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RTS resources v2.0

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One year ago i posted a thread here for the discussion of an alternative resource gathering method in an RTS. This is the same idea but reworked (thanks to the response and ideas i got in the old thread) GAME STYLE Scale wise similar to Tiberian Sun and any of the newer Westwood games. The normal RTS controls system. The player can set up fortifications and unit production facilities (perhaps this can somehow be incorporated in a better way in the resource system), there are no resource generating/storing buildings. THE MAPS Each map is split into smaller sections and each section has a corresponding flag in the center. Whoever controls the flag controls the area. Quite obviously there are no flags on water areas (unless there are water units in the game). RESOURCES (Money, credits, whatever you want to call it) Resources are given to you with regular intervals based on how many flags you control. This can represent being paid by your superiors based on your progress. An alternative would be to get a set amount of UNITS with regular intervals based on the same factor. We ignore the unit based alternative for now and look at the resource gaining more closely. As someone suggested in the old thread resources are NOT added per flag, ie: you don't get a fixed amount per controlled flag, instead you get a fixed amount base on the amount of flags you control according to a graph. Flags controlled, Resources gained per update (example graph) 1 - 500 2 - 750 3 - 1250 4 - 2000 5 - 3000 After the first few controlled flags the amount of resources per flag is increasing. This means basically that the first few flags won't make much of a difference, but when you start reaching the larger amounts one flag can make a big difference. You can also change the system so that the gain per flag slowly decreases the more flags you control. This would make flag controlling less vital in the middle/late part of a game match. Even more interesting is making the amount of cash gained per flag entirely based on the amount of neutral (non-claimed) flags on the map. That is, the less flags that are neutral, the more money you earn per controlled flag. This makes it so that in the beginning flags are less important as the amount of resources gained per flag is low, but as players slowly claim more territory, the controlled flags becomes more and more valuable. If two players each control a half of the total amount of flags, even ONE flags difference could mean win or loss. As i said earlier i also thought of replacing gained RESOURCES with gained UNITS. That is, you never earn money, instead you are sent reinforcements based on your progress... Details on how you actually control a flag will be added later. (please excuse my somewhat lacking english today) [edited by - Ganryu on December 2, 2002 9:27:55 AM]

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Hmm. This sounds very limiting. Why not make a normal RTS with the capabilities to create a custom map like this? This sounds exactly like those "zone control" maps in Starcraft.

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Fuzztrek: Maybe he wants to make something a bit more original than yet another ''Normal'' RTS?

However, I am intrigued by these ''zone control'' maps you speak of... I''ll have to try them out.

Ganryu: You have to be very careful with the shape of the growth curve. If one flag can make too much difference, then the balance is too easily upset - just losing one flag might mean the end of the game.

My gut instinct tells me that the amount per flag should decrease as more flags are controlled. To get it right though, you''ll probably want to do some playtesting. (it might be worth firing up SC''s map editor if you can do this sort of thing with it)

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Thanks for the feedback so far

FLAG CAPTURING
To control a flag, a player needs to move a unit close to it (structures do not count). When a unit is moved close to a neutral flag it will be captured.

If a player leaves a flag without units nearby the flag it will still count as you''re controlling it. This means that capturing a flag and then moving units away from it will not make you loose control.

To capture an enemy''s flag you must be the only player with units within the flags "capture radius". Then the flag will shift owner. If more than one players units are close to the flag (non allies) the flag is considered a "front" flag (i need a better word for it). Front flags do not count towards controlled territory.

Example:
Player A captures flag F and places units close to it. Now player B moves his units towards F and starts fighting A''s units. This flag will not count towards any player''s flag total until ONE player controls ALL units close to it. If the battle ends with B''s victory, then he will control the flag (unless A wins)

In short:
A unit close to a flag will capture that flag unless there are enemy units around, in which case the flag will belong to no one until the fight is over.

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quote:
Original post by Sandman
Fuzztrek: Maybe he wants to make something a bit more original than yet another ''Normal'' RTS?

However, I am intrigued by these ''zone control'' maps you speak of... I''ll have to try them out.


