Victory Condition: Assassinate (Part III)

Finally, this saga comes to a close. I’m satisfied with the evidence I’ve gathered.

It looks like, for as long as I skirmish against the AI, I will not enable victory condition: assassinate. Yes truly, I’m sad to see it go, but there’s a sum of good reasoning behind this action. Namely, the AI’s reaction to this gameplay policy change is alarming and uninteresting. There was never a moment where I caught the AI with their commander out somewhere he shouldn’t have been, and greased him. NEVER. That’s not ok. That only means the AI is opting to let the commander sit in their base collecting dust. Not putting him to any use… that’s not a solution either. It just means he’s hopelessly outgunned when it gets down to my army encroaching on his “circle of safety.”. If he’s the last line of defense, it’s not a good strategy to begin with. Even upgraded, he doesn’t stand alone as a powerful unit. He will still eat shit and die at the hands of any number of moderately powerful squads. It’s sad, BUT THAT’S THE WAY IT AUGHT TO BE.

He can make a difference, if used in combat situations. Why not have him cutting down units as a support unit, versus just not using him at all. My way seems better.

Alas, the AI does not agree. And games are DONE by the time I’m punishing their commander. Hiding behind the power generators at the back of the last stand. Sad way to go, as I mentioned.

But this is not my desire. So, AI. I’m letting you off the hook. Go frivolously use your commander as a primary combat unit, like you do when the victory conditions are only: annihilate. It’s much more interesting to have the AI using it’s fullest potential to beat me, but “assassinate” only made the AI weaker in my opinion.

For the purposes of training, I may keep the AI in the bind it finds itself in every time we launch a game. Because it will be useful to TEACH the skill of careful commander management, and not let that skill lapse because of lax victory conditions.

For now, this is Miracle Max, signing off.

“Have fun storming the castle!”

ANECDOTE: Tyranids. I swear, you can’t turn your back on them. XV22 was out front at FbR watching my relic point, but a big swarm of genestealers came up from somewhere, and while I got distracted by the carnifex they brought along, those fucking genestealers DEVOURED my XV22 like he was dog kibbles (and that’s not a L1 but more likely a L4-5 with all the nifty items purchased). Literally had 2 seconds to myself, checked the strategic icon to find it had disappeared from my HUD (A very very bad sign) followed promptly by a popup message informing me my commander was found to be “tasty.” As well as “dead.” I lose. =(

Victory Condition: Assassinate (Part II)

So, I’ve had about 3-4 games and already I’m laughing my ass off.

The AI holds on to the commander in a zero-risk policy of complete base-isolation lock-down. BRUNG.  I’m dying, because it’s a totally useful unit, when upgraded with patience. But the AI doesn’t get that. It has no way to compute the risk involved of sending a commander out into ANY SORT of combat at all. It thinks minor risk is far too great, so their commander stays home until the bitter end. When it’s basically down to the last few structures, their economy is crippled, the commander is usually the last freestanding unit to die. Which seems right… by my understanding of the game.

I just don’t quite understand why it keeps him home all the time. Do they still upgrade the commander, but just sit on him? They have no problem moving secondary commanders at me, but they keep the primary back somewhere where nothing could ever happen to him. Until, aforementioned calamitous death sequence is scheduled to transpire.

It’s nice to not have to raze an entire base. NOTED.

Hey, I get the real life implications of using my commander in game combat. I get it. Think me not irresponsible. I’ve had a few tries at it and I haven’t killed him yet. Haven’t even been close to the best of my knowledge. On that note, I’m continuing to use Tau, WHICH IS A RISK IN AND OF ITSELF HOME SLICE. Primary commander is my ranged commander, who has shit for hit-points and does nothing but die really really fast at melee range. So I have him to either use carefully, or be destroyed while trying to use him to some end.

I believe that this game’s AI might be a bit wacko about this victory condition, though, I’ve not had enough practice yet to officially diagnose anything. I’ll keep trying.

