Nanite Swarm Environmental Factor


What effects can the environment have on the game? @Edaq pointed out the ideas of some ambient effects, what other can there be?

What about some nanite swarms Stanislaw Lem’s The Invincible style?
The things view anything living as a possible threat and basically erase a living creature’a mind completely with a powerful EMP. It’s could be represented by the player losing control over the body, or just instant death.
Any machinery is viewed by the nanites as a possible opponent in their mechanical evoulution, and so all other machines get destroyed.
Those things have nests, from which they first send a recon force, and then attack in waves, changing tactics after each failure.
If we could translate that into the map somehow, this could lead to an interesting three-way fight, while forcing sides to change their tactics each nanite wave, like teslas should be replaced with sentries at the entrance and vice versa.
I am not sure if my English language is rich enough to explain what I want to say, but to get better idea of what on the world do I mean, read Lem’s The Invincible, a great book.


Something similar could be a possibility. Replicators(self reproducing robots that tear apart matter to make more of themselves) could be an option. EMPs might not be able to erase a human or alien’s mind though, that would have to be chemical or similar as humans and biological life forms are not effected by radio pulses in the same way electrical devices might be. Replicator bots would be large enough to see and shoot.

How about space spiders, like the kind that were in lost in space the film. Those things were lethal, terrifying, and mindlessly swarmed to eat life forms. Also they would only require one model as all of the space spiders in that film, in addition ot having a metal melting heat blast, traditionally only came in one form and size. Furthermore they had egg sacks. These “space spiders” could be a formidable enemy for either side. For every player they kill/eat and every turret they kill/eat the computer should autogenerate two more of their number at the map placed default egg sack.

Just a few options, I do not know if such aliens would fit in our game well, but if they did there could be quite a few awesome options for them.


A thought has just occurred, are those injection medikits a nano thing? if so that could be part of a plot cutscene for a grey-goo type nano thing. The medisyringe gets dropped into a pool of alien blood and breaks or something. I have no idea if a medical nano could do anything like that but it might be a good plot point for making mutated blob monsters that mindlessly eat all organisms. Something like the monster in “The Raft”.

(like the nanos try to repair the alien blood without having a template so it makes a predatory blob)


Well, brain operates on electric impulses. Magnetic fields create electric fields and where there are electric fields, there is electric current. So a powerful magnet moving near your head will either temper with your thoughts, probably to the point of death, since your brain’s commands to breath will not go to its destination. Or it could just kill you, frying the brain up. Science!

I like the idea of failed nanite medicine, I like it a lot. Would the blob be somewhere on the map and slowly moving around, killing all it touches?

I also thought that the CKits humans use are nanite based too. So the swarm of nanites from the old abandoned ckit could be constantly set on Deconstruct, with restraints, like demolishing only blueprinted objects, removed.

It could be a cool idea for a map, to make an unstable map, combining all ideas, where environment tries to kill you just as much as the enemy team.


There is already a medical procedure that uses a huge moving magnet to scan the brain and body. The magnet is strong enough that it can pull metal oxygen canisters towards the machine. In one of our hospitals around here I think a nurse was killed by an unattended oxygen tank around an MRI. MRI(magnetic resonance imaging). The brain will have some changes in function from a very very strong and localized magnetic field, but not like a computer would. Our brain cell synapses are not as conductive or as long as circuits in a computer…otherwise MRIs would kill us very quickly.

However while an electromagnetic pulse is unlikely to do anything to us, a high frequency is a very different story. In the words of Weird Al: “Dare to be stupid, put your head in the microwave and give yourself a tan, dare to be stupid”( in a parody of DEVO. If your nanites generated microwaves or similar high frequency radiation, it would be very capable of baking the brain, and all electronics.

Of course microwaves are very tuned and not a pulse, a microwave beam would take time to kill you. In example if you have ever been in a radio station you can stand close to the RF emitter and get an RF burn on accident, but that takes about 10-15 minutes.

