AI War 2: Fallen Spire

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Fallen Spire

The Fallen Spire are an optional faction that can be enabled via the Game Lobby, or by activating a beacon in game. The Fallen Spireare intended to satisfy the Spire kickstarter goal, and draw further inspiration from the Fallen Spire Minor Faction from AIWC.

Design Goals

We wanted to overall keep the spirit of the Fallen Spire from AIWC, while doing some additional fun things that are possible/easier with the new AIW2 engine. This does not match what was in the Kickstarter. It is very similar to the AIWC version except there’s much more variety in the Relics Capture quests, a ton more city buildings, and more variety in the AI response. Also a number of minor factions have unique attributes that can only appear during the spire campaign.

It's worth noting that as the game evolved a lot from the original kickstarter, the Spire goal that was originally laid out doesn't fit in the new context. But we also really wanted to modernize and expand on what was in the first game, taking inspiration from it without copying it wholesale. City buildings and units are different, and the entire flow is a completely new thing. The original was very sloooow, for instance.

The core of the gameplay is Epic Battles to capture the relics, and Powerful Ships and Bases you get as a result. We think the Powerful Ships and Bases part was well done in AIWC, and we wanted to preserve most of that, though for the city placement and city design we wanted to expand that to a pretty huge degree.

From this point forward we aren't going to keep back-referencing the first game, so please just try to forget the specifics of that one as you wrap your brain around this one. The number of differences will quickly compound until it's quite a new beast while still keeping the same spirit. (Hey, that sounds like we just described the entire concept of this sequel!)

Lore

The AI has crushed the Spire empire in their home galaxy. Some Spire units have landed in our galaxy and they can rebuild their empire and take revenge.

Sometime in the last few hundred years, the AI detected the Spire, who had already colonized several nearby galaxies. They launched a surprise attack against the Spire homeworld. The Spire attempted to use their TransWarp technology to warp their full Imperial Fleet to their homeworld for defense. However, while in transit the AI sabotaged the Warp Transceiver on the homeworld, trapping the Spire Fleet in inter-dimensional space. Suddenly helpless, the Spire’s local defenses were no match for the AI and their Scourge allies.

The AI has captured a lot of Spire reactors and is experimenting to harness their power in cloaked research laboratories. There are also some hidden spire relics scattered about the galaxy from past battles.

The Spire are rock/crystalline creatures who feed on energy and can grow and reproduce very quickly with enough energy, so freeing those reactors will allow them to create cities and warships quickly. Each structure or warship IS a living spire -- like Zenith Golems, the spire are macroscopic life to an almost absurd degree.

Primary Features

  • Give the player a way to get some Really Big Weapons that scare the mess out of the AI (not in an AI Progress sense, though).
  • Let the player build entire spire cities of various complexities and styles, which upgrade as you build more cities and more structures.
  • Give the AI a reason and ability to bring back extra-galactic forces from their mysterious "main war" to fight you and the spire openly.
  • Allow players the freedom to push all the way to an alternative victory condition via this faction, or to just build up one or more cities and make use of the extra firepower.
  • In general to allow players to experience the fallen spire on a gradient scale, doing some of it as they wish, not having to choose "completely fallen spire" or "completely not fallen spire."
  • Let us explore a bit more of the spire lore than we have in prior games.
  • Give players a chance to "smash the galaxy for fun and profit" by going for a mark 7 city, well above the mark 5 level that is needed for the alternative victory condition. At this point you're just rubbing it in, but it feels so satisfying to be the big one for a change.

How To Play

You can hack to find relics, and then once you have found one you need to go and give it orders of where to turn into a city. When it gets where you told it to go, it will become a city center that also includes a small (for the spire) flagship. You can then improve your city, build more cities in the same manner, and get absurd amounts of power. This scares the AI, of course, so a new arms race of superweapons begins. The "least" of your problems are targeted vicious exogalactic attacks on the relics and your cities. If you survive these odds, you'll have not only the sort of firepower you could never dream of elsewhere, but eventually might be able to do something to recover that lost Imperial Spire Fleet...

Find A Relic

There are various ways of finding relics (see below). The first stage of getting a new spire city is to find a relic by one of those means. Once you have a relic, it's time to then turn it into a city.

The very first relic is just out there somewhere, and you'll discover it and see right where it is. Go get it when you feel like it, or leave it alone.

Scrap A Relic?

Are you being hounded to death by Exos? You really won't survive? Don't worry, more relics will be available in the future. You can use the usual commands for scrapping units to scrap the relic and put yourself out of further misery.

