RA According to Milo234

 

Last Revision: September 11

 

Announcements

 

9/9/06 – I am working on revising this page. My plan is to organize it into three sections:

  1. Complete General Skills Information and RA knowledge – This is going to be hard to organize.
  2. Guides for improving targeted at specific levels of players or specific skills.
  3. Map Section which contains all map specific information.

Since I feel that the guides will be the most useful I will begin working on those first. Expect revisions and I wish to get feed back from anyone willing to let me know what they think.

My Contact Info:

AIM – Milo234 (easiest way to reach me)

MSN – theidtent@hotmail.com (I don’t check this email very often)

Email – sobieski@rice.edu

A lot of this stuff I wrote when I was very into the game and felt strongly about it. Looking bad a lot of the stuff I wrote here is rude and I will try to revise it to remove this bias. I really sound arrogant in a lot of parts of this, but I really am arrogant at heart, but I will continue to try to revise things to make them more concise and easier to understand.

 

 

 

Quick Links

 

 

No matter who you are, your RA skill level, or how long you’ve been playing, this page contains some new bit of RA knowledge you did not previously know. Therefore if you are a serious RA player I strongly recommend making at least 1 thorough read through of the following 5-10 pages.

 

As I seem to be writing more and more on this page and a few people have said it is too long to be able to look through efficiently I am giving the outline of the information here so you can immediately jump to any section.

I.                    Hot Keys

II.                 Basic Skills

A.     Q

B.     Bookmarks

C.     Map Specific Skills

D.     Cying and Long Game Skills

III.               Learning Maps

IV.              Specific Maps

A.     hjk6

B.     P4-Rashowdown

V.                 General RA Knowledge

VI.              General RA Questions

 

Section I about hotkeys gives all of the hot keys as well as what I personally use them for

Section II gives an overview of the basic skills required to gain a mastery of RA

Section III explains what to do when learning new maps in a very formulaic manner. This method is a great way to teach someone a new map.

Section IV gives map specifics for the most important maps to learn

Section V gives general RA knowledge

 

 

 

I. Hot Keys

 

  • A - ally

 

  • S - stop or fix trucks - Stop is useful in many situations. In a stacking tank fight I use stop often. Stop can also be used to hide engies behind or on top of buildings. Force fire on your own building then send the engie in. At the last second press S and if you timed it right, the engie stop behind or on top of the building and thus be unsquishable. Lastly, S also will send your ore trucks to the nearest piece of money. If your ore truck just dumped it's load and is going out to the gem fields again, press S and it will automatically go to the nearest gem. Beware, S will stop your ore truck if it already has a full load.

 

  • F - Formation – Units must be grouped to use formation. Formation will keep your units in order relative to each other. Just select the group and press F. Formation is relatively useless except for a game glitch that comes with formation. If your formation a mine layer and an MCV it will make the MCV go as fast as the mine layer. The same works if you formation boats/subs with a transport. Sometimes formation makes all your units as slow as the slowest unit, but it varies from time to time.

 

  • G - Guard Mode -  Do not use to guard: Your units will automatically go out and attack enemy units. I say do not use this because in the case of riflemen, your units will automatically move 1 square towards the enemy unit before firing. With riflemen this is a big deal and your "guard" will just be committing suicide. I have heard of using Guard mode in stacking tank fights (though I personally have never tried this), but other than that I know of no practical use for guard mode.

 

  • H – Home – Centers on cy (or primary cy), very useful

 

  • Q – WaypointThe most important hot key – Select a unit then hold down Q and click on waypoint 1. Hold down Q and click on waypoint 2. Repeat as necessary and the unit will go from one waypoint to the next in order until given a non waypoint order. Q can be used to make tanks shoot and move at the same time effectively dodging enemy fire. To Q your tanks tell them to attack an enemy unit or structure. While your tanks are firing at the unit you can give them waypoints to follow which they will continue to follow while firing at the target. Usually in Q fights I give minimal waypoints. See section about Qing for further details.

 

  • E - Select All – Selects all units on the screen. Has many uses especially in shifting units on Q master and p4

 

  • T - Toggle Repair – This is very useful in cying whenever you have time to repair structures. Every extra second can count for something.

 

  • X - Scatter – Particularly useful with infantry. Helps prevent grenaders from getting blown up by the enemy or riflemen from getting squished by tanks.

 

  • N - Next Unit (from top to bottom and left to right)

 

  • B - Previous unit (from bottom to top, right to left)

 

  • U - Change Radar screen

 

  • Y – Sell  Mode

 

  • Home – centers screen on selected units – Can be useful at times but the key is too far away from Q.

 

  • up/down - scroll through buildings/unit list – Absolutely necessary to be fast. This is far faster than clicking through the list and is an easy way to get major increases in your speed.

 

  • ctrl + click - force fire – Bridge blasting or destroying trees are the main uses, although you can also shoot the ground.

 

  • alt + click - force move - Useful to squish infantry. Somewhat useful in running through enemy tanks when rushing.

 

  • Shift – Select multiple units - Hold shift while clicking on multiple units to select them all together, or press shift + # to select the current unit + group #. You still have to press ctrl + # to add the unit to the group.

 

  • ctrl + # - make group – Groups are very useful. I usually use three groups: Group 1 is tanks, Group 2 is infantry, Group 3 is tanks in back of base to defend chrono.

 

  • alt + # - go to group Very useful at times.

 

  • F9-F12 - Bookmarks - Go to an important part of the map and press ctrl + f9-f12, whenever you press f9-f12 again, it will take you to that part of the map immediately. See below for the extremely important comments about bookmarks.

 

  • ctrl + alt + click - Escort I’ve never used this.

