Page 1 of 4 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 65
  1. #1
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    975

    RTS Factions With Different Organization

    As I was talking with one of the people doing an attempt at a remake of the MegaGlest MegaPack there was some discussion over the balance of factions with him and me wanting some asymmetric factions and the others obsessed with Starcraft style balance.

    I was thinking about how to change things up and I was wondering a few things:

    How would people feel about factions that were extra strong, something like LA Ermor in Dominions 3, and/or operated under a separate control scheme?

    For instance suppose you had a faction based on the roman legion and then several barbarian factions. The Barbarians would fight somewhat like a traditional RTS faction and they would be ganging up on the Roman like faction.

    The Roman faction would need to have a larger production capacity both to compete economically and to compete with the utility provided by 7 sets of unique units. But you might also wish to give them a more Roman and more realistic command structure. You might allow the player to set up hierarchies that can organize and fight as themselves, sort of like garrisons that can handle their business if you deploy appropriate unit combinations and supply lines. You could set up squads and leaders and move up the line to legions.

    This is only one example of something that isn't possible in normal RTS games, most only have one control system and they rarely if ever would do something like change the faction balance to be asymmetrical.

    I was just wondering how many people care to try out deviations from conventions like this, or one of the many other possibilities.

  2. #2
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Terra Australis Incognita
    Posts
    4,405
    I was going to say I don't like Starcraft-style balance, but then I remembered that my favourite RTS is Total Annihilation where ARM and CORE only have a few differences but otherwise have units that fulfill the exact same roles.

    A query regarding your proposal - are you talking about AI control of the other organisational units? If so then no - not because I think it's a bad idea, but because generally AIs aren't very good at strategic or tactical decision-making. Otherwise I don't get the proposal :P

  3. #3
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    975
    Remember that this is just one example of non-typical play. You could do a lot of different stuff with factions.

    Well you would have power over the units to some degree. You could tell them where to go and give various directives like guard this place or attack this other place or archers focus fire during a fight and on what to focus, and the AI can technically pick decent targets with some direction. But you wouldn't be able to micro each unit and cast their abilities or tell them what individual enemies to attack.

    Also you would have other advantages to offset the enemy ability to micro. Better defense structures, being able to produce more units, possibly slightly tougher and so forth.

  4. #4
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2,161
    Having just played some Catacombs (the board game) tonight, I'm feeling pretty good about asymmetric game design. =P In Catacombs, up to 4 people control standard fantasy-style heroes, and another player plays the Evil Overseer of the dungeon, setting up all of the monsters and controlling them in each level. (Fantastically but irrelevantly here, the game is played with hero/monster/missile pucks that you flick around an obstacle-laden cardboard level with reckless abandon).

    The heroes get a lot of special powers, can save up money to buy more items or get healed at your basic inexplicable dungeon-shops, and have persistent health bars that stay with them all the way up to the final boss fight. The Overseer, on the other hand, just gets a semi-random bunch of disposable monsters, based on which rooms are in his dungeon. Instead of fighting to win, he just needs to fight like an Evil Overseer -- that is, use each wave of baddies to soften up the heroes as much as possible, to ensure that they are exhausted and wounded for the final boss fight (wherein the Overseer himself shows up on the board, with his own unique abilities).

    It's very good! And similar in some ways to what you describe, except it feels more like one cohesive Barbarian horde versus four haggard Romans (the group I played with were all hilariously, almost Support Group levels of encouraging and optimistic to each other before each tricky flick of the puck, though). Though it is a turn-based board game, I could see a real-time RTS working in a similar fashion and being pretty fun.

    Can't think of any that meet that format, though. But! As soon as I read the title of your post, before I opened it, I did immediately think of the old 1999 game "Seven Kingdoms II: The Fryhtan Wars" which gives you the really curious option of playing from among 12 different human civilizations, which have the sort of marginal uniqueness of races in something like Age of Empires games, and depend on economy, military, trade, diplomacy, training, etc...OR you can choose to play from among 7 races of horrifying monsters that have a completely different playing style oriented around constant aggression and barely any infrastructure.

    I was never good enough to get anything out of that game, in part because I kept pinging between the two styles and never mastering either (but also in part because it was sort of arcane and ambitious and whenever I discovered it, I was not in the mood for such things).
    Support for my all-pepperjack-cheese food bank charity drive has been lukewarm at best.

  5. #5
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    975
    I have that game, or at least one of the series and it is pretty interesting. I couldn't get super into it cause I had so many games at the time but the difference was palpable.

    That board game sounds great too. Flicking shit around would be so great.

  6. #6
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus jnx's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    1,156
    I really like asymmetrical factions. Nowadays if someone makes an RTS game, they want to make it competitive. There isn't any demand for e-sports though, so they just waste the potential fun. Company of Heroes has quite a bit of differences, or at least the British are different. I remember enjoying Conquest: Frontier Wars a great deal back in the days.
    Twitter! Occasional impressions on random sim games.

