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RidiculousName

RTS Unit Production

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It's always a bit annoying to me when I play RTS games and I have to keep qeueing units. What if the player could specify a percentage of gained resources to be automatically used in the production of specific types of units? If you didn't need a unit, resource allocation could be set at zero. It seems like hot keys could be used to quickly adjust resource allocation. Perhaps shift could be pressed with resource allocation hotkeys to keep them separate from unit ability hot keys?

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46 minutes ago, RidiculousName said:

It's always a bit annoying to me when I play RTS games and I have to keep qeueing units. What if the player could specify a percentage of gained resources to be automatically used in the production of specific types of units? If you didn't need a unit, resource allocation could be set at zero. It seems like hot keys could be used to quickly adjust resource allocation. Perhaps shift could be pressed with resource allocation hotkeys to keep them separate from unit ability hot keys?

There are many reasons why you're "queuing" units in these games but it depends on the RTS you're playing and the core mechanics. It's very hard to give any positive feedback on this concept without understanding the game fully and if it would make sense.

I personally prefer to manually manage everything in RTS games because I don't want auto building based on a % of income for (x) unit due to resource management, army composition, and actively countering your opponents units, ect... The games that I play require using your resources in the best possible way during that time, and if I'm building units when I don't need to be I'm using resources that could be spent on expansion or upgrades. I really don't like any form of automation in RTS games because it really caters to more hand holding that the RTS games are already plagued enough with.

The 'hot keys' to toggle on and off really don't counter having buildings grouped on a hotkey with an option to build when you need the unit.

I have no problem with auto queues for turn based games though. 

Just my 2 cents.

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2 hours ago, RidiculousName said:

What if the player could specify a percentage of gained resources to be automatically used in the production of specific types of units? If you didn't need a unit, resource allocation could be set at zero.

It seems like you are envisioning an RTS where continual unit production throughout the game is expected, and resources aren't particularly critical - I haven't played one of those in a long time, and I'm not sure of any contemporary examples of this type of RTS. Can you maybe suggest a game or two where you think this addition would make sense?

In a Blizzard-style RTS (i.e. StarCraft 2 or WarCraft III), you don't tend to produce units continually. If you need 6 grunts to execute your strategy, you build exactly 6 grunts. Building a 7th grunt you don't need is 200 gold down the drain; gold that could have been spent on a Potion of Invulnerability that would save your hero in a key battle, and turn the tide of the entire game.

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I can't really think of a game where that is suited. Some RTS's do have near continual production of something or other, but generally Id still want a certain number and prioritise shift rapidly. I wouldn't use such an automatic production method in a turn based game either, plus I generally have more time there to consider what to do with my resources.

 

One thing however I have liked in a few games is when things can be queued without the resources being ready at that time. For example to take the grunts, I could just queue 6 even if I only have 200 gold right now, and they will be built as resources become available. Its generally better to start production as soon as possible (in games where unit recruitment takes a notable amount of time), and stored resources are not doing anything useful, but at the same time Id rather not have to keep going back repeatedly to queue the next one manually.

The ones I can think of right now (Supreme Commander, Homeworld for RTS, for turn based stuff like Civ works this way on a per-city level, research, etc.) would take resource during production rather than upfront, but pausing the queue until there is enough resources in one go would also technically work. Id note that even in those games, it is always best to not queue more in parallel than you have resource production, because getting 1 unit now and another later is generally better than getting 2 units slowly.

 

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12 hours ago, swiftcoder said:

Can you maybe suggest a game or two where you think this addition would make sense?

In a Blizzard-style RTS (i.e. StarCraft 2 or WarCraft III), you don't tend to produce units continually.

You can't just add this mechanic to an existing RTS, especially not in a Blizzard-style RTS. The rest of the game would need to adapt to the change.

If a game needs continuous unit production, that means that either units die all the time and need to be replenished, or that battles are won with numbers and army composition rather than micro. The focus would be more on base management and resource gathering than combat. So maybe a "tower offense" kind of a game, where you continuously build attacking waves, and just change the ratio of different units. Or a WWI front-line/trench warfare kind of a game, where there is a front line that gets moved by masses of units.

Alternatively, the game could be entirely micro-focused, but with more expendable units, so as you use up your units new ones are automatically delivered to you.

Another variant could be a tower defense game in which you need to supply ammunition to your towers. Your "units" would be different types of ammo, and depending on the waves currently attacking you, you would adjust the ratio of production (assuming different ammo works on different enemies)

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In supreme commander / total annihilation this makes sense. But i'd prefer a "repeat cue" toggle button where the finished unit is added to the back of the cue. So

tank + tank + aircraft

would repeat so over time you have produced 20 tanks and 10 aircrafts. It's easier to understand for the player.

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In some C&C games i believe it was possible to set production to infinite for individual units.
At least in C&C Generals you could only queue 9 units per building and while in combat it is not fun to reproduce infantry in 3 or more barracks.

I also would appreciate some kind of automation. Maybe something like a target amount of units so when some die they will be reproduced. Or say you define slots like in your airfield and once one jet is destroyed it wil be rebuild, and even reassigned to the team (1-9).
Strategy games should be about Strategy, not micromanagement in my view. Otherwise the one who clicks and moves faster is going to have an advantage like in an FPS, but maybe I expect too much from an RTS, there are still turn based strategy games.

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C&C probably suffers less from this sort of issue than most equivalent games, because in at least some C&C titles the factory interface is centralised (i.e. even if you build 10 barracks, you still queue troops in only 1 UI).

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It might make more sense in a game where army upkeep is as important or more important as production. 

e.g. Army size is based on what percentage of taxes you dedicate to the army. The army resizes to reflect funding changes with a slight delay. Cut funding and troops leave your ranks. Raise funding and troops join your ranks. 

Probably works well in a game about city building or civil management, rather than one about tactical choices. 

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On 8/28/2018 at 9:53 AM, Hodgman said:

It might make more sense in a game where army upkeep is as important or more important as production. 

e.g. Army size is based on what percentage of taxes you dedicate to the army. The army resizes to reflect funding changes with a slight delay. Cut funding and troops leave your ranks. Raise funding and troops join your ranks. 

Probably works well in a game about city building or civil management, rather than one about tactical choices. 

A good point.

Continuous unit production is common in 4X strategic games where planets have to be kept busy and extra units tend to be always useful (often to create extra fleets and defensive forces and do something specific, and at the very least, to crush the enemy more severely through more excessively superior numbers, and win faster).
Building a unit in this sort of game is not a significant move (convert X resources to the best possible tactical impact on current and near future battles), it's something that keeps happening, as often as possible, thanks to strategic level moves..

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