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A Secret Plot - Mercenary Campaign by Domaithianus


Domaithianus
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OK, I think I'm now ready for the first proper release of my Mercenary Campaign.
In this 9 mission campaign, played as the Mercenary's, you are hired to assist a small harvesting operation under threat.  As time goes on, you gradually discover more about your new employers, and the plans they're hiding.  As the war rages across the planet, your employers scramble to find private and safe locations in which to conduct their operations.  But soon it seems every last corner of Arrakis is spoken for, be it the greedy Ordos, laying claim to everything they can get their hands on, arrogant Atreides, passing judgement from on high, confiscating what they regard to be contraband, or ruthless Harkonnen, reveling in the bloodshed, no dusty stone remains to hide beneath as smaller factions try to conduct their affairs.  But the weak are cunning, and soon the great houses will regret making enemies of you.

Initial release details:
- 9 missions, all created by me, plus an option B for mission 9.  Additional B missions will be released in the near future.
- Plenty of base building missions, but some original C&C inspired use-the-units-your-given missions in there for variety.
- AI allies to protect and assist.  Quite a bit of working together with your comrades.
- Follows the story of the Original Campaign, but with a twist ending.  Most of the events in this story follow lesser factions, as they scramble to respond to events much bigger than themselves.

This is my first foray into any kind of game design, but I'm very pleased with the results.  I greatly look forward to hearing what you all think of it.

 

 

V3.7z

Edited by Domaithianus
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51 minutes ago, Jasper1993 said:

Hey man, i reinstalled in and mission 4 is still doing the same thing. i dont no whats wrong with it

I just start the map and nothing wrong happens to me, so probably is your game.

If you used modified files with Tibed (like playing another map which change price of X building, etc), then try to get the original files "ARMOUR.BIN, SPEED.BIN"; if not, then maybe you need to reinstall the game.

Did you deleted all the files or just reinstalled over the game? uninstall, check for some files that may remain (and delete those manually) and try to install again.

Edited by Cm_blast
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45 minutes ago, Jasper1993 said:

Hey man, i reinstalled in and mission 4 is still doing the same thing. i dont no whats wrong with it

 

2 minutes ago, Cm_blast said:

I just start the map and nothing wrong happens to me, so probably is your game.

If you used modified files with Tibed (like playing another map which change price of X building, etc), then try to get the original files "ARMOUR.BIN, SPEED.BIN"; if not, then maybe you need to reinstall the game.

That could be it...  The only mission fail trigger in that mission is if you don't have a Starport (It gets destroyed, or you sell it).  If you've modded your game, it may be failing to recognise your Starport as existing...

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Yo! I played through some of the maps in your campaign. I'll give you my feedback below. I may bring up my own work for the sake of comparison, but please don't take it the wrong way! I'm not trying to say, "this is how it SHOULD be done, my work is the golden standard," it's more like, "I suppose this is what you're trying to do, but here are the problems I ran into with it, or my opinion about what doesn't feel right. Here's how I did it in my maps, in case you'd like an example." I also may have a lot to say, but just because I pick apart the details doesn't mean I don't like the map! I just want to do my best to improve it, the same way I pick apart my own work. :)

M1V1:

Spoiler

On my first playthrough, the Ordos base was almost entirely destroyed before the transmission came to capture it. I think the objective should be hinted at sooner, or the Ordos base defenses should be too powerful to overcome that early. You could make it so that the player doesn't receive oodles of reinforcements prior to the transmission going out, there were way too many reinforcements for me and I was like "oh, I should blow up the Ordos with all the free stuff they're throwing at me."

Second playthrough, I got mission victory when the large reinforcements arrived. All Ordos structures and units had been destroyed prior, and since reinforcements arrive at 24,000 tics and the win condition happens at any point after 24,000 tics, there was no time for the reinforcements to actually drop onto the map and the win condition took over. Thankfully, I'd saved before I blew up ALL the Ordos stuff, so I just reloaded and spared that one harvester I didn't see before saving until the Ordos reinforcements arrived.

Yo, one of the transmissions is clipped out!
59737702ef447_CLIPPEDTRANSMISSION01.png.6706e53671ed0cb58eb8190c6d6d83d4.png

Since 640x480 is the default resolution, Cm reported that some of my own transmissions clipped out, so now I double-check every time in 640x480 and test in 640x480. You can expect other players to also use 640x480, so I'd recommend you test in that resolution too! That long transmission also clipped over the timer, which makes it hard or impossible to read. You could have the timer pop up a few seconds after the transmission stops if you need the space for words, or you could clip a whole bunch of words and make things more succinct to the point the transmission stops before it hits the timer.

I have a habit of destroying enemy Harvesters so my infantry don't get crushed. Despite the Ordos having Carryalls, my Infantry could fire on them while waiting for orders in the middle of the Spice field, drawing attention and subsequently being crushed while my attention is elsewhere. I also noticed that the Ordos do not have any bonus Harvester arrive if they're totally out of Harvesters, and the player is presumably meant to capture a Harvester or two from the Ordos Refineries. While I love capturing Harvesters with Refineries of my own volition, making it a necessary sort of thing is kind of a hassle, I think. You have a lot of extra space for events and conditions, so you can keep the map simple for sure, but add a bunch of convenient things that could help.

Recommendations for the Harvesters:
 - Put them mostly in Spice fields that are quite a distance away from the base. They won't get in the way of charging through Ordos defenses and capturing the base.
 - You can either give the Ordos reinforcements containing a Harvester any time they run out, if they still have a Refinery, or you could have a Harvester delivered each time a Refinery is captured.
 -- The first scenario is recommended if you want to keep it so that the player must capture the Refinery with a Harvester in it, but that's not what I would choose. The player will have to keep an Engineer on-site and capture it at the right time, and until that Harvester is done mining Spice, it won't come back to the Refinery, resulting in the player needing to wait... especially if they've blown up a few Harvesters.
 -- The second is doable if you use multiple AIs. With all that extra room for events and conditions, you can give the Ordos two AIs in their base. Each one will have their own refinery, and the condition could be that if S0 (Side 0, aka Atreides) has no Refinery, and S6 (Side 6, the player in this campaign, the mercenaries), owns a Refinery, a Harvester will be delivered to that Refinery. The only problem is that if the trigger for the other one is, for example, if S1 has no Refinery and S6 has a Refinery, and you blow up the other Refinery instead of capturing it, you will still receive a Harvester because S1 will not have a Refinery, but you do have the other one that you captured from S0. Dune 2k has no way of knowing HOW MANY of something you have, only if you have something. I suppose this could be rectified by making it so that, say, if the player already owns a Harvester, another one will not be delivered, but then if you have two Refineries and only one Harvester, the other one becomes pointless... agh. Lots of thinking. In APPLICATION, this is a simple concept - the player captures a Refinery, they get a Harvester. The problem is that it takes an awful lot of behind-the-scenes work and extra thought on the map designer's end to ensure that nothing weird happens... perhaps you could simply keep it so that the Ordos don't get any extra Harvesters if they run out, but if you capture one Refinery, you'll get two Harvesters, and that'll be it. What do you think?
 --- That actually gives me an idea. If you go with this sort of thing, where the Ordos don't get more Harvesters and you receive your own Harvesters when you capture their stuff, you can add another potential strategy to breaking through into the Ordos base by advising the player simply destroy their Harvesters. They won't be able to defend themselves too effectively after that, and getting your own Harvesters will be hassle-free! For the player, at least. Designing the events to make the gameplay streamlined and weird-free might be a hassle.

If you want to keep it the way it is with the Harvesters, I'd suggest putting some more infantry rock around the Ordos base, moving some of the Harvesters to far-away Spice fields as I recommended in the first bullet point, and most importantly, giving the player a hint that they MUST capture some Harvesters with the Refineries because they're not gonna get some just by capturing the Refineries. That's another thing that helps the player familiarize themselves with their objective(s) on the map: Context in briefing or transmissions.

One of the great things you did that accounts for player choice screwing with map designer's intent, like how I blew up a bunch of Harvesters, is you gave the player 4,000 Solaris to boot. So, even if I finished all their Harvesters and had no way to get more money, I still had enough to defend myself from Ordos reinforcements. If you do change something with the Harvesters that makes this unnecessary, I would recommend removing the event or reducing the amount it gives so that the player can mine their own Spice.

I know this point is just a pet peeve, but when you receive reinforcements, the Carryalls fly in from two different directions. I think it'd look better if you moved one of the locations to a spot where the Carryall currently flying in from the west would fly in from the south instead.

I noticed the Ordos receive a whopping ten reinforcements simultaneously once the timer runs out. I dunno if you know this, but too many reinforcements at once can cause a crash. I'm not sure where the limit is, but I believe it's ten reinforcements at once. I think if you split it up a little so that the second wave, the one that goes after your smuggler friends, comes like 500 or 1,000 tics later, it can help avoid any chances of events colliding and causing crashes. I do think it's cool that multiple Carryalls show up though, it makes their arrival more cinematic and stuff.

I also hardly noticed that attack going on since there was another one coming at my base simultaneously. Maybe you could put a specific unit in the second set of reinforcements that, when it exists, will cause a transmission to come through like, "They're coming after us now! Help!"

Hey, what? The Ordos get Grenadiers? :( Don't you plan on modding those into the game so we can build them too? :P

I noticed the worm is blocked off on this map. If you make it so that the Ordos, smugglers, and/or the player get more Harvesters delivered if they run out, you could let the worm run amok. Maybe it'll be more fun, I dunno.

Finally, here's some feedback about the way the map progresses. I mentioned a bit of how I feel about this in the other thread, but I'll go over it again. Now, I dunno if anyone else feels the same way I do about reinforcements, but my stance towards them is to use them in moderation: As a little extra aid, to provide additional Harvesters, or where cinematic or necessary. Each unit that shows up through reinforcements is something the player didn't need to mine Spice for, didn't need to click on the sidebar, you know. Like, the Missile Tank reinforcements on H2V2 (which there should be more of, they're given to take down enemy Carryalls but there are so few of them), the engineers on this map (which are provided to take the Ordos base, perfectly justified in my opinion), or the starport delivery on S2V1 (since the enemy is overwhelmingly powerful, losing enough light vehicles results in a squad of Trikes and Quads being ordered for you at the Starport, so they only arrive when they're actually needed), those are all fine. There's a purpose to them, they show up so you can use them.

There are a LOT of reinforcements on this map that I think are unnecessary. Perhaps you could have a few things arrive over time, like a couple of raiders or something, but most of the units owned by the player on this map are dropped in by Carryall. If the player can pretty much complete the map without needing to build anything, or without needing to build much, I think there are too many reinforcements.

What do you think about reinforcements? Do you suppose using them often and en masse is fine most of the time, and they add something important to the game / this map? Or, do you agree that too much free stuff removes something from the game, and more weight should be placed on what the player does?

Recommendations for mercenary forces:
 - I see two plausible options. The first is that you can give the mercenary player a small base of their own to fight with... the second is that you cut down the Ordos defenses and mercenary unit count until the engineers arrive.
 - The smuggler base is already split in two on this map. There should be plenty of room on the west island for the smugglers to have a neat-looking base. The east island would make the perfect spot for, say... a Wind Trap or two, a Refinery, maybe a couple of Silos, and a Barracks and/or a Light Factory. You could give the smugglers their own Barracks and have them train infantry really slowly, nothing truly substantial but just there to give some life to their base, and then give the player their own Light Factory. They shouldn't be able to build up too much before they get the transmission to go capture the Ordos base.
 -- If this sounds agreeable to you, and you go through with it, you can cut reinforcements down to much less until the engineers arrive. That way, the player building stuff up will have an impact on how the game turns out. I'd say, if you give the player a Barracks, have some light vehicle reinforcements arrive with the engineers, and have the player start with some light vehicles. If you give the player a Light Factory, Trooper reinforcements along with the engineers would be perfect for breaking through their turrets, and you could give the player Light Infantry and Troopers to start off with.
 -- If simply leaving out a factory isn't enough incentive to go and capture the Ordos base quickly, here's another idea: Rather than add a whole bunch of credits all at once after you receive the objective, you could have, say, 1,000 Solaris be added several times to the player's funds (at most until just after you get the transmission with the new objective), and nix the Refinery entirely. Just a couple of Wind Traps and a Light Factory, maybe an Outpost... then you'll have some limited funds to build up with. Use those limited funds on a selection of light vehicles, take the bunch of infantry and the engineers you get from reinforcements, and plow through the Ordos base so you can get yourself a Refinery and secure victory against the large wave of Ordos reinforcements later on.
 - If you don't want the player to have any sort of base, I think the amount of reinforcements the player receives could be cut down a whole lot.
 -- You could also give stuff that's not suitable for taking on the Ordos defenses... like, for example, give the player enough Light Infantry and Raiders to fend off the enemy attacks, but Light Infantry and Raiders will get slaughtered if they try to blow up the enemy Medium Gun Turrets, especially if the Ordos have Quads or maybe even a Grenadier or two defending their walls. Then, your engineers arrive along with a bunch of troopers or quads or something, and you have a chance now to push on through.

