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Rasterman

Which RTS design is better?

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1) 3 weapon types, RPS style, each unit class has 3 types. weapon1 beats weapon2, weapon2 beats weapon3, weapon3 beats weapon1. vehicles - weapon1, weapon2, weapon3 aircraft - weapon1, weapon2, weapon3 turrets - weapon1, weapon2, weapon3 2) 2 unit types, anti-ground (AG) or anti-air (AA) vehicles - AG, AA aircraft - AG, AA turrets - AG, AA You could say that 1) is AOE:AOK style, and 2) is C&C or Supreme Commander style. I can see benefits and drawbacks on each type: 1) + you can have interesting battles with only units of one class (eg all ground units) + any class can counter any other class, so the player isn't screwed if he only built units of one class - it may be confusing to know which weapon type beats the other 2) + inheritely less units + easy to understand which units counter the other - harder to balance as unit interactions are not orthogonal

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Quote:
Original post by Rasterman
1) 3 weapon types, RPS style, each unit class has 3 types. weapon1 beats weapon2, weapon2 beats weapon3, weapon3 beats weapon1.

vehicles - weapon1, weapon2, weapon3
aircraft - weapon1, weapon2, weapon3
turrets - weapon1, weapon2, weapon3

2) 2 unit types, anti-ground (AG) or anti-air (AA)

vehicles - AG, AA
aircraft - AG, AA
turrets - AG, AA


I vote for 3) - Defined roles

Give every unit one or more defined roles. How many roles are available depend on how much complexity your game rules can handle.

In a very simple game, it might look something like your option 2). But if there are more complex rules in play then you can have units designed to be mobile damage sponges, scout units with weak combat skills but excel at spotting for heavy artillery that can annihilate and/or disrupt ground units from afar, fast moving glass cannon air units designed for lightning hit and run attacks. Units can be generalists that are reasonable against everything but great against nothing, or specialists that are amazing filling a specific combat role and suck at everything else, and a whole spectrum in between.

This gives you the freedom to develop much more interesting armies. Rather than every race having the same units with different graphics, you can distribute the key roles differently between each race's units and make the different races actually play differently. Some races might specialise in a certain area, and have weaknesses in another. It also opens the way for much more interesting units than just a bunch of tanks with different types of gun on them. You can also support a much greater number of units without any of them becoming obsolete - you just have to ensure that while roles may overlap they are not quite the same, so the player is faced with some tradeoff.

For example, you might have two types of anti-armour tank - but while one is a devastating but flimsy glass cannon, the other is a only moderately effective, but incredibly tough damage sponge. You might just spam the glass cannon tank, and adopt a hit and run strategy, doing massive damage in a short space of time and retreating before the flimsy tanks get shot to pieces. Or you might just spam the damage sponge tank, and use them bog the enemy down in a drawn out battle somewhere on the battlefield while you make a sneak attack elsewhere. Or perhaps you combine the two, with the damage sponges in front soaking up enemy fire and the glass cannons at the back doing the serious damage. You're neither forced to spam one unit, nor are you forced to mix them up evenly - the choice is up to the player, and the difference is how you use them.

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That is a good point, I am kind of doing that as well. Currently I am using 1) with varied units in each class, they don't have simply different weapons, the vehicles for example are a truck, tank, and jeep, each with different health, range, firing rates, speed, cost, and build time.

I guess the biggest difference between 1 and 2 is in 1 every unit can attack the other, its just some are better at attacking specific units, but in 2 only certain units are allowed to attack others.

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I like (1) where as well as the RPS system of the 3 weapons, there is a second RPS system where:
turrets beat air
air beats vehicle
vehicle beats turrets


You can then mix it up with another non-looping RPS system in the other direction (turrets beat vehicle, vehicle beats air, air beats air):
AA turrets beat AA air
AA turrets beat AG air

AG turrets beat AA vehicle

AG air beats AG vehicle
AG air beats AA vehicle

AA air beats AG air

AG vehicle beats AA turrets
AG vehicle beats AG turrets

AA vehicle beats AA air

The fact that the counter-RPS doesnt form a loop pushes air into a support only role, and forces the use of vehicles for the effective destruction of turrets.
Also "beats" shouldn't mean "always wins against", only "usually will win against" ;)

This gives you three systems (w1/w2/w3 - diversity, aa/ag - specialisation, v/a/t - role) interacting with each other to provide a variety of units.

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