Mars Invaded!

Earthlings! Your puny efforts to defend yourselves against our remorseless hordes will soon falter! Even now ten legions of our crack troops close in on your poorly defended Martian strongholds! We have resurrected the spirits of our ancient heroes to freeze the very blood in your veins!

Yes, we are finally pleased to announce the release of Revenge of the Titans 1.3, which now includes the Mars levels, and a list of tweaks and features as long as your arm. There’s still tons to do but the Martian levels should keep you nicely entertained for the next month or so whilst we work on the Saturn levels. In the meantime, we advise starting again from level 1 because the game has changed balance-wise quite significantly. The costs of things have been tweaked rather a lot and there are some significant changes to harvesting crystals (tip: you really, really want silos) and some changes probably required to your strategy.

Update: minor disaster with the current version… Bug: Enemies don’t appear on level 1

We’re uploading fix – should be ready in 30 mins or so

… so don’t click on these for now ...Β Β  should be ok now

Direct Download Links

Windows

Mac OS X

Linux / Webstart

The List of Changes

  • Allow player to navigate back from the story screen to the level selection screen
  • Anatomical research now yields a +1 bonus to armour piercing for blaster rounds
  • Add keyboard tooltips to “shop” popup
  • Better sound when many gidrahs attack at once
  • Back button on research
  • Back button on story screen
  • Building things on top of aliens now damages the building (and may blow it up completely before it’s even built)
  • Bezerk now instantly reloads all turrets
  • Conditional stories that appear depending on what you have or have not researched
  • Collectors cheaper
  • Difficulty attenuation now is itself attenuated as gidrahs are destroyed
  • Difficulty now calculated based on current cash and value of buildings in play
  • Disruptor now has range increased very slightly by scanners
  • Difficulty adjusted at start of level based on number of attempts
  • Earth boss guest appearance on Mars 5
  • Erase attempts numbers past last ended level
  • Gidrahs speed up at the end of the level depending on how many of them are left
  • Increase boss speed and hitpoints
  • Increase memory: 160mb max heap
  • Levels now randomised completely every game
  • Lasers no longer sweep: they were far too powerful!
  • Lasers and rockets now have greater initial range and greater range increase per scanner
  • Multiple stories per level
  • Moon gids noises
  • Max level only set if a level is completed
  • Multiblaster now only $750
  • Make levels where aliens come from all sides slightly easier
  • Mines, rockets, smartbombs and disruptors now ignore armour
  • Mid-spawners
  • Mars
  • Nerf turret fire rate ever so slightly
  • Nerfed droids fire rate
  • Optimised A* Pathfinder further
  • Optimise laser beam to use quadtree for collision detection
  • Optimise turret target acquisition to use quadtree and delay retries
  • Research screen: allow hover over already researched items
  • Silos increase factory extraction efficiency (note in research)
  • Show keyboard tooltips a bit longer
  • The nerf bat swingeth: turrets now lag targets by 16 ticks
  • Turrets to target aliens they’re better at killing preferentially
  • Tweak stories for Earth (gidrah stats, turret stats, extra story entries)
  • Tweak stories for Moon (gidrah stats, extra story entries)
  • Using LWJGL 2.5 nightlies from 4th July 2010
  • Wraiths fade in slowly as they approach their target

Bugs Fixed

  • Fixed: Laser offset
  • Fixed: Gidrahs can’t spawn on other gidrahs causing some odd effects especially around mid-spawners
  • Fixed: Pathfinder seems to be allowed to overrun its maximum think time
  • Fixed: Occasional strange lag/slowdown
  • Fixed: Too many attack effects drawn – should be one per gidrah
  • Fixed: New painty build mode sets off blast mines straight away
  • Fixed: Money displayed on Moon level select is actually Earth money – should be Moon money!
  • Fixed: Turrets show wrong range in ghost mode
  • Fixed: a laser sometimes keeps on missing target (was actually just not hurting it)
  • Fixed: can build weaker barricades on top of stronger barricades – oops!
  • Fixed: gidrahs speed up when the level ends
  • Fixed: ingame menu resets mouse pointer
  • Fixed: map generates forever
  • Fixed: Fullscreen/large/med/small window selection is buggy
  • Fixed: Level generated without any crystals
  • Fixed: turres can now see aliens past obstacles which can be shot over (such as craters)
  • Fixed: decoys still not working
  • Fixed: Strange problems with pathfinder killing aliens
  • Fixed: Destroyed buildings not updating nearby buildings (silos + factories?)
  • Fixed: all known exceptions except GL drivers and saved game problem

As before, we want to hear every bit of your feedback… but please leave general comments on this post and Not the enquiries form, otherwise we’ll just be replying to emails all day and never get the game finished πŸ™‚

137 thoughts on 'Mars Invaded!'

    1. Argh! That happened to me too. But I assumed it was a glitch from upgrading, because when I created a new profile and started again, it worked.

      1. So the situation is that 1.2 profiles are not compatible with 1.3 and I should create a new player profile? Good to know.

        1. I found building a turret at the edge of the screen allows you to hit them but yes this does need a fix.

        1. Argh! Fixed it – uploading fixed version. It’ll take 30 minutes on my ultra rubbish slow broadband connection πŸ™ Will post as soon as it’s up.

      1. yeah I bether noone has been coming :l
        also about the no people glitch I put a turret at the edge and it worked, seems their not coming on map

        1. Yeah,turrets at the edge seem to do the trick, but at least its an obvious bug… Congratulations on the 1.3 release anyway (and THANK YOU for making my Monday a little less dreary – and more fun, YAY!!!!!!!)

            1. Watched a bit of the live stream, it’s pretty cool to see how different people play the game. Starting a new campaign now.

