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Heaven

Unit Creation Modeled as Population Growth

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Age of Kings had peons of diverse gender, so let''s take that and run with it... Male peon and female peon chop some wood. The peons then take said wood and begin construction on a small house, room for four (they plan ahead). Construction complete, they move in, entering the structure and disappearing from sight. A brief amount of time passes and the two emerge, again able to perform regular peon functions. Over time the female graphic would change slightly, indicating her being with child. Nothing major, just a few pixels. Consequently the female peon would then become slower and less effective at purely physical tasks (i.e., chopping wood, mining metal, building, etc.) and she would tend to hang around her dwelling (or town hall) more frequently. When the equivalent of 9 months game time has passed, but possibly varying for different races - e.g., orcs may have a significantly lower gestation period while elves may take longer, the female peon''s onscreen representation changes, now showing her holding a small baby peon. Again, her ability to perform physical tasks would be severely impaired, possibly even non-existent (can''t imagine chopping wood or mining with a baby in my arms). Orcs could perhaps be given special treatment by allowing them to be Indian/Eskimo like in that their babies are attached to their backs, freeing their hands. After additional time passes the baby peon''s representation would change such that eventually the mother peon''s icon becomes a pair: her holding her toddler''s hand. She still moves slowly and has difficulty performing physical tasks however. Later still the two would become separate units, the mother reverting to her original fully functional self, and the toddler becoming a "child unit". The child would have VERY simple AI, simply following it''s mother around. Optionally, a "nurse maid" could be assigned to the dwelling. This would be a unit trained to basically baby sit, freeing the mother from having to tote around an infant or lead around a toddler. This would only be practical in a design that implemented varying degrees of ability. Say each peon had attributes such as strength and speed. Those peons under your control who were slow and weak could thus be assigned as nurse maids, or other less physical tasks such as gathering food or tending crops (as opposed to planting or harvesting which would be more physical). This would free the stronger, faster peons to perform more demanding tasks like chopping wood or planting and harvesting. Let''s go over it again to sum up. Male and female peons pair up inside a dwelling for a brief bit. For various reasons pairing up will only be allowed inside a dwelling (even if it''s just a two person tent or lean to built from gathered sticks). The female peon may or may not become pregnant. Later, the female peon seeks the nearest dwelling (preferrably her own) and attempts to have the child. Midwife units would be handy at this point. There is of course a chance the child would die, and also a chance the female peon would die during childbirth. The chance would be modified by the degree of care received as well as the surroundings (birthing a child in a tent vs. birthing a child in a castle, while it''s raining outside). Assuming success the female peon gains an infant attachment, and after a while a toddler attachment, both of which can be left in a dwelling with a nurse maid. The toddler attachment finally becomes an independent child unit, which of course gradually grows into a male or female peon. I don''t know about you, but simply adding the above in place of Town Halls and Barracks would be simply amazing. It would open up so many possibilities it''s not even funny. Think enemy raids where they kill women (mothers) and children. Conversely, think of an Attack Setting where you prohibit your troops from killing women and children. Think of the vengeance you''d desire to retribute upon your adversary who killed your children. How to train soldiers? Simple. Instead of a Barracks pumping out swordsmen, axemen, bowmen, etc., you would have a Smith who would produce swords, axes, and bows, and leather, chain or plate armor. Peons would then be able to enter the building containing the weapons or armor (which would be objects like bags of gold or blocks of stone, able to be carried about and stockpiled) and "suit up" in whatever format you desired. Click on peon. Click on Outfit icon. Click on Medium Sword and then click on the armory. Peon then enters armory and outfits himself with Sword + Chain (medium armor; light would be leather and heavy, plate). You could have icons for Sword, Axe, Bow and Light, Medium, and Heavy. Depressable buttons actually, so you could combine them. Then you could band-select 20 peons, select Heavy, select Axe, and then click on the armory and all 20 peons would line up, outfitting themselves with axes and plate. Simple combinations producing near endless variations. And finally, think of the excitement of building up your town, person by person, family by family. From scratch if the scenario so dictated (i.e., Adam & Eve Scenario ). Eugenics could be modeled as well, where if you micro-managed enough you could combine strong and fast peons with each other to produce, generally speaking, strong and fast children. And for the record, I will NOT let the player play the numbers. You will have no idea your peon has a 15 strength and 35 hit points, only that the peon is Strong, Able, or Weak and Healthy or Frail (for example). So many possibilities. Now it''s your turn. Please let me know what you think. Care, Chris Rasmus Florida, USA RTS Engine in Development http://www.knology.net/~heaven Jesus is LORD!

