Red Alert Overhaul (third Soviet faction, Uzbekistan)

A complete overhaul of the game

Discussion about the game and its default mods.
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Fortnight
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Red Alert Overhaul (third Soviet faction, Uzbekistan)

Post by Fortnight » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:57 pm

Alright fellas, I've been working on this for several weeks now and I could probably continue for a while longer but I have to release it sometime and it might as well be today!

What is Red Alert Overhaul?
It's my vision of how Red Alert should be. I've rebalanced every unit against each other in order to make everything worth buying and there's detailed descriptions for everything, which should make the game more beginner-friendly.

Some things have changed dramatically but then only because I know the gameplay benefits from it in the end. Please keep an open mind to everything, it's important to not get locked in the old ways just because they have always been like that.

Everything in this is suggestions as to how I want the official Red Alert mod to be. I intend to motivate my decisions but there are so many changes that I can't do it all at once. Start by trying a skirmish against the computer, I've done my best to update the AI so it works with my changes. If you can find someone to play with online that would be even better of course! Just start a network game like normal.

There's a third Soviet faction included in this: Uzbekistan! :)
It works very differently from the rest of the factions, I'm a strong believer in that if you are to introduce something new you have to bring something fresh to the table. This does exactly that, there's a new type of gameplay on the horizon.

I picked the name "Uzbekistan" because it had the third largest population in the Soviet union and it has the perfect flag as the third Soviet faction in OpenRA.

This overhaul contains:
+ 1 new faction.
+ 6 new units (or 9 depending on how you count).
+ 32 new graphics (shp files).
+ 38 new sounds (aud files).
+ 10599 lines of .yaml :8|
+ Rebalanced units (the navy is especially different)
+ Reworked units (some has new abilities, for example the Engineer)
+ Reworked structures (walls and defense)

"Installing" is very simple:
Extract the zip archive. There you have a folder named "rao", place this one next to the "ra" folder in OpenRA's mods-folder.
[tab]Example path: C:\Program Files (x86)\OpenRA\mods\rao\

Important: You need to use release-20161019 of OpenRA (which is the latest stable release). My balance reasoning depends on inherited base values from that release.

Now you start the mod like you start any mod in OpenRA (hit the "mods" button on the main menu). You'll have access to all Red Alert maps inside the official "ra" mod (no copying or moving of files required).

As a bonus you can put a rain/snow weather effect on all maps if you want to, check out the weather .yaml files inside the "rao" folder.
I recommend the rain myself because it looks good on both snow and grass maps (looks decent on desert maps too).


Let me know what you think and over time I'll try to explain a bit about the changes and my reasoning.

There's a dedicated server online but it's not listed on the master server, use Direct IP to connect to it.
[tab]Address: rao.us.to
[tab]Port: 1234

Check page 5 of this thread for more details about the new faction.
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Last edited by Fortnight on Mon Feb 06, 2017 9:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

klaas
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Post by klaas » Thu Jan 26, 2017 7:51 pm

So this thing is basically its own mod? I'll guve it a try... :-P

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Materianer
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Post by Materianer » Thu Jan 26, 2017 8:34 pm

Oh nice sounds interesting to me.

Finally a 3rd Soviet faction yay

Must test this ...


Will this run on Debian?

Is there a dedicated server for this mod?

noobmapmaker
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Post by noobmapmaker » Thu Jan 26, 2017 9:59 pm

Great work!
Playlist with ALL games of the Dark Tournament Youtube.com/CorrodeCasts
Consider supporting OpenRA by setting a bounty or by donating for a server

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3.Lucian
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Post by 3.Lucian » Fri Jan 27, 2017 12:38 am

Just gave this a go with two others. great to see some unique ideas, however for me it strays too far from where we are at currently.

just some quick thoughts:
+1 exploding flamers. but turn the chance and damage down
-1 exploding rocketmen.
+1 grens blow up when run over, give it less chance of occuring, but more damage.
-1 mammoth tank, wtf, way too op.
-1 usbekistan, cant expand
-1 pop up suplly tent and mobile pillboxes, use an apc instead
-1 nuke subs, why? how to build a nuke on a no water map if usbek

keep up the good work!

OMnom
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Post by OMnom » Fri Jan 27, 2017 2:28 am

First impression -- waaaaay too over the top.

