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【Release】 Glory_Awaits Campaigns, AT part, By MattBaker


MattBaker

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Hi, guys!

I originally wanted to upload all my missions, but found adding information to the MissionLauncher using D2kEditorv12 took much time. So this is the first part, Atreides missions. Please read ReadMe text first. Enjoy!

 

***** I found Cm_blast's Smuggler's campaign (the 4 mini ones posted long ago) very difficult. Are my mission too easy? :blink:

Glory_Awaits_AT_By MattBaker.zip

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NEW C A M P A I G N

Yay. :D Will have a look as soon as can.

Edit: Ayy, you're using special binaries? 😮 If you plan to use mods, I must inform you that my own has introduced some new graphics and stuff, so even if you don't use it specifically (especially since it ain't totally done yet), perhaps you'd want to re-use the graphics or something. The Storm Lasher graphic could just as easily be a new sort of plasma-based power plant as it is a mega-turret. :) I also have some unfinished graphics (like Combat Tank bodies with stripes of faction color), which I may be more inclined to finish if there's demand for them.

References:

Spoiler

Storm Lasher attacking targets: https://prnt.sc/l44lv2
Storm Lasher damaged: https://prnt.sc/l44x62
Striped Combat Tanks: https://prnt.sc/l6197k

I also plan to work up a Heighliner tileset at some point after the New Year has started, just FYI, in case that's also something that folks'll want to use.

Edited by Fey
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12 hours ago, MattBaker said:

Hi, guys!

I originally wanted to upload all my missions, but found adding information to the MissionLauncher using D2kEditorv12 took much time. So this is the first part, Atreides missions. Please read ReadMe text first. Enjoy!

 

***** I found Cm_blast's Smuggler's campaign (the 4 mini ones posted long ago) very difficult. Are my mission too easy? :blink:

Glory_Awaits_AT_By MattBaker.zip

Good, new campaign.

I am wondering; you campaign are really using those luminar's bynaries?
Those are to change mostly Ixian and Fremen (or so at least said the readme). I don't know if during you campaign you face them or not; because if Ixian/Fremen are not present then those ".bin" files are not really necesary.

I will play your campaign soon!

Edited by Cm_blast
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I downloaded the binary 3 years ago, so it should be a very old version.

 

Yes, my campaign doesn' t include side Ix and Fremen, but when I started create my campaign my Dune2000 had already installed the binary, so I continued to use it. The most important feature is the binary strongly strenthen the soldier Fremen.

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4 hours ago, MattBaker said:

I downloaded the binary 3 years ago, so it should be a very old version.

 

Yes, my campaign doesn' t include side Ix and Fremen, but when I started create my campaign my Dune2000 had already installed the binary, so I continued to use it. The most important feature is the binary strongly strenthen the soldier Fremen.

Let me explain how those bin works.

Those .bin files are the ones that said to the game all the values from the units. For example, you can make the combat tank to cost 1200 credits, making it much more faster, more extra health... or making this tank to be produced at tech 1 instead 3... changes like these.

To do this changes you need to use Tibed, but if you have no intention of using that tool and just make the game being their original values then those .bin files posted are not needed.

From the Luminar's Fremen, those .bin files allow the Fremen (side 4) to be able to build the Sietch as it was another barracks. That readme tell about a couple of other changes, but I can not tell for sure (I would need to do a deep check up) if it is other changes done or not.

So, those .bin files are not needed for your campaign here; the only trully file needed it's a "tiledata.bin" if somebody want to play the campaign on an original Dune 2000; but gruntmods already have that file updated, I think, so it's not needed either.

In short; unless you use Tibed to make specific changes for your campaign (which will also affect other people's campaign or the original westwood campaigns) then you only need to upload here the group .map/.mis/.ini into the forum and that's it, everyone can play your campaign.

Edited by Cm_blast
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1 hour ago, MattBaker said:

wow, I didn't go that deep. Thanks for the explanation!

My missions need the strong Fremen soldiers so they need Luminar's Fremen Binary.

Do you know what exactly changed about the Fremen? I noticed they have self healing. I checked out the first level, both versions. Still have like zero free time at the moment, but, due to complications with the thing I'm working on, I'm forced to not do anything for at least a few minutes, so I have a spot of time to check out something at least!

@Cm Sorry mate, uhh, I know I got a lot of your stuff on the table to play but don't you agree that it's best to encourage the newcomers with some more attention? :D I promise I haven't forgotten! Really!

1.1:

Spoiler

I moved all my units to the left side of my base and promptly got both Combat Tanks taken over by Deviators. They ran over my infantry, so I restarted the map. That was unexpected. :D

Next, I sold my Silos since it said I'd get a new Harvester, but that obviously meant if the Harvester were lost. I was just screwing around. It should be noted that the mission becomes impossible due to Silos needed if the player doesn't have at least two, so I suppose that should also be a mission failed event if all the Silos are lost.

I found the Barracks up in the top left. If structures are placed on the very top tile, it doesn't allow concrete to be placed, but you can make it look right by manually placing Concrete Foundation from the tileset itself. Anyway, I captured it and realized that even though the Ordos can build Troopers, I only get Light Infantry. If you'd like to make the Ordos build only Light Infantry despite having the tech level to build Troopers, that's a quick fix in the AI parameters. Lmk if you'd like to know where it is.

No power, but since we only get to build Light Infantry, that's no problem, really.

I noticed that some of the wall apparently belongs to our Fremen ally. If you'd like them to move their defense forces around without the need for the wall ownership thing, there's a way to do that too in the AI parameters!

There is a LOT of stuff going on on this map. Ordos, Harkonnen, a Fremen ally, enemies in all corners of the map, and even Siege Tanks. It's all a tad much for such a small map! I'd recommend expanding the terrain or changing enemy unit composition. One great modder once told me: You never want to outright kill the player. And what he meant by that was, you can pressure the player, put them up against great challenges, but never outright screw them. Analyzing the enemy unit composition on this map, it's possible to:
 - Use Combat Tanks on the Trikes on the top
 - Take out the Missile Tank on the right side with Light Infantry
 - Take out the Deviators in the top left with Light Infantry
 - Kill the Troopers in the bottom right with Light Infantry
 - Poke the Siege Tanks in the bottom left with the Combat Tanks

But, in the meantime, the player only gets one Raider, a Trooper, a Fedaykin once in a while, and without power, Light Infantry production is quite slow, so capturing the Barracks isn't very substantial. And there's no guarantee the player will find it if they, say, take their units to the bottom right first instead. And what if the Combat Tanks are lost, the worm doesn't eat the Siege Tanks, and you need to go take out the Saboteurs that arrive only to have all your Light Infantry slaughtered by the Siege Tanks?

TL;DR, giving the player ways to stay in the game despite losing important, albeit not mission-critical structures or units is always a good idea!

1.2:

Spoiler

Woah, wait a second. This is level 1, version 2, and I get a base and a Sonic Tank right off the bat? O.o Am a confuzzled. Did a map get out of order or something?

Ah, this is interesting. We can order Troopers from the Starport in this mod... but we don't get any MCVs. Please do tell me: Do you enjoy being able to order infantry from the Starport? Cm and I were debating this the other day where he argued the Starport is good for mass-producing more strong units and it's best when it's vehicles, any sort of vehicle, because the discounts are best on vehicles and by the time your Starport-ordered infantry have arrived, you could have like ten to twenty of them trained from the Barracks... I pointed out that the Starport's stock is quite random, so if the vehicles are totally out of stock, infantry would at least provide some sort of combat-oriented unit to order over a utility unit like an MCV or Harvester.

I enjoy being able to order MCVs, Harvesters, and even Carryalls from the Starport, so I'm not sure I'd change it really. It was just an idea to put up Troopers and Grenadiers at the Starport for my own mod. I'm only curious if you suppose it does work out.

This map is pretty big. It feels nice and open, which is great. I think the idea to have a lot of wide infantry-only passages is interesting, especially since the player's main units are infantry, but it seems to suffer from a slow pacing. I call the Starport more of a "support structure" than a reliable production structure. It can be quite random and on a large, fairly open map like this, another Refinery for the player and the ability to produce light vehicles would go a long way to make the map less infantry-march-across-open-terrain, more zip-around-and-blow-stuff-up. Light vehicles make great support units for infantry as the slower infantry deal lots of damage, but are delicate and slow. Light vehicles may also be delicate, but their great speed lets them intercept enemy units threatening your infantry, scout terrain and the enemy base, and rush important enemy structures deeper inside the enemy base.

It's also clear to me, as one who has used many AIs before, that there are multiple AIs controlling the other factions' bases. Another player who doesn't mod so much may not notice it, but I figured I'd let you know that I do. I appreciate symmetry too, but at times, a lack of it can be more practical (i.e. one Refinery for each AI, but one focuses on infantry and tanks and the other on light vehicles, reducing the need for Harvesters and Solaris). Perhaps nothing you'd want to change, but something worthwhile to consider as you continue mapping!

