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Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Holding Back the Ocean with a Broom: Let's Play Creeper World



Creeper World is an odd, deceptively addictive game that can be considered a combination of tower defense and RTS. It didn't reinvent the wheel so much as combine elements of different conceptions of the wheel it what was a fairly unique way. The original was released by Knuckle Cracker in 2009, followed by a second game in 2011, a third in 2013, and a space-based spinoff in 2016.

Because I'm insane, I'll be showing them all here:

** Creeper World Anniversary Edition(the original with updated graphics)
** Creeper World 2: Redemption -- Generally considered to have a 'better' story(a low bar) but inferior gameplay. Based on a side cross-section view(vertical) rather than the original's top-down horizontal orientation.
** Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal -- Returns to the top-down concept, a true modern-ish successor to the original.
** Particle Fleet: Emergence -- Creeper World in space, basically.
** Creeper World 4 -- In development, likely to be released sometime in 2020? Anyway, that'll be added in whenever.

Gameplay Synopsis

In a typical RTS or tower-defense game you are engaged in combat with enemy units of some type. Kill all the units, and structures in some cases, and win the mission/level. Creeper World is a little different. The enemy, Creeper, seeps and flows all over the place, behaving pretty much like you'd expect water to. Except that it keeps coming. And coming. And coming. It cannot be destroyed, only repelled. On your side are a handful of economic structures and weapon emplacements that must be placed and moved intelligently in order to combat the Creeper. What is ahead is essentially a battle of attrition -- or rather many of them. The terrain can take many forms, and will be vitally important. I also like the fairly haunting soundtrack, and the sound effects are pretty basic, but well-executed.

LP Style

I'll be presenting each level in both screenshot and video. Watch the raw footage, read the what and why description, or use both in concert as you see fit. Both may be appropriate here, depending on the level and reader preference.

LP Skill Disclosure

I've played through about half of the first game, seen a (very) little of the others. Basically enough to know what I'm getting into. I'm not an expert, but I am reasonably competent I would say with the first game, and the concepts are similar in the others. I'd suggest expecting generally adequate gameplay, with minimal facepalm moments as first, such moments accelerating as I get into situations and sequels that I am not prepared for.

Plot Spoilers

Discouraged, but I'm not going to get up in arms about it. The story of Creeper World is of the quality that makes you wonder why they bothered with it in the first place, impressively hogwash space-magicky stuff. However I do give it points for not taking itself too seriously -- it pokes fun at that it's doing from time to time. We're here for the unique gameplay blend, not the writing, though of course what is there will also be presented.

Creeper World I: Game Modes

** Story -- This is where we'll start, it begins with the basics and escalates the difficulty steadily. It's a well-worn formula partly because it's an effective one; particularly for the first half it works well, starting with a purely tutorial world and each level requiring gradually more mastery than the previous one.
** Conquest -- Extra challenges, unlocked by completing the first 'leg'(i.e. Act, several worlds) of Story mode. I won't get into this until the Story is completed most likely because to-be-explained reasons.
** Special Ops -- Another set of extra challenges, each requiring completion of one or more of the Conquest sets to be playable.
** Chronometer -- An interesting approach to additional 'random' maps; enter a historical date and a specific map is presented, with the date acting as the 'map seed'. However it appears there's a lot of repetitiveness involved here. May do a couple of these from famous dates, or I may not. There's plenty without it, but I think the idea is quite interesting.

Bottom line is that there's lots of gameplay here. I think that's a strong point for the title. There's a lot to be said for a simple idea done well, and I'd generally put Creeper World in that category of game.

So here we go -- and may we reach safe, uncharted worlds at least an hour before the Creeper knows we've left.

Creeper World I: Anniversary Edition

Now presented for posterity, here is the link to the playlist for the original. All raw gameplay, no-commentary videos. All Story missions and bonus content, 55 levels in all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SadOVg_7KHo#t=1s

For the reader, the forum updates for the first game:

Chapter I: Novus Orca
Chapter 2: Taurus
Chapter 3: Fitch
Chapter 4: Orion
Chapter 5: Cetus
Chapter 6: Ara
Chapter 7: Corvus
Chapter 8: Draco
Chapter 9: Crux
Chapter 10: Octan
Chapter 11: Tucana
Chapter 12: Vela
Advanced Gameplay
Chapter 13: Pavo
Chapter 14: Ursa
Chapter 15: Canis
Chapter 16: Ix
Strategy Tips
Chapter 17: Scluptor
Chapter 18: Volan
Chapter 19: Pyxis
Chapter 20: Loki

Grim Conquest, 1-3
Grim Conquest, 4-5
Special Ops: Classic Earth
Special Ops: Super Tax-Man
Skuld 1-3
Skuld 4-5
Special Ops: Gump
Special Ops: Mouse Shadow
Frigg 1-3
Frigg 4-5
Special Ops: Chess
Special Ops: DTD
Vidar Conquest, 1-3
Vidar Conquest, 4-5
Special Ops: Poison
Special Ops: Chop Raider
Gudrun 1-3
Gudrun 4-5
Special Ops: Air
Special Ops: KC

Creeper World 2: Redemption

Beginning with the first sequel, commentary added to the video as well as the SSLP updates here in the thread.

