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Any suggestions on unit design in rts game?

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hi,all Let me focus my topic on unit(e.g. warrior,worker,building, weapon and so on ) and behavior(e.g. attack, harvest, build, move, stop and so on) design in rts game. i am learning the rts game design, and read some open source rts games. Each of these rts games has its own architecture of unit and behavior design, similar but different. Somtimes, I wonder why a rts game uses this architecutre, is it flexible than another? But i can not figure out the flexiblity, and it make me confused. My question is: Is there any mature theory, paper or reference on how to design unit and behavior in RTS game? Thanks. [Edited by - yaoyansi on May 13, 2008 9:52:11 AM]

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Hey,

I think you might want to try the Game Design forum your question, since I don't think it has much to do about programming.

I don't know of any papers on unit behaviour and design. I guess the best thing would be to research current RTS games.

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I'm not aware of (academic) papers on RTS units, but I'll happily bore you with my ramblings [wink]

Quote:
I guess the best thing would be to research current RTS games.


Many current RTS games looseley base their unit design around the trusty old rock-paper-sciccors (RPS) principle, with some resource gathering and repairs thrown in the mix. A common RPS incarnation would be the tank/air/AA setup seen in many games, or tank/stealth/detector which is also pretty common. It works to give every unit some role, introduces a bit of strategy and has a fairly realistic rooting. Whether or not it makes for fun gameplay to be forced to follow your big bad tanks around with whimsical AA is another discussion [smile]

As for behavior, it depends what you're looking for. If you're looking for general AI behavior, there should be plenty of resources out there, while autonomous unit behavior seems somewhat neglected indeed. I get the feeling you're looking for the former, so I won't drone on about the latter.

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RPS is more of a balancing mechanic than an actual design mechanic, to ensure that there are no unstoppable forces or immovable objects in your game. Everything has to be beatable by *something*.

Using RPS as your basis for design leads to overly abstract and unintuitive units. It also ignores situational factors which I think are essential in any RTS. Playing the game becomes an exercise in memorizing which units arbitrarily counter which other units.

A role based approach on the other hand, results in units with clearly defined roles. It also provides a good basis for faction diversity, as different factions can have different strengths and weaknesses in different roles. They may even have some unique specialized or combined roles that no other faction has.

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Alternatively you can take the approach of equal-but-different. You could design units that, while still maintaining strengths and vulnerabilities, are not easily classed into sub-sections. How one would implements this varies greatly depending on the setting.

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