That said, this map was fun! I supported my allies at first, but eventually moved down to the Ordos base and took it out with a large group of Fremen. I had a few vehicles, but I mostly kept them for defense, which is all that's really needed, and a perfect role for the Starport when considered in the "support structure" lens. I'd say the map could be improved by:
 - Open up the terrain a little more to vehicles, but leave some of the wide infantry-only passages. Those were great for exploiting enemy vehicle movement!
 - Give the player a Light Factory. Even one would be nice to keep infantry the main units, but allow for some support. More than the Starport provides, anyway.
 - Maybe give the player one more Refinery. Maybe. :P

And see how that goes.

If I get a bit more time, I'll continue with this campaign for the time being. :)

Edit: I took a look at TibEd. Wow! The Fremen have got over twice as much HP as Sardaukar, self-heal, they have a massive sight radius, AND the non-stealth version is available at tech level 1 for only a hundred Solaris per? O.o That's nuts!

My own mod gives all infantry self-healing to 50% HP, and Troopers and Grenadiers have better range, but all weapons overall are better against infantry. So, infantry remain effective and can last a long time, but they can be killed quickly with a focused attack too. This makes it viable to slowly push through an enemy base using infantry, giving them time to recover between structures, as I did on GAAt1v2 with the Fremen. And, it adds merit to spreading infantry out on infantry rock rather than stacking them up given the threat of AoE damage from many attacks, especially high explosives. Grenadiers are common anti-infantry / structure units, which adds another danger against infantry on the battlefield. Although present here too, it seems Siege Tanks aren't buffed and other units in general aren't stronger against infantry either. So, I wonder how the zerked-up Fremen will perform on later maps.

Edited by Fey
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4 hours ago, MattBaker said:

wow, I didn't go that deep. Thanks for the explanation!

My missions need the strong Fremen soldiers so they need Luminar's Fremen Binary.

Oook; I'll use your files then, but I could suggest to add  a readme into your zip file or editing your first post here to say what people are suppose to do with those files.

You need to write that those files are suppose to overwrite the originals, overwritting them at the path \data\bin.
However; suggest to do a back up first or people could change his game forever. So just for the sake of helping people to play your campaign with your strong fremen you really need to say to people where to place those files (like I said, editing your first post to add this info should be enough).

Also, if a some point you want to recover the original files (which I guess you don't have) for creating another campaign or whatever, you can ask for them. Either I upload the files or make you to download any of my campaigns that includes them, because when I create a campaign that change the rules of the game I like to add a security copy.

3 hours ago, Fey said:

@Cm Sorry mate, uhh, I know I got a lot of your stuff on the table to play but don't you agree that it's best to encourage the newcomers with some more attention? :D I promise I haven't forgotten! Really!

It's alright, I want to play them too as soon as posible!

3 hours ago, Fey said:

Edit: I took a look at TibEd. Wow! The Fremen have got over twice as much HP as Sardaukar, self-heal, they have a massive sight radius, AND the non-stealth version is available at tech level 1 for only a hundred Solaris per? O.o That's nuts!

Those .bin are part of the Luminar's Fremen campaign, made long time ago. I don't remember exactly all the tech of changes done, but I still remember maps with allies deploying bases and training Fremen and grenadiers as basic units.

Probably Luminar didn't had too much knowledge about Tibed but he wanted to be sure that the Fremen (unit) were a strong unit in the context of his campaign.

Here Mattbaker it's just reusing those old files to this new campaign. Anyway; he said before that Ix or Fremen sides are not used during the campaign, so if Fremen (unit) apears sporadically on some maps we will need to overcome whatever extra power that unit was given.

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I got another two down, but I think I'm out of spare time for a few days, at least. Got some good feedback for ya, though!

2.1:

Spoiler

Ayy, Sietches. They look funny on rock. :P

How come I get a Deviator? Aren't I playing as Atreides? 😮 And how come
the Ordos and Harkonnen are allied? When did that happen? I noticed your briefings only seem to contain objectives, no context. There's nothing wrong with the old-fashioned John Romero style of game design, where all you give is context clues in the maps themselves and maybe a touch of story here or there, and that's fair enough. The Ordos and Harkonnen are both your enemy, so maybe they allied with each-other early on just to get you out of the way. However, the mission launcher doesn't have a limit for how much text can be displayed, so you can add as much briefing as you'd like!

Well, anyway, I think I'm getting a feel for this campaign. It's some original maps, some custom, and there's crazy stuff all over the place. Right? I recognize A2V1, but the base to the left is definitely new.

The default resolution is fairly small and doesn't allow for much text in-game, unfortunately. I play at 640x400 for the sake of authenticity as adding more sidebar options reduces difficulty by making the macro game easier. The first transmission received on GAAt2v1, the one that says: "Optional Objective: Protect your ally's silo to receive more help from your ally." clips through the timer the level starts with at this resolution.

I had the Harkonnen ConYard down before the timer was halfway down thanks to the powerful Fremen, but I noticed the Harkonnen have a ton of tanks below that. The tanks were trying to attack me, but couldn't since Concrete Walls and a Gun Turret were blocking the way.

Since I didn't have the forces to take out the enemy units behind the Gun Turret, I explored a little more and found the Ordos base. That went down no problem, I had plenty of Fremen. I have to remark that the infantry rock placement to the left of the Ordos base was good. Infantry rock around an enemy base is really nice to have, so please keep placing it in such a location on future maps!

Unfortunately, despite the effective early aggression, the sheer amount of enemy reinforcements even after the big attack at the end of the timer made it difficult to actually mass enough forces to finish off the enemy. This dragged on the map, ruining it. When several Saboteurs took out all my remaining Refineries, I had to restart. I might have had the infantry to detect them if Siege Tanks weren't participating in the preceding attack.

Saboteurs have a special case AI, so they won't appear alongside other units in a reinforcement attack and they tend to stealth before getting near the player's base. I don't mind the big attacks, but the frequent use of Saboteurs doesn't contribute to the map. I'd say you should either remove the Siege Tanks or the Saboteurs.

The ability to build Quads would be fantastic on this map to take out the Harkonnen Siege Tanks. They have a lot of them behind the Gun Turret in their base.

Siege Tank reinforcements would also be much preferred to Missile Tanks given the amount of enemy infantry they send, and we can't build Grenadiers either. A Sonic Tank would be awesome too. The Deviator seems about as useless as the Missile Tanks. And because our special tanks are useless and Trikes are so delicate anyway, I found the Repair Pad was better sold to make space for more buildings than actually being there to repair things.

I saw on my second attempt that the Harkonnen have a Starport behind the Gun Turret, which explains the amount of enemy Siege Tanks. They sold it during my first attempt after ordering a bunch of units. The Starport is a symptom of one of the biggest problems I'm seeing on these maps so far: Too much unit variety. The player gets light tech without Quads, Troopers, and Grenadiers, leaving our only options at Light Infantry, Fremen, and Trikes. Light Infantry are totally useless next to Fremen. Fremen are awesome, but even they suck against the amount of Siege Tanks the enemy throws at you, even neglecting to mention the Harkonnen Starport. Trikes excel against infantry and can match enemy Trikes / Raiders, Missile Tanks, and Deviators in combat. Because of the enemy unit composition, effective counters with the available tech come out to:
Light Infantry:
 - Fremen are way superior. They might be useful to detect Saboteurs, but even if you spread them around your base, they may get picked off far too easily any time by the constant enemy reinforcements from behind you. So, Fremen remain superior even for that.

Fremen:
 - Infantry.
 - Trikes / Raiders / Quads.
 - Combat Tanks.
 - Deviators / Missile Tanks.
 - Devastators (maybe the Deviator is helpful for these, but really the Fremen are so OP the Devastators aren't enough of a threat to warrant the use of a Deviator).

Trikes:
 - Infantry (except cloaked Saboteurs).
 - Trikes / Raiders.
 - Siege Tanks (still awful to fight due to Trikes' armor being too delicate to withstand Siege Tank fire, not sturdy like Quads).
 - Deviators / Missile Tanks.

That's a LOT of stuff the Fremen need to deal with. Even though they are powerful, they need to be spread thin due to the amount of angles the enemy attacks from, leaving little to actually push the attack.

Having said all that, here are my recommendations for improving this map:
 - The ally was totally useless. Despite being able to produce their own units, they never seemed to have any.
 - Boost the tech level. Quads and Grenadiers would make a world of difference given the enemy unit composition.
 - Give more appropriate reinforcements. Missile Tanks and Deviators are fairly useless. Siege Tanks and Sonic Tanks would be so much better.
 - Expand the map size. The enemy attacks are large and the player would benefit immensely from having more time to react to enemy forces headed his way. And, the enemy bases are extremely dense with structures. Expanding the map would remedy both of these issues.
 - If you insist on keeping the Starport, then open up the wall. Unleashing a massive wave of nasty tanks all at once is awful compared to letting them stream out of the base one by one. Even if the player has to deal with more enemy units, they are more easily handled.
 - Reduce enemy unit variety at least to the point where the player has an effective counter for all threats.
 - Pick either Siege Tanks or Saboteurs. Massed Engineers are plenty of trouble already.