Few notes for experiment parameters:

Using maps Moonbase (A straight up fight) Frostbite River (A rush of power and requisition) or Meeting of the Minds (A crafty fight with a rush of power if done right). Facing a HARDER random foe with standard resources and game-speed. I would tell you if there was something truly off the beaten default setting. Ultimate Apocalypse allows you to also enable a heroes xp gain “mod” routine for units to get better as they live longer and gather combat experience. It’s fantastic, because it brings scrutiny to the task of keeping the things you build alive, and make them worth your while by keeping squads reinforced and upgraded with heavy weapons.

I tried to grab some screen-caps, but it failed.

I’ll probably have a resounding conclusion to this chain of articles, but consider a 3rd portion utterly necessary, as I have yet to see the AI beyond these few maps and have a very limited number of “games played,” recorded as usable data. Time will have better stories, as is often the case with the RTS genre.

Victory Condition: Assassinate (Part I)

This is a complicated theory, because it exercises a new set of criteria for victory that would not be normally available. These additional conditions and their corresponding strategic exploits are the subject of great fascination on my part. Namely, it seems like this mode of gameplay was SPECIFICALLY CONCEIVED with the intent that one was to come up with newer, cleverer ways to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s a lot like billiards. The commander is the 8 ball. Don’t miss the 8 ball. Take good care of the 8 ball.

This gameplay adjustment works on unit-based RTS games, not tech-based. In a tech-based (see Age of Empires) game, you can’t put THAT high a price on a single unit. Your civilization has endured time and trial not because of extensive resources spent on combat-ready units, but spent on technology and other required items for advancing the civilization. These games focus on combat as a crescendo, whereas, in unit-based RTS games, building combat-ready units happens fast, and becomes parallel to survival and success. Techs are around, but they’re not focal to the advancement of the game. Dawn of War is different in that it can maintain a healthy and diverse unit population while also weighing in a good amount of techs to research to improve units and one’s economy. In a tech-based game, great stretches of time pass before the first real engagement of any worth takes place, but in a unit-based game, confrontation is immediate and fully necessary for territory control and resources (gained, see economy). So, I draw a line here: Dawn of War will be the relative middle-ground between these two opposing forces. It seems logical enough to classify it this way, considering there are still tech tiers to be researched through, but they are not at the absolute center of activity and gameplay.

There are multiple reasons for Dawn of War’s success as an RTS, but mostly because of the correct initial equation = keeping balance between these two distinguished classes of RTS yet having enough to differentiate. Running the Ultimate Apocalypse Mod v. 1.73, the equation is only improved; adding deeper levels of unit-specific customizations, and much more involved conditions for achieving victory. The AI was also dramatically changed, and performs very well in skirmishes. All of that should be said, clearly, the game is at the top of a short list of sensational RTS games. Dawn of War (henceforth UA) is classic fun with the right configuration settings popped on (or off). All my skirmishes are 2 victory conditions: annihilate (destroy all structures capable of unit production = win) or assassinate (Kill enemy commander = win).

Which brings us back home: the assassinate victory condition. Truly, a ton of fun fort players. It’s a lot like the great ancestor to all these games, chess, in that you’ve got just 1 piece that can’t be put in danger, EVER. He just can’t die. If he dies, you lose.

I have actually never tested the AI’s ability to manage their commander on the assassinate victory condition.

I’ve played a zillion matches with annihilate, and killed commanders all the while. But this next time will be different. Because the AI is going to get a pre-built commander right from the get-go, and I wonder what it’s programmed to do with that. Will it use the commander to snag territory from me early? Will it cripple its own economy in order to cache in on the upgrades first-thing?

I will have an articulate post about how that goes, as soon as I’ve collected enough data to be satisfied of its eventual integrity.

For now, I offer some game theory and conjecture: since my commander can’t help my economy, he really has very little use in UA. He’s going to sit around for a while not getting into trouble, while my economy gets going, and then once I have a few hundred requisition laying around, I’ll buy some upgrades for him. That could EASILY take the first 10 minutes of the game to get him up to level 4 with all items upgraded. AI is in my base at the 5 minute mark almost every single time EXCEPT when they play Necrons. Then I don’t see them until it’s already too late.