  1. hmm did something change with the night levels? I can’t see the ground so I am having a hard time seeing where I can build and where the aliens can go.

    if it goes on like this I will be forced to restart the level when I get a night level making it artificially easy.

  2. first thoughts after playing earth for a bit πŸ˜€

    random levels makes it interesting but with some night levels being so hard to see (and I don’t have a pre layed out plan) I end up restarting the level when I hit one.

    The super speed at the end of a level makes large levels very hard. The enemies play keep away then speed right past your turrets at a speed that they only get one or two shots.

    These two things make this version alot more difficult than 1.2. Even earth levels are hard for certain stages and this seems to go against what I have read that you wanted earth to be easier.

    I would say that the super speed thing is a bad thing. It turns a easily winnable level into a frustration as everything flies through your defenses.

    1. It’s only hard cause your good πŸ˜€ remember auto difficulty but yes I think their over hard, super speed needs to turn from super speed to fast speed, or add a hardcore mode after beating the game making it radically over hard as its hardcore.

      wait night levels… nope havent seen any

      1. I have no problem with more difficultly. I did notice with the nerfing of the turrets I needed to place more and they could still be overrun (something that didn’t happen in 1.2) But with the speed up it seems like a sudden rule change in the middle of battle. The other difficulty factors made a more tense and fun game but with the speed up it reduces to how many can you swish with buildings before they make it to your main base. That seems contrary to the rest of the game.

        1. I may have made the game ever so slightly too hard at the end of the level. However, you need to plan for this! My advice is to make sure you’ve got barricades down, and cooling towers to make sure you’re shooting fast enough. Spreader cannon will slow the gidrahs down.

          And of course, their ultimate speed depends on just how well you’re doing. I watched wolf_alex play last night on his livestream and he was winning by the skin of his teeth, which is just as it should be for someone who knows more or less what they’re doing. But be prepared for a 1.4 release in a week or so with all the little niggles ironed out πŸ˜‰

          1. as I said I was playing on earth levels so all that research can not be expected of the player yet. The suggested tech is at least 18,500 iirc and 5 levels. Not really feasible with the other techs you need on earth until the end. The reason I am complaining about this is this aspect is not really fun. If a new player doesn’t know about the auto difficulty they would not know that they have to restart a level or else the rules change mid level.

            1. after thinking about it for a bit I think it is due to me getting silos. I think I will change my tech order around and get silos later so I will not get money as fast.

      2. as for night levels see the first pic in this blog post and think of the whole level looking like that.

  3. Stream went great
    had 1 – 2 viewers but still, great!
    Thanks to JetJaguar who decided to click the link and go with it and special thanks to Cas and Chaz to check out my stream πŸ˜€ thanks guys, also yes THE Cas and Chaz
    The new game version definitely is more challenging and fun, but the silos kinda piss me off somewhat.
    If your interested in my streams I have an autopilot running all the all the time, it will give you an idea of the style of the channel.
    http://www.livestream.com/wolfalexs_den

    1. Silos are more useful a little bit later in the game, when you’ve got bigger crystals and longer to harvest. They’re expensive so be thrifty and place them very carefully to maximise re-use. The optimum configuration is 4 silos surrounded by factories that touch each silo, and each factory is in reach of a medium or large crystal.

      Notice that the cost of silos increases each time you place one. So you’ll have to experiment for the optimum efficiency.

    1. Aha I think I have determined what your problem is πŸ™‚ You see, those screenshots look perfectly normal on various monitors here at work and at home – you’ve got your gamma settings wrong! You might want to try calibrating your monitor, or at least resetting the gamma / brightness / contrast ratios back to defaults and trying from there.

      1. ah I turned my gamma to 100% and now I can see stuff now. (it was at the default of 50%)

  4. I have noticed when placing silos if it effects a whole group you can see the bars go down but when it doesn’t (and they are covered all covered by a different one) the ones effected don’t have the bars go down. Is the silo still in effect for those? The number of silos is still below the limit.

    1. The maximum number of silos that should affect a refinery’s efficiency is 4, however, I’m not sure that I’ve capped the storage limit (so while efficiency maxes out at 4, you could have 6 silos down and store $400 in a refinery). But I’m at work and can’t confirm it just right now.

  5. wow so many people waiting on the release O_o

    well done chaps, looking forward to trying it after work.

  6. silo thoughts πŸ˜€

    how many silos should I put down?

    You should put down a silo if you expect the amount of crystals gotten by the factories effected would be at least 4 times the cost of the silo without enhancements.

    Inner enhancements or perimeter?

    This one I am not too sure yet. I like inner for turrets. (putting the enhancements down first and forming a ring of turrets around them)

    1. I put down 2 always seems to work, I put 3 with lots of crystalls, I have yet to place 4
      hmm I just had an idea wait here!

      1. irc://irc.esper.net/RoTT

        I got an irc channel up! To use it you need an irc client, I use chatzilla,
        to join the server in chatzilla type /server irc.esper.net then /join RoTT It may be different in outher clients though, but I think that link will work

  7. Some initial feedback:

    The randomization of levels is too random. Some times, you get the crystals between you and the mobs, which means I will restart to get a level where the crystals are away from the mobs. Some times you get the crystals spread out, which means I will restart to get a level where the crystals are bunched together instead.

    Before, you had to accept a level for what it was and develop a strategy for it. Now you don’t. Half of the game has disappeared, imo

    The speed up of mobs at the end of a level is… too vague. Why does it happen? There is seemingly no intuitively logical explanation for it. Shouldn’t mobs who are decimated flee instead of rush? There is also no story explanation for it. If this is to be kept, and I do voice my opinion against it, it should be accompanied by both special sound and some special graphics (like red exclamation marks or exlamation lines manga style) to really show the player when it happens and that it’s an actual event.

    Right now, it feels like a cheap and dirty “cheat” you pulled in order to ramp up the difficulty just because you could.

