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  1. #1
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    RTS/RPGs and Special Building Spots

    Before you read this lets be clear. I am discussing single player focused, long game based exploratory strategy. Maybe with coop at best. The kind of stuff I'm talking about is wildly unbalanced for multiplayer and almost intentionally so.

    How interesting do you think an RTS/RPG or Majesty type kingdom sim would be if special building sites had unique and significant effects on your units?

    Basically the map would contain special buildings spots, but not like you can only build special buildings there. More that different guilds/orders having their motherhouse there would get unique benefits based on their focus. Whether those structures were economic or magical or holy or military.

    For instance there is a volcano on the map. If you built a pyromancer's guild their they could research special spells, they would be more powerful within some range of it, they could maybe trigger lava flows or eruptions or they would gain special bonus heat and asphyxiation resistance. Special abilities could be summoning ash screens to obscure vision, or being able to see better than a normal unit whenever there was an ash, smoke, sand, or other type of storm with water or something.

    But then suppose a smithy built under the mountain can create special items using lava instead of normal fires. Heat that can affect otherwise non forgable metals or something. Maybe there is a cache of metal in the mountain as well. Perhaps the blacksmith simply has MORE forges because its easier to set up ones with good heat.

    Perhaps some infernal priesthood can summon demons or other fiery monstrosities from it. But each volcano can only support one structure. If there was only one you could only have a single boost.

    What about if your heroes/units could dual class like an RPG character and would get yet again different bonuses. Perhaps there was an ice cave. Your ice mages could dual class as some sort of earth ritualist. They could then spread a coat of frost from the cave to the world dealing DoT cold damage to all units within range. Maybe they could use it to freeze and unfreeze nearby rivers. Meanwhile dual classing as monster tamers, where normally as primary ice mages they could only summon tier 1-2 but not 3 monsters and gene mod them to be more ice resistant, they could tame super strong ice creatures like frost bears or yetis or tundra wolves or ice drakes.

    Yet you would still need to weigh either of those bonuses to warriors who could gain various frost damage and resistance bonuses and attack slow or move speed slow powers, as well as resist the effects of icy biomes. Perhaps they can send warriors on a vision quest into the cave to upgrade them to some sort of viking like class that is more ice aligned than merely some resistance to ice and ice damage bonuses.

    On a more environment issue perhaps if you built pyromancers dual classes to nature ritualists on a volcano and cryomancers dual classed as nature ritualists in a nearby, but not closely adjacent for law of nature reasons, ice lake or cave you could manipulate the temperature difference to create dangerous storms between them.

    I want to have a game where nature/weather/geography is a significant aspect of game play, where units are not incredibly static with some damage and armor boosts, where environment and unit and other unit can interact in weird and wonderful ways to produce novel gameplay ideas. Even if they end up not working out due to balance or some other reason I want to PLAY with games and their design.

  2. #2
    Isn't this sorta what you have in Warlock - Master of the Arcane?

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    Quote Originally Posted by MoLAoS View Post

    I want to have a game where nature/weather/geography is a significant aspect of game play, where units are not incredibly static with some damage and armor boosts, where environment and unit and other unit can interact in weird and wonderful ways to produce novel gameplay ideas. Even if they end up not working out due to balance or some other reason I want to PLAY with games and their design.
    Me too. Exactly this. I really don't like the way the different civs in CivV work. It seems daft that you can play as a land locked nation, but still have unique naval bonuses. Instead, the bonuses should emerge based on what happens in the game. If you end up playing a nation that starts on a small island, and hence you develop a strong navy early in the game, then it makes sense that you'll end up with unique bonuses due to your naval tradition.

    etc.

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    Lesser Hivemind Node Fanbuoy's Avatar
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    Shogun 2 does some of that, at least. Cities have different resources, giving bonuses to certain unit types, while there is limited room for buildings. Weather and terrain affects unit performance. For example, archers are less effective during rain/fog and gain from higher ground, I think. There is also a degree of specializing generals for different tasks, though not a very deep system.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Dominicus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frightlever View Post
    Isn't this sorta what you have in Warlock - Master of the Arcane?
    In my oppinion Warlock tries it, but doesn't succeed as much as I hoped for. I feel for it to work in a game it should have tons of these special tiles, but only a few are used. So one times a special resource is available on a map and another time it might not be there.

    Also, if any of you find a game like the OP describes, let me know. I am searching for such a game myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominicus View Post
    In my oppinion Warlock tries it, but doesn't succeed as much as I hoped for. I feel for it to work in a game it should have tons of these special tiles, but only a few are used. So one times a special resource is available on a map and another time it might not be there.

