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Ideal RTS Game

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Answer whatever questions interest you:
What kind of features would exist in your ideal RTS game?
What features would you like to have for modding?
What stuff have you always wanted to do either playing or modding RTS games that you haven't had support for?
What is your position on micro vs macro(SC2 style clicking on a hundred barracks counts as macro type macro)?
How do you feel about simulation elements ala Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim or Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom?
Are you a fan of long or short game lengths?
What about the length of actual sessions, vs completing a game?
How do you feel about TBS games and would you like to see some TBS features incorporated into RTS games?
As an example, many TBS games or even single player RTS games with pause functions have things like complex magic systems, hundreds of units in armies, caster characters who are primarily summoners or magic casters as opposed to just ranged characters with high damage and low health, more complex technology/research tress and so forth.
Do you like squad based units or individuals or both with options?
Do you have fun base building or managing or do you really only care about intense continuous combat?
Do you like a map to have only one battle that is significant or do you like a lot of smaller battles to go on at once?
Do you like games with multiple momentum shifts where losing a base area is only a minor setback or do you prefer games where there are generally one or two deciding battles and an economic setback or base loss is pretty much a signal that the game is about to end?
Do you prefer games with careful strategy or turtling with defense towers or games that are about aggressive combat with minimal downtime?
Do you have any thoughts not covered in my WallOfText of questions?

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What kind of features would exist in your ideal RTS game? - Smooth controls, good FPS, action queuing, unit possession, and both coop and versus mode multiplayer
Do you have fun base building or managing or do you really only care about intense continuous combat? - Base building, but not managing. Annihilation combat for the end-game.

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* What stuff have you always wanted to do either playing or modding RTS games that you haven't had support for?

rpg and mmo element.

* What is your position on micro vs macro(SC2 style clicking on a hundred barracks counts as macro type macro)?

I dont mind either way, micro tends to put more detail into the combat, macro smashes cpu resources so much detail is lost.

* Are you a fan of long or short game lengths?

both.

* How do you feel about TBS games and would you like to see some TBS features incorporated into RTS games?
As an example, many TBS games or even single player RTS games with pause functions have things like complex magic systems, hundreds of units in armies, caster characters who are primarily summoners or magic casters as opposed to just ranged characters with high damage and low health, more complex technology/research tress and so forth.

sounds good

* Do you like squad based units or individuals or both with options?

squads.

* Do you have fun base building or managing or do you really only care about intense continuous combat?

a bit of both is good.

* Do you like a map to have only one battle that is significant or do you like a lot of smaller battles to go on at once?

multiple battles

* Do you like games with multiple momentum shifts where losing a base area is only a minor setback or do you prefer games where there are generally one or two deciding battles and an economic setback or base loss is pretty much a signal that the game is about to end?

multiple.

* Do you prefer games with careful strategy or turtling with defense towers or games that are about aggressive combat with minimal downtime?

strategy is good.

* Do you have any thoughts not covered in my WallOfText of questions?

graphics arent that important, as long as its multiplayer, even flat 2d is fine. Edited by rouncer

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I want a campaign mode :) I want it to be like StarCraft 1 or Warcraft 2/3 (but not like StarCraft 2 which is lame).

"What is your position on micro vs macro(SC2 style clicking on a hundred barracks counts as macro type macro)?"
StarCraft 1 style was "just right" for me. I rather dispise clicking on mane things fast.
[size=2]Also, I want a campaign mode.

"How do you feel about simulation elements ala Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim or Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom?"
It does not sound compatible, even though I like Majesty. It just does not fit with RTS.
[size=2]Also, I want a campaign mode.

Oh yes, and the most important thing, I want a campaign mode :D

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I am pretty sure that serious Starcraft play involved clicking on a shitload of things really fast, unless you played single player on low difficulty.

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What kind of features would exist in your ideal RTS game?


Varied victory conditions, so it doesn't just boil down to 'annihilate the opponent' in every game. Ultimately, I like the idea that annihilation is a means to an end, not necessarily an end in itself. And I don't just mean on a map by map basis - I'd like to know that I can play *any* map and have a choice of different ways to win.


What features would you like to have for modding?
[/quote]

Ability to add new factions, units, and most importantly of all, maps.


What is your position on micro vs macro(SC2 style clicking on a hundred barracks counts as macro type macro)?
[/quote]

Depends.
Micro can be a good thing - it adds a twitch, adrenaline element to the game which can make the game much more fun. But it can also detract from the strategic element. Overall, I tend to prefer games which favour strategy over having high APM.


