Saturday, May 28, 2011

Whats going on, I thought NOD was going to be done last week?

Yea, me too. Unfortunatly it's still a few weeks out now, but allow me to explain. Originally we were simply going to update NOD to the new damage / health system and call it a day. However when we started asking about them / working on them something became apparent. There simply are not many NOD players out there who are playing the mod at the moment. This leads one to wonder why and the answer that Doug and I came up with was simple. NOD simply wasn't that insteresting to play with.

So we started brain storming and have come up with an entire new NOD to play with. This new NOD is a lot like the old one in that they are using the same units for the most part and any current NOD player should have no trouble "stepping" into NOD's shoes and feeling at home with them. However this new NOD has quite a few new tricks up their sleeves.

Without going into the details of the back-story let us just say that the Xenoforce Reborn mod will be re-writing the CNC history for our story and that most changes happen after the 2nd Tib war. Previously NOD dissapeared after the Firestorm Conflict, but not this time. What we've done is make NOD into a full fledged Religous option for the people of Earth. They have their own churches, they are very open about following the teachings of Kane, and even have their own "guards of NOD" military force. This means that the troops of NOD are not just fanatics handed a weapon and pushed into service, these people are well trained and know how to use the equipment intrusted into them.

Now, NOD has 2 aspects of this force. They have the "Show" force of Buggies, Bikes, and Scorpion Tanks that they use and the world sees every day. The main reason GDI is not worried about these forces is that in comparison to GDI's forces and equipment NOD's is not a real threat. At least thats' what they see. NOD has developed additional tech to add to these units to bring them up to -par- with GDI's tech but they don't come that way to begin with. NOD wants GDI thinking these units are for defensive use only and not able to take GDI on in a head on fight. Thats why you get the laser capacitor upgrades, armor upgrades, and tiberium warhead upgrades to make them stronger later.

The hidden part of NOD is the other end of the spectrum. The Flame tanks, Stealth tanks, and Avatars are not shown to the world and GDI has no idea they exsist. These are the real force behind NOD.

Now, each vehicle is going to have a special attack or effect that go's off when the vehicles are killed. I have shown a few of them on MODDB recently. This is the current list that we are aiming to have in.

Radier Buggys - EMP blast when they are killed.

Attack Bikes - Drops a small mine field onto the ground when killed.

Scorpion Tank - Summons a Scorpion Bike when killed. (Scorpion Bike is bike with lasers instead of rockets and is a different color).

Flame Tank - Drops a Firestorm Bomb onto the ground when killed.

Beam Cannon - On death summons an Obelisk of Light to the battlefield for a short time.

Stealth Tank - On death fires off a large volly of rockets around it randomly.

Scud Launcher - On death turns into a "turret" that can fire it's Scud Missile one additional time before dying.

Avatar and Purifier - On death turns into a husk, also all units around them gain 50% attack speed and movement speed.

Can you start to see the opportunities? Run in with a large buggy squad to try and shut down the enemy defenses, then send in beam cannons and stealth tanks to try and do as much damage as possible. If I can get this all to work right, it could be a great time to play as NOD. :)

Also, NOD's powers are changing drasticly. NOD is all about Mass Distructuion and we plan to show it. Here is the list of powers that I am trying to add in. The biggest thing to know about these powers are none of them target a spicific thing, instead they all target a given area.

EMP Control - Fires off many EMP blasts in a given area.

Firestorm Control - Many hidden Firestorm bombs are detonated in a given area. These bombs may go off instantly or in 30 to 40 seconds. These bombs do Fire Damage.

Air Rocket Control - Drops metal canisters from the sky that hit the ground. When they do, they deploy into SAM sites that fire off a large volly of anti-air rockets and then explode. These do Rocket Damage

Artillery Shell Control - Small artillery shells rain down from the sky and pummel anything they hit on the way down. These do Cannon Damage.

Laser Maw Control - 5 Obelisks of Light are summoned into a given area. These Obelisks can combine their beams to damage a single target making them very dangerous. These last for about 30 seconds to a minute then dissapear back into the ground. This does Laser Damage.

Liquid Tiberium Control - Drops a Liquid Tiberium Bomb onto the battlefield damaging everyone and anything Tiberium related. This does Tiberium Damage.

Time control - Activating nano-bots inside the bloodstreams of the NOD personal caught inside the activation pulse, these units gain 50% attack speed and 50% movement speed for a short time.

Rage control - Activating nano-bots inside the bloodstreams of the NOD personal caught inside the activation pulse, these units gain 50% health increase and the ability to regenerate their health for a short time.

So thats what we're looking at for the new NOD. It'll be a few more weeks until its done, if you have any questions feel free to ask. :-)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sorry for the delay.

