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MMO RTS, ongoing battle, what to do with someones base when they go offline.


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#1 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 10:25 PM

I'm considering creating an MMO RTS, where battles could last days or even months.  to explain things quickly, imagine star craft, where 70 players join one map, who don't know each other.  about half are set to one team, and the rest on a second. 

 

Each player has free reign of a particular region of the map, where they do their city building, prepare troops and defend.  But with a battle that could last several days, players will be leaving and coming back later.  It makes no sense for the whole game to pause for this, or for their buildings/troops to disappear.  But that leaves their base unmonitored.  I.e. if they are attacked, they can't choose to boost spending on more training, repairing buildings, or start building more turrets, etc...  

 

My plan, is to allow other members on the same side to manage their resources (not take them) if a player is off line, and their base is under attack.  possibly even if they are not under attack.  

 

My question, 

 

How do you think that should be handled.  What concerns do you have, what risks, or ideas to improve?  Any opinions at all.  

 

Thanks.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


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#2 Servant of the Lord   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 21184

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Posted 05 January 2013 - 11:50 PM

What if all (or most) of the team members on one side are offline, while all (or most) of the team members of the other side are online?

Then it would be (for example) 25 players on one team, managing 35 players' resources, vs 5 people on the other team having to manage 35 players' resources... and the other team would be over-burdened trying to each manage (35 players / 5 active players) 7 team-member resources at once.

 

What about each player's base exists in a "bubble" or "pocket" dimension. That dimension can only be entered while the player is online (unless another player is in it when he logs off, to prevent cheap defensive logging). For every hour a player is inactive, he loses some life-critical resource (let's call it 'energy'). When a player loses all energy, they die. So if a player stays inactive for (let's say) five days in a row, they are automatically dead.

 

Now you have: 70 player "bubbles" with their personal city and a much larger central battlefield "bubble" with the entire team's 'outposts' that any team member can manage and control. The battlefield is where most fighting takes place, and you have to establish outposts in the battlefield to harvest energy for your team to keep your team alive. You have to cross the battlefield to enter into a personal bubble of an opposing team member. There is no reason or benefit to enter an allied teammember's bubble unless he is under attack and you are there to help him.

 

When a player is logged in, his 'bubble' creates a gateway from the bubble to the battlefield so his (and enemy) units can travel back and forth. As long as that gateway is open (by being logged in), that player receives N energy per outpost once an hour (probably staggered across the hour). When the gateway is closed (when logged off, or when logged in but "turtled" to prevent attack), the player loses N energy every 15 minutes (the power usage upkeep cost of the city), with 'N' increasing after remaining logged off. (So one hour logged in might get you 10,000 energy, and the first hour logged off might only cost you 1/24th that (balancing to about 1 active hour of gameplay per day, ignoring other assorted energy costs you use for things like combat and building), after 24 hours, you might lose 1/12th the energy of a logged-in hour's gain. After 48 hours, you might lose 1/6th energy per hour, and so on, so prolonged absences (talking days) basically cripple a player and eventually kill them, so the opposing team can win even if all their opponents remain logged off.


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#3 sonicarrow   Members   -  Reputation: 421

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:28 AM

In addition to the mention above about percentages on/offline, there is the (sadly probable) chance of griefers or just newer players.  If a player logs off and one of those mentioned above takes control, they could log back in to find their army decimated, whether purposefully or not.



#4 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1582

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:55 AM

If it's sci-fi have their base simply lift off and sit up in orbit while they are logged off. If you need a narrative reason why the bases need to take off and land, use the old sci-fi RTS go-to of resource collection for the orbiting fleets ongoing battle against the enemy. This also opens up a world of orbital call downs and objectives to clear landing zones and what have you. I find whenever I'm looking for RTS ideas I always look to Relic entertainment, Blizzard might get more hype but the WH40K, COH and Home World games are better.



#5 shadowomf   Members   -  Reputation: 323

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 03:22 AM

My plan, is to allow other members on the same side to manage their resources (not take them) if a player is off line

While it might work and probably is fun when all player work together. I believe it's far too much power that a player gets.

