Jump to content
Fey

[WIP] Smugglers Campaign 2!

Recommended Posts

38 minutes ago, Fey said:

Do a Harkonnen campaign and have the final map or two on the Atreides homeworld or something. I still remember the Atreides homeworld map from Emperor, you start on like the bottom corner and then there's a lot of water, and then the Atreides base is on this peninsula or something. Right? Maybe could re-create that now. Just need an icy tileset for Draconis IV and an industrial tileset for Giedi Prime... or, perhaps, for a Heighliner map...

Yes, could be done. Also since I already made maps with no spice and instead increasing credits, so that could be done in this specific case, although with the "increasing credits", at least if we want to do a "you got +10.000" credits takes plenty of events already (unless you set the money to 10.000 withouth looking if the player had 0 or 8.000 at that moment).

For the Ice maybe works turning up the original down-rifts, I don't know.

40 minutes ago, Fey said:

You're talking about the Gom Jabbar map, right? I remember that!

Yeah; That map. And yes, 1 ref very near of the spice plus an extra harv works fine, but when you build a new harvs and forget to move it into another spot, you can see clearly that 3 harvesters going into the single tile just keep pushing each other, slowing them down plus sometimes they go iddle for a while.

42 minutes ago, Fey said:

Oh, alright. I'm very eager to hear back from you on that, at your earliest convenience! S15 played very well for me on my testing runs, so I'm excited to hear about what other folks get out of the map. S14V1 / V2 went nicely too, but they're very standard maps. As fun as massive tank battles are on S14V1, S15 takes the cake out of this update simply for the new concept and stuff.

Since infantry in general have a higher range in the mod now, I'd love to hear how your use of infantry and infantry rock plays out, too. Troopers on infantry rock are nice and effective against any light vehicles now, and Grenadiers will always sit behind Quads. Even Light Infantry are more effective against vehicles and especially structures since all the building armor is normalized now.

 I will try that soon.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 11/3/2018 at 10:22 AM, Cm_blast said:

Yes, could be done. Also since I already made maps with no spice and instead increasing credits, so that could be done in this specific case, although with the "increasing credits", at least if we want to do a "you got +10.000" credits takes plenty of events already (unless you set the money to 10.000 withouth looking if the player had 0 or 8.000 at that moment).

For the Ice maybe works turning up the original down-rifts, I don't know.

That's probably the easiest. Giedi Prime has, like, this reddish terrain in addition to the industrial platforming, so... hmm. I guess I could see how that might work...

If I do make any progress on one such tileset, I'll be sure to let you know how it's going!

On 11/3/2018 at 10:22 AM, Cm_blast said:

Yeah; That map. And yes, 1 ref very near of the spice plus an extra harv works fine, but when you build a new harvs and forget to move it into another spot, you can see clearly that 3 harvesters going into the single tile just keep pushing each other, slowing them down plus sometimes they go iddle for a while.

The idling is something I wasn't aware of. Well, hopefully the system is functional enough. :P

On 11/3/2018 at 10:22 AM, Cm_blast said:

I will try that soon.

Yay. :D

Edit: Here ya go, Cm!
Dune2000Config.exe

Edited by Fey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm going to do something a little weird here. S18 and SBON3 are done, so I'm releasing them even though S16 and S17 aren't done.

This is a WIP thread. If you care to avoid spoilers or whatever, just wait around until I get the other stuff done. I took a detour to build the Heighliner tileset and I'm still busy of late, so I dunno when that'll be, so... if you don't care to avoid spoilers, here ya go.

Details:

Spoiler

SBON3: Industrial Accident - Moriaen is salvaging resources in the one place she thought she was safe - the Guild Heighliner. While Summers fights to block Moriaen's ability to send troops to the surface, you, as Sabre Durant, must destroy the army she intends to send.

Spoiler

Full map image: https://i.imgur.com/RuNssbq.jpg

Strategy:

Spoiler

Throw what you know about building the economy out the fuckin' window, mate. This is a totally different kind of map.

First things first, capture the three Harkonnen-style Wind Traps near where you start and destroy the Harkonnen-style Outpost. It's a Control Node! There's one in each corner of the map, and by destroying them, you'll turn the automated Heavy Factories friendly to you. You could also destroy the Heavy Factories, but that isn't helpful to you.

Here's how I recommend setting up your starting units:
https://prnt.sc/m7sii3

Green = Start
Blue = Reinforcements
Red = Enemy attacks

Note, you could rush the base to the right with your starting units, but let's keep it traditional on this crazy new map.

Get your first two or three Harvesters on the Mass Deposit, the big Refinery part-looking building past all the crates. Your Harvesters can mine infinitely from that location; the crates will run out, so save them for when you need a burst of income. The Heavy Factory and its attached defenses will not attack other automated Combat Tanks! They'll only be useful for fighting the central Guild base and its forces. Since you'll need to keep your own defenses vigilant, get your long range artillery on the white platform, get your Troopers covering them, and position your Grenadiers beside the friendly turrets. Your remaining Combat Tanks and Shock Raiders from the Guild Freighters should be ready to assist as needed. If you're not sure what to shoot, hit G and watch your units go. You may be colorblind, but IFF transponders are a thing for your army.

When you're ready to attack, try to make for the top-right or bottom-left Heavy Factories. The Guild's central base is self-sufficient and will not yield easily! You should compromise the four automated Heavy Factories first.

The top right is easier to attack, and you can capture two Refineries and even more Silos on the way. Keep defenses you're happy with covering your main while you push with a mobile force into other territory, and set up defensible positions as you move. There is plenty of infantry-only terrain around to position Troopers at, and there aren't very many enemy defenses outside their central base. As you continue to spread out, you'll need to cover more areas of the map from enemy attacks, so de-centralize your mobile forces over time. Aside from placing new turrets at conquered locations, keep your heavy Combat Tanks grouped up at focal points with Missile Tank support, and keep a squad of LAVs on standby. Remember, Quads are buffed up in this mod! They're still delicate, but they hit much harder. They are your main damage dealers aside from Troopers; the heavy Combat Tanks are best used to soak fire for units like these.

Top right:
https://prnt.sc/m7szh2
https://prnt.sc/m7ssk1

Bot left:
https://prnt.sc/m7syzr
https://prnt.sc/m7t328

Red = Enemy attacks
Green = Control Node
Blue = Reinforcements

Take the top right or bottom left Control Nodes down and you'll have one less Heavy Factory to worry about... and one more turned on the enemy, provided you can protect it. Then you can take the other, or the one in the bottom right. Like I said, the top right Control Node is easier to take out first, but attacking the bot left one first will give you better access to the bot right one sooner. The choice is yours.

There is a Harkonnen Freighter stocked with units very close to the bot right Control Node. It's conveniently closer to the bot left angle of attack.
https://prnt.sc/m7t6hl

Green = Control Node
Blue = Reinforcements

When you've got all four captured, or destroyed, you should have plenty of map control. If you've protected all the automated Heavy Factories, the Spacing Guild's central base will have about twenty Combat Tanks hitting it every three minutes, and you should have a lot of funds thanks to capturing Mass Deposits, Refineries, and Silos. No matter how obstinate it's been throughout the rest of the mission, it will fall now. Funnel your own forces into the attack and raze the base to end the mission.

https://prnt.sc/m7t5wu

Blue = Angles of attack
Green = Storm Lashers

Their power is easily crippled with a focused attack on their Wind Traps. You'll need to attack from the left and right simultaneously to get the best angle on their power. Striking from the bottom will give you the best angle on their Refineries, and you can distract or slaughter their infantry from the top angle. Good luck!

Technical analysis:

Spoiler

If you've been following the Heighliner tileset WIP thread then surely you know that this has been a work in progress for a while now. Now that it's been fleshed out some, I've made a campaign map with it! To add some more chaos to the mix, this is a max-size non-linear map with elements encouraging exploration, new ways to use terrain to your advantage, and a gimmick similar to S13V2, except with Combat Tanks.

Heighliners are massive. On the previous test maps for the tileset, things felt really cramped and it didn't really present a sense of scale. This map spreads factories all over the map among many red herrings such as the Harkonnen-style Refineries and Wind Traps. Aside from being potentially useful via capturing, or just fun to blow up, these things add to the sense that the platform you're fighting on is massive. You've got bases all over, huge structures... inside a huge structure. Long, wide pathways, Launch Pads and Supply Depots all over, and Guild units everywhere.

Functionally speaking, the resources system seems to work. Harvesters may act a little funny here or there, but Mass Deposits are excellent income and Supply Depots give even more once you capture a location. There are eight Supply Depots in the mission, and there's a Mass Deposit at each one, allowing for good economic growth at any location you expand to. However, this economic system does play differently and may require a little Harvester micro to optimize.

I'm confident the system will make for some good gameplay in future maps as locations need to be captured and held for the war machine to keep rolling. Losing territory means losing Mass Deposits, and that will make the economy stagnate for sure.

Unit pathing seems to be better in this map too. It isn't perfect, but it's better than the last two testing maps in the Heighliner WIP thread.