I have another little comment, but it's not really a criticism, more-so merely an inquiry. There's a lot of stuff going on on this map for just being level 1! More units than I know what to do with and a pang of caution around those Ordos Refineries. Was it your intent to make M1V1 feel kind of... chaotic and involved?

I'm sure a lot of that could easily be helped by changing up reinforcements and reducing the hassle of capturing the Ordos Refineries AND Harvesters, but that's just the way it feels to me right now. I know it's a lot of text, but the two main points are the ones I provided recommendations for. I hope what I've said makes sense to you and inspires some new ideas ^^ And the map turned out fun by the attempt I got to the end. :P


M2V1:

Spoiler

The briefing is kinda verbose. I know that sounds funny coming from me, I wrote freakin' stories in the briefing, but this sentence in particular could be cropped or rewritten to flow better:
Long range radar shows sensor ghosts flicking in and out of existence a short distance north from here in a valley that would most likely make anything located there difficult to detect.

First impressions: "This map looks conceptually really cool. Very first objective, we get a nice mix of infantry, some Trikes, and some Stealth Raiders. There's also one more engineer than is needed, which is great in case there's an accident. We got our scouts, we got our fighters, and we got our engineers. Oh, but there ain't enough room to build here on this little island, so I wonder what's gonna happen next!"

The addition of an engineer was a good idea. Even though nothing happened, I acknowledged that having a third one was good security at this point in the map. It seems kinda redundant having both Stealth Raiders and Trikes, but I guess it's fine 'cause you get a bunch more light vehicles in a moment, and you can use your trikes to attack things if you don't want to get your Stealth Raiders hurt. Then again, if you can scout with your Trikes, why not nix the stealth raiders and add a couple more trikes? I mean, I love unit variety, but a little too much can get confusing.

A moment later: "That was easy enough. Ah, I see now, so we get some reinforcements to take to the new base. Couple of combat tanks, lots more stuff... oh, but now we have an exact amount of engineers. Guess that's fine. And slightly more defenses, too... one Raider, to be exact. That's a fine increase in difficulty from the last outpost. And that's clever, the outpost not only served as an objective, but also provided vision in a map we need to explore. Good choice."

I agree with having an exact amount of engineers by this point. Since we can capture a Barracks, the loss of one is no longer a big deal. Without two engineers for the first base, on the other hand, we wouldn't be able to power the Outpost and see the base we're supposed to go to. So, that works. Again with the unit variety though, by this point we have Raiders, Trikes, Quads, Stealth Raiders, Light Infantry, Troopers, Engineers, and Combat Tanks. And, given how close an enemy base just north of the path to the base we're supposed to capture is, we don't really have much room to work with all the different units optimally. Even if the map is tested with sub-optimal performance, I think it's a good idea to facilitate unit movement and offer a modest unit composition.

Despite that, I wandered on over to the new base and took out the next turret, their Raider, and their Light Infantry guards.

After capturing the base:
597398815a88f_RIPsmolbase.png.dba46161504570c590a92a2dc1903918.png

They sent attacks like this at me several times. Except with more tanks and troopers. Like, very shortly after I captured the base. There was absolutely no way in hell I was gonna fend 'em off, at least not without knowing I was gonna have a bunch of tanks coming my way. This is a tame screenshot; when I restarted the level and actually counted their first attack, it was eighteen tanks. Eighteen. And a whole lot of light vehicles and Troopers on top of it. After trying some different strategies, I restarted the level on normal. I'll tell you what happened in a sec.

I took note that in the triggers, there's an event that summons reinforcements after you build a Heavy Factory. Since I'm testing on hard mode, the Heavy Factory was preferable to any other option because I desperately needed more Harvesters to keep my economy going. A small attack (like the one you've implemented) after a noteworthy building is erected is totally fair, but given the fierceness of the AI's attacks, couldn't you make it less desirable? Like, after I placed a Refinery, I was getting some reinforcements, and I was like, "oh, great, I really need a Harvester to kick my economy off," and then there's a Carryall and some combat units. I was like, "oh, okay, guess I'll build a heavy factory and get some Harvesters out." Not exactly the most helpful stuff... A Carryall is fine considering that when I placed my Refinery and expected my Harvester to go to the Spice to the west, the Carryall took it to the field to the north instead. If you wanna keep the Spice there, a Carryall's a fine addition. But, hell, I couldn't get two Refineries or a Refinery and a Heavy Factory up while building up a nice amount of units for defense at the same time.

The base is not defensible at all, for that matter. I'll tell you how each of the strategies went, and please note that each one was after as quickly and efficiently as possible capturing all the targets I needed to capture:
Barracks: There's, like, no infantry rock. Despite attempting to use Troopers to fend off their Combat Tanks, they hardly made a difference. And, they needed to be placed in a very particular way in order to survive against the large amounts of tanks they were sending - behind the wall. They had enough Raiders, Quads, Troopers, and Light Infantry to destroy my own infantry. Not only were they protected from tank fire by the standing enemy walls, but they were even behind turrets on some attempts and I was using the units I started with to (carefully) take out threats when there were too many Ordos units. No difference at all. If the Combat Tanks didn't dash around the wall and run them all over, the rest of their units whittled the infantry down to nothing. Naturally, if the infantry were anywhere but behind walls, turrets, or my other vehicles, they would quickly be run over by their Combat Tanks. Light Infantry massing wasn't much better either...

Light Factory: While infantry had to take cover, I figured maybe I could move a squad of Raiders around and take out whatever the Troopers won't blow up. Didn't really work. There's hardly any room to move units around at the path to the captured base, so it's not like I can flank them, and then if I just ride through them, they tend to focus their fire on me. I also tried using Quads, but their Troopers one-shot those, of course, while I was trying to use them to pick off other Quads and Combat Tanks. I used my own Combat Tanks to run over their infantry, but since their Troopers always stopped to focus their fire on anything I sent their way, they didn't last long at all.

Heavy Factory: The starting units were insufficient to hold back the first enemy attack and the reinforcements that come once you build a Heavy Factory. Since you gave us a Barracks to start, I tried using infantry from that, but I always took unacceptable losses. Whether I tried building a Heavy Factory after my first Refinery, and built a Harvester before starting with Combat Tanks, or if I tried building my Heavy Factory after my second Refinery so I didn't have to build a Harvester first, the result was the same.

Turtle: After no combination of units worked after quite a few attempts, both on Hard and then on Normal, I tried building lots of turrets instead. No can do. Even with Raiders and Light Infantry piling on every Trooper headed my way, they still send too many Combat Tanks and Quads to block. It was also impossible to keep up with the damage going out on my turrets, to repair them in time, even after putting down two Refineries. Well, I guess it wasn't impossible, I was... surviving, I guess, but with how long it was taking to build anything up and with how I had to keep sinking Solaris into repairing my Medium Gun Turrets and I had to keep diverting attention to the base entrance, the strategy quickly bored me.

Rush: Instead of going for the base to the east, I tried going north and taking the base in the middle of the map with the four engineers I started with. Nope. They rebuild the turrets I destroy and have way too many units defending the location for me to survive the attack.

You get the idea. I tried a lot of stuff, none of it worked. I refuse to do easy mode. So... this map's broken as hell. I haven't completed it. Here's the problem, and a few recommendations...

All enemy AIs are set to build one Carryall per Refinery, and two Harvesters per Refinery. With default upgrade prices, and all AIs starting at 8,000 Solaris, S0 will come to 7,200 Solaris, S1 will come to 7,500 Solaris, and S2 will come to 6,300 Solaris. S0 and S1 start with two Harvesters and one Carryall each, while S2 starts with three Harvesters and two Carryalls. Considering that the threshold for training units is 1,800 Solaris, and that many Harvesters mining from the start is an extra 1,400 / 2,100 Solaris each back, the result is a crapload of Combat Tanks, Troopers, and whatever else they build very, very early on. Not to mention that because S1 has only a Barracks, they will spam nothing but infantry, which means oodles of Troopers, no doubt. Because S0 has only a Heavy Factory, all they build is Combat Tanks. The build rate for one-sort spamming sides must be adjusted, and more importantly, their economy is overpowered and desperately needs a nerf.

If the player's economy needs to be so weak early on, I strongly recommend placing infantry rock all over the place. It won't fix the problem of massing so much stuff, the infantry are killed by damage alone, but at least it would provide some defensible locations and make the Barracks we start out with not entirely useless. It can pump out cheap units that can defend effectively.

If you want to buff the player's economy, perhaps you could raise some restrictions or add Harvester reinforcements with the Carryall that arrives after you place a Refinery. For example, instead of having enemy reinforcements show up when you build a Heavy Factory, you could have them show up after you build several structures, like a Refinery, Heavy Factory, Light Factory, Barracks, and Outpost. If you have all of that, then the S0 reinforcements show up? That way, a Heavy Factory can be used earlier to pump out Harvesters and the reinforcements won't come at such a bad time.

The path into the eastern base is really small and all the incoming enemy units need to be fought head-on as a result. This only makes it more difficult to sustain any sort of defense. I think the path should be wider, and perhaps another entrance into the player's base would make moving around easier. I get the feeling you'll want the terrain around the player's base to stay the same, but that may be a-okay if the enemy stops sending twenty tanks at the player shortly after the base is taken. A good surround on incoming enemy forces won't hurt, though.

Like the path into the base we get to capture, there's only one path to get to the other Ordos bases too, and that's pretty much straight through their largest base with the respawning turrets. Unless you're gonna give the player some more tanks or a better economy, and nerf the enemy economy, attacking that base felt like banging my head against a brick wall.

M1V1 gave me light vehicles and basic infantry. This map gives me Combat Tanks and Carryalls and stuff. Kind of a huge leap up, don't you think? I mean, Combat Tanks on their own change the game immensely because they eat damage, crush infantry very effectively, and have a cannon attack. If you just removed some cliff wall on the north side of the eastern base, and maybe moved those Wind Traps around, the player could set up a Refinery there and be fine without a Carryall.

I guess that's all I've got to say. The map started out really cool, and then was ruined by a hellish amount of enemy units and an extremely slow starting economy (on hard or normal). I mean, I don't mind lots of enemy units, but the player at least has to have a chance to fortify against them before they start flooding the map... the problem, as you can see, is small and simple to fix in design, in the editor, but in-game, the problem is glaring and huge and breaks everything. I'll try this one again once it's, uhh... debugged ^^


M3V1:

Spoiler

My progress through mission 3 was, uhh... quick. Here's the rundown.

The start of it was, once again, pretty cool. Random units around, they shoot at each-other, makes it feel like there's already a battle underway.

Taking out the Wind Traps was really easy. I'm not sure what more to say about it. You get some infantry for the purpose, and then you never really have to use them again 'cause they're all the way in freakin' Africa. Not that I mind, they fulfilled their duty. What's with the stealth raiders, by the way? They were kinda pointless.

Do you desire to make the part of the map where you blow up the Wind Traps a little more difficult or lengthy? Just wondering. I think it's fine the way it is, but I love trying new angles.

