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Bronco78th

Having difficulties with resources....

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Hi All,

Ive spent the last few weeks working on a GDD for an RTS strategy game based on the Uboat war in the Atlantic during WW2 (you may have seen this recruitment thread [url="http://www.gamedev.net/topic/600642-programmer-needed-with-a-world-war-2-interest/"]Here[/url])

The idea is coming together, ive done afew mock-ups for interfaces, started pulling together various asset lists etc and I feel im on my way to being able to work on it and open it confident I know where im going.

Im aiming for the game to be quite historically accurate and is aimed at those of us gamers that love reading and researching the war.

That being said I am still struggling to work out a resource system thats versatile yet simplistic.

There will be 5 main resources in the game (or cargo's that convoy and cargo ships can carry) which are:-

[list][*]General Stores (Building materials, factory materials etc)[*]Supplies (food)[*]Fuel[*]Munitions (Tanks,ammunition,aircraft,military vehicles etc)[*]Troops[/list]Oviously as the Allied player, The US and Canada for much of the war will have an overwelming amount of resources, The UK however will be very much on the edge in terms of resources available, the idea of course is to get those resources across the Hostile Atlantic ocean and Feed/supply the UK

As the Axis player, The resources will be very high, before being wittled down the longer the conflict goes on.

But how do I present this system to the player?

[list=1][*]Ive considered making it really simple and say that each country has an overall amount of resources and each convoy to reach that country obviously adds to the over resource pool, so US has X of each resource, UK has X of each resource, France has X of each resource,Canada has X of each resource etc....but this is far to simple and completely takes out the factor of Coastal convoys, the player has no need or reason to send a group of ships on a historically dangerous journey from say Liverpool to London because the resources they bought from Canada or the US are just added to the main 'UK resource pool' regardless of where they docked.[*]My second idea was to apply the resources pool as above to the Ports, obviously smaller ports will have a very small pool of resources and larger ports will have a much bigger pool of resources. I do however feel that this is both a mathematical nightmare, and will be too easy to unbalance the game, given that I have historical information on ship types and what there potential cargo tonnage was....but absolutily no idea what a realistic threshold would be when it came to Resources and supplies at the Ports....admittedly I haven't actually researched this point (yet) but from my recent experiences its one of those things that even with a vast amount of research the information would be very much incomplete and guess work anyway.[*]While writing this post Ive actually came up with a 3rd idea which is probably the best of them all (YAY!) which simplifies point 2 and is similar to point 1 and that is to devide the world map(game map) into regions, so ships docking at Liverpool will add to the 'North West ' resource pool, but because the 'South East/London' Resource pool will not receive those new supplies....the player would need to make a coastal convoy to take resources from the 'North West' resource pool and get them to 'South East/ London' resource pool.....*grabs pen and paper to figure if this idea is viable*[/list]
Any other ideas on how I can get my head round this problem?

Many Thanks,

John

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I think you pretty much figured it out for yourself. Dividing the countries by region sounds like a good idea, and you could make the areas as large or small as you want to control player movement; major cities like London could be their own resource pools though, since I imagine that they would need a lot more in term of resupply than the countryside. But, I guess it really depends on how many regions their would be in all that you had to resupply, and how long it would take for you to get everywhere.

Also, it's personal taste, but I'm not really feeling the names for some of the resources; "general stores" and "supplies" are a little too vague. Something like "material" and "rations" don't really describe it perfectly either, but would be better in my opinion.

Oh, and I'm kinda curious about how your handling the resource management outside of this. I mean, are their other ships resupplying these regions? Are you handling transportation for the whole country, or are you just a grizzled old tugboat captain trying to scratch out a living during the war? Can the regions resupply from other nearby areas (via rail or air), or just from your ships? Would the regions have their own specialty productions (like the countryside producing food supplies)? Would more populated areas use up food faster? Does moving troops around actually affect the war (like would it actually stop or allow regions to be taken over)?

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I do like the regions idea as well. IC Timez may have a point about the resources but I think it may just come down to making the names cooler.


Now, when you said regions, I began imagining a sort of Risk type board thing, but more detailed, so Axis and Allies maybe? Perhaps the war and the battles are different interfaces, so that if the Axis decides to attack one of the convoys you were talking about on a highway or whatever, you would begin a close up battle on a highway level where your objective is to defend your convoy etc. Otherwise the game is played in real time from a world view. Presenting the system to the player would be as simple as saying, each region has a warehouse that has these resources in them for use, and from there you can ship them on roads or overseas. What do you think?