I was hoping that by now you guys would be playing the next internal beta of the new balancing system that we're putting into play. All that was left to do was NOD and the original 3 would be done. Unfortunatly, unforseen family issues came up and I wasn't able to work on the mod these last few days so it will be a few more days until I can post it up. If I get lucky, maybe it will be done tommorow, it depends.

You see, Doug and I have come up with a pretty cool idea for NOD. I like it anyways. However I am finding that there simply isn't a lot of support for NOD out there. What I mean is, the players just don't want much done to NOD as it is. Thats either because they think NOD is fine the way it is or you guys just don't play NOD. Myself I enjoy NOD some, but for the most part I'm more of a GDI or Scrin player simply because I like GDI's military aspect and I like Scrins power system. Only thing that I really like about NOD is the Avatars and their WMD's.

So other than the cosmetic "fluff" changes that we've put into play for the new NOD those are the 2 areas I think I'm going to focus on. Other than that, I just don't see myself wasting much time on expanding NOD. If you have any comments, let me know.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The next internal alpha should be avalible soon.

Hopefully by next Sunday what you will be doing is not reading this blog but instead testing out our first internal alpha. I've finished with Scrin and GDI and now only have NOD to retool. When they are done I will be posting a link on here (but not MODDB) with this new alpha that is retooled/rebalanced for the original 3 armies. Depending on the feedback from this we will continue with our plans to rebalance EF-UC with this system along with starting work on EF-AW!

GDI's issue was simple, they needed more units to feel like a true military force. They needed variety and options that were there in the lore of CNC but not in the game. This has been fixed I think.

Scrins issue was equally easily seen. They needed more focus on tiberium (which is why they are there to begin with right?) along with a more unique army setup. Again I believe this has been accomplished.

NOD is different. They are a religious organization with militant overtones that are not afraid to use whatever WMD that they can get their hands on. How does this play out in the game? Well, NOD as it stands doesn't have much of a "religious" feel to it in the game. They really feel like a copy of GDI. So how do we fix this? This isn't as easy to do as one would think. We need to inject not with the ability to gain resources in an additional way along with Tiberium Gathering while still focusing on their main three bullet points.

1. They are a religious group.

2. They are a militant force made up of fanatics with little real training.

3. They supposedly control the majority of the Tiberium harvesting operations around the world.

So how do you convert these things to an army in game? Good question. This is what I've come up with. As far as the religious aspect I'm going to make structures that have religious meaning not only cost less but also produce cash. This means the secret shrine and the temple of nod will make you money and cost less than they used to. Also, the Stealth Generators are going to be renamed "Stealth Shrines" that will not only stealth themselves along with other buildings but produce cash. This will make them very valuble to the NOD player for obvious reasons.

Next I will make the refinerys cost less/take less time to build. This will show that NOD is able to deploy refinerys and harvest at a much quicker rate than other armies due to their experience in this field.

Finally, their lower end units will cost less and have worse aim than their GDI counterparts. This is to show 2 things, one NOD generals put the untrained in rolls that are not very costly to NOD if they screw it up but at the same time their lack of training makes them not as effective with these pieces of equipment. However as a NOD unit gains experience they will also gain accuracy. This shows that the in-field training pays off. If they can survive it that is.

What other ideas do you think should go into NOD with their design to help them better fit their history and help them stand apart from GDI? Let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Scrin. How the aliens do things differently.

As many of you know by now, the major issue Doug and I have had with the original 3 armies from a purly design stand point was how the Scrin were designed exactly like the GDI and NOD. Sure sure, I'm sure EF didn't want to "confuse" it's customers by making the different armies too different from each other, but isn't that the point? If they are going to be a DIFFERENT army then they should be more things about them different than just what units they are using. And an Alien army should be very different than the human versions right?

I'm almost done with the Scrin changes (how the heck did that happen so fast? Seems like it took me forever to do GDI.) and I think that with my new changes plus the old "new" changes that I did already things will be very different for Scrin.

You already know that the Scrin powers and upgrade systems are different than GDI/NOD. With Scrin you basically get to "pick and choose" what powers you want right from the beginning. You can't have everything, but you get enough that you can customize them to your playing style. This is even futher added upon now. Scrin can really be 3 kinds of armies. You can focus on their resource generating capabilites, a sure favorite if your playing team games as you now become "THE" resource force. Everyone will want you to play this type as it will allow you to provide them with money for free! Then there is the "Superpower" play type. With 3 different Motherships deployable now you can play those epic units hard and fast (especially if you have the cash to do it whenever you want) for maximum damage. Add in the Rift Generator that summons in a Mothership after the Gravity Well disipates (oh, did I forget to mention that? Yep, working on that power now.) AND the new Ion Blanket (still way to overpowering but thats the way I like my technologically advanced alien species, feels better when I kick their ass) and you can pretty much force your opponents hand as they can't just "let" you do what you want to. Finally we have the real "Ground Pounder" playstyle. You don't win with fancy weapons or by tricking your opponent. You win because your units are stronger, faster, and tougher than other scrin units. You have hardened shells and energy shields. Your weapons can take in Tiberium to make them stronger, and your plasma cannons are super-cooled allowing them to fire at a quicker rate. A wave of your troops moving across the field brings your enemies to their knees in fear.

