NanoBlobs 0.53b

NanoBlobs 0.53b

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Argh
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NanoBlobs 0.53b

Post by Argh » 06 Aug 2006, 12:07

Yup, another beta. Get it here. Loads of different improvements and tweaks.

Screenshot of the swimming units:

Image
...and I couldn't help it. Damn, this is pretty ;)
Image
1. Deleted all laserbolt weapons and am using models, due to hitscan detection problems.

2. Various tweaks and fixes for small beauty/simulation issues, such as a new explosion effect, cleanups on other ones, etc., etc., and script changes for certain units to clean up their behaviors (the Demon, in particular, got worked over).

3. Gameplay changes:

A. Striders now use a ballistic arc. This makes them quite a bit more effective on maps where they were weak. They may have to get toned down some, but I'm nowhere near final balance for this version yet, so I don't care.

B. Wolves have been rebalanced for the nth time. I am not sure if they're worth their cost yet, and am considering removing the stupid hoverattack behavior, but haven't made up my mind yet. Wolves are always tricky to balance, because I want them to be just... barely... effective. But not by much, otherwise people would just spam Wolves, which would not be fun ;)

C. Holders and SpireRooks, due to the change from beamweapons to models, have vastly improved chances of killing things.

D. Various other gameplay changes, mainly subtle, to clean up rough edges.

5. No loading screens yet, sorry AF, I have too much to do, and the final unit mix isn't done, nor the new economy model I am considering.

6. The Autofac now uses a Footprint that is 100% compatible with the current limitations of Spring. You're welcome, AF... if anything, this made NTAI less effective, but meh.
Last edited by Argh on 06 Aug 2006, 17:20, edited 2 times in total.
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AF
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Post by AF » 06 Aug 2006, 12:10

I'll be the judge of effectiveness.

The buildtree for nanoblboz was meant to be updated for the XE8 release but I didnt have the time and the update has yet to be done. Thus NTai wont build tri-rooks, and probably wont build demons and striders effectively. It wont build megasheep either.

And as always I'll offer to make you loading screens.
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Post by Argh » 06 Aug 2006, 12:30

The buildtree for nanoblboz was meant to be updated for the XE8 release but I didnt have the time and the update has yet to be done.
You've got a point there. Just wait... I am considering the main remaining lag area that I can control for (nanoparticles), and considering changes to the economy that will get rid of the "spam a lot of Sheep to power Autofacs" dynamic. That part of the mod is kind've broken, imo, and while I like the balance of "raw buildpower vs. unit-count" as a balancing tool, I think there might be a better way around that, but it's a little complicated, and I'm not done thinking it all through yet.

And I dunno what's wrong with the Lord icon. The Wiki documentation doesn't include an example that makes sense, and it's confusing as hell, much like the documentation for the explosiongenerator was :P I am sure that as we get into the next release, this will quit being so painful... I am very, very eagerly awaiting the ability to have multiple calls to projectile classes within a single explosiongenerator event... I am just ridiculously ready to do a nuke that will make Supreme Commander's look like rubbish, hehehe ;)
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Post by Drone_Fragger » 06 Aug 2006, 12:35

I'll make you some loadscreens if you want argh.

Serious or... um... Not serious?
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Post by Argh » 06 Aug 2006, 12:39

Serious 8)

I want to see some massive carnage ;)
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Post by Drone_Fragger » 06 Aug 2006, 13:08

Aaaarrgh! Whata happened to the lovely arced firing for the archers? Now they blow eachother up and are prqactically useless! The arced firing meant they could actually shoot over things. Now only the front few can fire, And even then the missles hit any small lumps inthe terrain. :O

I was getting some nice shots of some archers shooting a crapload of striders, But they all blewthemselves up :o
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Post by Argh » 06 Aug 2006, 13:16

Um, Archers don't shoot Striders. Heh. That... kind've changed. Archers are mainly in the build to take down Wolves now.

If you want light artillery, try the MegaSheep (which, due to role changes, probably need to be renamed).

I really can't overstate this... this is a very major change in NanoBlobs, from a gameplay perspective. A lot of things were changed, in large part to address gameplay problems and to deal with complaints about lag, and to teach myself some new things about how Spring works.
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Post by Drone_Fragger » 06 Aug 2006, 13:18

:O

So wahts the archers role now?

(Also, they wern't targeting the striders, Just firing behind them, so it looked like they were being fired on, from a striders point of view.)
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Post by Argh » 06 Aug 2006, 13:47

Here's a unit breakdown, based on current balance. This is all likely to change- NanoBlobs is in a bit of a transition period.

Economy

Lords are your commanders. They have a powerful weapon that kills things on the ground, are pretty tough, and can build things quickly, but they are very vulnerable to some units (Knights and Demons, especially). Lords can hover on the surface of water.

Sheep are your economy and your principal way to multiply your build-power. Sheep are very likely to either disappear entirely... or change in role, soon, but for now they are still in the same role they've always been- weak, defenseless, and totally necessary. Sheep can hover on the surface of water.

Autofacs build armies automatically (with "repeat on" and queues, of course). Nothing special about them... right now. This is also likely to change, but I'm not getting into that until I have the new things done.

Defense

Holders are stationary, not-so-powerful towers. They can kill Wolves and other light units easily, but fall to Knights. Massed, they can stop small rushes, and backed up with SpireRooks and MegaSheep, they can stand anything but a Demon, but not by themselves. Like everything in NanoBlobs, they have strengths and weaknesses.

SpireRooks are slow, powerful units that shoot infrequently, but their weapons can kill Knights in a hit or two, and they are more than cost-effective against SquareRooks and Demons. Their main weakness is that they are very slow and large targets, but they also are specifically weak against Striders. SpireRooks are completely amphibious, and can go underwater.

MegaSheep are defensive plasma artillery. While they can be used on offensive operations, they are slow, and they produce resources, so they are often better kept behind a line of Holders, where they do a great job of killing Striders, Knights, and TriRooks.

Offense

Wolves are cheap, disposable scouts. They can kill weak units or slow-firing things if they are left undefended, but are not powerful combat units. However, they are very cheap, build fast, and provide your enemies with one more target. Always have an Autofac or two building Wolves... their value as scouts and as "chaff" is very important, even if they have low combat power. Wolves can fly.

Archers kill Wolves, and move quickly enough to keep up with hordes. They are completely useless against all other units at this time. Mix them up in the queue at the Autofac with other units, like TriRooks and MegaSheep.

Knights are your hard-core rapid strike force. Armed with short-range flamethrowers and unbelievable healing powers, they are quite capable of taking apart a base in seconds if they aren't killed on the way in. While Knights are quite killable in this version, they are still very, very dangerous if used correctly.

Striders are both weak and powerful. They have been optimised for the current build of Spring's aiming code, but due to the low size of their weapon arc, they still require some micromanagement to really use effectively. Striders have rapid-fire burst chainguns that are quite capable of killing any unit in the game except for Wolves. They are fairly slow, but have a lot of hitpoints for a small unit, and take less damage from certain types of weapon. They are unbelievably deadly on flat terrain, but much less useful on rocky or broken places. Used correctly, Striders can smash open a defense very quickly. Used incorrectly, they are a waste of resoureces and unit-count.

TriRooks are the newest unit in NanoBlobs. They are very powerful attack units, but lack the armor to be all-out assault tanks. However, their weapon has good range, a rapid rate of fire... and due to its hovering nature, it can go over terrain that normal units can't see over... very, very handy. TriRooks require finesse to really use well, however, because they are a big economic drain. TriRooks are swimming units, and are effectively both ships and tanks.

SquareRooks are a general-purpose artillery unit. Lacking close-in defense, and vulnerable to Knights and Wolves, they are still worth using, because they have weapons that can kill Striders and other light unit types all day long. However, they fare poorly against Holders and SpireRooks.

