Control Tower’s are the structures found within Darwinia that can be captured from virus control through the use of your Engineers. Control Towers typically do not exist on their own, as they have no direct function without a paired structure which is operated in conjunction with the Control Tower, although they do have a special function when it comes to research which is explained below.
Control towers are typically found attached to another building such as the others covered here. In order to capture a Radar Dish, Trunk Port or Incubator you will have to reprogram the Control Tower that it is attached to. In addition, these structures play a hidden, but very important role in furthering the player’s research projects.
Control Towers and Research
Now, you would not typically know this within the game without finding this out somewhere else, as it is somewhat of a secret, but capturing Control Towers serves a secondary function of directly influencing your ability to research project items. Every time you capture a Control Tower, no matter what other item it is attached to, you will have 22 points added to your “research pool”. This research pool is drawn upon over time and applied to whichever research project you currently have Doctor Sepulveda assigned to.
It takes approximately 50 research points to go from v1.0 to v2.0, 100 points to make it from v2.0 to v3.0, and 200 points to reach v4.0 from v3.0. This means that to fully research a project, you will need 350 research points, or 16 captured control points. This is important to realize considering there is a limited number of control towers in the game, and definitely not enough to research everything completely. In the course of my own play through that lasted 6 hours and 20 minutes from start to finish, I still had about 120+ points left in my research pool, possibly more after capturing every control tower, and had spent 1850 research points. This should give a vague estimation of the amount of time it takes on a broad scale.
Incubators are the primary way to spawn new green Darwinians, and are the only way to do so in the first 8 missions, not including the prologue. Incubators also need Engineer’s to deposit souls to run, thus it’s a good idea to develop strategies on soul collection when capturing a new Incubator, or starting a new level without one under control yet.
Incubator’s are the key to rebuilding the Darwinian population within the game. These structures captured through the reprogramming of the attached Control Tower, allow Engineers to hover over with a load of spirits in tow, and drop them off inside the Incubator. After putting the souls inside the Incubator, they will respawned over time into green Darwinians.
The rate of which the souls are turned back into friendly physical bodies is directly proportional to how many souls are currently within the Incubator pending respawn. Piling a heavy load of souls into an Incubator in Darwinia will literally cause it to spit a stream of little green pixel men into the air as though it were literally a fountain of rebirth.
In later levels the Biosphere and Temple, the Incubators will be replaced with the Spawners that automatically create a steady stream of Darwinians with the souls provided to them through the Receiver and Pattern Buffer facilities. Although many of the Incubators start off under virus control, they cannot be utilized by the enemy unlike the Spawners. In addition, it is typically a good idea to capture these as soon as possible on the maps that have them, to prevent wasting souls to the sky, as they float way over time if not collected and incubated.
The Radar Dish is the main method you have for getting between islands separated by water within Darwinia. After capturing one, you must select it and reposition the dish so it faces a receiving building. Once a link is established you are free to transport units across it.
The Radar Dish is one of 3 buildings you will find controllable through the reprogramming of Control Towers. The Radar Dish serves as the primary means of transporting your Squads, Officers and Darwinians across the vast stretches of water that separate the many islands that make up the various level within Darwinia. After capturing one of these Radar Dishes you will be able to select it with the left mouse button, then point it towards another Radar Dish. The receiving dish does not have to be controlled by you to establish a transport link, but it does need to be within line of sight of the sending dish, and must have at least a small degree of its receiving face pointed towards the sending dish.
Once the sending dish has been pointed appropriately to a receiving dish, a beam will establish between the two, creating a one way tunnel through which you can send units into. Officers and Squads can be directly controlled into the Radar Dish for transport, and Darwinians can be instructed into one with the Officer’s Follow command. Engineers and Armor are not capable of using the Radar Dish for transport, as they do not need it to traverse water.
If the receiving dish is under your control, you can point it towards the sending dish to establish a two way link, where you will see two beams overlapped, or you can point it to a second receiving dish to create a chain between several islands to move your Darwinian forces through, although the dish must remain at least somewhat angled to the original sending dish or the beam will break. If you have units currently within a beam when it is broken, they will be killed instantly.
Trunk Ports are the primary means of transport between various levels and are often the target of level objectives in order to facilitate various tasks performed across multiple areas. After the Yard level, these are the sole spawn point for the Armor unit.
Trunk Ports are the primary means of what connects the various areas of the Darwin Simulated Life Research Project together. Data is transferred from one area to another, through these ports, and with it various integral parts of the Darwinian’s society. In the game the main purpose they serve to the player is to allow access to the next level, or to unlock a new spawn point in a level that has multiple trunk port connections.
There are various levels such as the Mine, where these facilities much be captured through the reprogramming of a nearby Control Tower in order to facilitate the transfer of materials from one area to the next, or in this case, raw polygons to be processed into the Armor units.
After completing the Yard level, the Trunk Port will begin to serve as the spawn point for Armor units in any level, this being because it must be transferred through the Trunk Port system from the Yard itself. It also turns out, that a misused Trunk Port has a lot to do with the virus disaster that has struck the Darwinians (see the temple level).