Buildings, Part 2
Would you like to know more about buildings? Last time we started off with some baseline concepts, some of which had been touched upon briefly during that treatise on buildings from last month. Let's quickly recap what we've figured out last time.
- Buildings are important, due to victory conditions and player options
- It's no fun to lose all your gameplay options, or stalemate
- Repairing buildings is unfun and distracts/derails gameplay
- Some buildings don't contribute to your options, which is unfun
- Some buildings are decoupled from victory, which is nice
- Any victory-required building should do something useful
That's a pretty good start. We've also identified some of the offending buildings that are not so useful. The Power Plant, Radar Dome, and probably Service Depot aren't really great. These need varying degrees of help to be useful.
The Service Depot
It's a cement pad on the ground that lets you repair (for a price), and also re-arm your minelayers. It's also an obvious oddball, having a low profile, and no weakpoint/MCT. This stupid thing also takes up a lot of space. Seems surprisingly straightforward to fix it up:
- No longer counts for base-cripple victory
- Still repairs vehicles and re-arms minelayers
- Smaller size to fit into bases easier
Maybe it seems like a bit of a cop-out, but the Service Depot is simply going to become a bit of a bonus feature to your base the way Ore Silos or base defenses are. May as well give it a new model, but it's basically just an octagon on the ground. In Red Alert it was quite huge although scale was crazy in that game. With Mammoth Tanks the size of Power Plants, and fast-flying Migs trying to land on them, they had to be huge (also a holdover from the original C&C). But, honestly, they don't need to be that huge and I'd be satisfied if a Mammoth was slightly spilling over the edge of the inner area. Have a few Service Depots that Kane000 whipped up as we try to figure out a look and scale for them.
The Radar Dome
The Radar Dome gives you radar; at least that's the theory. In reality it just makes you lose radar if it dies, low power happens, or you get jammed. We'd like to make radar a lot more interesting, first of all. Radar should give you a bit more information, so we're going to introduce some helpful icons to help you distinguish between sorts of units a bit better. Every unit won't have a unique icon of course, but you can probably count on the Medic, Mechanic, Volkov, Tanya, maybe Engineer getting something special. May as well give defenses, and small buildings such as the Ore Silo some different icons as well while we're at it. Special objectives or points of interest can also have a special mark, perhaps visible from "across the map" the way the existing superweapon flares appear.
But as to the Radar Dome itself, to help you make use of better radar, we'd like to introduce a much better map system. That's a bit of a project to design and implement, and a bit ambitious, but what we're looking at trying to have is a multi-purpose map of the battlefield with overlayed coordinates that you can pull up (press M?) to see the lay of the land. If you have an active Radar Dome, you will quite possibly also be able to see enemies at a greater distance marked on this map, instead of just as distance-and-vector dots like the current radar display gives you. The idea is to have the bare map always available to promote team coordination and to help you learn the maps.
The map will also be used by various support abilities. These are still being devised, but we've got some ideas which I'll go over. The Radar Dome itself will provide you with the ability to call in off-map barrages to mess up an incoming attack force, clear a chokepoint, or get defenders and mines out of the way ahead of your own assault. Probably not super great against buildings but more for harming units.
Helipads aren't actually in bad shape, although they stand out now as being the last proper building without an MCT/weakpoint. As part of "make all buildings more important and more functional" as well as "more mobility for infantry," we've mentioned the Allies getting a Transport Helicopter of some sort. And, these will probably continue to be able to summon up Transport Helicopters from offmap even after they die. They won't, however, be able to let you purchase or re-arm helicopters after being crippled.
Along with the new, small Service Depot, we're looking at perhaps providing alternative reload sites for existing helicopters to avoid congestion around the main helipad. These alternative sites will have a different look (circular, and based on the purchase icon) and less health, and will not allow vehicle purchases on their own. They're just there for refilling your ammunition, and possibly as a place to fight over on the map. This should let a team that decides to go air-heavy operate more smoothly.
Functional base Helipads will most likely let you have the ability to summon up a Transport Helicopter anytime, to make a quick escape or quick attack.
I mentioned teams going air-heavy, and some of you with an ear to the ground might've heard rumblings about fixed wing aircraft support. No timeframes there, but we'd really like to have Yak and Mig aircraft at some point. We discussed the possibility of an Allied jet of some sort in the past but that's an argument for another day.
Building Function Overview
Here's a rundown of base structure functions and special abilities in a convenient list. Remember, this is all subject to change and balancing, so don't get overexcited if you see something you really like (or something you really hate). We'd like to hear your feedback of course. Special abilities will no longer be available when the building is crippled, and will not be available when the building is not present on the map.
- Basic Infantry available for purchase always
- Required for advanced infantry (with techup)
- Arsenal Ability - Purchase infantry remotely from a deployed arsenal
- Map always available
- Required for long range radar overlay view
- Artillery Ability - Call in explosive anti-vehicle/infantry attacks
- Refines any ore dumps
- Required for free AI Ore Trucks
- Ore worth more while Refinery's active
- Always build Transport Helicopters
- Required for attack helicopters
- Reloads attack helicopters
- Transport Ability - Call in a Chinook to a point on the map
- Always build Supply Truck, ???
- Required for advanced vehicles (with techup)
- Supply Ability - Repairs and reloads for vehicles at deployed supply stash
- Required for Demolition Truck
- A-Bomb Ability - Superweapon for high damage over wide area
- GPS Sat / Spy Plane - Super radar revealing hidden infantry, mines, submarines, full range on radar map
- Some other abilities / perks - Required for Hero units?
- Possibly long-range radar jam?
- Passive base repairs while active
- (Later) Construct defenses
Naval Yard / Sub Pen
- Repairs naval units
- Always build basic watercraft
- Required for advanced naval units (with techup)
- Naval Mines Ability - Deploy some mines?
- Lose power if it dies
- Maintainence Ability - Allows Techs/Engineers to repair mapwide
- Chronoshift Ability - Units near activation gain free chronoshifting ability for a minute
- Iron Curtain Ability - Units near activation gain free immunity ability for a minute
This is on a similar topic, since everybody loves blowing up buildings with C4. You know what's not fun about attacking buildings with Engineers or Tanya? Running out of C4. Tanya in Red Alert never ran out of C4, that's for sure. And if you are going to be regaining your health automatically since refills are gone, why not C4? An enterprising player will be able to stay in your base and stay annoying, with C4 automatically refilling on a timer. Drop your C4 and run away to hide off radar or heal up, and you'll get more later. A side effect of this is the ability to make C4 itself less potent, since you now have an infinite supply like any other weapon.
So for a Tanya to outright kill a building, it might require her to place a couple on the weakpoint -- no need to write off a building just because you heard "Explosive Charge Placed," and you might have time to repair enough to make the building survive longer if you have an Engineer. Use that time to send up some soldiers to do something about the Tanya, perhaps. It also means dropping C4 on the outside of a heavily defended building will be a more attractive option.