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KristofferDorph

Online MMORTS guidlines and help

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Hi Guys,

I've been thinking some time now about making a online MMORTS game like travian, in a style similar to an old game I used to play. But as time has gone by, the game is gone and I can't seem to remember all the really nice things about the game. So, here the point of my topic comes! :-)
I would like to hear if you've gotten some nice guidelines on what's essential for an online MMORTS, books games or anything you think would be suitable for me to read/view in my quest to create this game :-)
Essentially anything relevant to create a nice MMORTS.

I'm looking forward to hear from you :-)
Regards
[twitter]Dorphern[/twitter]

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I might not be reading that right, but I never really thought of Travian as an RTS. An RTS, in my mind, is a fairly intense experience, involving a brief playtime, a multi-phase strategy and a series of gambits to gain and exploit advantage on the playing field. In an MMO context, a lot of that doesn't work well, due to the longer timeline, the playstyle of your players and the sheer inertia of gained assets and capabilities, making shifts in power slow and cumbersome.

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You could have an MMO where there were pvp and maybe also pve battles comparable to a warcraft or starcraft battle - that would be a functional MMORTS.

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You could have an MMO where there were pvp and maybe also pve battles comparable to a warcraft or starcraft battle - that would be a functional MMORTS.

Although not RTS, the MMO Global Agenda has PvP and PvE. It has strategy elements as part of the PvP (Called Agency vs Agency) is a battle to control a strategic map. Each Agency vs Agency match has players competing over a map like most FPS games. The winning team give control over that map to the Agency they represent.

Now, think of this in terms of RTS. Each Map represents a part of the larger strategic map. At regular intervals players compete on each map as representatives of another player (or group of players) for control and the winners give control over that map to the Player they represent.

Any uncontrolled region would act as a PvE match vs bots. Also occasionally you could have AI make attacks against regions. This would also act as as a way to limit players from getting too big as they would have more chance (having more regions under their control) of getting attacked by the random AI raid. IT would mean they would have to spend more resources on defence or risk loosing control to an AI raid for a region.

The idea I had for such a game sort of reduced the importance of base building on any particular map. Basically these bases that you built are temporary structures that would decay over time (in terms of strategic map time). However, the player could spend more resources to build more permanent structures (that would take a long time to build in terms of strategic map time - several tactical battle rounds). It would be these structures that built the units and such used in the tactical battles.

Units could only be moved from adjacent regions into the current region. These units outside are reserve units, and they would take time to move into the area (however some units would be able to move more quickly - such as scouts - and these would act as the vanguard of the attacker and start the battle already on the map). Units already on the map (eg: owned by the player who controls the region), would of course start the mission already on the map at the start of the battle.

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I might not be reading that right, but I never really thought of Travian as an RTS. An RTS, in my mind, is a fairly intense experience, involving a brief playtime, a multi-phase strategy and a series of gambits to gain and exploit advantage on the playing field. In an MMO context, a lot of that doesn't work well, due to the longer timeline, the playstyle of your players and the sheer inertia of gained assets and capabilities, making shifts in power slow and cumbersome.


Can be me who's mistaking, what would you classify it as ? :-)



[quote name='sunandshadow' timestamp='1299627771' post='4783331']
You could have an MMO where there were pvp and maybe also pve battles comparable to a warcraft or starcraft battle - that would be a functional MMORTS.

Although not RTS, the MMO Global Agenda has PvP and PvE. It has strategy elements as part of the PvP (Called Agency vs Agency) is a battle to control a strategic map. Each Agency vs Agency match has players competing over a map like most FPS games. The winning team give control over that map to the Agency they represent.

Now, think of this in terms of RTS. Each Map represents a part of the larger strategic map. At regular intervals players compete on each map as representatives of another player (or group of players) for control and the winners give control over that map to the Player they represent.

Any uncontrolled region would act as a PvE match vs bots. Also occasionally you could have AI make attacks against regions. This would also act as as a way to limit players from getting too big as they would have more chance (having more regions under their control) of getting attacked by the random AI raid. IT would mean they would have to spend more resources on defence or risk loosing control to an AI raid for a region.

The idea I had for such a game sort of reduced the importance of base building on any particular map. Basically these bases that you built are temporary structures that would decay over time (in terms of strategic map time). However, the player could spend more resources to build more permanent structures (that would take a long time to build in terms of strategic map time - several tactical battle rounds). It would be these structures that built the units and such used in the tactical battles.

Units could only be moved from adjacent regions into the current region. These units outside are reserve units, and they would take time to move into the area (however some units would be able to move more quickly - such as scouts - and these would act as the vanguard of the attacker and start the battle already on the map). Units already on the map (eg: owned by the player who controls the region), would of course start the mission already on the map at the start of the battle.
[/quote]

Thanks a lot for these inputs ! :-) really got me thinking about the way of designing the game.

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RTS stands for Real Time Strategy - as long as there are at least two parties doing something at the same time, it can be considered an RTS.