2.2:

Spoiler

If our objective is to capture as many buildings as possible, how come our ally is destroying the base? If we're allies, wouldn't they refrain from doing something like that?

I destroyed the attacking allied units to capture as much stuff as possible. If you want to have a rush like that, I'd say it'd be better justified by having a 1v1v1. The side attacking the base you want to capture isn't on your side nor on the enemy's side, so they'll try and destroy it before you get to capture it.

On the plus side, I appreciate that Harvesters were given as reinforcements. If the player decided to capture the Refineries without waiting for a Harvester to dock at it, this ensures the player still has the means to generate funds.

Does the Imperial AI have structures in the starting base? An identical AI should have the buildings in the first base you capture, instead. The current state of it allows a player to exploit the Imperial AI as they send defense forces to my base as long as I leave those structures intact. It's only a Trooper every now and then though.

How come we get reinforcements dropped behind a wall? That seems a bit silly. :P

Ohh, I get it. The Trooper is a spawned unit from the Sietch, the standing enemy structures in my base are pointless, and we get reinforcements to go beat up the Harkonnen afterwards. Okay, that makes more sense.

I like that you gave us the opportunity to snag two of each production structure, the ability to build Harvesters, and the ability to build Quads and train Troopers. That by itself has made this level so much better than its counterpart.

Destroying the Sietch was fun. I like that there are Combat Tanks and Gun Turrets, and that there's infantry rock in the top left corner. The Missile Tanks on the cliff are another nice touch. The fact that the Combat Tanks and Missile Tanks ONLY appear in the top left corner was noticed and appreciated. Dealing with the masses of enemy light vehicles and infantry on the top right was resistance enough. Enemy unit variety was on point on this map, very good. And, I should mention that giving the player options for early aggression, like a Sietch he'll want to take out right away, is great for a feeling of making progress on the map. I love early aggression, so I hope to see more like that in future maps.

The reinforcements being heavy Combat Tanks and Sardaukar was appreciated given the enemy Gun Turrets. I wished they arrived just a little bit more often, just a little, but it was fine as it was. One large initial delivery right after the Sietch is taken out could do a lot to further progress the map along, especially considering AI defenses. Their AIs' production is largely responsible for the strength of their defenses, so I'll get to that in a second.

Once again, I have to wonder what the point of the allied faction is. I get mercenaries to help stuff out, but it just seems like more clutter. You know?

I'd say the Harkonnen ConYard should be further back in their base. Attacking from the left is simply too good to not do, but attacking from the bottom felt natural to me. I like that there are multiple pathways into the enemy base, and that the terrain is mostly nice and wide open, but the enemy base is really, really cramped. Side 2 built structures in every crack. In the editor, the amount of space in the enemy base looks a-okay, but then when side 2 starts placing its buildings, that's when it becomes simply too much.

The base entrances and routes between the player's base and the enemies' are very well-designed. There's plentiful infantry rock on the cliff edges, enough space to move, but not quite enough to get comfortable. At the enemy base entrances, the enemy units have plenty of room to swarm out from the center of the base while the player's units would be split up and picked off easily if they rush in without blowing stuff up along the way. This staggers an attack by the player very well - effectively, but fairly. I'd love to see more of this in future maps!

Like, just to dissect what was achieved with the enemy base here:

Spoiler

https://prnt.sc/lwr7ut

Blue arrows = Enemy path.
Yellow boxes = Mass points.
Red arrows = Player attacks.

Given the structure of the enemy base, the enemy units can funnel through to meet the player's units no problem. Very fluid. Lots of space for them. Meanwhile, if the player attempts to rush into the enemy base, his units are filtered and can be picked off easily. Motion can be improved by destroying enemy structures along the way, and it's still possible to navigate (not accounting for side 2's random building placement), but the enemy's starting position is quite defensible. I'd say the Gun Turret on the cliff edge at 43, 20 could be removed as the player doesn't get LRA. The bottom is already hard enough to attack first since the ConYard is on the left and they rebuild Gun Turrets.

As another example to show more clearly what I mean, have a look at this base setup:

Spoiler

https://prnt.sc/lwq4ju

Blue arrows = Enemy path.
Pink boxes = Artillery here.
Red arrows = Player attacks.

In this hypothetical situation, the player begins on the top side and the Atreides is the enemy. There are ways around to the bottom and left angles of attack, but the top way is the closest and so it's the best guarded.

If the player attempts to attack this base from the north, he encounters several obstacles:
 - Enemy forces funnel on the way out into a central area. Players' units would be split up or surrounded on the way in.
 - Enemy defense forces are arranged to overwhelm a direct attack and are covered by a Sonic Tank and Gun Turrets.
 - Enemy infantry and heavy vehicles are a good combination of slow and armored or hard-hitting units.

However, the area has several exploitable weak points, even when the intent is still to attack from the north:
 - The Concrete Wall can be leveled easily by Grenadiers or Siege Tanks, exposing the factories and opening more tiles for movement.
 - Standing enemy defense forces will be vulnerable as they funnel out of the entrance, which itself is a slight choke point.
 - Both Heavy Factories are within reach of LRA units like Missile and Siege Tanks placed below the cliff wall.

Given these weaknesses, the player can:
 - Remove the restriction on his own units' movement.
 - Confront enemy defense forces in a favorable position.
 - Remove the heaviest defenders by razing the Heavy Factories.

Removing those threats enables a player to overwhelm the enemy position much more easily. It's a very difficult position to attack, but with a little strategic placement, the player can make it easier on himself to pierce the base defenses and bite into the meaty center. See what I mean?

However, I have one complaint. Looking at the AI parameters, it's evident you're using preset AIs of certain sorts. I see a standard practice AI on side 2 and what looks like two campaign AIs on sides 1 and 3. They all differ:
 - Side 1's campaign AI produces units normally. Low build rate, high emergency rate.
 - Side 2's practice AI produces units normally. High build rate, high emergency rate.
 - Side 3's campaign AI produces units with infinite funds. Low build rate, high emergency rate.

Side 1's AI suffers from its low build rate, but its high emergency rate ensures it dumps all its funds when the player attacks.

Side 2's AI contributes the most to attacking forces thanks to its high build rate. Probably. Side 1 has its attack strength set to 100% while the standard practice AI has its attack strength set to 40%.

Side 3 unleashes a constant stream of defenders with its high emergency rate and infinite funds. It contributes little to an attack, but makes attacking the enemy base significantly harder.

As fun as it may be to saturate the map with AIs, as I myself love to do, certain effects could be easier achieved with two AIs, or even just one, instead of three. Which may be preferable in this case because as great as the base entrance design was, there were sooo many enemy defenders and I found myself wanting more Combat Tanks than I got.

If you were looking to make one or two strong AI(s) instead of three separate ones, here are some parameters you may want to change. Simply hit F10 in the editor to open up the mission settings, then check out the AI parameters on the right side.

https://prnt.sc/lwrhba - Near the top are a bunch of general parameters.

Spoiler

 --- Harvesters / Carryalls per Refinery. Try giving the AI more Harvesters than their max, and setting the max to like 1 or something! They will use all the Spice they can get, but if the player seeks and destroys some Harvesters, the AI will be gimped from then on. The AI usually builds an extra Harvester at the start of the map as long as they have a Heavy Factory; the Harvesters that fly in on Carryalls for the start don't necessarily count towards the max until they land.
 --- When does the AI first attack? How often do they attack? The time's in tics, and you can make two AIs alternate (i.e. 7500 / 12000 first attacks, 9000 recurring; the player will be attacked once every three minutes, but each AI will build up for six minutes before attacking, making the attacks stronger).
 --- What percentage of their free units does the AI use for a certain purpose? AttackBuildingStrength, ProtectStrength, DefendStrength. Do you want the AI to dedicate many of its forces to its attacks, or would you rather it save its units to defend its base?
 --- Build / emergency rates. This AI will build a new unit once every minute (1500 tics) until the player is attacking its base, and then it will try to build a new unit every single tic. This will certainly result in the AI hoarding credits until it needs to defend its base.

https://prnt.sc/lwrhoh - A little further down from the top are some useful parameters for adjusting resource allocation.

Spoiler

 --- CashStash is how many credits the AI will hoard before trying to build something. The AI will dump all Solaris into defense forces if the emergency build rate is active! You can have the AI save, say, 1800 Solaris when all is calm. That's a good amount to dump into emergency defenses when needed. I don't recommend setting the CashStash for anything over 2000 Solaris because the Refinery can only hold that much, and if the AI has only one Refinery left to generate funds, they'll hit the cap and only build new things as they get the "Silos needed!" message.
 --- Morale should be set to 100. Otherwise, the AI may simply build units and not feel courageous enough to attack the player if enough casualties are suffered.

https://prnt.sc/lwri84 - On the lower end of the AI parameters list is Build Ratios.