I think adding many Freighters, but giving only a few of them unit spawn events, was a good idea. This and the Control Nodes and Mass Deposits the player needs to hunt for encourages exploration, adding another layer of depth to the map. Goodies are out there in the shroud - go look for them!

Regarding the structure of the enemy base and how the map itself encourages the player to fulfill the map's gimmick before tackling it: Take note of how the easiest Control Node to attack brings the player's units over to the top angle of attack. The most well-defended angle, that is. Even if the Barracks are destroyed, two more activate at the bottom of the base, keeping the pressure on the player with infantry still coming, only behind the vehicles this time. The player's other choice is going to the left angle of attack first, but even if he manages to push through the Wind Traps on that side, the other half of the base has an active Storm Lasher and several Rocket Turrets. The base structures are arranged in such a way that enemy units can filter out through the many one-tile paths into a concentrated attack on the player on the wide bridges, but the player will need to blow through the base structures or his forces will be split up and picked off by the excellent turret coverage across the entire base.

Due to the way Storm Lashers work, the map structure and base layout are both conducive to encouraging the use of the map's gimmick. And when that's done, the player's forces should already be in a good position to strike from all angles thanks to the Mass Deposits and various capturable goodies encouraging expansion, and thanks to the Heavy Factories encouraging spread forces to begin with for the sake of protection. And, also due to the way Storm Lashers work, a concentrated attack from one angle will most likely fail against this base... while an attack from all angles will confuse them too much for them to effectively hold off the player's forces. It's all connected!

One more thing: I used LRA platforms in the last two testing maps. I like the concept of LRA platforms where you can drop some Missile / Siege Tanks and watch them outrange everything crossing the bridge, but they caused weird pathing errors. This time, I tried some infantry-only side passages crossed with LRA platforms. Infantry can rush the artillery, and they'll kill Missile Tanks very quickly if given the chance, but tanks will stop there. So, it offers some mobility to infantry, and maybe gives Grenadiers a good place to camp too. If you try that, try using Grenadiers on the new paths, lemme know how it turns out.

 

S18V1: Summers' Solstice - Time is running out. With the Fremen, Sardaukar, Ix, and Sabre Durant supporting your assault, fight through all the standing Guild and Tleilaxu forces, kill Achen Moriaen, and then slay the sleeping God.

Spoiler

Full map image: https://i.imgur.com/bgS9h1E.jpg

Strategy:

Spoiler

Don't panic. The first attack is nasty, but hardly impossible to survive.
https://prnt.sc/m7rlrq

Your goal should be to hold off the enemy armor for as long as possible. Those Storm Lashers will do a hell of a job killing everything if you can stall the enemy long enough within their range. Use your Duelist Tanks for this purpose, sell your turrets when they're in the red to save some cash, and move your LRA behind the merc ConYard. Support them with your infantry until the Storm Lashers overload, explode, and kill Durant in the process. You should end up with a few remaining units and hopefully an intact ConYard if you did it right, but if you are low on units, some Duelist Tanks will be delivered to you at this time.

You will see Saboteurs on the field... or not. They are sneaky. Just in case, get a Barracks up and spread Light Infantry around where you expect Saboteurs to try and pass by. Don't let them infiltrate your ConYard, especially. Regarding Storm Lashers, remember S15: Move one unit ahead of the rest, always, if it's online and you're on approach to destroy it. Otherwise, cut the power and don't let it come back up.

The enemy has multiple bases you will need to fight your way through. All of them have a Storm Lasher or two. The first has several weak points. See below:
https://prnt.sc/m7ts45

Red = Player's start position
Green = Infantry-only passages
Blue = Death Hand targets
Pink = Place LRA here

Hold enemies at the choke point while you build up a force to attack. Use your Fremen Fedaykin or Stealth Raiders to scout where possible while you build up. The more you can see, the better prepared you'll be. Moriaen will not let up in her attacks on your base, so you'd better know what's coming.

You may wish to use your infantry to invade the main base here - you can completely power down the turrets and prevent them from being rebuilt, but the factories will still present a problem. If you attack the main, I suggest using your Death Hand on the Sonic Tank, which will make it much easier to completely level that base. Note that your Death Hand will never miss in this mod. With the turrets powered down, you can use artillery to take out the Heavy Factories without fear of being lightning bolted to death on the west factory. Your infantry, once they've finished the job up north, can head across the bridge and attack the Light Factories. If you only manage to destroy one, pop another Death Hand on the second.

Alternatively, leave the power on and pop a Death Hand on the west Heavy Factory. Artillery can safely take out the east one, it's well out of range of the Storm Lasher's attack, and then you can push into the base needing to deal with only infantry and LAVs. You can brute force the Storm Lasher once the perimeter is breached, but the enemy will send reinforcements from the east.

However you manage to do it, raze the entire base to receive an MCV. Future Fremen and Sardaukar reinforcements will arrive at this location, and now you can focus your attacks on the new targets to the east.
https://prnt.sc/lmemub

Red = Angle of attack
Blue = Death Hand targets

The ridge where you get your MCV is very defensible. Set up some Rocket Turrets and, just like before, spread infantry around if you want that ConYard intact. You should set up new Refineries and more factories here to progress the battle forward. Keep building up and move east when you're ready.
https://prnt.sc/m7txzy

Attack from the north and try to go for the power in this second base. It's quite vulnerable, though there's a lot of it. If you screw it up and destroy too many turrets to keep the power offline, and you don't want to brute force the Storm Lasher, take some Stealth Raiders down the right side and sabotage their power in the back:
https://prnt.sc/lmep53

Red = Angle of attack
Green = Infantry-only passages
Blue = Death Hand targets
Pink = Place LRA here

You can expect to see more Sonic Tanks and gholas on the field by now, so take care while you push into this position. The enemy has the upper hand until you get to the next choke point. Once you raze the entire base, another MCV will arrive and future reinforcements will show up at this new location. Place some new factories here, get a Barracks up, and prepare an Engineer for the next part.
https://prnt.sc/lmeu0p

Red = Angle of attack
Green = STAY AWAY!!
Blue = Death Hand targets
Pink = Place LRA here

Ignore the Rocket Turrets for now; just stay away from them. Your goal for the moment is destroying this next base except for the ConYard, which must be captured to finally gain Storm Lasher tech. Summers will order all units to hold their fire once the shroud around the ConYard is uncovered.

I recommend hitting the Storm Lasher closest to the choke point with a Death Hand. You can brute force the second fairly easily because there's more room to move units over there, and you may be able to take the base's power down. To handle enemy defense forces, set up some artillery on the ridge and go to town, and when you're confident it's clear enough, push in. Remember, don't destroy the ConYard.

Capture the ConYard when you feel ready to defend it.
https://prnt.sc/lmf8kt

Red = Angle of attack
Green = Enemy defenders
Blue = Critical structure
Pink = Place Storm Lashers here

Make sure you have infantry spread around the ConYard to keep Saboteurs out and enough of a mobile force to cover your construction efforts. Losing the ConYard before all the Rocket Turrets are down means mission failure! Going anywhere near those Rocket Turrets is suicide, even with hundreds of tanks, but your new Storm Lashers can completely outrange the Rocket Turrets. Keep building units while you mass Storm Lashers at those locations, and keep your existing army around the Storm Lashers to block the final defenders that'll come your way. Once you have enough Storm Lashers up on a certain peninsula, they should have no problem killing both the enemy defenders and the Storm Lashers on their own.

The Storm Lashers will finish the Rocket Turrets in minutes.
https://prnt.sc/lmfeq6

Red = Angle of attack
Green = Leftover Wind Traps
Blue = Critical structure
Pink = Storm Lashers

At last, the mission is complete! Almost. Ignore the Wind Traps if you want, or blow through them. Whatever you do, get to that ConYard where the enemy commander is holed up and blow it up. And, mind the Storm Lashers on the way there. Good luck!

Technical analysis:

Spoiler

I don't believe it's possible to create a map more technically complex than this. Surely, this is my magnum opus!

And yeah, I'm going with a Worm God plot. After S15, Summers will have found some data exposing Moriaen's plot and the rest of S16 / S17 will be spent prepping to kill the Worm God.

This map is the big epic finale I wanted to design for this campaign. It has two dramatic deaths of main characters, a desperate situation all the way through, plot twists, massive large-scale battles, sabotage operations with infantry or light vehicles, super units... it has everything! It's climactic! And, it's the culmination of everything I know about D2k editing. Hopefully it's a good example for new mappers looking for how far they can take a map!

First, let me point out that this map has hit the limit for entities. Place one more unit in the map editor and save it, and it will crash the game on startup.

Secondly, there are three AIs in the first base, three in the second, two in the third, and two in the fourth. Apart from that, one AI was needed for Durant at the beginning, another was needed for the Storm Lasher / King of the Hill part, one side was needed for the player, and yet another side was needed for the Rocket Turrets. And, using the eighth AI breaks the sandworms. So how the hell did I fit so many AIs in this one map?

Part of getting this to work right was understanding how the AI changes its primary buildings. The default primary is whatever's closest to the top left corner, pretty much, so I had the player start in that corner. The two main AIs, the Guild and Tleilaxu, have factories in each base and they're arranged so that one is destroyed, the factory in the next base activates. This ensures the player is only dealing with the forward-most defense line at any given time, but there are other reasons this is important.