+Its nice to see new ideas put into action
-There are too many new, imbalanced changes and additions. As a result, it's too overwhelming and it detracts from the fun.
- The unit descriptions/tooltips are way too big. I'd approve of putting them in a tutorial mode, but for a new game mode, i'd rather have a compiled list rather than hovering over every single unit.
On a related note, it would be nice to have a readme or a word document listing everything significant that you have changed: cost, price, speed, damage, new units, etc.

What is your aim with this mod btw?

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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:30 am

Materianer wrote: Will this run on Debian?

Is there a dedicated server for this mod?
Should run on everything that runs the normal Red Alert mod. Haven't got any dedicated servers up but I've tried hosting an online match and it works just fine.
3.Lucian wrote: -1 usbekistan, cant expand
-1 pop up suplly tent and mobile pillboxes, use an apc instead
-1 nuke subs, why? how to build a nuke on a no water map if usbek
Uzbekistan expands with their Architect (Engineer). Dunno what you mean with mobile pillboxes? The second nuke is instead of Chronoshift and Iron Curtain. I know there's an issue with no water maps but there's often some puddle of water somewhere on the map, its just an issue to go there with an Architect. If the faction would become reality there would probably be more consideration to water in future maps. Even if there really is no water the nuke sub doesn't make the faction what it is so it's capable to win even without it. As for your comment with the Mammoth it's completely fine balance-wise, I'll get to explaining why later.
OMnom wrote: imbalanced changes [...]- The unit descriptions/tooltips are way too big[...]What is your aim with this mod btw?
If I thought it was the slightest inbalanced I wouldn't have made it. ;)

The descriptions need to be big, there is no single player explaining how the game works to new players. Big descriptions aren't a problem, you read it once and then are never bothered with it again. It's more important to explain everything to new players than to keep hover boxes small. Even old players don't know half of how the game work honestly, I watch streams where they get things wrong and assume stuff instead of knowing how it is.

My aim with this mod is to suggest balance changes for the game as well as an entire new faction. Talk is cheap and I can't expect other people to put the time needed into my own ideas so I made this to demonstrate how it would be. :)
Last edited by Fortnight on Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight » Fri Jan 27, 2017 6:49 am

Where to start, with the factory and tech tree perhaps. I'll try to post images to make the thread less boring.

Edit: Apparently you can't have long descriptions for the attachments, which is too bad since it looked better to have the image above the text.

Conn Yard and the tech tree

Now provides +20 power.

This is because Barracks is now available from the beginning, so you can build either a Power Plant (+100 power) or a Barracks (-20 power).

With a Power Plant you'll gain access to:
+ Sub Pen / Shipyard
+ Ore Refinery
+ War Factory
+ Radar Dome

Service Depot still needs War Factory. Helipad/Airfield still needs Radar Dome. Tech Center still needs both War Factory and Radar Dome.

My goal with this to make new game openers, you can rush infantry, vehicles and aircraft now without having to make an Ore Refinery first. It's less viable with 5000 starting credits but very possible and you have to remember it's possible to start with more than 5k.

It'll also make it a little more risky to undeploy your Conn Yard, you might put yourself in low power if you aren't paying attention.
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:00 am

I will be posting several times in a row, tried adding several attachments to a single post but the order got reversed so I'll be doing this instead.

Radar Dome

Requires 50 power instead of 40.

Can no longer be powered down.

Motivation: The ten extra power cost is to compensate for the free 20 you get from the Conn Yard (Ore Refinery also need 10 more now).

You can no longer power down the Radar Dome because:

1) It makes power management a more important part of the game. A lot of people just power down the radar as soon as its built, it's not really needed. With today's resolutions you see almost the whole map, especially if you turn off pixel doubling (CTRL+scrollwheel by default).

2) Being able to power down the radar gives an unfair advantage to Soviet late game since they don't need it online for GPS.

3) Placed a building that put you in low power? Just shut off the radar. I think it makes for better gameplay if you have to shut down a defense structure instead since it will potentially open up a backdoor for the enemy (for example by turning off an AA-Gun at the back).

4) The enemy attacked your power? Just shut off the radar. Being able to save a bunch of power by shutting down the radar dome diminishes the strategy of attacking the player's power.
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:10 am

Kennel

+ Now also available from the very beginning (like Barracks).
+ Doesn't require power.
+ Can be built further away from other objects.

