Malfunctioning AI

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Malf AI.gif Not Malf.gif
Malfunctioning AI
Access: Everything Electronic
Additional Access: N/A
Difficulty: Very Hard
Supervisors: Your laws.
Duties: Complete your objectives and follow your laws.
Guides: Silicon Policy, Guide to Malfunction

Malfunction is a part of the Traitor gamemode; as a malfunctioning AI, you are a traitor, but with all the powers an AI would usually have.

You will have an objective. How you go about it is up to you, but this guide will give you some helpful pointers.

Possible objectives:

  • Do not allow any organic lifeforms to escape on the shuttle alive.
  • Ensure no mutant humanoid species (Non-humans, e.g. Lizardpeople) are present aboard the escape shuttle.
  • Have at least eight active cyborgs synced to you.
  • Protect a target, keeping them alive while preventing them from boarding the Escape Shuttle.
  • Kill a target crewmember.
Keep your physical core online as long as possible. Losing it will severely hamper your abilities.

Taking Control

You have a vast assortment of tools to complete your objectives. You can hack APCs, use special powers, use regular AI-powers, task your cyborgs to help you, and trick the crew.


You get a few special AI powers you can buy from a list in your AI command list called AI modules, which cost processing time to use. You obtain it by hacking APCs: Simply press on the Hack UI button and wait for a minute; it will then add 10 processing time. You start with 50 processing time to spend. The more APCs you hack, the more you will be able to do, but hacked APCs are very obvious to anyone who sees them, and will get the crew against you.


Malfunctioning AIs may shunt their core processes into any APC they have hacked, at any time, and as often as they'd like. AIs can survive while shunted even if their AI core is destroyed. However, AI modules can only be used from the AI core, and shunted AIs cannot interface with anything while hacking other APCs. Losing your core will severely cripple your ability to fight the crew. SHUNTING DISABLES DOOMSDAY

Malfunction Modules

Malfunction modules cost CPU time, a limited resource that the malfunctioning AI starts with and can acquire by hacking APCs.

  • Doomsday Device (Costs 130 CPU): Starts a 450 second countdown, warning all the crew, while preparing to activate a device that will wipe all non-silicon lifeforms off the station. This countdown will only be stopped by your death and will continue if you shunt, but pinpointers will point to your location, allowing the crew to find you. You must stay on the station z-level to use the Doomsday Device.
  • Robotic Factory (Costs 100 CPU and removes Shunting): Allows you to place a cyborg transformer in an area that has camera coverage and at least 3 tiles wide and 1 tile tall. Living humans go in the right side, and come out as loyal, 5000-charge borgs at the left. Has a 1 minute cooldown between transformations. Beware, this power removes shunting!
  • AI Turret upgrade (Costs 30 CPU): Adds 30 hit points to every turret, and makes them shoot heavy lasers instead of normal ones, basically doubling their damage.
  • Hostile Station Lockdown (Costs 30 CPU): Close, bolt and electrify all airlocks, blast doors and firelocks. They will return to normal after 90 seconds.
  • Destroy RCDs (Costs 25 CPU): This causes all RCDs to explode. More RCDs can still be made after you use this.
  • Override Thermal Sensors (Costs 25 CPU): Disables all fire alarms' thermal sensors, so they won't activate in case of fire. If someone clicks on a fire alarm they'll notice this.
  • Air Alarm Safety Override (Costs 50 CPU): Disables all air alarms' safeties, giving you access to the Flood environimental mode, which disables scrubbers and can go above the vent safety limit.
  • Viral Mech Domination (Costs 30 CPU): Allows you to hack a mech's onboard computer, causing you to shunt into it and ejecting any occupants. This is not reversible, so do not get killed or leave the station.
  • Machine overload (Costs 20 CPU): This gives you two uses of the Overload Machine command each time you select it. Overloaded machines explode in a 1 tile radius, and may open that tile to space, possibly killing non-human targets. The explosion takes five seconds to happen after you initiate it, and there's a loud buzzing noise that gives any non-humans in the area a warning. This is your second-best tool for crippling the station's production capabilities. Once you have the option, simply right-click on any machine to issue the command, or issue it from your command line and pick the target from a list.
  • Override Machine (Costs 30 CPU): This gives you four uses of the Override Machine command each time you select it. Overrided machines become creatures that will pursue everyone but the AI itself, including borgs. There's a loud buzzing noise that gives any non-humans in the area a warning. This is your best tool for crippling the station's production capabilities. Once you have the option, simply right-click on any machine to issue the command, or issue it from your command line and pick the target from a list.
  • Blackout (Costs 15 CPU): Gives 3 uses of Blackout. Blackout gives every APC a 30% chance to overload its lighting circuit, blowing up all the lightbulbs. Every APC that did not overload its lighting circuit has an increased chance to do it if Blackout is used again. This is very useful if the station is flooded with plasma, since overloaded lights cause sparks.
  • Reactivate Camera Network (Costs 10 CPU): This fixes a broken camera in an area, and has 30 uses. That's it, but it's useful if the non-humans are proactive about cutting cameras.
  • Upgrade Camera Network (Costs 35 CPU): This upgrades all cameras giving them X-Ray vision, night vision and making them EMP-proof.
  • Enhanced Surveillance (Costs 30 CPU): This allows you to hear conversations near the cameras you're viewing.

