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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Post by Fortnight »

Line of sight outlines

The vision cones of all buildings and units has been reworked. The main point of this is to reduce the vision of buildings so that it becomes more viable to make sneak attacks. For good vision you have to build troops or ground base defense. Aerial base defense are nerfed vision-wise so they aren't so strong when placed at the edges of the base. Larger vision circles are smoother in appearance and the "small points" at the vision edges that you get with for example infantry has been removed. The vision of the Conn Yard has been improved to increase its role as the base center. Vehicle vision is slightly buffed against infantry vision.

Radar Dome is now the only building providing 10 cells of vision (same as before) which could make it worth while to build another one in an expansion just for the vision (probably not though). Placement of the Dome is more tactical now, place it closer to the enemy and you'll see better when defending. It's safer towards the back though. Place it close to your Conn Yard and you'll waste a bunch of vision but it'll better protect the Conn Yard due to the Dome's cloak detection.

[tab]Note that it appears like the tank below has received a big vision increase but in reality I just increased the vision from 5.0 cells to 5.125 cells.
[tab]Such a small difference makes the line-of-sight look much nicer.
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight »

Attack Dog

1) Twice as fast to train
2) Reduced HP
3) Easy to run over
4) Continues to provide vision 10 sec after death
5) Seek ability to sniff out enemy infantry
6) Easier to select
7) 50% faster attack leap
8) Half cell longer leap
9) 10 cells auto target
10) Can't attack other dogs
11) One more cell of cloak detection

Motivations:

1) It now takes the same amount of time to train as Rifle Infantry, just twice as expensive (as it has always been).

2) At a single HP the dog will now die from any type of damage. Before it could randomly survive some splash damage if it was lucky. Personally I don't like random chance in a strategy game since it adds more gamble elements instead of skill elements, if you shoot the dog it should die as intended.

3) The dog no longer get any warning by the game to auto-dodge vehicles so you can always run it over if it happens to sit still (the vehicle turret can keep shooting elsewhere meanwhile).

4) This is a general scouting buff to a unit that doesn't see much use, especially late game. When the dog dies it dies so quickly that you sometimes don't even see what killed it. Now you do since the loyal dog will continue to report what it sees to its master even as it lies bleeding to death.

5) Right-click the dog to tell it to stand there, sniffing the air for enemy infantry. Lines will appear below the dog indicating the direction to the closest enemy infantry. This could prove useful early game when trying to kill off undefended Engineers but also works well to guard against early sneak attacks as long as you look at the dog every once in a while. There's a max range to scent equal to five times the dog's line-of-sight.

6) The bounding box for selection purposes has been made a little bigger to make it easier to issue an attack on dogs that are coming straight for you.

7 and 8) Once in range to leap and with the correct angle the leap should be successful. Since the dog can still be killed in the middle of a leap this is a reasonable buff. A dog leap can still miss a infantry that is moving, the increased leap speed helps compensate the increased leap distance and reduce the miss randomness (that still happened even without the leap distance increase).

9) This is mainly to counter spies. A single dog next to the Conn Yard will now cover almost your entire base and will go out of its way to kill any spotted spy. (The Spy is unable to kill Attack Dogs in the overhaul btw.)

10) When enemy dogs meet they will leap towards each other at the same time, missing each other. And then leap again and again, forever. Not only does this look silly but it takes away the purpose of both those dogs since they will ignore other infantry that they would otherwise maybe actually successfully kill.

11) The dog (and spy + radar dome) serves a bigger role for stealth detection in the overhaul because the base defenses has a lot smaller detection radius.
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight »

Cloak detection ranges

Range-circles for cloak detection is now visible for everything that has such ability (any type). It was for example hidden for the Attack Dog before.

The actual range for invisibility has been reduced for defensive structures to a constant 2.5 (varied before from 5-8). Sam Site and AA Gun can no longer detect invisible units at all. Radar Dome has had it reduced from 10 to 6. Meanwhile Spy and Attack Dog has gained 1 range for their cloak detection (from 5 to 6). Phase Transport (the only unit in the game that can be invisible while moving) loses its own cloak detection. Mobile Radar Jammer keeps it at the previous range of 6.

This is of course a buff to the usefulness of Phase Transport, it's mainly just used for crushing units at the moment since as soon as you sneak into the enemy base something will detect you. In the overhaul you'll just get spotted by ground base defense if you get really close to them and you of course have to watch out for the Radar Dome but now it won't cover practically the whole base anymore.

The range change also increases the Spy and Attack Dog purpose with their stealth detection, if you are up against England it might be worthwhile to keep one of those units posted in a vulnerable spot.
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight »

Cleaned graphics

The Chinook and Longbow have several gray pixels mixed into their graphics, these have been fixed in the overhaul so that they are correctly fully coated in the player's team color.

