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Discussion: Resources for an MMO with RTS elements

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I'm currently working on the concept of an MMO "wing commander" type game... (See Space Based MMO Musings) and this is a side topic I'd like to discuss in relation to that. When developing an MMO game that has Real Time Strategy, and building resources in it. (Similar to shadowbane) I've come to ponder a few different ideas on how to increase depth, while at the same time not overwhelming the player with too much variety. Resources are used to build everything from ships to space stations, also resources are used to keep space stations running, and are used by research stations to do research and development. Now the question I come to is how to structure the resources. Idea 1. One type of resource. This is the source that Shadowbane took. This can be whatever you feel like naming it. Items take different ammounts of the resource and strategy becomes just finding enough of it to keep your operations going. This takes alot of depth out of resource management, as you can just find a way to get lots of the resource and then not spend any time exploring... But it also is the simplest one to use as it doesn't overwhelm the developer, or the player with options. Idea 2. Multiple types of resources. This is the route that most Real Time Strategies take. You usually have two or more types of resources (food and water; matter and energy; Wood, Stone, Food, and Water) that you need to gather, and every thing you build takes up different amounts of the different resources. This is the one most people would be familiar with. I don't think its anything more than adding a second color to Idea 1. To me this only give's the appearance of complexity to the game without changing too much. I feel its just a way of forcing a player to manage extra resources without any benefit to him. But of course feel free to argue with me on that point. Idea 3. Multiple Levels of resources. This idea is basically an offshoot of idea one, but it is the one I'm Leaning towards right now. Instead of having just one kind of resource coming in at a standard pace you have one kind of resource with different levels. Level one is your basic resource you use it to build almost everything. I.E. Aluminum. Level Two is an upgrade to level one...items built with it become stronger, shoot better, etc, I.E. Titanium Level Three is an upgrade of level two and so on and so forth. Some high end items can only be build with certain amounts of higher level resources..but low end items can be built with any of the materials with quality being the deciding factor. (A house can be built out of almost anything, clay, lumber, sticks, tin, concrete etc, but a sky scraper is almost always going to be steel and concrete) To add to the complexity a little bit resource collection points may yield the resources at different rates from one another, not just a constant rate. (i.e. earth yields steel at 3 units a min, and mars yields it at 6 units a min) This adds both an amount of complexity, and simplicity to the player at the same time. They still have to manage thier resources, but most of the time, they don't have to manage multiple types of resources just to get one item built. Idea 4 Multiple levels/multiple types of resources. Basically this idea is just a combination of Ideas 2 and 3. This is the most complex version, and I dislike it because in most cases it adds complexity jsut for the sake of complexity. Sure it may add "realism" to the concept, but Im not fond of this amount of complexity in an MMO setting where it can overwhelm the player. Pros Cons to the ideas in an MMO setting. Idea one Pros- easy to manage for both developers and players cons- Overly simplistic, easy to just "farm" the resource at one location and forget about it. Idea two Pros- Familiarity Cons- Adds complexity to resource management without any real benefit to the player. Idea Three Pros- Simple to manage yet complex to master. Developers can place resources in different areas to spurr competition over them. Players can use multiple levels for diverse results. Cons- Unfamiliarity can cause some to get confused with the system. Idea Four Pros- Most complex system for those who want the max amount of resource management. Cons- Too many options can overwhelm the player, while added complexity might not add that much to the game. Ok guys those are my ideas, what do you think? Which do you prefer? Or do you have another idea. [Edited by - robert4818 on August 28, 2004 11:32:14 AM]

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Ferion: Twenty-one types of ore over five levels, which must be produced from each other. Plus credit currency. HORRIBLE!

You know, my answer to these threads is almost always one (or both) of two things:

1) Depends on the type of game you're after (if you're going RTS, you may not want it too complicated).
2) Somewhere in the middle...

Okay, perhaps a more useful thing to say:

By limiting yourself to only one type of resource, you are prohibitting any form of trade (except, of course, the resource for ships, stations, whatever - which could include buying from other PCs). However, the more resources you add, the more trade can play an integral part of the game. So, depending how much you want (or don't want) your players to trade, and how you want them to go about trade, you may want to have more (or less) types of resources.

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By limiting yourself to only one type of resource, you are prohibitting any form of trade (except, of course, the resource for ships, stations, whatever - which could include buying from other PCs). However, the more resources you add, the more trade can play an integral part of the game. So, depending how much you want (or don't want) your players to trade, and how you want them to go about trade, you may want to have more (or less) types of resources.


This I agree with, as I want the 3 main empires have to deal with the nuetral faction in a not kill-on-sight method. If nuetrals can set up operations mining a rare resource other people will have to deal with them, either in a hostile or trading manner.

However, I don't want to add in different resources just for resources sake. I.E. I don't want to add in a different type of resource just for the sake of that resource being there. Its why I favor the resource level idea. You don't need to have a level 3 resource, but having one will make your stuff that much more powerful. I prefer this idea over having say a resource that's only purpose is in there for sake of being a different resource from the main one. (I.E. Instead of building blocks its now building blocks and energy....)


What do you trade the nuetrals? Equipment. They can't produce their own stuff and have to rely on the empires to provide it.

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Original post by robert4818What do you trade the nuetrals? Equipment. They can't produce their own stuff and have to rely on the empires to provide it.


Well, that's one of the reasons for having more than one resource, but indeed it is only one solution.

So instead you have a system where the neutrals sell materials to the Main Empires, who manufacture them into useful things and sell them back at a vastly increased price. Well, I guess that's how it works in much of the reeal world too ;)

Another possibility might be to offer protection - either by agreeing not to attack them, or even by agreeing to defend them against other people... Without knowing exactly what you want from the game, it's hard to say precisely how to do that - but there are several ways that I can think of, depending on the situation.

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all of that is viable. The idea's are that the nuetrals are the wildcards in the deck. They don't hold any alliance, they can be mercenaries, spies, traders, pirates etc. Of course thier drawback is that they can't produce anything on thier own. So they may trade 500 units of level 3 resource for 4 advanced fighter ships. Another 200 for some defence turrets etc.

They can play the go-between for the other empires...who are so constantly fighting that they can't do any trading (and infact are not allowed to in game)

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