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7/01/2018

ESCORT - no porn, but automated building-defense

Common Escort Using:


Within the family of Hotkeys, the Escort-order is truly treated like a lost son - in milo´s and as well ehy´s guides u can only find this single same line about it: 






The function of Escorting something is easily clicked: First select 1(-n) unit(s), then press both Ctrl+Alt-buttons (you know, u did right, when your normal cursor becomes a gold-cursor), and last click on the one unit you wish to get escorted. 
The basic idea behind escorting was described in the original manual this way: 


Source: Westwood CnC Red Alert Field Manual pdf: http://www.dosspot.com/content/game_manual/53.pdf 


The manual´s example is well-known from the campaign missions: There, generally the AI´s ore trucks have been followed by some tanks or soldiers, which attacked you, when you have been in range. Besides this example, i actually never have seen anybody using escort on another sort of unit. 

Some theoretical utility in using it with tanks and soldiers themselves seems to be of no practical benefit: Imagine using escort on a tank, u only escort this one single tank, and if it gets killed, the escort order is obsolet - and he will get killed first, because he has to move ahead. So no use on a single tank - anyway: maneuvering a group of tanks means more control, than having a group of tanks passively escorting a single tank. 
Imagine using it on a single soldier, I only see a theoretical use on a scout: The scout moves along and is escorted by a second scout, following him. When now an enemy´s counter-scout is killing your first scout, maybe the escorting scout would do some revanche? Honestly, it seems to depend on the angle from which the counter-scout fires and how many shots it takes to kill your first scout - that the second scout, walking behind, even get his shot! Most of the times, the enemy scout will just kill both. 

So, there is a detailed reasoning behind the traditional guides, why not to use escort on units. However, why only try to use this order merely on units? ... hehehe:


Uncommon Using


Surprisingly, you can use the Escorting on buildings as well! Instead of clicking on one unit at last part of the ordering, just click on a building, which from now on will be "protected automatically" by your selected escorts, if an enemy comes into range. 

This is of incredible usability! Some examples:

  • P4: The enemy is tank-rushing you, goes through ya base, and has some tanks left, which he directs back your base north way. Instead of worry too much, when those tanks come back and you are focussed elsewhere, just select an amount of tanks (like 2-3 against same amount of enemy tanks) and let them auto-defend by escorting your most backbase-building. If they come back, your tanks will automatically fight and kill them - no more worries. 
  • Chinook-Counter: An enemy´s chinook filled with 5 engis turned the table of many games. Although you can try to build defense-structures all around your base, this costs time and money u can use elsewhere. A single dog as a building-escorter works even better: He has a wide range and eats 3 of 5 engis even before they are close to your building - even if the engis running from the other side towards the building, where the dog escortingly waits for his "food" hehe. 
  • Goldrush: You were slow or an enemy´s scout just faster, and broke through mid, now scouting out your base up-down or down-up. One single riffle with escort-order on your refinery will kill him as soon as the scout comes in range. Easy fix though, all automatic. 



However used, your opponent will worship your alleged attention and focus in multitasking gameplay. Besides that, to actually explain HOW this escorting works, is much more difficult then expected: 


Theory on Functionality and Range


The entity of your escorting can now be both: any unit and any building. The subject(s), who are escorting or auto-defending a building are limited. The manual says: 

"Aircraft, helicopters, and units without weapons (like Medics and Engineers) will not escort either."

Whereas it is wishful thinking, that somehow maybe engis could auto-repair your buildings (hehe), it doesn't work - but you can let Medics escort other units, and they will auto-repair them. So, the manual is obviously wrong by facts. This arouses the question: Why some kind of units can escort and others don´t. 

I found the answer with help of the production-guide-website: It shows first a list of all units with columns of attributes like: weaponry, armor, costs, health points .... and shot range. Note, that all units, who have actually NO shot range, have no escort-function also: Engineer, Spy, Thief, Minelayer, MobileGapGenerator, RadarJammer, Ore truck and MCV. 
This seems not to be the reason, why any air unit has no escort function either! Because they all have a shot range, but no escorting. Take now a look into the 5th column Vis. It stands for: Visibility (sighting range) in cells. All air units have no visibility-range. Example: Place a hell or chinook very next to the dark shroud, it will NOT reveal it more! This is meant with visibility here. 

This brings another question into mind: How does the escorting work, and what has the range, or which one of the ranges, to do with it? 

Special thanks to Sergey for testing it with me: I placed a dog next to a building and let Sergey attack it with an engineer. Without escort-modus, simply standing next to the building, the dog attacked late ( by his shot-/attack-range 2,2). With escort-modus on the building, standing one the very same place, the dog attacked now with the vis-range of 5 - meaning much sooner. 

First. This test gives us the main reason, why air units have no escort-option: because they have no visibility range, which is used in escort-mode. Besides that, other units like engis or minelayers or thieves have no escort-option, because they simply have no attack, thus no attack-range. Funnily, the Medic has an attack, in a paradox way: he repairs in a certain range, thus has an attack-range (repair-range). And therefore the manual guessed wrong. 


Second. Finally, the question of most interest may be the usability of different units compared in their escort-range. One can note in general, that almost all units have wider escort-range than without escort-modus activated (simple shot range). So escorting is useful compared to not use it. Dog gets better from 2,2 to 5 range, riffles from 3 to 4, medium and heavy tanks from 4,75 to 5. Compared to the production-website, only rockets 7,5 to 5 and the cruiser 22 to 7 get a more limited range in escort-mode - so don't use them this way. 

---------


Test, experimentate and share your results and comments below. 
cousinclaus

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