Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

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zwzsg
Kernel Panic Co-Developer
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Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

Post by zwzsg » 21 Nov 2009, 03:52

RTS are a fine genre, but they are taking too much brainpower to play. Sometimes, I just want to blow things up, without having to deal with the effort of keeping my attention sharply focused on the game. Widgets can play the game for me, but then I feel bad for pwnzoring some n00bs just because I have superior widgetery. Wouldn't it be great if I could jump into a game and just enjoy the squarish explosions, screeching sounds, gridded maps, low poly units of Kernel Panic, without burdening my mind with worries about what tactic to apply, which build order to pick, and the constant stress of ensuring none of my constructor are ever idling?

Well, this is what the "Heroes of Mainframe" game mode aim to provide, by turning Kernel Panic into an action game, a game that is about moving your crosshair over enemy units and the joy of watching them explode, a game where the only multitasking you'll have to manage is to shoot and move at the same time, a game that is more about sharpening your reflex than plotting grand strategy, but where ultimately none of your action matters as the outcome of the game is decided upon by greater powers.










Here's an illustrated guide to it:

First go to http://springfiles.com/1683
and download Kernel Panic 3.7

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Then install it. (There are .zip files and "just the mod" for people who don't like installer or run Linux)

Then run TASClient (or SpringLobby, up to your taste).

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Host a room. Pick mod Kernel Panic 3.7. Without Hole punching people sometimes have trouble connecting to me, so that is why I used it.

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Set Start Position to Random, and End Condition to Kill Homebase.

ENLARGE YOUR WINDOW

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Mod option is hidden until I drag the border of TASClient.
Once you've find it, scroll down, and tick the Hero option.
Preplaced minifacs let you have more targets right from the start, without it it would be boring.
ONS shielded homebases is just to prevent kernel rush.

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If no one joins your room, here are the four AI that can play KP. NO OTHER AI WORKS!!!

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OMG I CANNOT SELECT ANYTHING!!! WHAT DO I DO?

Read the blue text!





Or, for those who prefer moving pictures to still ones:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUnwnykPUg0






From a technical standpoint, I'm quite pleased by how it turned out. The units respond correctly to controls, neither prefering other paths nor getting stuck, the walk animation plays and halt when they should, the aiming feels responsive despite some units still having a turret turn rate, etc...




Gameplaywise, I admit I haven't done much preplanning. I just went like "let's have every player control a super powerful unit, and we'll see how it turns out". For the test game I played, it's alread quite an enjoyable experience to just run and shoot, but I'll be curious to see if any best way to win will emerge.

Because I have no idea how strong the hero units should be, I let it be configurable. So please, if you find that any of the hero stat is not good, instead of complaining, just go play games with other values in the mod options. And then report here when you've found good ones.

For instance, I made heroes fast because travelling is boring, but maybe they're so fast that aiming becomes too difficult when moving. I made hero weapon instakill spam units, but they still take long to kill minifacs. I gave heroic weapons quite a large impulse for the lulz, but maybe blowing away accross the map anything that doesn't die at once isn't so great. So try other values, maybe super slow super armored units makes the game more interesting by forcing you to think about your placing? Or maybe superfast heroes instakilling each others would provide for more skilled and fun frantic deatmatches? You get to choose how to balance that gamemode.


I'm aware some faction are inherently advantaged in that gamemode. I'm thinking Network in particular, with its instahit laser. Well, the EvilLess "Force all factions to system" tickbox can still be used, if a fairer playground is really needed, but for now, I just want to see how it plays out. Basically, I'm using this new KP mod option as a test bed to experiment with shoot'n'run gameplay in Spring engine, so I'd be more interested into flipping the gameplay inside out with a couple lines of code that with fine tuning balance and unit stats. I need to know what would be good default stats for heroes, but I won't change the balance of other units only to suit the hero mode.


