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Game Idea - a blind RTS

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Serinx, Jul 30, 2019.

  1. Serinx

    Serinx

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    Please let me know what you think of this idea - it's not fully formed, so any suggestions and critiques are welcome.

    After some initial feedback I'll start working on a prototype :)

    The game will be set underground and you'll start in a small enclosed cavern at a random point on the map, surrounded by dirt.
    You don't know where you are on the map, where other players are, or where resources are.
    Your must simply to dig in any direction in hopes of finding resources.
    Your mini-map will be revealed and enlarged as you dig, but it wont give you a sense of the map until you've dug out the entire thing basically.
    You can use your resources to build workers and soldiers like any other rts, and command them to dig out specified areas.

    I imagine the win condition would either be the classic elimination or discovering and securing an objective point - sort of like king of the hill (king of the cave?).

    Things I like about this idea:
    You'd get something different every time
    You'd get some "oh S!@#" moments when you dig into an enemy cavern
    People can't memorise the best strategies for each map
    There would be nice pacing of a calm start, research, discovery, planning and action (rather than instant action like a lot of RTSs)

    Things I don't like:
    It could be too RNG
    You can't strategise when you don't know what the enemies are doing
    People may not like the slow pacing

    I'm looking forward to your responses! Writing this made me tempted to jump right in... but sadly, life is calling.
     
    Joe-Censored and JoeStrout like this.
  2. Betrayedslinky

    Betrayedslinky

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    Cool idea but balance would need to be taken into account. RTS's have a tendency to create a snowball effect when 2 players could do similar actions but create unequal results. Ie- one finds the resources while the other finds more dirt which creates unequal gameplay.
     
    Serinx likes this.
  3. Vryken

    Vryken

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    I've actually seen one game do this, and funnily enough it's an ancient Lego Flash game.
    It's since been removed from the official website, but has been archived here if you want to check it out:
    https://crystalien-redux.com/

    I remember it included two types of buildings you could construct:
    • An early-game version that gives you a minimap (but areas that have not been explored are still shrouded).
    • A late-game version that gives you a minimap and reveals all shrouded areas.
    The catch was that both of these buildings needed power, and if they ever lost power, you're blind again.
    I used to play this a lot as a kid. Sure was a neat game.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  4. McDev02

    McDev02

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    Reminds me of Dungeon Keeper, this had similar results when you dig into enemy territory. I like the idea in general.
     
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  5. Joe-Censored

    Joe-Censored

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    I like the idea but think you'll get a lot of games which play out the same, with rather quick endings when player's run into each other. The more powerful player could just roll over the weaker player rather quickly since you can't really preposition units and fortifications around choke points. In other RTS or 4X games using the terrain and fortifications is often a strategy against more powerful players to slow them down or deter attack, but if you don't know where they may be coming from that kind of thing would be hard to do, especially when any choke points you create the enemy could just dig around.

    Alliances are another way weaker players can combat a stronger player, but they could be problematic in this game. You'd need a way to ally without first meeting the player, and for the players to see each other on the map so they can dig to each other. This will likely give away their own position on the overall map though.

    With your king of the hill idea I think you will need to have the objective appear on all other player's maps once a single player finds and starts capturing it. That way the other players will start digging towards it. Otherwise you'll probably find that whoever finds it first always wins.

    This reminded me of Earth 2150, where a small part of the game was tunneling underground, but often ended up pretty fun if you ran into someone else also tunneling underground.
     
  6. Serinx

    Serinx

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    I agree this would be important, I'd have to make all resources useful, including dirt, you wont always get the resources you want and you'll have to adapt your strategy based on what you find.

    @Vryken Thanks I'll check it out and see if I can "borrow" some ideas :) Maybe you have to keep shovelling dirt into the machine to keep it running - this would encourage people to keep digging rather than cowering in a corner with their all seeing eyes.

    That's a good point, how do you defend against what you can't see? Perhaps I could have indestructible parts of the map which form chokepoints, the player could scout out the area around their base and determine the best places to add defences and place walls (basically just denser dirt that requires a seige unit to dig through).

    I like your point about revealing the objective in king of the hill once someone finds it - similar to age of mythology when someone starts building a Titan or a Wonder.
     
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  7. Vryken

    Vryken

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    Ah, you know what, I just remembered another, more recent game that did this as well:
    They Are Billions.

    You might be able to draw some inspiration from here also.

    I'm not sure why a Lego Flash game from probably over 10 years ago was the first thing that popped into my mind. :p
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2019
  8. Volcanicus

    Volcanicus

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    Age of Empires 2: Michi Map, fog on.
    Sounds exactly like what you described.
     
  9. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    Definitely OP thoughts are like Dungeon Keeper series :)
    I just to play them alot. Specially sequel.
     
  10. Serinx

    Serinx

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    @Vryken I've played a little bit of billions and it has some cool concepts I could borrow :) thanks

    @Antypodish thanks, I'll check that out

    @Volcanicus ah yeah I was thinking it might be similar to an RTS with loads of trees. Did you find that concept fun?
     
