SCRAP Commentated Replays and upcoming Tournament

SCRAP is a complex game with a lot of rules and little details that make up the gameplay systems, and communicating how it works and what I think is special about it has been a complicated matter for me. A lot of my friends online have suggested commentated replays as a way to demonstrate how the game works, and to that end, I’ve started recording the best matches my community has been playing and delivering them via Twitch and YouTube in an effort to help showcase what I think makes SCRAP something that might interest competitive gamers.

In the SCRAP Commentary series, I am striving to explain how the game works and how and why people play it the way they do. These commentated replays discuss unit and structure design, player strategy, and all aspects of the game and gameplay. I hope to do 1 or more of these every week from now on.

Additionally, I am formally announcing the SCRAP Tournament. Starting in August 2020, the SCRAP Tournament will have a $110 USD prize pool ($70 to first place, $30 to second place and $10 to 3rd place winner). In the SCRAP Tournament, players will play best-of-3 matches in a double-elimination format. Quite frankly, I want to get players and I’m hoping that offering prize money is another good way to get people to get into the mod and give it a chance.

So, I guess… Let’s see what happens.

If you’re interested in trying SCRAP out (I should point out that in addition to competitive 1v1, SCRAP contains 2-player co-op against an AI opponent, as well as solo play vs AI for practice) or participating in the tournament, please join the Wayward Strategy Discord here: https://discord.gg/EUMGEsR

New unit: The Terminal

In SCRAP, when a player reaches the end of their tech tree, they have to make a choice between one of two tech branches for each faction. Each tech branch comes with 2 unique units, 2 unique upgrades, and a unique structure that provides a further passive bonus to the faction. This way, even mirror matches can incorporate some differences and unique advantages upon players.

For the Fabricators, the choices are Metallics (focused on fielding an army of strong generalists), or Magnetics (focused on disrupting enemy units and Energy manipulation). For the Dendrites, there is Quantum (focused on buffs and debuffs) and Nanotech (focused on fielding a large and powerful Drone army.)

As far as all of that goes, I have the upgrades and structures created for all 4 tech branches. I’m just trying to finish up with those units. And I’m down to the last two.

One of those units is the Terminal, one of the 2 unique units unlocked for the Dendrites’ Nanotech branch. I feel like it’s kind of unique and fun, so indulge me if I toot my own horn a bit.

Terminals are one-man armies, capable of either holding territory for extended periods of time or setting up situations that it’d be very bad for enemies to attack into.

Terminals have 2 main abilities, both related to Drones they produce. First off, Terminals have 2 Vulnerability Drones. These attack enemy units and, once it’s researched, apply the Vulnerability effect to increase incoming damage to afflicted units.

The other thing that Terminals do is produce Turret Drones. Once Turret Drones detect enemies, they deploy onto the map as Drone Turrets. While Drone Turrets have a timed life, they have exceptional health and damage for their cost. And, the Terminal will continue producing Turret Drones as long as it has Energy, so it can field a large number of them over time.

Lastly, Terminals are able to activate an ability which refreshes the life of their Drone Turrets at the cost of additional Energy. This allows them to create persistent turret farms that can last as long as the parent Terminal has energy, giving the Terminal both short term and long-term uses.

The Terminal also has synergies with the other Nanotech unit, the Shepherd. Shepherds gain power for each nearby Drone unit, and Terminals can greatly add to the number of Drone units Shepherds are able to utilize as Vulnerability Drones, Turret Drones, and Drone Turrets all count as ‘drones’ for the purposes of the Shepherd’s attack bonus.

I anticipate that Terminals will be relatively easy to use on the baseline, but difficult to make the most out of. Some of the fine points of balancing out their production of Drones vs the longevity of their turrets can make them difficult to master. Additionally, mis-use of their turrets can lead to Terminals being expensive money and energy sinks.

Lessons Learned: Making Lemonade from a Failed Unit Design

(Note: the title of this post comes from the folk saying “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade“)

Right now, I’m working on adding one of the final units to SCRAP. It belongs to the Dendrites faction, and will be an end-tier defensive specialist. The working name for this unit is the “Terminal”, though that’s likely to change prior to it going live.

The original plan was for it to be a “one-man turret farm.” Copied from the Protoss Carrier, the idea is that it would produce and manage a group of turrets, which would all die if their ‘parent’ was killed.

I wrote an article a while ago about what I call ‘categories of action‘ in RTS games, and this unit was intended to be highly “preparatory” in its design. In plain language, that means that it has to sit and do its thing for a long time to give the player its full benefit.

In the case of the Terminal, it would have to sit in one place and build up its defensive force over time. Move too far from the turrets, and they won’t perform as well. Move farther than that, they all die and have to be built again elsewhere.

I thought it was a neat idea.

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2019 update and way-ahead

I really need to start providing updates for my mod on more than a yearly basis. But… I guess that’s where I’ve been for the past 12-14 months or so. I guess we have a bit of catch up to do, don’t we?

This has been a big year for SCRAP in terms of mechanics. Both of the game’s factions got major mechanical overhauls, the game’s win condition was changed, the game got a new map, and I added a 1-player mode so that players can practice and learn the game against AI of varying difficulties. Oh, and I almost forgot: two wonderful artists provided concept art for several of the game’s units, which a phenomenal 3D modeler turned into actual models that are now in the game! That’s right, SCRAP has some custom unit models now. You’ll get to see them below.