I’ll be developing a build order much the same way I have it down now. But it’s the actual combat gameplay that worries me. Sure the commander has a HUD icon that will tell me if he’s in trouble, but it’s the having him out and about that worries me. He has no build function, so I can’t use him to help me in any other way than to have him go out and fight shit. Which he can be good at, but if he gets mobbed or runs into something of consequence, we’re going to have a big problem.

Commanders are hard to kill, but easily within the realm of possibility on your average game. I lose my primary commander at least once a game, which now, I can’t do. Can’t just build him again if he houses the central consciousness behind my entire civilization…

Well folks… I’m going to go try my hand at UA again after a long respite with Forged Alliance. Mainly, I need to get refocused on this core game, because it so clearly illustrates the RTS genre, and is a great tool for teaching. Jacqueline is going to come over Saturday night, and we’re going head-first into UA. If she’s going to learn, it had better be with the best.

Like I said, here ends part 1. Stay tuned for more.

#401

Dazed sweet caress

Of gentile down & dew

Brought spoiled sunlight bare

The burden of heat wanes

Past scorn her servant

A solution same

To reason through doubt

Fissured in hate

Divided by lands crossed

Vexation plain

But avoided all the same

A trial by the fire

A steward’s course is laid

Take hold the mantle

Of times

 

Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance (Total Mayhem 1.20) GAME NOTES

So, I’ve been exclusively playing Forged Alliance with the Total Mayhem 1.20 mod: and there have been some pretty awesome games, and some unexpectedly bad endings. Let me clarify a few changes the mod has implemented, for anyone who has played an unmodified version of FA and happens to wonder why this outdated RTS is so damn captivating NOW. First off, each faction has 1-3 new units per tech level, usually a heavy ground unit or even additional aircraft or (rarely) a naval unit. These new units are factory produced, so you have to build and tech-up a factory to get access to them. NURP. Next, in addition to these factory-bound units, each faction has 4-7 freestanding individual units they can build PER TECH LEVEL. Your commander and all subsequent engineers you build will all have the ability to do this, producing some of the game’s best units, like devastating battle mechs, very very large and well armed tanks, and behemoth aircraft that obliterate everything in their way. These units take some time to construct and usually require several people to come help in order to have them done in a timely fashion. Well worth the price, mind you. These units are hard to stop, or at least, some of the larger ones are. There are smaller, less powerful options as well; allowing the possibility of making lots of units versus just one big fucking-chonga-huge game-ender. So, it expands the strategy options, either way you look at it. More units = more like TA which is the greatest RTS ever. Duh.

Like I was saying; the unmodified version is limited by comparison to Total Mayhem. I love having diverse armies, especially with Aeon’s options: two heavy one assault tank at tech 1, and the same at tech 2. Plus more medium and light options. If desired. Heavy/assault units tend to have spectacular weapons. Aeon weapons are all charged particle emitters and high energy lasers. PERSONAL FAVORITES! Especially Tech 2 fixed defenses. They have a sexy high-energy particle emitting laser and it damn near kills anything of consequence with a single shot. And from… over there, as well.

So, the game is diverse. You have a lot more to think about than in most any other game. It’s not a clear-cut BO every time. My Build Order changes rapidly based on circumstance and the AI type I’m playing. I do rather well against Rush AI in its various permutations. Sorian Rush dies nearly every time because of an over-stretched commander wandering WAY too fucking far out there doing no good at all. I NEVER LEAD WITH A COMMANDER. It seems pretty obvious to me that if we’re going to have a knife fight, I better not shield myself with my testicles.

My commander is always at home somewhere, or in the kitchen absorbing map-bound resources. Or if I’m feeling zippity-doo-da daring, I’ll run him out there and absorb front-line corpses and wreckage that is usually found in areas of contention. I’ve recently been testing whether it’s prudent to upgrade the commander’s independent systems (an innovation from it’s counterpart TA), like making the commander capable of building tech 2 stuff, or maximizing the range of his primary weapon, or making his overcharge (see, nerfed d-gun) more effective. I’ve been giving him the ability to go tech 2 once my factories make it there and my economy is doing well. His engineering suite, I assume, is the best, so there’s no reason not to have him help build or independently construct T2 shit. If needed, mind you.

