(PSP Strategy) Armored Core: Formula Front

Charles: Yes, before every match you select whether you would like to manually pilot the AC or whether you want your custom-designed AI to control it.

Nick: If you’re like me, prepare to spend hours at a clip in an almost endless cycle of build/test/tweak on your designs in AC:FF.

Man I think I am going to have to add this to my Xmas list. Everything I am reading here makes me happy in the pants.

One question I do have though is there an actual end to this game or not really? Like how many different fights are there?

Uh, you might have to ask Dante Rising about that one, as my 3 days of playtime still solely consist of exactly ONE league match, and countless test-runs with my designs versus the stock AI test designs or my other designs.

2.0 runs most homebrew w/ the ebootloader, just fYI. you can also fairly quickly drop back to 1.5 if needed.

One question I do have though is there an actual end to this game or not really? Like how many different fights are there?

Yes, there is an actual end to the game once you climb the entire ladder in all the leagues. The first League has 6 slots, the second has 29. After that I’m not sure. Supposedly someone who is familiar with Armored Core can finish the full league aspect in about 10 hours. Of course, if you are like balut and I you will probably spend double that time in the garage just trying all of the different goodies out.

In regards to manual control, I’m really not having that difficut of a time. It can be somewhat arduous now and again, but mainly because the analog stick is so small that I tend to overcompensate. After playing several matches I got used to the feel of the controls, changed out my targeting systems, and used weapons that made it easier for me to fight. Armored Core veterans should feel at home without too many problems.

I just built a Tank-Leg AC with that giant back-mount Laser Cannon that takes up both Back slots, coupled with an EO-Core (for extra emergency firepower) and Double-Bazooka Arms, and it’s just nigh-unstoppable in initial tests. That back-mounted Laser Cannon is just wickedly powerful, and can kill in about 3 direct hits, plus seems to do splash damage on near-misses

Its too bad that we don’t live near one another. I’d love to go up against your mech. I’m doing really well with the sniper rifle and some of the more devastating LRMs. My basic tactic is to use the terrain to my advantage and clip at the enemy from a distance, then jump jet behind a building or cliff. My finest mechs are all very mobile, high on defense (ecms, etc) and have weapons that are moderately powerful but can hit from clear across the arena.

I’m not sure which type of mech body I prefer the most. Each has some excellent benefits if you know how to exploit them. I love seeing my really agile mechs swerve and dance in between the shower of missles that some of the enemies fire at you. In one particular instance a group of swarm missles were launcesd by an enemy. It was really thrilling to see the AI controlling my mech pivot to the left, speed burst, pivot right and then jump into the air. He evaded all but 1 missle as the rest were cascading around him. It reminded me of those scenes outr of Robotech. :)

Oh man. I completely clowned the preliminary league with my roster of 5 differently-styled asskickers. So, I’m feeling good, and I figure I’ll take on the first of 30 matches in the “regular league” with my penultimate maimbot, my mech “Raikage”, a tankbot with twin grenade-launcher arms and that giant LX Laser on his back that takes up both back slots. This sucker never lost more than a 10th of his health in any of his matches, because he dished out the damage so quickly to his opponents.

Well, he lost. Badly. Against the 29th-ranked opponent in a 30-member league, he got embarrassingly beaten. Every grenade shot whiffed. His giant laser blasts flew too high or too low. His EO twin cannons plinked away for minor damage. He routinely lost target acquisition lock. The enemy mech literally ran circles around him. At one point my mech’s AI just charged in, laser cannon blazing, and got off 1 solid hit before the enemy’s combination of Grenade Launcher and Machine Gun whittled the last of his armor off to nothing.

I figure, okay, tankboy is a bit slow - not enough mobility, can’t keep up with a fast-moving opponent. So I send out my missileboat, “Kazekage”, a highly-mobile hoverbot bristling with multi-missile launchers and pursuit missiles. This time, Kaze launched volley after volley after volley after volley of missiles at the opponent, until all his missile ammo was gone. He launched maybe 100+ missiles, about 1/3d of them designed to MIRV into 4 sub-missiles. The missiles connected MAYBE 5, 6 times. Out of 100. That nimble little bastard was jumping and juking and flying and dropping decoy pods and launching anti-missile-rockets like a motherf’er, then started his circle-strafe-of-death with the Grenade Launcher and Machinegun. Boom. Mech 2 of my stable done.

Next up was my all-around, Rank A mech, “Hokage” - good speed, good armor, a rapidfire Machinegun in one arm, a high-damage Energy Blade in his other. He started off in a controlled charge, zigzagging and firing off bursts from his machine gun. The other mech, still crazy nimble, dodged and juked and launched volley after volley of grenade death. Hokage went down in a record 20 seconds.