Because someone, iirc Regret, suggested a way to tell your other units what to do, and because I was looking for a special power to bind to the right click, I added a mod option that allows issuing context sensitive orders to the other units with the right click. Well, in truth, the mod option "right click" is a misnomer. It doesn't implement the right click per se. All the mod option do, is to allow or forbid commanding other units. Then, there is widget that contains the code issuing orders to units when right click is pressed. That widget was hastily done, so it's not too good. But you are free to disable that widget, and write your own external widget reimplementing a better commanding of other units. Currently what my widget do is:
- Right click on ground: Move spam, heavy, arty, and cons that are neither building nor moving
- Right click on ally: Guard with spam, heavy, (not arty) and cons that are neither building nor moving
- Right click on enemy: Attack with spam, heavy, arty
- Right click on datavent: Build there with a random cons that is not already building (but may have been already on his way to build elsewhere).
The units remains controlled by the AI though, so, while the AI won't mess with cons that have either moving or building, it will keep sending order to spam, heavy, and arty, which mean they'll often forget your orders and follow a new AI order instead, just keep re-issueing orders when that happens. To control what your homebase build, use the buildbar at the top right. From the few games I have played with that right click option, I must say it doesn't work that well, it would need more work to be really useable, such as an AI that respect more the player's orders, a way to have more than one order at a time issued to the whole army, mousewheel or number keys to specify unit groups or actions, and actually to have a whole mod specifically build around the idea. Bah, just untick it if you find not good.


The hero gamemode is available in a mission, in my skirmish generator, and in multiplayer. In multiplayer game with four or more people, I advise to teamshare: Have only two teams, each team shared by half the players. Each player will get his own hero to control, and having two large AI armies will give the game more meaning and less randomness than tons of mini AIs. Respawn time may be longer if more than one hero die at once, but at least you won't risk getting your kernel being wiped early and spend the rest of the game watching. Use one of the ONS mod option if kernel rush becomes an issue, by the way.


For helping with the multiplayer testing, thanks to Regret, Braindamage, II, o_o, RobotArmy (yes, controlling a single unit was the whole point), [SoS]Stoned, God (sorry controls were mixed between players at that point), [0K]SirMaverick, thefastest, [0K]luckywaldo7, mammadori and uh sorry can't find back name of first one.

For helping with single player testing, thanks to KingRaptor (and sorry all your good ideas didn't make it in 3.7)




readme.txt wrote:The "Heroes of Mainframe / Defense of the ENIACs" group is a special gamemode where:
- Instead of a RTS, the game becomes a shoot'n'run
- You control one single unit, moving with the keyboard (arrow keys), and aiming with the mouse (left button to shoot)
- All other units are handled by an AI.
- The one hero unit you have has superior armor and firepower, you must use it to help tip the tide of war in your favor.
- Since only the homebase can rebuild your hero, I'd advise to use the homebase ONS mod option, or at least the "Kill homebase" end condition.
- Each team can only have as many simultaneous "heroes" as there are human players in that team. So AI-Bot teams do not have heroes, and when several human players are team sharing, each will get his own hero.

This group is made of several option. Most of them are here to allow you tweaking the strength of heroes:
- Stats such as health or damage are not absolute values, but the factor by which is multiplied the stat of the unit the hero derives from.
- The camera zoom is tied to max weapon range.
- Regeneration rate is constant, no matter what you do.
- Keep in mind that "Impulse Factor" (how strongly units which are not instakilled get blown away) gets multiplied by damage, so if you ramp up damage, lower the impulse accordingly.
- When "Hug Ground" is off, weapons explode on impact. Pro: You can hit the ground next to units, and still get them by splash damage. Cons: If you aim in the right direction, but too far or too short, you won't hit units in your line of fire.
- When "Hug Ground" is on, weapons keep on traveling until they meet an enemy. Pro: You can aim in a general direction, and still hit what's in your line of fire. Cons: Skimming shots do no damage.
(The Packet weapon is an instahit laser, and as such, ignore "Hug Ground")

Hero Right Click:
- This setting allows or disallow controlling the rest of the team units while in hero mode.
- The default widget can then use the rigth mouse button to issue contextual actions.
- Any of the custom player custom widget is also free to order units.
- The AI still keeps on issuing orders, which might conflict with yours, so don't be surprise units don't always obey you.

Pre-placed Minifacs:
This option is listed there because it's most useful in heroes game mode, however you can also use it independently.
Contrary to what name says, it also places specials (one per team, if datavent count per team is at least 4).
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KDR_11k
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Re: Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

Post by KDR_11k » 21 Nov 2009, 09:19

How about a Robotron variant where enemies just keep spawning in waves until you die, no strategic objective, only staying alive? I liked the Last Stand mode in DoW2 a lot.