 

 

 

II. Basic Skills

 

 

A. Q

Every RA player must master the art of Qing. It is extremely useful for rushing, defending, and tank fighting as well as scouting. As a newbie, the best way to practice Q is to get someone and do some 5v5, 6v6, 10v10, 12v12 etc. On the first day, a newbie should be able to beat a pro at least once usually, or at least come close (depending on how much the pro is focusing). Practicing Q master is good to do as well.

 

 

B. Bookmarks/Shifting:

Bookmarks by default are f9-f12. This is very far away from Q and thus makes them impractical to use. Therefore in order to make use of them, you must remap your hot keys. The keys closest to Q which have no use are W, D, R, and Z. If you are planning on being really fanatic you can use all 4, but you can get along fine with just 2. I personally use W and D.

 

The reason bookmarks are so important is for tank fighting. If you were fighting a battle all the way across the map at your opponent's base, you would be unable to win just because there is so much distance between your base and your opponent's. But if you put a bookmark at your war factories and a bookmark where you're fighting, this becomes really easy and you can instantly shift tanks by means of quickly pressing a sequence like "W + E + D + shift 1 + ctrl 1" and you're back in the tank fight. To me this comes so naturally that I don't even think about it.

Bookmarks can also be used effectively in scouting. Setting one bookmark at the barracks you can send infantry out to all parts of the map and quickly return to send out the next unit.

 

 

3 Different Shifting Sequences to Master

 

 

Select Shifting

Sequence: W, select, D, shift+1, ctrl+1

This method of shifting is useful when you have ore trucks and other units running about your base that you don’t want to send to the battle. Such maps where this might happen include Path, hjk6, and many others.

W here is the war factories bookmark and D is the battlefield bookmark. Select here means to select the new tanks to send to group. Using this sequence you can quickly group your tanks go back and forth between the battle and your base.

 

 

E Shifting

Sequence: W, E, D, shift+1, ctrl+1

This method of shifting is EXTREMELY useful on maps such as p4, Q master, and other similar maps where no units will get in the way of your tanks. This is called E shifting because it uses the select all key, E, in order to quickly shift tanks.

As above, W is the go to war factories bookmark, and D is the battlefield bookmark

 

 

Stack Shifting

Sequence: W, E/select, D, Send, shift+1, ctrl+1

This method of shifting is useful for large tank battles where you have all your tanks parked together. The idea here is that you can send all of your tanks at once to a location and park them there. Next in order to send tanks to this group, you don’t want to be constantly retelling all of your tanks to move to the battle site. Therefore to get around this, what you do is you return to base, select the new tanks, then return to the battle field, send the new tanks to battle field, and while they are still selected group them all together. Notice that this can be done uing the E key or by just selecting with the mouse, whichever is most practical depending on the map and other situational factors.

 

 

How to remap your hot keys: Open your Redalert directory and locate the Redalert.ini file. In the Redalert.ini file you will find KeyBookmark1-KeyBookmark4. The numbers for the 4 hotkeys mentioned above are: D - 68, R - 82, W - 87, Z - 90. The rest of the keys go linearly off these (RA uses ASCII http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ASCII ) and if you want you can remap all of your hotkeys by modifying the Rest of the options in the file. So modify the numbers there and save the file. I personally just use W and D. The next most common thing I have heard of is people using W and R since the sequence W E R shift1 ctrl 1 just goes right in order along the top of the keyboard. JC informed me that he makes use of W A Z and something else, but he did his own keyboard remapping entirely and I assume others have also in the past, though you can get along just fine on only 2 bookmarks. The up and down arrow keys are also very important to use. The next most common thing to remap that I have heard of is the up/down arrows. One simple way to do this would be to make your bookmarks W and R, and your arrows T and Y, but that affects the rest of your hot keys too. I’m used to using the up/down arrows so I just use them where they are.

 

 

 

I personally have been accused of cheating though I know for a fact I did not and as time has gone on it has become apparent that I do not cheat. Many people I have trained in the past have been accused of cheating. Why? The only reason I have been given from the accusers has been that “they improved too fast.” For so called “average players” fast improvement seems to be associated with cheating. Of course once accusations of cheating start shit talking is the next step and things escalate fast. I have heard outrageous claims made by people about cheating which are absurd later on to be told to me in private that they were just talking shit. Once you have surpassed levels of skill in anything you begin to think that the lower levels of skill are easy and that no one would possibly cheat to get there, or if they do cheat they really suck. For this main reason I say it seems apparent to me that no one cheats.

 

In defense of those I have trained that have been accused of cheating, I ask you to cut the crap. RA is a very simple game and the fact of the matter is Whoever produces the most the fastest wins. People I have trained I spent great time with emphasizing speed and played tons of games with them to get the practice necessary to become fast. Progs won’t make you instantly faster, any form of “code cheating” in RA doesn’t exist as is well documented, and any cheating by means of modifying RA files to give you an advantage is obvious, easily discovered, and despite how simple it is I have never seen it explained clearly ANYWHERE. If anyone is willing to explain it to me I would love to hear how, please email me. My students don’t cheat. It is obvious.

 

Be Sportsmanlike.

 

 

C. Map Specific Skills

 

 

  1. Build Order/Placement – It is important to know proper build orders for all maps and be able to see, remember, and execute new build orders/placements the next game with ease (or at least execute it correctly within a few tries). Learning build orders to lots of maps makes it easier to pick out a correct order for new maps when they come up. Upon coming across a new map, you should automatically determine the proper build order/placement. You should also be aware of variations in build orders/placements and determine which one you personally like best and practice using that one consistently. Consistency in your build order will lead to being better able to do other parts of the game.

