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Punk Designer

Under Water Dynamics

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Hello, I'm trying to get my head around what goes on underwater in my simulation/RTS (haven't decided yet) in particular I'm having difficulties getting my head around the physics and dynamics underwater. Here is a fake screen shot so you can get an idea on what we are dealing with here, yer they are tribal shrimps. The player builds huts with their people and then can link the huts via ropes, they then can tie the huts to floats (buoyancy) or to weights (weight) in order to keep things in place. Below is a picture for your absorption. A few things, is it all trial an error in order to work out by how much each hut/float/weight should effect buoyancy or is there some sort of formula I could read? I'm guessing play testing though. Other things include what could happen to a hut that isn't attached to rest or held in place by floats or weights. Should there be currents that could take the hut away so it might hit something and break or it would just float off and become an inconvenience. I haven't thought to much about this as I've been focusing on trying to create the people themselves and a unique world with a working (however simplified) ecosystem. Another problem as I see it is that how would combat (which probably won't be a huge part of my game but if I go with RTS it will) work underwater, surely when you swing your spear or hit something you would be pushed backwards? It could make for really interesting battle scenes, right? Here is a picture of a few warriors. I would appreciate any help you could give. I will be amassing some speed on this project soon enough and I will be encountering a great ocean of problems that you could help me out on. Thanks.

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Nice images, they really help. I really like the idea of buoyancy for determining how things are laid out. It'll be a side-view 2D game, then?

The little characters look pretty adorable, makes me think of Sea Monkeys or Pikmin, with minimal individual personality. Your hut layouts seem solid, and without knowing what the purpose of individual structures might be, I'm assuming you'll have some residential pods and some industrial pods, maybe something for gathering and processing resources, another for training combat units, manufacturing goods, etc. Having different buoyancy values for each could make the process of upgrading your compound very rich, since you'd have some rocks hanging on the pods as placeholder ballast until you get your spear-works installed, which will throw off your weight distribution and compel you to rework a bunch of your balances.

It makes me think a little bit of Captain Forever, a game I enjoy very much, despite being terrible at it.

With regard to combat, I'd expect melee combat to be more a grappling affair than striking, so your little guys might lock onto enemies and engage that way, and when one dies the other goes in search of other targets. A physics system for projectiles (if you include any) could be cool, and you could work the buoyancy angle into the fights by deploying ink clouds or toxins that alter the terrain of the battlefield, giving it a cool underwater feel. I'd also think about condition-based combat, where a shark could be introduced (intentionally or by chance) that would target wounded units based on blood, or a trained dolphin that your guys could ride, turning a spear into a lance and giving a neat charge attack.

Think about ways marine animals fight. Poisonous spines or bites, flappy bait tentacles, straight-up teeth, entangling sucker tentacles, piercing beaks, even exotic stuff like the electric eel's shock or that one shrimp that punches with a supersonic claw could be worked into the game without feeling weird.

Plus, the ocean's been enjoying natural selection for a lot longer than the land has, so there are incredibly varied and sophisticated things down there. The environment shouldn't be made too sterile. Anemones, coral, various types of vegetation, urchins, all kinds of camouflage opportunities and caves and rock formations and whatnot could be thrown in as you find it convenient or fitting.

This seems really cool, I'm excited to see what you do with it.

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If you're going to have buoyancy, you should also have water flows and be able to attach certain objects to ground.

With the flows it will change where you can build and if you undock you can migrate further.

And if you want to destroy certain buildings, maybe the answer is in snapping the ropes.
It'd be very different but remain conventional and within the theme's constraints.

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I think currents would be interesting. I can imagine mobile bases, cut loose from the seafloor, perhaps with some form of propulsion (tame fish?) so they can control where they go.

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Re the question of buoyancy: for a given object, the amount of buoyancy needed to keep it suspended between the surface and the bottom is fixed regardless of depth. To adjust the depth, you temporarily add or remove buoyancy so that the object starts to rise or sink, then return the buoyancy to its original value so the object stops moving.

Rather than having a free-floating object attached only to weights or buoys, it might be simpler to have objects tethered to either a large weight on the bottom or a large float on the surface - then you could adjust the depth by varying the length of the tether, perhaps by some sort of pulley system. This would have the added advantage that you wouldn't need to worry about the exact amount of weight or buoyancy you attach (though you'll still need to make sure you've added enough to larger objects so that they don't just sink/float all the way to the bottom/surface).

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I actually think this game could benefit from a Worms style of play.

Except the first phase is the building phase and you can create and tether things, for about a minute, then the next phase is the battle phase.

Every shrimp can become any type of worker, but a shrimp can only be given a job once.
So there'd be Javelin Shrimps that throw spears and Engineer Shrimps that can fix and add tethers/weights.
Etc.

The goal could be to destroy the enemy's anchoring tether or kill all the enemy shrimps.

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A few things. One sorry for the late reply have been mountain climbing.

The game will be real time (sorry, It probably would have been awesome in phases but that is not what I'm going for) and yes, 2-d side on with bright simple graphics (made in paint).


Two, on the topic of buoyancy, I like all your ideas very much but I do have a set thing in mind. I don't think I want a overly realistic current/flow system, that's simply because it sounds really hard to implement and control, is it?

The player will have the option to put tethers into rocks, either cliffs/mountains or any type of grey rock. I have already started work on the different types of buildings in the first (and simplest) version of the game. I will also be adding mountable fish and attack (dog) fish.

You can follow progress on my blog but here is a few bits I plan to implement. As for combat I think that the spears could be like teeth so as was said by "Iron Chef Carnage" the shrimps would stab into the other shrimp until they bled out. injured shrimp could have trails of blood (and trails of green when they are sick). Etc.

Main Hut - Government building where some options are set, the shape is like a long oval (facing up) with the entrance at the top and the base of the structure being four bits of chunky wood. Shrimps will go to and from this building.

Hut - Small round hut that can hold five shrimps at one time. If there is spare space then another shrimp is produced after a random number of days (more then 3)

Weight - Small stone on a string, can be attached to pull things a small amount down.

Bubble - Small air balloon that holds things up.

String - Lots of weeds weaved together, this connects huts together.

Store - This holds up to 100* units of stuff, including food, shrimps will put stuff they gather here and they will also take stuff from here when is needed (to eat or to build). Long hut.

Collector - This is a small hut where the nets are kept, a player can set how much of each stuff is gathered from here, shrimps will do shifts here if they are not asigned other duties (religious or military or other)


War hut - This is where the player can build warriors.

Guard Post - This is a small triangle bit of rock with a balloon under it that is attached to a string, warriors will stand here when they are on duty, if there are not enough of these posts then warriors will patrol around. If somebody on patrol or on a post sees a threat they will scream for the others to come and help.

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