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black01

Unit restrictive RTS

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Hi, I'd like to start by thanking you for reading this
I just thought of a RTS type of game where you are only allowed to have a maximum of 30 units. You get your resources (gold and mana) by killing the other team. You can get 5 different types of unit (scout, archer, tank, mage, primarch).

Your primarch is the most important unit and spawns one basic unit at a set interval as well as acting as the unit spawner, it moves very slowly has a attack and lots of health. You can combine multiple units (apart from the primarch) of the same of differing classes by the use of a spell. These can lead to very strong units. You gain a gold at a steady rate throughout the match. You are defeated when your primarch is defeated.Gold can be spent though your primarch to spawn units
This is just an idea i came up with and if you like it feel free (just give me some credit) to use it as I probably won't take it any further as even though i would like to develop it further i don't have the rime nor the skills to code, produce it.

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Sounds like a cool enough idea, sort of like Demigod.

A question though: How might a player turn the tide once they've started to lose some units? If you only gain mana from killing enemy units, could a player recover from their opponent becoming more irresistable with each unit killed?

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Yes, you have a positive feedback loop in the game.

Killing units leads to being able to spawn more units which leads to killing more units.

Each step has a positive influence on the next step, that is an increase in the previous step gives an increase to the next step. And, because the last step loops back around to the first step again, the cycle just repeats, gaining more an more power each time it goes around.

In gameplay terms, if a player gets an early lead, then this gives them an increasing level of power, making it harder for the other player(s) to get ahead and win.

Actually, this is the type of effect you want to occur at the end of the game, not at the begining (the reason you want it at the end is it allows the game to end quickly once a player has established a clear dominance).

To counter act a positive feedback loop, you need to add in a single negative effect into the loop. So somehow, either killing enemy units or spawning units leads to a negative effect.

Now, one idea could be that mana is unstable, and your primach unit has to store the mana in it. When the primach gets hit, the more mana it has the more damage it takes.

This will encourage player to play defensivly if they have a lot of mana, or try to get rid of it. Playing defensivly will reduce the chance of them killing enemy units which will give the enemy player more time to build up plan a good attack.

A way to get rid of mana would be to have storage units that are slow moving, weak defensivly (they have a lot of unstable man in them) and have weak or no attacks, but allow the player to kill off their own storage unit types as needed. Creating these will use up a player's unit limit so it has an extra cost to the player as well. This woulod lead to interesting gameplay decisions as player decide whether to store their mana in these or to risk going into battle with a primach full of volitile mana.

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Yeah i like the idea of the negative feedback loop you mentioned. Another or additional possibility could be the fewer units you have the more gold you receive per unit defeated so this could mean you could spawn more units effectively creating a ant army to take down a tiger scenario.

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Here's a way to make the game work.

You need at least 2 tiers of units: Based Units, Combined Units.

When a unit defeat an enemy's unit of the same tier level: negative feedback
When a unit defeat an enemy's unit of a different tier level: positive feedback

This gives an effect that is similar to rock, paper, scissor, but only requiring a minimum of two.

Or, you can make it counter RPS.
If unit is at disadvantage: positive feedback (for tide turning).
If unit is at advantage: negative feedback (to decrease slippery slope).

Positive feedback can be a large gain in gold.
Negative feedback can be a small gain in gold.

This allow a player with a large advantage to quickly end the game, but a small difference in the advantage will allow the tide to turn.

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As long as there are more than two players, you can make the positive feedback loop into a gameplay feature. The best (board) games I've played were the ones where two or more players would gang up on the player in the lead... until another player took the lead, and all players, including the one previously in the lead, would gang up on the new leader. Enter diplomacy. Knowing that taking the lead would just mean the other players would gang up on you, you would have to play your cards/hand/dice/etc. just right. Appear weak. Make fake alliances. Backstab. Etc.

I've been pushing this indie title hard, but it just does so many of these things right that it's hard not to: Solium Infernum.

