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nickmerritt

Artillery? In Space?

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nickmerritt    122
I''m designing a RTS in space but i''m haveing diffilties coming up with classes of units. As stated in other post it is important to have different class. I though of a few but really need more. -fighters a really good against big huge battleship things because the huge weapons can''t hit the fast little fighter things. I have somemore but i''m still thinking bout them. Nick

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Waverider    169
Sentry guns (stationary, like the guns on battleships)
Mines - could explode or send out energy bursts
Assault transports - slow moving with heavy weaponry, built to withstand a pounding

Various classes of fighters:
* Light and quick - scout craft
* Cumbersome with heavy armor and weaponry, hit and run, not built for heavy dogfighting - bombers
* Medium speed and armor with decent weapons - dogfighting craft (my personal favorite)

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Guest Anonymous Poster   
Guest Anonymous Poster
Try checking out Homeworld for a few ideas (great space based RTS)

The units in homeworld are based around just a few classes or units, but with many different types.

Eg. Fighter Class - Scouts, defenders, interceptors

You could try following a similar idea. Plus with only a few class types you could save time by reusing models

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Taharez    203
I''ve modelled a bunch of these and plan on doing some more, then on to weapons.

Small vessels
-Scouts. Long sensor range, quick and agile. A few specialized weapons and items.
-Fighter. Different types, large selection of weapons / equipment.
-Hunter. Larger, more durable and heavier weapons than fighters, requires more the one in the crew ( pilot + gunners ).
-Bomber. Medium armour, medium speed, no defence, but high damage against large ships ( if they get close enough to fire ).
-Stealth versions of the above, hight power drain when cloaking, lesser weapons capacity

Large vessels
-Destroyer. Quite small and relativly agile, medium armour and a small number of light weapon turrets.
-Cruiser. Heavily armoured with ability to equip most turrets, slow moving but protected by turrets in all directions.
-Behemoth. Extremely tough, can carry all turret types. Also very slow moving.
-Carrier, different sizes. Ability to host, refuel and re-equip figthers. Large, slow, and with a minimum of defensive turrets.
-If the games uses warp/jump gates, the large vessels can open them ( except the destroyer ).

Specialist spacecraft
-Scanning vessel. Medium size, low armour and moderatly fast, but with extreme sensor range. Best used as part of a fleet in transit, when expecting an attack.

Misc weapons and objects
-As Waverider said, Mine Fields in different types ( varying damage, area of effect ). Optionally with cloaking ability for that extra surprise effect
-Turrets, a lot of different types. Mounted on the large ship classes.
-Drones. One swarm can be carried by Carrier in a Fighter slot, used for close-up defense against enemy fighters. There could also be drones for various other tasks, such as repairing/refueling nearby large ships, or scouting.
-Platform. A free-floating structure that can be fitted with a turret, used for defense of strategic areas. Could optionally be fitted with some kind of scanner and act like early warning systems or detect cloaked vessels.

If the game uses bases, there''s a whole bunchs of types you could have, different sorts of mining facilities, refineries, command centre, docks, ..

Hope there''s something you can use

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Dauntless    314
Classes shouldn''t feel artifical. By this I mean that they should all have functional roles that fit within a larger scheme. Units fit within a larger whole, and all the units should play off the strenghts and weaknesses of the entire organization.

In other words, units are like players in a team. You can''t have a team made up of all running backs, or all Quarterbacks...but that''s how some RTS games play out. They dole out the unit types in what I call the "Development Tree" syndrome. Basically this means that the units that you start out with tend to be very basic, and only by researching technology do you gain the more advanced units to play with. To me, this is a very stupid gimmick that early games used as a coolness factor. My major point of contention is that while technologies do increase, units are not created in a vacuum.

Take for example fighters in a space sim game. What good are fighters without carriers to transport them? And what good are Destroyer Escorts (or the original and more older Naval term Corvette) if they have nothing to protect? What good is having a naval fleet if you don''t have somewhere to dock and refit them (a starbase)? Unfortunately, this is what tech trees do....they create contrived unit classes that the player "earns". Unless your game spans scores of years....tech trees should not introduce new unit types. If you think about it....there have been almost ZERO new unit types invented since the turn of this century (submarines, flying aircraft, carriers, battleships, tanks, artillery and everything inbetween has existed this century....the difference has been in how well they do what they do). The only notable exception I can think of are missles (and I don''t include helicopters or jet craft, as these are really just specialized types of aircraft). Now there HAVE been some inventions, but they have changed the way units are used....for example the aforementioned jet technology, radio, and atmoic weapons.

