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suliman

Food, wood & gold, still works? (strategy resource)

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Hi

The classic food, wood and gold resources have been used in many medieval strategy games. What is your take on this? Too tired, or still has a place in games? The thing is it uses terrain good and can make a good differentiation of usage and source, typically:

 

Food (plains) = units, expanding population, upkeep

Wood (forest) = buildings, ships

Gold (mines, taxes & trade)= units, upkeep, upgrades

 

Wide question I know, but happy for any feedback:)

Im using a simple map like old civilization games where you build cities and develop them.
Erik

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Food (plains) = units, expanding population, upkeep

Wood (forest) = buildings, ships

Gold (mines, taxes & trade)= units, upkeep, upgrades

Are they interchangeable? Could I sell some wood for gold? Or buy food for gold? The two resources in Starcraft cannot be exchanged. But in Space Empires IV, planets can construct resource converters (with a heavy tax/loss rate).

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Hmm not interchangeable i think.

 

Resources are based on terrain surrounding the town (plains, forest, mountains for mines)

This sets the max workers that can be tasked to each resource (size of town sets no of workers)

 

Fir now there is no risk for the workers (think civilization for the scale). So there is no actual workers walking around on the map, its just a setting in each city

 

Replacing gold with salt? That makes little sense for troop production for example. Its much too specialized for a game of 3 resources only.

Edited by suliman

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Long answer:

A few years back, I did an analysis of potential resource gathering mechanics that could be implemented in one of my RTS. Rather than focus on the theme (what the resource is) I focused on how its mechanically harvested, stored, etc.



Here's a brief overview of what I came up with as potential avenues for each of my resources:

 

You forgot free resources players sometimes get(although not often in RTS, especially multiplayer) just for not being annihilated.

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In a Civilization-like game, you can have as many resources as you find uses for; each one contributes some realism, and/or a gateway for the subset of research trees and things to build that require them.

Every town will have only a limited number of mineral resources nearby (forcing exploration and colonization), a limited space for growing crop resources (forcing a choice), and often too few workers to get all possible resources (there are other jobs).

To avoid crossing the line between carefully optimized production planning and frustrating lack of resources, reducing and simplifying resource demands (e.g. basic catapults require 2 wood units each rather than 3 wood and 1 iron) is more effective than limiting resource types.

You can also play tricks with resources at the strategic level: for example, if you put all of one mineral in a small place (e.g. large natural diamonds in South Africa) and the mineral is necessary (e.g. large natural diamonds as a prerequisite for advanced microelectronics and indirectly for really powerful computers, AI, robots and space travel) a ferocious war, and an advantage for the player who plans ahead, is guaranteed.

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Scarcity of necessities (be they required or perceived) creates the pressure that brings conflict to any population. You could make the scarce resource popularity the units high school students and the game would work. The key is limiting the resource while still giving the player a chance to feel like they've built something out of it.

 

If your going to stick with just those three. I would suggest bringing a certain level of realism to the equation since many players think of warcraft right off the bat when they see these three. Here's a few ideas that might mix things up. Lets start with farms, creating farms on farmland should pollute the surrounding area limiting the amount of farmland a player can build (driving players to seek out more arable land) and no forest can ever grow there(more on this later).

 

When clearing a forest it should repopulate as long as the player doesn't kill the predators that stalk the edge of the forests. Although these animals kill wood cutters and nearby livestock they represent the expansion and succession of the forest (needed organic cycle for a forest to reproduce), if the player does kill these animals the forest should turn to swamp (slowing and even killing units that attempt to cross it) this swamp land could also release toxic clouds that drift across the map and kill indiscriminately, lastly halting any chance for the forest to return.

 

Lastly is gold. This could be extracted from a mine leaving an empty mine (boring), or you could replace gold with coins instead. Why coins you say? This could give you the opportunity to show off the flaw of economy. In order to build certain units/structures you would need coins which requires the player to build a bank, the resource of coins could be extracted from a bank at interest (this is important) creating an ever growing dept to the bank. The existing coins extracted would allow the player to create/upkeep units and infrastructure. The coins would then exist in the "private" sector where the well being of structures(armor) and soldiers(moral or speed) depends on their being gold to pay them on a on going bases, this means the extraction and sale of extra wood and food to pay the interest back and extract more coins. If the player doesn't have enough gold to upkeep structures and units their city is weak to siege and their soldiers lack in moral or will. What if you just keep asking for more coins and never pay the bank. Civil unrest, the city accuses you of greed and uprising starts. This can be kept at bay with the military but the player then has to fight the war on 2 fronts. 

 

You don't need to use exactly these ideas but hopefully they still prove useful.

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