Demons are the ultimate can-openers. They have a long-range popup missile that does decent damage to anything, but fires slowly. More importantly, however, they have an amazing DemonGun that can tear up massed units or defenses in a real hurry, and also has an effect over time, instead of being nearly instantaneous. Unlike other weapons it can keep killing units further back as they move through the deadly zone. Demons require protection from Knights, and aren't terribly fast, but they can also swim like TriRooks.

Gameplay

NanoBlobs is, basically, a new kind of game design. I started it out as a way to talk to the AI developers about making better AIs for Spring, but it's a lot more complicated than that at this point.

Basically, on anything but a small map, NanoBlobs is a completely strategic RTS. You're not going to want to micromanage your units, or worry about losing a few (thousand). Instead, you're going to block, scout, feint... and then attack, after finding the weak spots in your opponent's current streams of units.

NanoBlobs expects players to already know how to queue up multiple build orders, do things like the good ol' "bomber/guard" trick from OTA, and other Gnug skills. NanoBlobs is not terrifically noob-friendly, and requires that you actually pay attention to the massive battles... and plan well in advance. You can't win through just spamming one unit, and you can't win by playing defensively, and building up to Tech X, or slowly choking your enemy out of metal spots, or any of that boring crap. No. In NanoBlobs.. you win by killing the enemy... period. No tactic is "lame". Everything has a fairly obvious counter... plus a lot of subtleties. It's not "realistic", it's not an attempt to be anything but a pure battle experience.

Typical new players get stuck on three things:

1. They are like, "uh, where are the mines and tech levels". Uh... there aren't any. GET MOVING ;)

2. They try to build defenses and hold until they have Demons. This is dumb, because then their opponant can steadily hopscotch new Autofacs nearer and nearer to them, and crush them with sheer firepower.

3. They think that .cheat .nocost is on, and spam in an unintelligent way. There ARE COSTS to most major units, and the gradual drain on your economy is a major part of gameplay, which future versions are going to emphasise more ;)

The best thing to do, playing this game, is to decide where your first base will be... get it built before the enemy's first Wolves arrive, and then begin spamming out streams to scout and to hold as much of the map as possible. NanoBlobs is very much about map control- not so that you can get metal, but because that prevents the enemy from getting around your flanks.

After that, then what? Well, here are some classic options:

1. Rapid-build 50 Knights, then throw them at the weakest part of the enemy's lines. One Knight can destroy a base pretty easily. Really. Just give 'em a path, tell 'em to Roam, and then get on with something else... like sending all available Wolves ahead to distract their defenses ;)

2. Spam out Wolves, MegaSheep, Knights and Archers in a mix, to keep the enemy engaged and pinned, then build up a force of SquareRooks and a couple of Demons. Use the Squares to punch a hole in the enemy streams, then use the Demons to kill their defenses. Just make sure to guard them against Knights.

3. Use your Lord to roam around, spiderwebbing Autofacs all over the map, anywhere the enemy doesn't contest you, and gradually spam them to death.

4. Use your Lord or a bunch of Sheep to build Holders to support your forces in a combat area, or to create a fall-back line that you can retreat to. Just because you can send thousands of robots to their death doesn't mean that the occasional retreat isn't a good idea.

5. Use the units that can swim to go around enemy land forces and crush them ;)

... and lots and lots and lots of variants. NanoBlobs looks simple, but is not simple. Each unit has a lot of subtleties, from economic balance to what terrain it can handle to how fast it is. I've really tried to make sure that you never go, "hey, that's redundant", or "wow, that's useless" with the mod.