Getting Chased By The AI

The AI really wants to destroy the relic before it turns into a citadel. It will send exogalactic waves (Exos) after the relic, and you really should have some sort of guard force fending that off. Unless you want to just build on the city you found the relic, in which case go ahead. Once a spire city has been established, it can be crippled or deactivated, but never fully destroyed.

Place A City

Choosing A Location For Your Relic Once You Find It

The relic doesn't belong to your faction, but you can still select it and give it a movement order. When you do so, it will confirm that the destination is where you would like your next city to be founded. You can choose planets controlled by the AI, but not AI homeworlds. You also can't place any spire city adjacent to an existing city.

To fully go "all in" with the Fallen Spire and its alternative win condition, you will be constructing a bare minimum of two mark 1 cities, two mark 2, two mark 3, two mark 4, and one mark 5. So that's an absolute minimum of 9 cities if you do everything with perfect efficiency and pursue the entire fallen spire campaign to the bitter end. It's entirely possible for you to stop along the way and battle the AI to death with the mega-fleets you amass as you go.

THAT said, you can push things even further if you're feeling inclined or somehow the AI is still too powerful for you. You can get up to a mark 7 city, and that will require an extra 4 total cities. You'll start having a ton of extra battleships, as well as some dreadnoughts, once you get to mark 6 with them. The only other way to see those in such numbers is with the Imperial Fleet.

But it's worth noting these very basic city placement rules (compared to the first game), and the fact that you'll be having so many cities if you really want the max-power city structures.

Full List Of City Placement Rules

The rules are very simple, unlike in AIWC. In AIWC there were things like "must have at least two wormholes" and other complicated bits. Toss all that out! The rules in AIW2 are:

  • The planet can't be an AI homeworld.
  • The planet can't be adjacent to another spire city.
  • That's literally it.

No Scrapping Cities

Wishing you didn't put that city where you did? Well... that's a real shame, friend. You can't scrap city hubs or the flagships of cities. Once a city is founded, it's forever going to exist where you put it.

The best thing to do in these circumstances is just abandon the city hub to the enemy, and take the flagship for basic use elsewhere. It can get repairs from other cities anytime it gets too damaged.

Meanwhile, if the city hub you abandoned is crippled by taking too much damage, or is deactivated by no longer being on a planet you control, then enemies will start ignoring it and it will be just another piece of war debris sitting around in the galaxy. Worst case, maybe sometime in the future as your empire is growing, you choose to go back and recapture it and build up again.

Be warned that dead and lost cities still contribute to the AI's exogalactic strike forces, however! After all, it knows you've still got a big Spire ship out somewhere in the galaxy...

When You Don't Own The City A Planet Is On

If you choose to build a city on a planet that isn't yours -- which is a totally valid thing to do -- or when you lose a planet, then the hub for that city will be inactive and you won't be able to build any spire structures on that city until you capture the planet. After that the city will function as normal. If the city hub gets damaged to the point of being crippled, then that has the same general effect as not controlling the planet at all. Get to repairing that expensive thing!

It's worth noting that the mobile fleet portion of your spire city will all still be very much alive and well when the city hub is inactive or crippled. This means you can use the flagship right from the start to start vaporizing machines and aid in the conquest of the planet it is on.

Your First City: Galactic Capitol

The first city that you place will become the galactic capitol for the new group of cities that your spire control. The hub for these types of cities is called the Galactic Capitol and has a few stat buffs as well as having an extra two "building sockets" (more on that later) compared to all the other cities. So it's a bit easier to get this very first city off the ground, and it has a strong chance of being your strongest spire city throughout the game if you keep upgrading it. Most likely this would be the one to reach mark 7 first, but it doesn't have to be.

Where you place this city is completely up to you:

  • You may want to use it as a choke point to guard your own human planets from attack, and focus on building many military structures.
  • You may prefer to shelter it behind your own human defenses and focus on making it an economic powerhouse or have it field a massive mobile fleet.
  • You may be super aggressive and place it way out in AI territory on its own, carving out the start of a new empire that is somewhat drawing attention away from your own main planets.

More Cities

You're going to need more cities than just the capitol -- a lot of them. In total if you want at least one mark 7 city, you'll need a minimum of 12 more cities in addition to the spire capitol. Spire cities can't be next to one another or on the AI homeworld, but beyond that it's up to you how you choose to place them, which ones you choose to mark up first/most, and what the general character of each city and its attendant fleet is.

THAT said, to win the game with the fallen spire you don't need nearly so many cities. You can use them to buff you up a bit, then go kill the AI whenever you feel ready. The mark levels of your city don't really matter for that, it's all how you design them.

