Reprisal v1.0.8

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thefrogger
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Postby thefrogger » Wed Apr 26, 2006 9:42 pm

I must second xander's comment about not having grenades. There's a reason rockets have been under-utilized so far. They Suck. As do 4.0 DGs. Any weapons that have such suicidal outcomes are best avoided.

That being said, having 4.0 rockets is an interesting element because I've never had them before. (I certainly wouldn't expend research points to get them). What they could have been very useful for is taking out enemies on high ground that aren't reachable by other weapons. (As well as a low-risk of self-killing). The ant nest way up high on Cliffs for instance, although because of the terrain and positioning, I had a hard time scoring hits on it. In general, attacking high enemies are about the only thing other than SDs I can imagine rockets are useful for.

Personally, I can't even kill SDs with rockets unless they're very helpful and spend plenty of time flying past a nice, high rocket impact point. I usually die before that happens though. It was way easier to just let the turrets in Cliffs kill them.

I quit playing Reprisal earlier than xander did, finding Cliffs already insanely difficult. I could get one spawn point cleared out, but it would always get repopulated before I could get the other one. I couldn't get the high ant nest either. And airstikes were pretty useless with the 1.0 throw range. I can't imagine having fun with the next level as it was described.

I don't know what other mods you've been playing, but Reprisal is one of if not the most difficult mod I've played by a pretty fair margin. Especially now with the game's difficulty setting, the mod can be skewed for more normal players and let the 1337ists raise the difficulty setting to provide a higher challenge.

I found the level designs quite interesting, but just too hard. So if you do modify this later on I will look forward to taking another crack at it.

EDIT:
I went ahead and gave myself grenades so that I could get past the cliffs part easier. I still couldn't clear the spawn points, but in hindsight probably could have gotten through the fence anyway the same way I did this time.

I actually didn't have a lot of trouble with the Radars level. It took me one reset to understand what I needed to do, but the second time through I was able to destroy all the triffids with a couple of squads, and that effectively removed the time constraint and distant threat level.

It did point out a couple of new issues though.

You grant the grenades at the end of Cliffs, but with no research points to increase their level, making them and airstrikes still impotent throughout at least the next level. Please consider granting the throwable research at level 2.0 at least.

This mod horribly, horribly magnifies one of the nastiest and longest-standing bugs in the game, in that clicking on other units while trying to control the one that is active causes the unit focus to switch. It's infuriating to play this with the yDGs being selectable. Doubly infuriating since you can't do anything with selected yDGs. I'm not sure what you did differently that caused this behavior since DGs normally aren't selectable, but if there was no way around it then this controller herding procedure probably shouldn't have even been in the mod.
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Postby Major Cooke » Thu Apr 27, 2006 1:19 am

I practically had to cheat my way out of the 2nd and 3rd maps (by rapid-firing lasers, fast squaddies, and my favorite, 15 squaddies per squad.. dont ask how i did it... its easy if you know what to do)
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Postby daset » Thu Apr 27, 2006 3:35 am

This is extremely odd, I must say. I was afraid people would find Reprisal way too easy and blow through it in less than ten minutes. Hell, never managed to get past any other mod(Insurrection, Particles Within, Colour, EW2, Stricken) I ever played(with the exception of EW1), so I had assumed everyone was a helluva lot better at Darwinia than me. I am at a loss why all of the other mods are so insanely hard yet beatable by everyone, yet my mod is impossible apparently. I did make it barely beatable(as I was trying to make it moderately difficult for others). Did I emphasize an aspect of gameplay that only I am good at or what? This is quite confusing. Can someone please explain to me what's going on?

You do get a lot of research points, 200 at the start, but perhaps you are using all of them before you reach that point. I don't know.

But rockets are easy SD killers(it seems for me at least) since you sacrifice a squad for five rockets on an SD. A couple squads and it's toast.

As for the yellow bug, I am unsure what to do. Sorry. However, this only appears in two of the levels, so I hope it is not that big of an issue.

I will try to make cliffs easier somehow, then.
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Postby martin » Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:31 pm

daset wrote:This is extremely odd, I must say. I was afraid people would find Reprisal way too easy and blow through it in less than ten minutes. Hell, never managed to get past any other mod(Insurrection, Particles Within, Colour, EW2, Stricken) I ever played(with the exception of EW1), so I had assumed everyone was a helluva lot better at Darwinia than me. I am at a loss why all of the other mods are so insanely hard yet beatable by everyone, yet my mod is impossible apparently. I did make it barely beatable(as I was trying to make it moderately difficult for others). Did I emphasize an aspect of gameplay that only I am good at or what? This is quite confusing. Can someone please explain to me what's going on?