Spoiler

 --- BuildRatios determine what buildings take priority when a practice AI is building its base or a campaign AI is re-building its structures. The math behind it has already been figured out, so we know how to make a practice AI that starts with only a ConYard (like the side 2 AI on this map) build certain structures in exactly the order we want it to build them. However, if you simply want to make the side 1 AI focus primarily on rebuilding its Gun Turrets over everything else, you can set the ratio for them to 9.999 and the AI will rebuild only lost Gun Turrets before doing anything else. If you want to know how to manipulate it perfectly, just ask and I'll give ya a run-down of how the BuildRatio math works. :P

https://prnt.sc/lwrilt - Near the bottom are BuildPriorities and RepairValues for units.

Spoiler

 --- BuildPriorities for units are how you get your AIs to deploy specific combinations of units. With two AIs on a light tech map, for example, you can have one of them build mostly Troopers and Trikes, and the other can build mostly Light Infantry and Quads. The ratio for any unit can be greater than 1.000. As for how it works... say you set Light Infantry to 3 and Troopers to 1, for example. The AI will build 3 Light Infantry for every Trooper, and the one Trooper will be trained first. Setting one of these BuildPriorities to 0.000 will prevent the AI from training any units of that sort even if they have the tech level to build it.
 --- RepairValues are the percentage of HP below which the AI will send a vehicle to the Repair Pad. This works on pre-placed units which normally stay on guard mode! If you place a Combat Tank on defense in the enemy base with a RepairValue of 0.999, the player can so much as dent it and it will stop being stationary on guard mode and instead join the attack or defense groups as a 'free' unit once it's repaired.

The above parameters are all pretty easy to work with and can have a massive impact on how the map feels in the end! GAAt2v2 was a great map, but hopefully this feedback helps you improve it further.

Apologies if that's a tad much to take in. I tend to ramble. :)

2 hours ago, Cm_blast said:

It's alright, I want to play them too as soon as posible!

Yee.

2 hours ago, Cm_blast said:

Those .bin are part of the Luminar's Fremen campaign, made long time ago. I don't remember exactly all the tech of changes done, but I still remember maps with allies deploying bases and training Fremen and grenadiers as basic units.

Probably Luminar didn't had too much knowledge about Tibed but he wanted to be sure that the Fremen (unit) were a strong unit in the context of his campaign.

Here Mattbaker it's just reusing those old files to this new campaign. Anyway; he said before that Ix or Fremen sides are not used during the campaign, so if Fremen (unit) apears sporadically on some maps we will need to overcome whatever extra power that unit was given.

Yee.

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Here; I played the first two maps, only the first version. I will play only v1 from each map and when I finish the campaign restarting playing the second version.

So, Glory_A1V1:

Spoiler

This map was lots of triel and error for me. I needed to restart the map a couple of times until I learn where and who the enemies are comming. With that knowledge I could finish the map fine. Just infantry/raiders/St.Fremen covering the biggest attack (the troopers) the rest was easy to deal with.

Something I would like to suggest it's to add at least a basic briefing. don't need to be a very indeep story, and I don't mind if the story made no sense or if is just a bunch of mission with not deep relations one to the other.

But at least Would nice something. For example, like this:
"This will be you first work. Harvest 5000 to increase our power. Harkonnen and Ordos will try to stop you. We will send you some mercenaries to protect you refinery".

Because when I was playing and saw the merc-carryall comming I was "no, I cannot fight more units!, no more!" and they got stuck into the walls and when I went near then I realize "oh, they are ally, well, something good at last".

And now Glory_A2V1:

Spoiler

Just like the previous maps; until I didn't know where the enemies were coming I had tons of trouble.

In fact, there are Harkonnen infantry and troopers spawning (and accumulating) on the top corner. I place a few trikes there to be sure that they die as soon as they were spawned.

Indeed a really hard map; the enemy keeps launching advanced units against me, with multiple reinforcements and tanks and other kind of stuff; In fact; I was about to play fair, but when I saw all that coming at me I said "no". My first step was selling and rebuilding the refineries so I could have at least 4 harvesters and keep training unints non-stop.

Also saving constalty because those nasty saboteurs that come out of nowhere.

This was a really though map. I used everysingle trick I could, and I barely survive.

At least I am glad that the Harkonnen didn't have a harvester so they keep selling the buildings as their money run out; still hard enough.

Again; would nice having somekind of briefing: and again, not need to be too deep, just any excuse will be enough; but pointing how Harkonnen and Ordos are going to take you out or something.

On 12/19/2018 at 2:46 AM, Fey said:

I had the Harkonnen ConYard down before the timer was halfway down thanks to the powerful Fremen, but I noticed the Harkonnen have a ton of tanks below that. The tanks were trying to attack me, but couldn't since Concrete Walls and a Gun Turret were blocking the way.

Since I didn't have the forces to take out the enemy units behind the Gun Turret, I explored a little more and found the Ordos base. That went down no problem, I had plenty of Fremen. I have to remark that the infantry rock placement to the left of the Ordos base was good. Infantry rock around an enemy base is really nice to have, so please keep placing it in such a location on future maps!

Lucky you; I barely survive here. much less taking out the Ordos buildings. and even much less doing it before the time run out. In fact, if I hadn't the repair pad I could not won the map; just too many enemy attacks to me to stop them. building and repairing was my only way to survive. In fact, It took me so many time that when I read you saying "Hark starport" I was "Starport? What starport?" The Harkonnen sold both starport and light fact to continue producing units; he sold the barracks when I was on my attack.

Just to show some data here from the launcher:
I lost 108 units
I killed 333, for a total of 400 units killed between me and my ally.


And to finish here; I would prefer if the enemy use a bit less units per wave, because everytime I try to do something a new wave comes and I cannot afford keeping attention at too many room around with soo many units. I don't mind 1 or 2 siege tanks/devastators/whatever from time to time, but when a drop contain 3 siege tanks, 3 quads, the next 25 infantry, the next 11 more units with quads/tank/infantry... on top of other units that both Hark and Ordos are producing it's a bit too much; it really scares me to try to go out of my own base (and not counting the units dropping at my back).

So, in short; I still enjoying these maps because they are random and unpredictable. It's not expected a map using trikes and the enemy launching siege tanks or combat tanks and stuff like that; but spreading a bit the overall power of the enemy attacks could be helpfull; or at least feel more secure to move around the terrain.

Personally at least for now I am enjoying the maps and will continue. I would ask for, at least, a small briefing; just saying "here Fremen will be your enemy" "now here Harkonnen and Ordos will join forces to attack you" or something like that. Don't need to be really deep, but mentioned an alliance between 2 factions will help a bit with the set up.

Edit:
Played 2 more maps.

The third map (A3v1) it's a bit unfair; I wish you didn't made the harvs to move into a dozen of troopers without any warning. I needed to restart the game a few times, because even later the other harv that appears without any advice went there.

The funny thing its that those harvs are not really needed.

Besides the very first part of the game, which took me several try; the rest was better designed. Using the upgraded St.Fremen to scout the area I could draw a path to reach the objetive; on top of that they were a few enemies patrolling here and there, but nothing too big, so good job; if only at the beginning of the stage you were a little more merciful for players that play it blindy. that would be better.

Just remind that you already know exactly what happens and what will happens, but until we don't take a try all that happen it's a surprise and, like I said, the rest of the map it's fine.

But there is something that I don't get; suddenly I heard "unit lost - unit lost" and that was because I recieve units into an area that I was ever trying to reach. Just around there are too many enemies around that path, so I don't know if are trying to say that going that path it's possible or you are dropping units there to show "there are even more units here".

About 4º map (A4v1):

I was scared of the situation with your ally and the enemy. Being as close one to the other I was expecting things to go wrong; but fortunatelly the ally keeps recieving lots of stuff so at the end was fine.

The main enemy strengh comes in form of reinforcements, so I am no longer being surprise with that. I still would like if in your briefing at least you tell the player who it's my ally and who it's my enemy.

Again, don't need to write a too deep story. Just "we want fremen to be our ally, but the Harkonnen and the Emperor are planning to destroy them. Protect the Fremen with the help of the Mercenaries" as briefing would be enough.

Fun map; yes; not as hard as I was expecting.

Ps: Also I read the "DUNE" spice letters =D.

Edited by Cm_blast
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I played a few more maps.

Map 5 was okay, but I needed to explot the AI if I wanted to have a chance. But you need to make the smugglers AI to not sell the buildings; I didn't ever know that they had a repair pad there; I capture the starport as soon as posible, so I didn't saw the repair pad and, by the time I reach the base, the building was gone; the Ai probably sell it because it's low in energy, who knows. change the AI tab "don't sell" from "0" to "1" to avoid that.

Map 6 made me to give up. The set up was interesting but not only there are enemies everywhere but they also drop units everywhere. I may try again but not without looking before with the editor; there are even extra units if you scout too much, so that's too unfair.