Doing it this way means the AI will have massive defense areas. The AI draws its defense area in a box, so if you put one building in the top right and another in the bottom left, the AI will consider the entire map to be its base and will respond to any hostile units in that box as being attackers in its base. Pretty silly, right? Anyway, the map's layout works around that too, like so:
https://prnt.sc/lfao7t

Although imperfect, I tried to put buildings the player will want to destroy in every base. Extra buildings like Repair Pads and Research Centres belonged to the incidental AIs only there to repair and rebuild turrets on-site. Wind Traps, Refineries, and factories were the only buildings belonging to the main AIs. While a player may choose to leave a Wind Trap or Refinery intact, it seemed the enemy still put up plenty of resistance regardless. If the player does destroy the buildings as intended, the defense area will constantly shrink from blue to green to red to yellow, making the AI act normally again as the map progresses. It's important that they're buildings the player will most likely want to destroy, for the sake of lining up my intentions with the player's probable strategies.

Additionally, having the factories belong to two main AIs and having the battle move along as the player makes progress keeps it fair for the player. Making three or four AIs fight the player would be overkill.

Finally, between the various points the player gets an MCV and the next enemy base awaits, the path is quite straight! This reduces the likelihood of encountering one of those terrible fatal errors we think is most likely caused by AI units wanting to take paths that are too complex. Of course, we can't expect a player to expand on his own, so not only does giving him an MCV or two, or having him capture a ConYard, serve to refocus the battle to new terrain and keep things interesting... but, it's also important for helping to avoiding that glitch.

Despite the linear paths between the bases, the map is quite expansive. There is a lot of room to move around, there are lots of places to expand, lots of Spice fields and empty rock islands, which hopefully adds to the feeling of the size and scale of the battle.

If we're keeping count, that's four AIs total - one uniquely the first base, one uniquely in the second base, and two main AIs giving the player a hard time. I knew I wanted this level to kick off with a bang, so I used the fifth AI slot for the berserk AI that would do Moriaen's first attack. Rather than use an event to make it go berserk a minute in, I gave it a little more than enough credits to not want to berserk, and then I gave it a Barracks. It trains one Trooper, then sells the Barracks and goes berserk because it's a practice AI with very little cash.

The sixth AI slot was for Durant, an absolutely necessary part of this map. For much of this second half of the smugglers campaign, Durant has been there with you in the thick of it, pushing you on and making each battle that much more bearable for Summers. On the undone levels, S16V1 / V2 and S17V1 / V2, he'll play an integral role, too; I think on S17V2, they'll get the first pieces of the Storm Lasher prototypes seen in the beginning of S18. Anyway, I want the player to feel pissed at the enemy by this point. Moriaen has been a giant pain in Summers' rear and now she's killed her closest ally. What's more, he sacrificed himself to give Summers a fighting chance. With only hours left before the Worm God awakens, and the situation looking more bleak than ever before, Summers must push on alone against Moriaen. I want the player to feel the desperation of the situation, but this first plot twist is only part of that.

The way Moriaen fights Summers back at every opportunity is another facet of the desperation on this map. Her goal is to stall until the Worm God awakens, and as I've always said, the more human an AI is, the better. Not just giving it a name and character, but she fights fiercer than ever before on this map. There should be the sense that you're throwing everything you've got at her, and she's throwing everything she's got at you. You both have goals, but only one may survive. And for the past several missions, including SBON3, you'll have been preparing for this one. Moriaen has been doing the same by being so secretive, by playing you and the Ordos against each-other, and now by openly opposing you with all her might. Moriaen isn't playing around anymore; she wants you dead, so she throws her strongest attack at you immediately.

This mission reaches a peak at the Rocket Turret line, where the unstoppable force meets the immovable object, tanks and gholas pouring out from behind the enemy perimeter, and the player finally gets to deploy Storm Lashers for himself. Just for that big, epic finish I was going for.

Speaking of which, the seventh slot has to be taken by the player... but, I didn't use an AI in the eighth slot. Rather, the Rocket Turrets are placed for a side without any AI at all so the sandworms can still work, and they remain dangerous because Rocket Turrets have ridiculous range and firepower even though there's no AI to repair them or rebuild them. The player simply can't pass without Storm Lashers because any tanks rolling up get one-shot right away. And sure, it causes the occasional weird glitch where enemy units will keep attacking the sand where a sandworm was, but that was considered a minor issue.

For the King of the Hill segment with the Storm Lashers, I simply re-used the berserk AI from the beginning for the enemy defenders coming out from behind the dense line of Rocket Turrets. It's still berserk, it just didn't have any units to send at the player, so spawning some in for this part killed two birds with one stone. Something I had to do a lot of to get this thing to work right...

So, that's how this map was designed. What do you think, reader? Did I pull off a fantastic finale, or were there some things about S18 that ruin it somehow? Whatever your point of view, I cannot emphasize enough that I appreciate any feedback I get! And if you've read this much, I hope you'll consider posting a reply as well. Remember, this is the WIP thread - whatever criticism you may have could go towards improving it for the final release. Thank you for your consideration.

 

 

Download: SBON3 & S18V1.zip

Both maps were tested extensively and beaten on hard mode. Certain screenshots may have an expanded view, but I tested them in the default resolution at 640x400 without a build queue patch or anything of the sort. Expect them to be difficult - they are end-campaign maps.

As with previous uploads, installation and uninstallation should be a simple copy + paste. So go ahead, give it a try! If you're having trouble, a strategy section for each map can be found under the spoilers along with a technical analysis. Good luck and have fun, and please do provide feedback here if you get the opportunity. Criticism is always helpful! Thank you.

Edited by Fey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Fey 

On 1/16/2019 at 10:22 AM, Fey said:

I'm going to do something a little weird here. S18 and SBON3 are done, so I'm releasing them even though S16 and S17 aren't done.

This is a WIP thread. If you care to avoid spoilers or whatever, just wait around until I get the other stuff done. I took a detour to build the Heighliner tileset and I'm still busy of late, so I dunno when that'll be, so... if you don't care to avoid spoilers, here ya go.

Details:

  Reveal hidden contents

SBON3: Industrial Accident - Moriaen is salvaging resources in the one place she thought she was safe - the Guild Heighliner. While Summers fights to block Moriaen's ability to send troops to the surface, you, as Sabre Durant, must destroy the army she intends to send.

  Reveal hidden contents

Full map image: https://i.imgur.com/RuNssbq.jpg

Strategy:

  Reveal hidden contents

Throw what you know about building the economy out the fuckin' window, mate. This is a totally different kind of map.

First things first, capture the three Harkonnen-style Wind Traps near where you start and destroy the Harkonnen-style Outpost. It's a Control Node! There's one in each corner of the map, and by destroying them, you'll turn the automated Heavy Factories friendly to you. You could also destroy the Heavy Factories, but that isn't helpful to you.

Here's how I recommend setting up your starting units:
https://prnt.sc/m7sii3

Green = Start
Blue = Reinforcements
Red = Enemy attacks

Note, you could rush the base to the right with your starting units, but let's keep it traditional on this crazy new map.

Get your first two or three Harvesters on the Mass Deposit, the big Refinery part-looking building past all the crates. Your Harvesters can mine infinitely from that location; the crates will run out, so save them for when you need a burst of income. The Heavy Factory and its attached defenses will not attack other automated Combat Tanks! They'll only be useful for fighting the central Guild base and its forces. Since you'll need to keep your own defenses vigilant, get your long range artillery on the white platform, get your Troopers covering them, and position your Grenadiers beside the friendly turrets. Your remaining Combat Tanks and Shock Raiders from the Guild Freighters should be ready to assist as needed. If you're not sure what to shoot, hit G and watch your units go. You may be colorblind, but IFF transponders are a thing for your army.

When you're ready to attack, try to make for the top-right or bottom-left Heavy Factories. The Guild's central base is self-sufficient and will not yield easily! You should compromise the four automated Heavy Factories first.

The top right is easier to attack, and you can capture two Refineries and even more Silos on the way. Keep defenses you're happy with covering your main while you push with a mobile force into other territory, and set up defensible positions as you move. There is plenty of infantry-only terrain around to position Troopers at, and there aren't very many enemy defenses outside their central base. As you continue to spread out, you'll need to cover more areas of the map from enemy attacks, so de-centralize your mobile forces over time. Aside from placing new turrets at conquered locations, keep your heavy Combat Tanks grouped up at focal points with Missile Tank support, and keep a squad of LAVs on standby. Remember, Quads are buffed up in this mod! They're still delicate, but they hit much harder. They are your main damage dealers aside from Troopers; the heavy Combat Tanks are best used to soak fire for units like these.

Top right:
https://prnt.sc/m7szh2
https://prnt.sc/m7ssk1

Bot left:
https://prnt.sc/m7syzr
https://prnt.sc/m7t328

Red = Enemy attacks
Green = Control Node
Blue = Reinforcements

Take the top right or bottom left Control Nodes down and you'll have one less Heavy Factory to worry about... and one more turned on the enemy, provided you can protect it. Then you can take the other, or the one in the bottom right. Like I said, the top right Control Node is easier to take out first, but attacking the bot left one first will give you better access to the bot right one sooner. The choice is yours.

There is a Harkonnen Freighter stocked with units very close to the bot right Control Node. It's conveniently closer to the bot left angle of attack.
https://prnt.sc/m7t6hl

Green = Control Node
Blue = Reinforcements

When you've got all four captured, or destroyed, you should have plenty of map control. If you've protected all the automated Heavy Factories, the Spacing Guild's central base will have about twenty Combat Tanks hitting it every three minutes, and you should have a lot of funds thanks to capturing Mass Deposits, Refineries, and Silos. No matter how obstinate it's been throughout the rest of the mission, it will fall now. Funnel your own forces into the attack and raze the base to end the mission.

https://prnt.sc/m7t5wu

Blue = Angles of attack
Green = Storm Lashers

Their power is easily crippled with a focused attack on their Wind Traps. You'll need to attack from the left and right simultaneously to get the best angle on their power. Striking from the bottom will give you the best angle on their Refineries, and you can distract or slaughter their infantry from the top angle. Good luck!

Technical analysis:

  Reveal hidden contents

If you've been following the Heighliner tileset WIP thread then surely you know that this has been a work in progress for a while now. Now that it's been fleshed out some, I've made a campaign map with it! To add some more chaos to the mix, this is a max-size non-linear map with elements encouraging exploration, new ways to use terrain to your advantage, and a gimmick similar to S13V2, except with Combat Tanks.

Heighliners are massive. On the previous test maps for the tileset, things felt really cramped and it didn't really present a sense of scale. This map spreads factories all over the map among many red herrings such as the Harkonnen-style Refineries and Wind Traps. Aside from being potentially useful via capturing, or just fun to blow up, these things add to the sense that the platform you're fighting on is massive. You've got bases all over, huge structures... inside a huge structure. Long, wide pathways, Launch Pads and Supply Depots all over, and Guild units everywhere.

Functionally speaking, the resources system seems to work. Harvesters may act a little funny here or there, but Mass Deposits are excellent income and Supply Depots give even more once you capture a location. There are eight Supply Depots in the mission, and there's a Mass Deposit at each one, allowing for good economic growth at any location you expand to. However, this economic system does play differently and may require a little Harvester micro to optimize.

I'm confident the system will make for some good gameplay in future maps as locations need to be captured and held for the war machine to keep rolling. Losing territory means losing Mass Deposits, and that will make the economy stagnate for sure.

Unit pathing seems to be better in this map too. It isn't perfect, but it's better than the last two testing maps in the Heighliner WIP thread.

I think adding many Freighters, but giving only a few of them unit spawn events, was a good idea. This and the Control Nodes and Mass Deposits the player needs to hunt for encourages exploration, adding another layer of depth to the map. Goodies are out there in the shroud - go look for them!

Regarding the structure of the enemy base and how the map itself encourages the player to fulfill the map's gimmick before tackling it: Take note of how the easiest Control Node to attack brings the player's units over to the top angle of attack. The most well-defended angle, that is. Even if the Barracks are destroyed, two more activate at the bottom of the base, keeping the pressure on the player with infantry still coming, only behind the vehicles this time. The player's other choice is going to the left angle of attack first, but even if he manages to push through the Wind Traps on that side, the other half of the base has an active Storm Lasher and several Rocket Turrets. The base structures are arranged in such a way that enemy units can filter out through the many one-tile paths into a concentrated attack on the player on the wide bridges, but the player will need to blow through the base structures or his forces will be split up and picked off by the excellent turret coverage across the entire base.

Due to the way Storm Lashers work, the map structure and base layout are both conducive to encouraging the use of the map's gimmick. And when that's done, the player's forces should already be in a good position to strike from all angles thanks to the Mass Deposits and various capturable goodies encouraging expansion, and thanks to the Heavy Factories encouraging spread forces to begin with for the sake of protection. And, also due to the way Storm Lashers work, a concentrated attack from one angle will most likely fail against this base... while an attack from all angles will confuse them too much for them to effectively hold off the player's forces. It's all connected!

One more thing: I used LRA platforms in the last two testing maps. I like the concept of LRA platforms where you can drop some Missile / Siege Tanks and watch them outrange everything crossing the bridge, but they caused weird pathing errors. This time, I tried some infantry-only side passages crossed with LRA platforms. Infantry can rush the artillery, and they'll kill Missile Tanks very quickly if given the chance, but tanks will stop there. So, it offers some mobility to infantry, and maybe gives Grenadiers a good place to camp too. If you try that, try using Grenadiers on the new paths, lemme know how it turns out.

 

S18V1: Summers' Solstice - Time is running out. With the Fremen, Sardaukar, Ix, and Sabre Durant supporting your assault, fight through all the standing Guild and Tleilaxu forces, kill Achen Moriaen, and then slay the sleeping God.

  Reveal hidden contents

Full map image: https://i.imgur.com/bgS9h1E.jpg

Strategy:

  Reveal hidden contents

Don't panic. The first attack is nasty, but hardly impossible to survive.
https://prnt.sc/m7rlrq

Your goal should be to hold off the enemy armor for as long as possible. Those Storm Lashers will do a hell of a job killing everything if you can stall the enemy long enough within their range. Use your Duelist Tanks for this purpose, sell your turrets when they're in the red to save some cash, and move your LRA behind the merc ConYard. Support them with your infantry until the Storm Lashers overload, explode, and kill Durant in the process. You should end up with a few remaining units and hopefully an intact ConYard if you did it right, but if you are low on units, some Duelist Tanks will be delivered to you at this time.

You will see Saboteurs on the field... or not. They are sneaky. Just in case, get a Barracks up and spread Light Infantry around where you expect Saboteurs to try and pass by. Don't let them infiltrate your ConYard, especially. Regarding Storm Lashers, remember S15: Move one unit ahead of the rest, always, if it's online and you're on approach to destroy it. Otherwise, cut the power and don't let it come back up.

The enemy has multiple bases you will need to fight your way through. All of them have a Storm Lasher or two. The first has several weak points. See below:
https://prnt.sc/m7ts45

Red = Player's start position
Green = Infantry-only passages
Blue = Death Hand targets
Pink = Place LRA here

Hold enemies at the choke point while you build up a force to attack. Use your Fremen Fedaykin or Stealth Raiders to scout where possible while you build up. The more you can see, the better prepared you'll be. Moriaen will not let up in her attacks on your base, so you'd better know what's coming.

You may wish to use your infantry to invade the main base here - you can completely power down the turrets and prevent them from being rebuilt, but the factories will still present a problem. If you attack the main, I suggest using your Death Hand on the Sonic Tank, which will make it much easier to completely level that base. Note that your Death Hand will never miss in this mod. With the turrets powered down, you can use artillery to take out the Heavy Factories without fear of being lightning bolted to death on the west factory. Your infantry, once they've finished the job up north, can head across the bridge and attack the Light Factories. If you only manage to destroy one, pop another Death Hand on the second.

Alternatively, leave the power on and pop a Death Hand on the west Heavy Factory. Artillery can safely take out the east one, it's well out of range of the Storm Lasher's attack, and then you can push into the base needing to deal with only infantry and LAVs. You can brute force the Storm Lasher once the perimeter is breached, but the enemy will send reinforcements from the east.

However you manage to do it, raze the entire base to receive an MCV. Future Fremen and Sardaukar reinforcements will arrive at this location, and now you can focus your attacks on the new targets to the east.
https://prnt.sc/lmemub

Red = Angle of attack
Blue = Death Hand targets

The ridge where you get your MCV is very defensible. Set up some Rocket Turrets and, just like before, spread infantry around if you want that ConYard intact. You should set up new Refineries and more factories here to progress the battle forward. Keep building up and move east when you're ready.
https://prnt.sc/m7txzy

Attack from the north and try to go for the power in this second base. It's quite vulnerable, though there's a lot of it. If you screw it up and destroy too many turrets to keep the power offline, and you don't want to brute force the Storm Lasher, take some Stealth Raiders down the right side and sabotage their power in the back:
https://prnt.sc/lmep53

Red = Angle of attack
Green = Infantry-only passages
Blue = Death Hand targets
Pink = Place LRA here

You can expect to see more Sonic Tanks and gholas on the field by now, so take care while you push into this position. The enemy has the upper hand until you get to the next choke point. Once you raze the entire base, another MCV will arrive and future reinforcements will show up at this new location. Place some new factories here, get a Barracks up, and prepare an Engineer for the next part.
https://prnt.sc/lmeu0p

Red = Angle of attack
Green = STAY AWAY!!
Blue = Death Hand targets
Pink = Place LRA here

Ignore the Rocket Turrets for now; just stay away from them. Your goal for the moment is destroying this next base except for the ConYard, which must be captured to finally gain Storm Lasher tech. Summers will order all units to hold their fire once the shroud around the ConYard is uncovered.

I recommend hitting the Storm Lasher closest to the choke point with a Death Hand. You can brute force the second fairly easily because there's more room to move units over there, and you may be able to take the base's power down. To handle enemy defense forces, set up some artillery on the ridge and go to town, and when you're confident it's clear enough, push in. Remember, don't destroy the ConYard.