How do you feel about simulation elements ala Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim or Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom?
[/quote]

Not entirely sure what you mean here. I am generally a big fan of simulation-y stuff, but for me, in an RTS game that manifests itself better in the form of physics systems, ballistics, etc a la Supreme Commander, rather than Majesty style, AI controlled gameplay.



How do you feel about TBS games and would you like to see some TBS features incorporated into RTS games?
[/quote]

I like the idea of TBS style campaigns. I generally dislike story based campaigns in RTS, I like to be in control of the overall strategy rather than being spoon fed every mission and it's objectives. I'm not sure about TBS elements in the actual real time portion of the gameplay though. RTS gameplay features need to be streamlined if they are to be workable, simply chucking more options and complexity into a realtime game runs the risk of overwhelming the player.


Do you like squad based units or individuals or both with options?
[/quote]

Both can work. Generally I tend to prefer to work with groups of units, rather than microing every single last unit. Squads can be good, or single unit but with good group selection and management tools can be the best of both worlds.


Do you have fun base building or managing or do you really only care about intense continuous combat?
[/quote]

Personally, I don't think a game needs to be continuous combat. I prefer a game with a varied pace - some intense combat interspersed with manoeuvring/setup play. That may include base building, but does not have to.


Do you like games with multiple momentum shifts where losing a base area is only a minor setback or do you prefer games where there are generally one or two deciding battles and an economic setback or base loss is pretty much a signal that the game is about to end?[/quote]

I don't like the idea that one mistake can cost the entire game. It's boring for both players to play on once the mistake is made, and as a result, unsatisfying, regardless of whether you win or lose. It's much more interesting if there is a reason to keep playing - if there is always a way your opponent can turn the tables on you, it makes winning feel much more worthwhile, and even losing can be fun as you try to figure out how to turn things around.


Do you prefer games with careful strategy or turtling with defense towers or games that are about aggressive combat with minimal downtime?
[/quote]

I prefer games with careful strategy and aggressive combat.

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Right now, I won't say much specifically about game-play. Although there are many fundamental elements in RTS game mechanics that are more critical and more important for discussion than what I have to say, for now, I would just like to wish for two (uncommon) features:

1. Smooth pathfinding/movement

Battles aren't cool when all of the units keep getting stuck on each other and unnaturally clog up in their own paths. Checkout what Gas Powered Games has done (called flow fields?).

2. Very lively teammate/enemy AI

In most RTS games, often times, I really just want to practice against AI to get better (prior to competitive online gameplay). But this is a completely reluctant effort. At least in the games I play, AI skirmishes seem pretty bland and, there aren't enough interesting events that happen. I want RTS AI to pass the Turing test.

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I am pretty sure that serious Starcraft play involved clicking on a shitload of things really fast, unless you played single player on low difficulty.
There are no difficulty levels in Starcraft 1 (which, BTW, I find a very stupid idea). You could only add more AI opponents and team them against you.

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Right now, I won't say much specifically about game-play. Although there are many fundamental elements in RTS game mechanics that are more critical and more important for discussion than what I have to say, for now, I would just like to wish for two (uncommon) features:

1. Smooth pathfinding/movement

Battles aren't cool when all of the units keep getting stuck on each other and unnaturally clog up in their own paths. Checkout what Gas Powered Games has done (called flow fields?).

2. Very lively teammate/enemy AI

In most RTS games, often times, I really just want to practice against AI to get better (prior to competitive online gameplay). But this is a completely reluctant effort. At least in the games I play, AI skirmishes seem pretty bland and, there aren't enough interesting events that happen. I want RTS AI to pass the Turing test.


Well I intend to do quite a bit of work with the AI, although for flavor reasons they will be spamming legions of units. I think I could make an AI that would pass the turing test the first time you played a given mission. I do not think I could make an AI that would pass the turing test for a random map generator.

As for pathfinding I will look into it but I think pathfinding would take a shitload of cpu resources. A top tier machine might be able to handle a quality pathfinder but most computers wouldn't.

One thing to note about AI is that the closer an AI is to human, the more likely human players will be to claim that its "cheating".

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As for pathfinding I will look into it but I think pathfinding would take a shitload of cpu resources.[/quote]

Perhaps, unless you program it well. And I bet you could ... how does Gas Powered Games do it (they wouldn't be selling Supreme Commander 2 otherwise)? I would say that a lot of A* algorithms are quite archaic by their approach. Be daft and create improvements, or invent your own approaches... isn't that one of the fun things about game programming? smile.png

Edit:
Here's something I found:
http://gmc.yoyogames...howtopic=521613

I don't have Game Maker, so I can't get any reference code out of it. You could probably (easily) figure it out for yourself anyway.