I also gave up on mission 7; just too many preknowledge needed and too many random stuff. The Fremen, being allied with the player during a few missions, now they are enemy for no reason. On top of that, you need to get all your Fremen killed to recieve extra units, same with grenadiers and Combat tanks.

The lack of info it's a huge problem here; you are the author so you have all the info with yourself, but we don't. When dropping units outside the player's base a message "dropping units to the south" would be enough or, in this case, a hint saying "if you loose your tanks more will be delivered".

For mission 8 I decided to simply play on easy; indeed; the map was easy. Probably even if I played this one in normal would be much more easy than the three previous maps; help that you have 1 ally (which I don't ever know who they are) recieve tons of units, so he alone do much damage than you can do.

Here I need to say that you have wrong the "Do Not build or capture any construction yards." you can capture the Imperial CY without any mission fail.

Personally I still enjoy a few of your maps; mainly those that not require to know what it's about to happen beforehand. Those base vs base are fine and playable, even with the constant drops the maps are fine.

It's just that the puzzle-type, or the survival ones has too much random stuff that we don't ever know what we will encounter; not even alliances or enemies that changes from map to map.

Keep improving; you have good concepts there and I hope soon you start using other events besides 40 reinforcements or Starport deliveries. Some maps, with more info on the briefing and/or ingame will be a big help and much more fair to play. It's not a good thing restarting a map after playing 15-20 minutes not because I did it wrong, but because I attacked a wrong spot that, before that, I didn't ever know that that spot didn't gave me any reward.

I like the use of the Repair Pad; that's something I would like to use but on my last campaign there wasn't a good moment to use the full concept; so I really like the way you are using the repair pad to transport units from one fight to another easily.

Just a hint "I suggest to start attacking the Harkonnen base" would be enough; I still need to scout my surrounding and looking where the Harkonnen base it's. But at least that info woul help to know where I should start; you can add a "The Harkonnen base have a Barracks, you can use that to increase your army" or something in between that; just a small hint.

Edit:
On the final map, there are two enemy reinforcements set to "none"; I guess that was not expected.

Event number 23 and 34; the first Harkonnen the second Emperor; 

Edited by Cm_blast
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  • 2 weeks later...

New post; I started playing this campaign again, now the second version of each map available.

On the first map I got and error here:

 

I had a few fremens on the only infantry area to the left part of the map, after taking those two turrets; I had spreaded some light infantry exploring the area, so I am not sure which AI trigger the error, but here it is.

I like the second mission; It's easy to cheat by attacking my ally so I could preserv more buildings, but I was fast enough to capture most of them except a few windtraps, a couple of silos and 1 barrack and light factory (still capture the other two + the heavy fact); so I didn't cheat this time.

I just wish had some info about the Imperial spawn from the Sietchs, just so know to rush that objetive a bit more, but anyway; not a bad map.

Mission 3 I had no idea what I am suppose to do; after spawning a few enemy groups and dieing my units. Now that I am looking into the editor seems more clear that I have 2 allies that will help me plus now it's more clear what I am suppose to do; I wish there were some info on the briefing, even if it is only a vague "go find an area with no enemy base on it".

And I beat mission 4; The mission it's fine although a bit unfair how the enemy produce tons of heavy vehicles; at least the player it's given 2 allies and free stuff; well, at least the map it's playable.

I also wish that the mercenaries saboteurs went against better buildings instead dieing tring to attack... no idea; but well, that's Ai's fault more than yours.

Ps: By the way; if you don't mind I am going to include this campaign into the main index; you are still free to change maps, events, adding briefing or whatever, the link will be on the main post just to give quick access to outsiders (unless you don't want it to be there).

Edited by Cm_blast
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2 hours ago, Cm_blast said:

On the first map I got and error here:

error.png.bd8cfa8b1bb3970118fd46ed03bca38e.png

I had a few fremens on the only infantry area to the left part of the map, after taking those two turrets; I had spreaded some light infantry exploring the area, so I am not sure which AI trigger the error, but here it is.

Just for the record, it's commonly believed this error seems to occur more often when the AI needs to take more complex paths around terrain or obstacles to reach its intended targets. Given all the weird paths and curves on this map, this error is more likely to appear.

Despite their size, I try to give the AI simple paths to various locations around my maps. If the battle must progress to the point where an AI with a formerly simple path needs to use a more complex one to reach the player (i.e. S18), I recommend giving the player a reinforcement MCV not necessarily to refocus the battle, but more-so to help prevent a shy player from receiving this error by staying in his starting base forever.

I haven't forgotten to continue with this campaign, by the way. Still been kinda busy lately, and trying to stay focused on that Heighliner tileset so I get it done; if I get distracted, I may drop the project for a while, and I really want to finish it. :D Anyway, hope that explanation helps!

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18 hours ago, Fey said:

Just for the record, it's commonly believed this error seems to occur more often when the AI needs to take more complex paths around terrain or obstacles to reach its intended targets. Given all the weird paths and curves on this map, this error is more likely to appear.

Despite their size, I try to give the AI simple paths to various locations around my maps. If the battle must progress to the point where an AI with a formerly simple path needs to use a more complex one to reach the player (i.e. S18), I recommend giving the player a reinforcement MCV not necessarily to refocus the battle, but more-so to help prevent a shy player from receiving this error by staying in his starting base forever.

Also for the record, this message shows a "13500" ticks, which it's only 9 minutes of game; But I think this happen just because the opposite, I had infantry spreaded while scouting and, at the same time, a group of 10-15 fremen destroying turrets and resting on the only infantry to avoid being crushed by the Combat tanks.

I think the AI (1 of them) started to hunt my infantry and, when that happens, the AI usually continue to go against other nearest units, which could be those Fremen, but with the path blocked by another AI they may try to go around the whole map (even the middle area).

All of this it's just a guess, but at least that's the info I can tell.

Edit: Played a couple of missions.
Mission 5, I guess I am bad player, because this map wasn't easy for me, despite the briefing saying it was.

Against my own nature I rushed the enemies and take out the enemies as faster as I could, so they didn't expand and become unstoppable; I started against a neutral enemy (I didn't know it was neutral, but anyway; better destroy them now before they turn on me), then I harass the enemy at the top-left part and, when I had the chance, capture a couple of their buildings to be able to expand the base.

Even although I was playing on easy I had trouble; everytime I tried to attack anything the enemy send a wave from another direction, so I was forced to load the game multiple times.

And mission 6; I wish there was more reveal maps giving help with the silos, even if you only reveal 1 sile at a time, but at this point, with the silos spreaded around the map, a few of them at the middle of nowhere... ¡Or literally in a corner! became hard to know where to search.

¡Also those quads reinforcements at the middle of the only-infantry area! Good thing I look into the editor to know that more quads will be delivered if I lost all, or else I couldn't beat the map with the current units. So, with the help of the editor to know this kind of hidden stuff, the map was much better and I didn't mind capturing a barrack to only produce infantry against missile tanks and rocket turrets, that wasn't that hard.

So, in short, a bit of more help to the player (less hidden information) and this puzzle map would be fine. 

Edited by Cm_blast
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Played mission 7 version 2; map was more easy than mission 5, with a similar set up. Not much to say here since the game it's played in a similar way, and the Harkonnen weren't a treath (only Imperial send devastators against me); probably my ally took care of them while I was attacking the other expanding bases.

About mission 9 version 2, game crash.
https://prnt.sc/m41fk0

You have too many buildings there; I opened the game with the editor, removed the Mercenary side (it's the one with less buildings there) and the game loaded fine; so you need to remove something, I'll say to eliminate a dozen of walls on the Fremen side and load the game again to see if it start; if don't start, remove more walls sections and so on.

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  • 2 months later...

Ayy lmao, I did some moaR. Like before, I'll throw in my advice that will hopefully help you to improve future maps! Along with whatever compliments I have.

Since you remarked in the other thread that context should be disregarded as the focus is purely on gameplay, I won't ask why weird units are on a particular map anymore. :P I do have much to say about gameplay anyway, so you're bound to get some good feedback. Still playing on normal, by the way.

What suggestions I offer may not necessarily be for a second draft of the already-released campaign, but more-so advice for if such a concept is attempted again. I'll try to explain in detail so it's clear why I make certain suggestions, too.

And, uhh, please don't take it personally if I have much to say that happens to be negative about a map here or there. I critique my own levels in exactly the same way. Besides, as a veteran modder and mapper, what I have to say about the gameplay / aesthetics / whatevz comes from years of testing-tempered experience! So I'll try and say what I thought worked well, or at all, and I'll also say what I found didn't work and why.

Anyway, here we go.

3V1:

Spoiler

I agree with Cm, it's pretty unfair to players who play through blindly. And, there are some confusing occurrences. What's the purpose of the Siege Tank and Trooper in the very back of the player's base, at a dead end? How come a Harvester lands in the middle of a bunch of Troopers? How come some Ordos Combat Tanks land in the top left corner only to get blown up by Devastators? There doesn't seem to be a purpose to them.