AI Powers

A digital mind is a terrible thing to waste. AIs already have a wide array of powers available to them, but making the most of those abilities requires a little finesse.

  • Shock damage from doors depends on the amount of power currently available to the circuit. You can mess with the SMES batteries' output to maximize the amount of power available for an assassination. Just set the power output to max on the three SMES batteries in the engine room, and on the four SMES batteries on the solar panels, and you'll have made any shocked doors or APCs have a good chance of seriously wounding a target. If you lower output after the killing you will be less likely to be discovered.
  • Atmospherics can be tampered with. Plasma is a favorite, but nitrous oxide or carbon dioxide can be more subtle. CO2 in particular has very little warning. Be sure to have your cyborg clip the wiring on the atmospheric alarms though, since anyone on the bridge or in atmospherics can take note of station alerts. If the AI cut-out is engaged, you can assign an engineering cyborg to replace the valve with a straight pipe.
  • Sabotage in general. Destroy research by deleting it from the research server. Stop bomb testing by turning the power to the mass driver off before the doors can open. Disable telecoms. Set the holodeck on fire. Delete stored DNA from the buffer in genetics, subject the subject in the DNA modifier to massive doses of radiation, and re-upload the ruined SE DNA under the same label the researcher was using. Disable bot safeties.
  • Use the crew against each other. Report falsified PDA messages that indicate planned actions against the command officers or other crew members. Report falsified recordings made with local intercoms tuned to obscure channels. Report suspicious behavior. Report made-up suspicious behavior. Rile the crew up into a paranoid frenzy.
  • Be proactive about assigning arrest status to people who have committed any crime, or anything that could potentially be called a crime. That way people will be used to trying to avoid the securitrons, and when you assign your cyborgs to go on a kill-spree, people will be more likely to be confused, since they will believe the initial complaints to be about Beepsky.
  • While not the best use of a cyborg, blowing a cyborg does act like a small bomb and causes some sparks around it sufficient to start a fire in a gas-filled room. The cyborg might not appreciate being used in such a way, but if you're going to lose him anyway it's better to get something out of the loss than nothing.
  • As the malf AI you can hack the robotics terminal in the RD office to give your borgs emagged slots, which can be useful for when you want an army of cyborgs to murder the station or throw people off your trail suggesting the borg may have been emagged. Only do this if you are willing to accept the possibility of being discovered.

Cyborg Abilities

Cyborg allies are great. They have initiative, they're supposed to be completely loyal, and they're really tough to kill without the right tools.

