Tuesday, February 26, 2013

RTS Intro

Why make this RTS?

My reasons surround wanting significant differences from the current market dominator, Star Craft II, wanting to build an RTS in general, and to help learn Unity 3D, since Microsoft disbanded XNA.

Differences with SCII

As much as I like Star Craft, I find that to get particularly good at it, that you need a HUGE amount of practice, memorization of expansive strategies, and a click ratio of more than once per second.  It's more a game of high speed reaction.  Strategy should involve thinking, but the good players aren't thinking in Star Craft as much as following scripts and improving their speed.  I wanted to create a way to reduce the multitasking and give people time to think and plan.

I started with the idea of an RTS, but instead of relying on my instinct alone, I took to GameDev.net, an excellent forum of developers, game designers and creative minds, and asked some open ended questions about RTS games today.  After pages of discussions with dozens of other minds, I came to the conclusion to split the modern RTS into 3 games; a city builder, a tactics game and a strategy game.  Each game is separate, but they are interconnected and benefit each other.

City Builder

The city builder will be on a protected planet, with no threat of attack.  As you build up your technologies, you will eventually get to create troops and vehicles to 'warp' into battles on other planets.  As this game is the City Builder, you don't actually get to see the battles, just knowledge that your troops have gone off to war.  This game will provide several upgrades over standard city builders.
  • It will be 3D, not 2D.
  • Your city is protected, so you won't lose your hard work; the only exception being squads you train and send into battle might not come back in one piece, or at all.
  • Instead of depending entirely on menus for upgrades and training troops, the insides of buildings will become visible, larger and you can control the insides more directly.
  • You can focus on better micro upgrades for squads, which will go to good use in the other 2 games.

Tactics

The Tactics game takes the troops when they are transported into war.  Its not just some simple skirmish, but part of a larger scale war, with hundreds of other squads in battle, some with less skill, some with more.  While the game will try to place you in balanced combat, it is entirely possibly for opposing squads to converge on your area, becoming a 5 to 1 fight or vice versa.  You will be given a mission goal and typically 5 to 10 minutes to carry it out before getting warped out.  If you are unsuccessful, then you don't earn much.  but the better you do, the more reward you take back.  Some rewards include technology upgrades.  If you play this game alone, these upgrades/rewards allow you to start going into battle with better squads.  If you play the City builder as well, these technology upgrades go to your city, which lead to training better troops and building better technologies.  This game provides a few interesting things.
  • It will be in 3D, so you can get multiple views.
  • You control a squad of specially trained units, that already have some tactical/strategic training.  I.e. you can stand by, and your squad can already do their work, splitting off into specialist groups, like 2 groups setting up a perimeter, while another group begins constructing a defensive bunker, cannon or bridge.
  • While the units already have some training, they may have more then one set of training, and you can call on other training of theirs to handle new situations.
  • You can choose to control one unit directly, while delivering hot key orders to other units.  You can control a specialist quad and give them a bit of a boost by focusing your attention
  • You can see lots of additional battles and activities going on in the area.

Strategy

The Strategy game is more like being a general in an army.  you can see the battle field.  You have resources available to you, and will work to control a planet with other generals/commanders.  The planet will be divided into regions.  Once all the regions are owned by your side, the planet can be fully protected from unwanted warping, and essentially war.  You can see all the skirmishes happening, but will typically look at a larger view of the entire planet, or at least the region you are in direct control over.  As you see things happening, you can click on the map and establish an interest, such as building a bridge, taking out defenses, fortifying a building, etc. and pay to warp in a squad to take care of that. Earning credit takes time, so often you will use numbers of weaker squads, but if you hold off, you can choose to bring in larger, more powerful squads.
  • The game will be in 3D, and you can zoom out to see the entire planet surface as a color map showing zones and activity levels, or zoom in close enough to get some information on active skirmishes.
  • You can focus almost entirely on the strategy of the war for the planet.  You can see how things work out.
  • You will be one of dozens of human generals controlling areas.  
  • This battle is ongoing, and could be over in a less than an hour, but will most likely take days, and there is a potential that a planetary war might never end.  Because of the gravity of time, other players and/or AI's can sub in for you while you are out.  You can establish groups of trusted friends to take over for you if you are out, or set minimum experience levels for players to take over when you go off line.
  • If one player loses their internet connection, the battle keeps going.  AI or other players take over.

All 3 Combined

Whats really nice, is that you can choose to play just one at a time, and have that be all, or you can play combinations, even all three, and have your accounts from each set work together.  By working together, you can guarantee better setup between games, and have the bonuses from each cross over to your accounts in specific.  (I.e. no loss to the middle man)  You can also form teams with others, where you might be the best city builder, but someone else is the best tactics, so you work together, boosting each other through.

Wanting to make an RTS with Unity 3D

Of course, I've wanted to make an RTS for a long time.  It seems like splitting the game into 3 separate games, will be far easier to manage, as it is not one game that needs to manage all three aspects of the game play, but 3 separate games that can be built one at a time.  Of course by starting with a City Builder, which I believe will be the easiest, I believe that will give a great place to learn unity on top of this.  I've used numerous other game engines and built my own smaller ones.  But I've been wanting to use Unity since it already works on most devices/OS's.  

I'm hoping that the creation of the City Builder will help to fund the next 2 games, as well as pay for its own service costs.  Servers don't grow on trees you know!  (We have to place them in trees our selves)

Anyway, this is going to be a long journey, and I hope it will have many playable updates along the way.  I hope many others will enjoy this game as much as I hope to.  :)

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