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mdwheele

"Undead vs Human" a casual RTS project.

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mdwheele    140
Undead versus Human (UvH) Basically, this is a standard multiplayer RTS that I'm doing in my spare time. I want to keep it very simple and eventually make it available to others as an open source tutorial on one method of creating an RTS. Objective To eliminate all other enemies and remain the last player standing. Starting a Game Users enter the game at the main menu where they are prompted to join or create a multiplayer server. For the moment, I'm not going to support computer controlled players to practice against, but more than likely these will be added into a "Skirmish" mode. As it stands there is no "Single Player" mode. After entering the appropriate information the user enters the online lobby screen where all the players in the game will be shown as well as a chat box for communication (think AoE3). This is the time where players will either choose to be Undead or Human. When everyone is ready the host will start the game. Units Undead Zombie (Multi-Purpose Infantry)- Zombies are the main offensive unit for the Undead. While the humans rely heavily on specific units to accomplish specific tasks, the undead find that hordes of zombies just get the job done too well. Instead of using versatility, Zombies are more powerful when they are surrounded by other Zombies. Also, what would a Zombie be without the ability to turn it's enemies into Zombies? A Zombie unit can attack an enemy human and turn them into Zombies after a certain amount of bites (TBD), killing the unit instantly even if it's health isn't zero. [UPGRADES] "One mind, One body"-Damage taken by any Zombie is dispersed to surrounding Zombies. Blood Truck (Armor)- A tanker stolen from the humans has been converted to a tool for the undead's working. The fuel tank towed by the truck has been filled with the blood of the undead's enemies and can be sprayed on Zombies to increase their damage and speed for a short duration. These trucks are heavily armored with bodies to shield them from the humans high powered tanks and rockets. [UPGRADES] "Heavy Armor"-Increases the health of the Blood Truck. "Blood Fury"-Health regeneration rates are increased. Revenant (Heavy Infantry)- This is a demon summoned from the Necronomicon itself. It's a ghost that has no primary attack at all other than it's ability to create a dimensional rift in a small area. To do so the Revenant must destroy itself and release it's energy into the targeted area. Revenants start out at 1 health and slowly gain health. The more health a revenant has at a rift location, the more damage is done. They are high cost units. The rift has to be channeled before it is created. So an enemy does have a small window to kill the Revenant or weaken it before the blast. Very interesting unit. [UPGRADES] "Psionic Training"-Increases the percent of health done in damage from 50% to 100%. Human Farmer (Light-Infantry)- Armed with only a shotgun, the farmer is only a means to hold off the Zombie invasion until the Marines arive. Be ready to mass these low damage low health units in preparation for an attack. Whiskey always makes their lives last longer it seems. [UPGRADES] "Improved Moonshine"-Increases health of farmers. Light Tank (Armor)- This is the bread and butter unit for the humans. It's able to hold off zombies by destroying the Blood Trucks that put them into a frenzy. The unit is meant to be used in conjunction with farmers early game to stay alive until marines are ready to be bought. Against a Zombie, it's shells are not going to do much, since the single shot cannon will be dispersed (should the Zombie player upgrade properly) among the surrounding zombies. Moderately expensive unit. [UPGRADES] "High-Explosive Shells"-Adds an area effect damage to shells. Marine (Heavy-Infantry)- The humans heavy, expensive unit... the Marine! Armed with an RJ-45 Bazooka (I just made that up... wink wink) This unit should bring fear into any Zombie's one... two celled mind. What's special to note is that if farmers have researched their improved moonshine, the marines can use the volatile liquid to construct fire bombs which will ward off zombie's who may try to attack, the bombs sit off by themselves and just burn in an area, doing damage over time and slowing their victims. But beware, the fire is not friendly... you can be burnt by it as well. Reguarding resources, a marine *MUST* be protected at all costs... the rockets on the marine are programmed to explode upon his death, decimating the surrounding area. Use this to your advantage, or not... your money. This noted, marines cannot be turned into Zombies because they have to die before they turn. [UPGRADES] "Improved Warheads"-Increases the damage done by rockets, directly impacting the damage done upon death. BUILDINGS Undead Temple Must be intact in order to build anything. This is the main objective for destruction in a match because it holds such a strategic advantage. Grave The grave is the spawning point for all Zombies, it is also the source from which they gather their power. Users will be given resources periodically from graves. Cemetary Trains Zombies for the undead. Zombies upgrades are here as well. Garage Constructs a Blood Truck for the undead. Blood Truck upgrades are here as well. Satanic Altar Trains Revenants for the undead. Revenant upgrades are here as well. Human Outpost Must be intact in order to build anything. This is the main objective for destruction in a match because it holds such a strategic advantage. Farm Farming has been a popular source of income since the beginning of time, it is the source of your income as a human. The more farms you have, the more money you will receive. House Trains Farmers for the humans. Farmer upgrades are here as well. Armory Trains Light Tanks for the humans. Light Tank upgrades are here as well. Barracks Trains Marines for the humans. Marine upgrades are here as well. Well... that's basically all I have now. I'm really just looking for ideas on improving the units and potentially new ideas for units... I really want to keep this as simple as I can, so I'm thinking I'm only going to stick to the three units for each side, but we'll see... nothing's in stone.

