RA:0 mod – an experiment in moving the hind to soviets + even more controversial changes

Explanation, videos and test maps included

Discussion about the game and its default mods.
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avalach21
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Joined: Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:01 pm

RA:0 mod – an experiment in moving the hind to soviets + even more controversial changes

Post by avalach21 » Mon Jul 30, 2018 9:43 am

Hi guys. After the latest excellent playtest’s release and the continued maturation of the OpenRA engine, I was inspired to create and share some ideas I have had brewing. I have created a modification that attempts to realign the unit rosters to more faithfully reflect the original Red Alert's while doing as little disruption as possible to current OpenRA balance. My hope is to not only make the factions more accurate to their source material, but to also open up new gameplay dynamics and strategies.

I believe discussion of this topic is important to OpenRA’s overall development goals as I think having unit rosters that accurately reflect the original Red Alert’s is one of the most important and effective ways of retaining the feel and nostalgia of the original source material. I also believe that as the engine continues to mature and develop, it gives us more options and opportunities to use its enhancements to move closer to the game's original feel.

My intention is not to do any sort of elaborate/complex reworking, but to do as little tweaking as possible to get all units realigned to their original places. I realize that some of these changes will have a great effect on game balance… I have done minimal number tweaking to balance at this point and would love to have input from others if anyone else is interested in these changes.

These ideas were largely inspired by the “If hinds were returned to soviet...” viewtopic.php?f=82&t=20467 discussion as well as the many other times this topic seems to come up.

A list of all the changes made:

Starting with the most drastic-

Longbow:

• The Longbow has been changed to have both the machine gun from TD's Apache as well as Hellfire Missiles from RA's Longbow.
• The Longbow can now be built with a helipad (after radar dome), as the Hind currently is, and comes with its chaingun fully loaded.
• Missiles do not load/reload unless an Allied Tech Center is built.
• The Longbow does NOT come with a full loadout of Hellfires when built. (Even if an ATEK is present). This is by design (allowing the extra loading time of missiles to function as an “offset” adding build time on to unlock the Longbow ‘s Tier 3 abilities)
• Hellfires cannot be used to target infantry (this makes logical sense (heat seeking missiles have tough time locking on to individual infantry vs structure/vehicle/aircraft?), does a bit to balance out its abilities, and makes the unit feel better to use. I am open to advice on different approaches to alternative ways this can/should function)

Pros:
• This gives us the opportunity to move the Hind back to the Soviets.
• No new units/new unit icons/ new unit art etc. is needed, keeping the game faithful to its source material
• No drastically new functions are being introduced… the added chaingun functionality is ported straight from TDs Apache’s functionality keeping things familiar and classic-Westwood authentic.
• This gives an opportunity to show off some of OpenRA’s more advanced engine functions in a (hopefully) tasteful/logical way, potentially via one of its premiere default mods (if these changes were to ever be implemented).
• Could potentially be a fun and interesting new unique unit concept and makes logical sense, real-life wise and gameplay wise. Really allows the Longbow to live up to its “gunship” description. Almost gives it a “Mammoth tank” in the sky feel, while still maintaining its “glass cannon” achilles heel aspect.

Cons:
• Isn’t authentic to the unit’s original functionality in the original game. No unit in C&C history (that I can think of) has ever had 2 different ammo pools.
• Will obviously have effects on balance. Would definitely require some number tweaking (unit speed? DPS considerations…? Ammo amounts?) and further refinements.
• May be some difficulties in balancing price value/build time between what a tier 2 and tier 3 unit should be. I have some further ideas on this and would love input from anyone else interested.

Quick Videos:
https://giant.gfycat.com/RareComplicate ... lamute.mp4 - Longbow at tier 2.. only has chain gun. Can’t load missiles yet.
https://giant.gfycat.com/SerpentineDead ... leagle.mp4 - Allied Tech Center is built allowing Longbow to fill its missiles. Can shoot missiles and chaingun simultaneously. Cannot load missiles when Allied Tech Center is sold (or destroyed).