To get the alternative victory condition involving the Imperial Fleet, you STILL don't even need 13 cities. You'd only need a mark 5 city, and so that would be a total of 9 cities to get there.

Build Up Your City

Every City Is A Fleet And A City

The most obvious part of the city at first is the hub, and the fact that you can then build a bunch of fixed-position structures from that hub. This is the city-portion, and you can see details on that by hovering over the hub itself.

But there is also a mobile offensive/defensive fleet that is tied to the city, with a flagship that starts out as a "mere" cruiser, and eventually becomes a dreadnought if you level up your city enough. By constructing certain structures, you can grow your fleet of frigates and destroyers for that city, but you will also start getting a lot of mobile military ships simply by leveling the city up past a certain point.

Depending on the city's nature, per your design choices and strategy, it may lean more towards supporting a larger mobile fleet or more towards spying on the enemy, producing economic gains, defending itself, or some mix.

City Structures Require "Sockets"

Each city hub has a certain number of sockets that are a part of it. Your galactic capitol starts with a whopping 4 sockets and then gains an additional 2 every time it levels up. All your other cities start with 2 and gain 2 per level up.

Most buildings require either one or two sockets to construct. Note that sockets are a local planet-wide thing, so excess sockets in another city won't help the current planet. When you're in build mode, or when you hover over the city hub, you can easily see how many sockets you have left, and the tooltips for structures show how many sockets they require.

As you unlock more advanced buildings at higher-mark cities, you may choose to scrap some of your existing buildings in order to free up existing sockets. That's a perfectly reasonable thing to do, and so spire cities will tend to be something that evolve and get revised over time.

How To Level Up A City

The rules are very simple:

  • All Sockets must be used.
  • The city must not be crippled or otherwise disabled.
  • The city must have at least 2 other cities of the same mark somewhere in the galaxy.
  • For each mark 2, 3 or 4 city you must control 1 additional planet in the galaxy somewhere without a spire city. Mark 5 cities require 2 additional planets. Mark 6 and 7 require 3 additional planets.
    • The city that was built first has priority.
      • If the city with priority is currently incapable of marking up due to a prior reason, the next city will gain priority instead.

Assuming all cities are leveled up as high as possible, you will have 1-2 cities of the highest available mark level, and 2 cities of each level below that. Having a Mark II city requires 3 cities in total, Mark III requires 5, Mark IV requires 7, and so on.

City Structures

Name City mark level Sockets Description Notes
Spire City Hub n/a n/a This facility doubles as the nerve center of a Spire City. It is responsible for the construction and coordination of the city's other structures. At mark 3, your cruiser flagship becomes a battleship and you get +1 cruiser for every mark at or above 3. At mark 6, your battleship flagship becomes a dreadnought and you get +1 battleship for every mark at or above 6.
Spire Galactic Capitol n/a n/a This facility serves as the central seat of government for all Spire settlements in a galaxy. It is responsible for the construction and coordination of the city's other structures. It always has two more sockets than other cities of the same mark.

At mark 3, your cruiser flagship becomes a battleship and you get +1 cruiser for every mark at or above 3. At mark 6, your battleship flagship becomes a dreadnought and you get +1 battleship for every mark at or above 6.

Shard Reactor 1 1 This facility produces the crystaline formations used as power cores in Spire reactors, generating a massive amount of energy in the process. Generates 1M energy.
Mining Facility 1 1 Spire require massive amounts of metal to construct themselves, and they're excellent at mining for it. Metal production increases with city mark level (but not any techs).
Shipyard 1 1 This facility is responsible for the construction and support of Spire craft, from escorts up to capital ships. Builds Spire ships for Spire flagships on this and neighbouring planets.
Engineering Center 1 1 This facility provides rapid repair for friendly damaged ships.
Frigate Neural Net 1 1 This facility allows the city to build an extra two spire frigates.

If the facility is destroyed, the extra frigate will also be destroyed. The city center must be functional for the cap to increase, but a nonfunctional city center won't decrease the cap.

Destroyer Neural Net 1 2 This facility allows the city to build an extra spire destroyer.

If the facility is destroyed, the extra destroyer will also be destroyed. The city center must be functional for the cap to increase, but a nonfunctional city center won't decrease the cap.

