Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A funny thing happened on the way to the tiberium

Playing a bit of Command and Conquer 3: Tiberium wars last night I hit a tricky mission that caused me some problems. Even though the game gave me some strong units to start with I struggled to build up infrastructure while wave upon wave of attackers kept whittling down my forces. Unable to replenish losses I was doomed to death by attrition. I restarted in order to try and work out a winning strategy but was soon interrupted by a call to dinner. Leaving my hapless forces to fend for themselves I headed off to eat.

Returning a half an hour later I was much surprised to see that I had not yet been wiped out. All of my troops were gone except for one lone Mammoth tank but that tank was single-handedly fending off attacks from multiple directions all the while protecting my few remaining buildings.

I was initially perplexed. The Mammoth is a very powerful tank but how had it survived attacks from literally hundreds of opponents without any healing or support? When I investigated the answer turned out to be simple enough. The tank had achieved the highest level of veterancy (unsurprising given the number of kills it was notching up) and when a unit achieves that veternacy its health automatically regenerates between battles. As each wave of attackers appeared the tank took a pounding and lost health but it managed to regenerate enough between waves to keep going.

The continuing survival of that lone tank meant that I had in fact reached the tipping point of the game. With my enemies tied up in a futile struggle with that one immortal defender I was free to build up infrastructure and then to amass an unstoppable army.

All well and good except that I am left with the damning realisation that the computer playing by itself without my intervention had managed to survive when I could not. It is a sad day when a game lets you know that you are worse than useless!


Tesh said...

On the other hand, maybe the AI was just terribly inept and sent units to the four winds, and that one tank (conveniently in a central location, probably surrounded by skirmishes it could cherry pick from) just happened to survive to carry the day.

...but yeah, that's kind of weird design.

mbp said...

The thing that really puzzle me Tesh is how it managed to survive long enough to reach veterancy. I am tempted to start a new camapaign and just watch what happens if I do nothing.

Tesh said...

I wonder, too. That's why I thought perhaps the other units in skirmish mode (without direction) maybe set up enough of a defensive screen/interference for it to do its thing.

It really would be interesting to sit back and watch and see if that's normal.