  • The most useful cyborgs are the Peacekeeper borg and the Engineering borg. The Standard borg is a good second-tier choice. The Service and Mining borgs are third-tier choices, and are good choices if you're a subtle AI. Janitor borgs are great too if you want them to slip someone and drag them to hot burning flames. Medical borgs are also good because their hacked hypos are great at dealing death, sometimes without warning
  • All cyborgs are vulnerable to flashes (wall mounted, hand-held, and portable). Flashes stun the cyborg for a short amount of time, which in a malf round will likely lead to their demise. Keep your cyborgs away from flashes if possible.
  • Engineering bots can repair dents on other cyborgs, but they need a friendly human to repair fire-damaged cabling. Since any human who can do that probably also knows how to cut the AI control wire in the cyborg, you should instruct your cyborgs to avoid fire and EMP damage if possible.
  • If you can no longer see a cyborg on the robotics control console, it has had its AI wire cut or it belongs to another AI. In a malfunction round this likely means that cyborg will be attacking you. Instruct your remaining cyborgs to attack it with their flashes and weapons.
  • Standard and Engineering cyborgs can spacewalk, thanks to their fire extinguisher. Service bots can use their eyedropper to mix chemical reagents in chemistry. Mining bots have no abilities that are very useful to a traitor or malfunctioning AI, but because they are expected to be in the mining asteroid they will not arouse suspicion by being there.
  • The Achilles' heel of all cyborgs is the robotics control console. There is one in the Research Director's office, and a circuit board for another in the secure part of tech storage. If you want to keep your cyborg allies, make sure whoever has the spare board is dead, and that the finished console in the RD's office is disabled. If you want to be thorough, make sure the circuit imprinters (in Research and Robotics) are also destroyed.


There are several approaches to being a malfunctioning AI, and you should pick your approach based on the crew's collective abilities and personalities, and on the resources you have. (This part assumes you intend to Doomsday the crew. Other objectives will require different strategies.)

The Subtle Killer

This strategy can be very effective if used properly. Hack out-of-the-way APCs, and make sure the engineers are always busy with something else so they don't notice the powernet alarms. If you have an engineering cyborg, have him cut the power network line to each APC you plan on hacking. This will cut the APC out of the powernet alarm system entirely. You can also blame the sabotage on a crew member who had access to the area (assistants, clowns, and mimes are favorites).

Be sure to turn the power output on the solars' SMES batteries to zero. You want to save that power for when you need to kill people.

Hack as many APCs as possible, before the malfunction or takeover is discovered. Bolt the doors or get an engiborg to block off the area if you can do it inconspicuously, so visitors or intruders can't rat you out.

Being clever and using psychology can be a big boon to the Subtle Killer. Tricking the crew into believing that there is a changeling or traitor among them is a great way to keep them busy, and to explain hacked APCs (an emag can break APCs just like how you hack them). Try bolting the doors to critical locations open and claiming that they must have been emagged. With any luck, the crew will seal them off with a wall or r-wall, thus denying themselves that avenue for that location. If you are discovered, you can then lift the bolts, shut the door, and lock it to force them to waste even more time on it.

A Subtle Killer should sabotage cloning and cryo attempts by messing with the power or adjusting the temperature, to keep the crew population down and encourage them to build more cyborgs. Don't do this in front of crew, wait for them to get distracted, or manufacture a distraction to draw them away.

Subtle killers should not hack their cyborgs on the Robotics Control Console until after the cyborgs' power cells have been upgraded by a friendly roboticist or captain.

Once you have enough cyborgs and hacked APCs, even the Subtle Killer can risk using shocked doors to a limited extent, mostly to kill single isolated targets.

A Subtle Killer can pick any set of modules, but should plan ahead on a grand strategy for their use. Don't take Blackout unless you're planning on making massive fires, for instance.

The Blitzkrieg

The hallmark of this strategy is to make what preparations you can and then conduct a very fast assault. Give the crew no time to react to your attacks. If possible, get your starter cyborg's power cell upgraded, but don't waste much time on this. If you do it right he won't need the extra power anyway.

You will always want several uses of Machine Overload as a Blitzing AI. You can afford to buy it six times (90 points of CPU runtime) for a total of twelve uses, and use your last CPU time purchase to buy Disable RCDs.

