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TechnoGoth

RTS: Utilizing The Enviroment

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Well I'm working an RTS game for the 4e4 contest well its more RTT game, since ther is very little base building and focus more on small numbers of units. It also takes place in an urban setting filled with civilians. What I'm curious about is peoples reaction to the idea of being able to use the enviroment as part of their strategy. There are two main points to this: 1) Effect buildings - these objects/buildings that exist on the map either provide a constant effect or can be used to produce an effect. For instance a power station produces power for the city so as long as it is functioning then power consumering objects within its radius are active and can be used. So that means that means if two subway stations have power you can travel between extremely quickly. Likewise you could disable a powerstation to blackout a section of the city. 2) Terrain factors - These are things like buildings and height effecting line of sight and other combat factors. Thoughts? What effectives if any would be want the terrian to have on urban base RTS game?

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Definitely yes. I've been thinking about stuff like this for a while.

If there's one thing that is lacking in RTS games it's interactivity with the terrain. Typically it's limited to some areas providing slightly more cover than others, slightly different movement rates, and confusing the pathfinding AI for large units.

I'm thinking of an objective based victory system, but by implementing interactive terrain elements, there can be secondary objectives that the player can go for to make the primary objective easier.

For example, suppose the objective is to take and hold an industrial installation. You could just rush in and park a load of units next to it, but it might prove difficult to hold by itself. However, if you can activate the security systems, protect the power lines that supply it, cover the service tunnels that access it from underground, keep artillery trained on the primary access routes and thus force your opponent to approach by a single path through a forest, which you've rigged with traps and set up inside for an ambush, holding it might be so much easier.

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Weapon/ammo caches might also be an interesting application to either upgrade or replenish troops. Having limited ammo would discourage the sort of 'find the most defensible position, and stay there' sort of tactic that environment bonuses might lead to. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but it shouldn't be the only choice, and means a rather boring game.

Though I think it is neat, and concur with Sandman.

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You should check out the RTS games by Russian company "1C" like "Outfront II". I played their game "V Tilu Vraga" (equivalent of "Behind Enemy Lines") and it's the most detailed and realistic RTS I've ever seen. If you want to get ideas about urban combat for your RTS, read some stuff about their games (http://int.games.1c.ru/?type=inwork) or try them for yourself.


Outfront 2:

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^^^^

All I have to add, is that that picture just made me drool all over my keyboard. *dashes off to find the game and play it for himself!*

Anyway, having been a long-time player of RTS games, I do find it kind of annoying that while I'm standing on the "upper-side" of a cliff tile, I should be well above the enemy player and able to rain fury down upon them, but if they have ranged-combat units they can just shoot straight up at me as if there were no problem whatsoever.

Perhaps making terrain elevation more viable and more distinct rather than as some have said altering unit movement speed and whatnot. Archers get increased range +2, accuracy +4 while firing "downhill" towards an enemy position? I don't know, there's a lot of possibility with using the terrain, but I can't really think of what exactly could be done. Small things here and there that all in all add to the larger picture as a whole.

Vopisk

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I love having more tactical control over the map. I especially like it when the resource system is simple enough to remain playable but complex enough so that I can choke off supply lines. (I really hate the viral model of unit supply and building because it rewards sneaks over true planners).

For terrain modification, if the environment is urban, you could:


  • Have overpasses / bridges as chokepoints (that can be secured or detonanted)
  • Give troops defensive bonuses inside of buildings
  • Not allow buildings to be completely destroyed unless hit by big bombs or sappers, providing constant ruins that troops can hole up in (you could model buildings that collapse in jigsaw fashion like in Freedom Force)
  • Give snipers bonuses based on structure height
  • Class all structures with a stealth bonus: A water tower or billboard might have little, an office highrise a bit more; ruins would raise stealth very high because of the confusing angles of debris
  • Force fights to be channeled along streets
  • Let units native to the city teleport throughout it via sewer lines
  • Add in multilayer freeways that can transport mobile units quickly, but also can be collapsed

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