Command and Conquer Red Alert Remastered Online PVP Tips, Guide and Strategy

Command and Conquer was a game I played religiously as a child in the 90s, the good news is that in May 2020 they remastered it and online play is back with a bang. The downside is that I am older now and had long forgotten all of the strategy and tools I used to use to win. Well after a couple of months playing and re-learning my methods I can share a few good tips to get you going online.

There is no one method that will beat every opponent in every scenario on every map but I’ll walk you through a good strategy thats seen me win more than I lose and should give you a good idea where you have been going wrong and what to do to correct it. Lots of other guides will tell you to do things like get an APC and fill it with tanyas/engineers then sneak it into the enemies base and that can work but that has one major problem, if they kill the APC or kill the units before you have done enough damage then you lose as they will walk over your base in a few seconds.

Most Red Alert online games basically boil down to who can build the most tanks in the midgame and use them in the most efficient way. When you attack another player with your tanks you want to outnumber them and out maneuver them to be able to take down their tank army then you will be able to roll over the base unchallenged.

Early Game

Build your command centre then build a power plant then build a barracks.

Barracks, scouts and man rushes:

Scouting is very important as revealing large parts of the map early on gives you an advantage. For scouting build minigunners and sent one to each corner of the map and some inbetween too. Sometimes a man rush can work early on so you could build 20 minigunners (in addition to the scouts) then send them to another base as quick as possible in the hope of taking down an early building or two. Watch out for other people manrushing you – If they do this make sure you spot it early and build lots of minigunners to defend against it or a well placed pillbox. A good idea is to dot a few minigunners around your base as one stationary minigunner can take out multiple enemy minigunners running past. When scouting, placing minigunners or man rushing an enemy its extremely important you are building at the same time, do not let it distract you from building your base and getting to the next stage.

Ore refinaries, war factories:

After you’ve built your barracks you need to focus on economy so build an ore refinary as close to an ore field as possible. This is one of the key things people don’t do well sometimes, they think they should have their base huddled in a corner with loads of tessla coils/pillboxes/turrets protecting it. Wrong. Only build tessla coils/pillboxes/turrets if you need to handle a situation like with the man rush example above. In terms of placing your buildings the best method is to snake them out accross the map to reach further ore fields. It may make you slightly more vulnerable if someone attacks but the benefits outweigh the risks big time as you will have access to much more ore therefore can grown your economy quicker and better economy ultimately means more tanks!

C&C Red Alert - Tips To Place Buildings and Snaking Accross the Map
C&C Red Alert – Tips To Place Buildings and Snaking Accross the Map

Talking of tanks you need to place a war factory next though first thing out of the war factory should normally be a second harvester unless you are planning on sending a load of early tanks to your opponent or defending against a load of early tanks from your opponent. Early tank attacks can be successful though you will greatly sacrifice your economy by doing so. Its best to build a couple of extra harvesters before mass producing the tanks as you will very quickly burn through your cash once you start scaling up production (covered in next section).

Middle Game

Extra ore refineries and extra war factories

Ok you got the first bit sorted, scouts have flown to all corners revealing roughly where your opponent is, moneys coming in and tanks are rolling out. Building another ore refinery is good as you get a harvester with it and somewhere new to dock, it also makes it easier to farm some of the new ore fields you have been building towards (see snaking above). We need to speed up production now and build a radar at some point too. The way you speed up production in this game is by building more of the same type of buildings. So next thing to do it build a second war factory, this will double the speed your tanks are created. Obviously this is good as will mean massing huge army quicker but also it will eat more funds so make sure you have the ore refineries and harvesters to support it. A good rule of thub is one war factory to one ore refinery plus extra harvester. I don’t normally do this but you can even build a second command centre which means you can create buildings at twice the speed too!

Radar

Radar is important but its very difficult to guage exactly when to build it. Radar will mean you have a heads-up when opponents are moving towards you and also makes it easier for you to move your units accross the map. By this point your opponent may start to prod your defenses and you may have prodded your opponent a bit and movement is key to getting to the end game. Sometimes rather than battling your tanks in the middle of a map they may drive straight past into your base to try to take down a building or two and you then need to decide do I defend my base or do I counter attack? Whatever you do make sure the whole time you are building new buildings and mass producing the tanks. Often if someone tries to brute force into your base past your army they will get a building but while they are doing that you can destroy the majority of their tanks which in turn will leave their base vulnerable.

End Game

The end game is when you and your opponents have set up a nice base, your production lines are flowing and now its time to seal the deal. Most of the time I play the destroy structures mode which means when you have destroyed all of your opponents structures then the game is yours. You can also play where all units and structures have to be destroyed but this can become tedious trying to find that minigunner hidden in a tree.

