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Malver's appearance in mission Obsidian Sands has long been a myth. Some on the forum reports spotting Malver appeared out of nowhere and slew Libra and Rahn with ease. Some even claims that he's invulnerable. By studying the map files, this blog presents you the ultimate response to this question.

For better comprehension, basic knowledge on Red Alert 2 INI format and map system is needed. This wiki helps: [1]

The blog is completely based on officially released files and does not contain any leaked or encrypted data. Releasing leaked/decrypted/modified files is forbidden by MentalMeisters.

Spoilers Alert:

Too late :D Malver appears on this map, but only the best (or luckiest) players can see him.

Spotting Malver

Obsidian Sands is a mission released in 3.3.2. Its data is not included in files of previous versions. This part of data must be included in the update patch, as well as numerous unit buff/nerfs. In the 3.3.2 update patch, the only file large enough to contain these is the ExpandMO99.mix.

Malver's unit ID is [UNDER]. By searching the keyword, we may find an interesting appearance here:

[UNDER] DieSound=none Explodes=yes Strength=99999 TechLevel=11 DeathWeapon=InfantryDeathWeapon Parasiteable=no

It's a part of the Obsidian Sands map file! Now we confirm that if he's really present in the mission, with 99999 strength and Parasiteable=no, he's almost impossible to kill.

How may he appear? A unit may either be put on the map directly, or be "summoned" with Triggers.

Malver takes part in TaskForce [01000399]:

[01000399] 0=1,UNDER Name=Secret Malver Group=-1

Which is created in the Team [01000401]:

[01000401] Max=5 Full=yes Name=Malver Group=-1 House=USSR Script=01000400 Whiner=no Droppod=no Suicide=yes Loadable=no Prebuild=no Priority=5 Waypoint=FO Annoyance=no IonImmune=no Recruiter=no Reinforce=no TaskForce=01000399 TechLevel=0 Aggressive=no Autocreate=yes GuardSlower=no OnTransOnly=no AvoidThreats=no LooseRecruit=no VeteranLevel=1 IsBaseDefense=no UseTransportOrigin=no MindControlDecision=0 OnlyTargetHouseEnemy=no TransportsReturnOnUnload=no AreTeamMembersRecruitable=no

To make Malver move after being "summoned", the Team is assigned a Script which describes its movements:

[01000400] 0=3,171  1=16,172 2=16,173 3=37,0 Name=Malver Script

This instructs Malver to

  • Move to WayPoint 171, map coordinate 169,152
  • Patrol to WayPoint 172, map coordinate 108,139
  • Patrol to WayPoint 173, map coordinate 70,064
  • Be deleted

Now we know that he'll spawn at the southern edge of the map and move north, killing anything in his way.

Noname

Malver moves from south to north

Trigger Condition

Now the question is, when is the Trigger fired?

A functional Trigger is consisted of three parts: the Trigger itself, an Event describing when it will fire, and an Action telling what it'll do. A Trigger must also be linked by a Tags to be effective on the map. Here shows these components:

[Triggers] 01000402=UnitedStates,<none>,[OTHER]/Random Malver,1,1,1,1,0

[Events] 01000402=1, 51,0,2400

[Actions] 01000402=2, 7,1,01000401,0,0,0,0,A, 19,7,ReaperScythe,0,0,0,0,A

  • This Trigger is disabled by default, some other Triggers must enable it to let it take effect. The 1,1,1,0 signifies that it can happen at any difficulty level and will fire only once.
  • As soon as it is enabled, it will wait for a random time between 50% and 150% of 2400 Frames. This is equal to 80-240 in-game seconds.
  • When this amount of time elapses, the Trigger will fire.
  • First, it gives the owner a TaskForce declared in the Script.
  • Then, it plays the sound ReaperScythe.

So far, we gained knowledge that Malver will be summoned after a random amount of time. But as long as the Trigger remains disabled, this will not happen. When will it take place? We must find another Trigger which enables this one.

Et voila,

[Triggers] 01000131=PsiCorps,<none>,[TEAM]/00. ConYard Deployed Team + Nuke,0,1,1,1,0

[Events] 01000131=2, 13,0,60, 32,0,54

[Actions] 01000131=10, 53,2,01000133,0,0,0,0,A, 53,2,01000026,0,0,0,0,A, 53,2,01000212,0,0,0,0,A, 53,2,01000326,0,0,0,0,A, 53,2,01000328,0,0,0,0,A, 53,2,01000330,0,0,0,0,A, 53,2,01000318,0,0,0,0,A, 53,2,01000402,0,0,0,0,A, 56,0,2,0,0,0,0,A, 53,2,01000451,0,0,0,0,A.

The action part might looks long, but it's in fact 10 actions stacked together instead of the previous 2.

  • The Trigger is enabled, that means it will fire as soon as all Event conditions are met.
  • First of all 60 in-game seconds must pass, the timer starts as soon as you deploy your first base. In this level it means unpacking your MCV. (This is also the reason why Kirov rush can succeed in vanilla RA2 Red Revolution.)
  • If your Construction Yard must still exist after the one minute, the Trigger fires.
  • As actions, first your reinforcements will arrive, the Magnetrons and Elites from the sea.
  • Then dear Rashidi constructs his Nuke. (This Trigger itself is disabled for easy difficulty.)
  • The drop zone 1A's trigger is now active.
  • Rashidi also starts constructing his subterranean attack forces, including Drillers and Tyrants.
  • Malver is summoned.
  • Local is set to Local 2 (???)
  • And lastly, Rashidi starts sending spies on you.

Since this Trigger is enabled by default and is never disabled in the run, we may come to our conclusion.

Conclusion

  • The answer is yes. Malver does appear on this map, on all difficulty levels.
  • He spawns at a random time between 140-300 seconds after you deploy the MCV, provided your Construction Yard is not destroyed in its first 60 seconds.
  • Malver starts from the south of the map, travelling along the cliff to the north, killing anything in his way.
  • And he is nearly invulnerable due to ridiculous health.

Since the Nuke's timing can be verified in walk-through videos. Its accuracy can be assured.

2-5 in-game minutes really isn't that much. If you want to see Malver's face, either rush without deploying your base, or pray that he arrives late or gets stuck somewhere. Both strength and luck will do.

If you want, at lower difficulty level, you can even capture him in walls. Just make it to the north with your initial forces, then deploy the MCV when you're ready. Get your maze ready while Malver walks past one of the largest desert map ever seen.

References

ModEnc [2] Speeder's Youtube channel [3] Mental Omega APYR [4]

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