Great-Shield Emitter 1 1 This immobile facility provides an incredibly massive forcefield to block all enemies. Uses a massive amount of energy. Consumes 2M energy. Forcefield does not reduce damage of units firing out of it.
Lesser Spire Spy Cradle 2 1 This facility provides complete visibility on all planets up to two hops out. Uses a massive amount of energy. Consumes 2M energy.
Greater Spire Spy Cradle 4 1 This facility provides complete visibility on all planets up to three hops out. Uses a massive amount of energy. Consumes 2M energy.
Plasma Driver 1 1 Advanced spire weapon rapidly sends projectiles made of densely-packed plasma to deal heavy damage to higher mass targets, but does almost nothing to smaller ones. Like an Orbital Mass Driver but with more DPS (2× at mark I, even more with higher mark levels).
Lesser Spire Fortress 3 2 Built for killing. Nothing more, nothing less. Also knocking enemies back. Uses a massive amount of energy. Consumes 1M energy.
Greater Spire Fortress 5 4 Built for killing, and surpassingly good at it. Also knocking enemies back. Uses a massive amount of energy. Consumes 2M energy.
Buttress 4 2 Protects the local command station from all harm while living (does not work on home command stations), slows most enemies anywhere on the planet and also traps them here. Uses a massive amount of energy. Consumes 2M energy. Works like a Black Hole Machine.
Tranceiver 5 4 We're getting signals from somewhere very far away, but we can't understand them. Building this machine might just call in the cavalry, but also will intensely anger the AI. Consumes 2M energy. Required for the Fallen Spire alternative victory condition.

Fleet Warships

Flagships

Every city starts out with a fleet flagship right away -- a cruiser. As you upgrade your city, your flagship gains marks and then eventually upgrade into stronger types.

  • At city mark 3, your flagship becomes a battleship.
  • At city mark 6, your flagship becomes a dreadnought.

From City Mark

A large part of the strength of your city fleet comes from your city's mark level itself. You still have to build these ships using spire factories (regular factories can't construct spire ships), but your ship cap of each type of spire ship goes up as your city mark level changes as follows:

  • Starting at city mark 3, you get one extra cruiser per level.
    • So by city mark 5, you would have three cruisers in additional to your battleship flagship.
    • At city mark 7, you'd have the maximum number of cruisers: 5.
  • Starting at city mark 6, you get one extra battleship per level.
    • So at city mark 6, you would have four cruisers and one battleship in additional to your dreadnought flagship.
    • At city mark 7, you'd have those 5 cruisers as well as two battleships and your dreadnought flagship.

From Neural Nets

Your "smaller" (and that term is purely relative) spire ships are also constructed by spire factories, but you don't normally have any ship cap for them. To get additional ships available for your fleet, you need to build "neural net" buildings.

  • A "Destroyer Neural Net" will let you have a single additional spire destroyer at whatever the mark level of the city is.
  • A "Frigate Neural Net" will let you have two more spire frigates at whatever the mark level of the city is.

What Do These Ships Do?

That is up to how you customize their loadout (CHRIS NOTES: upcoming). Each individual frigate, destroyer, cruiser, or battleship can be given one of several optional loadouts to perform different functions. We'll detail those here as they are implemented. You can switch loadouts on a given ship at any time, with no penalty.

Also note that the Destroyer has a unique 3× damage bonus against units with mass >= 7 tX, making them particularly effective against the extra-galactic units you can expect to see a lot of in a Fallen Spire game.

How To Find Relics

There are a number of ways to find relics.

Known Location, Then Hack

This is the same approach from AIWC; you know where the Relic is, then you do a Hack on that planet to get the Relic. Your first relic is always like this.

Search-And-Hack

Instead of knowing exactly where a relic will be, you will get a Notification that tells you "There is a relic in the galaxy". You can hack any planet to check how far it is from the relic. When you hack a planet without the relic, you are told "Your relic is in another castle ... err on a planet X hops away". The hovertext for the Notification will also keep track of all the planets you've searched. When you do hack the relic planet you find the Relic, and you do the usual Relic Chase (major AI forces spawn, you protect Relic and transform it to a city).

Each planet you hack that doesn't have the relic on it slightly increases the eventual AI response for that relic chase.

AI Research Lab

One of these is seeded on the map at game start time. Destroying this structure will grant you a Relic that must build on the planet with the research lab.

Relic Transport (Train Robbery)

Every so often an AI Relic Transport will appear. It will wander the map similarly to the Astro Trains, then head for the AI Overlord. If you destroy the train then you get a Relic. If the train gets to the Overlord then it gives the AI a single high-tier Spire unit to use against you. This will happen regardless of whether astro trains are enabled.

AI Citadel

One of these is seeded on the map at game start time. It’s extra tanky. Destroying it grants you a relic with a very easy escort mission (currently 10% strength of a normal relic chase).

Alpha Testers

Big thanks to the Alpha testers, including Astillious, Rocket Assisted Puffin, ZeusAlmighty, Ovalcircle and Democracy.