 

 

  1. Money Management - This is extremely important. On standard maps it involves gem picking. On customs it involves more general truck management skills. This very much related to build order and should be so second nature that it doesn’t affect the rest of the game. Here are the particulars for money management:

 

If put in the middle of a giant gem patch, an ore truck will begin mining towards the TL of a gem patch in a straight diagonal line (same thing in ore/gem mix such as on standards). Thus the ideal placement of an ore refinery is to the top left of the gems. ALWAYS whenever possible, put your ore ref to the top left of the gems. This will greatly ease your money difficulties. The picture below shows what ore trucks do if placed at different locations in the gem patch. Clearly the placement to TL is best.

 

             

 

Standards and gem picking - Gems are worth a full 50% more than ore and taking the extra effort on standards to direct your trucks to each and every little gem in the middle of an ore patch is worth a LOT of money. You should always pick gems whenever possible on appropriate maps. Also, do not forget that trucks mine diagonally towards TL, therefore if you are on a map like treasure isle where the gems are sometimes placed in diagonal lines, set your ore truck to the BR of the gem line and let it mine up on it's own. Sometimes trucks will mine in other interesting patterns that can be useful to recognize and are easily discovered with a little trial and error in sending out the trucks.

 

Ore trucks don't always mine in the smartest of patterns even when your ore ref is to TL of gems. For example, if you have an extremely large gem patch, the ore truck will begin mining diagonally across the TL edge of the gem patch. It is often much more efficient to control your trucks and send them into the gems and let them mine back towards the ore ref, as in the picture below:

 

 

Sometimes, you will have 3 trucks mining with only one ore ref at once. Trucks aren’t very smart and have great difficulty with the kindergarden lessons of sharing and taking turns. Thus if you can control your trucks and cycle them so that they take turns coming back to the ore ref, they will not waste time mucking about around the ore ref. Sending the trucks out systematically so that they return back to the ore ref at different times can greatly enhance your cash flow.

           

One last small trick that can help your money is to place silos next to your ore ref as in the picture below. Having two silos in the top corners of the ore refinery will help the trucks to not wander quite as badly when they are all trying to share the ore ref at the same time. This can have a significant positive effect on your cash flow. One silo alone will not affect the trucks, but having two will help them.

 

 

  1. Battle Strategies - Depending on the map layout among other things, proper battle strategies should be known for all maps and a constant state of awareness should be kept during the game. A pro is not easily bogged down or distracted by the mundane affairs of base management. There are only so many battle strategies really and once you get used to them, it becomes easier and easier to kick your opponent's ass in any situations. Principles of fighting are a lot more important than overall strategies. I think of battle strategies in six ways:

1.      Tank fight on small money maps (standards)

2.      Rushing game on Small money maps (standards) - includes base trade

3.      Tank fight on money maps

4.      Rushing game on money maps (the art of defending huge amounts of tanks vs small amounts is significantly different) - includes base trade

5.      Long Game on money maps - What to do once it comes to the point where you and your opponent have cyed. (this more bases itself out of how to properly fight tanks on money maps since coming into a cying game comes out of a tank fighting being delayed and unable to be resolved)

6.      Infantry Wars

7.      there are probably some miscellaneous things that are not coming to mind at this moment, but I believe the above is a good enough way to classify everything.

 

 

D. Cying and Long Game Skills

As quoted in my newbie section, “The ability to produce units fast is extremely important in RA, and whoever can produce the most, the fastest will almost always win.” Thus, on some maps with large amounts of money, the game can get to the point where you’re producing tanks at max speed, and the game still not progressing anywhere. In such cases, making extra cys is a useful tactic to produce turrets and tesla coils to help fight the enemy. Since turrets and tesla coils are the only buildings it is important to produce fast, the maximum number of cys you need/should make on any map is 4 as allies and 10 as soviets, the number of cys which allow for maximum turret/tesla production rates. When making mcvs, do not forget that you are falling behind in tank count. In the time it takes to make an mcv the opponent can get as many as 6-10 tanks more than you have (if they are producing at maximum speed). Thus if you are at risk of being attacked by a large tank force, making 3 or 4 mcvs in a row could be a terrible idea and lead to your sudden death (or other dreadful consequences such as the pushing back of your forces to be crowded into your base) if the opponent should seize the moment. Therefore, as a general guideline, you should never make more than 2 or 3 mcvs at a time. In order to remind myself whether I plan to make a tank or mcv next I general scroll along the list so I can see the unit/building I plan to make next.

 

So once you have produced extra cys you need to have a general idea of what to do with your new found fast structure producing capabilities. With turrets and especially with tesla coils it is very important to keep in mind south advantage. Teslas and turrets both fire a full square higher than they do below, thus in general the most important part of a map to control is the bottom middle area. If you can it is very important to establish a foot hold at the bottom middle of the map so that your opponent can’t push you off. With time you will slowly back them off or control more of the map and thus win. One general thing that I did not learn until relatively recently was that it is possible to shift turrets/teslas together and tell them to fire at once. This can be very useful.

 

When to CY? This is a very important question, and the correct answer is, “when you need to.” This answer may sound rather general, vague, and of practically no meaning (hence is it definitely correct!), but it is the answer I like to give and is meaningful if you understand why I say this. So let me explain the times when you need to cy. The first obvious time to cy is when your opponent has cyed an it appears that you will be unable to kill them without making cys. So if you are in a tank battle and find your opponent is making tesla coils and zapping you off, it may possibly be time to consider cying. The next obvious time to cy is when the game has come to a stand still and it appears that making the cys will give you an advantage over your opponent. Notice that I say, when the game has come to a stand still. If you are winning without the cys there is no reason to make them, and likewise if you are losing, quite likely making cys will just result in your becoming more drastically out tanked and thus aid in your elimination.

