Author Topic: Brawl on the Snake  (Read 2647 times)

Offline Wanderer

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Brawl on the Snake
« on: November 28, 2011, 11:02:13 PM »
Heya folks.  Didn't want to get involved here much if at all until I was more used to the game.  As as setup to this AAR, this is about my tenth campaign.  Took a while to get used to the system and fighting at Diff 7.0.  A bit of savescumming too, I'll admit, just to try different tactics.  Personal observations prior to this game: LotS ships are wicked powerful, and if you leave the expansions on and don't pick up a few of the 'beneficial' boosts they will end your world.  In particular those damned tractor spires.  My nemesis.

So, from there, I've fouth with the golems once and lost, LotS rediculous completionist because the last shard was on a homeworld (I didn't realize the spawn rules), and goofed off with rebels a bit with the dyson sphere.  I hadn't really played with everything much.

I decided it was time to get a little friendly with all the nasty things that could horribly wrong in a campaign, and go trophy hunting.  So, a 120 world snake with trains, avenger, hard golems and spire, devourerers, wandering nazguls, human marauders, schizophrenics... you name it.  Fire it up.  A pair of 5.0 AIs since I was going to be doing this horribly nastily and wanted to have some fun while I did it instead of being eaten and we're off.  Find a snake with some blade spawners at the one end and we're off to the races.  Admittedly I only turn on the AI options for one of the AIs.

Round 1
First round starts off about expected.  Take a few systems quickly, learn how to deal with spire ships and their building.  I figured out (even with my out of the gate econ boost) that the spire ships were outright annihilating my very weak econ.  I fought through it though and got to about 6 planets out and stabilized there for a few minutes... and the devourer wanders through, inhaling everything except the spire ships.  [email protected]#!#@@[email protected]#@#@!!!!!

Now my horribly negative econ is trying to rebuild the entire fleet from scratch and I'm barely able to throw up a mediocre defense against a wave coming through.  In the meanwhile, I'm playing with redirectors and didn't pay enough attention while trying to get some kind of defense in play.  Every ship I build is eaten by the devourer as it wanders back down to my homeworld instead of being shipped up to my front planet.

Needless to say this was frustrating but I got it dealt with until the devourer moved on.  During this time, I realize a few things.  Marauders would only hit me right after I took a planet and wouldn't strike in the rear.  Neither would the Nazgul Roamers.  Everything always seemed to hit from the front.  In another game I played with Nazgul on (that I lost horribly due to them) I kept getting struck amid-ships by them, in an end locked span of planets.  Very odd.  However, this could be useful.

Move forward another 9 planets or so and I'm feeling all sorts of big.  Hammered down a few forts, and I'm getting a handle on the spire ships, at least the low end ones.  Mostly working with the attritioners, implosions, and the spire forts (shoot like the fortresses do, forget the exact name offhand), and shield units.  Got a nice fleet, exowave coming (x2 for hard golems and spires).  No golems yet but I'm holding my own.  Exos hit, slow them down... and the devourer parks in my frontline system.  I can't get most of my fleet out in time.  This is about the time I realized that my shield spire units don't repair.  Ever.

Crushed.

Alright, let's try this again, everything EXCEPT that damned devourer.

Round 2: Everything but the devourer
This goes MUCH better.  I crank up to type 3 econ right out of the gates and flatten the first 6 systems before the computer can even prepare itself.  I ignore all spire ships for now and just build core fleet.  At 6 systems out, I take stock, get my fleet re-organized, and get spire ships started, attritioners first.  Setup my redirectors to feed troops forward, and take two more systems, then run headfirst into a gravity drill.  Not the end of the world, my spire ships are able to ignore it, but I take a bit of a beating taking over the system and then trying to get troops to the other side in a reasonable time.

During this downtime I'm able to build up a starship reserve and get that going, so it wasn't all bad.  Fleet's refilled, get over to the other system, drop my first set of warp gates for the factories to just skip the drill but keep the econ.  Repeat the process for another 10-12 worlds, with minor annoyances but nothing major.  I pickup a few reasonable fleet ships (Mirrors first, Virus second) and I'm able to stop the piddling exowaves (wait for it...) that are being thrown at me.  My first real challenge hits... I pop a counterstrike fortress and it's 2 planets off my homeworld.  on the OTHER SIDE of my Gravity Drill.  Crap.  Well, it's not a big wave, really.

About 15 minutes later when my 'great' plan of just destroying and rebuilding half the main fleet and sending them directly to the planet to defend it on the back side of the drill while I kept moving forward is when I realized I never turned off the redirector.  Those ships are now all in 'drill space', trying to keep going.

Reload auto-save.

Repeat process with redirector aimed locally in said system.  Worked like a charm.

I'll fast forward this a bit but a few things I noted along the way.

In most games I play, Raid Starships are gods for getting me out of trouble in systems.  They're practically useless in a full on gauntlet game like this.  Once you really need them they can't even get out of the wormholes once the AI starts goofing around with gravity guardians and those gravity spire units.  There's just too much firepower sitting there to react on the next world.  It's a hazard of the snake style, I guess.