This phase mostly boils down to who has built the best economy, you will have had some battles by now losing some units and even some buildings, its who can build up again after that and get the advantage. You need to think about being proactive, not waiting until your opponent makes a move. If you see a load of tanks coming towards your base do you use all of your resources defending? Or do you send all of your resources to their base? The answer very much depends on which option is most likely to result in a win but defending alone is not going to win, you need to be able to launch an attack after defending. If you are playing with team mates and you see an opponent make a move like that it means their base is vulnerable so could have one defending the attack while the other sneaks in behind and attacks their base.

Don’t give up, sometimes it may look like the opponent is winning, they have destroyed your command center and you have lost a lot of your army but they often pay a heavy price driving a load of tanks through your base and would have lost a good portion of their army too. I’ve seen games won with only one building left on the map so do everything you can with the bits you have left!

A Good Example Build Order

  • Command center
  • Powerplant
  • Barracks -> scouts -> base perimeter protection -> man rushes (optional)
  • Ore Refinery
  • War factory -> Extra harvester -> 8 tanks -> Extra harvester -> TANKS TANKS TANKS
  • War Factory
  • Advanced Powerplant
  • Radar
  • War factory
  • Ore Refinery
  • Advanced Powerplant
  • War Factory
  • Ore Refinery
  • Etc….

Understanding the MCB and which way to wire it

First of all a disclaimer, if you don’t know what you are doing with electricity or are not sure then its always best to get an electrician to do the work or check the work for you before you turn it on as it can kill or injure you.

Now I am a qualified electronic engineer so know how to deal with things at component level but sometimes I have to dabble with electrical items too and am not so competent. For this task I had to install a small single pole type C Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB) as one of my projects and had a few problems at first understanding which way around to wire it as the manufacturers documentation didn’t say and the device had no indication on it except for a small symbol here:

What does the electrical MBC symbol mean?

Now some of you electrician types are probably saying “ah thats easy, you are a fool if you don’t know what that means and shouldn’t even be touching electricity”. Well you may be right but the good news is that I worked it out and thought it worth sharing as the internet wasn’t too helpful on this. So the top bit is showing a little lever with an X – This is a switch, the big on/off blue thing you can see in the photo above. Great thats one part but what do the two bits below mean and then onto the important question, how do I wire it? Well the next item down shows a square/rectangle symbol, this is the symbol for a thermal device. So its detecting if there is too much curent and when there is it will get too hot and will do something. The final piece of the puzzle is the curve half-circle like symbol underneith, this is actually the symbol for the circuit breaker itself. So the image tells us a nice little story, when the switch is on, it will be letting current through to the thermal sensor and if too much current goes through it will produce heat which will cause that curve to fire away like a rocket which will break the circuit and flip the switch off.

How do I wire it? Which way around does it go? Is line 1 and load 2 or is it the other way around?

Well the MCB will trip if the current exceeds its limit whichever way around you wire it but saying that they do have a correct way around to wire in. There are a few holes on your MCB that will expel heat etc if there is a short circuit, if its wired the wrong way around these will not work when the circuit trips. On this particular circuit breaker which is a Chint 2A Type C MCB you need to have the line or supply going to 1 with the load on 2 I.e. the line going into the top and the load out the bottom. Why can’t they write that on the datasheet?

Here are some of the terms I typed into search to try to find an answer on this:

  • single pole mcb wiring
  • single pole mcb wiring chint
  • single pole mcb wiring chint which side
  • mcb load side wiring diagram
  • mcb load side wiring diagram chint
  • wire up chint mcb
  • mcb schematic
  • mcb schematic chint
  • mcb schematic chint load top or bottom
  • single phase mcb connection diagram
  • mcb load symbol
  • mcb load symbol supply
  • mcb operation symbol
  • mcb operation symbol supply load
  • mcb how to identify supply and load
  • mcb wiring top or bottom
  • type c mcb connection
  • mcb load and line symbol
  • trip unit breaker symbol
  • electrical symbol for load circuit breaker
  • electrical symbol for line circuit breaker
  • electrical symbol mcb wiring

How to Setup an Esp-32 in the Arduino IDE

Got youself a new ESP-32 development board and wondering how you talk to it? The good news is that someone has done a lot of the hard work required to set up ESP-32 support in the Arduino IDE. The first thing we need to do is add the board manager files so that settings and boards relating to ESP-32 show up in the Arduino IDE. Go to File -> Preferences then enter  https://dl.espressif.com/dl/package_esp32_index.json into the “Additional Board Manager URLs” field:

Adding ESP-32 additional boards manager to Arduino IDE
Adding ESP-32 additional boards manager to Arduino IDE

Note: if you already have the ESP8266 boards URL, you can separate the URLs with a comma in the above.