But my point is that actual unit TYPES has not varied almost at all since the turn of the 20th century. So if you think of unit types, make sure that ALL of them are available to the player at the beginning of the game.

I''d highly recommend going to a bookstore and looking at any Naval warbook for your inspirations. Think about what technological levels will exist in your game and how it might impact unit design. For example, in my game I have two factions with two different forms of FTL travel. One side has developed a warp tunnel engine which essentially creates a worm hole into a dimension with curved space. It means that travel is not instantaneous, but they can immediately go into this "warp space" whenever they please (albeit not near gravity wells). The other side uses a Quantum Leap effect, and instantaneously transports the ships. It''s downside is calculating the Quantum effect and powering up the engines which take time. However, it is not as affected by Gravity wells.

Try not to think of Rocks/Papers/Scissors analogy for your unit designs. In real life, one unit is often effective against many other unit types, but can in turn be vulnerable to many unit types (an aircraft carrier for example). Also, some small units CAN take out larger vessels if they are skillful or lucky (in WWII even battleships had to watch out for destroyers with torpdeo launchers). So really, no one class is necessarily designed to take out another class of ship. The closest "speciality" ships there are are Escort ships which are designed to defend their targets (usually either merchant ships or other larger ships).

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Taharez    203
Great post Dauntless, maybe it''s time to do a version of Dwarfsoft''s Doc for RTS games? Although I agree with all you''re saying, I do think there needs to be some way of rewarding the player for completing missions in a campaign. Also, there''s the learning factor to take into account, if the player is given all unites and structures at the beginning of the game, won''t it overwhelm him? I''m sure there''s a bunch of solutions to these issues, just need to come up with a few Also, you might find this article interesting ( or annoying, as you don''t agree with the author )

nickmerritt: Not exactly, I''m doing some models and graphics for someone that is though. Good luck with you project =D

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Dauntless    314
I don''t agree with Geoffery Dunn''s analysis at all that Chess takes a RPS style of unit balancing. He even says himself that a lowly pawn can take out a Queen....to me this negates the whole concept of RPS. He even asserts that how can you say a Bishop is better than a rook?

To me, RPS is a system wherein one unit type is designed to counter another unit type. Let''s say there are 5 unit types:

a < b
b < c
c < d
d < e
e < f

However, there is no commutatitve property that asserts that a < c or c < e. In other words, A is ONLY definitely beaten by a unit B. However, it may be equal to unit C. In chess, there is no such thing, as any one unit can beat anyone other unit depending on the circumstances.

What I detest most (and yes I do mean detest) about RPS is that it concentrates the player''s attention on the unit itself rather than how to use that unit. To me, the more interesting variables in strategy games aren''t what to use and in what quantity, but rather what are the other extenuating circumstances and variables that affect the properties of the unit. For example, is one unit fatigued while the other is fresh? Does one side have terrain advantages? Does one side have superior commanders or better morale? To me, these elements are more interesting than the question, "what type of unit do I use?" that RPS stresses.

RPS game balancing simply can not simulate battles in which inferior forces defeated larger superior forces because they do not answer these questions. Moreover, even if RPS balanced games did factor in these questions, reality has shown that it is not really what kind of unit is used, but rather how you use it.

Maybe I think the way I do because of my martial arts training, but we learn that all techniques and all weapons have their place. In fact, I was just reading Miyamoto Musashi''s classic "The Book of Five Rings" about his view of weapons. In it he says that swords are good weapons because they are good general purpose weapons...but they are not inherently the BEST weapon. What''s more important is for the warrior to understand the nature of his weapon, and understand it is a tool. Musashi went on to say that while a spear may have an advantage in long range combat out in the open against a sword-wielder, if the sword wielder knew how to get into range that the advantage could be taken away....but on the other hand, a skilled spear wielder could learn how to minimize his weaknesses even in close combat (by using the spear much like a staff).

