OpenRA Map Mutations

A thread for the discussion, development, and release of 'mutators' that affect standard gameplay on maps!

Information and discussion for custom maps and mods.
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Jormungandr
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Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:44 am

OpenRA Map Mutations

Post by Jormungandr »

This came to me a few days ago, but after discussion with a few OpenRA players mid-game and in-lobby, I decided to make this more of a community project than just me doing it alone without input and then randomly releasing them.

So, what are mutators?

Mutators are simple rule-set changes to the default game that alter the gameplay in either minor or massive ways. In some shape or form, they have existed since the original Doom, and they have been seen in games such as Starcraft 2, Unreal Tournament, Left 4 Dead 1 and 2 -- even on Counter Strike servers where everyone is equipped with one weapon or the level has low gravity!

In OpenRA's case, they'll be done by editing the chosen map's .yaml files.

What are some examples?

Four simple examples would be that all Engineers are now Combat Engineers: they can repair husks like a Mechanic, shoot lone infantry with a pistol, can repair vehicles in the field like a Mechanic. The second would be one where the Allies and Soviets can build Outposts, much like in C&C 3 where you build a Surveyor unit. The trade-off would be that for each player they can only one Construction Yard can be present on the map at any time. A third example would be a single Tiberian Dawn or Dune 2000 unit added to each factions' roster. The final and fourth example would be the Allies and Soviets each being able to build a Spy that can hijack vehicles, too.

Think of them as pebbles causing ripples in Red Alert's standard gameplay.

More extreme rule mutations would be something like the Tiberian Dawn units implemented and rebalanced to fit with Red Alert's gameplay, a map where every unit and structure has a limit (e.g. 20 Riflemen, 10 Rocket Soldiers, 1 Radar Dome and 2 Barracks, et cetera), forcing the player to be more tactical with their strategies and to cherish veteran units -- the latter could also be combined with the former to create an interesting mix, too -- to infantry being replaced with the German version of Red Alert's robot infantry!

I'm thinking this could be a weekly thing.

A mutation idea is discussed and developed on, the yaml files written, and the map for which it'd be best to play on (ya know, for fun?) selected after a discussion: after, the map is edited and posted up for play.

So, let's get started! I'll kick it off with the next post. :evil:

Jormungandr
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Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:44 am

Re: OpenRA Map Mutations

Post by Jormungandr »

My first idea is one of the above examples, specifically the Super Spy (we'll call them 00 Agents) concept first.

Basically, every Soviet and Allied faction gain the ability to build the 00 Agent upon constructing a Radar Dome.

It's modded after the British Spy, naturally -- in addition to its usual Spy behavior and the silenced pistol attack, it can also hijack vehicles like the Hijacker and be stealthed upon remaining still for a time. The trade-offs would be time to train, expense, and their fragility.

The idea of this is to implement a bit more of an espionage angle into the normal Red Alert multiplayer gameplay, such as hiding him in a moving enemy blob, and when a battle is going on, it sneakily steals that Mammoth Tank or Mobile Radar Jammer to turn the tide of the battle in your favour. Or maybe it just assassinates that annoying ass Tanya murdering your troops. Or, it infiltrates an enemy economy by stealing Ore Trucks (like the Hijacker) or infiltrating the Refinery for a nice cash bonus.

Thoughts?

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KOYK_GR
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Re: OpenRA Map Mutations

Post by KOYK_GR »

Apaches that shoot rockets and bullets
Chinook for both soviet and allies
Mig that shoots air aswell
Yak that can fire torpedoes on ships

Jormungandr
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Re: OpenRA Map Mutations

Post by Jormungandr »

KOYK_GR wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:52 am
Apaches that shoot rockets and bullets
Chinook for both soviet and allies
Mig that shoots air aswell
Yak that can fire torpedoes on ships
Liking these ideas.

Longbow missiles can target air and ground, and a secondary weapon is the Blackhawk's chainguns? May need to increase the ammo pool by a third, in that case.

Could return the Helipad to the Soviets and allow them to build Hinds and Chinooks, or just allow the Chinook to be built at the Airfield? The former would open up the gameplay by giving Soviet players the choice between choppers or planes, once they construct a Radar Dome.

Air-to-Air MiGs would be a good counter for the enhanced Longbows (F/A Longbows?) -- maybe give them an extra two missiles.

