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About Telcontar

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  1. Telcontar

    The fun of the last part of playing RTS

    For games against the AI, as swiftcoder said you should have the game end fairly early into the "insurmountable advantage" part. Or "end" at least as in the game informs the player that they have won, though they can then elect to continue their game and do the mop-up part if they're that sort of player. You can mark this game-winning point in more interesting ways than simply a "military score" or some such. For instance, once you have reached this point, perhaps every AI faction left will band together and throw everything they have at the player in a last-ditch effort to regain some ground (or use some mega-weapon as you mentioned). Assuming the player wins this final battle without much damage, they are given the win. Basically a final challenge to the player to make the end come with more of a bang than a whimper. Depending on the game type and nature, you could have other manner of end-game challenges. Rebellions amongst the players own troops creating a sudden new enemy faction that is less underpowered, perhaps.
  2. Telcontar

    A good way to avoid extermination in RTS?

    As others have mentioned, this isn't a particularly hard problem at first glance. Institute systems to model what makes this true for the real world - morale and retreat. As a bonus, this also opens up opportunities for players turning big losses (route) into smaller ones (orderly retreat with rear-guard). As for how this makes something grindy? If you're looking to history, then simply follow the same - most enemy armies were not "completely destroyed" before their parent state offered terms of peace. If you want to change the tactical concerns, then you're going to have to revise the strategic ones as well.
  3. Telcontar

    Unique Resource Ideas for RTS Game

    Nor do I - and I agree entirely with your comments on holistic design. A faction's army and economic style should complement each other and both (along with whatever other elements you might name) should contribute towards a single "feel". My concerns about the nightmare of balancing largely stem from the fact that (in the game I have in mind) there are many factions. Balancing any two factions against each other is perfectly manageable. It's when you add 1, 2, 3, ... n additional factions that it turns into a nightmare - when changing any particular variable to more perfectly balance armies A and B completely screws the balance of matchups between B and C. Multiply by however many factions you have. Hence the acceptance that bad matchups will exist (and development of systems to make that tolerable to the players).
  4. Telcontar

    Unique Resource Ideas for RTS Game

    Worth adding (and Orymus touches upon it) is "How it can be attacked/disrupted." Orymus definitely discussed this, but didn't enumerate it in the list. Given that we're talking largely about RTS games I think it's worth considering as a primary concern. Economic warfare is underutilized in RTS games, in my opinion. Many of them pay lip service but don't do enough to actually make it a viable or noteworthy strategy. I especially enjoy economic "cold" warfare approaches, for games when you have options to hamper other player's development without actually going to all-out war with them (Orymus mentioned "burning" of other players crystals, for example). As to Michael Aganier's concerns about balance... yeah. Like Orymus I enjoy the idea of asymmetric RTS games that have much more wildly differing factions than, say, Starcraft (which itself was groundbreaking in that area) - but as you said attempting to balance them against each other would be something of a nightmare. Honestly I don't really think there's a solution to that issue in and of itself, so I opted to try and deal with it in other ways - providing for multiple levels of victory and defeat, multiple win conditions, and even by awarding rating points based on faction matchup (pulling out a win when the other faction is rated 70% favorable against you should be worth more). In effect, I'd cede that there will be unfavorable matchups and just try to deal with that rather than eliminate the fact entirely. Only one example of a resource idea I've played with feels worth mentioning in addition to the above in this thread, that being something like Computational Capacity: A resource that cannot be gathered from the environment (unlike, for instance, power generation which often has "nodes" that can be exploited in addition to building free-standing power plants). In the game in question, Computation is in effect the primary resource, with all other activities from resource acquisition to warfare existing in support of creating more. Computational Power is then divvied up across several uses according to player priorities.
  5. Telcontar

    Why do games tend to limit their form?

