Part 127: The OceanThe Ocean
Here's what the ShadowDragon7015 system, a short warp away from thepenguin, has to offer. The two large planets appear to be of the same size, while the physical manifestation of simplistic understatement that 'the small one' is will wait till later. Based on a cursory review of the planet previews, I headed to The Ocean first, with Gorge of the Void waiting next.
It's a literal title. We've got an ocean floor, various vessels, all the trappings of a harbor, piers, etc. A number of standard emitters but some strong, various AE Towers, and spore tower in the northeast. And we also have a special greeting:
Gotta love the implementation of Lia's traditional silent treatment. Only thing that would make it better would be <Gel Maintenance in Progress>
Once I realized we already have a Command Node up, I focused on this area. At first I didn't see the various 'even-blacker' holes in the black terrain here; there's nowhere to place the other two. For those willing to multi-task, there's a better option I didn't consider; that harbor in the northeast is inviting for more than long enough to make a quick landfall there. You can make a good argument in fact that it's a better starting location period. We do have a nearby Totem here and a few resource deposits for siphon deployment.
Terps would prove to be a major star in this mission, and it was clear I wanted them right away. The ground is uneven/eroded virtually everywhere, and I wanted to use them to slow down the advance of the creeper from the east while I figured out what to do. It took me a while to do that - some rust from not playing much over the holidays was involved, but more than that I just struggled to decisively find a good course of action quickly.
Fortunately this is a pretty forgiving planet. There's a small chasm in a square around our starting block, allowing a certain amount of leisure - but we do need more space at some point. The solid grey areas are level-8 terrain, and my goal here was to build a wide wall in the east and north, holding the creeper back there, and build on top of it.
I had a relay up here to connect to the nearby totem, but the creeper advanced more quickly than I could deal with it, turning my Forge into so much useless junk for the moment.
Relying upon the considerable energy reserves of the siphon - I had long-since drained the ore and aether ones - I built an interior wall/platform and put a couple Mortars on it, and a Pulse Cannon in the south as that fortification was finished. Other than small bits of creeper leaking around to the north, this was quite successful. And of course the gradual building of Reactors continued.
A string of relays down to the south gave me a couple of Ore Mines - which I forgot to defend with Beams. Only two spores come at a time on this map, and I was fortunate here that the holes in the terrain sucked up enough creeper to keep this network alive until the Sprayers were functional. There are more emitters to the south, and the purpose of this is make sure it is kept at bay.
The 'exterior wall' mostly finished, I worked on leveling out and expanding the next layer, which defaults to a height of 9. Mostly I'm just filling in the holes here. I need more flat space to build, and I've got more terps but they are a bit short on energy. The Totem connection has been back up for a while though, and the usual upgrade process with a few energy efficiency boots is begun.
The 9-high wider wall is now taking shape, and being transformed into Bertha Alley. Meanwhile the narrower 10-high wall just south of it will eventually let us get a good 'oceanfront' guard position when it is extended out to the 'coast'.
Once the artillery began to have it's effect, a series of Nullifiers were placed down the coast as far as we could make it. SuperBerthas placed on the newly-obtained PZs would ensure the ocean itself remained under control.
It's taken almost 40 minutes, but this is the first 'ship' seeing it's emitter go boom.
I spent a while doing this: a march down the 9-height secondary seawall, with a goal of completely securing everything to the west of it.
At the southern end, a couple of canals were letting some Creeper in; those were sealed up, and the emitters on the platform in southwest silenced with only modest difficulty.
Then it was time to wade deeper into the ocean and take more territory away from the enemy. This ship was the first target. A more aggressive, classic offensive was indicated. Except for the concentrated emitters in the very southeast, creeper wasn't above 10 depth virtually anywhere - the sheer size of the ocean though meant there was still a lot of it to kill.
After a pause to expand the reactor farm, I pushed east to this relatively centrally-located ship. It promised lots of nice power zones to play with.
With those secured, mostly manned by SuperCannons and a SuperBeam in the middle, it was time to strike out for that ... marina? ... in the northeast.
Once we got there, the lone emitter-spore tower combo was an easy target. Then attention turned south, to the most concentrated strongholds.
These sizable constructions enabled quite a bit of nullifying before I even got other weapon platforms in place. If you look closely you can see an interesting application of Digitalis which is clearly there only for aesthetic value.
Finally, a row of standard emitters on a barge of some kind, and then a significantly stronger one in the corner. They were routine enough to deal with ... except the level refused to end ...
It was then that I noticed there was still a ... situation. This appears to be what was called a 'slip-Emitter' during the campaign. Remembering that they couldn't be nullified directly, I then concluded that what I needed to do was destroy all the creeper in the ocean. So I sent cannons here and there doing exactly that. It also did seem to be drawing creeper from those locations, as the tide receded faster than it naturally would.
However, this was not enough. Even under constant bombardment and with no external source, the bubbling continued. For whatever reason, this behaves like a normally emitter, 'slipping' creeper out of absolutely nowhere with no external source. Fortunately it can be nullified - and once I did that, The Ocean finally fell silent.
A bit of a dirty trick there at the end, but otherwhise this is mission which, while interesting aesthetically, definitely provides fairly minimal challenge. Overall, I give it an average grade.