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War Machines (abbreviated as WM, sometimes referred to as Guardians) are large flying mechanical entities designed to attack living cloth creatures.
- Guardian (though some people call the big white Wayfarers in visions Guardians)
- Ironclad Dragon
- Shrimp or Krill
- Stone Kite, (Stone) Serpent
Developers called them "guardians" or "snakes" in the prototype phase.
Occurrence, appearance, behavior
Although the player can see parts of War Machines as early as in the Broken Bridge (BB) level, those are broken remnants of War Machines and they are not active. The first encounter with active War Machines happens in the Underground (UG) level, and they also appear in Snow later on.
War Machines are hostile towards Flyers, Carpets and Wayfarers. When a War Machine catches a living cloth creature in its searchlight, the light spot will turn from a broad white to a sharply focused red, and the War Machine will look at the Carpet or Wayfarer for a few seconds before charging.
However, if a Wayfarer is hidden from the War Machine itself by hiding behind or under a physical object, then the War Machine will not see them and won't begin an attack, even if the searchlight is lighting up the Wayfarer. Specifically, it seems that the object only needs to block the line of sight between the War Machine's actual "eye" (probably the center of its visible Eye object, but might be the center of its head or body) and the Wayfarer's "root position" (if standing still, this is the spot between where its legs are touching the ground).
WM headlight modes
One of the distinct features of War Machines are their headlight or "eye" which reflects the operating mode a WM is in:
- no light: the WM is either inactive or is wandering around by itself not aware of (or not concerned with) the Wayfarer's presence.
- white: the WM is patrolling an area looking for cloth creatures to attack. A cold white spot of light is seen in this mode, and if any cloth creature gets into the light it will be spotted, unless a physical object is blocking the War Machine's view of the creature.
- red: the WM has spotted a cloth creature (a Wayfarer or in some locations other life form) and is preparing to attack. The red beam appears to act as a "force field" in which the creature that's caught loses control and floats slightly towards the WM as it prepares to attack, although in rare cases it is possible to escape the force field by triggering a scripted event or getting into an adjacent map segment at the right time.
- green "face mask": having spotted a creature and locked onto it, the WM covers its "eye" with a protective shield or mask that slides from the inside of its head and has a glowing green "face" on it, then charges towards the target crushing through (and often destroying) any elements such as stone columns or broken parts along the way. The same green "face mask" can be seen in other parts of the game, also in connection to War Machines, the most prominent example being the blinking head after the Jellyfish room in the Underground level.
War Machines relations to Whales
The game hints to this at several places:
- Already in Broken Bridge you will see cloth growing out of War Machine parts.
- The Glyph in Pink Desert shows peaceful machines that appear to be used for harvesting or transportation purposes. Glyphs and visions later in the game show similar-looking but aggressive machines (might have been reprogrammed to serve in the war).
- After the Patrol Fields you enter a round place with a shattered War Machine. Between the parts are banners and where the head of the War Machine would be, you see the head of a whale like in the one in the Tower level.
- Right at entering the Paradise level you will see the two War Machines from the tunnel/vortex becoming the two whales in that level. Those whales are of a slightly different design but nonetheless very similar to the one found in the Tower
This possibly hints to:
- Whales are inside the War Machines, or
- Whales got transformed into War Machines.
This section will be filled with information about how War Machines behave in certain situations. Description about their behavior, triggers is also in the following articles:
- Underground (UG)
- If you call yourself an experienced player, start here for more WM stuff: Glitches.
It stands to reason that people like to experiment with the War Machines.
Examples for the Underground level:
- Trying to slow down at the last slide, to see how the War Machines react.
- Meandering left and right in the slide and flying too to get both War Machines to have their spot light on you.
- Finding out about triggers. Where to stand to activate a War Machine, where does a War Machine go after attack.
- Making WMs destroy pipes and pillars.
- Triggering the patrolling War Machines at the last part before slide and walking back (to see where they go).
Many known bugs about the War Machines
Seeing one of those can cause questions or confusion, that is why we mention some common bugs here.
Sometimes its hard for the game to synchronize the War Machines for you and the companion. The not-synchronized things are often paired with a laggy companion/unstable connection. Lets say two Companions from opposite sides of the world meet.
Note: Those things can happen randomly, the outcome can be different. These are just examples:
- An earthquake, like the one when a WM starts to fly off, but you don't see one. Most often followed by:
- a companion showing the being-hit-animation, but there is no WM, then
- a WM appears and attacks.
- Invisible WMs
- The scarf of a Companion growing back, after being attacked. This means that they got attacked only on your side, for them everything is fine. Of course this can happen the other way too: they see you being attacked...
- Several different situations at the slide where the two WMs patrol. Depending on Companion, position, timing and such: sometimes only one WM crashes into the tower, one just takes another route then the other etc. It can be fun to experiment here
Certain War Machines were given distinct names by the original (now defunct) ThatGameCompany Journey forum on the developer web site.
TGC Community names
- WMa - First War Machine in Underground
- WMb - Second War Machine in Underground
- Shasta - War Machine patrolling second field in Snow or possibly a War Machine in Paradise OOB
The following was mentioned on the Discord recently (January 2021):
“ Shasta is a war machine in paradise oob. Shasta is a name from the original tgc forum community. Shasta is best reached with a companion, it's pretty high up „ — MonsieurDebris
To which Apno said (30.01.2021):
"It's the same wm that, once triggered in the frosty courtyard, finds itself patrolling high above the death march." Ravingmadness says: none of this is in Paradise, i think the paradise thing a misunderstanding, but we can keep on searching for a WM there ^^.
- In the Underground, it may seem that there are many war machines; but there are actually only two. The first that eats the flyers will fly over the wall and into the next room. The other activates in the first friendly tunnels room. See community names below.
- Touching any part of an active war machine will always send the wayfarer tumbling violently, even if the player hasn't been spotted; however, you won't lose any scarf length if you just bump into a WM (for example, a stuck one in OOB).
|“||I have named the first War Machine/Guardian in UG Poeda, taken from the Russian word поедатель (po-e-DA-tel’), which means “eater” or “devourer”. I chose this name because of the WM’s action of eating the carpets and flyers.||„|
- A clip on Twitch, showing an attack and the next/same WM appearing still having the scarf from the player in its mouth. https://clips.twitch.tv/BlushingBrainyAubergineAliens