    I don't believe anybody has approached this from the development side: the added complexity of putting in what is essentially an entirely different game. That's a lot of extra development time and hassle to do it well, and if you DON'T do it well the "less limited" form of the game will be a hindrance and not a benefit. Players will look at your RTS sections as half-assed and unfun, thus pulling down the entire game if you don't pull them off. Many games do attempt to play with genre within their particular rules. For instance, Starcraft has levels without basebuilding and with very limited resources, making them akin to some sort of dungeon crawl/adventure game. These are built to vary the games experiences without actually requiring the player to learn new skills.
  6. I feel like "Power" might be a poor choice in this case. Strategic resources in a game are usually things we understand to be easily transportable and stored, so you can stockpile when able. Unless you're making a more futuristic (which it doesn't seem like, though I could be wrong) power doesn't fit that frame. Electricity generation is highly local - power plants need to be fairly close to the areas they serve because power is lost when transmitting it a long distance.  Even if you remove power, you can still have bonuses to production or other game areas that are understood to come from good power generation (like near a hyrdoplant-capable river/dam).  Assuming this game is set in or near the modern day, I might go with mines/metals as a resource. Not necessarily for the common metals like copper and iron, but rarer metals used in more specialized and high tech weapons like titanium and rare earth metals. They could be a high-tech gateway.  Timber doesn't seem like a good choice. Agriculture maybe, especially if it fits the game (maybe there's a world-wide food shortage and fighting over arable land is a big part of the conflict? Could make for a good game element).    Now, on to your main issue of funds. Representing funds income as taxation makes sense - most players will understand it. Does that mean that conquering cities/populous regions immediately increases your funds income? Cities would probably also need to be peaceful and safe to allow for actual taxation, offering incentives to not just conquer areas but to secure them. As far as how it works with totalitarian governments, you might look to Hearts of Iron for an example. There is no real concept of fungible wealth in that - you control resource sources and usage directly. The State has taken complete control of any production necessary for wartime, so they don't worry about paying for it - they just worry about getting and using it. If you were to abandon the funds concept altogether I think that could work just fine. Really depends on what other uses you have for it.
  7. Telcontar

    How to write a game Introduction

    Seems like you're trying to write some manner of marketing copy: a short, efficient introduction to the idea of your game's world, characters, and mechanics. As with all writing there is a great deal of subjectivity here, but your intro will largely depend on what exactly you think is most important about your game.  If you had to pick exactly three things about your game to tell somebody in order to maximize the chance that they'd be interested in learning more, what would those things be? You need to distill the central hook of your game to as few elements as possible, then describe them evocatively. Obviously it might not always be 3 things, it may be more or less - but the fewer the better. Introductions of any sort usually benefit from focus; getting across the most essential information as quickly and memorably as possible. Ex: "Meet SKULL BABY: the most dangerous two-year-old the galaxy's ever seen. SKULL BABY is ready to take down the disgusting hordes of the Slug Boogers with an enormous arsenal of booger-busting weaponry, all while LEAPING jumping occasionally hopping a short distance up or down." Having worked from your example and tweaked a bit, this sounds to me like a side-scrolling platformer shoot-'em-up, with emphasis on everything but 'platformer'. It wouldn't hurt to make the genre explicit, ending with "... in this action-packed side-scrolling shooter from <COMPANY NAME>".
  8. Telcontar

    How to write a game Introduction

    How exactly do you mean introduction? Are we talking an intro to the game that the player sees when they start the game? Marketing materials? A pitch to a production company?
  9. I enjoy the initial concept, and definitely find it interesting. Giving up control of certain functions in order to make them more powerful, but having to do deal with the consequences of an AI's actions rather than my own? Neat. I think there are a lot of great possibilities there. My main concern with that gameplay is how you make the AI of your various upgrades actually feel like AI and not like more basic programming. For instance the combat powerup that assumes control of your shooting: we usually expect "AI" to do things better than human beings, that being why the AI is used. So if this AI can make "mistakes" or take actions you wouldn't want it to take, there must be a reason. Maybe the AIs are being controlled/influenced by other things? Maybe they have ulterior motives? Maybe some AI have weird quirks you have to deal with? Like one Shooter AI has the quirk that it absolutely hates blonde people, and will attempt to shoot at blonde people wherever you encounter them (an extreme example just to demonstrate a point). Thus the player would need to try and avoid blonde people unless he doesn't mind killing them.  As I said, I do like the concept - but removing agency from the player is something that must be done extremely carefully, and whenever you do it you should hand back ways that the player can take it back (work around the problem). That being said, I would certainly take a second look at a game like this. Oh, and one note about the story: if this is post-apocalyptic that usually means people die all the time. Even if we get to know this boy from the memory chip, what would make the player character try so hard to bring him back? Is it a family member? Otherwise important?
  10. Depending on the game mechanics, perhaps customization options or a sandbox mode could be fun. If your game involves limited uses of any kind of ability/mechanic, unlocking unlimited uses can be really rewarding for players who loved that particular part of your game.
  11. I've played Darkest Dungeon quite a bit (somewhere around 40 hours currently and intend to go back for more eventually). I do agree that the grind gets boring - but here's the thing. Not all grind is boring. Just the right amount of grind makes you feel like you had to work hard to achieve something, which increases the emotional payoff. It would be repetitive and boring if I always did exactly one or two non-boss dungeons and then another boss dungeon. Too predictable. One way I feel Darkest Dungeon could have been made to feel less grindy without even changing much is to allow for "partial" victories over the various bosses. Currently, the grind is made all the worse because you know if you go after a boss with an insufficiently leveled group and don't win, you have to do the whole thing over again. Not just the boss battle but the grind, because you probably lost at least a couple of your highest level characters in the fight. THAT is when the grind actually starts feeling grindy.  Consider the change if, when fighting a boss, you could partially kill it or give it some kind of injury that makes it easier to defeat the next time - or makes the battle more predictable, gives you a known advantage you can exploit. Should this be the case, you might feel comfortable immediately dispatching your runner-up team to take it on without necessarily needing to send them through three or four dungeons just to level up. Game designers need to be careful with player setbacks. Setbacks which force the player to change their tactics and continue are okay. Setbacks which require the player the do the same stuff again, but better/longer are rarely a good idea (except in certain kinds of games where they are kind of the point).
  12. Telcontar