You do get a lot of research points, 200 at the start, but perhaps you are using all of them before you reach that point. I don't know.

But rockets are easy SD killers(it seems for me at least) since you sacrifice a squad for five rockets on an SD. A couple squads and it's toast.

As for the yellow bug, I am unsure what to do. Sorry. However, this only appears in two of the levels, so I hope it is not that big of an issue.

I will try to make cliffs easier somehow, then.


could it be the difficulty settings? if everyone has got it set to, say, five and you built it as barely beatable at one then that's probably why :p

Also you missed TBM off your list of played mods :p
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Postby trickfred » Thu Apr 27, 2006 12:43 pm

martin wrote:Also you missed TBM off your list of played mods :p


...Is it at all possible for you to post without pimping TGF's^H^H^H^H^Hyour own mods?

Daset - if you add this snippet of code to the very top of all your mission files, then it will prevent the mod from being played at higher difficulty levels, and will remain as you have designed them no matter what difficulty the player has their game set to (obviously applies only to Windows officially right now, as 1.4x has not been released officially for Mac and linux).

Code: Select all

Difficulty_StartDefinition
   CreatedAsDifficulty 1
Difficulty_EndDefinition



And of course, continue to leave it out if you wish people to play your mod at higher difficulty levels.
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Postby xander » Thu Apr 27, 2006 2:44 pm

I think that you are emphasising a kind of gameplay that has not been seen before, and it will take people some time to get used to it. A lot of people don't really like rockets, but I don't really think that you should change that. After careful consideration, I have come to the determination that it is probably good to force the player to use rockets from time to time. However, that being said, I think that you should give people level 2 'nades from the moment they get them. I think that most people will start upgrading their 'nades the second they get them, but they may be out of research points at that point. Starting them at level 2 may alleviate some pain and suffering.

As to the yellow DGs, I do like the concept. I really, really do. I just think that the two levels that use them need a little bit of tweaking. It sounds like you have done some of that, and I will download 1.0.2 when I get the chance (I had to go back to work on Monday, so I don't really have as much time for Darwinia at the moment, and I am working on other projects). Anyway, in case I haven't said it, there are some things about your mod that are quite good. It is obvious that you have put a great deal of work into, and now we must help you polish it.

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Postby thefrogger » Thu Apr 27, 2006 5:16 pm

trickfred wrote:if you add this snippet of code to the very top of all your mission files, then it will prevent the mod from being played at higher difficulty levels...

I think the original point that prompted this suggestion is valid--anyone who has their difficulty turned up will get a harder-than-intended experience. But IMHO I think this is a bad way of dealing with it. The whole point of having a difficulty setting is to allow players of widely varying skill levels to tweak the game into a more enjoyable experience for them. Disabling that feature *guarantees* that some people will find the mod too easy, and some will find it too hard. A better approach, is a reminder message at the beginning of the mod to set their difficulty setting. (In the same way many mods remind you to restart DW and create a profile).

Once the Mac 1.42 patch comes out, you can experiment with the difficulty settings and make the game playable on something like 3-5. Then suggest in the readme and/or opening text for players to set their difficulty there. That way, players having trouble can lower the setting, and players breezing through can raise it.

daset wrote:I am at a loss why all of the other mods are so insanely hard yet beatable by everyone, yet my mod is impossible apparently.

I think most of this comes down to different play styles. xander touched on that point, but I think it goes deeper than that. Here's a good example:

daset wrote:But rockets are easy SD killers(it seems for me at least) since you sacrifice a squad for five rockets on an SD. A couple squads and it's toast.

If you told a soldier how to kill an enemy, and they'd only have to die a couple of times in order to do it... Yeah, I know squads are just programs in the game. But in lieu of any other characters to get attached to, I *do* get attached to squaddies. I like to keep them alive. Thus a sacrifice mission in order to kill something usually doesn't feel like a victory to me. Similarly, losing a dozen squads but still "making it through" doesn't feel like a victory to me either.