  7. #7
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2,069
    Yeah, and most players hate fighting brits...

    @OP: Balancing via difficulty is a horrible idea by design. Eventually players get good at the game and you simply end up with one side stronger than the other.

  8. #8
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    975
    Not sure what you mean by balancing via difficulty.

  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    NY f'n C
    Posts
    9,917
    Quote Originally Posted by Mohorovicic View Post
    Yeah, and most players hate fighting brits...
    That's because Brits are annoying as hell to dislodge when they finally get dug in, and they have the longest range artillery in the game.

    Most every RTS has a "pile of cheap mobs" side as counterpoint to the "rare but powerful units" side.

    Orks :: Space Marines
    Tyranids :: Space Marines
    Space Marines :: Necrons
    NOD :: GDI
    Soviet :: Allied
    America :: Wehrmacht
    Zerg :: Terrans
    Terrans :: Protoss
    GLA :: China
    China :: USA
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
    Attorney at Lawl
    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  10. #10
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    3,491
    Sounds interesting - Giants sorts of takes that approach though is less RTS-y.

    But yeah, a game where one player is playing Starcraft and another is playing Majesty could be interesting.

    The one big problem would be if you wanted to offer single-player, the AI becomes exponentially harder to write, especially as in some cases you'll have AIs making macro changes to influence another AI making micro changes, and you'd need to cater for each match-up between different systems...

  11. #11
    Activated Node
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Location
    Vacaville, California USA
    Posts
    35
    Dominions 3 would be a good comparison. They purposely did not go for standard 1 nation to 1 nation balance. They went for rock-paper-scissors. In Dom2 it was clearer where Ermors undead horde could handle Ulms heavy armor, Ulms heavy armor could handle the priestly nation like Marignon, and Marignon priests kicked ass on Ermors undead hordes. In Dom3 it got sloppy. More rock-paper-shotgun (sorry, but the reference seemed appropriate). Especially with nations that were added after release. But the concept was still there. The Devs said they did not consider a nation unbalanced if 2 nations could kill it which gave the idea of the style of play they were going for. Efforts by modders to "fix" the balance have tended to nerf the highest and boost the lowest bringing the nations closer and closer to true balance. The extreme of that would be matching nations wearing different colored uniforms. Think chess. Rock-paper-scissors is hard to do, rock-paper-shotgun is easier but still difficult. Both I think are rare in the gaming world and worth the effort.

    Unbalanced factions which are designed to be opponents in the game are a basic method of providing a challenge until AH can replace AI (artificial human level of play).

    DEFINITELY build in "operated under a separate control scheme" from the beginning if it is within your ability. That one was of the regrets of Dom3. Dom1 didnt need it, Dom2 got a minimum of AI, and Dom3 was too far along involving a total rewrite to achieve it. But it is painfully obvious in Dom3 that there is only one AI. The nations got quite varied but the AI still operates with basic variables. It prefers certain spells. It buys and deploys knights, infantry, mage, scout. And it treats them all the same. It doesnt matter if the selections are national elites, or just some provinces recruitables. It doesnt matter if it is Ermor or Ulm or Caelum or Neifelheim. It is one AI with no "IF" statements. That sameness leads to predictability at best, and stupidity at worst. (even if you use human controllers, you can end up with the same result if you dont purposely put in a separate control scheme)

    IMHO of course

  12. #12
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Posts
    2,161
    Not sure what you mean by balancing via difficulty.
    I think that he thinks that by "a stronger side with different organization" you actually meant "a side that is stronger but, as a penalty, is more difficult to organize" -- similar to what some fighting games will do where they say "Oh this character has more potential to be effective, but he's *balanced* because he's harder to use than the easy, only-gonna-be-mediocre-at-best starter character", which may have the eventual effect of making sure the "hard" character is the only one that gets played.

    But it didn't sound like you were talking about balancing via difficulty to me (you mentioned one side being more powerful, but that seems like it a concession to being outnumbered, not a concession to being controlled differently).

    Most every RTS has a "pile of cheap mobs" side as counterpoint to the "rare but powerful units" side.
    That's true, but those examples also showcase the various degrees of difference such a counterpoint may involve. Aside from some unique units/techs, the GLA (or even moreso someone like the Goths in Age of Kings) basically build up their forces and progress in the same way as their more quality-oriented rivals. I get the impression that the difference is much greater between Zerg and Terran (though am not sure since I never played Starcraft). Age of Mythology does approach that level of asymmetry though, I think.

    MoLAoS, do things like Starcraft and AoM fit into what you're looking for in the OP? Or is it a critical point that the two sides have actually different control schemes? (i.e. your barbarians being traditional RTS controls, while the Romans are playing something more akin to a city builder with automated military?)