Capture the ConYard when you feel ready to defend it.
https://prnt.sc/lmf8kt

Red = Angle of attack
Green = Enemy defenders
Blue = Critical structure
Pink = Place Storm Lashers here

Make sure you have infantry spread around the ConYard to keep Saboteurs out and enough of a mobile force to cover your construction efforts. Losing the ConYard before all the Rocket Turrets are down means mission failure! Going anywhere near those Rocket Turrets is suicide, even with hundreds of tanks, but your new Storm Lashers can completely outrange the Rocket Turrets. Keep building units while you mass Storm Lashers at those locations, and keep your existing army around the Storm Lashers to block the final defenders that'll come your way. Once you have enough Storm Lashers up on a certain peninsula, they should have no problem killing both the enemy defenders and the Storm Lashers on their own.

The Storm Lashers will finish the Rocket Turrets in minutes.
https://prnt.sc/lmfeq6

Red = Angle of attack
Green = Leftover Wind Traps
Blue = Critical structure
Pink = Storm Lashers

At last, the mission is complete! Almost. Ignore the Wind Traps if you want, or blow through them. Whatever you do, get to that ConYard where the enemy commander is holed up and blow it up. And, mind the Storm Lashers on the way there. Good luck!

Technical analysis:

  Reveal hidden contents

I don't believe it's possible to create a map more technically complex than this. Surely, this is my magnum opus!

And yeah, I'm going with a Worm God plot. After S15, Summers will have found some data exposing Moriaen's plot and the rest of S16 / S17 will be spent prepping to kill the Worm God.

This map is the big epic finale I wanted to design for this campaign. It has two dramatic deaths of main characters, a desperate situation all the way through, plot twists, massive large-scale battles, sabotage operations with infantry or light vehicles, super units... it has everything! It's climactic! And, it's the culmination of everything I know about D2k editing. Hopefully it's a good example for new mappers looking for how far they can take a map!

First, let me point out that this map has hit the limit for entities. Place one more unit in the map editor and save it, and it will crash the game on startup.

Secondly, there are three AIs in the first base, three in the second, two in the third, and two in the fourth. Apart from that, one AI was needed for Durant at the beginning, another was needed for the Storm Lasher / King of the Hill part, one side was needed for the player, and yet another side was needed for the Rocket Turrets. And, using the eighth AI breaks the sandworms. So how the hell did I fit so many AIs in this one map?

Part of getting this to work right was understanding how the AI changes its primary buildings. The default primary is whatever's closest to the top left corner, pretty much, so I had the player start in that corner. The two main AIs, the Guild and Tleilaxu, have factories in each base and they're arranged so that one is destroyed, the factory in the next base activates. This ensures the player is only dealing with the forward-most defense line at any given time, but there are other reasons this is important.

Doing it this way means the AI will have massive defense areas. The AI draws its defense area in a box, so if you put one building in the top right and another in the bottom left, the AI will consider the entire map to be its base and will respond to any hostile units in that box as being attackers in its base. Pretty silly, right? Anyway, the map's layout works around that too, like so:
https://prnt.sc/lfao7t

Although imperfect, I tried to put buildings the player will want to destroy in every base. Extra buildings like Repair Pads and Research Centres belonged to the incidental AIs only there to repair and rebuild turrets on-site. Wind Traps, Refineries, and factories were the only buildings belonging to the main AIs. While a player may choose to leave a Wind Trap or Refinery intact, it seemed the enemy still put up plenty of resistance regardless. If the player does destroy the buildings as intended, the defense area will constantly shrink from blue to green to red to yellow, making the AI act normally again as the map progresses. It's important that they're buildings the player will most likely want to destroy, for the sake of lining up my intentions with the player's probable strategies.

Additionally, having the factories belong to two main AIs and having the battle move along as the player makes progress keeps it fair for the player. Making three or four AIs fight the player would be overkill.

Finally, between the various points the player gets an MCV and the next enemy base awaits, the path is quite straight! This reduces the likelihood of encountering one of those terrible fatal errors we think is most likely caused by AI units wanting to take paths that are too complex. Of course, we can't expect a player to expand on his own, so not only does giving him an MCV or two, or having him capture a ConYard, serve to refocus the battle to new terrain and keep things interesting... but, it's also important for helping to avoiding that glitch.

Despite the linear paths between the bases, the map is quite expansive. There is a lot of room to move around, there are lots of places to expand, lots of Spice fields and empty rock islands, which hopefully adds to the feeling of the size and scale of the battle.

If we're keeping count, that's four AIs total - one uniquely the first base, one uniquely in the second base, and two main AIs giving the player a hard time. I knew I wanted this level to kick off with a bang, so I used the fifth AI slot for the berserk AI that would do Moriaen's first attack. Rather than use an event to make it go berserk a minute in, I gave it a little more than enough credits to not want to berserk, and then I gave it a Barracks. It trains one Trooper, then sells the Barracks and goes berserk because it's a practice AI with very little cash.

The sixth AI slot was for Durant, an absolutely necessary part of this map. For much of this second half of the smugglers campaign, Durant has been there with you in the thick of it, pushing you on and making each battle that much more bearable for Summers. On the undone levels, S16V1 / V2 and S17V1 / V2, he'll play an integral role, too; I think on S17V2, they'll get the first pieces of the Storm Lasher prototypes seen in the beginning of S18. Anyway, I want the player to feel pissed at the enemy by this point. Moriaen has been a giant pain in Summers' rear and now she's killed her closest ally. What's more, he sacrificed himself to give Summers a fighting chance. With only hours left before the Worm God awakens, and the situation looking more bleak than ever before, Summers must push on alone against Moriaen. I want the player to feel the desperation of the situation, but this first plot twist is only part of that.

The way Moriaen fights Summers back at every opportunity is another facet of the desperation on this map. Her goal is to stall until the Worm God awakens, and as I've always said, the more human an AI is, the better. Not just giving it a name and character, but she fights fiercer than ever before on this map. There should be the sense that you're throwing everything you've got at her, and she's throwing everything she's got at you. You both have goals, but only one may survive. And for the past several missions, including SBON3, you'll have been preparing for this one. Moriaen has been doing the same by being so secretive, by playing you and the Ordos against each-other, and now by openly opposing you with all her might. Moriaen isn't playing around anymore; she wants you dead, so she throws her strongest attack at you immediately.

This mission reaches a peak at the Rocket Turret line, where the unstoppable force meets the immovable object, tanks and gholas pouring out from behind the enemy perimeter, and the player finally gets to deploy Storm Lashers for himself. Just for that big, epic finish I was going for.

Speaking of which, the seventh slot has to be taken by the player... but, I didn't use an AI in the eighth slot. Rather, the Rocket Turrets are placed for a side without any AI at all so the sandworms can still work, and they remain dangerous because Rocket Turrets have ridiculous range and firepower even though there's no AI to repair them or rebuild them. The player simply can't pass without Storm Lashers because any tanks rolling up get one-shot right away. And sure, it causes the occasional weird glitch where enemy units will keep attacking the sand where a sandworm was, but that was considered a minor issue.

For the King of the Hill segment with the Storm Lashers, I simply re-used the berserk AI from the beginning for the enemy defenders coming out from behind the dense line of Rocket Turrets. It's still berserk, it just didn't have any units to send at the player, so spawning some in for this part killed two birds with one stone. Something I had to do a lot of to get this thing to work right...

So, that's how this map was designed. What do you think, reader? Did I pull off a fantastic finale, or were there some things about S18 that ruin it somehow? Whatever your point of view, I cannot emphasize enough that I appreciate any feedback I get! And if you've read this much, I hope you'll consider posting a reply as well. Remember, this is the WIP thread - whatever criticism you may have could go towards improving it for the final release. Thank you for your consideration.

 

 

Download: SBON3 & S18V1.zip

Both maps were tested extensively and beaten on hard mode. Certain screenshots may have an expanded view, but I tested them in the default resolution at 640x400 without a build queue patch or anything of the sort. Expect them to be difficult - they are end-campaign maps.

As with previous uploads, installation and uninstallation should be a simple copy + paste. So go ahead, give it a try! If you're having trouble, a strategy section for each map can be found under the spoilers along with a technical analysis. Good luck and have fun, and please do provide feedback here if you get the opportunity. Criticism is always helpful! Thank you.

S18v1 seems to be working fine on mine however SBON3 keeps coming up "File not found BLOXHILN.R8" i cant seem to find where to put it in the dictionary, proberly being dum lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JasperRowan said:

S18v1 seems to be working fine on mine however SBON3 keeps coming up "File not found BLOXHILN.R8" i cant seem to find where to put it in the dictionary, proberly being dum lol

I guess you have the game with 8 bit graphics, Fey only uploaded the file for the 16 graphics. You can set the game to 16 by entering the main menu executing dune2000 (not the launcher or mid game), in the options appears the 8 or 16 graphics.

