• Mike

  • Colony
  • *
    Global Moderator
    Community Manager

Customisable - play your way!
Freeplay is a highly customisable game mode giving the player full control over what creatures and landmarks can spawn, how hard they want the game, how the difficulty of the game will change as time goes on and much more.

The Dunes Freeplay map – a monster of a map!
The Dunes is the largest map in the game to date, made possible through optimisation of the surface tiles allowing us to get more for the processing power. It boasts:

  • 4 possible start locations for the player’s colony
  • 120 by 120 surface tile grid (the previous biggest being 96 by 126)
  • 80 locations for landmarks to spawn and 25 locations for creatures to spawn

Freeplay colonies can be saved and returned to later, allowing you to take your time and even try that horrible attack wave again. For now saving is manual and there is no backup; we are planning on introducing backups in a future update.

Landmarks – let’s make this interesting!
Landmarks are various interesting points on the surface. They are randomised in look, functionality and location, will appear and disappear as your game progresses and scale with the difficulty setting.
    Aphid Farm
    • Has between 2 and 4 patches of 10 aphids
    • Has randomly generated plant decoration
    • Ladybird attacks increase with difficulty

    Poppy Plant
    • Will intermittently drop poppy seeds; the dropped seeds have a limited lifetime

    Funnel Web Nest
    • Generates dead creature chunks
    • Contains funnel web spiders that will kill nearby enemy creatures (from the player’s colony… or anything else it is big enough to take on!)
    • Number of spiders increases with difficulty
    • Has randomly generated stones nearby

    Dead Fish
    • A large source of food
    • Will attract enemy ants

    • Attracts large group of enemies of a specific type
    • This large group stays around the central point
    • The size of the group increases with difficulty

    Creatures fight each other

    In Freeplay mode creatures on the surface will duke it out with one another. However, they will not just attack anyone! Some of them will not attack larger creatures, or will ignore the smaller ones. In Freeplay every creature has a list of other creatures they do not want to fight.

    Random start location

    The player will start in a random pre-prepared start location. These undergrounds are similar in the resources that are available but the locations of resources are different, including where they start on the surface.

    Day / night cycle and spawning
    If turned on, the game will slowly tick from day to night and back again. When day turns to night nocturnal creatures will come out, and diurnal creatures will hide. Some creatures are about in both time periods. A full 24 hour cycle lasts 30 minutes in game-time.

    Food spoiling
    Creatures killed in Freeplay mode have a limited time to be harvested before they “spoil” and disappear (3m). Additionally, food generated by funnel web and poppy plant landmarks do the same so as to not cause too great a buildup of food.

    Uber creatures – oh boy, it’s a big one!
    Ubers are souped-up versions of some of the larger creatures. They can be identified by a red glow, increased size and will be announced in a message when they spawn. There are 4 types that are as difficult as each other and all provide 1000 food when killed. They take much longer to spoil than other creatures because of this (10m). The 4 types are uber hermit crab, uber beach tiger beetle, uber devil’s coach horse adult and uber beach wolf spider. Enabling uber creatures increases your score.

    Attack waves
    Up for a real challenge? With this enabled waves of enemies will spawn every 5 minutes after an initial setup period of 12 minutes. These wave will get stronger over time and do not drop food. How many can you survive? Enabling attack waves increases your score significantly.

    Difficulty settings
    Difficulty is handled differently in Freeplay mode. The difficulty changes as the game goes on and affects things such as the spawn rate of enemy creatures, how aggressive they are, how much food dead creatures drop and the difficulty of landmarks. You can set the start point of the game difficulty and how you would like it to change as the game progresses. There are several options.
    • Constant – the difficulty remains at the value initially set and gets no harder.
    • Ramp – the difficulty gradually increases at a steady rate.
    • Spikes – the difficulty remains constant however it will spike up in difficulty every now and then. It spikes for a random amount and for a random length.
    • Ramp with spikes – the difficulty steadily increases as the game progresses but will every now and then spike up in difficulty. It spikes for a random amount and for a random length.
    • Scale With Colony – as your colony size increases so does the difficulty, meaning you should always feel a bit pressured no matter how well you are doing.
    • Random – every so often the difficulty is randomised and stays there for a random amount of time. Note you may end up starting at some very hard difficulty.

    Nest entrance can be dug out, and are hidden until done so (visible on minimap)

    In Freeplay, your route to the nest entrance is not dug out to begin with - giving you the freedom to plan your nest your way. You will know where the entrance is from the minimap, however you will need to tunnel to it to reach the surface.

    Select your species

    Choose from one of the species from the campaign (currently black ants or wood ants) or chose one of your Formicarium colonies to play Freeplay with! If you choose one of your formicarium colonies all the upgrades you have chosen for that colony will be available for your Freeplay colony (note the ants themselves do not transfer, just the upgrades).

    Fog of War

    Enemies and food will be hidden from you unless you are nearby, what will be lurking for you in the shadows? Fog of war greatly increases your score!

    Soft population cap (Upkeep)
    After a certain number of tiles have been built, further tiles will begin to increase in cost. This makes the end game more challenging whilst also keeping performance high. Workers have a seperate population. This can be disabled in setup.

    So, what’s the point?
    You are free to build up a colony and try and survive as long as you can! You can also try to score as high as possible as you will be given a score on defeat. This score is affected by several options:
    • Uber creatures increases score by 10%
    • Attack waves increases score by 10%
    • Fog of war increases score by 150%
    • Disabling population upkeep reduces your score by 60%
    « Last Edit: July 03, 2018, 08:56:59 AM by Mike »

    Yay, bugs will not go ham and attack anything in sight. Love that the bugs will worry about their lives.  :)
    Ants are beautiful,
    but if fooled around with,
    can be deadly.

    Just wanted to tell you that this update is great! There is only one concern that I have to address to you, that's the path-finding of the ants. It's something in them that causes them to get stuck in the ground right near the entrance of the nest and they can't do anything. They just stand there. The good news is that it's only on freeplay from what I've noticed. Other than that, Keep up the fantastic work!!

    hi I just wanted to say I don't think the upkeep is a good idea in my mind I have played with it on a few times and the game seems to short for a freeplay when turned off i had a much longer game and thought it was well balanced with the food dropping as the game got harder

    but saying that if you had upkeep turned on then it may be a good idea to not have the food you get of fallen enemies drop as low as it does maybe -50% of the full food load of each enemey would balance it out a bit more

    i think this because once you hit 140% diffuculty its pretty insane and going out to the other end of the map to get food is a big no and once you get to 160% or higher your under constant attack anyway so you cant really go anywhere at 195% its with upkeep turned off its all out war on your door step