Edit:
Oh wait. They're using C++? What????????? Download the zip and there's a folder called "DllSource" which has C++ in it! It should be helpful as a reference, if you don't know where to start.
------

One thing to note about AI is that the closer an AI is to human, the more likely human players will be to claim that its "cheating".[/quote]

?
You're contradicting my understanding a lot here. I thought the fact was exactly opposite. blink.png
Why do you say that? Edited by Reflexus

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As for pathfinding I will look into it but I think pathfinding would take a shitload of cpu resources.


Perhaps, unless you program it well. And I bet you could ... how does Gas Powered Games do it (they wouldn't be selling Supreme Commander 2 otherwise)? I would say that a lot of A* algorithms are quite archaic by their approach. Be daft and create improvements, or invent your own approaches... isn't that one of the fun things about game programming? smile.png

Edit:
Here's something I found:
http://gmc.yoyogames...howtopic=521613

I don't have Game Maker, so I can't get any reference code out of it. You could probably (easily) figure it out for yourself anyway.

Edit:
Oh wait. They're using C++? What????????? Download the zip and there's a folder called "DllSource" which has C++ in it! It should be helpful as a reference, if you don't know where to start.

[/quote]

I heard about flow fields. I know pretty much how they work. I might do something different though.

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What kind of features would exist in your ideal RTS game?
An RTS game would be more strategic in nature. Therefor the game should be in such a way that would not rely upon tactics to win the game. Games that require macromechanics or micromechanics are of logistical and tactical in nature. These two elements are inferior to strategy. They are like oxygen and hydrogen, but just having those element does not make water.

How do you feel about simulation elements?
They are great, but sometimes, the computer does not have enough ram to support all sorts of simulation. That's the reason why we are looking at the processor company and ask why we don't have 16 exabyte ram already. It's not expensive if they did put the time to develop it. Having affordable 16 exabyte ram by 2020 should be normal if the companies don't intentionally slow down technological development by shift towards multicore.

Are you a fan of long or short game lengths?
Games should be long or else they are not strategy game. That's all there is to it.

What about the length of actual sessions, vs completing a game?
Sessions should be in blocks of about 2 hours. Any shorter and the player is not skillful enough, or the game is too easy to even need strategy.

How do you feel about TBS games and would you like to see some TBS features incorporated into RTS games?
Saving the game before quiting and reloading a level is turn based already. Having more turn based is not necessary.

As an example, many TBS games or even single player RTS games with pause functions have things like complex magic systems, hundreds of units in armies, caster characters who are primarily summoners or magic casters as opposed to just ranged characters with high damage and low health, more complex technology/research tress and so forth.
Do you like squad based units or individuals or both with options?
Haivng entire hierarchy of units is better. Players may only select entire units, but the level in hierarch determine how many individual soldier is selected.

Do you have fun base building or managing or do you really only care about intense continuous combat?
Neither of those are strategy. Combat is pure tactics, and building is sim city.

Do you like a map to have only one battle that is significant or do you like a lot of smaller battles to go on at once?
Why are maps necessary? With enough ram, entire country may be simulated at once and the player would need to understand their limitation as a commander.

Do you like games with multiple momentum shifts where losing a base area is only a minor setback or do you prefer games where there are generally one or two deciding battles and an economic setback or base loss is pretty much a signal that the game is about to end?
In real life, momentum shifts occur even before a battle occur. Sometimes, momentum shift if the moral of the people change.

Do you prefer games with careful strategy or turtling with defense towers or games that are about aggressive combat with minimal downtime?
Mechanics are not strategy, and style is just that. Styles and ways of playing the game are about reality. In the middle age, before the cannons are mass produced, turtling is very effective, so there are not many wars. With the advent of cannons, aggression has advantage. Thus, we see many wars. In modern times, nuke makes wars too awkward to which side will win, but the double KO is not something that any selfish political leader will take unless they are push to the brink.


As a note on Starcraft II AI:
Insane: +2 mineral, +2 gas
Very Hard: +1 mineral, +1 gas
Hard: Standard 5 mineral, 7 gold mineral, 4 gas, 6 high yield gas
Normal: AI cancel buildings in order to simulate -1 mineral -1 gas
Easy: AI cancel buildings in order to simulate -2 mineral -2 gas
Very Easy: AI cancel buildings in order to simulate -3 mineral -3 gas

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What kind of features would exist in your ideal RTS game?
*Ability to design my own units using different components
*Technological developement limited by resources, not by tech tree
*At least partly persistent multiplayer. Lets say save the units ive designed, or a script i wrote for an unit to define its behaviour. It would be great if it was like a persistent MMO where my base(s) could exist for days.
*In short, being able to make my own designs and creations, and have them persistent for as long as possible

What features would you like to have for modding?
*If modding is implemented, it must be invisible to the client. It should use scripts which are sent to the client when he joins a game, not force him to install some mod.
*Each server should also be able to send customized objects/textures to the client to be used in that game, cached in case you join a game using the same mod again.
*The mod scripts should be as flexible as possible by making the game objects flexible. It shouldnt be drawing some custom UI because the previous one didnt support adding a single button.