 

 

General Long Game Advice

  • You should never really sell your barracks on maps with large amounts of money. This is because you lose the opportunity to later on produce rocket soldiers which can be very useful in fighting. In allies vs allies long games, producing rockets when your opponent cannot will help to give you a large advantage.
  • Once the game gets to a more advanced stage and killing the entire enemy base becomes very difficult, the most important thing strategically to focus on is controlling who has the most money. On p4 this is not an issue since the money on the map is infinite which makes p4 rather stupid. Ideally 2 players equally good should just draw on p4 and that to me seems dumb. However, on other maps such as hjk6 or v3, controlling the money is extremely important. Generally speaking, once your opponent has a huge base with tons of units, if their money doesn’t run out, no matter how good they are, as long as they keep up their production it can be VERY difficult (if not seemingly impossible) to kill them (part of why I feel that p4 is gay). So what you have to do to defeat the enemy is control the money. On maps such as v3 this involves rationing your cash flow with silos and not wasting money unecessarily. On hjk6 this involves trying to control more of the map than the opponent can and thus be able to mine more of the middle and more of the other holes. On other maps the same idea holds.
  • Air – As a general guideline rockets are the best form of air defense. They are difficult to kill with the air units and are the most effective at destroying planes, however they have one major draw back in that their range is relatively short. Sam Sites have good range but aren’t particularly effective in killing planes fast, however on a map such as p4 you can quickly produce a ton of sam sites to effectively serve as air defense, and AA guns are very good air defensive structures but they take up lots of power. When choosing to produce planes/helicopters you have to keep in mind one thing: that you do not stop producing tanks/v2s. One trick to being able to produce as many helicopters as you can as fast as possible is to sell all your war factories, make the helipads, then make more war factories again. Obviously this leaves you paralyzed for a short time, but if you can afford it, this can be an effective tactic. If you wish to make migs while producing tanks at the same time, your kinda out of luck, but if you are making v2s, you can make an airfield once you have a radar dome, but before you have a tech center, and the migs and v2s will be on the same screen in the unit production list. Likewise, if you like making mammoths, you can make a tech center, then make the migs after the tech center. When using air, it is important to consider the numbers in the section below that tell how many migs it takes to kill certain buildings so that you can efficiently use your planes. Generally cys and ore refs make good targets for air strikes, and constantly striking with air can be an effective way to devastate your opponent’s production capabilities.
  • V2s – V2s are only good to make at one time in the game, and that is when the game has stalemated. If neither side is capable of advancing to kill the other side, making v2s to defend your position and to slowly push back the enemy lines is good to do. In general it is almost never appropriate to make v2s on any map without infinite money, however they can be useful on infinite money maps such as p4 or wide open.
  • Mammoth tanks can be nice to make, but they are not really worthwhile to produce unless you can produce them at max speed, which requires tremendous money. You shouldn’t ever really make mammoths on maps without infinite money, but they can be ok on p4 or wide open.
  • Don’t go wasting your tanks/v2s on enemy teslas/turrets. This may sound obvious since I’m saying “don’t go wasting”, but this is very relevant because it is VERY EASY to go unecessarily attacking a strong position defended by many coils and ending up with your tanks getting zapped and dying quickly. If you can get your opponent to go damage his tanks while fighting your turrets/rockets or to lose them by getting zapped away by your tesla coils, you can then attack a relatively undefended base. Tesla coils may be effective as defensive structures, but they alone are not nearly enough to protect a base from a large onslaught of tanks. Don’t forget that it only takes 2 tanks to kill an undefended tesla coil, and while the power of tesla coils goes up more than linerly in groups, so does the power of tanks. If you roughly estimate the power of lone tesla coils as that of the value of 2 tanks, I’m sure you too would much rather be in possesion of the tanks than teslas.
  • Chronoing/Defending – When your opponent chronos, the best way to defend is to systematically kill his buildings by going in a line and always killing the next one in the line. Once you get your opponent out of base, leave a few tanks in the back to kill in case he should chrono again. Some people on p4 like to build and cover all the area in the back to defend the chrono, but this is kinda overkill when you could be trying to advance in the front. When chronoing, if you go producing tanyas, beware that you may be at a tank count disadvantage when all is done, especially if you spend a lot of time mucking around in the enemy’s base.
  • Allies should generally build 2 tech centers and 2 chronos as well as an abomb to prepare to strike at the enemy’s tech center. It is important to gap your tech structures as well as other buidlings that might be aerial/chrono targets.

 

 

III. Learning Maps

 

Learning a map consists of 3 things and I have them listed in order of how important I think they are:

  1. Build Orders/Placement - 70%  (on ww this could get you all the way to top 100)
  2. Attack Strategies - 25% (this brings you up to top 50)
  3. Scouting Satterns - <5% (closely related to part 1)

What distinguished the top 20 on WW from the rest of the top 50 was overall skill, and the top 10 were separated largely based upon number of games each month since the ladder rankings were based on a cummulative point system.

 

 

General Notes on the 3 Above Topics:

 

 

  1. Build Orders/Placement

 

Orders -  RA is all about tanks. The objective behind any good build order then is to allow for the creation of the most tanks possible in the least amount of time. On standard maps, the money is rather scarce and 2 wars is more than enough on all standard maps. On standards since there isn’t a lot of money and cying is of almost no use, on all standards selling your cy in order to get more cash once you have 2 or 3 ore refs is a good strategy. Selling your cy gives you’re an immediate 2000 credits plus prevents you from spending future credits on unecessary buildlings. On custom maps with large amounts of money however, such as hjk6, p4, v3, gf, etc. you can get maximum tank production speed with relative ease. Also due to the large amounts of money, once maximum tank production speed is achieved, making defensive stuctures to attack is a worthwhile objective, therefore selling your cy is a very dumb strategy. Always it is of more importance to produce tanks than make teslas/turrets, therefore you shouldn’t ever really start making mcvs until you have maximum tank production speed. This is evidenced by the fact that in all of my build orders, depot isn’t listed, or if it is, it goes after achieving max war speed.

