Part 109: AliancastererTormented Space: Aliancasterer
This is the map that proved to me the wisdom in what VenuzPatrol said about the smaller maps being harder. This is the smallest, and toughest for me, in the initial system of Tormented Space. It's one of those 'shall we count the restarts' deals. At least I was losing quickly ...
Despite it's size, it still packs a half-dozen emitters and a few spore towers. No real mystery here on where to start. I edited out as much as seemed reasonable from the video footage, which ended up being about a third of my efforts ... cutting it down to an hour. Most of that was the first 3-4 minutes of repetitive attempts until I tried something different.
Deploying of course in the west, the one place where the creeper aren't, I get collectors up where I can - though none of them are particularly efficient, lacking any real flat terrain - with a Pulse Cannon on the northern plateau and a Mortar nearby on the ridge.
Seconds after this the cannon goes boom when it has barely begun to build, and creeper pours down the hill into my base. FAIL NUMBER ONE. OF MANY.
Take 2 - 2:07 video
I don't build as many collectors this time, so I can get that cannon in place more quickly.
This was better, but only slightly. This is too many Mortars for me to support, to say nothing of that Ore Mine. Low on energy, the cannon soon gets overrun. I lasted almost two whole minutes. FAIL NUMBER TWO.
Take 3 - 4:02 video
Here I go for the Sprayer instead of the Cannon. Part of the idea behind this is sound -- use something that doesn't require energy when you are short on it. When you have ore you need to try to use AC. Etc. The part that's a problem is that the Sprayer takes too long to build, about twice as long as a Cannon. This is worse than the last time, just over a minute until I give up. FAIL NUMBER THREE.
"I'll just have to see if I can do that faster, I think that's the way." No it's not. Really, it's not.
Take 4 - 5:15 video
After basically failing the same way again, I realize that there just isn't enough time to get the Sprayer up and that this isn't a good idea. FAIL NUMBER FOUR.
Take 5 - 5:36 video
I get the cannon up quickly, then add that mortar nearby and more collectors. Unlike before I'm not overbuilding weapons so far. This is the best I've done so far, still looking secure almost two minutes in.
I go for an Ore Mine and Cannon at the bottom end, but at the top the cannon can't hold off the creeper well enough, and once it gets past that ore deposit it starts spilling down into the valley. FAIL NUMBER FIVE. This time it wasn't obvious I wasn't going to win until about 2:40, nearly a minute longer than before. Uhh, progress I guess?
Take 6 - 8:46 video, 1:35 mission timer
I try a different build order, including a sprayer to help defend up in the North. Fail again, for the same reason. FAIL NUMBER SIX. This one was faster, because I didn't get the Mortar up in time to help so I got swamped quicker.
Take 7 - 9:12 video
Trying to get over the energy hump, I again make the mistake of building too many Collectors before I put up the cannon. Which is blown up before it finishes, less than a minute in. FAIL NUMBER SEVEN.
"How many times shall we play aliancasterer?" I think the answer is 'at least once more' or 'as many as it takes'.
Take 8 - 9:38 video
I did just slightly better than the sixth attempt, but had the same basic problem -- by the time the mortar was up and running, it was too late. FAIL NUMBER EIGHT.
Take 9 - 10:09 video
New approach here; ignoring the ore for now, and putting a second cannon on the northern plateau.
It looked good for a while, but here at 3:15 mission you can see the cannons are getting flooded in the north. I basically have enough energy with the collectors to supply the two Cannons and one Mortar but that's it ... and clearly by the 3-minute mark that's not enough. I did manage to get a Reactor up but it wasn't nearly enough to save it. A bit more progress, but still FAIL NUMBER NINE.
Take 10 - 12:36 video
Here was the next step in my progression; after those first three weapons get up, wait for a reactor to finish to give a hair of energy leeway, then get another reactor and something else(Beam here, as those spore towers won't wait forever), and so on. Trying to escalate energy supplyl and weaponry on top of that Cannon-Cannon-Mortar base that seems to be the best way to hold at the start.
This was another step forward, but I got flooded in the south, taking away a bit of energy. I put a cannon down there to clear it out, but then a combination of increased Creeper flow and a small-ish energy deficit even with two Reactors up and a third almost finished caved in the northern plateau. This shot is at nearly six minutes in, so that's a marked improvement. It's also not good enough yet. FAIL NUMBER TEN.
