The essentials of drone building. Want to understand more about how your design effects controls?
In order to be a functional drone, a design must have the following things: A structure made of Hull and/or Wing Blocks At least one engine block Enough Power for all block requirements (at least 1 Power Core block) Enough CPU for all block requirements (at least 1 CPU block) In theory, the smallest possible drone would be 3 Hull blocks, 1 Power Core, 1 Engine, and 1 CPU. A block must be connected to at least one other block to be considered part of the drone. Blocks that are not connected will fall off. Hull blocks come in two types: Wing and Hull. These are the blocks used to build the structure of your drone. Wing blocks can’t have any other blocks placed on them except Shields. Instead, they increase the drone’s maneuverability. Hull Blocks can only have blocks from the Systems category and the Decorations category placed on them. That includes engines, fittings, Power Cores, CPU, Shields and Decorations. Fittings are a type of system that must be placed on a Hull block before a weapon or other piece of Equipment can be placed. Equipment Blocks MUST be placed on a Fitting, and cannot be placed directly onto the Hull block.
Using the Editor
- Left mouse button – select, place block
- Right mouse button – remove block that has been placed
- Scroll Wheel button – Paint block with currently selected colour
The panel in the top left of the screen shows all the blocks currently available to build with. There are 5 options in the drop-down menu for the 5 types of blocks, Hull, Wing, System, Equipment, and Decoration. Select which block you want to place by clicking on it in this panel, then clicking on the desired spot on the design grid.
At the top and middle of the screen is the warning message panel. Messages will appear here to let you know if your drone is fully functional in its current configuration.
There is a colour palate in the top right of the screen. You can use this to choose custom colours for painting your Hull and Wing blocks. There are four pre-set colours, but you can also make your own. Use the middle button on your mouse to paint blocks that have already been placed.
The bottom left panel shows the attributes of the currently selected block. Next to the block graphic, icons appear showing Special Attributes of the block. You can mouse over these icons for explanations.
Blocks have the following attributes:
- Weight: A measure of the mass of the block
- Maneuvering: A measure of acceleration and strafing speed
- CPU cost: The amount of CPU required to function
- Power cost: The amount of Power required to function
- Capacitor: A measure of the rate of fire of all weapons
- Thrust: A measure of the potential top speed
Blocks can also have the following Special Attributes:
- Fitting – Fittings allow a weapon or other equipment system to be attached on the block they are placed on.
- Engine – Engine systems provide thrust and limited additional maneuverability.
- Radar – Radar allows your drone to spot enemy ships prior to the operator making visual contact.
- Collection Range – Increased collection radius for item drops
- Drop Rate – Increased chance of rare items
- Shield – Shield systems add additional durability to the hull or wing blocks they are attached to.
- Shields are the only systems that can be attached to wing blocks
All blocks have varying combinations of these attributes. Of note: all Hull blocks have the same stats, just different paint schemes.
At the bottom of the screen are the editor interface controls. They are:
- Rotate: rotates the currently selected block by 90 degrees
- Mirror: flips the currently selected block (not the same as rotating)
- Erase: left mouse button becomes eraser
- Undo: undoes the last action
- Show Block Facing: toggles the green facing arrow and white weapon direction indicator on each block on and off
- Show Block Grid: toggles the block grid on and off
On the middle right side of the screen is the information for the complete drone. You can change the name of your drone by clicking on the current name and then entering your own. Below that is the Grid Size drop-down selector. Click on it to change the size of the grid that you are designing on. Note: You will have larger grid sizes become available as you progress through the game.
The Drone Stats section shows the total attributes for your drone. Use this to fine-tune your designs.
There are 3 buttons in the bottom right corner:
- Save Ship: saves the current design in the current hangar
- Copy Design: used for modding*
- Exit Editor: exits the editor and returns to the Hangar screen
Auto Alignment: Blocks will auto-align to face the same way as the Hull block they are placed on. This means that if you have rotated hull blocks before placing them, systems placed on them will appear rotated. Note: Weapons will always point forward.
Broadside Emitter: This weapon does not fire forward. Instead it can be mounted to fire either left or right at a 45 degree angle. By default, the weapon will fire to the right. To have them fire left, the Hull blocks they are placed on must be flipped using the mirror tool (not rotated). This can be checked using the small, white weapon direction indicator which appears on a Hull block when it is placed.
The weapon direction indicator is explained in the weapons section
In the top left corner of the design grid, there are two buttons with a + and a – sign. These buttons are used to zoom in and out on the grid. When designing large drones, it can be useful to get a closer look of the part you’re working on.
Weapons all have different recharge rates. The curent charge is visible at the bottom of the screen when you’re in a level. Mounting capacitors on your drone will improve the global weapon recharge rate. Some weapons have Multiple tiers of quality.
(Rate of Fire: Slow)
* Tier 1: Beam Cannon: A high powered laser.
* Tier 2: Twin Focal Beam Cannon: A powerful, wide-beam laser.
(Rate of Fire: Fast)
* Tier 1: A weapon that fires orbs of energy at a 45 degree angle from your ship. Ensure the weapon is pointing the right direction by using the mirror tool in the drone editor.
(Rate of Fire: Medium)
* Tier 1: Light Rocket Launcher: A basic missile with air-to-air and air-to-ground capabilities.