Open boards manager. Go to Tools > Board > Boards Manager…

Search for ESP32 and press install button for the “ESP32 by Espressif Systems“ and hit install:

Installing ESP-32 Board In The Boards Manager
Installing ESP-32 Board In The Boards Manager

Select your Board in Tools > Board menu (in my case it’s the DOIT ESP32 DEVKIT V1)

Plug in the ESP-32 with USB cable to your computer.

Select the Port (if you don’t see the COM Port in your Arduino IDE) (tools->port).

Open the following example under File > Examples > WiFi (ESP32) > WiFi Scan

Testing Your ESP-32 By Opening the WIFI Scan Example Project
Testing Your ESP-32 By Opening the WIFI Scan Example Project

Press the Upload button in the Arduino IDE. Wait a few seconds while the code compiles and uploads to your board. When it says connecting…… press the boot button on the board and release.  If that didn’t work hold the boot button before you press upload and release when it says connecting. I’ve even had some dev boards that need the enable button pressed instead, doing one of these will work, you just have to find which one.

ESP-32 In The IDE Waiting For Boot Button Press
ESP-32 In The IDE Waiting For Boot Button Press

If everything went as expected, you should see a “Done uploading.” message.

ESP-32 Done Uploading In The Arduino IDE
ESP-32 Done Uploading In The Arduino IDE

Finally just open the Arduino IDE Serial Monitor at a baud rate of 115200 and hey presto you should see it scaning for WIFI networks. You may need to press enable/reset button first:

Testing The ESP-32 Using WIFI Scan On The Serial Monitor
Testing The ESP-32 Using WIFI Scan On The Serial Monitor

Runescape – The most efficient route for elite scan clues

I seem to do clue scrolls in waves, specially now they stack nicely and go in the clue carrier. Every time I got back to doing a batch I’m never sure which route to take when running the elite scan location clue scrolls. The images below should help! One of the missing maps is is Menaphos – For this one start at the lode then run to imperial district and right click the tomb entrance, go to one of the other districts then repeat for all three. Most of the time the clue will show but if not then you only have a few places out of range you need to run to.

Runescape - Varrock - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Varrock – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Zanaris - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Zanaris – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Tirannwn Elf Lands - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Tirannwn Elf Lands – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - The desert, east of the Elid and north of Nardah - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – The desert, east of the Elid and north of Nardah – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Taverley Dungeon - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Taverley Dungeon – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Piscatoris Hunter Area - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Piscatoris Hunter Area – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Mos Le'Harmless - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Mos Le’Harmless – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Kharazi Jungle - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Kharazi Jungle – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Keldagrim - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Keldagrim – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Haunted Woods - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Haunted Woods – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Fremennik Isles - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Fremennik Isles – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Brimhaven Dungeon - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Brimhaven Dungeon – Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape - Ardougne - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – Ardougne – Elite Clue Scan Route

The chaos tunnels below has now been removed as a scan path (thank the lord!). here is the old map:

Runescape - The Chaos Tunnels - Elite Clue Scan Route
Runescape – The Chaos Tunnels – Elite Clue Scan Route

Rants – Wearing Slippers Outside?

I’m no expert on fashion, quite the opposite actually but recently I’ve seen a trend for some women wearing slippers outside.  You know, the same footwear that has been designed for the opposite reason – being comfortable inside a house.  Most of the ones I have witnessed seem to be a particular type and could be described as half sandal half slipper with the front of the slipper that goes over your toes covered by some kind of furry strip.  I’m guessing they have a name but a google search for “slipper with furry bit on front” didn’t produce any names, just showed me images of even more absurd looking items.  To me it looks like they have killed two chinchillas and glued them to their feet.

Now I have seen two types of people wearing these, one is the younger woman who apart from the slippers seems to be dressed to impress.  Why would you spend all that time picking the right outfit, doing your hair and makeup only to ruin it by going out the door in ridiculous looking slippers?  I’ve seen it too often for it to be a mistake “oh I just walked out the door and forgot I had slippers on my feet” so I’m pretty sure its intentional.  The other type is the older, fatter more weathered type of woman who I’m guessing has seen the younger type wearing them and now thinks it’s the thing to do.  The difference is they haven’t dressed to impress, they are wearing dirty looking clothing with stains down, haven’t done their hair, have makeup on like a clown mask and have a bad attitude to match their bad footwear choice.  The latest one I saw pulled up at the supermarket parking in the family with children parking spaces even though they blatantly didn’t have a child then proceeded to waddle the short distance into the supermarket.  All I could think was “why the devil are they wearing those slippers?”.