Helipad:

The Helipad is now available to both Allies and Soviets, just as it originally was in the game’s initial release. This more closely matches the original game and opens up new gameplay & strategy possibilities. It also gives the opportunity to reintroduce the Chinook or “Transport Helicopter” to the Soviets, as was available to them in the original game. Also offers the ability to try an alternative idea offered by Sleipnir (with "it" being the Hind):
Sleipnir wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:29 pm
There is no reason for them to stay in similar roles. Things could be changed to open up new options of playing and maybe even solve other issues in the process. An obvious idea that has been raised before is to give it a couple of transport slots, or it could become a faction-specific replacement for the Yak similar to Germany's upgraded Chronosphere. The stated goal of this thread was to look for ideas like these, which could be considered by whoever wants to take on the challenge of trying to make it work.
Also thought that Anjew’s quote was relevant:
anjew wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 3:06 am
I agree, this is quite pointless because the actual problem is not Allies lack of APC, its Soviet lack of chinook. This creates an imbalance on any map with oil inaccessible by cliffs. The obvious 'fix' is to not make maps like that but that also isnt a fix

Hind:

The Hind is now available to the Soviets, as it was in the original game. This seems to be important to a considerable amount of OpenRA players as the discussion consistently comes up with a variety of ideas and suggestions on ways to achieve this change. Moving the Hind back to the Soviets would bring OpenRA’s RA mod closer to matching the original source material and also opens up new gameplay possibilities. A common discussion point is that the hind and yak would be too similar, and I believe Sleipnir made an excellent & interesting response to this point:
Sleipnir wrote:
Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:43 am
Point b kind of misses the point IMO, as this topic was about making sure that the units don't overlap.

Consider the following: we added support for strafing weapons a few releases ago, but making Yaks strafe was rejected because it would have broken its role as a flying sniper unit. This was a real shame because strafing is a fun mechanic that is completely missing in OpenRA's RA, and it matches expectations for the units behaviour both from reality and the original RA.

The Yak could be positioned as a low-tier fast scout that can maul infantry blobs (because of the strafing runs) but is ineffective at sniping individual light armor units. The Hind could then slot in as a more general support unit, with a gun that can lock on specific targets and transport slots for 5 infantry (with a tweak to the passenger logic so that it only needs to land when actively picking up or dropping off infantry). The Mig would then come in at the high tier, roughly mirroring the progression for Allied naval.

IMO this fits in quite nicely with the specialist micro theme and also resolves the soviet air transport issue.
And another sure to be controversial idea:

APC:

APC has been returned to the Allies as it was in the original game. I have currently put the APC behind a Service Depot requirement (maybe Radar instead? ) to immediately reduce its impact on balance a bit. I’m sure there could be some number tweaking here to lessen its impact on balance… My hope is that the flak track can fully replace the APCs role for the Soviets (which will be discussed next)

Flak Track:

The Flak Track now has 5 infantry capacity (as it did in RA2). This will allow the Soviets to have an infantry transport at the same point they would otherwise with the APC. This added functionality makes sense as it will allow the Flack Track to even further embody the functionality of the unit it’s based on/inspired by (from RA2). My hope would be that the Flak Track could be tweaked a bit as needed to fill the gap of the APC leaving. I would also consider looking at tweaking grenadiers/flamethrowers to get more involved at this stage in the game.

Video: https://giant.gfycat.com/UnsteadyJoyousBordercollie.mp4 - Flak truck in action with its new transport ability.

One final change:

Thief:

The thief is now available for the Allies, bringing us our last change to fully reflect the original Red Alert’s unit roster. From the sounds of it, the hijacker is on the cutting board, and if he is to be officially cut, this gives us the opportunity to bring the Thief back into the game… The Hijacker is currently broke/clunky, and is not authentic to the original game so I have disabled him. It also seems to be used very infrequently and is used more as a troll/joke unit than anything else. At a minimum, if the Thief is going to fill this joke/troll role, I’d rather have it do so as being an authentic unit to the original.

