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Recently I’ve been playing again, and I was glad to see that there was a new upkeep mechanic, I was hopeful that it would add some new depth to the gameplay…… And was sorely disappointed..

What is the purpose of this new mechanic that you’ve labelled “upkeep”?  Can someone from the development team,  Please explain this implementation of “upkeep?

From my limited point of view, currently the “upkeep” mechanic is not upkeep. The excepted English definition of upkeep is
noun
1.   the process of keeping something in good condition.
"we will be responsible for the upkeep of the access road"
synonyms:   maintenance, repair(s), service, servicing, preservation, conservation;
2.   financial or material support of a person or animal.
"payments for the children's upkeep"
synonyms:   maintenance, repair(s), service, servicing, preservation, conservation;

Why is the mechanic labelled upkeep?  When it does not even conceptually match either of the English definitions?

A brief description of what I figured out about the mechanic is after you reach and arbitrarily set number of ant split into 2 categories, workers and soldiers, the game very rapidly scales up the cost for new brood, and down the amount of food provided to the player.  Is this correct?  If so, it is not upkeep.  It is a soft population limit.
 
 If I’m not mistaken players were complaining when the game enforced population limit,  why would you be bringing back that mechanic under a different name?

I personally wanted an upkeep mechanic, to drive the player either to stockpile food or the force them to take bigger risks as the difficulty level increased.  This would effectively stop players from turtleing,  and allow for more realistic, and interesting level design and  AI behavior.

I would really appreciate if someone from the development team would answer, I like this game, and I would be willing to throw more money at it.  If I thought there was a hope of it moving past this very mechanically shallow experience.

Quote
I personally wanted an upkeep mechanic, to drive the player either to stockpile food or the force them to take bigger risks as the difficulty level increased.  This would effectively stop players from turtleing,  and allow for more realistic, and interesting level design and  AI behavior.
100% agree, an actual upkeep would be great, different foods (sugar for upkeep, protein for new brood and if there's a lack of sugar for upkeep) would be even greater.

Protein, sugar, ect. has been discussed before as a level balacing breaker. Perhaps protein, sugar and other food sources could boost efficiency of brood development, ant speed and other tiles. Totally agree that upkeep should stick to its definition. Three groups of thirty max level ants in enough for me to crush anything. So it does not affect me in any way. I was severely dissapointed that upkeep did not mean that I could feed my ants.
Ants are beautiful,
but if fooled around with,
can be deadly.

100% agree, an actual upkeep would be great, different foods (sugar for upkeep, protein for new brood and if there's a lack of sugar for upkeep) would be even greater.

Serafine, I agree with you that different types of food would be great.  However, I suspect with the current amount of development resources that idea is not practically feasible, it would involve redesigning all the current levels, and devoting development time to reworking food types so it had different effects.

 Actual upkeep on the other hand, would not be difficult from a developmental standpoint, because they already keep track of the amount of different types of ants, and they have already implemented a 30 minutes day/night cycle, it literally would be a calculation that runs once a minute that removes 1/30 (rounded up), of the overall cost of your colony from your food stores.  Bonus, it would effectively make a soft Population limit, immersive, and accomplish everything they’re trying to do, with small adjustments to the amount of food that creatures provide.  I don’t think it would take more than  25 lines of code to implement may be less depending on how they laid everything out, with a competent code layout, and programmer, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to implement. Realistically they can farm out the testing to the beta player base, Considering this is early access.  I suspect it is totally doable under current development resources.  While adding a mechanic that could be leveraged later to add difficulty to levels being designed later.

Protein, sugar, ect. has been discussed before as a level balacing breaker. Perhaps protein, sugar and other food sources could boost efficiency of brood development, ant speed and other tiles. Totally agree that upkeep should stick to its definition. Three groups of thirty max level ants in enough for me to crush anything. So it does not affect me in any way. I was severely dissapointed that upkeep did not mean that I could feed my ants.