    Also, I thought it was mentioned in an earlier post that the mob AI on earth would be dumb as bricks, on the moon chase after buildings, and on mars be adaptive. Right now, I’m seeing adaptive behavior on earth. So adaptive in fact, that whole waves stay back and then tip toe around the edge of the map. It’s fun to see the first time… but becomes quite tedious after a while because it’s so predictive that you know you have to spam scanners or decoy towers.

    All in all, I think I liked the old version better. In that version, it felt as if there was a strong force heading your direction that was terrible and fearful like a march of doom. In this version, the mobs seem afraid of you and weave about the whole map and sneak around the edges. Not very terrible and not very fearful.

    I’d reserve that adaptive AI to a few special mobs, like that three eyed thing before on the moon, because right now, I feel that almost all of the atmosphere of the old game is lost by the seemingly silly behavior of the mob army.

    1. You know I think your right, the speed up needs changing and maby moving to a hardcore mode like I said, and the earth mobs will allways folow the road and hit my baricades and buildings HEAD ON so I dont think earth ai is a problem.
      To be completely honest I hate the level randomization we have too, it completely changes the level, I liked it when it as set to a static level, and then little things were changed, like the roads,

      so cas, please change the randomization πŸ˜€

      1. Static would be better. I find myself doing the same thing mentioned above, restarting the level until the minerals were out of the path of the mobs.

        Also, Mars is awesome, but holy heck is it hard, I may have to start dying. Oh and the first time I saw one of those really speedy gidrahs I jumped, scared the heck out of me, hah.

      2. Head on, you say?

        That is strange. I just created a new profile, and sure the avoiding AI is difficult to see on the first five levels, but on level 6, the waving about becomes absolutely ridiculous. I’ve had the entire approaching army almost completely stop, reverse, go to the other side of the map, and then creep up along the edges to try to get to me.

        I’m sorry, but that’s not an enemy that I’m intimidated by in any way, and it’s also not really fun gameplay because just as predictive as the march of doom that’s heading straight for you.

        1. well I dunno but the go head on for my things cause its in the path of my base
          they kinda spread out so the others have room to do stuff

    1. shit, noticed a glitch with that, it shows the final level boss in level 15 instead of earth boss when it should be the earth boss

  8. Ok, just wanted to try to give some constructive criticism after giving build 1.3 a try. These aren’t in any particular order…
    Firstly, I noticed what a believe is a bug just before level 1 of the moon – the ‘Lunaris Gigantis’ bit with the boffin… anyway, there’s another boffin that haft appears at the bottom left hand corner behind the ‘back’ button – I noticed it happened also i the 1.2 build as well but forgot about it – but it doesnt happen on mars though… strange? Although, in all fairness it’s just a presentation issue and doesn’t affect the gameplay in any way.
    Secondly, the sound that plays when the gidrah attack a building just sounds wrong – its almost like a generic sfx of a camera shutter, and really doesnt fit with the rest of the game; or is this a placeholder sound that you haven’t had time to replace? Whilst this might not seem like too big a deal by itself, for me it really kills the atmosphere created by the game when all the other sfx (and music) are absolutely spot on and great quality (like the rest of the game, it holds its own) – so it definately needs fixing-replacing.
    The first alert of a giant Titan on the moon level (which is the same type as the boss you fought on Earth) uses the image of the Moon boss instead – the first time I encountered this, it confused the hell out of me; especially after I laid an intricate network of multiblasters and scanners only to find out it was Earth boss again!
    The ‘last-minute rush’ by the Gidrahs where they suddenly speed up… hmmm, I have to agree with what has already been said – it really does feel cheap, and seems to have altered the dynamics of the gameplay; your right that you can counter it once it’s anticipated, but the first time left me feeling ‘cheated’ – I also agree that it could do with some kind of ‘explanation’ as to why the gidrah do this, as currently it makes no sense for them to just suddenly run rabid at the last minute….
    I noticed on one playthrough that when I started a level with over $10,000 the level started with such ferociousness that I simply didnt stand a chance against those damn spider-things, I’d only just placed a droid factory and one blaster and that was it – finished…. talk about difficult. But, apart from that the difficulty seems more balanced than in previous versions (at least to me anyway) and yeah, I’ve had a lot of by-the-skin-of-my-teeth moments. To anyone who believes it’s far too hard; what, do you want a game that you’ll breeze through in an hour or so? Or do you want a game that is a CHALLENGE…. Although I haven’t played right through to the last level on Mars yet, I haven’t come across a situation whereby a level is impossible, and I like the way that the levels are random – it adds replayability, and also means that the game is a lot less predictable (which is a good thing) To me, static level design seems like lazy programming nowadays.
    I’ve noticed that silos dont show when their not available until you try to place one – maybe having a visual indicator of this before you select them would be a better option.
    The additional screens where the boffins tell you they need a certain item of tech ( or about a lack of coffee haha) is a good idea, but I still think that some kind of indication of what tech opens up what ‘trees’ would be useful (this is particularly more so for those that are new to the game, whereas everyone else has played it enough to try different research and learn by trail-and-error)
    Still having a problem whereby its really difficult (and sometimes impossible) to place tech (or collect $ or power-ups) when they appear at the bottom of the screen; if I remember correctly, someone mentioned placing blank tiles along the edges of the screen effectively creating a border around the play area – this seems like the most effective way to correct this, whilst not losing too much real estate.
    I noticed the ‘adaptive’ a.i. and was fairly impressed, although haven’t really seen them try taking different routes to each other – they just seem to all follow the same path. Were they to take various paths instead of just following each other than it’d be a bit more convincing, but at least its a good step in the right direction – so I have to disagree somewhat with what Eobet said. Saying that, I think that what some people have said about the a.i. on the earlier levels is also true, whether the gidrah on Earth being less dumb is a good or bad thing I’m not sure – I’d have to playthrough Mars (as well as the Saturn and Titan levels) to let you know.
    Personally, I think the game is going from strength to strength with each new release (glad you fixed that Earth level 1 bug) I’ll play again later to see if I can get further on Mars (and likely take notes of any bugs or problems I encounter)

          1. You mean you watched what path they’d take to come at you, then laid out your defences, and then they saw what you’d done and choose another way? I feel your pain, it happened to me as well a number of times….

