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Multiple map levels for an RTS

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You could have a bazillion levels in an FPS or Diablo game and never have to worry because you only have to pay attention to one level at a time. But what about for an RTS? How could you invade a skyscraper, or an underground base, or a multi-deck starship? RTS games, even the current crop of 3D games, mostly rely on you being on one level. Nesting is not allowed (there is a recent exception, which has you fighting both in caverns, and on the ground, but that''s nothing compared to a multistory building.) Here''s a shot at it: The minimap shows a profile of the building that lets you click on any floor you like. Each floor works like a progress bar: The amount of emptiness equals vacancy, and the amount of your color or your enemies equals your strengths on that level. To jump to a level, click on it. Each floor is also like an island on one very long verticle map. If you scroll to the top or bottom of the screen, you automatically switch to the next floor. You can bookmark several floors and switch back to them with the press of a key. Comments? -------------------- Just waiting for the mothership...

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Well, I won''t comment on the vertical issue becaus I hadn''t thought of it before, but I have one thought though.
Say you have a massive map of a continent, with armies all over the place (only big flags symmobilizing your army, no single units), and say you had another game mode where you go battle another army on the battle field.
How would you deal with the change of scope, and how would you choose the limits of the battle field ?

would there be no limit to the battle field, a little bit like the Tribes map, that don''t seem to have edeges. Or would there be a sharp edge which, once passe by a troop would mean that the troop has run away...
Would you modelise the whole world at a battle field scale, but then, how the heck do you know what to load when you zoom in. As well, if you have two battles happening at the same time, how would you switch and deal with it, maybe use a system like the Homeworld strategic view/tactical view ?

I guess the issues are not totally the same, but I just couldn''t help asking.

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I have a preference for not dividing the player''s attention beyond one battle. So the player could focus on only one battle at a time. All others would be abstractly fought. You''d need a rules system that could handle both abstract and actual battles, of course.

As far as the map goes, unless you can do something funky with fractal terrain generation, I''m for bounding the fight-- although, you could have REALLY huge maps if you wanted to get around players being able to back up into a corner defense-wise.

I have to think about this some more. My instinct tells me to limit the fight, but with fractal terrain you could have lots of territory. Units getting lost, scrolling about the field, and the time it takes to get into a fight because of distance could all be tricky (which is why I''m initially for bounding). The minimap would have to scroll, too, which I''m not so happy about.

Now, of course, if the minimap itself had multiple zoom levels... I guess this is more like Homeworld... but I''m still for one fight in one place, because half the fun is actually being able to see the battle...

Just waiting for the mothership...

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The flight sim Falcon 4.0 has in their campaigns a bubble system. There''s a 3D bubble(radius ~20km) around the player and anything within that bubble is placed in the 3D engine and the individual bombs and bullets are matched against the armour values of the targets. Anything outside the bubble is given an attack value plus a probability to hit and the results are figured out on a group vs. group result table.

There has to be some sort of limits on the number of items to be calculated.

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Zoomboy : mmmmh, that''s a nice idea, which I had imagined already. What I don''t see is how would you do a smooth transition. I mean, either the bubble is always moving with the plane (or whatever the reference is), in this case you are constatntly loading/unloading... which I can''t see as something good.
Or you would have the radius move after a certain amount of movement... like a subradiues inside which the plane could freely move before the load radius is moved... interesting, I had never thought of it like that !
Anyway, how do they do it in a MMORPG. When you switch zone do you actually cross a line, and that''s it ? I thought no programmer ould dare do such a crude implementation, but is that the way it works ?

Wavinator : if you don''t want to divide the attention of the player by doing several battles, then I don''t really think you would have to worry about the player''s attention on several levels. If you really think about it, you don''t invade a building by all its levels simultaeously. Rather you start invading by the ground floor and up, or he roof and down, or ...
Of course after a while you could have lots of units dispersed around the building, but the front, where the battle is, is usually on only one place.
Anyway, if I can suggest ONE feature if you want lots of units all over the place : a unit retriever. Because I don''t want to scroll the map looking for my hero inside a bunker anymore ! (and NO the minimap is not enough)
Do you plan to use an isometric view for battles ? and do yo plan to have floors that actually communicate with each other ? Because otherwise I am not sure the problems are the same, or that hard to deal with.

youpla :-P

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