Drone Swarm is about controlling 32,000 units at once

Wow. It’s not often a game impresses me with graphics or technology anymore, but Drone Swarm [official site] is immediately a thrill just to look at. It’s a space-set singleplayer RTS in which you control a swarm of 32,000 drones. You click to direct them and they swirl as an undulating mass, each little ship individually simulated. You must watch the 11 minutes of video below, which shows exactly what you can do with such a swarm.

I’d be happy with this as just a tech demo, but I like the look of the rest of the game, too. You can direct your flock of little robots to dash-attack enemy ships, using EMPs to take down their shields before bashing them to bits, shoving them into one another, or targeting their specific subsystems to disable their engines and weapons. You can also split your swarm into smaller groups, using part of it to form a wall around your fragile mothership to protect against incoming projectiles while fighting back with the remainder.

Although it’s a real-time strategy game, it doesn’t look like there’s basebuilding, resource creation or any other units than your swarm. You’ve a hotbar of skills along the bottom of the screen however, and it looks like there’s a lot of different tactics involved in winning the small skirmishes against enemy ships. This includes a “metagame surrounding” the battles, with new abilities to unlock, a galaxy map to explore and more. Otherwise there’s not currently a lot of other information about the game or when it’s out, but there’s a newsletter you can sign up to on the game’s official site.

From this site

19 Comments

  1. Ghostwise says:

    You must watch the 11 minutes of video below, which shows exactly what you can do with such a swarm.

    So, can they clean keyboards ?

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    Harlander says:

    That swarming behaviour has been the stuff of 3D demos for some time, but it’s cool to see it being put to use in an actual game. Looks really pretty as well.

  3. foszae says:

    Oh i’ll be supporting this game just for neat concept and because swarm dynamics just sounds like cool programming to do.

  4. Otto Lidenbrock says:

    This reminds me of a game which came on the DVD of PcGamer UK (about 10 years ago give or take a few years) as part of a game jam pack where you controlled a swarm of bees (or possibly wasps). The swarm followed the movement of the mouse, clicking the mouse would concentrate the swarm into a tight ball which could then be used to carry and propel people into the air as if the bees had the effect of a tornado. It was cartoony (the bees/wasps were just black dots I believe) and I think it might have had a ragtime/ silent film style soundtrack.

    Would anyone happen to know the name/ maker of the game? It pops into my head every couple of years but I can’t find it.

    • Hammurabi says:

      That was the first thing I thought of too. The game is Attack of the Killer Swarm. It still seems to be hosted at ExperimentalGameplay. Scroll down to the section marked Original EGP 1.0 Games, within that group is a tiny screen shot of it that downloads the exe.

      • Otto Lidenbrock says:

        Yes that’s it! Thanks so much for posting a link to it.

        I’m looking forward to playing it again for the first time in years :)

  5. Curled Woofy says:

    Saw a live presentation by the developers on rb-tv from gamescom. They were really funny and enthusiastic about their game.

  6. TΛPETRVE says:

    Nice stuff. Seems to have a bit of a Starfleet Command tinge, just with a completely different combat system.

  7. gwop_the_derailer says:

    Ooh, gotta keep an eye on this one.

    It got me thinking – what if disabled ships can be disassembled to fabricate more drones and add to the swarm?

  8. Antsy says:

    This immediately reminds me of Deuteros on the Amiga.

  9. Generico says:

    Stay away from ships that play Beastie Boys, and whatever you do, do not assume space wave formation.

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    Dios says:

    That looks phenomenal, a needed step forward from the usual “float in mid-space and trade lasor beams”-type combat in strategy games like this.

  11. allthegoodonesweretaken2 says:

    Coming soon to your supercomputer!
    Also, who wants to bet this will only work with NVIDIA GPUs?

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    KRVeale says:

    That does look cool – for some reason I’m disappointed that your piranha-swarm of vicious little drones isn’t more of a threat by itself. The abilities are imaginative, but I keep thinking “Wait, forming a giant fist is more damaging than just telling your drones to peel the flesh off the giant? Aw.”

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