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RTS, How to slow the combat and increase the tactics?


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#1 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 08:14 PM

(Sorry for hogging the boards, to those who have noticed my RTS questions, thanks for everyone's help so far. :D )  

 

In some RTS's, the battles were slower, one squad against another could take a minute or more.  in starcraft, that would be more like 10 seconds. 

 

It seems more like a battle of math and speed to finish the equations.  

 

So my question is how to get back the tactics?  I don't want people wasting time on spread sheets of strengths and speeds.  I want them thinking through real tactics.  like taking advantage of scenery, bottle necks, long distance weapons, lower damage from weapons. 

 

What ideas do you have to improve tactics and strategy over excel sheets of numbers for winning.

 

 


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 Morphex   Members   -  Reputation: 298

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:04 PM

Well one thing is for sure all the combat is just a mathematical formula in one way or the other, so you will use equations. The variables on those equation are what you need to define.

 

 

So here are some ideas, Attack direction, Flanking  and ambushing.

 

Flanking is obvious, give advantage to the troops that flanks the others.

Ambush is  great way to use terrain and other features, if the enemie ambushs you, you could make the defender troop panick spread and lose morale.

 

Terrain height is great to give advantage to ranged attackers, the higher the terrain the better to certain limit or something.

Traps though the terrain is great, making you able to create murdor holes, landslides and other dynamic features are also good points.

 

Squad positioning also could take relevant input, if you go straight on with your melee warriors vs a group of ranged, while on range the melee would have advantage, maybe breaking the ranged units formation, no one would stand there to die In a field where you have a bow and knight is right next to you. So you could make units behave more human like, fleeing and etc.

 

This gives chance to another aspect, make the player be able to set up unit tactics. Like attak while the melee are not on range, once they get near, fallback and move the infantary forward. 

Simple commands like that could create a great combat experience. You could have each squad be lead by a General, an depending on the experience of the general be able to setup a larger queue of tactics. 

 

This way, all battles would be defined by tactics, and the sheer number of units won't be enought to take a good player that knows how to use the terrain and their generals.

 

Another idea that could be implemented is in the range wepon department, make the units go out of ammo, and need to reload (a few time without attacking, or going to get ammo), this would make players that know how to play to make the enemy use their ammo first, and attack while a opening is done. Or maybe the attacker could wait till the right time to call their ranged reinforcements and caught a player out of position.


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#3 powerneg   Members   -  Reputation: 1463

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 09:37 PM

you make some strategic equation, and then you DOUBLE ALL HITPOINTS
also movement-speed adjustments work too.
i quess if you re looking for ways to not just send everything in area-damage might help



#4 Siao   Members   -  Reputation: 294

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:28 PM

Company of Heroes did it with some visual cues. Like green dots meaning good cover, etc. You can take it to the next level, maybe a way to show the advantages player's units are enjoying vs opponents. Though moderation should be taken into account too many visual cues may end up cluttering the screen and a major turn off for players.



#5 Mratthew   Members   -  Reputation: 1580

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:39 PM

Missing, the veterancy of units should give an idea of how effective a shot they are or how useful they are with their weapons in general. If the progression of unit veterancy is done right then the player's mouse speed and hotkey use should increase inversely to the time it takes for a battle to happen tactically. Cover and missed shots fired are the key to this. Better player, less missed shots fired.



#6 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 934

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Posted 06 January 2013 - 10:56 PM

The only way to reduce the effects of apm is to make micro irrelevant. If the player only has the power to set up hierarchies and send units to locations with generic orders and maybe some settings they only have a limited amount of clicking to do.



#7 LorenzoGatti   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2762

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 03:11 AM

If you want to avoid Starcraft-style engagements that end in a few seconds with a lot of casualties and you'd like the fight between the "same" units to be much longer and deeper, it isn't an "increase" in tactical complexity. If your units live longer than Starcraft ones and take more orders, you must have proportionally fewer units; then you are simply condensing into a few units and a few long battles the same tactical complexity that Starcraft spreads over large armies and many small attacks.

 

The real question, then, is what kinds of interesting actions you can include in your game and how can the player fight meaningfully without "boring" actions; as powerneg explains above, merely slowing down combat is trivially easy. In particular:

  • Where is the micromanagement? Slow combat by itself opens new micromanagement opportunities, as what used to be automated and too quick to act upon takes much longer and allows the player to interact with more orders; there must be qualitatively different opportunities to give orders.
  • Do you understand the consequences of reducing the number of units? Is it a good fit for the rest of the game?

