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In-game economy idea - Your thoughts?


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#1 Malabyte   Members   -  Reputation: 589

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 04:36 AM

While I'm practicing my more basic Java skills, I'm planning out a hybrid between a RTS and a TBS. Combat is real-time, but you gotta initiate the combat phase and, between those, you got non-combat phases as well. Here's the rough layout:
.
  • Start game
  • Gather & Build
  • Combat
  • Heal & Research
  • Repeats steps 2 thru 4.

====================

For my game, I want to have at least 2 tiers of resources (eventually) - core and (later) strategic resources:

Core resources:
These include Lumber (structures) and Food (population), these are crucial resources for all players.

Strategic resources:
These include Stone, Iron, Gold, Mana and Fame. How important these are to you depends on your strategy and they are only available once a base economy is running smoothly.
Stone is important for improving your defense. Source = Stone Mines.
Iron is important for making a good military offence. Source = Iron Mines.
Gold is important for trade and improved resources gathering. Source = Gold Mines.
Mana is important for research (upgrades). Source = Mana Wells.
Fame is important for attracting allies and making the enemy less inclined to attack you. Source = balancing the above (e.g. Making 1 Stone Mine and 1 Iron Mine gives more Fame than making 2 Stone Mines or 2 Iron Mines (diminished returns, essentially)).

====================

I'd like to get some constructive criticism on the system and how it can be improved, in your opinion. Should some of these resources be renamed for accuracy, removed for redundancy or maybe there should be something in the game that I didn't think of (e.g. an additional resource and/or strategic focus).

Thanks for any input. Discuss.

====================

(I'm getting inspiration and borrowing heavily from games like Travian, The Settlers, Cossacks, Warcraft and even Minecraft, Terraria and more.)

Edited by DrMadolite, 05 August 2012 - 04:45 AM.

- Awl you're base are belong me! -

- I don't know, I'm just a noob -


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#2 Platinum_Dragon   Members   -  Reputation: 162

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 07:52 AM

If you want to balance the resource towards fame, a geometric mean of each value + 1 to prevent a zero problem. Geometric mean with a zero as a variable is always zero since zero times anything is zero. Try some form of weighted geometric mean for your fame calculation.

Well, you have 7 variables, and under the 7+-2 rule, players won't have much problem remember this limited amount. If you have more resource variable in the same tier, then the game just gets harder. Remember to keep this 7+-2 rule, and that's the reason for creating tiers of resources. Major problems with a hybrid is that it's hard on players once the resources micromanagement just keeps getting longer and longer. That's why there should be some macromanagement on resources for the turn based portion of the game if there is LAN or other multiplayer support.

If you have multiplayer, you could have rejection of combat at the expense of fame based upon the attacker's fame relative to the defender's game. In some way, those with high fame will lose more fame if they reject combat, thus the game would be dynamic.

Have the resources regenerate at a cycle of 20 years of game time or longer, or don't have regenerating resources at all. If resources regenerate at a rate too high, then it removes some element of timing. One element of strategy is timing. When does the player predict such and such army will be at. When does the player predict such and such resources will respawn. At high level, the players feel for position, and they will know the possible position of their opponents without scouting. Scouting is use to verify that they opponent does do the predicted action. If not, the build orders may need to adapt to the opponent's action. Slow regenerating resources gives some degree of dynamic actions.

Like real life, there will always be a downtime during which gather, build, and research needs to happen.

Remember, "War is Deception" -- Sun Tsu

There must be ways to deceive other sides, whether players or AI.
I use QueryPerformanceFrequency(), and the result averages to 8 nanoseconds or about 13 cpu cycles (1.66GHz CPU). Is that reasonable?
I though that the assembly equivalent to accessing unaligned data would be something similar to this order:
  • move
  • mask
  • shift
  • move
  • mask
  • shift
  • or
So it seems reasonable to say that it takes 14 cycles for unaligned data since we'll have to do the series of instructions once to access and once to assign?

#3 Malabyte   Members   -  Reputation: 589

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 08:53 AM

Some really nice feedback, thanks.

I'm very adamant about the resources being at different tiers and that a player is able to focus his efforts if he wants to. I can't stand games where I need to acquire a thousand different resources and there's no real "structure of necessity" in the design. Let's say that I'm a big fan of simplifying things, because simplification is what allows for greater modularity, and modularity is the best way to extend a game's life expectancy. I think most players choose a playstyle for a reason, because they're uncomfortable with doing a little bit of everything. It's easy to get confused and distracted that way. The option to specialize is thus crucial, while still allowing multiple pins to be juggled for the players who feel up to that challenge. At the end of the day though, the best man should win, anyways.

I guess the Fame resource would be on a third tier, tbh. It's not going to win the war for you, but it's sort of like a progression value like experience or "town size" in Travian or Tribalwars, except that it's a tick-based expendable.

Early game - getting lumber and food, and building watchtowers, palisades and pikemen/clubbers.
Mid game - bolstering your strategy by making stone walls, towers, swordsmen, mounted units, paying your workers, microing the eco and/or using magic to benefit you.
Late game - converging the economy and using fame to improve morale, gain allies, higher training and unlock special buildings (e.g. for each strategy).

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#4 PeterF   Members   -  Reputation: 620

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 08:57 AM

Sounds interesting. Make sure you balance usefulness with difficulty in obtaining a resource. I (personally) dislike it when 90% of items/units are made of (for example) wood, which is really easy to gather, making the remaining resources redundant. Even if those other 10% of items/units are over-powered, players will tend toward mass-producing the easy/weak items/units simply because they're usually able to produce a lot of them before any reasonable number of the 10% would have been able to be produced.

#5 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10575

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 09:58 AM

Gold is important for trade and improved resources gathering. Source = Gold Mines.


From experience, tier 2 of any strategy game that allows you to increase your resource gathering is a must. I'm affraid that, if Gold should be usable as it stands, it would become the logical step for most/any competitive players of your game, which would unfortunately tune down the efforts you're putting in these other alternatives.
The second issue here is sciences. Most games with a tech tree make it fairly obvious that this is more than a viable path to success: it is necessary.
Overall, I applaud your idea of letting the player their own strategies, but as the gain from gold and mana is exponential by definition, I'm affraid you only have two realistic approaches from this base economy.