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Sounds like a Sim game.

I don''t like the management of populations and unit numbers in RTSes, though other do. Consequently, I''m not much enamoured of this idea and I doubt I would play the game. I really am interested in Real-Time Tactics games, where the player is in indirect control of a portion of an army and issues orders. The recipients of the orders then attempt to fulfill them as much as possible based on situation and respect for/responsiveness to the player.

The player would have superiors (generals, field commanders, heads of state, whatever) and would appreciate or deprecate in "standing" with these superiors depending on efficiency and expense of operations (the fewer soliders you lose and machines you wreck, the more they like/respect you). As a consequence the player''s requests for resources or reinforcements are assigned a higher or lower priority by "Central Command". Population and political forces are independently modeled, to provide the player with challenge.

As you can see, my view of what RTSes should evolve towards is totally different. Age of Empires is similar to a Civilization game, and your ideas continue in that vien.

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Thanks to Kylotan for the idea!

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If you''re going to let them play eugenics, you need to put intelligence in there too, so that if someone just concentrates on stupid, strong people, then in the long run they end up losing to someone with more diverse people.

You''d also have to start with a much larger population base, say 20 families or so to avoid the whole incest issue... then you can have people who inbreed create weirdo mutants... hehehe.

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Personally that sounds like way too much micromanagement. Not to mention the creepy Nazi overtones.

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Well, this sounds like an intriguing idea, and with a little more work, could be really cool. One thing, though. About the whole "throwing out the barracks" idea, I think that having a barracks is neccessary if you plan on having a decent army. If you don''t have a barracks, how would all the peons learn to fight. It would be more of just a milita. If you had a barracks, you could just click on some peons, send them into the place, and a while later, out pop your new soldiers.

You could still asign the peon to the specific weapons/armor that you want it to use, but I think that having a place for the army to train adds to the realism factor that you seem to be going for.


Robby

"Too late?!" There''s no such thing as "too late!" That''s why they invented death! - Walter Matthau in "Out To Sea"

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Oluseyi wrote:

As you can see, my view of what RTSes should evolve towards is totally different. Age of Empires is similar to a Civilization game, and your ideas continue in that vien [sic].

Understood. Difference between say, AOE and Myth. However I thought it was at least implied that we were talking about RTS'' as opposed to what ought to be a distinct genre, RTT.

Or I suppose you could think of games like AOE as Real-Time Simulations if you consider resource gathering and building more sim-like instead of strictly strategic.

Speaking of giving orders, I at least plan on modeling something of that nature in my "simulation". I want to reward those who micro-manage with a plethora of interesting choices without penalizing the macro-managing "general". Although I don''t plan on making it quite as generalized as you stated (i.e., you never give diret orders to front line grunts). These are after all "god games".

Solinear wrote:

If you''re going to let them play eugenics, you need to put intelligence in there too, ....

Definitely. While Strength and Speed may affect the performance of physically oriented tasks such as chopping or fighting, Intelligence could affect the rate of increase of skills (see my other thread on Settings Based Skill Advancement - http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=86246) as well as such things as magic. Perhaps even pathfinding. Heh heh. There we go, an excuse for poor pathfinding: low Intelligence stat.

Solinear wrote:

You''d also have to start with a much larger population base, say 20 families or so to avoid the whole incest issue... then you can have people who inbreed create weirdo mutants... hehehe.

For simplicity''s sake I wasn''t even going to model incest, but if I did I suppose I could simply make the chance of having lower stats higher if you inbred.

Kylotan wrote:

Why would anyone set their army to not kill women or children? You''d have to enforce or discourage this somehow if it was to play a significant part.