Having one player that does sabotage your teams effort by building crap or doing stupid things sucks.

Having one player that can sabotage your team effort by mismanaging your units and ressources while you're offline is a potential game braker.

 

have their base simply lift off and sit up in orbit while they are logged off

Why not leave the base and units in AI control. Limit what it can do and what not. E.g. an all defensive AI (maybe one that also supports it's neighbours).

If you try to take the players base and unit's out of the game whenever he/she logs off, they will probably start logging off whenever they are getting attacked. That's a bit like some players do it in MMORPG's, luckily most games have measures preventing such behaviour.

 

 

If you're really interested in rounds that last a few days or weeks, you should take a look at how browser games do it. Or maybe things like EVE Online.

They seem to have found ways too keep it fair even when the player is not logged in.

Often by using a much more simplified battle system than one would expect from the averange RTS, but maybe you can still find some inspiration.



#6 starbasecitadel   Members   -  Reputation: 699

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:53 AM

Not quite the same thing, as my games will last say no more than an hour or two, not days.  But I will be handling this situation through bots.  When a player leaves the game, their slot is controlled by a bot until a new player joins the game and then takes over from the bot.     

 

What I haven't decided yet is how exactly to handle the timing of a bot -> player conversion (when a player arrives).  For example, let's say on team Human, starship slot #35 is a bot of class Frigate.  Now a new player joins and is assigned that slot.   Does the player exactly and instantly take over that Frigate ship, even though they want to play a Corsair?  The advantage of this approach is gameplay is perfectly seamless; ships aren't just appearing / disappearing.

 

The disadvantage is when players join a game, they would be forced into whatever ship was previously occupied by that slot, until they are destroyed or move back to a base where they can refit their starship and equipment.   I haven't decided whether this approach makes the most sense, or instead when a player joins, the bot ship just spontaneously gets destroyed and the player can instantly start at their home base fresh.   That makes it a bit more of a natural experience for the player who just joined, but it causes problems for the others (like let's say an enemy was just about to get a kill on that bot, and now it disappears and they are denied the kill) etc.


Edited by starbasecitadel, 06 January 2013 - 08:54 AM.


#7 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 12:34 PM

So far, I have to thank you all for your replies.  I'm already planning on AI to be a standard part of the game, if no player is available (or interested) in covering another base.  And I agree that there is reasonable risk that another player might have terrible ideas of how to help, like spending all their money on a line of tanks to be built, despite the surrounding area being swamp, and hovercrafts would be better.

 

What I'm hoping to get is information on Specific issues.  For instance, what exactly might other players do to cause havoc?  There is significant value to each player helping their team.  If their team member loses their region, then the enemy will most likely take it over, and have more resources, and more foot hold in the area, which could cause you to lose the value and reward of winning the whole planet.

 

Possible problem Ideas.  

 

1) Perhaps a player has a bunch of friends on the apposing side.  They might allow the other team to win, and be handed rewards under the table, or for an agreement that their region will be left alone, they can sit their and ship as much resources back until their base is the last one standing.  

 

2) Waiting for another player to be wiped out on purpose, then coming in with a larger squad and stealing it back so they own 2+ regions now, including any left over buildings.

 

3) Perhaps they just have terrible tactics, like building the wrong things, or attempting to spend to enhance the technology of a player, but neglect defenses and offenses.

 

4) Perhaps ALL of the players from one side are off line.  It would have to be purely dependent on AI.  

 

 

I want to figure out what issues might happen, and then figure out ways to resolve it.  

Perhaps Backup military strategists.  I.e. additional players for a particular side, who's skills reach a certain level will receive this status.  Perhaps when a player goes off line, they will receive a message indicating it, and can choose to go help.  Perhaps the rewards for this will be considerable.

