Saturday, December 31, 2011

This post is a little different than the rest.

As the title says, this weeks update will be a little different than the others. This week I'm going to explain how I did the Scrins ultimate power, the Echo effect.

The Scrin have 3 super powers now (depending on your way of interpreting super power), the Black Hole, the Blanket Storm, and the Echo Effect. Everyone knows about the other 2 powers already, but I want to explain about the Echo Effect and how I designed it in game.

The Scrin player gets to choose 1 level 4 power in the upgrade tree, but each power ties in to the Echo Effect. The First choice is Echo Infantry, the second is Echo Vehicles, and finally the last is Echo Aircraft. The Echo is tied in to the Scrin Phase Out power, when you phase your army out every Scrin Unit and Structure phases out and becomes pretty much invincible. However whatever Echo power you choose will also go into effect during this time. This means that if you choose Infantry Echo all infantry squads after phasing out will spawn 2 or 3 squads of their type onto the field at their location for use. These units do not have access to any of the upgrades that the Scrin Upgrade system uses so they are vanilla units but hey, they are free. They will last until killed or for up to 1 minute so these are not just "free" units. However this is quite useful as you can say "phase out" your entire force and use these new units to help counterattack on an offense or to begin your own attack drawing the enemy away from where your main force's are heading.

How I did this in game is simple. Each unit now has the code to allow it to "spawn" additional units like the Refineries do with the Harvesters when they are built. There is a requirement on the spawn ability though, for example infantry units would have the "TriggeredByUpgrade:SpawnEchoInfantryNow" upgrade.

So this is how it works. You pick whatever echo you want, for this example we're going to go with the Echo Infantry. This Upgrade grants 2 upgrades in the coding, "Power-PhaseOut" and "InfantryEcho". The Phase Out power when used spawns a special effect wherever you use it that fires off a weapon that only effects ally units and structures that phase those things out. After that the effect has the ability to spawn 1 of 3 invisible units that are based on which echo upgrade is given, in this case it's the InfantryEcho. This spawn power creates a new unit that we'll call "TempInfantryEchoOn". When this unit is created we set it up to on creation grant the upgrade "SpawnEchoInfantryNow" and we give it a life span of say 30 seconds. Now for the next 30 seconds infantry units will trigger their spawn power creating new "cloned" versions of themselves.

Finally, at the end of the 30 seconds the unit TempInfantryEchoOn will die and on death we will have it remove the upgrade "SpawnEchoInfantryNow" turning off the echo ability. In this way the infantry units that spawn themselves will only spawn for a short amount of time. A minute afterwords any spawned units that were not killed in battle will self destruct. This gives the Scrin the unique ability to double or triple their fighting force of a specific type while also protecting the main force at the same time, a very powerful and unique power that will defiantly make the Scrin a threat on the battlefield.

So the overall effect works like this.

Activate Phaseout -> Phaseout entire force -> Spawn in temp reinforcements -> End phaseout -> Kill extra reinforcements that are still around.

If you guys like this kind of explanation on how we do some of the powers/effects that we do in the game let me know and I will do more updates like this. Have a happy new years!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

No real update this week, computer is getting work done on it (bad hard drive getting replaced) and it's Christmas so kind of busy anyways. Happy holidays everyone.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Something that apparently needs to be said.

I recently released a story explaining the origins of the Scrin in our game. Ultra apparently took offense to my story (Sorry bro, but thats the way it is) and I have to point some stuff out here.

Listen, the Xenoforce Reborn mod is taking many different races/stories/series and putting them together into a single world. This means a lot of stories are going to be modified as needed to make them fit. This includes the original 3 CnC races from CNC3. GDI is having the least amount of changes done to them as story wise they still fit their original roll (for the most part). NOD and Scrin however are undergoing major changes. The Scrin are even easier to manipulate than NOD as there is even less information on them. Now why this is one could only theorize, it may be that EA wanted to keep as much of an air of mystery around the race as they could or it could be that their creative design team simply could not come up with something (or did not have the time to come up with something). Either way in our story I have done so.

Does this change your opinion on the Scrin? I don't see how it would, the story is what gives the units context in the game. Without this context the units are just there. But give them a story, a reason for why they are and why they work the way they do, and they come to life in a way that makes them truly unique.

Also the story that I started only covers their origins which started 100,000 years ago. The Scrin have undergone many evolutionary changes since then to become what they are now. However they still stick to many of the different stigmas that go all the way back to their origins. The Scrin are a race that take what they want and what they need to survive because thats what they had to do from the beginning, take or die. They also are a race of patience and cruelty, they will wait if what they are doing is working to get their end results even if it prolongs the agony of others just because there is no rush. Finally the Scrin are a race that take the technology of others and adapt it to their own use. They do develop their own technology, don't get me wrong, but if their enemy has something that they could use to further their existence then they will do so.

Within the Scrin structure individuality is a privilege not a right. Lower level Scrin who continue to obey and succeed in following their Formans orders are given the gift of individuality by the Queen Mind. If you want, think of the lower level Scrin as attack dogs who are bread and trained to do a specific task. If your favorite attack dog continues to succeed, continues to perform exceptionally well, it is given the gift of individuality. It is now an equal, able to communicate and think independently of it's original Formans wishs. Once individuality is given it can never be taken away.

What does this have to do with the game? Not much and a lot really. In one way it does not make the units any stronger or weaker, but in another it shows why the Scrin have units that are so weak, that are physically different from one another, and why the Scrins lack of emotions when dealing with many low level units. To me this helps give context to whats going on.

The last thing to talk about is the "Queens". The Queen mind is a very unique thing, it has no physical location but is made up of the subconscious of all of the Scrin scattered across the universes that the Scrin inhabit. The Queens themselves are immortal while in this state and they are able to shape the direction that the Scrin Race take. In effect this single body are the Leaders of the Scrin. A Queen is both an individual and a part of a whole mind at the same time, when melded together it is the latter and when separated it is the former. Queens are rarely seen active in the universe but when they are used it is because the situation demands a level of cunning and far-sightedness that a Forman simply doesn't have. Queens while in this form however can be killed and in doing so the whole of the race is weakened.

So in closing this is my vision of the Scrin. This is how they work. This is how I give context to the units that I am designing for the Scrin and the powers that I have given them.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The story of the Scrin - Origins

Below is my story explaining where the Scrin and the oldest Queen of the Scrin, the Matriarch, came from. This is pure fiction as there is no proof in ANY of EA's information about the history of the Scrin. This history starts 100,000 years before the events in Xenoforce:Reborn.

The Matriarch - The Origin of the Scrin

Like many advanced civilizations the Scrin were not always what they once were. In fact for the majority of their time on their home world they were not even considered the dominant species. They were little more than dumb creatures used to hunt other animals by the dominant species of the planet called the Anoi.

The Anoi were a powerful sentient race who used the fact that they were the only sentient race on their planet to mold the planet to their own needs and purposes. They were tall creatures, standing on average at 9 feet tall, with grey tough skin and small blue eyes. They were bipedal, with 6 fingers on each hand, and had smooth, simple features. Theirs was a race that perfectly melded technology and ideology together forging a society that valued obedience and intelligence over personal choice. The Anoi Civilization had 4 major nations spread across their world, and as with all sentient beings these nations would fight among each other over differences of opinion and beliefs.

The Scrin however were vastly different. The Scrin of this age typically walked on 4 legs like a dog. They were strong, stocky built creatures with hard carapaces that were bread for war and protection. They were hard to domesticate, featuring an instinctive nature to group together and run in packs. Those Scrin who could not be domesticated were hunted for sport.

If it wasn't for a random act of fate the Multi-verse would be a vastly different place. One day a meteor fell onto the planet. This meteor was made of pure Tiberium, a substance that was an unknown at the time. It broke apart as it entered the planets atmosphere and hundereds of shards of Tiberium fell onto the planet signing the planets doom before anyone knew what was going on. Soon the great nations of the Anoi gathered together and started researching the alien substance. They found that it was an amazing source of power but it was also very toxic causing uncontrollable mutations in anything it touched. Because of this the Anoi began searching their planet for all sources of the substance. Left unchecked it would destroy the planet, and this could not be allowed.

However there was more going on here than the Anoi realized. The Scrin, being a violent and territorial creature, were also very curious. In the remote northern reaches of the Western Provence a pack of Scrin came upon the tiberium and started to eat the substance. Where other creatures that came in contact with the substance became violently ill and died soon after exposure the transformation within the Scrin was amazing. They started to mutate, gaining increased intelligence as they consumed the Tiberium.

Soon there were reports coming in from all over the world of unusually aggressive Scrin attacks on the outskirts of Anoi cities. Some reports claimed that entire Tiberium Hunting parties were wiped out by a single Scrin while others claimed an unusually high level of cunning being deployed by the Scrin, even going as far as to suggest that the Scrin were setting up ambush's against the Anoi. It did not take long for the Anoi to figure it out. The Scrin around the world were protecting the Tiberium deposits that the Anoi were not able to get to fast enough and the Tiberium was spreading.

