Exploration and Expansion

As is the case with most 4X type strategy games (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit & eXterminate for you behind the power curve newbies) the early game in Armageddon Empires is a lot of fun.  There is a certain joy in exploring a new landscape every game.  Since each terrain tile is fully modular and every map is randomly generated each turn, you can get some interesting topographical challenges.  The first thing you notice is how open the map is.  Are you facing lots of sandy desert, dunes and wasteland or is there a mountain chain or line of crags and badlands dominating the map somewhere?  From a programming stand point getting an interesting map generated every game was a small challenge.  As the famous Dr. Forrester once said, “It’s really quite complicated actually, but all you need to know is…” that I generate a height field based on a random seed or two of the highest level and follow it with some Markoff chain processing….then perform some errosion and wallah, you get some interesting maps that make topographic sense…each as unique as a snowflake.  The first thing you want to do is get some unit/hero cards deployed to your initial stronghold and start exploring the board.  It can be both dangerous and rewarding.  The best units to start exploring with are dedicated recce units or special agent type heroes that have the “Stealth” special ability.  Stealh on any unit or hero will cut the strength of enemy observations in half.  Basically dice are rolled behind the scenes to determine whether a unit is spotted.  Getting a stealthy unit out first or one with the ability to see into neighboring hexes with the “Recce” special ability will decrease the chance of losing the unit when it stumbles upon a group of Tentacle Beasts or Rad Zombies.  As your units explore the wasteland they will come across “Specials” that will give them extra resources, attachment type cards or even allies that join your cause.  “Specials” range from lost nomad caravans to hidden secret vaults filled with exotic technology.  Some of the stuff you stumble across can have a big impact on play so it’s best to get out there and find it.  An enemy that comes across a rare city killler nuke is going to ruin your day if he finds your HQ and has the means to deliver it on target.  Here is a screenshot from a game that I am testing out right now.  I’m playing as the Machines and have explored the local area.  Along with some resources to jump start my deployments, I found a cache of flechette guns that I attached to a unit of Advanced Cyborgs.  It took me a while to build some resource collectors in the tile that I place below my stronghold but eventually I got it done.  After that I built an army and drove out a group of canibals from the ruins of the great city just north of my stronghlold.  It contained “materials” and “tech” resources which is just what my faction needed and I hurried to get some collectors up and running there.  Just as I finished construction, those pesky humans showed up and built a tech collector.  You can’t see the Imperial Army that showed up from the north because I crushed it.  However, I’m going to have to get a move on it and find the Imperial HQ.  I have already lost two units of spider bots and a lich platoon trying to probe forward and find it.  Human airpower is a killer if they catch your units out of supply which really lowers your defence. 


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