Step by Step Guide on How to flash the ESP-01

Step by Step Guide on How to flash the ESP-01

ESP-01
ESP-01

So, you have bought your ESP-01 and are not sure if its pre-flashed or you need to do something with it, you may just want to make sure you have the latest firmware anyway.  The best bet is to open your favourite programming software and try the module.  If it’s not working at all or behaving weirdly then the chances are that you need to flash a new version of the firmware onto it.  This is something that’s relatively easy but only when you know how and if you type it in a search engine there are lots of websites out there trying to get you to use weird versions of the ESP firmware so you need to be careful.  I’ll go through what hardware to use to flash it, where to get the firmware and where to get the tool to upload the firmware to the chip.

The good news is that the tools and firmware are all free on the Espressif website but even then it’s not completely clear what to get and even the documentation provided isn’t too clear on what to do for beginners so I will go through it all here.

What hardware do I need?

I put together a flashing circuit specially for this purpose and keep it set up on my breadboard so that it’s there when I need it.  The two main odd looking items you will need are a USB-to-TTL converter so that you can plug in your USB port on your PC to upload the firmware and the ESP-01 has a weird pinout so I find its best to use an ESP-01 breakout board/adapter.  Other than that, it’s just a couple of buttons and resistors.  Here is the USB to TTL (sometimes called FTDI) converter I use, it’s a couple of pounds on your favourite electronics or auction site and has a 3.3v option which is ideal for the ESP-01 though there are plenty of other options out there:

USB to TTL Converter
USB to TTL Converter

USB to TTL Converter
USB to TTL Converter

ESP-01 Breakout Adapter
ESP-01 Breakout Adapter

ESP-01 Breakout Adapter
ESP-01 Breakout Adapter

Here is the schematic:

ESP-01 Flashing Schematic
ESP-01 Flashing Schematic

And finally, here is a picture of it all setup on the breadboard:

ESP-01 Flashing Circuit on Breadboard
ESP-01 Flashing Circuit on Breadboard

DON’T PLUG IT IN WITHOUT READING THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW FIRST

What tool do I need to download to flash the ESP?

To flash the ESP-01 you need the Espressif Flash Download Tool which you can download for free from their website in the support -> download -> tools section.  Link here:

https://www.espressif.com/en/support/download/other-tools

Downloading the Espressif Flash Download Tool From the Website
Downloading the Espressif Flash Download Tool From the Website

It’s not just for ESP-01, works for others too as you can see.  Download that to a folder of your choice and unzip that file.  Next you need to download the firmware files you are going to flash.

What firmware do I need and where do I get it?

There are lots of different firmware versions out there and they all have different functionality, some fix bugs and some improve performance.  Obviously, some may induce bugs and decrease performance too, so I try to go for a stable version rather than the absolute latest issue.  The firmware files can be downloaded individually or as part of a software development kit, I normally go for the software development kit as it has all the files that work together.  You can download these again from the Espressif website in the support -> download -> SDK & Demos section.  Link here:

https://www.espressif.com/en/support/download/sdks-demos

Downloading the ESP-01 Firmware From the Espressif Website
Downloading the ESP-01 Firmware From the Espressif Website

All of the stable versions should be shown, you can see the latest at the time of writing is ESP8266 NONOS SDK V3.0.0.  Simply hit download and save it to a location on your computer, if it redirects to a github page then scroll down to the bottom and download the source code .zip file from there.  Unzip the file and now you have all the things you need to flash the chip.  All of the binary files you need to flash are in there, you may need to navigate around the files to locate all the ones you need but you should be able to find the following:

  • blank.bin
    • Location:  ESP8266_NONOS_SDK-3.0.0\bin\blank.bin
    • Flash Address:  0xFB000
  • esp_init_data_default.bin
    • Location:  ESP8266_NONOS_SDK-3.0.0\bin\esp_init_data_defaultv08.bin
    • Flash Address:  0xFC000
  • blank.bin
    • Location:  ESP8266_NONOS_SDK-3.0.0\bin\blank.bin
    • Flash Address:  0x7E000
  • blank.bin
    • Location:  ESP8266_NONOS_SDK-3.0.0\bin\blank.bin
    • Flash Address:  0xFE000
  • boot_v1.6.bin
    • Location:  ESP8266_NONOS_SDK-3.0.0\bin\boot_v1.6.bin
    • Flash Address:  0x00000
  • user1.1024.new.2.bin
    • Location:  ESP8266_NONOS_SDK-3.0.0\bin\at\512+512\user1.1024.new.2.bin
    • Flash Address:  0x01000

Flash the ESP-01!