Or that or you can wait until Fey upload the file to 8 bits too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, JasperRowan said:

Hey Fey 

S18v1 seems to be working fine on mine however SBON3 keeps coming up "File not found BLOXHILN.R8" i cant seem to find where to put it in the dictionary, proberly being dum lol

Hey mate! Thanks for trying out the maps. Please do let me know how they go!

That's weird, the BLOXHILN.r8 file was included in the download and I just confirmed myself that it's there. Well, here it is again, just in case:
BLOXHILN.R8

This goes in your D2k directory under the "data" folder. The file contains the tileset image used to paint the map in-game; without it, there's no terrain, so the map doesn't load and wouldn't be playable anyway.

Hope that helps!

Edited by Fey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Hey fellas. Uhh... the third bonus mission in the last download recycled the scale test from the Heighliner test maps, but since that map has been released in an official mini-campaign, I re-did the bonus mission. I'll more than likely keep the concept of the original SBON3 for S16V2, except I'll build a different map for it. Probably. I dunno yet, still considering it.

Anyway, I made this map, whether it'll be used or not. Bonus missions are meant for weird stuff. You play as a different faction, get to see a story detail in-between the main missions, and there's usually some strange concept at play, like how the first bonus mission was an escort quest in its entirety. To that end, I tried to create a tower defense map. Yep, tower defense in D2k. So, uhh... here ya go. Details below, download link, good luck and have fun. And if you get that annoying new error that popped up during the Heighliner test maps, just reload the game - it shouldn't happen twice, and I'm pretty sure I fixed it. We'll see, I guess. 😅

SBON3: Against the Storm - Defend stolen Storm Lasher data against an onslaught of Guild forces!

Spoiler

FullMap: https://i.imgur.com/1ELBKKV.png
TactMap: https://i.imgur.com/pjRsbq3.png

Red = Main enemy path
Blue = Potential spawns
Green = Mission-critical!
Pink = Capture these
Yellow = Good coverage

In-game screenshots:
https://i.imgur.com/SnaFqhr.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/6pYF3qN.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/k4N4rMF.jpg
https://i.imgur.com/bq1pBEV.jpg

Waves:

Spoiler

Wave 01: Normal 15 Light Infantry, 15 Engineers, 30 Grenadiers
Wave 02: Normal 100 Troopers
Wave 03: Normal 150 Light Infantry + tech-up (Light II)
Wave 04: Normal 30 Shock Raiders
Wave 05: Normal 30 Troopers, 15 Quads
Wave 06: Bottom 10 Raiders, 5 Devastators + time-up (2 mins)
Wave 07: Bottom 25 Trikes, 50 Quads + Carryall drop (Main, 5 Grenadiers) + tech-up (Utility)
Wave 08: Normal 30 Combat Tanks (Heavy)
Wave 09: Left 30 Sardaukar Gholas, 20 Combat Tanks (Medium)
Wave 10: Normal 60 Troopers, 15 Engineers, 45 Combat Tanks (Light) + intermission (4.5 mins)
Wave 11: Normal 50 Shock Raiders, 50 Combat Tanks (Light)
Wave 12: Normal 100 Quads, 25 Combat Tanks (Heavy)
Wave 13: Normal 20 Stealth Raiders + Carryall drop (Mid, 5 Grenadiers) + tech-up (Advanced II)
Wave 14: Normal 60 Fremen Gholas, 30 Fedaykin Gholas, 60 Raiders, 30 Stealth Raiders
Wave 15: Right 50 Missile Tanks + time-up (2.5 mins)
Wave 16: Left 240 Fremen Gholas, 180 Fedaykin Gholas + Carryall drop (Main, 5 Grenadiers)
Wave 17: Normal 150 Raiders, 50 Shock Raiders, 50 Stealth Raiders
Wave 18: Bottom 120 Combat Tanks (Assorted)
Wave 19: Left 50 Fedaykin Gholas, 150 Combat Tanks (Assorted)
Wave 20: Right 50 Devastators
Wave 21: Normal 60 Fedaykin Gholas, 180 Combat Tanks (Assorted)

PAR TIME, Hard+ difficulty: 75000 (~21m)
HARD+ Qualifier: No leaks. Don't allow the ConYard to take any damage.

Strategy:

Spoiler

This is a tower defense map. Tower defense games are all about optimization and placement, so consider where you move your infantry and how you place your turrets carefully. You'll need good DPS to effectively fight all the forces the Guild will throw at you.

For starts, build a Barracks at your main and start producing Light Infantry. While this is going on, move your starting Troopers on each platform into a good position to strike at passing enemy forces. You have a couple of Raiders in your main too, so bring those all the way over to the infantry-only on the right. You should have 2-3 stacks of Light Infantry for the first wave, maybe 5 for the second, but hold your funds on the third. You should get the Barracks upgrade as soon as it's available and put some Troopers out along the main path, since as Summers says, LAVs are next. You should move your Light Infantry there too, but don't forget to replace them along the infantry-only with some Grenadiers.

Move your starting Harvester to the Mass Deposit when the crates nearby are gone. Also, when the Carryall drops behind your ConYard, take your Grenadiers guarding the infantry-only to deal with them or use your Raiders. They shouldn't be a problem. You don't need to invest the cash in a second Refinery, by the way; one should be fine until intermission.

When Summers announces that a second MCV has arrived at mid, you have access to Gun Turrets. However, I recommend putting a Barracks down at midfield for starts! Get Troopers and Grenadiers out, put the Troopers along the vehicles' path, and move at least five Grenadiers over to the left. If you're quick enough, you should manage wave 9 fairly well.

There is an intermission between waves 10 and 11, so THEN is the time to build a Refinery at midfield, upgrade your ConYard, start dropping Gun Turrets wherever you think is best, and get more infantry out at midfield. I recommend spreading Grenadiers around https://prnt.sc/mtaxog so they can force-fire on the path in lines. This is your ideal defense against Stealth Raiders, which can ruin a hard+ attempt. A few can get by and only damage the Concrete Wall, which doesn't count towards leaks.

When the Missile Tanks show up, you need to mass Light Infantry at the top-left expansion. Get your MCV deployed there if it isn't already, get a Barracks up, and spam the heck out of Light Infantry to handle those Missile Tanks. Throw in some Grenadiers too - you can place them in the bottom left corner of that platform to deal with the next wave, which has several hundred Fremen Gholas. Gun Turrets deal the best damage against Missile Tanks and infantry, so consider placing those along the path instead of Rocket Turrets.

By the way, you can sell the Research Centre after you unlock Rocket Turrets. You only need it to unlock the turrets; after that, it's simply a power drain.

After that, the only wave you really need to worry about is the 50 Devastators coming from the right. Just mass Troopers and Rocket Turrets where you can and enjoy the show. And, yeah, I always test hard+ before releasing a map - it's possible. :P Good luck and have fun!

Technical analysis:

Spoiler

This is kind of a novel concept. D2k has some pathing-related issues and bugs that normally make this concept kind of impossible to pull off well, but my mod has some important changes compared to the original game that really come into play on this map:
 - Unit range is rounded out. Light Infantry are able to fire in three tiles, not just one, when put on the edge. Troopers and Grenadiers, even more-so.
 - Grenadiers are available. The use of infantry on this map allows for greater "tower" variety, and moving them around is an important mechanic.
 - Turret range is greatly improved. It makes them valuable when your infantry can only fire on passing stuff a bit, and then turrets can do much more.
 - Refineries are expensive as hell. Because of this, it's unfeasible to build a second Refinery earlier than intermission because you need the defense forces.
 - Quad rockets hit walls. They deal excellent damage to walls and were the units I chose to clear the starting walls out quickly. Hopefully they're not a bother.
 - A third tower, the Storm Lasher, was added. However, the tower is so powerful, I couldn't allow even one on this map. It utterly shattered the difficulty.

So, hypothetically these changes should make for some good TD mechanics, but there were more problems. A few more:
 - Too many units in play for one side will cause even a berserk AI to become inactive. This might not be a problem if it weren't for unit spawns crashing the game if too many happen in one place. Luckily, I never ran into much of a problem... the AI did stop at one point, but only for a few seconds. Not long enough to cause a crash. Part of balancing this map was figuring out a good pace to spawn units in and keep the player on his toes without breaking the AI.
 - D2k's unit pathing is really silly. You might see units derp out during this map in a few places, but I did make the path wide enough to reduce the likelihood of this happening. It'd be potentially exploitable as a player could position Troopers at such a location to deal heavy damage to derped-up enemy units, but in doing so they clear the path a bit and make the units un-derp. At least, that's what happened when I tried to break it, so hopefully it doesn't break completely for anyone else.
 - An error can occur if AI units take too many turns while attempting to reach a destination. This glitch was never encountered during any of my many tests on this map, but a second, new error first sighted on level 2 of the HTTMC did occur twice for me, and only on wave 2. The map needs to be structured in such a way to make the likelihood of encountering such an error practically non-existent. I believe I've fully eliminated said error, but if it does happen, my apologies. Save your game often if you're worried about it. :)
 - Due to unit pathing, units will cling to one side of a path. This isn't really a problem, but it's worth mentioning since it can make mapping a TD kinda difficult. I built the map around this, ensuring the player will always have the opportunity to get infantry on whatever side the enemy will cling to. The only exception to this is the white infantry-only near the ConYard, but that path is small enough where Grenadiers on the edge will always be able to strike infantry passing through.