And lastly, I’ll go into my plans for 2020, which include a tutorial/campaign and a possible third faction

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Anniversary Patch: Tips, Units, Balance

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything here. I tend to work in cycles, I guess, writing for a while then switching to working on game design projects, with a smattering of actually playing games in between these things. I’m attempting to improve on that, but the frustrating truth of the matter is that I’m not as consistent with any of these things as I like to be.

That being said, for the past month or so I’ve been hard at work trying to get SCRAP feature complete. And along those lines, I’ve completed another minor milestone: 2 more units are in the game. These units are high-tier, some of the latest units that can be unlocked for use. SCRAP, however, doesn’t quite work like most RTS when it comes to high tier units.

Since my last update, I’ve actually released a number of patches, so this will attempt to hit some of the other content I’ve added while focusing on the latest patch.

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SCRAP December Update: Abilities, Renames, Systems Changes

Since I released the ‘public alpha’ of SCRAP in July of 2017, I have released 6 updates to the mod: changing balance, restructuring the map, and working out bugs. During that time, I have started a game design apprenticeship, joining the fine folks working at Dream Harvest Games┬áto work on an RTS project called Failure: NeuroSlicers. This has led to an unfortunate lessening of the frequency of updates to SCRAP as I take on design tasks for Failure. I still manage to find some time to work on the mod, however, which leads us to today: the 7th update to the SCRAP Public Alpha, and my first major content addition to the mod.

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“SCRAP September” Tournament, Sept 14th

SCRAPseptember

Thanks to a partnership with Polygon Gaming, a StarCraft 2 clan that has been supporting my development efforts on S.C.R.A.P. for over a year, I am proud to announce that SCRAP will be having its first tournament on September 14, 2017, starting at 8:30PM Eastern time.

Dubbed “S.C.R.A.P. September”, the event will be single-elimination and has a prize pool of $75 at this moment, with $50 going to the first place contestant. The event has a Matcherino donation page as well, so there’s the possibility of the prize pool increasing.

Visit the tournament’s Challonge page to sign up. You might like S.C.R.A.P. if you enjoy:

  • a focus on territory control
  • RTS with a lower unit count and a big focus on tactical combat and harassment
  • mobile army production not tied to static structures
  • smelting down the burned out husks of the enemy army and using them to bolster your own war machine

On the start date, check out the PolygonSC2 Twitch stream to watch live! Subscribe to them now to get a notification when the tournament starts.

In preparation for the tournament, I will be releasing a series of content and balance patches on September 1 and September 8, including changes and fixes like:

  • Scrap (resources) will no longer block Power Nodes or Generator Wrecks. When unites die near these, the Scrap they generate will be pushed a short distance away
  • Players can observe matches now as Spectators
  • When a player quits a match, their opponent will correctly be awarded Victory
  • The Dendrite Imbuer unit will now convert units slightly more quickly

I hope to see you on the battlefield! scrapbanner01

S.C.R.A.P. Public Alpha Released, Content Updates Under Way

Hello everyone! After about a year of active development (over 2 years since I wrote out the thought experiment that led to the mod) I released S.C.R.A.P. Public Alpha live on the Blizzard Arcade on July 1, 2017. It’s really gratifying to have people actually play S.C.R.A.P. in uncontrolled conditions, and to receive their feedback in real time, and deeply exciting to finally have released the mod, an actual product able to be consumed.

S.C.R.A.P. launched its public alpha on July 1, 2017. It’s currently on the Europe and Americas regions on the Battle.Net Arcade (available through StarCraft 2’s free Arcade Edition). It has an active little Discord community of about 30 people (and growing) and players who give it a chance have seemed to enjoy it. Since launch, I have responded to player feedback by releasing 10 balance and quality-of-life patches, though the rate of fixing has recently dropped off as I focus on longer term changes and additions.

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How to win a S.C.R.A.P. match

S.C.R.A.P. takes place in a post-apocalyptic┬áscience-fiction setting: the players take the role of industrial and commercial support machines who were abandoned on a planet after its populace was evacuated during a nameless war. Much like in a mechanized version of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘The Road‘, resources in the world of S.C.R.A.P. are few and far between, and sometimes taking from others is the only way to ensure one’s own survival.

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State of the Mod: Victory Conditions, Cohesion, and Damaged Systems

I’m coming down to the wire on S.C.R.A.P. – after about 2 years of on-and-off work and tons of learning, the mod is finally feature-complete. In all honesty, I have additional content I’m planning to add down the line, but I’m desperate for feedback and both factions now have a solid place from which to grow and I feel comfortable releasing the game with its current feature-set (pending balance).

My current plan is to release S.C.R.A.P. into the wild on Saturday July 1, 2017, and I currently see nothing that would stop me from reaching that goal. I’m currently undergoing a 3rd iteration of the game’s map, which is needed now that I’ve decided that S.C.R.A.P. is going to be a 1vs1 game instead of 2vs2 for its initial launch. Additionally, I’ve made some changes to the game’s victory condition that requires some changes in how the map is laid out.

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