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Cygnus_X    359
First... this sounds like a fairly good starting point. Congrats. You're 1/10,000 of the way there. ;) Anyways, here is my advice/comments:

KISS - Which means "keep it simple stupid". You've done a good job with creating a variety of unit types, but many of the aspects you've describe sound overly complicated. Not only will they be difficult to program, but it makes things difficult on the user. The specific ideas I'm refering to are listed below:

-Zombies are more powerful when they are surrounded by other Zombies
-One mind, One body-Damage taken by any Zombie is dispersed to surrounding Zombies (you 'may' be able to get away with this)
-Revenant and the whole rift idea.
-Marines. Sounds WAYYYY too complicated.

Other than that, I see no major problems. It sounds like you only have 3-4 unit types on each side, and a few upgrades... which is probably a good thing. The less units you have, the easier it is to add uniqueness to each unit. Just keep the KISS idea in mind. Trying to make a game interesting by adding lots of complicated ideas has been the root cause of failure for lots of game developers.

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lightbringer    1070
I like the unit selection, especially the drunk farmer :D The concepts are indeed a bit difficult but not impossible, you can do the zombie effects with some auras, the Revenant as an invisible non-combat unit that does splash damage and dies upon special ability activation, fire bombs are something like a separate unit/entity deployed by the marines, and marine death with splash damage is very similar to the Revenants.

One thing I would do is simplify the buildings a bit, and for instance combine grave and cemetery, as well as farm and house. The distinction is a minor one and you can combine those functions into one building type. Plus, having five buildings but only three units is a bit of an overkill.

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Talroth    3247
I agree with the issue of the buildings, cut some out, make them nice and simple.

As far as the units go, they look fine. That zombies gain strength in numbers shouldn't be hard. This is just a matter of each unit knowing how many of what units are X distance from it.

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M Eversberg II    144
Sounds fun! I do think you should separate the marine into two different marines -- one with an assault rifle and one with a rocket launcher. It would give them tougher medium range support.

M.

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mdwheele    140
Thanks for all the feedback so far guys, I really appreciate it.

You know, most of the time I see a lot of my peers get hung up trying to come up with ideas for games by turning it into a "how am I going to do this" project. I have the same problem as well, I'll think of a feature and instantly start coding. With this project I'm trying to just dream and come up with cool ideas, implementing them all at once.

I really appreciate the input in regards to the building simplification, that is a very good idea. I'll definately consider that in my final design.

I'm going to start working on concept art and game art in the next couple of weeks after I get a solid design document up.

Being that this is the first RTS I've ever done, I know I'm taking on quite a large project (however casual it may be). So there are a lot of technical things that I'm going to be looking into such as pathing, attack ai, etc etc.

In regards to the special unit abilities and upgrades such as the "One Mind-One Body" and others: I know they are a bit complicated but I don't see them as a major problem as far as implementation. The biggest problem I'm going to have is efficient algorithms for carrying them out as to not use too many resources.

We'll see where I can get with this in the next few weeks. What's weird is that this is actually one of the few projects I've come up with that I'm truly excited to work on, and I think that's going to make a difference in the long run.

Again, thanks for the feedback and I look forward to showing you more as well as your continued critique.

[EDIT]

Help me come up with a name for christ's sake [lol]

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M Eversberg II    144
I'd worry about a name after it's done.

