In SCRAP, when a player reaches the end of their tech tree, they have to make a choice between one of two tech branches for each faction. Each tech branch comes with 2 unique units, 2 unique upgrades, and a unique structure that provides a further passive bonus to the faction. This way, even mirror matches can incorporate some differences and unique advantages upon players.

For the Fabricators, the choices are Metallics (focused on fielding an army of strong generalists), or Magnetics (focused on disrupting enemy units and Energy manipulation). For the Dendrites, there is Quantum (focused on buffs and debuffs) and Nanotech (focused on fielding a large and powerful Drone army.)

As far as all of that goes, I have the upgrades and structures created for all 4 tech branches. I’m just trying to finish up with those units. And I’m down to the last two.

One of those units is the Terminal, one of the 2 unique units unlocked for the Dendrites’ Nanotech branch. I feel like it’s kind of unique and fun, so indulge me if I toot my own horn a bit.

Terminals are one-man armies, capable of either holding territory for extended periods of time or setting up situations that it’d be very bad for enemies to attack into.

Terminals have 2 main abilities, both related to Drones they produce. First off, Terminals have 2 Vulnerability Drones. These attack enemy units and, once it’s researched, apply the Vulnerability effect to increase incoming damage to afflicted units.

The other thing that Terminals do is produce Turret Drones. Once Turret Drones detect enemies, they deploy onto the map as Drone Turrets. While Drone Turrets have a timed life, they have exceptional health and damage for their cost. And, the Terminal will continue producing Turret Drones as long as it has Energy, so it can field a large number of them over time.

Lastly, Terminals are able to activate an ability which refreshes the life of their Drone Turrets at the cost of additional Energy. This allows them to create persistent turret farms that can last as long as the parent Terminal has energy, giving the Terminal both short term and long-term uses.

The Terminal also has synergies with the other Nanotech unit, the Shepherd. Shepherds gain power for each nearby Drone unit, and Terminals can greatly add to the number of Drone units Shepherds are able to utilize as Vulnerability Drones, Turret Drones, and Drone Turrets all count as ‘drones’ for the purposes of the Shepherd’s attack bonus.

I anticipate that Terminals will be relatively easy to use on the baseline, but difficult to make the most out of. Some of the fine points of balancing out their production of Drones vs the longevity of their turrets can make them difficult to master. Additionally, mis-use of their turrets can lead to Terminals being expensive money and energy sinks.

3 thoughts on “New unit: The Terminal

  1. I love the gameplay design of the dendrites, especially the nanotech branch. You’ve really given these units a lot of utility and made them interesting. When you say the Terminal’s turret drones deploy when they detect enemy units, do you mean it’s involuntary; that the moment a dendrite player moves too close to the enemy- *BOOM*- the drones deploy, for better or worse? Cause that seems like it’d be very difficult to balance. Or do you mean it is an instant activated ability? Also, are the vulnerability drones free, auto built or simply more powerful than the normal version?
    I really like the logistical gameplay you have going on, with turrets degrading, but capable of getting a health boost from the terminal’s energy reserves. Have you played the Settlers games, or Stronghold? I know they aren’t very competitive, but a lot of your ideas on energy use and restoration seem like they could be reworked for a less tactical rts. Might not be your cup of tea, but you might be able to find interesting ideas there, though they’d probably have to be heavily reworked. Or maybe I’m just seeing things.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So, the units technically transform into turrets when they attack. By default they are set to hold fire, but would deploy if you issued an attack move to their parent Terminal. So the player does have control over how and when they deploy

      Right now, the turrets are permanent but their parent Terminal can boost their attack rate and armor if it remains near them. Empowered turrets are a lot more formidable than regular turrets, so whether to spend Energy to empower them or to have more of them is still a tradeoff.


  2. The empowering idea sounds good, focusing on quality or quantity. I’ve watched the video of you playing dendrites vs. dendrites and I think the green cloud is the vulnerability effect, since it seemed to go away when the vesper attacked. Perhaps you could play a non competitive match and explain the mechanics and how all the synergies work.
    An idea I had was units that can combine/divide into other unit types. You might have two melee warriors and they can be ordered to form a cocoon. After several seconds of morphing a different unit type comes out. Or you could have that unit go into a cocoon and turn into two warrior units. Might be a good anticipatory action with the player able to customize what units they have in the field, but having to keep the small units’ numbers high. Have you heard of Nightside? It’s a tiny indie rts, didn’t do well, and kind of lacking in depth, but they had one faction, Yx with an interesting building system. They started with a mastermind which built cells for a cost. The cells could then be combined with each other to create units and buildings, which could inturn be broken down into cells, which could be recombined ect. It took a few seconds to morph, but it was a really interesting idea.

    Liked by 1 person

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