            1. but then that behaviour denotes intelligence, and what it means is that you’ve also got to be adaptive

              1. they allready had started coming that way so I built there, I always place my refinerys first

                1. πŸ™ cas still hasent goten to me about the irc, so i cant set it up yet *sigh*

  9. Threads are all getting a bit deep so I’ll post at the top level here. I’m planning on a 1.4 release at the weekend to address as many things as possible when I’ve gathered enough feedback from you, our loyal guinea pigs!

    Bugs

    Scientist in bottom left of screen
    Wrong boss pic on level 15
    Silos are 25% not 50%

    Annoyances

    Still can’t see the very bottom (or top) of the map because of HUD overlays
    Bashing building sound effects – yes, it’s just a placeholder till I get some good bashing noises from somewhere
    Gidrahs on Earth dodging turrets – well, yeah, they are supposed to do that πŸ™‚ Maybe they pay too much attention to them
    The rush at the end – whoops, I think I overcooked that a bit. I’ll tone it down.

    About that end rush – it wasn’t actually meant to make the game massively harder – it was just to speed up the last few gidrahs at the end of the level! But it looks like you guys aren’t shooting them when they’re a long way from your base, you’re waiting till they’ve accelerated all the way across the map before trying to take them on. But clearly it’s a bit too hard as it is so I’ll slow them down a little bit. But be aware that your problem is probably because you’ve just chucked a bunch of turrets in a pile near your base and that tactic isn’t a foolproof one – although it’s efficient, it’s hard to get the rate of fire you need concentrated into that tiny space. You probably want to have a few other emplacements along the way to thin them out, especially before they start speeding up.

    Starting the level with $10,000 … the difficulty tuner pays most attention to how much money you’ve got, right now, in the bank. However, you should probably have noticed the gidrahs don’t actually start spawning until you place your first refinery. So place all your defences first, and finish with the refineries, and you’ll have bugger all money in the bank when the gidrahs start coming. It might be a bit too heavily biased towards cash in the bank right now though, so I’m going to tune that down a little.

    1. Yeah, that’s usually what I do at the beginning of the level, build some defenses and then place refineries and silos. But there was that one time when I hadn’t placed a refinery (just a droid factory and a turret) and the gidrah just spewed from out of nowhere; I’ll see if I can replicate it again. I had that much $ as I was trying to save up enough to buy some research AND have plenty of spare cash for my defenses. Glad to know that the bashing sfx is just a placeholder πŸ™‚ As for the rush at the end, isn’t that what the fast-forward button is for? But I admit that I do tend to place my turrets close to the base (although this is entirely dependant on the layout of the level; another reason why I love the random nature of the levels, it means having to use your brain more – I refer to what Eobet and Soli said about restarting a level just because the crystals weren’t in a place that suited them.. its just my opinion, but static would remove depth. Btw, Mars ROCKS!

      1. ..if you accidentally end up with not enough money to build a refinery they’ll also start attacking, too πŸ™‚

        Restarting levels comes at a cost, but only honour. Eventually we’ll be implementing a medals system, sort of like achievements. You’ll get a gold for defeating a level after 1 attempt, silver for 2 attempts, bronze for 3, and nothing for 4 or more attempts. There will be various other achievements in the game for doing certain probably slightly frivolous things. There’s potential for an online roll of honour where we tot up some points value for medals earned.

        I’ve been tweaking the game all night and I think I’ve got a much better difficulty balance going on here. I might just upload it over the top of 1.3 and tell you all to download the new one and not mention it to everyone πŸ˜€

        Fixed a few bugs and glitches too.

        1. A medal system possibly with online hall of fame – a fantastic idea!
          a ‘new-but-secret’ update Cas? I promise not to tell… πŸ™‚
          Right, Im gonna go and play again now…

        2. It also appears that (not without reason) placement of a droid factory also triggers the start of the action. An alternative would be to have the factories not start working until after the action starts.

    1. In order to, er, fund the Mars defence project, we ask for a small donation in the form of a 50% off registration fee πŸ™‚

    1. I just went ahead and did that, cause im tired of waiting, but later I can drop it and make it again

  10. Hey everyone – there’s a NEW 1.3 uploaded – I fixed a couple of the glitches reported, tweaked the pathfinding AI so they don’t do so much avoiding, and tuned the difficulty tuner so it’s not quite so mental, and slowed down the rush at the end of the level! So get to it!

    It’s not 1.4 btw – I didn’t update the version number – so just hope in blind faith that you have got a new version πŸ™‚

    1. πŸ˜€ thats great say could you hop onto #rott on irc.esper.net just ask for help if you dont know irc junk

          1. ah I see, well overnight there was 10 comments >: you guys wait for me to leave lol
            bleh this morning noones on the irc I think I can trust that I dont need to repost the link again…
            irc://irc.esper.net/rott/

  11. Had a chance to play a bit now…

    seem to have trouble being able to research stuff and get past the subsequent levels on mars… maybe i’m just utterly crap but currently i feel that i’m going to have to start over in order to get a buffer of funds going…

    so far instead of doing things like getting the capacitors i’ve just had to put cheep buildings for sacrifice in the path of the ghosts and such.

    … like i said maybe i’m crap and not getting the required strategy but i thought this was supposed to adjust to you’re obsessiveness level AHm i mean skill level.