Produci, consuma, crepa

#8 Acharis   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3973

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:09 AM

to improve tactics and strategy
You should not put tactics and strategy words in the same sentence, these are very different things.

There are 3 levels of detail:
- tactical (which unit shot at whom and when)
- operational (moving around groups of units)
- strategic (mostly economy, decision what kind of units to build, generally supporting your war machine)

RTS do not have tactics :) It's operational + a bit of strategy. If you want tactics, it's in hex map turn based wargames (Panzer General), note that these basicly never have any strategy involved. If you want strategy, it's best portrayed by the so called grand strategy games (simulations of whole nations).

Note that a combination like tactical + strategic is extremely rare (it basicly does not work, the only exception I can think of is Civ5). Generally, in one game you can have only levels that are near each other (like tactical+operational or operational+strategic), tactical+strategic is too far away.

Or to put it shorter, you can't at the same time simulate a whole nation's army (10 million soldiers) and order which one of these individual soldiers shoots at whom :)

Edited by Acharis, 07 January 2013 - 06:10 AM.

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#9 sonicarrow   Members   -  Reputation: 421

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 06:57 AM

Another feature you can implement would be terrain bonuses to attacking and defending, possibly differing for different races/units.  Also give bonuses for morale from squad commanders - it's a random chance that the commander dies, and then perhaps there'll be a chance for a regular squad member to step up and take command, but it'll be unlikely the unit can be saved.



#10 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 07:32 AM

I'll take on a few things at once here:

 

 

Flanking is obvious, give advantage to the troops that flanks the others.

 

 

agreed, for open battle.  (I.e.  its pretty easy to flank a squad in a base, but you shouldn't gain an advantage for it.)

Good idea, in general, this is a good tactic.  

 

 

Ambush is  great way to use terrain and other features, if the enemie ambushs you, you could make the defender troop panick spread and lose morale.

 

 

being closer to a blocking item, like a vehicle wreckage, or a tree line that is in between the shooters.

 

 

Squad positioning also could take relevant input, if you go straight on with your melee warriors vs a group of ranged, while on range the melee would have advantage, maybe breaking the ranged units formation, no one would stand there to die In a field where you have a bow and knight is right next to you. So you could make units behave more human like, fleeing and etc.

 

 

agreed.  So in a tree line, bowmen might would have a significant disadvantage over swords men in close combat.  But bowmen with good climbing skills might gain an advantage, given a moment of time's head start.

 

 

This gives chance to another aspect, make the player be able to set up unit tactics. Like attack while the melee are not on range, once they get near, fallback and move the infantary forward. 
Simple commands like that could create a great combat experience. You could have each squad be lead by a General, an depending on the experience of the general be able to setup a larger queue of tactics. 

 

 

I like this as well.  I've been considering the idea of officers, who will run things in your absence  and without them, your troops mostly just go after basic goals with no cohesion.  But officers can receive training, which is basically just upgrading their AI.

 

 

Another idea that could be implemented is in the range wepon department, make the units go out of ammo, and need to reload (a few time without attacking, or going to get ammo), this would make players that know how to play to make the enemy use their ammo first, and attack while a opening is done. Or maybe the attacker could wait till the right time to call their ranged reinforcements and caught a player out of position.

 

 

Excellent.  Several people in other posts have also brought up the ammo reloading issues.  And Supply lines.  I want to make sure that requiring reload doesn't remove from the fun, but I think it can be done.  

 

 

Missing, the veterancy of units should give an idea of how effective a shot they are or how useful they are with their weapons in general. If the progression of unit veterancy is done right then the player's mouse speed and hotkey use should increase inversely to the time it takes for a battle to happen tactically. Cover and missed shots fired are the key to this. Better player, less missed shots fired.

 

 

In addition to having increased damage, perhaps also that they now to take immediate cover when a surprise attack starts.  And perhaps healing is done by just having some medic in a space suit spray you with stuff.

 

 

The only way to reduce the effects of apm is to make micro irrelevant. If the player only has the power to set up hierarchies and send units to locations with generic orders and maybe some settings they only have a limited amount of clicking to do.

