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.