By the way, it seems a whole lot of other stuff blew up all over the map when the Wind Traps were destroyed. Was all that intended? I mean, even some long segments of wall just went ka-boom. I thought that in particular was kinda silly.

This map is on, like, the other end of the spectrum when compared to level 2. Your ally's quite powerful and even on hard mode I was able to prevent the majority of his base from being destroyed. Nothing much more happened. I built a bunch of Refineries, some Barracks, some Heavy Factories, a High Tech Factory... got some Combat Tanks, got some Troopers, wrecked the Atreides base. Could do with a difficulty boost.

Speaking of which, I'm sure the occasional Atreides reinforcements that appear north of the base are meant to cause some trouble on the other entrance... but do they ever stop coming? It's fun to fend them off while I'm building up, but then I head down to attack the enemy and suddenly there are reinforcements on the rear end. It was nothing too bothersome, I just sent some Combat Tanks from my Heavy Factory over to help out the turrets, but it kinda stunted further progression in the map. Maybe if you, I dunno, put the Outpost in some small proxy base and make it so the reinforcements stop once the Outpost is destroyed, it'll help? Since, once you start blowing stuff up, the game will be like, "Oh, okay, you're moving on from the defense part of the map. Have fun blowing everything up."

...I like looping reinforcements sometimes, but I also like to have a suitable way to shut them down. Take that as you will.

Oh, yes, and there were a couple of base layout problems I ran into... the first was in the smuggler base. A lot of the structures and whatnot were really cramped up tight. It was difficult to respond to an attack at the front gate unless I blew up some of my ally's wall since all my units would go this way or that, or trickle in. I noticed you also had some pathing issues, because why else would all those Atreides units be lined up near your starting units? They're there to block the infantry who can't fit up the ramp from trying to go around the side, right? :P

The other issue was just with the Atreides base. They have a lot of Harvesters, but only one Refinery. I have little doubt that this contributed to their lack of attack power, and I suggest additional Refineries be added.

That should be all.


M4V1:

Spoiler

This map was straight-up fun. For the record, I'm not typically fond of survival-type maps, particularly survival with a timer attached.

Perhaps the fremen first appearing would be nice after at least a few seconds. I hardly had time to digest what I started out with!

I spotted some fremen units spawning in, since I scouted around. I had a chuckle when I tried to run them over, and then was promptly met with a ton of Stealth Raiders.

After all that stuff with the fremen, I found it fair enough to get my economy rolling. With Siege Tanks and Medium Gun Turrets, defending the base wasn't a total cakewalk, but it wasn't overwhelmingly brutal either. The smugglers are crazy strong on this map and they help a lot. Despite their aid with defending my main base, I still had to look after my Harvesters and keep the front of my base shored up so nothing would bother my important structures.

Seriously though, smugglers. Might be a little too strong. This happen to you too?
597411c81360c_smugglersOP.png.b086420020e49055e31584123ce4fbca.png

The Ordos drop by later for some fun, and there are a couple of things that are good and noteworthy about their presence. First, it's cool that they fight the Atreides forces they see, as well as you. Second, although they send a lot of stuff at you, it's fair because you've already built up your defenses against the Atreides. It's a very fine technique to stutter the difficulty, especially with such large forces of units that would otherwise totally slaughter you.

My only complaint about the Ordos is that they tend to trickle in by lining up on the cliff wall. Unit pathing and all that. I'd recommend adjusting the terrain so that their attacks are less affected by the pathing.

Once the reinforcements arrive, the difficulty drops off the map completely. Since the first part of the map was fun and offered some difficulty, getting the chance to blow up that large Atreides base with endless units remains fun, despite the absence of challenge. So, good map!


M5V1:

Spoiler

One of the sentences in the briefing confused me momentarily. This one:
The Harkonnen have been slowly lumbering closer, and closer to our employer’s operations, and they are growing uncomfortable to say the least.

I read it like the Harkonnen are the ones growing uncomfortable :P Might just be me though.

This is another conceptually cool mission, but the pacing really falls short. I'll give you the rundown:

First attempt, I captured the three Wind Traps and the Outpost, and then I saw that there was a Barracks, so I restarted.

Second attempt, I captured two Wind Traps, the Barracks, and the Outpost, and then I saw that there was a Refinery, so I restarted.

Third attempt, I captured one Wind Trap, the Barracks, the Outpost, and the Refinery, but then I had low power, so I had to train an Engineer with low power, which was slow. The presentation of each new structure really threw me off, and I didn't know if I just needed the Outpost, or a small production base, or what. The briefing said nothing about it and the Refinery we're supposed to get is all the way over there in the shroud. Having to restart several times just from presentation being confusing is bothersome.

The +3,000 Solaris or so when you capture a Refinery is a nice idea, and it helps, but it's not sufficient. Mining Spice is incredibly slow. You place a Siege Tank by the High Tech Factory, along with some Large Gun Turrets, a bunch of infantry, and light vehicles and Combat Tanks. There is absolutely no good excuse to force the player to build up so slowly in order to take that location from Imperial forces that don't even do anything on their own.

My recommendation is to provide some more information on the base we're supposed to capture, maybe re-arrange the structures to give the impression that the base is larger than it might look, and give the player a couple of Harvesters after they capture the Refinery. Then, instead of building slowly to attack stationary opponents, you have enough of an economy (assuming the Spice field closest to the Refinery isn't depleted way too soon) to build up quickly. In that case, you could add, like, a Barracks or something to the base with the High Tech Factory that churns out some Light Infantry or something every now and then. They could send very small infantry attacks your way. Not much, but at least you have an organic position, a more lively base, to conquer.

The Siege Tank at the High Tech Factory base is in an okay spot. You only get light vehicles and basic infantry to break through all the defenses there, which isn't bad with enough of an economy to build a strike force up at a reasonable pace. If you don't change the economy... it's easily the biggest cockblock on the south side of the level, and should be removed. I was peeling their units on guard away from the Large Gun Turrets and the Siege Tank one by one, and that wasn't really fun. I felt compelled to do it that way because I knew if I went all-in, I'd lose everything and have to build up suuuuuper sloooowly again. At least there was some infantry rock near their position... that was well placed, but relying on it so heavily is not ideal for this map, I think.

In other words, too much unit variety without the funds to overwhelm their position before next century.

The part with the Sardaukar is cool, but the transmission message overlaps with the UI in standard resolution. You could break it up easily with one event that sends a distress call after you capture the High Tech Factory, then another with a response from the Sardaukar when they touch down. It might go a little quick, so if you were to, say, add a couple of Trikes in each Sardaukar Carryall before some Sardaukar pile out, it'll lengthen the delay between the transmissions.

The next part of the map on the north side also has some glaring pacing and presentation issues. I noticed that the ways around the sides of the island the Imperial base is on are quite blocked. The east side, completely, and the west side is pointlessly choked down to one tile. Assuming you meant to block that off completely, because it looks cluttered that way, there are three infantry-only ramps up the cliff wall, but only one of them is viable considering the Siege Tanks at the top. Unlike the one at the High Tech Factory, the two at the north base are in really bad positions. I was strongly encouraged by their presence to go to the west half of the Imperial base first, which is full of expensive tech. My one Harvester all the way down south couldn't keep up with training engineers for long, so I captured the Heavy Factory and purchased another Harvester and a Carryall from the High Tech Factory. I may as well have spent money on Troopers or Combat Tanks because my economy was still slow as hell, thanks to the easily depleted Spice field near the Refinery.

When I finally got a bunch of Light Infantry, a few Troopers, and one Combat Tank (for the Siege Tank, obviously), I moved over to the east side. Lo and behold, there are two Refineries and four Silos there that I never knew about because taking stealth units near turrets will instantly reveal them. So, it's not like I could walk up the ramp with my Fedaykin and see very much. I saw a Siege Tank on the edge, that's enough deterrence to NOPE.avi right on out... but I digress. I captured a Silo and bam, there's 2,000 Solaris. If you're going to encourage the player to move up to the west half of the base, isn't there anything you can put to give some more Solaris and speed things along?

To summarize:
 - Much of the level was waiting on the Harvester to mine Spice bit by bit. Player's ability to gain funds should be increased somehow.
 -- If the additional funds make it way too easy to build up super quick and wreck things, give the AI a little bit of production to boost enemy liveliness and deter such rapid progress.
 - Siege Tanks in some really bad spots. Should remove or reconsider locations to open up more strategic options.
 - Structure presentation gives a very misleading impression. Several structures could be relocated to improve player awareness.
 -- An alternative solution may be to start with more engineers.

With the various issues that gave me trouble altered or resolved, I think the map could be more fun! And the coolness factor won't be reduced by immersion-breaking waits for every single unit. x_x

Well, that's all I can write for now. I'll get back to you on the later maps when I get around to playing 'em, and when I get the chance to write about 'em at length, of course. It seems the later maps are better than the early ones, so I look forward to seeing what comes next. :D

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7 hours ago, Cm_blast said:

Did you deleted all the files or just reinstalled over the game? uninstall, check for some files that may remain (and delete those manually) and try to install again.

reinstalled the game and it works fine. hard to believe it only stopped working when i had two mods installed :(

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14 hours ago, Fey said:

Yo! I played through some of the maps in your campaign. I'll give you my feedback below. I may bring up my own work for the sake of comparison, but please don't take it the wrong way! I'm not trying to say, "this is how it SHOULD be done, my work is the golden standard," it's more like, "I suppose this is what you're trying to do, but here are the problems I ran into with it, or my opinion about what doesn't feel right. Here's how I did it in my maps, in case you'd like an example." I also may have a lot to say, but just because I pick apart the details doesn't mean I don't like the map! I just want to do my best to improve it, the same way I pick apart my own work. :)

M1V1:

  Reveal hidden contents

On my first playthrough, the Ordos base was almost entirely destroyed before the transmission came to capture it. I think the objective should be hinted at sooner, or the Ordos base defenses should be too powerful to overcome that early. You could make it so that the player doesn't receive oodles of reinforcements prior to the transmission going out, there were way too many reinforcements for me and I was like "oh, I should blow up the Ordos with all the free stuff they're throwing at me."

Second playthrough, I got mission victory when the large reinforcements arrived. All Ordos structures and units had been destroyed prior, and since reinforcements arrive at 24,000 tics and the win condition happens at any point after 24,000 tics, there was no time for the reinforcements to actually drop onto the map and the win condition took over. Thankfully, I'd saved before I blew up ALL the Ordos stuff, so I just reloaded and spared that one harvester I didn't see before saving until the Ordos reinforcements arrived.

Yo, one of the transmissions is clipped out!
59737702ef447_CLIPPEDTRANSMISSION01.png.6706e53671ed0cb58eb8190c6d6d83d4.png

Since 640x480 is the default resolution, Cm reported that some of my own transmissions clipped out, so now I double-check every time in 640x480 and test in 640x480. You can expect other players to also use 640x480, so I'd recommend you test in that resolution too! That long transmission also clipped over the timer, which makes it hard or impossible to read. You could have the timer pop up a few seconds after the transmission stops if you need the space for words, or you could clip a whole bunch of words and make things more succinct to the point the transmission stops before it hits the timer.

I have a habit of destroying enemy Harvesters so my infantry don't get crushed. Despite the Ordos having Carryalls, my Infantry could fire on them while waiting for orders in the middle of the Spice field, drawing attention and subsequently being crushed while my attention is elsewhere. I also noticed that the Ordos do not have any bonus Harvester arrive if they're totally out of Harvesters, and the player is presumably meant to capture a Harvester or two from the Ordos Refineries. While I love capturing Harvesters with Refineries of my own volition, making it a necessary sort of thing is kind of a hassle, I think. You have a lot of extra space for events and conditions, so you can keep the map simple for sure, but add a bunch of convenient things that could help.