    1. not realy, your probly using a bad stratagy, i find the ones from 1.2 fail terribley on 1.3
      hey why dont you come on #RoTT on irc.esper.net :3

  12. Damn me, I keep refreshing to see if there is neww comments, its official, im obsessed.

      1. I’d go, but i’m only available at stupid times early in the morning like now πŸ˜€

  13. Ok, impressions for the NEW 1.3 then…

    Randomization seems to have been reigned in. I just tested it on one map (07) but the creeps always came from the top left, the city was always in the bottom right, and the crystals were always sort of in the way of the creep waves. So, very good! Now levels are actually designed again. πŸ˜‰

    The adaptive AI is also a bit more linear now, but still could be better. For example, I just saw a big creep (the one’s who drop money) turn around and head away, and again, if you want an atmosphere of impending doom and mystery, I don’t think you should ever do that! It just kills any notion of fear for these creep that you might have, seeing them actually cower away from you. Sure, have them wave about a bit, but never, ever have them turn the other way! (Unless it’s a special sneaky creep, reserved for harassment, again like the three eyed thing on the moon).

    DAMNIT, while writing this I got to level 8, and suddenly, randomization struck again in that the creeps came from different directions depending on restart. Sigh… Please consider having an “custom mission” button outside of the campaign reserved for completely random levels.

    I mean, the reason you commented that everyone seemed to bunch up their turrets near the city is simply because if you restart enough and get a level which that tactic works on, it’s the most effective tactic since you can place fewer turrets to handle creeps from all directions. The adaptive AI is also completely nullified by that tactic since it MUST target the city in order to win.

    Sigh… I just restarted a level on the moon, and it went from being an attack from five directions with crystals spread out, to being attacked from one direction, with one road, and crystals bunched up away from the road…

  14. Ok… I think there’s something wrong with the map randomization. I’ve had levels with extreme choke points being generated, which forced the creeps into one path, and levels with a mountain range down the middle which basically forced the creeps around the very edge of the map. Not very challenging.

  15. Sorry to spam, but it just came to me that I found myself on the moon and I’ve never even researched the basic barrier… I honestly see no use for them right now as funneling creeps is impossible with the adaptive behavior… or?

    1. The gidrahs do actually take notice of barriers. If they think it’s easier to simply bash them down they will; otherwise they’ll walk around them. I may make them take a little more notice of barriers. Even so, eventually, if you block their route with barriers, they have to stand in front of them and bash them, which gives you a lot more time to shoot at them. I can’t win without barriers. They simply overwhelm my defences far too quickly.

      1. Well, I got by just fine without barriers until level 16. Then I figured out the new use for them. Simply bunch a whole heap of them together when the creep way begins to steer away in one direction, in order to get them “back on track” again.

        I understand now why no other tower defense game has attempted AI… it’s very easy to spot weaknesses and defeat it.

        1. It’s actually deliberate – the idea is you corral the gidrahs into a barbican and kill them. You want to ensure they have to funnel through tight spots bristling with blasters. That’s what the game’s all about! On the early levels you don’t need to bother with this – there aren’t enough gidrahs – but by Mars there are so many aliens coming at you so fast your strategy needs to adapt.

  16. Map randomization: here’s the deal.

    I had it before that the maps were pseudo randomized. That is, the basic rock formation and crystal location and spawnpoints etc. were fixed per profile per level. Unfortunately this could occasionally end up with the situation that a really, really hard level remained really, really hard, and that could prove to be the end of your campaign if you never got your head around it.

    So I’ve reverted to randomizing the maps each time completely, all except for the rough base location and general direction from which the enemies spawn. The penalty for restarting a level is, as I’ve alluded, going to be one of honour. No gold medal for you! But if you like to play with the hand you’re dealt, you can try to beat every level as it’s given to you. Some will have convenient choke points and be easy to defend – some will be wide open and deadly – it’ll all balance out.

    The tactic of bunching everything up by the base works for the earlier levels. It won’t work for long. As the levels progress, you’ll notice that the crystals get further and further away from the base, and apart from sometimes being in the path of the Titans, there are Titans which specifically go out of their way to destroy your factories (although not on Mars – the spiders, though, will go for factories if they’re closer than the base). Apart from that, the aliens will eventually overwhelm what concentrated firepower you can actually amass in one spot. Eventually you will have to spread your defences out into other choke points to shoot at their forces as they pass.

    The big gidrahs do occasionally turn around and try a different route, but not because they’re scared. It’s because they make a tactical decision to wander along a path that’s least covered by your blasters. They know where that path is. Every time you place a turret or a turret is destroyed, all the gidrahs re-evaluate their current paths to see if they can find a weak spot in your defences. Some gidrahs take more notice of it than others.

    1. sounds great but, make the crystals less stupid, some levels there at the edge and small and spread out and some where there is 3 big ones right beside the base out of the titans path.
      In other words less spread out as thats the biggest anoynce.

      1. Spread out’s deliberate – it’s meant to be annoying πŸ™‚ Well, not so much “annoying”, as designed to make you think about how to best approach mining them. If anything I’d rather they were more spread out on average.

        1. Nevertheless, there needs to be some limit on where the crystals can or can’t spawn. Just got to the first level with the wraiths and the crystals were all arranged in a line running straight down the right hand edge of the map, right up against most of the Titan spawn points. Maybe I’m being unimaginative, but there seemed to be no effective way of defending them in this case.

          Also, while I love the new Titan types on Mars, *please* tell me the attacking sound effect for the ‘spiders’ is a placeholder waiting for some volume normalisation…

        2. the spreadout is rediculous some times, being so far away that 1 cant reach all of them. πŸ™
          When does work end for you cas?