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You guys have provided some food for thought.

Just to clarify the game is actually focused on the Naval Combat, controlling the movements and attacks of individual ships and coming up with tactics on how to defend the convoys (which are all ships, in this case no trucks :) ).

The resources are needed to give the player a marker and goal. as I said historically during the war the Uk relied on shipping Convoys from Canada and the US to keep it alive (and sent materials and goods back to the US and Canada ) ... I could just have the computer generate missions like 'Get X amount of supplies and X amount of Food to London', but this in my opinion makes it to Linear, the player then does not need to make big decisions where as with the resources he does.

The region system I think would definitely work, basically it would take the resources of several ports into account...for example the London region would account for the supplies at the ports of 'Port of London', 'Chatham Dockyard' and 'Shell Haven' all located in or around the thames and Thames Estuary, The North East Region would take in the collective resources of the ports of Teesport,Sunderland, Tyne and Blyth etc

These resources would decrease over time taking into account the needs of the local population in the region.

As for the question on a dynamic campaign.

This again is abit of grey area, id love to make a dynamic campaign where events going on outside the game area are influenced by your ability to defend ships and build up resources or (if axis) destroy ships thus draining resources, but for the initial incarnation I feel it might make the scope too big, so was thinking of making it along a liniar time line at least to start with....though I guess that kinda defeats the point as well.

*Goes back to the drawing board*....did I say I knew what I was doing :P

John

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Well, something small like "Danger Levels" could work; where if the region runs too low on a certain resource, they become vulnerable to Axis/ Ally takeover. And every 10 minutes or whatever time under the threshold, there is a X% that the region switches sides (because they can't fend off the attackers or are starving). You would have to tweak this a bit, so that border regions would have a greater chance of defecting, but I don't think this would be too complicated a solution. It's not exactly the most realistic representation of the war either, but meh. You could also have the opposing side randomly pick out one of your areas to invade every half or hour so, and that will double or triple the amount of resources you need to prevent them from succeeding.

That was assuming that by scope you meant the problems with implementing a dynamic system. If you meant player scope, you could just open up the map as they get more/ bigger ships.

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On the contary, I think danger levels should reflect higher resource amounts. Logically, the more resources an area has, the bigger its attraction to the other side. But also the harder to take. Actually as i write this I think that youre right in that the lower the resources the more vunerable it is, and I guess that too would make it a target just because its easy.

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[quote name='walkingbush' timestamp='1311024320' post='4837044']
On the contary, I think danger levels should reflect higher resource amounts. Logically, the more resources an area has, the bigger its attraction to the other side. But also the harder to take. Actually as i write this I think that youre right in that the lower the resources the more vunerable it is, and I guess that too would make it a target just because its easy.
[/quote]

My reasoning for "low resources = danger" is more of a way to encourage the player to actually resupply areas, rather than any real world logic. Though, what you said would be workable if troops functioned as the only "resource" you needed to keep up, to prevent defection. The problem with that is that you would then need a reason to move the other resources around, instead of just throwing soldiers everywhere, and that would probably make it too complex.

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[quote name='Bronco78th' timestamp='1310943378' post='4836528']Ive considered making it really simple and say that each country has an overall amount of resources and each convoy to reach that country obviously adds to the over resource pool, so US has X of each resource, UK has X of each resource, France has X of each resource,Canada has X of each resource etc....but this is far to simple and completely takes out the factor of Coastal convoys, the player has no need or reason to send a group of ships on a historically dangerous journey from say Liverpool to London because the resources they bought from Canada or the US are just added to the main 'UK resource pool' regardless of where they docked.[/quote]Coastal convoys? What for? Can't they use railroads?

There are 2 routes. First from US to UK and second from UK to Soviets. German player doesn't have any route and only try to disrupt these two routes.That's what is was all about, ignore all minor things like coastal convoy, they made no real difference.

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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1311330926' post='4838838']
[quote name='Bronco78th' timestamp='1310943378' post='4836528']Ive considered making it really simple and say that each country has an overall amount of resources and each convoy to reach that country obviously adds to the over resource pool, so US has X of each resource, UK has X of each resource, France has X of each resource,Canada has X of each resource etc....but this is far to simple and completely takes out the factor of Coastal convoys, the player has no need or reason to send a group of ships on a historically dangerous journey from say Liverpool to London because the resources they bought from Canada or the US are just added to the main 'UK resource pool' regardless of where they docked.[/quote]Coastal convoys? What for? Can't they use railroads?