Recommendations for the Harvesters:
 - Put them mostly in Spice fields that are quite a distance away from the base. They won't get in the way of charging through Ordos defenses and capturing the base.
 - You can either give the Ordos reinforcements containing a Harvester any time they run out, if they still have a Refinery, or you could have a Harvester delivered each time a Refinery is captured.
 -- The first scenario is recommended if you want to keep it so that the player must capture the Refinery with a Harvester in it, but that's not what I would choose. The player will have to keep an Engineer on-site and capture it at the right time, and until that Harvester is done mining Spice, it won't come back to the Refinery, resulting in the player needing to wait... especially if they've blown up a few Harvesters.
 -- The second is doable if you use multiple AIs. With all that extra room for events and conditions, you can give the Ordos two AIs in their base. Each one will have their own refinery, and the condition could be that if S0 (Side 0, aka Atreides) has no Refinery, and S6 (Side 6, the player in this campaign, the mercenaries), owns a Refinery, a Harvester will be delivered to that Refinery. The only problem is that if the trigger for the other one is, for example, if S1 has no Refinery and S6 has a Refinery, and you blow up the other Refinery instead of capturing it, you will still receive a Harvester because S1 will not have a Refinery, but you do have the other one that you captured from S0. Dune 2k has no way of knowing HOW MANY of something you have, only if you have something. I suppose this could be rectified by making it so that, say, if the player already owns a Harvester, another one will not be delivered, but then if you have two Refineries and only one Harvester, the other one becomes pointless... agh. Lots of thinking. In APPLICATION, this is a simple concept - the player captures a Refinery, they get a Harvester. The problem is that it takes an awful lot of behind-the-scenes work and extra thought on the map designer's end to ensure that nothing weird happens... perhaps you could simply keep it so that the Ordos don't get any extra Harvesters if they run out, but if you capture one Refinery, you'll get two Harvesters, and that'll be it. What do you think?
 --- That actually gives me an idea. If you go with this sort of thing, where the Ordos don't get more Harvesters and you receive your own Harvesters when you capture their stuff, you can add another potential strategy to breaking through into the Ordos base by advising the player simply destroy their Harvesters. They won't be able to defend themselves too effectively after that, and getting your own Harvesters will be hassle-free! For the player, at least. Designing the events to make the gameplay streamlined and weird-free might be a hassle.

If you want to keep it the way it is with the Harvesters, I'd suggest putting some more infantry rock around the Ordos base, moving some of the Harvesters to far-away Spice fields as I recommended in the first bullet point, and most importantly, giving the player a hint that they MUST capture some Harvesters with the Refineries because they're not gonna get some just by capturing the Refineries. That's another thing that helps the player familiarize themselves with their objective(s) on the map: Context in briefing or transmissions.

One of the great things you did that accounts for player choice screwing with map designer's intent, like how I blew up a bunch of Harvesters, is you gave the player 4,000 Solaris to boot. So, even if I finished all their Harvesters and had no way to get more money, I still had enough to defend myself from Ordos reinforcements. If you do change something with the Harvesters that makes this unnecessary, I would recommend removing the event or reducing the amount it gives so that the player can mine their own Spice.

I know this point is just a pet peeve, but when you receive reinforcements, the Carryalls fly in from two different directions. I think it'd look better if you moved one of the locations to a spot where the Carryall currently flying in from the west would fly in from the south instead.

I noticed the Ordos receive a whopping ten reinforcements simultaneously once the timer runs out. I dunno if you know this, but too many reinforcements at once can cause a crash. I'm not sure where the limit is, but I believe it's ten reinforcements at once. I think if you split it up a little so that the second wave, the one that goes after your smuggler friends, comes like 500 or 1,000 tics later, it can help avoid any chances of events colliding and causing crashes. I do think it's cool that multiple Carryalls show up though, it makes their arrival more cinematic and stuff.

I also hardly noticed that attack going on since there was another one coming at my base simultaneously. Maybe you could put a specific unit in the second set of reinforcements that, when it exists, will cause a transmission to come through like, "They're coming after us now! Help!"

Hey, what? The Ordos get Grenadiers? :( Don't you plan on modding those into the game so we can build them too? :P

I noticed the worm is blocked off on this map. If you make it so that the Ordos, smugglers, and/or the player get more Harvesters delivered if they run out, you could let the worm run amok. Maybe it'll be more fun, I dunno.

Finally, here's some feedback about the way the map progresses. I mentioned a bit of how I feel about this in the other thread, but I'll go over it again. Now, I dunno if anyone else feels the same way I do about reinforcements, but my stance towards them is to use them in moderation: As a little extra aid, to provide additional Harvesters, or where cinematic or necessary. Each unit that shows up through reinforcements is something the player didn't need to mine Spice for, didn't need to click on the sidebar, you know. Like, the Missile Tank reinforcements on H2V2 (which there should be more of, they're given to take down enemy Carryalls but there are so few of them), the engineers on this map (which are provided to take the Ordos base, perfectly justified in my opinion), or the starport delivery on S2V1 (since the enemy is overwhelmingly powerful, losing enough light vehicles results in a squad of Trikes and Quads being ordered for you at the Starport, so they only arrive when they're actually needed), those are all fine. There's a purpose to them, they show up so you can use them.

There are a LOT of reinforcements on this map that I think are unnecessary. Perhaps you could have a few things arrive over time, like a couple of raiders or something, but most of the units owned by the player on this map are dropped in by Carryall. If the player can pretty much complete the map without needing to build anything, or without needing to build much, I think there are too many reinforcements.

What do you think about reinforcements? Do you suppose using them often and en masse is fine most of the time, and they add something important to the game / this map? Or, do you agree that too much free stuff removes something from the game, and more weight should be placed on what the player does?

Recommendations for mercenary forces:
 - I see two plausible options. The first is that you can give the mercenary player a small base of their own to fight with... the second is that you cut down the Ordos defenses and mercenary unit count until the engineers arrive.
 - The smuggler base is already split in two on this map. There should be plenty of room on the west island for the smugglers to have a neat-looking base. The east island would make the perfect spot for, say... a Wind Trap or two, a Refinery, maybe a couple of Silos, and a Barracks and/or a Light Factory. You could give the smugglers their own Barracks and have them train infantry really slowly, nothing truly substantial but just there to give some life to their base, and then give the player their own Light Factory. They shouldn't be able to build up too much before they get the transmission to go capture the Ordos base.
 -- If this sounds agreeable to you, and you go through with it, you can cut reinforcements down to much less until the engineers arrive. That way, the player building stuff up will have an impact on how the game turns out. I'd say, if you give the player a Barracks, have some light vehicle reinforcements arrive with the engineers, and have the player start with some light vehicles. If you give the player a Light Factory, Trooper reinforcements along with the engineers would be perfect for breaking through their turrets, and you could give the player Light Infantry and Troopers to start off with.
 -- If simply leaving out a factory isn't enough incentive to go and capture the Ordos base quickly, here's another idea: Rather than add a whole bunch of credits all at once after you receive the objective, you could have, say, 1,000 Solaris be added several times to the player's funds (at most until just after you get the transmission with the new objective), and nix the Refinery entirely. Just a couple of Wind Traps and a Light Factory, maybe an Outpost... then you'll have some limited funds to build up with. Use those limited funds on a selection of light vehicles, take the bunch of infantry and the engineers you get from reinforcements, and plow through the Ordos base so you can get yourself a Refinery and secure victory against the large wave of Ordos reinforcements later on.
 - If you don't want the player to have any sort of base, I think the amount of reinforcements the player receives could be cut down a whole lot.
 -- You could also give stuff that's not suitable for taking on the Ordos defenses... like, for example, give the player enough Light Infantry and Raiders to fend off the enemy attacks, but Light Infantry and Raiders will get slaughtered if they try to blow up the enemy Medium Gun Turrets, especially if the Ordos have Quads or maybe even a Grenadier or two defending their walls. Then, your engineers arrive along with a bunch of troopers or quads or something, and you have a chance now to push on through.

I have another little comment, but it's not really a criticism, more-so merely an inquiry. There's a lot of stuff going on on this map for just being level 1! More units than I know what to do with and a pang of caution around those Ordos Refineries. Was it your intent to make M1V1 feel kind of... chaotic and involved?

I'm sure a lot of that could easily be helped by changing up reinforcements and reducing the hassle of capturing the Ordos Refineries AND Harvesters, but that's just the way it feels to me right now. I know it's a lot of text, but the two main points are the ones I provided recommendations for. I hope what I've said makes sense to you and inspires some new ideas ^^ And the map turned out fun by the attempt I got to the end. :P


M2V1:

  Reveal hidden contents

The briefing is kinda verbose. I know that sounds funny coming from me, I wrote freakin' stories in the briefing, but this sentence in particular could be cropped or rewritten to flow better:
Long range radar shows sensor ghosts flicking in and out of existence a short distance north from here in a valley that would most likely make anything located there difficult to detect.

First impressions: "This map looks conceptually really cool. Very first objective, we get a nice mix of infantry, some Trikes, and some Stealth Raiders. There's also one more engineer than is needed, which is great in case there's an accident. We got our scouts, we got our fighters, and we got our engineers. Oh, but there ain't enough room to build here on this little island, so I wonder what's gonna happen next!"

The addition of an engineer was a good idea. Even though nothing happened, I acknowledged that having a third one was good security at this point in the map. It seems kinda redundant having both Stealth Raiders and Trikes, but I guess it's fine 'cause you get a bunch more light vehicles in a moment, and you can use your trikes to attack things if you don't want to get your Stealth Raiders hurt. Then again, if you can scout with your Trikes, why not nix the stealth raiders and add a couple more trikes? I mean, I love unit variety, but a little too much can get confusing.

A moment later: "That was easy enough. Ah, I see now, so we get some reinforcements to take to the new base. Couple of combat tanks, lots more stuff... oh, but now we have an exact amount of engineers. Guess that's fine. And slightly more defenses, too... one Raider, to be exact. That's a fine increase in difficulty from the last outpost. And that's clever, the outpost not only served as an objective, but also provided vision in a map we need to explore. Good choice."

I agree with having an exact amount of engineers by this point. Since we can capture a Barracks, the loss of one is no longer a big deal. Without two engineers for the first base, on the other hand, we wouldn't be able to power the Outpost and see the base we're supposed to go to. So, that works. Again with the unit variety though, by this point we have Raiders, Trikes, Quads, Stealth Raiders, Light Infantry, Troopers, Engineers, and Combat Tanks. And, given how close an enemy base just north of the path to the base we're supposed to capture is, we don't really have much room to work with all the different units optimally. Even if the map is tested with sub-optimal performance, I think it's a good idea to facilitate unit movement and offer a modest unit composition.

Despite that, I wandered on over to the new base and took out the next turret, their Raider, and their Light Infantry guards.

After capturing the base:
597398815a88f_RIPsmolbase.png.dba46161504570c590a92a2dc1903918.png

They sent attacks like this at me several times. Except with more tanks and troopers. Like, very shortly after I captured the base. There was absolutely no way in hell I was gonna fend 'em off, at least not without knowing I was gonna have a bunch of tanks coming my way. This is a tame screenshot; when I restarted the level and actually counted their first attack, it was eighteen tanks. Eighteen. And a whole lot of light vehicles and Troopers on top of it. After trying some different strategies, I restarted the level on normal. I'll tell you what happened in a sec.

I took note that in the triggers, there's an event that summons reinforcements after you build a Heavy Factory. Since I'm testing on hard mode, the Heavy Factory was preferable to any other option because I desperately needed more Harvesters to keep my economy going. A small attack (like the one you've implemented) after a noteworthy building is erected is totally fair, but given the fierceness of the AI's attacks, couldn't you make it less desirable? Like, after I placed a Refinery, I was getting some reinforcements, and I was like, "oh, great, I really need a Harvester to kick my economy off," and then there's a Carryall and some combat units. I was like, "oh, okay, guess I'll build a heavy factory and get some Harvesters out." Not exactly the most helpful stuff... A Carryall is fine considering that when I placed my Refinery and expected my Harvester to go to the Spice to the west, the Carryall took it to the field to the north instead. If you wanna keep the Spice there, a Carryall's a fine addition. But, hell, I couldn't get two Refineries or a Refinery and a Heavy Factory up while building up a nice amount of units for defense at the same time.

The base is not defensible at all, for that matter. I'll tell you how each of the strategies went, and please note that each one was after as quickly and efficiently as possible capturing all the targets I needed to capture:
Barracks: There's, like, no infantry rock. Despite attempting to use Troopers to fend off their Combat Tanks, they hardly made a difference. And, they needed to be placed in a very particular way in order to survive against the large amounts of tanks they were sending - behind the wall. They had enough Raiders, Quads, Troopers, and Light Infantry to destroy my own infantry. Not only were they protected from tank fire by the standing enemy walls, but they were even behind turrets on some attempts and I was using the units I started with to (carefully) take out threats when there were too many Ordos units. No difference at all. If the Combat Tanks didn't dash around the wall and run them all over, the rest of their units whittled the infantry down to nothing. Naturally, if the infantry were anywhere but behind walls, turrets, or my other vehicles, they would quickly be run over by their Combat Tanks. Light Infantry massing wasn't much better either...

Light Factory: While infantry had to take cover, I figured maybe I could move a squad of Raiders around and take out whatever the Troopers won't blow up. Didn't really work. There's hardly any room to move units around at the path to the captured base, so it's not like I can flank them, and then if I just ride through them, they tend to focus their fire on me. I also tried using Quads, but their Troopers one-shot those, of course, while I was trying to use them to pick off other Quads and Combat Tanks. I used my own Combat Tanks to run over their infantry, but since their Troopers always stopped to focus their fire on anything I sent their way, they didn't last long at all.

Heavy Factory: The starting units were insufficient to hold back the first enemy attack and the reinforcements that come once you build a Heavy Factory. Since you gave us a Barracks to start, I tried using infantry from that, but I always took unacceptable losses. Whether I tried building a Heavy Factory after my first Refinery, and built a Harvester before starting with Combat Tanks, or if I tried building my Heavy Factory after my second Refinery so I didn't have to build a Harvester first, the result was the same.

Turtle: After no combination of units worked after quite a few attempts, both on Hard and then on Normal, I tried building lots of turrets instead. No can do. Even with Raiders and Light Infantry piling on every Trooper headed my way, they still send too many Combat Tanks and Quads to block. It was also impossible to keep up with the damage going out on my turrets, to repair them in time, even after putting down two Refineries. Well, I guess it wasn't impossible, I was... surviving, I guess, but with how long it was taking to build anything up and with how I had to keep sinking Solaris into repairing my Medium Gun Turrets and I had to keep diverting attention to the base entrance, the strategy quickly bored me.

Rush: Instead of going for the base to the east, I tried going north and taking the base in the middle of the map with the four engineers I started with. Nope. They rebuild the turrets I destroy and have way too many units defending the location for me to survive the attack.

You get the idea. I tried a lot of stuff, none of it worked. I refuse to do easy mode. So... this map's broken as hell. I haven't completed it. Here's the problem, and a few recommendations...

All enemy AIs are set to build one Carryall per Refinery, and two Harvesters per Refinery. With default upgrade prices, and all AIs starting at 8,000 Solaris, S0 will come to 7,200 Solaris, S1 will come to 7,500 Solaris, and S2 will come to 6,300 Solaris. S0 and S1 start with two Harvesters and one Carryall each, while S2 starts with three Harvesters and two Carryalls. Considering that the threshold for training units is 1,800 Solaris, and that many Harvesters mining from the start is an extra 1,400 / 2,100 Solaris each back, the result is a crapload of Combat Tanks, Troopers, and whatever else they build very, very early on. Not to mention that because S1 has only a Barracks, they will spam nothing but infantry, which means oodles of Troopers, no doubt. Because S0 has only a Heavy Factory, all they build is Combat Tanks. The build rate for one-sort spamming sides must be adjusted, and more importantly, their economy is overpowered and desperately needs a nerf.

If the player's economy needs to be so weak early on, I strongly recommend placing infantry rock all over the place. It won't fix the problem of massing so much stuff, the infantry are killed by damage alone, but at least it would provide some defensible locations and make the Barracks we start out with not entirely useless. It can pump out cheap units that can defend effectively.

If you want to buff the player's economy, perhaps you could raise some restrictions or add Harvester reinforcements with the Carryall that arrives after you place a Refinery. For example, instead of having enemy reinforcements show up when you build a Heavy Factory, you could have them show up after you build several structures, like a Refinery, Heavy Factory, Light Factory, Barracks, and Outpost. If you have all of that, then the S0 reinforcements show up? That way, a Heavy Factory can be used earlier to pump out Harvesters and the reinforcements won't come at such a bad time.

The path into the eastern base is really small and all the incoming enemy units need to be fought head-on as a result. This only makes it more difficult to sustain any sort of defense. I think the path should be wider, and perhaps another entrance into the player's base would make moving around easier. I get the feeling you'll want the terrain around the player's base to stay the same, but that may be a-okay if the enemy stops sending twenty tanks at the player shortly after the base is taken. A good surround on incoming enemy forces won't hurt, though.

Like the path into the base we get to capture, there's only one path to get to the other Ordos bases too, and that's pretty much straight through their largest base with the respawning turrets. Unless you're gonna give the player some more tanks or a better economy, and nerf the enemy economy, attacking that base felt like banging my head against a brick wall.

M1V1 gave me light vehicles and basic infantry. This map gives me Combat Tanks and Carryalls and stuff. Kind of a huge leap up, don't you think? I mean, Combat Tanks on their own change the game immensely because they eat damage, crush infantry very effectively, and have a cannon attack. If you just removed some cliff wall on the north side of the eastern base, and maybe moved those Wind Traps around, the player could set up a Refinery there and be fine without a Carryall.

I guess that's all I've got to say. The map started out really cool, and then was ruined by a hellish amount of enemy units and an extremely slow starting economy (on hard or normal). I mean, I don't mind lots of enemy units, but the player at least has to have a chance to fortify against them before they start flooding the map... the problem, as you can see, is small and simple to fix in design, in the editor, but in-game, the problem is glaring and huge and breaks everything. I'll try this one again once it's, uhh... debugged ^^


M3V1:

  Reveal hidden contents

My progress through mission 3 was, uhh... quick. Here's the rundown.

The start of it was, once again, pretty cool. Random units around, they shoot at each-other, makes it feel like there's already a battle underway.

Taking out the Wind Traps was really easy. I'm not sure what more to say about it. You get some infantry for the purpose, and then you never really have to use them again 'cause they're all the way in freakin' Africa. Not that I mind, they fulfilled their duty. What's with the stealth raiders, by the way? They were kinda pointless.

Do you desire to make the part of the map where you blow up the Wind Traps a little more difficult or lengthy? Just wondering. I think it's fine the way it is, but I love trying new angles.

By the way, it seems a whole lot of other stuff blew up all over the map when the Wind Traps were destroyed. Was all that intended? I mean, even some long segments of wall just went ka-boom. I thought that in particular was kinda silly.

This map is on, like, the other end of the spectrum when compared to level 2. Your ally's quite powerful and even on hard mode I was able to prevent the majority of his base from being destroyed. Nothing much more happened. I built a bunch of Refineries, some Barracks, some Heavy Factories, a High Tech Factory... got some Combat Tanks, got some Troopers, wrecked the Atreides base. Could do with a difficulty boost.

Speaking of which, I'm sure the occasional Atreides reinforcements that appear north of the base are meant to cause some trouble on the other entrance... but do they ever stop coming? It's fun to fend them off while I'm building up, but then I head down to attack the enemy and suddenly there are reinforcements on the rear end. It was nothing too bothersome, I just sent some Combat Tanks from my Heavy Factory over to help out the turrets, but it kinda stunted further progression in the map. Maybe if you, I dunno, put the Outpost in some small proxy base and make it so the reinforcements stop once the Outpost is destroyed, it'll help? Since, once you start blowing stuff up, the game will be like, "Oh, okay, you're moving on from the defense part of the map. Have fun blowing everything up."

...I like looping reinforcements sometimes, but I also like to have a suitable way to shut them down. Take that as you will.

Oh, yes, and there were a couple of base layout problems I ran into... the first was in the smuggler base. A lot of the structures and whatnot were really cramped up tight. It was difficult to respond to an attack at the front gate unless I blew up some of my ally's wall since all my units would go this way or that, or trickle in. I noticed you also had some pathing issues, because why else would all those Atreides units be lined up near your starting units? They're there to block the infantry who can't fit up the ramp from trying to go around the side, right? :P

The other issue was just with the Atreides base. They have a lot of Harvesters, but only one Refinery. I have little doubt that this contributed to their lack of attack power, and I suggest additional Refineries be added.

That should be all.


M4V1:

  Reveal hidden contents

This map was straight-up fun. For the record, I'm not typically fond of survival-type maps, particularly survival with a timer attached.

Perhaps the fremen first appearing would be nice after at least a few seconds. I hardly had time to digest what I started out with!

I spotted some fremen units spawning in, since I scouted around. I had a chuckle when I tried to run them over, and then was promptly met with a ton of Stealth Raiders.

After all that stuff with the fremen, I found it fair enough to get my economy rolling. With Siege Tanks and Medium Gun Turrets, defending the base wasn't a total cakewalk, but it wasn't overwhelmingly brutal either. The smugglers are crazy strong on this map and they help a lot. Despite their aid with defending my main base, I still had to look after my Harvesters and keep the front of my base shored up so nothing would bother my important structures.

Seriously though, smugglers. Might be a little too strong. This happen to you too?
597411c81360c_smugglersOP.png.b086420020e49055e31584123ce4fbca.png

The Ordos drop by later for some fun, and there are a couple of things that are good and noteworthy about their presence. First, it's cool that they fight the Atreides forces they see, as well as you. Second, although they send a lot of stuff at you, it's fair because you've already built up your defenses against the Atreides. It's a very fine technique to stutter the difficulty, especially with such large forces of units that would otherwise totally slaughter you.

My only complaint about the Ordos is that they tend to trickle in by lining up on the cliff wall. Unit pathing and all that. I'd recommend adjusting the terrain so that their attacks are less affected by the pathing.

Once the reinforcements arrive, the difficulty drops off the map completely. Since the first part of the map was fun and offered some difficulty, getting the chance to blow up that large Atreides base with endless units remains fun, despite the absence of challenge. So, good map!


M5V1:

  Reveal hidden contents

One of the sentences in the briefing confused me momentarily. This one:
The Harkonnen have been slowly lumbering closer, and closer to our employer’s operations, and they are growing uncomfortable to say the least.

I read it like the Harkonnen are the ones growing uncomfortable :P Might just be me though.

This is another conceptually cool mission, but the pacing really falls short. I'll give you the rundown:

First attempt, I captured the three Wind Traps and the Outpost, and then I saw that there was a Barracks, so I restarted.

Second attempt, I captured two Wind Traps, the Barracks, and the Outpost, and then I saw that there was a Refinery, so I restarted.

Third attempt, I captured one Wind Trap, the Barracks, the Outpost, and the Refinery, but then I had low power, so I had to train an Engineer with low power, which was slow. The presentation of each new structure really threw me off, and I didn't know if I just needed the Outpost, or a small production base, or what. The briefing said nothing about it and the Refinery we're supposed to get is all the way over there in the shroud. Having to restart several times just from presentation being confusing is bothersome.

The +3,000 Solaris or so when you capture a Refinery is a nice idea, and it helps, but it's not sufficient. Mining Spice is incredibly slow. You place a Siege Tank by the High Tech Factory, along with some Large Gun Turrets, a bunch of infantry, and light vehicles and Combat Tanks. There is absolutely no good excuse to force the player to build up so slowly in order to take that location from Imperial forces that don't even do anything on their own.

My recommendation is to provide some more information on the base we're supposed to capture, maybe re-arrange the structures to give the impression that the base is larger than it might look, and give the player a couple of Harvesters after they capture the Refinery. Then, instead of building slowly to attack stationary opponents, you have enough of an economy (assuming the Spice field closest to the Refinery isn't depleted way too soon) to build up quickly. In that case, you could add, like, a Barracks or something to the base with the High Tech Factory that churns out some Light Infantry or something every now and then. They could send very small infantry attacks your way. Not much, but at least you have an organic position, a more lively base, to conquer.