Take 11 - 17:02 video
A couple new wrinkles here. I start building that first Reactor sooner, before I even place the second Cannon or first Mortar. I also put the Sprayer eventually down at the south end to hold that flank by itself. I've got a trio of reactors up here, a total of 4.5 energy income, at just under four minutes in. On the other hand, those cannons in the north are still slowly losing ground.
I get some more reactors up, then a couple beams, and I'm feeling good about things ... but we end up being a bit short on weaponry and the creeper finds a new place over the ridge. Six minutes again, but I haven't quite pegged the winning formula. FAIL NUMBER ELEVEN.
Take 12 - 21:51 video
I don't get the sprayer built in time, making an early end to FAIL NUMBER TWELVE.
Take 13 - 22:35 video
"What is this, ten times, something like that?" Nope buddy, it's even worse than you think. Again I wait too long to build the sprayer as I continue to try to tweak things. FAIL NUMBER THIRTEEN.
Take 14 - 23:16 video
Here's the new idea I want to try to shore up the north against that overflow; a defensive cannon on the ridgeline where we lost it that last good attempt. I get that up and running, then work on more mortars and some beams.
Well, this is new. I survived to the point of the Creeper having to send its Spores after me! 7:20 on the mission timer, 5.8 energy income which is still not enough as I continue to have a modest deficit.
I most eloquently exclaim 'Dangit!' at 8:06 mission time as a concentrated group of spores finds landfall in the northern plateau. Shockingly, my word of frustration has no effect. The beam over there was low on energy, you can see that pretty much everything is here, and we paid the price. I would also later realize that the Beams are probably not far enough forward, giving them limited firing time within range of the spores. But either way, guess what time it is?
That's right, it's time to start again. FAIL NUMBER FOURTEEN. Also, seconds later ...
Welp, that's half my energy down the tubes. Yep, not recovering from that.
Take 15 - 28:33 video, 1:16 mission
My conclusion was a bit off, thinking we needed more beams (more energy and better beam placement was more to the point). I basically just used this attempt to experiment with where to put a Forge, because that was going to become important soon. FAIL NUMBER FIFTEEN.
Take 16 - 28:51 video
I started doing this more and more ... placing stuff where I would want it later, then eventually when I had the energy activating the dormant structures and bringing them on-line. I found it to be quite useful for this kind of situation so I didn't forget as easily what I'd need or where.
Just past eight minutes again, a wave of five spores crash into the north of our formation and end this attempt. I was pretty cheesed off here because I thought I'd done enough to be able to survive it this time. We took out three of them, almost a fourth. On watching the replay, it was energy once again. The beams had over half energy as the horde approached, but they really needed to be full to deal with that. Or, have another one or two in place. In either case ... drumroll plz ... FAIL NUMBER SIXTEEN.
Take 17 - 33:18 video
This time I managed to get another Beam or two up, and survived that 8-minute grouop ... barely. So here, at 10 & and a half, seven or eight of the stupid things all flooded the same zone. I took out most of them, but not all .. I'm not sure but I think only one of them hit. Narrowly I had enough weapons survive to basically 'tank' the damage from the exploding creeper and not have our network fall apart in that region.
In response, I build yet another Beam, move one forward further and basically cram them in ... and get a vital Range boost from the Forge. I can't over-emphasize the importance of this, esp. for the Mortars that could now hit deeper, further-away creeper. It was also absolutely vital for the Beams. This here was pretty much the tipping point. You can see the energy's still in deficit, but I've got almost 10 income and it's nearly balanced.
After this, the next couple of Spore attacks were much more comfortably dealt with before they could impact, a handful of more Reactors went up to FINALLY secure the energy situation, and I began to slowly inch forward in the north on the attack. Equilibrium, that first sure sign of CW victory was mine! Bwahahaha! *Ahem*
At first, it was an excercise in cramming every last darn weapons platform I could fit within range of the creeper and on clear ground. Slowly, gradually, the tide receded ... until this.
Four for the price of one, from the PZ of the first emitter in the north. This of course broke the back of the resistance, and was just plain darned cool.
Aliancasterer, you were a worthy opponent. And I'm never playing this map again. Ever.