The first important point is that spies no longer steal credits when they enter a refinery. My goal eventually would be to have a spy entering a refinery function more closely to the original game by exposing the enemy’s current amount of credits/ current ore stockpiles/ resources gained per minute etc. (some kind of economic info) and then give the Thief its original duty of stealing credits.

In order to make the thief a little more interesting/useful, I would consider giving it either something like the Hijacker’s cloaking ability, or another idea which I currently have enabled in this mod: The thief has the hijacker’s vehicle capture ability, but he can only hijack Ore Trucks and Supply Trucks. This keeps with the thief’s role/function of stealing economy-related assets and also will have you think twice about sending credits to a teammate late in the game without some sort of convoy protection. Also from my experience, it seems one of the most fun/entertaining/& often used strategies with the hijacker was to steal opponents Ore trucks. This will also give the thief some late game usefulness if someone has a poorly defended econ expansion that is vulnerable to thievery. I realize that the vehicle capture function is still a bit glitchy but it would be fun to still see it somehow incorporated if it can be fixed with some further development, and this could be an interesting way to do so.

Final Thoughts
zinc wrote:
Sat Mar 03, 2018 2:34 pm
For the "two different Longbows" idea...

As I understand it, the Longbow was an upgraded type of Apache. So standard Apache at tier 2 and Longbow at tier 3?

I also tried this, having the Apache and Longbow as separate units (based mostly on the ideas of Inq detailed in the thread mentioned above) and it seemed to work ok. If others think this is an idea worth testing, I can upload a map with this idea implemented. If anyone would like to seclude any of these changes to test them one at a time rather than all at once, let me know and I will upload a map as such.

One last thing I would like to point out is that after making all these changes, the only exception to the original unit roster would be the Flak track.. and this seems to be a widely accepted insertion as it feels natural, is based on a familiar unit from RA2 (which after my changes is even more authentic) and has an absolutely critical role in gameplay balance.

I understand these are controversial suggestions, but I would appreciate any open minded discussion, criticism and input from developers, modders, fans and players. Thank you for taking the time to read this and test the maps if you are interested :-)

I also realize there are likely slicker/more proficient ways to implement some of the mechanics I have come up with. I just came across this Actor Upgrades article which gives me some further ideas on how to implement these functions more cleanly. There are some concerns with how the Longbows behave upon their first loading of missiles as well as how they currently do not leave the helipad when their chaingun ammo is full and the tech center is not built yet. I'm already not 100% crazy about the intricate details of how aircraft behave currently in OpenRA, but I would appreciate any ideas/suggestions on how to make this behave just a little bit more smoothly.

Test Maps:
1v1: https://resource.openra.net/maps/28157/
2v2: https://resource.openra.net/maps/28194/
3v3: https://resource.openra.net/maps/28159/
4v4: https://resource.openra.net/maps/28160/

Again, thanks to the developers for putting together this amazing engine. Thanks to anyone who takes the time to read/respond to/test any of these ideas! Long live C&C!!

SirCake
Posts: 272
Joined: Thu Feb 04, 2016 5:40 pm

Re: RA:0 mod – an experiment in moving the hind to soviets + even more controversial changes

Post by SirCake » Fri Aug 03, 2018 2:57 pm

Nice, one of the ideas I had on shelf too :) Though it'd be even more radical than this one.
Im curious on the responses of people to this ^^

noobmapmaker
Posts: 1084
Joined: Wed Dec 10, 2014 11:59 am

Re: RA:0 mod – an experiment in moving the hind to soviets + even more controversial changes

Post by noobmapmaker » Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:19 am

Always good to try out such things! Theory and reality are two different things, and who knows how it plays out.

From what I understand all other unit stats and balance are kept as is?

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