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Its a good love letter to earlier games, but...
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Tyranno
Civilian


Joined: 09 Nov 2016

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 7:40 pm    Post subject:  Its a good love letter to earlier games, but... Reply with quote

I think this is certainly a very good mod as far adapting the pre-Tiberian Sun games to that level.

As someone who never liked Tiberian Sun even back when it first came out, I have to say, this is much more tolerable than the actual game.

I like the wild animals and giant ants and such - that's the main thing I missed from the earlier games.

Now, before I get to the bad, I'll say this: I know this mod started before OpenRA, or before RA3 came out, and maybe even before the "Westwood Fan Against EA" built up to where it was now. I also know you've been updating, so I don't know how relevant these issues.

First of all, Tiberian Sun's gameplay isn't, and wasn't at the time of this mod, even remotely modern.

To use control group to micromanage, you have to move the desired units individually, unless they were just made as a group.

Secondly, there is some degree of tunnel vision that may have developed along with the "Westwood Fans Against EA" movement.

Ignore EA completely for a moment.

Outside the C&C fandom, C&C had a reputation as "that game where you spam a unit and win." Probably a tank.

The tunnel vision comes when combined that many Westwood fans, particularly the ones bitter about EA*, "Westwood did it, so its automatically good".

* - I do not know for certain whether this includes anyone on your development team. But bear with me.

RA2 and later C&C3 both made tanks less overpowered, but still dominating.

Generals and RA3, actually balanced tanks to being powerful but not mandatory.

I've tried playing this mod many times before getting to this point, but here it is:

On the good side, the rocket.missile/bazooka men, I saw one take out three Medium Tanks. That was good balancing. Now to the bad-

I tried playing each faction, trying to win with infantry. Succeeded with Soviets. Failed with the others.

Tried those three factions  using land vehicles as support. Superweapons kill too many infantry too easily.

Turned off superweapons. Then tried naval stages to give my infantry more support.

Succeeded with GDI. There's a chance I could've won with Nod, but the game crashed.

In this process, I've played quite a few games, because I ddin't want to reach a premature conclusion. I'm going to try making team games with many AI players to see if that adds anything, but it seems like I'm stretching.

But unfortunately, artillery wipe out masses of infantry too easily, infantry can't get over the tiberium patch without dying, etc.

I could make infantry uncrushable, make tiberium beneign, etc., you've put those options in. But its still too many hoops to jump through to make a basic part of the game viable.

OpenRA updated these early games too, but they were able to love the original games yet still see that  EA did a good thing by boosting infantry and making tanks tier 2 units.

I will actually play OpenRA Tiberian Sun when they bring it out - and that is coming from someone who TS's faux-futuristic units too annoying to play it even back in '99.

Again, I don't know if any of you are part of the "Westwood Fans Against EA" movement - but if you are, its coming at the expense of gameplay.

Overall:

10/10 as a love note to the older games, but as an actual game itself... 4/10 seems generous.

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Lin Kuei Ominae
Seth


Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you can win with infantry only, wouldn't that as well mean the balancing is crap, since vehicles are then too weak and useless?

I think the mod is balanced very well, while still being true to the classic TD and RA1 experience, which is one of the primary goals of this mod. Being true to the classic gameplay experience.
Nonetheless the mod has fixed many balancing issues the classics had, such as stupid tank rushes from RA1 or weak/useless Nod artilleries from TD.

Artillery in DTA are a medium tech level unit. If your enemy has artillery and you only infantry, then you are too slow.
If you don't build tanks or aircraft to counter the enemy artillery, then it's also your bad tactical planning or too slow playing.
DTA has a pretty good counter unit to every mass produced enemy unit. As you said, bazookas can do wonders against pure tank rushes.

Infantry - early offense/defense, mid game tank defense, late game sneaky attack offense. Definitely no late game brute force offense, but still good support when mixed with other forces.
Vehicles - early scout, mid game tank offense, late game tank and artillery brute force offense and defense
Aircraft - late game tank defense and base offense
Ships - early game defense and naval only offense, late game base offense

Tyranno wrote:
Again, I don't know if any of you are part of the "Westwood Fans Against EA" movement - but if you are, its coming at the expense of gameplay.

