Part 145: Terp LoverTerp Lover
I was intimidated by the preview shot of this level, because I thought I'd be just spending forever having to terraform a ton of stuff. This was not entirely false, but the experience ended up being quite a bit different than I expected.
We've got a four-corners thing going on with Emitters, Spore Towers, and Totems - but no Ore or Digitalis fun.
I tried a multiple-location start - and learned that the southwest floods QUICK. I lost a collector there just over 30 seconds in. Yuck.
Another minute, and I was having problems elsewhere. This was enough to convince me that a multi-tasking start wasn't a real good idea. There just wasn't enough time - I needed to focus on one spot. It's less than two minutes everywhere on the map by the way. Some are better than others, but not by much. One of the things that may not be immediately obvious is that with all of the spread-out if not particularly strong emitters, and the amount of raised terrain, the low spots fill in fast.
Take 2 - 3:40 video
I go for the southeast, two Command Nodes, a couple collectors, and one Cannon & Mortar each. Self-evidently there's not a great deal of room anywhere, so I knew I'd need to use it wisely.
A trio of not-quite-full-yet Beams couldn't quite hold off the salvo. First one is a dozen, and there are a couple more that come online after that. It was close, but the last two got through as I just couldn't resupply fast enough. Not a bad attempt, but it ends here just over there and a half minutes.
Take 3 - 7:39
The first place the creeper arrives is at the bottom of the map, which is why the cannon is there. A mortar can hold things off at the northwest corner of our starting platform - if you build it in time. I was going for more early energy here, but too much.
Take 4 - 8:42
I wanted to wait to guard that northeast part, which has more of a drop-off, until after the spores hit. I learned that really isn't an option, as I was able to stop the air attack ... but this flooding happened at the same time.
Take 5 - 11:34
I wanted to try and save energy by posting the cannon far enough back not to shoot over the 'edge'. In doing this, I outsmarted myself, because by the time the creeper was coming onto the ledge, there was enough of it that I couldn't stop it. Maybe a mortar up sooner would have helped, but that sort of defeats the whole energy-saving idea.
Take 6 - 12:20
Take 7 - 12:33
These next couple of tries were extremely short-lived, because I was having mouse coordination issues and kept misplacing stuff early on. Margins are too tight to make that work.
Take 8 - 12:40
This one should have gotten further than it did. So focused was I on getting four beams up this time, that I never activated that second mortar. And kaboom.
Take 9 - 14:57
Withstanding the first spore salvo while also having sufficient surface defenses for the first time. Yay!!
Now what? I don't have a lot of room left ...
Well, on this shot I have 7.1 energy income and a deficit of 3-4. So I still wanted to pack in as many reactors as possible.
Six minutes and a change. Three more reactors up, a second cannon, and I'm about to take out one of the many Emitters. I then moved that one cannon where the nullifier is sitting, giving myself room for a Terp to start slowly expanding our starting platform.
I hopped around the terraforming quite a bit, and had to do a lot of position-switching, but I'd eventually expanded a bit to the north and found/extended/flattened enough plateaus to the west to get this 3-for-1 SuperNullifier in position. It's been almost another ten minutes, but the gradual acceleration of progress is happening.
Another ten minutes. The platform is now significantly bigger than it was, and I've taken out some more enemy structures. Still can't get enough energy to activate that second terp yet, but it would come soon. The familiar slow snowball effect is clearly in play.
Same time gap, and I'm expanding our base more quickly though we haven't pushed back the enemy all that much.
The corner was really turned here, as deploying SuperBerthas - and defensive SuperBeams - allowed for lowering the overall threat level dramatically. Mostly expanding via relays and weapon movement where I could on the higher ground and essentially hopping across the landscape, we advanced through enemy territory much more rapidly now.
There were some places where the terrain forced a slower approach than I would like, and the biggest challenge was simply finding suitable/any placement for things. Still, it took only about another 15 to clear the rest of the map. I found Terp Lover to be better than expected, and more enjoyable than the three big maps in this system; not as much slog once you get going, and much more of a challenge to do so.