  17. Another balance issue to think about: the fact that silos now increase the total value that can be extracted from mineral deposits means that the same total quantity of minerals is worth much more if it’s all clumped together than if it’s spread out. This combines with the increased randomness of the map generator to make the potential mineral wealth available on a map much less predictable than in version 1.2.

    I have, as a few others have mentioned, gotten into the habit of restarting a level if the map is especially unfavorable. I like the fact that maps are more random than in 1.2, but I think it’s too random now. The same level can now occur in wildly different variations, some of which are tactically very simple, and some of which are much more difficult (taking into account the locations of walls, minerals, roads, etc.). As far as I can tell, this (the contribution to difficulty due to the map layout) is not effectively controlled by the difficulty tuner, because I’ve gotten maps that looked easy to me the first time, and I’ve gotten harder maps after restarting.

    If I’m right about how the map generator works, I imagine it would be pretty easy to make the maps more static than they are now but still much more fluid than in 1.2 β€” each map could have a basic outline which is then modified with some randomness in ways that depend on the current setting of the difficulty tuner.

  18. I can start to see the strategies involving gid avoidance of turret farms. If they’re running around your defenses, you basically made them too scary or overinvested in one area. Scanner farms in particular are the worst offender. Use less scanners or get used to using decoys, which are great for that sort of thing.

    I did a run WITHOUT scanners and it was a lot of fun (clearing streets is pro with lasers) but it stretches my multitasking ability to the absolute limit. I have to slap unnecessary batteries everywhere to keep up on reload times.

    The autoloader price increases are a bit disappointing in this regard – it’s impractical to make use of many of those things for spread out turrets, so the easy route is once again putting everything in a ball.

    I’m not a big fan of how two of the specialty introductions are handled, the ghosts and the gidlets. The ghosts are very hard for me to spot before they’re in range of a capacitor, and it’s irritating waiting around for that last one I did notice to finally blunder into my short range.

    The gidlets seem inconsequential. I can zap them with capacitors if they become problem enough – the ‘proper’ counter (droids) don’t seem to pull their weight and aren’t any good against all the armored things around at that point of the game. Really more of a complaint about droids I guess. Maybe every fourth one should get a blue AP blaster or something.

    Also, are bosses bugged right now? They don’t seem to be able to smash a basic concrete barrier if their attack animations get interrupted by incoming fire fast enough. My first defeat of the mars boss… should not have happened.

  19. Phew… just completed the Mars campaign… damn, that was intense! (and the Mars boss is badass) Now I understand just how valuable capacitors really are, and auto-loaders are essential! πŸ™‚ I think that a lot of what people are saying about randomness is valid, but I’d hate it if say every time you started level 26 your base is always in the middle and the gidrah always attack from the top right and the crystals are always near the same place bunched up.; it’d reduce my desire to replay the game. Obviously the answer is somewhere inbetween, but I really hope that the end result isn’t a dilution. Btw, I’m still playing the first 1.3. release, not the ammended version, so I’ll try that one out to see what the changes arae like.

  20. Some gameplay experiences and comments:

    First off, great game(s) with very good replayability. Keep it up and thank you very much! (bought Ultratron recently, other two some time ago)

    I had played through 1.2 around 10 times, so I knew the tech tree very well. Now I did one play-through of all levels of the first 1.3 without losing once, without restarting a level, and researching nearly every level, though the final Mars levels were quite hectic and I nearly depleted all the power-ups I had accumulated until then because I tried a capacitor/reactor/barricade/blast mine setup and skimped too much. Reached Saturn with 25K without using silos.

    As a whole the game is too easy on a second playthrough at the moment. At least I think so. For even better replayability and challenge for experienced players maybe you could think of a way to allow for further increase of difficulty? I’m not sure exactly what you’re planning for the coming planets, but even on Moon or Mars the majority of gidrahs shouldn’t march nearly single file close to a turret’s radius, only spreading out when coming up against barricades or other obstacles.

    It was an excellent decision to reduce the amount of crystals in general and especially on the first few Earth levels, since in 1.2 I’d have around 20K by start of Moon, having researched every level and reached advanced technologies, making all of Moon a breeze. I felt the money situation was too comfortable if you didn’t outright waste on overkill setups for example.

    The increase in gidrah speed at the end of a level was just fine in the first 1.3, I thought. It gave an edge to the game but wasn’t overly dangerous.

    I still find most of the automation technology rather useless, unless someone wants to reduce clicking and scrolling to a minimum. I never used collectors because I always had enough time to deplete most crystals in the beginning of levels before things could get messy, even if the crystals were undefended. On Moon I used mines to Never used auto-loaders because they become useful only when you have very large clusters of turrets, otherwise too costly. When I have to decide what to spend money on, I prefer the upgrade buildings by far.

    Tried the droid factory on Mars and thought it was a waste for 2500 because I needed capacitors anyway and they work fine against spiders, just have to be precise with the mouse.

    Hope there was something useful in between the lines. Will try new 1.3 next, using an upgraded pure capacitor setup on later levels maybe. They are really cheap at 500.

    1. Forgot something in third to last paragraph: On Moon I used mines laid directly in front of the occasional “intelligent” gidrah attacking outlying refineries, much more cost-effective than any turrets.

  21. The suggestion that crystal spread and position should be tied to the difficulty sounds like a brilliant solution!

    It would still make the game random, only “more designed” randomness.

  22. Argh! I am an idiot. I accidentally got the difficulty calculator the WRONG WAY AROUND! It gets EASIER as you vanquish the gidrahs! Bugger.

