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Waverider

RTS Resource paradigm - feedback please?

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I was hoping I could get some feedback/suggestions for this resource scheme I'd like to design into a military RTS. After playing games like Battlezone 1 and 2, StarCraft and WarCraft, I thought this design would bring the best of all worlds - presenting strategy and reducing the amount of micromanagement necessary. ............ 1) Mineral ores exist around the map with unlimited supply of resource 2) Extractors are built on these ores to extract and transmit resource to storage facilities ONLY 3) Storage facilities are built to store resource. This resource is transmitted to the buildings and units that need them. They determine your overall capacity, but this is only important if you lose your extractors. Empty storage facilites will not transmit resource, of course. 4) Builder units have their own personal store of resource that they can use up quickly. While building, if they run out of personal store, they draw slowly from the storage facilities they have radar contact with (the resource is transmitted to them). When not building, their personal store replenishes. Multiple builders can work together to build structures faster. Builders have a maximum rate at which they can receive resource. 5) Buildings have their own personal store. If they are not building anything, their personal store builds up. Personal store allows a small number of units to be built quickly. Once the personal store is gone, the buildings draw slowly upon the storage facilities (transmitted through radar contact) as they continue to build. Buildings have a maximum rate at which they can receive resource. As long as you are constantly building and keeping your overall personal stores at a minimum, you are making maximum use of resource and are staying at the top of the game. However, if you forget to keep some buildings busy, their accumulated personal stores will help you catch up. Ultimately, though, the player that uses the most resource over a period of time will stay ahead the most. If your buildings lose contact with the storage facilities, they can still use their personal stores to build, but after that, they cannot function until contact is re-established. Contact is lost through the loss of buildings or towers that act as relays to the storage facilities. So it is possible to have your supply lines cut off, especially from the extractors deep in the field. A unit quantity limit (definable by the host of a multiplayer game) on offensive units, defensive emplacements and builders will keep players from constantly pumping out uber armies. I see the winner being the one that can most effectively set up their attack force and arrange their defensive emplacements. I'm still not sure what I should do about having contact with more than one storage facility or extractor, and the effect that has on the rate of supplied resource. I'm also thinking about implementing resource scheduling, to force more resource to certain buildings (say if you want more ground units than air units, pump more resource to the factories so they get a greater share) ......... Whew. I think that pretty much covers it. Does anyone see any inherent problems with this on game progression, balance, and fun factor? How does it all sound? Thanks again for any suggestions and feedback! - WaveRider [edited by - Waverider on June 10, 2002 2:24:36 PM] [edited by - Waverider on June 10, 2002 4:58:45 PM] [edited by - Waverider on June 10, 2002 11:28:11 PM]

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I think the danger, as with any resource based RTS-style game, is that there are a lot of ''weak links'' where you can easily crush a foe by cutting off the flow of resources.

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

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Isn''t this going to be MORE micro? Each builder unit and building has it''s own resource level? That sounds overly complicated to me. A lot of clicking back and forth between buildings to see what their resource level is.

I would suggest the following modifications:

#1: Units and buildings don''t have their own store, they just siphon off the main storage tanks.

#2: Each storage tank has a certain throughput that is divided among all the things currently building. The more storage tanks you have, the more stuff you can build at once.

I would also say that the "danger" Kylotan pointed out doesn''t have to be a danger, it can be a plus. For example in Dark Reign controlling resources was really the main point of the game. Rather than attacking people''s bases most fights centered around the resource points. (which were not always right next to basis) It added a bit more urgency IMO. Realisitically the victory condition was "control the resources" rather then "kill everything."

You do want to of course avoid the situation where destroying a storage tank basically wins you the game right there.

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Part of avoiding a broken supply is proper defense of your storage, which both sides will have to be concerned about.

About it being MORE micro, you can get a readout on what the personal store is, but it doesn''t really matter all that much, except in the case that if you have more than one hangar, for instance, you would want to build with the hangar that has more of a personal store first. I''m planning on putting a manufacturing screen that shows the status of all buildings capable of manufacturing units to make it easier and faster to choose. But in the long run, the player doesn''t really need to be aware of the personal stores, as long as he continues to keep all the buildings busy regularly.