It was around this time that the Matriarch appeared on the planet. Weither it was born or it was a unique mutation in the Scrin none can say, but the effect of the Matriarch was devistating. The first true Queen of the Scrin, the Matriarch was able to communicate with all other scrin across the globe turning these wild, savage creatures and teaching them how to communicate, how to focus, and how to build a society of their own. The Anoi could not believe what they were seeing happen around them. Their own planet was changing, evolving, and it appeared that they were no longer going to be the dominant race. They fought back with their technology and ideology comming together for the first time as a single people. No longer would they fight amoung themselves. Now there was a common enemy that would devour them if something was not done. The Scrin must be eliminated. Across the four nations the extermination of the Scrin began starting with those that were domesticated as they could no longer be trusted. Military forces began purging the country side killing any Scrin that they came across.

The Matriarch was outraged by such an act. She called to her children and began fighting back. Small battles took place across the globe with the Scrin making the Anoi pay in blood for their lost brothers and sisters. The Matriarch called for the most intellegent of the Scrin to gather to her and began what has become known as the Symphony of the Void. These scrin linked their minds with her and she gave them each the gift of induviduality. This first batch of "Formen" were given control over sertain sections of the world and given leave to do as they felt nessisary to insure the survival of the species.

Still the war raged on. As the days turned to months and the months turned to years the Scrin continually increased in numbers as the Tiberium infected the planet at a steady rate. The Anoi however were having trouble increasing their numbers in this situation and were relying on more and more advanced technology to help them win. 4 years after the beginning of the war the Anoi launched their first Orbital Battleship. This massive weapon allowed the Anoi to travel into space and then assault ground targets from above, a tactic that the Scrin had little hope of countering. In a desprate move one of the formen of the Scrin made a raid on an Anoi Manufacturing plant, crushing the plants defenders and a swarm of Scrin Buzzers and capturing it for the Scrin. This turning point introduced the Scrin to advanced technology which allowed them for the first time to stand on equal footing with the Anoi.

However the massive rush that the Anoi expected from this development never came. The Scrin used this new technology to

keep the Anoi at bay, never using it in an offensive manner. In fact the Matriarch determined that this would not be nessisary for as fas as she was concerned the Scrin had already won. Soon the Anoi came to a sullen realization. The Scrin were not attacking the Anoi they were simply distracting them. With the war raging there was no time or resources avalible to spend combating the incroaching Tiberium. By the time the Anoi realized this it was already too late and the Tiberium was killing of them at a quicker rate the the Scrin.

A short 3 years later the last of the Anoi gathered together in their most advanced and powerful battle ship and launched into space looking to escape the planet and live elseware. The Scrin let them go, their time would come soon enough. They now had unrestricted access to the planet, all of the Anoi's technology, and a vast quantity of Tiberium which they were becoming ever more reliant on. The Matriarch began looking to the stars. The Scrin would always remember how they were treated and the gift that the stars had given them. One day they would head out into space and finish the Anoi but first she wanted the Scrin to regain their strength and build their own new society. It would be more fun to crush the Anoi this way.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh, you insulted me. That will teach me, guess I should work harder.

First, I must warn you that this weeks post is more of a rant than anything. It's aimed at one person in perticular, and 99.9% of the people that send me stuff are actually quite enjoyable to talk to and deal with on a daily basis. This kid is the other .1%.

So I received a not-so-nice email the other day from a "fan". I use the term pretty loosley as this person acted more like a 10 year old child crying about it taking too long for the cookies to get done baking.

Now I know that most of you out there understand that we are only a team of 2 people, that both of us work in retail in the US, and that this being the Christmas season it's also the busy time in our work/personal lives. Also, most of you understand that an email that says "Hey, I havn't noticed much work getting posted the last few days" or "I was just wanting to make sure that the mod was still getting worked on" will get a better responce than the following Email that I received.

"Yo, I juzt wanted to find out whaz takin so damn long to get SEED back in. No 1 care about GDI NOD and Scrin, they

suckz!!!! Stop wastin time with that crap and get back to work on SEED! This is stupiz! U had it once, my friend sayz you

guys are lazy and ur mod will not get donz. I think he might be rit."

Um... yea. I'm just going to say a few things about this.

1. This mod is NOT being done for the Community. It's being done so that I can kick Doug's ass in a game that we both will agree on. We were never able to find out who was better in the old Xenoforce Mod simply because the game crashed EVERY time we played.

2. We are giving this MOD to the Community AS we are working on it because we feel that unlike other mods that keep posting pics up but never let you actually get a chance to play it at least this way people can experience what we are experiencing and we can get good feedback about what needs to be done.

3. For me at least, this MOD is an experiment for me to see just how much support a fanbase will give to a project that is working towards actually giving them something that they want to see. All you have to do is look at how much support we've gotten for the Gundam Models that we've received to see that this is working out amazingly well.

Is our project ambitious? You bet it is, we're taking the original 3 armies and totally reinventing them while adding 6 additional factions WITH AI's and new sound effects into the game. Considering that this is our first project that we've ever made public (we have done other mod tweaks over the years for personal use only) this is a lot to deal with. However this MOD has only been around (on MOD DB anyways) for a year and a half. We've already rebalanced the O3 (now on our second revision of this) and added 2 factions in. The factions are not completed yet (missing damaged states and new sounds on a lot of it) but they work and the players can see exactly what we're trying to do.

So in short little kid, I don't care if it takes 4 years to put Gundam SEED into the game. I don't care if it never gets put in. I do care about making a good mod that not only shows creativity and different playstyles but also works for all parties involved. I am not getting payed for this, I'm on my own schedual, and it'll get done when it gets done.

Oh, and you and your friend are ass's. I couldn't care less if you don't play our MOD. And remember, I'm the nice one. Your lucky you sent this to me and not Doug.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

With new designs come new headaches.

I have almost completed my final rebalancing/modifications of the Scrin forces and I am at the moment pretty happy with how things are coming along.

But of course there are always bugs. For example my latest changes to the powers and their requirements now cause the game to crash when I build the stasis chamber. This of course means that I need to go back through each power removing them all and then putting them back in one at a time to figure out which power is making the game go "blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa".

And of course Electronic Arts and Microsoft do nothing to help. The generic "the program has encountered and has to close" message tells me nothing. The only good thing is I know it was working before messing with the powers so I at least have a place to start at.

Another issue that I had to change were the PAC's Dimensional Cannon Orbs that attacked the ground and air by causing a pillar of light to cover both areas when they died. This attack worked great when it was only dealing with the air, but for some reason the moment I told it to also hit ground targets the game would work for a bit then crash. Oh well.... I do have another design for the unit that I can go with. Now the unit only attacks air units with these orbs but uses a Zeus cannon to attack ground targets. You remember the Zeus Cannon right? It's the weapon that the original Devastator Warship used to use to attack ground targets. While it's not the exact same as what I originally hoped for it does do the same job admirably.

Which brings me to todays post. One of the more common problems that I personally have when I work on this mod comes down to trying to get what I want from my head into the game. Sometimes it's a modeling issue, but more often than not it's an issue of "I got it in but it doesn't work the way I wanted." So my process to this has changed over the last few years from just doing it and seeing what happens to writing everything down in a notebook (I have like 5 of the things lying around each based on a different faction or design), coming up with an alternative to the more 'complicated ones' in case the original idea doesn't work (also known as plan B), and then taking baby steps to get it working in game. This results in my compiling the mod about 15 to 20 times an hour while working on it just testing every little bit one piece at a time. This allows me to find where the issues are or will be so that if something pops up and causes an error I'm not stuck looking at 12 different changes and going "great... which one of you is giving me a headache now?".

And so the mod moves forward. The PAC now fires long range artillery at ground targets and swarms air targets with D-Bombs that home in on their target. The Devastator Warship is now equipped with a D-Cannon and Assault Lances that can be converted into Prism Lances. And the Stormrider is pretty much unchanged, still a powerful early to mid game quick assault unit equipped with plasma weapons.

So the moral of the story is always have a plan B, always make changes in small steps, and always make backups so that if there is an issue your not left holding a pile of crap that you can't work with. Now if you excuse me, I've got some power codes to go back and look at.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

When a design doesn't work, what do you do?

So I'm working on the Scrin right now while Doug continues to get his thoughts together for NOD. One of the things I was really looking forward to with my Scrin design was a new type of lance weapon called a Prism Lance. This weapon would work a lot like a normal beam lance however the effect would be that the beam doesn't do any damage while "hitting" a target. Once the beam shut off however there would be a large explosion and the target and anything around the target would take splash damage. This would in effect turn any Lance based unit into an artillery unit becoming very dangerous.

So I got it up and running and it worked. Sort of. The beam hits. Once the beam shuts off I got an explosion to happen and the enemy units took the damage like they were supposed to. That should mean that everything is great right? Nope. In practice it actually made little difference whether the damage was done when the beam hit or a second later when it shut off. Also the "blast" looked crappy at best. Finally it just didn't work well. SO, back the the drawing board.

My new design for this weapon (I'm not letting this go btw) is to use the charge up of the NOD Obelisk of Light and then instead of a beam firing it will fire off an energy "pluse" that will go boom.

Another example is my Carrier ship with the energy orbs that go boom. These work pretty well in use but I think I need to re-evaluate the explosion to try and get a different effect for when they hit/explode. Otherwise they are pretty close to what I want. The problem is that in use the pillar of light that is caused by the explosion for some reason causes the game to crash after use if I have it damage both ground and air targets. Weird, but a stable game is more important to me than a cool effect.

Whats the point of me saying all of this? Well, what it comes down to is quite simple. Just because one design looks good on paper doesn't mean it will work well in game. However you never know until you try. I would never have bothered with the Obelisk Charge and the big explosion afterwords if I hadn't gotten the carrier set up. I'm thinking that the Prism Cannon will fire the same weapon as the Carriers use but these are just "used" in a different way. It should be interesting to say the least.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A few updates to mention

I have a few things to mention today there probably won't be a lengthy post tomorrow. So, consider this Sundays update.

First off, my PC is back up and running for working on the mod (yea, I hate moving). As such here's a pic that I posted up to moddb last night showcasing the new Medium Grade Avatar.

There will be another Avatar that I'm going to work on tonight, a Heavy Grade Avatar if you will. This Heavy Avatar will take its inspiration from a very obvious source once you see it, if I get it done tonight I will post it up tomorrow for everyone to see.

Second, Doug has finished the map for our game. This is how the world is divided at the beginning of the Xenoforce War before the intervention of the Invid or the Scrin.

Great work Doug! As you can tell the EF is divided into 3 different color schemes. This is because unlike GDI which is a pure military state the Earth Federation stands for National Sovereignty. However by themselves they can not defend against the massive size of GDI so they formed an alliance. Dark Blue areas would be considered founding and active members of the Earth Federation. These areas either have massive amounts of resources, high strategic value, or offer other valued objects for the Earth Federation to succeed. These areas would be considered always at Defense Defcon 5. Medium Blue are members who do not offer as much to the Earth Federation and as such do not get as much in the way of military support. These areas are always at Defcon 3. The light blue areas are areas who wish for Sovereignty but do not have anything really to offer the EF. In these cases the EF allows them to be members of the EF, but they do not get really any major ammount of support unless they come under attack and require support. These areas are at Defcon 1.

Finally, if you want to know more about our story Doug did an audio cast on his robotech fan talkshoe account about it. There he go's into much more detail about the back story and political and economical reasons for what happens in our story. The one you want is titled "So you want to know how good of a story teller I am."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Our history of the modern tiberium world.

Sorry for the late post, it took a long time to type this up.

Many of you already know the story of Command and Conquer as done by Westwood (RIP). In the Xenoforce Reborn mod we're taking what they had and working from their last official piece of work, the expansion pack for CNC2 called the Firestorm Conflict and working forward from that point. So in other words, anything that EA came up with for their story of CNC3 and beyond is not going to be used by us. It's not that we dislike what EA did (though we do think they made many questionable choices in their adaptation of the story) it's more of a "we simply feel that this is the best place to interject our own history for the story of Xenoforce Reborn to work."

Keep in mind 3 things

1. This is a work in progress, and things / times are open to change as needed.
2. This is how I would write up our history for the game, Doug may have issues with some aspects of it and ask for them to be modified as need be.
3. This is to give you a general idea of how things are playing out. For specific "but what happened to this or that here?" or more details you will have to wait, but each part of the story will be told by the units and structures as we complete their final workups and post them up. These workups will make up the Codex for each faction.

Following the Firestorm Conflict many of the countries around the world began to question the decision to allow GDI to become the global government and police force that it had become. The purpose of GDI had been to protect them from global terrorism not to destroy the national sovereignty that they had been fighting to gain control of for 1000's of years. And then there was the fact that if it wasn't for NOD, the entity that GDI so strongly opposed and fought against for so many years, coming to the rescue of GDI and the world against CABAL then there would not be a planet to govern at all.

Soon support for GDI started to slip. In an act of trying to salvage the situation and to put a positive spin on things GDI publicly came to an agreement with the survivors of NOD granting them immunity for any and all previous war crimes committed against the world. At this time NOD began talks with Egypt to build a large city outside of Cairo with the sole purpose of being a peaceful place of sanctuary. In exchange NOD would share with the Egyptian Government some of it's highly effective techniques at harvesting and working with tiberium radiation.

Unfortunatly for GDI this had the opposite effect of what they were hoping to gain. While this show of appreciation and gratitude to their once hated enemy gained them support from a number of smaller countries that were starting to waiver it caused others to grow agitated at the way GDI was starting to pander to the will of countries that cry the loudest. Specifically 3 of the original G8 countries that help found the GDI now started to secretly turn their back on them. These countries could not forgive NOD so easily for all the harsh attacks that they had brought against them as they had been specific targets of NOD for over 20 years.

In 2037, 5 years after the Firestorm Conflict ended, the countries of the United States of America, Canada, and the United Kingdom officially left the G8 and the GDI. On March 15th they signed a treaty that became known as the Constitution of the Federation and the Earth Federation was born. This transition was not an easy one though, as many civilians opposed leaving GDI and felt that they were asking for another war to start again. Still, many more civilians agreed with the decisions of their governments here and the "National Sovereignty Movement", or NSM began to spread around the world.

Smaller countries in many of the yellow zones around the world stayed by GDI as without them they would have no protection from aggressive neighbors. Still others stood with GDI due to the fact that the recent decisions from GDI had benefited them greatly. Finally, the remaining G8 countries took the departure of the 3 superpowers in the "more for me then" mental fashion of the greedy and power hungry. Germany, Japan, and Italy each saw this as a way for them to come back and become powerful military forces once again and made great strives to militarize their countries again under the banner of protection.

And still other smaller countries that had the natural protection of location and little to no resource of want took this chance to become political neutral zones much like Sweden from World War 2. The most effective of this was a small island nation in the pacific that became known as ORB. This country had only one real resource, but it was one that many other countries wanted for themselves. This resource was intelligence, ORB became known for many technological breakthroughs as well as having a high number of engineers and scientists there. It was this limited resource that allowed ORB to remain neutral because if any one nation made a move to grab them the other nations of the world would have to "come to their aid" for the simple fact that they could not allow their enemies to have access to these technological advances.

The civil unrest in the Earth Federation did not last long though, and in a matter of 2 short years the Earth federation had shored up its positions around the world and became the global superpower that GDI had feared it would become. It was about this time that scientists working for a company called Robo-Technology Institute in the country of ORB developed the first working Space Catapult system. This system was a revolutionary way of getting spacecraft into orbit compared to conventional ways. It used high powered magnets powered from renewable energy sources like solar panels and oceanic tidal generators to move specially designed spacecraft at huge speeds along a curving ramp that ended with the ship moving up into space. This design was an instant success and many governments raced to gain access to it from ORB. In the end GDI won a contract from the Robo-Technology Institute to build them 10 high performance craft designed for long range exploration of the other planets in our system in exchange for use of the Space Catapult. The Earth Federation immediately following the lost bid for the exsisting catapult contracted the Robo-Technology Institute to build them 2 of their own catapults, one in California and one in Alaska. NOD also secretly began work on their own, smaller version of the catapult in Australia.

The GDI used this new way to escape earth to start a new project of their own called the Planet Project. The design was for them to start building massive colonies in space to start offloading some of the people from more devastated areas under their control into these space colonies as a way of "protecting their people from the planet they are fighting for." However this massive project required resources that would not be available to GDI without significant cuts in their military R&D and so many types of research was canceled. One noteable line of research that was cut was the "Mecha" tech like the Wolverine, the Titan, and the Mammoth Mk 2 walkers.

Where GDI turned their backs on mecha tech the RoboTechnology Institute picked up. With all of the resources flooding in to them due to their now lucrative space transport projects they began work into military applications of mecha technology. They also used their newly constructed ships given to them from GDI and set out towards Mars for "research purposes." In truth they knew what they were doing all along as years ago the President of the company had discovered a faint energy signature coming from Mars. However at the time he did not have a way to exploit this discovery and as such he started the RoboTechnology Institute company with the purpose of one day getting there first. And thanks unknowingly to GDI they were on their way to do that.

During all of this NOD flourished. In small towns where most governmental oversight had been abandoned due to "the target not producing enough of a valuable asset to demand military involvement", most notably in yellow zones across the middle east and in parts of africa, NOD stepped up and protected these people from "roaming bands of rouges and bandits". In more civilized locations that were hurt economically NOD became a source of revenue as they built research centers, schools, and hospitals. To the world it really appeared as NOD had changed since the loss of Kane and they were becoming a full fledged religious force like the catholic church. However what was really happening was NOD was attempting to defeat their foes no longer with weapons, but with economics, and it was working.

In 2041 the Earth Federation began building their own colonies in space. There were 8 Colonies that were planned on being built. These colonies were 3 times larger than what GDI was building, and unlike GDI who was building them to effectively offload those refugees of the ever-expanding tiberium the EF was building them for their most prestigious and powerful officials to live in free from the worry of Tiberium. There was more to this than what the EF was admitting to though, the real purpose of this project was to build a secret and massive military complex on the Moon. In truth the shells for Colonies 7 and 8 were built but the insides were hollow as these parts were sent to the Moon for use in the base. Colony 7 was retrofitted into a research and development center for building massive carrier ships to allow the EF to patrol their section of space free from the fear of any "outside" eyes and Colony 8 was turned into a giant solar panel and refocusing center nicknamed "The Solar System". This colony was placed in a way so that the EF could capture and re-direct light from the Sun to any place on the planet no matter where or when it was needed giving the EF access to solar energy no matter what the situation was. This system also made for an amazing weapon when set to it's tightest beam setting, able to cut through anything in a matter of moments.

