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Pleistorm

Minimalistic vs. Maximalistic gamedesign (RTS)

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Pleistorm    393

Hi!

Lets discuss the ideas for minimalistic and maximalistic gamedesigns for RTS.

· Minimalistic design is when player have only one or two units beating unit x. For example 1 antiinfantry unit, 1 antitank unit, 1 antiaircraft unit - all infantry, and the same with machines, another group for aircraft, other for ships, another for defensive buildings. Defensive units could be 1 defensive against ground units, one antiaircraft. And also few more special units. Rise of Nations is, I think so, such a game.

• On the other side is Blitzkrieg mod for Company of heroes. Here the player has a lot of variation of units and can find what he exactly needs and likes. In case you don't know what I am talking about: http://www.moddb.com/mods/blitzkrieg/features/pe-units

 

It looks as an easy decision because more units=more fun, but actually players become sometime in mess choosing more units from group B - lets say antitank group and developing and upgrading them loosing the idea for the global control of the field. Instead of combining different units with different abilities he could fail in wrong combinations and sub-combinations. On the other side he could choose and build more "customized" army. Even if units are customisable this could be a problem.

 

Well it is hard to be explained but it is still minimalistic vs. "maximalistic". Maybe I cant find the right words to explain it but I hope you get the idea.

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conquestor3    1593

Do you just mean unit variety, or other concept as well

 

For example command and conquer: red alert had only 1 kind of resource (Technically had high yield resources but whatever), which was credits (money). Credits powered everything from base power (buying power plants) to units, which I enjoyed quite a lot, as everything had a very concise cost assosiated to it.

 

Age of empires had a whole bunch of different resources which gave it more complexity, however, I hated having to manage many different aspects of the economy.

 

As for unit variety, it's mainly a personal preference, but I prefer tons of variety, even if it throws balance off a bit, and only a few are "ideal".

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DifferentName    1371

I definitely wouldn't say more units = more fun (although some games with a large number of units are very fun). There's a lot to be said for simplifying things down to the minimal core of what makes it fun. Then, if you want to add more, analyze what you're adding and if the game will actually be funner for it. Additional units can introduce more depth into the game if they serve a different purpose and give the player interesting problems to solve.

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HappyCoder    5053
I feel if you make multiple units trying to fill the same role, one will always be stronger than the rest. Players will discover which unit best fills the niche and only build that unit effectively converting a more full RTS with many different units into a simpler one. The differences I am talking about are more stats difference between the different units. If two units differ in what terrain they can cover or what they are effective against, then I would consider the units as filling different roles.

If the RTS did indeed have many unique units then I think that helps deepen the gameplay. It allows players to experiment with strategies and, as long as there are good counter mechanisms in place, will make it harder for a single dominant strategy to set in.

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TheRelic    978

On minimal designs you can easily run into a small amount of highly used units and sometimes into units that are never used, or only in the initial stages and are greatly outclassed and made worthless later.  On maximal designs you can easily make mistakes and be out a seriously needed amount of resources that might never let you recover.

 

If I were doing the design, I would go with a minimal approach with "equipment slots" to create flexible re-equipping of an units.

 

Basic Infantry unit having a slot for; sensors (increase view/detect range), heavy machine gun (increase attack lower speed), sniper rifle (very high attack bonus from range, very slow reload), etc.  With only a single slot it the player has to choose what the purpose of that unit is, but would be able to send them back to "base" and have them switch equipment.

 

Simply sending a unit back to "base" and an option to refit each unit if you have the resources or equipment in storage creates a lot of flexibility.  This also allows an opportunity of refitting units should you run into a problem and need different strategy to succeed.  This could even be automated so by setting the current production model, base and equipment desired, at the base and then when a unit showed up the equipment would be built or swapped out if there were some in storage.

 

This would cut down on the need for trying to figure out each specialized unit you want to put into the game and allow you to adapt more easily to requests for certain types of units from the players, by making it easy to simply add another piece of equipment to the next version.

 

Being a RTS you might want to consider using two slots for most base types so you have weapons and movement options.

 

This also has a nice ability to making it difficult if impossible to find a dominant strategy because your opponent can simply change their strategy in the middle of the game and completely throw yours off track.

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Acharis    5979

8-16 units per side seems ideal for an RTS from the human focus capabilities point of view. Preferably with *very* simple customization/upgrade system (buy upgrade for all units X).

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powerneg    2010

Preferably the # of units is kept modest, but situations and mechanics change which unit(s) are best.

In Advance Wars there were ~10-20 units in total but the player could choose a commander,

who would give a boost to certain types of units(mechanised, melee, ranged, infantry, flying etc)

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