Flockmind

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Featherdrone-flockmind.gif

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.

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

Guns

Flockdrones are made of weird alien glass, making them quite vulnerable to all forms of kinetic weapons. One blast from a slamgun will kill a drone at point-blank, and a Zipgun filled with .22 can kill Flockdrones in two shots from any range.

Anti-stuns

If the flock can't stun you, they can't cage you. Snag a barrier from security and some drugs from chemistry to become a lot harder to take down.

Friendship

HelpIntent.pngAssistantNew64.pngGrabIntent.png

NEVER go against the flock alone! Many overconfident HoSes have lost their Lawbringers and their lives fighting the flock alone. Stick with other people and save them when they go down. AI flockdrones that stun someone will prioritize caging them over fighting, so use that to your advantage.

Other tips

  • Flockdrones have substantial resistance to BURN, so flamethrowers, phasers (yes, even macrophasers), and most pod weapons won't do much.
  • Flockdrones can't be stunned, so tasers won't be your go-to weapon. That said, using stuns on them will greatly slow them, giving you more of an upper-hand.
  • EMPs drain flock incapacitors by 50% of their maximum charge, so pulse rifles are useful for suppression.
  • Flockdrones are at their most dangerous in numbers and in their home turf. Isolate a single drone away from its precious teal floor and it will die very easily.
  • Cages both directly give the flock more drones and threaten to take away people on your side. Drag cages away from the flock and break them open as soon as possible.
  • Flock doors, floors, structures, and barricades can all be destroyed simply by hitting them. 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 resisting, trying to move inside them, or flipping against them.
  • Those fighting the flock will often encounter Coagulated Gnesis. As a doctor (or bartender), purging this chemical from the crew is critical, unless you're fine with your valuable fighters being transformed into flockbits.

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.

In this form you are invisible to the humans, unless they are wearing ecto goggles or special eyes.

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, 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
FlockTutorial.png Interactive Tutorial N/A Enter a tutorial area to familiarize yourself with the intricacies of being a radio-bird-gestalt thing. The tutorial explains how to use flockdrones, including to make them, manually control them, and convert things as one, and gives you some pointers on how to defend yourself (by building sentinels and interceptors and using Designate Enemy), ending with a showcase of all flock structures. N/A
Featherdrone-abilities10.png Open Flockpanel 0s Opens the flock overview panel, see below for details. N/A
FlockmindDesignatePriorityTileV2-64x64.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
FlockIgnoreTarget.png Designate Ignore 0s The opposite of Designate enemy. If another antagonist has decided to help you out, use this to make sure that drones and turrets will leave them alone Creature
Featherdrone-abilities5.png Partition Mind 60s Create a flocktrace. This is subject to availability of eligible players - those who are both dead and without DNR set - and as such might not 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 30s Through sheer focus and effort you can will a maximum of 4 drones in an area into better condition, restoring half of their maximum 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 Place Tealprint 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. 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.

Second chance

If you get killed before you can reach 200 compute for the first time, you get a second chance to do better, starting from scratch. This will only work once, so don't waste it!

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.

Just like your higher ups you are invisible to the naked eye, unless some special methods are used.

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.

IMPORTANT: You have a limit of 75 flock drones. That might sound a bit unfair, but even a quarter of that can overwhelm a station full of psychotic killers, so it isn't that much of an impediment. What is important, however, is that the price of the eggs scales with the amount of drones you have in total.

How do I make them do things?

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

  1. Click-drag the drone somewhere to move it there.
  2. Either double-click the drone or click-drag yourself it to take manual control of it.
  3. Click on the drone and click on a target to make it perform a certain action. Which action it is depends on the target:
    • Mob: Drone shoots the mob with its incapacitor. If the mob is incapacitated, the drone will try to imprison them in an energy cage.
    • Tealprint: Drone contributes materials for tealprint's construction, depositing 10 resources. Works even if the drone has less than 10 resources.
    • Flockdrone/bit: Drone repairs it. If targeting a dead flockdrone, the flockdrone will butcher it, yielding gnesis scraps and an "odd crystal" (essentially its brain).
    • Item: Drone tries to item in its Disintegration Reclaimer and consume it for resources.
    • Flock tile/structure: Move drone to it.
    • Anything else: Drone attempts to convert it.

The selected drone is highlighted, so you can recognize it amongst the others.

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. It will also EMP whatever item you pick up.
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 that recharges itself twice as fast on flock tiles. Its 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 a variable amount of resources to lay an egg that will hatch into a new flockdrone. Can only be done on top of a flock tile. The exact resource cost is (100 + (drone count + egg count))^ 1.4, rounded to the nearest 10th (flockbits don't count for egg costs).

The Nanite Spray / Flock Converter

A multifunctional tool with multifunctional results. Costs are given in resources, which you can get by putting things into your reclaimer.

Intent Target Cost Action Description
Any Non-flocktile 15 Convert Converts the tile and everything on it to their flock variants. Can also be used to repair damaged flocktiles and anything sitting on them, 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 Imprisons the target in an energy cage, dead or otherwise. This cage will slowly rip their possessions apart into resources, spitting out flockdrone rifts as it does so, and eventually rips them apart.
Help Flockdrone 10 Repair Repairs the drone. This can work on yourself, provided you have the resources and the downtime required.
Disarm Flocktile 20 Barricade Create a barricade, which blocks the movement of everything but flockdrones.
Harm Flock structure 0 Scrap Deconstructs a flock structure (including walls) into raw gnesis material.
Flockdrone 0 Butcher Takes apart a dead flockdrone, yielding its odd crystal brain and some 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 are unstunnable. Any stuns that hit you will slow you instead.
  • 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 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.
  • So long as you have enough 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 default movement speed is sluggish, far slower than the average crewmember.
  • 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 times, especially if you stray off your flock's tiles.
  • You can barely understand anything said over the radio.
  • The AI and cyborgs can hear what you say, too.
  • You only have one hand. Your equipment slot can technically hold things, but nothing will last very long inside of it.
  • As previously mentioned, there are limits on how many drones you can field. Not only is there a hard limit of 75 drones, but there's also a soft resource limit, dictated by the cost of Lay Egg.

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. While hibernating, it will stop performing tasks and provide 5 extra compute. A drone can be woken from hibernation 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 Sapper effect
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. Chains to one extra target.
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 30 compute. Permanently increased compute.
Flock gnesisturret64.png Gnesis turret 150 A turret that fires 4 coagulated gnesis filled spikes at enemies, beginning their conversion to Flockbits. 10 units are injected each time. Increased gnesis generation rate.
Flock interceptor.png Interceptor 100 A defense turret that fires high speed gnesis bolts at nearby projectiles, annihilating them.
Flock sapper.png Sapper 100 A multipurpose support structure that saps power from a local APC. It can be set to enchance Flockbits, Flockdrones, or structures:
  • For Flockbits it speeds up their AI processes, allowing them to move and convert much faster.
  • For Flockdrones it supercharges their incapacitors, recharging them much faster.
  • For structures it has a unique effect per structure - see the structure entries for details.
Flock cage.png Cage 0 A cage formed around an enemy of the flock by a Flockdrone using its nanite spray. It will slowly consume the interred mob, producing more Flockdrones from their worn items, limbs and internal organs (in that order). Can be escaped by flipping, resisting, or moving inside of it.

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 across the universe. In order to build the relay, you must have at least 500 compute and 250 flocktiles. You'll have an icon on your HUD indicating how close you are to reaching this, and once you're 75% of the way through, a pinpointer appears around you to reveal where it will manifest. The site of the relay also has a partially translucent version of the relay sprite that gets more solid as you get closer to your goal.

Once fully-realized, it will destroy anything caught beneath it and begin charging over the course of 6 minutes, rapidly converting any parts of 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 (and unrecallable) one minute emergency shuttle call.

The crew must try destroy the relay before it can transmit, as relay destruction is fatal for the Flockmind. Once the relay is realized, there's no turning back!

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 flip side, if the AI already knows you're around, you should make full advantage of your uninterruptable and infinite-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 that don't know what's happening on the other side of the station.
  • A flockmind or flocktrace can move faster than a drone can. If you desperately need to be somewhere else and there's a body nearby, taking control of the nearest drone 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. As long as one survives, you can rebuild.
  • 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, prioritize 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 strongly encouraged. You can butcher them by using your nanite spray on harm intent. No knife required.
  • Your equip hotkey when used on your grip tool will automatically "equip" your held item to your reclaimer.
  • Don't underestimate the utility of flockbits. They convert their surroundings for free compared to full drones. Having a few of them around can be a good idea, just don't sacrifice your early drones!
  • When choosing a location to start, consider valuable station items that can be converted. Areas with lots of computers will help with compute, while a lot of vendors will fabricate a lot of resource cubes, letting you creature structures and more drones.
  • Remember you can cage dead/NPC creatures too. Breaking into the Monkey Dome will provide you with plenty monkeys to convert.

In Summary

As the flock, you live and die by 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 your ever-increasing numbers to become a menace to the station. Just be very, very careful in the early game.

The flock is a foe that is trivially easy to crush in its early stages, but will become untenable to oppose if left alone. 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 eventually charge you in far greater numbers than you'd have expected.

Supplementary Video

Jobs on Space Station 13
Command &
Security
Captain · Head of Security · Head of Personnel · Chief Engineer · Research Director · Medical Director · Security Officer · Detective · Security Assistant · Nanotrasen Security Consultant
Medical &
Research
Geneticist · Roboticist · Scientist · Medical Doctor
Engineering Quartermaster · Miner · Engineer
Civilian Chef · Bartender · Botanist · Rancher · Janitor · Chaplain · Mail Courier · Staff Assistant · Radio Host · Clown · Gimmick jobs
Jobs of the Day Dungeoneer · Barber · Waiter · Lawyer · Tourist · Musician · Boxer
Antagonist Roles With own mode Arcfiend · Blob · Changeling · Gang Member · Flockmind · Nuclear Operative · Spy Thief · Traitor · Revolutionary · Vampire · Wizard
Others Grinch · Hunter · Krampus · Werewolf · Wraith · Wrestler · Zombie · Gimmick antagonist roles
Special Roles Artificial Intelligence · Battler · Cluwne · Critter · Cyborg · Ghost · Ghostdrone · Monkey · Santa Claus