Planetary Defenses I: Mines
What we started with
When we started working on mines, they were a oft-requested addition to Sins, and pretty novel. With Entrenchment...not so much. Entrenchment adds deployable mines of different types - homing, slowing, and basic proximity mines are all in the game. Entrenchment's way of doing things is actually pretty easy: pick a general area where you want to place mines, click, and the mines are scattered closely in that area. The reason we couldn't copy this exactly is simple: we want to bring you the first release of the mod for just Sins, no expansion purchases necessary.
What they did
Not a whole lot. Mines have, to my knowledge, never been implemented in base Sins and Entrenchment mods tend to leave them alone or make extremely minor changes.
What we did
I bet you're going to say "hey, you guys did this already". At least if you've paid attention over the last year or so. Fact is, that old mines video is..well..old. And pretty generic. We used placeholder models and only showed the basics: the things exploding. I talked about their gameplay role just as generically. With the alpha pushing ahead at full steam, I was forced to narrow down how the mines would operate, and how they would be disabled and destroyed. Even now it's not set in stone. Here, I'll give you a peek at how it's most likely going to work (and does in the current build).
Mines are a way of making an enemy player go where you want. They do a lot of damage and you don't want to hit one. Mines' traditional power was clearly predicated on fear of hitting them, but differently from the mod: in real life, minesweepers were necessary to detect and defuse them. In Dawn of Victory, mines are almost completely overt. Your enemy will see them and purposefully navigate around them. This is their strength, though - build a spiral based minefield maze around your planet's gravity well and the other guy'll be forced to follow that maze or spend time disabling each mine. As a defender, your mouth should be watering here: if your enemy screws up, he takes a lot of damage, and if he doesn't, you get free reign to hit him anywhere you want to in the well. You can also position your ships anywhere you want as the proximity sensors on mines will not fire on friendlies.
So how do you clear these things? Entrenchment makes Sins mines completely invincible except to minesweeping scouts. This didn't end up being very conducive to the gameplay we wanted to provide, so we scrapped this model. Mines' ranges are larger than the ranges of most ships except torpedo cruisers, so simply running into them and blowing them up with guns doesn't typically work. Instead, you'll need to jam them with ships like the Kalinin Resupply Cruiser, then move in to destroy them before the jammer runs out of power. Obviously, the quicker you destroy one mine, the quicker you can get to the rest with your remaining power reserves, so a couple speedy corvettes are great for mine-clearing.
Of course, there is an element of faction-specificness to mines as well. Soviet players can research and build a mine with flak guns which protects it against strike craft raids (unfortunately, not against railgun cruisers), and the German player has a variety of ships throughout the game that drop our old favorites, R/T (Remote/Timed) mines. Soviet mines tend to do more damage than German ones by virtue of German ships being able to pick them off easier from range with railguns earlier in the game than the Soviets can pick German mines off.