The gist is that even inherent weaknesses in weapons can be minimized or even used as an advantage depending on the circumstances. I believe that RPS simply can not account for this. Other forms of balancing must be put into place to allow for these possibilities.

I''m rather hard against RPS for two basic reasons....I think it is unimaginative and I think it is unrealistic. The realism part some will argue is not important because realism != fun. However the unimaginative part is I believe a fun factor element...as I believe other forms of balancing can provide more levels of depth and gameplay options allowing for multiple paths to victory.

As for rewarding players for progressing through the campaign, I suggest having persistent unit types that progress in experience. Not only is this rewarding in terms of better fighting characteristics, but it builds a sense of history and esprit de corps...and you become attached to those units. Things that happen in real life.

In regards to overwhelming the player at the beginning with unit variety, I''d suggest training missions at the beginning that slowly train the player into integrating combined arms warfare. For example, having a player escort some merchant ships and protecting them at first against cloaked vessels (space equivalents of submarines) and then maybe against fighter craft. Then you could have training missions involving protecting a space carrier while also having the carrier space forces attack other objects...requiring the player to learn defensive skills as well as utilizing attack skills with a different unit type.

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Taharez    203
quote:

The gist is that even inherent weaknesses in weapons can be minimized or even used as an advantage depending on the circumstances. I believe that RPS simply can not account for this. Other forms of balancing must be put into place to allow for these possibilities.

I''m rather hard against RPS for two basic reasons....I think it is unimaginative and I think it is unrealistic. The realism part some will argue is not important because realism != fun. However the unimaginative part is I believe a fun factor element...as I believe other forms of balancing can provide more levels of depth and gameplay options allowing for multiple paths to victory.



Yes, I quite agree. However, the reason that most RTS games uses this simple system is the lack of evolution, the genre hasn''t really evolved since the first games. The gamedev companies generally focus on graphical improvements before working on a new set of gameplay mechanics. Also, a large amount of options tend to confuse the average player, so the trick would be implementing the new system without significantly increasing the complexity of using it.

quote:

As for rewarding players for progressing through the campaign, I suggest having persistent unit types that progress in experience. Not only is this rewarding in terms of better fighting characteristics, but it builds a sense of history and esprit de corps...and you become attached to those units. Things that happen in real life.



Again, I agree. A system similar to that in the first X-COM games might be a good start, although you''d want to simplify it when working with a large amount of units. In the end of a game, if you had troopers that had survived since the start, you could have really fast men with high accursy.

quote:

In regards to overwhelming the player at the beginning with unit variety, I''d suggest training missions at the beginning that slowly train the player into integrating combined arms warfare. For example, having a player escort some merchant ships and protecting them at first against cloaked vessels (space equivalents of submarines) and then maybe against fighter craft. Then you could have training missions involving protecting a space carrier while also having the carrier space forces attack other objects...requiring the player to learn defensive skills as well as utilizing attack skills with a different unit type.



But wouldn''t this give the player a specific solution to a problem? They would then probably assume that that solution was the only possible one, or at least the most effective. If you really wanted the player to come up with his own tactics, a simulator with all units available to test would probably be the only way to go. You could of course provide some sort of guidance, but that would have to be in a general form.

Would you agree to turn this discussion into the base of a document in line with dwarfsoft''s? I think that the RTS genre is in need of some creativity

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Dauntless    314
Part of the fun of playing is experimenting and exploring with units Indeed this is another reason I don''t like RPS as basically the calculations are done for you, and the gameplay comes from applying the formulaic rules of victory to win battles (and ensure that your manufacturing and resources can give you a superior quantity of forces).

So even though the training missions may show one way of using units, the player will hopefully experiment with combinations of units and their capabilities. But I see what you mean....I think players are so used to the RPS system of fixed formulaic capabilities of units that they will automatically assume this is the role that the unit was intended for.

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Inanis Serpens    122
I don''t really know for SURE how common it is in RTS, but I think it''s REALLY common, but start small. Have the player only control one unit type, have them use that unit so they get familiar with it in all situations, including situations where it would be the most efficient. Don''t tell the player that it is inefficient to a particular enemy, have them figure it out themselves. After period of time which the player gets comfortable, not an expert, but just comfortable with the unit, introduce another unit, and let the player experiment with different situations with the progressive introduction of different units.