Day 1: Novus Orca
Day 2: Far York
Day 3: Taurus
Day 4: UC-1004
Day 5: The Maxia Choice
Commander's Field Guide: Basic Gameplay
Day 6: Chaos
Day 7: Lost
Day 8: Sliver
Day 9: Intelligence
Day 10: The Experiment
Day 11: The Cooker
Day 12: The Answer
Day 13: Horror
Day 14: Phoenix
Day 15: Exterminate
Day 16: Purpose
Day 17: Trickery
Day 18: The Tide
Day 19: Colony Prime
Day 20: All Things

Bonus 1: Positronic
Bonus 2: The Tree
Bonus 3: Minion Surprise
Bonus 4: Shields Up!
Bonus 5: Stygian Depths
Bonus 6: Odyssey
Bonus 7: Barbarian Hordes
Bonus 8: Assault
Bonus 9: Cubic
Bonus 10: Abyss

Bonus ??: Credits

Custom: Strange Fields
Custom: Dark Menace 6
Custom: Creeper Falls
Custom: help the rebels
Custom: Black temple

Creeper World 3: Arc Eternal

Intro/Tempus
Carcere
Telos
Far York
Starsync
Jojo
Ormos
Seedet
Flick
Tiplex
Lemal
Ruine
Choix
Defi
Chanson
Mistet
Crosslaw
Vapen
Krig
Meso
Otrav
Farbor
Meso(Apexian)
Arca
Arca(Loki Ending)

Credits 'Dungeon'

Prospector Zone: A Taste of Odin

Tormented Space: Alelurgtum
Coramids
Aliancasterer
Waternaris
Grimira

Alpha Sector

Fortress Siege(Blaze)
Link & Shallow Moat
Titan
Flood Walls
Oblivion
floodgate v4
RunnerUp
Bardel
Solar Winds
Overextended
The Firing Range & Firing RangeB
Paradime & Nomland
Tide
Starfields Eternal
Troublesome Trains*
The Ocean
Gorge of the Void
The small one & The Gatekeeper
Unknown Scenario - Part 2 & 4.2 An Old Friend
Roundup
Boss
A Trio of New Planets
Hopping
The Start
Demo World & Earth
Solar System Shakeup & Up and Over
Mini Arena, Trae Noria, & Twisted Island
Altiar & Lil Gliese
spacecadet & Terror
thE ARk THat burned, the downpour, & islandhopper
SuperFlat
Chunk
Islands
Terp Lover
ThunderBluff & Pothole
spider Web
Planet Hopping & Which Way Do I Go
A River Runs Through It
I feel crazy
Faithful & strings attached
space & Total War[
WarZone Classic
War Zone
Conquest & Conquest 2
The Push & Countdown
HardToSee1, HardToSee2, & runner farm
Get the Gear
Creepy Castle & Shield Shove
Pyramid Power & AC Is Key
spore spam & point to point
clear your castle & thor's thunder
Airbase One
Beau Jest
The Bardel Redemption
The Bardel Convention
Leapfrog*
Descender & Helter-Skelter
Riftworld & Pop-Up
Pamukkale & Stairway 13
Runner Wash & Landscape Abuse 101
Megaland
Megaland 2
Xeniveral
Elect. Quiz & Tucana (Twice)
The Totem & The Totem 2
Creeper Wall
Creeper Wall 2
Creeper Wall 3 & the pit
Child's Play
Super Tower
Super Tower 2
asteroid map & Wallsaver
Creeper Hollow
Metroid
Aigues-Mortes
Waternaris*
The Source & Dungeon Novice
Aether & Dr. Wall
NACDAR & Digitalis Alpha Mission
Curiosity Station & Creeper In The Wind
Sacrifice & Chimera
Brain

Colonial Space

Training Day
Hyper Tower
Doomed Fortress-Sleeper*
CSM-58 SB9
Abandoned Ticon Lab
CSM-84

Particle Fleet: Emergence

Intro + Prologue
Naivety
Indelible
Unwise
Insanity
Evidence
Stretch
Brute
Potential
Emergent
Ties
Secrets
Doppelgangers
Intent
The 145th
Origin
Codex
Duty & Epilogue

Inception

The Melt
Varro & the Ship Editor
Fountains of Betelgeuse
Daisy Chain
Industrial Complex
Square Land
CEO's Landing
Archipelago
The Nest
Warp Never Changes

GMM-12 (39:47)
My Life For Mire (44:00)
Struc Needed (56:42)
Omni-Fest 9 + GMM 1 (1:06:08)
Omnificient (34:35)
License 1 (57:23)

Creeper World Grab-Bag
A selection of levels from all of the previously released titles, while we await CW4

Monkey Bars (1:13:44)
Release Roundup (1:23:10)
I Apologize In Advance (1:56:25)
InkCSM-3 (1:57:00)

Strategic Sage fucked around with this message at 11:18 on Jun 24, 2020

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Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Chapter I: Hope




Here is the galaxy, and with it the first leg of our journey. The score is defined by how long you take to complete a level. Starting from 10,000 points, the total reduces slightly each second. I won't be concerning myself with that or the online leaderboard. I'll try to complete each level in a reasonably efficient manner, but beyond that is something for the metagamers.

You can replay any level at any time, but since we are just starting, Hope is the only option. We can see all the worlds of the first leg of the story; each one has five, and there are multiple legs to achieve. When we click on Hope planet to begin, we are presented with backstory of what came before:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sad...8UIRi8F&index=1



And so our backstory, such as it is. From a galactic empire we've been reduced to less than 50,000 souls, our fate hanging on the 'prophecy of the Oracle', so to speak. And of course, my unproven skills as the Commander. We do not aim to defeat the Creeper; survival is the best we can hope for.

Video for the first(tutorial) world at Hope follows, or for those who prefer reading SSLP-style, you can easily skip that and follow the goings-on afterwards.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HN...8UIRi8F&index=2


I intentionally played fairly slowly to give time to see and read everything. There's more exposition here than there will usually be in other levels; longer videos and shorter explanations will be the norm.




And here's our first actual gameplay look. Ignore the main view for now; at the top is a message, which is how the plot, such as it is, will be communicated to us. Time is actually not really critical at all here, so the 'manufacturing urgency' gimmick is on full display. But we do need to follow the instructions precisely. There'll be a lot of them, as this is the tutorial world, and we actually don't have much choice in following them, as we are literally not going to be permitted to do ANYTHING else.

