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Overview



A helper bot that can be programmed to buzz around your ranch and perform a variety of tasks.
 
Because everyone can use a helping hand.
 
— the Slimepedia

The Drone is a player-created Utility gadget crafted at the fabricator at The Lab. Unlike most other utilities, placing it down does not require a two in-game hour installation cooldown before it can be used, nor can it be installed anywhere outside The Ranch and its expansions.

A maximum of two Drones, regardless of type, can be installed in each Ranch expansion. Due to this, a maximum total of 16 Drones can be used at any one time. In addition, they can be recolored using the Tech Chroma Pack, and have Fashion Pods applied to them.

Slimepedia Entry

Drones are a highly useful gadget that can reduce some of the work a rancher needs to perform on the ranch to keep things running smoothly.

Once you've built a drone, simply give a program using three simple inputs:
1. Target: What the drone is looking for on your ranch.
2. Source: Where the drone gets its target.
3. Destination: Where the drone takes its target.

If you give a drone an impossible task, or a drone simply cannot complete their task presently, it will go idle.

A drone can run for about a day before it will return to its station and must be powered up again. Simply give it a refreshing blast of water to recharge it.

A drone only works on your ranch and will only work within the ranch expansion in which you place it.

Sometimes, a drone will overfill an auto-feeder or silo due to a bug in their software. The 7Zee Corporation insists this bug is a feature.

Acquisition

Blueprints
The blueprint for the Drone is purchasable from The Lab for 2,000 Newbucks, as soon as The Lab becomes accessible.

Usage

DroneInstalled

The Drone is designed to assist with jobs on the ranch and its expansions. When placed down, it is not programmed to perform any jobs and will remain idle on top of the flower until it is programmed. The Drone station has a button with which to program the Drone and has a water gauge which indicates how much charge the Drone has left before it stops functioning. When the water runs out, it will finish any jobs before going inactive.


Programming the Drone with a job requires that it be given three inputs: Target, Source, and Destination.
All three inputs must be given to it - and then activated - for the Drone to function. It has a single inventory slot of 50 units to perform tasks, and the Drone will only be active as long as it can perform the job that is has been assigned. Likewise, if it cannot access its Destination after performing a task - such as a Silo getting demolished when its destination is set to storing items in a Silo - it will drop its cargo before deciding whether to go back to its flower or attempt its programmed task again if its Destination is restored. If their target food is already in an autofeeder, it will prioritise filling them over filling empty auto-feeders.

DroneSleepysleepy
The water gauge can be completely refilled by splashing it with a single blob of Water or Ancient Water, and if the Drone is sleeping on the flower and has tasks that can be completed when splashed, it will wake up and resume them. The water will deplete in 28 hours regardless of whether or not the Drone has been active. If the Drone runs out of charge during a task, it will finish it prematurely to go back to its flower. If a Drone becomes stuck during its task, it will temporarily utilize noclipping to become unstuck.

Programming

Target

IconDroneTarget

The Target option tells the Drone what it will focus on collecting.

The Drone can collect Plorts, Veggies, Fruit, Meat, and Elder Chickens. In addition, it can be programmed to target a specific item from any of the aforementioned categories, such as a Mint Mango, or a Mosaic Plort.

Once a Drone has a target, the top right readout when hovering the crosshair over the Drone will indicate the category of items the Drone is programmed to collect.


Source

IconDroneSource

The Source option indicates where the Drone will gather the resources it is set to collect from.

  • When Plorts or a specific plort is selected, it is capable of collecting from Corrals, Ponds, Incinerators, Silos, Plort Collectors, and Free Range.
  • When a Food category or a specific food item is selected, it can collect from Gardens/Coops, Silos, and Outside Plots

Note: If a Drone is programmed to collect from Silos, Silos will not be an available option in Destination.


Destination

IconDroneDestination

The Destination option tells the Drone what it is to do with the resources it has acquired.