Think of it this way: what if you couldn''t STOP your troopers from killing anything that moved when you set them to attack, and they proceeded to happily cut down every child in sight when invading a town? I don''t know about you, but if I''m not playing orcs for example, just the thought is quite distasteful. Roleplaying is not dead you know.

As far as it playing a "significant part", as simple an aspect as playing a "good" team and being penalized for doing "evil" things would be a good solution. Or I could go the Black & White route and make the options available to you vary depending on your moral choices. Say if you started doing evil things then eventually your healers would lose the ability to cast healing spells. Of course they could transform into "hurters", able to cast spells which harm people. Tons of options here.

The bottom line of course is still choice. I should be able to choose what my troopers attack when there''s more than one target type. Even if it''s just the difference between infantry, cavalry, or ranged units, I should have an attribute I can set on my troopers which predisposes them to certain targets when they are told to attack.

ewiar wrote:

Personally that sounds like way too much micromanagement. Not to mention the creepy Nazi overtones.

The thing is, it could be designed so that you don''t have to micromanage that far if you don''t want to. You could simply build your dwellings and let the peons pair up by themselves. Then, every so often a male and female peon would pair up, enter a dwelling, and start the birthing/population growth process automagically without your intervention. You would only need to keep tabs on which children had grown up enough to "take control of", and begin ordering them around like regular peons. There could even be a function like in AoK where idle peons are indicated, which would let you know when a peon child "came of age".

Nazi overtones?!?!

chaosmaster99 wrote:

..., but I think that having a place for the army to train adds to the realism factor that you seem to be going for.

Yes, definitely. Just that a barracks wouldn''t be a building you could "produce" new units from. Just like you said, you could select some peons who were already equipped from the armory, then right click on the Barracks. They would then enter the barracks and begin practicing with each other. This way you could also staff the Barracks with Veteran or Master teachers, and their high skill levels would help increase the rate of learning of the other peons in the barracks. Of course there would be a limit to the # of peons that would fit in a barracks, and you could even have barracks, or training halls, of varying sizes that would hold more peons. Then again, I don''t see anything unusual with band selecting a group of peons then right clicking on a Master Soldier, signifying that the Master should begin training the peons on the spot. I can easily imagine a large training field, where soldiers line up before the teacher.

Now that I think about it I would be inclined to have the Barracks more as a "repository" for your soldiers. Somewhere you could quickly draw ready troops from, armed and armored. Or somewhere your peons would run to if threatened, to quickly don armor and grab a weapon. Your standing army, instead of living in the dwellings they were born in, could reside instead in the barracks. I dunno''. So many possibilities.

Thanks for all the comments guys! I appreciate it. Any more?

Care,
Chris

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>Why would anyone set their army to not kill women or children?

Because you can merge them with your own people. But like in Civilization 3, the foreign peons should be less effective and might even start a rebellion.

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Ecthelion wrote:

Because you can merge them with your own people. But like in Civilization 3, the foreign peons should be less effective and might even start a rebellion

That''s a great idea. You could actually gain extra peons "for free" by conquering a settlement. However, you are right in that I would want to keep some kind of information on the "enslaved" peons which would result in them being less productive and could result in them revolting or running away. I guess a kind of morale setting.

Speaking of which I suppose it would even be more interesting if you could subdue a settlement in it''s entirety, including male [fighting] peons. Something to consider, at least. With the probability that my birthing method of population increase would take more time than simply buying new peons with food from your town hall, this could be an attractive option for budding conquerors.

Care,
Chris

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quote:
Original post by Heaven
Think of it this way: what if you couldn''t STOP your troopers from killing anything that moved when you set them to attack, and they proceeded to happily cut down every child in sight when invading a town? I don''t know about you, but if I''m not playing orcs for example, just the thought is quite distasteful. Roleplaying is not dead you know.

You honestly think people will care enough to stop their irrelevant-pixel-people from killing small irrelevant-pixel-people or irrelevant-pixel-people-with-breasts in the name of roleplaying, when it makes you less likely to win? Nope, not going to happen. Maybe every 1 in a thousand gamers will think that way. There would have to be some tangible repercussions.

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