Meanwhile the Robotechnology Institute had made it to Mars and started research into the energy source that their founder had discovered over 20 years ago. What they found was a massive alien spacecraft buried under the sands of Mars. This ship spanned over a mile long and was unlike anything anyone in the expeditionary force had ever seen. The head of the force decided to build a massive base over their discovery which later becamed named Mars Base Serra. When word got back to Earth about their discovery the founder of the company changed the name of the company to the RoboTech Research Center. He also went to the Earth Federation, who up to this point was their companies greatest customer and entered into a research agreement. The Earth Federation would supply the Robotech Research Center with an uninhabited island in the Pacific currently under the Earth Federations control for them to build a new research facility. They would also provide resources and protection to the RRC and any convoys between Earth and Mars Base Serra. In exchange the Earth Federation would gain access to any technology that they discovered as a result of the alien ship on Mars. The RRC would also build and develop a massive military outpost in the northern most sections of Alaska at no cost to the Earth Federation for them.

However everything was not peaceful during this time of restructure and growth. Tiberium continued to move forward at an almost unstoppable crawl, and small border skirmishs between the EF and GDI were common. GDI fished the first of their Planets in 2044 and began to shuttling refugees into space very quickly. Soon after the Earth Federation completed Colonies 1-6. However, unlike GDI who were using their Planets as a way to ease the public demand for a solution to Tiberium the Earth Federation had found a better way to use their Colonies. The President of the Earth Federation at this time began by sending those Generals and Senate Officials who he trusted the least to the colonies as a way to solidify his power base on Earth under the guise of "promotions". With their families in space but them stuck on earth it became easy to influence those who spoke out against his plans the loudest to keep their mouths shut.

In 2049 a new power began to form in space. The movement started small and grew with a great wildfire between the Plants and the Colonies. This was called "Zeonism". The people of the plants were the poor and weak of Earth who at first though they were being sent to space as a way for their government to protect them. However after 5 years it became clear that this was not the case as overpopulation in the Plants became a common complaint. With overpopulation came crime, disease, and unrest. The people thought they were getting a new start in life only to find they were being sent into space to be forgotten about. On the EF side of things those who were sent to space by the EF so that they could no longer "cause problems with the heads of the EF" saw this as an opportunity to finally strike back at those who dismissed them. They began calling for the colonies to become separated from earth all together, and called for those in the Plants to side with them. The Colonies were much larger than the Plants. There was massive amounts of open space, in fact colony 6 was still only operating at 5% of occupancy levels! There was no reason for those who were promised protection to be shoved into a plant against their will like sardines in a can and forgotten about! On top of this on Colony 4 a new form of weapon had been developed. Spies for the Colonies had acquired some top secret designs that were being developed for the EF by the RRC and construction of this new weapon had begun. The EF had asked the RRC to go back to the drawing board and try a different, more structurally sound design, but the Colonies had no problems with this technology. This new weapon would become known as the Zaku, the first mass produced mobile suit ever built. A small army in Colony 4 consisting of over 250 of these suits were built by a former head of security for the Zeonic movement.

In 2053, with the support of many in the Colonies and the Plants, the Zeonic Movement announced independence. They deployed their Zaku Forces all around and inside Colonies 2, 3, and 4 as well as a dozen Plants. They demanded the immediate withdraw of all GDI and EF forces from the remaining colonies and plants or else war would begin in earnest. GDI withdrew from most of the plants right away, they were not prepared to deal with a military battle in space on the scale that the Zeon forces now offered. These abandoned Planets who did not wish to become part of Zeon became known as the Neutral 7.

The Earth Federation however had different ideas. They launched their secret forces from the Moon Base, carrier ships filled with their own mobile suits developed by combining Robotech Technology and using thier own knowledge of weapons systems. This force set up around the Colonies and prepaired for a blockade from Earth as well as to begin an assault on the rebel forces.

It was at this moment that NOD struck. Disguised as Zeon Loyalists they launched an assault on the GDI A-SAT System in Goddard Space Center taking down GDI's defense network around the Space Station Philadelphia. They then launched a Nuclear Missile from the Earth at the Space Station, destroying it in one blow. With this single act of terrorism NOD had not only sparked the next Tiberium War, but they had done so at the expense of Zeon. Now true war would break out across the Earth and Space, some factions fighting for power, others for their survival.

And in the deepest parts of space, ancient eyes turn towards the planet.....

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tripod Preview

Here's a preview of the new Tripod Design for the Scrin. It may at first not seem that cool, but if you give it all of the gifts it could possibly get then it's a different story.

Annihilator Tripod -

1 Tripod
Cost : 3300/33s
Weapons : Plasma Cannons X 3, EMP Defenses

Plasma Cannons -
Type : Plasma
Range : 300
Targets : Air and Ground
Reload : 2s-3s
Clip : 3
Fire Rate : .5s
Damage : 650
Chance to miss : 8
Splash radius : 5

Q-35 Modulated Plasma Cannons (gift) -
Type : Plasma
Range : 350
Targets : Air and Ground
Reload : 2.25s
Clip : 3
Fire Rate : .5s
Damage : 700
Chance to miss : Always Hits
Splash radius : 5

EMP Defenses -
Type : EMP
Range : 50
Targets : Ground Only
Reload : 8s
Clip : 1
Fire Rate : .01s
Damage : 0 / EMP shutdown for 5 seconds
Chace to miss : Always Hits

Background :

The Annihilator Tripod first saw use about 500 years before the Scrin ran across the Invid in another dimension. The Scrin had had a relatively peaceful period for about 1000 years seeding and destroying worlds with little to no resistance. This all abruptly changed when they came across a world much like Earth. The spread of Tiberium on the planet had slowed to a crawl and was activly starting to regress in many areas and from a distance the Scrin could not tell why. The Scrin decided to error on the side of caution and called upon the most warmongering and successful queen to date, "The Reaper" and dispatched their forces to the planet 15 years ahead of schedule.

What the Reaper found was a planet already inhabited by a bipedal humanoid creature with an advanced civilization. They had come across creatures like this before but most of those encounters had lead to nothing as the Tiberium had done its job in utterly destroying those creatures before the Scrin even reached the planet. Here however this advanced civilization, while not as advanced as the Scrin themselves were, had actually discovered a way to combat the Tiberium and were going about harvesting it and using it for their own purposes! The Tiberium that was to have destroyed them instead gave them access to a vast, if unstable, source of power that they used to leap forward technologically.

The Reaper invaded with its forces but soon found out why the Scins Sensors did not detect these creatures. The planets atmosphere was prone to severe Ion Storms which caused long range sensors to simply be inaccurate and unreliable. After landing the Reaper had trouble communicating with the Scrin Queen Collective and was on it's own. These storms also caused problems with the Scrin Aircraft in use at the time as they were not designed to deal with the Ion Storm and would crash after taking massive amounts of damage trying to fly through them.

At first the Scrin had the element of surprise and was very successful at disrupting the inhabitants forces and mining operations. However it did not take long for the true owners of the planet to regroup and start counter-offensive maneuvers. With the lack of airpower and the most powerful land unit at their disposal being the Devourer Tank the Scrin soon had taken heavy losses and were being pushed back. The Reaper had to move fast and using the spires that they had built and the tiberium they had managed to gather during this war to come up with a solution. After much deliberation the Reaper designed the most powerful land unit that the Scrin had ever used, the Annihilator Tripod. This unit was able to move around the terrain like infantry, allowing it to climb over areas that a hover tank could not go. It also had powerful plasma cannons to deal with enemy fortifications and an emergency EMP field that it could generate to disable enemy mines and traps. It proved to be a highly effective unit but was only enough to cause a stalemate with the force as the Reaper still did not have an effective way to deploy these monsters.

However help would be coming for the Reaper in the form of the Traveler. When the Scrin Queen collective did not receive word from the Reaper and its assault force they dispached their fastest and most knowledgeable queen in terms of forms of maneuvering through the different dimensions that the Scrin knew about. The Traveler decided that a worm hole would be the quickest way to find out what was going on on the planet and went through with a small recon force.

What the Traveler found amazed it. In the first time of all of the history of the Scrin they were losing a planet to it's original inhabitants. The Traveler quickly met up with the Reaper and together they worked on a way to deal with these people. The solution turned out to be a very simple and elegant one, the Blink Drive. With this addition the Annihilator was able to be teleported around the world very quickly, bypassing enemy fortifications and hitting their supply lines and general populace. Soon after the Travelers arrival the original inhibitors were wiped out and the planet was taken under the control of the Scrin. Using the Travelers Wormhole Technique they were able to continue normal harvesting operations and soon that planet was a dead rock floating in space like the thousands that had come before it.

The Scrin never forgot the lessons of that world though. They started developing technology that allowed their aircraft to not only survive those powerful Ion Storms, but also gain regenerative abilities from them and even create their own artificial storms for additional protection inside a planets atmosphere. They also found that the original design of the blink drive, while highly effective, took too much power from the unit. They remodeled the Annihilator with a modualer system allowing Queens the ability to modify their tripods to whatever function they wanted to focus on. This included taking the blink drive out and replacing it with a weaker, more instantaneous drive that is still in use today.

Gifts : The Annihilator Tripod can have the following gifts applied to it.

Armor of the Reaper :
- Personal Shield
- Living Armor (Regenerates HP)
- Hardened Carapace (HP increases by 20%)

Weapons of the Reaper :
- Q35 Modulation (More consistent and farther firing plasma weapons)

Lesser Gift of the Traveler :
- 50% movement speed increase (due to the design of the Tripod it moves like infantry)

Greater Gift of the Traveler :
- Blink Engines (short range teleportation)

Echo of the Vehicle :
- Tripod will spawn an additional "Echo" version of itself when built. This Echo will not have access to any upgrades from any other gifts.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Scrin Infantry Designs

Since I have a few moments of free time here I thought I would post up what I've come up with as a "preview" to the Scrin Codex that I'm working on. Some of this may not make much since to you guys, but I'm confident that you guys will be able to follow along. Below is the design layout that I've come up with dealing with the Disintegrator squads.

