Post news RSS DTA v9.7 released! New advanced infantry, gameplay changes and TS anniversary celebration

Detailing some of the design choices in our latest update.

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We just released DTA version 9.7, with a bunch of new maps, gameplay improvements and also new units! In this news post we'll go over the most important changes and expand on our motivations behind them.

GDI Grenade Launcher


Allied Machine Gunner


First, there's the new tech center tier advanced infantry. Nod already had the reworked Chem Warrior, while Soviets had the powerful radar-tier Flamethrower and the Shock Trooper, so GDI and Allies were missing out on this front. But not anymore.

For GDI we settled on something that could mix into their general faction design of having a balance of speed and power. These Grenade Launchers deal a lot of damage to all targets and can keep up with Medium Tanks and Rocket Launchers, increasing the damage output of mobile GDI divisions. If used on their own, they're able to kite slower targets like Nod Light tanks or Soviet Heavy tanks with hit-and-run tactics thanks to their range and fast speed. They have relatively fragile armor for their cost and explode on death (relatively less violently than regular grenadiers or flamethrower infantry, but it still hurts a bit), which means that using them as fire-support for Mammoth Tanks that can take the hurt for them is not a bad idea either.

The Allies get the Machine Gunner, which fearsomely shreds all lightly-armored targets and also deals significant damage to tanks. With their heavy armor they are very hard to take down, and they synergize incredibly well with Medics that further strengthen their survivability. The downside to all this power and strength is their relatively high cost and very slow speed, due to which it's a good idea to transport them with APCs or train them directly on the front-line from a deployed Enforcer.

Allied Medium Tank

Allied Medium Tank


Sometimes, adding new units warrants changes to existing ones. The Allied Radar tier (T2) felt a bit shallow for us, as getting the Radar mainly gave access to the Artillery. It was common to just "skip" that tier and quickly rush to Tech Center (T3) that gave access to all the really good stuff. We previously couldn't change this because our Tech Center tier also gave access to only a few units, but now with the Machine Gunner at T3, we were able to demote the Allied Medium tank to T2. The main point that warranted the high tech requirement was its very low price of 725 (for identical stats to the T1 GDI Medium tank at 800), which we now increased to 750 to keep it balanced in the T2 mid-game.

Behemoth

Soviet Behemoth Tank


We've had mixed feelings towards the Behemoth for a while now. It used to be too powerful and was always quickly rushed out by people who mained Soviet, which wasn't very exciting. Then we nerfed it, and it has felt too weak afterwards. But simply making it more effective again would've brought the old tech-rushing issue back. As a solution, we improved it to turn and accelerate faster so it's less clunky to use, but also gated it behind the Service Depot, so it now requires both the Soviet Tech Center and the Service Depot to be built. This makes tech-rushing towards it too expensive and forces it to stay out from the early- and midgame, giving us room to balance it properly for the late-game. We likely aren't done with the Behemoth yet and will improve its position in the game further in future updates.

Chrono Vortex

Chrono Vortex


You might remember that we recently re-balanced our Nuke, making it deal more damage to small structures to widen its valid usage options. Now we've given similar treatment to the Chrono Vortex: utilizing our custom damage logic I wrote for our build of the "Vinifera" TS engine extension, the Chrono Vortex now deals more consistent damage and more damage to small objects. We also increased its damage and duration to further make it more powerful, but added a slight delay to its damage, so if you spot it in time, you're able to move your units away without suffering major casualties. This makes the Chrono Vortex more of an area-denial weapon as we originally intended; you can tactically use it to prevent an enemy from retreating, or place it between the enemy's frontline and backline to deny fire support from their front-line units.

Nuke


About the Nuke, feedback from our player base on the re-balance revealed that it had become a bit too powerful, specifically against units as a hit on a unit group simply decimated the whole army. To fix this, we reduced its damage against units by 40%. It keeps the same anti-building damage though, so that pesky bunch of Allied turrets still gets eradicated. And while 40% sounds like a huge change, it still hurts units significantly enough that landing a hit on the enemy army gives you a huge advantage in combat.