My approach to playing levels is pretty much the same thing. The game has an absence of other goals, so getting through a level with minimal deaths is the goal I strive for. That means, eliminating the biggest threats to my squaddies in order. After the SDs, that means taking down the turrets and red spawn points. This is what I found insanely difficult to do. But after playing a bit longer, it seemed that the intention of the level design was focused more on temporarily shutting down the power and getting through the fence, as opposed to permanently wiping out the opposition. All the mechanics for getting this to work are actually quite nifty in their implementation. Great virus traps too. It just requires a different mindset than what I normally play with. (Realize that when you play your own mod, you know exactly what you're supposed to be doing). Add to this the forced use of Rockets, which most players are unfamiliar with but you've been "practicing" with while making this mod, and you've got the disparity.

As to why you found other mods difficult, most mods tend to exploit some kind of combat trick or gimmick. If a player doesn't figure out that tactic, that section can be difficult or impossible to get past. How difficult did you find the original game? Most players find those levels easy, but some still run into trouble in Biosphere if they don't create a chain of DG reinforcements.

daset wrote:You do get a lot of research points, 200 at the start, but perhaps you are using all of them before you reach that point.

Yes, I was most definitely out of research points before Radars.
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Postby xander » Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:07 pm

thefrogger wrote:
trickfred wrote:if you add this snippet of code to the very top of all your mission files, then it will prevent the mod from being played at higher difficulty levels...

I think the original point that prompted this suggestion is valid--anyone who has their difficulty turned up will get a harder-than-intended experience. But IMHO I think this is a bad way of dealing with it. The whole point of having a difficulty setting is to allow players of widely varying skill levels to tweak the game into a more enjoyable experience for them. Disabling that feature *guarantees* that some people will find the mod too easy, and some will find it too hard. A better approach, is a reminder message at the beginning of the mod to set their difficulty setting. (In the same way many mods remind you to restart DW and create a profile).

Once the Mac 1.42 patch comes out, you can experiment with the difficulty settings and make the game playable on something like 3-5. Then suggest in the readme and/or opening text for players to set their difficulty there. That way, players having trouble can lower the setting, and players breezing through can raise it.

As a mod designer, I must disagree with you, in some regards. Two reasons, only one of which is valid for mods that people are starting now:

1) The difficulty settings did not exist until 1.42. They still don't exist on the Mac or Linux versions. Thus, developing a mod that is robust to changes in difficulty can be quite difficult, and mods that have already been made won't have taken difficulty into account.

2) Sometimes people want to create mods with a very special feel, challenge, &c. For instance, in Insurrection (sorry to pimp my own mod, but it makes the point), there is a level with three soul destroyers. You have to kill all three of them using a technique that is not particularly fast. Turning up the difficulty settings in that case doesn't really make the level any harder, but it causes it to take a lot more time. In any case, while the behaviour of difficulty settings is fairly predictable, the effect that it might have on a mod is not.

Basically, I think that incorporating the new difficulty settings into a mod in a workable manner would be a great sign of polish, if it is done properly. On the other hand, there is great potential to screw things up, and I, personally, wouldn't want to mess with difficulty settings, and would choose to force one setting. Ultimately, I think that it has to be up to the mod designer.

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Postby trickfred » Thu Apr 27, 2006 6:24 pm

To add to xander's statement above, and to pimp one of my own mods at the same time (:wink:), I had to add that code to ArcadeRemix, to prevent changing difficulty levels in order to prevent player frustration.

That mod has a set-sized playing field, and one single instant Squadie, for each level. Difficulty levels would increase enemy roaming range, and often kill the instant Squadie within a split second of starting the level, leaving the user restarting multiple times, and frantically clicking on the Squadie to try and immediately move him.

Also, because of that increased range, some enemies wound up in places where they could not be eliminated, therefore leaving some levels uncompletable, requiring the player to restart yet again.

A third problem I had found with the Difficulty settings: I had altered the speeds and refire rates for the mod in stats.txt, to make the mod run faster than the regular game. Increasing difficulty past 5 or so made the mod nearly impossible to play, as the enemies were just too fast (coupled with the 2 problems related above). Also, setting stats.txt back to default settings made the earlier difficulty levels way too slow to accurately portray the setting I was trying to create (I personally think there's too wide of a variation in difficulty levels, but again, that's just my opinion, and something for a different discussion).

To compensate for this, I created 3 different difficulty levels within the mod itself, which were challenging depending on player's skill level, but much more reasonably accomplishable, and locked out the game's difficulty system.

