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FiveFootFreak

Resources in games

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I never found an article on this topic anywhere, so here goes... Most games, especially strategy games, deal with some kind of resources. StarCraft uses those blue crystals simply called minerals and the green gas. Warcraft uses wood, gold and oil. Civilization has production "shields", food and trade, which is divided into research and income. Very detailed strategy games, that focus on a specific topic, usually have many more "resources". Colonization had furs, tobacco, tools, and many more, while still some other good strategy games go to the bare minimum of only one resource, like Star General or Transport Tycoon (there where many commodities in TT, but only one resource, namely, cash). My problem is, what kind of resources should be used in a detailed space strategy game, similar to Master of Orion. I don''t want to make it as easy as Civ, having only food, production and cash. I want to make the resource handling more detailed, like in Sierras "Outpost". Sierra handled this problem by introducing resources like: Minerals A, Minerals B, Minerals C, Life Support A, Life Support B, Metals A, .... That works, but is very boring and it makes it hard to keep track of the resources and to remember which was which. The other way to do it, is to pick out specific elements or materials, existing or fictional, like "Titanium, Germanium, Steel, Adamantium..." the space strategy classics "Anacreon" and "Stars" did it this way. It also works, but it may be a bit silly to build spaceships with "Germanium" and to mine "Titanium" on a barren, unvolcanic planet. A bit more attention to reality would be nice. But where''s the limit to reality? Of course I could implement all the possible elements and different molecular combinations known to man as resources and spend 20 years researching about the molecular constitution of spaceships, cities and weapons of the future and write my game then. Even if it would be possible, the game would be a micro-managing horror. I''m planing a space strategy game that is supposed to focus on resource handling. Where are the limits? Insights, comments, corrections, descriptions, thoughts.... welcome.

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think outside of the box. why not redevelop the whole concept of mineral collecting and the way the minerals are implemented. who knows.. u might think of some new ground breaking technique thats allows for more diversity and balance then other games. sure its easy to balance a system of 3 resources.. but warcraft 2 was easy to balance as well for the fact that it was the exact same units for both races.. just different sprites and sounds. but then starcraft came along that was a lil bit slightly different and more complex. this of course adds so much to the game. rock on. go nuts with mineral collection. bust outta the limits of whats allready been done.

"The human mind is limited only by the bounds which we impose upon ourselves." -iNfuSeD

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Well, fit your resources into the game, not vice versa. Here''s my list of what resources can be, and maybe thinking about each aspect gives you some ideas.

1) Currency. Some resources exist merely to be traded around in exchange for other resources or items. Such resources are versatile for a player as they can be converted into various assets, although often less quickly or efficiently than if you got those assets directly.

2) Tools. Some resources are directly useful in themselves and could be used directly. Such resources are immediately useful to a player as they can be quickly deployed, but tend to be consumed through use.

3) Construction materials. This is the commonest one, where the resources are consumed in exchange for the production of something else. These resources provide semi-permanent returns and often provide for future resource gain.

4) Substitutes. Some resources might essentially the same as another except with some benefit - being more abundant, less heavy, more durable, quicker to process, etc. These resources tend offer the player a meaningful choice as they make the trade-off between two similar resources. Choices are fun.

5) Components. These resources exist only to be turned into other components. They usually exist in the game only to highlight that the process of the end product is long and difficult and takes at least 2 steps. It also provides a vulnerability when the intermediate product is susceptible to theft or attack.

Note that these categories are all fuzzy and there is significant overlap.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files | My stuff ]

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Why not to think that cience has the power of transforming matter by manipulating electrons? Manipulating matter this days is so impossible as interestelar travel. This way you could harvest anything from rocks to bananas and manipulate that matter to obtain the raw material you need. Having matter creator and energy you only need to focus on researching technology wich (to me) is more funny than harvesting thousands of resources. Just go and harvest that silly asteroid

It's just an idea.


[edited by - xaxa on September 14, 2002 9:33:28 PM]

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iNfuSeD: A new ground-braking resource system would be, of course, great. Unfortunately reality is acutally limiting me at this point. It''s just a fact that minerals are mined by -mines (duh!) and that they are processed into useful materials which are then used to build stuff... I can''t jump out of that box, because it''s just the way it is. But you did inspire me to try and think a bit out of the line about this.

Kylotan: What you''re describing is very similar to my current prototype model. I have basic resources, which are optained directly by mining, then the intermediate processed resources and finally the ready "goods" which are consumed. Then there are produced resources which are created by buidlings, like research, espionage and currency and some special resources. This description of my current system is very vague, but I don''t want to reveal all just yet... my problem is, that my current prototype has about 40 resources of varying degrees and I wonder if anyone but me will want to play my game.

xaxa: My game is supposed to evolve around resource-management. If I let the player turn rocks into bananas, well. So much for the management part.

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