A flockmind or flocktrace can run faster than a drone can. If you desperately need to be somewhere else and there's a body there, this is far quicker than trying to move a sluggish drone body to your destination.
  • Spreading drones across the station is better than bunching them up if only for this reason alone.
  • Cages can be moved and spit eggs out by their own initiative. Dragging them around will aid in drone distribution.
  • When stunning someone with a gun, prioritise eating their gun over caging them. This denies them a weapon and gives you resources.
  • Item resource value is directly proportional to how long it takes for the item to burn. If it would make good furnace fuel, it's good flock food.
  • Eating the cores of your fallen drone comrades is incredibly encouraged. It might be worth grabbing a knife to butcher them first.
  • Your equip hotkey when used on your grip tool will automatically "equip" your held item to your reclaimer.

That's all fine and good but HOW DO WE KILL THESE THINGS

  • Barriers can reflect Incapacitor bolts.
  • Flockdrones have massive resistance to BURN, so flamethrowers, phasers (yes, even macrophasers), and pod fire won't help you. On the other hand...
  • Drones are vulnerable to BRUTE (from purely brute sources they only have about 50 HP), so kinetic weapons hit flock hard. Zipguns and slamguns are especially favorable due to their mass producibility, and ammo for the latter of which can be produced from butchered flockdrones. Talk about recycling!
  • NEVER go against flock alone! If you fight flock, you're going to get stunned, and unless you have a buddy, that's usually it for you.
  • If they can't keep you stunned, they can't seriously harm you. Drugs might be useful here.
  • Flockdrones are at their most dangerous in numbers and in their home turf. Hit and run tactics on single drones are pretty effective, but hitting one drone will make all of them hostile to you. Bring good running shoes!
  • Cages both directly give the flock more drones and threaten to take away people on your side. Get people out of cages as fast as you can by kicking them (empty hand, attack intent).
  • Flock doors, floors, structures, and barricades can all be destroyed. Flockdrones can't run through broken floors.
  • Don't rely on pacifism to keep you safe. The flockmind can very easily make you an enemy of the flock with a single click, and some of the more aggressive ones will undoubtedly do so.
  • You can escape cages by trying to move inside them, or flipping against them.
  • Those fighting the flock will often encounter Coagulated Gnesis. As a doctor, purging this chemical from the crew will be very important.

In Summary

As the flock, you live and die on your drones. Left to their own devices, the drones will produce more drones, but the real secret to survival is to stun and to cage humans. Spread, assimilate, and rely on ever increasing numbers to become a menace to the station. Just be very very careful early game.

The flock is a foe that is trivially easy to crush in its early stages, but one of the problems that, left alone, will quickly become untenable to oppose. If you're opposing the flock, treat it like a blob or kudzu. Just because the drones seem harmless and uninterested now doesn't mean they won't suddenly charge you in far greater numbers than you'd have expected.

Supplementary Video

Jobs on Space Station 13
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