Sure, but I say more is better. Why not make a game that can do all this and more? Seems like you would drastically limit your audience by creating a game like this. This is practically exactly like zone control.

Zone control pretty much goes like this:

You get one square to start. Your square produces one unit a second. After you get so many units, you can go and attack other people''s squares. You get so much money for every kill you make, and if you get 250 minerals you get a science vessel, which can take over unused squares. Then that second square produces units every second, so you have double the amount of units. You keep on going like this until you destroy veryone elses squares (usually marked by a bunker or something similar). You can also upgrade your units so that they are more effective, etc.

I dunno. To me your game sounds an awful lot like zone control. I think what most people want in games is different mechanics instead of levels. Thats probably a poor choice of words, but you see a lot of posts around here that are mostly about the way the game functions instead of the way it is played.

EG: Most people discuss unit behavior, terrain, movement, AI, and stuff like that. I am very interested in new ways of increasing resources (or new ways of harvesting, etc.)

I''m not totally against your game, I just think it could be much more creative. At a certain point you have to say "Is this game a totally inovative new RTS or a completly other genre?". Most RTS''s let your harvest lumber, build units, attack, etc. However some people seem to think that using these 3 parts of an RTS is copying. To me it''s the way RTS''s should be made. It''s like if you called "The Sims" a first person shooter because you can make people slap each other. It doesn''t make sense.

- Fuzztrek





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Ganyru,

Have you played Z:Steel Soldiers (and its sequel)? It is a strategy game where you take over different zones of the map and get more resources if you have them...sounds exactly like what you are thinking, and it was pretty cool (put a bit of a new spin on the labouring RTS genre).

I don''t want to sound to negative but it seems as though your line of thinking is taking the current RTS resource collection paradigm and limiting it even further.

1. You are taking the three or so normal resource types and compacting it back to 1, that being "resources", rather than wood, gold, oil etc.

2. You are replacing gold mines/tiberium or whatever with a flag. This cuts down on strategy in a number of ways:

i. Instead of needing resource gatherers you just "get" the resources automatically, no tactical attacking of the supply lines to cut off your enemies resources.

ii. Linking back to 1, instead of thinking "I need wood, and the only forest left is over near the enemy, this will be a tough challenge" you will just say, well I need resources, why bother going near the enemy when that flag over there will do just as good.

3. It seems to encourage rapid growth and "tank rushes" rather than any greater strategy. If you exponetially get more money for flags then you will just send all your tanks out to start taking over new locations, as they do this you will get more money and therefore more tanks and it would turn into the player that can move their tanks to the flags the quickest wins, this would only serve to increase the tank rush epidemic in current RTS games.

Anyways, I just wanted to pose those thoughts and see what you think. Given these things though, the RTS genre does needs a complete overhaul and your thinking is certainly going to help.

Doolwind

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"i. Instead of needing resource gatherers you just "get" the resources automatically, no tactical attacking of the supply lines to cut off your enemies resources."

Did you read my second post?

If you have units within a certain radius from a flag it won''t generate income for that player. IMO this encourages players to go agressively against nearby enemy flags as that will mean that player gets less income that way...

Thanks to something you pointed out i will now rehaul the flag capturing system!

TO CAPTURE A FLAG v1.5
To capture an enemy''s flag you must be the only player with INFANTRY units within the flags "capture radius". Then the flag will shift owner. If more than one player''s INFANTRY units are close to the flag (non allies) the flag is considered a "front" flag (i need a better word for it). Front flags do not count towards controlled territory.

If a unit in that radius is under enemy fire, ie Artillery or other long range weapons the area will also be considered as a "front" flag. (i''m not sure about this part)

I was also thinking of having a specific unit for capturing flags, but this will take the game in a far too restricted direction i think.

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This had been to done to absolute DEATH in Warcraft 3 and Starcraft "Zone Control" and "Madness" maps.

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Doolwind''s post gave me another idea.

Perhaps you could enforce connectivity for all captured flags: ie for a flag to ''count'' you have to be able to draw a direct path from that flag to another flag without crossing enemy or contested terrain.

Depending on how things go, you could potentially wipe out a large portion of your opponent''s resources with by parking a unit in a strategic spot.