There are 2 routes. First from US to UK and second from UK to Soviets. German player doesn't have any route and only try to disrupt these two routes.That's what is was all about, ignore all minor things like coastal convoy, they made no real difference.
[/quote]

You are forgetting the Med and African routes, as well as the South American routes. Not to mention much of the North Atlantic Convoys were started in Halifax, Canada, not the US, and a lot of the shipping was coastal up the eastern sea board of North America.


Look up convoy and shipping maps of WWII. (Or google Silent Hunter III strategy maps.)

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[quote name='Luckless' timestamp='1311345891' post='4838930']
[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1311330926' post='4838838']
[quote name='Bronco78th' timestamp='1310943378' post='4836528']Ive considered making it really simple and say that each country has an overall amount of resources and each convoy to reach that country obviously adds to the over resource pool, so US has X of each resource, UK has X of each resource, France has X of each resource,Canada has X of each resource etc....but this is far to simple and completely takes out the factor of Coastal convoys, the player has no need or reason to send a group of ships on a historically dangerous journey from say Liverpool to London because the resources they bought from Canada or the US are just added to the main 'UK resource pool' regardless of where they docked.[/quote]Coastal convoys? What for? Can't they use railroads?

There are 2 routes. First from US to UK and second from UK to Soviets. German player doesn't have any route and only try to disrupt these two routes.That's what is was all about, ignore all minor things like coastal convoy, they made no real difference.
[/quote]

You are forgetting the Med and African routes, as well as the South American routes. Not to mention much of the North Atlantic Convoys were started in Halifax, Canada, not the US, and a lot of the shipping was coastal up the eastern sea board of North America.


Look up convoy and shipping maps of WWII. (Or google Silent Hunter III strategy maps.)
[/quote]

Though I havent acturally read anything on the use of Coastal convoys (yet) I would assume they used them instead of railways because the system was already under strain and in the early years the rail infulstructure was being constantly bombed by the luftwaffe, so it would have been deemed a viable option to send merchant ships from somewhere like Liverpool to resupply factories and other facilities in London and the South-east for example.

Also in terms of the game it would certainly add a dimension of strategy:-

I relieses (as a player) London Region needs Fuel and Food, The North East Region has ample food and fuel. So the player can form a coastal convoy carrying predominately food and fuel (using the convoy creation wizard with easy flowing interface :D) from ships Docked in the North east region and sends them to the London Region knowing another convoy is midway across the Atlantic from Canada to the North East with fuel and food....ah but there is also plenty of Uboats still around the North Sea...so ill form a couple of Hunter Killer Destroyer/Corvette patrol groups from Scapa Flow to patrol a line around the east coast of Britain and help to Protect the convoy....

As for Convoy routes outside the Atlantic (which currently include Russia) im toying with the idea of a kind of auto resolve - random battle generator which will decide which ships are sunk,damaged or are untouched...obviously the player has no direct influence on what happens when the convoy leaves the Atlantic 'area' but as the player most of the time will be creating the convoys to send to these 'out of area' places they also decide how well escorted and defended the convoy is.....send a convoy of 10 merchants with 5 destroyers and 4 corvettes its likely to survive, but send 10 merchants with 2 corvettes and its likely to get decimated.....the sacrifice in this case for the player is the escort ships might not return to the players control for several game weeks...so its all about balancing your forces with supply and demand.

I COULD make a game that does take into account Russia and the Med, but as ive said previous Im wary of the scope. I want the game to be designed in such away that a strategy gamer could pick it up in afew hours and understand what they are doing, a non strategy gamer to become competent at playing it in afew days. I don't want it to be so deep its like Civilization or Cossacks(?) which are amazing games in themselves but you need to be in prison to find the time to get the most out of them. The mark im aiming for is the Total War series since they blend the learning curve and time needed to play very well I think.

oh also Silent Hunter 3 with the Grey Wolves Unofficial Expansion FTW :P

Regards,

John

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[quote name='Bronco78th' timestamp='1311379412' post='4839154']I want the game to be designed in such away that a strategy gamer could pick it up in afew hours and understand what they are doing, a non strategy gamer to become competent at playing it in afew days.[/quote]I don't think casuals would be interesed in the "ubot" theme in the first place.

As for including coastal convoys and ommiting Murmansk it feels weird... I know the differenece between PQ13 and QP13 and still never read about coastal convoys. The difference in importance is huge. Also, if you include coastal convoys you should include railroads too (since you deal with the internal transport network then).

