Late last night I uploaded 1.2 of RoTT. The mirrors may or may not pick it up correctly (and Webstart/Linux will probably get it wrong too – clear your cache), but you can tell what version you’ve got because the installer now says it’s 1.2 when it’s installing on Windows; and on the Mac there should be 1.2 in the program information from the Finder; and the title screen, if you look closely somewhere around the middle, should also say 1.2.
- Factories now scavenge around for patches of empty crystals instead of just stopping when their current patch runs out. Less clicking! Hurrah!
- Scanners are now more expensive at $750 (on account of just how bloody useful they are), and batteries are $500.
- The moon aliens are worth a bit less cash when they’re destroyed, and they’re slightly tougher.
- There’s been some tweaking of the game’s auto-difficulty adjustment function. If you get badly kicked in, the replay should be much more doable. It should also get harder a bit sooner as a result of the gestalt changes to pricing and such.
- That annoying bug where an alien would scurry off to the bottom left and go hide in the bedrock has been fixed. Hurrah!
- Aliens no longer self-destruct when cutting past scenery.
- The maximum useful number of scanners/batteries/cooling towers/reactors that you can stick next to a turret or whatever is now 4. Any more than that won’t make a difference.
- Fixed the laser problem when it was firing so fast its beam hadn’t finished the last shot, and wasted the ammo.
- Adding batteries to turrets now dynamically adds to their ammunition – no need to reload.
- The levels are ever so slightly smaller to begin with. A little more claustrophobic perhaps.
- The level will begin automatically if you’ve got less than $100 (and therefore cannot place a refinery to start the level)
So What’s The Best Strategy?
Well, there’s a funny thing about our games… I’m not all that good at them myself! I’ve never completed any of them fully. There are loads of far more talented gamer types out there who have done. I once got an email from someone who’d found a problem on level 75 of Droid Assault (it’s a danger stage populated entirely by laser-shielded battledroids, that are themselves armed with lasers. You can imagine what the problem was when he transferred). Level 75!! I’ve never even got to level 50 without cheating. But there we go.
So far, what I do generally in RoTT is this:
- Now I’ve made it so that you can look around before the aliens come, I set up a few key defences along the roads if I’ve got more than $1000 in the bank.
- I never place things actually on roads if I can help it, because the gidrahs will very likely want to trample on them. Except for mines. I plonk mines in lines down the roads, and it blows them to smithereens one at a time. Mines are good.
- When I’ve done that I paint as many refineries as I can next to as many crystals as possible. I spend every last penny on refineries. This is critical to success. It only takes a second full collection to make $100 profit from a refinery.
- If (as often happens) the refineries are between your base and the gidrahs, they’re going to trample it. Get some walls up and put a few turrets behind them.
- Eventually the gidrahs are going to get through your initial defences. I usually end up putting some big guns and a bunch of upgrades next to the base, and plonking concrete in front of them. Then it’s a case of nailbiting worry and frantic reloading.
- I don’t always research something. Particularly by the Moon levels, things are getting mental. If I start a level with less than $2500 in the kitty I usually get kicked in. Sometimes you’ve just gotta save your cash. You can research something on the next level. You’re not honestly expected to be able to research everything by the end of the game. Choose your path. If it doesn’t work out… go back a few levels, maybe take a different turning.
- As for research, I get all the basic tower upgrades done first before going for heavier guns. You only need the heavy guns from level 12 onwards.
- Mines are especially effective on armoured targets or ones with loads of hitpoints. The bog standard rank-and-file gidrah can be picked off by spamming them with ordinary blasters – so don’t put heavy guns down in their way – it’s a complete waste of money and overkill.
A number of people have commented on the usefulness or not of the droid factory. The droid factory actually has a special purpose, and it’s related to what happens on Mars, where you will encounter gidlets. Gidlets can’t be targeted by turrets because they’re too small – you need to go hand-to-hand with droids. Droids are only otherwise much use against unarmoured targets as they have tiny little blasters.
Likewise you may be wondering about capacitors. Apart from how cool they are, especially with a few reactors and batteries nearby, you’ll be needing them to zap wraiths on Mars, which are invisible and therefore won’t get shot at by turrets or droids. You have been warned!
Some Reasoning about Game Design
So… why is this game so difficult for some, and so easy for others? What am I doing about it? Why are the things the way they are and not exactly howyou want them to be?
For example why’s there no difficulty selector? (In any of our games?)
Here’s my reasoning on difficulty selection. I don’t necessarily want you to agree with it, but understand what it is we’re trying to achieve with what we have: our games automatically tune for difficulty using a variety of performance metrics gathered from the player’s performance over time and on-the-moment. With a difficulty selector, people have no idea what difficulty to choose initially. I always select HARD in case EASY is boring but often I end up having a bit of a tedious time quickloading games every 20 seconds because actually, hard was too hard. Once I’ve chosen HARD, that’s it – there’s no changing it, no going back.
With auto tuning difficulty, the game starts off very easy. If you’re good – which it works out by how much money you’ve got in the bank, how many things you’ve got researched, and how many levels you’ve finished straight without defeat so far – it gets harder. Up until the point where you just can’t cope, and you get defeated. At this point, it lops a huge factor off the difficulty and invites you to try the level again. If you still get defeated, it lops even more difficulty off the level, until finally, you’re playing it as if you were a n00b right back at the beginning of the game again, albeit coping with all the new things that have turned up. The idea with the difficulty is that it slowly creeps up and if we get the balance just right, you’ll be having a fairly permanently frenetic time until you finally taste defeat. Defeat is part of this game. You are destined to be overwhelmed a few times. This is deliberate in RoTT.
Some people might be finding the game disproportionately hard even so. That’s because it’s a very deep game. There are a lot of things to juggle simultaneously – strategy, expenditure, mouse dexterity, research. You’re probably not thinking very hard. This is not a casual game! It’s not even a tower defence game. It’s an RTS, and a cunning one at that. Rethink your game!
I’m off on holiday to France now leaving all the problems that surface with poor old Chaz, so be nice to him, because he doesn’t know how to fix the server if it breaks, or any bugs.