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quote:
Original post by Ganryu
Did you read my second post?

If you have units within a certain radius from a flag it won''t generate income for that player. IMO this encourages players to go agressively against nearby enemy flags as that will mean that player gets less income that way...



Yeah I did read it, sorry if I didn''t make myself to clear...

I meant that all you need is units in the area to get the money. There is no need to transport any actual resources back to a base. If you want to stop someone from getting the resources at point A the only strategy you have is to destroy all the units at point A. In current RTS games you can do that, or attack the resource gather or destroy the mine/tiberium itself etc. It just seems to be limiting the strategies avaialable without actually giving any positives.

What is the difference between "capturing" a flag, and having units in the area to defend the resource gatherers going to a mine? It just seems to be stating the obvious, that you "control" that area. And in doing so limits the strategies of "controlling" a resource (your only option is by having more troops in the area so you can fend off any attack).

Does that make a little more sense?

Doolwind

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quote:
Original post by Doolwind
What is the difference between "capturing" a flag, and having units in the area to defend the resource gatherers going to a mine? It just seems to be stating the obvious, that you "control" that area. And in doing so limits the strategies of "controlling" a resource (your only option is by having more troops in the area so you can fend off any attack).



Good question. What is the difference?

From a strategy point of view, not a lot, depending on the details of the implementation. From a gameplay point of view, it means you have fewer units to control and therefore less micromanagement.

I don't see how it substantially limits your strategic options - how many extra strategic options do peons actually give you? Why not just abstract them away? I'm genuinely curious, I don't feel that peon pumping really adds that much to the game.

Also, are there any decent zone maps for SC? e.g maps with more interesting terrain than the chess board maps I've seen so far?

Ganryu: You need to consider possible exploits as well - for example, could a player with lots of cheap units flood his opponent's terrain periodically, contesting all his flags just long enough to deny him his cash?

[edited by - Sandman on December 2, 2002 8:06:18 PM]

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quote:
Original post by Sandman
I don''t see how it substantially limits your strategic options - how many extra strategic options do peons actually give you? Why not just abstract them away? I''m genuinely curious, I don''t feel that peon pumping really adds that much to the game.


I agree that abstracting peons away could save on micromanagement, but I still believe there are a couple of strategies that would be lost....

1. As I said before, attacking an enemies unguarded peons, rather than the heavily defended resource themselves.

2. The whole idea of exactly how much money to spend on building new peons at the expense of building military units (to defend them and your base).

It is really whether loosing strategies such as these would be outwayed by the reduced micromanagement. Personally I think the number of strategies in current RTS games are so limited that loosing two would leave players with too few strategies.

However if other, NEW, strategies could be introduced (from other areas of the game) then the benefits of the reduced micromanagement would definately be a good thing.

Doolwind

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Thanks for all the replies!

Anyway... Sandmans suggestion was really interesting as it would allow for blocking out territory for your opponent.

TO CAPTURE A FLAG v1.6
Refined rules: To GAIN RESOURCES from a territory that territory needs to be connected to the main territy through a consistent chain of flags. If anyone of those flags are CAPTURED the other flags will not gain you resources.

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I still like the idea of zone control more, but different zones should be worth different values depending on location, and difficulty to aquire.

-----------
I MADE ALL OF YOU WAIT 3 DAYS FOR A MEXICAN WRESTLER!

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I still like the idea of zone control more, but different zones should be worth different values depending on location, and difficulty to aquire.

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I MADE ALL OF YOU WAIT 3 DAYS FOR A MEXICAN WRESTLER!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Holy double post Batman!

Anyway, I find that this is more suited to a FPS like Battlefield 1942 than an RTS because people expect the same ol'', same ol'' for an RTS.

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Some interesting ideas and some interesting additions to the ideas about cutting off resources.