On a puzzle map like this, I'd suggest giving the player more space to operate. His base can be a safe zone where he can keep units that aren't being used, and things don't necessarily need to be so restrictive. The player can get some more Trikes or Stealth Raiders, maybe even another Sonic Tank or Deviator, and he can make progress a little faster but won't be able to break the parts of the map the player obviously is meant to circumvent.

The way I did it was, I took out the Siege Tank and Light Infantry near the enemy Repair Pad and captured it. I ferried stuff over with the one Carryall I got (A second or third Carryall would be great too) and made my way over to the center-right side of the map. I shimmied up around the enemy defenses after scouting it with my units and found the Refinery, captured it, and there ya go. GG.

A couple more nitpicks:

If you don't want sandworms to appear on the map, you can always place the spawner on rock instead of sand. I forget if I mentioned that before; I remember that happening on previous maps too.

The Ordos constantly getting new Harvesters even though I captured the Refinery resulted in some shenanigans. I think that can be removed as long as the Atreides get a new Harvester too. Also, there are some graphical errors on certain rock islands:
https://prnt.sc/n2pzzx

May want to keep your eyes out for those. They seem to be in more places, and in more maps, than only right here.

Other than the funny beginning and the occasional weirdness throughout the map, pretty solid puzzle map. I really like the occasional infantry that come to bother the player. It's not much, but it's enough to keep the player on his toes while he solves the puzzle, and it won't drain his resources or attention that much. With more focus and less restriction in future designs, and allowing for less preknowledge, I believe the concept could be improved!

3V2:

Spoiler

Another puzzle map! And I like this one a lot more. It's fun going to each rock island and seeing what I get, and if I run into enemies while being careful it isn't guaranteed to kill me.

After I found an MCV (the top area is OP compared to the bottom left, why so many MCVs in that one spot?), I got started and found that while the pathing was fine during the puzzley part of the map, it really presented a problem later on. When there are multiple paths to an objective, units may move in strange ways, and that's how this map is structured. For the sake of the combat part of the map, the paths would benefit from being wider.

The enemy's build rate and even their infinite reinforcements are fair, but Spice is quite decentralized and difficult to harvest quickly. It warranted abuse of pathing with Gun Turrets and LRA to whittle down the Ordos enough to actually invade their base.

So, I really like the premise of this map. The ally is useful and the neutral faction adds some tension, but with the poor combination of wonky unit pathing, lack of centralized resources, and a fairly large enemy base considering the previous quality, it suffers some. Still, even with the pathing issues, there is enough room near the Ordos base to mass units for invading the base, so that's good.

Also, regarding potential exploits and glitches: Having the Wind Trap in the enemy's base at the start allows the player to place structures. This is useful, but probably harms the design. Furthermore, strange pathing can result in the GetNextSquare error, which instantly crashes the game. Since I save fairly often in casual play, this wasn't particularly troublesome (and it did happen once to me), but it should be noted. Less broken bridges can reduce the likelihood of this error occurring.

4V1:

Spoiler

Ayy lmao, "DUNE"

Survival maps are really hard to do right. They can drag on, they require a different sort of difficulty tuning, and they can easily be made either too easy or too hard.

The difficulty on this map is quite alright. Although the enemy drops are weak, so is the player, and it helps that they come from multiple angles. The trouble I ran into was my mistakes, and my mistakes alone. Allowing the player to both defend his base and affect the battle on the other side of the map through Carryall drops was a good choice. Giving the player extra targets to hit outside the enemy's main base, or giving the player some way to attack the enemy's main early on, is great for aggressive nuts like me who like to go poking the enemy a minute into the game. And, what limited funds the player begins with suffices perfectly until additional funds can be secured.

There are some ways I think it could be improved.
 - The drops are very static. It doesn't feel like there are more enemy units to deal with over the course of the map, so the tension remains very level. This can bore some people, but I decided to attack the small enemy positions outside their main base during the 30-minute timer.
 - When the enemy has Saboteurs, it's generally a good idea to provide a Barracks or more infantry. Other than Grenadiers. A bunch of Light Infantry would be great.
 - When the player's reinforcements begin to arrive and the map can be concluded, I suggest stopping the enemy reinforcements. This is one of the common mistakes with infinite reinforcements; they can slow down a map undesirably when the time has come to progress. The Harkonnen have plenty of turrets and tanks to take out and the player will have been fending off attacks wherever he's got structures for the last 30 minutes in in-game time. However, the Harkonnen reinforcements are rather small and don't present much of a threat, especially when you've captured that Starport and have extra reinforcements of your own dropping down all over the place, so I give it a pass.

4V2:

Spoiler

Oh, goodness gracious. x_x This one dragged on.

Okay, positives first. Regarding map structure, this is well designed. You've got a 3v3 with a neutral faction in the middle, enough Spice to wage the war, although there could be more, and the player receives a decent amount of reinforcements for the player. Not more than he can amass himself, which I wouldn't recommend for a map like this, but not totally insubstantial either. The Fedaykin are useful.

Now for the bad news. First, aesthetically speaking, the map is quite plain. I noticed that you didn't have any rock anywhere on the map that was unattended. Even if the player doesn't get the ability to build an MCV and expand, having rock there that doesn't have buildings on it will make the map look better. If the player did get an MCV and could expand to midfield, either to take the battle closer to the enemy or to access more Spice, that might be helpful too.

Speaking of habits, I also noticed that there seems to be a Repair Pad on every level. While they are useful, the player doesn't get any armor on this map and that's when Repair Pads are most useful. It's hardly worth microing that Trike or Quad back to the Repair Pad while a battle against enemy tanks is going on. You need the numbers and the DPS to push through that fight, and then you could repair afterwards, but most of the damaged LAVs would have been destroyed.

The 3v3 doesn't really work because of the unit composition. Luckily, light vehicles counter artillery very well, so the Missile Tanks and Siege Tanks aren't a huge deal... or they wouldn't be, if there weren't so many of them. Furthermore, the enemy also uses a lot of Combat Tanks, and the map lacks infantry rock in vital areas. So, there's no real effective counter against Combat Tanks and the player is stuck hiding out in his base and fighting LRA and armor head-on at the choke point, which doesn't work because LAVs are interceptors - they work best when they can swarm those artillery units at midfield or somewhere nice and wide and open.

Even the crazy amount of reinforcements the enemy receives infinitely wouldn't be unreasonable if the Starports were easier to take out and keep down. For some reason, the AIs have three Starports each, so even though I used those Fedaykin reinforcements to take out the Siege Tank Starports, I wasn't able to pull them out of the fight. They all died because they had to stay there and destroy all the Starports, and even after that, the Starports were rebuilt and the enemy had too many Siege Tanks already to successfully press the attack. Furthermore, I couldn't eliminate their ability to rebuild by destroying the Refinery because they have infinite funds. And, the ConYard is quite far back in their base and there's no viable angle to approach it from. And then they get MORE Siege Tanks when the base on the right side is taken out.

Turrets are meant to be tackled by armor or infantry, especially infantry since they take so little damage from Gun Turret shots. Infantry might work, but then there's a crazy amount of Siege Tanks in the enemy base. Destroying them might work out if we had some armor, and then Trikes could handle the Missile Tanks, but we can't build any on this map. If you're going to have turrets with low tech, there needs to be a catch. Like you can get infantry in there and take 'em out, or you can power them down somehow, or you have allies to push through them with - who can actually do so with the player's aid, which unfortunately isn't the case on this map.

Finally, the enemy AIs have an emergency build rate of 1, and infinite funds, and only build heavy vehicles. If there were more opportunities to take pot-shots at the Combat Tanks from the rocks with Fremen, this might be okay, but again, lack of infantry rock.

So, there are a lot of problems that come together to break the map. Here are some suggestions in bullet point form, if this sort of map is considered again in the future:
 - More rocks. Both buildable and infantry.
 - The enemy forces need to be countered somehow. Less heavy vehicles, more light vehicles and infantry. Assuming the emergency build rate is higher than 1 tic, this will hamper the AI's ability to defend itself due to how the build rates work. If sticking with heavy vehicles, use less of them. Reduce their build rate further, reduce the size of the deliveries. A group of Quads can counter a few Siege Tanks, but not literally 30 of them... with Missile Tank support, too. Vice versa for Trikes and Missile Tanks with Siege Tank support.
 - Infinite reinforcements can add something substantial to gameplay if used carefully. The way it's done here takes away from gameplay and makes the map a repetitive back-and-forth. That's the difference between defense, and a turtle! Defense is strategic, it's done to trade effectively and eventually strike out. A turtle will hide in its shell until it wins the battle of attrition, and that isn't very exciting.
 - It's too difficult to cripple the enemy so the player can actually push through and win the map. No Wind Traps on the cliff or behind walls, too many enemy defenders, three Starports... something here needs to be accessible.
 - Combat Tanks being made available somehow, either through reinforcements or the factory, would greatly improve the battle going on.