The Spire/Asteroid based Ion Cannon units are pieces of crap.  One of the ways I was taking worlds was using a two group unit structure.  Attritioners, long range golems, shield units (including shield fleet ships) and speed boosters in one group, who held back, everyone else in the main group (around 2k units strong for the main unit).  I'd usually invade the wormhole, and clear it.  Once that was done I'd FRD the front line units to cover the attritioners and support team.  They'd handle everything quite nicely.  However, those Ion Cannon units?  I might as well have issued them a 'stay in place' order.  They moved like dirt, never really aquired targets.  I'd have to manually drive them.

Mirrors die a lot more than they should for the damage they do, though that might be part of why I was erasing systems with the ease I was... XD

Along the way a couple of gravity drillers popped up.  A bit of save scumming to see what approaches were best and I found that at this point the level 1/2 rams I was building just to eat the asteroids were the perfect solution to a bunch of drills WAAAAAY the heck in the backfield.

So, around this point I'm at ~800/900 AI rage, have about 40 systems taken, and I pop a counter 3.  I've got a pair of exo waves at ~80% so I'm a little loathe to go flying my fleet way to the backfield to counter it.  I decide I'm going to build a local turret ball for giggles.  I really haven't bothered with turrets except for a few way back on the home planet as an emergency measure, so why not.  During this time I've researched the factory ships to level IV since I'm still trying to get to the one I know of about 6 planets away and I wanted my Scout IV on the loose.

Said turret ball worked, but with 5 fortresses barely built in time and I still needed to save-scum to get some additional forces in place in time.  Obviously I'm doing it wrong.  In the meanwhile, I've depleted my economy buildnig the turret ball and rebuilding from losses from the exo-wave block.  Remember, this is AI 5.  Difficult but not oppressive... yet.

One or two more counters in reasonable distance defended and I'm 4 planets off the first AI homeworld.  I'm at ~1200 AIRage, 55 planets taken.  I've gotten lucky, I was able to pop ALL the core shield generators in the first section, otherwise I'd have had to do a homeworld 'hop' at 1200 AI Rage.  I've been building the spire teleportation units just for that eventuality but they're really kind of useless for major fleet movement and all the 'big' ships I'd want to do it with can't be transported.  Add to that they have that 20 second expiration date depending on the world they're on.

Well, I've got two exo-waves out at ~65%.  They've been being a bit monsterous lately too, for my fleet.  Haven't found any of the 'hyper-rare' asteroids, they're all on the other side of the field.  Oh, did I mention that I've only managed to get 2 of the 8 (9?) Spire citadels for AI Rage reduction and there's no superterminal in my galaxy?  Yeah.  It's 8 hours in.  I go in to pop the next Level IV world, and I note there's two counter IV's on them.  Joy.  I go in, clear the locals out, nerf the system, and pop the first one.  Woot!  It goes for the last system I already built up the turret ball in.  With a little extra buildup that'll be able to handle itself.  Just need to get my Fortress II's in play, since I've gotten better with the turret methodology and how/when to build off the grav turrets (basically keep 15 Mk III Engi's handy and build off a line in the direction they approach from).

Pop the second and pull back.  Since the system's nerfed, I don't want to alert the next one down the line and make my life harder and I figure knowing where the waves will come from won't hurt.  The second one ends up in a 'midline' system with nothing of significant import.  I research up some extra forcefields, cover those up, and begin transporting about half the fleet back to that planet with the 5, 10, and 15 unit spire transports.  Takes a few passes but I get everything nicely sorted out.  About 1200 ships in each, and most of the spire ships up front for the exo defense.  I should be able to transport everyone back for anything else.

Things go about as planned up until 5 minutes before all this goes down when my auto-save kicks in and I realize I didn't do a save before I popped both counters.  No scumming on this one.  Well, my timing was off.  Everything, including a spawn wave and nazgul roaming enclaves along with some protectionists hit me at once.

Good grief.  I couldn't even stop the first H/K mkII when I was *aiming* at it and had the entire front fleet trying to kill it.  The turret ball defended itself well but the mid-line counterstrike ended up bleeding out for 5-10 systems, and all my 'redirection' units made it a royal PITA trying to track down and kill them.

No, no, no.  Save scummed it.

Alright, need a new tactic.  Trashed the next door system's command center to slow down the exo-gate attack and then did a warp-gate run on the next system down.  That'll buy me a LITTLE time.  Didn't realize everything would basically hit back to back to back to back.

Loaded up another set of units in the transports and teleported them over to the midline system.  Sent a builder down to the 'open' system off the front door and tractored the heck out of it, about 80 along the point to point run between the wormholes.  Some lightning turrets for good measure (which were as useless as they usually are, lifespan of a mayfly).

Alright, a bit of micro while anxiously waiting for the '1 ship on planet' alert on the front line in the mid-line counterstrike.  I utterly ignore the turretball figuring either I'm scumming again or it'll be fine.  I manage to clean out the mid-line counterstrike with some reasonable micro about the time the main planet starts getting hit.  I send the fleet towards the tele-transports (in hindsight I should have done it the other way but oops) and head back to see what I'm dealing with.  The H/K comes through alone and my units kill it just on the other side of the wormhole from that system, it taking out the command center as it passed through.  On return and checking on the neutral system, I find that almost all of the exo-wave is tied up in random tractors, allowing me to get my spire ships and defenders back into position on the wormhole to clean up things as they come in and start rebuilding a military mkI outpost on the front-line system.

I micro back to the midline and begin high-speed loading of the tele-transports (There's 36 of them) and getting as much back on teh front lines as I can before the tractors completely fail.  By the time I'm done with that insanity I get the fleet together and we go into the neutral system to cleanup leftovers.

Most of the fleet is destroyed, except for a number of spire ships.  I rebuild those, let my 6k/second economy handle the rest of the heavy lifting while sending my MkIII Engi's back to homeworld (gotta love teleporters) to assist with the rebuilds.  All my docks are at homeworld, letting the gates and the redirectors do the necessary heavy lifting.  I've been building my warp-gate sets about every 10-12 worlds, so if I have to I can fall back and rebuild.

After the rebuild (about 15 minutes), I hit the first of the outer core worlds, and it's a brawl.  I win with about 2/3s of my fleet intact, and decide to respond and slam into the AI Homeworld before it gets a chance to actually do anything but reinforce once.  It has about 500 MK V ships, a fort under 2 ff's, and nothing much else of significant importance.  I crush it.

So, now I'm staring at being ~1/2 way through the snake, 1350 AI Rage, Dual Exo-waves constantly spawning, and an exo-wormhole sitting in the middle of my supply lines.  I've got a ton of counterstrikes to go through still (110 world completion trophy), and I can barely hold the existing exowaves with my main fleet.

Oh, did I mention the rebel colony whining about wanting rescue on the far side of the homeworld for the last hour or so?

So now I'm about to boot up and see if I can figure out how in heck's name I'm going to pen in this blasted Exo-Wormhole while keeping the main fleet viable, because the rage-o-meter's gonna go through the ROOOOOOOF, unless I go out, precision strike the other citadels (20-40 worlds deep), and hope they don't get exo'd while I sit on them for a few hours.

Arcen... Developers, creators, and designers... thank you.

I haven't had this much fun with a 4x game in years.  :D
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 11:16:12 PM by GUDare »
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2011, 09:51:38 AM »
Thanks very much for the AAR, lots of fun to read :)  Glad you're enjoying the game so much.

The Neinzul send their regards, and feel flattered by being confused with Sauron's Nazgul  ;) 

You were playing with the Roaming Enclaves minor faction on, and not the Hybrid Hives AI Plot, right?  They could have made life interesting too, though perhaps their total firepower would have fallen well behind the major threats you're facing by midgame.

I'm surprised that you managed to get an exo containing an H/K without Fallen Spire on, but I suppose 1350 AIP will do that (Golems-Hard and Spirecraft-Hard exos are AIP-driven, FS ones are not).  That's probably because one of the exos randomly picked the "concentrate for bigger ships" composition branch that particular time.  Congratulations on actually surviving an H/K without FS superweapons :)

120 planet Snake... that's definitely tricky ;)
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2011, 09:10:09 PM »
Thanks very much for the AAR, lots of fun to read :)  Glad you're enjoying the game so much.
Was fun to write.

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The Neinzul send their regards, and feel flattered by being confused with Sauron's Nazgul  ;) 
Erm, um... whoops?!   :-[  Occassionally they fight like the flying dead kings, I guess...

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You were playing with the Roaming Enclaves minor faction on, and not the Hybrid Hives AI Plot, right?
Both for this match.

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They could have made life interesting too, though perhaps their total firepower would have fallen well behind the major threats you're facing by midgame.
They're not even speedbumps, those hybrids.  The neinzul roamers are a pain occassionally, mostly when they lend significant firepower to a wave or support a system I'm in the middle of hitting, but in general they're negligible.

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I'm surprised that you managed to get an exo containing an H/K without Fallen Spire on, but I suppose 1350 AIP will do that (Golems-Hard and Spirecraft-Hard exos are AIP-driven, FS ones are not).  That's probably because one of the exos randomly picked the "concentrate for bigger ships" composition branch that particular time.  Congratulations on actually surviving an H/K without FS superweapons :)
Heh, yeah.  I figured the implosions that were just outright eating the astrotrains that dared get near me would inhale an H/K too.  Bzzzt, rejected.

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120 planet Snake... that's definitely tricky ;)
I'm noticing.