Maybe in the future you would like to join my RTS larger project.

Also, are you doing this from scratch or using a pre-existing engine to start with?

M.

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utilae    188
[quote]Original post by M Eversberg II
I do think you should separate the marine into two different marines -- one with an assault rifle and one with a rocket launcher.
[quote]
Agree, the humans have to many 'rocket' style weapons that are probably not effective against the zombies. The Farmer sounds like he has the most useful weapon vs zombies.


I'd add more units.
Zombies should be very slow and they need some fast zombie dogs.

Maybe the zombies should have some larger units that qualify as vehicles, like a big hulking armoured beast thing. That way the tanks would be more useful.

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M Eversberg II    144
I disagree. With something like this, less is more with units. I'd give the assault rifle marine an upgrade that negates "One mind, one body", but the assault rifle is fairly weaker than any of the other weapons.

Make this upgrade cause the unit to cost more. This is something RTS's leave out.

M.

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mdwheele    140
M Eversberg II: This is all from scratch, mostly. I'm using a lot of code snippets from previous games I've worked on (graphics, sound, etc etc). But it's not using any existing retail or open-source engine.

In regards to marine changes (as well as tank) the area affect damage that a marine and tank (with upgrade) do indirectly negate the "One Body-One Mind" upgrade. This is why it is necessary for Zombies to be supported by Blood Trucks and also why in a battle, humans are going to focus on these trucks.

Area affect projectiles (AE) are already spreading higher damage across a small area, if I allowed the zombie upgrade to be calculated in on the damage 3 tanks and 2 marines could take out 40 zombies in a few rounds, theoretically.

In regards to Zombie Dogs and larger Hulking units: It's weird that you say that because when I was coming up with ideas these two came up more than once. What I finally told myself was that in order to keep things simple, I was going to add these units in later under an "expansion pack" if I ever got around to it.

Zombies are slow, and do need a speed boosted counterpart. I got around having a separate "Zombie Dog" by including Blood Trucks, the buff aura from these increase damage, attack rate, and movement rate. (possibly imbalanced)

The next few weeks are going to be the deciding factor on whether this really gets off the ground or not. I'm talking to a 2D sprite artist right now who is interested in helping with some (not all) of the graphics because of time constraints. I'm also working on drawing out the menus and gui as well as modeling the client/server relationship.

Also! As an aside, my friend (who is a Zombie fan) brought up an idea as far as a *fog of war* system. He suggested that maybe humans have a radius around each unit that is lightened, but they never fully discover anything. Once they leave an area, it goes back to black. And have the zombies either have a large sight radius, or no fog of war at all. Thinking about it, this is a tad unbalanced. But it's a thought to work with I suppose.

Thanks all!

[EDIT]

I thought I'd come back and discuss the general look of the game as far as unit artwork (and believe me, it's very broad). I thought it'd be cool to have them look cartoon-ish. Like cell shaded, think outlines, very cartoon-ish. I know this is very unspecific, but I suck at relaying ideas for the most part... I'm a CSC, it's what I do...

Thanks again!

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mdwheele    140
Hehe, very true.

One thing I left out as I was reading up a few minutes ago:

Revenants are completely invisible until they begin to channel the "Dimensional Rift". So they can be strategically placed before channeling the Rift.

In regards to balance, I don't think I'm going to allow humans to see the revenants be creation of any kind of stealth detection because in real life...(haha) you wouldn't see a ghost if it didn't want to be seen. Previously, there will be a second or two you can kill one during the rift.

Because humans will never see Revenants, the Dimensional Rift cannot be used to destroy buildings.

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Cygnus_X    359
I think you need a ranged unit for the undead race. Perhaps a wraith that spits corrosive acid? Also, you may want to consider starting the farmers off with pitchforks in lieu of shotguns to start with. The shotgun would make a nice, early upgrade in the game.

Also, while were on the subject of other interesting units..... how about a necromancer that brings back zombies/fallen humans from the dead? Or medics that heal wounded human units?

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utilae    188
Quote:
Original post by M Eversberg II
I disagree. With something like this, less is more with units.

If you have too few units (like the three per side in this case) then the game gets boring, as variety adds alot of different strategies. Though I understand that a really well built game with few units can make for a good game because there are few strategies, but better balance.

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