The Engineer walk animation has also been fixed. I don't have an image for this but you might have noticed if you order an Engineer to walk to the right it will look weird? It also looks weird if he walks up and to the right. This is because there are two duplicate frames in the e6 shp graphics. The two extra frames has been removed and the rest of the walk frames has been adjusted so now the Engineer will look correctly.

I've also fixed the Shipyard icon. It used to say "Naval Yard", now it actually says "Shipyard". I know that the original name was "Naval Yard" in Red Alert 1 but to me OpenRA's Shipyard feels better, I guess simply renaming the structure to "Naval Yard" instead of changing the icon graphics would have been okay too. :P

The Minelayer icon has been fixed though, from saying "Mine Layer" to say "Minelayer". There's now also two versions of it, one blue and one red for each side (there has always been two mine types, they do the same thing in OpenRA but look different - they did different things in the original game (sidenote)). The original Minelayer icon was shared on both Allies and Soviet and just had green paint on the side.
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight »

Chinook

1) Renamed from "Transport Helicopter" to "Chinook".
2) Movement speed from 112 to 130.
3) Vision down from 10 to 7.
4) Slower landing.
5) Attack-move can be used to prevent it from landing.
6) Faster production time.

Motivations:

1) While its role certainly is a transport helicopter the icon says "Chinook", which is its real-world name.

2) Consider that the APC's movement speed is 142 and you'll see how poor 112 is for a helicopter solely meant for transport. And then the APC is both less expensive and is armed with a weapon. 130 is in the middle of Hind and Longbow speed. It makes the Chinook a lot more usable.

3) The Chinook is mostly used as a cheap scout right now in OpenRA. That's not its purpose. The increased movement speed and reduced vision should bring back its intended role.

I'm not saying that it shouldn't be used for scouting but 10 vision is too much for 900 credits and gives an unfair disadvantage to Russia and Ukraine that doesn't have the Chinook.

4) The Chinook no longer lands or takes off super fast. The super fast landing animation was probably meant to compensate for the slow movement speed but now that it's faster (and with the attack-move thing) a better looking landing speed is okay. Gives an extra moment for the enemy to prevent a base landing or escape.

5) By attack-moving (A) you can keep the Chinook hovering in the air instead of landing where you tell it to move. This was enabled once before in OpenRA but was patched out, probably by mistake?

6) The Chinook can now be made in 16 sec instead of 22 sec. This is because it's just a means of transportation and shouldn't block the queue for too long since you'd rather spend time on producing something that can actually win the war.
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight »

Different parachute chances

Instead of the 50% chance to eject a Rifle Infantry from any aircraft upon death the chance looks like this in overhaul:

MiG: 100%
Yak: 75%
Longbow: 50%
Hind: 10%
Chinook: 0%

The base reasoning for this is the less expensive it is the less chance there should be to get a random free soldier worth 100 credits. But there's also a matter of altitude and speed, the planes are higher up and move faster than the helicopters and therefore have a bigger chance to respond to incoming projectiles.

The Chinook gets a 0% chance because it is so cheap and because it's weird that the pilot manages to escape while the rest of the people being transported are tumbling towards their death. :P
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noobmapmaker
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Post by noobmapmaker »

Nice documentation and there are some sensible things in there if you ask me.
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SoScared
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Post by SoScared »

There's tons of stuff worth checking out here, and yeah the above documentation definitely helped. Impressive work Fortnight!

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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight »

Thanks a lot for the kind words, I appreciate it!

There's much more for me to try and cover, it's a bit tedious to write all of this but posting just a little every once in a while helps.

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Post by Fortnight »

MiG and Yak

1) Changed name from "Mig Attack Plane" to "MiG".
2) Migs can now shoot down aircraft
3) The Mig can now attack ground targets with less minimal distance.
4) Increased MiG price by 200 (to 2200 credits).
5) Changed name from "Yak Attack Plane" to "Yak".
6) MiG missiles are now pin-point accurate and will follow targets for a long time

Motivations:

1) Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-27 or just "MiG" for short is the thing's name, "attack plane" is the thing's type ("attack plane" is now mentioned in the description instead). I don't mind writing Mig instead of MiG though. ;)

2) This is to balance the Allied Longbow's ability to shoot down aircraft. I know that Red Alert's Migs are equipped with Maverick missiles, which are air-to-ground types, but there's no reason why there wouldn't be other types of missiles on the wings as well. Anyway, considering how little HP a MiG has and that it has to sweep a target several times to unload all of its missiles I do think this is a reasonable change to put more purpose into the MiG and see it used more. The Longbow's precision movement and "small attack area" (hovering in the same place) makes it unfair that it can also attack aircrafts while Soviet's high-tech aerial answer cannot.

