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Ganryu

Eliminating RTS Resource Management

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I have recently been thinking of various ways to get rid of the classical (much too classical, in fact) resource gathering system found in most RTS games. Those who have played Z knows that that game doesn''t have resources. Instead, you conquer territories and if that territory contains a unit producing structure you can begin producing units. Now, each unit has a set creation time you must wait before the unit is complete and since the units are entirely free you can just set your factory to produce light tanks and it WILL produce Light Tanks until it''s destroyed, or until you give it order to produce something else. The slight problem is that a very small difference in factory control quickly means death for the one player that controls the least. In a situation were player A controls 3 factories and player B controls 2 it''s most probably that player A will win. My idea is to use this system, although slight modified. It''s mostly suited for a c&c type game and will probably feel out of place in fantasy strategy games like Warcraft. *** The map is divided in territories. 12 is a good amount Each player at the beginning given one territory to control. Each territory is marked with a flag, and whoever has the flag secured controls the territory. There is nothing preventing a player from building outside of his territory. Factories can be built by the player much like in the C&C games, and there are no PREPLACED factories on the map (like there are in Z). Resources aren''t gained by using the typical "harvester" units but instead by controlling territories. For each territory you control you gain money with regular intervals. Not a set amount for each territory but rather income according to a table; Flags: Income/Offset 1: 1000 2: 1500 3: 2000 4: 2400 5: 2800 6: 3100 7: 3400 8: 3600 9: 3800 Etc. etc. etc. Well... What do you think? I''m open to suggestions :D

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I definitely think that this is the right direction, it gets the game back to the idea of fighting over something, rather than just fighting for the sake of it.

I like the basic idea you put forward, and the advantage of having a income based on a table like the one you describe is that you (the designer) have a great deal of control over how quickly the game balance changes as the game progresses. I think it could also be applied quite easily to a medieval fantasy style game - you can collect ''tithes'' from the indigenous population of the particular region, hence the income.

If you want a bit more complexity (just brainstorming here) you could use a multiple resource system instead of a pure ''money'' system. Lets imagine we have three resources: food, minerals, and oil. Each terrain could have a ranking out of 10 for each resources e.g F6/M9/O3, marked on the flag in some way. The income the player recieves is then calculated using a similar table to the one you listed, although using a different scale.

This extra complexity may just be a pain in the ass, but then again it could force some interesting decisions on the part of the player - do I want that mineral rich hill, or do I need to go for a more varied terrain region?



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Hi!

I like that idea, but there is still the same problem you described in the game Z.

E.g. When there are 7 ares at all and Player A has 5 flags and player B has 2, B has no chance of getting more resources, so A will produce more and more units and A will win...



The Wild Wild West - Desperado!

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quote:
Original post by WildWest
Hi!

I like that idea, but there is still the same problem you described in the game Z.

E.g. When there are 7 ares at all and Player A has 5 flags and player B has 2, B has no chance of getting more resources, so A will produce more and more units and A will win...



No, the problem with Z was that a small difference could win the game. The table in Ganryu''s idea is designed to reduce the effect of small imbalances.

If there is a large imbalance, e.g 5:2, then yes, the player with the bigger terrain area wins. Thats the whole point.

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Ok, let''s say there is only a small imbalance like 3:2. When the player B with less resources, can''t conquer an area of A prombtly after the imbalance occured, there also will be no chance to win the game.

The Wild Wild West - Desperado!

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Well do you want the game to go on forever?

Obviously the player with the most terrain will have an advantage. The point of Ganryu's table is to limit the advantage that the player gets. You want control of terrain to be important, but not necessarily so important that a player can't make a bit of a come-back right?

Personally, I reckon a slightly different growth curve might be better:


| +
|
| +
|
| +
| +
| +
| + + +
Money | +
| +
| +
|
| +
|
+--------------------------------------
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Num. Flags


(you get an idea of the shape, anyway)

Basically, the income from each terrain section increases rapidly at first, but soon levels off at 5-7 flags, which is the area you would expect to be at once all flags are taken in a two player game. At this stage, taking a new flag is not a huge gain, and you have to be careful not to overstretch. However, once you manage to get 9-10 flags the game is pretty much over, the extra flags give you oodles of money and you can squish your opponent fairly easily (keeping the endgame short)

Obviously the dynamics change in games with > 2 players - in a four player game for example, losing one flag is probably game over. Either you could rescale the graph according to number of players (to level out at the appropriate region) which is IMHO a bit hacky, or better, scale the number of terrain regions so that in a MP game there are 6 flags per player.

[edited by - Sandman on March 22, 2002 9:34:06 AM]

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Another interesting possibility is the idea of ''contested'' regions. Simply put, a contested region is one which is occupied by military forces from two different sides.. and even though only one of them actually owns the flag in the center, the terrain generates no revenue at all. Hence you can cripple an opponent''s resource production simply by maintaining a military prescence on his territory, resulting in a very aggressive, attacking game.

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Another idea is to have 2 or more different flag-areas where you get money depending on your technical development.

e.g. when you have the technical level to make money out of oil an area where lot of oil is good for you,
but when you decide to invest in gold mines an area with oil will give you no advantage

The Wild Wild West - Desperado!

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I think there should be a delay between capturing the territory and getting resources from it. A time-based delay would be the simplest, but requiring the player to build "mines" with his existing resources would add more strategic possiblities. Player could also have the option of mining(as in mines that kill stuff ) the area so that neither of the players could get resources from it.

I also suggest that you find yourself a copy of Total Annihilation. It´s resource system is a bit like your porposal. Even though there are builder-units, player income is dependant on the terrain he controls, not on harvesting.

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What if you have all the usual units in a RTS, but also some
super defences, and some super-single units,
so that if player A have 7, and player B have 3, then player A can easely build a big force and kill B, while B will setup a super-defence, and have super-single units attack week points of player A.

You have to make it imposible to both have a giant army, and the specialists:
to have a big army, you need factories, big tanks airbases and so on, while the other player will use mobile units, and smal rocket lunchers, just like a gerilja war...

This means that when one player have more territories, this player will build one big army for atack, while the other player will use smal stealth units.
Just like the afganistan war: usa have carriers, and the taliban have caves... a tank rush is no god if you cant find the enemy...

the big army player should have a advantage of corese, and nobody like the : ''find and kill last enemy unit to winn'' part of a game...

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