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Localized Resource Systems


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#1 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 935

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:04 PM

I am planning on using a localized resource system in my current game project. I was wondering if anyone had any thoughts on implementation or whether or not its a viable system?

Essentially most RTS games have global resource reserves. I want to implement a system where its based on placement of storage structures.

Gold is collected in taxes and/or mined, but once it reaches the central structure it becomes global. Since gold is not actually a construction material it doesn't need to be moved across the map. Where would you even send it to pay workers? If you went way farther into sim it might work though.

Raw resources are collected at the structure they are produced at, like a wood cutter or a quarry or a mine. Then a transport unit is created to move them to a storage structure.

Raw materials are moved by a transport unit to a processing or production facility to become more advanced resources, and then those resources are moved back by transport to the storage area.

Resources for units are slightly different. All the resources are moved to the unit production facility, and then assembled. You must also assign population for the unit, whether its infantry or a tank or a ship or w/e. So a barracks may want to store a supply of weapons and armor, which you must somehow keep supplied with transport units from storage.

Buildings is the most locality focused aspect. Once you select a building and where to place it gold is spent. However the building resources must be transferred to the site by transport unit and construction will proceed in stages as enough resources come in.

I do know a small number of people personally who are interested in such a game, but I suspect the broad appeal is low.

I am still working on how much automation to set up. For instance I could make a system where normal transport units could be assigned to a pool to move resources for you automatically, you could have per city transport pools, and/or a dedicated long distance transport pool if you are making a new settlement and have no nearby storage and transports and so forth.

I am also wondering about the power/convenience ratio. You could allow the player more control to create a more efficient network, or you could limit their control but make it more automagical to cut down on micro and effort.

Anyways its a pretty complicated issue to work out.

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#2 teutonicus   Members   -  Reputation: 518

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:46 PM

When I read your post I could have sworn that you were describing the Settlers series. I really enjoyed those games (Settlers 2 in particular). If you haven't played them yet, I highly recommend that you check them out; pretty much everything that you mentioned in your post is in there! One of the main differences I can see is that in Settlers you need to build and upgrade supply routes to/from buildings in order for resources to get around.

You can get Settlers 2 for 10 bucks or so at gog.com.

#3 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 935

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Posted 01 July 2012 - 11:58 PM

When I read your post I could have sworn that you were describing the Settlers series. I really enjoyed those games (Settlers 2 in particular). If you haven't played them yet, I highly recommend that you check them out; pretty much everything that you mentioned in your post is in there! One of the main differences I can see is that in Settlers you need to build and upgrade supply routes to/from buildings in order for resources to get around.

You can get Settlers 2 for 10 bucks or so at gog.com.


Used up my game budget for the year sadly. This system has roads, they are more of a speed bonus and they can be upgraded in various ways, but I didn't want to make the topic too broad. You can also do stuff like upgrade your transport units to packs, carts, sleds, and crap.

I will read up on Settlers though. Thanks.

#4 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 935

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Posted 02 July 2012 - 01:20 PM

Another thing to note about localized resources is that if you siege a city, that city is stuck with what it has and other cities lose access to its resources. I really feel that localizing resources adds oodles of new gameplay options.

#5 Wiot   Members   -  Reputation: 114

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 11:15 PM

I've been reading posts on here every day for the last couple weeks, but haven't actually posted myself or created an account until now. I was thinking of exactly this same topic for the last half hour or so and then stumbled on your post. I had to create my account and reply. Great topic! I think adding another a level of resource management and control to a game opens the door to a lot of different possibilities like AltarofScience mentioned, but finding that sweet spot between adding a fun level of complexity and creating too much micromanagement could be tough.

Also, if you're talking about a multi-player environment and you allow users to interrupt supply lines, you'll have to consider how to do this without allowing them to completely choke off their resources to the point it is no longer fun (i.e. griefing). At least, these are some of the thoughts that had crossed my mind. Should resources travel to their destination in a vulnerable transport or just magically appear at their destination after a given period of time? Maybe you're envisioning a system where there are so many transports and materials that it wouldn't be possible for other player (or AI) units to completely stop the flow of resources...

Anyhow, I personally am a fan of your idea of resource management if it's implemented in a way that you're not micromanaging every aspect of their transport and some few amount of resources can reach their destination more often than not. I think my reply may have been influenced a bit more by my own particular situation than exactly what you're describing, but I hope it was at least somewhat helpful.

