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Daniel Miller

[RTS] What is your favorite resource system?

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Of the strategy games that I have played, I like Starcraft's system the most. Starcraft has two kinds of resources: minerals and gas. Every unit, structure, and upgrade costs minerals. Most cost gas as well. Generally, the higher up the tech tree, the more gas it requires. Each player starts with 8-9 mineral patches (depending on the map), and 1 vespene geyser. To mine gas, the player must build a refinery on the geyser, but minerals can be mined without any hassle. Once a mineral patch runs out, it disappears. Once a geyser runs out, its gas output is dropped to 25%. Each map is scattered with resource nodes, some of which contain only minerals, and some containing both. It's a good system because it forces players to choose their tech units wisely, and it requires them to continue to build their lower tech units (there's not enough gas to only use tech units). It also adds replay value; some maps have gas at the closest expansion, some don't. Depending on where the gas is scattered throughout the map, the make-up of armies and the strategies required to secure the gas will be vastly different. Having several mineral patches means that some players will spend "supply" (each unit takes up "supply", similar to food requirements in other games) and money building workers in order to increase mining speed, while others will mine with fewer workers but have more money and fighting units in the short term. What resource systems have you liked?

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I like systems with 2-4 resources. 2 like starcraft and total annihilation, or 4 like age of empires. But either way, the distinction must be meaningfull to the human. Like you say in SC, where gas == tech / special powers and crystal == base simple stats. Or in age of empires where food == living units, wood == buildings, stone == defense and anti-defence, gold == advanced tech and specialization.

I do not enjoy single resource games. They lack economic reactionary choices. In a single resource game, you just maximize your economy and use it. In a multi-resource game you reevaluate your current relative economy and maximize your use of that reality.

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Original post by tstrimp
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Original post by Xai
I do not enjoy single resource games.


I thought Dawn of War pulled it off pretty well.


Yeah I would mention the same game. It did resources very well. Interesting that one race (Necrons) use only 1 resource, while the orks technically have 3 (including waaaaaagh). Honestly though, I think it depends on the game. Some games are very annoying in having 3, while games like rise of nations are fun with what, 5 or 6? It all depends on the nature of the resources and how much thought has to go into each. I also would like to mention total annihilation/supreme commander. In this game, the player could focus on one material and then use it to synthesize the other rather than having to gain each individually. Also the different nature of the two resources make them interesting. The worst form is when you simply have more resources without giving each one specific attention or differences *cough*1602 AD*cough*. Resources can give your game more strategy, but they can also detract from the fun because a player has to spend more time micromanaging instead of fighting/etc, so you have to balance the two carefully.

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I like the Total Annihilation/Supreme Commander resource setup. In that, it's mostly less about how much total you have accumulated and more about how much you have flowing in.

I would like to see an RTS game experiment with a resource refinement model. Usually the player builds different resource gathering structures or units that collect the seperate resources. I'd be interested in seeing a resource model where you collect the raw resources from the environment, and then based on your economic structures, your collection of coal, iron ore, etc would be refined in your structures into higher grade materials. In that sense, some resources could potentially have duel use. Wood for example could be useful for more than just building. With the right structures it could be an energy source, though at decent efficiency loss. Maybe that sort of model is too deep and complex for a typical RTS game, but perhaps one more focused on economic development.

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Original post by DrEvil
I would like to see an RTS game experiment with a resource refinement model. Usually the player builds different resource gathering structures or units that collect the seperate resources. I'd be interested in seeing a resource model where you collect the raw resources from the environment, and then based on your economic structures, your collection of coal, iron ore, etc would be refined in your structures into higher grade materials. In that sense, some resources could potentially have duel use. Wood for example could be useful for more than just building. With the right structures it could be an energy source, though at decent efficiency loss. Maybe that sort of model is too deep and complex for a typical RTS game, but perhaps one more focused on economic development.


I recommend taking a quick peek at Settlers series. As far as I can remember/know they have that sort of resource management system.

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Stronghold 2 all the way. In Stronghold 2 you didn't just have food. You had fruit, meat, cheese, and bread. Each one took a certain amount of time to make and a certain amount added. This meant you had to be wise on which type of food you made. If you needed food fast, don't take the 3-step process of bread, make apples and get meat which didnt add much but came in quick supply. Then when you had enough you could begin with cheese and bread which would keep it going slowly.

Along with that you had iron, stone, wood, pitch, hops/ale, candles, and much other stuff. You needed to keep people happy with churchs that took candles, taverns that took ale, food, and protection. Then more would come and you could put them to work getting the resources needed. Plus, money was acquired via taxation or selling your surplus, not mining gold.

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Age of Empires 3 does it a good way. Only 3 resources, so it isn't too hard to find what you need, but you still need to establish a stable economy before you can support your military.

~~ And you get cannon, lots of cannon :-)

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Original post by Telastyn
I thoroughly enjoyed Ground Control's


Agreed.