Here''s my two cents thrown in (of course with length of my posts...more like a quarter as usual ). First, I''m not sure it''s a good idea to add captured territories to your own. When you do this it''s a double bonus for the winning player (he adds 1, the opponent loses for a net effect of +2 for the winner). And more to the point realistically this isn''t how war is waged. When territories are captured it is to deny the facilities to the enemy, not to add to the conquering countries resources. When a conquering country starts doing that, the partisan and guerrila activity sky rockets and the act of sabotage and guerrila warfare isn''t worth the added materials. And consider the logistics of retooling the machines or of sending all the food to the invading troops? Some things don''t need retooling like oil, mineral deposits, but when it comes to food...the subjugated people are very attached to their food So raw materials might be a viable "capture", but it shouldn''t be at the same rate it provided for the original owner. I think that once you capture a flag it should not add so much to the capturing player as deny the resources to the original owner.

The idea of strategically blockading a region is very good. In the Pacific campaign of WWII, the American forces would "leapfrog" islands letting the Japanese garrison forces "whither on the vine". Once they blockaded the Japanese ships to resupply them, the Japanese troops starved to death and were unable to use the islands as invasion staging points. The same principle can be used in land warfare. The failed Operation Market Garden was essentially an attempt to outmanuever German forces, cut off the Germans behind their back while simultaneously taking the back road to Berlin. If the plan succeeded, then Holland would have been bypassed, cutting off all the German forces. And look at how Germany defeated France....just slipping through Belgium to outflank the Maginot line.

The whole issue of maps is actually a very important one. I was always impressed with Shogun (and I prseume Medieval: Total War) how there was a grand strategical map, and once you decided to fight it zoomed in to a tactical map. Choosing when and where you fight is paramount to a commander''s survial and victory. From the way you describe your game, I''m assuming you''re looking at the game from a more grand strategic outlook (think Risk or Axis and Allies). If you want this at a more tactical scale ala Westwood style games, it can still be done, but I think the pacing of the game will have to be slowed down compared to that style.

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This sound like Sudden Strike, this is much like the multiplayer game style in this game, maybe you want to see it.

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Here''s my own take on the resource issue:

Each territory has in it a combination of raw materials, manufacturing capacity and "people power". Raw Materials are the things you need to make the instruments of war and to keep them running. This includes oil, food, minerals, etc. Manufacturing capacity is the ability of the territory to turn those raw goods into something useful...with one caveat. That caveat depends on "people power". People power is what runs the factories and "fuels" the military service including the raw bodies to fill shoes, and the education for training the laborers and skilled warriors. You may have excellent factories but not enough skilled laborers to run them. Ditto in that you may have a great army before attrition takes its toll...then you''ll need training academies for those pilots, tankers, warship captains, etc etc.

There will be no "archer buildings", or "tank plants" to be built during the game. The above three factors will essentially determine what you can build along with a tech level. Tech increases basically allow you to build upgraded units or possibly to make them cheaper. There will be different areas in which you can focus your research area. Education to make more skilled workers, processing to make raw materials easier to gather, and production to make producing units easier, and then science to make more effective weapons/ships/etc.

When you capture a territory you will only get a fraction of the territories resources. As time goes by then you get more if you treat the populace well.

Now just because you don''t build actual "tank plants" or "infantry barracks" doesn''t mean they don''t exist. The player has to chose where these centers are, dividing the output between these centers. Ditto goes for manufacturing centers as well as certain resources. The player does not build them as time goes on, instead they are placed at the beginning of the game. It''s up to the enemy to find out where his most vital industrial complexes and resource centers are to try to knock them out. It''s very similar to today''s RTS games with the major difference being that you don''t build them as the game plays...but they are still prime targets. The other difference is that from the scale of my game,

Land in and of itself is usually only good to use as a staging area for further attacks. The real objectives are the heart that pumps the blood (the raw materials and manufacturing facilities), the muscles (the armed forces) and the mind (the government or in some cases the people). War has taught that it is very hard to fight the mind (the horrible civilian bombing campaigns did very little to demoralize the German people, and Sherman''s campaign of total war only pissed the southerners off more in the Civil War), and fighting the muscles is difficult as well obviously. Therefore the best target is the heart. Only problem there is that they tend to be the best guarded. But that''s what the fun of battle is all about

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Dauntless-

What timeframe is your game going to span?? As in would the average game (in game time) be a few weeks, months or years? If it was years (and perhaps even months) shouldn''t the ability to build new factories be available to the user? Also the ability to move workers around or trian them up in building a certain weapon. Or are you taking care of this in a different way??

