Wow, it took a bit longer than we had expected, but the newest version of the mod is finally out there for everyone to play! It took a lot longer to do than I had hoped, but we have a fully functional AI in the game (with a few 'acceptions' that we were forced to make.
I won't go over all the things we've changed in this last release, thats what the readme.txt file is for. Instead, what this post is about is what we will be doing next in the MOD.
AW is our next target, not because we don't think we can do SEED properly yet but because AW is the sub-faction of the 3 that deal with the Earth Federation that I truly am the most excited to not only code but to play as well. When I go online to battle it out as EF I really think AW is the faction I'm going to always take a hard look at and go "wow, do I really want to pass that up?"
But now is not the time for criptic "future forshadowing" of messages, no this is a news release of what we WILL be doing to AW! Thats right, we're going to go over the great details that is AW's subfaction, along with some other great news.
Lets start with this other great news. I came up with a system for picking your "sub faction" for EF from within the game itself that I know that the AI can do AND it should not (adversely) effect it's performance in the game! The idea came to me earlier today when I was watching an AI battle (Scrin vrs GDI). I could use the Scrin Tech Tab system as a form of "Sub-Faction Selection" menu on top of being the normal defense tab for EF. How this will work is simple.
To build the Defense Center a player must pick its sub faction. Under the defense tab the first 3 choices will be UC, AW, SEED. Once one of those sub factions are choosen the related upgrades will be given to the player along with the upgrade required to build the defense center. Since its something that the game will be able to build right from the beginning and as I already know how to get the AI to do this as the Scrin it will be very simple to do. Once you pick one of the 3 "upgrades" for your new sub faction the other 2 can't be choosen. Once the Defense Center is built depending on what subfaction you picked one of 3 buildings will be made avalible to the player to build. UC's is already there, the Mobile Suit Research and Development Center. The other 2 buildings that will become avalible are the DOME Research Facility and the Artimis Shield Generator.
A few buildings will have to be slightly moved around, but this is where it gets good. The Mobile Suit Depot will be removed from the main build list. Instead, once you build the Mobile Suit Research and Development Center for UC that building (which you can only have 1 of at a time) will allow you to build additonal buildings with it's own special command list. UC's command list will be very small, consisting of the Mobile Suit Depot and the Nuclear Power Plant at the moment. UC isn't designed to require a lot of special buildings to be functionable and I think that will show here.
I will forget about SEED for the rest of this post as like I said, this is about AW. AW's military force is going to be for the most part taken from the point of view of Pre 7th Space War. This will start with you gaining access to 3 basic mobile suits to build. From the main facility there will be 3 regular upgrades to build. These will be traditonal upgrades that will unlock newer mobile suits. These are the 4 teirs that you will unlock as you play.
DT-6800 Daughtress Tank
DT-6800C Daughtress Command
DT-6800F Daughtress Flyer
DT-6800HM Daughtress High Mobility (Fire Wallaby)
DT-6800HMC Daughtress High Mobility Command (Wise Wallaby)
DT-6800W Daughtress Weapon
GT-9600 Gundam Leopard
GW-9800 Gundam Airmaster
GX-9900 Gundam X
Now here is where the game gets interesting. Just having the gundams won't allow you to use their bit system, you actually need to level the gundam up to level 4 before they can activate the bits. This can be avoided though if you have enough resources because you can choose to pay 3 times the cost to build the units from the Cyber New-Type training facility. These Cyber Newtypes will work and look just like the normal versions, except all the training has been done for you. Also you can not activate the Gundam X's sat cannon unless you build an Orbital Moon Signal Relay AND the relay is glowing (which it will do every 5 minutes for a single minute) AND the Gundam X is either fully leveled or a cyber newtype. Ah, nice huh? This will give you small windows of opportunity where you can really REALLY do some incredible damage to your opponent but with such a small window you really need to be ready for it when it becomes avalible to you.
But it gets better. There will be a final 5th level that you can unlock.
GT-9600D Gundam Leopard Destroy
GW-9800B Gundam Airmaster Burst
GX-9900DV Gundam X Divider
GX-9901 Gundam Double X
Now, these units didn't see production (and some could simply say they were not even mass production units at all, they are unique units) until the 8th Space War. Well, thats correct, but one could easily argue that these suits were the natural progression of the technology and where it was heading. And we plan on keeping it that way. What will happen is this, once you have researched all 3 of the upgrades from the Tech center the final upgrade will become avalible to purchase. This last upgrade unlocks a super power on the left side of the screen that says "Advance to Space War 8". What does this mean?
Well, I'll tell you. As a player you are not required to go to this extreme level of power. But if you should choose to do so other "outside forces" will try and intervene to stop you. This is done with this power. By clicking it you are both unlocking the 5th teir of super powerful mobile suits AND forcing Zeons' hand in the game. Zeon will drop a random number of Colonies onto the battlefield in random places. At each "Ground Zero" location of the colony drop not only will massive ammounts of damage be done but also mobile suit husks that can be captured and then reused (like the Juggernaught/Tripod/Avatar) AND Zeon Mobile Suits will be deployed that will attack ANYONE that comes near. Basically, Zeon saw what you were doing and tried to stop you. Did they do it? Did they hit your base? Or did they hit right outside the base and leave you fine? Maybe they hit your opponents base and are now laying waste the the few remaining enemy forces left? Possibly while your rebuilding your base your enemy has already dispatched of the Zeon mobile suits and is in the process of capturing these powerful suits for their own use.
Ah ha. Yes, thats why I want to do AW next. The clean cut system, the beautiful "Chaotic, random side effects of the grand choices you make". The fact that you can be blowing entire sections of your enemys base apart with only a few mobile suits one moment and the next be out numbered and out gunned.
And from everything I've learned about the AI so far, I think I can pull this off.
If you have any thoughts of ideas you would like to add, I look forward to hearing them. Until then, enjoy the 9D Alpha and here is looking forward to the Alpha 10!