The bottom of the screen has what I'll just call the 'Controls Bar'. Stuff we can build is on the left; currently there are three items there. It will expand to 10 eventually. Then, moving right, there's the elevation indicator(elevation of wherever the cursor is). The Mission Time indicator alternates between that and the current score, but both serve the same basic function.

** The Energy display is most important. We always, at least in the levels I've seen, start with 20/20, a small but full reserve. Energy is the only economic resource, which makes it pretty darn important. Collection is what we are currently bringing in(1.1), Depletion is what's currently being spent(nothing), and Deficit is what we'd be spending if we had enough income. Optimal play requires keeping near-constant tabs on this.

The next group of icons allow us to pause or unpause. For the purpose of this LP I will not be using pause at all; I think it's the way a game like this should be played. Then there's sound effects and music, which I'll leave on but can be muted. Options gives four resolution choices, turning a couple of effects on or off, changing music volume, and enabling double speed if you wish(I'll pass). Help brings up a pretty basic guide that still manages to be helpful. It has a few sections, which I'll go through as they are appropriate in the course of the game:

** Basic Gameplay -- is what it says
** Advanced Gameplay -- Second-tier concepts
** Strategy Tips -- Useful tactics
** Units -- Descriptions of the various buildable entities in the game. These are good, and I'll show them as we get to them.

So that's pretty much your UI for Creeper World 1. Nothing will happen, no matter how long we wait, until clicking the Continue button in the message at the top.




Indeed there is.






Notice how the ground is green by the collectors connected to Odin City, but not on the other ones. Before we place one, we can see these green lines(showing what it will connect to). Also a white squarish outline of what area it will gather energy from.notice the areas above and below the current elevation are shaded red, and those already covered by other collectors shaded brown. We won't gain energy from these areas; only what is white. The black circle is the connection radius; a collector placed here cannot connect to anything outside of it.




That's back in the bottom Controls Bar:







This here is good, fundamental advice. Also notice the green health bar on the new collector here, which is about half full. Notice the whitish-gray 'ball' which has just left Odin City. These are construction packets, which Odin City produces from energy and sends out as needed. There are two other kinds of packets, for ammunition and powering up special structures. Once enough construction packets have reached our collector, it will start operating.

It's a good time to get to know the two structures we've learned about a little more.




Regarding that last advanced feature, grey corresponds to construction packets, red to ammunition, green to special structures. It's not something that is needed to be done often; usually leaving all three on is best, but it can be useful.




There is some serious gobbledygook technobabble going on here. 'Tapping into fractal space'? 'Infinite recursive space-time'? 'Limited discernment resolution?'. Do shut up. In terms of the numbers, a collector requires 10 energy to build and produces 0.1. That means it will generally take 100 seconds, 1.5-2 minutes, to pay for itself and be profitable for the rest of the level.




And the exposition continues. You can also see a lot more construction packets here, on their way to various collectors under construction. The connected group has now been activated, seen by the green terrain at the bottom of the screen.




OPS is right on top of it with the same basic info.




More false urgency, but it's time to familiarize ourselves with a new building. Just as they did with the collector, OPS instructs us to click Cancel once we've placed it, so we don't accidentally put one somewhere else(space bar works also, and in this mission, we can't build another one even if we wanted to. It's still good practice though).







The longer connection spans between relays can clearly be seen here, as well as the reddish packets -- these are the ones for ammunition. At this moment in time, not visible here, we are producing 4.6 energy/second -- but sending out 6. Supplying ammunition can be costly.




Good, concise, and to the point. I approve of this help file. The last statement about building more direct routes in your network can, in some circumstances, prove more valuable than meets the eye. Relays costs 20 Energy to build, twice that of a Collector, and produce nothing. Improving the network is the only reason to build them.







Where and when to place weapons is indeed among the key strategical choices to make on pretty much any level. Note the circle and whitened area, which mean pretty much the same thing they did before; connection radius(must be connected to the network, even if just another blaster or whatever) and firing range.




A few things to notice here. Obviously our enemy has arrived: more on it in a second. The Blaster has moved slightly; look closely and you'll see a green arrow fairly near it's destination. These always show up and flash across from the weapon to where it's moving. It will not fire until it gets where it's going, and it moves fairly slow, but it will get there.

On the far left, the Creeper has indeed arrived. It spreads as a liquid as I've mentioned. The three bluish asterisk-type symbols are Creeper Emitters. Shockingly enough, they emit creeper. Most are pretty standard but some seem to emit more creeper than others. Generally though you can get a sense of how much creeper you are going to have deal with by the number of emitters. In this case, it's just enough that our four blasters(and we can't build more) are almost, but not quite, enough to halt it's advance. We aren't in as much trouble as OPS is claiming, but we can't just sit around forever and expect to survive either. Most importantly, Creeper Emitters can't be destroyed ... but they can be 'capped', so that they are less productive and easier to deal with. We'll see how to do that another time.




What OPS is describing here is how you win a level in Creeper World 1. A Rift Totem is one of the three symbols in the upper right, not the Relays but the ones the cursor is pointing at here. Look kind of like a green flower with a red center. We must connect to them and power them up. Often, though not in this case, they will be in Creeper-held territory, requiring us to navigate around or push back our free-flowing enemy before being able to open the Rift(think wormhole generator here).

Not visible here is the fact that our Blaster has almost landed and the other three are firing away at the incoming 'wave' of Creeper. It still advances, but they are slowing it down. Also, notice the light blue 'blocks' back in the upper-right. These are a fortification of sorts that delays, but cannot stop, the Creeper. It will eventually 'eat through' them, and once they go it can be a bit of a Creeper avalanche in some cases. This level can be lost. If one is aggressively passive enough and just waits to see what happens, eventually the Creeper eat through our barricade, and flood the area with the Rift Totems. Since we can't move blasters or build new ones due to the scripted nature of things, that'll be the end of things as the Relays will be destroyed if Creeper reaches them. You have to really try to let that happen though; it takes at least nine minutes and this level is finished in 2-3 at most, much faster than the time it takes to write about it.