I've gotten about 20 planets deeper since this and a few things of note.  I turret balled the first AI's homeworld.  It's massively reinforced with mines, 9 fortresses, and just about every turret I wasn't using to nullify the Rocketry corps (which don't take much, 6-7 basic turrets and a grav turret).  Not a single exo-wave will spawn there.  Plenty of 'standard' waves, and they go down like butter since I've gotten all those snipers to target bombers first, but no exos.  One thing easier anyway.

If I do try this type of 120 world completionist again though, It'll be on the tree map-type.  Trying to deal with counters when they pop up 50+ jumps from your main fleet is insane.  I'll have to toss an idea into Mantis to make it 10 jumps or less when they counterstrike to try to make things a little less "Dear gods no, please... ugh."

An odd note.  At around 1500 AI Rage the exo-waves really don't seem any worse.  There's more waves, sure, but they need to spawn closer together to make a significant difference, at least in this gauntlet style.  In a more 'standard' map, I could see them spawning all over the place being a real problem.

When I finish this run I'll post the conclusion to the insanity, but thanks for the comments.  Appreciated.   :D
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2011, 10:08:14 PM »
An odd note.  At around 1500 AI Rage the exo-waves really don't seem any worse.  There's more waves, sure, but they need to spawn closer together to make a significant difference, at least in this gauntlet style.
Yea, you hit the budget ceiling for those, which just makes them come more and more frequently as the AIP gets higher.  Of course, concentration of force (lack thereof, in this case) makes it easier to deal with than if they kept getting bigger and bigger.  The Fallen Spire ones have a much higher ceiling (that scales with number of cities) and tend to be much more cataclysmic at max.

But yea, snake maps can lead to situations where the AI simply can't punch through your chokepoint.  The human has a separate set of intense pains to deal with, however, as you have noticed.
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2011, 04:52:13 AM »
As Promised, the end results.

The Map:


The final screen!!!


So, what the heck happened?

A few things.  First, that exo-galaxy in the middle wasn't as nasty as I was afraid it would be, until I hit ~1900 AIP.  Then it dumped one H/K per Exo-attack.  This pretty much caught me with my shorts down the first time.  A save scumming later and I trapped the exo gate (and minefield + 9 fortresses + all Tech 1 turrets) in a forcefield circle to slow it down and then tripled up my high end FFs on the closest gate, which it bee-lines for.  After telling my fortresses and local Youngling brigade to concentrate on it, and it fighting with a triple layer of Tech III forcefields, it went down like buttah.  Leaving that preference in play meant I really never worried about it again.

But, I'm getting ahead of myself.  I picked up younglings along the way with ARSs, but they're kinda useless in an assault scenario.  Almost all of the neinzul units I've found I mostly use as support for the whipping boy, and the occassional raid and/or mobile defense in the backfield.  They're too annoying to try to keep on the front lines.   However, as I started to move past the planet, I realized even if I created a local dock to simply build those units, they'd still pop up to my warp gate.  It'd be nice if you could take a space dock (or anything, really) out of the warp gate network if you chose.  But, I have Neinzul Mobile Space docks!  Well, then, I leave a Tech IV space dock behind and let it take care of itself.

The midpoint planet in question is right under the Exclamation mark in the 'You win!' statement, sorry it's hard to see.  I only cleaned up the map for the first half until it wasn't a tangled tragedy, and then merely adjusted as needed.  I saved the Rebel Colony relatively easily after I got my fleet rebuilt, and then dug in for a bit rebuilding my fleet down in the first section of the southwest.  I stopped just in front of a counter, figuring I'd like a strong fleet already built since I'll kill my econ building the turret ball.  When I hit the SW sector I was at around 7k/second in economy, maybe 8k/sec.  My science team of 40+ Tech II science labs were chugging along behind me on auto-gather, so I was usually pretty close to topped off for any tech I desired.  When I hit this section I realized speed was critical.  After getting the rebel colony up and running and popping the next world, I started doing scout picketing (not the automatic version).  Under most scenarios only the first world, maybe two, were reasonably defended.  Everything else was just prime for the taking... kinda like my own backfield!

I started doing 'runs' against the planets.  Since my Scout IV had gotten me intel on roughly everything left, I knew where the counterstrikes were so I would stop and catch my breath after neutering the counterstrike system.  This usually meant I'd do a 6-7 planet run.  So, once I started, I'd pop the counter, and check the location.  I never got a 'good' counterstrike again.  Just about everything was always 20+ planets back.  However, after upgrading my turretballs... they really weren't a concern until the last few planets at 2k+ AIP.  Level 3 Missile Turrets, MLRS's, Basics, and a solid # of grav turrets did what I needed most times, especially with a Fortress III on FRD in the mix.  One time I got saved by Dyson Sphere units... I just needed to pay more attention, my Fortress was apparently going ballistic on the bombers instead of everything else.

So after doing a 'housecleaning', and then nerfing the next counterstrike system, I'd bring up the rear with my support crew.  Build out command centers, rebuild any spire units I needed to, tried goofing around with the shield units again (waste of time, really...) and just basically slammed my way through for about 3 hours for the SW quadrant.  Then I hit that world you see with '462' on it.  That's when things hit the fan.  What you see there is the largest minefield I've ever had to build.

