Hello everybody and welcome to another of our weekly-ish news bulletins. With most of the staff on holiday I've been avoiding doing things which require other people's input, so this week I'm going to show you a civilian defense building I've been working on, some new maps I have in the works, and a reworked and expanded set of tiberium spawners. All of these are good things to have, but obviously not the highest of priorities. Hopefully once Morpher returns from holiday we'll be able to get cracking on some critical stuff. But I do have a lot of pictures, so there's that!
Last year, before we began these bulletins, Morpher and I brainstormed some concepts for capturable defense structures. Capturable buildings are a huge part of the skirmish dynamic in TO, so we didn't want to just duplicate the existing MG turrets and Cannons of GDI or Nod. We wanted something different and unusual. One of the ideas which stuck out was a drone launcher. A building which could deploy a small drone which would fly off to bomb enemies before eventually crashing itself.
This week I created a suitable graphic for the structure, with animations and a drone. Now it just requires Morpher's input to code and test it. Obviously, it wouldn't do that 360 degree spin in-game. That's just to show off the drone. Since it's still just graphics with no gameplay crunch behind it I can't speak for it's final uses, but I'd expect it to be pretty good against massed units and potentially could have some sort of stealth detection. We'll see.
Onwards to other things. In Firestorm, a Blue Tiberium spawner was introduced. This tall blue glowing crystal was carried over into TO and has been the stand-in, in various other colours, for the other types of Tiberium from red all the way up to purple.
This week I was working on a map which used yellow tiberium, and realised that we did not have a yellow coloured spawner. So I created a full new set of crystal spires, a pair for each colour, in red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple variants. Here are some mockups of them, and the plantlife with which their Tiberium is associated:
The in-game versions will very likely have quite different colours to these ones, because they all need to be matched to a very limited pallete file. But I've edited the pallete before and I'll do it again if it helps get these things looking better. There are also some sets of plantlife missing because we haven't worked out we want them to look like yet.
The reason I went on this mission to produce a bunch of new spawner graphics was that I 've bween at work on a yellow Tiberium themed map. Called DM: Great Southern Land (3), the players all begin on a small coastline at the top of the map with limited resources. The bottom of the map is a large and resource rich landmass with capturable buildings and more substantial tactical opportunities.
I've mostly completed the top shoreline, and the southern landmass for which the map is named is in progress. So watch this space.
I also wrapped up a really quick map called DM: Pincer (4). I made the map over the course of two days with the intention of fostering more naval gameplay. The map is V shaped, with two players on each arm of the island. I played a few games of it and so far it's pretty darn fun. I'd like to give it a go with some humans to see how it plays against a more intelligent opponent, but even against AI it was entertaining.
Between the two pairs of players is a natural chicane which makes movement more difficult. The players at either end of this bend can easily thin attackers ranks with artillery fire.
Once lighting is finalised I'll put together a large preview of it so that everyone can see the layout.
The other map I've been working on is a Co-Op mission.
One of our commando teams infiltrated a secure Nod facility in the early hours of this morning. They sent a mission complete signal when they downloaded the intelligence we sent them to collect, but missed the extraction rendezvous. We believe that they were forced inland, away from the extraction point at the coast, and are being hidden at a Forgotten safehouse in the region.
The data they absconded with is of the highest priority for the Global Defense Initiative, and a combat force has been dispatched to make sure the commando team can be extracted safely.
Here's another shot of the old GDI base which the rescuers bring back online for the mission:
One player plays as the commando team, the other as the rescuer force. Nod's defenses along the coast are too strong for the rescuers to punch through them alone, but with the commandos acting as a distraction and sabotaging power supplies they can hopefully make a hole big enough for successful escape. I don't want to show off too much.
It's early work in progress, but I'm aiming for a difficult mission which requires communication and planning between the two players to win.
And that's what I did this week!