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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 Xai
I do not enjoy single resource games.


I thought Dawn of War pulled it off pretty well.

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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.


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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Quote:
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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