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aersixb9

RTS design idea: Smart Units, Weak Controls

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aersixb9    57
I was thinking about the literalness of control over units in RTS games such as Starcraft II. Their AI is very simple compared to what AI is capable of, and the method of controlling them is almost a cross between a clumsy first person shooter or single-toon RPG, in that you're more literally controlling all the units instead of issuing orders to human units as would be more 'realistic'.

Thus, giving each unit a powerful AI, then giving the player the ability to give more vague orders, possibly based on the orders real military leaders give to troops in declassified documents and/or on wikileaks. This style of gameplay would be a bit different, although I think microsoft may have explored it in the past with one of their game series, I think organizing the units into groups and group leaders all with AI who can order each other around and work as a team with the most 'realistic' individual humanistic AI possible, then the player gives orders to those unit leaders, to all units, or to any unit from a list of orders and targets, for example you could order all units to go to green area base 3, or you could order leaders 1,3, and 7 (all your tank units) to attack target 15 via road 7, or order the above units to travel to bunker 15, all from a command menu.

Graphics could either be standard RTS fare, first person command tent with a radio, or some hybrid style that shows what the units report verbally graphically, along with things like AWACS video feed and/or predator video feed or whatever.

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JamesPenny    148
How about having 'you' as commander unit. He's insanly vulnerable to fire so he needs to be protected. Maybe have him spawn in an HQ building but can be moved if it is destroyed.

Anyway, I thought of something which may be quite cool..

STANCE:

Units can be given stances like in normal RTS games but alot more indepth. 'Engage all enemies', 'Recon' etc.
But you could add in 'Engage all except tanks (if its light armoured who'd get owned)' or 'Recon but attack weakened targets'.

OBJECTIVES:

'This area needs to be secured.' (Men run off and kill all enemies in area and set up a field outpost in building to give area denial)

'Attack enemy HQ' Your men work way towards enemy HQ but ignore other *non-threatening* targets.

'Advance on enemy HQ' Men advance on HQ but take targets if the oppurtunity arises.

etc etc

SPECIAL:

Want them to pro-activley use air-support or mark targets for a sniper?

SPECIFIC:

Traditional.


-----------------------------

Depending on the scale/ time period, how about entering communication chains?

Giving orders sends a runner out to the unit with the orders meaning a delay that increases as they move away from HQ. This can be destroyed meaning units either follow last order or use discretion.

If it's 1900-1970 then comms centres could be built that instantly get orders before sending out runners. (A telephone wire runs to FOB and FOB sends a runner with orders on horse/ jeep)

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j-locke    945
I took a glance at Majesty Quest as I had never heard of it. I will say it sounds like an even better fit for what you're describing. But I figured I'd still throw this game in the ring. Tom Clancy's EndWar is a game where you act as a commander and issue voice commands to your units.

So you'll say things "Team Alpha attack hostile 6." It was a cool concept, that according to reviews was much better done on console than on pc.

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Orymus    156
There was a thread about this a few months back.
The general assumption of most of the contributors was that such a decision would take all the fun from unit management and possibly generate frustration.
However, it would be a perfect fit for a game whose focus is not the battles per se. Obviously, an economically-driven game with minimal war would benefit from such a system, but rts players will agree to say that most of the player's talent comes from macro and micro, and you're taking away the micro part.

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Acharis    5979
Quote:
Original post by aersixb9
for example you could order all units to go to green area base 3, or you could order leaders 1,3, and 7 (all your tank units) to attack target 15 via road 7, or order the above units to travel to bunker 15, all from a command menu.
Why not making it that you press left mouse button and drag the mouse over several units to select them and then move mouse over destination area and click right mouse button and all selected units move there shooting at any enemies they encounter? All without any menu selection and other needless complications.

I think the currently existing unit movement model in RTS games is simplier, faster and overall better. At least in terms of the example you have given.

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Moon Pine    100
Try RUSE
Very less control than other RTS games.

Or Try Company of Heroes and Dawn of War2 for group controls ^^ But they're quite hardcore and hard to master, though they're easy to get in ^^

There's a very very old RTS + ARPG game called Sacrifice. The player controls a wizard who can summon creatures and order the creatures to attack ^^

For End War, you will be annoyed by APC + Heavy Infantry + Proper Micro Management ^^ The voice control is not as good as you think - a rough voice order takes enough time for you to give several maneuver orders ^^

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Kekko    504
Two things.

First, what would you introduce to replace that removed micro gameplay? The only thing I can think of is to increase the complexity of each decision. Stuff like fuel, ammunition, morale, supply lines or chains of command would serve to make each decision require more in-depth thinking. This would turn the game from an "adapt on your feet at 60 decisions per minute" to "think twice, decide once".