The Siege Tank at the High Tech Factory base is in an okay spot. You only get light vehicles and basic infantry to break through all the defenses there, which isn't bad with enough of an economy to build a strike force up at a reasonable pace. If you don't change the economy... it's easily the biggest cockblock on the south side of the level, and should be removed. I was peeling their units on guard away from the Large Gun Turrets and the Siege Tank one by one, and that wasn't really fun. I felt compelled to do it that way because I knew if I went all-in, I'd lose everything and have to build up suuuuuper sloooowly again. At least there was some infantry rock near their position... that was well placed, but relying on it so heavily is not ideal for this map, I think.

In other words, too much unit variety without the funds to overwhelm their position before next century.

The part with the Sardaukar is cool, but the transmission message overlaps with the UI in standard resolution. You could break it up easily with one event that sends a distress call after you capture the High Tech Factory, then another with a response from the Sardaukar when they touch down. It might go a little quick, so if you were to, say, add a couple of Trikes in each Sardaukar Carryall before some Sardaukar pile out, it'll lengthen the delay between the transmissions.

The next part of the map on the north side also has some glaring pacing and presentation issues. I noticed that the ways around the sides of the island the Imperial base is on are quite blocked. The east side, completely, and the west side is pointlessly choked down to one tile. Assuming you meant to block that off completely, because it looks cluttered that way, there are three infantry-only ramps up the cliff wall, but only one of them is viable considering the Siege Tanks at the top. Unlike the one at the High Tech Factory, the two at the north base are in really bad positions. I was strongly encouraged by their presence to go to the west half of the Imperial base first, which is full of expensive tech. My one Harvester all the way down south couldn't keep up with training engineers for long, so I captured the Heavy Factory and purchased another Harvester and a Carryall from the High Tech Factory. I may as well have spent money on Troopers or Combat Tanks because my economy was still slow as hell, thanks to the easily depleted Spice field near the Refinery.

When I finally got a bunch of Light Infantry, a few Troopers, and one Combat Tank (for the Siege Tank, obviously), I moved over to the east side. Lo and behold, there are two Refineries and four Silos there that I never knew about because taking stealth units near turrets will instantly reveal them. So, it's not like I could walk up the ramp with my Fedaykin and see very much. I saw a Siege Tank on the edge, that's enough deterrence to NOPE.avi right on out... but I digress. I captured a Silo and bam, there's 2,000 Solaris. If you're going to encourage the player to move up to the west half of the base, isn't there anything you can put to give some more Solaris and speed things along?

To summarize:
 - Much of the level was waiting on the Harvester to mine Spice bit by bit. Player's ability to gain funds should be increased somehow.
 -- If the additional funds make it way too easy to build up super quick and wreck things, give the AI a little bit of production to boost enemy liveliness and deter such rapid progress.
 - Siege Tanks in some really bad spots. Should remove or reconsider locations to open up more strategic options.
 - Structure presentation gives a very misleading impression. Several structures could be relocated to improve player awareness.
 -- An alternative solution may be to start with more engineers.

With the various issues that gave me trouble altered or resolved, I think the map could be more fun! And the coolness factor won't be reduced by immersion-breaking waits for every single unit. x_x

Well, that's all I can write for now. I'll get back to you on the later maps when I get around to playing 'em, and when I get the chance to write about 'em at length, of course. It seems the later maps are better than the early ones, so I look forward to seeing what comes next. :D

Thanks for analysis.  Quite a lot there, but useful for preparing for v1.02.  Some stuff in there didn't surprise me much, but a lot the stuff about mission 2 did.  Strangely, it's actually the one I play-tested the most, and those problems never came up for me.
v1.02 will be up sometime this evening, once I've finished play-testing.

MS1:
Though this mission is meant to be quite a gentle warm-up, I'd agree, I did go kinda overboard with the reinforcements, and didn't take advantage of specific unit balancing to keep the Ordos base safe until the right time.
As far as giving the Mercs their own structures, that would go against the whole premise.  It's meant to give the feeling of rushing to the location ASAP, with no time to set up, arriving in the midst of the attack.  The capture the base objective is meant to come as a surprise, and keep the player on their toes, but I agree, I didn't do enough to deter the player from attacking it before-hand.
Personally, under the circumstances, I think reinforcements make sense, and I don't think I have the same issue with reinforcements in general.
I've also now delayed the victory condition and staggered the Ordos reinforcements slightly.
For the update, I've removed all troopers and quads form the reinforcements until it comes to time to capture the base.  The troops you have a far less numerous (though still pretty substantial) and the mission is now significantly harder work.

MS2:
The point about the second outpost was a good one.  I've increased the defenses there, though it's still fairly light.  Enough that assaulting it with your initial scout force would be a bad idea, but not enough that the reinforcements should have too much trouble.
The tank problem very much surprised me.  In all my normal difficulty tests, I found as long as I prioritised getting turrets up, and put my troopers behind them, it was all quite cope-withable.  However, I do think you made a fair point about the enemy reinforcements.  When I first put that in, the idea was that the heavy factory would indicate a certain level of readiness, but I did fail to account for different choices.  I've added a couple of additional conditions which should help with that.  The number of tanks coming at one time was always five per wave for me on normal difficulty, so I'm not sure what's going on there, but I've gimped them up a little none-the-less.  That AI only has one harvester now, slower build-rate, and lower attack strength.  I also opened up one more path out of the base, though it's the least useful one possible.
In addition, as an economy boost, a free harvester arrives along with the carryall.
As far as tech goes, I don't see much problem with it. The previous mission was full trikes and quads, and the campaign is meant  for people who have played the original campaign already, and are familiar with the units.  Including turrets and carryalls is one extra tech jump, but since both players are Ordos, I felt without the missile tanks, it worked.  The mission concept would have been a lot more tedious without them I think.

MS3:
The explosions are meant to be widespread, but yes, the wall was excessive.  I've now altered what goes, and the infantry have some potential extra use now.  The stealth raiders were supposed to be a nice thing to rescue once you've got carryalls, while emphasising the blockade. but admittedly, mechanically, it didn't work very well.  The start isn't meant to take very long, more meant to provide a sense of urgency in trying to reach the base before that large battle going on starts to turn the wrong way.
Unfortunately, I did need to keep the Merc base tucked a way slightly so the initial attack wouldn't hit it while it's undefended.  However, I've made sure the wall is removable once it's served it's purpose.
The reinforcements are set to stop eventually, but moved the end of them up a bit.
Otherwise, the mission is meant to be reasonably gentle, as it's still early campaign.

MS4:
Glad you enjoyed something.  Yeah, possibly the Smugglers did go a little overboard.  To some extent I wanted to turn the tables for the Mercs for one mission, but I possibly went a little too far.

MS5: In all honesty, this mission was riddled with problems, and I should have fixed them a lot sooner.  The pacing was pretty messed up, and I'm giving this one a pretty huge overhaul.

Edited by Domaithianus
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1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

Thanks for analysis.  Quite a lot there, but useful for preparing for v1.02.  Some stuff in there didn't surprise me much, but a lot the stuff about mission 2 did.  Strangely, it's actually the one I play-tested the most, and those problems never came up for me.
v1.02 will be up sometime this evening, once I've finished play-testing.

Ironically, testing more can result in worse balancing issues :P I'll explain when I get to that reply.

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

MS1:
Though this mission is meant to be quite a gentle warm-up, I'd agree, I did go kinda overboard with the reinforcements, and didn't take advantage of specific unit balancing to keep the Ordos base safe until the right time.

Kinda? :P

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

MS1:
As far as giving the Mercs their own structures, that would go against the whole premise.  It's meant to give the feeling of rushing to the location ASAP, with no time to set up, arriving in the midst of the attack.  The capture the base objective is meant to come as a surprise, and keep the player on their toes, but I agree, I didn't do enough to deter the player from attacking it before-hand.

Oh, I see. Then that's quite fair, but like you said, the Ordos doesn't have enough deterrence early on. Do you like the idea of Light Infantry and Raiders alone, or something, and then stronger stuff to take out the turrets shows up when the engineers arrive?

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

MS1:
Personally, under the circumstances, I think reinforcements make sense, and I don't think I have the same issue with reinforcements in general.

I agree with the circumstances on this map making reinforcements an ideal choice for map progression. I just think reinforcements tend to be misused, often overused, in general. And speaking of reinforcements, did you consider the suggestions about the Harvesters?

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

MS1:
I've also now delayed the victory condition and staggered the Ordos reinforcements slightly.

Great! Did you also consider dropping a transmission in for the second set of reinforcements, or do you suppose that's superfluous?

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

MS1:
For the update, I've removed all troopers and quads form the reinforcements until it comes to time to capture the base.  The troops you have a far less numerous (though still pretty substantial) and the mission is now significantly harder work.

Fair enough. I'm not sure ramping up the difficulty is a great idea, since it's level 1, after all... but having less Troopers will certainly discourage an early attack, and at the very least it could prevent the absolute destruction of the enemy base before the transmission and reinforcements show up.

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

MS2:
The point about the second outpost was a good one.  I've increased the defenses there, though it's still fairly light.  Enough that assaulting it with your initial scout force would be a bad idea, but not enough that the reinforcements should have too much trouble.

Point about the second outpost? You mean... when I noted there was just one Raider there, and otherwise the same amount of forces as the first outpost? I thought that was fine. 'It's a fine increase in difficulty from the last outpost, slightly more, nothing substantial.' I guess one more Raider couldn't hurt, though.

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

MS2:
The tank problem very much surprised me.  In all my normal difficulty tests, I found as long as I prioritised getting turrets up, and put my troopers behind them, it was all quite cope-withable.  However, I do think you made a fair point about the enemy reinforcements.  When I first put that in, the idea was that the heavy factory would indicate a certain level of readiness, but I did fail to account for different choices.  I've added a couple of additional conditions which should help with that.  The number of tanks coming at one time was always five per wave for me on normal difficulty, so I'm not sure what's going on there, but I've gimped them up a little none-the-less.  That AI only has one harvester now, slower build-rate, and lower attack strength.  I also opened up one more path out of the base, though it's the least useful one possible.

That sounds much better. Yeah, I dunno what the heck happened if you were only getting five tanks. I wish I got a better screenshot, because even when I bumped the difficulty down to normal (since you tested it on normal, I figured it would be balanced for normal), I still got rolled over. It became overwhelmingly obvious something was broken, which is when I looked at the map settings, and identified the problems I mentioned. What you did to nerf them should help a lot.

You could also set the AI to build two Harvesters for each Refinery. If they don't start with any Harvester, they'll spend Solaris and time pumping out a Harvester first, rather than an early Combat Tank.

The additional path could still be helpful. If I can get a few Raiders behind their attacking units and use them to chew up enemy infantry in the back, it makes a difference. You may notice that my maps tend to be really open in some places. This reduces the issues with unit pathing, allows the player to maneuver their units better... one good example of a non-linear map is S5V1. There are several unclaimed rock islands you can deploy your MCV(s) on, there are some obstructive cliff walls, but there are multiple paths around them too. And, there are quite a few ways to approach the enemy base, both literally and figuratively. I go into more detail in one of my replies to Cm on your other thread :P And I even dropped a link to some raw footage of a hard mode run there.

Oh, yeah, and remember when I said earlier that testing more may result in worse balancing issues? Speaking from experience, after I've designed a map that's meant to be tough and I put it out, other folks are like "MEHHH OVERTUNED" and I'm like "but this and this and this." Since we need to test our maps often while designing them to debug and fine-tune the AI, we naturally learn a strategy for that map very well. It's therefore a good idea to 1. get more opinions, 2. tune the map so it's a little easier for you, 3. consider carefully the various choices you may imply the player should make, or compel the player to make, and 4. come back a while after you've made the map and try to beat it again with a foggy memory. Cm does that last thing too, it's useful to check against preknowledge, especially if your memory is crappy like mine.

