War to the Core (code-named Ballistic) is a world domination game where players control massive motherships that battle for control over the globe. Battles take place between alliances of players. Once players are in a battle they can invite their friends to come to their aid or challenge their sworn enemies to join the other side. The battle ends when one alliance is completely obliterated.
This page gives a snapshot of our vision for the game and how we intend it to work. Since the game is under active development, some of the mechanisms explained here may not have made it into the game yet, while others may work differently.
The most basic weapon is a ballistic missile that can travel across continents to hit targets far away. Players shoot and avoid incoming missiles in real-time while also helping their allies. Every action requires certain resources. The most common resource is energy. But other types of resources such as specialize ammo or credits (awarded from destroying enemies) also exist. If a ship depletes its energy resources, then it will be an easy target to take out. Allies can help one another by also sending resources in supply caches.
Most long-range missiles have a wide impact radius. This means it doesn’t have to be an exact hit to deal damage to ships, but it also means you can cause significant friendly fire.
Low level weapons have inaccuracies and shorter ranges. While higher level missiles are more accurate and can reach any point on the globe.
A variety of offensive weapons exist to deliver different payloads or alter the way of delivering them. A shockwave missile will not damage a ship, but will deplete its energy and shields. A satellite attack cannot be intercepted and is almost instantaneous, while a force attack delivers a massive ballistic force that physically pushes ships downwards and in some direction. Ships that fall beyond certain altitude (due to a combination of engine power, total mass and external forces) will crash. Remote controlled missiles also exist to allow players to navigate to hard to reach locations and adapt to changes in the situation.
Ships can deploy mines that linger in a location until a ship moves close enough. Mines deal massive damage, but they also have cool down periods during which they will not trigger. A mine can be destroyed if it is dealt enough damage to trigger it, but in that case it also deals damage to any ships within its own blast radius. Mines will not trigger on friendly ships, but they can still impact them if they blow up when one is close by.
Motherships can avoid damage in a variety of ways. Moving out of harm’s way is one defense, but is not always the best. Moving massive motherships consumes a lot of energy and they are pretty slow. Other ways to avoid damage is to have armor plating on the ship to soak the damage. Armor can be repaired over time and works well against most attacks, however, armor is heavy and adds a lot of weight to the ship.
Motherships can also install defensive weapons to shoot down incoming projectiles. These vary in efficiency and power consumption, but can prevent damage before it occurs.
Finally, shield generators can encompass ships in a barrier that destroys incoming attacks. Shields vary significantly on what they can stop and how effective they are. However, the most common shields are only good at stopping certain types of attacks. Shields also require significant energy to recharge as well as a small drain to maintain, on the plus side a shield generator is much lighter than armor when compared in terms of defensive efficiency.
Ships can also deploy defensive turrets on the ground. A turret will attack any ship or projectile that comes within its range. A turret requires a constant supply line from a ship to function. If the supply is lost, another ship (possibly an enemy ship) can supply it and gain control of the turret. Turrets are not very effective against ships, but they provide low-cost defense and offense to their alliance.
Ships come equipped with scanners that allow them to passively detect enemy ships within their range of vision, as well as scan distant locations for enemies or items far away in the distance. Scanners can be upgraded to scan further ranges, wider areas, have larger passive ranges, or be more energy efficient. Additionally, scanner upgrades could provide additional information about the scanned ship such as its model, components, and armaments.
Motherships can also deploy static probes at strategic locations on the globe, these probes reveal their area of effect and cannot be detected themselves via passive scanning. Certain scanner upgrades can passively detect mines and probes, but this usually comes at a high level and can only detect low level mines and probes. Furthermore, advanced upgrades allows eavesdropping on the enemy communications.
Supply caches can be launched through the globe and they hide underground waiting to be uncovered. When ships scan an area, they can uncover the caches hidden within. Ships can then move to the cache to acquire it or send a hover to fetch it and come back. A hover can be intercepted and destroyed on route though, so it comes with its own risks. However, moving a hover requires significantly less energy compared to moving a mothership.
Other ways to resupply allies at the higher levels is to establish supply lines. A supply light transmits one resource from one mothership to the other at a constant rate. The overhead of maintaining the link is directly proportional to its length. This is a high-level ability but also comes with its own risks. Once a link is established it cannot be cancelled at the source until its time runs out. However, the link can be severed by enemy fire or, even worse, hijacked. A hijacked link allows the hijacking ship to draw the resource from the source or send a feedback blast that depletes that particular resource or deal damage to the source ship. Of course different types of links exist, each with different properties that alter how easy it is to sever or hijack, what does it transfer, and whether it works in both ways.
Finally, static energy harvesters can be deployed on the globe to supply a constant stream of a resource to its owner. The areas where certain resources can be harvested are limited geographically, so players will need to secure access to these resources if they want to deploy harvesters. A harvester can transmit its resource via supply links or if none is available it will generates caches in a growing circle around its location for ships or hovers to come and pick them up. This allows abandoned harvesters to turn into a point of attraction.
In general, harvesters provide strong strategic support to its alliances, so typically they will become targets of attack as soon as they are deployed, and will need some defenses if they were to survive long enough to be useful.
War to the Core is intended to be played in multiplayer sessions. A single game can have up to 32 players divided into two alliances. We may introduce variant game types with more than two alliances at a later time.
Players will login to the game using their Facebook accounts and can invite their Facebook players to join the game. By default if you invite someone they will be added to your friends list. Players can also add other players that they meet in the game to their friends list directly.
Invitations can be sent when the game hasn’t started, in the lobby, or after the battle had begun. However, only 16 players in total can join any alliance for the same battle, regardless of whether they were all in at the same time or joined at different times. Players can also open a game to the public in which case other players looking to join any game will be able to jump in uninvited.
When players create their first ship it will show up at a location close to their physical geographical location if possible or at a random location on the globe otherwise. The ship location, as well as its current condition, remains the same after a battle had ended if that ship had survived. If multiple ships are starting too close to one another, they will be re-arranged to space them out. In certain cases it may be desirable to invite a friend whose ship is already at a certain geographical location to help with a battle’s current situation.
In Game Communications
At the lobby, players in a certain battle room may send short text messages visible to everybody. During the battle allies can communicate with one another as well as broadcast messages to the whole battle room. Messages show up as a faded bubble anchored to a particular ship. Sending a message during the game consumes a little bit of energy to discourage players from spamming. Also, certain component upgrades may allow the enemies to spy on their in-game messages.
Players may also “ping” certain locations on the globe. This helps them organize their strategies.
Players will have to customize their ships for the role they want to play. Since every upgrade comes at a cost, there will always be trade-offs. Some ships will excel at long range combat, but will be dependent on external energy sources to supply them due to the high cost of firing at long range. Other ships can specialize in defensive mechanisms and act as a tank for its team by blocking incoming attacks. Yet other ships can invest in strong engines and strong short-range attacks to get close and deal massive damage.