 

Placement – On standards since the money is scarce, large amounts of units are a rare occurrence, and defending against smaller attacks is much easier than defending large attacks. Also, since money is spread out, the general idea of a good build order placement is to spread out your base to where the money is. Therefore on standards, when trying to determine where to put what you build, keep in mind where the gems are. Always try to get ore refs near gems. On Custom maps, a different problem arrises. Defending your base against large amounts of tanks is fairly difficult (if not entirely impossible to save all of your base from a 15 tank rush). Also, money on custom maps tends to be placed in large quantities near your base, therefore expansion is not of great importance. Thus, in order to defend your base more easily, it is best to make a nice compact base with everything close together. This makes it more difficult for tanks to get your cy and squish engies which are slow at running over to far away buildings.

 

 

  1. Attack Strategies – As listed below, attack strategies basically vary between attacking tanks and attacking buildings. The most basic thing which every RA player should be comfortable with is attacking the opponent’s base (rushing/jewing/whatever you want to call it, no there is nothing wrong with it, shut up and stop complainng u stupid noobs, it disgusts me to listen to you people complain) and defending your own. After that, it is important to know how to Q tanks as well as shift using bookmarks. Shifting well is an absolutely essential skill and is more important than Qing in tank fights.

 

 

  1. Scouting – Scouting involves 2 things, sending out scouts to uncover new territory, and placing guards to stop your opponent’s scouts. My general advice is that it is more important to stop your opponent from seeing your base than to attempt to see your opponent’s base. The element of surprise when you are on the attack is worth a LOT. Therefore, whenever learning a new map, determine where the best places to put scouts are. Always look and ask yourself “What is the maximum distance I can effectively put guards from my base without my opponent getting past them?” Also, when placing guards, remember that efficiency is key. On standards infantry are expensive. It may not seem like a big deal, but 8 riflemen are the price of a tank, and which would you rather have on path when your opponent comes rushing for your cy, 8 extra bridge guards or 1 more tank? On customs this isn’t particularly a HUGE deal, however minimizing infantry count can help to make the difference between whether-or-not you don’t go broke at all, or whether you run out for a few seconds. So secondly, scouting out the map. As a general guideline for scouting a map, send one unit to each corner of the map and Q them along the edges. Then send out some specific scouts to uncover whatever parts of the map you feel are important to see. It is very important to scout as much of the map as you can. Five seconds can be the difference between sucessfully defending your base from a rush or losing your cy and all your power wihout killing even ¼ of your enemy’s tanks.

 

 

By Learning how to properly play the following maps, I assert that an RA player should be able to play any RA Map well:

  • A Path Beyond
  • KOTG
  • Shallow Grave with and without crates
  • Chrono
  • Hjk6
  • Union Break

 

If you want to seriously learn a map you need to know the 3 things listed above. Talking to other people is a good way to do this. I will sometime (maybe) write my own guide to these maps.

 

 

A List of Maps I would assert that a typical pro is familiar with:

 

 

STANDARDS – All 24

  • A Path Beyond *
  • Central Conflict *
  • Combat Alley
  • Coastal Influence
  • Desolation *
  • Dugout Isle
  • Equal Opportunity
  • First Come First Serve *
  • Island Hoppers *
  • Island Wars *
  • Isle of Fury *
  • Ivory Wastelands *
  • KOTG *
  • Marrooned II
  • Middle Mayhem
  • No Escape
  • No Man's Land
  • Normandy *
  • North by Northwest *
  • Pond Skirmish
  • Raraku *
  • Ridge War *
  • Shallow Grave *
  • Treasure Isle *

 

* Indicates that I personally know these maps well.

 

 

CUSTOMS

  • 4c Niklas
  • Game Time Kiddies
  • Guerilla Forest
  • hjk6
  • Money Map 2
  • Northern Hatu
  • Northern Utah
  • NSC Niklas
  • P4-Rashowdown
  • Q-master
  • Rock Solid
  • Southern California 1947 II
  • Super Dday
  • Union Break
  • V3-Rashowdown
  • V3-Ribbon Isle
  • Wide Open *by FARAMIR
  • X Gems

 

 

How to teach a new map:

1.      Make the trainee write down the build order. This is much more important than you might think. Actually writing the order down puts extra emphasis on it that is very helpful in getting the student to memorize it.

2.      Show the build order/placement once.

3.      Play with them on a map file with GPS and that sets the spots so they can practice each and every spot and allow you to watch and comment on their order/placement. Despite that GPS is up, scouts and guards should practice being placed anyway.

4.      Discuss Scouting patterns/attack patterns.

5.      Lastly give them as much practice as needed by actually playing the real map with them.

 

 

IV. Specific Maps

 

My intention is to write a map guide that should explain how to play the above mentioned maps at least reasonably well. I will then link those guides to this section. Currently just the p4 guide has been written.

 

 

General Useful Builds

In my time playing RA, I have found several general build orders to be the most important ones to know. Map specific orders/placements can vary greatly but these orders should give anyone who uses them a good general idea of how to play any map reasonably well. Following the orders are maps these work on.

  • Generic Standard Build Order – p b o w w p o sell bar sell cy – path, treasure, isle of fury, normandy, central conflict, ridge war, no escape, central
  • Generic Small Map Standard Build Order – p b o w w p sell bar sell cy sell war – good for FCFS, KOTG, Pond Skirmish
  • Small Map Coil Order p b a b o w t – useful on KOTG, ivory, and ridge war
  • Lotsa Money Gem Map Tanking Order – p p b o w (truck) s w w (truck) w a o w w o – good for hjk6, xgems, northern hatu, gf, gtk
  • Lotsa Money Gem Map Soviet Order – p p b o w (truck) s w w w  (truck) a o d w w w o – good for hjk6, x gems, northern hatu, gf, gtk
  • Infinite Money Tanking Order – p p b o w s w w (truck) w a w w – p4, wide open
  • Infinite Money Soviet Order – p p b o w s w w (truck) w d a w w w – p4, wide open

 

A Path Beyond

Sov – p b o w w p o p o – Sell barracks at some point and minimize infantry, 10 is more than enough infantry in 1v1 path.