Infantry -

Disintegrator Squad -

6 Troops
400 / 4s Cost
Weapon : Assault Lances

Weapon Type : Lance
Range : 150
Reload : 2.5s
Clip : 1
Fire Rate : 0.1s
Damage : 400

Background :

Early in the history of the Scrin they came upon a race of creatures on a planet that they had seeded for harvesting. These creatures were massive, standing 18 feet tall on four legs with massive tusks and thick armored hides. They were quite literally built like massive ramming tanks and would take out any other creature that came near them by simply running them down and crushing them. To make matters worse, the Scrin's sensors could not detect these massive creatures until they were almost on top of them. The Scrin Queen known as "The Matriarch" developed these small units called Disintegrators as a way to deal with this threat.

The Disintegrators are little more than 4 legged lance cannons with a very simple brain. These units were designed to attack anything coming near them with their short range yet highly effective lance weapons and proved very difficult for the unknown creatures to deal with. Shortly after their deployment the Scrin were successful in their harvesting operations and as such the planet was destroyed.

However the Disintegrators were soon put into use on other planets in other dimensions thanks to their small size, fast mobility in a variety of different terrains, and effective stopping power against larger, slower targets. Some Queens have modified the design to their own purpose, the most popular design being that of "The Travelers" Disintegrators and their "Fleet Claw" bonus allowing them to move even faster over even the harshest of terrain.

Gifts : The Disintegrators can have the following bonus's applyed to them.

Lesser Gift of the Traveler : Gains 50% movement speed.
Gift of the Matriarch : Gains a Mastermind Leader equipped with a Plasma Disk Launcher.
Dimensional Shift : Can be shifted out of phase for up to 1 minute.
Echo of the Infantry : When built 2 other "echo" versions of the unit are also built. These echo's do not gain any bonus's from any other gifts.

The Scrin : Who are they?

Within the next few weeks I should be posting up some material about our Scrin design. I'm not talking about weapon and unit stats (though that will be there as well), I'm referring to a history written out so that anyone who is interested can look at this and not only see WHY the Scrin in our mod work the way they do but also get a glimps of what the Scrin will look like from this point forward.

For example, the upgrade/powers system is going to be changed (again). But this is for the better, trust me. We're working on adding a bit of flavor to the upgrade choices and giving a better reasoning as to why the Scrin have different choices that they can take at the beginning.

We've also been working on NOD, though with NOD it's been more of a fine tuning of their story and restructuring of their forces to fit the story better than the Scrins entire back-history remake.

GDI is staying largely the way it is with only a few weapon tweaks. The major changes to GDI will come in their super-powers. Right now GDI's Ion Cannon while useful isn't excatly what I would call a "game ender". We're looking to moving the MOAB Firehawk Strike to a later superpower and actually make it a superpower due to it's effect in game. We're also looking to add a 3rd "power" to GDI that when used with the other 2 GDI's options for dealing with end game situations will become more adaptable than before.

Finally, again with the Scrin, we know that some people have pushed back a bit about missing weapons that used to be there (spicificly defensive structures). In the next version of the Scrin all of these things will be back, but probably not the way your expecting them. Keep your eyes open, and I'll post more when I get a chance.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Xenoforce : The Original 3 - Why do we bother?

So we've started work back up on the mod and are currently modifying more things with the original 3 armies. To Doug and myself it makes perfect since to work on these factions as not only are they important to our game they are useful tools to help us learn more coding wise and continue to push our limits. However it appears there are two camps out there about this aspect of our mod.

Camp 1 asks "why are you wasting time on these armies when you could be adding in more Gundam/Robotech stuff"? Camp 2 asks "why hasn't the O3 mod been updated to the latest version thats in the last release for Xeno-Reborn?

I'll answer the second question first, the Xenoforce : O3 mod came about because someone asked for us to release just the modifications that we've made with just the original 3 armies and we agreed. It was a simple thing to do, and it caused no trouble. However the O3 is not our main focus, the Reborn mod is. As such updating the old O3 to the latest update would be an incremental update at best and honestly not worth the time.

That does not mean we're going to ignore the O3, far from it. I'm currently working on the O3 mod now as we agree that more needs to be done to polish up some aspects of the forces. GDI needs a resource modification added in as well as moving their Super-power designs around a bit, NOD's Avatars and Liquid Tiberium Bomb need work (currently working on the 10-stage LTB now, so far it's much more impressive than before and I'm only on stage 5). Finally the Scrin have a fatal flaw in their current design and are getting a makeover. This flaw is the fact that in every other force their units tell their story but the Scrins don't. The reason for this is that the old Scrin story was (to put it lightly) crap and we've gone ahead and changed it to our own needs. This in turn requires us to change the way many units work to fit the story that they now play a part in.

Which brings me to our first question, why do we waste time working on these forces? I don't see it as wasting time and neither does Doug. I learn more working on the O3 forces than I do working on new forces. Turning a Projectile into an autonomous unit? Learned that from the O3. Adding in a "shield emmiter that activates when an enemy comes near to protect everything in its area of effect?" O3 (yea, thats a defense for SEED)

See, just because we're not working on adding things to new factions at the moment doesn't mean we're not working on stuff. We really are, and I think in the end it will make a better game than if we simply took the original 3 out. If nothing else, you know you like crushing NOD buggies with your Super Gundams right?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hmmm maybe thats why the AI doesn't care?

I've started work again on the mod this evening and am working on a few new things for the next release.

First of all we're working on NOD. Nod is almost where I personally want it. There are some things though that need to be rebalanced on their unit end, to be more specific the way Flame units work. When we originally designed flame weapons we were planning on making them NOD's answer to beam sabers and melee based units. That however is no longer the case and these weapons need to fill a new roll.

Also we're looking at the Avatar and the Purifier. These two units are very unique in that NOD does use Mecha Technology but does not use much of it. Why? Because these two units are supposed to be all they need to deal with up to teir 3/4 Mecha units along with being strong enough to deal with teir 3 vehicles. (Keep in mind, a teir 3 vehicle like a tank is equivalent to a teir 5 mecha, I know it's hard to understand but it works for us lol). So these guys need to be worked on.

But here is the kicker. We're finally finishing the Liquid Tiberium Bomb. We've turned this weapon into a 10 stage (yes, 10 stages!) weapon that no longer adversely hurts NOD. In fact with this design of the weapon its launching is all part of NOD's grand plan of Tiberium Radiation and they have not only innoculated their infantry so that the radiation will have positive effects/mutations on them but they have designed their vehicles with radiation trappers to help focus the released energy into their weapons AND crystalline trappers on their structures granting free resources for every structure on the field. In short this new design is all about NOD WANTING to drop it and everyone else wanting them DEAD so it doesn't happen.

But that's not what this post is about. While working on the LTB I saw something on the upgrades template that caused me to go "no wonder the AI doesn't use some upgrades".


Yea..... I don't know how I missed that line of code but I have it on every UC upgrade that I put in. I just removed it and am running tests now to see if the AI now actually upgrades the units. Wouldn't that be a kick in the pants if all of my messing in the AI Scripts to fix it and it had nothing to do with the AI Scripts, it was in the upgrade templates?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Xenoforce 9E Final Release

Here is the version I am uploading to Mod DB now. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Release Canidate 3

Give it a try!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

RC 3 will be released tommorow

I really want this one to go right so I'm working on the AI right now along with final balancing issues.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Release Canidate 2

Here is the next release canidate for Xeno 9e, let me know what you think!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Xenoforce 9E release

Here it is! Go for it guys!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Oh, how plans change....

So we're almost ready for our next release and are getting ready for our internal test phase. But there are some things that turned out differently than we originally planned.

For example our original idea for the Colony hasn't turned out the way we expected. Right now it's about 80% of what we were going to do. We were going to have husks laying around after the fall and that just isn't going to happen at this point. It's simply causing major issues with the damage and spawn code to add that one more thing in. So our solution has been to make the Colony that drops into a husk that will give you a bonus if you capture it. Whats the bonus? We haven't figured that out yet, but we will give you guys something awsome to make it worth wild. (honestly we do have an idea but I don't want to say it, I want people to play and figure it out. Trust me, you'll want this and you WON'T want your enemy to get this.)

Another thing that we've got going that isn't exactly what we planned is the Sat Cannons. We DID get the "phase of the moon" system up and running which is great. Unfortunatly we were not able to get it to only fire the sat cannons at Rank 4 (lame I know). However again there is a limit in there, albeit not one we wanted. Apparently while it works great the Sat Cannons can only be fired once (what?) Thats right, you get a single shot in that window and then the Sat Cannon will not fire again. While it's not the limiter we wanted it is one that works so thats what we are going to go with.

Finally we're having an issue with the "Unlimited Vision" upgrade. As in for some weird reason it isn't working. We wanted to have a power that when you activate it you can see everything on the map for a very short amount of time. We were just going to take the GDI vision power and increase the radius and call it a day. So we went in, coded it, and it won't let us actually lay the power down to activate it. What? Yea..... so right now we're looking at just using the GDI power with half the time. This still gives the player the bonus of being able to gather information quicker than any other player on the board if at a different rate (originally this power was going to be useable on the global scale every 3 minutes, now you can use the GDI power every 60 seconds).