Attempt #4 was my infighter, “Mizukage” - Energy Handgun in one hand, very-high-powered double-blade in his other. Built for pure speed and missile evasion. This guy managed to connect with 2 solid sword swipes before he ate so much Machinegun fire and Grenade damage that he overheated and was incapacitated before armor death.

I sent in my weakest design, “Tsukikage” - quad legs support twin Grenade Launchers on his back and twin Lasers on his arms. Much like my tankbot, excellent firepower, but only when it can connect. He burned through his energy reserves trying to hit, but defensively was not nimble enough to dodge. Managed to take the enemy down to 50% life before dying, but most of that was due to close-in Grenade hits when the enemy mech came in for the coup de grace.

So now, humiliated in the “regular league” after complete dominance in the preliminaries, I’m back to the drawing board for the next few hours until I can advance past the bottom of the barrel.

Man, I am loving this game.

Ha! Don’t feel bad. My first attempt at the second league ended in total humiliation also. My first mech was out of commission in 28 seconds! Currently I’m sitting in the number 21 spot. A few of those battles were very, very close. In the last battle I had 100 armor points left! I was tearing my hair out watching the tide turn against me once my mech ran out of missles.

The other mech, still crazy nimble, dodged and juked and launched volley after volley of grenade death. Hokage went down in a record 20 seconds.

Yeah, some of these opponents move like a cheetah on crack cocaine. Without the right countermeasures its a quick trip to the basement.

NICE. I tweaked my tankbot, Raikage - I’m convinced that massive LX Laser is the key to crushing foes, seeing them flee before me, and hearing the lamentation of their women. I beefed up his armor, tweaked his AI so that he more actively closes in and engages, and stripped out unnecessary weapons and addons. Now, it’s a lean-mean, lasery-death-dealing-machine. I gave him only 1 other weapon aside from his LX Laser - a single-hand-wielded laser rifle that also does loads of damage (Although I’m tempted to try a variant with a really powerful Solid-shot-based rifle). I set his base AI to full-attack, 3/4 close range, minimal jumping, and maxed his Attack Performance AI.

Result? That ranked 30 rat-on-crackbot with the Grenade Launcher and Machinegun dropped in 23 seconds. Instead of screwing around with maneuvers, tankboy literally charged straight in right off the bat, Laser Cannons blazing, and just DESTROYED the enemy before he could even pull off any fancy maneuvers. Sure, he got hit a little bit, but his armor is obscene now, and he’s designed for a pure blitzkrieg-style quick finish. I’m not sure if the design is good enough for later matches, but I’m tremendously pleased with myself at the moment.

I bought this last night, started playing, and spent half an hour tweaking mech designs before I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I could watch the tutorial movies I suppose but I’m very fast reader and slow scrolling text annoys the heck out of me.

After some screwing around I’m starting to get the hang of things and was able to blow through the first league easily. My experiences in the second league are about the same as balut’s except I haven’t found a way to win yet.

Overall my initial impressions are that this is a good game which could be a great game if it had a better interface and presentation.

Yeah, the building interface and part naming mechanics definitely favor the hardcore mech fan. A very useful tip is to press Triangle in the Assembly interface - it pulls up a hex-graph of your current AC’s ratings, as well as a statistical analysis of things like energy usage versus energy generation, armor points, movement speed, and the like. If you press Triangle again, it switches to a full-on text spreadsheet of your AC’s stats. A third press of the Triangle reverts to the standard graphical representation of your AC in the build menu.

My current project is to build a successful “nimble” mech. My blitzkrieg-tank-design is just hell on wheels, and is my ace in the hole when I need to beat an enemy. But, I’d like to design something that relies on agility and evasion to defeat its enemies, and I’m having a lot of trouble with that. My current variant is a Hovermech with a Linear-Rifle in one hand and a Shotgun in the other. It’s maxed on Speed and ECM, and it has a Medusa decoy launcher on the Inside slot, which is just invaluable for diverting away missiles. Its External slot has an anti-lock Pulse generator, and it has a high-ECM radar array on its back. It’s designed to dodge and weave and strafe, while dodging incoming fire (especially missiles), while picking away with it’s high-powered Linear Rifle and Shotgun.

Unfortunately, it does fantastically for the first 3/4s of any fight, but for some reason it just kind of falls apart at the end of the fight. For example, I was fighting against the rank 30 guy with this new design, and just kept picking it apart for about 2 minutes of the match, but then the enemy came back strong and just blew my mech away. Every scenario seems to play out that way, as well. I’m thinking it’s a combination of ammo depletion (especially in its countermeasure capabilities) coupled with the high energy requirements of the Hover legs and the Linear Rifle. Perhaps by the end of its fights it’s spending too much “down time” waiting for its energy reserves to rebuild, and in that time, the enemy takes advantage and goes in for the kill.

balut, could you post detailed specs for your blitz monster? I’m trying to build a stable of succesful designs so that I can do test matches with my latest creations :)

I’ll post the exact stats on that once I get my battery up and running again. AC:FF has a tendency to get played enough to routinely wipe out my PSP battery.