    I’m making some other changes too:

    * Barricades to more significantly affect gidrah pathing
    * Bigger gidrahs less frightened of turrets. But I’ve made the smaller gidrahs take a tiny bit more notice of them
    * Boss no longer stopped from attacking much (unless he’s proper pelted!)
    * Experiment: crystals are now totally randomly placed all over the level. Changes the game somewhat. In particular there’s little point in restarting the level as it’s unlikely to be that much better than before. Will investigate the possibility of tweaking it with difficulty
    * Might possibly make autoloaders and collectors cheaper. Nice to have a few of them if you’ve got the cash, and game dynamic has changed somewhat now crystals are all over the place.
    * Number of crystals spawned is much more consistent.

    This lot will be in the 1.4 release, at the weekend. Stay tuned!

    1. the issue with more crystal scattering is that collectors and silos become useless for far flung crystals. It is already questionable to place the first silo as we don’t know how much is in a given crystal making them more spread out would kill that branch.

      1. A silo increases the value of a crystal patch by 50% (at least, it increases the capacity of a refinery by 50%, I think it increases the total extractable value by the same amount). A quick empirical test (placing a known number of refineries so that each can only reach one crystal) yielded not quite $1000 from a medium-sized deposit and not quite $2000 from a medium-large one. (Sorry, I didn’t get a screenshot β€” but someone else who is better able to grab a screenshot and post it quickly can easily repeat the experiment).

        The upshot of this is that the break-even point for the 4th ($1000) silo is one large crystal or 2 medium ones within reach, which is not at all uncommon.

        Cas, I’ll join the chorus begging you not to randomly scatter crystals across the whole map, or at least, only at the higher levels of the difficulty spectrum. Refineries are cheap enough to spam and discard (maybe this itself is the problem, although changing that would require you to rebalance the whole crystal economy all over again β€” but you’re doing that anyway). However, their support buildings aren’t. The clumpiness of mineral deposits hugely affects both the value of these support buildings and the difficulty of a level.

        1. I think you are mistaken silos only increase the value of a crystal patch by 25% and your math isn’t correct.

          To make up for the first one you need 4 times the cost.

          Lets assume the best case. That would be base 1000. I agree that one isn’t bad.

          Now lets go to the 500 one. With the 250 one that gives you +50% for 750. Meaning you need base 1500 for break even.

          1500 for the first three giving you +75% bonus making the break even base 2000.

          2500 for all four giving you +100% and the break even for that is simple base 2500. πŸ˜€

          Running the numbers I see that while you never want to separate out your silos. A 2000 break even point for even the second cheapest one and if you have that you would have an easier time doing three there.

          To tell the truth that is better that I expected for clustering them but this is only break even. Don’t forget it took 5k and two research slots to get here. I don’t see it worth it myself. You could have gotten other tech to make money by saving money in battle.

          1. They definitely increase capacity by 50%, if they only increase efficiency by 25%, this needs to be very clearly explained (and not just by saying “efficiency +25%” β€” I think a lot of players will assume that means speed, not amount).

            Your break-even calculations are incorrect because you need to calculate the marginal value of each silo separately. Yes, 4 silos (at 25% each) will break even on 2500 mineral units, but only because the 4th wipes out the profit from the first 3. The question is never, will I make a profit if I place 4 silos, it’s, will I make a profit if I place one more silo than I already have?

            You’re very right about the research costs, although since both of the research steps involved are cheap ones, there might be turns when you can’t afford a more expensive research, and (maybe?) it’s better to take a cheap research than to skip research entirely.

            1. this in not good planning though you should never place silos after the refineries have been working.

              but it is an interesting question when should I place a n+1 silo.

              the equation for how much money you have gained is (1 + .25n)C – 125n(n+1)

              Where n is how many silos you have put down and 125n(n+1) is the cost of the silos and C is the amount of minerals harvested.

              Now all you have to do is plug in your numbers and compair if you will get more money with n silos or n+1 silos πŸ˜€

    2. Firstly,Betel raises a good point, if the crystals are scattered all over the level then wouldn’t it make it virtually impossible to defend your refineries as well as the base (especially against those damn spiders)
      Secondly, gidrahs taking note of barricades more is an intersting development.
      Thirdly, I have to agree with Ric that the droid factory/droids do seem to be a little useless when you can just use capacitors instead, maybe as well as having gidlets appear after taking down the Queens they should also appear in small ‘armies’; this way you’d need to have your own ‘army’ of droids to take them on (or maybe if they could fire back at the droids, or perhaps another tactic that would mean that the droids really are the only way to kill them???)
      and I think what Eobet said about the crystal position etc linking to level difficulty is THE solution

  23. I’ll stop spamming messages now, but I just want to report that I completed most mars levels up to level 25 using only two or three rocket turrets per level and nothing else, and thus ended each level with close to 20k money.

    The trick is to pair each turret with a scanner and then just surround it with a “mine field” of concrete and steel walls, very loosely spaced, and whenever the creeps destroy a wall, just replace it. The 50 piece limit will easily last you, no worries.

    The rocket turret is so good, in fact, that I think I’ll try to skip lasers entirely on my next playthrough (I’m already completely ignoring any blaster research including heavy and scatter).

  24. I just encountered a bug in which the Mars boss didn’t die β€” upon losing the last of its HP, it just froze in place without the head-explodey animation, it was still there when the last of the other enemies went down, and the level didn’t end. Weapons didn’t target it, it didn’t trip mines (presumably because it wasn’t moving), and it was unaffected by manually initiated fire from both capacitors and smartbombs. In other words, as far as the game mechanics were concerned, it wasn’t there, except that it still appeared to be there, and the level didn’t end. There might have been another straggler elsewhere on the map, but I doubt it, since I waited for at least a minute or two after all the gidrahs I was aware of got blasted (so if there was a straggler off in a corner of the map, that, too, would be a bug).

    1. Yep I had this boss freeze bug happen several times.

      Sometimes the blasters just keep shooting him and nothing happens, other times they can’t target him and everyone just sits there (triggering berserk sometimes fix this isse)

      Also I didn’t realise the refineries stacked, it’s non-intuitive as the capacity increase doesn’t stack I assumed the resource recovery didn’t stack either, hence I ended up cash strapped at the end of mars able to research many things.

