Welcome to the draft spec of the omniframe system. This article will be part of the vision book that will be finalized and delivered to backers in printed and PDF form. We’re sharing these early concepts and ideas to get feedback and catch errors. Please note, however, that any armchair design (including ours) is unlikely to survive contact with actual gameplay. Once these systems are in the game, they are more than likely to change as they are tested and stabilized over time.
Omniframes are lightweight, powered armor designed for combat operations. Gatestriders use military grade omniframes to run defense and escort support for mining THMPRs. While the THMPR mines, omniframes defend it from waves of attacking Tsi-Hsu, and escort it back to the closest refinery when mining is complete.
Players can craft, collect and customize multiple omniframes. By slotting different upgrades and components into frames, player can customize their omniframe to suit their play-style or role. The configurations can be saved and named and shared in a database with other players. Your omniframe hanger can also be expanded to allow you to collect even more omniframes. You can also customize the look of your omniframe my purchasing skins, emotes and sound fx from the game’s online store.
Instead of confining you to “classes,” Em-8ER lets you define your own role. Players start by selecting one of the three variants of frametypes: light, medium and heavy. There is a common pool of crafted upgrades and components shared by all frames, as well as suites of upgrades and components that are exclusive to each frametype. Building an omniframe may remind you (loosely) of building a “deck” for a collectible card game.
- Light Frames: Light frames can be tailored for support roles such as healing, to deployable roles such as engineers, to stealth and recon roles such as snipers.
- Medium Frames: Medium frames range from general purpose assault roles, and to a range of roles suited to “front-of-line” duties.
- Heavy Frames: Heavy frames specialize in heavy armor, high energy weapons or artillery, and shielding support roles.
By combining the upgrades and components common to all frames, with those exclusive to the frametype, player will be able to create a wide variety of omniframes. Each omniframe will have its own unique signature and unique style of play. You can name your unique frametype and share its specifications with other players in an online database.
Omniframes are a class of MEK (Mechanically Enhanced Kinetics). Operators are called pilots, and the MEKs behave like lightweight vehicles. They are highly mobile and feature three primary mobility modes:
Omniframe Mobility Modes:
- Skim: Omniframes can assume a low stance, unfolding their wings and activating their jump jets to enable skim mode. Omniframes can skim, hovering just slightly above the ground, for long distances. Skimming drains the reactor core, meaning shields and abilities must recharge after skimming before they can be employed.
- Jump-Jets: Jump-jets enable omniframes to gain altitude for brief periods of time. Omniframes use vectored thrust, and can hover and maneuver briefly while in the air. Jump-jets are used to achieve the altitude necessary to engage larger Kaiju, who have shield generators and other enhancements implanted along their spine.
- Glide: By leaping from a height and deploying their wings, omniframes can glide over great distances. While they can’t self-launch, an omniframe can glide from any higher land to lower ground.
Movement modes can be tweaked and upgraded by crafting and slotting upgrades. Potential ideas for tweaks include speed, recharge rates, and various boosts. Additional movement modes, such as vectored dodge and grappling hooks may also be added in the future given enough budget and time.
Shields, Armor and Damage Types
Omniframes are equipped with both energy shields and armor. Any living creature also has health (note, this means the THMPR only has shields and armor, as it is not a living entity). Energy shields are useful against ranged weapons but less so against melee. Armor is effective against both projectile and melee weapons. Shields can regenerate over time when you are not taking damage, while armor never regenerates and must be repaired either in the field or at the nearest base or facility. Health does not normally regenerate, but can be healed in the field or at the nearest base or facility.
There are also a few main categories of damage types being contemplated in Em-8ER. The effectiveness of shields and armor varies against each damage type:
- Melee Damage – Melee damage is damage cause by natural weapons (claws, Kaiju chomps, tail whips, etc.) as well as melee weapons (powered hammers, swords, etc.). Melee damage is progressively more effective against equal sized or smaller targets, and progressively less effective at targets larger than the attacker. Targets in Em-8ER are categorized as small, medium, large, and monstrous (the biggest Kaiju). Melee damage is only partially absorbed by shields, and most of the damage passes through to armor beneath the shields.
- Kinetic Damage – Kinetic damage is damage caused by most ranged weapons that hurl anything of mass against a target, explosives and some abilities. Kinetic damage is equally effective against all sizes of targets. Kinetic damage must go through shields before it can affect armor, and pass through armor before it can affect health.
- Energy Damage – Energy damage is caused by ranged energy weapons, some explosives and some abilities. Energy damage is equally effective against all target sizes. Energy damage is very effective against shields, but less so against armor. Energy damage is very effective against health if no shields or armor are present.
- Splash Damage – Splash damage is any non-direct damage that is incurred, no matter what the source of the original damage. Large and Monstrous targets are less affected by Splash Damage. Shields are very effective against splash damage, while splash damage does normal damage against armor and health. For AOE weapons and abilities, this means that direct targets of the AOE will incur the primary damage type of the attack, while everyone farther away will only incur the splash damage type. Splash damage does not result in critical hits.
