Game Theory: Forged Alliance

I’m using the Total Mayhem Mod version 1.2.


First, let me say that no game will ever usurp Total Annihilation as the greatest RTS of all time. It’s just not going to ever be like that again. TA was free-form RTS, with the action largely dictated by personal style rather than the obvious path to victory. Never has the influence of the chaos principle been so relevant. Every match, especially against a human opponent, had any number of random things happen during the course of a game. And I mean RANDOM. One time, no shit, I sent a nuke to Eric Madigan’s base indiscriminately targeting an industrial complex, but before the missile hit it’s target is smashed into a scout aircraft and exploded in the air doing no damage. Games could last 2 hours, because TA made it really hard to put the kibosh on your foe until finding their commander hiding in a pool of water somewhere. Fucker.

Anyway, TA with the Units Compilation Pack is deadly fun. However. The AI on medium made me look like a retard humping a doorknob. Worse, so did the easy. So I surrendered attempting to play that game for a time. I’ve since moved on to the spiritual successor to TA, in the Supreme Commander Series. Specifically, Forged Alliance, a stand-alone expansion to the first Supreme Commander game. It introduced a 4th race, the Seraphim. So, using a heavily alteredĀ  version of that core game, with the Total Mayhem 1.2 mod integrated, I’ve been having a go at this innovative and tactically marvelous RTS game. I’ve stuck with Aeon, as they have the juiciest particle weapons and high energy lasers. And they do it from… over there (see, ranged units). I go into thinking about how just a few automatons made this game such a smash hit. It kept the raw input style like TA had, but gave you some neat options that were before TA’s time. Like Re-positionable waypoints, waypoint ETAs, refueling aircraft, upgradable commander units, adjacency bonuses… the list goes on. But it makes a few things clear: some thought went into how to make this 4 faction game as successful as the 2 faction “legend” of TA. It has the right pieces, and looks pretty, so it has enough going for it to serve as a unique bridge-game between fixed-position resource RTS games like Dawn of War, and free-form games like TA, where user input dictated nearly all aspects of unit production and base construction. So, Forged Alliance, running the TM Mod, turns out to be distinct and brilliant. Let me share a few poignant moments as I have run through a half dozen full games or so and have anecdotes:

MEMO TO RUSH AI: All those years of TA taught me how to manage a commander. If he’s killed, the game ends, so really don’t let THAT be the way you die. Inevitably, it is though. And since there is no obliterate-ingly powerful d-gun to dispose of your foes with, you have a durable and upgradeable warrior who can take and dish out punishment to manage all the same. So, I treat mine very well. I don’t run my commander out in the front of the fucking offensive to prove a point. If he goes there, it’s for a damn good reason and there most likely is not one handy, so he stays in the kitchen cooking a pie where he fucking belongs. I’ve had T2 gunships (3) ace a commander who got WAY too far from his home base. Another time, I finished building one of TM’s freestanding advanced units, and their commander waltzed right into him and ate a fat turd. I’ve gone commanders fighting commanders, and then I gave up and built a stationary defense to chase the other commander away. I’ve even torpedoed a commander who was trying to get the hell away from an aircraft. HA HA.

Anyway. Games are hard, but fun when they end in a strange way. Especially with these types of games, where the outcomes are never the same. Where the fights are different, every time. The disputed territory is always somewhere new. The strategy may feel the same, but is different every time it gets executed. That’s the brilliance of it: you decide your fate. Winning strategy results in, duh. Everything else is just a bad try or simply, a flawed strategy. I will get good with Forged Alliance and then try my hand with the UCP turned on. There are literally 4 pages of units per factory. 4 pages of kbots, and 4 pages of vehicles. I might even be underestimating. That’s just tier I. Tier II is twice as big. It’s gotta be like 250 units a side, counting buildings. FUCK.

Peace brothers. Game on.


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