I can't follow how the first has anything to do with the second. Confused
Looks more like it's a problem on your side.
Like "DTA devs are against EA" then you don't like the mod, but if "DTA devs aren't following the movement" then you like the mod.
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Tyranno
Civilian


Joined: 09 Nov 2016

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lin Kuei Ominae wrote:
If you can win with infantry only, wouldn't that as well mean the balancing is crap, since vehicles are then too weak and useless?


By "can" I mean "its an option". If you can win with only infantry, but don't have to you can still win with other things.

If you have to combine many things to win (or, alternatively, if you have to use only one thing) it gets repetitive*. That was my initial problem with C&C3 - few to no useless units, but everything seemed mandatory.

The problem is infantry being fairly impotent without support.

Lin Kuei Ominae wrote:


I can't follow how the first has anything to do with the second. Confused
Looks more like it's a problem on your side.
Like "DTA devs are against EA" then you don't like the mod, but if "DTA devs aren't following the movement" then you like the mod.


I'll try to be clearer.

If the DTA devs were of the attitude that anything EA does is bad, and that they are going to avoid anything EA did because EA did it, that's a reason the gameplay is suffering (i.e. its too primitive).

That might not be the reason they didn't use those ideas.

As I said when bringing up OpenRA, they clearly were fans of the original games, but whether or not they are against EA, they don't let it affect the decisions in development, they use some ideas EA did right, and this objective viewpoint makes OpenRA play very well.

Just to clarify:

Westwood did some things right.
Westwood did some things wrong.
EA did some things right.
EA did some things wrong.

The problem is some people only see the first and fourth of those things - you might not, maybe none of the TDA devs are like that, but I've seen mods take that attitude before.

EDIT: The reason I keep saying "I don't know whether you're part of movement" is because I've come across a few Westwood fans who stretch the whole thing to the point they come off as stereotypical SJW type people. I don't want to accuse the devs of being unpleasent people (and neither would being anti-EA make them unpleasent people by default).

Last edited by Tyranno on Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:34 pm; edited 1 time in total

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^Rampastein
Rampastring


Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Location: Gensokyo

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Its a good love letter to earlier games, but... Reply with quote

Tyranno wrote:
I tried playing each faction, trying to win with infantry. Succeeded with Soviets. Failed with the others.

You think you should be able to win with infantry only? I don't think so; if infantry were that powerful, you'd never have a reason for building tanks or even teching up for that matter (because most infantry are early first-tier units). DTA follows a pretty refined rock-paper-scissors style balance, where everything has a counter. As you figured out, rocket infantry hard-counter tanks, but to still keep tanks useful, artillery can be used to counter infantry, and excessive artillery can again be countered by tanks or other vehicle-based tactics. In DTA everything has a counter, including infantry. LKO summed it up well:

Lin Kuei Ominae wrote:
If you can win with infantry only, wouldn't that as well mean the balancing is crap, since vehicles are then too weak and useless?



Tyranno wrote:
...infantry can't get over the tiberium patch without dying...

This is because we've tried to keep DTA's overall feeling very close to the original classics, and that means that we've kept iconic elements like tiberium damage intact. In most maps you're able to avoid the tiberium fields with infantry, so you can avoid losing infantry by paying attention.

Tyranno wrote:
Again, I don't know if any of you are part of the "Westwood Fans Against EA" movement - but if you are, its coming at the expense of gameplay.

I personally view both WW and EA works critically. C&C3 is actually my favourite un-modded C&C game when it comes to gameplay, and in some ways it has also inspired DTA. But WW created a decent (although imbalanced) foundation with TD and RA1, and we've taken that foundation and improved it.

Tyranno wrote:
10/10 as a love note to the older games, but as an actual game itself... 4/10 seems generous.

To be honest I wouldn't rate your review much better. As it is, your point is pretty much this: "I can't win games by using only infantry => your mod sucks".
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Lin Kuei Ominae
Seth


Joined: 16 Aug 2006
Location: Germany

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tyranno wrote:
As I said when bringing up OpenRA, they clearly were fans of the original games, but whether or not they are against EA, they don't let it affect the decisions in development, they use some ideas EA did right, and this objective viewpoint makes OpenRA play very well.