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

MS2:
In addition, as an economy boost, a free harvester arrives along with the carryall.

That will help a lot, especially if the path you opened exposes more Spice.

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

MS2:
As far as tech goes, I don't see much problem with it. The previous mission was full trikes and quads, and the campaign is meant  for people who have played the original campaign already, and are familiar with the units.  Including turrets and carryalls is one extra tech jump, but since both players are Ordos, I felt without the missile tanks, it worked.  The mission concept would have been a lot more tedious without them I think.

I figured that was the reason behind the high tech on such a low level. I figure that folks who play my own maps will already be familiar with D2k, but I try to ease the tech level up anyway. It gives the player time to adjust to my mapping style and AI tuning, allows them to adjust to my mod's different settings, and I feel more comfortable with the map progression pacing as technology slowly rises. The Combat Tanks added on their own by S4V1 bring the player into a new state of mind after the previous few missions containing light vehicles and infantry, and then on S5V1, I throw all sorts of non-combat units or support structures like Carryalls, Engineers, MCVs, Repair Pads, or Medium Gun Turrets into the mix. It's nice setting up a proxy base someplace inconvenient for the enemy, and then pumping out those armored tanks to both defend the location and assault their forces. I also design the maps with attention to the tech level, like S5V1's Spice fields are spread out or behind cliffs, but you can build Carryalls on that level. There's a Spice field that should last nearly the whole map, if not the whole map, right next to your base on S1V2. And on S3V2, you can't build Carryalls, but you start with a couple because the mission takes place in a smuggler Spice mining base.

I digress. I totally agree with the adjustment of map design, tech level, or whatever you must change to reduce tedium.

2 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

MS3:
The explosions are meant to be widespread, but yes, the wall was excessive.  I've now altered what goes, and the infantry have some potential extra use now.  The stealth raiders were supposed to be a nice thing to rescue once you've got carryalls, while emphasising the blockade. but admittedly, mechanically, it didn't work very well.  The start isn't meant to take very long, more meant to provide a sense of urgency in trying to reach the base before that large battle going on starts to turn the wrong way.

Sounds good. So, no more walls are gonna blow up? :P

Oh, really? I just kinda slipped them on through the Atreides units. There was a spot where they lacked infantry, so I could get them through no problem. They just kinda seemed like random units without any other purpose. I think you could remove them, they won't be missed.

Speaking of Stealth Raiders, I notice you place a couple of stealthies on several levels. There are two on level 2, two on level 3, you even get two Fedaykin on the 5th level. What's up with that pattern? Not that I don't use patterns, myself, the starting squad of light vehicles in the smugglers campaign is usually four Raiders and two Quads... but Stealth Raiders in particular aren't commonplace units like those, they're pretty special and really overpowered in the early game for scouting. So, I was wondering about them.

Yeah, the beginning was surprising and I did feel a sense of urgency. Good job on that one.

2 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

MS3:
Unfortunately, I did need to keep the Merc base tucked a way slightly so the initial attack wouldn't hit it while it's undefended.  However, I've made sure the wall is removable once it's served it's purpose.

Right. Well, as long as it's cleared away eventually, it should make the base structure better and more open. Does this mean you also added a little bit more room in the smuggler base?

2 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

MS3:
The reinforcements are set to stop eventually, but moved the end of them up a bit.
Otherwise, the mission is meant to be reasonably gentle, as it's still early campaign.

"I'll be gentle," he says, as he rolls over me with eighteen tanks on level 2.

:D

Okay, that sounds good. The initial deterrence will provide some fun and stuff to blow up while we're building up, and then we'll have some leeway to go and blow up the Atreides base.

2 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

MS4:
Glad you enjoyed something.  Yeah, possibly the Smugglers did go a little overboard.  To some extent I wanted to turn the tables for the Mercs for one mission, but I possibly went a little too far.

Ayy. Like I said, just because I pick apart the details doesn't mean I don't like the map or have fun. Stuff like the three worms on BJ4 (I think it was level 4) is annoying, and level 2 being broken was pretty disappointing, but otherwise stuff's been fun to varying extents.

A little too far? XD The reinforcement spam is totally OP. Like, I didn't even have to build anything anymore. I'm not recommending this, this is just an example, but sometimes all it takes to 'turn the tables' is a decent amount of reinforcements for the player coupled with some diminished enemy strength, like all their reinforcements from that point on are somewhat weaker, or they get into a fight with another faction, which wears them down somewhat.

2 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

MS5: In all honesty, this mission was riddled with problems, and I should have fixed them a lot sooner.  The pacing was pretty messed up, and I'm giving this one a pretty huge overhaul.

An overhaul, huh? Sounds serious. Did you already notice and plan to implement certain things I recommended? :o

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43 minutes ago, Fey said:

(A lot of stuff)

Don't worry, MS1 is still pretty easy.  Just need to actually pay attention now.  I did add a free harvester when you get the refinery.

As far as stealth stuff goes, I kinda just have a soft spot for it.  With MS2, I wanted the player to be able to have a proper look around, and get the feeling of a pretty big Ordos operation, and see how the map falls into a valley on both sides.  MS5, I felt it would be good for the player to be able to get a look at everything that's there before they spend their engineers, so they can plan what to capture and avoid repetitive restarts...  that worked out well eigh.

By turn the tables, I was referring more to the Smugglers protecting the Mercs for once.  Give the feeling of being the depleted faction you are.  It is meant to be pretty easy once your own reinforcements start coming in.

Overhaul turned into more just majour tweaking, but I'm still not convinced I'm happy, so overhaul could still happen.  Yeah, most of what you said about 5 was already bugging me.

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31 minutes ago, Domaithianus said:

OK, Version 1.02 is now ready.  Further updates will happen soon though.

Plot102.zip

I'll pass to read all the text writen before this post because I want to start playing tomorrow; so for now I download this update and move on :P.

Or the campaign is in general short, or Fey plays too much, because in one day he is talking about several maps xD. Anyway, I play at normal speed, so I'll go more slowly than him.

 

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2 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

Don't worry, MS1 is still pretty easy.  Just need to actually pay attention now.  I did add a free harvester when you get the refinery.

Oh, okay.

2 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

As far as stealth stuff goes, I kinda just have a soft spot for it.  With MS2, I wanted the player to be able to have a proper look around, and get the feeling of a pretty big Ordos operation, and see how the map falls into a valley on both sides.  MS5, I felt it would be good for the player to be able to get a look at everything that's there before they spend their engineers, so they can plan what to capture and avoid repetitive restarts...  that worked out well eigh.

Lol, that was your intent on M5? :P Didn't really work out, eh? I just wanted to group everything up, wreck whatever was in my way with focused fire, and capture anything in sight. For the second half of the map, I did a little scouting with them and found the Siege Tanks on the cliffs, but that was it. That's all I really feel the need to scout - the base perimeter. After I've found a point of entry, I start attacking things.

You can see a lot of my scouting behavior in the raw footage I put up of either S3V2 or S5V1... in S3V2, most of the map was explored in about a minute, and when I had a stronger force, I went a little further east as I narrowed down where the enemy might be. I stopped at a suspicious break in the cliff. In S5V1, one party scouts the Harkonnen base to the north. Although not included in the raw footage, said base was mentioned in the briefing, and the Harkonnen are implied to be neutral for starts. The other party checked around the map and navigated a few rock islands before stumbling across the Ixian base.

Under both circumstances, I had some structures to place or units to build in the meantime, and a fairly fortified starting position, so my units were expendable (though preferably they would be kept alive) and, importantly, some of the most effective scouts in the game. Raiders. Fast and light. In M5, I had no Outpost to keep a better eye on uncovered terrain or my scouts (alt + unit group bind is nice, but only goes so far), my units were extremely valuable since I didn't know if the AI was building up while I was capturing things, I had no way to replace them, and I had even more important units - the engineers - I needed to get into the enemy base presumably as quickly as possible. The stealthies were much more important, I figured, fortifying my main attacking force.

I still sent the Fedaykin slightly ahead of the fremen warriors, for the record, but only far enough to identify threats to my strike force just before they found themselves engaged. By doing this, I managed to keep most of them alive through quick micro-management (scatters and focused fire, mostly) while taking out the Medium Gun Turrets, the Imperial Light Infantry, and the Imperial Trikes. Unfortunately, this combat-focused scouting method did not clue me in to the existence of a Refinery so far to the east.

On a related note, I attempted to use the Stealth Raiders on M2 to scout on my first attempt, but the spaces they had to navigate were tight and quite close to Ordos turrets or infantry, meaning I had to pay much more attention to them or they would no doubt attract the attention of Ordos forces and be destroyed. After the excessive Combat Tanks wrecked the hell outta me, I kept them in my base on all subsequent attempts, but they did no good there anyway. M3, on the other hand, was quite open and I had a few locations to leave the Stealth Raiders without needing to worry about enemy infantry likely passing by them... but getting them out of the little corner in the southwest was something of a pointless hassle.

I like to act with precision of my own volition, but forcing the player to be so precise as a prerequisite for the map, or some part of it, is easy to make... annoying. Like, for instance, you can see I'm precise in my unit group management just before the Harkonnen arrive in the S3V2 run. I pick off Grenadiers in particular with my Raiders and have my Troopers take down the Medium Gun Turrets and Quads defending the Atreides proxy base. When they start sending a few vehicles my way, I do something counter-intuitive by using my Troopers to cover my Raiders from vengeful Atreides forces while my Raiders chew up the production structures. Normally it's the other way around! That was an attack I prepared for; I covered my Troopers as they crossed the map, and the units coming my way were staggered for the most part on account of being produced from factories. I had enough leeway to focus my fire on priority targets, and the successful destruction of the proxy base was the result.

Now here's a hypothetical example of annoying precision. Let's say instead of Medium Gun Turrets, I placed some Large Gun Turrets around the Atreides base. Then, instead of Raiders, I started out with Quads. First of all, Quads are slower and less effective scouts than Raiders. I finished a lot of scouting of the edges of cliff walls and the midfield battleground by the time the Atreides started attacking, but with Quads, I probably would not have uncovered so much. Secondly, you may have noticed at one point during my scouting, I take one or two shots from a Medium Gun Turret when I wander a little too close to the northern cliff edge... if it were a Large Gun Turret versus a Quad, it would have killed or severely damaged the scout. Since it's a Raider's explosive-resistant armor taking fire from a Medium Gun Turret, it doesn't deter me from scouting in the slightest, provided I relocate my vehicles quickly enough. Reasonable. More importantly, the scout survives with a nice amount of HP so I can use it to defend my perimeter from Atreides patrols a couple of minutes later. I wasn't at risk of very easily losing or almost losing a unit by scouting, and if I were even less reactive, I still wouldn't have taken TOO much damage.

Here's another example. On S9V1, the player begins with an Outpost, power for that Outpost, and six Stealth Raiders. Summers is tasked with scouting out the enemy positions. Four specific locations are revealed. Moriaen and Durant have units all around their bases and the cliffs surrounding their bases, so much of the friendly corner of the map is visible... the four locations that are revealed include the Atreides, Harkonnen, and Imperial Construction Yards, and one Spice field. The briefing makes it clear you can lose your Stealth Raiders while scouting as much of the enemy territory as possible. The objectives pertaining to scouting are listed here:
1. Scout the Atreides and Harkonnen positions.
2. Discover any weaknesses in the Imperial defenses.
Bonus: Scout a suitable location for Durant to expand.

The AI's build speed should account for the time it takes to scout. Several events can be found while exploring... find a certain unclaimed rock island, and Summers will comment, 'This looks like a good place to set up my own base.' Explore near the revealed Spice field, and Durant is like, 'I can expand here.' Checking just inside the main base entrances will result in Summers relaying information back to her allies about the enemy positions. The entrances are very close to the Construction Yards that are revealed on the minimap. The final location that can be found is outside the walls surrounding the Imperials' main base.