At this point I'm closing in on 2k AIP, and the AI has decided I need to get spanked.  I'm happily hanging back, getting my scouts out for the next 5 systems, rebuilding my spire ship army since I took a beating getting into there, that last stretch I got caught with a wave and had to just beat my way through it.  I'm low on ships, low on everything really, but my Threat was nice and low.  Well, it was.  Then I poked my head in with what was left of my troops to nerf it so I didn't have to slog through 3k+ MK IV/V troops when I was ready to roll again and all hell broke loose.

See, what happened here was the AI got Etherjets in the middle of all this.  Now, by themselves, I hadn't worried too much about them, but my Black Widow bought it a few worlds back.  I was down to just my 3 artillery golems at this point.  There was one armored golem a bit ahead I was looking forward to, but the only golem I'd really wanted to get my hands on was 5 planets away from the final homeworld, a BotNet.  So, I'm basically making this last run with nothing but Hard Spire ships and standard fleet.  Wasn't really a big deal...

...well, it wasn't until these little fegs dragged off a few fighters into the NEXT system down the line and fired up ~1,000 ships.  My threat popped.  My retreat went to hell as expected, because of the gravity ships, I couldn't withdraw off the first line.  I've got exo's coming in 10% and I can't pull anything off the first AI turretball because it's got a wave coming.  Ho boy.

I get out with my artillery golems (they ignore gravity), the majority of my attritioners (9 of the level I-III's, 1 IV) a reasonable amount of my spire stuff (they also ignore gravity :) ), my blade spawner army, and a smattering of my core fleet ships.  My starships are utterly pwned and I've got about 700 fleet left, of the 2.2k or so I was working with.  This is bad.  I've got 2k ships bearing down on me.  PAUSE.

Slam together the stragest defense I've ever tried to do.  The system was a LONG system, the two warpgates on opposite ends of each other.  There was a line of dysons that I could use to trace the pathing on it.  This gave me an idea.  I slammed down a series of EMP and AOE mines along the pathing, got my attritioners way in the back, and left my main units on the homeworld facing warpgate in attack local mode.  Note: This can be bad.  My artillery spires kept floating out WAY in front and getting themselves wrecked.

Throw in a few gravity turrets on the side, 40 Rebuilders, 15 Engi IIIs, and hope my space docks can catch up before the exo-waves hit.  About this time (of course) the Neinzul Protectionist society and the Roaming Enclaves both decide to support the AI's endeavours.  In self defense I get a Fort III going with a couple of Engi I's on it to speed things along without killing my econ, and get a series of Tech II turrets in play.  I dislike having to disassemble my Tech III counterstrike turret ball until I need the econ back when I'm rebuilding it elsewhere.

This... kind of works.  I can barely keep the minefield semi-operational against the constant roamers floating down it, and they're hammering my rebuilders before they can do much.  Thankfully they're cheap.  What worked more was the 3 artillery golems in the back hammering down any flagship that came in and the attritioners chewing away at the little guys who were stuck in the gravity wells.  I'm taking a little damage but I'm rebuilding reasonably and making 40 new rebuilders every minute is keeping me occupied.  I should have just set the place to build 40 automatically but I hadn't expected to be making the Alamo stand.

While I'm rebuilding, the exo-waves start landing.  I've got most of the minefield back in play at this point and I've been poking around the universe for any asteroids I've left behind for replacement spire ships.  1 here, 3 there, 2 there, 4 there... you get the drift.  I'm also waiting for them to get to the front world once they're built.  Oh, joy.  Look.  Mining Golems.  And I'm out of rams.  Build more rams, send on way to eventually deal with golems, turn off local redirectors, and the Exos hit.

And die like dogs.  WOOOOOOT!

Usually only the gravity defeating 'lead ships' of the exos would get out of the mined highway.  When they ran into my real fleet alone they'd fall apart, if they even made it that far.  Depended on what my arty golems decided looked tasty at the moment.  In general I was just able to rebuild most of the mined highway as the next wave floated in.  I just left it behind me as a 'Just in Case'.

So, after these exos, I've got a fleet rebuilt and we're off to the races.  I abuse the next two areas for some decent losses and deal with the counterstrike I fire up.  I'm feeling relatively good at the moment and just cruise through the next counter two worlds behind it and stop off about 10 worlds later.  I realize I'm doing it wrong about this point.  The only warp gates I need are starship and fabricators.  D'oh.  I build off a full set of the 'lesser' neinzul factory ships, and now keep this mobile factory group right on the front lines with me and my 15 Engi IIIs.  I take a little time rebuilding while I go through the backfield and deactivate some Fact IVs and the homeworld space docks, and get some Engi II's back at homeworld that were spread out to assist with the starship building.  I'm losing the majority of my 'minor' starships (Zenith, Leech IIIs, all Raiders... etc) after about 4-5 battles at best, so this will be helpful.  I handily stop the two counterstrikes and proceed to feel pretty good about myself.  Oops?