In a real-time based game, it would be a lot harder to implement such diplomacy. Using a headset for communication might work to a degree ("Hey, players A and B, this is player C. We should keep an eye on player D because he already is two steps ahead of each of us, and will only get stronger.") but you may have to implement a separate diplomacy stage in order to give players a chance to plot against one another. Let's say you implement a day/night cycle, and at midnight, the game clock stops for X minutes, and each player is allowed to send messages to the other players.

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I think a way you can implement negative feedback is by giving new units full mana, and let old units recover mana slower or not at all. You could also make it impossible to heal a unit, so that older units that are upgraded are powerful, but also fragile.

The Pattern of First Strike:

So to get the most powerful units, a player would merge new units that have never fought (thus they have full mana and health). This means that the player must first defend itself with fewer units than he could possibly use. If the player is able to keep the units being upgrade away from battle long enough, the player is rewarded with a fresh powerful unit. (And once that starts fighting it depreciates, so that player needs to use the first strike of the powerful unit decisively.)

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Quote:
Platinum_Dragon
Positive feedback can be a large gain in gold.
Negative feedback can be a small gain in gold.

These are both positive feedback. They differ only in the scale of the positive effect. For this to be a Negative Feedback effect it would have to reduce the amount of gold a player has when they kill an enemy unit.

Quote:
Silvermyst
As long as there are more than two players, you can make the positive feedback loop into a gameplay feature. The best (board) games I've played were the ones where two or more players would gang up on the player in the lead... until another player took the lead, and all players, including the one previously in the lead, would gang up on the new leader. Enter diplomacy. Knowing that taking the lead would just mean the other players would gang up on you, you would have to play your cards/hand/dice/etc. just right. Appear weak. Make fake alliances. Backstab. Etc.

This is not exactly a feedback loop (more a psudo negative feedback effect), but it is a response to a positive feedback loop (or just plain vindictivness :D ). A really good example of this is the card game "Munchkin".

The reason this occurs is when there is no other valid strategy to prevent a runaway leader effect. The reason it is a psudo effect is because it is an emergent property of the game, rather than a rule of the game. The effect is not so much built into the actions the player can do, but emerges from the way player use the rules.

The big problem with using this type of effect as the negative feedback effect is that unless you point it out to players then not all player will see it (players will see it as underhanded and not very fair - in munchkin the rules point out that you are not supposed to be fair).

With Diplomacy, I have known friend have falling out over these kinds of actions because the players felt it was not in the spirit of having fun that that the backstabber was just being nasty.

Also, players might not even think of this at all and come to the conclusion that your game is unfair. This is especially true for new players as they learn the game and vers player who have played for a while. These new players will get quickly discouraged and feel that they have no chance in the game. This will mean that you will not pick up many new players and the game will rapidly loose market appeal.

So, even though it can lead to very interesting gameplay, using this kind of effect carries some risks. However, if it is pulled off well and players know that this is what was intended, then it can provide a a solution to the runaway leader effect, but I generally don't think this is a good solution as the risks are too high.

It also needs a high level of communication between players to allow it to work effectivly as the main source of the challenge is predicting the behaviour of the other players from non verbal cues. Without these cues, the ability to predict the other player's actions is very much harder to achieve.

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Edtharan, a smaller positive feedback has the feeling of a negative feedback to players that expect a large positive feedback. The psychological feelings of the players matters more than the absolute effect of the game.

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Warcraft 3 added a negative feedback mechanism to the game in the form of upkeep. If your army got too large, your gold income was reduced by a certain percentage. The idea was to give a small amount of negative feedback to an overwhelming force so that losing players had a chance of making a comeback. In practice, the enemy was probably still going to roll your army. However, I think a similar mechanism, adapted for your game concept, might work well in your situation.

I'll also add that the concept of a central unit summoning other combat units has been done in a different method in Tactical RPG games like Phantom Brave. Your RTS idea is obvious quite a bit different then a TRPG idea, but if you're interested in developing the idea, you may want to take a look at what Phantom Brave has done and see whether anything can be adapted.

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