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 Forum index » Featured Projects » D-Day
Moderators: Mig Eater
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Vehicle Driver

Joined: 11 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Sun Oct 28, 2012 7:31 am    Post subject:  Review/Feedback/Thoughts
Subject description: Based on my impression of v3.6 beta
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D-Day! When I entered the Red Alert 2 modding community five years ago, this mod was old, yet still ongoing through the seemingly unending will of Mig Eater. It's the kind of monster project that drags on and on and suddenly, out of the blue so to speak, a beta is actually released!

A fully playable beta with six sides!

The graphics, overall, are great. Voxels seem to be Mig Eater's specialty, and they looks absolutely amazing. Every single vehicle is both detailed, distinct, and impressive-looking. The only real complaint I might have with regards to the vehicles is that Mig Eater isn't capable of breaking the game into accepting multiple turrets with limited traverse in order to make tanks such as the M3 Lee work like they should.

The buildings are, also, amazing. What is noteworthy here is that Mig Eater has accomplished to give each side buildings that are visually distinct, yet also realistic-looking. Compare this to Red Alert 2, where the Allies have some sort of crazy futuristic style and the Soviet Union hired the St. Basil Cathedral's designer to make their buildings in Orthdox style; t's visually distinct, but it also looks rather silly. In D-Day, the US's structures are green military tents, the British have old industrial buildings, Russia has worn-looking red factories, Germany has lots of grey concrete in Albert Speer's new-Romantic style, and Italy has Mediterranean brick buildings. And France... France has placeholders. (Very nicely finished placeholders, but still placeholders.)

The important part is that this makes it easy to tell bases quickly apart; it is virtually impossible to confuse a German base for an American one, or even a British base from a Russian one. They also capture a certain zeitgeist for each side, helping to create an identity for each nation. And, the way I see it, creating an identity for each faction is very important in an RTS.

This, however, brings us to infantry, which I feel is D-Day's weakest point so far (in fairness, new infantry shp's is the most difficult part of any modmaking). D-Day uses converted Civilization III units, which lack prone animations, and in the case of the Bazooka infantry, have weird-looking stand animations (specifically, they hold their Bazookas like a staff; a relic of Civ III's default poses). Ultimately, infantry look weak - but that's not going to matter because you'll never, ever care to bother looking at them anyway, which brings me to the next section...

(I'm also not fond of the Heavy Bombers' soil-fountain animation; it seems to be drawn in a clashing style.)

I shall admit I am no expert player. I'm the kind of RTS-player who finds herself struggling to not die to the Easy AI. I have, however, learned one thing about D-Day: the most valuable units you can have are artillery. Maybe this is because I am a terrible player who plays only on Easy, but the game warps itself into favouring large artillery-deployments. Since tank-vs-tank engagements, in a shocking reflection of reality, are very costly, it's desirable to avoid it - and artillery is powerful enough to destroy most tanks at long ranges, even with glancing shots.

And since enemy artillery can do nasty things like destroy the tanks you sent out to engage it, artillery is also an excellent anti-artillery defence, taking advantage of the precious few extra seconds the defender gets to completely obliterate self-propelled cannons on the move.

This also means there is little point in garrisoning buildings. If I do so, enemy artillery will level entire city-blocks out of pure, seething hatred, long before my garrisoned Bazooka troopers can catch an enemy tank column unaware.

It's somewhat fun to see enemy armour obliterated in a barrage of shells, but ultimately it feels like artillery dominates the game too much.

On the opposite spectrum, infantry is incredibly dull, to the point of RA1 uselessness (again, I'm a bad player who plays against Easy Enemies). They move much slower than vehicles, they take ages to load into transports, and ultimately they have little use in Early to Post-War games; rifle infantry is only useful against other infantry, and rocket infantry (Bazooka, etc.) is too vulnerable to artillery shells to be reliable anti-tank troops.

The unit-list on the D-Day website is promising, since it features a much wider spectrum of infantry, but as-is infantry feels useless and boring.

Ah, but so much negative! What do I like about D-Day?

The tech-tree doesn't seem to encourage the fast-paced rushes of RA2; building a Factory doesn't grant immediate access to tanks, instead it grants access to, at most, a Scout or Transport vehicle. Light Tanks first become available with Radar, and it takes even longer for things like Tank Destroyers, Artillery or Heavy Tanks to enter the picture. This gives games of D-Day both a refreshing slow start as well as a welcome change from the typical Red Alert fare.

That said, the tech-tree is also very rigid; in most Command & Conquer games, especially Red Alert 2, the game gave players several options for what to prioritize; the Allied player could chose between the Airforce Command HQ or the War Factory, and in Tiberium Sun the Tier 3 level was separated into a Tech Centre side and a Upgrade Centre/Temple of Nod side. In D-Day, meanwhile, every single structure follows a strict progression from one to the next, at times baffling in their execution - I not only need to build the Headquarters and Radar to progress to the Depot, I need to actually build an airfield!

