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suliman

Resource types in sci-fi 4X

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Hi

Making a empire builder where you colonize planets and make war on other empires. My economy now consist of 4 resources which are global:

Matter

Energy

Rare earth (...metals/elements)

Research

Matter is the base resource similar to cash, wealth or funds. Used for construction and recruiting units  How does this sound (matter I mean)? It could also be "materials". Stellaris uses minerals. Also, any idea for a good icon for this resource?

Rare earth is a uncommon resource for advanced tech and units. Does this sound ok? Some sci fi games uses "crystal" or similar but it depends on the feel of the game I guess. Any good alternative? Dark matter? Anti matter? Preferably something that can be mined!

 

 

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Sounds fine. Star Trek TOS often made use of stuff that had to be mined or gathered/harvested. Fuels, medicines. You could also include stuff like iron, copper, gold, diamonds, coal, oil in your "matter." As for Rare Earths, those are hot IRL right now because they're used in highly miniaturized electronics. These materials have special electrical properties or physical qualities. You could break them all down into more than two categories. Metals, minerals, chemicals, medicines, fuels, coolants, foods, Rare Earths, High-Tech-Essential, etc.

And yes, dark matter and antimatter are also possibilities. Not sure what they would realistically be used for - some ability we don't have at present, like warp speed, extreme power, but don't mess with time travel - too many complications.

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Nano-carbon or just "Nanomatter" for the resource to create upgraded units.  The upgraded units could be able to heal a considerable amount of damage every turn because of the self-repairing technology made possible by the nonomatter, but it costs lots of matter and energy to create and takes quite a bit of research to unlock the option to build upgraded units, and maybe requires the player to build an additional building in order to create the nanomatter and/or upgraded units depending on how fast you want the game play.  

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HI

well first off I love empire builder games, my favorite genre. look forward to the end result :)

Matter sounds good to me, the only other thing I can come up with is supplies. I m not sure this is something I have seen before. Materials would also be good. Depending on what other elements you have used in your game and what the game is called you could use something with the game name in it. Like spore did, sporebucks you could use a similar technique. As for an icon I was thinking a simple wooden crate or even a metal one seeing as its a sci fi game. I think the icon will depend on what you choose for the name.

As for rare earths what about Rodium? Just a simple name that popped into my head and I'm hoping it is a made up name. Ill google it after this.

let me know what you think. I'm sure i could help come up with other ideas if you need them. :)

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Of course, theme is important. I'd pick the resources based on what strengthens your theme. And by theme I don't just mean "space" but rather do you want it to feel more fantastical (Avatar) or grim reality (Alien)... do you want it to be civilized/hi-tech or something a bit more scrappy, like makeshift ships etc?

In my opinion, minerals strengthen the fantastical feel, coal strengthens grim makeshift feel, metal the grim industrial feel, matter sounds kinda star trekky excel sheets, you know? :D Do you want it to feel overly scientific? Maybe that would be good then. I like the sound of Nano-carbon that krb suggested!

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I love Master of Orion 2 for the basics.

  • Food - used for feeding populace
  • Production - used for building stuff/ships - produced/used by the planet it is on
  • Research - used for technology
  • Money - generated from taxing production and certain buildings. Useful as a less efficient floating production.

Once you get that feeling pretty good you can add a smattering of strategic resources. Rare resources that give you a planet or empire wide benefit. Rich planet - bonus production. Trilithium crystals - all your ship move ranges are increased by 10%, etc.

- Eck

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Matter: I don't know how commonly it's used in sci-fi 4X, but from a complete outsider's perspective, the word "Matter" comes across as a label for physical resource rather than for wealth. alternate label ideas: Commerce, Credits, Wealth

Rare Earth: If it's the fuel for science, an -ium name will help make it more obvious, i.e. Vibranium, Aritrarium, Einsteinium, etc.  I don't know exactly what it is about that suffix, but rather than, "we need more rare earth to complete this experiment," it just magically sounds more appropriate to say, "we need more saskatoonium to complete this experiment."

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The first resource is both physical and wealth. So maybe funds or material could still work. It's used for construction which needs both actual physical stuff and means to do it. I'm still leaning towards "materials".

The point of using the label "rare earth" is it's a group of elements that are used in advanced electronics. It's not a single element. That would make it more realistic. But maybe a made up single element is clearer. It's what most games do after all. 

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Realism vs fantasy is a fun struggle because there never is an inherently in/correct answer  Even in science fiction, the nuts & bolts eventually become soft science after a certain degree of inquiry, reminding the inquirer that it is indeed fiction.

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I landed in a setup that is similar to stellaris. It gives more robust possibility for gameplay mechanics (but I might change it again along the road). I might add rare resources that gives buffs/unlocks (but not as a base resource like vespene gas works in starcraft).

  • Materials. Your typical money, used for starting construction and units/fleets. Also for upkeep.
  • Energy. Used for upkeep of structures but also upkeep for units/fleets. And for terraforming, scanning planets and activating starlanes (travel between star systems).
  • Influense. Used to control other empires/npc and change and upgrade your administration.
  • Research. Upgrades/bonuses and new structures/units/ships. A single tech is researched at a time (picked from 3-4 fields such as "navy", "land warfare", "infrastructure" etc).

There is also some "local resources" for each planet:

  • Population growth. This includes "food" in some sense (farms are a source of growth) but actual food is not counted.
  • Production. From factories. Used for ships and land units. Infrastructure ("buildings") speed is not affected by this but have fixed construction times.

Does this seem reasonable? :)

Edited by suliman

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