First of all I would like to apologise for the lack of updates.
No, AGSA is not dead and release date is when it is ready.
Being a one man modder with a few helpers in the community, the creation of assets is subject to time constraints, current circumstances and motivation.
In my own case, I have been recently searching for employment and I have not been active on the modding scene. The graphical artists that I am in contact with have also been very busy.
However this is only a temporary hurdle and I've been inspired to write an article on the gameplay approach of AGSA.
Also AlexB recently announced a major update for Ares, bringing it up to 0.D . This delivers a number of new features and gameplay tweaks which will result in more varied and interesting gameplay.
Further news on this update can found here - Ares 0.D
AGSA Gameplay Mechanics
So AGSA is a modification of C&C RA2 YR. It features the main mechanics of the original game which made it so popular at the time i.e. base building, resource collection, a sidebar and the control of diverse and interesting units. There is no constant internet connection required and all technology can be unlocked during a single game.
Issues I Have With The Original Game
However there are certain mechanics which I didn't like in the original game. If you played it online recently or watched videos on websites such as YouTube, you might have noticed the following:
Hundreds of units to choose from but only a few are actually used. The result is a massive blob of the same unit. Examples include Rhino tank spam, Black Eagle spam, Battle Fortress + Prism Tanks, Magnetron and Gattling tanks
Certain unit types being far too effective in a particular role. The Desolator for example makes most infantry useless in combat and can nullify whole groups of vehicles by itself. Seal / Sniper / Virus is another reason to avoid infantry.
Units and structures being too vulnerable to damage. Taking the words from a fellow modder "Everything is made from paper" Solid concrete buildings and tank armor are no match for machine guns and if your weapon has any sort of blast radius, you can say goodbye to any large structure.
Poor economy late game. You've built a large group of units and clashed on the battlefield, but all the income on the map has run out. Everything is constantly on hold and you're waiting for the trickle of income from an oil derrick or watching your miners mining scraps of ore.
Too much focus on clickfest, build order strategies. Micromanagement can definitely demonstrate unit control and turn the outcome of a battle, but a lot of games in YR are heavily focused on a build order and the management of a small group of units. You are meant to be fighting a World War but other it's just a handful of unit involved.
One mistake and good game. Due to the clickfest and build order focus, experimenting with different unit compositions and tactics is actively discouraged. Most games can take 10-15 minutes top, as the other player has basically crippled the other players combat capability with a single action.
How I Approached These Issues in AGSA
Now before I explain my approach to these "issues", I understand that for many gamers, these may not be issues for you. I can enjoy faster paced RTS games.
However I see in the market, that many RTS games are actually more focused on squad tactics or are a clickfest. This has resulted in the MOBA genre, which heavily emphasises individual unit control.
I wanted a RTS where the strategy element was emphasized more than the real-time aspect, but I didn't want to spend years moving a unit or resourcing gathering. The original Supreme Commander for example had the scale of an epic war but you might be spending 90% of the game collecting resources and building an experimental.
So here is my approach to some gameplay mechanics in AGSA:
Every unit has strategic value. Regardless of your tech progression in a match, unit diversity is essential. No units are just cannon fodder and the combat effectiveness of infantry is significantly improved in AGSA, in terms of durability and combat prowess, some of this was covered in the garrison article which can be found here AGSA Urban Combat Overview As a result instead of a single unit blob, you are encouraged to create a diverse range of units, to cover every combat situation. This is reflective of real-life armies which require collaboration to achieve objectives e.g. tanks are not the sole winner of a battle, you need infantry to control an area and an air force needs a secure airspace to operate in.
Unit balancing. Units and structures have been completely overhauled, with a focus on roles. The original game uses a rock, scissors, paper approach to weapon damage but this effect is much more noticeable in AGSA. As an example AA guns are extremely deadly to slow moving bombers and VTOL aircraft but fast moving jets can snipe these emplacements, although in the best case scenario you will want ground forces to attack them or sabotage the power network before an airstrike.
Units and structures are more durable. This is most noticeable with infantry who can self heal to full health by defaults. Vehicles and naval vessels can also self heal automatically but this capped to 50%. The healing units and structures in AGSA provide a fixed, aura healing effect (non stackable) - as a result a single unit or structure can repair multiple units at the same time. Key structures in a base are more durable, due to their increased value or functions. As a result you will need a large force to take over a base.
Late game economy options and increased resource value. In AGSA ore and gem graphics will eventually be replaced by supplies. Supplies are worth more and regenerate faster. You can also build additional miners (supply trucks in AGSA) at a much faster rate. This makes the early economy easier to establish and shifts the focus to base and unit production. In the late game, all factions have access to economy support structures which provide a passive income (like the original oil derrick). In team games, commanders have access to a fund transfer ability. This allows you to deploy a $3000 cash crate on the battle. Thus commanders can share resources (beware of enemy thieves though!). Since all factions also have a spy unit, you can infiltrate enemy supply centres for an income boost as well. As mentioned in the Urban Combat overview, garrisoning civilian structures will also provide a small but constant supply of income as well. In the PRA late game, your forces can kill enemy units and structures for a bounty (value is 20% of their build cost) as well.
Micromanagement focuses on unit control and reactions to current situations. Since unit roles and counters are much more diverse, the planning and construction of a larger force is essential and it needs to adapt to a changing battlefield. There is no solution to fit every scenario in AGSA.
A grand strategy instead of a single action. Due to the stronger economy and the need for a larger army in AGSA, one mistake won't make a comeback from you or your opponent impossible. Instead it's a number of successful strikes which will wear down the defenses and production capabilities of your enemies. Changing your attack force on the fly and attempting new strategies is actively encouraged. If you don't succeed the first time, regroup and try a different approach. In WW2, the Invasion of Normandy by the Western Allies did not end the war immediately with the Nazis. Instead it was a combination of this, the destruction of Nazi military production and the occupation of Berlin which achieved these goals.
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