Part 157: HardToSee1, HardToSee2, & runner farmHardToSee1, HardToSee2, & runner farm
The latest frivolity sees us pack three more planets into a little over an hour, and visit a new system. Wrapping up our current location means the two HardToSee levels, which I have a thematic objection to.
HardToSee1 is the lone super-tiny planet in the TonyP2000 system. This map doesn't show off the gimmick as well as the next one, but the schtick is that the terrain/elevation changes are literally hard to see. IMO that's not good level design, it's just pointlessly annoying. Challenge in games shouldn't come from making it instrinsically difficult to tell what's going on. Even the inkblot thing on that 'monster' or whatever level from a while back was much better than this.
An elevated position in the northwest for us, a valley of sorts, and then we can go after the cluster in the south before making the crossing.
I left forward positions exposed to a Spore once, but otherwhise it was a straightforward, quick buildup to clear. Then SuperMortars to bombard the other side, and Cannons moved along the coast to help out.
The chasm is small enough that you can just move weapons across, making this an easy finish.
HardToSee2 is larger, but still on the small-ish size. Clearly we must start in the northwest corner once more.
There are a couple of spots where it's clear, but many of the elevation changes here are nearly invisible. This is the part where the map gets a large BOO from me. When I feel like I have to strain my eyes to intelligently play on maximum zoom due to a terrain texture that intentionally masks ridgelines, you're doing it wrong.
So first we grab the Ore Islands. The emitter being on the west end makes this trickier than it would be otherwhise - can't just relay across and land. I did one raid with Cannons before this to lower it down a bit, but this one with guppy support stuck.
After cramming every last weapon I could fit basically on the island, I make my crossing onto the enemy mainland.
And then claim the high ground. Yeah, we've seen this movie before. Once up there, I put a SuperSprayer on always-on and work on clearing things out. There's a lot of ups and downs in the land, which wouldn't be particularly compelling to show and was even less so to play.
By the time I was really starting to approach the conclusion, it looked a little something like this. And so concludes the TonyP2000 system's nine planets. Overall I grade this author's contributions as distinctly mediocre. There's a fair amount of variety in terms of types of levels, but I don't like the concluding gimmick here and one or two planets that upped the ante in terms of difficulty to change things up would have been most welcome.
Now we head for teknotiss. You may notice that there's a lot of white and not much green. While many planets remain, they are clustered in just six systems. Also in the upper half, Cavemaniac and J will be next. After these next three most prolific authors, we will head to the achievement-bearing three to conclude the journey.
teknotiss was kind enough to number the planets, so we'll be following that arrangement. Which means we dive in here with
runner farm. The flat open area that dominates the map is very reminiscent of past adventures like the firing range stuff. Our attention is drawn initially to the east.
There's only one nest, with a rapid respawn rate. Connect to an emitter by a single digitalis strand - and emitter that is super-weak; 5 creeper per 0.5s, a quarter of the standard. At this point we begin to suspect that the name of the level is a hint. It is one, and a good one. teknotiss here tells us what to do without having to come out and say so via briefing text. *ClapClapClap*.
All this we have to start. We'll be able to get some early upgrades going. I begin by building out mortars along the heights to protect against the vast lower plain of creeper that will assemble. Too many of them, at first, and I'm forced to deactivate some.
Once I expand energy supply enough, I get a couple of Snipers in place -- and begin harvesting the farm. I didn't know if this was what I was supposed to do, and wouldn't have thought to try if we hadn't seen a version of this gimmick before - most famously on Bardel. I like the elegance of this design though. You can take the low-hanging fruit level and just nullify the emitter and nest right away, but that makes your job more difficult. Activate enough snipers to 'convert' Runners into Anti-Creeper like so, and the aqua goodness will do some of the work for you.
I actually built a nullifier halfway just on the emitter, before realizing that the runners needed the digitalis and taking it down. So I came close to botching it.
I built four snipers, though I think three is sufficient to keep up with the critters. With their numbers reduced and the flow of AC thus slowed, I began a conventional buildup.
IIRC this is a No Berthas Allowed map. I assembled the usual strike group of mortars and cannons, and set to work clearing the flatlands. Only when that was done did I return to the corner and eliminate the runner/emitter combo to claim the victory. A strong first impression to this system here.