MrCed2003,  I hundred percent agree with you, 90 the level III ants crushes anything the game currently’s and that you, outside of those attack waves, in free play.  However, I wish the game to be more mechanically deep and have a variety of challenges.  Instead of just throwing progressively bigger waves of enemies that you. Maybe, random anteater attacks, or a level where you have to take down a small lizard before it runs away, so your colony doesn’t starve. Or a beach level, where you get caught off from your food supply, for prolonged periods of time, with only very short periods gather food.   

That seems like a good suggestion for 2.1 or 2.2 challenge mode.
Posted from my Zombie bunker in northeast Ohio.

Upkeep would require a whole mechanics redesign.  (I would like to see it happened of course but realistically the mechanics are already viced in.)  For one, what happens when there is no food, do the ants starve slowly, do brood still hatch?  Will you still spend food on tiles?  Why do I need to spend food for a storage space?  Also what happens if my brood takes up all the food hatching?  Should we be able to kill or freeze the hatching without destroying tiles?  How will the AI balance this?  Upkeep may make certain missions and challenges impossible requiring a complete redesign. 

Honestly I hate the hard cap, and current food system and would prefer something closer to what Empire of the Ants (2000) had.

Upkeep would require a whole mechanics redesign.  (I would like to see it happened of course but realistically the mechanics are already viced in.)  For one, what happens when there is no food, do the ants starve slowly, do brood still hatch?  Will you still spend food on tiles?  Why do I need to spend food for a storage space?  Also what happens if my brood takes up all the food hatching?  Should we be able to kill or freeze the hatching without destroying tiles?  How will the AI balance this?  Upkeep may make certain missions and challenges impossible requiring a complete redesign. 

Honestly I hate the hard cap, and current food system and would prefer something closer to what Empire of the Ants (2000) had.

I have to agree with Emporer here, adding a food drain over time would severely limit any level with non-infinite food by placing an arbitrary time limit after which the lvel simply becomes impossible due to lack of food. This is a great idea for an individual level or two but gamebreaking as a general mechanic imo.

There are already food sources in the game that are essentially infinite.
- Aphid spots frequently produce honeydew drops (and even aphids if some got lost).
- Poppy seed plants frequently throw down seeds.
- Critter waves frequently spawn (especially during night).

Effectively the ONLY levels that do not have regenerating food sources are the levels without surface parts (1.1 and 1.2), and even fixing that would be super easy by just placing down some root aphids somewhere in the underground (but then you should finish those levels before running out of food on the map anyway).


For an upkeep system to really work though you'd need to separate food into sugars and protein food (this doesn't mean that insects have to give ONLY protein, they obviously give a small amount of sugars/carbohydrates as well).

Sugars are mostly used for ant upkeep and protein food is the stuff you need to build new ants (just like with real ants) - different ant species can even be individualized by the ratio of food they need (for example Camponotus ligniperda is exceptionally sugar-based consuming tons of honeydew but relatively few insects, while Camponotus vagus consumes an outstanding amount of insects but far less sugary liquids than most other ants).

An obvious exception from this are leafcutter ants which get both food types from cutting leaves (the workers get carbohydrates from plant sap they drink while cutting leaves and the brood eats the fungus that gets cultivated on the cut leaves) which would further promote their unique playstyle.

Army ants might also compleltely ignore sugars in favor of protein food (even for their upkeep) which would give them a very very aggressive playstyle (and require ereptor players to kill a ton of critters or other ants if they want to raise and maintain a high number of army units).

Maybe the scientist in the formicarium would throw down some sugar cubes every few minutes too. Or whatever sugary stuff ant keepers feed their ants...
Posted from my Zombie bunker in northeast Ohio.

You just need a feeder that could work like an aphid farm. This is the one I use for my own ants:

Hey Serafine where do you get your ant feeders?

byFormica - you can buy them on amazon (at least in most countries) or on antkeepingdepot.