And I have yet to build a design that gets even close to defeating my own Blitzkrieg design. It’s that damned LX Laser - it’s just nigh-unstoppable, IMO.

Okay, here’s my “Blitzkrieg” design for a Tank-leg AC:
(btw, I’ve seen at least 4 different variants of this design floating around the net, but the common variable in all is the type of Tank Legs and the LX Laser on its back; not sure how effective the other variants are, though)

Balut’s Team ArashiKage AC-05: “Raikage”

Head: H05-Hornet (good ECM, good AI capacity, good Radar)
Core: CR-C83UA (best AP, plus built-in MG [missile defense])
Arms: CR-A89AG (best AP and great Aiming Accuracy)
Legs: CR-LT71 (great AP, best/lowest Energy Drain, great Max Leg Weight)
Booster: N/A (because of Tank Treads)
FCS: CR-F82D2 (heavy, but great Lock Time and Lock Range)
Generator: G03-Orchid (best Condenser Cap and Emergency Cap)
Radiator: Furuna (best Cooling, great Forced Cooling)
Inside: Hijiri (necessary for distracting incoming missiles, plus high Ammo and low Firing Interval)
Extension: Jiren (Extra energy to power the LX Laser, although I’m thinking of playing around with different parts here, perhaps a Ruri or Renga anti-missile guidance system)
Back (Right and Left): CR-WBW98LX (the Big Gun, the LX Laser; max in raw Attack Power, generates insane Attack Heat in the enemy, and excellent Range to boot; it’s like a Mechwarrior ERPPC++)
Arm Right: Nothing (gotta save energy and weight somewhere)
Arm Left: WH04HL-KRSW (looks cool, and the only hand-held “Hi Laser” holdable in an arm; average range, above average Attack Power, makes a good supplement to the LX Laser)
Hanger Unit (R/L):None
Optional Parts: 1. CR-071EC (increased generator condensor cap); 2. O04-Golgi (increased weapon attack power); 3. O05-Histon (improved energy weapon reload time); 4. O06-Phage (reduced energy weapon firing consumption); 5. Kangi (improved VS ECM, because this thing is a big enough target as is, and can use the help)

Here are some AI settings:
Base: Almost Max Short Range, Max Varied Action, Max Run-Hi, Max Attack
Performance: I just put most of the AI points into: Enemy Status, Atk Strt, En Con, AC Con, Move Con, and Wpn Con; distribute the rest as you see fit - I cut down on the Def Strt because this is totally not a defensively-oriented AC
Operations: Just put some Mod-1s as often as you can, to keep the AC charging straight in to unleash the pain

There you go. Feel free to play around with it, but know that it is ass-whuppingly powerful. :D

Doh, forgot to post the Part Tuning for my AC:

Head: Max in Weight
Core: Max in Weight
Arms: Max in Weight
Legs: Max in Max Leg Weight
Generator: 50% in Weight, 50% in En Output
Radiator: Max in Energy Drain

As you can see, the main drawback to this design is the high weight of the parts involved. In fact, without Tuning, the Tank legs can’t support the rest of the parts.

Giving in. Damn you mech gods. I’ll buy a PSP for this game.

This is a min/maxer’s wet dream.

Damn, Balut 's mech is nearly identical to one of mine. Only two minor differences…

Giving in. Damn you mech gods. I’ll buy a PSP for this game.

I’m not sure this game alone is worth buying a PSP. (Although, ironically, this IS the game I bought my PSP for several months ago. Armored Core:FF was pushed back 4 times for the PSP. I was FURIOUS.) Hopefully there are a couple other titles that you have a desire to play.

Really? You using the LX Laser as well, or did you go in a different direction?

Hey Dante, you have any luck designing a light-weight, hit-and-run style AC? I’ve been spending a ton of time trying out variants on that theme, but I can’t get them to work right yet. I tried a melee-only AC at one point, but for some reason the AI never used his Parry Blade on his Right Arm, despite the high extra damage that would’ve caused following a strike by his Left Arm Blade.

No real luck with melee only. I believe there are one or two AI routines that you get later on which make a melee character more useable. I haven’t been able to find a suitable combination for a lightweight mech- at least not after passing rank 19. So far mid/heavy weight seems to be the point where I have the most success.

I think the key on the upper portion of the League with be the proper AI and tuning. Unrefined standard loadouts don’t consistently cut it.

I did buy a PSP for this game.

And I think I spent 45 minutes last night tweaking just to lose on my first battle. Yay!

But I managed to win a few on the way to work this morning.

I have a few questions though.

Do more parts become available at higher levels? Or is it theoretically possible to create UberMech at the beginning of the game and then just dominate without futher tweaking?

I found it strange at first that you didn’t have to buy and acquire parts.