Side Identity
In D-Day, each side has a strong visual identity. However, I feel that they in many ways lack a good gameplay identity. Because D-Day has such a stunningly large number of units of every class for each side, they ultimately blend into each other almost to the point of merely being graphical distinctions. When playing D-Day so far, I was never struck with the feeling that playing as the US is much different from playing as Germany; they both have their three identical infantry, they both have light, medium and heavy tanks, they both have artillery and anti-air and halftrack transports.

The most distinct side so far is, in fact, Italy, which has its laughably weak units as well as artillery and anti-tank/anti-aircraft guns and base defences all rolled into two units. This makes Italy very distinct as the weak side with few units and mobile base defences (without armour) - this is somewhat aided by their Pillbox-type base defence being a 2x2 battler-bunker trench rather than a 1x1 machine-gun.

Other than that though, the ways the sides have been differentiated seems largely superficial. The US has a very interesting Supply Drop support building, but the British are the only people who can build Repair Depots? Germany having an Armory-type building fits their image of having well-trained troops, but Italy's Grinder ultimately feels out of place; I'm partly tempted to be a mean girl and say that Mig Eater must have been scraping the bottom of the barrel at the point.

These features don't seem to feed into the sides' gameplay identity much; the Soviet Union's NKVD Office acts as a cloning-vats, fair enough, but it's a late-game structure in a game that doesn't seem to favour infantry much. Likewise with Germany's armoury. The only two side-specific structures so far that actually add to their side's identity, in my opinion, is the Supply Drop Point and the Resistance HQ; they really help with the image that the US are well-supplied and that France has local connections.

Other things that help a little with side identity is the United State's repair vehicles and the Soviet Union's Bm-13 Katyusha (and later) artillery; the latter adds a distinct element of strategy since USSR artillery is powerful and long-ranged but can't keep up the high rate of fire.

Things to come
I am awestruck by Mig Eater's decision to include Hungary as a playable side. Most notably, it means that the not-Allied side of the battle is not actually just Germany (and Italy). It's somewhat telling about the sad state of RTS gaming when Company of Heroes introduces the US Army and the German army, only to have the stand-alone expansion Opposing Fronts introduce the British Army and another German army.

It gets worse when there's a mod for CoH, Eastern Front, which adds Russia. And another version of the German army. (There's also CoH:Afrika, which has on the Axis side, you guessed it, more Germans)

And this is where Hungary is a cool edition; it's an actual Axis side that isn't some variation upon Germany, and it adds to the European threatre to not just consist of Germany and Italy. (It may also make D-Day into the only game to feature Hungary as a distinct side, which in of itself is impressive.)

I'm also very interested in seeing what ends up being done with support weapons and the alike, as well as special infantry. Oh, and China. It'd like China to be playable. #Tongue

But, no, seriously, D-Day is a great mod. It might lack distinct gameplay, but the sheer scope and beauty of it all more than makes up for it. :3

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Mig Eater
Defense Minister

Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Location: Eindhoven

PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the review, I think it sums up D-day quite nicely.

The huge amount of units is one of D-day's main attractions, it's also its biggest downfall, making balanced gameplay & uniqueness really hard to achieve. I've tried to fixed some of these issues in the new version but some big changes may be needed to fully rectify them.

Last edited by Mig Eater on Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:16 am; edited 1 time in total

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Joined: 19 Nov 2003

PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't hold out on for China faction as history wise they have nothing their own particularly to feature, more ideal to portray them in missions with their mismash arsenal of foreign arms adaptations.

Most negative points are bound much to realism not mixing with gameplay and given Mig's position trying for most accurate presentation yet have to compromise for gameplay diversity make it pretty tough decisions not to mention some decisions being forth mainly due to game engine limitations while not necessarily best fitting.

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Vehicle Driver

Joined: 11 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The reason I want China isn't as much because I want to see Chinese units in play, but rather because I really want to play China vs. Japan battles as China (and Japan) to emulate the Chinese Theatre of Operations. It's a very overlooked part of WWII, despite being one of the most important battlefields of the Pacific Theatre.

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Vehicle Driver

Joined: 02 Feb 2014

PostPosted: Sun Aug 10, 2014 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

About faction identities, I personally think Russia should have a spammy early to mid game - cheaper stuff then, cheaper infantry (to make them more useful for their cost) and when you get to late tech, those are the big and expensive stuff.

Every infantry (from what I've seen) costs the same. Late war, 500. Pre-early war, 300.

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