5V1:

Spoiler

What do you have against MCVs? 😢

This map suffers from similar issues to the previous map. The enemy gets more appropriate infinite reinforcements, although I question the need for them to be infinite at all, but the player lacks strategic options. Unless there's a Barracks or something somewhere around the map that the player could capture, unless the player can get a second Refinery or something, he's stuck building at a very static pace. And then it's just the waiting game until the player has enough tanks to brute force the enemy position, but good luck with that since two of the AIs have infinite funds and their emergency build rate is, again, 1.

Strategic options are key to fun gameplay. If the player is limited somehow, it needs to be with a purpose and provided the opportunity to progress. Having an expansion to destroy (that, in the case of this map, contains a useful structure to capture like an Ordos Barracks), being able to boost your economy somehow, anything to prevent stagnation...

Combat Tanks are very solid units, but they're not perfect. Being able to support them with other units is great. The Starport is much appreciated for that purpose, but again, with only one Refinery, one can only generate funds so fast. Especially since Carryalls are on the map and they actually slow down the harvesting greatly in this scenario. Given that the enemy AI also has three Gun Turrets in any one location, it's hard to push on their base with mostly Combat Tanks. Some Troopers - more than what the Starport can provide - would work wonders.

That'll be all for now. I'll make some more progress later. Hope that helps. :)

Edit: Here we go again!

5V2:

Spoiler

It might feel like a battle royale without the alliance shenanigans, but that it's not is fine. Just feels like that kinda map that could be.

I like this map. Enemies came from all directions, which is easy to fuck up, but it wasn't bad. The player had plenty of time to grab new land and set up defenses and stuff, although I could do without the Engineers constantly coming at me.

The Ordos AI on the south end didn't really build up. I went and captured their ConYard as soon as they threw all their initial units at me. After abusing the cliff wall facing the Imperial base, I secured that corner and had a nice spot to harvest Spice. There was plenty of Spice. I appreciate that. And, then the Ordos and Harkonnen, the Harkonnen also not really building up any, went down not long after.

While the map could use some AI improvements, it wasn't too hard or too easy and it didn't drag on. It's aesthetically good and mechanically solid. And, there was plenty of action all the way through. There's nothing about it that stands out in particular, but it is a solid map. :)

Two complaints, and they're minor. First, I didn't even realize I had an ally on this map. Maybe at higher resolutions they're visible through the shroud, but maybe put a couple of merc units in the Atreides base and have them be free so they'll move to the merc base on map start. That'll make it clear to any player that the top right corner is a safe zone. The other thing is that the Atreides starting island is a tad small, but again, the player is able to quickly and easily expand so this was not a problem.

Oh yeah, and one more thing: If you have a neutral AI, you might want to give it a lower build rate or this might happen:

https://prnt.sc/n38ojy

Unless that was your intent. I see you made it build only Trikes and Light Infantry, so this was not a nuisance in the slightest. In fact, they didn't trigger at any point throughout the game.

6V1:

Spoiler

This is not how you do a survival map.

First of all, there's something to be said about preknowledge. Preknowledge refers to prior experience with a map, either through mapping it or playing it repeatedly, which influences how it may be perceived or played. It's not a bad thing, speedrunners do it all the time to hone their craft, but it's incredibly important to take into account for regular gameplay.

Westwood's original maps started the player with very little not only so he could devise his own strategy for tackling the map, but also for the sake of the player, who needs a moment to see all the stuff he's got. At the very beginning of this map, the player is attacked fiercely in multiple areas, and one doesn't have the time to see what tools he has at his disposal and where they're placed before this happens.

Defending a few locations from one or two directions, or one location from every direction, is fair for most players. There are eleven total locations where the Atreides have structures or a structure on this map.

If a player is meant to defend multiple locations, it's generally a good idea to refrain from obstructing the space between them. Smack in the middle of the map is an Ordos Starport along with twelve Gun Turrets, which each unit must be micro'd around in order to come to where they're needed. It's a micro tax that doesn't belong there.

With everything being so jumbled and decentralized, it's difficult to make sense of the match until some really severe losses are suffered. This might be fine if there were a decent place or two to fall back to, but there's only a Refinery and a Repair Pad in the bottom left and nothing of the sort on the right. One could build a Refinery on the right side before the ConYard is inevitably destroyed by all the stuff that's sent at it, but again, that requires preknowledge. And, being restricted to such tiny areas for forty minutes of in-game time is quite harsh. It drags on.

When a player can react to what's going on and make strategic decisions to progress towards his objective, that's good game design. When the player isn't given the opportunity to react, it needs to be manageable or sensibly progress the map. For instance, the top left base had an enemy MCV dropped right next to it around the time it was almost destroyed, so I accepted that it was meant to be lost and I had to figure out how to defend my remaining positions, and then my ConYard gets overrun by a horde of enemy units and there's nothing I can really do about it.

On one of my own maps, a swarm of Stealth Raiders spawns in a very inconvenient location and seeks a specific structure in the player's base. It's entirely possible to fend off this attack with the starting units, but even accounting for the destruction of the structure they focus on, the map can still progress and be completed. It would simply eliminate a unique advantage. Despite the sudden attack, there is time to realize one is under attack, where that attack is occurring, and respond to it accordingly without knowing about it beforehand.

One of the best tips I ever got about modding was from a great Doom modder who said, "You should never try to kill the player." You can scare him, you can hurt him, but to outright kill him would ruin the fun. This map feels like it's trying to kill me.

So, here are my suggestions:
 - Centralize the enemy bases in either one or two locations. Keep the middle clear, at least of structures.
 - Centralize the Atreides positions. Maybe trim a lot of the fat and simply allow the player to figure out how to organize his own defense.
 - Consider reducing the amount of time before reinforcements show up, should the map drag on.

Alright, that'll be all for now.

Edited by Fey
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On 12/18/2018 at 2:38 AM, MattBaker said:

Hi, guys!

I originally wanted to upload all my missions, but found adding information to the MissionLauncher using D2kEditorv12 took much time. So this is the first part, Atreides missions. Please read ReadMe text first. Enjoy!

Alright, I played several of your maps already.

Seems that you don't want the player to expand the base on this campaign, for some reason. It's a shame, the maps have tons of enemies to fight and the player it's only given light factories and starport (which, with your modded files the MCV it's not present).

The puzzle map was interesting, maybe a bit too big the first part (with thousand of enemies that you need to avoid with you stealth raiders, but still an overall good map.

Also you seem to like the use of the repair pad for every level, That's interesting.

I really liked the concept on the H7v1 map, making use of a bunch of deviators to use against 2 enemy missile tanks and a siege tank to take out the enemy turrets and whatever unit they launch at me; this is something I would like to use that idea in a future map in the future.

Overall I wish that in maps where I cannot produce heavy tanks or expand my base you reduce a bit the insame amount of reinforcements. It's hard to outpush the enemy with only light vehicles against enemies that keeps recieving so many stuff that taking out buildings don't give me any advantage, 80% of the enemy strengh comes with reinforcements.

On maps which I can expand I can somehow match enemy numbers, but anyway. I hope 1 day fix the last map on the previous campaign because I really want to try the "magic" mission you made there.

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Did s'more.

6V2:

Spoiler

The worms ate my Stealth Raiders. I left them in that spot while taking one of them ahead to scout, and they got gobbled up. Put one worm spawner on the rocks instead of three in a very inconvenient spot. They didn't even spawn until after I got to that area, and then it was too late.

If it's intentional, please make them spawn sooner so they don't pop up unexpectedly under a fellow's Stealth Raiders.

The Ordos part was pretty fair. With all the walls and Combat Tanks around, it made sense how the Silos were meant to be approached. Harkonnen, same, that was pretty straightforward. Smugglers, fair, I had to sacrifice some Stealth Raiders to hit their last Silo but that was around the end of the map anyway.

The Imperial section has some glaring errors. https://prnt.sc/n3k18b I guess you intend for the player to use the Saboteur and Engineer on their Silos here, right? Well, it's pretty inconvenient coming in here and then needing to go out the same way with the Stealth Raiders when we see there isn't anything to do at the end there. Same with the Harkonnen area, although that gets a pass since it's easily accessible by infantry. The Imperial Silos, the Stealth Raiders can't hit the one on the right because even in the very back, it's in range of a Combat Tank and the Troopers wandering around will pick them off or get them in the red easily.

Something in any map that should be accounted for is precision. It's never a good idea to demand absolute precision from a player. In giving the player multiple Stealth Raiders, and some miscellaneous other reinforcements, you've reduced the need for absolute precision. Which is great! And even if the player isn't successful with the one Saboteur and Engineer they get, or at least what I saw, then a bunch of Troopers can rush up the infantry rock and take down the Imperial Silo. Still, there aren't too many infantry.

So, while this is a well-constructed and fun puzzle map for the most part, there could be more infantry to play around with. Even more Stealth Raiders might not be so bad.

