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MSW

multiplayer FPS/RTS mix...

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Here is a old game idea I had some time ago, where I challanged myself to design a fast multiplay action game that blends the FPS and RTS genres... This isn''t basied on anything one could remotely consider "realistic"...as I''m rather sick of all the army and special forces type games out there now (and soon to be released)...so this is more fantasy basied...think of the ''alien war'' dream scenes in the Final Fantasy film...and you''ll sort of get an idea of how the units look and such... here goes: The basic idea is to force both play types (FPS/RTS) to depend on each other...that is if the FPS players disreguard orders then their team may very well lose the battle...and if the RTS player doesn''t just order the FPS players around but also fails to reward them, the team could lose just as easily... The goal of the game is to simply destroy the other sides "brain" Eash side (or team) is comprised of 1 "brain" (the RTS player) and a number of "units" (the FPS players)...the only "resource" in the game (a staple of RTS games) are "points" which are used in the following manner: for the "brain" he can purchase "tech upgrades" (see "tech" below) or "power-ups" to be placed on the map...as well as convert points into "health" to restore himself for the "units"...they can only use "points" when they respawn after dying...that is they are given choices for up-grades basied on the teams current technology tree (deturmined by purchases the "brain" player makes)...if they no longer have enough points to enter back into the game it''s basicly "game over" for them How points are accumulated: When each of the "units" kill an opposing side''s "unit" or "brain" only they (the unit performing the kill) will get 3 points...however if the correct conditions are met there can be a number of modifiers added to that... If the "unit" is within his "waypoint"(more on this later) he will get a X3 multiplyer (or 9 points) AND his teams "brain" will recive this also (this is the only way the "brain" recieves points..if the "unit" is within the waypoint)... If the "unit" is withing his "waypoint" and the enemy "unit" destroyied had the "target" status (more on this later)...there will be an additional X3 multiplyer...so both the "unit" and "brain" will recive 27 points... "waypoints" and "target" status: These are set by the "brain" player dynamicly within the game...basicly the "brain" will select a "unit" from his same team and then click the location on the map he wishes the "unit" to move to (just like a RTS)...this location then becomes the selected "unit" waypoint (the "brain" can select more then one unit at a time and then each of those units will be given the same waypoint location)...basicly the waypoint acts as a sphere (the HUD of the individual "unit" will display the waypoint location as well as inform them if they are within the waypoint boundries)...the "target" is simply a chosen enemy "unit" (it can NOT be the enemy brain)...the brain sets the "target" simply by clicking on the enemy unit...note there is only one "target" at any given time per team...that is when a "unit" is selected for "target" status, the previously "targeted" unit is now "normal"... This basicly forces the players to work as a team...the "unit" players get points for each kill...but by being inside thier "waypoint" they get even more, in addition to the "brain" recieveing points....and if the brain doesn''t get any points then the units can never advance thier "tech" standing Tech: This is baised on "rock, paper, scissors"..that is there are three areas that the brain can develop the tech along (I''ll call then Red, Blue, and Green for now)...this next bit is key...Red will always beat Blue yet loses to Green...Blue beats Green but loses to Red...and Green beats red but loses to blue...This is important because it needs to be very clear for the brain to figure out what areas he is weak in...anymore then these three color coded areas and it would become very difficult to figure out where the team stands (am I even?, am I behind?, am I ahead?)... That said, to advance a tech level the "brain" simply choses one of the three colors...the cost depends on the current level standing...only a increase of one level can be done at a time...so to increase Red from say level 7 to level 8 will cost the "brain" 8 points...to go from level 32 to 33 costs 33 points, etc.. How this effects the units is that at respawn the units can purchase (useing thier points) the upgrades to be applied baised on the current team tech standings (the levels of Red, Green and Blue) and place them into three "slots"...weapon, armor, and manuverability...each of these "slots" contains a Red, Green and Blue catagory...and the weapon, armor, and manuverability will change accordingly (I don''t have this part worked out completely)...that is, if a player choses to allocate a bunch of points on increaseing the red componet of his weapon...but then fires on an enemy unit with a high level of green in its armor rateing (useing the above rock paper scissors aproch) the weapon will yield very little damage...and thus a change may need to be made by the brain to increase the team blue tech level to gain an advantage...the idea is to both allow the unit players to chose what advancements they may need (again given the team tech level standings) and somewhat "hide" the tech level standings from the enemy brain (by fooling the enemy to think that your team is strongest in green (by allocateing a lot of green to each "slot") but in reality the brain is advanceing the blue level the most...if that makes any sense) There are some other things involved (picking up and carrying the "brain" around, power-ups, etc).....but the goal for me was to design a very fast playing game, with a simple rule structure Well thats a basic description, what do you think?