Example

This is an example of a programmed Drone; it has been programmed to collect (Fire) Plorts from Incinerators, and place them into the Refinery via a Refinery Link.
DroneProgram

Limitations

  • If a Drone is reprogrammed or reset in the middle of performing a task, any cargo it was carrying will be dropped onto the floor before flying back to its flower.
  • Up to two Drones can be placed in a single Ranch expansion, and the Drones can only function within that expansion; for instance, a Drone placed in The Docks will only ever be able to collect resources in The Docks.
  • If a Drone is in a Ranch expansion that does not have the Plort Market or Refinery, the Market Link and Refinery Link must be installed somewhere in the expansion to utilize those facilities.
  • Drones cannot go through teleporters.
  • When a Drone is programmed to collect food from Outside Plots, it will completely ignore any food left within the boundaries of plots. Likewise, if told to collect food from inside plots, it will ignore any that have fallen out.
  • The waterfall in The Docks and the river in Mochi's Manor are not recognized as Ponds; any plorts produced by Puddle Slimes in these areas must be collected by a Drone set to Free Range.
  • The Drones cannot utilize Warp Depots.
  • Drones cannot be installed anywhere outside of The Ranch or its expansions.

Bugs

Changelog

  • 1.4.0 - Drone pathing got an update so they should buzz harder, better, faster, smarter. Drones will no longer drop their cargo when attempting to sell plorts to the Plort Market or Market Link between 0:00 and 0:05; instead, they will wait for it to refresh or pause selling mid-deposit until the new values appear.
    • 1.4.0d - Fixed a Drones catch-up issue with Mochi's and Ogden's ranch.
  • 1.3.2 - Fixed colliders in the lab and docks that were causing drones to do gymnastics while navigating and interacting in those areas.
    • Fixed a visual bug where drones appeared to be shrinking items rather than vacuuming them up.
  • 1.3.1 - Drones got a nice little update that allows them to deliver to the Refinery and improves how they interact with some targets/destinations!
    • Refinery and Refinery Link have been added as a destination—for science!
    • Updated “Outside Plots” to a new “Free Range” option. Drones set to “Free Range” will collect the target item from anywhere on the ranch expansion that is not in storage (e.g. Silos, Plort Collectors).
    • Updated programming interface to clarify that drones can deliver to the Plort Market via Market Links when you’re in another ranch expansion. The destination will dynamically update to either read “Plort Market” or “Market Link” depending on where you are.
    • Updated incinerator programming so they now serve the sole purpose of feeding fire slimes rather than infinitely destroying items. Drones will only deliver food to incinerators until the ash trough is full. If you’re looking to burn two thousand carrots because you really hate carrots, you’re going to have to do that manually. But come on, they’re just carrots.
    • Drones are now able to deliver food directly from silos to corrals.
    • Fixed drone trail artifacts upon re-entering areas with drones.
    • Fixed it so that drones would stop grabbing carrots out of gardens instead of odd onions while you’re not looking.
  • 1.3.0b - Fixed bug where drones could get stuck on gordos and slime toys
    • Fixed bug where drones sometimes did not properly perform their behaviors while the player was knocked out.
    • Fixed bug where some drone behaviors were performing extra times while sleeping.
    • Fixed bug resulting in drones sometimes trying to take a position inside the archways on the docks
    • Optimized some drone plort-selling behavior.
  • 1.3.0 - Implemented.

Trivia

  • Drones are based on bees; its behavior of collecting resources is heavily based on bees collecting nectar. The term "Drone" is a double entendre; referencing both the male bee referred to as a drone, although its role is more reminiscent of worker bees than true drones, and the common name for a remote-controlled pilotless aircraft. Beatrix - herself resembling a bee due to her Vacpack - programming the Drones to perform tasks may reference the relationship between a queen and her worker bees. The key on top of the drone resembles the keys used in Wind-up toys, and the common shape for bee's wings drawn in a cartoon style.
  • Drones were originally intended to be released alongside Mochi's Megabucks Update. However it was changed to be its own update to give it more developmental focus, pushing back Viktor's Experimental Update to Update 1.4.0.[2]
  • Prior to their release, the roadmap stated: Adorable drones will be added to Slime Science, allowing you to selectively automate parts of the ranching experience! Our goal with drones is to somewhat reduce the amount of manual work required to keep your ranch running while still retaining the spirit of the game we have now. Drones will also likely be a considerable investment, similar to teleporters as their value to the experience is high.
  • The Mochi's Extra Mile effect applies to Drones if programmed to sell plorts, although will still use the Drone icon when it is applied.
  • If a Drone deposits plorts into the Plort Market while it is resetting its prices, you will get no Newbucks in return.

References

  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/slimerancher/comments/9035if/drones_neat_storage_exploit/
  2. https://twitter.com/NickPopovich/status/958481992252665856 - Nick announces the plan to give Drones their own update.
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