Now you have done all the groundwork to flash this thing its time to put it all together and do the job, exciting times!  Open up the Espressif Flash Download Tool, you should be able to open the file straight from the folder you downloaded without having to install anything and it will open something like this:

Opening up the Espressif ESP flash download tool
Opening up the Espressif ESP flash download tool

Click the top one for the ESP8266 Download Tool and it should open up this page:

ESP8266 Download Tool Window
ESP8266 Download Tool Window

Some of those may be blank and you may have different boxes ticked, don’t worry, I’ll run through what to tick.

  • Assign the binary files to the flash address as above.
  • Pick CrystalFreq as 26M from the dropdown
  • Click the SPI SPEED button 40MHz
  • Click the SPI MODE button QIO.
  • Click the FLASH SIZE radio button for 8Mbit.

So now it should look like this:

ESP8266 Download Tool Window Adding Binary Files
ESP8266 Download Tool Window Adding Binary Files

Ok now you are ready to plug in, when you plug the USB in you need to do the following to put the ESP into programming mode:

  • Hold down the reset switch (SWI 1)
  • Hold down the flash switch (SW 2)
  • Release the reset switch (SWI 1)
  • Release the flash switch (SWI 2)

Make sure you select the COM port you are using from the drop down and set the baud rate to 115200:

ESP8266 Download Tool Select COM port and baud rate
ESP8266 Download Tool Select COM port and baud rate

Now just press start and it will sync then download then finish the flash!

ESP8266 Download Tool Synchronizing
ESP8266 Download Tool Synchronizing

ESP8266 Download Tool Finished Flashing
ESP8266 Download Tool Finished Flashing

Runescape – How Does Lootshare Work and What Are Lootshare Points?

What is lootshare?

Lootshare is a way to split up drops for a team or friends chat.  Its used a lot for masses (whether it be the friends chat or group system).  To use lootshare, you need to be in the friends chat with lootshare enabled or group at all times.  You can turn on lootshare by clicking on the little icon at the bottom right corner of the friends chat interface:

Lootshare Icon - Toggle - Money Bag
Lootshare icon Toggle

Lootshare will split drops between the players that have lootshare enabled. You will see in game messages such as “You have received: 63,166 Coins” or “Junglebiscuit has received: 1 Bones” for all drops a boss drops at a time. The player with the highest lootshare points (discussed below) will have the best chance for the drops. For the formal write up on the RS wiki, check out: https://runescape.wiki/w/LootShare

What are lootshare points?

Lootshare points, also called LSP or lootshare potential, is the background system that determines who gets drops in a lootshare group.  Each person has a certain amount of points.  No one is able to check or see how many points they have; this is why there is sometimes mystery behind people’s LSP as there’s no real way to ever know yours or anyone elses.  Basically the higher your LSP, the higher chance you have at getting drops!

Lootshare points reset down to zero eventually.  Jagex has confirmed that this is at 10% per day.  So, if you don’t use, you lose it!  If you are at 10m LSP and do not boss for a day, tomorrow you will only have 9m LSP, then the next day you’ll only have 8.1m LSP, then 7.29m, and so on.  The same works with negative LSP going closer to 0 from the other side.

Pets are NOT effected by lootshare and are instead based on the top dpser or highest damage dealt by a single person.  This person will be the one who gets a roll at the boss pet.

Another important note: you have to be within 16 squares of a boss for lootshare to work, same as normal drops, and you will not see or receive anything if you are too far away.

Here are some examples:

1. There is a 10 person mass. One person gets a 10m drop (say a Cywir wand or similar). The person who got the drop is lootshare picks up the drop and owns the 10m item. Everyone in the group, including the person who got the drop, now gets a split of the lootshare points. This is the item value divided by the amount of people with lootshare turned on (i.e. 10m/10=1m). Each person gets 1 million lootshare points, but the person who got the wand also loses 10m points to have a net of -9m lsp.

2.  A 23 person AoD mass gets a Praesul Codex worth 493m.  Each person gets 21.43m LSP points.  The person who got the codex is now at -471.57m LSP.

3. A Vindicta mass is going on with 9 people. There is an uber rare drop of 1 dragon bone.  Each person gains about 263 gp of LSP.