This is a no truck build, if you make 1 truck and gem pick well you can then make a 3rd war after the 3rd ore.

Possible continuations include Sell Cy, more ores, or a 3rd war then sell cy/more ores.

On path placement is extremely important. To learn good placement talk to myself or anyone of the former top WW players.

 

hjk6

This is my second map to write a section about. The section is progressing.

hjk6 Strategy

 

Chrono

Allies – p o w d a r t c – Sell depot, Sell Radar, Sell tech – one truck first - This is the fastest chrono build. It leaves the disadvantage that you can’t chrono wherever you want since GPS won’t be up by the time your chrono is ready, however that should more than be compensated for by being the first one out of the hole. Continuations obviously include powers, gapping, and preparations for the outside battle.

 

P4-Rashowdown

I have now begun a section on p4 and it is beginning to be close to complete:

P4 Strategy

 

 

V. General RA Knowledge

 

This section is for things that come to my mind that don’t fit anywhere else in this document.

 

 

  1. Unit Production Trick - Whenever you deploy a new war factory, contruction yard, or any unit producing building that builds faster with more buildings, if you pause making your unit/structure, it will resume at the new rate. The same applies if you run low on power. If you run lower on power, your structures/units will continue building at speed with enough power, however if you start building something on lower power then get power back, pausing and resuming will make it go faster again too.

 

 

  1. South Advantage – Units in RA have the ability to fire 1 square higher from the South than from the north. This is particularly important to know for tesla coil battles. Tesla battles are all about who controls south. This also applies to riflemen. If you pay attention to riflemen, you will notice that you can fit 5 riflmen into 1 map square. Depending on the relative positions of the 2 riflemen attacking each other, the south rifleman may be able to kill the north one without being fired upon. This is particularly useful in maps where guards are placed scarcely (such as standards).

 

 

  1. Max Building Speeds – It is important to know the maximum number of wars/cys for making certain structures. Here are the ones that I think are particularly important to know:

 

Max Cys for Given Structure:

    • Tesla – 10
    • Turret – 4

These are really the only structures it is important to be able to build fast, therefore these are the minimum numbers of cys you need to have as allies/sovs respectively on a given map once you have to cy. Just because these are the minimums, it is not necessarily bad to have extra Cys.

 

Max Wars for Tanks

·        Heavy – 7

·        Light – 5

·        Mammoth - 12

·        Medium – 6

·        V2 – 5

 

Max Barracks for Infantry Units

·        Engineer – 4

·        Grenader – 2

·        Rifleman – 1

·        Rocket – 2

·        Tanya – 8

·        Thief – 4

Note however that by making a kennel, engineers, rockets, and grenaders all produce at max speed.

 

            Migs Required to Kill Buildings

·        CY – 5

·        Ore Refinery - 6

·        Samsite - 2

·        Tesla – 2

 

A more thorough list can be found on JC’s website: http://members.tripod.com/red_alert_website/production.htm

 

 

  1. Good Websites

 

·        JC’s Red Alert Arsenal - http://members.tripod.com/red_alert_website/index.htm

·        Red Alert Archive - http://ra.afraid.org/#1

·        Case’s Red Alert Ladder (Mplayer) - http://www.igl.net/mred/

·        Case’s Red Alert Ladder (Kali) - http://www.igl.net/red/

·        Gamespy Arcade - http://gamespyarcade.com/

·        Kali - http://kali.net/

·        CGA - http://www.cgaasia.com/

·        RA Mixer – lost link, if anyone knows it and can send me it that would be great

 

 

  1. Useful RA Downloads

·        RA Editor – http://www.fmtusa.com/Milo234/raed125.exe - using this tool you can set your map with units at the start as well as buildings and other cool things.

·        Rules.ini – link to be posted – useful for modifying map file code. Modifying this file and placing it in you RA directory will cause RA to automatically use this version of rules.ini instead of the default one in RA. Thus you can modify this in order to change RA when you play with the computer.

·        Common custom maps – http://www.fmtusa.com/Milo234/maps.zip

·        All of my training maps with set spots/GPS – to be linked

 

 

  1. Invincible Structure Trick – If you wish to make invincible tesla coils, you can put units inside the coil that will prevent the coil from dying. Select your unit, rifleman, rocket dude, or even tank, and tell them to move to a certain square. Then time the deployment of your tesla coil so that it deploys just as the unit is moving onto that square. The coil will then be invincible as long as the unit remains there. The easiest way to get around this trick is to force fire on the base of the coil to kill the unit contained within. I believe this trick can work with some other structures too.

 

 

  1. Setting Spots – In general it is not possible to determine before the game what spot you will start as. It is possible to create map files where the starting spots are predetermined by color. In order to make such maps see the tool in the download section. On regular maps though, despite that you can’t choose your spot, you can still make sure that no matter how many watchers you have, you and your opponent will start cross map in 1v1 spots. The color bar from left to right is yellow, blue, red, green, orange, grey, turqoise, brown. The player with the left most color is player 1. The color with the 2nd left most color is player 2, etc. If you wish to play a 1v1 with watchers, all you have to do is make sure that the two people playing are the left-most players on the color bar and all will be well. In 2v2s etc, players1 and 2 will always be cross map, which is another easy way to quickly figure out who is in what spot fast (not that it’s that relevant) or to randomly assign partners if you want 2 people to automatically be on different teams. So if you want to watch a game, brown is a good color to be! The second watcher can be turoqise, third watcher grey, etc.