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[quote name='Acharis' timestamp='1311495894' post='4839522']
I don't think casuals would be interesed in the "ubot" theme in the first place.[/quote]

I Disagree with this almost entirely, I say almost entirely, because the average 20 year old who thinks the Germans won the war or indeed Hitler was famous for being the German National Football manAger instead of an evil dictator who in his own ways was a genius then you are correct. But if you follow or have played games based on world war 2 that are not watered down console games you will reliase there is a large number of WW2 fans around that would play a historically accurate, realistic world war 2 game becuase its just that, relaistic and historically accurate.....just see the communities of the fore mentioned Silent Hunter, Il2 Sturmovik Series (or even just the SimHQ Forums) even Company of Heroes then you can see people will play a game like this purely because its World War 2, regardless of it being about Uboats or convoys or aircraft bombing convoys.

for those that are interested, the football manager thing came up in a survey of UK School kids and a disturbing number of them thought Hitler was a football manger.....

[quote]As for including coastal convoys and ommiting Murmansk it feels weird... I know the differenece between PQ13 and QP13 and still never read about coastal convoys. The difference in importance is huge. Also, if you include coastal convoys you should include railroads too (since you deal with the internal transport network then).[/quote]

I agree with this point and ive not said at any point I want to totally overlook Russia and the Arctic Convoys (or the Med for that matter) , but by including them in my inital design it presents me with a long list of problems which id rather avoid by leaving them out for now. This is why as a solution I proposed the 'auto resolve' battle system as noted in my previous post.

Including the internal transport system for the UK and its allies goes way beyond the scope of what im intending, plus you would then need to model the effects of the Blitz and the rail infrastructure being almost constantly bombed, you could infact make a game out of that in itself.
This is a strategy game focusing on naval combat between uboats, Merchant men and Escorts, not a game which focuses on weather the Didcot marshaling yard was bombed during the night or not.

Regards,

John

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Convoys were used in the open ocean, not in coastal waters. The coasts were already defended, both by frequent naval patrols, and by an air craft over-watch. Convoys were designs so that the merchant ships could travel with protection between areas that were defended. Basically you are putting guards around the merchants and running them between two fortresses. Once the ships are inside the 'walls' of either 'fortress', they don't need that protection, and are basically free to split up and move where they're needed. The walls being the defended zone of coastal waters that saw frequent patrols and readily covered by aircraft.

While the home water defences were by no means perfect, it would have taken tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of ships and air craft carriers to extend a similar level of defence to the whole of the North Atlantic.


From the game play point of view, you would need to find the balance between coastal defence, and open water convoy defence. Cut one too thin and the opponent would make you bleed there. (And if you're on the offence, put too little pressure on one, and they'll pull resources from the other and crush you.)

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[quote name='Luckless' timestamp='1311556309' post='4839794']
From the game play point of view, you would need to find the balance between coastal defence, and open water convoy defence. Cut one too thin and the opponent would make you bleed there. (And if you're on the offence, put too little pressure on one, and they'll pull resources from the other and crush you.)
[/quote]

This is exactly what im aiming for....all about the player balancing what forces they have at their disposal. and designating the important regions and objectives to focus there defense on.

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[quote name='Luckless' timestamp='1311556309' post='4839794']From the game play point of view, you would need to find the balance between coastal defence, and open water convoy defence. [/quote]Historically, it would be incorrect. In fact there were two choices. One, assign combat ships to convoys (direct protection of the convoy with focus on anti submarine and anti aircraft defence), second, assign combat ships to force fleets (patrol in proximity of several convoys with the purpose of fighting battleships and heavier threats).

Also there could be a third choice, which is recalling part of direct covoy escort in returning convoys (empty) which adds more forces to the patrol force fleet or to the incoming valuable (full) convoys.

From tactical point of view the choices would be to stick together or spread the convoy (but this was proven to be disastrous so I don't know if it would make sense to implement such option).

The whole coastal convoys don't even use the same pool or defensive resources (no battleshipos needed at all, proximity of friendly airports with customized seafighers that were useful for ocean convoys anyway, coastal convoys basicly mean pure anti submarine assets).

[quote]This is exactly what im aiming for....all about the player balancing what forces they have at their disposal. and designating the important regions and objectives to focus there defense on.[/quote]I don't think there were many such choices, and even if, these choice were rather obvious.
You could prioritize the cargo I guess...

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