What stuff have you always wanted to do either playing or modding RTS games that you haven't had support for?
*I dont like having a few predefined units and building and a single resource. I want to make my own units and buildings out of components.
*Dont really care about modding, but others should be able to mod the game and anyone should be able to play the modded servers without installing any mods to the client.

What is your position on micro vs macro(SC2 style clicking on a hundred barracks counts as macro type macro)?
*You should be able to create scripts or instructions for the units to make them fight efficiently, but it should be very simple. Going around the map
telling each unit what to attack shouldnt make you a better player.

How do you feel about simulation elements ala Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim or Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom?
*Havent played those, but simulation is always good. I want to redirect a river to flush my enemy away.

Are you a fan of long or short game lengths?
*Long, as long as the game has some pattern like (gather resources, build, fight, fortify, fight, make outposts, attack with huge army) instead of just continuous sending
troops and waiting until the enemy runs out of resources. (i prefer anything between 30 minutes and 3 hours. In age of empires 3 i always played 40 minute treason so i could build a base for 40 minutes and then spam some troops while expanding)

What about the length of actual sessions, vs completing a game?
I think its best if you can fit a single session in the available playing time. But you dont always know the time you have, so thats why
persisten worlds would be cool as you can play any amount of time.

How do you feel about TBS games and would you like to see some TBS features incorporated into RTS games?
*I dont really like turn based games. A RTS where the time passes would be the same thing i think, except cooler.

Do you like squad based units or individuals or both with options?
*Small units in squads, big heavy units as individuals simply because you have just a few so you want to manage each one separately.

Do you have fun base building or managing or do you really only care about intense continuous combat?
*I love base building, and i like fights the most if its either defending my own base or attacking the enemy base as its more complex that way (troops vs troops in the middle of nowhere is boring and simple)

Do you like a map to have only one battle that is significant or do you like a lot of smaller battles to go on at once?
*One battle would be fun if its also a long battle, where i have to deal with lets say healing hurt troops, transporting resources to the battlefield and building supporting buildings and stuff. Simply having a 1000 units fight a 3 minute fight isnt fun. If its the only fight, it needs to be a big complex fight where strategy matters.

Do you like games with multiple momentum shifts where losing a base area is only a minor setback or do you prefer games where there are generally one or two deciding battles and an economic setback or base loss is pretty much a signal that the game is about to end?
*The game should balance out automatically as time goes on. If you lose some small area of your base, it should soon be fixed, but if you lose a large enough area it should not balance anymore and you lose. The key would be to be better than the enemy for a long enough time, but if you make a big attack and hurt him, its useless if you cant keep it up and he has time to fix the damages or attack you while youre weak.

Do you prefer games with careful strategy or turtling with defense towers or games that are about aggressive combat with minimal downtime?
*I like having most of the resources in a single place or 2 most of the time (lets say a base and an heavy outpost) and make small sneaky stuff, and when the time comes make a bigger attack.

Do you have any thoughts not covered in my WallOfText of questions?
*I like building and maintaining the infrastructure of the base (resource flows and stuff). Like my army should require new ammunition and parts to keep advancing. If the enemy manages to destroy my base, my army would get weaker fast if the enemy makes small attacks to it. (new fuel/food/whatever constant maintainance is needed even when the enemy doesnt attack. If the enemy sends a single unit, a lot of bullets are spent to destroy it even if that unit couldnt have made much damage at all. Also, the army wouldnt get through the enemy defense without supporting deliveries and stuff)
For example if i have an ore mine, i want to be able to define the path of the rock from the mines to whatever refining factories to factories and then the finished units to the battlefield.

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What kind of features would exist in your ideal RTS game?

Time to think and consider my options.
Units that I care about instead of units that are just cannon fodder.
How do you feel about simulation elements ala Majesty: The Fantasy Kingdom Sim[/quote]
Very much enjoyed the indirect control aspect. Recently bought and played the Warlock: Master of the Arcane game, and really missed that control system (and the sense of humor). Almost like they took everything that was good in Majesty, and then created Warlock with the leftovers.