So what do you think? Did we make acceptable sacrifices in these ideas to get the overall effect we wanted or is it not enough/too much? Feel free to post a responce!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

No sunday post

Sorry, busy working on the release. Will be a post within the next few days.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Superpowers in Xenoforce

The question was raised on MODDB recently about what superpowers each side would have and how they would work. Traditionally in CNC3 the superpowers were the ultimate goal. These were what you were trying to get to so that you could damage your enemies stance in battle in such a way that their only way to defend against said attack was to attack you themselves. Because of the nature of these powers you could only ever get one of these at a time and even after you built one you would have to defend it least it was destroyed before getting a chance to fire. In most games one shot from these weapons were enough to tip the balance so that one side could win.

In the Xenoforce Reborn mod this poses a problem. Some "ultimate weapons" simply were not up to the proper classification to be considered such (I'm looking at you NOD. A nuke? Really? Thats the best you can come up with?) while others left much to the imagination (Yes the Scrins Black Hole Cannon was cool too look at but I imagine such a force as the Scrin would have many other options to persue in terms of nasty superweapons). So we modified certain forces and gave them new powers to really help show that, when at full power, these forces had some serious firepower to lay down and call upon.

The issue of course comes from the Gundam Universes, and to an extent the Robotech technology as well. In Gundam AW for example their super weapon would be considered the Gundam X and it's Sat Cannon. This Cannon is powerful enough to destroy a decent size island in one shot and yet is easy enough to produce that they put them on a mass production mobile suit. While it is true that you must be a newtype to fire the weapon the Earth Federation even finds a way around this limitation with the Gundam Double X. So how do we allow a player to have access to such power and yet honestly find a way to keep it balanced? Our answer was to base the weapon's ability to fire on an unseen timer that counts down. When the timer is about to expire the units able to fire their sat cannons will glow, and then when it is actually able to fire they will glow a different color. This is diffrent than normal though because unlike your normal super powers that count down and then you can fire when your ready these units will only be able to fire for a short ammount of time, say 60 seconds, before their window of oppertunity is gone and they must wait again. The idea here is to simulate the different positions of the moon like in the show.

As for AW's actual "powers" that they will have access to, we are trying to base all support powers again on the Newtypes from the show. Each power avalible to the AW player will be based off of what one of the different Newtypes in the show had. These will be mostly global powers with the exception of the BIT Reinformenet power.

UC on the other hand has a completly different way of doing things. UC's powers are more focused on reinforcing their basic mobile suits with additional fire support in the way of Gundams. Each Gundam as well as bring it's own firepower to the field will have a special "power" that brings added flavor to the field. But this does not mean that UC doesn't have a super weapon at it's disposal, it does. The final Defcon lvl of UC grants the player access to Nu Gundam (a powerful force in it's own right) and the Gryps Cannon. This Cannon works a lot like the GDI Ion Cannon in practice but has a few different side effects. The first being that the Gryps Cannon superheats the object it is firing at, causing a huge wave of heat to blast out from the target. This heat wave will do massive heat damage to anything around it's target.

Now that brings me to something else, the GDI Ion Cannon. As many of you have probably already played our Xenoforce : O3 mod I'm sure your all going "wow, you added a ton of powers to NOD and Scrin, gave GDI a bunch of new units, but their Ion Cannon is kind of weak in compairison to what the other 2 forces can do". And your right. We're currently working on a few different ideas behind this to help make the Ion Cannon more powerful. One option that we're really trying to come up with a way of producing is a "Carpet Bomb Ion Cannon Attack". Really what this means is instead of getting a single shot of you get 5 in a line going off. This hasn't worked out too well yet, but we're still working on it. Another option would be to have it fire of 3 or 4 shots in a given area, so the first shot hits were you targeted and then you get a few more scattered around that blast radius for added effect. It's an option. We're also looking at adding an EMP blast effect to the Ion Cannon. For GDI this is really their only super weapon they can fall back on and at the moment it pales in comparison of what the other forces can do.

So I hope this helps anyone out there who is wondering about the powers. Feel free to post questions if you have any.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

AW, the force that keeps you moving

As many of you probably already know from looking at the recent patch of pics on MOD DB the Tenzan ships have changed rolls in the game. Originally a way for you to deploy and support Gundams now the Tenzans are the premeire piece for deploying non-gundam AW units. They come in many different variations based off of the Daughtress units that they deploy but what it comes down to are these land bases are mobile, front line outposts with troops. Many of them can detect stealth, and they can put up a decent fight on their own. Add in multipble Tenzans at once and you have a military convoy that can deal a great ammount of punishment out as well as take quite a beating.

There is a downside to this of course. There has to be, otherwise it would be unbalanced. First is cost, these things are expensive and take awhile to build. Second is the lack of direct control of the units on the ships. Instead of you direceting the mobile suits you simply tell the orders to the Tenzans and the Tenzans then relay the orders to the mobile suits under their command. Also once a Tenzan loses it's mobile suits it takes a minute for another suit to deploy to replace the lost one. Finally the Tenzans themselves typically only have a single unit that says on the ship to defend it so they lose offensive ability as they lose units. A tenzan may have a ton of HP but if there is a single Command Daughtress on board it's not going to do much damage vrs a group of avatars or titan tanks.

The idea here is quite simple really. We plan for each of the 3 forces to work differently for UC, each with a common backdrop of the EF. UC and SEED are looking to be like 2 different sides of the same coin. AW however isn't even playing the same game as the other two! When it comes to AW there will be a lot of, lets say, "animosity" comming from other outside forces that are not even involved in the current battle. To say that the AW forces have made enemies in space against Zeon will be an understatment. This will really boil down to 2 things on the global scale of things.

Every section of UC will obviously work better against certain opponents. If I'm going against Scrin for example I'd probably have an easier time of it playing as SEED than UC or AW. Not to say UC and AW can't win, it's just SEED is looking to be a better match against Scrin. Against GDI or NOD I'm seeing UC as the way to go as its the most tradional force of the 3. AW will be where I turn vrs Zeon or another EF player. So the idea of Zeon not liking AW will also play into the fact that AW as a force is more tailored to deal with other armies designed around the "Mobile Suit" idea.

The second part of that idea is that AW is primarily a space force. As such they are not really designed around the idea of ground battles and taking land. This doesn't mean all the suits fly as thats definatly not the case but what it does mean is that the main part of your force does in fact have many ways of additional movemnt.

Take your 3 gundams for example. The Leopard is already a fast moving mobile suit over land thanks to the wheels in it's legs. The Airmaster is fast because it can transform into a freaking jet. And the Gundam x and Double X will have the option to be built with the G-Falcon already attached giving them flight/mobility. So all 3 of your MAIN gundam force units can be seen as fast responce units. And following that up the slow AW units are hitching a ride on these giant armored carrier Tenzans, so if they arn't fast they are definatly well protected.

In other words UC would be seen as a defensive, turtle creap army that slowly expands forward taking land. The more Land the UC player has the stronger they are and the harder they are to deal with. AW doesn't really need as much space to deploy a large force and they can move many units by only giving a few "orders". I'm really looking forward to getting this done so I can play with them and see how it gos!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

AW, oh the power at your disposal....

Comming up with a different play style based on the side-faction you pick when playing EF while keeping a common starting point isn't always as easy as you would think. For example, if you wanted to compaire EF-UC to another faction already in the game the closest choice would be GDI. Both sides focus their powers on reinforments and both sides use their baseline units to win the game. However EF-UC has access to other, more advance technology making many of thier units stronger than GDI's and EF also has access to a few other "specialty" powers that give them a bit of NOD flair. GDI on the other hand sticks with classic, proven technology with low costs allowing them to slowly overwhelm their opponents.

The AW force that is currently being added in however is much closer to a mix between Scrin and NOD than any resembelence to GDI. AW's powers fall into two categories, global and reinforment. AW units also fall into 2 different categories, basic and gundam. Where UC's gundams can not be directly built most of the time and are seen as "commanders" on the field AW's gundams are their bread and butter of troops. Their gundams may not be as strong as UC's but you get more of them so that should be a fair trade off.

AW's powers are actually what I want to focus on here. If any of you have watched After War Gundam X you know that there are a lot of different newtypes in the show that do different things. Our plan is to base the powers that you get as an AW player off of those powers.

The powers we're currently planning on having avalible are as follows.

1. Vehicular Hold - Freezes ALL vehicles, aircraft, and mecha on the battlefield in place for 30 seconds. This will not kill aircraft that must keep moving. These units will still be able to fire, they just can't move.

2. Planetary Vision - Reveils the entire map for 30s.

3. DOME Defense Deployment - Drops a DOME Defense Canister to the battlefield with 4 DOME bits attached to it for defensive or offensive support. This structure can be placed ANYWHERE.

4. Bit Deployment - All rank 4 Gundams or Cyber Newtype Gundams will deploy 2 bits for support purposes.

5. Colony Drop - Drops 3 to 5 massive colonys randomly on the battlefield, ushering in the next phase in AW technology. These colonies will do massive damage to whatever they hit. The areas around impact will then have a few "capturable" gundam husks lying around along with some enemy Zeonic forces. These Zeon forces will attack ANY forces that come near them, be them the players or the enemies.

