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Aliens in SII/DSII (was Re: Mixed Small Arms Squad)

From: rkp@m... (Robin Paul)
Date: Thu, 12 Sep 1996 08:06:50 -0400
Subject: Aliens in SII/DSII (was Re: Mixed Small Arms Squad)

>Date sent:  12-SEP-1996 14:32:29 
>>Mmmm.... but of course it will all be generic weapon types since we
>>want to infringe TOC's (tm) copyrights now do we? Anyway, there's
>>enough in SGII already for you to work out stats for additional weapon

>>types. The main emphasis in BDS reagarding aliens will be how
>>"stock" alien types handle Confidence and Reaction and Command and
>>(AFAIK at the moment).
>>Anybody got any suggestions?
>>Mike Elliott, GZG
>I here a call for mindless rambling. So here it is.
>Bugs and Blobs are so different that they would not fit regular SG2
>model, and including them would require Close Combat to be much more
>clearly worked out. Bugs (Our lovable, cute, Acid for Blood friends)
>will probably be the one most people are after, so should be as fully
>explored as possible, and playtested a lot.
>The Command structure might be retained in a 'Hive' structure. Bugs
>probably wouldn't give a hoot for suppression, but this would also
>Anyway, I think an in depth look at the way close assault works would
>be the first step in developing Bugs.
>| Adam Delafield, I.T. Officer        | Bolton Institute,  |

	To add to the rambling :-) 
	I'm a biologist with a strong interest in arthropods (more local
ones, unfortunately!), and I think some of them might give useful
for bug behaviour.  

	Amongst slave-making ants, the ultra-specialized Amazons on a
slave-raid attack a target nest as individuals, straight off the march
(having followed a scout to find it).  They're optimized for just 2
fighting and carrying brood (they can't even feed themselves!), and the
defending ants have little chance of stopping them.  

	Less specialized slavers, eg some Formica species, gather near
target nest and assault in a body.  Some ants use complex chemicals to
confuse their opponents into attacking each other;  some take over a
nest by convincing a host scout that they're their own brood which must
carried home at once.

	Most "armed" arthropods require particular stimuli to release an
"attack"- eg, most spiders in the UK won't even try to bite people
we don't fulfil the list of criteria.  Praying Mantises "take aim" on a
sitting target, then strike when it next moves.  I've been told that in
experimental set up, without any new stimuli, they'll starve to death
waiting for a fake target to make its "one false move"!

	Some arthropods have very specialized weapons or defensive
such as the big-headed ants whose "job" it is to be living doors at nest
entrances (you can't tap the right code on it's head, you can't get in)
the termite soldiers with glue-guns in their heads.  These latter squirt
poisonous glue over attacking ants;  if they're overwhelmed (ie all
legs being pulled at once) they fire the gun without opening its valve,
that they explode taking several enemies with them!

	A lot of arthropod behaviours can be modelled using simple flow
charts- this could perhaps be applied in a game to give Bugs more
interesting innate behaviour than just "rush up and melee the nearest
enemy", with Brain Bugs overiding the program and guiding their
into positions where their "instincts" can be released upon the enemy.	


Rob Paul
NERC Institute of Virology 
Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3SR	  Tel. (01865) 512361
  "Once again, villainy is rotting meat before the maggots of justice!"

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