Status: working, but needs some more tweaking and polishing.
How it all started: as three different species, really - but it's only when I merged them recently that I thought I was on something interesting (i.e., a different enough playing experience.) For the record, the inspiration for these species were -
- The Vashta Nerada (from the Doctor Who series) - that's where the Nerada got their name from (obviously!), plus the Scototrophic metabolism and stealthiness (I dropped stealthiness at the moment but may reintroduce it later, just for thematic reasons.)
- The planet-creature from Stanislaw Lem's novel, Solaris - not much left of it except the inability to communicate with other species (in game terms, to 'invade'.)
- The Alternate Reality PRT from the old Stars! game - a remote-mining race living in orbit (here, it means on asteroids), thus the Kilandow-like bonus.
(It should be skototrophy, actually, just like in skototropism - but since it's a neologism, I claim ownership on the term and I like this spelling better, so...) About the implementation: I have no idea how to write a true new metabolism in FOCS, so I just reused the "light sensitive" code from the Banforo. It's a hack but it works transparently enough, except the metabolism won't show in the Census menu.
So basically it's Phototrophy in reverse, although not exactly a mirror image. The numbers aren't arbitrary, the math guys here will probably notice there's a Fibonacci sequence lurking in the progression. In my experience so far, I think it's slightly worse than Phototrophy but that's OK, I believe that metabolisms don't have to be strictly balanced as long as the playable species are.
About the species itself: You'll notice there are two 'good' environments. I wanted to make Barren planets adequate only, but it had an annoying side effect: you could then terraform your planets but it wouldn't actually do anything. So until this is fixed, enjoy the better habitability.
Nerada normally start on an asteroid field, and their sun is set to 'orange' if generated as yellow or brighter. You'll notice sometimes you don't get full production on the homeworld when this happens (well, I think the loss of production is related to the sun's reset although I have no hard evidence for that), but I don't know how to fix that yet.
It doesn't show in the species' description, but Nerada build colonies one fifth as fast as standard species (0.8 multiplier.)
Communal vision is there for a reason: the AI sucks at handling Nerada, so you can start a new game if you don't want to play against Nerada AI.
Files specific to the metabolism and the species are attached. Modifications to the pre-existing ones follow:
default/stringtables/en.txt (sorry, no localization yet)
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# Star types (full labels) BLUE_STAR Blue Star WHITE_STAR White Star YELLOW_STAR Yellow Star ORANGE_STAR Orange Star RED_STAR Red Star NEUTRON_STAR Neutron Star DARK_STAR Black Hole # Metabolism: Scototrophy SCOTOTROPHIC_SPECIES_TITLE Scototrophic Metabolism SCOTOTROPHIC_SPECIES_TEXT '''[[encyclopedia SCOTOTROPHIC_SPECIES_CLASS]] species prefer to live on dark or dim worlds. These species' max population is greatly influenced by the brightness of the local star - the lesser, the better. Growth specials do not benefit them. Population changes: * [[STAR_BLUE]] star: ([[SZ_TINY]] -10) ([[SZ_SMALL]] -20) ([[SZ_MEDIUM]] -30) ([[SZ_LARGE]] -40) ([[SZ_HUGE]] -50) * [[STAR_WHITE]] star: ([[SZ_TINY]] -5) ([[SZ_SMALL]] -10) ([[SZ_MEDIUM]] -15) ([[SZ_LARGE]] -20) ([[SZ_HUGE]] -25) * [[STAR_YELLOW]] star: ([[SZ_TINY]] -2) ([[SZ_SMALL]] -4) ([[SZ_MEDIUM]] -6) ([[SZ_LARGE]] -8) ([[SZ_HUGE]] -10) * [[STAR_ORANGE]] star: (No changes) * [[STAR_RED]] star : ([[SZ_TINY]] +1) ([[SZ_SMALL]] +2) ([[SZ_MEDIUM]] +3) ([[SZ_LARGE]] +4) ([[SZ_HUGE]] +5) * [[STAR_NEUTRON]] star : ([[SZ_TINY]] +2) ([[SZ_SMALL]] +4) ([[SZ_MEDIUM]] +6) ([[SZ_LARGE]] +8) ([[SZ_HUGE]] +10) * [[STAR_BLACK]], [[STAR_NONE]]: ([[SZ_TINY]] +3) ([[SZ_SMALL]] +6) ([[SZ_MEDIUM]] +9) ([[SZ_LARGE]] +12) ([[SZ_HUGE]] +15)''' # Species: Nerada SP_NERADA Nerada SP_NERADA_GAMEPLAY_DESC '''Semi-sentient microscopic beings which thrive in darkness. Prefer [[PT_ASTEROIDS]] and [[PT_BARREN]] planets. [[encyclopedia SCOTOTROPHIC_SPECIES_TITLE]], [[encyclopedia TELEPATHIC_TITLE]] ''' SP_NERADA_DESC '''Description: The Nerada look like tiny amoebas made of pure darkness, which form planet-spanning colonies. While individually they are barely sentient, the colonies themselves have a form of telepathic intelligence capable of communication with similar lifeforms across interstellar space. When they land on a new world, they start to multiply dazzingly fast. Their ubiquitous presence, and lack of both a central decision organ and a command structure, make them very hard to dislodge from places they inhabit. However, their inability to properly understand other lifeforms make them unable to invade previously inhabited worlds. Since they're unaffected by gravity (or the lack of) and don't need to breathe, they can thrive on asteroids belts that look like the barren wastelands they favor most. Social Structure: Strictly speaking, the Nerada don't really have one, since usually there's at most one Nerada colony per planet. They're more akin to the cells of a multicellular being than to ants or bees. They don't really understand the concept of scientific research, yet they're very industrious - sometimes through the mind-controlled bodies of larger species, but they can also form 'bodies' of their own when they need one. '''
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Item type = Building name = "BLD_COL_NERADA"
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("SP_NERADA", "Nerada", "icons/species/amorphous-03.png")
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SCOTOTROPHIC_BONUS ''' EffectsGroup scope = Contains Source activation = AND [ Planet OR [ OwnedBy affiliation = AnyEmpire Star type = [BlackHole NoStar] // Natives are allowed to have bright or dim stars ] HasTag name = "SCOTOTROPHIC" Turn high = 0 Star type = [Blue White Yellow] ] effects = SetStarType type = Orange // start with a normal star to be balanced '''
(Note those last two have the same name but different locations, but you probably know which is which.)
That's all for the time being, I hope I didn't forget or mess something up (I always do.) Comments are welcome, including about the spelling, grammar, and general wording in the 'pedia entries. I'd like the species' description to be a little less 'bland', but writing good, funny prose is still beyond my writing skills (English isn't my native language.)