The Atomic Heart HAWK system controls overworld security via Dandelion Cameras, alert levels, robotic reinforcements and Pchelas. It's a complex system and one that Atomic Heart doesn't explain especially well at first, often leaving players feeling rather flummoxed and intimidated by the tangle of mechanics and hostile robots that have to be carefully navigated. Fortunately, we'll explain how everything works in Atomic Heart's HAWK system, from surveillance and CCTV to Alert Levels and Reinforcements. Here's how you can stay under the radar as easily as possible.
HAWK Relay Security System in Atomic Heart
The Atomic Heart HAWK relay system maintains security across various regions, and is designed to spot the player and send reinforcements to kill them, as well as repair any destroyed robots in the area. Here's a basic explanation of how it works:
- A HAWK (a large balloon-like robot tethered by numerous cables) hangs above a region, with CCTV cameras laid out in the region beneath it.
- The Dandelion cameras are everywhere, usually on lampposts, looking for the player at all times but can also appear attached to Pchelas. They're flower-shaped cameras that slowly rotate, a light marking where they're looking. Listen out for the unique chirping noise they make.
- Alert levels are triggered when a Dandelion camera spots a player. Alert Level 1 triggers simply if you're seen. When this happens, robots in the area will head to your last known location to attack. Alert Level 2 triggers if a camera sees you damaging a robot. At level 2, more robotic reinforcements are created and sent to aid existing bots.
- Alert levels fade if the player can avoid being seen for a while.
- A HAWK relay, or Volan, is a small tower with a glass dome that links the HAWK to all the Dandelion Cameras in the area. Interacting with the computer at the top of the relay tower will allow you to look through all the connected cameras, and trigger any environmental devices (if there are any), such as opening doors to the HAWK Terminals (see below). You can find the nearest relay by using your Atomic Heart scanner on a Dandelion camera, and tracing the line of data.
- A Robot Assembly Plant is a domed concrete structure a little larger than a van. It generates Pchelas for repairing broken devices nearby, and cannot be destroyed or depleted.
- Pchelas are little hovering robots with very little health. Pale blue Pchelas are drawn to broken robots or cameras to repair them, while pink ones have cameras suspended beneath them, and brown ones have laser beams on cords and will attack the player.
- HAWK Terminals are small computers in booths used to control the HAWKs themselves from ground level, usually situated beneath the HAWK itself. Here you can either cause them to temporarily land, allowing you to grab one, ride it up and slide down the cables to new areas, or just overload the HAWK Relay.
- Overloading the relay via the terminal causes a complete shutdown of all CCTV terminals and robots in the area of the relay, making it safe to explore.
It's worth mentioning that HAWKs don't overlook the whole overworld map, and there are large spots where they have no coverage. That doesn't mean it's safe here - you won't have any cameras, but there will be aggressive robots attacking on sight, and because there's no Relay for them to be hooked up to, you can't overload this system and make it safe.
How to get around security, CCTV, HAWKs and robots in the open world
The end goal of being in an area should be to overload the relay at a terminal, which will render it safe. However, this is usually a sidequest and it's entirely possible to get around the area without doing so, with a mixture of intelligence, stealth and firepower. Here's some advice:
- If you're not doing the kind of completionist run outlined in our How to long to beat Atomic Heart page, you probably don't need to worry too much about relays. Opening them is enough of a process that you should only bother if you're going to be running back and forth to do secondary elements.
- With cameras in the area, just hit them with a blast of Shok and move on. It's one of the Atomic Heart best powers for this reason, it temporarily shuts them down and allows you to move along. Because everything gets repaired by the infinitely-respawning Pchelas, there's no point in breaking them properly.
- If a HAWK Terminal booth won't open, head to the Relay Tower and use the console there to open the door.
- Alert Level 2 is definitely an escalation, but it's not as bad as it sounds. Enemies don't respawn that fast, so kill everything nearby, then when it's quiet just head into the wild and wait for the heat to die down.
- Keep using the scanner. With all the undergrowth and irregular landscape it's incredibly easy to miss nearby enemies and trip over an angry lawnmower, so make sure you sweep the environment regularly, especially when there's a lot of shrubbery or obfuscating terrain.