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Sounds really cool, but you''re going to need some pretty damn good gameplay if you want to encourage players to restrict themselves ''for the good of the team''

IMO most people just want to blow stuff up.

Though this shouldn''t be too much of a problem as Counter Strike has shown.

Good Luck

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Can the brain see all the enemy units? If so, telling players where to find easy kills would be enough of an incentive for most people to play the game

Edited by - falsk on January 1, 2002 1:20:36 AM

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The "brain" itself cannot move/attack or whatever...it is basicly something of a ''icon''...the "brain" player has a overhead(disembodied?) view of the whole game..no ''fog of war'' stuff...he/she can look around freely.

When the "brain" grants a "unit" with a power-up it appears in the "waypoint" for that unit...at that time anybody can get it (even the same side)...so if the particular "unit" doesn''t obtain it...well who''s fault is that?

The way I visualize the game it is played on a open landscape (no buildings or other such structures)...basied on a dynamic hieght map..."units" weapons can effect the landscape...fire into the ground and you will either create a sink hole, or the land will rise up and form a mound...this way the land itself can change for increased stratigy (while still allowing the "brains" to clearly see what is happening without haveing some complex ''viewpoint'' problems that would happen with interior spaces)...this all depends on the weapon being used...additionaly the weapon may effect the ''land type'' for the particular area being hit (one player creates a series of sinkholes...while another blasts at them createing lava pits, etc..)

I think it would be important to make the game rules support team play...then the actual gameplay experience would depend on how well players work with each other given the overall situation...

There could be a series of automaticly updated stats for the players...this would allow them to be guaged on how well they support each other and so forth...much of this can be done through run-time data collection (percent of time a "unit" player spends at his "waypoint" modifed by the number of "waypoints" he/she was given during said game...the number of power-ups a "brain" gives on average...stuff like that can be compiled into a statistical data base along with a subjective rateing created by each player after the game(rate how well the "brain" acted, etc..)...all of this could be viewed in the game lobby, so players can form teams and such basied on how well they have performed (and were rated) in the past games they have played...

There is a whole lot more then what I have written..

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An original and creative idea, where can I buy it?
Take your time on that because I'll probably need a
better computer than this slow-pokey thing I have now.

This reminds me of a very large scenario paintball game.

Create.

Flame me, I love the fire. I lick the flames and they
are sweet like warm chocolate dancing on my tongue.

Liv Tyler makes a really great elf.

Break our molds and shatter our compliant non-existence,
shock the world by removing us from it, if thou wish to
crack the crust the world must be moved and shaken violently
until the core screams 'I yield I yield I yield to your
power!", change the universe by making them realize they are not
the same and the glory shall be great and the price terrible
and all will be silent before a new dawn crashes and drowns
out the old, decadent, and decayed putrified ruins.

C/C++ syntax isn't confusing. It's just a bunch of colons,
semicolons, parentheses, brackets, letters, numbers, words,
asterisks, ampresands, carets, forward slashes, double and
single quotes, question marks, percent signs, exclamation
marks, periods, less than signs, greater than signs, equal
signs, curly braces, addition symbols, subtraction symbols,
commas, tildes, maybe some whitespace, and whatever that
symbol is called that's used in the OR operator. (And
that's just off the top of my head, didn't need a book
or nothing.)

Edited by - RolandofGilead on January 1, 2002 5:41:14 AM

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I''d go for a max of 16 players per game. That would allow people to host their own servers. And as for deforming terrain: it would be easier to let the brain actually build walls, instead of deforming the terrain. Updating the heightmap is going to take to much bandwith I''m afraid. Oh, and when you are actually going to start on this project, let us know! I think there are many people here whom would be interested in helping you (including myself)...

-Maarten Leeuwrik
"Some people when faced with the end of a journey simply decide to begin anew I guess."

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quote:
Original post by RolandofGilead
Create.

Flame me, I love the fire. I lick the flames and they
are sweet like warm chocolate dancing on my tongue.

Liv Tyler makes a really great elf.

Break our molds and shatter our compliant non-existence,
shock the world by removing us from it, if thou wish to
crack the crust the world must be moved and shaken violently
until the core screams ''I yield I yield I yield to your
power!", change the universe by making them realize they are not
the same and the glory shall be great and the price terrible
and all will be silent before a new dawn crashes and drowns
out the old, decadent, and decayed putrified ruins.

