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RTS weapon design

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I'm currently working on a 2D space RTS and am looking for some feedback on the weapon system I'm developing. Weapons each have a different firing rate, reload time, and range, while the projectiles that they fire determine the damage amount, damage type, and whether it is an unguided shot or something that homes in a target (missile). The idea: A small fighter has simple laser cannon, while a destroyer escort on the other hand could have a quick firing cannon that fires the same type of laser as the fighter, but with a quicker reload and more shots per firing. However, would this be confusing to the player and/or possibly disrupt the game balance? (i.e. why would you want a small fighter with a simple laser cannon when you can have a destroyer with one that fires the exact same projectile ten times faster?) I'm looking for some feedback on this idea since most of the games (strategy games and some shooter games) that I've played seem not to use this system (ammunition cannot be used by multiple weapons). [Edited by - mako_5 on August 2, 2005 2:17:30 PM]

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Original post by mako_5
Should I just combine the projectile and weapon classes?


Don't. A projectile is the moving object that runs after a target, checks for collision or leaving the range, and deals the damage. A weapon chooses a target, has a rate of fire, and can spawn several projectiles (that is, more than one projectile from a given weapon can be alive at a given moment).

Also, you will need to decide if you want your players to remember "unit versus unit" relationships or "weapon versus unit" relationships.

"unit versus unit": archers are good against infantry.
"weapon versus unit": machine guns are good against infantry.

In the first case, do whatever you want with your weapons. In the second case, make sure that similar-looking weapons also have similar effects.

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The classes i guess should remain separate, but is the idea that multiple weapons can fire the same type of projectile a valid idea?

[Edited by - mako_5 on August 2, 2005 1:49:10 PM]

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Original post by mako_5
The idea:
A small fighter has simple laser cannon, while a destroyer escort on the other hand could have a quick firing cannon that fires the same type of laser as the fighter, but with a quicker reload and more shots per firing.

However, would this be confusing to the player and/or possibly disrupt the game balance?
(i.e. why would you want a small fighter with a simple laser cannon when you can have a destroyer with one that fires the exact same projectile ten times faster?)


I think this is fine so long as you focus on more than just damage, and so long as you add enough texture to damage that you can vary how conflict plays out-- for instance, maybe there is the traditional splash damage, or disablement of a certain feature of a weapon system (such as sight/targeting, or increasing reload/cool-down time).

You should want a fighter over a destroyer because they might be cheaper and more mobile, but also more fragile. Or because they're better at stealth, but have limited fuel range. IOW, the weapon should fit the tactic. If you just do straight HP damage for all systems, you'll lose a chance to vary gameplay.

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About Object/Weapon Balance
The way I'm trying to balance the system out is in that you (so far considered by the current design) won't have massive numbers of large units. What I'm trying to do is make a game that large, powerful units (i.e. battleships) are rare, and that each unit will carry some significance, so that players don't win by simply massive the most of the best unit.

I was thinking that since the unit is not in 3D making a simple percentage dodge that when the projectile is supposed to collide with a target, it'll just ignore the collision. Dodge values would be dependent upon unit size, and/or the "stealth" capabilities of the unit. Also, the AI will be moving the unit during the attack (there won't be any "stand and shoot until the end" in this) also increasing the possibility that the projectile will miss the target.

Dodge values will be relatively low (for fighters maybe at most 5-10%, larger ships about 1-2%), and larger units are slower, so the system will (hopefully after many hours of testing) balance itself out.

Another possibility would be in addition to the regular directional error when a unit is firing, increasing the amount of error when multiple projectiles are fired.



A response to Daniel Miller's question on resources: I'm trying to make the system simple and have a list of possible resources that will be revised:

  • Metal - Used for building ships/stations
  • Crystal - Used in ships "requiring massive amounts of energy" (for wormhole creation, cloning, etc.)
  • Food - Supplied to ships (player is not responsible for resupplying ships manually), but works in that you have a running count rather than it being static. If your farming stations get destroyed and you have built up a large food stock (5000 rations) you can survive for a period until you will need to capture some sort of food before you run out (food required is based on number/types of units and gets withdrawn every 15 seconds).
  • Crew - Used to build ships

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Well, I think that if each unit had an advantage over the others, but still had weakness's to them, then it would balance itself out.

For example:
Fighters - Samll and Fast enough to dodge large projectiles fired from capital ships, low armor so if one does get hit, it's pretty much dead.

Destroyer - Large and not that fast, so dodging weapons from small fighters is out of the picture, while a battleship may not be able to hit it with it's slower projectiles. Higher armor than fighters, so it can take more punishment.


The problem will be balancing everything and not having one uber unit.

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Similar weapons with varying rates of fire, etc. is a very good and intelligible system. Thinking of 00 buck shot as 9 .32-caliber balls being fired at the same time is useful, and doesn't make that shotgun seem any less imposing.

I'm a little worried about the food, though. What happens when you fall short of supplies? Do your crews starve? Do they desert? It's tough to make on-the-fly projections about rates of production and consumption. A player could easily find himself slipping toward a self-inflicted siege. You'll have to be careful, or that could really screw up your game.

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Quote:
Original post by Iron Chef Carnage
I'm a little worried about the food, though. What happens when you fall short of supplies? Do your crews starve? Do they desert? It's tough to make on-the-fly projections about rates of production and consumption. A player could easily find himself slipping toward a self-inflicted siege. You'll have to be careful, or that could really screw up your game.


What I'm going to do is have a current change indicator next to the amount of food left. Rather than just seeing the number of available rations you would also be given a gauge looking something like ("change") "amount" translating into something like (+1) 5000 rations.

For what crews will do after supplies run out, I'm open to suggestions. The current design is that units will abandon themselves (become capture-able "gaia" units) at a given time limit after supplies run out (ending in defeat for the player possibly?).

The whole reason for this system is for players to be able to strike at the opponent's supplies (food production facilities). The player with dwindling food supplies will be forced to build more farming colonies, attack the enemy, or face defeat.

It would allow players with smaller forces to have a chance at defeat much stronger players (which is realistic), rather than the game simply relying on numerical advantage.

If it doesn't sound like a valid idea or that players would be burdened by it, I'll definitely leave it out of the game or try to refine the idea better.

(on a slightly similar note: crew has been removed from the resource list previously mentioned)

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