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fire_ball

3 Dimensions...

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Hello everyone! I am the project head of a team developing an mmorts/space sim. Right now, we are programming our engine, and have a decision to make. We need to decide whether the player will be able to move in the 3rd dimension (x,y,z axis) or just x,y axis, as in most rts games. Now we think it would be great to make this game that much more realistic, by having it be full 3D, but the problem is we need a way for the player to be able to move his ships. Other games have attempted this, i.e. HomeWorld, but didn''t really succeed. So I was wondering if anyone had any ideas about a movement system that would allow the player to move in 3 dimensions, have good control over his units, but also, to remain not over-complex. Thanks, Fireball

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Are you talking about full 3D or layers of 3D (like say high, medium, low levels)?

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Well, both are a possibility. We were mostly leaning towards full 3d though, if possible. But the gameplay issues is what we need to resolve, meaning we need to figure out an efficient system of movement.

Thanks,
Fireball

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Well, I haven''t played Homeworld so I''m not sure how they did it. But you could have it that on the main screen, if you click the ships will be moved to your current location (this is assuming you can zoom around the map). If you want to move ships without going to the location, you could have three mini maps, one for each dimension. Then to move the ships to a location you click once in each of the maps. Also, for zooming around the map you could have moving the mouse to the edges of the screen will rotate your view, and then the mousewheel or two keyboard keys could move you into and out of the screen.

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Homeworld had no DEPTH CUES!!

Take a hint from those 3d soccer games and use perspectival 3 dimensional arrows, ie ones that warp according to depth.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I''ve tried playing homeworld (and a couple of other "true 3D" RTS games) and I must say I''ve never faced such a daunting learning curve. If you want your game to be accessible to relative newbies, and not just the dedicated hard-core simulator playing crowd, I HIGHLY recommend considering a 2D playing field.

For good examples, check out the games "Earth and Beyond" (which is actually a MMORPG, but uses a superb 2D in 3D space navigation model) or "Conquest" (which is strictly a 2D space RTS but still works very well within those confines).

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Guest Anonymous Poster
That last anonymous post (referencing "Earth and Beyond" and "Conquest: Frontier Wars" was written by:

Brian Lacy
Smoking Monkey Studios

Comments? Questions? Curious?
brian@smoking-monkey.org

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Hmm, I think that actual precise movement commands for a ship, if in full 3d, is not really necesary. You should be able to send the ship flying in a direction, or flying near a target object, or keeping it''s distance from enemy ships, or staying as close to its enemy target as possible, movement commands such as this. Wouldn''t need too much ai scripting for these simple ai states, and in space, you don''t NEED the level of movement control that games such as Homeworld used. In that game, the ONLY time I used 3d movement mode, was to make the ship fly to a ship that was too far above my plane of movement, which didn''t occur that often anyway.

If you do require that level of control, then I would suggest moving the ships on a 2d plane and then being able to select a height.

I think that the move the ships to the camera position was a good idea as well, but I think that if you opt for the precise movement as opposed to the fuzzy movement I mentioned above that you stay in 2d.

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