C/C++ syntax isn''t confusing. It''s just a bunch of colons,
semicolons, parentheses, brackets, letters, numbers, words,
asterisks, ampresands, carets, forward slashes, double and
single quotes, question marks, percent signs, exclamation
marks, periods, less than signs, greater than signs, equal
signs, curly braces, addition symbols, subtraction symbols,
commas, tildes, maybe some whitespace, and whatever that
symbol is called that''s used in the OR operator. (And
that''s just off the top of my head, didn''t need a book
or nothing.)

Edited by - RolandofGilead on January 1, 2002 5:41:14 AM

Please tell me this isn''t a sig. Please.

Oh and interesting game idea. Reminds me of a game I thought of where there is a Controller class who gives orders to units and set waypoints and status information that filters down the ranks. I gave that up for a much more simplet gameplay mechanism tho, cause I want to make the game for the IGF 2004.

_________________________________________________________________

Drew Sikora
A.K.A. Gaiiden

ICQ #: 70449988
AOLIM: DarkPylat

Blade Edge Software
Staff Member, GDNet
Public Relations, Game Institute

3-time Contributing author, Game Design Methods , Charles River Media (coming GDC 2002)
Online column - Design Corner at Pixelate

NJ IGDA Chapter - NJ developers unite!! [Chapter Home | Chapter Forum]

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I think if I were to allow the "brain" to have some limited control over the landscape it would work okay...he/she is going to have thier hands full trying to keep the "units" buisy and such...so if both "units" and "brain" can effect the land scap it would balance things out a bit better, thanks

I also wanted to limit the max players in a game...maybe it could range from as few as 8 on up to 64...I had in mind about 32 players total when I thought of the game idea...games would be hosted on the client side (much like Quake, etc..) and the game lobby (and statistical database) would be a seperate online server to allow player to link up, etc...once a game starts it would be on the clients...with brief updates to the lobby server to inform how things are progressing...

The deformable landscape shouldn''t be much of a bandwidth problem as all deformations would be performed on the individual clients...all that is needed would be the data of where and with what weapon a particular deformation starts...the clients would then change the landscape accordingly...at least I think that should work fairly well....I also think the landscape should ''scroll'' in that it ''repeats''...going off one edge just places you on the opposite side...but done in a seemless way...

I must admit that I''m not much of a programer(altho I know a little)...I would consider myself more of a concept artist/game designer...so I really have no idea on where to start outside of a gamedesign document and concept drawings (I suck at 3D modeling...don''t have the patience for it...give me a pencil and paper any day!)...I also lack the proper PC to run such a game (I''m stuck in the ''stone age'', you could say)

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I like your idea

If you can get your hands on it, you should play a few games of Starcraft-Broodwar, I have spent hours evaulating the play balance in that game, and I really must say that I find it incredible. Try something similar, instead of using red/blue/green, use:

Tech/Steel/Bio
Tech: Technologically advanced equipment, e.g. cloaking devices, sniper scopes, target tracking systems, Force Fields

Steel: Power/strength/force, e.g. Guns, explosives, swords, Plate Armour

Bio: Biological enhancements, e.g. Muscle augments, chemical wepaons, bio-cloaking (at very high levels), Chitinous skin

It may be a serious mistake to use a rock/paper/scissors attitude. Constructions of such simplicity do not beget strategy games, because you may fall into ruts easily.

Consider including buildings in your design. Have the brain be dependent on the presence of at least one building. Then have a barracks, where combatants respawn, and defensive buildings which combatants can occupy, and factories to build vehicles, research facilities to gain upgrades, armoury to make weapons, biolab to prepare Bio enhancements.

The map design you''ve been considering is implemented very well in the old game Swiv3D, A wrap-around voxel map. I think that maps should be generated randomly. Besides using points, there should be some rescources of some sort, so that areas of interest are generated, and teams can fight over the ore that makes Steel equipment, or the crystals needed for energy for Tech upgrades. Definitely keep the landscape deformable.

My two cents.

George D. Filiotis
Are you in support of the ban of Dihydrogen Monoxide? You should be!

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Um...Chess is a great stratigy game basied off of some very simple rules...and as simple as it is...the ''rock, paper, and sisccors'' approch would work very well, I think....no matter how complex such systems can be made, they can all be abstracted to a base level of understanding that the player needs to interpret as "I''m ahead!","I''m breaking even", and "I''m behind".