The next world is building up pretty heavily while I get myself re-sorted out and deal with a wave.  It's got ~1.2k in troops and another 1200 or in carriers and barracks.  At this point, hitting a world like that can wreck me pretty badly.  It's only been 5 minutes, it was relatively barren earlier.  These planets are starting to reinforce WHILE I hit them.  I've got to be quick on the draw taking out the command centers at this point or I have to deal with the planet twice (or worse).  My scouts in the back are watching more troops just pour into this frontline world, with more carriers.  I've got maxxed econ but there's really not a hell of a lot I can do about this.  I'm thinking of setting up a bait trap when a neutral set of Neinzul finally floats in and starts engaging the AI.  They've got about 15 flagships vs. this mob on my front door.  I think 'Oh GOODY!' and head into the fray.

Anything illegal about having a BAAAAD idea?  I end up caught between the AI's reinforcements on one side, the Neinzul on the other after they mop up the AI between them and me, and fighting for air on the planet behind me as carriers slip through.  *sigh* Dangit.  Quit-Reload Autosave.

Well, I don't get that joyful event again unfortunately, but I'm saved when that planet was a little weaker.  This time I use pause heavily to get done all the things I had just set up, and take my battered fleet into the breech before the AI can really beef the joint up.  I also setup a Mercenary Dock for the first time on the front line, give it about 10 Engi I's for permanent support, and let it feed me more troops for the rest of the game.

This works much better.  I'm able to cruise through the next few planets and stop on the doorstep of the next counter world, after nerfing it.  I take stock, and do another 'Where'd I leave those asteroids' run getting my fleet rebuilt.  While I'm getting this dealt with I fire off the counter and retreat again just to get the turretball in play.  Luckily I save.

I build up my turret ball and AIP is ~2100 or so.  This is when the H/K I mentioned earlier decides to pop my Exo-Gate defenses and wreak havoc in the backfield.  Line of mines?  No good.  It ignores them (which ISN'T mentioned in the immunites, by the by).  About this point is when I realize EVERY turret, including the heavy beam ones, are 0.1 on command-grade.  Oh, GREAT!  grrrrr....

Reload the autosave and figure out how to deal with this.  Beef up the gate with a few high end FF's and now sit on the planet, waiting.  As soon as this exo pops (they're popping every 10-15 minutes now, it's not like an Exo was a suprise) play hide and seek in the minefield for it, and sic my fortresses and younglings on it... why do I have only 80 younglings?  D'oh.  Somewhere between point A and point B my regeneration center bit the dust.  Well, the defense holds with the fortresses eating the H/K before it can pop the FFs and I build up 3 regeneration centers around the map to make sure that doesn't happen again easily.

Front line holds, and I do a quick five system chew.  We're in the home stretch and I've taken everything except the center eastern area from the 'X'.  I blitzed the systems but I wasn't ready to handle all the support work at the time, I needed to stay on the ball and get a little heavy with my micro, so I slowly work my way back forward after retreating my main fleet and having them cover the support builds and spire ship rebuilds.  The next section was a little worrisome, there were three Rocketry Corps across the next 5 systems.  They could really ruin my day if I wasn't careful.

At this point my fleet is floating in the 3200 ship range with the Mercenary support.  I decide to hell with careful.  I ended up in a slogfest trying to get control of these systems.  Pause is your friend, time to use it.  I crash through the first two worlds, micro'ing my support up behind me and getting anti-rocket defenses in place quickly.  None of these asteroids are above Xampite, so to heck with it.  I keep blazing through to 5 worlds away from the AI homeworld, and finally get my hands on the BotNet Golem.  Something I can use with firepower again, finally!  Note: I've lost two cursed, a black widow, and 3 armored golems along the way.  I'm getting better at making sure my arty golems apply their rediculous firepower but there's only so much they can do against the swarm.  I dig in for a minute and get my bearings while gearing up for the last big push.

At this point the final worlds are all 1000+ unit worlds, with 3 of them packing double barracks.  They're all MK Vs at this point too.  A quick inspection of the final world shows me there's nothing of significance defending it besides a fortress sitting next to the command center and its FFs and a little Ion II.  The rest is non-spectacular.  End run?  Let me get an Amen!

Save.

It's crash and burn time.  The first system is the hardest, as the gate was heavily camped.  I decide to blow off two heavy lightning missiles (I've been using them off and on instead of wasting asteroids on martyrs) to clear the wormhole and send the fleet in right behind 'em.  We crash through the systems, with me holding the wormhole on attack mode with the main fleet while the attritioners do their job until I'm relatively sure I've cleaned up enough to stop the bleedthrough, then I'll pop the command center.  Trying to get off the wormhole when surrounded by 80+ gravity ships is kinda pointless anyway.  Suddenly I'm VERY glad I've been hyper-protective of those artillery golems.  The botnet turns the tide for me in this world as well, what could have been very ugly leaves most of my fleet intact.

