Greetings everyone! It has been a long time since the last official update. Much has changed, and now that the visual assets have been rebuilt, its time for some exposition once again. Because as the visual style of the Xin race has changed in this second incarnation of the mod, so has the background lore. So, without further ado, I present the deadly trio:
SCOUT, ASSAULT AND SIEGE DRONES
Drones in general are approximately the size of frigate ships; they have no crew and posess, like all Xin ships, a degree of sentience, enabling them to operate semi-independently, make autonomous decisions and also obey complex orders or follow tactics at least on the level of complexity employed by the other three factions. As such, they are often equipped with sensory organs designed to enable them to perform their roles, which cannot be found on larger, crewed Xin ships.
Their origin is, again as with all other Xin creations, organic. While nobody knows exactly how Xin build their living vessels, there is no doubt that these organic ships can and do perform just as well if not much better in the hostile environments of space as their non-organic analogs.
One other distinctive quality all Xin vessels share is the lack of a visible propulsion system. It is speculated that the Xin ships, from the smallest Scout Drone to the gargantuan Leviathan utilize an advanced form of gravity manipulation, where intense gravitational tidal waves are created and shaped in order to propel the ships through space.
Drones also come in many shapes and sizes:
The Scout Drone represents the eyes of the Xin fleets. As such, they are generally smaller than usual, and built for speed rather than offense or defense. Unlike most Xin Drones, they do not have a tough coral-like carapace, instead relying only on a specialized type of organic "glove" for protection against hazards of deep space.
Their eyes are extremely large and, in addition to the central optical organ, positioned at various places along their bodies to maximize data input. Protected by a mirror-like membrane, these organs can sense light in an extremely wide spectrum, from ultraviolet to infrared. It is speculated they can even sense radio waves and gravitational disturbances (mass).
The long tendril-like antennae are just that - communication organs. The primary role of Scout drone is to observe and report, and it is well equipped to do just that. Scout drones, like all living creatures, need to feed from time to time to replenish their energy reserves. They do this, however, very rarely; each drone needs to feed only a couple of times a year. Unlike most other drones, the Scouts grapple suckling protrusions present on some of the larger vessels and orbital structures with their rear tentacles and firmly attach themselves to the structure before proceeding to feed.
An alternative way, utilized by all drones and Xin ships is to ingest nutritious spores via their body orifice(s). These spores are usually released by the Chimera, large seeding ships responsible for creating new Xin colonies.
Assault drones are built for one thing only - killing. They are fairly fast, tough and posess a powerful plasma ejector organ, which can spit out gobs of superheated plasma out of their central orifice. The plasma travels at a relatively slow speed, but is viciously effective at punching through both shields and armor, simply by either melting everything in its path or overloading electronic systems with a localized EMP pulse and a surge of electricity. The main orifice of the plasma ejector also serves for ingesting food when necessary.
Designed for front-line battles, the Assault Drones are encased in a thick layer of hard, chitinous armor which helps protect them in combat, in addition to the numerous shielding growths which project a strong energy field around them which is hard to break through.
Like other Xin ships, the Assault Drones also utilize the gravity wave generators for propulsion. Two small eye organs at the back of the main section provide the drone with limited visual input; it is speculated that the Assault Drones track their targets either with the help of Warmasters and their smaller cruiser sized variants, or by detecting the mass of their targets in space.
Siege drones are specialized units designed for attacking the surface of enemy planets, thus preparing them for seeding by the Seeder Pods or Chimaera capital ships. To that purpose they are unique amongst Xin Drones is that they do not require external sources of energy and thus have no orifices for feeding. Instead, they produce vast amounts of energy through their internal gravity-mass transmutation organs, the exact details of this process still being very much unknown.
As the result of having such levels of energy stored within their bodies, the Siege Drones are capable of emitting and focusing extremely powerful beams of synchronized electrons, producing a weapon capable of punching through even the thickest of atmospheres. However, Siege drones lack the brainpower to lock on and track smaller targets, so are unable to turn their planet-razing weapons against space ships and stations, unlike larger Xin ships.
And last but not least, here is the latest ingame footage compilation of these three Xin units, showing them in flight and combat. I hope you all enjoyed this little expose, and stay tuned for future updates!