    Skill vs forgiveness

      Yeah, probably mostly a UX challenge. The best way I've run into is just to make lots of tooltips for in-game text. And by swing cases I mean ways for a player who is behind to catch up rapidly. Think powerful board clears or legendaries in Hearthstone or area-of-effect damage in strategy games. Often, they are designed to take advantage of the exact behaviors the leading player will most often use to capitalize on their lead. 
  13. Telcontar

    "Stone" as soldier resource? (stone age)

    Disregarding the anachronism of some of your game elements, you seem to be looking for a "currency" resource that feels more archaic than gold. You could look to actual history for such things (beads/wampum, clay tablets, etc) or make up your own. Honestly, I think "flint" works just fine. Players generally understand the idea behind tech resources even if it doesn't make much sense for "flint" to be used in construction. Edit: On another thought, maybe just "clay" could work for you as well.
  14. Telcontar

    Skill vs forgiveness

      Skill as the determining factor is usually always going to be the case unless you have large, dominant random elements. The question (as Ryan_001 gets at in his answer) is what KIND(s) of skill you want to be important. Do you want high strategic skill to be paramount? Then you are going to have to design for longer games, larger numbers of options/possibility spaces, and a heavy emphasis on balancing to do away with dominant strategies. Do you prefer tactical skill? Engagement outcome high dependent on terrain, positioning/movement/flanking, troop composition, and ability usage. Something else? Determine what elements reward that kind of skill and design to bring them up in importance.   Learning curve is a trickier one. For one thing, many games are easy to pick up in their basics, but I would argue that this does not necessarily make an easy learning curve. Sure, I may be able to beat simple AI's in starcraft using only marines and siege tanks, but I haven't learned the game by only using those two units. Learning difficulty is usually inverse to game complexity because it entails how much time I need to spend to understand any given game state at a glance. Learning curve is reduced when all necessary information is included inside the game, which is relative rarity in the age of wikis. I remember that the original Starcraft had a miss change for ranged units attacking other units on high ground - but I don't think this was every explained in the manual or tutorials. This significantly raises the learning curve for players who do not know it, but who instead might notice a discrepancy between how they understand a situation (attacking an enemy on higher ground, but full vision and with a superior force, thinking they will win) and what happens (somehow they lose! Why weren't they doing any damage?).   Your final case is highly dependent on that opponent. When i play game I absolutely do want to punish every enemy mistake. Most games have important swing cases that allow for reversals of small (or even large) leads under the right conditions to try and make up for this.
  15. For surveying: Depending on the tech level you're dealing with (or if you have ascending tech throughout the game) you could start with them having to do manual "mark one eyeball" surveys, actually assigning a survey task to the characters who must walk around. This could inform a 'mining area' overlay which shows regions of suspected resources (and perhaps a level of certainty on them). As the player techs up new survey options could become available, from soil analysis to ground penetrating radar.   As for actually exploiting the resources, one of my ideas for a roughly similar game (that admittedly focused on the mining part) awhile back was to have the player essentially need to build a small mining complex to do things properly. As in, once the resources are found they have to build a mineshaft opening. But that mineshaft opening, when worked, produces all sorts of stuff. Rock, dirt, and other tailings as well as ore. The tailings need to be hauled elsewhere (and any toxic parts of them disposed or they'll poison the area later, which may or may not affect the player). Ore needs to be processed, washed, and finally smelted. All of these require auxiliary buildings and transport infrastructure to do efficiently. The idea was to allow the player to decide where such activity would go on. Would they build an entire mining complex right over the resource? Would they have the processing stuff back at the main base and use high-volume transport to move materials back? Would they try and locate a mining center equidistant from several mines? Do they process the toxins for safe disposal or just dump them somewhere remote? Etc etc. 
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