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Elpyfo

Creative Fantasy RTS races

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Good day to you all. 

 

I am in the process of writing up my game idea for an economic-heavy fantasy RTS where the main focus won't necessarily be combat. Mechanics-wise I've got a good idea of the kind of stuff I need right now, but as for races, I'm a bit lost. 

 

The technology level should be that of late middle ages/renaissance, so early gunpowder stuff should be a possibility, but nothing beyond that. I'm a big fan of steampunk, so it would be cool to make a race who's got that as a major theme. 

 

My problem, however, is that I want to do something creative with the races. Not the same old Elves, Orcs, Dwarves, ...

I've decided so far that I want a standard human race and a non-standard dwarf race, but I need some creative new races, which I'm struggling with.

 

The idea would be that the races are more or less unique, ie none of them play quite the same, with different emphasizes and resources well suited to them, but at the same time that every method of victory (so far: military, economical, research, cultural, political) is still a viable option for them.

 

(If you're interested in some mechanics I've thought out with the help of you guys, I've got a thread  http://www.gamedev.net/topic/670767-real-time-strategy-mechanics/ wherein we muse about possible mechanics. I haven't written out what goes and what doesn't yet, but most of the stuff I replied positively to will go in the game one way or the other :) ) 

 

So for every race we've got the possibility of making/upgrading certain faction buildings to change the focus of the civilization towards more economic/military/cultural and so on buildings, but I'd like to give every race some unique modifiers and quirks to make them unique. 

 

I've thought about implementing a sort of warrior race insect people, but I'm not sure how well that would tie together in a medieval fantasy setting. 

Do any of you have ideas for unique RTS races/quirks/special resources?

 

As for the resources, you may think "generic fantasy RTS" for the time being.  We've got our wood, gold, stone, food, luxury resources (gems, linen...) and "special" materials needed for certain units (let's say a special sort of metal required for a certain armor)

 

I'm aware how broad my question is, but any form of inspiration/creative thoughts would be much appreciated. I'll get to expanding upon the lore as our game progresses through the testing phases :)

 

Thank you! 

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You could have a race very in touch with nature, similar to elves, but tall and eerily lanky in addition to being green. You could make it so that instead of food this race could survive on a process similar to photosynthesis, which is why the skin would be green cause chlorophyll and stuff, and they need to be in very sunny warm areas near nature things like rivers and forests. You could have it so that this race is always competing with the others for prime land so they're main struggle isn't resources as much as fending off invaders. I don't really know I'm just spit-balling.

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You could have a race very in touch with nature, similar to elves, but tall and eerily lanky in addition to being green. You could make it so that instead of food this race could survive on a process similar to photosynthesis, which is why the skin would be green cause chlorophyll and stuff, and they need to be in very sunny warm areas near nature things like rivers and forests. You could have it so that this race is always competing with the others for prime land so they're main struggle isn't resources as much as fending off invaders. I don't really know I'm just spit-balling.

 

Nice. I like it :). Could be very interesting, as they would be opposed to destroying nature in order to expand, so they'd need to be either compact in base size or integrated in nature. It's also easy to imagine a greedy corporate/industrialist faction being their logical counterpart.

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I'm not very knowledgeable about RTS conventions, mechanics, etc., so forgive me if my suggestions are super bad or wtv, but - 

 

 - Some sort of warrior race/culture (maybe like a samurai or viking-espue race?) that has the empire gain bonuses as long as one of their units is engaged in combat? Things like resources are collected faster, production/building speed is increased, better vision range, stuff like that. This could either manifest as like "When this unit is in combat, each other milatary/civilian units get X effect" or "This unit receives X effect as long as there is a unit of the empire in combat". Even effects that amplify the effect based on the number of units in combat, or effects that trigger when there are N or more units in combat. The race could have special units that are specifically designed to make encounters last longer to maximize the bonuses, or units that are horrible/provide defecits if this bonus is not activated.

 

 - A golem-like race that takes longer time to buildings, but the buildings are also gigantic units in addition to providing the building functionality. They could move around and do combat stuff and be destroyed, just maybe be really beefy and the main strength of the race's army. This would essentially make for a moving city/base of operations, so maybe there would have to be like a Shaman (Urbamancer lol) that they'd be tethered to, and have to stay within range of.

 

 - I think something like this was done in Endless Legend, but a lich-like race that uses material resources in certain ways to enhance/sustain their milatary? Like have pretty squishy units, but if they die they respawn after a short amount of time - at the cost of gold. Each unit could have different ressurection costs/speeds, and they could have buildings that turn a certain percentage of not-as-useful resources like wood or stone or wtv into gold?

 

 - I'm pretty sure RTSs don't normally have a day/night cycle, but if you implemented one there could be race of ghouls/vampires/wtv that are only strong during the night, and squishy/less productive/slower during the day? There could be units that provide an umbrella of night, to have like a mobile patch of darkness, or a building/unit that self destructs and immediately changes the time of day to midnight. This day/night thing would also play right into the mechanics of the aforementioned plant race, and the interplay between these two races would be neat.

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There should probably be at least one race built around one of the most popular animals - dragons, horses, cats, or dogs/wolves/foxes.  Though, something like cockatoo people or feathered dinosaur people would also be a lot of fun.  Aquatic animals are hard to combine with terrestrial ones, but you could have a race of landsharks or something - Wizard 101 has a shark person enemy race, IIRC.

 

You'll get more variety in their tech tree if you make one race vegetarian, one mainly meat eaters, one that doesn't wear clothes, etc.