      The droid factory seems overprices for it’s usefulness. 2500 is a lot of blasters and I found I could usually defeat the little guys more easily with mines (with the bigger one setting them off). If the droids could actually attack something instead of being too puny to do anything but fight the other tiny guys it might be okay.

      I think the crystal randomisation is a goodish idea _but_ I would like to see it so it maybe only deposits the crystals in the middle 75% of the map (if this makes sense), having them right on the edge sucks. Perhaps you should also put in some minimum and maximum clumping rules. Also having the crystals right next to one of the underground tunnel spawn points sucks.

      I also think it would be valube to make a point of notifying the player that the attacks didn’t start until a refinery was placed, those bloody jumping guys are so fast I would freak out and build everything as quickly as i could because they had wiped me out with fast attacks, it’s only reading this thread that I now know that I can plan better and then build refineries.

      1. Also very much liked the way you hinted to get capacitors (ths guys in the particle physics lab have been working since the start of the war without coffee!)

        Not sure if this is the best way to present it but it was very cute

        1. hehe, yes i liked this too… especially when the other guys had to resort to the making of the coffee.

          and a neat way of hinting at things by weaving in cute little background stories.

      2. Also I didn’t realise the refineries stacked, it’s non-intuitive as the capacity increase doesn’t stack I assumed the resource recovery didn’t stack either

        Do you mean refineries or silos? Refineries stack in the sense that multiple refineries all work at once, turning minerals on the map into money in your pocket. Each refinery (without any silos) extracts $100 every 10 seconds, so more refineries means the minerals will be gone sooner and you’ll get the (same amount of) money sooner, minus the relatively small cost of the refineries themselves. One possible strategy is to use just enough refineries to deplete a patch of crystals just when the refineries are about to be destroyed (if they’re in harm’s way) or just when the level is about to end (if they’re out of the way or well defended). Another strategy is to use as many refineries as possible (but not so many that you lose money) so you can get the cash now and use it to finish building the defensive line you couldn’t quite afford…

    2. encountered exact same bug. after saving at this point and loading, the game crashed (Win XP)

  25. What do you all think about the following exploit?

    Kill all enemies but one of the slow weak type, then let him bite his way through barricades, giving you enough time to mine all crystals on the map without having to defend them. Very easy to do.

    1. That’s exactly what I’ve been doing to maximize the $ I get from each level!
      Just played the ‘amended’ v1.3… not sure if it’s the change in my strategy or if this version is much much easier!
      I was able to get to Mars with $31,580 in the bank just using basic blasters & lasers combined with lots of batteries and cooling towers…. oh, and I also got silos asap. It didn’t seem as hectic as before, and wasn’t as much fun πŸ™

      1. Yes, the difficulty in the current 1.3 is totally broken thanks to late night coding πŸ™ Fix up at the weekend in v1.4

        1. ahhh….and here I thought that I was just getting really good. I guess I’ll go back to loosing in v1.4.

      1. Ah, wait for the 1.4 release πŸ™‚ It’s quite quite a different dynamic to it. Much more fun, IMHO. And the bosses should hopefully actually die rather than stand there like plums.

        1. That sounds great πŸ˜€ but I think I just took the wrong path at the beggining
          will you have a chance to come to the irc somtime today? I need to set some options still but you will need a registered nick, I can explain when your there ok? πŸ˜€

  26. Great update!!!

    One suggestion: sometime you get a level where the bottom control panel (perhaps this affects other control panels too, I dunno) blocks off access to the very bottom open land area of the level (especially if the level is narrow and you can’t scroll sideways too much. This makes it impossible to build or drop anything down there and difficult to see anything much. So if you trying to build a wall all the way down but you can’t because the panel is in the way, and so aliens can slip through the gap.

    Can you make it so that the player can scroll off screen a bit so solving this control panel blocking issue ? thanks!!

  27. I’m going to try to do this but it won’t make it in to the weekend’s release. Probably the Saturn release, which will be in approximately 1 month or so from now.

  28. I noticed this before and it’s still present in the current version, sometimes when you drag click to place buildings or when you click on a building with the build ghost on, the ghost image will get stuck on the building you clicked and you wont be able to build anything until you’ve pressed the cancel button at the bottom (right-clicking doesn’t work). I do this sometimes as it’s quicker than trying to find the exact pixel that leaves no gaps between buildings.

    This usually accompanies a bit of lag when it happens.

    1. Aye, that one’s in the bug list. I’m going to try and fix it tonight. I’d quite like to release 1.4 tonight though so I won’t let it get in the way.

  29. On the interface blocking issue above, it also means that when a leader Titan is killed at the edge of the screen, any powerup he drops is camouflaged by the interface and can’t be immediately clicked on.

  30. Another thing; Are “soft” terrain features (trees, wrecked cars etc.) supposed to block the placement of barricades? Since Titans can just demolish them in one attack, it can mean leaving awkward gaps in your defences. This grates a bit, especially since other buildings just flatten these objects when placed on them.

  31. Cas are you perpously ignoreing my pleads for you to come on irc :l
    I need to set someone as the channel successor for if my nick gets up and dies the channel doesnt die

  32. Very small issue, but is there a way to turn off mouse acceleration? I noticed today while playing around with the latest version that moving around felt a bit ‘gummy’, for lack of a better term.

    1. the mouse isn’t accelerated, it’s reading DirectX directly… there’s a mouse speed setting in the options panel which can speed it up or slow it down (default position 3). I did notice once that the mouse felt all sluggish for no known reason but alt-tabbing out and back again had it back to its usual self.

      As for how the mouse works on the Mac and Linux… well, I actually have no idea at all πŸ™‚

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