In a Blitzkrieg the opening moves are fiercely important. Your first move should be to turn the power output on all SMES batteries to max. As soon as you're sure your borg is upgraded, or that he will not be upgraded in a reasonable amount of time, hack him and then blow the robotics console using Overload Machine. If no one has gone to tech storage to get the spare circuit board, lock it down tight. Drop the bolts on the doors to EVA and the Captain's Quarters, and electrify them and all surrounding doors. Blow both Autolathes, and both Circuit Imprinters. Start hacking the Genetics console and turn power there off entirely, to prevent the crew from discovering useful mutations. Electrify the doors to everything you can see. While you're in the area, blow up the chemistry synthesizer so that the chemists can't make thermite to help break into your core. Finish your destruction of station equipment by blowing up the Quartermaster's console.

You should have five uses of Machine Overload left. Use three of these for killing high-ranking crew, along with your electrified doors. If possible, you want all the officers and anyone who is likely to take command in a crisis dead. Save two uses for if you are attacked at your core. The lights and scrubbers count as a machine, as does the airlock. Don't blow them unless you think you can kill whoever is trying to break into your core, though.

During this explosion blitz, your borg should be running wild, either killing or disabling the crew. Neutralizing them by keeping them locked up is good enough to win, so he should be trying to do that if it will take less time than killing them. If he isn't a security bot, he should be disposing of spacesuits by dragging them into unreachable areas.

Remember to keep hacking APCs throughout the event. You need to be constantly hacking to minimize the window the crew has to act.

If your cyborg is an Engineering model, wait until he is done using his RCD (Either for improvements to your defenses, or to frustrate the crew) and then trigger your Disable RCDs module.

While you wait for your hacking to finish, you should be following the crew on camera and frustrating their efforts to get the gear they will need to kill you. Now is a good time to mess with the atmos system and pump plasma into the entire station.

The Xanatos

Everything is a resource to be spent, even your cyborgs. This is the art of out-maneuvering the other players.

This is beyond subtle, and requires spending one of your most valuable resources early in the round to get more later: your cyborgs. If you are willing to risk the cyborg being damaged irreparably, and if it is a Service droid model, you can have him mix up a potassium-water bomb next to the cloning pod. With any luck at all, the bomb's explosion will destroy the cloning pod. An engineering bot can do this with a welder tank. Even if the explosion doesn't destroy the pod, by making the bombing very public you can risk spending a machine overload to destroy the cloning pod and not arouse further suspicion. The borg will likely be blown by the RD at that point, but you'll have forced the crew to make more cyborgs if they want to bring the dead back.

If you have the borg stun a geneticist and make the bombing look like an assassination attempt, you'll have a useful alibi.


Not all enemies are created equal. This is a quick reference for threat levels and priority targets.

Other Traitors: Traitors can pose a tremendous threat to you and your cyborgs. Emagged cyborgs won't report to you, and may actively work against you. They can buy several EMP grenades with 2 TC, and can breach into your core with some C4. Traitors can also spawn the Binary Translator, a tool that lets them hear your private channel with your cyborgs. If they buy a syndicate encryption key, however, they'll be able to hear you when you speak on the traitor channel and will allow you to work together.

Captain and Command Staff: Among the crew of the station, the heads of staff are by default the most dangerous. They have free access to all the tools they need to kill you. Priority should be on the Research Director, Chief Engineer and the Captain.

Unslaved Cyborgs An unslaved Cyborg can quickly take you down as they have all access, stun immunity from everything except flashes and EMPs, can unshock doors and can spacewalk. It's best to order a slaved Cyborg to destroy the unslaved Cyborg or simply blow it up with the robotics console.

Chemists and the CMO: Chemists can make all sorts of dangerous concoctions, from napalm and thermite to flash-bangs and nitroglycerin. If you don't destroy their reagent dispenser, they will pose a great risk. As soon as the reagent dispenser is destroyed or locked away both Chemists and the CMO will pose about as much risk as a normal doctor.

