Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sundays post is early this week.

I had a friend of mine pass away this week, he was about my age so it was a little odd. When my grandmother died we all kind of saw it coming days before it happened so it was not a big surprise but this, this was different.

So having said that there has not been much of any work done on the mod the last few days. I'm going to try to get on to it tonight I think, but I wanted to say something that I think needs to be said. I keep copies of the Mod in many different places, I have it on my main computer, my backup HD, my USB Thumb Stick that I keep on my keys, in my Sisters house down the road (which reminds me I need to update that copy at some point, it's almost a year old..) and finally in another state. Yes, Doug has a complete copy of the work. I do not know what his opinion of this is but if something ever did happen to me I would expect him to make what we have done made available to everyone online, open source. This mod started thanks to the original creator making his mod open source when he left and I have every intention of doing the same.

Death is not an easy thing for some to deal with. I think I take it better than most, I have not been busy being sad for my lost friend but in trying to make others who also lost said friend feel a bit better. Shit happens and then you die, but I believe everyone who is living hopes to leave some sort of lasting impression upon this world before the end, it is one of the fundamental things that we as a society seem to strive for. If it happens to me so be it, but maybe someone else will see what we have done here with this mod and get into modding on their own because of it. Maybe they will start tweaking the settings to fit their own tastes. And maybe that will have an effect on someone else, you can see the butterfly effect here.

Because in the end that is all we have. The Butterfly Effect. And twinkies. Those things last forever......

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The work on Nod continues.

So the other day on the Mod DB website I asked for some ideas from you guys on new names for the houses of Nod. Our old names were the Templars, the Sisterhood, the Assassins, and the Inquisition. While I am sure there are a few out there who like these names I just never cared for them that much myself. After getting a bit of feedback from Doug, Kunaiswarm, and a few others these are the names we have come up with, each with a brief description of what the player can expect from going with this house/branch. Oh yea, and we have changed it from a "house" to a "branch" from within Nod.

Sisterhood is now Section 9 Security.

Section 9 Security is an experimental research and development branch of Nods Military. They are the counter-espionage force of Nod, designed to hit hard, fast, and first. Their technology includes extensive use of laser weaponry along with some limited use of cloaking technology and plasma missile technology.

Assassins are now Black Operations.
Black Operations, or Black Ops are more of a loose group of teams within Nod than a solid branch. This fluidity allows the Black Ops to conduct missions that can not be linked back to Nod directly. They use extensive use of cloaking technology along with weapons that do pinpoint damage. For example, a Black Ops unit equipped with a missile would use a Bunker Buster missile which is designed for armor penetration and not collateral damage, meaning these missiles are more powerful against a single target and do not do splash damage.

Inquisition is now Homeland Defense.
Homeland Defense is the military might of Nod. These are the forces that the world sees at large in Nod Controlled areas. In third world countries, towns that have been over-run by bandits and warlords are offered protection by Nod's Homeland Defense. It is the Homeland Defenses Cyborg technology that is sold to the wealthy and powerful people of more prosperous nations as protection. In game this means the Homeland Defense units are focused on power and toughness, taking a direct approach to enemy encounters. They make extensive use of plasma missile technology.

Templar are now Tiberium Guard. This is the main defensive branch of Nod, but more than that these are the support and relief troops that are sent into areas that have already been liberated by Homeland Defense. They focus on medical and armor technology, picking this branch will grant the players units additional armor and health along with things like protection from Tiberium. Some of their units even give up speed for additional armor, for example the Avatar will give up 35% of it's normal movement speed to gain 50% additional HP making it a great mobile defensive unit.

Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

SEED - The straight forward aproche.

Sorry for the late post, it's taken me a few days to get my thoughts together on the following subject. So, having said that lets take a look at SEED as an anime and see how this would work as a RTS shall we?

Gundam SEED is the story of a young boy who finds himself on a neutral colony in space during a war between the Earth and the Space Colonies. At first it seems like its going to be a reboot of the original story but it's far more than that. Soon the young boy finds himself in the cockpit of the Gundam Striker, the 5th prototype Gundam being developed on the colony, as it is attacked and the other 4 prototypes are stolen. Worse, he finds that one of the thieves is his long lost childhood friend. I can't imagine pitching this idea and keeping a straight face but apparently someone did it and did it well enough that it got made. Bravo random japaneese dude.