Also, I got a Harvester at some point, and it landed in an enemy base. Is that intentional, or should the reinforcement have been Imperial? I mean, it's fodder, that's pretty helpful, but it seems to land in a weird place. Like these other guys: https://prnt.sc/n3k6zz

Like, what's the point of that Quad if it's just going to be stuck there? :P

7V1:

Spoiler

This map is fun! At the beginning. It doesn't require tremendous precision, the player has options, the player is encouraged to move in a good direction given starting units in the bottom right... it works nicely, at the beginning.

The Fremen went down easily. Used lots of infantry, their base was a fun puzzle to pick apart, worked well.

I went after the Ordos next and for goodness' sake, that Gun Turret in the bottom left is in the worst possible place. I really don't like that Gun Turret there.

The worms in small spaces, also quite annoying, I hate those too. I cannot emphasize that enough.

It was fun taking down the Fremen and Ordos, minus that Ordos Gun Turret in the bottom left. The Harkonnen also have good exploitable weaknesses, but the Ordos keep dropping reinforcements constantly and that's so freaking annoying. Enemy reinforcements can add something to a map, but there is zero point to having the Ordos continue to drop reinforcements after their base is already taken down. It's a puzzle map, it's more fun to focus on solving the various puzzles spread around, but I've got a pretty useless ally that just sits there while the Ordos Troopers hit my this or that. If you could make the ally actually defend the entire small base, and if you could provide some way to totally eliminate those infinite reinforcements, that would tremendously improve the map.

That said, those minor yet impactful complaints didn't stop the map from being fun.

7V2:

Spoiler

Yay, a classic battle royale map! ...How come everyone else gets a bigger starting island than I do? :(

The smugglers on this map are REALLY dangerous. Like, if the mercs poke them at all then I'm sure they'd be screwed. This didn't happen on my run, but it was definitely a noteworthy danger. With a neutral faction in play, it's generally a good idea to limit its unit composition and production. Clearly, it was a practice AI with a tech level of 3, but of course I'm conditioned to recognize such things by now.

While the Imperials were quite strong...
https://prnt.sc/n692td

The Harkonnen weren't so much, nor were the Ordos. I think some of the Imperial units may have gotten a bit stuck in their base for a while. The same thing happened to me on S09V1 on one of the previous drafts. Either way, it was pleasant and refreshing to see a strong, yet fair AI opponent here. Those who know my mapping style know I really like competent AIs, provided of course the player can fairly complete his objective while facing them.

I know I tend to have less criticism for these sorts of maps, but the thing about puzzle maps and such is that they're super easy to screw up. They kind of require a ridiculous amount of testing and tuning to be absolutely certain they're fair and balanced, something I'm intimately familiar with (S02V2, S03B1). These sorts of maps are much easier to make fair and balanced.

One criticism I suppose I could offer is that map variety is suffering by consistently throwing the same enemies at the player. A few levels with the same enemies is fine, but when every level has Ordos, Harkonnen, and Imperials, and then you have a merc ally and a smuggler neutral faction on the map, it feels less like they contribute to the map and more like you're trying to fill every AI slot possible. This is another disadvantage by giving the player Deviators and Stealth Raiders as Atreides, and giving the enemy special units on level 1 and such. There are no levels that are just infantry versus infantry, or LAVs versus LAVs. Instead, every level has tons of enemies, all the same units as the other levels. There are less steps up to be taken, for both the player's tech and the enemy's. And then what new stuff can be introduced when it's all been introduced before? What's gonna be new in the Ordos campaign? You get what I mean?

In a campaign that's 17 maps, 9 missions long, variety between missions is an important factor. It's a difficult factor to nail (and I would know since I'm trying to finish up a 30 map, 18 mission campaign), but it's important nonetheless. So, I'll posit it would improve gameplay in the campaign overall if greater map variety were implemented. That may mean cutting some units out of earlier maps, either for the player or for the enemy, but that only means they're more precious when we get to use them later.

8V1:

Spoiler

What do you have against MCVs?? T_T Muh base expansion!

Giving reinforcements to the remaining enemy faction after one already goes down is a good idea, but... https://prnt.sc/n6jl53 don't ya think the three practice AIs in the bottom left have enough forces already?

This map was fun too. Two Refs fund the fight well enough and the Rax, LiF, SP combo is pretty solid. Still, while the Imperials were easy enough to take out, and the expansion near the weird multicolored ally in the top left was too, the three enemies all tightly packed into the bottom there were pretty tough. Not really in a good way, they stall the map in that kinda position.

Perhaps being able to build our own Combat Tanks, expand, more Refineries, and so on, we'd be able to tackle that extremely dense position more easily.

Synced attacks for allied AIs is fun and allows a map to present quite a resilient obstacle to the player. Side 6 in the top left, and side 5 in the top right, have different attack building delays. This isn't a problem if the enemy is weaker, but considering how dense the final enemy position is, it would be great if both the player's allies could attack simultaneously.

It's more than a minor complaint, but not a major problem. They eventually went down, it just dragged the map on is all. A map can be long as long as the player is able to make progress - the Imperials go down, that Ordos expansion in the top left can go down, but then you hit a brick wall with the bottom left. Get what I mean? :P

9V1:

Spoiler

This map puts the player in some really awkward positions.

Unit pathing in D2k is finnicky and maps need to be open enough to account for that. This is the WIDEST path in the Harkonnen base in the bottom left: https://prnt.sc/n6liy1 And it's mostly blocked off by infantry rock.

The Atreides starting position is also annoyingly tight. You want attacks to happen in the top left at our ConYard, but the war is waged closer to the center of the map. So you're pretty much forcing the player to place stationary defenses there, limiting the effectiveness of a mobile force. Needing to defend multiple areas is fine, it's even fun, but for goodness' sake, please don't block the space between two locations that need to be defended by tightening the terrain! Put a Gun Turret or three, put some enemy units. Tightening the terrain like that is ONLY feasible if it's the ONLY way through an area, because then the tanks will go that way instead of going every way around possible.

Secondly, our ally only gets ONE Refinery? How the hell is he supposed to keep up with the multiple enemy AIs who have a grand total of TEN Refineries and receive superior reinforcements?

The number of Harvesters / Refineries the enemy has, versus how many the player has / will have on his side, is a great way to gauge how powerful the enemy is. This is an important tip for balancing maps. The number of AIs isn't necessarily important - I've used four or even five AIs versus the player and made it work out so the enemy isn't overpowered, and the player can get a leg up. The problem is the limiters on the allied AI. Together with the absolutely horrendous unit pathing in the Atreides base thanks to that tight little area branching off towards the center of the map, the player's ability to push back on the enemy is severely gimped. Not even remotely in any good way.

I found I had better results in actually playing rather than having to micro my units around terrible pathing by blocking off this area here: https://prnt.sc/n6mds9

But of course, then there's the issue of this massive wall in my way. And also the issue of me knowing how the pathing works, where a casual player will suffer because of it and not know how to fix it. It's still better to circumvent the wall than to have units path over it, but really, just make that entire area flat rock. And add more flat rock to expand to, ESPECIALLY near the mercs' base. This here is doable: https://prnt.sc/n6mb2u

We can fight that off, but it would be nice to be able to place some turrets there without waiting for the enemy to go blowing through the base to begin with.

Finally, the enemy attacks from every single direction on this map. Even when you're blowing through the Imperial base, for some reason the enemy gets like six hot drops beside the Atreides base and you'd damn well better have strong defenses there or you're fucked. That sort of thing requires preknowledge, man! That sucks!

If you're going to place an enemy base behind the player, don't make it so hard to destroy. Being able to clear out the enemy base behind the player and the mercs quickly would help SO MUCH because the player could then refocus his efforts on a single front. A very large front, but a single front nonetheless.

Make it more accessible to attacks, flatten the terrain some more, give the player more stuff to start with. As it is, the player needs to basically turtle up at every possible spot before being able to strike out.

With the above three issues addressed, this would be an awesome final map. As is, it suffers too much from its shortcomings.

9V2:

Spoiler

This map is broken and crashes on start-up due to the amount of objects placed. That needs to be fixed. I would remove some walls to give it a try, but I would rather play as intended so I can provide a proper review. So, you should be the one to make whatever adjustments are necessary.

Hopefully my previous reviews indicate what changes might benefit this map as well.

Alright, so that's a wrap. I guess I'll hit up the Butlerian Jihad campaign next and see what's new there.

If you're having trouble honing your craft in mapping or modding, I have to recommend trying out some other campaigns! I learned some really neat tricks from playing FedaYkin's and Cm's campaigns. I used to make some really, really mechanically shitty maps, myself. In trying out custom maps, I figured out what I was doing right and what I was screwing up big-time. So, uhh, aside from my review... perhaps seeing for yourself what design decisions were made in other campaigns, and what you like and what you don't, will help you figure out what would be best going forward.

I have my own strats for my own maps, but part of map design is considering what other players will be doing. Where will he be inclined to scout, will he be misled in placing his first Refinery, which sort of factory will he build first, what sorts of units will he gravitate towards, etc. So, if I missed something or there was a certain strategy you used that I didn't consider, please feel free to contest any of my points. :P I'm interested in hearing how you tackled your own maps.

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