 

Also, perhaps a player could create a list of features, for instance, only allow players with X experience or better take over, have a specified list of players, or limit it to a guild, or open it to any team player on the same map.  Finally, by default go back to AI.  A player can choose the form of AI, Aggressive  Defensive, reactive, etc...   and perhaps spend money for better AI's in the game.  And have changing AI's.  so if an AI does start to get recognized, and weaknesses found, a player's AI would still change from time to time.  Perhaps even having events for it.

 

But how to react to individual player 2 player control issues?  

 - Bad choices.  Perhaps other approved players can see what was done.  (as a learning exercise as well) also that the owning/offline player can review the tactics chosen. and rate the helping player.  Perhaps you can limit yourself to those with a higher approval rating.  Perhaps (like Star Craft replay) other players can review tactics that were used to win a planet.  and rank players by votes of good tactics or not, perhaps even classifying them.  This could help people without rank get noticed and voted up.  

 

Of course that also opens up the whole "I have 400 'friends' in my list, and we all vote each other up' replace friends with guilds or hack groups, etc...

Then we would need to see ways of tracking the economics for players voting each other just for voting each other.

 

This voting system could also help identify which tactics to study and possibly rebuild in AI.  but this so far is still all chaotic thought on the issue and i will need to tune it up.  I welcome more ideas, considerations and possible solutions.  


Edited by hpdvs2, 06 January 2013 - 12:34 PM.

Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#8 dakota.potts   Members   -  Reputation: 455

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 07:48 PM

Perhaps allow people to choose a play style for their team. Have you ever played an RPG where multiple characters went into battle and you could only control one at a time? The others were played by AI, but you could choose offensive, defensive, healing, set restrictions on items they use, that sort of thing.

Imagine if I left and I was in the middle of pooling resources. I would set mine to collect resources and control and create only troops necessary to defend and harvest the resources. Or, if I were in the middle of building an army and I set it to shut off research and development funding to keep building this army. I could also turn off things like automated scouts, allow troops to only attack hostiles within a certain range unless otherwise attacked, that sort of thing.

#9 ImpossibleDream   Members   -  Reputation: 128

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:44 AM

Have inactive players retreat to AI defended fortresses.  No AI will ever be a match for a human opponent in a good strategy game, but you can make defending or targeting inactive players a strategic goal. 



#10 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:52 AM

Perhaps allow people to choose a play style for their team. Have you ever played an RPG where multiple characters went into battle and you could only control one at a time? The others were played by AI, but you could choose offensive, defensive, healing, set restrictions on items they use, that sort of thing.

Imagine if I left and I was in the middle of pooling resources. I would set mine to collect resources and control and create only troops necessary to defend and harvest the resources. Or, if I were in the middle of building an army and I set it to shut off research and development funding to keep building this army. I could also turn off things like automated scouts, allow troops to only attack hostiles within a certain range unless otherwise attacked, that sort of thing.

 

I think this sounds like a good idea, but perhaps include triggers to when to change AI.  for instance, under attack, switch to defensive, follow with offensive preparations. etc...

 

or perhaps have difference officers in control, and they will argue over who takes over depending on the current atmosphere.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#11 aattss   Members   -  Reputation: 387

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:20 PM

There would probably need ways for groups to rank players and for players to be able to vote-kick other players at a moment's notice. There should also be ways to assign certain players certain things (i.e. let the noob player help out in a minor war under the guidance of more experienced players)



#12 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 12:17 PM

There would probably need ways for groups to rank players and for players to be able to vote-kick other players at a moment's notice. There should also be ways to assign certain players certain things (i.e. let the noob player help out in a minor war under the guidance of more experienced players)

I can understand that.  I think the vote should lead to a private review from an admin, who will decide, for reasons like sabotage.

 

I do like the idea that players can assign work areas to each other.  Suggest more likely, but the way this is laid out, there will be characters who are completely surrounded by other protected regions from their side.  meaning that they might not be not need to develop as much defenses, but instead focus on mineral harvesting.  Then, they can focus more on building up techs, so if it looks like a region will be lost, they can send in a more advanced force, or at least the remainder of the planet for their side will have a stronger balance. 


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.





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