There are a lot of ways it could have been done in an annoying sort of way. Discovering all the events could be mandatory, but it's not. The Stealth Raiders can be destroyed, and you'll get your MCV; you'll just lack some information. The map could consist of much tighter paths, or you could start with only a couple of Stealth Raiders... there are infantry that move around enemy territory, there are some turrets and infantry in the way of the base entrances, but your Stealth Raiders are expendable, fast, and easy to get around enemy territory. And, there less events to discover than there are Stealth Raiders.

I think you get the idea by now for how I approach scouting and scouting design. I could bring up some combat examples, but I don't want to yammer on too long and it's kind of irrelevant. Getting back to M3, there were three Missile Tanks among the numerous Atreides forces in the way of the Stealth Raiders we start with. Getting some Carryalls through to pick them up and bring them back to base would require the construction of a High Tech Factory, a Repair Pad, the purchase of the Heavy Factory upgrade... the Missile Tanks might need to be peeled away from the group and destroyed, too. Meanwhile, some combat units arrived with the MCV and I had my whole base perimeter scouted by the time I put up a Heavy Factory. I guess it wasn't so much precision as it was simply a hassle. So much so that I actually discarded the Stealth Raiders at the start of the map! I just put them in an inconspicuous corner of the tiny area they were confined to. The only reason I got them out is because after my infantry blew up the required Wind Traps, several Atreides units came after them, causing the S2 units crowding the choke point to scatter. A path was cleared where no infantry would detect the Stealth Raiders, so I navigated them on through. That must be what brought "precision" to mind - navigating the Stealth Raiders through after the way had been inadvertently cleared.

That could probably use some adjustment if you want to encourage scouting... or you could nix 'em entirely and give the player a few Raiders to scout with when the MCV lands. That could work too.

2 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

By turn the tables, I was referring more to the Smugglers protecting the Mercs for once.  Give the feeling of being the depleted faction you are.  It is meant to be pretty easy once your own reinforcements start coming in.

Oh. Umm... given how level 3 went, I guess I didn't really get that impression. I get that maps don't really need to have continuity, context can be given in the briefing, but I figure I should mention that. Maybe some more fierce attacks on level 3 would rectify that? You know, make the Atreides seem more imposing. Despite the smugglers being quite productive on level 4, the Atreides attacks felt a lot more impactful there. Way more than level 3.

2 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

Overhaul turned into more just majour tweaking, but I'm still not convinced I'm happy, so overhaul could still happen.  Yeah, most of what you said about 5 was already bugging me.

Major tweaking, overhaul, whatever works! What you may call major tweaking, I may call an overhaul. :)

3 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

OK, Version 1.02 is now ready.  Further updates will happen soon though.

Plot102.zip

Yay. I'll check this out when I get the chance, if only to beat level 2!

2 hours ago, Cm_blast said:

I'll pass to read all the text writen before this post because I want to start playing tomorrow; so for now I download this update and move on :P.

Or the campaign is in general short, or Fey plays too much, because in one day he is talking about several maps xD. Anyway, I play at normal speed, so I'll go more slowly than him.

Good idea, don't spoil yourself.

:( I don't play too much! 3-5 maps could take an hour, hour and a half, easily. Not much time at all!

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Ok, I played first two missions: Before anything I suggest to post the updated version on the first post too (except if a new update is going to come quickly). With all the Fey's text anyone from the outside is not going to find it (or bothering in searching it).

First, You don't need to create an event "play music", in the mission settings (F10) you can write in the "Music: " box the name of the file and that's it; It's not mandatory, but you'll save 1 space for another event.

Maybe this is personal, but I think is better if you separate some paragraph with two intros, a bit of separation on the lines makes easy to read, but this is just personal, so it's up to you. Isn't needed to separate every single line, but for example in the first mission separate that long text in at least two paragraphs it will make it easier to read.

At the end maybe you may add a final line containing the main point of the mission. I mean, I could misunderstood the briefing (because reasons), but if in the last line you write "objetive: destroy the ordos", There is no possibility of error; I kill Ordos, I win. As easy as it sounds (how you write it it's up to you, if you really want to write it).

Now, speaking of the mission itself. Your new v1.02 broke the game. As soon as I capture the Ref, the game crash and "too many deliveries" error appears.

This is because you have the flag number 21 to become true after having 1 building and the time is 400%, but later you have a small reinforcement of light infantry and raiders to appears if you have the same building AND the flag is not true, so the game trigger this events too much times and the game crashed.

You have two solutions: you make the light/infantry reinforcements to have the same conditions as the flag (having the building and time 400%), or just create a new flaw to only trigger once after you have the building.

Did you know that the game allow to create harverster remplacements and events to trigger only once automatically? (right click in an empty space for the remplacement and on a specific event to create the flag to trigger that event only once).

Just want to remember that if you add eengineers around the enemy refs (and devastators, why not) and pressing the test button the map is not saved, so you can do the quick test to be sure that the event work fine and when you are sure, you exit the editor (or hit load) to recover the previous state, so don't need to worry about unwanted engineers.

Second mission:
Not too much to said; I relaxed a little and then that wave of tanks put me under pressure xD, but that was my fault, I underestimated the level a bit.

Good to know that your mission win is about destroying buildings and not units. Although At first I through that the condition was wrong. I destroyed every single building and search to attack all the harversters, and after a while I "cheat" using debbug mode to search that lonely harverster that prevented me from winning... but in reality was an enemy silo, since I capture 5 of them, so I was missing a single silo that I confused with one of mine X_X. I feel stupid xD.

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1 hour ago, Cm_blast said:

Now, speaking of the mission itself. Your new v1.02 broke the game. As soon as I capture the Ref, the game crash and "too many deliveries" error appears.

That was clumsy of me.  OK, fixed that now.  If you re-download Plot102 it should all be the same except that one specific fix.

 

 

1 hour ago, Cm_blast said:

Ok, I played first two missions: Before anything I suggest to post the updated version on the first post too (except if a new update is going to come quickly). With all the Fey's text anyone from the outside is not going to find it (or bothering in searching it).

Good point, though the next update will probably be soon, it's worth doing that now.
The B missions are coming along nicely by this point, so depending on whether add another edit between now and then, 1.05 may be the next, with B missions included.

 

 

1 hour ago, Cm_blast said:

Good to know that your mission win is about destroying buildings and not units. Although At first I through that the condition was wrong. I destroyed every single building and search to attack all the harversters, and after a while I "cheat" using debbug mode to search that lonely harverster that prevented me from winning... but in reality was an enemy silo, since I capture 5 of them, so I was missing a single silo that I confused with one of mine X_X. I feel stupid xD.

Very easily done.  Did you capture the middle base?  Can help with taking the rest of the map, but silos can easily get muddles then.
 

 

1 hour ago, Cm_blast said:

Second mission:
Not too much to said; I relaxed a little and then that wave of tanks put me under pressure xD, but that was my fault, I underestimated the level a bit.
 

Originally Fey found the tanks were too much, and the mission unbeatable, so I reduced them a bit.  But they'd never been as bad as he found them in my play-tests, so it was hard to estimate how much to reduce them by...  Were they overpowered, or just keep you on your toes kind of level?

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Ok, downloaded. Next time I will play mission 1 again.

3 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

Very easily done.  Did you capture the middle base?  Can help with taking the rest of the map, but silos can easily get muddles then.

I capture the silos, lots of money and for there attacking the others was easier than I expected. I was worried because all those bases, but then I saw that they barely have units wandering the base, so good.

3 hours ago, Domaithianus said:

Were they overpowered, or just keep you on your toes kind of level?

For me they are ok. By the time the last tank died I had 2 combat tanks and a few infantry/troopers alive only (I lost the 2 turrets I place), but like I said. I was like "mmm... I have enough tanks and infantry/units... let's continue with other buildings: like the light factory, the upgrades, the high tech...". I had like 2000 credits before doing that, and the wave appears when I was placing the concretes for the high tech (was saving some money to build all that more a carryall or two for later).

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On 23/07/2017 at 8:25 AM, Jasper1993 said:

Things

 

1 hour ago, Cm_blast said:

Stuff

 

19 hours ago, Fey said:

Nipples

Sorry about the high concentration of updates.  I wasn't gonna put another up until I had the B missions done, and I was gonna include the next debugs and rebalances with that, but I noticed a big error in MS7, so, here's v1.03
 

Plot103.zip

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20 hours ago, Fey said:

Oh no, I'm really constipated!

 

22 hours ago, Cm_blast said:

Things

 

On 23/07/2017 at 8:25 AM, Jasper1993 said:

Where's my hat?

 

On 22/07/2017 at 3:40 AM, Domaithianus said:

Additional B missions will be released in the near future.

The B missions are finally ready for their initial release!
There are now B missions for MS4, MS5, MS7 and MS9.
Here is v2.00

Plot200.zip

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Well, Download it, Will unzip and apply later, just in case that in between another update comes XD.

I didn't play any more maps yet, but I want to warn tou about the event "Set cash": if you create an event to change the credits from the player, the game may crash if at the same time the harverster is dropping the spice on the refinery and the player builds something (a combat tank, a trooper).

Don't need to worry for the first map, is safe. But just in case for future maps. That event + harv dropping spice + building something = game crash.

I learn this a bit to later, I already have 2 maps which may crash if the three conditions are met.

Oh, and if you want to remove completely the sandworm, you can place it in any rock area. placing it there and will be as if the sandworm doesn't even exit on the map. 

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1 hour ago, Cm_blast said:

Well, Download it, Will unzip and apply later, just in case that in between another update comes XD.

I didn't play any more maps yet, but I want to warn tou about the event "Set cash": if you create an event to change the credits from the player, the game may crash if at the same time the harverster is dropping the spice on the refinery and the player builds something (a combat tank, a trooper).

Don't need to worry for the first map, is safe. But just in case for future maps. That event + harv dropping spice + building something = game crash.

I learn this a bit to later, I already have 2 maps which may crash if the three conditions are met.

Oh, and if you want to remove completely the sandworm, you can place it in any rock area. placing it there and will be as if the sandworm doesn't even exit on the map. 

Those are both useful to know, thanks.  I can see how cash flowing both ways while set cash hits could mess the game up.
Hopefully that'll be the last update for a while.  Probably gonna work on other stuff for a while now.  But if the new missions turn up major bugs, that could change.  My own play-testing seems all good though.

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38 minutes ago, Domaithianus said:

Probably gonna work on other stuff for a while now.

Hey, don't forget to check out my smugglers campaign and/or the new Harkonnen maps! I still need feedback on those, especially the Harkonnen maps. They're the newest :)

Be as hard on 'em as you want. The better I fix 'em up, the better quality campaign it'll be when it's done.

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1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

Those are both useful to know, thanks.  I can see how cash flowing both ways while set cash hits could mess the game up.

Oh no, Make no mistake. If you have refs but you don't build anything the game doesn't crash.

The game only crash when three things happens at the same time: Triggering the event + building  + gaining spice.

With internal test to trigger that event every 5 seconds building didn't make the game crash OR gaining spice didn't make the game crash, only happens if you gain money AND build something.

So if you make a map with a set cash+refs but nothing to build the game is fine. In fact, I almost forgot it, but I have a map with a set cash event to trigger several times during the game, having a ref and a harverster for that.

Everytime the player's money reach 150, then goes to 0 and 1 Fremen is spawned for the player. You can't build anything else, so this works as a "training 1 fremen for 150 credits" without recurring to Tibed.

1 hour ago, Domaithianus said:

Hopefully that'll be the last update for a while.  Probably gonna work on other stuff for a while now.  But if the new missions turn up major bugs, that could change.  My own play-testing seems all good though.

And ok, I will play the campaign then. Maybe I go for the second mission once more. If I encounter something wrong I will report you.

Ps: and stealing some of your ideas in the process :ph34r:.

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2 hours ago, Fey said:

Hey, don't forget to check out my smugglers campaign and/or the new Harkonnen maps! I still need feedback on those, especially the Harkonnen maps. They're the newest :)

Good idea, probably about time I tried them out.

 

2 hours ago, Fey said:

I have syphilis.

Sounds painful.
(Sorry, I'll stop now)

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