Odin City's ability to move can be valuable; getting it closer to the front, or out of danger usually. On the left we can see the blasters firing away, but despite their best efforts, the Creeper is winning. In the lower left, that green circle is the second Collector that we've lost exploding. Energy income has dropped slightly from 4.6 to 4.4. This reinforces the fact that it's time to get our of dodge.




And we have liftoff! Even while aloft, Odin City can still provide packets to any nearby network-connected structures. Moves pretty slowly like the blaster, and it probably would have been faster just to build a Collector here ... but that wouldn't show off the mobility of our species' last hope now, would it?




At just after 2:30 on the mission timer, Odin City lands at it's destination. A connecting Relay is nearby, so it immediately starts sending out rift packets to the totems. Soon afterwards, the last of our lowest-elevation collectors have been destroyed by the ever-advancing creeper.




As soon as their power-up is complete, the Rift Totems do this, activating the Rift itself. Lasts a few seconds ...




Then the totems fall silent. They've done their job, and Odin City moves to the vortex.




Once it arrives, Odin City is engulfed in a purple cloud, which then gradually dissipates. No further packets are sent out, because the city is no longer here. It has moved on. We have moved on. Humanity has persevered, and survived! Success!!




After every level, you are reminded that you've achieved something. Demonstrating full power of the faculties of orginality, each Achievement is the name of the planet you just escaped from. How exciting. After spending countless hours gazing in awe at this breathtaking accomplishment, you click Continue to ... well, continue.




While I won't be subjecting you to the nearly-pointless achievement screen every level, this is another matter. The Performance Graph plots four variables over the course of the mission, along with recapping your time and related score. This can be quite useful in analyzing your performance. For instance, in looking at this one thing that stands out is in the middle area, we were collecting far more energy than we used. That's not good -- it means an inefficient economy. On most worlds, I'd look at that as an issue where I need to improve. In general we'll want to see the green and white lines track very closely together, so that we are using whatever resources are available to us. Additionally, creeper coverage will typically peak and then decline, while we'll want to have an escalating or at least consistently high after a certain point level of creeper killed. Not overly complex, but we can see important clues to how well we did here, if it is read intelligently.




This is next, the final stop in any world/level. I won't be submitting scores since, as mentioned, my goal is to progress through the game, not be a speedrunner. But it's a cool option for those who are into such things. By the by, the record for Hope is around 9880. I intentionally went slow here, but that means(if you do the math, remembering you always start at 10k) the person who set that record accomplished it in just over a quarter of the time I did. Well under a minute. Some of the records are really impressive.




And now we've come full circle, back to our galaxy map, having progressed one world closer to our goal, whatever that may be. Any completed worlds can be replayed at any time, along with the next one in the chain, but we'll naturally keep moving forward. Humanity has survived, and it has us, their Commander, to thank for it. But is it merely a momentary stay of execution, or will we be able to meet the challenges of the Creeper at our next world? And the next, and the one after that, and ... ?? Note that we've had no further worlds revealed; that won't happen until we finish this leg of the story.

When next the adventure of Creeper World 1 continues, Odin City will arrive at Taurus. Until then, we drift through Rift Space, hoping we will be strong and smart enough to survive whatever we find there, and that the mysterious Old Man wasn't merely the village idiot ...

DoubleCakes
Jan 14, 2015



Pretty neat you're doing this game-- a good LP so far! I just finished Particle Fleet and loved Creeper World 3 but after I was done I had no motivation to return to either. This LP is doing something for my curiosity, though.

General Revil
Sep 29, 2014

"Congratulations! You're all smarter than some of the most brilliant minds on Tendao that worked on this revolutionary project."

I love Creeper World. I hate that your score is based on the time you spent in the game. I'm the kind is person that needs to have every pixel that can be productive be productive and the creeper utterly annihilated.

Also this explains why a creeper world video showed up as a recommended/related video on YouTube.

Carbon dioxide
Oct 9, 2012



Creeper World is a really original and fun game series! I enjoyed playing through the story line, too.

I never really got into the thousands of available fan-created levels, but if the story modes aren't enough for you, there's always that.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

General Revil posted:

I'm the kind is person that needs to have every pixel that can be productive be productive and the creeper utterly annihilated.

Oh dear. You're going to have a problem with how I do some of the worlds then, I fear ...

GeneralRevil posted:

this explains why a creeper world video showed up as a recommended/related video on YouTube.

Yeah, I decided just to throw the unedited gameplay footage in a public playlist, which I don't normally do.

carbon dioxide posted:

I never really got into the thousands of available fan-created levels, but if the story modes aren't enough for you, there's always that.

If I do this, it will only be very briefly. From what I can see, the Conquest worlds are just as numerous if not more so than the story itself, and then add Special Ops on top of that ... I plan on doing one world a day in a fairly rapid-fire update pattern given the nature of the game, but even so it'll still be at least a couple of months on the original game here without looking for more. If there's someone out there who wants to recommend particularly sadistic maps I might try a few, but I don't think it's at all necessary. We'll probably all be good and familiar with things by the time we get through the 'official material'.

DoubleCakes posted:

Pretty neat you're doing this game-- a good LP so far!

Excellent! I shall endeavor to preservere.

General Revil
Sep 29, 2014

"Congratulations! You're all smarter than some of the most brilliant minds on Tendao that worked on this revolutionary project."

Thotimx posted:

This is next, the final stop in any world/level. I won't be submitting scores since, as mentioned, my goal is to progress through the game, not be a speedrunner. But it's a cool option for those who are into such things. By the by, the record for Hope is around 9880. I intentionally went slow here, but that means(if you do the math, remembering you always start at 10k) the person who set that record accomplished it in just over a quarter of the time I did. Well under a minute. Some of the records are really impressive.