I found during initial testing that having enemy units spawn from a single location was way too easy to handle. You don't want the map to drag on, either - D2k only has so many units! So to make sure the map didn't overstay its welcome, I made it 21 waves total and threw some curveballs at the player. Stealth units, countered by Grenadiers force-firing on the path. Carryall drops in nasty positions which the player needs to react to. Moving the enemy spawn points up so the player needs to move his infantry out there. And I filled the rest of the events with timers and call-outs from Summers to make sure the player would remain informed about what was coming. I also color-coded the map for easier visuals. Blue = enemy path, white = infantry-only, black = space for your defense forces.

I hope this map works as a one-time thing, at least. It might be a little clunky in D2k, but I had to try it. What do y'all think? Did it work, for the most part?

 

Download link:
TD D2k.zip

Good luck and have fun. :D

Edited by Fey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ayy lmao

Since I recently lost a bunch of data due to HDD corruption, I kinda also lost some updates to the earlier maps in this campaign which I hadn't uploaded yet. Basically expanding maps, reducing the absolutely stupid difficulty of some of the AIs, but improving the difficulty overall. Fairness and all that. It'll be a while before I re-map the junk I'd already gotten done, but this has given me the opportunity to go back and do more stuff. And I still remember what I changed, and even have some screenshots laying around. Like this full map image of the S12 rework:

Spoiler

1385816714_S12Rework.thumb.png.1844fb943809871918861799c4454b08.png

(Note that this is a raw screenshot, not a typical full map image I usually include in map details. Many of the randomly-placed walls actually blow up as soon as the map starts just to leave concrete on the ground and give the illusion that a battle was recently fought in this region.)

While I proceed with the tedious task of redoing all the stuff I already fixed, I've been working on adjusting the editor for use with the mod.
MEQaM4N.png
Pictured above, you can see the Storm Lasher, Shock Raider, Duelist Tank, and RPG Quad sprites fully implemented in Klofkac's editor. I'm also streamlining AI production for quicker Skynet smart D2k AI deployment, including neat presets based on the sorts of AIs I used in my campaign. Complementary AIs, for instance, which alternate attacks and focus on different unit combinations each potent in their own right. Or, AIs that will complement each-other in a hot drop, such as one that goes for heavy vehicles first and another that rushes light tech to cover its friend while it builds up. And, everything from your typical Light II AI to "boss" AIs that deploy Storm Lashers.

The default AI already in place begins with optimized repairs, responsiveness, a focus on aggression, a respectable build rate, fixed morale at a hundred percent, and blank UnitBuildPriorities and BuildRatios so that's the only thing a mapper would need to adjust.

It's my hope that working on the editor could facilitate mapping with my mod not necessarily for my sake, but for others looking to use it. With three new units, the awesome Storm Lasher, and the heavy re-balancing, there are tons of opportunities for innovative and fun gameplay using my mod! When I've got the preset AIs all finished up, and implement the Imperial Barracks, I can zip up the modified editor and pass it along.

Regarding this campaign...

My changes to the previous campaign smoothed the difficulty curve, streamlined combat, and maps play out much more fairly. There is plenty of space to navigate with units, attacks are precisely timed so the player can work around them, and the various special tricks I use from time to time are meant to add variety and unpredictability to the foes the player will face. Changes to the second half of the campaign will continue along with these designs, as you can see from the S12 full map image! Centralized enemy power, multiple paths through the map besides through the enemy bases, better and more varied strategic options, and the gimmick of the map is strengthened - so if you want to rush for the Devastators and wreck the other two bases with them, it's perfectly viable. And very fun, as I found when I tested the map prior to its loss.

That'll be all for now, I guess. Back to fixing stuff up, or whatever else I gotta do. <.>

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Herro.

While the old data was lost recently, I was able to rebuild it fairly quickly. Just so I don't lose it again, Imma post it here.
S10-S12.zip

Installation is an easy copy-paste. Same with uninstallation. A README is included with more info.

As with the latest post in the other thread, these are final draft versions of the maps. Specifically S10V1, S11V1, and S12V1. As with other final drafts, I will NOT touch them again unless a game-breaking bug is found, Swearzies! And, please note that these maps are tuned to curve up in difficulty from S09V1 / V2, so if you're unfamiliar with the original campaign, please visit this post:
https://forum.dune2k.com/topic/27508-release-smugglers-campaign/?do=findComment&comment=396536

Attempting these maps without already being familiar with the mod (that is, playing through the original campaign linked above) would make them extra difficult. :)

Also included in the above zip is Against the Storm, which will be included in the final release as a scrapped map. That would be the tower defense map I designed as an experiment for D2k. All I changed was one of the waves now sends RPG Quads instead of regular Quads, and the player does not receive Troopers or Grenadiers via reinforcements. Rather, the player begins with a single RPG Quad at midfield from the very start. The intent with these changes was to reduce the difficulty of the wave where Quads first appear, since RPG Quads move a bit slower and are no tougher, and the player is unlikely to have many Troopers at the ready by then. And, the single RPG Quad at midfield is in a much better position to tackle leaks than the original reinforcements. Plus, it helps with the eventual enemy Grenadier drop.

Here's the changelog for the main three maps:
S10V1: Screaming in Silence - In a treacherous twist, invade Chin Rock and quietly terminate all Ordos and smuggler forces in the region.

Spoiler

 - Terrain expanded.
 - Enemy AIs reduced.
 - Enemy AIs improved.
 - Additional worm added.
 - Enemy Saboteur behavior adjusted.
 - Both enemies will use Duelist Tanks.
 - Enemy starting strength is drastically reduced.
 - Enemy RPG Quads can be seen at the beginning of the battle.
 - Fixed a glitch causing Summers to ask about Sonic Tanks if she has none.
 - Fixed a glitch causing Moriaen to warn Summers about Saboteurs too late.
 - Fixed a glitch causing Ordos infantry to converse with Summers while dead.
 - Unlike other missions, all enemy forces must be annihilated, not defeated.
 - Enemy Harvester replacements only occur if they have an intact Refinery.
 - Enemy production speed has been increased very slightly.
 - Enemy threat priority behavior dramatically changed.
 - The Ordos and smugglers are likely to focus Summers.

PAR TIME, Hard difficulty: 99000 (~27m)

Additional comments:
Originally, this map had the player use Allocation Index 5, but the second half of the smugglers campaign now uses the merc tech tree. Drawing up the final draft for this map afforded me the opportunity to include some critical changes from the mod - enemy Duelist Tanks and Stealth Raiders, unique Saboteur behavior, and proper AI threat handling. And a few RPG Quads rolling around, too.

If you examine the old / new map comparison, you'll see the original version of this map was seriously cramped. There's even a hidden base that's appears in-game, but not in the old map image. As I learned, space to navigate and attack is very important for the map to be fun! And so, the new version is quite appropriately spaced out, but in the spirit of the original - which I try to stick to for the sake of authenticity, loyalty to the original intent and design - there are some threats around the map anyway. Stealth Raiders, for one, but they aren't freakin' turrets and walls. LAVs have a well-defined role in my mod, so it's very important that their liberal use proves a viable strategy. The extra space all around means more room to rove with some Quads and maybe pick off an enemy Harvester or two.

Do more with less. I stripped two of the enemy AIs away, but the existing AIs were bolstered in their own ways and the map plays much more smoothly. This also enabled me to give enemy Saboteurs on Screaming in Silence some unique behavior! Which is important for the sake of map variety and identity.

The original S10 threw enemy units at the player without any ability to influence them. The new S10 allows for the player to goad the Ordos into attacking the smugglers, or vice versa, using the new threat handling. https://i.imgur.com/OT328qn.png Keeping some mobile forces, like LAVs, around midfield will prompt one side to attack them... and then who's the next closest target? The other enemy AI. This naturally promotes aggression, something I really want to promote in my designs!

S11V1: Phantom Penance - Stranded in Qanat Pass, you are accosted by vengeful apparitions.

Spoiler

 - Main enemy waves are now properly timed and will never occur simultaneously.
 - Summers' command interface now contains even more freaky messages. Have fun!
 - Summers no longer receives an extra Harvester when her first Refinery is up.
 - The initial Atreides wave has had its Combat Tanks replaced with RPG Quads.
 - Summers now begins with two RPG Quads in place of formerly normal Quads.
 - Enemy attackers are smarter and will engage more appropriate targets.
 - Enemy mid-game attacks ramp up slightly later than before.
 - Enemy late-game attacks ramp up a bit sooner than before.
 - Fixed a glitch causing the sandworm to cling to a corner.
 - Spice blooms have been appropriately re-arranged.
 - Summers' initial units have been greatly reduced.
 - More Atreides concrete is left over to build on.
 - Most of the Atreides walls begin destroyed.
 - Summers begins with 1,000 less Solaris.

PAR TIME, Hard+ difficulty: 40500 (~11m)
HARD+ Qualifier: Do not destroy the local Sietch.