    But yeah, a game where one player is playing Starcraft and another is playing Majesty could be interesting.
    It would be! And it might solve the awful sad fact that every serious multiplayer versus game of Majesty eventually turns into a stimulating bout of Dwarven Ballista Tower Tycoon.
    Support for my all-pepperjack-cheese food bank charity drive has been lukewarm at best.

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    NY f'n C
    Posts
    9,917
    In the sense that both sides build forces from a base (or multiple bases) and run them at each other, Starcraft is the same as any other RTS.

    I know of no RTS off the top of my head where a different game is being played altogether.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
    Attorney at Lawl
    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus sonson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Posts
    1,277
    I like Asymetric design for narrative, although I thin ktactics at their highest level are more pure when the sides are closer to each other, with little differences and specialisations, as it tends to mean manoeuvring and strategy win out over abilities. I always prefer watching mirror matches insomething like DOW2, and vanilla COH matches are pretty much unparalleled in my opinion in terms of pure RTS strategic thinking and execution, and itís for that reason. The danger with asymmetric at the highest level is that things just arenít balanced properly, although when they are, ala Age of Mythology, itís something else to play/watch.

  15. #15
    Network Hub
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Posts
    496
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    That's because Brits are annoying as hell to dislodge when they finally get dug in, and they have the longest range artillery in the game.

    Most every RTS has a "pile of cheap mobs" side as counterpoint to the "rare but powerful units" side.
    ...
    Zerg :: Terrans
    No, in Starcraft those sides are Zerg and Protoss. Terrans are a "efficient, scrappy, tricky" race. I find them to be easily the most innovative design among the three.

    Terran units range from very cheap to very expensive. While they can build up to a huge army, most typical for them is to use small amounts of units - whether cheap or expensive - and constantly gamble with those units or outright sacrifice them when they find a way to trade favorably.

  16. #16
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    NY f'n C
    Posts
    9,917
    Quote Originally Posted by victory View Post
    No, in Starcraft those sides are Zerg and Protoss. Terrans are a "efficient, scrappy, tricky" race. I find them to be easily the most innovative design among the three.
    Compared to the Terrans, the Zerg are zerggy.
    Compared to the Protoss, the Terrans are zerggy.
    Compared to the Protoss, the Zerg are extra​ zerggy.

    Terrans are the middle-of-the-road race.
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
    Attorney at Lawl
    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

  17. #17
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    975
    Quote Originally Posted by sonson View Post
    I like Asymetric design for narrative, although I thin ktactics at their highest level are more pure when the sides are closer to each other, with little differences and specialisations, as it tends to mean manoeuvring and strategy win out over abilities. I always prefer watching mirror matches insomething like DOW2, and vanilla COH matches are pretty much unparalleled in my opinion in terms of pure RTS strategic thinking and execution, and it’s for that reason. The danger with asymmetric at the highest level is that things just aren’t balanced properly, although when they are, ala Age of Mythology, it’s something else to play/watch.
    What game are you playing where its not mostly about build order and apm? I mean some games like Kohan work somewhat differently and Majesty only has build order since you can't micro, well unless you spend a lot of money on the Guild spells, but those are exceptions.

    I actually care more about single player, but even multiplayer I dislike intense balance because it tends to make the sides identical in capabilities. But that's mostly a preference rather then one method being better.

  18. #18
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    975
    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    In the sense that both sides build forces from a base (or multiple bases) and run them at each other, Starcraft is the same as any other RTS.

    I know of no RTS off the top of my head where a different game is being played altogether.
    Fabulous! Its so hard to find a mechanic that at least one game hasn't used.

  19. #19
    Banned
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    975
    Quote Originally Posted by deano2099 View Post
    Sounds interesting - Giants sorts of takes that approach though is less RTS-y.

    But yeah, a game where one player is playing Starcraft and another is playing Majesty could be interesting.

    The one big problem would be if you wanted to offer single-player, the AI becomes exponentially harder to write, especially as in some cases you'll have AIs making macro changes to influence another AI making micro changes, and you'd need to cater for each match-up between different systems...
    I definitely have been thinking about this. I had always planned to deal with multiple AIs because you can make many different game types, but I have only worked a little on how they would interact. It might be possible that some AI types are simply more effective. In that case you may have to fiddle with the strength of units for factions using weaker AIs. But then one version at the high end will probably always be better. I suppose with my single human player focus it doesn't matter too much. But it would be an interesting problem to solve in a multiplayer context.

  20. #20
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Location
    NY f'n C
    Posts
    9,917
    Quote Originally Posted by MoLAoS View Post
    Fabulous! Its so hard to find a mechanic that at least one game hasn't used.
    We're going back to the "one guy builds a sandcastle, the other knocks it down" dichotomy, aren't we?
    Nalano H. Wildmoon
    Director of the Friends of Nalano PAC
    Attorney at Lawl
    "His lack of education is more than compensated for by his keenly developed moral bankruptcy." - Woody Allen

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •