Enemy Placement
By Calrissian12

What to use when:

Everyone has seen levels that are what I call MSGs. Not message as in .MSG, or MonoSodium Glutemate, but mindless shooting galleries. They give you every weapon and put you in front of five hundred stormtroopers. Or worse yet, they skip the part with every weapon. I've made observations of what bad guy is best to use when, and when they donít really work.

Strategic placement is the key. Make the most out of an enemy, and don't consume too many msgs.

Human troops are weak. Officers go down with one shot, stormtroopers with two, and commandoes a whopping three. Put them out of sight, where they can get their first shot off before you know theyíre there, and their second before you can take aim. Remember, if you've got three in the same general direction from the player, youíve got too many. DF bad guys canít see each other and get in each others' way. Prime example (of good placement, that is): Secret Base (on hard).

Grans: Put 'em close, but not too close, far, but not too far. Never near equipment, for realism's sake. If inside, never where the ceiling is less than twenty units from the ground, because they tend to hit it. Prime examples: Once again, keep them kind of out of sight. They go down with one Thermal Detonator, and make no difference to the more rapid-fire weapons. Anoat City, Ramses Hed.

Probes: Outdoors only, because of that self destruct thing. I don't want 'em in my house! Give them a bit of room. They're slow, an airborne version of stormtroopers, but taking more shots. They should be placed that the player passes them as he alerts them. This way, its first shot will almost always hit. Also, don't give too much room or self destruct won't pose a danger.

Interrogators: Put these black killer basketballs up in the playerís face. Their aim stinks, so rely on that red energy burst to drain your players. If you're in range, you canít dodge it. And remember they are for interrogation. Donít use them if thereís nothing to interrogate. In situations where theyíd be good but thereís no one to interrogate, I use EVILBOT.WAX, which I found in a level called The Flight Home.

Dia Nogus, Dianogas, sewer bugs, or whatever you want to call 'em: These aren't fast, and are easy to hit if you catch them in time. In the dark and in close quarters are the best places to put them. I've seen them used in the middle of brightly lit lakes. They donít work. Once again, no one does it like the original levels: the best example is Anoat City.

Trandoshans: Use sparingly. Their weapons can mow down armies, and to kill one gives you a hundred power cells. Normally, a blast weakens the further you get from Ground Zero. Not these. Anything in a concussion rifleís blast radius gets the full load. Place far away but in sight, or medium distance but out of sight. Never close. As you should with the concussion rifle, they keep their distance. And not too many, no more than three at once. Or else you have the opposite of a shooting gallery: a firing squad! Prime example: Try as I might, I can't think of a level where they were used just right. Maybe Jabbaís Ship, but that approaches firing squad. Thereís hundreds of Grans and Gamorreans there, and I found it a bit excessive.

Gammorreans: The Ax-man Cometh! Their axes take out forty life points, but their not too fast. Keep your distance and nail them. Place them in close quarters, where the player canít keep his or her distance and nail them.

Boba Fett: In fighting him, I've had trouble keeping him interested. He'll fly into a corner and go up and down and up and down. Grr. But he's deadly. He doesnít suffer from the limitation all other DF bad guys do: He can move and shoot at the same time. If you use for him, be sure thereís plenty of air but a ceiling, a big battlefield with many obstacles. Since thereís only one Boba Fett, using two kills realism. Prime example: Terminate Boba Fett, and the desert level of Operation Death Star (itís called Operation Tatooine, but searching on the net, Operation Death Star is what youíre looking for.)

Kell Dragons: Enough room for them to manuever, but not enough for players to stand back and shoot. Never more than 1.5 times the length they can jump, and never much less. Never more than two at once, or they get in each othersí way. Prime example (though both did just that): Jabbaís Ship, Operation Tatooine

Phase One Dark Troopers: More room than Gammorreans, but donít give them a mile of space. They can sometimes reflect shots, but it's useless if you have time to actually think about what youíre doing and implement a plan. Prime example: Arc Hammer

Phase Two Dark Troopers: Moderate distance, preferably two at once. Provide no cover, because they must stand still to shoot. Prime example: Executor.

Phase Three Dark Troopers: Thereís no such thing. It's Rom Mohcís little surprise, a battle suit he himself uses. One Mohc, one battlesuit. Otherwise, realism falters a little. Give him a lot of room. The player must be able to run from the seeker missiles, but they must hit him sometimes. The Arc Hammer gave him too much.

Remember that a level is supposed to be challenging. Any idiot can make an MSG or a firing squad execution. A hard level is easy to make and an impossible level is even easier. Even in ďexpert levelsĒ, thereís a way. They donít just stick in DTs. Thereís some thought in there. Keep the player running for cover and looking for ammo. Give them just enough powerups to almost make it through the present encounter and make them rely on their wits for the rest. Donít make it impossible, but don't make it something even you yourself can finish in one sitting. Donít let the player have a momentís rest, and donít let them just shoot everything till they reach the exit sign like Doom. Make them think. Donít let the bottom left of the screen ever read ď200, 100, 7.Ē That way, you leave the player's heart pounding through the whole thing, and after. The original levels actually made me a little paranoid, checking for every exit, and looking for potential attack for a while after I finished playing for the day.