I’ve never made him more offensively useful, though I can only imagine that someone out there uses the commander that way. Fuck, if the game allows you to do it, someone has “that way” of winning all figured out. And someone is already figured the best way to win with an upgraded offensive commander as the lead dog in the vanguard. Why the hell not I say? Isn’t that what a good RTS is all about?

So, I’ve had some practice against Sorian Rush AI, classic Rush AI, and Sorian Adaptive AI all on either 10km or 5km maps. 20, 40 and 80+ are insane. I don’t even understand how you can just “well, OK then” play on such a giant ass map. You’d be to T2 before you even bumped faces with your foe. Which is boring, and managing so much BASE. MAH BASE IS HUUUUUUUUUGGGGE. I’m not really a fan of that, so 10km is plenty of wiggle room, and 5km is a heated scrap. No game-timers running past 25 minutes. UNTZ *FLEX*.That’s how we DO IT.

So, these previously mentioned AI settings all lead commander, which as you know, I think is silly. So, therefore: I tend to win via stupid neglectful over-maneuver by said AI. My T2 gunships get commanders almost every time I play on 10km maps, because the middle is JUST TOO FAR from safety at the 20 minute mark. No AI builds decent stationary defenses, with the exception of the Sorian Turtle, which I have yet to defeat. Either way you look at it, it is more often than not a bad way to die by losing your commander as part of your front line defenses. Losing him to a nuke or powerful unit is another matter entirely. Acceptable, yes, not IDEAL to die, but it happens.

This is my pickle: I can’t beat the Turtle AI. Its got a better build order than I do. Now, if you’ve come this far, maybe you’ll go a bit farther and review my Build Order variant to check it for strategic flaws.

Comander:

1x land factory

1-2x adjacent mass extractor

3-5x adjacent power generator

Land Factory:

5x T1 Engineer

repeating

1x T1 Assault Tank

2x T1 Heavy Tank

Commander repeats w/ Air Factory instead of Land Factory

Air factory IMMIDIATLEY goes T2

4 T2 Engineers

5x T1 Engineers fan out capping mass and building AA turrets all over the place. Hydrocarbon if it’s around, surrounding with power storage and surrounding mass with mass storage.

At this point, I’ll send commander to make a second Land Factory and have it go T2 as well. Economy permitting. I’m usually in the red on mass for some stretch of this tactic, but having a few engineers break off and reclaim trees, rocks (whatever happens to have mass and be reclaimable) and just do that for a while until I can get some stuff built. Once a mass extractor with 4 mass storage goes T2, I flatten out and go green in mass.

I don’t start building T2 independent units until after my factories are producing T2 tanks consistently. Then when I do go, I start in on the Aeon’s T2 Advanced Battle Mech. It’s sturdy, and kills damn near everything it bumps into. Commanders included.

I’ve either won if I kept my mass out of the redline long enough to get to T2 extractors, or I died from any number of foul-ups along the way. Like not absorbing enough mass to get through the T2 transition, or popping off to many auto-builds at one time, or having 5 engineers cranking on various long-term projects simultaneously. My economy being crippled by early agitators is also another way to lose, and lose quickly. I’ve surrendered 1 commander kill, due in large part to aggressive gameplay, and straight-up neglect. I forgot about WHERE he was patrolling, and he got wiped out by some T2 tanks in a bushel. Bah. Not my fault. I was focused on my blob of units making it’s way through his outer defenses. And I got gut punched in the guts and now my guts hurt. Narm.

Anyway, this is certainly an arbitrary review and gameplay theory rant.

