|Release date(s)||μTanks (Beta):
20 May 2011
|Genre(s)||Active Turn Based
μTanks is a free massively multiplayer online game that uses a unique active turn based strategy gameplay created by a 4-person volunteer development team known as Bad Sheep Gaming LLC. The "u" in the title is actually the Greek letter mu, as it is the SI prefix for micro - making the game "Micro Tanks." The game was inspired by an unofficial predecessor, Battlefield, which was discontinued when its hosting site bonus.com filed for bankruptcy. The stated goal of the project is to create a game that will combine the best elements of classic turn based gaming and modern fast paced gameplay with a unique game-based platform for social interaction and competition. During its three-year development the game has gone through numerous updates and content changes, and is currently in open beta testing. A blog and news page are maintained to demonstrate project progress and current events involving the development team. The developers are also active on the official μTanks forums. The game client is maintained and updated multiple times a week for various changes and bug fixes as well as the addition of new content.
In the beta each player is able to create five tanks. Once the player creates a tank name they can select to play it, then select from one of four teams, and then select a map. The player's tank will be placed within the map and will be faced against the three other teams in unique active turn-based strategy. The player must maintain enough fuel to attack, move and retreat at any given time or otherwise it runs the risk of being deactivated.
To assist in battle one can use radar, map, mines, and six different types of equipment each holding their own strategic purpose. Radar is used to find equipment, fuel, and enemy mines hidden throughout the map within the visible range of the player. When accessing the map the player can view other players and fuel throughout the map, as well as use it for instant travel. Mines are used to restrict or slowdown opponents from accessing certain areas or retreating from battle. The six different types of equipment include armor shield, dual shot, missile shot, homing missile, extra radar and target beacon. All equipment can be toggled on and off at anytime. When activated armor shield prevents the damage of enemy fire for each attack. Dual shot allows two shots to fire at once, enabling double damage. Missile shots are used to fire over mountain ranges or anything blocking your line of fire as well as doing 150 percent the damage of a normal shot. Homing missile targets an enemy and hits them regardless of where they move. Extra Radar is used to scan the entire field around you as opposed to the limited regular radar scan. Target beacon allows a player to track an enemy once hit with this shot.
Players will compete against each other based on a numerical rankings system. The numerical ranking system is an algorithm that combines the overall collection of points gathered from attacking their opponents and their tanks individual rank. You start out with an individual rank of "Recruit" and can be promoted to the final rank of "General" once achieving all goals set for all previous ranks. All players can also be demoted by deactivation. Once deactivated, you must wait 10 seconds before being placed back in game, and will lose 50 percent of your equipment as well as one rank. Each rank has their own General Equipment Capacity (GEC); the higher the rank, the higher the capacity. The same concept is used for fuel capacity.
Awards and Tournaments
Players can obtain various awards of accomplishment to be displayed on their tank. The most notable awards are for finishing in the top three of a tournament or winning a community competition. A tier system for various awards has been discussed and created, and is to be implemented sometime in the beta. Multiple Tournaments are held on a weekly bases for the duration of one or two hours. Tournament ending results present the top 25 players which is determined by the same ranking structure. Tournaments are very similar in structure as normal play with the exception of timed play, and fuel and equipment respawn reduced, and recruit GEC raised to 65.
There are currently two constant maps: "Blitzkrieg" and "White Sands", which were created by the community with the use of the freely distributed Map Editor v1.0. On occasion other maps created by the community have entered the tournament rotation for testing, such as "Marshland." Map Editor v2.0 was released September 14, 2011 with tile sheets for desert, grass, and ice.
Raids and Teams
|Team Name||Team Map||Team Color||Team Leader|
|Da JuicEs||White Sands||Purple||ApplE JuicE|
|STAR||Blitzkrieg||Blue and Orange||porn-STAR and rock-STAR|
In μTanks sometimes organized teams form to increase teamwork and effectiveness in raids. A raid consists of two or more players that decide to target another player of an opposing team in an attempt to deactivate the other player using teamwork. There are three different situations that fall under this category: raid taking, raiding another player, and team battles.
There will be times when a player will be faced against two or more opponents. Once you decide to engage these enemies, you will have engaged in taking a raid. Whether it is an organized team of opponents or a group of random players, your objective should be the same: shoot all of your dual shots and stay alive. You should try to shoot as much as possible, letting your fuel get as low as you feel comfortable with, and then teleporting to a new area to look for fuel and begin the process again. You should always be trying to "empty" your dual shots as fast as possible. When you begin playing for the first time it will be hard to judge how low you can allow your fuel to go against different sized raids, from small raids of 2-3 players, medium sized raids of 5-8 players, or on rare occasions, large sized raids of 10 or more players.
Raiding another player is when you join forces with one or more players in an attempt to deactivate a player together. This is a perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged way of deactivating someone. Just remember, if someone has successfully emptied all of his or her duals, the standard practice is to allow them time to refill their equipment before you continue your assault. Most players will notify the raiders when their equipment is refilled and are ready to take the raid again.
Rules and Cheating
There are numerous ethics that are followed and could otherwise be considered punishable. The most serious offense is the use of any third-party software to gain advantage over other players as well as having multiple accounts, or logging in multiple times simultaneously. An anti-cheating system was implemented on August 12, 2011 to prevent various issues of players using causing artificial lag in-game and disrupting gameplay for others. In addition to the anti-cheating system, there was a free-kill detection system that was implemented in the beta, but was removed shortly after due to the inability to reduce the false positive rate. On September 17, 2011 the Bad Sheep Gaming Staff began a covert operation set out to detect and log system challenges in an attempt to rid the game of client-side hacking. The system proved successful and resulted in the removal of multiple tanks.
- uTanks Download Page, Bad Sheep Gaming LLC, retrieved 2011-05-20
- Battlefield Profile, Online Games Inn, retrieved 2008-04-01
- uTanks Forum, Andy Morgan, retrieved 2011-06-08
- Bad Sheep Gaming LLC blog, Bad Sheep Gaming LLC, retrieved 2011-03-06
- uTanks Home, Bad Sheep Gaming LLC, retrieved 2011-05-20
- Version Updates, Stefan Smolen & Andy Morgan, retrieved 2011-05-28
- Recruits Manual: Equipment, Bad Sheep Gaming LLC, retrieved 2011-05-20
- Recruits Manual: Ranks, Bad Sheep Gaming LLC, retrieved 2011-05-20
- Tournament Archive 2011, Bad Sheep Gaming LLC, retrieved 2011-04-06
- uTanks Community Forums, Drew, retrieved 2011-01-23
- Version Updates, Stefan Smolen & Andy Morgan, retrieved 2011-05-28
- uTanks Podcast 2, Bad Sheep Gaming LLC, retrieved 2011-09-19