#6 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 935

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 11:57 PM

I've been reading posts on here every day for the last couple weeks, but haven't actually posted myself or created an account until now. I was thinking of exactly this same topic for the last half hour or so and then stumbled on your post. I had to create my account and reply. Great topic! I think adding another a level of resource management and control to a game opens the door to a lot of different possibilities like AltarofScience mentioned, but finding that sweet spot between adding a fun level of complexity and creating too much micromanagement could be tough.

Its all about your target audience. Casual gamers would probably not be interested in a game where an enemy can totally cut off your supplies.

Also, if you're talking about a multi-player environment and you allow users to interrupt supply lines, you'll have to consider how to do this without allowing them to completely choke off their resources to the point it is no longer fun (i.e. griefing). At least, these are some of the thoughts that had crossed my mind. Should resources travel to their destination in a vulnerable transport or just magically appear at their destination after a given period of time? Maybe you're envisioning a system where there are so many transports and materials that it wouldn't be possible for other player (or AI) units to completely stop the flow of resources...

Well for my personal game its single player only, I think the AI would be less effective and focusing on ruining supply lines. Player on player wise, if someone is in such a position that they can take control of your supply lines sufficiently enough to prevent all resource access to your settlements, its safe to say they probably outplayed you. Part of the game would be making the right choice on how much to defend your supply lines vs spending resources to attack enemy settlements or build structures or w/e else you wanna do. Its all about making proper choices.

Anyhow, I personally am a fan of your idea of resource management if it's implemented in a way that you're not micromanaging every aspect of their transport and some few amount of resources can reach their destination more often than not.

Part of my personal goal is to reduce military micro like they have in SC and WC. So I also want to reduce economy micro too. If you have a high level of macro decision making micro can only suck up important time. How much micro you allow is pretty much up to you. I wanted road management so I set up resource movement as separate. Games like stronghold and emperor had one or more, usually less than 3, totally automated units associated with each structure.

You could push farther in my direction with player options to control units, or be even more automated.

In my particular system units that move resources are created in a special building, or just at a house structure and assigned a storage facility and a production facility by the player after creation. They can be reassigned at any time. Each unit can be upgraded with things like carts, and gets a speed boost on roads, which you can also upgrade.

That is a game specific feature though, the engine supports a variety of methods and maintains the ability to do the typical warcraft style resource system of the original Glest engine.

I think my reply may have been influenced a bit more by my own particular situation than exactly what you're describing, but I hope it was at least somewhat helpful.


I am happy to get any replies at all Posted Image Of the soon to be 6 posts, 4 will be mine. My posts are also significantly longer than other people's as you can see.

#7 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1583

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:01 AM

I always appreciate it when a game gives me a hands on system to begin with where I can micro game play. However I'm not a grind player so I quickly lose interest in game play and curse programmers for not automating aspects that are redundant.

In the old west, mining was done first by homesteaders who would transport mined goods to the closest general store for trade. These homesteaders were exposed and often this was dangerous work. If a location became popular for high yield extraction a mining town was formed. This location meant more security for miners and faster extraction of goods.

A system of resource extraction should start distant from a refining or production structure but as the worth of the location's resources and strategic worth is considered the player should be able to place a permanent refining or production structure on that location to make resource extraction instant or add to a pool of resources. The defense of a transport is cheaper then defending a location but extraction takes longer and its dangerous but the player should have this choice. The movement of resources through a contested community is tricky business. The new Maxis SimCity explores an impressive engine for just this topic.

I find it its most fun to have a lot of micro control over this procedure in the beginning, but having it automated after successfully setting up a system removes the grind of that game play. This is the delegation of responsibility an important aspect of command. Although in my opinion this should have its draw backs as well. The only way to do things right is to do it yourself (or manage it right ;). SC does a good job of giving the player control over this system and slowly withdrawing the player from this process as the match progresses.

Edited by Mratthew, 08 July 2012 - 11:01 AM.


#8 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1583

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 11:01 AM

Things to consider about local resources: extraction and production should have ramifications like altering the tactical worth of the location over the long run (ie pollution and surface destruction caused by extraction like the tar-sands). Burnt ground strategies should always be a possibility and I always thought that the eye for quality should be explored. Where being able to spot subtle differences between basic and high quality resources should exist creating subtle increases in quality of goods produced with those resources. But to extract these should be micro gameplay or players should have to work hard to earn the ability to macro delegate this work. Like SCVs getting levels up and having the choice to give that SCV the skills for quality or quantity extraction.

