Monday, January 07, 2008

Death Hands

Hi guys,
Thanks again for the feedback. Most of the questions you have can be easily explained by reading the documentation for the game (such as the buttons not working and the inability to attack single enemy units).
However, I wanted to comment on two bits of feedback which I found interesting, namely on the Death Hands and on Microwave power.
In my own playtesting with numerous friends, we found many ways to counter both these tactics. First of all, if you aren't allied with Corrino, you should be allied with one of the other two house, which both have powerful weapons also. The Spacing Guild has saboteurs, but more importantly a discount at the Starport, so they can really mobilize armies in a hurry. And the Fremen have Warriors who can sneak around the map because they don't show up on radar (and also PWN large vehicles like Death Hands), and don't suffer losses from worms often.
I found it easy to counter Death Hands. Of course it goes without saying that the most important thing in the game is exploring the whole board, so I always got that advantage early. Once I knew my opponent had them, these are some of the tactics I used:
  • Since their accuracy is horrible over longer ranges, your enemy needs to get them close to you. However, they can't be airlifted, so they have to be moved into place (and remember, units on MOVE orders always take extra damage). Always keep a small group of units in reserve outside of your base to fly/run out to eliminate them in short order. 500 credits may not seem like a lot, but when they're killed so easily, your opponent won't use them often and survive.
  • Since their use requires some micro-management, put some pressure on the rest of your opponent's base while he's working on them, and you can cause much more damage than the average Death Hand shot.
  • Try to force your enemy to fire them from within his own base, before he's had a chance to move them closer to you. They malfunction 10% of the time and land right where they're fired, which can be great fun to watch.
  • Also keep in mind they must be launched one at a time; this combined with the risk of malfunction makes it very wasteful for an enemy to keep them in groups or to send them out with escorts. If he insists on doing so he'll eventually lose a couple thousand credits instead of just 500 when launching one, which will leave a sour taste in his mouth.
  • If I had Fremen, keep a few Warriors scattered around the open areas of the map. They can cause huge disruption to harvesting and Death Hand operations because they excel versus larger units. If I had Saboteurs, run one right up to the Death Hand and detonate. Or, more insidiously, watch his Death Hands to see when he's using them, and take that time to use the micro-management needed to get your man into the perfect place to cause him large monetary losses. Otherwise, even a small team of Trikes and Quads is an effective counter. You'll get there fast, and he's guaranteed to lose at least 500 credits.
In the end, I reduced their price to 500 simply because they weren't useful enough. They're gone after one shot, easily killed, require management time, and don't hit targets often. Personally I'd rather build another squad of Sardaukar and a Wall.

As for Microwave power, sure, those three turrets can do some damage. Only a few problems with that though. First, they can be destroyed while being built, and if they're being constantly repaired, they're chewing up more credits than you think. They can also be picked off one at a time or out-ranged. But most importantly, they're using a lot of extra power if you've built them at a great distance. So, while you're busy doing that, I'll send an attack group into your Windtraps and disable a large part of your base.
I've never had a problem dealing with an opponent using Microwave power. It's really supposed to be more help with expanding your base, rather than as an attack vector. However, I'll be revisiting it during the final phases of the next version (along with everything else, at least a moment), so there might be changes to it in the future.

In my testing, when spice production levels were even, the game ended up being very nicely balanced after the final changes were made.

Thanks again everybody!


Anonymous said...

Hmm, thanks a lot for your explanation. We tried only small maps, so distance wasn't problem, or I had just luck. I was always first with death hands, so I didn't try to counter them :) But yes, I had reserve plan with carryalls and airlifting. (Airlift is the best command ever, I love it. No strategy did ever have as good, simple and dynamic transporting system. It's just perfect.)

Saboteur was really very quick, but I can't use his abilities. It was my mistake, but I didn't try him again. I noticed quick and 'stealth' fremen warrios but also, they didn't prevail on me. But the death hand destroy nearby units (enemy attackers), distant group of targets (with tolerate error), can be launched at a moment and totally decimate opponent's morale (bravery or so, I can't translate it very well). If the death hand miss the target, never mind, main enemy base is concentrated, another building (may be more important) is destroyed. For example Hi-tech factory, with 4 carryalls, it is leathal wound (no worm protection, slow income, slow units...). It's my personal opinion and favourite strategy to develop death hand. I will be happy if I could see that it isn't invincible tactics. Hm, yes, it depends on player.

Microwave power- Ok, I didn't take into consideration the distance from power source. But how could change situation (algorithm) one close windtrap? I'm not active programmer for now, but here could be solution for bypass the distance limitation. Ofcourse, it does matter of your implementation.

As usual, last encouraging words :)
I think, your remake is the best, because of news from Dune origin, rate of the game, quick changes of situations, many ways to tactics, wicked raids... All that the world of Dune has. All that the good strategy has to have (not only brute force and unit counts). But nobody want to play with me again now! :-P :) We're waiting for internet dedicated server or AI or something/somebody to stay out with us... in dunes

[ God created Arrakis to train the faithful. ]

Anonymous said...

Some quick report:
Attacking certain targets is really important for most players.

Situation 1:
I airllift a sonic tank into enemy base, but I can't select the target and destroy strategic points.

Situation 2:
4 sonic tanks attacking the enemy base. They destroyed 1 turret. The enemy is building a windtrap far away and enqueue 2 turrets nearby sonic tanks. These buildings are new primary targets for the tanks and I can't change it. I don't want to go closer and attack enemy rafinery, because there is dangerous rocket turret, but in front of rafinery, there are still enqueued buildigs. Sonic tanks destroy these buildings in a while, but enemy can enqueue next few buildings in a moment too... So, when I'm holding position in case of minimal casualties, I will never destroy my target. And my enemy don't spend any money for it.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I discovered your work and I really appreciate it. I didn't get to actually play the game (I need to find an opponent first) but the game looks great. I've been waiting for a Dune 2 multiplayer for a long-long time. I'd have a single critic: the high CPU utilisation (I have a Sempron 3000+ - 1.8 Ghz that stays at 100%). This is not quite "eco-friendly". I really hope you'll be able to improve your game engine.
Best of luck to you and I can't wait for the next release !