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NanoWar Clone?

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With my game, I'm trying to maintain the simple, fast paced essence of the game (NanoWar), but introduce a few novel/interesting mechanics. I was planning on doing a space theme for the game. I'm almost sure NanoWar is itself a clone of some other game, but its name escapes me. Anyway, here's a link: http://www.kongregate.com/games/badben/nano-war What do you think of the following: -A basic tech tree, upgrade ship speed, resoruce income, etc. -Planet based upgrades? Which would work well? Factories/Mines that increase ship production? Planet based guns that fire at other planets? -Multiple ship types? -Planet types? These seem the easiest to implement given the existing economy/strategy of the game. -A more complex economy? Nanowar and other similar games currently just add a number to the ships on a planet based on the planet's fixed size. I might need to add some kind of resource to pay for tech upgrades. Should this be integrated with ship production? Would this slow the game down too much? Which of these sound fun? Which of these would make you most prefer the NanoWar clone (with these elements) over the original? Any comments would be appreciated.

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Hi,

I like NanoWar and I like your idea to add some depth to it even more. You could introduce a cycle menu around a planet when you click on it, then you can pay ships (no more ressources please) to build something there. (Like a mine to get more income, some defensive structures or a tech center)
The tech center should generate a new output "tech-points" or something like that to spend on improvements for shipspeed, strength, mining-efficency etc. I think that should be enough for additional ressources. And I wont add new shiptyps because selecting which ones are to attack/move will break the fast flow of NanoWar. (Defensive platforms are new ships in a way)

Additional planets are no must have for me but your right, it would be easy to create planets different defensive multipliers, different efficiency for mines or tech centers.

I dont see big problems with slowing down the game as long as buildings are not too expensive and you only need to build very few of them. (1 or 2 mines on planets they are very efficient on, 2-3 techcenter somewhere near your capital and some defensive structures at the front, but no need to build more than 10 buildings in a game)

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The first thing you should do is either remove the ability to select multiple cells at once, or add some incentive to allowing to build up to higher numbers.

The major decision in nanowar is when to have a cell split and launch an attack. Attacking reduces the defensive capability of a cell. The player needs situational awareness of his cells counts, opponent cell counts, and the distance between the cells to determine how much attack strength he will need to overcome the defense by the time his attack reaches.

Savvy nanowar players have realized they can do away with all of this by simply selecting all of their cells and attacking the opponent relentlessly. A solid stream of little 1-point attacks flying at each of the opponents cells wins every time. This all-out offensive strategy removes one of the key decisions of nanowar - namely the decision of when to split your big cell to attack a smaller cell. That decision is replaced by a mindless spamming of attacks, which turns interesting gameplay into a clickfest.

This strategy works because of the ease of having all cells attack in unison, and the fact that cell generation is constant. As soon as you have more cell generators than your opponent, the all-out attack strategy will always win. If you have less generators than your opponent, you let the opponent waste some of his resource on neutral cells, which the AI always does, but a savvy human player would never do.

Making cell generation based on the current resource count of the cell might encourage players to build up the strength of their cells, instead of maintaining an army of 1-pt cells. The curve should be some type of higher order curve that is very steep from 0-x, but tapers off after x. The idea is to discourage 1-pt cells. 1-pt cells should take the longest gain power, while you don't want a 60-pt cell to be doubling itself every second.

Another idea to counter the dominant strategy is to limit the number of in-flight attacks that occur simultaneously, or some other type of disincentive to spamming attacks. Perhaps bigger attacks move faster, or smaller attacks have a short range. Unfortunately, adding range limitations adds a lot of complexity.


Note that nanowar, when played the way it was "meant" to be played, is very hectic. Selecting single cells and issuing attacks one at a time leads to frantic chaos. That can be great fun. You're looking to add even more complexity with ship types and planet upgrades and so forth. You will probably need to slow the pace of the game down in order to accommodate the variety of new choices you're presenting to the player. Some of these options sound like they slow the pace of the game waaay down. You'll end up with something more like a traditional RTS than nanowar.

I'd suggest keeping things simple. There are some variables you can play with: attack speed, growth rate, maximum cell capacity, attack/defense bonuses. You could also add maybe attrition rate (attacks lose potency as they travel through space), and offer an upgrade to decrease the rate of attrition. I'd suggest keeping those upgrades global, rather than specific to each cell. Making cell-specific upgrades will slow the pace of the game to a crawl.

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I know it would detract from the simplicity of the game, but if ten 1 point cells were weaker than one ten point cell, then there would be incentive not to spam lower valued cells.

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One idea could be that the number of units in a cell increases the cell size (and hence the rate of generation). This would make it more viable to not just spamming 1 cell attacks.

Also, if you could use the units in a cell for other tasks (putting up a temporary shield to prevent attacks from getting through, freezing enemy cells form attacking or generating, etc). this would increase tactical opertunities available for the player.

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