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Details on Neon's upgrade system.
December 1, 2012 - Paul - Intravenous Software
Core Upgrade Slots
Every ship in the game has 6 core upgrade slots:
Energy Storage (Reactor)
There are 80 different levels for each of the above upgrades in the game.
Level 1 Reactor gives 150 energy storage.
Level 80 Reactor gives 9.5million energy storage!
You also have a single missile upgrade slot that determines the currently used missiles.
Miscellaneous Upgrade Slots
Most ships have at least one Miscellaneous slot. Higher level ships have up to eight.
Miscellaneous slots take Miscellaneous upgrades. These can boost your core systems (listed above), increase individual weapon damage, increase all weapon damage, or add extra features to the ship. You must choose which Misc upgrades to install in those slots and so you can configure your ship however you want.
Overclocking Your Upgrade Slots
Every upgrade slot can also be overclocked to increase the power of any upgrade installed in it. You buy overclocking at garages and it's expensive.
Balancing Your Upgrades
All upgrades have a mass and an energy requirement. Mass slows down the ship and if you run out of energy everything stops working until it recharges.
This system means that setting up your ship is a balancing act. Pack it full of high level shield upgrades, and miscellaneous shield boosters and it's going to be slow and suck up lots of energy. So then you need a bigger reactor and energy storage unit. This adds more weight and slows the ship down. So you put a bigger engine in it but that uses more energy. You get the idea. Finding the perfect balance is a very big part of the gameplay. However, if all your installed upgrades are of the same tech level then your ship will be balanced and will work well in most circumstances.
When you kill a ship it explodes dropping a fragment from every upgrade and weapon it has installed. (These fragments are the coloured balls you see exploding out of ships killed in the video) They also drop fragments of the ship hull blueprint they are using. You collect these. Collect 100% of one upgrade, weapon or hull and it becomes available for you to use. These will increase your ship's tech level. Weapon damage is directly proportional to the average tech level of your installed upgrades.
Average Tech Level vs Damage
All the weapons are balanced. They all have a use in different situations and will increase in power automatically as you increase the tech level of your installed upgrades.
You can also dock at Upgrade Shops, Dealerships, and Armories to purchase new upgrades outright or to complete any that you have already collected fragments from.
The 33 ships in the game are also balanced allowing them all to be useful throughout the entire game. The F1 Fighter seen being flown by the player in the video unlocks at level one, but in the video it's upgrades have an average tech level of 23.83. So it does 23.83 times more damage than it would at level 1. In the video we are fighting enemies ranging from about level 15-25. If an enemy has an average tech level that is three or more levels lower than us, it is nearly harmless. However if it is three levels higher, it requires incredible skill to take down.
I hope that helps to highlight the very deep upgrade mechanic behind the game. Neon is much more than just combat.
Thanks for taking the time to read more about Neon.