 

 

This is a concept I've been struggling with.  I mean I understand it, and using AI and Officers to take on tasks, however, I feel like it can be done.  Oh, here's an idea towards that:  In starcraft 1, if you just sent troops to a position, they would walk through anything without taking heed to damage they took.  but if you told them to attack a target, they would also stop along the way to attack other things.  Perhaps other hotkey attacks could include certain strategies to employ, like sneak up, take cover, attack from cover, provide a distraction first, then attack from the other side.  Different command strategies  where you still tell them what to do, but they will take some AI liberties.  But you as the player define what, as they do it.

 

 

You should not put tactics and strategy words in the same sentence, these are very different things.

 

 

I am aware they are different, which is why I have 'and', similarly to how you used both words in your sentence, and tied them together with the word 'and'.  biggrin.png

 

 

Or to put it shorter, you can't at the same time simulate a whole nation's army (10 million soldiers) and order which one of these individual soldiers shoots at whom

 

 

I do agree with you here though, and understand the key points you were making.  Managing macro and micro is hard to make work.  But lets say it could, what would it take?  I'm thinking of Clone Wars, where you keep coming back as another robot or clone, into the same battle field.  What if every time you died, before coming back in, you  could influence where troops were focused?  You would employ a 'strategy' that most other AI's would follow, and then actively engage in the same strategy yourself.  However, this is not really what I have in mind.  

 

I plan on letting things be handled by AI, but that a player can zoom into any level.  if they are focusing on a smaller (yet important or fun) battle, other AI's will handle larger scale strategy and vice versa.  The player can get away without knowing all the keyboard shortcuts to employ strategy, but if they learn them, they can get their troops to do better than the AI, perhaps.

 

Another feature you can implement would be terrain bonuses to attacking and defending, possibly differing for different races/units.  Also give bonuses for morale from squad commanders - it's a random chance that the commander dies, and then perhaps there'll be a chance for a regular squad member to step up and take command, but it'll be unlikely the unit can be saved.

 

I definitely agree with the use of the terrain, and a few other posts have mentioned this as well.  What I like though is someone lower in rank stepping up to become the officer.  perhaps you could spend money give additional troops officer training, and that they can change roles to an officer if needed.  An interesting feature.  It would cost more for the extra training, but if needed, could be invaluable for uninterrupted strategy.


Edited by hpdvs2, 07 January 2013 - 08:03 AM.

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 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 934

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:06 AM

to improve tactics and strategy
You should not put tactics and strategy words in the same sentence, these are very different things.

There are 3 levels of detail:
- tactical (which unit shot at whom and when)
- operational (moving around groups of units)
- strategic (mostly economy, decision what kind of units to build, generally supporting your war machine)

RTS do not have tactics smile.png It's operational + a bit of strategy. If you want tactics, it's in hex map turn based wargames (Panzer General), note that these basicly never have any strategy involved. If you want strategy, it's best portrayed by the so called grand strategy games (simulations of whole nations).

Note that a combination like tactical + strategic is extremely rare (it basicly does not work, the only exception I can think of is Civ5). Generally, in one game you can have only levels that are near each other (like tactical+operational or operational+strategic), tactical+strategic is too far away.

Or to put it shorter, you can't at the same time simulate a whole nation's army (10 million soldiers) and order which one of these individual soldiers shoots at whom smile.png

I have never in my life heard it this way and I greatly disagree. Tactics definitely involves groups of units.

 

Furthermore grand strategy games are not strategy, they are grand strategy, hence the name. Strategy is eminently possible with a few thousand units or even many hundred. And strategy is not economics. Economic strategy could be economics, but military strategy is military.

 

Also what kind of idiot refers to a whole nations army as 10 million soldiers? What the hell kind of nation are you talking about? Most nations don't even have 10 million people total. The United Stats Army, the second largest in the world, after China, has a little over 2 million soldiers, with almost a million only on reserve duty.

 

Most nations have a few hundred thousand total or less and obviously only some of them in any given war and only some in any given battle in a war.



#12 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 11:35 AM

I have never in my life heard it this way and I greatly disagree. Tactics definitely involves groups of units.
 
Furthermore grand strategy games are not strategy, they are grand strategy, hence the name. Strategy is eminently possible with a few thousand units or even many hundred. And strategy is not economics. Economic strategy could be economics, but military strategy is military.