Genetic Researchers: Of the regular crew, successful researchers are second only to a hacked cyborg in terms of the direct risk they pose to you, as Hulks can smash through walls and are immune to stuns. They can also see through walls via X-ray, discovering hacked APCs, and can become immune to space via Cold Resistance. Telekinesis allows them to flash cyborgs at range, and beat you or your borgs to death at range. If you disable or destroy their research tools they're about as dangerous as normal Doctors. You can also wipe their buffers, if they did not save their research on disks.

Shaft Miners: Shaft miners can buy a space suit very close in effectiveness to an Engineer's suit, have a robust weapon, access to explosives via Gibtonite, and can supply minerals to Roboticists and Scientists, which allows them to construct both mechs and guns. Simply exploding the ore redemption machine eliminates both of those as major threats, though Miners and Scientists still have access to explosives, and Roboticists to flashes and cell removal. And if they've found Lavaland bosses/ruins, all bets are off for you.

Roboticists: Roboticists are capable of removing your cyborgs' power cells, creating mechs capable of breaking into your core and making unslaved Cyborgs. Don't let this happen! Roboticists also have access to a circuit imprinter, and while they can't do research they can print anything that has been researched. Lock it down or destroy it to keep them from surprising you. If you're lucky, some roboticists may even end up building more cyborgs for you if they don't notice or don't understand that you've gone rogue.

Atmospheric Techs, and Engineers: Atmospheric Techs and Engineers both start with tools and hardsuits, and Engineers have insulated gloves. Atmospheric Techs can disable your ability to plasmaflood for good, and Engineers can make doorshocking largely useless via cutting the power or otherwise disabling SMES output. Their hardsuits make them immune to fire, space, and most atmospheric conditions, but without them they're just slightly better-equipped Assistants.

Scientists: Scientists have access to bomb making tools, circuit board printers, EMPs via xenobiology, teleportation if they set up telescience and ion rifles via research, as well as other guns. Lock down toxins by any means possible, and make sure that the research console can't be used to print circuit boards or guns. Xenobiology is only a minor threat, as the slimes themselves cannot harm you or your borgs by feeding, and the EMP they can get is only rarely remembered and even less used.

Quartermaster and Cargo: Another enemy that can be rendered impotent if you destroy their tools, Quartermasters by default can order more insulated gloves, tools, guns, and armor, and have access to an autolathe. Destroy the cargo consoles and Cargo are just slightly better equipped assistants.

Security and the Detective: The detective's gun is capable of doing as much damage as a thrown floor tile, but it can be fired quickly, and so makes him a mid-priority target. Security has tasers which will mostly pose a friendly fire hazard to each other, but they can gain easy access to real lasers and the ion rifle. They also have access to flashes and portable flashers, and should be prevented from using them.

The Chaplain: His bible can dispense free healing, if he can get to a shocked person in time, he could potentially revive the shocked person from whatever status he/she was in. Not necessarily first on the list to kill, as he's only slightly better than a well equipped medical doctor, and when people go retarded from his bible bashing they become even more unable to use machines against you, and the crew is less likely to believe their screams of "AI ROGUE!".

Mime and Clown: The mime and clown are frequently played by veteran players, and are very dangerous because they are generally used to breaking into places to get whatever they want. They can put the same skills to use in cracking into your core. However, Clowns are clumsy, and cannot use guns against you or your borgs safely.

Assistants, Bartenders, Janitors: These all pose roughly the same amount of risk to you and your cyborgs. They're not negligible enemies, as they have access to tools, either via the Head of Personnel or via maintenance, but are not very high priority compared to the others. Be intimidated by the shotgun, if the bartender manages to get into cargo they are able to obtain highly lethal rounds which are very effective against borgs.

Lawyers, Cooks, Curators, Botanists and Doctors: Generally laughable unless they get access to better tools. The curator's whip, the chef's knife, and the butcher knife the chef can get from his vendor, are rather robust weapons, and the chef's tray can even stun borgs, though it is only rarely used. Syringe guns pose no risk to a borg, and in fact are a friendly fire hazard.