On the other hand, I love that you've catered to the turtle and aggro crowd, this could take a lot of balancing to make it right, but it definitely makes sense that you could have strong fortified positions (stone) vs mobile wrecking armies (iron). Just make sure you do favor defense at all times, as it will balance itself out once you account for mobility.

Also, might I suggest you have a look at Warrior Kings for their implementation of gold?

#6 Malabyte   Members   -  Reputation: 589

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 10:40 AM

@ pixelartist:
A good point that actually has some historical reference. The russians made the crappy T34 tanks during WW2 and just rolled them right out to the battlefield and won the eastern war, despite the germans having the superior "Tiger" tanks. The T34 were cheap, fast and agile. Posted Image

====================

@ Orymus3:
You make several important points. I'm gonna do a lot of iterations:

Trade: Something that simply gives you more options and, with those options, you can dominate someone who specializes - but only if you're great at microing the base on all levels (which for some players can be nightmarish). But most of all, Trade is a way to add more horizontal progression (choice > magnitude) to the game. For instance, instead of making that brand new Stone Mine for 100% resources, you could pay 10% resources (gold included) to upgrade an existing Stone Mine's efficiency by 10%. The benefit would be the same, but microed differently. The benefit of the upgrade would be less mines to have to manage, at the cost of vulnerability (losing that one Stone Mine could cripple you).

Science/Magic: Similarly to gold, mana is used to improve your choices. Some bonuses are passive, while others are active (which is why "research" might be a bad name for it - since you'll be dealing with spells, enchantments and potions, albeit functionally similar).

I agree that research (as a passive upgrade system) tend to be way more necessary than viable, and I don't like that. In Starcraft, they do manage to pull off a decent tech system, though, because a great micro player can steamroll someone who's going for tech and the upgrades don't give too drastic advantages. In either case, I'm gonna think hard about it.

I'll definitely check out Warrior Kings, thanks for the tip.

Edited by DrMadolite, 05 August 2012 - 10:48 AM.

- Awl you're base are belong me! -

- I don't know, I'm just a noob -


#7 bvanevery   Members   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 05 August 2012 - 09:10 PM

The russians made the crappy T34 tanks during WW2


T34s weren't so crappy. Some have said they happened to have good armor sloping characteristics for causing shells to bounce off of them. They carried real guns that could do damage to German tanks. I've heard some say that the T34 was the best tank of the war, fielded by any power, so I'm not getting where the "crappy" idea is coming from. I don't have any references to offer, just going on memory. Perhaps you could provide yours?

Hordes of cheap tanks was a successful strategy in Panzer General and People's General. Also for the Americans in WW II, with their hordes of wimpy armed Sherman tanks.
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#8 Malabyte   Members   -  Reputation: 589

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 06:19 AM

I've heard some say that the T34 was the best tank of the war...


Yes, that was my point. Posted Image

Edited by DrMadolite, 06 August 2012 - 06:31 AM.

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#9 DtCarrot   Members   -  Reputation: 327

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:17 AM

In my opinion, for RTS games, you would preferably want the games to be as intense as possible instead of a scenario where one player attacks while the other defends. Even worse, the opponent is a turtle(One who only defends) and prolong the game into a stale and boring game. Although turtling is a stupid tactic which can cause you to lose because your resources get exhausted, people still do it which irritates me whenever I play RTS games. Hence, there needs to be a method which can simplify the task of destroying even the strongest defense line. At the same time, not comprimising the viability of light defensive build where players choose to forgo the early game and prepare themselves for the mid/late game.

Method can include long seige weapons such as rockets and tanks which can constantly be a threat for fortification as well as destructive weapons which can only be used once in a while. English bad sorry.Posted Image

#10 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10575

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 01:18 PM

Mine for 100% resources, you could pay 10% resources (gold included) to upgrade an existing Stone Mine's efficiency by 10%. The benefit would be the same, but microed differently


>Strategy games are generally based around territorial control. In this case, I would make upgrading an existing mine less efficient. It is an option if you're stuck on a smaller base, or aren't able to really take the center for example, but sticking to this should put you behind. The reason for this is that you want players to stretch out to locations in hope ot achieving an advantage. This implies risk and decision for the player and all boils down to strategical thinking (estimating opponent forces, reactivity, etc). Works in real time or turn based regardless.

The benefit of the upgrade would be less mines to have to manage, at the cost of vulnerability (losing that one Stone Mine could cripple you).

The reason why this isn't enough is because it enables you to concentrate your forces more easily. If you have 1 mine heavily upgraded and your opponent has 5, its easier for you to pick a small force and harrass each of those than they can (they need to take pretty much all they have and come at you). If the yield of an upgrade has a diminished value (either it takes longer than building an actual mine for the same resource increase, or it is a fraction of the price for a smaller fraction increase, or it has a cap of upgrades, or all of the above) it forces the player to make decisions that factor game mechanics overall.

Science/Magic: Similarly to gold, mana is used to improve your choices. Some bonuses are passive, while others are active (which is why "research" might be a bad name for it - since you'll be dealing with spells, enchantments and potions, albeit functionally similar).

Active is better here, especially if its not more powerful, but mainly for versatility. For example, allowing a pikeman (typically good vs cavalry) to have a shield at all times, which is good vs archers, it just too good. Enabling a pikeman to temporarily lower his guard (lose his bonus vs cavalry and some defense) to move faster (get closer to archers) through the use of some sort of rush/charge command (stamina based let's assume) isn't powerful per se, but if you have a lot of pikeman, and the opponent has only archers at a safe distance, it allows you to take calculated losses to charge into them disallowing them any hope of escaping. Active = option. And they become only efficient if the player knows what he's doing.

In Starcraft, they do manage to pull off a decent tech system, though, because a great micro player can steamroll someone who's going for tech and the upgrades don't give too drastic advantages.

