I have another idea for a swarmy hive mind and I would like to know what other people think about it. I apologize for any chaos in this post in advance. I will happily discuss any suggestions and hear any constructive criticism.
This is a very zerg inspired thing. You start with a hive mind central building on your planet. Each colony has hive mind overseer as its central building. If the hive mind is destroyed via a bombardment or land invasion the event "death of a hive mind" starts. It would have similar effect to the "end of the cycle" event chain. You lose control of all your territory and forces except the biggest colony and the fleet closest to it. The overlord on this colony turns into immature hive mind and gives you only half of the bonuses that regular hive mind gave (I'll go over them later) but also consumes only half as much food. All the other colonies and fleets go "feral" and will attack anyone and anything that they see except other "ferals" and you (unless provoked) . They will even atack any enemy controlled systems inside of the range of the feral overlord they belong (more on the range thing later). Ferals will receive a big reduction in ship upkeep and build cost as well as an increase in the ship build speed,they can't however make colonies, increase population, do research, change their ship patterns or build anything on the planet. This is so every planet has its own fleet, but doesn't seem like a regular empire but rather a mindlessly aggressive creatures. You can reunite your planets after you upgrade your hive mind into a mature form by attacking ground attack which if successful will bring the planet and the army belonging to it under your control (although after you start ground attack they will become aggressive until you succeed). Hive minds and hive overlords grant something called "control" and can be upgraded to grant more of it indefinitely (in similar way to repeatable research with the exponentially more expensive upgrades and upkeep in food) production of it should also be boosted by some buildings. If the "control" is too low every pop above it becomes feral. They are similar to the criminal jobs since they can't do anything and can cause negative effects like decrease in population or control panelties but there is no crime lord deal to keep them in check. In addition to that level of overlord upgrades can never be higher than the one of the hive mind upgrade. Hive mind in addition to control on the planet also generates empire sprawl cap (only it can do this but it generates a lot of it) . Anything that is above the cap goes feral in an order newest>oldest. I want it to at the later stages consume thousands of food per month just to keep everything under control.
Now this was the beliefable part that might be one day introduced under slightly changed names and tweaked mechanics. But I want to go a step further so I will write some other things that might be cool when combined with what I mentioned.
The ships are themselves alive and as such cost food to build and upkeep, as well as they count to the empire sprawl instead of the fleet limit. Fleet limit is instead a property of the overlords that can control a certain amount of ships in a range that is dependent on technology and overlord level. They can't go outside of that range or they will after a few months become free roaming Ferals that will atack everything until they are killed or they accidentally walk into the range of overlord that has enough fleet limit to controll them (does not have to be from the same empire).
Another thing I think will be cool to see is if their farmer equivalent only produced bearly enough food to keep them afloat until they find another empire at which point they will eat their pops. They would be able to abduct pops. I even think it would be fitting for them to have automatic war with all neighbors. I want them to feel like the early stages of the scurge in their home system. The feeling of the need for a continuous expansion. They will need to conquer more land to meet the needs of the land they conquered sort of feel. You know the heavy focus on the momentum because if you not only stop by the even slow down you will in fact go backwards.
One last thing, since their ships are alive they might have use genetic modification points on them to make them stronger (like +15% to armor for tough) and while most of their stuff will be just retextured and reflavored standard stuff (just a little weaker maybe to not make genetic changes to powerful) some of it will be unique to them as a reward for killing and assimilating space life (similar to how you unlock ameba strike craft tech after killing them). So for example killing a suneater will grant you the choice between two powerful options for ship upgrades. For example a choice between a A slot that makes your shields even more effective at stopping lasers so it's nearly impossible to pierce through them using lasers or a powerful L or even X plasma weapon.
I didn't give any numbers just a general idea since I don't know what would be balanced and what not.
That would be it thanks for hearing out my Ted talk.
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