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Aken H Bosch

Spherical RTS! (Not to be confused with that other thread)

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I am making an RTS where the play takes place on the surface of a sphere. Describing this was the inspiration for Unknown Target's earlier posting here. When I get to the combat system (which is probably going to be sometime this week), I need something good. I've got all my units planned as far as what they are good for, and what they aren't. Right now I've got eight units, and I think that is probably enough. UNITS: Installation: Builds and repairs ships, modular design Freighter: Takes resources to the installations, can build new ones Battleship: Big ship that attacks installations, other battleships, and carriers. It's not great against fighters, but it's big enough to handle several of them without going down. Gunships cause it trouble. Carrier: Carries 12 fighters, has medium-light armament. Also has trouble against gunships. Gunship: Good for attacking carriers and battleships, but can't defend well against fighters. Not good for attacking installations. Fighter: Good for attacking other fighters, and gunships. Fastest unit. Light armament and low HP, but it's the only thing that's faster than a Gunship. Mediocre against carriers and battleships. Not good for attacking installations, but it can damage or destroy Freighters and ships that are under construction at an installation. Sentry Gun: Good against fighters, has an area-of-effect weapon. Not so great against anything else. Deployed by Freighters. Tunneler: Medium-sized ship (smaller than Carrier but much larger than a Gunship), makes instantaneous and inter-system travel possible. When it jumps, nearby ships can lock into a field it emits and they jump with it. Lastly, the ninth of the eight units is the Planet. It's where you gather your resources with your Freighters. You might be able to put some structure on it or flag it in some other way so that other players can't use it while you're using it. WEAPONS: Rapid Railgun: Shoots fast but doesn't do tons of damage. Used on fighters, tunnelers and carriers Heavy Railgun: Shoots slower but the projectiles are just as fast. It does more damage. Used on gunships, battleships. Maybe also on tunnelers or carriers. Slasher Beam: Beam that slashes instead of holding on one target. Used on Gunships and Battleships. Big Beam: Bigger beam, doesn't slash. Used on battleships. Flak Missile: It's like flak, but a missile. I don't know the german word for missile, but it's probably something like missile, so i guess the correct abbreviation would actually be FLAM, but that just sounds stupid. Only used on sentry guns. Only self-propelled weapon in the game. QUESTION: What is the best way to handle weapons, firing, and collisions? If I have actual weapon particles instead of just having a hit/miss chance, the railguns travel too fast per frame to do a check for "Am I inside the target?" or not, and the beams move instantaneously! With a spherical map, an instantaneous-traveling beam will hit the ship that fires it instantaneously! IDEAS: ???

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If this RTS were real, and if I were to play it, I'd mass Carriers. Why? Because one Carrier carries 12 Fighters, and Fighters own everything else.


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Original post by Aken H Bosch
What is the best way to handle weapons, firing, and collisions? If I have actual weapon particles instead of just having a hit/miss chance, the railguns travel too fast per frame to do a check for "Am I inside the target?" or not, and the beams move instantaneously! With a spherical map, an instantaneous-traveling beam will hit the ship that fires it instantaneously!

Huh?


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Original post by alnite
If this RTS were real


Um... real? I've started work on it already. But, seeing as how I failed to put up a screenshot, as prescribed in the forum posting guidelines, I will do so now.



The first picture shows the entire sphere that the game is played on (there will probably be more than one that you can travel between). The second shows a close-up of it, with the opposite side showing through. A lot of the things that look like stars in the background are actually fighters on the far side of the sphere. The cursor is that weird circular thing.

Also notice the selection display currently allows up to 64 ships selected.



What I meant by the last paragraph was, how should I manage collisions? Should I use bounding spheres, or bounding cubes, or line/plane based?

Also, in an earlier game that was very similar to this one (but not as graphics-intensive) I had trouble with friendly fire. The ships shot when their shots were going to hit ships on the same team. How can I resolve this? Just not shooting would work, and so would having the bullets go through, but then I lose the ability to mess around and slaughter my own forces (which is always fun). Any ideas?

Second, what about firing points? These warships are supposed to be pretty big, would it be wise to actually have different firing points on their surface (maybe ten for the battleship, which would be the most), and if so, would they have a graphical representation?

As for

Quote:
Original post by alnite
Because one Carrier carries 12 Fighters, and Fighters own everything else.


the fighters suck against sentry guns (although that only affects them when the fighters are on the offensive) and the carrier and battleship would have more than 12x the HP of a fighter, not to mention several turret weapons (depending on how I implement firing points) to allow them to shoot the fighters down without having to rotate to face them, whereas the fighters only have forward-mounted guns. Fighters are basically meant to be for taking out/defending against gunships and for harassing defenseless vessels.

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For particle collisions, fast particles aren't that hard - instead of colliding the point where the particle is at, you collide a line constructed from the position at the previous timestep and the current one, using whatever line collision math you can come up with. For beams, I would say that since a beam is thought to be made of light, it should not conform to gravity, and hence would not follow the curve of the planet at all; instead going straight off the edge. So there would be a range issue with using them, whereas with really clever use of morters you could fire a big projectile off one side of the planet and hit someone on the other side :)

I'm not sure about ff, you could control it such that it wont damage friends unless you are explicitly attacking friends (in which case it will damage anything). If you are good enough with ai, I would prefer friendly fire to be on so that positional tactics are even more interesting :) but it would suck if you have to constantly keep units from accidentally hitting each other all the time.