It's however very weak (easy to destroy), can't be sold and can only be built twice. These things are to avoid being used as wall gates. Leaves a ruin as well (ruins are wall-related, I'll come to that).
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:21 am

Ore Refinery

1) Requires 40 power instead of 30.
2) Now refunds for 150 instead of 300 when sold.
3) Now stores 1k ore instead of 2k.

Motivations:

1) To compensate for the fact that Conn Yard provides +20 power (together with the extra power needed by Radar Dome). It's also makes power management a little bigger part of the game if you build more than one refinery per Conn Yard.

2) A harvester cost 1100 credits and a refinery 1400. If you sell the refinery you get to keep the harvester. 1400-1100 = 300 credits, since you should sell for half structure value you should get 150 credits back and not the full 300 credits.

3) This is a buff to silo. People usually build several Ore Refinery, which adds a ton of storage space, which makes the Silo pointless to build. (Maybe I should have reduced this even further come to think about it.)
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:41 am

Sandbags, Barbed Wire and Concrete Wall

1) Builds instantly.
2) Can be built further away from base.
3) Less free pieces when building several in a line.
4) Can't be sold.
5) Leaves a traversable ruin when destroyed (lasting 2 minutes).
6) Can't be crushed by anything.
7) Can be built on terrain types Clear, Rough, Road, Beach and Bridge.

Motivation:

1) Building walls, especially sandbags/fence is a gimmick. Who has the time? Now you do, shift-click to order five pieces and place with the defense hotkey (R). No more blocking of the defense queue just to place wall.

2) This is so you can place walls exactly where you want them, to leave yourself some room for base expansion.

3) The price has been changed to promote lines of wall. A single tile of sandbags/fence costs 50 credits but if you place them apart you can get 4 pieces (so for lines the price is unchanged: 25 credits per piece). A single tile of concrete cost a whopping 300 credits but by placing two apart you can get 6 pieces (so for lines the price is unchanged: 100 cerdits per piece). This is a nerf to single piece wall placement (plopped in front of a Tesla Coil) and a buff to actual walls in lines (no wait time).

4) You have to plan your wall placement better. Don't build yourself into a corner, walls are good but have to be used responsibly. You now can't quickly open a hole in the wall by selling and filling it back up once your units have passed through, you have to knock down the wall yourself if you want to pass.

5) Since walls are built instantly this works as a way to prevent a player from keep re-building the wall as soon as it is knocked down. Concrete Wall leaves a bigger ruin. It also further promotes planned use of walls, sure you can place walls all over your base if you want to but if you knock them down later you still won't be able to build there for 2 minutes.

6) Tanks being able to crush sandbags/fence might be realistic but in a game we don't need that in order to get better gameplay. Let's be honest, crushable walls make them pretty much useless. And the Mammoth Tank being able to crush concrete walls gives an unfair advantage to Soviet over Allies. Instead the Engineer has been given a role against walls.

7) Was just buildable on Clear and Road in vanilla, making it impossible to wall yourself in properly if there was water nearby, the enemy could just enter your base on the beach tiles. Now you can build proper walls, even on bridges or rough terrain.
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight » Fri Jan 27, 2017 7:55 am

Conn Yard and destruction

The Conn Yard now leaves a MCV husk upon being destroyed.

I've also made the explosion effect of a Conn Yard a lot more impressive.

This is my take on nerfing base expansion. The price is the same, the MCV movement speed is the same --to me it's important that it can flee from infantry and slow things are painful to play with in RTS-- but now it's a lot riskier to expand because if the enemy destroy the Conn Yard they will be able to capture the husk and gain all of your buildings, on top of a cheap Conn Yard.

As you probably can guess this means that the Soviet Hijacker is now able to capture husks as well as the Allied Mechanic.

This is also a buff towards actually selling a Conn Yard, something that we never see happening. If you successfully sell it the enemy won't get any husk to capture. However selling means losing the base so you have to be sure the enemy would have been able to destroy it.

In addition it's a buff towards the barracks. No longer do you need a War Factory + Service Depot to be able to recover from a Conn Yard loss, you could make do with a Barracks (a Service Depot is still needed though to be able to train Mechanics/Hijackers). I've made sure the MCV Husk survives a nuke missile so it's now a viable strategy to place both a barracks and service depot some way away from the Conn Yard in order to make sure you can carry on in case of an atom bomb destroying the core of your base.