* Tier 2: Multifire Rockets: A pod that fires three rockets at a time, which spin out and away from your drone when fired. These rockets can only hit air targets.
(Rate of Fire: Medium)
* Tier 1: A short range, flak burst weapon, useful for destroying anything that gets too close.
(Rate of Fire: Fast)
* Tier 1: Plasma Repeater: A single shot plasma launcher.
* Tier 2: Plasma Repeater Mk. 2: A powerful, twin plasma launcher.
Use the left Shift button to switch between bomb systems when you’re in a level. The currently selected bomb will be highlighted.
You don’t need to wait until one bomb has finished to fire another one. Additional bomb systems will be activated as rapidly as you hit the button.
Area Denial Laser: The laser bomb system. Fires many lasers over a short time, effectively blocking a section of the level from enemies.
Energy Barrier Emitter: The Orb bomb system produces a field of energy around it, making the blocks inside it immune for a time.
Valkyrie Launcher: The rocket bomb system. Fires a large number of dumb-fire rockets out in a circular pattern from the drone. The rockets last for several seconds before despawning.
Cluster Bomb: The flak bomb system. Fires a ball of flak that explodes several times as it moves up the screen.
Plasma Overcharge System: The plasma bomb system. Fires many plasma shots in a ring out from the drone.
Advanced Drone Design
CPUs are a weak spot!
CPUs are needed to manage the all the systems of your drone. If you lose more than half of your CPU blocks, your drone will crash. Protect them and place them far away from enemy fire and Power Cores.
Power Cores are explosive!
Power cores have the Explosive characteristic. When they are destroyed, they will detonate and destroy other nearby blocks. This can cause a chain reaction and destroy your entire drone! Try to place your Power Cores in protected areas, and isolate them from each other to reduce the risk.
You can shoot through your own blocks!
A weapon placed directly behind another weapon will not cause any interference. Both weapons will fire normally and damage is not reduced. This applies to any number of weapons in a row. Weapons mounted on your drone can fire through any other block in front of them. Because of this, weapons installed in the back and middle of your drone will usually be destroyed last.
Engines don’t have to be on the back!
In the same way that your weapons can shoot over other blocks, your engines can also be placed away from the edge of your drone without any loss of function.
Shields are important!
Shields are very effective at reducing damage. When the shields have absorbed as much damage as they can, they will disappear and then the block it was placed on will start to take damage. Shields have varying effectiveness against different weapon types. Lasers do almost no damage to shields, but rockets will cut through them very quickly. You will want to try different combinations of weapons against shielded enemies until you find one that works well.
Shields are important! Part 2!
Enemies can attack from all directions, so if you only have shields on the front of your drone, you may be in trouble. By placing shields on the sides of your drone as well (and even the back), the sensitive systems will be protected from stray projectiles. You may also want to consider putting an extra layer of shields on the inside of your drone, surrounding the most critical systems.
Equipping your ship with Radar will allow you to see enemies before they come onto the screen using the Radar panel, which appears during gameplay on the left side of the screen. You can use it to anticipate where the enemies will appear and take appropriate actions.
Don’t forget about the Bombs!
Bomb systems are sometimes overlooked, but they are very powerful. Bombs are devastating one-use weapons that you should save for tough situations. Drones can be equipped with multiple bombs of the same type or of many different types. Like other weapons, bombs must be placed on fittings. Bombs can be refilled during gameplay by picking up red Powerups or fully replenished by picking up a purple Powerup. Check the Weapons section for more info on Bombs.
Tips and Tricks
Capacitor value is divided by the number of fittings, not weapons!
Capacitors boost the rate of fire for all the weapons you have equipped. However, Capacitors send their energy through the fittings to the weapons. This means that if you have a fitting placed with no weapon on it, your rate of fire is being reduced!
Go big or go home! Slowly
The bigger your drone, the more mass it has. This means you need more engines and more Wing blocks to maintain the same degree of mobility. Placing Wing blocks around the outside of the drone can work well, but you can also place Wings blocks on the inside. Big Drones that don’t have enough thrust and maneuverability are very slow!
Gotta get them All!
Each level has a unique list of blocks that can drop from enemies. If you are looking for a specific block, find out where it’s likely to drop by checking the Loot Table.
Capacitor is for rate of fire
Rate of Fire is very important! Having fewer guns that fire faster is almost always better than having a lot of guns that shoot slowly.
Clear the Screen
Most enemy projectiles can be destroyed by your own projectiles! Use this ability to get in front of enemies without taking hits. Keep in mind that your projectiles can also be destroyed!
Each Bomb is Different
The Energy Barrier Emitter is centered on the position that it was installed. If you put it on one wing of your ship, only that side will be protected. Having multiple of these systems equipped will allow you to use them one at a time, starting from the “top left” of your drone. This bomb system not only makes you immune to enemy fire, but you can also crash into enemy drones to destroy them and take negligible damage.
Mind the Charge
Time your shots! While holding down the fire button will work most of the time, if you have weapons equipped that have a Slow rate of fire (such as the laser), you may want to stop firing to let that weapon recharge. Then, you can unleash a full burst of all your weapons on the next enemy you see!
Play the Angles
Using Broadside Emitters as your main weapons can mean that you don’t ever need your drone to be directly in front of an enemy. This can be very effective, especially against certain enemies and bosses!