#9 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 935

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Posted 08 July 2012 - 12:56 PM

Well traditional city builders like the Impressions games have pretty little micro. I added a bit more, like separating transport units from the buildings so you could change what structure they work for and also allowing you to add workers to a structure, up to a limit, to increase production instead of having to make a new building and clog up space. Buildings can also get upgrades.

Actually economic units do have levels like all other kinds which given them bonuses. You can upgrade transport units to carry more and be faster, and units in production will gain experience and thus increase their production capacity. I was thinking of having limited resources per node though, so I wonder how that would work. You might transfer iron miners to a new structure after the old iron mine wore out for instance. Although you don't have to.

I am not sure about material quality. In an MMORPG resources have stats, but in an RTS they really don't.

#10 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2779

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 02:13 AM

For me, the main opportunity added by accounting for resource location is their transport, allowing active and passive robbery and blockades.
I suppose the right user interface style for caravans is defining caravan types with a list of suitable cargo types and a roster of required transport and escort units (e.g. a precious small goods caravan consists of 6-15 mules, 1-10 traders, and at least 1 basic warrior per 2 mules or 4 traders, a senior warrior, an archer, everybody on horses or mules). As trade goods that should go to place B and available people accumulate at place A, caravan formation rules trigger and a suitable caravan from A to B forms and starts automatically; maybe in case of urgency a small, large or undermanned caravan could be started. Of course "caravans" can scale down to miners that close up their mine and go to a trading post when they have a backpack full of minerals or farmers that walk a cow to the town cattle market.

Automatic management of transport suppresses micromanagement (especially if players rely on conservatively well defended caravan templates instead of juggling around reinforcements) but leaves players free to attempt assaults, blockades etc. against enemy caravans.
Produci, consuma, crepa

#11 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 935

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Posted 09 July 2012 - 02:40 AM

I think its important to offer the player options. So you can choose whether to focus on crapping on enemy resources, or protecting your own, or on any other aspect of the game. If you are better at managing the economy, you can focus on that, and if you are better at managing the military, you can focus on that, and if you are better at picking optimal tech paths, you can do that, and if you are better at micro managing mages and heroes you can do that. And if you should need to change focuses you can do that.

Actually that brings me up to another topic, options:
How many options should players be provided? I'll use stockpile management as an example:

In Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom you had a warehouse unit to store excess stuff. Each warehouse could store any resource. You had a few options:
Store all
Store none
Other than that you could specify whether or not to specify a resource, and which resources you wanted to store the most. This was because the transport units were generated automagically by the structures.

It would have been nice to allow templates of storage so you could build a building, hit food storage and be done. That would have probably made the most effective system, while preserving player freedom given that you cannot control transport units.


In my system on creation of a transport unit at the transport unit structure, demo only has one, main game might have multiple types, you select its store and its producer and it brings raw materials to the producer and moves finished product to the store. Producer can also be a building that generates raw materials, like a mine.

In general you aren't going to spam buildings as much as Emperor, since you add workers to a structure or upgrade it, assuming you researched this, instead of building a whole new building each time you want to increase production. I think that said system gives you total control over the transport of resources, you don't have to manually do the settings for all resources a warehouse gets since you are deciding what units send their produce where.

I do have some things still to work out, if anyone has an opinion:

In some cases it may be that a given storage structure fills up. How should I handle overflow? Each production structure has its own small storage but that won't work long.

I have a couple options:
You could be allowed to manually assign an overflow storage area
A unit could automagically search for a viable storage unit if one is nearby if its designated store is full.
Similarly a unit could have a second designated storage unit to find raw materials if its normal source is empty, or it could find one by itself.
A unit could wait at either the storage or production area until new raw materials or new storage for products is created.

What idea do you guys like? Do you have any other suggestions?

#12 Siao   Members   -  Reputation: 294

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Posted 13 July 2012 - 12:00 AM

Allow the player to "rent" storages.

If this is a multiplayer game, you can make it more interesting by having contracts between players to rent storage spaces. The potential for players' interactions will increase accordingly.




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