 

 

I'm in agreement on that, I thought the classification was a little off.  I had commented it originally but removed that part because I thought I came across to aggressively. and figured I would ignore it.  However, what I would like to see is a list that expresses this clearly.  Someone taking ownership of these terms that is a trusted source.  And so far both of you have made reference to terms without expressing a source for it.  So far, your statement sounds more credible, but references would be great.  Thanks!

 

 

Also what kind of idiot refers to a whole nations army as 10 million soldiers? What the hell kind of nation are you talking about?

 

 

However, I thought this section was a bit rough.  I mean you no offense, but I'd like things to remain constructive, and I felt this response was a little too negative.  

 

 

Most nations don't even have 10 million people total. The United Stats Army, the second largest in the world, after China, has a little over 2 million soldiers, with almost a million only on reserve duty.
 
Most nations have a few hundred thousand total or less and obviously only some of them in any given war and only some in any given battle in a war.

 

 

But for useful information, I'm glad you brought this part up.  Those are numbers I hadn't even thought about.  I wasn't too concerned with it though.   I'm planning on using a somewhat low number.  Such as squads of 10 to 40, but potentially a hundred or so of those across a planet, which will be broken up into different map managers, and probably split on to different servers.


Edited by hpdvs2, 07 January 2013 - 11:40 AM.

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.


#13 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 934

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 04:06 PM

It might not be as polite as some people would like. Its essentially a cultural thing. Discourse where I do most of my discussion/debate/arguing is a little more colorful than something you might see elsewhere, although I've seen much more offensive things said in presidential debates and in criminal trials in courts. Somethings are just too dumb to let pass by.

 

The amount of color in the language generally coincides with how ridiculous the statement is. In this case its incredibly ridiculous.



#14 aattss   Members   -  Reputation: 387

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:31 PM

Something tells me that the difference between tactics and strategy is vague and indefinite.



#15 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 934

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 08:52 PM

It is somewhat vague. Kinda like what is and what isn't an MMO.



#16 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:56 PM

Something tells me that the difference between tactics and strategy is vague and indefinite.

It is somewhat vague. Kinda like what is and what isn't an MMO.

Good points, Now that that's settled, :P, I'd like to thank everyone for your help in this.  I'm open to more conversation from this, but I believe I've gotten some good starts here.


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.


#17 ShiftyCake   Members   -  Reputation: 569

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 06:52 AM

See Before Do

SBD

I just made that up, don't judge. Actually do, I'm terrible when it comes to such things.

Anyways, simply apply SBD to tactics and you have what you require. Let's take Dark Souls for example, ignoring all the complaints of "this si too hard" or "stupid idea", Dark Souls is really, bottom-ground, essentially, a strategic RPG. Every single fight you have to commence, besides boss fights, surprise attacks and impossibru moments, you are able to view before-hand. Let's take an example of a fight area at the start. You reach it, and you can view that their are two undead on a walkway that extends over your bridge who throw fire-bombs at you. You can also notice that there is an undead on the walkway later on which you can see, what you can't see are two undead inside the room. Now, there was a merchant previously with a bow and arrow I could buy. I have the bow, but not enough arrows. I go back to him and get maybe 50 or so arrows. I will then proceed to shoot the undead on the walkway farther in. He will be alarmed, and come fight me in the safe area. One down. Then I will shoot the bomb-throwers until they are dead, since it is impossible to reach them in other means. I will then proceed into the room, to be caught by surprise with two undead in there. That is no matter, for I have cleared the bomb-throwers and can back off into the narrow walkway which only allows one at a time.I will then bait the front-most ones attacks, quickly hit him and roll back to avoid the back undeads attacks. repeat until death, and I have cleared the area.

 

That was quite long, but I have got my point across. Of course, that's an example of how to plan it strategically. I actually just bad-assed it with a sword, screaming with pride at my awesomeness. Ohk, I'm digressing. Anyways, Dark Souls applied the SBD rule perfectly. It is the simplest and most efficient way to provide strategy to games.

BUT REMEMBER. Yours is a Real Time Shooter.

Or, in other words, you will have to redesign this concept in order to provide intense gameplay in your game. Actually, I gave some suggestions in my previous comment, but I can't be bothered re-posting. So yeah.


If, at any point, what I post is hard to understand, tell me. I am bad at projecting my thoughts into real words, so I appreciate the knowledge that I need to edit my post.

 

I am not a professional writer, nor a professional game designer. Please, understand that everything you read is simply an opinion of mind and should not, at any point in time, be taken as a credible answer unless validated by others.