Secondly, I think you would get the same gameplay from more abstracted game mechanics as opposed to a more sophisticated AI. Watching the actual soldiers do their thing would just be eye candy if the computer does a better job than the player.

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fr0st2k    138
sounds like you could get away with this a lot easier using a patrol command.

This whole idea seems reliant on a few gameplay factors

1) paper rock scissors.

One unit will have to be strong against another unit.

2) This leads us into reconnaissance. Spying and map reveals abilities.

You would need a way to find out what types of units your opponent is patrolling/guarding with around the map.

3) A simple algorithm for forming armies

You mentioned intelligent AI. I personally think the commander should be able to build whatever kind of armies they want, putting many different units together. You would need a way of expressing army strength based on these units, and have it match against the strength of the opposing team.

4) A simple way to display map presence and control

These are the commands you were talking about. Rather than make it complicated like you had mentioned. Keep it simple like current RTS's. Once you make your army and decide to send it out...Simply click a destination and then select what you want them to do.
-patrol road
-guns blazin' (go to destination with intent to fight)
(if you get to the destination and no one is there, morale could drop, causing them to be weaker for a small amount of time. This would mean players would need to scout more often).
-Go and form a defense/barricade
If enemies show up without being "attack ready", they suffer a surprise attack penalty.

This kind of game would focus more on strategic setups and reconnaissance instead of micro'ing.

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Silvermyst    113
Watching the actual soldiers do their thing could be a lot of fun.

When I first saw the ads for "XX manager" games I thought it was a silly concept. I want to control the actual players, not just manage them. And then I bought Football Manager 2010 and got hooked on the gameplay. It might actually be MORE fun to watch the soldiers put your carefully crafted gameplan into action than it is to control them.

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Storyyeller    215
Yeah but with current AI they'll probably just run around in circles looking retarded.

If we still can't make an AI that can beat players without cheating, why force players to give control over to the AI?

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aersixb9    57
I think different games have different calibers of AI. I've noticed the Street Fighter 4 AI can be pretty gnarly, even compared to players with 3500 battle-point rankings (in the top 1000 windows players). I've only got 1500 battle points in the online multiplayer, but I think that makes me around #15,000. :) Anyways, the AI there is pretty good, so a good unit AI could be neat...

Also the game could be played first person from a FPS-style commander, I think the idea that tactical commanders are weak is a bit off...maybe a neat game design would be where the player starts off as a unit on a 3D large open map, bigger than a regular fps map with a bit of an RTS design, in that it has placeable destructable buildings, either neat physics buildings that produce AI (or player) units, and otherwise introduces some RTS staples into an FPS. The player could then be given a way to command a squad that they are a part of, then a way to command multiple squads, possibly while their friendly squad upgrades their leadership and communications equipment, and the player might get designated a neat command area in the green base, which could potentially come under attack while losing.

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fr0st2k    138
Quote:
Original post by aersixb9
I think different games have different calibers of AI. I've noticed the Street Fighter 4 AI can be pretty gnarly, even compared to players with 3500 battle-point rankings (in the top 1000 windows players). I've only got 1500 battle points in the online multiplayer, but I think that makes me around #15,000. :) Anyways, the AI there is pretty good, so a good unit AI could be neat...

Also the game could be played first person from a FPS-style commander, I think the idea that tactical commanders are weak is a bit off...maybe a neat game design would be where the player starts off as a unit on a 3D large open map, bigger than a regular fps map with a bit of an RTS design, in that it has placeable destructable buildings, either neat physics buildings that produce AI (or player) units, and otherwise introduces some RTS staples into an FPS. The player could then be given a way to command a squad that they are a part of, then a way to command multiple squads, possibly while their friendly squad upgrades their leadership and communications equipment, and the player might get designated a neat command area in the green base, which could potentially come under attack while losing.


i wouldnt call street fighter 4 AI all that outstanding. The reason being is because you simply have to program in what beats what, and then have the computer instantly use whatever attack he has to in order to counter. i think the best possible human reaction time is .03s, so a computer has quite a window to one up you. If the designers wanted to, they could make it so the computer would win every round.

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Silvermyst    113
Quote:
Original post by Storyyeller
Yeah but with current AI they'll probably just run around in circles looking retarded.

If the units are chimps (controlled by you, the druid) or robots (controlled by you from afar through simple if/then instructions) or something like that, it might even make sense for the AI of your units to not be too smart.

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aersixb9    57
The game of SF4 isn't that simple, most of the time no input is allowed since the characters are already in an animation. It does appear that the computer has to do the controller movements like a player, and doesn't cheat by using different animations or cancelling them when not possible. Therefore a 'grandmaster' of sf4 should be able to beat the computer, although I should note that as of 2004 approximately no human on earth can beat a chess AI.

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