It seems that if you build them all at the beginning it is limiting your ability to change your tactics during the conflict. If you loose a territory with major tank building abilities wouldn''t you want to build up another territories tank building abilities with a degree in tank building (at the local university) and a tank factory?

I do like the idea though of territory having those three factors instead of just a "tank factory" though. However, I think if you abstract it out too far the player will loose too much control. Or is this what you were planning so that when they loose a territory with a tank building abilities (factory, men and resources) they either have to take it back or take another territory with tank building abilities??

Doolwind

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Doolwind-
Good question. I envision the game spanning at the least several months, and at the most about 5-6 years. As for allowing the conquering side to build up his own factories, while it''s possible, I''m not sure if that''s feasible. When you look at history''s examples, the conqueror did not turn around and use the subjugated nation''s manufacturing centers to produce goods for his own army. Indeed, even things like food was taken sparingly, again, for fear of making the people rise up.

Part of the problem is logistics. If manufacturing plants build a certain kind of vehicle, you would have to retool the machinery to produce your own equipment. Also, there''s the problem of sabotage...would you really trust equipment made at the hands of a vanquished opponent? Related to that, how do you get a conquered people to build things for you? While it is possible to ship your workers to the plants, think of the logistics involved in doing that and also considering the possibility that the territory might be recaptured. Would the workers be familiar with foreign equipment in another language? So that idea really isn''t feasible either.

There is the third problem of building new factories, processing plants, etc. The problem is that it takes time to both build the infrastructure for the buildings and the skilled workers to man them. I''ve often thought that the time scale in RTS games were all wrong. Troops moved across the board way too quickly, buildings could be built in too short of a time span, units were built too quickly and units killed themselves way too quickly as well. In my game, while the initial placement of troops is very quick (in my game world, a division worth of troops can be orbitally inserted virtually anywhere on a planet in a matter of less than an hour) once the troops are deployed, going from one end of the map to the opposite should take half an hour of real time. Partially because the units move slower, and also because the maps will be bigger. Because of the time scale problems in RTS games, the strategy is you control a piece of territory, send some troops to defend it, then build your manufacturing center. In real life, it would literally take at least several months to do this. In game time, you can do this in a few minutes, which when scaled into game time would probably be a few weeks.

The best bet is not in utilizing the manufacturing centers but in the raw materials, the main exception being food. But things like oil, and mineral ore are definitely things that can be taken by the victor fairly easily. Food is an exception because if the people start starving or even have less, they will get unruly, and guerrila warfare and partisan activity will increase. If you put the civilians to the thumb screws, if there are any neutral parties in the game world, they may go against you for being "evil". It''s one thing to take things like oil or minerals which are unnecessary for human life, quite another to take life giving food to feed your own army.

As for how abstract the materials and manufacturing capabilities will be I haven''t fully thought out yet. I was thinking more along the lines of what you thought...that the system is more abstracted, so if the territory is lost with the "armored plant facilities", then the player needs to capture it back or rebuild new plants. I''m still working on that part....what do you think would be better? So far I''m leaning towards a more abstract system where you essentially have a table that reads off your capabilities. When you need more troops you put in your request from a central point rather than click on each building to ask what you want from it. The only non-abstract thing will be the actual physical locations of the various manufacturing centers. This needs to be concretely known so the enemy can attack it (assuming of course he''s done the intelligence work to find out where it is).

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What about when you research a new technology and you really want more of it. Say when you start, tanks are the big thing, so you have heaps of tank factories, but few infantry weapon factories (I am assuming both infantry weapons and tank''s aren''t built in the same factory). Then all of a sudden you research the mortar (my personal favourite weapon of all time). What happens if you want to start building a lot of these. If the game spans serveral months or more wouldn''t you either build a new factory to pump out more mortars or at least send your workers from the tank factory to the mortar factory to increase the number you can build there. Abstracting all this away seems like it would work well for most of the game, except for a few small cases that are vital, such as this one.

And realistically, if you lost all of your tank factories, wouldn''t you start building a new one just in case you can''t take back that territory you just lost?

Doolwind

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