I guess the RTS aspect I''m trying to implament is basied more around the tactical squad command of units rather then the resorce management systems used by the majority of RTS games...buildings are out...as well as anything that relates directly to real world military hardware..that game theme has been done to death, IMHO (along with D&D type fantasy settings)...so weapons and such in this game will be a bit fantastical in design and function.

I want to keep it as simple as possable...so there is only one "brain" per side...no hiearchy of command for orders to trickle down through to the grunt level units...it''s just the "brain" and the "units"...which I think will work out fine (I''m a firm believer in the KISS principal).

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I like that idea. It sounds like Tribes taken to a whole new level. The creators of Tribes tried to make team play crucial to winning, and in part, it is. But, on public servers, the commander who yells out orders and watches the playing field just isn't efficient because A) no one listens to him, and B) even when everyone listens to him, the effectiveness of the team working together isn't that much better than the commander picking up a gun and joinin the fray. So, the issue of getting the players to listen to the "brain" is gonna be important in this design. Also, getting the team to coordinate well and form a well-disciplined army must yield great results.

I have a question, and you might have answered this already. How much will skill as a soldier affect the results of the battle? As in, in a fight of Team Super-Smart-Ender's-Game-esque-Commander vs. Team Tribes-Elitists-That-Can-Hit-A-Squirrel-From-A-Mile-Off, who would win? I'd think you'd want the team with the better commander to win, but then if you did that, why would anyone ever wanna be a soldier when they're just taking orders? So, then you'd change your mind and say the team with the highly skilled soldiers should always win, but then the effectiveness of the "brain" drops again and you've descended back to Tribes-like warfare.

I love the idea and look forward to seeing its product.
Omega

Edited by - THE Omega on January 1, 2002 5:25:01 PM

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quote:
Original post by MSW
Um...Chess is a great stratigy game basied off of some very simple rules...and as simple as it is...the ''rock, paper, and sisccors'' approch would work very well, I think....no matter how complex such systems can be made, they can all be abstracted to a base level of understanding that the player needs to interpret as "I''m ahead!","I''m breaking even", and "I''m behind".


I conceed that if the result you seek is to build the kind of design that players can abstract without too much trouble then you are on the right track. However, the beauty of games such as Chess, Go, and even Starcraft is that it is very hard to see all of the abstract at a glance. For that reason, I suggest a more complex design, firstly so that a Combatant really can''t see everything that his/her Brain can see, so that they might be more ready to follow orders. Secondly so that sneaky moves are possible. If both brains can see all of the field all the time, and they can see, with a general gist what tech the other team is using, I might see it as easy to get into a dead heat, neither one could really make a surprise attack.

quote:
I guess the RTS aspect I''m trying to implament is basied more around the tactical squad command of units rather then the resorce management systems used by the majority of RTS games...buildings are out...as well as anything that relates directly to real world military hardware..that game theme has been done to death, IMHO (along with D&D type fantasy settings)...so weapons and such in this game will be a bit fantastical in design and function.


Of course, I do not mean to impinge on your tastes, I understand your postition, but I am not personally convinced that those genres are ''dead'' in any way, however that is not relevant to this discussion.

Sure you want to loose buildings? they add heavily to the strategic element of "What do I destroy first to give myself a percieved advantage" A good reason to go with military hardware is that it gives something for players to identify with instantly. But that''s all in the packaging I guess, that''s unrelated to actual mechanics and balance.

I was thinking, that you should have a round mechanism like that in counterstrike. If a brain dies, then a new round starts and the brain on that team is cycled (Winning brain stays on top of his/her team).

George D. Filiotis
Are you in support of the ban of Dihydrogen Monoxide? You should be!

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Symphonic - sorry if I seemed a bit ''testy''...New Years day hang-over had something to do with that

The "unit" players see a typical FPS view of the game world...while the "brain" player sees a birds-eye view...

"Units" only have one weapon...and can only upgrade it through ''power-ups'' supplied by the "brain" as they spawn in that particular "units" waypoint area...or when the "unit" dies and is respawned, he/she can then chose what weapon they will use among those available through the ''tech'' tree thingy....players who won''t at least make some atempt to follow orders won''t last long...and "brains" who ruthlessly order "units" to thier death won''t either...and anytime sombody dies the other side gets points to use for upgrades, etc...so a stong element of trust will need to be fostered between players.