 

 

  1. Cheats – RA does not have any built in cheat codes, however that does not mean it is impossible to cheat. It is possible (not only possible, but extremely easy) to modify map files with codes that give advantages to certain countries or modify units in special ways (this can also make fun different types of maps). To do this, open up your RA directory and locate the map file you wish to modify. At the bottom of the map file is a digest section. Delete the digest section, then insert whatever code you want to modify the map file and save. Doing this you can affect everything from how often tornados spawn, crate regeneration rates, make light tanks invisible, let ore refs fire high powered cruiser amo as well as many things that opponent’s might not notice such as a 10% increase in the amount of armor of French tanks or other things. If your opponent does this, it is extremely easy to realize this by just opening up your redalert directory and examining the contents of your map files for abnormal cheats since when you play the map file is sent to your computer. It is a good idea to ocassionally go through your map files and make sure you don’t have any cheat map files that you might not be noticing and are playing sometimes anyway. For a list of codes that you can insert in the map file, copy modified code out of the rules.ini file in the download section and edit it as you see fit. Now, what I would consider serious cheating is modifying your RA files so that you have an advantage that wont be sent through the map files. I personally am incapable of doing this and have met very few people who have told me they are capable of it. My understanding is that this requires some amount of real programming knowledge. Since I’m a Comp Sci Major, maybe once I learn C next semester I’ll look into this.

 

As a historical note, it was impossible to cheat on Westwood Chat unless you have the programming ability to modify you RA files. I have only met 1 person who ever showed me that he could cheat on Westwood. I truly believe that no one I ever played in a westwood tournament game cheated. On Mplayer, map file cheating was extremely easy since it just involving making the MP software use the modified map files instead of the default ones. MP checked your map files once you logged on and entered game rooms, but once you were in a game room you could go replace your regular map file with the cheat map file and then your personal cheats would only load for you. From what I have been told cheating was rampant on MP, primarily in the form of GPS cheats. I believe that this map file trick did not work when playing standards on Mplayer, but I cannot say for sure.

 

 

  1. Scroll Rate – I use the third scroll rate from the left in the game. I assume most people either use the 2nd or 3rd scroll rate, though I have never really discussed this much with people. Having a faster scroll rate can be useful for scrolling across the map obviously, but it also has the drawback of being harder to control. On westwood I remember hearing at least once that to some people say scroll rater mattered a lot (probably since they didn’t use bookmarks, but then again I didn’t either until I had been playing westwood for about 2 years).

 

 

VI General RA Questions:

 

Why should I believe anything you say about RA is valid and that this whole webpage isn’t a bunch of complete bullshit?

I’m a very experienced RA player. I’ve played probably about 10,000 games of RA with some of the best people to ever play this game. I have a number of Mplayer Case’s hall of fame records http://www.igl.net/mred and I won the WW official ladder one month and was an active top 10 for a long long time on westwood. If you don’t believe what I say is good, try the stuff I say and see how it goes. No one is forcing you to play RA like me or how I say I think is best to play =P, but I assure you if you attempt to play as I describe here it will help you.

 

History of P4:

A historical note for those of you who seem to think that Official p4 1x/2x is the real way p4 was meant to be played: P4 was originally a custom map not among the MP maps, but a large number of people liked it. The map was called P4-Rashowdown and is meant to be a 3v3/4v4 map (obviously). People initially played p4 happily in 1v1 with the agreed consent that there would be no rushing from the north, however if my memory serves me correctly, sometime around 2003-2004 for some reason or another, someone made some maps called Official p4 1x/2x and Official p4 3x/4x and those maps have stuck to this day. Real p4 is the open 3v3 map.

 

Who is the best player ever?

There is no general consensus among the people who have played this game as to who the best RA player ever was. The most common names I have heard given in answer to this question are: porker and ssanai, neither of which I have had the privilege to play. If anyone tries tell you (even convincingly) that they are the best ever or knows who the best ever is, you should take this information very skeptically. In my experience, there is no one I have ever played that I have not beaten (except for perhaps some random people on WW that I played once or twice when I was a noob). Note that I do not say that I am better than, or that I have a winning record against, or whatever, but given this information, and judging from the fact that RA was at a time extremely competitive, there was never any player capable of always beating every other player. I have heard people make arguments that certain people are the best ever on some maps. In my experience, some maps can have very important map specific skills and this can make people who are very familiar and experienced on them much better than most people (such maps include KOTG, Island Hoppers, Super Dday) however I am highly doubtful that there has ever been a definitive best player on any particular map. In general most people are just as good on one map as they are on the next.

 

Who is the best player Currently (As of Spring 2006):

Though he only played for a few weeks at the end of the summer, JJFjr proved himself to be better than everyone else still playing, beating me 8 to 1 in 1v1s and pretty much devastating the rest of the competition. Among all the active players, however, in my humble (or not so humble) opinion, I am without a doubt the best, though I am sure people will disagree with me on that (if not just say, I don't really know but I see no reason that he is the best). If you wish to disagree with me fine. If you wish to try to prove me wrong, I am up for the challenge anytime, but I really don't care enough to argue and won't go about trying to prove I am. Most people who play now all suck and can't even begin to comprehend how much worse than perfect they are. Five years without any real RA competitions has lead to an extremely boring competitive scene for current RA players (but what can you expect from a 10 year old computer game?). Maybe sometime I will give my best approximation of how I see the top players at the moment.

 

Who is the Number One Noob?

By self proclamation, this highly prestigious and sought after title goes to the great Katwoman, also known as Purrfect_1, who has time and time again proven herself capable of the title of the ultimate, Number One Noob.

 

 

Where all can I play RA?

Currently CGA, GS, and Kali are the only places to play RA.

  • CGA - Central Asian Gaming Alliance – www.cgaasia.com - The server is in Chinese, with an English version. A fair number of people play there and they are very competitive relative to the Western world of RA. Play in Shanghai room 2715. Unfortunately it lags greatly. They Like Money Map 2 there.
  • GS - GameSpy Arcade - www.gamespyarcade.com
  • Kali - kali.net - www.kali.net

 

 

What are the old RA servers that people used to play on?