I disagree. By midgame, if you are still on level 0 armor and/or weapons, you cannot compete in any decent diamond or above match unless this is a zerging fest of some kind. Most of the skilled layers end up with victories by outmatching the dmg/def tech. The "other" techs, such as say, Blink for the stalkers, are probably what you should be shooting for. They are options for the most part that you need to invest it, only if you plan on using a strategy that is compliant with that. BlinkStalkers are good, but if you're not chasing air, or don't intend on capitalizing on their mobility to harrass or whatnot, this is a wasted investment.

I'll definitely check out Warrior Kings, thanks for the tip.

It is not a very good game mind you, but it has some good decisions ;)



Even worse, the opponent is a turtle(One who only defends) and prolong the game into a stale and boring game

Most realistic medieval rts generally fail to capture the real essence of a siege. Most pro RTS players do understand the importance of strategy over busting the front door.
Against a turtling opponent, the idea is to cut the chain of supply (Sun Tzu) which means cutting ressources and reinforcements. A player on "one base" can be cut from the outside world. A novice player will buildup an army and strike the coup the grace and will fail (this is how turtling wins: defeating overeager opponents) but a pro will capitalize on his mobility advantage to occupy more resources and control the map.
Medieval sieges weren't so much fighting as movies would like to depict as cutting the castle from supplies and wait for them to starve. Just because you don't get to see the bloodbath doesn't mean its not a strategic win.

Although turtling is a stupid tactic which can cause you to lose because your resources get exhausted

I like a game when its possible to win as a turtle but only if you've planned accordingly. One good examples would be english longbowmen technology employed in the middle ages. It allowed them to strike the besiegers at a safe distance, opening up the supply lines. Their castles would stand unhindered which has been instrumental in many wars.

Hence, there needs to be a method which can simplify the task of destroying even the strongest defense line

I strongly disagree. I feel the trebuchet-like units are hosers for the turtling strategy which should not exist. In reality, the trebuchet fired twice an hour on average (unlike most depictions) and rarely hit critical structures aside from walls. Modern RTS assume that this is a precise tool used to detroy critical positions but it really isn't. If anything, I would recommend to make the turtling strategy more appealing and giving the aggro strategy means to achieve victory through other means:
This falls back to my earlier comments: by forcing players to go out and get resources you form the idea of a supply line and cutting that can be instrumental to victory. Turtling works so long as you can still defend your supply lines.

Method can include long seige weapons such as rockets and tanks which can constantly be a threat for fortification as well as destructive weapons which can only be used once in a while. English bad sorry.Posted Image

I had assumed the project at hand was more medieval-era/fantasy based on the resources chosen, but since you extend me the courtesy of discussing modern warfare:
The dynamic of war makes it hard to do as you would like here, not just because of historical/reality constraints, but because of the underlying logic that applies to these units.
It's easy to think you can rid yourself of an opponent with an A-Bomb, but there's an easy reason why none has been fired in the last few decades: Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD). A-Bombs are not so much a tool of mass destruction as they are an insurance policy saying "If you fire yours, I'll fire mine, and your win-lose becomes a lose-lose, so you have no real reason to fire that bomb". You could argue not all nations have A-Bombs, and you would be right, but nearly all nations have an ally someplay that has an A-Bomb, or even if not allied, there are nations with A-Bombs who don't look kindly on other nations using their A-Bomb.
As you can understand, the political scenery is an important factor here.
Also, while one could remain entrenched in long-ranged sturdy positions (artillery and tanks) the inaccurary of firepower increases the likelihood of firing at civilian collaterals, and that too, is frowned upon the political sceneary. Declaring a war nowadays requires a sturdy casus belli and an ethic of morals/war rules that is much more definite than before.
For these reasons, the "plague" of the 21st century (terrorism) is harder to deal with. You can't A-Bomb terrorists hiding in an otherwise perfectly fine country as the entire political scenery would point the finger at you for the civilian losses and lack of judgment. You can't come with tanks in the middle of a city that you suspect to host a few bombermen. What you can do, is bring in the G.I. which are a lot more accurate, but shorter ranged and less armored.
So modern warfare would be more like this (a strange rock paper scissor)
- Infantry (high losses for the player, short range, high accuracy, rarely kills civilian, politically approved)
- Tanks (low losses for the player, long range, medium accuracy, kills some civilians and economic structures, politically ambiguous)
- Artillery (low losses for the player, longer range, low accuracy, kills civilians and economic structures, politically shunned)
- Missiles/Bombs (N/A, long range, accurate, deadly to civilian populations, politically loathed)
Based on your actions against one nation, the political scenerary adjusts, and the next time you declare a war against an opponent, based on your previous actions, other nations accept or not your casus belli (based on its strength) versus your acts of war.

This goes for a very complex game, but is closer to depicting the actual downsides of using long-ranged units, because let's face it, if there weren't downsides in real life, we'd all be A-Bombing one another and infantry just wouldn't get used.

#11 DtCarrot   Members   -  Reputation: 327

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 04:05 PM

DtCarrot, on 06 August 2012 - 10:17 PM, said:
Even worse, the opponent is a turtle(One who only defends) and prolong the game into a stale and boring game
Most realistic medieval rts generally fail to capture the real essence of a siege. Most pro RTS players do understand the importance of strategy over busting the front door.
Against a turtling opponent, the idea is to cut the chain of supply (Sun Tzu) which means cutting ressources and reinforcements. A player on "one base" can be cut from the outside world. A novice player will buildup an army and strike the coup the grace and will fail (this is how turtling wins: defeating overeager opponents) but a pro will capitalize on his mobility advantage to occupy more resources and control the map.
Medieval sieges weren't so much fighting as movies would like to depict as cutting the castle from supplies and wait for them to starve. Just because you don't get to see the bloodbath doesn't mean its not a strategic win.


