Part 11: TucanaChapter 11: Tucana
Those are not big craters. There is some high ground but that'll only help with extending the network -- they are far too small to house Odin City. Bottom line is it's a race to survive here; we've got to be able to start pounding those craters before the creeper gets too close.
Doom Timer: 3 minutes, 31 seconds. That's fast. Much faster than any world so far. There's no time for dilly-dallying.
It's vital to get a grid of Collectors up around Odin City efficiently. Knowing that, I did it with nearly perfect timing. Now it gets interesting; how far out do we have time to build before weaponizing? The lowest level of the craters is almost full already, and most of the map is controlled by the Creeper. In less than a minute. Not wasting time, are they ...
A dozen collectors, as I have here, is about right I think. That balances the energy needs of building two Mortars at full speed. I waited too long before placing the second one, and almost -- but not quite -- hit the energy storage cap. I should probably be building one more of something else here.
Soon I plop down a third mortar and the storage slowly goes down. Normally you're doing ok once you get that first weapon up, but here it's not enough -- just takes care of the northeast quadrant.
A second one comes online, while I move the active one from the northeast to the southeast. It's time to play 'Musical Mortars', shifting the active weapons around to where they are most needed(wherever the craters are closest to full), while more are built. I've already got a sizable deficit as you can see, and esp. in the southwest where we just started shooting, the creeper is getting too close for comfort.
Look at the northwest here. If the creeper literally advanced any further, that retreated mortar would have been cut off. That's too close. The emitters have 'connected' in pairs east and west, helping it flow to wherever the weak spots are in our defense.
Almost too late, I move the active mortar in the east back up to the north, where the crater has completely filled. We've got a fourth mortar on the way(one for each quadrant), but it won't be ready in time for this job. Odin City's efforts to keep up with the energy demands of all this are hilariously inadequate. I do a bit of disarming now and then(so that they are only firing at mostly full craters, not using their ammo on fairly thin creeper), but that's an easy thing to forget to turn on and off and is hard to manage from a real-time, multi-tasking point-of-view.
At just past 4:30 on the mission timer we have all four mortars in place. Still just a dozen collectors.
I spend the next bit placing collectors everywhere they can be safely placed, esp. on the ridges. It'll take a long time to build them with record-high energy deficits and the need to share resources with the mortars that are keeping the creeper at bay, but we should be looking better once we get them powered up and functional. It's off-screen here but the deficit is a mere 121 in this shot.
Over the next couple minutes I happily break the normal 'don't overbuild' rule. I throw a collector basically everywhere that isn't occupied by creeper, because I figure the more energy that goes to building those, the better off we'll be. With levels in the craters fairly low, I only need the occasional charge to be lobbed by the mortars. Building slower just means they fire more often, and right now I really don't want that. The deficit spikes as high as 175.
Almost eight minutes in, that shortfall has been slashed to 'only' 80. Now I've got to find a way to push the Creeper back to make any progress, and do so with an absurdly inadequate economy. An equilibrium of sorts has been reached.
With a few blasters up, I make for the southeast corner. With the totems close to the emitters, and the energy problems we're having, capping these bastards is an obvious strategy. Obvious, but not particularly easy. A lot of the paths are narrow and progress is SLOW.
I push a little further in that direction, and then spend several minutes spinning my wheels. I build a few collectors and another blaster, then lose most of them due to a miscalculation. Finally, I decide to do things a little more intelligently:
Having a single mortar to hit deeper concentrations of creeper near the emitter really helps with the blaster advance. It's not necessary, but helpful. Shortly after this(already almost 19 minutes in due to stalemate), I'm able to sever the connection along the east side and start closing in on this emitter. Another tactical error results in the loss of a blaster and a few collectors just as I'm going in for the kill, but I'm able to recover. Eventually. After losing even more collectors and seeing the creeper reconnect.
After spacing out enough weapons, advancing slowly, and making fewer errors, I do -- eventually -- accomplish this. One emitter down. Aside from the additional space, this will start accelerating matters, as we'll have to spend very little energy on this region, can expand the collector network some more, and focus more firepower elsewhere. Time to snowball and get off this rock.
With all of the mis-steps, it took 15 minutes to go from 'starting to attack with blasters' to 'first emitter capped'. Egads. Soon afterwards, what had been a consistently triple-digit deficit was down to 10-20.
Less than four minutes later, a much smoother advance, though certainly with a non-zero number of errors, results in a second emitter being subdued. Already swimming in energy now, we have a lot more territory available. There's more work to be done but it's basically over at this point.
You can easily see that long stretch in the middle where basically nothing happened ... and then the acceleration at the end. The Creeper were nearly a match for the men and women of Odin City here. Nearly ... but not quite. Victorious once again, we give ourselves to the Rift in search of a new destination.