I'm sure there are a few things you can notice from this. The biggest being that there are not very many powers avalible to AW. Another is the Colony Drop. AW is the space force for the Earth Federation. Zeon is a primarily space based force themselves. This "power" is to show the fact that if AW wish's to deploy it's most advanced mobile suits (Gundam Double X, Gundam X Divider, Gundam Leopard Destroy, and Gundam Airmaster Burst) that Zeon will try to stop them by doing what Zeon does best. So this isn't as much of a "good power" as a choice, do you take the risk that your going to drop a colony on yourself trying to get more powerful suits or do you try to win without them? If the enemy is at your front door about to kill you do you use this as a deterrent and try to distract them? Once the colonies have fallen do you go out and try to capture these discarded, broken mobile suits and fight Zeon or do you let Zeon act as a buffer against your enemy? The possibilities are quite amazing IF we can get this stuff to work right.

What other powers do you think AW should have? Your thoughts are always welcomed.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A lesson learned well years ago

So the mod survived another HD failure, thats a releif. As many of you may or may not know the version of the mod that we have out there today is NOT the same version we started on. I'm not talking about a "redesign", I mean it's completly different.

The original attempt at Xenoforce Reborn started with us adding Zeon to the game. If you look back far enough you can actually find pictures on the blog of our first attempt. Then, as in now, the MOD work came to a screetching halt due to a HD failure. But unlike then this time the HD just gave up a few bad clusters and unlike then this time we've got a backup.

Yep, I back everything up when I do a major release onto an external HD and to another computer that is at my sisters house. I also back everything up when I do a minor update / test update for Doug to try. Thankfully this HD crash happened the DAY after I sent something to Doug so the only thing I could have lost was adding a sensor upgrade to the RGC80.

But that didn't even happen. After running some repair tools and stress testing the HD it appears that it's back in working order, so now we've dodged another bullet and are back to adding AW into the game. I have 2 more upgrades to add in for UC and then I can start actually working on adding AW models into the game.

I just hope the AI doesn't freak out over this design.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Early Update, AI questions and thoughts.

Yes, this sundays post is a bit early, but I figured early is better than late.

So with this next update that will be released I am messing around a lot with the AI scripts cand codes. Spicificly I am adding in scripts that slightly modify the way the AI works to give players a more customized feel. For example I recently added 3 new Scrin AI Scripts in, one that focuses on tactical powers, one that focuses on income, and one that focuses on unit enhancment. This is to give the players more options to help talor their enemies to specific play styles.

The next one I'm looking at doing is for GDI, it will be called Xeno-No Orca. I am interested to see just how effective the GDI AI would be if it decided that it didn't like to build orcas of any kind. This doesn't mean that it CAN'T build Orcas, they are still there, it's just that this AI will prefer Firehawks and Tanks instead of Orcas, if it works the way I hope it will lead to a very interesting AI to fight against.

What kind of AI's would you like to go up against? Ones that spam ground forces? Ones that prefer infantry? How about ones that want as much land as possible and will just expand like there is no tommorow? Let me know!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Defcon, the Refit, and the Hazel Project

The UC side of the Earth Federation really relies on it's base line mobile suits to win the day. Where AW will have mass production gundams with abilities and SEED will have massive mobile armors to win its battles the UC forces really have to use their wide array of mobile suits to push through. Thankfully they have 3 different systems working together to allow them to get the most out of their forces.

The first system everyone already knows about, the DefCon system. This system works a lot like the old Timeline system did. The player has 2 ways to advance the Defcon system compaired to the Timeline system that only had the one. The first is just wait, as the battle progress's the UC high command will decide that the commander will need more advance tech to try and win and will not only allow you, the commander, to deploy newer, stronger suits to the battlefield but will also drop in a special "Command" Gundam mobile suit with a team to help assist. This is how the UC player gets access to Gundams in the game.

The 2nd system is the Retrofit System. At Teir 4 the Research Center has new upgrades avalible for research that will upgrade older mobile suits to new uses on the battlefield. Some upgrades, like the GM-III Retrofit, will upgrade the original RGM79 to a fully armored GM-III with a bazooka and anti-air missiles. We're still working on what upgrades we're going to do here, but at the moment we've got the GM-III retrofit, the Guntank Repair retrofit, and the RX-77 Guncannon 3 Retrofit in the works.

Finally there is the Project Hazel Retrofit. At Tier 4 (or 5, haven't decided yet) the Hazel Research Center becomes avalible to build. Inside will be 4 upgrades that will again increase the power and usefulness of 3 different units on the battlefield. There are actually 4 upgrades that can be done here. The major difference between the Retrofit and the Hazel systems is that the Retrofit system can drastically change the way a unit works on the battlefield where the Hazel system keeps the unit in its same roll just with more abilities to get it's job done. What we have here so far are the Powered GM Hazel Phase, the GM Sniper Hazel Phase, the GM Custom Hazel Phase, and the Hazel Retinue Phase.

The Powered GM Hazel gains accuracy with it's main beam rifle (which is also stronger than the original), gains a bit more speed, and gains anti-air beam cannons on it's back. The GM Sniper Hazel gains stealth (which is a big plus) and a more powerful beam rifle. The GM Custom Hazel gains a nice boost in health, speed, and a stronger beam rifle. Finally the Hazel Retinue is for the Gundams. With this upgrade special "dual shield" GM Custom Hazels will drop in with the Gundams. These special units will be as strong as the RX78, if not stronger depending on the situation and be equipped with 2 short barreled beam rifles.

So hopefully you can see how UC will play out. Not only do you have what we mentioned above on UC's side, you also gain powers based off of the Gundams that are on the field and the Gundams give "strength" bonus's to diffent class's of units. I hope you guys enjoy UC, it's really turning into a very unique army all it's own.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A two part update. GP03 and the AI

So I was hoping to have pics of the new GP03 with all my changes up for you guys to see on this update, but I've been really busy with the AI so the pics will have to wait until later this week. Still, I promised more details and have been waiting to tell everyone about it, so at least you'll get to read what I'm thinking.

First GP03. When Doug and I decided that since we're going back and fixing things up anyways one last time I personally wanted to take a crack at making GP03 something truly special. Something larger than life. Something that your enemies will fear and you will honestly go "that's what I'm talking about."

And how to pull this off? Well, the first question came down to how should the unit work. There were 3 locomotor choices to choose from. 1-Come in and attack then leave, 2-Be built and constantly move, 3-Be built and hover. Also GP03 has 3 major ways to attack. 1-Mega Beam Cannon, 2-Rockets, 3-Beam Sabers.

As you all know our GP03 model didn't have the beam saber arms on it. It does now, I went in and added them in. It was a patch job, but it works. Then I looked at the locomotor choices. We had it originally set up at option 2, but the weapons just were not firing properly there. I switched it over to option 3 and everything clicked weapon wise. So to use all the weapons I would have to have it set up to as a hovering model. This ment adding some sort of "positioning thrusters" onto the body. Again, I went to the model and threw something together. Overall it looks rather nice I think.

I then took a good hard look at the code and the way the weapons worked. My biggest problem was GP03's mega partical beam cannon. There simply isn't a good way to make the cannon avalible to the player in a way that it would both be true to the actual power of such a weapon of that size AND constantly useable without being overpowering. So this is what I did.

I went in and combined options 1 and 3. GP03 will now fly in from the side of them map and make an attack run at it's target "location". When it gets close it will fire the Mega partical Beam cannon off once, doing MASSIVE damage to the location/target that gets hit. GP03 will continue flying forwards and stop over the smoldering ruins of it's target. It is then selectable and able to be used as normal.

But I didn't stop there with the unit. The Beam Sabers were given a good distance and set up so they only attack air. This makes GP03 a very dangerous anti-air unit. Enemy targets that get too close like Firehawks and Vertigo's that like the fly past their target after firing their missiles will get a nasty surpize against GP03. Orcas do the best against them with their quick hit and run tactics.

And then I went to the Rocket Pods. Sure, I could give the unit some missiles and call it a day, but that's not how GP03's rocket pods were designed to work. After 3 days of testing different things I came up with this - GP03 fires out 4 missile pods. As the pods fall they suddenly gain their own orintation in the air and take off on their own flying very fast. The pods will fly around the area and fire off 2 vollys of missiles from themselves, firing special micro missiles. Then the pods explode in the air. GP03 is timed to have at most 8 of these missile pods flying around it. The effect is quite awsome to witness and I can't wait to show you guys/let you play with it and see. There is no other weapon in CNC3 like this, and it has opened up another realm of possibilities to us. It all came about thanks to me making a mistake on the code by the way, GP03 at one point was firing missile pods that acted like jumping beans, bouncing from one target to the next killing everything and anything around it. That was just funny to watch lol.

So thats the update for GP03. Now the AI. I've had a problem recently where the AI just simply refused to work properly for me. The game would crash 5 minutes into a battle every time. I've narrowed it down to a couple of buildings, I'm not sure which structure of mine is causing this conflict that is doing all this but that has taken a lot of my time. Once I have this fixed I should have something that Doug and you guys will find a bit more challanging to face other than the current "wow..... that was just sad." AI that the EF currently uses. Here is hoping I can come up with some more evil plans right? :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

August has not been a good month for me.

Lets see, first there was my GF's birthday, then my own 2 days after than, and then my sisters a few after that.... oh yea, and then my car decided to shit the bed and die on me yesterday, did I mention that? And work is cutting hours (only getting 20ish a week now!) during all of this. And it's only August 10th? Fuck, not looking forward to the rest of this month at this rate.