For the Yaks: either a new unit that fires two torpedoes before needing to reload, or a modification of the existing Yak that allows it to fire torpedoes from its shared ammo pool with its machine guns?

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Punsho
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Location: Lithuania

Re: OpenRA Map Mutations

Post by Punsho »

Unit's can have multiple ammo pools afaik

Jormungandr
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Re: OpenRA Map Mutations

Post by Jormungandr »

Punsho wrote:
Sat Jan 02, 2021 2:00 pm
Unit's can have multiple ammo pools afaik
That's good, but what would be simpler better for gameplay? A player keeping an eye on two ammo types on a unit, or keeping an eye on one and reloading when needed/choosing to reload when needed, like how players use Yaks and MiGs now?

Ivory_Lion
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Re: OpenRA Map Mutations

Post by Ivory_Lion »

I like these ideas KOYK_GR.

Think I'll use them in a mod me and a buddy are making. A zombie apocalypse mod. I know at least one or two exist but as a game dev I can't help but want to put my own ideas in.

The Apache, Chinook, etc suggestions really help address some balancing I would like to see in RA anyway, and I'll need to give the human factions in my mod all the help they can get without them feeling like a new faction.

No intent to derail the thread, just wanted to say I'll be borrowing them. I really like the original map mutations idea OP, can't wait to play them. May contribute if I have some time open up.

Jormungandr
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Re: OpenRA Map Mutations

Post by Jormungandr »

Okay, so my current thoughts are:

Longbows have a secondary chaingun, which uses the TD Apache sounds, to specifically target infantry. The rub is that this may render Blackhawks obsolete/unused.
Solutions:
A) Longbows replace Blackhawks. However, this makes them severely overpowered versus Soviet players early--mid game. Perhaps a greater vulnerability to flak and missile damage by about a third?
B) Longbows' ammo pool is shared, so although they have a greater utility role, a player will have to pick their targets wisely/micro them. While the Blackhawk would retain some role usefulness, they'd be not a first choice and may become depreciated to the point of a Soviet player using MAD Tanks during regular play.
C) Blackhawks are given another role or are enhanced to pull double-duty -- an infantry transport is out, as that'd bite into the Chinook's role, so ideas?

MiG missile can hit air. As they're now pulling double-duty from a shared ammo pool, they get two extra missiles. The trade-off would be longer reload times.

Yaks have torpedoes in some fashion.
A) One unit with a shared ammo pool that can fire two torpedoes per strafing run.
B) Two units. The default Yak and a Supermarine Clone that fires two torpedoes before having to return to reload.

Soviet Chinook and Hind.
A) The Soviets can build the Chinook from the Airfield, allowing for greater tactical play. It opens up more strategies to a player while sticking to familiar tech progression/branching.
B) The Soviets get the Helipad returned to them, allowing them to build Hinds and Chinooks. This would be a tech-branch, allowing a Soviet player to either choose planes or Hinds or just push through to a Tech Center.

Soviet Hind:
A) The Hind remains as is -- basically the Soviet Blackhawk.
B) The Hind gains rockets from a shared ammo pool.
C) The Hind gains rockets from a secondary ammo pool from its chainguns.
D) Either or nor B and C, and the Hind can transport infantry -- again, this bites into the Chinook's role

Submarine:
A) Has a small, bow-mounted machine gun or flak cannon to take pot-shots at enemy helicopters and planes (like the Missile Sub's AA missiles) -- this'd break the unfair advantages seen in Allied v Soviet naval battles, where Destroyers and Black Hawks can dominate early Soviet navy (though, Yak Torpedo Bombers may solve this issue).
B) Soviet Submarines have a greater resistance to Blackhawk machine gun fire, meaning that three Blackhawks can't decimate four Submarines two seconds after surfacing and preventing an Allied player from camping areas.

Country Ideas for another mutation:

Spain.
Spanish F/A Longbow.
Replaces the default Longbow; has two extra missiles; is buffed by about a fourth. Late game unit.
They need another lower-tech unit or ability, but not sure what?

Italy.
Italian Light Tank.
Basically just a slightly buffed Light Tank with a cannon that does damage versus enemy armour and buildings, compared to the "pew pew" light tank gun.

Maybe something like Snipers (a limit of five?) for a Soviet Belarusian faction, and SU-24 bombers as buffed MiG replacements?

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