I think it's just a simple result of different propositions
DTA: trying to be true to TD/RA1 and as close as possible to them (with balancing fixes and gameplay improvements), while using the slightly more advanced modding/gameplay capabilities of the TS engine.
OpenRA: showcasing the modding engines capabilities by creating only a rough approximation of TD/RA1
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Last edited by Lin Kuei Ominae on Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:42 pm; edited 1 time in total

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^Rampastein
Rampastring


Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Location: Gensokyo

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lin Kuei Ominae wrote:
I think it's just a simple result of different propositions
DTA: trying to be true to TD/RA1 and as close as possible to them (with balancing fixes and gameplay improvements), while using the slightly more advanced modding/gameplay capabilities of the TS engine.
OpenRA: showcasing the modding engines capabilities by creating only a rough approximation of TD/RA1

I get such a feeling as well. With DTA we've stayed as loyal to TD and RA1 as possible while merging the games and still improving them, while OpenRA's TD/RA mods are more like original games built with TD's and RA1's graphics. And after trying OpenRA, Tyranno was expecting a similar experience from DTA.
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Tyranno
Civilian


Joined: 09 Nov 2016

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Its a good love letter to earlier games, but... Reply with quote

^Rampastein wrote:

You think you should be able to win with infantry only? I don't think so; if infantry were that powerful, you'd never have a reason for building tanks or even teching up for that matter (because most infantry are early first-tier units).


Okay, thats a fair point - I may have overlooked that some online players do think like "its the easiest way to win, so I'll never use anything else."

^Rampastein wrote:



This is because we've tried to keep DTA's overall feeling very close to the original classics, and that means that we've kept iconic elements like tiberium damage intact. In most maps you're able to avoid the tiberium fields with infantry, so you can avoid losing infantry by paying attention.


Okay, to be fair, the maps I tried have been a small portion of the maps available, and I'm sure the ones designed by different people probably did have a different style. I may have jumped the gun a bit.

Also, in fairness, OpenRA is fresher in my mind than the original Tiberian Dawn; maybe some of their maps had unavoidable Tiberium patches too.

^Rampastein wrote:

To be honest I wouldn't rate your review much better. As it is, your point is pretty much this: "I can't win games by using only infantry => your mod sucks".


Another place I should've been clearer - when I first started playing, mass vehicles were how I was winning. That's why I experimented with infantry.

(Also, with the naval maps, I did change to trying to make infantry the primary focus rather than the entire army)

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Bittah Commander
Defense Minister


Joined: 21 May 2003
Location: The Netherlands

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:35 pm    Post subject: Re: Its a good love letter to earlier games, but... Reply with quote

EA had nothing to do with our balancing issues whatsoever: while I might not agree with the major continuity plotholes they created in C&C3, it's perfectly fine as a game (just like how C&C Generals was a decent game: it just shouldn't have been called C&C).
The only way DTA could've been influenced by a bias against EA is if DTA had its own official story, which it does not. The only official story it follows is that of the games it's based on, being Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert.
Tyranno wrote:
4/10 seems generous.

From where I sit, that solely appears to be a rating of your own ability to defeat other players while using nothing but infantry. I guess everyone has their own priorities, but ours is to make the game balanced, challenging and even a bit realistic wherever it doesn't get in the way of the gameplay itself.
Having infantry that are always able to fight on equal ground with tanks is not only very unrealistic, but it's also plain poor balancing: as mentioned, if the first thing you can build can fight everything else you can possibly build on entirely equal ground, only players that aren't taking the game seriously would ever bother building anything else.
Tyranno wrote:
If you have to combine many things to win (or, alternatively, if you have to use only one thing) it gets repetitive*. That was my initial problem with C&C3 - few to no useless units, but everything seemed mandatory.

So you're saying that having to combine different units to defeat enemy units is repetitive, while being able to spam only a single unit (only infantry, in your case) and then still win against a player who's using many different units is somehow not repetitive? Sounds to me like you just want to "nerf" skilled players so that you can always beat them with a single unit without having to ever worry about using different tactics in different situations.
Tyranno wrote:
The problem is infantry being fairly impotent without support.

And so is every other unit, with the exception of the main battle tanks. Infantry have their time and place: mix some infantry in with your tanks when fighting another player's tanks and you'll usually gain enough of an edge to win that battle. Sneak some infantry into an unsuspecting player's base with Chinooks or APCs and it might win you the game.

