The Third Faction: The Evolved Bionids
The third Faction in order and in conception, The Evolved Bionids are so called as an emphasis of their nature and theme, which falls under the categories of, Offensive, Assault-oriented, Evolving Adaptability and Evolutionary Versatility, Strong Physical and Genetic Makeup, Biological Technology, Focussed on the Managing of the Evolution and Production of Units up a Tech-Tree.
The underlying idea is that they are a macromanagement-based machine of war that is focussed on economical management, in order to fuel the pawns and processes that form the biological collective that is The Evolved Bionids, managing the evolutionary advancement of the individual components of its constitution, and by extension the race itself, all along the directives of fulfilling their evolutionary aims of advancing their genetics and maintaining the constant production of new biological-lifeforms, most of which are designed for war and the processors for the assimilation of new genes as stock for further adaptation to their surroundings, ultimately creating an endlessly breeding army of physically superior units, far evolved beyond the other races and Factions. Hence, The Evolved Bionids.
When it comes to a race of evolutionary-adapted forces, that by their nature possess use of technology in an alternate form and not in the usual shape it takes, to contest the seemingly more advanced technology of the other Factions (in the standard way as they come with projectiles of energy bolts and plasma discharges), take such means as natural armour and weaponry that are entirely biological in make, yet are of a deceptively strong enough substance to face the other Factions off on equal footing. As it naturally comes with a reliance on biological evolution for the means of warfare, the Bionids are assault-oriented with the emphasis on getting in close with the enemy's forces, where their natural weapons and armour aids them best, in the destruction and decimation of their foes, through claw, fang and teeth. So, among the four Factions, and perhaps on par with The Great Rhuds, the Bionids have a stronger emphasis on close combat comparatively.
As the Bionids were always designed for a playstyle that concentrates on the economical management of accruing large amounts of resources, and then translating them into the production of more units, fuelling the inexhaustible machine of war that is the Evolved, a large part of what constitutes their gameplay are the themes of Evolving Adaptability and Evolutionary Versatility, which follow alongside the idea of what they are attempting achieve with the process of war, the assimilation of new genetic material, and their conversion as a resource for diversifying their evolutionary versatility, for increased survivability through evolving adaptability to the hazards and risks of their ever-changing environment. With that in mind, given the focus of playstyle for the Bionids was always meant to be this way, they have another type of resource to handle and manage, called Genetic Material, which is gained by several means, the chief of them being the killing and destruction of enemy units, and the conversion from there for the Resource Cost of them directly into Genetic Materials. The basic formation of the "Strong Physical and Genetic Makeup" of the Bionids, is formed from the "biological research" of determining the success of Evolutionary Traits or Mutation Strains, by the amount of Genetic Materials you devote to that one particular evolution of your choice and selection.
Given such a procedure, and also as a factor of balance, each Evolutionary Trait and Mutation Strain have to be evolved separately for the Base Strain, and upon which the two Divergent Strains from each of them, gain those same evolutions and adaptations. There is a reason for this, part of it the shift of focus for this particular Faction becoming centrally about macromanagement and production. And almost as if to emphasise that, individual Bionid units cannot be controlled or moved on their own, but rather require "Synapse" creatures, either Hive Kings or Nests, to relay instructions or direct the other Strains which are within a range of 2 hexes from each. I initially had this idea for the Rhuds, I wanted a controlling mechanism that showed the feral or near animal-state of the race, on how they operated more on instinct, given their evolutionary primitivity and presence as a new race on the galactic scene, and was meant to offset how cheap and numerous they can get, but it turned out a wiser and more sensible decision to have that reserved for a Faction like the Evolved Bionids.