So what this really comes down to is a show with lots of "basic" mobile suits and a few high performance prototypes constantly fighting against each other. As the story continues people switch sides and new sides are formed which does not help our situation at all.

So what does all of this mean to you guys and the Mod? It means that we have potentially many different units to pull from but in the end with us only choosing units that would have been part of the Earth Federation, what exactly qualifies? And where do you draw the line? There are so many different Daggers and Windams, what ones do we go with? And the many MANY different Gundams and Mobile Armors... you start to see the problem.

In the end there are 2 major timelines from SEED that can be worked from, CE71 and CE 73. CE71 was the year of the Dagger where CE 73 was the year of the Windam. If we go with CE71 you have the Strike Dagger, Jet Dagger, Launcher Dagger, Dagger L, Jet Dagger L, and Doppelhorn Dagger L. If we go with the Windams of 73 you get the Windam, Jet Windam, and Doppelhorn Windam.

Units based on the Strike Daggers (Strike Dagger/Jet Dagger/Launcher Dagger) are teir 1 units that fill the basic attack/basic air unit/basic artillery positions. The Dagger L's would be the teir 2 units with the units following a similar pattern (Dagger L for basic attack / Jet Dagger L for basic air / Doppelhorn Dagger L for basic artillery). Finally if we did add the Windams in as the teir 3 units they would be the Windam/Basic Attack, Jet Windam/Basic Air, Doppelhorn Windam/Basic Artillery.

So thats our basic units setup. So far what we're looking at are 3 frontline, 3 air units, and 3 artillery units. The army so far is looking like a straight up fighting force. Where do the Gundams fit in?

I think how we should do the Gundams would be elite units that you can call on to support your forces in game. These units would be 1 time builds, built from a different structure or maybe summoned in using a support power. When I say 1 time builds I mean you only can have 1 on the field at a time. So what Gundams can we use?

Well, from the original show the first 5 prototype gundams were built FOR the Earth Allience so arguably even though 4 of the 5 were stolen if the EA wanted to build more they could have, they had the plans after all. That would give us the Duel Gundam, Buster Gundam, Strike Gundam, Blitz Gundam, and Aegis Gundam. We could also argue for the Calamity, Forbidden, and Raider Gundam but to me these always seemed like they belonged to Blue Cosmos and not the EA.

Out of the 5 original Gundams not all are going to make it, simply put we have to take things from a gameplay standpoint and I'm not going to put every gundam avalible in (we still have some to grap from 73 afterall). Out of the 71 series the ones that I would say "Yes, you should be there" would be the Strike Gundam, the Duel Gundam, and the Buster Gundam. These 3 units actually fit with our inital setup, with the Duel Gundam being the frontline unit, the Buster being the artillery unit, and the Strike being the air unit. The Strike continues to gain favor due to it's flexability allowing it to switch to artillery or front line with it's other forms to further it's position.

With the jump to 73 though we have a different issue. The Earth Allience did not use very many Gundams in its defense in this war, not ones that were truly theirs anyways. They did use the Chaos, Abyss, and Gaia. As these units were stolen from Zaft and held by the EA for quite a while it's arguable to say that if they wanted to the EA could have produced them as well. As such for the second teir of elites these would be the 3 that I pick. The Chaos abviously takes the slot as front line fighter, the Gaia takes the slot of air unit. The problem is with the Abyss gundam. As we don't have water as a transversal item (meaning you can't go in it thanks to the maps) the Abyss's armored mode is less that useful. However the argument could be made that we can modify it and make it's armored mode into a sort of stationary defense turret with long range having it fill the artillery slot.

Also these units help flow into the final class of units, the Mobile Armors of the EA. These bad boys are the Gells-Ghe, the Zamza-Zah, and the Destroy Gundam. I don't have to explain to you why these guys are picked. One downside to these guys are they would be VERY expensive to put onto the field, but they will be worth it.

So thats the basic forward facing design that I have come up with from watching the show and looking at the units. 9 basic units that each fill a basic roll and 9 elite units that will be able to stand against at least half a dozen units on their own (basic units that is, don't expect a Strike Gundam to take on GP03).

But wait! What about ORB and the Justice and Freedom?! Well, thats an interesting situation. I would like to put them in but really where do they fit? The Justice and Freedom never worked for the EA. Orb however DID at one point (even though they did it at gunpoint so to speak). This would fall into the "Addititonal Support" aspect of SEED. I know I want an ally system of some sort in there, where a player can choose either ORB, Three Ship, or Blue Cosmos to gain additional units. How this is going to work though has not been worked out. I'm thinking it's an additional defensive structure that will be built that will give "summon" powers to gain additional support.

ORB will grant the player access to the Astrays, the Murasame, the Strike Rouge, and the Akatsuki units. Three Ship will only give you access to the Freedom and the Justice. Blue Cosmos will not give you any additional unit types, but instead will give you additional units in the form of the teir 3 units. This means as Blue Cosmos you could attack an enemy with 4 or 5 Destroy Gundams at once! (Talk about power....)

So thats my thought process. Tell me what you think.

Monday, February 6, 2012

State of the Xeno Mod

Ultra asked on the forum about what our overall plans were for the factions that we have not put into play yet. This is actually a good question. As always we are modifying desings as needed however this is the general design and play style that we are going for.

With the Earth Federation we are going for complexity. The idea is that the EF is made up of 3 full armies that are controlled by a general governing body. In game this translates to the player picking EF and then getting to further modify their choice in game. This is a huge tactical advantage as it forces your enemy to come to you and find out just what faction your moving with. On top of that this also allows you to pick a force and then find out what your enemy is using mid game to switch things up a bit. On the EF side you have UC, AW, and SEED.

UC is a force that is focused on defensive game play. Having said this that does not mean that they are a turtle army. They start out with slower but stronger units compared to the other 2 sides (and most other forces at that point in time) and go through a progression of gaining new technology as time go's on. The longer it takes for a UC force to win the more desperate the situation becomes for high command and they will continue to authorize newer and more powerful mobile suits to be used to win. This gives you a steady force that will continue to shift in focus as the game progresses but it also has the downside of you not being able to focus on speeding up deployment of units, things will just come as they come.

AW is a force that is focused on swarm game play. This is different than rush game play however. The force is designed to continually hit the enemy with many targets trying to overwhelm them. The disadvantage to this is that AW is such a threat in the global community that other armies (Zeon) will attempt to stop them whenever they can. To this end the AW player has to hurry and try to defeat it's opponents as quickly before colonies start falling from space (always a good way to ruin a great day).

Seed is of course sitting in a not-so-nice spot. The first course of action is to figure out what game play type we wish to go with here. Are we looking at a swarm army? A turtle force? How about making them a rush force? What units do they have that would fit into this kind of design? With UC about 50% of their units would sit in the tank/turtle category with the other 50% split between rush/dps (damage per second) and tactical/assault forces (units designed for attacking an enemy and forcing them off balance). AW's unit really made their own design, with so many weak units (daughtress's with their tenzans) with so many super units (all those mass production gundams) giving them a 65% rush / 20% tactical / 15% tank design. Truly AW is not designed for making a base. So SEED sits where it is until I can figure out what the units are telling me that their game play should focus on. (At this point it's looking to be the most direct straight up army that EF can deploy).

Now for the other forces that we've not talked a lot about. We have Zeon, Invid, and Robotech Defense Force. We actually have a pretty good idea where we want these guys to be (well, a good idea on Invid and Zeon with a general idea on RDF).

Zeon and Invid have a lot in common. They are both based around the idea of an invasion force. Where they are different is in how they do it, Zeon is an invasion force with the end game result being to control the Earth. Invid on the other hand have only one purpose, destroy the Tiberium and anyone or anything that has come into contact with it. This makes them very unique in their way of deployment.

The Zeon force is going to be based around tank units (units that are slow but tough and able to take a hit from all sides) and in a lot of ways will be THE Turtle force of the game. The idea will be that where they land they will place down a lot of heavy defensive structures and have a lot of heavy units. They will sit back, build up, then crush anyone that attacks with a massive counter-attack. The downside to this is their units will be a bit more exspensive per teir and their actual structures are not going to be very tough. Their entire design is based around cheap, quick to put up structures, heavy units and heavy defenses, and an income that holds it's own. As far as units/structures that we have for them is concerned we have a lot of Zeon units along with the structures from the original Xenoforce Mod. Defenses I will have to make myself (I have the designs done, just have to make the models).