Definitely, war usually revolves about supply issues. Enemies would always target the supply line to gain a long term advantage. It can also force the opponent to retaliate out of desperation. However, if players choose to starve, it would be wasting the other player time. Imagine waiting for 10++ minute for the opponent to starve and turning into a stale game though this scenario is unlikely. In my opinion, I will prefer games where you fight away from both your own and enemy bases. Instead, I prefer fighting in the open where military strategy and micro prevails like a standard RTS game. The victor will gain control over the resources. I'm not taking anything away from supply tactic. It can add a flavor to some crazy brain activities for 10min++ like on how to break out of the tight seige defense. For the attacking player, they will have to think on their minor flaws in their seige line and enhance them to prevent you enemy from exploiting your weaknesses. These two aspects combined with the political aspect will work hand in hand.

DtCarrot, on 06 August 2012 - 10:17 PM, said:
Hence, there needs to be a method which can simplify the task of destroying even the strongest defense line
I strongly disagree. I feel the trebuchet-like units are hosers for the turtling strategy which should not exist. In reality, the trebuchet fired twice an hour on average (unlike most depictions) and rarely hit critical structures aside from walls. Modern RTS assume that this is a precise tool used to detroy critical positions but it really isn't. If anything, I would recommend to make the turtling strategy more appealing and giving the aggro strategy means to achieve victory through other means:
This falls back to my earlier comments: by forcing players to go out and get resources you form the idea of a supply line and cutting that can be instrumental to victory. Turtling works so long as you can still defend your supply lines.


I agree that even though long range units can destroy fortified positions easily, this can easily backfire. The defender may use these long range units as well for a stronger position. The base may also become an impenetrable fortress where it is impossible for the attacker to advance.

Based on your feedback, I believe that archers and rams would be sufficient in preventing turtling. Archers from both teams would engage each other. If the archers from the defending team is outnumbered, rams can be deployed to destroy castle walls. If the attacking team loses, it will just be another failed attempt to seige the castle.

Together with that, regarding the political aspect. Kingdoms have to send informers to inform the political target of your wish to become allies. Enemies of that Kingdom could go a long way to prevent those informers from making it to another Kingdom preventing political ties from being made.

#12 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10575

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Posted 06 August 2012 - 08:39 PM

However, if players choose to starve, it would be wasting the other player time. Imagine waiting for 10++ minute for the opponent to starve and turning into a stale game though this scenario is unlikely

If battles are slow paced, and what you do while waiting has an impact, I don't see the harm. A 10 minutes wait really hurts in fast-paced RTS only. You could even have a mechanic where all units/structure start to decay exponently faster once in a state of starvation (that would hasten defeat).

Archers from both teams would engage each other.

Defenders will have both the advantage of height (speed, thus penetration, and range) and natural defenses (being close to walls, restricting their chances of being fired at). This gives a strong bonus both offensive and defensive to the defenders, so it would take more than an equal force of archers to really get through. One alternative during middle ages were the crossbows which were far more accurate and deadly but lacked the range. But once again, the defender can field crossbowmen to. I feel like ultimately, it will fall to rams being advanced, or towers being rolled in. Its interesting to note how cavalry sucks during sieges :)

Together with that, regarding the political aspect. Kingdoms have to send informers to inform the political target of your wish to become allies. Enemies of that Kingdom could go a long way to prevent those informers from making it to another Kingdom preventing political ties from being made.

...and we're brainstorming for a game which may not be DrMadolite's initial plan here ;)

I'd like to get some constructive criticism on the system and how it can be improved, in your opinion. Should some of these resources be renamed for accuracy, removed for redundancy or maybe there should be something in the game that I didn't think of (e.g. an additional resource and/or strategic focus).


For the sake of elegance (simplicity/necessity)
Lumber, Food, Stone, Iron, Gold, Mana and Fame...

I see three rock/metal-based resources (Gold, Iron, Stone). To me, one of the weaknesses of Age of Empires was precisely gold, which was mostly just a currency. I think you have to think of currency as an amount of time spent doing something. Doing one thing and selling this service for gold is essentially awarding you the right to have someone else working on something else at another time for you. Why not make it immediate, aka, trade stone into iron with a % loss for the exchange?
I see what leads you to introducing gold, but if I had to remove one of them to make it simpler and more efficient I'd go with Gold first.

Lumber is a definite yes, if you're going medieval of ancient.

Food has been abstracted into caps in some games rather than actual stockpiled resources (Warcraft for example) and it's always felt like a bad decision to me. Although simpler, it made playing with starvation inelegant. I'd definitely keep food as a resources that could impact on morale, health, etc.

Stone/Iron. I like how these are your two secondary resources. Like, say, all units cost wood, and then, tier 2 units cost wood + iron or wood + stone depending if they're defensive or offensive, and defensive structures cost more stone than wood, etc. I think you have something nice and easy to understand there.

Mana and Fame. If you're willing to go soft on the pedal of fantasy, I'd recommend to merge both. It's good to give players choice of harvesting which resources, but its also good to keep them interested in the choices they'll do once they have the resources. A Fame/Mana resource gives you technological advancement possibilites along with political possibilities. Both are interesting depending on your playstyle and position at any given point. In other words, this requires decisions, and you must capitalize on your strategy with a lot of risks and unknowns.

So my take:
Wood, Food, Stone, Iron, Reputation
Where:
- Wood is taken from forests, which are many and spread. - Forces movement of the players and global acquisition of territory
- Food is part of an evolving economy, starting with say, hunting (requiring to move about) and becoming sedentary as technology advances (farmlands) always densifying and restricting the capacity of your empire/kingdom's growth (player must either choose numbers, which takes more food, or quality, at the expanse of more iron/stone)
- Stone/Iron are concentrated at various key locations that the players will fight for. The regions you are left controlling determine partly the strategy that is naturally dominant. You thirst for certain regions an opponent might not care for if their strategy is different. This brings you naturally in conflict with some, but not others, and generates natural 'wars for resources' with factions that seek to employ similar strategies.
- Reputation is intangible and related to a different method of acquisition. You can employ knowledgeable mages to boast your prestige, or act on the political scenerary and earn just the same. You trade this resource for indirect advantages that support your strategy.

I'd need more on your game concept to elaborate any further really.

#13 DtCarrot   Members   -  Reputation: 327

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 06:15 AM

Food has been abstracted into caps in some games rather than actual stockpiled resources (Warcraft for example) and it's always felt like a bad decision to me. Although simpler, it made playing with starvation inelegant. I'd definitely keep food as a resources that could impact on morale, health, etc.


I agree with you on this part especially since food has much potential as a resource in RTS games. The troops will consume a certain amount of food depending on the size. If there is a food deficit, it will result in the morale of troops being lowered decreasing their effectiveness in battle. Even worse, if it becomes a large deficit, there would be disorders within the ranks. Also, researching and unit training rate can decrease.However, at the same time, the population can be unlimited. The population limit is only dictated by your food production, whether on not your food production is sufficient to meet the demands of food. Also, there could be granaries to store these resources. Enemies, can prioritize the attacking of granaries to deny them food supply which works as one of the supply war that was mentioned earlier.

The other 3 resources wood, stone and iron are essential for the production of infrastructures and combat units. Wood generally is abundant in supply and they are usually used for creating tier 1 units. Stone and iron however, are used to produce more advanced combat units such as machineries and powerful weapons. As a trade-off, stone and iron are more difficult to get than wood. This will result in highly contested areas as mentioned before. The riskier it is, the better the reward. This is how this theory may work in the game. The one who get seize control over these resource will definitely have a technological lead. However, they cannot be too complacent as enemies will not sit back. They will look for ways to regain control. Alternatively, if players are unwilling to contest for these areas, they can opt for the lower tech strategy such as massing tier 1 units. Despite tier 1 units being generally weak. When massed, they can prove to be a significant and threatening force even to the strongest units.


Fame will aid in strengthening friendship ties with other kingdoms, attracting heros and allow for better terms pertaining to trade.. Fame also, will reduce the chance in which soldiers rebel against you as they have more confidence in your rule. Fame will increase over time when you accomplish some criteria such as ensuring that there is minimal/no food deficit, success in battles. Hence, fame is more of an accumulation which can help in the future.

Sometimes, players may have excess of a certain resource. Hence, the market system which is present in games such as Age Of Empire can be used. It would still work so that the other party will benefit better. However, through fame as such, players will be able to sell or buy resources at a higher and lower rate respectively.

#14 bvanevery   Members   -  Reputation: 174

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:17 AM

In reality, the trebuchet fired twice an hour on average (unlike most depictions)


Got a cite for that? "A 1991 experiment conducted on a model made to ancient standards at the University of Toronto showed that a well-coordinated trebuchet crew could fire four rounds per minute." Although, later on the same article says the bigger, later versions were very slow... but hurled huge stones. There's a size / range / rate of fire tradeoff going on here.

For example, allowing a pikeman (typically good vs cavalry) to have a shield at all times, which is good vs archers, it just too good. Enabling a pikeman to temporarily lower his guard (lose his bonus vs cavalry and some defense) to move faster (get closer to archers) through the use of some sort of rush/charge command (stamina based let's assume) isn't powerful per se, but if you have a lot of pikeman, and the opponent has only archers at a safe distance, it allows you to take calculated losses to charge into them disallowing them any hope of escaping.


I don't understand this one. Fighting in a pike formation takes a lot of coordination and drill. I'm not reading anything about raising pikes to move faster on the battlefield, then lowering them again. Let alone shields, how are you going to carry a long pike and a large protective shield at once? Unless we're talking about "magical" pikemen that are unconstrained by physical reality, and exist only as game design conventions to describe a given pile of statistics and capabilities.

Imagine waiting for 10++ minute for the opponent to starve and turning into a stale game though this scenario is unlikely. In my opinion, I will prefer games where you fight away from both your own and enemy bases. Instead, I prefer fighting in the open where military strategy and micro prevails like a standard RTS game.


The Romans had this preference as well, and it's why Hannibal kept on defeating them. Fabius Maximus came up with a strategy that worked, namely denying an opponent the opportunity for decisive battle, but politically it sucked for him. So I think as we examine all these various "concerns of realism," talking about the valid challenges it can offer, we also have to consider the "concerns of attention," how long someone wants to be doing X in a game. From this standpoint, promoting "seige as good" can be seen as a priori flawed, as it only maximizes one set of concerns.

Edited by bvanevery, 07 August 2012 - 09:31 AM.

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#15 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10575

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 08:35 AM

Got a cite for that? "A 1991 experiment conducted on a model made to ancient standards at the University of Toronto showed that a well-coordinated trebuchet crew could fire four rounds per minute." Although, later on the same article says the bigger, later versions were very slow... but hurled huge stones. There's a size / range / rate of fire tradeoff going on here.

This was a traction not a torsion trebuchet. This is an important difference between the two technologies. Also, it was much smaller and fires lighter objects which is also required to factor.

One of many refs:
Firing a trebuchet was not a safe job in battle, though. Because of the time required to load the sling and to raise the counterweight, a large trebuchet's rate of fire was very slow: often not more than a couple of shots an hour.

Also:

” The effectiveness of the trebuchet in a siege was formidable because of its capacity to hit the same target repeatedly with precision. In 1244 Bishop Durand of Albi designed a trebuchet for the siege of Montsegur that hurled a succession of missiles weighing 40 kilograms at the same point at the wall… at twenty-nine minute intervals
until in battered an opening."


Can be read here:
- Christopher Coreden, A Dictionary of Medieval Terms and Phrases (Cambridge, 2005) p279.
- Joseph and Frances Gies, Life in a Medieval Castle (New York, 1974) p192.

You have to take into account the fact that at least a third of that time was used to get the ammunitions to proximity, then, you have to take into account the amount of time it took the reload the trebuchet (specifically, by raising the counterweight and placing the ammunition into place). Also, this isn't a mindless firing contest. The idea was to fire repeatedly at the same target with great precision to pierce a hole in the wall, which took some time to aim as well.


Interestingly enough, counterweight trebuchet (late middle ages) : "The cycle rate could be noteworthy: at the siege of Lisbon (1147), two engines were capable of launching a stone every 15 seconds" which means one could fire every 30 seconds or so.
Unfortunately, the damage dealt, accuracy and range were not nearly as impressive.

I strongly recommend analysis readings on the Strategikon (the one falsely attributed to Emperor Maurice) as it contains an entire chapter on siege weaponry tactics. A number of scholars have performed in-depth analysis of this collection of articles...


Fame will aid in strengthening friendship ties with other kingdoms, attracting heros and allow for better terms pertaining to trade.. Fame also, will reduce the chance in which soldiers rebel against you as they have more confidence in your rule. Fame will increase over time when you accomplish some criteria such as ensuring that there is minimal/no food deficit, success in battles. Hence, fame is more of an accumulation which can help in the future.

I like the idea of a resource increasing when you avoid specific "bad situations". This means there is a finite maximum increase over time (which allows for balancing by the developer) and allow you to force external concepts into this abstract formula. For example, if you don't want the political scenerary because this is too complex, you can just temporarily lower the fame gain rate everytime they kill civilians for example. Wonderful abstraction!

Edited by Orymus3, 07 August 2012 - 08:47 AM.


#16 Malabyte   Members   -  Reputation: 589

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 02:00 PM

Hence, there needs to be a method which can simplify the task of destroying even the strongest defense line. At the same time, not comprimising the viability of light defensive build where players choose to forgo the early game and prepare themselves for the mid/late game.


That's resolved by designing a rock-paper-scissors system to the game. The difference between successful RTS games and failed ones are usually whether the developers understand basic war theory, such as the war machine triangle (Defense > Attack > Production > Defense). Not to mention the psychology behind successful warfare (e.g. making the opponent weaker by means of deception and the fear of uncertainty).

But don't get too self-assured either. The reason why a person fails to beat a turtler could just be because he's bad at it, too. I.e. unrelated to the game design. In Starcraft 2, for instance, there's practically zero difference in viability between defensive, offensive and production strategies. They all cancel eachother out, not to mention the fact that the inferiority of a tactic can be eliminated by exploiting not only an opponent's weaknesses, but his strengths as well).

Be sure to confirm whether your issues with the game is a common trend or if it's just you.

Edited by DrMadolite, 07 August 2012 - 02:04 PM.

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#17 Malabyte   Members   -  Reputation: 589

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:14 PM

>Strategy games are generally based around territorial control. In this case, I would make upgrading an existing mine less efficient.


You need to consider this case-by-case, so I would disagree from a specific standpoint. But you're generally correct. Before anyone take other things into account, it's crucial to see this dynamic that you're referring to. But in the case of my game (mechanically), it's less relevant. It's still a factor, but there's also math you can do to account for this.

E.g. instead of giving upgraded buildings +10% yield at 10% cost of a new building (a linear approach), you could make the returns non-linear in some way or just linear to a much smaller extent (e.g. starting at +2% yield at 2% of the cost of a new building.

The reason why this isn't enough is because it enables you to concentrate your forces more easily. If you have 1 mine heavily upgraded and your opponent has 5, its easier for you to pick a small force and harrass each of those than they can (they need to take pretty much all they have and come at you).


That's why the upgrades need to be small enough of a benefit and take enough time to upgrade, so as to account for these things.

Active is better here, especially if its not more powerful, but mainly for versatility. For example, allowing a pikeman (typically good vs cavalry) to have a shield at all times, which is good vs archers, it just too good. Enabling a pikeman to temporarily lower his guard (lose his bonus vs cavalry and some defense) to move faster (get closer to archers) through the use of some sort of rush/charge command (stamina based let's assume) isn't powerful per se, but if you have a lot of pikeman, and the opponent has only archers at a safe distance, it allows you to take calculated losses to charge into them disallowing them any hope of escaping. Active = option. And they become only efficient if the player knows what he's doing.


Great reply here, I agree on the philosophy. That's why I'm currently looking into Starcraft and similar RTS games where there's a lot of focus on active abilities, as well as timed ones (those with great effect but looong cooldowns).

I disagree. By midgame, if you are still on level 0 armor and/or weapons, you cannot compete in any decent diamond or above match unless this is a zerging fest of some kind. Most of the skilled layers end up with victories by outmatching the dmg/def tech.


But that could be said equally about the number of units you got or how you macro them. You need upgrades, but a bad microer can lose against someone with inferior tech if the other guys kill off his units 3-by-1. I remember a match where I had about 12 units and he had 18 or 20 or so, and I won the standoff with only 3 or 4 units lost. Not because I had better tech or in spite of his tech being better, but because of micro alone. Now give that player +1 or +2 in both weapons and armor and I'd still win the fight, although with maybe 6-8 units lost instead.

However, I'm not in Diamond league and I haven't played SC2 in ages, so you may be right about that game though. Balance is key.

It is not a very good game mind you, but it has some good decisions ;)


Youtube was my friend once again Posted Image Oh and in other news, I coincidentally checked out Army Men as well, a really geeky and fun concept. Although the gameplay was a different story alltogether.

Most realistic medieval rts generally fail to capture the real essence of a siege. Most pro RTS players do understand the importance of strategy over busting the front door.
Against a turtling opponent, the idea is to cut the chain of supply (Sun Tzu) which means cutting ressources and reinforcements. A player on "one base" can be cut from the outside world. A novice player will buildup an army and strike the coup the grace and will fail (this is how turtling wins: defeating overeager opponents) but a pro will capitalize on his mobility advantage to occupy more resources and control the map.


There's also the idea of top players swapping their strategies mid-game (e.g. from attacking aggressively to suddenly turtling over a bigger perimeter), which is a nightmare to manage but it can seriously upset the information the opponent is getting about you, if executed well.

I feel the trebuchet-like units are hosers for the turtling strategy which should not exist. In reality, the trebuchet fired twice an hour on average (unlike most depictions) and rarely hit critical structures aside from walls. Modern RTS assume that this is a precise tool used to detroy critical positions but it really isn't.


You're hitting the nail here, IMO. I do want a Trebuchet to my game, but it's highly limited by the factors you're mentioning here. In my concept, you cannot use the Trebuchet offensively (it's stationary and has an active ability that may or may not cost stone to fire and has a cooldown). You target an area and it hit's randomly within that field. The Trebuchet is strictly a late-game item and the counter to it is any fast units that are able to move away from the field in time. In some minor sense, it's the equivalent to Starcraft 2 nukes.

Edited by DrMadolite, 07 August 2012 - 03:20 PM.

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#18 Malabyte   Members   -  Reputation: 589

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:32 PM

I just wanna thank you guys for the feedback. This is exactly what I look for in a discussion. Lots of pinpointed opinions and ways to look at and consider things.

Cheers.

Edited by DrMadolite, 07 August 2012 - 03:35 PM.

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#19 DtCarrot   Members   -  Reputation: 327

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Posted 07 August 2012 - 03:41 PM

DtCarrot, on 06 August 2012 - 10:17 PM, said:
Hence, there needs to be a method which can simplify the task of destroying even the strongest defense line. At the same time, not comprimising the viability of light defensive build where players choose to forgo the early game and prepare themselves for the mid/late game.

That's resolved by designing a rock-paper-scissors system to the game. The difference between successful RTS games and failed ones are usually whether the developers understand basic war theory, such as the war machine triangle (Defense > Attack > Production > Defense). Not to mention the psychology behind successful warfare (e.g. making the opponent weaker by means of deception and the fear of uncertainty).

But don't get too self-assured either. The reason why a person fails to beat a turtler could just be because he's bad at it, too. I.e. unrelated to the game design. In Starcraft 2, for instance, there's practically zero difference in viability between defensive, offensive and production strategies. They all cancel eachother out, not to mention the fact that the inferiority of a tactic can be eliminated by exploiting not only an opponent's weaknesses, but his strengths as well).

Be sure to confirm whether your issues with the game is a common trend or if it's just you.


Yeah I agree, people get overconfident occasionally and make mistakes which allow the turtling player to "rise from the dead". For example, throwing away units and humiliating the opponent and gradually closing up the unit gap.

There should not be tactics that are deemed as unbeatable. In many instances, you would hear complaints of OP(overpowered builds). IN SCII, this happens frequently and to reduce the viability of certain builds, Blizzard steps in and nerfs some unit such as the time taken to research warp gate. Builds indeed, have to cancel out each other. When you go for a resource powering build, if the opponent goes for a rush, you will lose. Every strategy has their pros and cons. For example, even though massing elephants will give you a significant advantage in firepower, the opponent can take advantage of it's con which is it's vulnerability to pike men.

How the opponent will react to the tactic is when they scout and how they perceive the situation. Hence, in relations to scouting, there needs to be a way to scout the enemy but at the same time, if the opponent is careful and do not leave any gaps, the scouts cannot probe into the base. Scouting is one of the minor aspects of an RTS game but it can determine the flow of the game, whether it may be a BO(Build order) loss or tricking the opponent. In SCII, you may be deemed as going aggressive if you build a barrack close to the enemy base, the opponent will pull all stops and may set up defensive measures. Instead, he may go for an expansion taking advantage of the lost resources spent in defense. Hence, there is also the psychological factor which can be used to influence the opponent's thinking.

With regards to strategy, you would need to anticipate possible strategies which could be op and thinking/devising a possible counter to that strategy. For example, is a certain race too powerful in the early game? Will it remove the late game most of the time? Will this strategy be a sure win against enemy of a certain race?

Some general strategy players can use include the supply cut-off tactic as mentioned earlier, flanking and surrounding the opponent to cut off their escape route and securing important positions such as high ground to have greater vision and a geographical advantage.

When attacking, players can divert the attention to another location by doing a multi-prone attack or a false attack weakening their defense. Also, forcing them to defend multiple locations by attacking in various directions with no fixed pattern.

When defending, how will players distribute their defense to ensure that there are no weak spots. Are there enough scouting to guess which position they are able to assault. How will players react to surprises. For example, instead of the pike men you have anticipated, the enemy goes for archers. Will players be overwhelmed by surprises or devise a last minute defense tactic to halt their invasion?








Edited by DtCarrot, 08 August 2012 - 03:12 AM.


#20 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10575

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Posted 08 August 2012 - 08:09 AM

But don't get too self-assured either. The reason why a person fails to beat a turtler could just be because he's bad at it, too. I.e. unrelated to the game design. In Starcraft 2, for instance, there's practically zero difference in viability between defensive, offensive and production strategies. They all cancel eachother out, not to mention the fact that the inferiority of a tactic can be eliminated by exploiting not only an opponent's weaknesses, but his strengths as well).


I disagree here. In Starcraft 2, once you've put the opponent on one base and keep the siege, there is nothing they can do because resources run out too rapidly. Since a siege won't really happen in the first 2-5 minutes of gameplay (an attack yes, but a siege? not really) by the time the siege is well established, the attacker can expand to all areas he or she so wishes performing supremacy. If the siege is well established, it will take minutes before the advantage kicks in favor of the attacker, and there really isn't anything you can do as a turtle in SC2 to avoid that. This game strongly encourages movement and expansion (taking risks) over being careful. Its a good decision because their endgame was to make a fast-paced strategy game with split-second decisions. This wouldn't work with any component of turn-based strategy or slower-pace games.

But that could be said equally about the number of units you got or how you macro them. You need upgrades, but a bad microer can lose against someone with inferior tech if the other guys kill off his units 3-by-1. I remember a match where I had about 12 units and he had 18 or 20 or so, and I won the standoff with only 3 or 4 units lost. Not because I had better tech or in spite of his tech being better, but because of micro alone. Now give that player +1 or +2 in both weapons and armor and I'd still win the fight, although with maybe 6-8 units lost instead.

However, I'm not in Diamond league and I haven't played SC2 in ages, so you may be right about that game though. Balance is key.

Then it really depends on your audience. By default, I check at the competitive leagues only, where "flaws" inherent to the player are diminished (giving better insight into actual balancing issues). But you've never stated you wanted to make it a - balanced or b - competitive. What's your audience?