Since we're still staying true to the story of the games DTA is based on, tiberium will always damage infantry and there's the Harmless Resources option for those who don't like this. Having to enable game options to adjust the gameplay to your exact preferences is not "jumping through hoops" and those options also shouldn't be enabled by default because most people don't share your preference of only using infantry, as hard as that might be to believe.
Tyranno wrote:
Another place I should've been clearer - when I first started playing, mass vehicles were how I was winning. That's why I experimented with infantry.

That only works against less experienced players. When playing against more experienced players, spamming a single tank really isn't going to work out for you.
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^Rampastein
Rampastring


Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Location: Gensokyo

PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2016 10:39 pm    Post subject: Re: Its a good love letter to earlier games, but... Reply with quote

Tyranno wrote:
Okay, thats a fair point - I may have overlooked that some online players do think like "its the easiest way to win, so I'll never use anything else."

Exactly. DTA obviously still offers multiple different tactics that can be used to win - but using only infantry isn't one of them unless you rush your opponent early on or the opponent doesn't attempt to counter your infantry in any way. You tend to get more tactical possibilities with teching up, including hero-type units and units with special abilities. Good examples are the Allied Chrono tank with its teleportation, Nod's stealth technology, and GDI's strong aircraft. None of them are usually necessary for winning a battle (they might be in some situations in a very even match), but they're there as options.

Tyranno wrote:
Okay, to be fair, the maps I tried have been a small portion of the maps available, and I'm sure the ones designed by different people probably did have a different style. I may have jumped the gun a bit.

Also, in fairness, OpenRA is fresher in my mind than the original Tiberian Dawn; maybe some of their maps had unavoidable Tiberium patches too.


As you can see by viewing the list at http://www.moddb.com/mods/the-dawn-of-the-tiberium-age/tutorials/maps2 , most maps either have an alternative attack route for infantry that can be used to avoid tiberium entirely, or the paths with tiberium are wide enough that the path isn't entirely covered by tiberium, letting your infantry get past the field undamaged.

Tyranno wrote:
Another place I should've been clearer - when I first started playing, mass vehicles were how I was winning. That's why I experimented with infantry.

(Also, with the naval maps, I did change to trying to make infantry the primary focus rather than the entire army)

Just like infantry, spamming tanks works if your enemy doesn't counter them, or your economy is so much stronger than your opponent's that you can simply out-build them despite not using as efficient unit combinations. While the AI in DTA is generally fairly difficult, it's not great at countering tactics - it won't build dozens of rocket infantry to counter your tank rush. It simply builds attack teams and units randomly from a pre-defined selection, so it cannot react to your tactics.

The AI also has some other limitations like ignoring unit tiers - it's able to build artillery without a radar, and build high-tech units without a tech center. So, by forming your opinion on balance by only playing against the AI you can get a somewhat skewed image. The AI is meant to be challenging and fun to play against, but it's not possible to make it even nearly comparable to a human player.
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Crimsonum
Seth


Joined: 14 Jul 2005
Location: Fineland

PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 9:25 am    Post subject: Re: Its a good love letter to earlier games, but... Reply with quote

^Rampastein wrote:
While the AI in DTA is generally fairly difficult, it's not great at countering tactics - it won't build dozens of rocket infantry to counter your tank rush. It simply builds attack teams and units randomly from a pre-defined selection, so it cannot react to your tactics.


Not exactly, although you can specify the AI to build a certain taskforce when X number of Y units is produced by the enemy. It's not a perfect solution but it could work.
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^Rampastein
Rampastring


Joined: 11 Oct 2008
Location: Gensokyo

PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2016 4:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Its a good love letter to earlier games, but... Reply with quote

Crimsonum wrote:
Not exactly, although you can specify the AI to build a certain taskforce when X number of Y units is produced by the enemy. It's not a perfect solution but it could work.

You cannot do that. Instead you can specify a chance for the AI to build a certain team when X number of Y units is produced by the enemy. Because you cannot make it certainly build a team when a specific condition is met, practically the AI would most of the time build some other teams before building the "counter" team, which means that it'd often be way too slow to react to be able to effectively counter for example a MBT rush.
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