Infact, my fav resource systems are covered by my fav games;

GC - no resources, just units/squads... imo still one of the best RTS games ever made.
Homeworld - rocks. Lots and lots of rocks.
Dawn of War (+sequals) - energy and resource flow based on captured ground.
TA/SupCom - as mentioned less about how much you have, more about the flow.

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I really liked StarCraft's system as well. My only major gripe with it was that I felt I spent too much time managing my workers. Everytime I create a SCV/drone/probe, I have to select it and assign it to a mineral patch. I wish instead I could just tell my command center/hatchery/nexus "the next time a new unit is produced, automatically make them begin gathering minerals/gas". That would take a lot of tedium away so that the player can focus more on their forces. I've been playing SC again lately, and resource management annoys me more than I feel it should.


Nevertheless, SC is still a great game, including its resource system. [grin]

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My favourite system is the one used in The Settlers 3 and 4. I also like the system used in The Settlers 2. Note: The Settlers 5 is in NO WAY similar to the previous games in the series, and most Settlers 2/3/4 fans hate Settlers 5 because of this.

System is kinda like this:
Woodcutter cuts trees to logs
Sawmill creates boards from logs
Builders can use logs in combination with stones from the stone cutter to create buildings, shipyards can create boats/ships from them and so on.
Later on you build grain farms, which produce grain. Grain can go to either pig farms, mills and depending on which game, to other things. The mill produce flour from grain, and the pig farm produces pigs from grain and water from the waterworker. The pigs can then be slain in the slaughterhouse, which produces ham. The flour can be combined with water from a waterworker in the bakery, which then produces bread.

Pretty advanced economy, but possibly the greatest RTSes I've ever played.

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One system I always thought would be interesting adapted to RTS would be CIV 3/4 strategic resource system. You have two basic resources say energy and raw materials and then a map contains a number of strategic resources that control allows a player to build more advanced units. For example controlling an oil rig allows you to build tanks.

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Original post by owl
Rise of Nations does it pretty well indeed.


Eh, really? I found that the resource system of RoN was one of it's weak points. Games seemed to be more about 'just' advancing the tech tree faster than your ally or rushing. There was no resource fighting. I'm a long time Warcraft II player, and so this irked me. I wanted to be limited by the resources out there, and have to marshal my use of units. The only time I had to do that in RoN was when the max unit cap was reached and very early on in the game. Sure, there was sometimes some difficulty getting metal or something, but since everything was totally unlimited, I had little pressure to go out and grab the biggest and bestest resources.

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Original post by tstrimp
Quote:
Original post by Xai
I do not enjoy single resource games.


I thought Dawn of War pulled it off pretty well.


Dawn of War isn't a single resource game. It has two resources for the majority of races, and three for one (orks) - although their extra resource probably doesn't really count.

While Necrons only use one, you could argue that they have a second, hidden resource, time; their units are slow to come out, and can tie up your only unit producing/teching building for a long time. This means Necron players have to be rather more careful in their choices, particularly early on in the game, to manage their production efficiently.

Finally, there is the concept of 'relics' which could be considered as a special resource that enables you to get your most powerful units.

It is by far my favourite implementation of a resource system in an RTS.

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My best was tiberium :).
Well only 1 resource but it sucks all the metals and minerals in the ground and is very valuable :).I liked how it was in the first C&C game.
And it was the only resource which was harmfull to the units i guess.
Cant remember any other game like that :)

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Mine is Total Annihilation: you get to extract energy from anywhere (sun, sea, wind, fusion power) and metal from deposits (or from energy). Makes for much more long-lasting games where players vie for control of as many metal deposits as possibe.

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Settlers resource system is a very unique and actually the thing THAT MAKES THE GAME. There is less fighting in Settlers than in other games (yet still there is fighting). The focus is on the itty-gritty details.
When playing settlers 2, 3, 4 (didn't see the second version anniversary) you'll actually see the bread being moved all over the place.
It really is a mood shifter when you actually see things being done just in front of you.
Even the civilian and armed people in settlers have their tools produced just there. Roads are also resources, people are resources, land is resource...

It's one of the nicest games I played. (Nice as in it doesn't blow you off, but you'll still play it 4 hours a session)

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I really loved the resource system in The Settlers II and III. Combat wasn't that special, if I wanted war I played Age of Empires. However, I spent hours and hours on my economy in The Settlers II/III, and I adored it. I was 11 years old or something when I started to love the serie, but it was easy to learn, so there you have another good argument. I believe The Settlers II and III are some of the greatest strategy games ever made, even if it had its flaws, and that's mainly because of the fun resource system.

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Original post by Ezbez
Quote:
Original post by owl
Rise of Nations does it pretty well indeed.


There was no resource fighting.


Well, that doesn't mean the resource system isn't good. I mean, there are other things to do beyond capturing all the crystals/gas before your opponent.

I mean it did good in the sense that it isn't annoying to have to collect many different resources. It is actually fun, it's automated in such a way that it takes away the annoying and keeps the fun of it. I believe resource systems will be like this from now on, they will mantain themselves, the pawns will find something useful to do when idle, without you having to search for them and command them to chop the goddamn tree.

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