Invid are a completly different beast. There are a few Invid designs floating around but they all focus around a central theme. The Invid units will have different designs that as time go's on will mutate into other designs. What this means is that when a unit is built it will be also given one of 3 upgrades randomly. It will either be given a speed boost (50% movement), a power boost (25% additional dmg) or a toughness boost (25% additional hp). The idea is that each unit is modified as the Invid Regis changes it's mind. Can this be done? I think so. Will it be easy? Not in the least lol. Now, here is the thing. I currently do not have any models for the units or the structures. At one point Doug sent me some units but I don't know what happened to them, so yea.... The overall design of the Invid is a force that focus's on Damage and is not interested in taking land. This means an Invid player will not have to expand their base very far to be successful, but they WILL have to kill enemy units. As far as their economy... yea I am not sure how thats going to work yet.

The RDF is another force that is unique in our game. Each and every other force in the game (Including NOD and Scrin) are military forces that are trying to take land or be a political power. The RDF however has little interest in "taking over the Earth". The easiest way to explain them would be as a Technologies Company with many military contracts across the world. In fact the RDF only has a few large installations on the world in Alaska and in the Philipine Islands. Most of the RDF work happens on Mars where the RDF has the only off-planet research facility. Now the RDF has 3 aspects in the show, there is the actual Robotech Defense Force from the 1st season, the Southern Cross from the 2nd, and the Robotech Expeditionary Force from the 3rd. I already have models for many of the RDF forces thanks to the first Xenoforce Mod as well as having all the structures that I need. At this point I need models for the Sothern Cross (Hover Tanks Rule pound for pound) and Robotech Expeditionary Force (Defiantly the Cyclone will be an interesting unit to design).

So how will they work? I don't want the RDF to be like the EF so what I'm thinking personally is that we have 3 structures. One of them builds units from the RDF, one builds SC, and one builds REF. There are 3 teirs of units for each section. One unit from each teir will always be build-able (so you will always be able to build the basic veratech or basic hover tank) but the other 2 units in that teir can only be built IF you choose to build from that side first. SO how it will work is this. At Teir 1 if you build the basic hover tank then the other 2 SC units from teir one will be build-able and the other 2 RDF and REF teir 1 units will be locked out. At Teir 2 you can then build the basic RDF unit to get access to the other 2 tier 2 RDF units locking out the other 2 SC and REF units. Same with Teir 3. This means that the player will have access to a maximum of 15 different units out of the grand total of 27 units possible. I personally like this idea. This also gives the Robotech Force the most flexibility to change tactics mid game. If your looking for hard hitting units you start with the REF. Then you notice that your enemy is going to be hitting you with a swarm of units and you simply can't keep up with a war of tactical strikes so at teir 2 switch over to the Southern Cross to give you some Heavy Turtle/Tank units to protect yourself. Then at end game you see that your Southern Cross units are tough enough to stand up against the enemy and your REF units are fast enough for hit and run tactics but you really need some units that can both come up and support the SC forces while also being fast enough to retreat if things go wrong, so you go with the RDF forces and their Super Veritechs.

So the end game design looks like this.

GDI - Turtlers Army
Scrin - Damage Per Second /Super power/ Swarm Army
NOD - Rush /Super Power/ Elitest Army
Earth Federation (UC) - Turtler Army
Earth Federation (AW) - Swarm Army
Earth Federation (Seed) - ?
Invid - Tank / Swarm Army
Zeon - Tank / DPS Army
RDF - DPS / Elitest Army

A Turtler Army is designed to take a long time to execute but when it does it hits with a massive amount of power.
A DPS Army is designed to do maximum damage at the expense of the units themselves.
A Swarm Army is designed to over-run an enemy position with numbers.
A Rush Army is designed to hit fast and first.
A Tank Army is designed to take a hit and shrug it off.
An Elitist Army is designed to use special, expensive super units to deal with multiple enemies at once.
A Super Power Army is designed to be able to manipulate the entire army with powers and upgrades.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.