The difficulty system is just too unpredictable for some mods, and most modders, I think, would be unhappy if it couldn't be disabled/suspended somehow. Imagine all the emails we'd get from whiny 12 year olds that complained the mod was too hard on level 10!
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Postby thefrogger » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:23 pm

Points about breaking portions of a mod taken, and understood. In particular, this one:

trickfred wrote:Imagine all the emails we'd get from whiny 12 year olds that complained the mod was too hard on level 10!

Sadly, this is probably the real deal-breaker. Testing and design tweaks (in mods being developed, which is where this topic and concept is focused) can address most of what you guys are talking about. And just because a mod was unplayable on level 10 doesn't mean it wouldn't be notably enhancable by going up or down just a level or two. Perhaps we could suggest Chris implement a clipping range on difficulty settings, rather than a single forced value. This could allow the same benefits of ability customization and replay value at higher levels, while still restricting the extremes that cause undo hardships or break the mod.

If it weren't for the whiny emails from people who can't be bothered to read and/or follow directions, one could simply notify them of the "proper" range. But I see now the problem with that suggestion.


City:
This seems like a really cool level, albeit with some frame rate slowdowns due to lots of DGs and AIs.

How is the Forum objective supposed to be completed? The text claimed that the red army could only hold out for 10 minutes, but they kept pouring in even after 20. Is it a bug that the reds never stop spawning at the gates, or was it not possible to implement a time limit on that?
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Postby xander » Thu Apr 27, 2006 7:29 pm

thefrogger wrote:How is the Forum objective supposed to be completed? The text claimed that the red army could only hold out for 10 minutes, but they kept pouring in even after 20. Is it a bug that the reds never stop spawning at the gates, or was it not possible to implement a time limit on that?

It is not possible to implement a time limit like that. AISpawnPoints produce units. They start producing units either (a) when the level starts or (b) when they are triggered by a specific building (dependent upon how the level has been set up). They continue to produce units until all objectives have been acheived.

Now, you can create timers, of a sort, using SafeAreas. Put an AISpawnPoint in a SafeArea, and have the SafeArea come online after a certain number of units have been spawned. If you are producing "counter units" at a rate of, say, one every 30 seconds, and the SafeArea was triggered by 20 counters, then it would come online after 10 minutes. When it comes online, you run a script that swaps out mission files. However, that opens up a who new can of worms...

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Postby thefrogger » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:02 pm

xander wrote:It is not possible to implement a time limit like that... They continue to produce units until all objectives have been acheived.

Okay, that sounds then like the level is supposed to complete at the 10-minute mark if the second objective about the forum was successful. The first objective with the timer shows it completed, but the second one never did.

The forum is the place with the large green DG, correct?

Do I need to:
- Never let any reds into the area
- Make sure there are no reds when the 10 minute timer elapses
- Make sure there are no reds any time after the 10 minute timer elapses
- Something else?

I know I didn't do the first one. I'm pretty sure I did the second and third ones.

BTW, this level does not appear to reset correctly. I never get the opening text again, which probably came in from the script triggered at the end of Radars. That in combination with not having any explanation attached to the objective means a player has no way to replay the instructions for how to complete the level.

The first objective still shows complete after the reset. (Even though the count returns to 0).
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Postby Artman40 » Thu Apr 27, 2006 8:58 pm

Make sure there are more than X (20-30) number of reds at any given time. :x
At the moment, how to remove the second objective because I defended it well?
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Postby xander » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:11 pm

thefrogger wrote:The first objective still shows complete after the reset. (Even though the count returns to 0).

Once an objective is completed, it will remain completed, even if you reset the level. A level is completed when a specific building comes online. The status of that building is stored in game.txt. When a level is reset, the mission file in your user directory is replaced with the mission file from the mod, thus everything reverts to its original state. However, game.txt is not touched, so any buildings that were brought online stay that way (i.e. control towers).

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Postby thefrogger » Thu Apr 27, 2006 9:30 pm

I found out what was wrong with the second objective. At the very bottom of mission_defend.txt, the objective points to building defend,80--which is a tree. It looks like it should have been defend,112. (The second SafeArea).

I'm not sure this is going to work right, because it will register Complete when the level is first started, (since there are already greens in the area), and doesn't seem like it would change from complete->incomplete when reds come in. But maybe it does. Or maybe there's something else going on that I don't understand.

EDIT: Either way, it doesn't work after a reset, but that's probably because the first objective needs to complete while playing. I'll probably try again later after resetting the objectives in game.txt. (Thanks xander for the explanation).

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