Fabricators were designed as multi-purpose construction and maintenance tools for high industrial work in advanced societies. Essentially mobile 3D printers, Fabricators store the patterns for various robotic assistants and large-scale construction projects in their memory, and were tasked en masse with work ranging from starship and space platform construction in vacuum, to maintenance tasks in hazardous areas. Using relatively simple artificial intelligence and networking, Fabricators coordinated these construction and repair projects across dozens, hundreds or thousands of individuals.
On worlds and space platforms ravaged by war, Fabricators were often completely disregarded and discarded during evacuations, written off as a minor loss on the balance books of mega-corporations and governments whose purview barely rationalized the expense of deporting human populations, let alone industrial machinery that was fairly ubiquitously used across the galaxy in the first place.
In many cases, Fabricators were left to their own devices, breaking down over years and decades, going about inane tasks and meaningless repairs, finishing or attempting to coordinate pre-determined construction programs that no longer had a population to serve. Going uncorrected, managing and communications programs would break down and introduce more and more errors and random factors into the codebase of these relatively simple machines.
In very few cases, this resulted is behaviors resembling self-preservation instincts in individual Fabricators. Far from sentience or self-awareness in the conventional sense, Fabricators are the cockroaches, or better, the decorator crabs of the urban decay of abandoned planets and space stations. They utilize their one main advantage in this space: the ability to assimilate and re-purpose almost-functional bits of remnant scrap technology to hide and adapt in hostile environments full of breaking down technologies of which even the death throes can level cities and sterilize worlds.
Fabricators are indeed the “decorator crabs” of the dangerous reef of urban decay in abandoned colonies, urban sprawls and space stations abandoned in the mad wars of the future, in which alien races can slag planets and exterminate populations of billions in moments. The few that have developed rudimentary self preservation instincts utilize a hybrid system of bolting a haphazard assortment of technologies onto and into themselves in efforts to avoid detection, escape dangerous situations, and as a last resort to destroy threats they cannot escape. They also have the capability to “print” and program semi-autonomous drones that they use as detection and deterrent (weapons) systems to ensure their survival.
Gameplay as a Fabricator targets the points brought up in the previous paragraphs. Fabricators are mobile harvesting and building machines concerned with their own individual survival. Fabricator units ultimately exist to give would-be technopredators something else to beat on instead of the Fabricator itself, so they have a focus on crowd control, durability, and detection. The Fabricator itself has a number of upgrades, with a focus on mobility, survivability and escape tactics.
Visually, am currently using Terran units and structures to represent the Fabricators faction. This gives them a solid, industrial look in keeping with their general theme. Currently, the Terran unit design makes Fabricators units feel far too militaristic and rounded: an hypothetical stand-alone game based on this mod would draw inspiration from modern day industrial equipment, meaning yellow, boxy, utilitarian and dirty.
Fabricator Units – Tier 1
- The Relay is a utility unit for the Fabricator’s faction. They provide Supply to allow the Fabricator to produce more units, and can switch between two support auras. The first is Response Protocols, which increases the movement speed of nearby units; the second is Defensive Protocols, which causes nearby units to take less damage. While Relays are useful for economy (allowing Scrappers to return resources more quickly) and in combat (closing on enemy units and/or taking less damage from enemy attacks) losing a Relay is a major blow to a Fabricator’s ability to rebuild its army, and can blunt an offensive or make a retreat more costly.
- The Scrapper is a multi-purpose offensive and economic unit. It is both the core of most Fabricator armies due to its relatively high health and solid damage output, and the primary harvester of resources. Like Relays, the challenge in using Scrappers well lies in knowing when to commit them to combat, and when to keep them away. They’re great units, but losing them can cripple a Fabricator’s ability to harvest resources.
Fabricator Units – Tier 2
- Recyclers are another utility unit. They serve as proxies for the Fabricator around the map: Recyclers can build defensive mines and turrets, serve as resource drop-off points, and can build Generators to capture bases or Data Cores. Later in the game, they can be upgraded to repair nearby units, further reinforcing the Fabricator faction’s combat durability. Also, Recyclers can convert any friendly building or unit back into resources at 100% cost efficiency, allowing the player to sell off captured enemy base structures or to reconfigure their army on the go.
- Censors are a scout and combat manipulation unit. They can see Invisible units or structures and can fly, making them valuable information-gathering tools in the otherwise relatively slow Fabricator arsenal. When immobile, Censors generate a dampening field that prevents enemy units from spending Energy. Since many units spend Energy to attack, this can completely shut down portions of an enemy assault. Censors also block a wide range of enemy abilities, buffs, and debuffs.
- The Junkslinger is a glass cannon: slow and fragile, but with the best DPS per cost in the Fabricator arsenal. Also, Junkslingers can spend resources and Energy to throw a glob of molten Scrap at enemy armies, dealing area damage to anything it hits. Junkslingers spend Energy to attack, and when their Energy reserves are exhausted, their range and attack speed are reduced.
- The Ram is a damage soak and combat manipulation unit. Their Cascade Inhibitor cannon slows enemy units in an area, and their high armor shrugs off small arms fire, making them a protective bulwark against incoming swarms of enemy units.
- Survival Module
- Engineering Module
- Pattern Co-Processor
- Memory Module
- Observation Module
- Impact Driver
- Laser Array
- Cascade Arc
Tier 3 Units – Metallics
Tier 3 Units – Magnetics