Additional comments:
The previous drafts of this map were horrendous. No sense of timing, way too many Voracious Delusions, and ending the map instantly at 10k? That encourages the player to cheese the map, if anything! It had to be fixed.

The addition of RPG Quads to the game has allowed for some really awesome survival sections. S02V2 comes to mind, but here on S11V1, they fit perfectly fine too. The play between Concrete Walls and artillery units justifies spamming Concrete Walls while ticking up your Solaris to 10k; without them, that Sonic Tank or those RPG Quads might go down much more quickly. Building Concrete Walls is something I wanted to encourage on the map itself too, which is why many of the Atreides Concrete Walls begin destroyed. The player should get the idea right away that he needs to bunker up the Gun Turrets as soon as possible!

Another problem was the enemy attacking behavior. Berserk AI, or an AI without ABPs, resulted in new spawns going after the nearest target. That simply wouldn't do because the player needs to explore Qanat Pass in peace and keep a mobile force at the ready, and how the heck was the player supposed to do that if the enemy forces would attack said mobile force while it's outside the base? The player would need to keep them in the base until the enemy attacks, then go intercept, making things needlessly convoluted. In this new draft, the enemy attackers will roll out towards your base instead! At least until one of your interceptors shoots at them or something. That should prove to streamline the gameplay and make it very strongly different from S02V2.

The biggest elephant in the room was the obnoxious timing in all the previous drafts. https://i.imgur.com/UUIZt0p.png How the hell was the player meant to work with such seemingly random timing? Well, it's no longer the case. Enemy attacks are timed to have AT LEAST 30 seconds between each wave, they're consistently every 30 seconds only when you're close to your goal, and the only exceptions are the very first wave and the wave at two thirds of the way there.

This change has also allowed me to justify demanding the deaths of all enemy units from the player since the player will never be dealing with too many. Can't just sell everything like on S02V1 or let the Imperials roll over the Sietch like on S02V2! Fatal mistakes can still happen at the very end of the map, and they would decidedly be the player's fault. Not some BS RNG with five waves spawning at once or something.

S12V1: False Pretenses - False Wall is under attack! Rescue the OSO hostages and slaughter the mysterious new enemies.

Spoiler

 - Terrain expanded.
 - Additional worm added.
 - The center of the map is now open.
 - The sides of the map are more open.
 - Spice blooms added and re-arranged.
 - Extra detailing added; more ruins around.
 - The unknowns' bases are now much smaller.
 - The unknowns begin with less Solaris. Have fun.
 - The unknowns AIs' production speeds have been reduced.
 - The unknowns no longer sortie Ornithopters over False Wall.
 - Enemy Harvester replacements only occur if they still have a Refinery.
 - The real lore for Deviators and Saboteurs can be read in the briefing.
 - Fixed an error stopping one of the AIs from properly using Deviators.
 - Fixed a glitch causing the friendly Devastators to escape early.
 - Friendly Devastators' colors now differ from Summers' colors.
 - There are now fifteen friendly Devastators, up from ten. Yay!
 - Summers doesn't get Carryalls from her Shield Wall delivery.
 - Summers' deliveries are now timed, and she gets more stuff.
 - Summers' deliveries arrive over a longer period of time.
 - Two enemy Deviators were added to the northwest base.
 - Two enemy AIs will now berserk past a certain point.
 - Summers washed her mouth out with a bar of soap.
 - Summers may build at the rear entrance sooner.
 - The unknown enemies will now use Saboteurs.
 - Enemy Saboteurs show up around 20 mins in.
 - Saboteur AI will be superior to S10V1.
 - The enemy only has one Starport now.
 - All enemies' starting units increased.
 - First enemy attack happens MUCH sooner.
 - The enemy has a few special infantry.
 - The midfield AIs focus on defense.
 - The final AI focuses on offense.

PAR TIME, Hard difficulty: 111000 (~30m)

Additional comments:
This map was previously quite linear. Linearity can be a good thing in certain situations. I regard S02V2's first part on rails as being interesting enough, and then the player can use LAVs or infantry to surgically strike the Imperial base and delay them, or to fortify the Sietch and hold out. SBON1 was entirely on rails, but the unique execution and short duration of the map prevented it from overstaying its welcome, and it wound up being an enjoyable little run-and-gun. Even S18 is pretty linear, but the sheer size and scale of the battle, the sense of progression, and the major events that take place help to make it fun throughout - not counting how the enemy bases have multiple exploitable weak points, allowing them to be approached in a multitude of different ways.

In the original S12, the linearity was not a good sort. The only ways forward were through some heavily fortified enemy positions, and while there were multiple ways to approach the unknowns' bases, there weren't enough ways. The original design heavily encouraged one specific approach, armored assault, and it wasn't even the last enemy base. Not good at all. Makes the map drag on. Never want that, no.

Opening up the center of the map hasn't necessarily made it easier. Trying to attack that way can get the player surrounded by enemy forces on three sides, and the far AI can send attacks in unison with the two at midfield. However, it has made the map significantly less linear! And the sides of the map too, those allow for more approaches to the southwest and northeast enemy bases.

The changes to the map's linearity were fine and dandy, I might have been content leaving it at that, but there was more to do to make this map fun and engaging. Expanding on Summers' reinforcements was one thing, adjusting the enemy unit composition was another. Ornithopters, no. Saboteurs, yes. And they come in after you get an extra MCV, and Moriaen even warns you about them since they do actually use their cloaking this time. So you get more stuff temporarily and you're fighting less stuff all around, that's good. There's enough to get the player out onto the field rather than turtle up the base. Especially the Stealth Raiders, there's lots of room to use them now. https://i.imgur.com/AI72jY5.jpg Now that the enemy bases are properly centralized, and much of the detailing was done in the ruins of the OSO base formerly in the region...

This map's gimmick of freeing the Devastators and using them to clean-sweep the enemy is now available much, much sooner. Not only are there more Devastators to work with, but the map was modified in some very specific ways to enable a rush strategy. If you hit the last base first, you're behind the enemy Wind Traps. https://i.imgur.com/9MY8e71.png On my hard mode test run, the first thing I did was free the Devastators, and this became one giant escort mission. Really added some flavor to the map, and was fun! Not to mention that by destroying the last base first, you take out the biggest threat to the Devastators - Deviators - and only need to deal with Sonic Tanks and stuff from then on. All I did was reinforce the Devastators with fresh Quads and Combat Tanks whenever I could, and I wound up finishing the map without even losing ten of the things.

I'm positive I can get a better par time if I play a bit less sloppy. :D

Here are the old / new map screenshots:
S10V1: Screaming in Silence
Old -
https://i.imgur.com/TIT51tO.jpg
New - https://i.imgur.com/srM6TjV.jpg

S11V1: Phantom Penance
Old -
https://i.imgur.com/S8fyRB4.jpg
New - https://i.imgur.com/01BZMfM.jpg

S12V1: False Pretenses
Old -
https://i.imgur.com/ere5dfx.jpg
New - https://i.imgur.com/Kpgz7l4.jpg

Much better designs. Aesthetically, and gameplay-wise. I'm very confident in my improvement; the old stuff is leagues behind the new, even though the old isn't that old at all. Despite having done this for quite a while, I'm still learning new things! I hope my designs also teach others a thing or two. I elaborate on some of the design decisions under the changelog spoilers. Both here and for the first 9 levels / 15 maps, in the link to the other thread.

I'll be continuing to develop template AIs so my tweaked editor can eventually be released. I'm already done with the default, Basic, Light, Light II, Armor, Utility, and Advanced AIs, and I've got six of the easier Advanced II AIs worked up. I just need to finish those, and the Ultimate and Boss AIs. I'll also get SBON2, S13V1, S13V2, S14V1, S14V2, S15V1, SBON3, and S18V1 updated when I can. And then I just need to whip up S16V1 / V2 and S17V1 / V2, and that'll be a wrap for this campaign.

My template AIs will be optimized, with preset BuildRatios or AttackBuildingPriorities depending on the type of AI. For instance, the "Snowball" preset is designed to build up its economy first. It's weak in the early game, but very powerful in the late game. Thus, a second type of AI, "Reactive," is another preset that can be given to a Snowball's ally so said Snowball can receive its early-game protection and get to its late-game stage more reliably. Snowball AIs are pretty sweet. S09V1's Ordos AI is a good example of an optimized Snowball AI, and... well, this is what it looks like eventually: https://prnt.sc/nn7uxq

Rough draft versions of the maps mentioned above that still need work, except S16V1 / V2 and S17V1 / V2, can be found earlier in this thread. However, I must emphasize that since this is a WIP thread, they are rough drafts. S01V1 through S12V1 are in their final draft states, and are thus the most polished and balanced. Still, if you decide to check out the rough drafts of those maps, please don't hesitate to drop by and leave a comment if you haven't already. Any more feedback would help me polish them up for their final draft states!

I know I've got a bunch of campaigns to play myself, I've just felt in a really hardcore creative mood lately. And, I'm able to map while doing certain other things I need to do a lot of these days, whereas playing through, not so much. So, uhh, please do pardon the delays. I'm trying to squeeze out as much as I can before I inevitably get mapper's block again. :P

Anyway, good luck and have fun!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...