 

I do take brief bouts of disappearance so don't worry if I either don't reply to you or miss certain things. I am quite a lazy fellow.


#18 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 897

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 08:13 AM

See Before Do

SBD

I just made that up, don't judge. Actually do, I'm terrible when it comes to such things.

Anyways, simply apply SBD to tactics and you have what you require. Let's take Dark Souls for example, ignoring all the complaints of "this si too hard" or "stupid idea", Dark Souls is really, bottom-ground, essentially, a strategic RPG. Every single fight you have to commence, besides boss fights, surprise attacks and impossibru moments, you are able to view before-hand. Let's take an example of a fight area at the start. You reach it, and you can view that their are two undead on a walkway that extends over your bridge who throw fire-bombs at you. You can also notice that there is an undead on the walkway later on which you can see, what you can't see are two undead inside the room. Now, there was a merchant previously with a bow and arrow I could buy. I have the bow, but not enough arrows. I go back to him and get maybe 50 or so arrows. I will then proceed to shoot the undead on the walkway farther in. He will be alarmed, and come fight me in the safe area. One down. Then I will shoot the bomb-throwers until they are dead, since it is impossible to reach them in other means. I will then proceed into the room, to be caught by surprise with two undead in there. That is no matter, for I have cleared the bomb-throwers and can back off into the narrow walkway which only allows one at a time.I will then bait the front-most ones attacks, quickly hit him and roll back to avoid the back undeads attacks. repeat until death, and I have cleared the area.

 

That was quite long, but I have got my point across. Of course, that's an example of how to plan it strategically. I actually just bad-assed it with a sword, screaming with pride at my awesomeness. Ohk, I'm digressing. Anyways, Dark Souls applied the SBD rule perfectly. It is the simplest and most efficient way to provide strategy to games.

BUT REMEMBER. Yours is a Real Time Shooter.

Or, in other words, you will have to redesign this concept in order to provide intense gameplay in your game. Actually, I gave some suggestions in my previous comment, but I can't be bothered re-posting. So yeah.

Actually, your point didn't come across to clearly.  At least not to me.  Are you saying that for the RTS, there should be a See Before Do mentality or tactical approach.  And then my question is how is this different or the same from typical RTS's.  For instance, in an RTS, you typically don't walk past turrets to take out buildings without first taking out the turrets, which sounds like the concept your saying, but I don't understand about something special to apply to the game.  Is there some mechanic to typical RTS's that you would suggest changing?  I'm interested, I just don't get what your saying yet.

 

I guess what your suggesting is to have the RTS be zoom-able, so you can take control of an individual unit, and run them like a First person shooter.  If that's the case, I'm not sure how to handle the RTS processing requirements with that kind of unit precision a game.  But it does sounds like you bringing up the See Before Do as a mentality to have in the game.  Perhaps like having troops hidden in buildings or forest that you can't see.


Edited by hpdvs2, 08 January 2013 - 08:17 AM.

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.


#19 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 934

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 01:19 PM

@shiftycake

Why do you go in every thread referring to real time shooters? Real time shooter is not a genre. RTS means real time strategy. Shooters are FPS or TPS and they are all real time... This is the third thread you have done this in.


Edited by AltarofScience, 08 January 2013 - 01:19 PM.


#20 Orymus3   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 10608

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:13 PM

Quite oddly, I was in the process of designing a Turn-Based strategy a while back that had to do with tactics.

It turns out that the time element is important. Having the possibility to carefully plan your move is a big part of this.

Most fast-paced RTS actually measure your ability to take as many actions as possible to optimize the efficiency of your troops within a given period of time.

This micro management gives you an advantage as you min/max damage in a given conflict that is often very centralized. You move units back one rank so they stop taking the heat when their hp is growing low and bring fresh troops forwards to keep dealing as much damage as possible.

 

Now, if you want to have a more tactical game, you'll want to slow that pace, so that players feel at ease making decisions based on thoughts, and not on instincts.

At the speed of Starcraft 2, you learn to do things at the reflex speed. Your body knows when and how to kite units and you'll do it mechanically without much need from your mental acuity. Your brain responds to a stimulus he understands and simply issues a kiting mode and direction. The simple order to "kite" is actually performed through a lot of micro-management sub-commands that your hand carries out, but its, in essence, very simple to think, but hard to execute.

 

What you want is thus to focus on complex mind commands that are easier to carry out with your hand.