 

  • MP – Mplayer - Existed until a very sad day in April of 2002 when MP was bought by GS company and ceased to exist.

 

  • WW - Westwood Chat - had a monthly ladder in which people could play rated games that automatically reported. Busiest months in WW history probably had as many as 20,000 - 50,000 people. By 2002 the ladder had declined to only a few thousand. The ladder was taken down sometime near the end of 2002 and WW Chat no longer works. The Westwood ladder used the ELO system to determine how many points a win/loss was worth and the appropriate point count was transfered from one player to another. The least number of points being winable 1, the most 63 and the average was 30.

 

  • WW 4 Player Patch - an RA update, the 4 player patch has it's own client for playing games. I once played a 10 player game on patch, but overall it hasn't been very used. The patch is required to play on GS and Kali.

 

  • Ten - I can't say much about this other than it was a place to play RA

 

  • Heat - Same thing as I said about Ten. I do know that the big map on Heat was Game Time Kiddies which has since apparently gone out of existence. Heat stopped being a major place to play RA in 2000-2001 and I was lucky enough to meet someone on MP who gave me GTK. I played one game on Heat ever. The only day I got on it there were only 9 people on I think.

 

  • PGL - Pro Gamers League - I have heard of this though my sources are vague. From what little I gather it was a server which had a large tournament with an actual cash prize of several thousand dollars. I remember being told someone named DeepBlue was the winner of PGL. My understanding of it was that you had to play a certain number of games every day for the tournament and rankings were decided somehow. Apparently this was gone by the time I actually had some clue as to how things were in the RA world.

 

 

What Rankings systems have their been in the past?

 

  • Westwood Online Monthly Tournament – The biggest ever RA competition was the WWOnline monthly tournament on WestwoodChat. The tournament was entirely played on standards. Rankings were based upon how many points were accumulated throughout the month. For each ranked game, one player would win a certain amount of points and the other player would lose the same amount. The amount was determined using a formula similar to the USCF/FIDE ELO system with 30 being the number of points won if you are the same rank and a certain percentage of that based upon difference in rank. 63 was the most points per game you can win, 1 point the least. In it's most competitive months, the most I recall a player having was 1600+ points. The most games I ever saw for any player was around 800 in 1 month. The least number of points I ever saw someone win the ladder with was in the 900s towards the end of the ladder. Top 100 Usually had about 500 points at the end of the month. Top 50 was closer to 600. Top 20 got as high as 800s. As in any competition there was cheating on WW. Many people would make multiple names and give free wins, as well as the obvious disconnecting and OOSing of games. OOSing resulted in no loss being reported ot the ladder. DCing usually resulted in whoever having the most kills wining. The WWLadder ended sometime in late 2002 (August maybe?) I personally won this one month as soviets in late 2001 (I think that was when). I finished 2nd as allies one time as well as has inumerable top 10 finishes and typically 2-3 names in the top 50. I miss this a lot.

 

  • Case's Mplayer - igl.net/mred – The website still exists and the hall of fame lists many of the most active RA players on Mplayer. The rankings on Cases were never particularly an accurate reflection of relative skill level since moving up the ladder required beating of higher players (The same can be said of WW) as well that not everyone played it. Many people disliked it because it relies entirely on the honest of those playing. Cheaters can be extremely annoying when it is assumed that losers will report without question and there will be no dumb d/cing etc.

 

  • Case's WW/Kali - igl.net/red – The website still exists. Check it out for more details. I briefly signed up for this ladder but it was more or less dead by the time I was playing RA seriously.

 

  • Globaldom – www.globaldom.com – A gaming network for several games involving team play. Not really a ranking, but a friendly week to week competition among RA teams. There were 2 allied teams and 2 soviet teams on GD. GD was a fun, friendly competition played on WW and MP

 

  • MP KOTH - Mplayer King Of the Hill, a 1v1,2v2,3v3,4v4 tournament where the winners got special VIP status for the following month proceeding the tournament. I played in KOTH one time. My first day on MP was a KOTH night and doja had partnered with saberts(I think it was saber) for 2v2 koth. I played Man's Land with Doja. The game was a sad one since I didn't even know that A was the allie button nor that f2-f8 gave chat messages. It was a terrible loss, but anyway KOTH was popular and fun.

 

 

What clans are good?

A good clan for a person depends on what they want in the clan. I won't diss any clans. Current clans still in existence include:

  • Cousin
  • IqC – Immortal Q Champions
  • Man Clan
  • ORA – Owns Red Alert.
  • T2

If you would like to get your clan added to my list, just message me.

 

 

Who are some good RA players of the past?

There were many, I'll make a list sometime (don't expect this list to be comprehensive)

 

How Can I get better?

Here are my suggestions for how to get better:

  1. Read all the information on this website, especially the basic skills and check out the new maps section.
  2. Check out the training guides.
  3. Try to play the best players as much as possible.
  4. Ask for advice. Write down and try to learn other people’s build orders.
  5. Watch people play and try to figure out what they are doing that you could do better.

If you want I am willing to train more RA players. If you want me to train you though I require you to get AIM so you can talk to me on AIM since I find that that is by far the easiest thing to use for instant messaging. You can try to get in contact with me though through any of the contact info listed at the top of this webpage.

 

Who is this JC person you keep referring to?

JCFarmer was an RA player I met on WW in 2000 (maybe 1999). He began playing RA a few months after I did and was much quicker to improve than I was. He has been one of my best RA friends and I have met him in person. I give him credit as being one of the overall best RA players I have ever known. I personally take pride in being one of the few RA players to be able to play all of the best RA players on all maps with a decent chance of being able to win. JC also can claim this status.