This reminds me though. It's possible to softlock the game on the first level by doing it too fast. You can set down the first collector before it's ready and you end up stuck.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Interlude: Basic Gameplay

We're ready now for the first set of instructions from the game's help file. With dated graphics from the original release accompanying, the following steps are given:

1. Build collectors to get energy.
2. Build weapons to fight off the Creeper.
3. Collect any technology and artifacts.
4. Connect to all Totems.
5. Once Totems activate, Odin City escapes!

The fundamental steps to winning a level/escaping a world. The only one of these we've not yet covered is point #3: Hope did not have any technology/artifacts to collect.




I neglected to include this in the Hope level. Good information here on our most basic, run-of-the-mill weapon against the Creeper. And right now, our only weapon, period. To this description which well summarizes best use of the Blaster, I would add that it is very much a short-range weapon. Also, it costs 25 Energy to build(2.5 Collectors, or 1.25 Relays worth) and you must also of course supply it with a steady stream of ammunition for as long as it is within range of Creeper.

Chapter 2: Taurus


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9idh-H40NOE






How ... convenient that we didn't lose, say, collector schematics. Only the one that we don't need right away. Eh, maybe I'm being too harsh here. Anyway, Let's Get Rifting!

This 'nano schematic' is that thing at the bottom with the wavy green outline.




Or not. If it's not already obvious, the basic idea here is to teach the Commander about connecting to special items on the map. This is also good advice about how to use Blasters in pushing back the Creeper.




Always a good idea to get the lay of the land here. Odin City is protected by blocks, on high ground, and has four collectors connected to it -- yielding the output of 1.1 energy instead of the 0.8 it produces on its own. We aren't exactly roughing it here; the training wheels are off on Taurus, so we can build what we choose, where we choose without the total-control scripting of Hope. But we aren't up against it here. Two creeper emitters, one at medium elevation in the south -- and thankfully it's super-weak and won't expand quickly. The one in the basin to the east is more normal, but it will take a long time for it to fill that area and threaten the area on the islands where the Rift Totems are.




This is a good example of probably the most common Creeper World malady: overbuilding. Building at the right pace for your current economy is important in that ever-vital growth curve. Here, about 20 seconds after the previous image, I've got two collectors up and running and have queued up four more, in positions where Odin City can send packets to all of them at once. That's bad -- I've got a deficit and have used up the reserve as you can see from the Energy display. If I'd built just two, and then the other two, I could use the energy from the first two instead of spreading it out and ultimately getting nothing actually built for a while. It's important to build as much as your energy supply can handle -- and no more than that.




I saw what was going on, and was more careful after that group of collectors was finished. Here, a little further on, is a good example of what you're aiming for: depletion and collection are balanced, reserve is fairly low; I'm expanding at a more optimal rate now. You can also see the difference in how far and fast the two emitters are spreading creeper.




Once I get the higher ground basically covered with a well-spaced grid of collectors, I add a couple of Blasters as instructed by OPS in their briefing. It would have been better to place them higher, as here they are at risk of getting damaged/destroyed by the Creeper, being that close while they are constructed.




I get away with it though; the first one is finished and starts firing at the nearby creeper before it is advanced enough to attack.




Building a few collectors just over the 'cliff', I use them to support pushing the Blasters forward more.




Shortly afterwards, the blasters have eliminated all the creeper around this emitter. When you do that, only one Blaster is needed to watch over it. The emitter will only rarely pump out a bit of Creeper, with the Blaster firing at it just occasionally to keep it under control. This is known as 'capping' the Emitter, and the game tells you how to do this several worlds later, even though it's almost hard not to make it happen here, with how weak this emitter is.

As we've now build a collector within range of the nano-schematic, Relay tech is ours once again. I'm moving one of the blasters out near the larger basin, because why not. The only thing left to do is connect to the Totems.




Relays are naturally the fastest the way to do this. I can reach the totems on the islands without bothering with the creeper over by the emitter out that way on the east border. I could attack that, fill a lot more of the western area with collectors, etc. -- but all of that is completely unnecessary. It's also worth noting that while I have a bunch of relays laid out here, I'm not overtaxing the economy because Odin City can't work on the outlying one before the first 'link in the chain' is completed.




I build another Blaster just because I can, but mostly just wait for almost two minutes for the relay network to finish. Probably could have found a closer spot to move Odin City to in order to speed it up, could have done a lot of things, but there was no need to.




For the second half of the level here, I wasn't using as much energy as I could have, but there wasn nothing I could build to speed things up so it was just a matter of whether I felt like building things just to build them. We also didn't take back much territory from the Creeper; most worlds will require more of that.




Fitch is next; Odin City has survived again.

Hwurmp
May 20, 2005

I LIKE TO MAKE VAGUE THREATS TO PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE I AM TOUGH GUY. P.S. ASK ME ABOUT THE TIME A GIRL BEAT ME UP IN GRADE SCHOOL. HER NAME WAS SUZIE SHE DREW A BIG WEINER ON MY FOREHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

irregular collector placement

Argas
Jan 13, 2008
SRW Fanatic







This looks neat. I vaguely recall the third game popping up on a list of obscure as gently caress but cool games half a year back or so. Eager to see more.

General Revil
Sep 29, 2014

"Congratulations! You're all smarter than some of the most brilliant minds on Tendao that worked on this revolutionary project."

This got me looking into the developer to see what he's up to. He's working on CW4, but that space based spin off is tons of fun and I may have wasted a few hours that I don't really have to spare into playing it. Just the demo though. I need to shell out and buy it.

General Revil fucked around with this message at 06:32 on Dec 27, 2017

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010


General Revil posted:

He's working on CW4

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Really Pants posted:

irregular collector placement

The OCD is STROOOOOONG with this one.

Argas posted:

obscure as gently caress but cool games

Quite accurate I'd say.