One way to achieve that is to break down the amount of places you want the player to keep their focus on.

In a general Starcraft game, players will focus on 3 or 4 places at once:

Their home base, their expansion if any, any army they have on the move or opponent army they believe is afoot, and the enemy base they seek to take down asap (either base or expansion). Forces are thus concentrated at very focal points to follow these rudimentary functions:

- Prevent enemies from passing through

- Besiege/Attack an enemy base

- Secure a new base

 

That's the problem. These three functions, while incredibly complex to accomplish, are at the core of the genre's simplicity from a tactics' perspective.

What you need is a mechanic that will force your units to spread out at optional goals which yield optional advantages.

While it is true that, in Starcraft, controlling many bases at once will yield an economic advantage, it is not crucial. You may spend the game trailing one base behind and still win. Besides, extra bases behave exactly like mining colonies most of the time and don't necessarily need you to defend them if your units are keeping the enemy's invading forces in check.

 

So, in practice, here is one way to achieve this, borrowed from a recent game I've been working on:

 

Players have bases, that's a given, and they will seek to expand. I've been using preset locations that shift controller. You could say they are very similar to Dawn of War (Warhammer 40k)'s capture points except that each point has its own specific advantages. Some generate specific resources, others grant advantages, others still give you ability to move your units faster, and yet others allow you to build units you otherwise couldn't. That's still a bit lackluster, but at least it forces players to spread out.

The more you spread, the better your economy, but the harder it becomes to defend each location.

 

By having different locations, one must also choose which resources he will capitalize on, and what he really needs to have a specific army specialization in place. If you had all of the medieval units at your disposal but chose to play a game of speed, you're likely to want to capitalize your efforts towards getting more horses and material to produce light armor. That would give you light mounted units which, while not necessarily powerful, have the advantage of speed, and thus, can quickly reinforce one another when attacked.

 

This goes to my second point. Decrease speed. And by speed, I don't mean how quickly units fight and whatnot, I mean actual movement speed. And increase sight ranges for "scout" units.

 

The idea is that you'll give players the ability to spot enemy movements from afar and think of a way to counter this. Rather than running into one another, it gives the player time to try and anticipate which location the enemy seeks to attack. Its a game of deception too, as the enemy won't necessarily trace a line from A to B and give away their strategy. A patient man will be able to take advantage of this and choose the time and place of the battle so that it advantages them. Terrain modifiers will matter too. You want an enemy force stuck to fight from a river to move slowly across is so that, if your fore-archers catch them unaware, you'll have the uppder hand. Chokes are also prevalent. You want to have natural places to defend. This is all in level design though.

 

When the engagement finally takes place, you'll want the fight to last longer. Here comes my rant on why Warcraft 1 was better than Wacraft 2 in my opinion:

Buildings were insanely long to kill, and it was frustrating, but at least, it made it so that the concept of a settlement had a more permanent nature.

When buildings are easily destroyed, they become an accessory to your strategy. You build them when needed, knowing they can break anytime, and the investment lost is not catastrophic. You can spread them at will.

When they are tougher (and cost more) you get to concentrate them at places of your choosing that you believe you will be able to defend. In return, they will hold against most attacks and allow you to build defensive positions and acquire the defender's advantage.

The defender's advantage, in turn, forces opponents to consider their tactics more carefully. They can't just repeatedly storm at your gates with numbers because their economy is better, they need to plan ahead how they intend on reducing your advantage. Will they lure out your troops by feigning an attack on a weaker settlement only to come head on and take the settlement from you?

 

Also, make sure that it takes more hits to kill a single unit, or have "groups of units" behave as one controllable unit. The idea is that it will take a while for units to be killed by the enemy, time well spent towards bringing reinforcements or doing the logistics game.

 

Logistics are also important. A good RTS needs logistics in some way shape or form. You don't necessarily need to resupply archers with arrows, or troops with food, but you need one key mechanic that will make it fun to toy around with. For example, imagine you can spawn units at every location you control, but can only do so using the resources from that location (as opposed to a general stockpile). That would mean production would come with a risk management component. Do you want to spawn your units closer to the front, thus having a military advantage, at the peril of losing a base and letting the enemy steal a large chunk of your precious resources, or would you wather move guarded wagons along the road and build units at whatever location your largest army currently resides?

You also need a military-specific logistic component, but I'll let you think on it.

 

Hopefully that helps.






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