Datacards are the portable, mass data storage devices
of the Combine. They are used to record scientific and engineering data
of technology and equipment designs. They are a physical object in the
game that can be picked up and carried from place to place just like a
blaster or a lightsaber. Only one technology or design may be recorded
onto a single datacard. Recording new information onto a datacard erases
the data previously held. The information on one datacard can be copied
to another datacard if a character has a datapad.
The primary use of the datacard is in manufacturing. To build anything
in the Combine, a datacard containing the design of the object to be
built must be present at the appropriate shipyard or factory along with
the required raw materials. Every ship, vehicle, droid, piece of
equipment, and facility will have a datacard that defines the
specifications, blueprints, and processes required to manufacture them.
If the datacard is removed before construction is complete,
manufacturing stops until the datacard (or an exact copy) is returned.
Datacards will be central to the R&D
process. To generate new, more powerful technologies (or modules), a
datacard containing the existing technology will need to be present to
use as a starting point. Every weapon, propulsion system, and piece of
electronic equipment will have a datacard with the technical data
describing the technology. To generate new equipment designs, datacards
containing all the different technologies to be used in the new design
will need to be present.
Datacards can have
custom images purchased for them so they produce the custom image
instead of the default. Once set, you have the option of turning the
image on and off for production via the production menu. There is a one
time fee to set a custom datacard image of
5% of the Raw Material Price (RMP) of the entity on the datacard, with a
2,000credits. Both regular and large images can be set, and all images are
reviewed by the art team before approval. The form to set an image is
located under the "Assign Datacard" form.
Given their essential role in manufacturing, characters will guard their
datacards closely. This combination of high cost, high demand, and low
availability will make them very expensive.
Datacards bring industrial espionage to the Combine in several ways.
For starters, stealing a rival's datacard can keep them from
manufacturing goods and developing new designs. Plus, the new owner of
the datacard can use it for their manufacturing and design projects. And
most devastating of all, remember that the RESEARCH
variable is part of each datacard. This means a stolen datacard could
have precious research and design information that makes it easier for
the new owner to create advanced technology!