Having such a design framework, it was decided too, both by decisive intention and the manner of how the Faction's playstyle evolved towards in the end with the way it worked, the Bionids were always meant to be a highly offensive-based Faction, which is such an approach that is greatly encouraged when playing as them, given the need to accumulate and manage two different types of resources, as the prime basis for their method of economically-focussed gameplay, and so this agenda was cleverly enforced with the full operative of how The Evolved Bionids came to be. The implementation of this secondary resource helped shaped and defined the background and function of the Bionids, first as a further stress of the importance of economy for them, and since this is a race that rely on huge numbers of superiorly-evolved creatures, all of which require great reserves of resources to accomplish, the dynamic of having two different types of resources facilitates and distinguishes the economic engine that characterises the Evolved Bionids.
Understanding this, you will realise why the different Strains are required to evolve Traits separately for just their Base and Divergent Strains. First of all, this has a technical aspect that happens to be thematic as well, since the Strains are quite powerful already in their own right, and having to evolve separately for each increases the choices you can make, both in tactical quality and the quantity of such "research" (more like evolution or mutation) you can make. If one Evolutionary Trait researched affected all of the rest collectively, tactical diversity will be removed and the theme of emphasising how the evolutionary aims of the Bionids are its one, singular and overriding objective, loses focus and thematic value, given the evolutionary process of evolving Traits and mutating Divergent Strains becomes much easier and simplified, as when compared to how I have designed it to work, the tactical viability becomes apparent in the weighing of intelligent options in how you want to evolve certain units, so that they become more specialised for instance, or what units you want to have upgraded or empowered this way, to become generally more formidable or suited for their task or particular method of warfare. So as the design of the Faction progressed, I worked in how, with there being six Strains, or seven if you count the Leader Strain comprised of the Hive Queen and King too, of first the Worker Strain, meant to aid in the economical aspect of playing this race, the Warrior Strain, where very cheap and basic fighting forces that are as yet combat-efficient, can be built, the Stealth Strain, which is almost an assassin branch of the biological war machine that is the Bionids, the Support and Specialist Strains, meant as support or for their specialised effects, and finally, possibly what is the ultimate Strain for the Bionids, or can be referred to as the Crown Strain, named Brute Strain officially, the most powerful forces the Bionids can muster, in terms of damage and toughness, they can all be built with as much diversity in Traits as there are as many of them, since you will only concentrate certain changes in Traits for the Strains you think need them or want them to have, and in this way highlights the replayability of the Faction.
And just like a race of biological terrors, resorting to "Biological Technology" as a substitute for more conventional forms as they come with what we understand as standard technology, that even though seemingly frail from being constructed of substances organic and natural in origin and make, are more than capable of matching in potency and power the armaments of the other Factions. This is important to note, for given how they operate through the controlling of intermediary mediums like Nests and the Hive Kings, some extent in how you lead and control your troops is taken from you, almost as if to allow you a clearer focus on the macromanagement aspects of this race. And true enough it works so, almost as if encouraging you to throw your endless forces against the walls of your enemy's base, overrunning them with numbers in confrontative assault. This limitation of control too, having movement and control of your fighting units regulated by Synapse mediums, allows for more powerful units, that are compensated to some degree by the lack of their ability to be functional without the generating influence of a Hive King. So control over your economy, as well as carefully decided positionings of your Hive Kings are key to winning with this Faction, and at this moment, they appear the Faction that most endears to me, given my own preference for the Zerg when playing StarCraft.
All in all, this was a more complicated race than the first two to design, and the concepts for it stayed stagnant for quite some time, before I made progress by just forcing myself to work and develop it with the stride and pace of what inspiration I had. In my initial conceptions for this Faction, and how they would work, I had a rather complicated and abstract view of how they would eventually turn out, you know, in the way that most ideas usually appear in a foggy way, that seemed rather brilliant and almost impossible in requiring the efforts of a genius to realise, by all margins more work and substance beyond ordinary means. It felt that way for this race too, but once progressing with it, and having to work within the structural dynamics of the rules of the game already established and laid out, it turned out eventually, even if not as fantastic as imagined or hoped for, a workable piece with a very interesting background to it. And with that, I end this piece, with a peace out.