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Experiments In Windforge: Propeller Force Fields
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Dev Diary by Evan Hahn

I did some more experimentation recently with the propellers in Windforge. This time around I wanted test their defensive capabilities. Propellers will suck and blow most objects in the game. This includes: people, creatures, grenades, pickups, and even other ships.

For this test I wanted to see if I could use propellers to defend an area from enemy artillery shells. I set up a line of seven propellers, a few engines to power them, and a control panel so I could control the propellers. I then made the propellers push upward, and spawned an enemy ship equipped with artillery cannons.

Something unexpected happened after that. One of our newer features in the game is that Town NPCs will panic when the danger level gets too high in the town. So, as soon as the ship spawned all of the NPCs in the town started running around like crazy people. Two of the nearby townsfolk accidentally ran into my propellers and started getting blown all over the place. Meanwhile the the enemy ship started bombarding me with artillery shells. The artillery shells basically bounced off of the invisible force field created by the wind from the propellers and exploded all over in the town behind me. Surprisingly enough the NPCs passed through the trajectories of the shells the entire time, but didn’t get hit once.


(For a quick action video of this, click here)

So all in all, I’d say the test showed that propellers can indeed be used defensively. The enemy ship couldn’t get any artillery shells anywhere close to me or the propellers. (Unfortunately the town behind me wasn’t so lucky…)

Is it practical? Maybe. I believe if you built up a base in a hostile area and surrounded it with propellers, you could make it so artillery shells wouldn’t be able to touch the base. You would still need to worry about machine gun bullets, but it should still help a lot. This would be trickier to pull off on ships because the propellers will also be used for flying, and the direction of the wind streams will depend on how you are controlling your ship.

I kind of wish now that I would have set up a horizontal wall of propellers too. This could have potentially protected the town, and maybe even blown the artillery shells back at the ship firing them. Perhaps I’ll experiment with that and the ship based scenario next week.

Anyways, let me know what you think, and if there are ever any topics you want be to write about let me know!

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