Blog 454: The Dreaded Fatal Error Y4

Building Project Y4 completely from the ground up was supposed to stave off the mysterious and spurious fatal errors on loading saved games that sometimes plagued This Wreckage. I assumed I had introduced some artefact along the way, since This Wreckage was built directly on RDZArena was built directly on When the Freedom Slips Away.

Alas, there is obviously something I keep doing that appears legitimate but that the game takes issue with, for during testing a few nights ago I got some fatals. This will be oh so joyous to debug…

In other news, though, the AP-AM now has available to it a raft of permanent upgrades.

Node Hunting

Taking down the three Telegraph routers forms a reasonable part of the action. In the first instance, you just want to hack them to regain control — then afterwards, when you realise shit is getting real, you have to take them out properly.

Now, the AP-AM begins reasonably weak. It’s hardly better armoured than the Delta upon which its chassis is based, the EMP cannon is relatively low-powered, the movement and attack speeds are in need of boosting…

So after you take out each router, a few choice upgrades will appear in their annex Repair Bay. For a price, of course.

Fun With EMP

There are two levels of upgrade for the EMP cannon: the first is a basic damage-up duration-up that should keep you ticking over.

The second level, though, allows you to make a permanent choice about how to configure the subsystem. By lacing the bolt with explosive Unobtanium thaelite residue, you can trade the stun for a small splash damage. By lacing the bolt with biowaste, you can trade the stun for single-target damage over time. By lacing the bolt with… more electricity…, you can get a little more damage, a much longer stun and some cooldown reduction.

Choose wisely.

Also shown are the caustic blades, that give your normal attacks a biowaste edge.

Repulsive

As you may be aware, the AP-AM is equipped with the Overdrive ability that allows you to gun its motors for an impressive attack and movement speed boost — at the cost of damaging yourself.

In order to gain a small but permanent non-damaging boost to attack and movement speed, you can buy two upgrades that strap repulsors (the things that make hover tanks hover) to your wrists and ankles. The hilarious theory behind these is that they can push the arms and legs as they move, thus easing the pressure on the motors themselves.

Unfortunately, these won’t make Overdrive movement even faster because that already takes you to Warcraft‘s curious walking speed limit of 522. The attack speed bonus, however, will be cumulative.

“Don’t bother hovering, I can jump THIS high,” said the crab.

Stay Cool

Another option that I haven’t explored much yet is an advanced coolant system that reduces the damage done by Overdrive. Unfortunately, because of all the visual accessories the mech can get over its life, I’m not even sure there’s enough space to add artwork for this to the arms and legs without everything starting to smush together.

Yes, this is a world where gameplay mechanics are ignored because matching cosmetic changes cannot be implemented… But hell, Dress Your Own Mech is the only real reason why I’m doing this.

Straight Up

And then there are hit points. You like hit points, don’t you?

I was going to make a projector kit that covered your mech in glowing hologram force-fields to provide a base damage reduction, but unfortunately Hardened Skin damage reduction cannot stack (in fact, in the test I did, having two Hardened Skins somehow negated all damage reduction). The alternative choice would have been heavy plating that gave more reduction at the cost of movement speed, but this whole plan has gone up in smoke.

It would be a little inconsistent for these upgrades to give hit points when in shields they give damage reduction, so… We’ll need to see. I suppose I could ditch reduction entirely and go for shields giving hit points, but somehow that doesn’t feel quite right.

Dress Your Own Mech

So, with all of these upgrades, plus all the hot-swapping blades, shields, mods and undercarriage units, and the paint selection, the AP-AM should be pretty customisable.

Assuming it doesn’t fatal error too often and bring the whole edifice crashing down around us.

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