3) The Maverick's minimal distance was lowered from 3.0 to 1.5 cells. This means that you now can change target and the plane might not need to make another sweep before firing (though you still can't fire at a ground target when straight above it). This is because in the past there have been times I have said "why didn't it fire there" and the reason was simply because it was too close. It didn't look too close though so that's why I'm halving the minimum distance.

4) Increasing the price by 200 since the MiG did gain a lot of strength from point 2 and coupled with its movement speed I feel it does deserve to be a little bit more expensive than the Longbow (even though the Longbow needs less room for an attack and has almost twice the HP of the MiG). The reduced minimum distance also makes it a bit stronger, though that is situational.

5) Same as the first point, Yakovlev Yak-7 is the actual name. "Attack plane" is mentioned in the description instead.

6) This is because if you use Mig vs ships (such as Destroyer) the Mig missiles will sometimes miss the ship and cause no damage (especially if it's moving). The accuracy and increased follow duration makes it now also possible for Migs to kill off Rangers that are so fast that they often could escape the missile range, especially on roads. In overhaul you can be pretty much be sure that the fired missiles will hit their mark (less gambling and more planning).

I've taken care to make sure it takes 2 air-to-air missiles for a Mig to take out a Hind/Longbow and if the helicopters are hovering still the Mig needs to pass them, turn around, and fire again to finish the helicopter off (like the Mig would with a ground target). Unless the plane is manually micromanaged to turn sooner of course. When chasing moving helicopters though the Mig can fire both necessary missiles before passing its target.

Currently the Mig can fire the same amount of air-to-air missiles as air-to-ground missiles but my original intention was that it only could fire two such missiles. I hit a limitation with the engine here however because if you have two ammo pools the Mig will not refill its one empty ammo pool (for air missiles) when you have another one with remaining ammo (for ground missiles). The result was that the Mig followed the enemy plane forever so I had to use just one ammo pool.

I've thought of a way to limit the air-to-air missiles to two now though and will implement the change if I release another version of the overhaul. You simply take 4 from the ammo pool every time an air-to-air missile is fired instead of the usual 1, making sure the actual shot gets subtracted first (so you'll still be able to fire an air-to-air missile with just 1 left in the pool, it isn't perfect but would work with the current engine).
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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight »

Longbow and Hind

1) The Longbow now lands and takes off twice as fast (from 0c43 to 0c88).
2) The Hind has increased landing/take off speed from 0c43 to 0c44 (pretty much not noticable).
3) Longbow turn speed increased from 4 to 6.

Motivations:

1) Due to the small frame of the Longbow it shouldn't need so long to change its vertical position. It now has exactly the same descent/ascent as the Chinook. Sidenote: The Chinook was nerfed from 0c100 to 0c88, which should say something about how fast it goes up/down in vanilla compared to the rest of the helicopters that has 0c43 despite being much smaller. Granted one could argue that a Chinook is specialized in quick deployment and departure but surely they can't be over two times more effective at it than an attack helicopter?

2) This is a super small change and I think I only did it because 43 isn't divisable by 2. I'd be content with keeping the Hind's vertical movement as 0c43 and having the Chinook and Longbow be 0c86, but doesn't 44 and 88 look prettier? :lol: I wonder why 0c43 (4.199% of a cell) is the default, is it just because it was like that in the original Red Alert game or could there be another reason?

3) This makes it so that Hind has 4, Chinook has 5 and Longbow has 6. Longbow is a pretty fast helicopter, it makes sense that its movement speed translates into more agile turning. Try ordering a Longbow to fly straight in the opposite direction that it's currently pointing and remark on how strange it looks with 4 in TurnSpeed. Helicopters usually don't fly backwards/sideways for very long when reversing direction.
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StormWing0
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Overhaul bug report and ideas

Post by StormWing0 »

Needless to say there's a lot of bugs your mod dredged up from lord knows where but also a few ideas for helping you out as well. :) :)


Aside from it feeling like someone went a tad overboard with the splitting the factions up the way you did things seem mostly fine. The main thing I've noticed though is the AI tends to stall out or even lag more than usual due to all the changes made to it rendering it unable to figure out what to do a lot of times. Fair warning when doing anything that will end up changing the AI sometimes simpler is better in that area.

Most of the bugs are AI related but again it seems this mod only made any existing bugs far easier to see like the AI stalling out due to too much to do so sometimes AIs of two different teams won't be fighting even though their units are in firing range of eachother. Normally this only happens when the tech level is restricted in the normal game but in your mod this can happen at any time even during intense fighting.

As for your new faction this thing can't defend itself with any base structures before it gets the supply depot up outside of maybe walls. Might want to add a flame tower or maybe a tank pillbox of some kind for earlier game defenses.

