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tun based game army chooser

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hi i am in the procces of learning sdl and made a few small games. since its time to go for something bigger i am trying to make a(multiplay) game like fire emblem(turn based strategy) so i was just writing some things down that i would like in the game. the idea is to have 2 players(leave the code open for more players) fight with a small army of 5/10 characters. should i make it fixed army's so that players can chose a complete army or let them pick their own army out of an list of charakters? there will be multiple classes(warrior magican etc.) picking would be nicer but how to keep the armys balaced?

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This is not a critisism of your methods, but just an explaination of the methods that I use:

Generally you will find it harder to start with a set of character/unit concepts and then find a balance between them. I alwayse start off with completely abstract concepts of units, without even specifiying the number of types I will use. I then create a balance between these units, adding new ones or removeing them as needed.

Once I have created a balanced set of units, I start giving them attributes (like speed, range, health, etc) to enforce these balances.

As I do this, I will try to keep in mind the theme of the game and create the Classes/Specific unit types that fit these abilities.

By starting at the goal and working out a way to get there from the starting point, it does make it easier to balance a game.

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As stated above finding balancing between units is very difficult, look at games like Starcraft that is constantly balanced by the developers to try to balance three sides.

I would suggest having only 3-5 types that goes with the usual rock, scissors and paper system, which balance units in a game nicely (though they tend to be boring). After that you can look at the attributes you need how they affect the game then assign them to the unit types, less is best you can always add more later but trying to balance too many attributes too early and your gonna get a headache.

When your finally satisfied with the basic types, you probably know the balance of your game, if you accidentally add any overpowered unit types you can easily spot it and balance it out.

Allowing players to choose their own army can be a double-edged sword. It allows more user customisation and fun, but could possibly allow users to find any balance issues (this can be a good thing too), like Starcraft's zergling rush which was later nerfed.

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I would suggest having only 3-5 types that goes with the usual rock, scissors and paper system, which balance units in a game nicely (though they tend to be boring).

Actually Starcraft used the Rock/Paper/Scissors system. They did expand it to a 5 way system with the expansion pack (and that did make it more interesting).

I will generally start off with the R/P/S system (or derivitive) and then add bits to it (checking the balance as I go) to build up an interesting system.

Also another way to keep the system interesting is to give units "out of combat" abilities.

For instance:
In a baord game I was working on a while ago, I had 3 ship types: Fighter, Bomber and Capital. They had a R/P/S relationship: Fighter -> Bomber -> Capital -> Fighter. This was implimented by haivn the Fighters able to move further than any other type, bombers having ranged attacks and the Capitals having enough armour to survive many attacks from fighters (and able to attack the fighters back).

I decided that to make the game more interesting I added a special ability to each ship type.

The fighter could act as a scout for the bomber and so increase its attack range.

The Bomber could bombard enemy bases (the only way to take over a planet)

And the Capital could transport colonists and facilities between planets.

These "out of combat" abilities ment that each player would have to use all the ship types and make decisions about the deployment of the fleet, not just for battle, but for their special abilities too (transporting colonists, destroying enemy bases and scouting).

Here is a basis for a land (sci-fi) army:

Infantry: Cheap, but weak. Thye can move over almost any terrain and due to their small size (compared to the other units) they are hard to target (if each shot has a small random targeting error then the smaller size will mean that they are harder to hit). Also, due to the ability to make use of cover, infantry are less effected by splash damage than other units.

Tanks: These are armoured vehicals capable of absorbing a lot of small arms fire. This makes them excelent for attacking infantry as the tanks can survive the attacks and can move faster than the infantry (run down attacks).

Artillery: Artillery are long ranged weapons capable of delivering a very powerful attack with a large splash damage radius. The main weakness of the artillery is that they can't target an enemy too close to them (but splash damage may still reach). The larger error in targeting means that they will rarely make a direct hit. All this menas is that the infantry have a n advantage over artillery as the infantry take less damage from the splash and can easily avoid a direct hit from the artillery's attack, however the tanks are almost sitting ducks for the artilelry's attack.

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