If they are indeed working on CW4, there's a chance that may just get tacked on to the end of this LP(even if it's fairly early in development, it's going to take some time to pound through the other four games). I'll have to keep an eye on that down the road.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Chapter 3: Fitch


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OMYeIK7FaBs





So we are going to get a new toy here. Also some good economic strategy there in the last paragraph, which I pretty much covered in our last world, Taurus.




There's definitely another step up in opposition here. Five emitters, spread out along the top. They're on low ground, and some blocks are in place as well. The way the heights encircle the 'harbor' in the middle section of things is crucial. We have no connected collectors, so we start at minimal energy here for the first time as well -- but there are a few sets of a couple scattered around. Connecting to those will give us a jumpstart.




So naturally I make that my first order of business; this is 40 seconds later.




Not long after, I'm hooked up to most of the collectors, about to gain the services of the others, and Energy Storage becomes the fourth building in our toolbox.




No real new information here. I find it's useful to build up about 3-4 of these. At 20 Energy each, that will improve the amount we can store from 20 to 80-100. They cost 20 Energy each, so the same as a Relay or two Collectors, and less than a Blaster.




Put them up a bit early here. Generally the best time is when you've reached the point where you don't need all of your energy for the available places you can build collectors. That means it's almost time to transition to combating the Creeper, and having extra energy stored can help bring weapons online and up to their ammunition needs quickly. Also, if you can't use all the energy at that point, it's wasted if not invested in something. So here I could either start getting some Blasters built or go with the Storage. The Creeper is making it's way into the harbor, but it's not in range yet.




Next step is to queue up more collectors on the ridges that nearly ring the harbor(also added a third Storage just because). Once those are in place, I get some Blasters going. A very thematic Creeper World buildup; first maximize the economic benefit of all safe territory, then switch to a fighting stance. Here, even though I've got four Blasters queued up at once, I probably should have at least a couple more; energy is high and I'm not using it all.




Shortly afterwards, a couple of them come online and I place two more. As the Creeper is pushed back, the Blasters are moved into the harbor itself, as well as some collectors where it's safe. It's not coming anywhere near fast enough to stop us with the amount of Energy I have coming in now; collection's nearly at 7 and still rising.

I soon split my Blasters, three in the harbor and three on the northern ridges where they can fire constantly at the larger mass of creeper. Soon it is over.




This was a well-played world. The peaks-and-valleys of the white(energy usage) display are typical, but it pretty much tracks with the supply. As mentioned, I should have built a couple more blasters for about the second half but that's about it. Once they started opening up, the expanding coverage of the creeper dropped like a rock and victory was assured.

I'd like to say they'll all be like this, and the march of humanity will never be threatened. I'd be a liar though.

DoubleCakes
Jan 14, 2015



Some of those musical themes are way more experimental compared to anything from CW3 or Particle Fleet.

Anyway, a good LP so far. Keep it up!

General Revil
Sep 29, 2014

"Congratulations! You're all smarter than some of the most brilliant minds on Tendao that worked on this revolutionary project."

There's only so much to comment on on the early maps. Looking forward to the later ones though.

ilmucche
Mar 16, 2016

The magnificent story of Dwayt al-Shrood.



These were fun when I first played them years ago. Nice to see an lp!

Gloomy Rube
Mar 4, 2008





I've never even heard of these games so I'm totally on board with this, I wanna see how this game progresses!

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

General Revil posted:

only so much to comment on on the early maps.

True, it's pretty much just demonstrating concepts so far.

Gloomy Rube posted:

I've never even heard of these games so I'm totally on board with this, I wanna see how this game progresses!

Welcome to the insanity!

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Chapter 4: Orion


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ox...GJCv1o6g8UIRi8F






If you're looking for the Guardian, Death Ray, or other advanced technology, this isn't the LP you're looking for. Wrong Orions.

OPS blathers on quite a bit here, but having something other than Blasters to hit the Creeper with would definitely be a welcome addition. Let's see about getting it.




We're definitely still in 'easy mode' here. Five emitters oppose us, but they have to fill in some lower terrain on the west side of the map. Until they get to that central north-south ridge, we've got nothing to worry about. And a half-dozen collectors already hooked up gives our economy a nice jump-start.




A little too slowly at first, I expand the network south. I'm in no hurry to grab the nano-schematic, but this is a good area that sets up well for an efficient grid. The creeper flows down the 'steps' to the west, collecting in the low-lying areas. We've got plenty of time.




Continuing to futz around a little too much, I get a couple of storage units going by the time we get the Mortar schematics.




The firing-over-walls thing is not useful in any world I've yet run into. That's not to say it won't be, but it's definitely the deep pools that we are looking to take advantage of. Taking out a large amount of creeper at once can really turn things in your favor, as will be demonstrated in time. They have a decent range, not that far, but better than the Blasters. Ammunition cost is also a lot higher, and the price tag of 50 Energy is the same as a pair of Blasters. So it's best to only build them and place them where they are really going to help you.




Still building a bit slowly, as you can see from the surplus, I've taken the ridge by about the 3-minute mark. Energy is really coming in well now. Time to get fighting. Really you only need one mortar here; putting it in that part that juts out to the west between the two pools is perfect, so long as you can build it in time. From there it can fire at either of the two 'pools'. Naturally this occurred to me while watching the replay, not while I was going through the level. So that's not what I did.




Once I get a couple mortars in place, to say nothing of the Blasters, the creeper in the pools is quickly knocked down and there's no way it's going to accumulate enough to threaten my position. Now I just need to push forward enough to snag the Totems.




After slapping down some more Blasters a while later, it's on to the 'leapfrog' method of waiting for collectors to finish, moving Blasters forward to clear more space, etc. I get a Blaster destroyed in the process because I'm not careful enough, and when fighting your way upwards this can get dicey.