As for removing the units from the allied pillboxes you have to keep in mind while a player can get around this by simply sending units into them the AI has no clue how to garrison buildings or units with cargo slots yet so just something to note for both you and the devs in hopes they fix that. :(

Also noticed the shellmap starting screen's camera movement stops not long after loading up, not sure if bug or you did that, hard to tell.

Oh and for deployable units the AI is totally clueless as to how to use them but I'll see if putting them into the same slot as the MCV has any effect and report back. If not we're all going to have to bug the devs on this too since your new faction has no AA outside rocket soldiers and the deployable scout unit. Maybe add the SAM Site for the rest of the soviet factions to it for that issue or maybe some other kind of early game AA structure.


Another thing I've noticed about your new faction is it progresses way too slow compared to the other factions. While intentional from the looks of it this can mean getting wiped off the map by those players that can get things working faster.


Outside of me tearing things apart in this post it is a good mod but due keep in mind that there is such a thing as overdoing things. That said have fun and don't fear taking it as far as you can to make it work best. :) :) :P

StormWing0
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Post by StormWing0 »

hmm managed to get the AI to correctly use any deployable unit by listing it with the MCVs so the scouts work correctly if named there with them.

As for getting the AI using the new faction to spawn the architects while I've named them like you would any other unit the AI seems to refuse to spawn them for whatever reason. Was thinking a bored dev could look into that mystery.

I'll post up the modded AI files later, oh and fair warning try not to use vehicle. water. and infantry. for things since they are already in use. General rule of thumb is to use the name tag for the unit for structure you are inheriting from if you are going to do that. Sort of like the British spy or the parabomber do for their base units.

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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight »

@StormWing0: I never really focused on the AI when doing this, it was the last thing I did. Red Alert is all about human vs human, AI can be fixed later. It's unfortunate that the AI can't use pillboxes right now for sure but I at least made them build some more turrets instead. I think there are underlaying issues with the AI's code, for example the limit of 1 structure seems to mean 2? Meanwhile 0 is 0? Looked at the C# code and there are <= checks in a couple of places where maybe < would be more appropriate, though it's not like I have studied the code with a magnifying glass. Some limits are ignored completely, for example if you limit Ore Refinery to 1 they might still build three if low on credits.

I had to put MinimumExcessPower to 0 in HackyAI because it was the only way I could get the AI to build barracks before building radar. Too bad because they will get low power sometimes now, but then again they got that before as well. The code has checks for making sure that they have enough power for what they are building (otherwise a Power Plant is built instead) however I don't think pending structures in other queues are taken into account (so when it builds a defense structure at the same time as a non-defense structure it might put itself in low power). Trying to get the AI to work reasonably was absolutely the most frustrating part about making the overhaul. :p

That thing about two armies standing in range of each other and not attacking is nothing I've done, it's just that the AI doesn't have vision of each other (even though their weapons might be in range). Or AttackOrFleeFuzzy.cs is just determining that it's too risky to make a move. I've noticed that the AI seems to be aware of some things that it shouldn't be and refuse to move their troops because of it, for example if you lay mines around your base the AI will (might?) never attack you because (I assume) the pathfinding goes over the minefield. Having a Tanya seems to sometimes spook it from moving into the area as well (even though it shouldn't know about her). I've also seen strange behaviour when using invisible units or spies in disguise, the AI will gather troops around the unit but are unable to attack. Almost like it knows something is wrong there but can't quite figure it out...

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Fortnight
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Post by Fortnight »

Larger auto-target scan radius

Units will now react to enemies even outside their attack range if their stance is set to AttackAnything. It also helps to find targets when attack-moving (A). This makes it so that a scattered group of your units will still be able to help each other against a single enemy.

Say that you have a scattered group of infantry and an enemy infantry comes in from the black shroud at the edge and attacks one of your guys. In vanilla Red Alert your guy would face him alone because even though he has a buddy standing a cell away from him he won't help out because the enemy is just outside his weapon's attack range. In overhaul however he will notice that the fight is going on and will reposition himself so that his weapon gets into attack range.

I think this makes for a more comfortable gaming experience. It removes the annoyance caused by seeing your army not helping each other out and you don't have to micromanage every little minor detail and can therefore focus more on the big picture strategy-wise.

This makes attack-move much more effective at sweeping areas since now your units will stray a few steps from a straight path in order to pick off hostile targets that they come across. It'll help keep a group together too while in vanilla some a-movers that are further away might continue walking even though the rest stopped to attack a target they came across (in overhaul the guys further away will come and help instead of keep on walking). Airplanes have become especially good at sweeping areas since they see much further than their weapon's range, meaning with the changes they react to a much larger area than before.
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