I’ll conclude by stating that the better the RTS game is, the more free one is to individually craft a gameplay style from the available resources of the game’s interface and capabilities. To have an RTS which captures the essence of Total Annihilation by preserving a diverse array of units and build orders, while also innovating enough new game features to captivate us all over again, is truly a great thing. Forged Alliance might be a bit outdated, but honestly, I couldn’t ask for a more unique and unrivaled gameplay experience. It is truly designed with an RTS gamer in mind. The absence of the minimap is terrifying, UNLESS you can zoom out and see every single thing on the game-field with the scroll wheel on your mouse. NO NEED for a minimap now. And strategic icons, because units get too small to see individually. INNOVATIVE I say. So far, I have run up against a firm challenge in the Turtle Sorian AI, so I shall surely have something new to write about soon.

Farewell gamers, and long live your commander.

As Gandalf would say:

“Keep it secret. Keep it safe!”

Lost My Marbles!

Seriously you guys. I have no one in my world to talk to about all these crazy-insane feelings I have inside me. There’s no one to listen to my hurt, my alarm, my dismay… and all the extra fun bonus shit I don’t have a quick name for. I want to be heard goddamnit! So, I yell into the ether of cyberspace. And it’s my right and responsibility to represent myself at all times as an honest appraisal of the real me, otherwise, what’s the point if I’m just lying about everything? I’m certainly not growing or learning anything by doing that. I try to garner something useful from all calamity, anyway. In reality, I’m much more contrite about all this stuff. It’s underneath the floorboards of my home. Ever present Edgar Alan Poe-esk beating heart still haunting me, I reckon. I guess my unreconciled feelings are largely corked because in therapy I’m not dealing with these emotions specifically right now (Jax). We’re looking at the deeper trauma, older relationships, ancient hurts. Maybe that’s just bringing back more nasty memories into the forefront. So I’ll be frank, that my last utterance was harsh, but also reasonable in most respects.

 

Because: I still wanted to try though, to make it right between us, and you broke my heart. Smashed it. I still wanted you after the affair and all that, but you’ll not have me back, a shamed cuckold who is more angry and bitter about his downfall into darkness than he is acknowledged and understood. Easily said!

But hey, I have a right to my feelings, whatever horrible form they decide to take. In this case, brutally honest. AND HEY: I’ve been nattering on about all the things I’m trying to do better, to get right after a mistake was made. I try endlessly to figure out my part, my problems, my mistakes in this whole falling out. I think I have a pretty good handle on my issues. Want me to rattle off a few here that I’ve specifically been working on:

  1. Acknowledgment without judgement or implication
  2. Self-regulation of emotional responses based on known triggers
  3. Middle-mindedness and introspection as part of a healthy world outlook

I still need some practice with 2 and 3, but I’m great at helping identify and understand feelings, and I’ve been practicing my skills at my DBSA meetings. I hope to continue to improve at these things and reach my goals of being self-sufficient and personally responsible.

It’s lofty, but I deserve something better than the standard lot for someone with my diagnosis. Seriously.

I think I have a right to be pissed. It’s my feeling, so I’m going to have it whether you think it’s a good idea or not. My life as I knew it has been rotting in the sun for some weeks now. I’ve had to go back to square 1 and try to reassemble a new reality. From nothing. With nothing to hold on to. From the brink of suicide, to abandonment, to the slow march of progress as done by the retarded.

Yes, I’ll admit, I’m pretty fucking retarded. No doubt. It is both endearing and frustrating. My brain might as well be silly dough. My intellect is keen, but all the pieces around it are fucking hopeless. Pretty much.

 

So, yeah. I’m still angry inside me. And I have a right to blast my ex right off her port bow. KABOOM! So be it!

 