EDIT: Feedback:

Would be nice if players were in charge of deploying superweapons. Being able to pilot different unit types would also be nice. I doubt you can use abilities like the Exploit or the packet buffer? Also this definitely needs a Touhou mod.

Could really use an HUD for the status of your unit, something like a large health bar near the blue hint box.

Hero units should be prefixed with Mega!
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zwzsg
Kernel Panic Co-Developer
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Re: Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

Post by zwzsg » 21 Nov 2009, 17:33

KDR_11k wrote:How about a Robotron variant where enemies just keep spawning in waves until you die, no strategic objective, only staying alive? I liked the Last Stand mode in DoW2 a lot.
Yeah, I'll think I'll make something like that, as a mission.

Also: use the Skirmish Generator from the "esc" key menu, click "Heroic" then either "Hard" of "Extreme". Enemy will keep spawing until you dies, so outnumbering you you can't hope to win, but just try to merely stay alive and slow your inevitable ruin.

There's even some sort of score counter, or a killcount at least.
KDR_11k wrote:Would be nice if players were in charge of deploying superweapons.
KDR_11k wrote:I doubt you can use abilities like the Exploit or the packet buffer?
Yeah. Nope. I could add some modifier to the right click widget for player to control superweapon. I don't think turning into a stationnary turret would be fun. I though about letting the hero teleport from port to port, but that would essentially requires rewriting lots of code specifically for that, so I deemed the ratio (time spent coding)/(times it's used by players) too low to bother with it for the time being.
KDR_11k wrote:Also this definitely needs a Touhou mod.
Touhou have spreadfire weapons, which aren't good for a mod where you have to aim, and to dodge shots. If right click is activated, you can give and cancel build orders of your homebase at the build bar. :wink:
KDR_11k wrote:Being able to pilot different unit types would also be nice.
At this point I'd better start up a new mod, instead of hacking around Kernel Panic with mod options.
KDR_11k wrote:Could really use an HUD for the status of your unit, something like a large health bar near the blue hint box.
I use the healthbars widget, I think most people do, and that widget is included in the KP installer. With it, it's not a problem to know your hero health. But yeah, I could draw a big hero health bar somewhere.
KDR_11k wrote:Hero units should be prefixed with Mega!
Why couldn't I think of that? :( Megabit sounds much better than Herobit.
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SeanHeron
Engines Of War Developer
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Re: Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

Post by SeanHeron » 25 Nov 2009, 01:54

This sounds just like something I've been thinking would be quite neat! I'll definitely need to give it a try.
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SeanHeron
Engines Of War Developer
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Re: Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

Post by SeanHeron » 31 Dec 2009, 01:52

Well - its taken me so long that this reply amounts to a necro...But I have given it a whirl!
Not multiplayer yet, but rushing around with my Mega-Bit and blasting all the enemy Bits and stuff was good fun :). Keyboard steering is pretty neat - the only thing was that shooting up or down slopes was a bit iffy.

Well - have to try if I can get a multiplayer round in - thanks for the game anyhow!
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zwzsg
Kernel Panic Co-Developer
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Re: Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

Post by zwzsg » 04 Jan 2010, 22:55

SeanHeron wrote:Well - have to try if I can get a multiplayer round in - thanks for the game anyhow!
I wish I could get a huge multiplayer games with 8v8 players sharing 1v1 teams one day.

Would be more thrilling to kill humans than computer controlled units.
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Satirik
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Re: Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

Post by Satirik » 04 Jan 2010, 23:45

zwzsg wrote:OMG I CANNOT SELECT ANYTHING!!! WHAT DO I DO?

Read the blue text!
:twisted: the text is white actually :twisted:
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zwzsg
Kernel Panic Co-Developer
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Joined: 16 Nov 2004, 13:08

Re: Heroes of Mainframe - Defense of the ENIAC

Post by zwzsg » 09 Jan 2010, 00:55

Nu-hu, look harder: it's actually very light cyan:
Red=0xEC, Green=0xFF, Blue=0xFF
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