But I digress, you already knew all of that right? Here is something else that really bothered me. Why do the Scrin need their tech building to upgrade their power plants? Gone. Now you can just upgrade your plants whenever you want, even from the very beginning. Why do you need to build the "scrin barracks" building to build the Stasis Chamber? Gone. Once you build your Command Node (to me this is a very important building for scrin) then you can build whatever advanced building you want, as it is the command node will be the only "required" building needed to build more advanced buildings.

Finally, Scrin infantry. It's no secret that I made infantry weaker with the last version of the game. I believe I went too far and plan on doubling their HP and seeing where they fall now on the newer version that I'm working on now, but the Scrin Infantry need more. The scrin ground force is very "low" on what it can deploy honestly, they have 4 vehicles really. And out of those 4 vehicles, only 2 of them are designed to survive long in combat. Thats not very good in my eyes, so I plan on giving the Scrin's infantry a further boost making them very tough (but still infantry) in comparison to other infantry units. I mean, I watched 4 swarms try and kill 1 GDI gunnery squad and they never got close! While that's fine, I then watched 4 disintergrator squads try to kill this 1 gdi squad and they were wiped out too. Then a Gunwalker tried and it died as well. That's not gonna cut it. Especially with GDI getting the other Pitbull now.

As always, I welcome your opinions.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

GDI - The Airforce that rocks

I'm almost done with the GDI rebalance and just finished updating the air units descriptions so I thought I'd mention how GDI's air power has changed.

First you get the normal Orca.  It still has it's anti-infantry vulcan and is equipped with TOW Rockets giving it an overall balanced useage.  Its also the cheapest of the 4 aircraft.  The disadvantage is its advantage, it's a jack of all trades master of none.

Then you have the Strike Orca.  This unit is a stripped down Orca with high speed boosters on it.  It's equipped with Structure Buster Missiles, these bad boys are designed to do triple damage vrs structures though they will do ok damage against vehicles in a pinch.  Their disadvantage is they are really only good in a bombing roll, as a defensive support unit they don't have much value.   Also their armor is pretty weak compaired to the other choices.

The final Orca design is the Gunship Orca.  This replaces our old Stormsmoke Orca unit.  The main reason for the change is that while the AI would use the Stormsmoke once in a while a player really couldn't tell what Orca they were dealing with by looking at it.  This Orca is much heavier than the other 2 making it slower.   However it's armor is stronger.  It is equipped with a forward light gattling cannon.  The main advantage to this thing is it doesn't need to fly back to reload meaning it's the only GDI air unit that can stay out in the field at all times.  The disadvantage is the cost is higher than the other 2 orcas and it's not as fast.  Also it's cannon, while it can hit ground and air, does have a chance to miss. 

Finally we have the Firehawk.  Not much has changed here, other than the payload.  Now your 2 choices are Flexable or MOAB.  Yes, the MOAB is back folks, and it's better than ever!  Flexable loadout is equipped with Anti-Air Missiles and the Firehawks Carpet bomb loadout, the Firehawk will use what it has to to get the job done.  If you switch to the MOAB you lose the ability to defend against air, but you get the MOAB!  Awsome right?

One last thing to talk about.  With the new "hit/miss" system added in to cannon type weapons I have found a few things out.  Units that now have a chance to miss have a harder time hitting mobile targets.  This gives lighter/faster units an actual feel of being able to pull off "Hit and Run" attacks.  But not always, they still do hit, it's just harder like it should be.  Also I've noticed that smaller units are harder to hit than larger ones (duh?).  I watched 4 Gunship orcas go to town trying to blow some pitbulls up and having a bit of a time with it as the pitbulls were moving/escaping.  However I watched the same 4 pitbulls go to town and have no trouble hitting a Titan Tank.  Its simply easier to hit larger targets.  I like that.

I'll be posting pics of the MOAB in action on Mod DB soon, so keep on watching.  After this is done I'm off to work on the Scrin, then NOD.  Scrin shouldn't take too long as I'm only changing a few things/powers.  NOD is a different beast all together as we're not sure what we're going to do really when it comes to a few things.  Till then.