If you give the player a situation, and let them take care of it, they develope strategies of their own, which might not include the ''use A to defeat B, and C to defeat D'' methodology. I think it makes the player more involved in what they are playing.

--------------
In the immortal words of a MST3K ape: "MAYONAAAASE"

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nickmerritt    122
One of my ideas was A kills B and B kills C and c kills A. But in certin terrian it get mixed up, B kills A and C can''t go in the picture. Would reverseing the rock-paper-scissor idea be a good one?

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Dauntless    314
What do you mean by reversing RPS? If you mean instead of A beats B, B beat C and C beats D that D beats C, C beats B, and B beats A....well, that''s still Rocks/Papers/Scissors.

I believe that the distinguishing characteristic of RPS balancing is that one unit type always beats another unit type irregardless of any other factors (other than perhaps quantity). The key concepts are "always", and "irregardless of any other factors". Here''s my favorite example: normally tanks are devestating against infantry out in the open. However, the tanks MUST be supported by other infantry units. If the same tank unit fights infantry unsupported and in a city...the the tables get turned, and the tanks will get eaten alive by the infantry (never send unsupported tanks into a city against infantry, and never send infantry against supported tanks out in the open). Do you see the difference?

In RPS, the balance would simply say, Tanks always beat infantry....even if it''s 20 infantry vs. 1 tank. It might even be more subtle. Let''s say that each side has a different kind of tank. Side A has a tank that''s very powerful but also expensive. The other side also has a tank type, but it''s not as powerful, but it''s also cheaper to produce. So RPS balancing might say, "1 Tank A = 2 Tank b". So if Tank A faced one Tank B, it will always win. In reality though, weaker units can and quite often do beat more powerful units depending on the circumstances.

RPS systems stress the question, "what kind of unit" in its battle equations virtually to the exclusion of everything else. You can have slightly modified RPS systems that do factor in other variables such as quantities or combinations of units. But the key point to remember is that you are thinking of of the units themselves, and not so much how they are used.

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Inanis Serpens    122
Why design the game around Class A beats Class B which beats Class C which....ect...?

I think units should be given abilities, and then the player should decide where these abilities are best suited.

Like the typical scout:

fast, little armor, sensors, and cloaking (or some form of camoflauge)

Who''s to say this is good against anything? maybe it''s just a good flanking-support unit, that can do some good recon.

Perhaps there is a heavy fighter, buy why does it allays have to go after the bigger ships, and why is it slow? Maybe its just a more powerful, and as a result, probably more expensive fighter. This fighter could be good at damaging anything, but the scouts might be a little fast for it, and the big ships might have enough fire power to blow it, like any other ship, out of the sky.

So, I gues what I am trying to say is:

Class A is fast, and can hide, but can''t take hits.
Class B is made for fighting, good armor, speed, and power.
Class C is a dog, but it can track fast things, and has REALLY powerful guns, and has armor up the butt.

Now, Class A might be good for taking on B, and C might be good at taking on A and B, but when you use B to directly attack C, and A to flank C, then C can''t stand up to the maneuver.


maybe I didn''t explain myself well enough, but I hope you can see the point I am trying to make. It''s not all about A, B, and C, and which one can kill the other. It''s what each type can do, and how you can use them together to take down an apponent.

--------------
In the immortal words of a MST3K ape: "MAYONAAAASE"

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nickmerritt    122
Ok this time I''ll be a little more specific and clear. Say you have a carrier that has a bunch of little fighters. The fighters are really good at killing a big ship with heavey weapons. However certin meduim sized ships are good at taking out the little fighers. Then there the huge mammoth ships that can take out the meduim sized ships. A kills B and b kills C and C kills A. Now say in a nebula where there is lots of dust and gases it mixes up what "radar" on the ships. Also the little fighters cannot leave there carrier becasue of the gases. The dust "hides" the medum ships but not the huge ships. So the meduim ships can reck havoc on the larger ones. Also i''m trying to give my ships there own little roles. Even with that you still have A beats B in such and such conditions.

Nick

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