If you look at the bottom of the screen, there's a couple blasters down there that can't attack the creeper above them because they aren't at a high enough elevation, and the southwest is exactly where I need to get for the last Totem. This kind of operation is pretty methodical and slow, but I've got more than enough energy to get the job done eventually.




Took longer than the previous worlds, but we got there. The most notable part of this graph is the spike right in the middle. That's the brief but very effective moment of glory for the Mortars. Put them in action in the right situation, and Creeper is killed by the truckload.




Only Cetus remains of our first set of planets, which makes one curious what awaits us there ...

DoubleCakes
Jan 14, 2015



I think the simplicity in the graphics might make it easier to follow than the other Creeper World games, even moreso.

General Revil
Sep 29, 2014

"Congratulations! You're all smarter than some of the most brilliant minds on Tendao that worked on this revolutionary project."

Thotimx posted:

Chapter 4: Orion

If you're looking for the Guardian, Death Ray, or other advanced technology, this isn't the LP you're looking for. Wrong Orions.

I was about to make a joke about that.

KazigluBey
Oct 30, 2011

boner



My understanding of these games led me to believe that times does matter, that at some breakpoint(s) if you take too long creeper production spikes, and you can lose to taking too long. Was this a thing only in certain games in the series?

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010


KazigluBey posted:

My understanding of these games led me to believe that times does matter, that at some breakpoint(s) if you take too long creeper production spikes, and you can lose to taking too long. Was this a thing only in certain games in the series?
I haven't noticed it in any of the games. Maybe it's only in the special scenarios?

Blind Duke
Nov 8, 2013


You would think it may get old eventually but no, every time you set up mortars to hit a max depth pool it feels fantastic

Carbon dioxide
Oct 9, 2012



You can lose to taking too long but that's because in some maps, the creeper is fast enough to overpower you if you don't get your defenses up immediately.

There are also a couple campaign maps where something plot-related happens halfway through the level, giving you either a hard time limit or making the level harder by adding emitters and stuff. Not sure if this is in all of the games.

Asehujiko
Apr 6, 2011


Creeper world 2 had "time bombs" of super-compressed creeper placed behind a long zigzagging tunnel of walls that slowly disintegrate, usually right next to various plot components that give you a game over if they get hit by the creeper.

And in CW3 there's a special mission which just flat out has a timer and if it runs out, you lose.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

KazigluBey posted:

My understanding of these games led me to believe that times does matter, that at some breakpoint(s) if you take too long creeper production spikes, and you can lose to taking too long. Was this a thing only in certain games in the series?

Not a thing I've ever seen yet. As Carbon dioxide mentioned though, there are some where you have a limited time to defend yourself(or something else that must be defended). I'll keep an eye on this, but so far this kind of shenanigan hasn't appeared.

kvx687
Dec 29, 2009



Soiled Meat

There's one bonus mission that does this, but it uses a mechanic we haven't seen yet so I can't discuss it too much. I *think* it's possible to layer multiple creeper vents in a single tile, and set some of them to trigger later than others, though I'm pretty sure that there aren't any official maps that do this. I've definitely seen it in 3 and Particle Fleet, though. There aren't really any time constraints outside of score on the vast majority of missions, though, especially in 1.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Chapter 5: Cetus

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lcul2sjnfAw





OPS has been holding out on us, we're even more screwed than previously anticipated, and there's an Artifact -- but we don't know what it does. Not the best of news.




We have three collectors connected, and a couple of other groups further away. To reach them, we must cross the lowest-lying areas. Meanwhile the emitters are on the highest ground, but at least the creeper itself will flow into a lower area with a few rows of blocks set up. That barricade will buy us some time.




Building in that lowest area near us is ... hazardous. Not now of course, but those blocks won't hold forever. After a bit of experimenting I hit upon this approach. After getting a few more collectors up, some at the starting area and some on that small 'island' on the right edge, it's time to bridge the gaps with relays and connect up with the two 'outposts'. The first row of blocks in the northwest is already taking a beating.




Did pretty well with the expanding at first, then got a little greedy here as I had a deficit as high as 34. One row of blocks is gone, and the second will soon follow.




It's not too long before I've got enough income to build everything I can safely connect on the higher areas, and I add in three Storage units.




At just about four minutes in, the dam is broken and the Creeper rushes through. Meanwhile I'm finishing up collectors and getting a couple Mortars and Blasters going -- it's a race to see if I'll get them ready in time to protect what I've built. Two Totems have been acquired, but it'll take a lot more work to get the third.




Once the weapons are ready, I position them on the heights nearest the deep part of the Creeper to cut off the supply. I've finished this in time, but if you don't start reasonably well it's very easy to lose part of your network before you are prepared to fight back. This isn't a world that presents great risk of losing, but that can make things a lot more difficult. Even here, you can see that the blocks in the south are under attack.




After getting a couple more blaster done, even though I don't get them positioned properly for a while, it doesn't take long to reclaim most of the map from the Creeper and end any threat to my territory.




I get to the third Totem first. If you don't get everything else first, OPS will have this to say.




So I basically cover most of the map in collectors, most of which I don't need, while waiting to be hooked up to the circular greenish thing in the middle, which is our Artifact.




And the plot stinkens. Now we can leave.





Another case where we were able to crush the advance of the Creeper once we started pushing back.




First 'leg' of the Story has now been completed, and with it and the discovery of this mysterious Artifact from more than eleven millenia back to present time we have five more worlds to journey to.

Gloomy Rube
Mar 4, 2008





So when did this game come out? Was 2010 the present, past, or future for the devs?

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

PSA: One of the songs that Creeper World cycles though in the gameplay videos has showed up on a copyright claim, so I'm attempting to remove it as I try to steer clear of anything even close to that kind of thing. You'll probably notice a 2-3 minute gap with no music in parts of some of them.

2010 would have been slightly in the future; Creeper World 1 was released in 2009.