I think the indirect control mechanic is perfect for this genre, as it allows for the gamer to be placed in a godlike position, while not being all powerful. The indirect control mechanic itself can become a strategic element. Intellect and willingness to follow orders might actually become important in units. Do you whip your minions, and make them sacrifice their pitiful lives out of fear, or do you treat your servants well and make them risk their lives out of love?

The RTS game in my dreams is one with a strong Shogun: Total War flavor for battle (including scouting, and actual reasons to attack or defend locations), using semi-direct control (you relay commands to your generals, who may or may not relay those commands to their troops, who may or may not follow those commands) with a mobile base (which grows over time, but can be attacked and destroyed) in a persistent world (women and children would be part of the clan, and generations could come and go as you trek across the land).

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What kind of features would exist in my ideal RTS.

-Scaled command, I want to start as a field commander, issuing tactical commands to a team and earn operational command of groups then strategic command of armies.
-I want to build and reinforce my army, issuing new useful specialist units to my command groups.
-I want to connect with my soldiers and deal with the permanent loss each meaningful units while still dealing with macro command of a sizable force that I've earned.
-For kicks, I want all my units to be players.
-Lastly I want a spherical map if Pac-man can have a map that loops surely current RTS can manage it. Edited by Mratthew

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I want a campaign mode smile.png I want it to be like StarCraft 1 or Warcraft 2/3 (but not like StarCraft 2 which is lame).

^This. Heavy on the story and theme, I honestly don't care if it's possible to play it across a network because I probably never would. I played one called Trash a few years ago and it was very entertaining and memorable due to its use of theme and voice-acting. And yay base-building. And I want the levels to have bronze-silver-gold ratings for how well you did at them so I am motivated to replay and get them all to gold, and be rewarded with an achievement for getting all the golds. I play a lot of the less combat-focused RTSes like Vampires vs. Zombies, and even the combatless RTsim ones like the Farm Frenzy series. That subgenre has developed in some interesting and relevant ways (like achievement use) which could certainly be incorporated back into more traditional RTSes.

I don't particularly care for TBSes unless it is a card-game style of combat which needs to be turn-based (e.g. Shandalar the old Magic The Gathering TBS). Normally I consider Tactical Turn-Based to be a superior direct substitute for the TBS genre. Although I do play turn-based tycoon games which could be considered combatless TBsim, and I'd probably play anything which combined a breeding sim with a turn-based combat using the bred things as units, whatever type of combat it used. Edited by sunandshadow

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Well, I am really a fan of breeding games for their min/max capabilities. I was really into Dragon Warrior Monsters when I was little.
I am currently working on an RTS game that includes a lot of economic sim stuff, and has some breeding/summoning stuff, but that's not a priority. Its part of a series of games, and I was planning on having the next game focus more on breeding type stuff. Its not turn based though. All the games in the series are based in the same IP as my MMORPG, and each one sort of explores a concept from that game, sort of like a proof of concept, because I could never actually create a 3D MMO on my own.

The second one with the breeding focuses on the biological systems from the MMO. Its not purely breeding, I dislike pure genres, you will be doing alchemical stuff dealing with poisons and stimulants derived from plant and animal species. In this case you would be applying this to breeding, although in the MMO it has increased scope. For instance certain poisons only work on certain creatures and some creatures can be bred or manipulated magically to produce substances, like faux-adrenaline, that can be applied to other creatures before a fight and such. Sort of strength potion type stuff. You can also breed for physical characteristics like flight or size, or for faster breeding or for more easily gathered food sources. Sort of like a weenie rush in magic the gathering. Opponents might be natural or other sentient species, mostly AI controlled.

I have a strong dislike for network programming, its just easier to make single player games so dev time can be focused on other more interesting stuff.

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Well, I am really a fan of breeding games for their min/max capabilities. I was really into Dragon Warrior Monsters when I was little.
I am currently working on an RTS game that includes a lot of economic sim stuff, and has some breeding/summoning stuff, but that's not a priority. Its part of a series of games, and I was planning on having the next game focus more on breeding type stuff. Its not turn based though. All the games in the series are based in the same IP as my MMORPG, and each one sort of explores a concept from that game, sort of like a proof of concept, because I could never actually create a 3D MMO on my own.

The second one with the breeding focuses on the biological systems from the MMO. Its not purely breeding, I dislike pure genres, you will be doing alchemical stuff dealing with poisons and stimulants derived from plant and animal species. In this case you would be applying this to breeding, although in the MMO it has increased scope. For instance certain poisons only work on certain creatures and some creatures can be bred or manipulated magically to produce substances, like faux-adrenaline, that can be applied to other creatures before a fight and such. Sort of strength potion type stuff. You can also breed for physical characteristics like flight or size, or for faster breeding or for more easily gathered food sources. Sort of like a weenie rush in magic the gathering. Opponents might be natural or other sentient species, mostly AI controlled.

I have a strong dislike for network programming, its just easier to make single player games so dev time can be focused on other more interesting stuff.

Sounds interesting. I'm not sure how putting breeding into an RTS would work, unless it happened between missions, or when missions were paused somehow. Doesn't seem like there would be time for a trial and error activity like breeding while the player is under attack and trying to do everything as fast as they can. But I do like real time breeding sims as long as they are not too slow-paced - I hate waiting within a game, unless I have a minigame to play in the meanwhile or something. I like the idea of breeding within the context of an mmo, I have a design like that myself. Bred creatures producing resources is also interesting. Though it would be easy to do both of those badly in such a way that the mmo's creature-related economy crashed itself or in such a way that it wasn't intuitive what you could breed to produce what, or was too costly to experiment, with the result that everyone relied on walkthroughs instead of actually experimenting within the game.

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[quote name='AltarofScience' timestamp='1341009357' post='4954126']
Well, I am really a fan of breeding games for their min/max capabilities. I was really into Dragon Warrior Monsters when I was little.
I am currently working on an RTS game that includes a lot of economic sim stuff, and has some breeding/summoning stuff, but that's not a priority. Its part of a series of games, and I was planning on having the next game focus more on breeding type stuff. Its not turn based though. All the games in the series are based in the same IP as my MMORPG, and each one sort of explores a concept from that game, sort of like a proof of concept, because I could never actually create a 3D MMO on my own.

The second one with the breeding focuses on the biological systems from the MMO. Its not purely breeding, I dislike pure genres, you will be doing alchemical stuff dealing with poisons and stimulants derived from plant and animal species. In this case you would be applying this to breeding, although in the MMO it has increased scope. For instance certain poisons only work on certain creatures and some creatures can be bred or manipulated magically to produce substances, like faux-adrenaline, that can be applied to other creatures before a fight and such. Sort of strength potion type stuff. You can also breed for physical characteristics like flight or size, or for faster breeding or for more easily gathered food sources. Sort of like a weenie rush in magic the gathering. Opponents might be natural or other sentient species, mostly AI controlled.

I have a strong dislike for network programming, its just easier to make single player games so dev time can be focused on other more interesting stuff.

Sounds interesting. I'm not sure how putting breeding into an RTS would work, unless it happened between missions, or when missions were paused somehow. Doesn't seem like there would be time for a trial and error activity like breeding while the player is under attack and trying to do everything as fast as they can. But I do like real time breeding sims as long as they are not too slow-paced - I hate waiting within a game, unless I have a minigame to play in the meanwhile or something. I like the idea of breeding within the context of an mmo, I have a design like that myself. Bred creatures producing resources is also interesting. Though it would be easy to do both of those badly in such a way that the mmo's creature-related economy crashed itself or in such a way that it wasn't intuitive what you could breed to produce what, or was too costly to experiment, with the result that everyone relied on walkthroughs instead of actually experimenting within the game.
[/quote]

Walkthroughs are never required, some people do not appreciate games with higher learning curves and some do.

I would say that breeding would have to be done on a non-realistic time scale, it pretty much is in any game that already exists. For instance if one is breeding dragons, which have theoretically long lifespans and long breeding cycles, we can't really spend 300 years on one generation. Even animals with shorter lifespans wouldn't be feasible, which I assume is primarily why breeding games are generally not real time. But then, if we are already in the fantastic realm of breeding dragons we can probably go a slight step further and fudge the time scales a little.

My primary problem is that most breeding games don't really go far enough. They are shallow and often only deal with cosmetic issues. They don't really have goals either. Occasionally you want to make money somehow. That usually requires an NPC market for creatures.

On the issue of experimentation, that's only a problem if you can't accept losing. That's part of the reason for the achievement model in games. You still effectively lose, you just don't PERCEIVE yourself as having lost. They make the game easy and then the people who used to win at hard games get the gold medal and the people who never won still get to say they did.

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Walkthroughs are never required, some people do not appreciate games with higher learning curves and some do.

I can't really agree with that. Consider this example: A game which perfectly mimics the real world, except there is only one person (the player). This person is immortal and has all the time in the world to experiment, let's say they can even control how fast time progresses in the game so they can fast-forward through boring bits. At the beginning they have no technology, though stone-age tech is relatively easy to discover. It would possible, but utterly unreasonable, to expect the player to build a nuclear power plant without any kind of tutorial or walkthrough. If a learning curve is too high for 90% of players that's just a bad design.

I would say that breeding would have to be done on a non-realistic time scale, it pretty much is in any game that already exists. For instance if one is breeding dragons, which have theoretically long lifespans and long breeding cycles, we can't really spend 300 years on one generation. Even animals with shorter lifespans wouldn't be feasible, which I assume is primarily why breeding games are generally not real time. But then, if we are already in the fantastic realm of breeding dragons we can probably go a slight step further and fudge the time scales a little.

My primary problem is that most breeding games don't really go far enough. They are shallow and often only deal with cosmetic issues. They don't really have goals either. Occasionally you want to make money somehow. That usually requires an NPC market for creatures.

On the issue of experimentation, that's only a problem if you can't accept losing. That's part of the reason for the achievement model in games. You still effectively lose, you just don't PERCEIVE yourself as having lost. They make the game easy and then the people who used to win at hard games get the gold medal and the people who never won still get to say they did.
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My concern with experimentation is more an economic one. I've seen way too many MMOs where crafting is a money-pit that can't be made to turn a profit. I've also seen particular crafting recipes which are never attempted because the ingredients are too expensive to risk a chance of failure. Animal breeding is essentially a kind of crafting and would also be prone to this sort of problem. Whether the context is an MMO or not, players will avoid gameplay which is economically disadvantageous, or at the least they will wince their way through it, or restore to last save if they have a particularly expensive failure. It's just a situation which is stressful and depressing to players; in other words, it fails to be fun, which is what games are all about.

As far as time scales, have you played Plant Tycoon? That's an example of a real-time breeding tycoon with some obvious flaws (severe shortage of storage, poor choice of goal, non-interactive sales portion of the game). It allows the player to select the speed much like the SimCity and Sims games do, except that the fastest speed isn't fast enough IMO (but, the game was intended to be left running overnight on the slow speed, a valid design decision that I just personally don't like). Despite all that, it's one of the best breeding games I've ever played. Plant Tycoon evolved in some interesting ways from its predecessor, Fish Tycoon: Plant Tycoon added a little minigame where insects randomly spawn and if you capture them you earn small amounts of money for them. This is a great idea IMHO and could be taken a lot further; there might, for example, be a pausable tetris-like game running on one side of the screen or accessed by switching screens which the player could play to generate income and prize items while waiting for plants or creatures to mature. Also many games make more use of having the developing creatures generate needs which the player tries to fill promptly; the better all the needs are filled, the higher the quality or value of the adult creature. Or similarly, some kind of interactive gameplay might be required to raise each creature to adulthood, and the player could do this kind of gameplay (combat is one option) while waiting for eggs to hatch, etc. The real lesson here, IMO, is that a pet which takes an hour to mature can seem fun and fast if you are actively playing in the meantime, while it can seem agonizingly boring if you have nothing to do but wait.

As far as goals go, I like the goal to produce one of everything, similar to the popular "gotta catch 'em all" concept. This works well with a storage system like that of Monster Rancher, where each unlocked type of monster is added to the book, and a baby of this type can be produced from the book at any time, no need to keep breeding stock or eggs on hand. The other goal I like is if the pets are used in deckbuilding or tactical combat, then you just try to breed ones that allow you to do interesting things in combat. But with that kind of system it's best to avoid have individual creatures need to be leveled up, because the time cost of raising a new baby to the levels of your team becomes prohibitive.

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[quote name='AltarofScience' timestamp='1341015824' post='4954149']
Walkthroughs are never required, some people do not appreciate games with higher learning curves and some do.

I can't really agree with that. Consider this example: A game which perfectly mimics the real world, except there is only one person (the player). This person is immortal and has all the time in the world to experiment, let's say they can even control how fast time progresses in the game so they can fast-forward through boring bits. At the beginning they have no technology, though stone-age tech is relatively easy to discover. It would possible, but utterly unreasonable, to expect the player to build a nuclear power plant without any kind of tutorial or walkthrough. If a learning curve is too high for 90% of players that's just a bad design.

[color=#ff0000]That argument is invalid. In a time period when we had the ability to make such a game we would have increased cognitive ability in all likelyhood. Also, a lot of games are not too high in difficulty, most people could eventually learn it, they just have no patience. What constitutes 90% of players is also an issue. If you want the game to be accessible to as many people as possible obviously a high difficulty is an issue. But if you are targeting a hardcore audience, or a Dark Souls or EVE one, the learning curve is not too high.

I would say that breeding would have to be done on a non-realistic time scale, it pretty much is in any game that already exists. For instance if one is breeding dragons, which have theoretically long lifespans and long breeding cycles, we can't really spend 300 years on one generation. Even animals with shorter lifespans wouldn't be feasible, which I assume is primarily why breeding games are generally not real time. But then, if we are already in the fantastic realm of breeding dragons we can probably go a slight step further and fudge the time scales a little.

My primary problem is that most breeding games don't really go far enough. They are shallow and often only deal with cosmetic issues. They don't really have goals either. Occasionally you want to make money somehow. That usually requires an NPC market for creatures.

On the issue of experimentation, that's only a problem if you can't accept losing. That's part of the reason for the achievement model in games. You still effectively lose, you just don't PERCEIVE yourself as having lost. They make the game easy and then the people who used to win at hard games get the gold medal and the people who never won still get to say they did.
[/quote]
My concern with experimentation is more an economic one. I've seen way too many MMOs where crafting is a money-pit that can't be made to turn a profit. I've also seen particular crafting recipes which are never attempted because the ingredients are too expensive to risk a chance of failure. Animal breeding is essentially a kind of crafting and would also be prone to this sort of problem. Whether the context is an MMO or not, players will avoid gameplay which is economically disadvantageous, or at the least they will wince their way through it, or restore to last save if they have a particularly expensive failure. It's just a situation which is stressful and depressing to players; in other words, it fails to be fun, which is what games are all about.

[color=#ff0000]Have you seen that in an MMO that actually gives a fuck about crafting though? Obviously crafting in shitty themeparks isn't going to be rewarding. In EvE or SWG though crafting was financially viable. Fun is not a monolith. Taking economic risks is actually a real life business that people work and study to get into. Furthermore people LOVE LOVE LOVE to gamble. People like to optimize their play to the extent that they can. You just need to make experimentation valuable and get players accustomed to the idea that losing is part of the experience.

As far as time scales, have you played Plant Tycoon? That's an example of a real-time breeding tycoon with some obvious flaws (severe shortage of storage, poor choice of goal, non-interactive sales portion of the game). It allows the player to select the speed much like the SimCity and Sims games do, except that the fastest speed isn't fast enough IMO (but, the game was intended to be left running overnight on the slow speed, a valid design decision that I just personally don't like). Despite all that, it's one of the best breeding games I've ever played. Plant Tycoon evolved in some interesting ways from its predecessor, Fish Tycoon: Plant Tycoon added a little minigame where insects randomly spawn and if you capture them you earn small amounts of money for them. This is a great idea IMHO and could be taken a lot further; there might, for example, be a pausable tetris-like game running on one side of the screen or accessed by switching screens which the player could play to generate income and prize items while waiting for plants or creatures to mature. Also many games make more use of having the developing creatures generate needs which the player tries to fill promptly; the better all the needs are filled, the higher the quality or value of the adult creature. Or similarly, some kind of interactive gameplay might be required to raise each creature to adulthood, and the player could do this kind of gameplay (combat is one option) while waiting for eggs to hatch, etc. The real lesson here, IMO, is that a pet which takes an hour to mature can seem fun and fast if you are actively playing in the meantime, while it can seem agonizingly boring if you have nothing to do but wait.

[color=#ff0000]I think the most optimal idea is to give the player more than they can possibly do, but as long as they play well enough in the aspects they work at they can win. How hard it is to win being up to the developer.

As far as goals go, I like the goal to produce one of everything, similar to the popular "gotta catch 'em all" concept. This works well with a storage system like that of Monster Rancher, where each unlocked type of monster is added to the book, and a baby of this type can be produced from the book at any time, no need to keep breeding stock or eggs on hand. The other goal I like is if the pets are used in deckbuilding or tactical combat, then you just try to breed ones that allow you to do interesting things in combat. But with that kind of system it's best to avoid have individual creatures need to be leveled up, because the time cost of raising a new baby to the levels of your team becomes prohibitive.
[/quote]

Most games have that gotta catch em all system. DW: Monsters, Pokemon, Monster Rancher and so forth. I prefer a game where you can't do that. I was thinking of an open ended emergent system. Predefined creatures is both excessively hard to do, and more limiting to the player. Of course you will have unbalanced edge cases of creatures, but I prefer emergence to defined. Plus the catch em all has been done to death.

I miss Monster Rancher the cartoon though, it was far superior storywise to pokemon. IMO its MR, DMon, Pmon in order of story quality.

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