Does you think this still presents a problem of more micromanagement? I''d rather have personal store so players don''t feel so pressured to keep buildings absolutely busy all the time (although the player that does keep them busy will have the advantage).

I''d like to hear any and all opinions about this. It''s hard for me to imagine the full emergence of how it will affect gameplay. Please, any opinions are welcomed!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
You could avoid the micro by making a lot of those units do things automatically or use a script.

Waverider, you''re right, defending your resources is a proper aspect of strategy.
Kylotan, where you been, man? That''s the f***ing point. Do a search on google for "military history" and "common sense".

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I am planning on the builder units going back to collect more resource automatically should they need it, if you send them out deep into the field to build. Otherwise, as long as they are in range of the storage facilities, they will automatically draw the resource they need through radar contact with the storage facilities.

Maybe I didn't make that clear in my original description. Having contact with the storage factilities means being in radar range, not actual touch. I'll change that in the original post.

I think Kylotan and AnonPoster have a valid concern about vulnerability of resources playing too much of a role. With the ability to keep your army built up because of the building stores (once you get your maximum army, everything will get a full store eventually since you can't build anymore, so rebuilding a lost army should happen quickly), the outcome of the game will I think be determined in the end not so much by holding resources but by how you arrange and make use of your defenses and strike force (enforced by unit limit). But if you can't hold your resources in mid game, you're going to have real problems because the more extractors you have, the faster the resource arrives for further development(I think I just made a design decision )

I do hope, though, that midgame defense of resources doesn't take place in only one best way. The variety of units and emplacements available should take care of that.



[edited by - Waverider on June 10, 2002 11:54:59 PM]

[edited by - Waverider on June 10, 2002 11:58:01 PM]

[edited by - Waverider on June 11, 2002 8:38:05 AM]

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The ability to build a very few units quickly because of local storage is good ... because it lets an enemy with a slightly weak defense have a chance to make up for it with good build choices at the moment of an attack ... as long as the "quick build" is small enough to not make standing armies unnecesary.

The ability to build faster and faster by acumulating more and more storage factilities is not very balanced .. as it leads to once person just uping his production level to 3-4 times another .. and crushing them by simple geometric progression ... in the real world, nothing is available to be exploited with a geometric growth / benifit rate ... because in the real world, everything requires trained people to advance ... so focusing on having twice the mining capability in the real world ... means the funds people / funds / infrastructure aren''t availble to be switched over to other stuff easily ... RTS games usually miss this ...

The ability to build quick and decisive - up to a point - might be good ... like the choices you make with your first resource determine your early game situation ..... but perhaps you cannot spend mined resources right away ... so a person going for high production must have good defense tactics or they will loose it all ...

i''m not sure really .. just some ideas

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I don't think the rate of resource would be proportional to the number of extractors. Maybe you get half as much on the next extractor, then one third, then one fourth, etc.

I'm thinking about StarCraft here, too. If you managed to take another resource area, you do get higher production for faster building and upgrades. I think I'd like to see that in this game as well. To me, it seems a valid gaming dynamic, as long as it doesn't detract from the game experience by causing an imbalance.

It might be unrealistic (as most games are), but I'm not so sure it's imbalanced.

Thanks for the input! Keep 'em coming! I know it sounds like I'm just defending my design against your comments, but no contributions truly go unnoticed!

I just realized another effect of not making the gains proportional - in a team environment, where two teams are allied, it's more beneficial to both teams to both have an equal number of extractors as opposed to one team taking more. Both teams overall get higher production if they have equal numbers of extractors. I like it! No reason why having multiple storage facilities can't result in the same thing. If you keep your buildings busy all the time, the storage facilities will stay empty, anyway. But if they fill up due to inactivity, having many storage facilities just helps you catch up that much more.

Once the storage facilities are empty, though, your buildings and builders could never receive resource any faster than the extractors can provide it to the storage facilities.

..........

Just for kicks, I did some math...

If a single extractor provides 50 resource per second, then 3 would provide 92 (50 times (1 + 1/2 + 1/3)).