  11. Volcanicus

    Volcanicus

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    It was probably my most favorite map.
    There were only a few meta issues:
    1. Mongols/Celts/Koreans were top dogs because of their siege onagers, so if you did not have siege onagers, you were very passive, not very aggressive; so if you have perks, make sure you don't box players into offense/defense
    2. The pacing goes something like this: it's a race to the end until we can cut trees down more efficiently (siege onagers or trebuchets); so early game is mainly farming and building resources for the war ahead
    3. Once the forest is gone, it is very difficult to defend; building walls isn't always optimal

    Apart from that, it was fun because it was very rare to get rushed. I would promote the idea of team matches only otherwise the game drags on for hours.

    All in all, a great map :)
     
    Serinx likes this.
  12. McDev02

    McDev02

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    It can be better for the average gamer, I remember an online match with C&C Generals and I was invaded in no time.
    Players can still be more efficient with building but they have no strategical advantage as they don't know the map conditions and locations.
    On the other hand things seem to depend a lot on luck. A smart procedural algorithm can help that balances out the players depending on their location and space nearby them. For example a player with lots of open space should have more but smaller sources of material vs a player who is close to an edge and other players should get more resources at one spot. in the long run players might start to learn these rules and get an idea (or a good chance of it) of the map depending on how the resources are scattered.
     
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  13. Serinx

    Serinx

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    Yes I feel like a lot of modern "Real Time Strategy" games lack the strategic aspect.
    They're all about completing a sequence of buildings as fast as possible, disrupting the enemy economy and micro-managing your units.
    Modern RTS games all seem to be more like "Real Time Battle Simulators".

    Strategy: a plan of action designed to achieve a long-term or overall aim.

    I like the idea of having to think up a new strategy each game based on your starting conditions and discoveries along the way - rather than having a cookie cutter plan and build order for each map.

    Having random resources and no initial view of the enemy will allow you to do this and have ample time to decide on the best strategy.
    You wont be able to do the same thing every time because you may or may not run into an enemy, or find different resources each time.

    I think multiple win conditions would be important here for balancing. Some resources may give you stronger soldiers, others may give you better digging tools, others might allow better technology for scouting the map and finding key locations.

    Building a game entirely around this concept might yield some interesting results!
     
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  14. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    I don't know any really good modern RTS games. At best maybe Starcraft 2? But I am in doubt, it will become a classic, like C&C, Total Anihilation, Cossacs, Anno, Settlers, Age of Empires Starcraft. To name few. And these are like +10 years old games. (as bonus I add Warzone 2100) New RTS releases seams chopped version of their predecessors. Sad. But I think, these are best to learn from, if anyone even consider to build good RTS these days. Otherwise most likely, it will fall in <average bag, because why trying reinventing wheels, what already been done. Just build on available knowledge.

    At current I play casually zero-k, based on Total Anihilation. But is also over 10 years old. Only that engine has been refreshed and gave modern look. But had to bee quite a bit dumbed down, as current RTS population seam struggles to learn strategy games. Supreme commander is like much younger brother of Total Annihilation. Kind of fun game, but not something I am willing to play again.

    I played them all and few more. And I probably would play any of them again, if someone would be realty into it and I had more time to play.

    Anyway, I don't here about RTS games as yous to be. Maybe because, all is now about micro payments, grinding and loot boxes?
     
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  15. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Why is Supreme Commander Forged Alliance worse than TA in your opinion? I played all the SupCom games first and when I tried TA once, I didn't like it at all. Only talking about singleplayer.
    TA has the better soundtrack for listening to it outside of the game though. Probably one of my favorite game soundtracks ever.

    SupCom2 is bad imho (compared to the other SupCom game), there are some interesting reasons for how that happened in this video (among other things):

     
  16. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    I haven't said, nor I suggest is worse. However, TA and SC were nearly 10 years apart from release. TA had already well established community and lots of mods. Sure SC had really nice graphics, but back then, It was still easier for me to play with my friends on my potatoes in modded TA and massive battles, than SC. I couldn't get as much hooked into SC as I would like with TA. SC2 was even less to expect from unfortunately. Few years later I start playing, what now is called Zero-K, which gets all best from all TA and SC series. It went through massive evolutionary changes. Btw, is free to play and open source (lua based engine) :) But doesn't got marketing funds :(
     
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  17. Martin_H

    Martin_H

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    Ok, sounded to me like that, seems I misunderstood you.

    Ok, I can understand that. Kind of like I have very fond memories of Warcraft 2 but never could get into Warcraft 3 even though it's not a worse game.

    I briefly looked at gameplay footage and it isn't appealing to me to switch to that from SupCom, but the open source aspect is quite interesting. If I ever want to mess with rts-ish gamedev again, I might look at their codebase for inspiration on how to tackle some things. So, thanks for the recommendation.
     
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