Flowers

Even though I hate them, I still get why. I don’t happen to AGREE with why, but I get it.  Isn’t that love though? You have to be proactive, and re-woo her constantly or she’ll get bored and leave you. Sounds like a great dynamic.  I think the way we express love is really dumb. We overextend, then to be forced to retreat when the price is too high for stability, then struggle anew. Women, to love you endlessly seems beyond your comprehension. I’ve loved, LOVED 3 people in my mercurial little life. 3 distinct ways of loving, now no longer needed. I’m actually thinking of boarding up the whole place and abandoning this road for a while. What the fuck do I need love for? It’s a frightful mess of unexplained expectations and unrecognized feelings. I couldn’t have picked 3 worse fits. Each person I loved, without restraint or barricade. Instead of being loved back, I was scrutinized and found unworthy of being loved back. My definition is different that your piece of crap way of understanding love. So, goodbye to romance and the silliness of love. There’s no reason to think I’m going back to that zone anytime soon. So get it off my wagon, we’re already overloaded. And to my loves, who don’t give a shit what I have to say, I still love thee, though, I also don’t want thee back. Our lives are over. I’m never going to be with any of you again, and I’d rather it that way. In my opinion, love was a test that I passed, and you failed. You utterly failed to understand the depth and seriousness of the bond I tried to make with you. A “for life” bond that you threw out like a used condom. So, you fail. And as a result of your abysmal, selfish, brutal failing in this department, you are disqualified from my concern or worry. It’s a solid feeling, this whole “being over you” thing I’ve got working. I feel liberated, free. Free from your oppression, your ignorance, and perplexing yet different view of this world and it’s worth. How does it feel to be chucked into the nearest waste-bin like so many soggy bouquets? I’m spiteful because I have the right to be. You fucked me. I was left wanting. You are the quitter. When I wanted to try again, you wanted to fuck me in the ass. So, adieu. I’m through feeling for you. I’m long since done with caring. To extricate myself from your world would be a pleasure, so let’s divorce. Really, I have the Summary Dissolution paperwork prepared, so let’s get this over with. And woe to you who fall in with these pestilent serpents of love: they will choke the life out of your dreams and replace them with lies. Promise things that they have no intention of doing. Cheat, lie and betray your way to the next victim. Good luck out there. Sarcastically.

I’m not saying you are alone in the blame. But we’re not talking about how I fucked up today. We’re trying to hold you accountable. But you are a liar, and you take no personal responsibility for anything you do.

I do not feel I cheated but I do feel it wasn’t a good idea, wasn’t a good time, and that I shouldn’t have told you. I asked for a divorce before anything happened, but when you came home you acted as if I never asked.”

Right. Because that’s how the world works “I got permission to fuck other men, so I will.” Is that what you’re saying? That I knew what you were going to do and I was fine with it. After, in your dramatic fashion, told me you “just can’t do this anymore.” What choice did you leave me? Could I have said: NO WE’RE STILL MARRIED YOU HAVE TO STICK WITH ME REGARDLESS? If you wanted out, admit it, embrace it, and move the fuck on you coward. Regardless of what you think you “got permission” to do, the LAW doesn’t see it your way. What you did is called adultery, not OK sex with another guy while LEGALLY MARRIED TO SOMEONE ELSE. Sorry, I just don’t see how me saying ANYTHING gives you the right to cheat on me, irregardless of words I spoke. WE ARTE STILL MARRIED RIGHT THIS SECOND. And this makes you a delinquent to your marital responsibilities, and most definitely makes you a cheater in addition to several other undesirables. Embrace it Jax… you’re not going to get far if you just lie to yourself and make believe it was all OK and you did no wrong. You are what you’ve done. Spin it how you like for your own deluded purposes. I’ll have no belief in your story, because it is a self-serving lie to cover your ass for fear of being held accountable for your misconduct. IN THE EYES OF THE LAW. Not me. This is the state of California you owe an explanation to. Not that you will…

 

Wow. I’m so glad I have this blog where I can freely express my hair-brained theories and thoughts. Please don’t take me too seriously. I’m largely detached from this crisis. It just baffles me the way she can go around lying, living a fake life built on the foundations I helped establish. All of which have been quite abandoned, albeit. But whatever, it’s your life. Run it into the ground as you see fit. Live like an ignorant 23 year old does, blindly fumbling about for companionship but lost to the cause of self. Oh there’s so much more to say, but I’m tired of railing against the deaf, dumb and blind. It serves no gain other than my own, now indulged, is sated.

 

BOOM

 

I just dropped the fucking mic. How about that?

 

It’s my blog…

 

I DO WHAT I WANT, BITCH.