As usual, we also have a bunch of new maps created by community mappers inspired by our new DTA Scenario Editor!

[2] Keep off the Grass

[2] Keep of the Grass, Chronoseth's remake of the similarly named map from Red Alert 1.


[2] Ore Conflict

[2] Ore Conflict by MehdiEpic600


[6] Tour of Egypt

[6] Tour of Egypt by DotWorstNoob. Technically included in the last patch already, but added here because it wasn't covered in a news post yet.


[8] Super Bridgehead Redux

And finally, Chronoseth's epic recreation of [8] Super Bridgehead Redux from Tiberian Sun.



As the last thing, the Tiberian Sun community is holding a celebration for the game's 23rd anniversary. Each participating project gets their own dedicated day, and ours is on Sunday 28th.

We'll start the day with a cozy mapping stream using our new editor and then progress to talk about some changes in this patch and reveal some of our future plans. We'll also take questions from the public and answer them while mapping and streaming (so the mapping session and showcase are also Q&A sessions), and finally, after that we'll be having a public multiplayer game night! Come join us to smash some AIs or other human players! While the games start at 1 PM UTC+0, last year they continued for several hours, so you can likely join in later even if you couldn't make it yet in the first hours of the game night.

DTA in the TS 23rd Anniversary


All of this celebration will be held on our Discord server, so come join it if you haven't already!


We hope you have fun with this new patch, and hope to see you on the battlefield next Sunday!


Comments
Valherran
Valherran - - 2,444 comments

For the Behemoth, I almost never use the thing because of it's current state. While it's nice that it can move and turn better, it's still not enough reason to use it. Maybe if it had some more range, then I would consider buying one.

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Rampastring Author
Rampastring - - 1,190 comments

It used to have more range, but there was a problem that as such a powerful artillery, it made the V2 obsolete. People were building a huge bunch of tanks supported by only the Behemoth, because it was all they needed for artillery.

With its shorter range it now leaves room for the V2 again.

But as I pointed out in the news post, we aren't satisfied with the Behemoth yet either, so it'll likely get buffed in the future. It won't have range as high as the V2 though. Currently it's 2 cells less, 9.5 vs 11.5. It could get 1 cell more range or just more firepower or faster rate of fire, we'll evaluate the options.

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Arctures
Arctures - - 39 comments

Wow! I remember first playing DTD well over a decade ago when it was relatively new and there was only GDI and NOD, it was comparable to the Return of the Dawn mod, amazing to see how far it has advanced and is still being worked on! Great job :D

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Jeffry_Epstein
Jeffry_Epstein - - 129 comments

It's Nod, not NOD. Unlike GDI, Nod is not an acronym.

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SeriousToni
SeriousToni - - 626 comments

Wow - just wow! Also love the new units!

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Templarfreak
Templarfreak - - 6,722 comments

the service depot's main purpose (other than repairing) as apart of classical C&C games was to act as an auxiliary tech structure for certain things, so that is a very good call to lock the Behemoth behind it. it's something most other RTS games did pretty liberally. have additional auxiliary structures that dont contribute to the primary tech tree line but instead act as the branches on the tech tree, yet C&C didnt really do this very heavily in general until CNC3. even in TS, RA2, and Generals, tech trees were still pretty simplified.

personally, if i were you guys, i would consider thinking about more things like this in the future when you're trying to address a balance concern, you'd be surprised how much expanding the design space some can feel liberating and less claustrophobic, and there is definitely more than plenty talent behind this team in particular to add more totally new structures to act as tech :D

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Rampastring Author
Rampastring - - 1,190 comments

Within the team, we have often thought that we'd want to expand the game, make the tech trees more complex, add more units, subfactions etc. The liberating feel you mentioned and creativity it'd allow is tempting.

However, if that happens, it'll happen in a different project. DTA was designed to be a refined combination of TD and RA1 sticking closely to the original Westwood design ideas, so we don't want to change them too much or we'd quickly end up with something else than what DTA has been known as so far.

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