    Also, if any of you find a game like the OP describes, let me know. I am searching for such a game myself.
    The prototype I showed you the other day... I'm hoping for it to end up playing a bit like this. Feel free to contribute some ideas if you like :-)

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Berzee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riadsala View Post
    If you end up playing a nation that starts on a small island, and hence you develop a strong navy early in the game, then it makes sense that you'll end up with unique bonuses due to your naval tradition.
    This sounds fun...sort of an Elder Scrolls style "you level up the things you use the most" approach. It might lead to entertaining situations where you end up trying to fight a land war from the riverside using canoes or something because "that's the way my people have always lived".

    I can't think of any games that really fit the OP, and now the possibility of such games have been raised, that makes me sad. :(
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berzee View Post
    This sounds fun...sort of an Elder Scrolls style "you level up the things you use the most" approach. It might lead to entertaining situations where you end up trying to fight a land war from the riverside using canoes or something because "that's the way my people have always lived".
    yeah, exactly. I think stopping the player choosing exactly what techs (s)he want would be a good first step. You're hardly going to discover mining if you live out on the fertile plans etc. Where as it kind of makes sense that your nation will develop into an economic powerhouse it you start near a gold mine and make early, and friendly, contact with your neighbours.

    The Civ games have made some baby steps along this line: you can only build the Great Library if you have at least x normal libraries. And you need to have gone to war in order to build the National Epic (or something like that). But these mechanics are kind of washed out by the hard coded factional differences.

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by riadsala View Post
    yeah, exactly. I think stopping the player choosing exactly what techs (s)he want would be a good first step. You're hardly going to discover mining if you live out on the fertile plans etc. Where as it kind of makes sense that your nation will develop into an economic powerhouse it you start near a gold mine and make early, and friendly, contact with your neighbours.

    The Civ games have made some baby steps along this line: you can only build the Great Library if you have at least x normal libraries. And you need to have gone to war in order to build the National Epic (or something like that). But these mechanics are kind of washed out by the hard coded factional differences.
    The problem is: Unless everything is insanely balanced (to the point of no real differences), then your starting location will completely define who wins. Like you said, the Civ games sort of touch on this, but they are all still completely player-choice. I can spawn anywhere and (effectively) make a research-oriented civ or a warmongering civ.

    If I spawned in an ore-heavy area, I would be pretty much locked into the mining tech tree, as it were.

    And if we decide to put it all in player hands again: You have tanks deploying from canoes because, while your entire history has involved fighting on the sea, you realized you would need to study the art of land war. Which is kind of what already happens :p
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    The problem is: Unless everything is insanely balanced (to the point of no real differences), then your starting location will completely define who wins. Like you said, the Civ games sort of touch on this, but they are all still completely player-choice. I can spawn anywhere and (effectively) make a research-oriented civ or a warmongering civ.

    If I spawned in an ore-heavy area, I would be pretty much locked into the mining tech tree, as it were.

    And if we decide to put it all in player hands again: You have tanks deploying from canoes because, while your entire history has involved fighting on the sea, you realized you would need to study the art of land war. Which is kind of what already happens :p
    Oh I agree. And I wouldn't argue that this approach would work for every game. But there's a general trend to create diverse sets of factions in strategy games. People want their mining dwarves, scientific aliens, etc. So my suggestion is just to have reasons why you end up with a given set of strengths. The dwarves aren't good miners because they're dwarves. (Presumably). They're good miners because they set up camp in them hills with easy access to ore. (Although, I have played Dwarf Fortress and understand that the dwarves will happily set up shop in all sorts of daft places).

    Obviously there's a balance to be had. But I find the idea interesting. Rather than have characteristics decided before the game starts, have the nations evolve, driven by a mix of geography, random events, and player guidance.

    In the mountain mining example, sure, you develop expertise at mining, but the game should stop you coming down from the hills and settling on the lowlands (see city-dwarves in the Discworld books :p )

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    Quote Originally Posted by frightlever View Post
    Isn't this sorta what you have in Warlock - Master of the Arcane?
    I have no idea but I am pretty sure it's not. Aside from being turn based I don't think Warlock is that complex from what I've seen/heard. But I could be totally wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Fanbuoy View Post
    Shogun 2 does some of that, at least. Cities have different resources, giving bonuses to certain unit types, while there is limited room for buildings. Weather and terrain affects unit performance. For example, archers are less effective during rain/fog and gain from higher ground, I think. There is also a degree of specializing generals for different tasks, though not a very deep system.
    Total War games do this a bit with natural weather effects, its pretty simplified but compared to anything else its the best to be had. I am hoping for something more complex than production boost from iron ore civ style or swordsmen are a little stronger with other metals. But I guess you take a start where you can.

    Ooh generals. I had a giant ass wall of text thread somewhere around here about military hierarchy and heroes with the ability to level in tech, magic, ranged and melee combat, and economic skills like mining and forging. And even like leaders of military units and when they level up they get new AI stuff like archer focus fire or new commands like new formations for units and shit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dominicus View Post
    In my oppinion Warlock tries it, but doesn't succeed as much as I hoped for. I feel for it to work in a game it should have tons of these special tiles, but only a few are used. So one times a special resource is available on a map and another time it might not be there.

    Also, if any of you find a game like the OP describes, let me know. I am searching for such a game myself.
    What do special tiles do exactly? I know Warlock is like fantasy Civ to a degree. Do tiles affect individual guilds/unit types or do they just give lame % bonuses to city production or melee damage like in Civ?



    Quote Originally Posted by Berzee View Post
    This sounds fun...sort of an Elder Scrolls style "you level up the things you use the most" approach. It might lead to entertaining situations where you end up trying to fight a land war from the riverside using canoes or something because "that's the way my people have always lived".

    I can't think of any games that really fit the OP, and now the possibility of such games have been raised, that makes me sad. :(
    :D
    As noted above there was a thread a bit back about at least leader units who level up based on what you use them for. I like the canoe comment. Roleplay/funnyness.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by riadsala View Post
    Oh I agree. And I wouldn't argue that this approach would work for every game. But there's a general trend to create diverse sets of factions in strategy games. People want their mining dwarves, scientific aliens, etc. So my suggestion is just to have reasons why you end up with a given set of strengths. The dwarves aren't good miners because they're dwarves. (Presumably). They're good miners because they set up camp in them hills with easy access to ore. (Although, I have played Dwarf Fortress and understand that the dwarves will happily set up shop in all sorts of daft places).

    Obviously there's a balance to be had. But I find the idea interesting. Rather than have characteristics decided before the game starts, have the nations evolve, driven by a mix of geography, random events, and player guidance.

    In the mountain mining example, sure, you develop expertise at mining, but the game should stop you coming down from the hills and settling on the lowlands (see city-dwarves in the Discworld books :p )
    @ gundato: As I noted I focus on exploratory strategy for single player games just because you can have "play fun" or you can have balance. You could have "game fun" with balance though. I'm not saying balance multiplayer focused games can't be fun, its just a different kind.

    I am focused on RTS games so I am not sure if you could develop a civilization the same way as civ. Although I did mention an idea somewhere about a citybuildery RTS with an overworld where you get a nation and have 25 city maps with somewhat similar terrain where you need to slowly build up a civilization from 25 disparate villages by first learning agriculture and then with the free time thus gained your society begins with a little but not too much player direction to advance scientifically and you slowly rebuild cities and trade the unique or semi unique resources of each city around to make your society evolve. This uses an overworld map and although an RTS can only do this with an overworld map due to cpu requirements of graphical RTS it would still be pretty cool.

  14. #14
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Heliocentric's Avatar
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    Colonisation is nearly obsessively like this in a simple, number driven way way. The island with a cluster of fish resources is violently different to a desert hill island. The desert island would even demand you imported food.

    I know something else is like what you suggested. Can't think what.
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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Dominicus's Avatar
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    What do special tiles do exactly? I know Warlock is like fantasy Civ to a degree. Do tiles affect individual guilds/unit types or do they just give lame % bonuses to city production or melee damage like in Civ?
    Some special tiles give you the possibility of recruiting other units. Some give you more income (gold, food or mana) or a special upgrade for units. The fun thing is that it sometimes depends on the tile. Donkeys could give you stuborn knights (unit) if your human, but if your monsters it could give you a butcher (+food). It depends.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dominicus View Post
    Some special tiles give you the possibility of recruiting other units. Some give you more income (gold, food or mana) or a special upgrade for units. The fun thing is that it sometimes depends on the tile. Donkeys could give you stuborn knights (unit) if your human, but if your monsters it could give you a butcher (+food). It depends.
    Wow that's more creativity than I had given them credit for. Cool. Still somewhat simple but I almost wanna buy the game now.
    Actually that reminds me of how much my ideal game is a real time Dominions 3. Magic spots in that gave were ridiculously cool. Resource and gold bonuses gem income, new units, various effects, magic school bonuses and so forth.

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