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RPG + RTS, some game design issues

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My freind and I are working on a primarily RTS game, but we want certain RPG elements. For example, we want main characters, that you let cant die. We dont want infinite units. We want good plot, plot twists, connection to the characters, the ability to define who your main character is. And we dont want a mission based game. Every event is going to need to affect everything else. We also want mind bending strategy, planning, and the exileratrion of executing an amazing tactic. It is an isometric game. The problem is integrating the RPG factor in to the primary RTS. THe other thing that has been bothering me, is when we started the game design it was originally going to be an empire building pure RTS game. It had a dark mood, primarily created by that humans were used a resources to build things, and your units were heartless killing machines. When the game evolved to a non-empire building, character based RPG/RTS, the human using stuff was still there. The problem witr this is the player cannot really develop a connection with a heartless monster whos a human killing machine. What do you think. Should we get rid of the using human souls and blood for "mana"? Please help me with these two problems.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
actually I would leave that in there...could actually make it a borderline situation don''t know if you ever played the original blood omen for the playstation, but my opinion the better characters are the non storybook ones.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I''ve never been a big fan of RTS''. I played warcraft when it first came out and then command and conquer and then mech commander. To me warcraft was the best because it was mostly low tech. I don''t like the fact that in the games with hi tech weapons like mech commander you can''t see enough of the screen at one time. A modern weapon system is going to have ranges of measured in kilometers and looking at a small section of the map when my units can see so much more is just to much to ask of me as a game player. In a way the Baldurs gate games where rts like in that they where iso and you moved your guys around in real time.

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OK, have you looked at what Blizzard is doing with WC3?

Don''t do that, it might work for them, but it isn''t all that elegant a solution.

Build your RTS engine, with the thought in mind that you will want your player to create (or inherit) a few key characters. So you''ll basically want to build something along the lines of individuals who are made up of parts. You can give a very RPG feel to the game if, instead of having units be standalone objects with given characteristics (damage x to y, movement speed m, armour d sight range f) make it so that each unit is made up of say five objects: Race Armour Item 1 Item 2 Item 3. Then you know that humans can walk with speed a, but if they are using full plate armour, they have speed reduced by t. Item 1 would be a weapon or spellbook, item 2 could be a weapon or shield or spellbook, and item 3 would be like a ring, or amulet/pendant.

Example : A basic Footman is Human, wears Chain-Mail, and carries Sword, Shield, Potion.

All you have to do is take it further with key characters. maybe after a certain number of kills a unit gains a level, and one item slot, as well as a chance to increase a racial attribute (health, strength, speed, magic affinity, etc.). The crux is that after say third level, special dudes get abilities. So a Footman who gains three levels becomes a Seargent, and gets to choose from three abilities (e.g. Rally - all units nearby get defense bonus - Charge! - self and all nearby units get movement speed bonus - Resistance - temporarily becomes immune to magic damage).

If you''re looking for individual character ideas try posting in the Writing Forum.

George D. Filiotis

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I like the idea how you''ve gone to RTS/RPG beacause RTS games are just becoming to big for any control.

I think your game should be on the strategy with the characters making "Friends" and "foes" instead of your people just getting near enogh and killing them. So in a way i think it should sway a little more off the killing machine idea.

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I agree with everything Symphonic suggested. If you want lots of RPG feel you might want to add in dialogue or story cut scenes to put the player in the character''s shoes. Also add in xp and char building for everyone if possible. Id suggest looking into FF Tactics and Ogre Battle for ideas too.

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Ever Played Commandos?
thats a nice Isometric Game that gives strategy a twist, you get 5 commandos, each with a specialty, you cant afford to lose them cos you dont get any more, I wonder why there arent games like that one comming from everywhere (as there are FPS comming from all sides).

I thing Adding some RPG to the Commandos Recipe would make a best of the year Game.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Maybe the humans generate resource by worshiping at whatever it is that needs their "soul" and "blood"?

As far as role playing goes - if you''re hoping to pump up characters, maybe they could also occasionally find special items that give them extra abilities so the player can customize them more. Adds replayability too.

Random maps! Allow random maps!

And what you do in one mission can have an effect on what happens in the next one? Destroying a village that provided supplies to another area reduces its strength? (But don''t hurt villages that in turn provide to you!)

Just brain blurbs, do with them as you will.

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This is a pretty good idea in general. Useful hints:

1) The starting point here is define what RTS and RPG are to you, and go from there.

2) I would argue that baldurs gate 2 and icewind dale are very much rpg/rts hybrids already. I mean combat is pretty tactical and RTS like at times.

3) Like another user suggested, maek sure your engine has lots of environmental involvement capability (item use, item handling, etc)

In general though, success is going to be heavily reliant on what you consider RPG elements and what you consider RTS elements -- the distinction is a bit unclear, and I dont think ther is any real consensus on this. For instance, I dont consider Diablo2 to really have significant RPG elements -- I just think its a progressive character action game.

Zileas

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Oh yeah...


To sum up some of my points, I Guess what im saying is that the easiest way to do the hybrid is to make the battles resolve in an RTS like way, and the rest of the game to be more like baldurs gate or something in RPG sense.

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Heroes of might and magic 2(the one I played) isnt a rts, but it is a turn-based strategy rpg. I have a couple of ideas to throw out at you.
1. If you are planning on the player building units of stuff, those units could gain experience, not in a sense of too much, but having newbie units, veteran units and master units could make a difference in who should win in a one-on-one unit battle considering they are the same unit.
2.Having the character as a unit. If this is gonna be somewhat like starcraft, but with rpg elements in it, then I would pick protoss at creation(or it could somehow not care what I am) and when I start a game, I start with the regular stuff plus my character, who gains experience either through one of a couple ways. A:Winning the game and living B:Living through the game Claying a game D:Winning the game and dying. Having said that it all depends on how fast you want your characters to evolve. If you want it fast, then everygame they play they will earn something even if they die in it. If you want it slower then they have to live through it to get something. If you want it slower than that, then they have to live period, meaning if they die they must start over. To continue with the slow thing, They don''t necessarily get experience for winning the game, as in the experience for actually killing something. I personally suggest making them have to kill stuff in order to get experience, whether they win or not wouldn''t affect how much they get by too much. Also, if this happened balancing must come into effect somewhere, unless you don''t care too much about that and want a realistic game.
3. In a realistic game if I had been playing for a long time and can wipe out a beginning player with just my personal character if I get to him fast enough, that is ok, because I know I won''t get much experience for killing hardly anything. The other player should have known not to challenge me. On the other hand, I shouldn''t be able to baby someone to death by killing just the units they can attack with, thus forcing them to leave the game or be perpetually losing until I finish them off.
4. Explain a little more thouroughly what you want out of this game and what you plan to do with this game. That will help people out a lot. It sounds like you are talking to one-two people who already know a little bit about the game you are making.

"Practice means good, Perfect Practice means Perfect"

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