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Races in RTS games are often tightly bound to the game design. Therefor I would start with the game design first. Your game will have some important core features, e.g.
- trading/diplomacy

- technology

- combat

- industry

- agriculture

 

Then you should think about how your races should differ, e.g. if you have 3 races, you want each reach to have a certain focus

red: combat/industry

green: agriculture/diplomacy

blue: technology/trading

 

I've already put some visual attribute on these feature: color

 

You could then think about how they live, in which environment they live. Keeping your steam-punk I could think of..

red: => rusty metal environment, sharp/edgy environment, dirty, lot of machines

green: => lot of wood, open air, maybe steam-ballons/airships, animals

blue: => energy, clean, lot of fine-tuned machines

 

Now think about what features a race which lives in such an environment and with such focus would have:

red: => powerful, strong, heavy muscled, aggressive,

green: => peaceful, gentle, talking

blue: => energy based, planful, bureaucratic, greedy

 

Considering that you want to avoid the standard (e.g. red=orcs,green=elves,blue=dwarfs) you could now think about fantasy races which fullfil this vision:

red: => demons/devils, uruks, minotaurs

green: => human druids/monks,ents,pixies

blue: => aqua-people(water), bird-people(sky), gnomes

 

If you come up with a race first place, then you will have trouble later on when you need to match these races and features to game play elements. This is much easier if you have well known races (orcs/dwarves etc.), but it is much hard if you have other fantasy races. Avoid taking pure fanatsy creature, this often alienate players. Give players something to recognize.

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Thank you for your feedback, everyone :). 

 

So far I've got this: (note that this is pure spitballing and keeping it very generic.)

 

Race 1: Nature theme, tall green nature-lovers. Map belonging to their faction slowly turns to lush green landscape, filled with forests, waterfalls.. They are opposed to destroying natural beauty for the sake of expansion, so they will try to harm nature as little as possible. This limits their buildings to certain locations, but they are hardy and get many advantages for adhering to their strict rules. Elitist faction, so strong but high cost units. They come along fine with Race3 and Race4 as life and death are part of nature, but they find the senseless destruction of natural beauty of Race2 abhorrent, and thus have trouble forging alliances with them. Easiest victory condition: Cultural

 

Race 2: Industrial theme, steampunk humans. Map belonging to their faction turns into concrete, steel, paved roads.. Mass production means fast units and big economy, but sometimes at the cost of quality. Their tendency to destroy natural beauty makes political relations with Race1 difficult, as their people’s interest do not align very well. Easiest victory condition: Economical

 

Race 3: Death theme, necromancy-practicing non-humans. (insects? mythological creatures?). Map belonging to their faction becomes charred and black, filled with tombs and graves, generally depressing. Race4 are their natural counterpart, but they come along fine with Race1 and Race2. Easiest victory condition: Military

 

Race 4: Life theme, land belonging to their faction becomes filled with white marble buildings, towers, … They are the natural counterpart to Race3, but they come along fine with Race4. Easiest victory condition: Political

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Huh..When it comes to races, I say that everything is better with centaurs!! Brutish and warlike, they can also be artistic and crafty, but are also cunning and difficult to trust. The sturdy soldier, so to say. Dryaids are probably your tree loving friends, as they live in forests very close to trees and can sometimes even transform into them. Other fun tree people that might be interesting to play with are Kodama, Japanese tree spirits and Tanuki, Japanese racoon dogs who were said to have shape shifting abilities. As for your undead types, the Trow (also known as drow or dark elves) are often fun to play with. Vampirism is fun to play with if they don't all turn into teeny-bopper emo's or self-loathing idiots. You could also work with things like Reapers, such as the Grim Reaper but a race of beings that feeds upon life itself. One bit of mythology you might want to become more familiar with is perhaps Norse mythology and Japanese mythology. There are many creatures within these mythologies that might fit into what you are trying to create. Check out yokai.com for Japanese monsters and wikipedia has some great info on Norse Mythology. Anyway, cheers!!

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How about a clockwork or stream powered AI robot race?

 

Or an energy based race who's buildings and people's are pure energy and behave in strange ways when attacked?

 

How about a shape-shifting race whos units can change into various animal forms?

 

How about an avian race where all units are capable of flight but weak on the ground?

 

How about a race of spirits and ghost forms? perhaps they directly bolster their units by killing the enemy? 

 

Or, a race of elementals e.g. rock, water, electricity, fire... They could create units and buildings by actually altering the landscape. 

 

I could go on, but this should hopefully start some interesting conversation smile.png

Edited by braindigitalis

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How about a clockwork or stream powered AI robot race?

 

Or an energy based race who's buildings and people's are pure energy and behave in strange ways when attacked?

 

How about a shape-shifting race whos units can change into various animal forms?

 

How about an avian race where all units are capable of flight but weak on the ground?

 

How about a race of spirits and ghost forms? perhaps they directly bolster their units by killing the enemy? 

 

Or, a race of elementals e.g. rock, water, electricity, fire... They could create units and buildings by actually altering the landscape. 

 

I could go on, but this should hopefully start some interesting conversation smile.png

This topics a little older now, so I doubt there's going to be a whole lot more conversation but all of your ideas are good. Perhaps there could also be two races, one which gets buffed at night and nerfed during day and the other vice versa to give a day/night cycle an impact on gameplay. Another cool idea would be a race of elemental giants (similar to what you said about elementals). They would all be colossal enemies, but few in numbers. They're element would be determined by the terrain (tundra = ice giant, mountains = rock giant, etc). I'd imagine them being similar in appearance  and behavior to Trolls in Fable. 

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