How often do you really need to, from a gameplay standpoint, fire on friendly units? I can't think of one time I've needed to in millions of games (even though most of them allow it). It's such a corner case that you shouldn't allow FF just for that. Just turn the unit you are attacking into an enemy, if they aren't already, and only allow bullets to affect enemies.

Weapon points, and being able to configure which weapons go where (affecting weight of unit, thus affecting speed, etc; as well as increasing costs) would be aesome. And not very useful if you can't see them. The whole point of using every weapon slot is to watch your unit of doom (ridiculously overloaded, overpriced, and lacking in versatility) go out in a blaze of glory while all 22 gun bays are firing.

And with the sphere, you need to utilize the uniqueness as much as possible. Please have some form of mortar that you can aim and fire and adjust, like in scorched earth, to try and hit the other side of the planet :) Any other things that integrate the sphere would be great. Don't just take a typical rts and put it on a sphere planet.

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Well, actually it's not a planet at all. It just is a region of space that happens to have stars and nebulae as part of the background, wrapped around a sphere. There isn't any gravity; keeping stuff on the sphere is really more like a curvature-of-space issue than a gravity issue.

Firing on friendly units deliberately would be just-for-fun, in an actual game where you have some chance of losing, you wouldn't do it.

I wasn't really planning on having huge levels of customizability. I had considered making the game fully customizable, i.e. design your own ships from scratch, but that didn't seem practical. And it also seemed too hard to balance without losing diversity.

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Original post by Aken H Bosch
What I meant by the last paragraph was, how should I manage collisions? Should I use bounding spheres, or bounding cubes, or line/plane based?

Well you asked this in a Game Design forum, so I thought you were asking for some design opinions rather than technical solutions on how to handle collisions.

I would personally use spheres because you would only have one variable to worry about, the radius of the sphere, whereas in the cubes, you have at least three variables. You do need some line collision check in case of your projectiles are moving too fast. And by "in case of", I mean you *will* need it no matter how fast your game is running.

Quote:

Also, in an earlier game that was very similar to this one (but not as graphics-intensive) I had trouble with friendly fire. The ships shot when their shots were going to hit ships on the same team. How can I resolve this? Just not shooting would work, and so would having the bullets go through, but then I lose the ability to mess around and slaughter my own forces (which is always fun). Any ideas?

Do you want FF or not? If you do, then keep your FF solution, if not, just make the bullets go through.

Quote:

Second, what about firing points? These warships are supposed to be pretty big, would it be wise to actually have different firing points on their surface (maybe ten for the battleship, which would be the most), and if so, would they have a graphical representation?

What are the weapons? Lasers, projectiles? Can they aim at a specific target? Chances are you do want to have a separate entity for these guns. Whether or not they need a graphical representation is up to you.


Quote:

Quote:
Original post by alnite
Because one Carrier carries 12 Fighters, and Fighters own everything else.


the fighters suck against sentry guns (although that only affects them when the fighters are on the offensive) and the carrier and battleship would have more than 12x the HP of a fighter, not to mention several turret weapons (depending on how I implement firing points) to allow them to shoot the fighters down without having to rotate to face them, whereas the fighters only have forward-mounted guns. Fighters are basically meant to be for taking out/defending against gunships and for harassing defenseless vessels.

Right. Fighters own everything else except against sentry guns. So the only threat I have for using fighters are sentry guns/freighters. So what I would do is to have lots of fighters and battleships, then I am covered. My point is that the unit design isn't balanced yet :)

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Quote:
Original post by Aken H Bosch
If I have actual weapon particles instead of just having a hit/miss chance, the railguns travel too fast per frame to do a check for "Am I inside the target?"

You can't check if they're inside the target at each frame, but you can check if their path intersected the target at each frame.
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With a spherical map, an instantaneous-traveling beam will hit the ship that fires it instantaneously!

Yes. Is this a problem? I can think of two solutions:

1. Attenuate the beam. It doesn't do any damage by the time it's traveled a full great circle.

2. Don't attenuate the beam. Ships run the risk of shooting themselves.
Quote:
Original post by Aken H Bosch
Also, in an earlier game that was very similar to this one (but not as graphics-intensive) I had trouble with friendly fire. The ships shot when their shots were going to hit ships on the same team. How can I resolve this? Just not shooting would work, and so would having the bullets go through, but then I lose the ability to mess around and slaughter my own forces (which is always fun). Any ideas?

Don't let ships fire when there are friendly units in the way, unless you've ordered them to shoot a friendly unit.

You could make shooting friendly units part of the game: if a ship is disabled but not destroyed, the enemy could capture it and add it to its fleet. Consequently, a player might want to destroy disabled friendly ships if they couldn't capture them first.
Quote:

Second, what about firing points? These warships are supposed to be pretty big, would it be wise to actually have different firing points on their surface (maybe ten for the battleship, which would be the most), and if so, would they have a graphical representation?

Yes.

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Original post by alnite
Right. Fighters own everything else except against sentry guns.

And, presumably, other fighters. This means carriers aren't defenseless against fighters (because they contain fighters), and nor are freighters (because they contain sentry guns).
Quote:

So the only threat I have for using fighters are sentry guns/freighters. So what I would do is to have lots of fighters and battleships, then I am covered.

I think battleships are likely to be expensive, so it would be difficult to have lots of them.

Whilst 120 fighters + 10 battleships might be a formidable attack group, the enemy might be able to assemble a group of 60 fighters, 10 gunships, 5 carriers and 1 battleship in less time, gaining the ability to make the first strike.

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