Author Topic: General strategies: What are some of the things you do to win fast?  (Read 392 times)

Gigaus

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I've played CW3 for some time now, several years now, and I'm still stumped on how some people are able to get such low times. Especially in the Alpha Sector, where some planets just seem impossible. It was only after finishing Cobrakill::Titan that I just had to shake my head and come here. It literally took me an hour to do, and most people had much, much lower times.

So my question is, what is some good strategies for beating a level quickly?

GoodMorning

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Re: General strategies: What are some of the things you do to win fast?
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2017, 08:49:18 am »
While I'm by no means a speedrunner, there is a three-word summary: energy is king.

Advice I've seen from speedrunners:
Build weapons late to get more power up earlier. Build Collectors early even where they will die, because 20 seconds is their repayment time. If you have a deficit, you're delaying something's build. If it gives power, that's bad. If you have more than 1 spare energy (green bar), you should be spending it on another Reactor by now.

The longer you take, the more Creeper you have to pound through.

Don't underestimate AC.

Build only what you need.
A narrative is a lightly-marked path to another reality.

Karsten75

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Re: General strategies: What are some of the things you do to win fast?
« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2017, 09:21:28 am »
Great advice from GoodMorning, I'd add two things to the list
1. Pay attention to your starting position and
2. Look for weak enemy units that can be taken out quickly before they are engulfed with creeper.
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GoodMorning

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Re: General strategies: What are some of the things you do to win fast?
« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2017, 09:31:46 am »
I can pass this advice on, I do not pretend that I can use it all that well.

One more, for player-created maps: Some things should be rushed. For instance, placing a Pulse Cannon to hold back Digitalis from a Void crossing can be far cheaper than trying to remove the bridge when it is covered in Creeper. Spore Towers are another favourite, as are Runner Nests - a Power Zone makes a Reactor 10x as effective.
A narrative is a lightly-marked path to another reality.

planetfall

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Re: General strategies: What are some of the things you do to win fast?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2017, 11:17:25 am »
Moving your CN forward is better than building relays. (The cost of building a relay is 2.0 energy per second, the opportunity cost of having the CN in the air is 1.5 energy per second; building relays halves packet travel time, moving the CN a similar distance eliminates it completely)

If the map is such that "speedrunning" can include a forge, ration your aether. Energy efficiency and build speed are very useful. Weapon range and move speed mean your guns spend less time being useless in the air, though range is vastly better. Fire rate is less valuable, as you can just build more weapons (unless constrained by space), but really cranks the DPS you can get out of PZ mortars. Ore efficiency is situational, depending on the number of mines and relative effectiveness of AC on that map. Energy storage isn't useful unless you need lots of beams. AC storage is lame. Packet speed is only useful in situations when relays become necessary (you must attack more fronts than you have CNs, or space constraints prevent moving the CN forward.)

Range upgrades mean you can use the runners mode on pulse cannons with relative impunity - this is better than using snipers in a few ways. Firstly, it is more energy- and space-efficient, as the cannon also damages creeper and digi around the targeted runner. It can also damage multiple runners if they are very close together, and the high-rate low-damage pulse cannon will do less overkill damage (aka wasted energy and reload time).

Don't underestimate the singularity weapon, but don't use it unless you can take something out with it.

When filling new PZs, remember:
-If a PZ will take a nullifier, that is almost always the right thing to build there before putting in another unit.
-If you have a shield prebuilt, it may be better than a mortar depending on circumstances and upgrades.
-PZ relays may let you collector-ify otherwise inaccessible locations, and eliminate the messiness and throughput limitations of guppies.
-PZ beams can stop entire swarms of spores quite cheaply (mostly useful if space available for defense is limited)
-There are niche circumstances where a mere collector is the best choice, or that a cannon will do better than a mortar. Don't discount them.
-A PZ mortar has the DPS of 3 normal mortars - if you have the space and energy for 3 normal mortars, and don't need the bonus range, consider putting a "back" unit there immediately.

When backfilling power zones that can no longer host a mortar or other forward-thing, consider:

-A reactor's effectiveness is multiplied by 10, 10 reactors cost 500 packets and cover 90 cells
-A bertha's effectiveness is multiplied by 6, 6 berthas cost 1500 packets and cover 150 cells
-A strafer's effectiveness is multiplied by 4, 4 strafers cost 200 packets (but there's nothing better for killing digitalis) and cover 36 cells
-A bomber's effectiveness is multiplied by 8, 8 bombers cost 600 packets (but do not gain ammo efficiency like other weapons) and cover 72 cells
-A guppy's effectiveness is multiplied by 2, 2 guppies cost 50 packets and cover 18 cells at base and 18 cells at target, YOU MONSTER.
-Take into account the map's unit limits, if applicable

Suffice it to say, I very rarely do any of this.
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Gigaus

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Re: General strategies: What are some of the things you do to win fast?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2017, 12:32:13 pm »
Good and simple stuff GoodMorning and Karstan, though I will say I know all of that already. I'm more looking at methods of dealing with 'hard' maps like what you'd see in the Alpha Sector.

Good advanced stuff Planetfall, though I'd add in that Bombers/Sprayers are pretty much mandatory for quick advances. Especially if range is a consideration. What you need 3 or 5 cannons for, depending on map configuration, 1 Sprayer can cover and give you breathing room for. And Bombers allow for much more targeted, burst approaches when sustaining ore/AC isn't an option.