All of that said... this version's balance is still very rough, so please don't flame me when you find an obvious flaw (point it out though, I will keep it in mind). And I am contemplating some major changes for the future, to further reduce lag for low-end players... and when the new version of Spring is out, I will be making very heavy use of the new UnitIcons feature, so that you can direct your battles "from orbit".
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Post by Drone_Fragger » 06 Aug 2006, 14:37

Only one of the trirooks guns comes out at any time, And in large numbers, They kill ANYTHING. I literally killed 7 squarerooks and 2 demons, PLus about 20 knights, 20 wolves and 5 spirerooks with about 25 trirooks.
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Post by Argh » 06 Aug 2006, 14:59

Only one of the TriRook's guns is supposed to come out at once. The others are... resting ;) Really, it's not a bug, I wrote them that way to give them some additional subtleties and visual flavor.

And... let's do some math...

25 TriRooks = 25,000 M/E per second.

2 Demons = 10,000 M/E per second.
20 Knights = 6000 M/E per second.
20 Wolves = 0 M/E per second.
5 SpireRooks = 2500 M/E per second.
That's a total of 18500 M/E per second.
So, er... what's unbalanced about that? Let's say it took ... oh, about 3 minutes for you to build the TriRooks, assemble them, and have that battle. During that time, your opponant gained the equivalent of 1170000 M/E. That's enough to have built his forces about 10 times over again! IOW, it's not quite as bad as it looks. Besides which, SquareRooks own Tris. Really- try it ;)

Hmm, let's look at it another way...

25 TriRooks = 25,000,000 Buildtime.

2 Demons = 20,000,000 Buildtime.
20 Knights = 4,000,000 Buildtime.
20 Wolves = 700,000 Buildtime.
5 SpireRooks = 3,500,000 Buildtime.
Grand total of 35,000.

So you won on Buildtime, lost on economy.

I'm pretty ambivalent about their balance. Squares completely dominate them, and MegaSheep and Striders can kill them pretty easily, too. They seem uber, because they can swat Knights like flies. But their equivalent cost in M/E or Buildtime in Wolves will totally kick their butts. They are definately not "swat everything" units. NTAI just isn't well-optimised for this version of the mod, is all, I think. I dunno, I haven't had time to play this with people yet.
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Post by Drone_Fragger » 06 Aug 2006, 15:11

You forgot the sqaure rooks. There was 5-7 of them. In large numbers, the Squyares can only kill one at a time, And they only get to kill one, because 25 tris kills a square rook real fast.
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Post by Argh » 06 Aug 2006, 15:56

I just got done playing out some MP... yeah, I think I need to gently nerf them. Either ROF or damage needs to go down some. I'll look at them again and re-balance for next version.
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Post by Argh » 06 Aug 2006, 16:31

I will look at the MegaSheep, too... they need just a bit more boost to their weapon's maxvelocity, to reach their declared range. Thanks for pointing that out. I still think Wolves are just fine, though- one Archer will kill the Wolf, every time...
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Post by Drone_Fragger » 06 Aug 2006, 16:40

Its just that archers kill eachother really easily.
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AF
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Post by AF » 06 Aug 2006, 17:18

NTai wouldnt take too long for you to optimize to use trirooks and megasheep and the rest effectively.

I'll send you an RC22 build if you want, afterall you only have about 10 units you can build, and there're only 3 units that can build so 3 textfiles.
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Post by Argh » 06 Aug 2006, 17:24

Yeah, and I'm probably going to take out the Sheep entirely at some point, and see how it plays with a different resource system. Should start working on a new NTAI test to get it tightened up.
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Day
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Post by Day » 06 Aug 2006, 17:28

im sorry if i missed something but is everything supposed to be scaled down ?
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AF
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Post by AF » 06 Aug 2006, 17:32

Ah dont take out the sheep, they're nice, cute.

Instead re-assign their purpose to something deadlier. Say fast kamikaze scouters that unleash EMP on explosion, or some other insidiously strange function.

Or at least tell us what you intend as a replacement. it'd be wierd having only the lord capable of constructing things.
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Post by NOiZE » 06 Aug 2006, 17:32

updated the wiki page a bit,

Someone should make it better and add some screens are somthing.

http://taspring.clan-sy.com/wiki/Nanoblobs
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