Pierzak
Oct 30, 2010


I'm curious about one thing: if you cut connection to totems that are already emitting beams, but a rift hasn't formed yet, will they complete the process anyway, or will I have to reconnect and repower them?

Also, just got the final achievements for CW1!

Hwurmp
May 20, 2005

I LIKE TO MAKE VAGUE THREATS TO PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE I AM TOUGH GUY. P.S. ASK ME ABOUT THE TIME A GIRL BEAT ME UP IN GRADE SCHOOL. HER NAME WAS SUZIE SHE DREW A BIG WEINER ON MY FOREHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pierzak posted:

I'm curious about one thing: if you cut connection to totems that are already emitting beams, but a rift hasn't formed yet, will they complete the process anyway, or will I have to reconnect and repower them?

I don't have the latest version but in v0572, once the green packets have all reached their destinations it's mission complete. Disconnecting a totem won't cancel the rift.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Yep, I tested this and once all the Totems are powered up, nothing else matters. Severing the connection does nothing, because they don't need anything else; it's getting the connection in the first place for long enough to power up that is the deal. After that, it's over.

Deathwind
Mar 3, 2013


How did I not find this lp sooner? I've got well over 400 hours into CW3.

I'm not the fastest player but I've never lost a map.

Deathwind fucked around with this message at 04:33 on Jan 2, 2018

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Deathwind posted:

I'm not the fastest player but I've never lost a map.

You're already ahead of me there. As for the LP ... it's still pretty young, about a week old when you posted and I didn't announce it. So you're close to the ground floor here.

Strategic Sage
Jan 22, 2017

And that's the way it is...

Chapter 6: Ara


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQJf4StyJjE






Ara begins the second leg of the journey. Amidst the speculation and blather here, we discover that there will be a new toy to play with. Amazing that they know what it does before even acquiring it.




The gloves will start coming off a bit now. Only three emitters, but the Creeper has the high ground and Odin City is on low terrain. We've got blocks to protect us, but they won't last long. As a test, I did nothing and just waited to see how long it would take for our home and hope to be destroyed. As the Creeper began entering the city, a beeping warning sounded annoyingly. Once it had been mostly engulfed, Odin City exploded with large red rings emanating from where it had been. This took 5 minutes and 12 seconds. So we've got time, but it's not unlimited.




Takes a little over a minute to cover the area inside the blocks with collectors. That's a rather obvious thing to do, and the creeper has already begun to attack them. Getting a couple blasters up in case it breaks through takes time, but seems a sensible precaution.




I branch out in both directions, swinging around to gain possession of the ridges, and build a couple of storage cells. Meanwhile, the creeper is beginning to break through. I think those two blasters may need help soon.




The reason these are so important is that Odin City sends out packets when there's a need for it(weapons low on ammo, construction ongoing, etc.). If there's no need, nothing goes out. Distant weapons, for example, can run out of ammo before replacements can reach them. Building a few of these is quite useful, and I do so as soon as they are acquired. Once I've got a couple blasters on the ridges in secure positions, I move the other two forward beyond the blocks, expand the territory for our collectors behind them, and start to work on pushing back against the Creeper.




Much of our fortifications are gone, but I'm able to gradually move forward and central. Here, an equilibrium of sorts has been established. I've got control of about half the map and a sound, spaced-out blaster defense. It's actually a little better than even as I'm pushing the enemy back, but only gradually.

Next, I lose a pair of collectors with an ill-advised push forwards. More firepower is needed.




With six blasters now in position, I add a couple more, having moved forward to the base of the not-really-a-pyramid. Now it gets interesting, as I must fight my way upwards. This kind of thing is easy to screw up, as I demonstrate shortly.




One blaster is destroyed, then a second in this counterrattack in the middle by the Creeper. I seem paralyzed, just sort of staring at the goings-on and not really sure what to do. Some decisive Commander I am. ...

After regaining my bearings, I gradually pushed forward again, taking small bits of space at a time and slowly filling in the territory gained with new blasters. After a while I'm able to start pushing my way up the 'steps'. The rest of the battle would be more of the same; mostly slow progress, some mistakes that result in lost territory temporarily. But eventually I reached the top, and Odin City escaped once again.




As you can see, it took a long time to regain territory from the creeper. A lot of that was the slow push upwards to claim the high ground. Once there, I was finally able to seize control of the situation.

Strategic Sage fucked around with this message at 03:07 on Jan 5, 2018

General Revil
Sep 29, 2014

"Congratulations! You're all smarter than some of the most brilliant minds on Tendao that worked on this revolutionary project."

Thotimx posted:

Takes a little over a minute to cover the area inside the blocks with collectors. That's a rather obvious thing to do, and the creeper has already begun to attack them. Getting a couple blasters up in case it breaks through takes time, but seems a sensible precaution.




I branch out in both directions, swinging around to gain possession of the ridges, and build a couple of storage cells. Meanwhile, the creeper is beginning to break through. I think those two blasters may need help soon.

As you may have noticed, not only are blasters not able to shoot up, they're not able to shoot through the barrier. If you had moved the blasters out past the wall, your collector would have been safe behind the wall, while the blaster started to push back the creeper and protect the two wings that are behind the ridge, but outside of the barrier. Also, blasters can be used to connect two collectors, giving you a more direct way to reach the ridge.

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Hwurmp
May 20, 2005

I LIKE TO MAKE VAGUE THREATS TO PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE I AM TOUGH GUY. P.S. ASK ME ABOUT THE TIME A GIRL BEAT ME UP IN GRADE SCHOOL. HER NAME WAS SUZIE SHE DREW A BIG WEINER ON MY FOREHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

back in my day we didn't need any namby pamby "bosons" or "higgs" or "terms at least loosely based in actual physics;" we used fractals for literally goddamn everything and we got by just fine

now stop grousing and finish your fractal sprouts

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