This goes very well right up to the front door of the last AI Homeworld.  I even pop the last 8 astrotrains in the second to last world for the giggles of it.  It only took about 5 minutes to kill 8 of them.  Whee!

I crash the gate and the first part of the final battle goes as planned.  Then we hit the fortress.  This is why you see that fat 1.7 million energy on the pics.  I barely had the firepower to cut through the reinforcement wave and take out enough of the FF to get the final blow in on the command center.  If I'd HAD to kill the fortress... I'd have lost.

But I win!  Woot.  AI5 Neinzul Mad Bomber and Mine Enthusiast can go rot in the depths of space!  Die evil AI!  DIE DIE DIE!

The list of achievements afterwards was sooooo worth it... :)

Oddly enough, in all these waves, only a single wave did a beachhead on me.  Surprised the hell out of me when after 15 hours I finally see one and I'm asking "What the heck is this?!"  Then I remembered I turned it on.  d'oh!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my ramblings.  See you for the next one!
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline Ktoff

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2011, 06:07:24 AM »
Impressive :-) And now for the same with two AI 8 :-D

I have never tried a snake map, but I might try it when I eventually get there. I probably should tone down the AI difficulty as well. I usually go for AI 7 because any lower leads to me going, this is easy, this is easy, this is easy ... ****! Why did I not leave decent defenses! And then die. The AI 7 keeps me on my toes (even if I don't win either ;-) )
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 07:58:47 AM by keith.lamothe »

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2011, 08:09:52 PM »
Wow, quite a wild ride there :)  Glad to see the game's still putting the lie to "ok, I've got this one in the bag now" ;)

Well, I hope you enjoyed my ramblings.  See you for the next one!
Immensely, and looking forward to it :)
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2011, 03:57:06 AM »
Wow, quite a wild ride there :)  Glad to see the game's still putting the lie to "ok, I've got this one in the bag now" ;)
Oh gods no.  I'll admit I expected the tail of this particular game to be the real 'game', the screwups and interesting components in the middle made it hella fun.  For a game with only x moving pieces, you've made a real masterpiece Keith.  Thank you.

I can't wait to see what you guys do with this when you decide that Starcraft is butcher's work compared to the underlying components of this.  Yes I mean that, I used to run a strategy site for SC 1.  It's dead now, but I used to play the Koreans 1 to 1 before the 'Show All' map hack became common download.  With Zerg.   :D

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Well, I hope you enjoyed my ramblings.  See you for the next one!
Immensely, and looking forward to it :)

That... is inspirational.  When a developer of the game enjoys hearing about how the players are enjoying, or not, his work... it's amazing to hear.  My having been an American player in the Final Fantasy genre for too long, and the fact that you've been engrossed in making your own visions come to life, you are probably unfamiliar with the lack of feedback from the developers and main visionaries of a game.  I've dealt with the 'Speak Japanese or **** off' for too long.

The idea that not just the marketing team, but the primary developers give a flying [email protected]##@!!!!! about how their players interface and enjoy their game is just entrancing to me.  You might as well be (pardon the allusion) a stacked girl in a short skirt to my gaming enjoyment.  Your involvement in a game that is considered "dead"-ish makes me want to be involved in your active projects all the more.

All I can say is "Thank you" once again, and the least I can do is give you a few more of these!  You shall hear from me again, I assure you!

Next time: A real game, 2x AI10s, 8+ homeworlds, Fallen Spire on.  I want that achievement too!  Easy AIs, of course.  I'm not THAT much a glutton for pain!
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 07:59:05 AM by keith.lamothe »
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2011, 07:58:24 AM »
I'll admit I expected the tail of this particular game to be the real 'game', the screwups and interesting components in the middle made it hella fun.
Yea, it keeps you on your toes, that does seem to be one of the big draws.

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For a game with only x moving pieces, you've made a real masterpiece Keith.  Thank you.
Chris is the one who actually made the game over something like a year and a half and released it in May 2009; I joined in Jan 2010 to help keep the updates coming while he worked on Tidalis.  I've certainly had the opportunity to add some of my own embellishments since then but the core of what makes this game awesome is all Chris :)

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I can't wait to see what you guys do with this when you decide that Starcraft is butcher's work compared to the underlying components of this.
I'm not sure what you're driving at there; you mean us making a competitive pvp rts?  Pretty unlikely :)  I don't think we'd want to have to have that level of razor-sharp balance, for one thing.  In AIW we want you to want all the ship types but if one is just 20% better than another then we want to change it eventually but don't want to have to change it _right now_ because all of a sudden tournaments are happening where that's the only unit used.

That said, some AIW ideas have been floating around that would include letting players shoot at each other.  Not sure how well they'll work out, though.