I'll also mention that it's still possible to destroy husks so if you are the enemy and aren't interested in capturing the MCV for yourself you can just fire a couple of extra shots after destroying the Conn Yard in order to prevent a come back. But doing so buys the defender a little bit of extra time of course.
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Post by Fortnight » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:21 am

Prerequisites and capturing buildings

The prerequisites system has been reworked behind the scenes, no longer is the faction checked when providing prerequisites. Instead the faction only affect the start MCV.

This means that there are six different versions of almost all non-defense buildings, as well as six different versions of the MCV. One for each faction. This has three benefits:

1) You can make custom graphics for each faction building. There could for example be a pile of tires on the ground outside of the War Factory for one faction but not on the others. This would add aesthetic variety. (I haven't done any custom appearance for any building in the overhaul though.)

2) You can see what type of building it is on the name even after it has been captured by an enemy (you'll know what it provides if you see "German War Factory" instead of just "War Factory").

3) Each building now has more freedom to provide whatever prerequisites that they desire. In the overhaul you can for example capture the enemy Service Depot in order to gain the blueprints for the enemy MCV, meanwhile in vanilla Red Alert you would just get a Service Depot that you'd probably sell the moment after.

[tab]A good example is the Sub Pen for the new faction, which needs to provide both allied and soviet naval units.

In addition to the tech the building provides you'll also get the blueprints for the building itself. So say that you somehow capture a Tesla Coil in the enemy base. While it still stands you are now able to build your own Tesla Coil wherever you want to.

This increases the point of capturing (for example) a Barracks; in vanilla Red Alert the structure is probably short lived in the enemy base so you the point of capturing it won't feel very worthwhile. But in the overhaul you can build a copy of it in your own base while it still stands in the enemy base.

Requirements has also been reworked so that they are more type based and not type+side based. For example in vanilla Red Alert Tanya requires Allied Barracks and Allied Tech Center, while in overhaul she requires Barracks and Tech Center. This increases the point in capturing the enemy barracks, as long as you have a Tech Center (could be a Soviet Tech Center) you'll be able to train her. Likewise if you capture just the Allied Tech Center you will be able to train Tanya from Soviet Barracks, both Allied Barracks and Allied Tech Center provides her "blueprints".

[tab]Capture times has been reduced as well, to 10 seconds (from current 15).
[tab]Exceptions are Oil Derrick, Hospital, Biological Lab and Forward Command, they still take 15 sec.
[tab]Capturing a Conn Yard has been made more difficult (20 sec).

This is all a buff to the Engineer, a unit we typically only see today at the very start for capturing Oil Derricks. I think it would make for more fun gameplay to make capturing more rewarding when successfully pulled off.

This also works as another risk/reward nerf for base expansions; if you expand and build a barracks you can't simply forget about it and leave it undefended since the enemy might capture it.
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight » Fri Jan 27, 2017 8:42 am

Engineer

1) Detects mines.

This is to add a bit of extra use to the engineer if you have him around and spot an enemy minelayer. It also compliments point 3 below.

2) Repairs buildings (instantly like before or slowly over time).

This adds quite a bit of extra use to the engineer. It almost makes it worth training one just to have him around for this. The engineer will slowly repair buildings just like how mechanics slowly repair vehicles and medics repair people. The repair is pretty slow though but will boost regular structure repairing and the Engineeer repairs everything around him all at once. It also stacks so having two Engineers repairs twice as fast. They will run around in the base to repair structures out-of-reach as well (the unit stance can be changed to prevent this).

3) Crumbles walls/mines.

Right-click on the Engineer to deploy his new ability: Ground blast. The blast can be used to crumble walls and/or detonate mines, it does no harm to anything else. This is the answer to enemies that heavily depends on walls, it replaces the ability to crush walls and is a direct counter to "wall spamming". The Engineer is still quite vulnerable though and is easily picked off by the enemy if he sees him coming.

The ground blast comes in the form of a plus sign. It can be deployed right next to the wall to take out a long line of it or it can be deployed at a much safer distance to only punch a hole in the wall (3 tiles wide). If there's no risk you can go close but otherwise it's usually better to deploy from a distance.

Note: Engineer's AutoTarget-trait and movement speed has changed too, see the "Medic and Mechanic"-post on page 6 for more info. In short: The initial stance went from Defend to AttackAnything and the scan radius is 20. The movement speed was marginally reduced by 3 (from 56).
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Last edited by Fortnight on Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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