Now the question is, are you going GA style with 3D/2D live action or browser based like Travian or Galactic Conquest. Each is different and implements different ideas. Travian/Galactic Conquest is a game that can be played anywhere, given internet connection, and players visit it often to monitor the activity. GA on the other hand has a schedule of AvA fights, allowing for planning, and making the players sit at the location where the game is located. It boils down to how much you want the players to spend time with your game, the plot/lore of it - everything else is details that will emerge on their own as you go.

Just my opinion on the subject of massive strategy games.

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RTS stands for Real Time Strategy - as long as there are at least two parties doing something at the same time, it can be considered an RTS.

Now the question is, are you going GA style with 3D/2D live action or browser based like Travian or Galactic Conquest. Each is different and implements different ideas. Travian/Galactic Conquest is a game that can be played anywhere, given internet connection, and players visit it often to monitor the activity. GA on the other hand has a schedule of AvA fights, allowing for planning, and making the players sit at the location where the game is located. It boils down to how much you want the players to spend time with your game, the plot/lore of it - everything else is details that will emerge on their own as you go.

Just my opinion on the subject of massive strategy games.


Yup, the plan was to create a Travian or Galactic Conquest like game, browserbased.

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Okay then, referring to the OP - play those games for some time and decide what features are fun. What makes player want to log in after being logged off for one minute. It's the same thing with forums, from my experience - there is always a chance someone did something significant while you were gone, and you would like to hear it as fast as possible. PvP might be your best bet - you could also use some tangible PvE elements, such as when you log off, there is a chance monsters attack your territory - making each log in a thriling sensation "did anything happen? Do I still own that great castle or is it just rubble now?". Time is important as well. Don't let the players use superior bandwidth/refresh rate/bots to their advantage - force the flow of time to, for example, one action point per 5 minutes. The player will stay logged to use that point as fast as he can to finish that one temple he has been constructing for the past week. Allow some other stuff while they wait - a small text based quest/dungeon like in Red Dragon? (not sure if red dragon was international or not, but it was a big hit of it's time in Poland) Crafting new recipes? Anything to keep the player logged till the next turn arrives.

As a player I can also say that some mechanics are brutal and can make the game less of a fun experience - personally I hated O-Game for it's use of real time. I mean, I started building stuff, and the end of it would be well past midnight, when I could play no more. Time was being wasted and it caused frustration. Also, some players will always have an advantage over the other - that being the resource of time. MMORTS has to battle that issue to the same extent as any other MMO - how to allow friends to play with eachother despite different playtimes. Will allowing stronger players attack noobs be good for the player base? There is a really lot to think through when making an MMO really.

An alternative, let's call it compromise, is having something Star Cowboy pulled off (hope i got the title right). It was a RTS that had turns (Galactic Conquest like) instead of real time flowing, and each game could incorporate a few players battling out in a system. Almost like Starcraft, but over a longer peroid of time, that being even a week or so. That way friends can host their own games and play when and as they please.

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Okay then, referring to the OP - play those games for some time and decide what features are fun. What makes player want to log in after being logged off for one minute. It's the same thing with forums, from my experience - there is always a chance someone did something significant while you were gone, and you would like to hear it as fast as possible. PvP might be your best bet - you could also use some tangible PvE elements, such as when you log off, there is a chance monsters attack your territory - making each log in a thriling sensation "did anything happen? Do I still own that great castle or is it just rubble now?". Time is important as well. Don't let the players use superior bandwidth/refresh rate/bots to their advantage - force the flow of time to, for example, one action point per 5 minutes. The player will stay logged to use that point as fast as he can to finish that one temple he has been constructing for the past week. Allow some other stuff while they wait - a small text based quest/dungeon like in Red Dragon? (not sure if red dragon was international or not, but it was a big hit of it's time in Poland) Crafting new recipes? Anything to keep the player logged till the next turn arrives.

As a player I can also say that some mechanics are brutal and can make the game less of a fun experience - personally I hated O-Game for it's use of real time. I mean, I started building stuff, and the end of it would be well past midnight, when I could play no more. Time was being wasted and it caused frustration. Also, some players will always have an advantage over the other - that being the resource of time. MMORTS has to battle that issue to the same extent as any other MMO - how to allow friends to play with eachother despite different playtimes. Will allowing stronger players attack noobs be good for the player base? There is a really lot to think through when making an MMO really.

An alternative, let's call it compromise, is having something Star Cowboy pulled off (hope i got the title right). It was a RTS that had turns (Galactic Conquest like) instead of real time flowing, and each game could incorporate a few players battling out in a system. Almost like Starcraft, but over a longer peroid of time, that being even a week or so. That way friends can host their own games and play when and as they please.


Thanks a lot for the detailed response, I've started playing some different games now to check them out and see wich features I like the most, as you suggested.
I will also look at the other ideas on gameplay you've given me, thanks a lot for those :-)

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