Progressive Damage and Critical Hits
Omniframes incur progressive damage to components if they sustain critical hits. If a omniframe is without shields and low on armor, each weapon has a chance to deliver a critical hit, or damage that affects a vital system of the omniframe or THMPR. A critical hit usually results in random damage to a particular system such as a weapon, an ability, shield regeneration, jump-jets, wings, movement and other systems. If a system is critically hit, it becomes inoperable or less effective. An omniframe may lose the ability to jump-jet, or skim, or walk or run with a limp. Abilities may go offline, and passive or other systems may go down. Repairs to critical system can be made in the field or at the nearest base or facility.
Creating your Frame – The Frametype
While you will be provided with a stock choice of frametypes at the beginning of the game, after playing for a little bit you will unlock the ability to craft your own omniframes. Designing and crafting your omniframe begins with choosing between the light, medium and heavy frametypes. The type of frametype you select affects:
- The maximum armor, power and speed of the omniframe.
- The weapon types available to your frame (sniper rifles, assault weapons, heavy weapons, etc.).
- The number and type of upgrades slots available for abilities, passives, sensors and other types of upgrades.
When you create a new frame from scratch you can craft its exact parameters, choosing the balance between armor, power and speed. Choosing more armor will generally decrease speed and power. Increasing power with a larger reaction core will decrease speed and armor but may enhance shield upgrades. After selecting the balance you desire, the resources needed will be calculated. If you have the resources you can craft the frame, otherwise you can queue the resources to your resource tracker. Adding resources to your resource tracker will help remind you of what resources you need when you are out in the field and why.
Omniframes are powered by a reaction core. Reaction cores generate power over time, filling up a reserve that can be used to power frame abilities, countermeasures, movement, weapon and defensive systems. Abilities recharge by draining power from the Reaction core over time. Jumpjets recharge in this way too. Power can be prioritized between Mobility, Abilities/Weapons and Defense.
Using keyboard shortcuts, power can be shared equally or diverted to:
- Prioritize power to movement speed, jump-jets, glide and skim (travel) modes.
- Prioritize power to abilities and weapon systems. Abilities recharge faster, weapons recharge faster or do more damage.
- Prioritize power to defensive systems. Shields recharge faster, and if an auto-repair module is slotted, this will increase rate of repairs.
By default, each main system (Mobility, Weapons/Abilities, and Defensive systems) receives 33% of the total power produced by the reaction core. Diverting power to prioritize one system over another will boost the prioritized system to 60% power and divert 20% each to the remaining systems. The amount of power diverted to each system can be customized if the omniframe has a powershunt installed. A powershunt upgrade allows a player to customize the exact amount of power allocated to each system on default, as well as the three priority settings.
Each frametype also has a set number and type of slots available to it. Slots are where you can insert upgrades or components to improve or customize your omniframe. Light frametypes have more slots and less overall power, while heavy frametypes have a lot of power but fewer slots for upgrades. Medium frametypes offer a balanced amount of slots and power.
Slots fall into categories. Each category and it’s slots and slotted upgrades are listed in a different section of the omniframe upgrade user interface. Upgrades and components must match the slot type they are slotted into. All frames have these base slot categories:
- Sensors (omniframe head)
- Movement (jump-jets, servos, wings, etc.)
- Active Abilities (abilities that the player can trigger and control)
- Passive Abilities (abilities and upgrades that function in the background automatically)
- Primary Weapon (the primary weapon used by the omniframe)
- Secondary Weapon (the secondary weapon used by the omniframe)
- Melee Weapon (the melee weapon used by the omniframe)
In addition to these standard categories, omniframes have specialized slots depending on their frametype:
- Light frametypes: Light frametypes have an additional slot for their melee weapon and can dual wield melee weapons.
- Medium frametypes: Medium frametypes have an additional slot for both their secondary weapon, allowing them to dual wield guns.
- Heavy frametypes: Heavy frametypes have an additional slot for a shield
There is only one “constraint” in Em-8ER’s upgrade system, and that is the total power cost of your upgrades and components.
Each upgrade, in addition to requiring a free slot in the omniframe, also carries a power cost. The power cost is the amount of power consumed by the upgrade or component when slotted. The total power cost of your upgrades cannot exceed the total power capacity of the frame’s reaction core.
Your frametype determines the size of reaction core that is available to power your upgrades and components. Generally, larger frametypes have bigger reaction cores and more power. But this can be customized (within the bounds of the frametype) by the player when they create their own omniframe.
Generally, upgrades and components exclusive to lighter frametypes will cost less power, and those exclusive to heavy frametypes will cost more.
We hope you enjoyed this excerpt of the omniframe gameplay system. More to come!