What does that mean? Well, for starters I've been too busy to post anything here (but not to do work, as many of you know from MOD DB). I apologize for the missing sunday posts and hope to be back on track this sunday with new information about how GP03 will work in the new version of the mod. I'm very excidted and love how it is turning out. As long as I can, you know, actually GET it to work. That's kinda key.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

UC and AW, more different than just different units

I received an email the other day from someone who wanted to know what was taking so long on the mod when it comes to adding UC back in and putting SEED and AW back in. While I get these kinds of emails all the time I felt it was important to explain the difference between UC and AW.

UC Powers and Design Overview

UC has 3 sources of income.

  • The Tiberium Rig
  • The Refinery
  • The Resource Resupply Dropoff

UC has access to many different normal suits that evolve in their rolls as the game go's on.

UC has very few production line Gundams to build.

UC uses 2 kinds of powers. Gundam Reinforment powers where they call in unique powerful Gundams to help support their lines and Defcon Powers. A Defcon power is tied to the Defcon that the UC force is currently at to give additional bonus's and abilities. This places UC inbetween GDI and NOD in terms of powers and abilities.

UC has access to many different defensive structures that gain experience and evolve as they are used.

UC has access to many different structures making them very reliant on space.

AW Powers and Design Overview

AW has 2 different sources of income

  • Refinery
  • Resource Drop Off

AW has access to only a few mass production mobile suits who fill very generic rolls.

AW has access to many Production level Gundam class mobile suits.

AW has unique land bases for super heavy support.

AW has very few defensive structures to build. They do not gain experience as they are used.

AW has very few structures to build, allowing for very small bases to be very effective.

AW's powers revolve around Newtype powers and abilites seen in the show. This can range from a massive "EMP" blast that shuts all ground units down on the map to the DOME system.

So as you can see, the difference between UC and AW will be more than just different units. We plan for UC to be a force that flex's and flows, with units that change rolls as time go's on and evolves as time go's on. AW will be a very straight up army with powers that have massive effects and powerful units who also can not deal well with loss's. For example, if you kill a squad of 6 UC Gm's it will not be the end of the world for UC. However, this same loss of a few Gundam Leopards will be a heavier loss as the AW forces will be their main line of defense.

As always, feel free to ask any questions you wish.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Work is starting to pick back up again

Now that all of my personal, family drama is done and over with (for now) I can get back to the mod. In this interm I have not been able to do any coding/modeling but Doug and I have nailed down EF-UC's design.

I don't want to get into much about it but I will tell you this. Previous versions of UC were bland at best, and mostly looked at as a straight forward no nonsense army. Our new design (which will be the final design, I must stress this) will have enough flavor that it will honestly be a very nice choice to choose. While each of the 3 sides of EF will play to a very spicific gameplay style UC is sticking with 1 major theme. The UC will be a turtler's dream. However, UC will also have a weakness against turtler armies if we do get it to work the way we want. So basically the strength of UC is the weakness.

More to come next week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Late/no update this week

Sorry for the late post guys, there won't be an update this week. I've been busy in my personal/work life and havn't had a chance to do anything. So, since I've done nothing, there's nothing to report. Exciting isn't it?

I should have something to talk about this Sunday. I'm just getting started on some work now.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Things about the new design.

While we get ready to start working on our new Earth Federation designs one of the key points behind each design is making sure that not only each unit has a purpose for being in the game, but that each of the 3 sides have a true reason for being in the game and a distinct game play style.

Our current design for UC revolves around the holding of land. UC's defenses will be cheaper and gain experience quicker than AW or SEED's defenses. UC's air resource drops will also come in quicker as they have the supply lines better secured than AW or SEED. Finally, UC gains more tech and more units as the situation escalates. This means that the longer you fight UC the stronger they get. The reason for these game play designs is because in our story UC is supposed to be the force that simply holds the areas that SEED has taken. Think of UC as the forces that when they move they attack enemy lines as a large push, no small skirmish's with these guys.

AW and SEED's designs have not been figured out yet, but this is what I can tell you. From our story, AW is the force that is based off of the Lunar Base. These are the force that initially started the fight for the Earth Federations independence by launching attacks against GDI Blue Zones in North America. What this means is when we do their army the big thing that we'll be looking at is units that have speed, hitting power, and quick deployment and reinforments. This roll will work great for AW as between their "Bits" system for reinforments, the "Dome Defense System" for unique attack points, the "Sat Cannons" for massive stopping power, and the special powers being based around the unique "newtypes" that were in the show AW will have all of these things to make them a very dangerous army to play against. The AW weakness is going to be their structures, or more to the point their defenses. AW simply won't be designed around setting down massive bases, they will work more off the idea of small, efficent bases with few buildings that do lots of different rolls.

SEED is based around a very simple idea. In our story SEED is the force that takes land by making broad forward movements. Where UC uses a sledge hammer to hammer in a nail and AW uses a nail gun with a single nail in it and hopes it go's in right the first time, SEED truly is going to be the proper hammer for the nail each time. This means that each SEED unit that we do put in is going to picked and choosen as a counter for another unit type. While this means that SEED will always have something to work with this unfortunatly also means that if you pick the wrong units to build you could end up losing very easily. However, SEED doesn't have to just rely on having counter units to win. SEED will have additional Ally forces to call on. SEED can team up with ORB to gain access to units like the Freedom and Justice or they can team up with Blue Cosmos and gain super powerful mass production mobile armors like the Destroy Gundam. It'll be interesting if I can get this to work right, that'll be sure.

So soon I should have some pics of the new design working (assuming I ever get past the design faze and move into the recoding faze). If you have any suggestions or questions let us know.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Sorry for the late update

It's been a busy weekend with 4th of July here in the states. Sorry for the late update.

This post isn't going to say much other than I'm currently working on the new design for Earth Federation - UC (Yes, AGAIN, but with good reason this time.) After all the hard work that we've put into the original 3 we have learned quite a bit about the engine and the AI. The biggest things are what we can get the AI to do, what we can't, and what it really can understand out of the options we give it.

Its for this reason that we're abandning the UC Timeline design. Yes the AI can do it, but it really is not needed. Honestly, it's kind of silly to have all these units that you can only build at certain times. The reason we had the timeline setup in the game was because we were trying to stick to the UC Story as much as possible.

This is no longer going to be the case. The UNITS themselves will still work as close as possible to the Gundam story. The force itself though will not. This means the following.

1. A RGM 79 will work like you expect it to vrs say a Stark Jegan. I kinda feel sorry for the RGM 79 in this match-up.

2. You will be able to build the RGM 79 and the Stark Jegan at the same time with this new design. No more "greyed out units", you just get more as you move forwards.

Doug and I have been having a lot of discussions latley about this new design. If you listen to Doug's podcast you will have heard us and him discussing the new ideas we're toying with. The biggest thing I want to point out is that the things we talk about during this time period are NOT garunteed to be in the game. They're just discussions about what we could do and what is possible and what's not in the game.

Everyone have a good week, and I hope to have some more news soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Xenoforce : The Original 3 RC2

At the bottom of this post you will find a link to the next RC for the 1.1 update to Xenoforce:O3. But for those that actually read this first, I want to thank you for helping us try and make this mod better.

I would like to take a moment and try to stress a few things, why we're spending time working on the Original 3 and why your support and help are important.

We are working on the original 3 because, to be quite frank, we have no choice. If we are going to add such drastic forces as Gundam/Invid/RDF/Zeon into a game and keep that game balanced and fun then we have to use a system that is neutral to both series. Originally we were going to just use EA's design and call it a day, but after the last MOD release it was obviously apparent to us that EA's system simply wouldn't do it. EA's system simply did not have the scope to do what was needed. So we could expand on EA's system or come up with our own. The problem with using EA's system was it would not be fair. If we can agree that Gundam/Robotech must be placed on a neutral system to allow for proper fairness then we must also agree that to allow CNC's units to use their own system would simply be unfair.

So we designed our own system and started the process of converting CNC's units to our system. And since we were doing this we went ahead and made the changes that we felt the CNC armies needed to help make them unique.

Now why this is so important is my second point. We have now made 3 armies with this system (GDI/NOD/Scrin) and only with your feedback and support can we hope to see exactly how this system will work for EF/Zeon/Invid/RDF. What glaring bugs appear with our system? How were these bugs fixed? What does this mean for the other armies not placed in yet? These things are important. So thank you for your support and help, and hopefully this RC will be the last needed.

Xenoforce : The O3 RC2

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Xenoforce O3 1.1 release canidate

Here's the release canidate for 1.1

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Original 3 is a great sucsess!

I guess it depends on what your measuring it up against but to me over 600 downloads in a week is great! On top of that we were on the front page of MOD DB for the week and in their "showcase slideshow"!

Later this week (probably close to friday) I will be uploading an update to the O3 mod, version 1.1

This version will address a few balancing issues with the GDI and NOD along with major rebalancing of the Scrin. For example the Stormrider will now get 3 plasma guns instead of the lance weapon, the Tripod loses the ability to upgrade it's arms individually (now it's done through the regular Scrin Powers System) and gains the ability to blink (ah ha! Now there is a good reason to pick that power! Blinking Tripods with Shields and Lance Weapons? Talk about dangerous!)

Keep your eyes open guys, and we'll see you next week.