There's also the idea of top players swapping their strategies mid-game (e.g. from attacking aggressively to suddenly turtling over a bigger perimeter), which is a nightmare to manage but it can seriously upset the information the opponent is getting about you, if executed well.

Generally speaking, there is no reason to change strategy unless the current strategy is not working or the opponent has adjusted to it. Changing strategy for the sake of it is like saying "I have 100% chances of winning, but I'm changing strategy so that I have 25% chances of losing, 50% chances of winning and 25% chances of surprising the enemy!".
That said however, on a more realistic approach to medieval warfare, I would support your theory, but out of utter necessity. In the middle ages, there was a "season" for warfare, and there is a reason to this. Everytime that season stopped, most, if not all, conflicts paused until the next year.
Because the army lived on its stomach, and the logistics for food conservation were precarious, they had to live off the land. That makes sense if you strike during spring or summer as there should be a lot of food in each villages, but during winter? not so much.
So there is a price to actual expansion, and every now and then, you must stop advancing and stabilize something (economy, morale, food production, etc).

Kohan I and II had a pretty good idea about resupply lines for your armies which is worth looking into.
You'll also find much interest in Dune 2 (the original RTS). The game mechanics oftentimes forced you to bring your harvester much too close to your opponents. At first, you could just be offensive about it and place your units between the known enemy outpost and your harvester, but in later missions where you were faced with Sardaukar and the two houses that you weren't (Ordos and/or Atreidis and/or Harkonen) the enemy could come of any side and defending your supply line was more important.

Basically, you need to have game mechanics that force a shift in strategy. Unlike SC2, which is more like chess (strategies of the two players are directly responsible for the shift of strategy of the other player with no external element) you can build around game-changers. A Sandworm is one, a resupply line is too.

You're hitting the nail here, IMO. I do want a Trebuchet to my game, but it's highly limited by the factors you're mentioning here. In my concept, you cannot use the Trebuchet offensively (it's stationary and has an active ability that may or may not cost stone to fire and has a cooldown). You target an area and it hit's randomly within that field. The Trebuchet is strictly a late-game item and the counter to it is any fast units that are able to move away from the field in time. In some minor sense, it's the equivalent to Starcraft 2 nukes.


I'd also recommend giving an ability to your "walls" that have a high % to intercept the rocks. For example, your opponent really wants to fire at your critical command center (or whatever structure) but its entrenched in walls. If your walls have a static 70% chances of intercepting the block, that makes them more realistic that if its assumed the opponent can easily aim over them and still adequately hit their target.

Builds indeed, have to cancel out each other.

One of the main reasons why this is such a hard job in SC2 is because of their use of hard and soft counters. I applaud the idea, but its hard to make it all work out.
Blizzard did not specifically take the rock-paper-scissors approach. They did in some occurences (a unit doing more damage vs armored for example) but for the most part, they use soft counters, which basically means: if you use this unit in this way, it generally gives you an advantage against this unit if its used that way, under these conditions, in this type of environment and if the player reacts in that type of way rather than this type of way.
It is extremely complex as you can see.

An easy way to explain this would be the archer, cavalry and pikeman triangle.

If you make a rock-paper-scissor hard counter, you'll do this:
- Archer + 5 dmg vs pikeman
- Cavalry + 5 dmg vs archer
- Pikeman + 5 dmg vs Cavalry

It's not exciting, but it works. But if you really want to take advantage of a circumpstancial soft counter:
- Archer has a range of 10, no defense, (damage can pierce armor)
- Pikeman has a range of 2, slow to move, hard defense
- Cavalry has a range of 1, fast to move, low defense (can deal extra damage on initial charge).

Nothing here clearly says this unit is best against this other, but if you look deeper:
- An archer will get to fire a lot of times at a pikeman before it closes in, whereas it won't fire much at a cavalry. Based on the speed alone, one can assume the pikeman will take more damage despite his increased armor. The Archer is still a pikeman-hoser.
- The pikeman has a slightly longer range than the cavalry, which means it will fire first. Its improved defenses means that once in close combat, it would survive longer assuming similar damages and health points. The pikeman is still a cavalry-hoser.
- The cavalry is fast, which alone allows it to reduce damage taken from archers, and deal with them in a swift strike. It is still an archer-hoser.

Now the interesting part of soft counters is this:
- We've said the pikeman is a cavalry-hoser, but is it? What if pikemen are busy attacking other pikemen when the cavalry strikes? the dmg bonus from the charge would be devastating, and though the pikeman have the upper hand "theorically" it doesn't help if they're attacking something else, and though the cavalry is weaker in this encounter, if they can keep the focus on other units, they'll be the only ones doing damage. This can be done by kiting for example, given that they have the advantage of speed.
- But the pikeman are naturally born to handle this, and this is why they have that range of 2. They can't easily be kited, because they can always retaliate and hit first on every charge. Sure, the cavalry maximizes its special ability, but it does not compensate for the fact pikeman have armor and range.
- Thus, cavalry can be used to punish pikemen controllers if their eyes are someplace else, but they can't if pikemen are micro-ed appropriately.

I could go on, but I think you get my point.

Scouting is one of the minor aspects of an RTS game

You're being too modest. Scouting is a critical element of any decent RTS. It is generally impossible to win against a decent opponent without scouting (and scouting isn't just checking out their base at the start of the game to see what their build order is). You need to control the map, which means you need to know where units are concentrated at all times. The SC2 Protoss Observer is a very dedicated unit for that, but most games do with "secondary" scouts. In Age of Empires II, most civilizations start out with a weak cavalry whose speed makes it ideal for scouting. Players using it as an offensive or defensive weapon in the early game generally end up losing strategic advantage after its death. While it can harrass peasants and really be a nuisance to your opponent's tactics, its best used as a silent observer. Information has a value, and most player tend to forget this. It is oftentimes the major difference between a pro player and a good player. In SC2, a lot of Diamond player are highly skilled but not so efficient at getting sufficient information. In other words, they have conditionned their mind to analyze data and come up with the appropriate solution, but they just don't get enough data by lack of scouting.




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