Let's say 3 storage facilities do the same thing (they can each receive a max of 50 resource per second, and collectively provide 92 per second).

If a player spends a solid 20 seconds building, he gets 1840 resource.

Now take another player that builds 10 storage facilities. The math comes out to around 145 resource per second provided to buildings. But remember, the extractors can only provide 92 per second to the storage facilities. If this player pauses 10 seconds then builds for 10 seconds, he gets 1450 resource for those 10 seconds. (The 920 gets used up that was stored for the first 10 seconds, then draws upon the resource that was getting pumped into the storage while the first 920 was being used up, then the 92 per second getting pumped into the storage)

The player with 3 storages got 1840 resource in 20 seconds. With 10 storage facilities, if you pause for 10 and build for 10, you only get 1450. So in a 20 second period, the player that kept the busiest produces the most effect. Keep in mind that the buildings also keep themselves busy loading up on personal store, too. So there is resource activity for a little while when you aren't building because the personal stores are accumulating.

It will be interesting to see how this affects gameplay!


[edited by - Waverider on June 11, 2002 11:08:36 AM]

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quote:
Original post by Anonymous Poster
Waverider, you're right, defending your resources is a proper aspect of strategy.
Kylotan, where you been, man? That's the f***ing point. Do a search on google for "military history" and "common sense".

If you're gonna be insulting, get a username so I can mock you properly. Better still, log in under your proper username, Mr G.

In real life, of course it's "the f***ing point". However, games are not real life, and modelling real life directly Is Not Necessarily Fun. If the supply lines are something that can be guarded well, then it can make an interesting game. On the other hand, if they are easy to take out, then there is going to be a positive feedback loop where the first person to take out a significant supply line is guaranteed to win, which is boring. Therefore great care would have to be taken to balance this and to elaborate it enough so that you never feel aggrieved at the AI's inability to guard something that you specify.


[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost | Asking Questions | Organising code files ]

[edited by - Kylotan on June 11, 2002 9:01:17 PM]

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I'm hoping to code the AI to be very effective. Unfortunately, both defensive and offensive AI must be effective. Keeping it balanced will be the trick.

For instance, two jets can take out a single missile tower with no casualties - one jet draws its fire and evades while the other takes it out. This way, three jets can also take out two missile towers. However, two missile towers also guarded by two of your jets, different story.

But, that's a ways off This game will be full 3D, not the 2D overhead stuff. I want all battles to be fully 3D simulated, so jets will perform the full maneuvering to accomplish their tasks. It will be quite cool, if I do say so myself. Here's hoping.

[edited by - Waverider on June 11, 2002 10:05:02 PM]

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here are some ideas for you:

1. perhaps you can have a research facility that allows you to produce research points in a few fields with which the player can buy upgrades to his units and facilities. Perhaps there can be an upgrad that allows the supply cannisters to throw more resources out per second.

2. it may be a better idea for you to make this "invisible radar-like resource transmission thing" over-ground and underground pipes or something like that that can transport supplies. Perhaps you could have an upgrade that cloaks these pipes and makes them impossible to see, therefore almost making it like these invisible radar beams you have ideas regarding.

3. You may want to include the option to have units run out of ammunition in-game and need a supply truck to come and deliver supplies to them. This could add a very interesting dynamic to gameplay. In a war of attrition, this would be fairly easy to do, but if you get surrounded, you wouldn''t have a chance. Perhaps later in the game you can paradrop resources to troupes, or use helicopters.

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I had considered the physical supply lines idea, but I think I''ll stick with transmitted resource for now. Having a physical supply line I think makes it a little too vulnerable - there would be too much to protect, I think.

And also, for now, the craft will slowly replenish their ammo and hull. Needing to repair and rearm using other vehicles may complicate the game too much.

But thanks for the suggestions! I''m keeping most everything in mind. Perhaps ultimately the games can be that customizable, so players can decide for themselves just how complicated they want the management to be.

Researchable upgrades are a definite possibility, most likely a necessity for fun factor. I haven''t gotten that far in the design yet, though.

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