Adding buildings and other structures would add to the fun the "units" could have...but it could become a headache for the "brains" to keep tabs on things. the game needs to have both FPS and RTS elements tightly intertwined to the point where the removal of one side basicly breaks the game...makes it unplayable...When/If this game gets made, I would rather hear comments from fans saying something like "the game would be better if there were buildings in it"...then hear comments like "whats wrong with the freaking camera?"

The problem I have with military themed games (and D&D style ones too) is two fold:
1) there are a lot of them out right now, and even more on the way...it would be very difficult to stand out among such a competitive field of games...
2) with such games there is a high level of player expectations...players would expect a military themed game such as this to have a hierchy of command...they would expect certain weapons...the use of specific tactics and situations

I want to ''clean the slate''...start freash...it''s bad enough that this game would use the FPS and RTS game genres as a crutch...I don''t want it to also depend on the currently common genre themes and styles as well...

Anyway...I''m stuck for a title...what should I call it?

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I like the idea...

one addition I thought of would be, every time a unit kills another teams unit the team gets a point. The brain can control use of these points for upgrades OR to bring a unit back to life. This way the brain can get some measure of control over the units.

I do not think you will have a problem with people wanting to be a brain. FPS fans to RTS fans has to be at LEAST 16:1.

Lastly, a good way to appease the FPSers would be the brain can reward indivudual players with upgrades (via points). And of corse it would be possible to kill your own brain if he decides to pump all the points into one unit. (maybe when a brain is killed he is limited to the FPS side of the server until he gets X ammount of kills to prevent bad brains from spending too much time as a brain.)

(btw...I'm not the greatest programmer but I am a fast learner and would gladly quit my programming club (no one does what they are supposed to do anyway...we'll never get anything done) if it ment being able to work on such a good project)

Edited by - lessthanjoe on January 1, 2002 9:32:02 PM

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Actually it is my sig, but I might change it.

The original was
"Create."
But I really like the
"Liv Tyler makes a really great elf."

The two large paragraphs are lines copied from a reply I
made on a post about a new language.
The first paragraph is supposed to be an inspirational
passage for the guy who wants a new language. It was
supposed to inspire the writing of said new language.
The second paragraph is a reply to someone else''s reply
about C/C++ syntax made during the new language thread.
I forgot backslashes.

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yah i saw it!
she was hot for the three minutes she was in the movie, but other than having the name "arwen" she wasn't especially elf-like. it was more like one of those "let's put some hot chick in this movie for a few minutes so we can put her on the posters and burger-king mugs, and say there is a hot chick in the movie" situations.
it has been a good year or so since i read LoTR, but i could have sworn that frodo was rushed to rivendell by a male elven dude and not aragorn's fiance (i forget his name though). i'll have to go check now...
EDIT: the elven dude is named glorfindel. arwen doesn't even show up in the book (except for being mentioned in conversation) until the third volume. considering how hollywood bastardizes good books every day, though, i still think this movie was pretty sweet.

--- krez (krezisback@aol.com)

Edited by - krez on January 1, 2002 12:01:31 AM

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well if you're gonna include those two paragraphs into your sig definetly make use of the "font" tag like I did to make the text smaller. Also stretch them out so they take up less room. Also add a demarkation line via the "hl" tag or a series of underscores. But that's enough about sigs on this thread...

_________________________________________________________________

Drew Sikora
A.K.A. Gaiiden

ICQ #: 70449988
AOLIM: DarkPylat

Blade Edge Software
Staff Member, GDNet
Public Relations, Game Institute

3-time Contributing author, Game Design Methods , Charles River Media (coming GDC 2002)
Online column - Design Corner at Pixelate

NJ IGDA Chapter - NJ developers unite!! [Chapter Home | Chapter Forum]

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To get back on topic:

I conceed your points MSW, at this point I''m convinced that you have a solid design in your head, if not in this thread.

I still think you should go with something less pedantic than RGB for the tech types. Perhaps you might treat this as a battle between creatures of an alien race, I see no reason why you might be restricted in your technological vision then.

quote:
Original post by MSW
players would expect a military themed game such as this to have a hierchy of command


I''m not convinced of this particular statement. I don''t see why anyone could mistakenly see the presence of a heirarchy in a game such as yours, quite simply, the player who is the brain is in charge, and the units can only communicate with the brain, so that settles it.

Good from the get-go

quote:
Anyway...I''m stuck for a title...what should I call it?


Wait until later to get a title, for now you need a development team. If you''re really itching for a title, I think the name "Eye/Claw" is cool

George D. Filiotis
Are you in support of the ban of Dihydrogen Monoxide? You should be!

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