Post news RSS The Anatomy of the AP-AM

An in-depth look at the hero of Project Y4 and its capabilities.

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The All-Purpose Assault Mech is an extremely versatile vehicle designed to be able to deal with any situation. When encountering a situation that has not been explicitly planned for, its numerous modular extension points mean that additional functionality can be easily implemented and hot-swapped in the wild. This is a run down of the features you'll get to play with in Project Y4.

BladesThe AP-AM's main attack comprises melee assault with its powerful articulated arms and the blades attached to their ends. When there is no ammunition for the artillery cannons or high-end systems are disabled by electronic warfare, the AP-AM is able to remain an effective combat platform. The blades are detachable and can be replaced in the field if superior or more suitable weapons are uncovered.

The level one weapon set includes the basic razor blades, short swords that do less damage but attack faster, and huge crowbars that attack slower but do more damage. I hope to continue this theme for fancier weapon sets, including the likes of force-field blades and morningstars and beyond.

The AP-AM is mounted with two shoulder EMP cannons, which give it the ability to completely disable a single enemy's systems for a short period of time. This leaves the enemy vulnerable to melee assault or open to a guaranteed hit from the artillery cannons.

The EMP cannons are upgradeable to increase their damage and the duration of the disablement. I am also considering different effects, possibly swapping the stun for damage over time or splash. These changes will be permanent, since there isn't much inventory space left to play with after all the other customisation options.

The AP-AM's modular artillery cannons comprise its main anti-structure capabilities. In their un-modded form, heavy shells can demolish bunkers and other strategic emplacements from a safe distance. With the application of shell mods, however, the mech is able to trade high damage for an even greater variety of effects, ranging from wide EMP blasts to unleashing caustic gas clouds. Unfortunately the trade-off is that the larger shells take up considerable cargo space and the default AP-AM configuration can only carry a small supply. Additional magazine space can be gained by undercarriage unit or ammo-pack blast shields.

More fun shell mods include the Spiderbomb, which is a straight upgrade of the EMP shell that deposits a spiderbot to aid you.

While the AP-AM's basic chassis is built on standard components, its software control systems have been modified to allow selective disengagement of factory tested safety limits. The result is that by disenganging the safeties the mech is able to put on surprising bursts of speed in both its leg and arm motors. Unfortunately the safety limits are well researched and exceeding them causes damage to the units.

I may implement an additional coolant system that can be purchased to reduce the damage done by using Overdrive. Standard movement and attack speeds can be boosted a little by purchasing permanent upgrades during the game.

The area in which the AP-AM can recieve the most notable extensions of its functionality is the undercarriage slot. Undercarriage units are suspended between the legs under the pelvis and are linked into all systems, and depending on their design can deploy anything from repair drones to heavy lifting equipment and even offensive capabilities; because of the unrestricted space, almost anything can be implemented here.

Current items: large bomb (initially a plot item, but real version later becomes available), barrel magnet (lets you move environmental barrels around), repair drone bay, extended magazine, ore collector (a quest item), mine layer (same as artillery but drops a prox mine, costs ammo and is affected by the current shell mod), EMP burst generator, quadshot, GEP gun...

Every module has an associated piece of artwork that appears and animates properly on the AP-AM model, as you can see by browsing the screenshot gallery.

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