Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Welcome to Xenoforce Reborn Game Theory

With the MODDB page being more and more active and becoming the main release location for our mod the blog page has been neglected for the last year or so.  Not wanting to let it go I've decided to use it as a game theory location, after all what better place to go to get ideas on how factions were designed and what game style they are able to work with than from the people who are actually making the mod?

Today we will start with a simple idea - Super Offenses and Super Defenses

A staple in almost all RTS games is the Super Weapon.  In Starcraft it would be the Terran Nuke, in Total Annihilation it was again the Nuke.  In the original CNC3 it was the Rift Generator, the Ion Cannon, and the Nuclear Missile depending on what faction you went with.  But lets be honest in the original CNC3 all 3 superweapons did the same thing, they just did it with different graphics.

Xenoforce Reborn however does not have this.  Instead we have decided to take that idea and expand upon it making Super Offenses and Super Defenses.  Some factions have only one or the other.  Others have both.  Make no mistake though, this isn't a simple press of the button to wipe away your mistakes and give you the upper hand against your opponent.  These devices or strategies need to work in tangent with other factors in the game to get the most out of them.

I will go over the 5 factions we have already designed and that we know work first.

GDI - REX Unit - Super Offense
NOD - Nuclear Launch Codes - Super Offense
Scrin - Rift Generator Tower - Super Offense/Super Offense
EF (UC) - Solar System Uplink - Super Defense
EF (AW) - Gundam X/Double X - Super Offense

The GDI Rex unit is a very unique unit in the field.  It is a mobile Ion Cannon Control System that does not appear on the map when deployed.  It is equipped with a large drone defense sat system that launches small targeting satellites up into the air to fire light Ion Strikes from a single cannon at its targets.  However its main purpose is the second Ion Cannon Strike power that it grants.  With this the player is given a lot of freedom to decide how to attack an enemy.  They can upgrade their regular Ion Control System to an Orbital Bombardment system and then fire both powers at an enemy base at the same time shutting down their bases defenses with the EMP Bombardment Shells and then punching a hole into the base with the Ion Strike.  Or the player can keep the other Ion Strike and fire both shots into an enemy base opening the toughest walls up to a frontal attack which GDI excels at.  Either way this unit gives GDI a unique advantage in the field as it has 2 superweapons it can call upon to attack an enemy with, and the REX can easily help defend a base from attack or move with an army to get into position and continue to protect them from a counter-attack.   The counter to this is recon.  The moment you as a player see the enemy has 2 Superweapons counting down you need to move fast.  Find that Rex and take it out.  Its bound to be heavily guarded but you can't let that stop you, taking a Rex out of the game must be the number 1 priority at this point.  To let it go is going to spell disaster.

NODs super offensive ability is tied to their new roll as Nod/Russia.  NOD is not a clean faction, they will use whatever they have available to them to win and Russia has plenty of Nukes.  However the problem is getting these nukes into position to be effective.  For that purpose NOD has developed the Salamander Ballistic Cruiser.  A formidable ship in its own right the Salamander has the unique ability to become the most dangerous thing in the field once the OK has been given to launch Nuclear Warheads.  Not only does this power drop a Nuke anywhere in the field of play but it also allows all Salamanders in the game to launch 1 Nuclear Missile at any target of value on the field inside their range of sight.  This means if a player is smart they can bring an army to bear on a specific point against the enemy and then move these guys in to different points on the field.  Once in place launch nuclear winter against the enemy and watch them fall across the map.  The enemy player will have to scramble as they could potentially have just lost many bases at one time.  The counter to this is counter-attack.  The moment you see an enemy moving a large force of Salamanders into position across the map you need to counterattack and hit them before they can get into position.  This means each and every base should have a garrison of fast hitting mobile units that can move out and take them out before they are able to hit your base.  If you wait until they are there its probably too late.

Scrin have a unique super offense/defense option in the Rift Generator Tower.  Unlike normal CNC3 this tower has 1 purpose and 1 purpose alone - to survive for 10 minutes in the field.  Once it has it explodes causing all enemy units and structures to be hit with a 50% decrease in maximum HP for 2 minutes as well as causing all Scrin Units to move and attack at a 50% increase for 2 minutes.  Think of this as a 2 minute window that is given to Scrin players making all of their forces suddenly much much better than yours.  As a Scrin player all you have to do is defend the tower.  My suggestion is to put the tower near your main Mothership.  The reason is simple, the Mothership is a powerhouse in its own right.  I have seen this 1 ship destroy an entire GDI base.  Not just a side base or a main base, but all of them by itself because the GDI player ignored it until the Rift went off.  Once the rift exploded the Mothership automatically becomes mobile, allowing it to move into position and attack.  With a rift generator near the ship to begin with you may not need to wait for it to explode as the mothership will be fed enemy troops trying to destroy the rift and you will get it mobile that much quicker.  Of course the counter to the rift is to destroy it before the 10 minutes are up.  Hitting it hard and fast is your number one priority here, you can not let it live.  If you can take the rift generator out and an enemy mothership out before it becomes mobile then your battle is mostly already won.

EF-UC's super defense is the Solar System Uplink.  The UC is all about defense, as we work on finishing up these touches to NOD and then UC so we can move onto AW the UC will really come into its own with using mobile suits for defenses.  The Sat Uplink is a far reaching defensive structure that will destroy anything Mobile Armor size and above in very short order.  Its that simple, put one up and watch the big guys fall from the sky.  The counter to this is small fast attack units moving in to take it out.  Here is when you have to swarm, against the UC your best bet is to overwhelm the system with a lot of attacks at once from all sides, hitting it form one direction won't work.  This is a prime example of GDI being at a disadvantage against UC but NOD having an advantage.  Nod is designed to hit from all sides at once where GDI is designed to punch a hole in the front and keep moving.

EF-AW's super offense are the Satellite Cannons on the Gundam X and Double X.  These powers will work much like GDI's Rex and NOD's launch codes.  How it will work is simple.  As long as 1 Gundam X is on the field a power will count down.  When the player activates the power every gundam x on the field will have their sat cannons activated for 30 seconds.  This means you have to move quick and hit fast, but with the Gundam X that shouldn't be a problem.  With the Double X on the field a seperate power will also count down but the effect is slightly different.  With Double X the cannons are much stronger (there are 2 of them after all).  Finally with both powers it will also call in a Gundam X attached to the jetpack so that it can fly into the target location and fire a single shot wherever you designate the target to be.  The counter to the AW power is much harder to pull off as its super offense is not tied to a building and the AW force is designed to be highly mobile.  A 2 teired line of defense is your best bet.  Let the Gundam X waste its shots on the first level of defense and then move in with a counter-attack when they hit the 2nd line.

I hope this explains how we are thinking about the game in terms of end game strategy.  Feel free to post any comments or concerns.