I very much agree a damaged ckit or nanomedicine blob would be awesome :smile: I did not think about the Ckit starting it, very awesome idea :heart:


A microwave generating nanite would not only be lethal, but it would have a slow killing effect over time. And if you breathed in or injested said nanites they would bake you from the inside out, you would absorb every emitted microwave because they are in you. A microwave generating nanite outside of you would be radiating in all directions and some of it would miss you, but if it was in you that would be a different story.


I think the most horror-related nano-killing machine would be a sound-based one. Sound waves can kill very efficiently, without us even realizing we are being attacked. A small headache, then death. I can’t remember what exactly causes this, but the US has such a sonic weapon.
Also, nanite blobs injecred into nerval nodes while severing brain connection to the motor function could control the body zombie-style. This last one could be made to be related to a failed medicine as well.
The sonic ones can be explained as a communication network gone rogue.


I agree, sound and infrasound can have lethal effects. As can internal cell killing via nano-machine. There are ways to, if you have good woofers and quality speakers, to make infrasound that can cause sickness and high blood pressure, so I am sure that if sound guys can do it a nanoswarm could do much worse with infrasound or sonic pulses. Come to think of it the right frequency loud enough could emulsify organs or destroy bones. needless to say such a death would be gruesome and there could even be ways to display that with gibs.


Turning human body into the factory for nano-machines is also possible.
All in all, nanites could even become a third team, come to think of it.


The funny thing is, nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (although they like to leave out the term nuclear in medicine, as that is not an appealing word to the general public), is based on the same fundemental principal behind microwave ovens, the main differences being the frequencies and the intended target to resonate with.


Let’s not forget that light is also electromagnetic waves, same as sound and radiation.


To quote wikipedia:

In physics, sound is a vibration that typically propagates as an audible wave of pressure, through a transmission medium such as a gas, liquid or solid.

So sound is more of a “mechanical” wave than electromagnetic.

Not all radiation is electromagnetic waves. Infrared, microwaves, radio waves, UV, tera-hertz, x-rays, gamma rays, visible light, and every other frequency range of light are electromagnetic wave. But beta rays (essentially electrons), alpha rays (essentially helium nuclei), every other kind of isotope, leptons, mesons, hadrons, antimatter, tachyons, and any other kind of radiation that is not a form of light, while they may or may not have electric charge and exhibit electromagnetic interactions, are not themselves electromagnetic waves.


Yeah, I made a stupid mistake stating that sound is an EMW. My apologies. :slight_smile:
Well yeah, but usually by radiation game-radiation is meant. For me at least :slight_smile: When I say radiation I mean waves, other kinds of radiation are particle based, but they don’t pose that much of a threat to human body.


I don’t mean to be on a correction spree today :wink: (physics is something I have a lot of interest in, it is a very cool and many times a very mind blowing subject), but the health risks from radiation come from its ionization effects, and charged particles are a lot more likely to ionize than non-charged particles (like photons/light). And especially since gamma rays have such a small wave length, they are very likely to pass through us without colliding with any of our atoms (it takes a huge number of gamma rays too sufficiently increase the odds of collision).

Antimatter in large enough amounts can pose great health risks, as positrons for example, would completely annihilate electrons it encounters (leaving a gammar ray in place of both the positiron and electron), thus resulting in ionization. But apparently we have not encountered such quantities to cause health risks yet, but it is used in medical applications today.

According to quantum mechanics they can be both:


That’s what I get for not checking the facts I barely remember. I salute you, sir, it’s been a nice talk. :slight_smile:


It’s ok, this discussion is resulting in a lot of interesting concepts being brought up, and more potential sources of inspiration, which is one of the primary purposes of this brainstorming category :wink: .


Yeah I should have clarified the difference between an MRI frequency and microwave is the frequency. However an electromagnetic pulse, unlike an MRI or microwave is a signular high voltage EM burst.

EMPs don’t really effect people, which was why Starfish Prime as considered a “non-lethal” military weapon. It was meant to destroy electrical equipment and power plants, not people. Some people who have played Contra or Command and Conqurer (or TA) can be sticklers about EMPs being nonlethal.

Of course in practice an EMP would kill millions: anyone depending on food preparation equipment, utilities, medical care, pace makers, and generally anything that makes society function would find themselves in a tough spot. However the human faction in trem are all healthy clone warriors who are already well fed, it would take an EMP weeks to probably kill them. Not to mention these clone soldier guys are probably survival trained.

Of course in the future electrical equipment would probably have rf chokes, fuses, microcontrollers, and some faraday shielding. Its the future and in space EMPs from solar spots etc are pretty common…:thinking:

So I assume an EMP would make equipment and electrical weapons like the pulse rifle temporarily cease to function. Rifles and shottys should not be effected. Armory and electrical devices should temporarily be disabled by an EMP as the safety switches would turn them off if an EMP was blasted.

A sustained microwave emission by nanites would be lethal and quite different from an EMP. One is a brief strong electromagnetic field that induces high voltages in metal circuits, the other is a constant outpouring of radiation. In example the USAF HEMP bomb(electromagnetic coil wrapped around an explosive charge) is imperceptible to people…but the ADS(Active Denial System) is noticible by living things because its a constant beam of tuned microwaves. One is like a laser, and the other is like brief radio discharge.

All of the above being said having two kinds of nanite attacks could add a fun dynamic to game play :slightly_smiling_face: Waves of EMP attacks, Waves of radiation bombardment, then waves of melee attacks or something. We could use the difference between the two types of attacks in a creative way to make the nanites a more complex and more developed enemy.


Also rf and microwaves induce heating, like the ADS heating the skin. EMPs dont produce heat but instead induce large voltages…meaning that a standard EMP is exclusively non-ionizing as far as I am aware.

I love physics, especially quantum and astrophysics. The old Particle based quantum theory that was explained with a derivative of the Dirac electron sea. While not as accepted today it is much easier to visualize :slightly_smiling_face:

_________physics content alert(long and complicated text wall
Imagine you have a minimum amount of energy and space a thing can take up. We cannot go infinitely smaller in physics, there is a minimum pixel size of our universe so to speak. Now imagine we are watching a wave on the ocean that spreads out, if we zoom in we see water particles carrying the wave, and if we examine the wave even closer there are two particle sets that could not spread out anymore, but at the same time are still part of the wave. This wave will behave in different contexts like a wave and a particle. (bear in mind I have oversimplified it, and borrowed from older ideas on quantum physics) Thus almost all waves boil down to some sort of particle carrier or field that a wave packet(that behaves like a particle) that carries said wave.

Astrophysics For People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson discusses some of this well. Or there is Minute Physics on YouTube. They always have fun, interesting, and surprising content.

__________________________back to normal trem discussion

Thus differentiating between types of directed energy weapons and energy devices can get complicated fast. However most RTS players can be real sticklers over the difference between EMPs and standard directed energy weapons. This is not a limitation though, this allows us a bit more creativity with the nanites possible attacks. A nannite swarm with only one kind of attack could be boring, having multiple attacks, even if they are all energy based, could be more fun and interesting.

Of course I won’t necessarily complain if we use artistic license to make EMPs injure biological lifeforms, thought we might want to come up with some kind of scifi explanation for how an EMP disrupts a brain link. (do the soldiers have brain chips for communication?, are the aliens silicon based and have metallic conductive neurons?)


Rouge aliens.

Thinking about nanite swarms and attacks, EMP’s would be the only way to stop them or could there be more ways, also in the sense of one kind of attack could be boring, why not have a pool of attacks and what they do made up by a group of people or at-least the community and create a R-G-N-A or Randomly Generated Nanite Attack.


I would have to say that technically mathematical divisions of smallness do not always apply to quantum physics. In example I do not think you can get a smaller distance than a quark’s worth. There is a maximum resolution to the universe so to speak, as there is a minimum “pixel” size.

Feel free to fact check me of course :slightly_smiling_face: I should admit that the minimum pixel size also applies in simulations I think. Simulation universe theory anyone? Not sure how this applies specifically to trem, but trem is a simulation :thinking: