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Simulation RTS Resource chains

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Hi everyone,

 

I'm currently reseaching and trying to create some initial design for a game based on various concepts. One of the core concept is building industries based on resource chains. For example, wood cutter "creates" logs, saw mill transforms logs into planks etc. I want to design such a resource system. I will probably use a list of resources and a list of "recipes" where each recipe would likely be matched with a building.

 

Typically games with resource chains have rather small sets of resources, 30 or so. I want to create a much larger set with several hundreds of resources, but where resources are less "unique". For example, you might have steel and aluminium. Both could be used as hull for a ship, but the ships weight and other properties would be different. Maybe that's a bad example, the point is that many resources could be used for the same thing but affect the output somewhat.

 

Should I try to set this up using a "real world model" with real materials etc, or should I try to come up with a completely new set based of my imagination?

 

The advantage of using a "new" set is that I would get a thousand "hey, that's not how it really happens" the first day which could break immersion etc. The advantage of using "real world" stuff is that it could be easier for the player to relate to the chain. "Hmm, this steel is too heavy.. Maybe I can find some aluminium".

 

The setting of my game is some form of Sci-fi. I imagine the player being some space colonist from Earth, but I'm very flexible in that area.

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You could make a data-driven system that allows you to simply give it a couple of rules (so you have those recipies and relations and can define the whole system in a text file)

 

Once you have that set up it should be fairly trivial to try both a real world based model and an imaginary one. You might end up with something where real world things have been given imaginary names and appearances, which is also easy to understand for the player once they know that zxyxzryzyrxium crystal means iron.

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I hear you on the tons of resource. I'm currently up to like 105 and I still have space for a lot more. Mixing solid crafting into an RTS has been a pain for me. Also fun was setting it up to move stuff around without a lot of work.

 

Assuming that buildings have workers to move stuff around, how do the workers know when to get more and how much to get? How do I keep one building from grabbing all the production, and other logistics stuff like that. Fun times.

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Have you played Dwarf Fortress? It has similar concepts to what you describe. For example you can make a weapon out of silver of iron (or other materials). In the case of a sword since iron is harder an iron sword would be better than a silver sword, however since silver is denser a silver war hammer would be better than an iron one.

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How would complex resource and crafting chains make a RTS game more fun? Immediate consequences of complex prerequisites and detailed industrial processes are likely to include having to invest on, and defend, more buildings (or special crafter units); having more basic resource stocks to worry about, and more mining/gathering sites to defend or conquer; an increase of equipment inventory, crafting and research orders, and maybe unit types. None of these features is obviously better than a RTS with a simple resource system: what desirable consequences are you aiming for? Are they worth distracting the player away from combat, exploration and production of new units?

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Are you sure you want hundreds of resource types? Typically even 30 starts to get annoying for the player. And as the count goes up the destinction between them fades out and turns into a mess. It also nearly impossible to balance.

 

Possibly you can have clear "classes of resources" with subresources, such as

 

Class metal (for structure, but the subclasses give different buffs)

steel (heavy)

alu (light)

spacemetal (medium weight, extra hp)

etc

 

This would help the player understand the rules of your (seemingly) complicated system

Edited by suliman

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The settlers games had complex resources chains but then they were all about managing those changes and not traditional rts.  Micromanaging a bunch of different resources that can be interchanged could be a lot of work.  

 

Where I think it might work is if it was done automatically for you and replaced the traditional research mode to upgrade a unit.  The game could give your units different bonuses and penalties to units you build based on what resources you currently have.

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Just because he said RTS doesn't mean it has to play like Starcraft 2 guys. Although to avoid stupid comments I would have used a different name. I mean, he did say simulation RTS but some people just can't expand their mind beyond genre conventions.

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Thank you everyone for your input!
 
In the Settlers games I've played (mostly 2, 3 and 4), all resources were pretty much required in each game. Same in the Anno games I've played. In my game, I want to change "In order to manufacture Y, I need resource X" into "I found a resource X, I wonder what I can do with it. Oh, I can use it to manufacture Y!". You don't need all resources, nor can you expect to find them, you will have to make due with what you get.
 
I also don't really think of a resource as an upgrade to another resource, more like a sidegrade that may be more beneficial in some scenarios. There may also be the case that a specific resource is a straight upgrade to another, but that the difference in manufacturing cost may not pay off.
 
For naming, I will probably go with real world (ish) resources but with ailien names. That seems like the best compromise at the moment.
 
As for game play.. The core of this game will be managing your industries. As I mentioned in another thread, I intend to develop this in several steps where each step is a reasonably playable game. The first will be more or less purely economical, the second will improve exploration and add dangers and the third will probably involve other civilizations that may or may not be friendly.

 

For combat, I'm looking at Warzone 2100 for inspiration. It has custom units where you select a body, propulsion and a turret. The selections affects speed, damage, hitpoints and cost/manufacture time, where cost is one of the more interesting points. I always choose some of the lower tech and go with numbers where my friends usually go with fewer but really heavy units. In my game, you would produce the modules/components/whatever through the chain and then just assemble them. The cost of a unit design is then just the cost of the resources involved.

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