And Shield tends to outweigh Mortar in PZs when there's a heavy 'creeper wall'. Morter can clear anything below 10 layers of creeper easily, but above that and you'll need to get a Shield going so it's not overwhelmed.
---

Again, I'm looking for stuff to get close to sub 10 minute times, or more on difficult maps. Something that might not be blatantly obvious or involves 'spam 15 units' basically. Again, I bring up Cobrakill::Titan, in Alpha Sector. There's people with sub 10, even sub 30 times. I know people do cheat in this game, but 100+ people can't all be cheating, and have to be doing something right. And it makes me question 'what?'

fanstar1

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Re: General strategies: What are some of the things you do to win fast?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2018, 05:26:32 pm »
Good and simple stuff GoodMorning and Karstan, though I will say I know all of that already. I'm more looking at methods of dealing with 'hard' maps like what you'd see in the Alpha Sector.

Good advanced stuff Planetfall, though I'd add in that Bombers/Sprayers are pretty much mandatory for quick advances. Especially if range is a consideration. What you need 3 or 5 cannons for, depending on map configuration, 1 Sprayer can cover and give you breathing room for. And Bombers allow for much more targeted, burst approaches when sustaining ore/AC isn't an option.

And Shield tends to outweigh Mortar in PZs when there's a heavy 'creeper wall'. Morter can clear anything below 10 layers of creeper easily, but above that and you'll need to get a Shield going so it's not overwhelmed.
---

Again, I'm looking for stuff to get close to sub 10 minute times, or more on difficult maps. Something that might not be blatantly obvious or involves 'spam 15 units' basically. Again, I bring up Cobrakill::Titan, in Alpha Sector. There's people with sub 10, even sub 30 times. I know people do cheat in this game, but 100+ people can't all be cheating, and have to be doing something right. And it makes me question 'what?'
sub 42 I don't think is possible except on player-created maps

cornucanis

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Re: General strategies: What are some of the things you do to win fast?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2018, 02:47:47 pm »
I know this is an old topic, but since it's already been ghost posted anyway I figured I might as well share some of my tips for speedy runs in case there are still people out there yearning to get their foot in the door.

One of the most helpful things for optimizing play is to identify objectives. I'm gonna use map 5270 as an example since it was one of my most recent speedruns. After analyzing the map carefully, you can conclude that this map can be won by completing two main objectives. Objective 1 is to nullify the 4 runner nests on the outside of the pyramid. Objective 2 is to place nullifiers on 2 of the resulting PZs to finish nullifying everything else.

Sounds simple so far right? You probably already identify objectives like this. What's important, though, is how you use this knowledge. Now that you've determined how few objectives you must complete to finish the map, you should focus on completing each objective in the absolute minimum time possible. Since a nullifier takes 40-50 seconds to build, you should theoretically be able to finish this map in roughly 2 minutes (which allows a few extra seconds to establish your network and account for a few runner attacks) which you'll see is about how long d0m0nik and I ended up taking on this map since we were able to optimize each objective pretty well.

So Objective 1 is to nullify the 4 central runner nests. This means you want to have nullifiers constructing for each of these nests ASAP. It's VERY important to make sure your nullifier is never starved for energy. If your energy production goes into the red with no crystals to fall back on, the nullifier will receive packets at a slower rate which causes your overall time to go up since both objectives revolve around getting nullifiers built as quickly as possible. This is why it's so important to be comfortable with "stop resupply" and "disarm" options. Sometimes you have to stop packet flow to your weapons and other units so your nullifier can continue building at full speed.

It's very important to know the minimum defenses required to complete each objective as well so you're not overspending on weapons. I believe I ended up using 2 cannons on each side with an extra to guard each crystal until my siphons were finished. But wait! To be truly optimal you also have to be preparing for your next objective.

After some testing it was determined that 2 shields and 2 mortars are a tremendous help for the 2nd objective on this map, so you should have those building ASAP while you're still working on the first objective in order to prevent downtime between objectives. There are also some very powerful totems on this map so you'll want to start on a forge as soon as your siphons are finished building.

Notice how I'm going back and forth between phases a lot here? That's because you have to do that to optimize your strategy. You'll restart a mission like this at least a dozen times before you finally find that magical mix to play the map just right. You'll also notice that all of this stuff put together sounds like it would require a LOT of energy to be done in such a short time. It does, but that's why not everyone is a speedrunner. Micromanaging your units to get this kind of efficiency isn't easy.

Finally, now that I've described my discovery process, I'll give you a rough walk through of my final build order.
1. Drop CNs, build siphons on crystals.
2. As soon as 5th packet for building the siphon leaves the CNs, pause the game and build the rest of my network. Collectors to connect everything and boost energy (obviously). A nullifier on each side with a couple of cannons to protect each of them. A forge. 2 shields and 2 mortars. You should begin building this all simultaneously as soon as the siphons finish building.
3. First point in forge on power, next several on build speed. Build speed is important in speedruns for obvious reasons. you might even skip the power point until after doing build speed if you think you can swing it. Just make sure you have enough to pick up the slack with your energy network when the crystals run out.
4. When the 4 runner nests are blown, protect north and south PZs with a shield and several blasters so you can build nullifiers there. Meanwhile drop mortar on east and west PZ to subdue the emitter.
5. Carefully manage packets so your nullifiers are never starved for energy which would delay your victory.

Hopefully this can help give some aspiring speed runners a little bit of insight into the process. It really all boils down to identifying the minimum objectives and completing each of them in the minimum possible time. These "objectives" could be as simple as nullifying something as in this case, or they could be something like "Get your PZ Bertha running", "acquire a tech artifact", "terp up a wall" etc. It all varies from map to map.