When a developer of the game enjoys hearing about how the players are enjoying, or not, his work... it's amazing to hear.
We're just gamers, really.  Chris made AIW because he loved co-op RTS with his group but they kept exhausting the challenge/variety in the off-the-shelf stuff (which is primarily geared towards pvp).  I joined because I enjoy game programming and thought Chris is doing something pretty amazing here.  Either way, seeing someone getting genuine delight out of a game I worked on is one of the more unalloyed joys of life.  If people didn't enjoy it, I may as well go back to enterprise software and just make games as a hobby :)

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I've dealt with the 'Speak Japanese or **** off' for too long.
FYI, we do try to keep the wording safe-for-work around here; I didn't correct the previous post containing that word as I dislike moderating, but for anyone coming to read this thread I will go ahead and edit those.  But creative colorful metaphors are encouraged :)

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Your involvement in a game that is considered "dead"-ish makes me want to be involved in your active projects all the more.
Far from dead, I assure you, it's just in hibernation while we work on AVWW.  Even with that, it's been about an update a month which isn't quite dead ;)  Anyway, we're definitely planning on another AIW expansion after AVWW 1.0 (how far after depends on a few factors), and just this weekend I was teaching the hybrids some new tricks for 5.021 (a little ways to go on that, though).

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Next time: A real game, 2x AI10s, 8+ homeworlds, Fallen Spire on.  I want that achievement too!  Easy AIs, of course.  I'm not THAT much a glutton for pain!
Oh, the complete-the-first-stage-of-FS-with... achievement?  That arose from a joke in IRC.  You have been warned  ;D
« Last Edit: December 13, 2011, 08:00:02 AM by keith.lamothe »
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Offline Wanderer

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2011, 08:43:56 PM »
Chris is the one who actually made the game over something like a year and a half and released it in May 2009; I joined in Jan 2010 to help keep the updates coming while he worked on Tidalis.  I've certainly had the opportunity to add some of my own embellishments since then but the core of what makes this game awesome is all Chris :)
Well, if he swings by I'll pat him on the back a few times too. :)

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I'm not sure what you're driving at there; you mean us making a competitive pvp rts?
Nah, I meant more the single player components then the PvP components.  I'm... not entirely sure what I was driving at anymore, but in general this kicks the demons out of the AI in SC and other similar games and with graphical polish I could see this being a PC store shelf-sales game as well as an internet download.

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Either way, seeing someone getting genuine delight out of a game I worked on is one of the more unalloyed joys of life.  If people didn't enjoy it, I may as well go back to enterprise software and just make games as a hobby :)
Fair enough!

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FYI, we do try to keep the wording safe-for-work around here; I didn't correct the previous post containing that word as I dislike moderating, but for anyone coming to read this thread I will go ahead and edit those.  But creative colorful metaphors are encouraged :)
Errr, sorry.   :-[  Will behave myself.  I would blame the large amounts of beer I consumed yesterday but that's no excuse.

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Far from dead, I assure you, it's just in hibernation while we work on AVWW.
Well, -ish.  I tried hitting up the IRC and a few other places and it seemed like the general concensus was I was '2 years 2 late'.  Sorry for the implications, it might just have been me running into the old hands.

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Oh, the complete-the-first-stage-of-FS-with... achievement?  That arose from a joke in IRC.  You have been warned  ;D
Heheheh, noted!
... and then we'll have cake.

Offline keith.lamothe

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 08:38:55 AM »
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Far from dead, I assure you, it's just in hibernation while we work on AVWW.
Well, -ish.  I tried hitting up the IRC and a few other places and it seemed like the general concensus was I was '2 years 2 late'.  Sorry for the implications, it might just have been me running into the old hands.
Dead in the IRC?  That's more likely.  Last time I hung around in there it was difficult to get them to talk about much other than League of Legends.  Maybe if we get that in-game IRC to work we'll flood them out with people talking about AIW ;)

But yea, some of those guys played AIW frequently for over a year straight, iirc, and relatively few game-person combinations can stay "infatuated" much longer than that.  It's one of the better games for "coming back" later, though.  But one of the reasons we make other games is that no one game can always and forever be what someone wants to play (which seems obvious, but I've seen lots of folks approach some games that way, and inevitably be disappointed).  Of course, I don't know if anyone told that to the guy who's clocked in over 2000 hours in AIW or whatever it is.
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Offline Ktoff

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2011, 09:25:49 AM »
But yea, some of those guys played AIW frequently for over a year straight, iirc, and relatively few game-person combinations can stay "infatuated" much longer than that.  It's one of the better games for "coming back" later, though.  But one of the reasons we make other games is that no one game can always and forever be what someone wants to play (which seems obvious, but I've seen lots of folks approach some games that way, and inevitably be disappointed).  Of course, I don't know if anyone told that to the guy who's clocked in over 2000 hours in AIW or whatever it is.

Very true, especially the "coming back" part... :-)

Offline zoutzakje

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Re: Brawl on the Snake
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2011, 12:15:42 PM »
2000 hours? oh, i'll get there eventually :P

 

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