Saturday, December 01, 2007

Some More RTS Game Concepts...

A while back, I kept tossing ideas against the wall to see if they would stick for a RTS strategy game.

After some thought, quite a bit of beer, and playing some more games, I've come up with ideas for my game that would make sense, fill bullet points, and could be easily summed up. Oh, and maybe be made with the grace of God(dess)....

Basic Concepts
  • I damn well am going to try and keep the idea of "Mars Need Women/Venus Needs Men" game mechanic. All the sides needs them, the Humans are the only producers of them, and in multi-player games they can be traded around for other things...
  • The game scale is to be between Dawn of War and Supreme Commander-no map should be bigger (in "real-world" scale) than ten kilometers by ten kilometers.
  • Units will be built around squad-sized units for "infantry" and individual vehicles.
  • All three sides will have a different combat dynamic, and that dynamic can be adjusted within the three types of combat dynamics. This change in combat dynamic is based around the building of a mid-game building, which offers access to several technologies and augmented units.
  • There is a definite "resource flow" in the game. Human players have the advantage that their flow of materials (there are only three resources in the game-humans, matter, and energy) cannot be interrupted, Martian material transports can be upgraded with shields and armor and guns, and Venusian units can have cloaking devices added.
  • There will be ground and air units.
Okay, to the factions!


The Human faction is a bunch of survivors from the early days of the war, hidden deep underground and developing their technology to fight the alien invaders on the surface of their world. They use a LOT of nanotechnology and cloning technology-a Clone Complex has to be built so they can deploy advanced units and vehicles. They are the most "conventional" of the three races in the game, and all their tech looks like it was developed by Masumune Shirow (lots of glowy bits...)

One of the Human's big advantages is that they can steal and upgrade their own hardware with the technology of the other two sides. For example, they can salvage shield technology and improved energy weapons from Martian walkers, and stealth technology and improved projectile weapons. The other big one is the use of teleport technology-Human material feeds come directly from the miners to the base, without a vulnerable supply line to interdict. Later units can also "blip" across the map in deadly rear attacks.

The mid-game development point is a Citadel, in which one of three technology tracks and final weapons can be built-
  • The Art Of War-Units will incorporate heavier weapons and armor, at the cost of mobility. This technology line leads eventually to the Overlord walker and the Lucifer supertank with it's massive quantum cannon.
  • The Art Of Fortresses-Defensive structures will be improved, and are cheaper to build. This technology line leads to the Quantum Reaper fixed defensive gun and the Mammoth four-legged walker.
  • The Art Of Cavalry-Mobility is supreme in this Art-all units move faster, and air units can pretty much zip from one end of the map to the other with hideous speed. This technology line leads to the Wyvern bomber and the Shiva supertank.

The Martian faction has come to Earth to take our women. They need women (for reasons that SO do not involve tentacle rape (not!)) to build their war machines beyond the basic core. A Martian base starts out with a Core (think of it as a HQ building) and several Constructors. As the resources flow into the Core, it upgrades automatically (you can build other units at the time, mostly infantry) into a Sepulcher, which allows for the first of the War Machines to arrive. As you gather resources, another War Machine arrives, to build up the total army (of six? eight?) in the area. The tech looks an awful lot like something made in the '50s or so, many fins and shiny bits and curves and fun stuff.

Each War Machine is pretty much a mobile base (stole this idea from Universe At War) and they auto-upgrade as resources flow into them. At first, a War Machine has three legs, three leg slots for upgrades, three torso slots for weapons, and three core slots for add-ons. As time goes on (in a very...disturbing ripple of growth), a fourth leg is added, giving more slots....and so on until you hit the total of six legs. Heavy units are built at the War Machines, and upgraded via technology built at your Sepulcher. Air units are built at the Sepulcher, as well.

The mid-game tech development point is the Reliquary, where one of the three technology lines can be built-
  • Tomb-Heavier shield technology is the heart and soul of the Tomb series of technologies. The most powerful shield technology and the Thermobaric Cannon (big explosion) can be mounted on your War Machines.
  • Grave-Faster shield regeneration and the ability to penetrate enemy defenses easily is a core element of Grave technologies. Faster-regeneration shields and the Twist Cannon (bypasses shields) can be mounted on your War Machines.
  • Masoleum-Shields are much, much cheaper and the weapons are built to do huge amounts of damage. Cheaper shields and the Lash Cannon (think of it as a killer rope gun) can be fitted to your War Machines.

Four armed, very busty and well-built female aliens, the Venusians have come for our men and...well, for our men. And beer, too. Can't forget the beer. They start out with several Assemblers, which will either split into more Assemblers, or merge into a Foundry. The Foundry can build Assemblers or Soldiers...and by combining numbers of Assemblers or Soldiers, you can build more powerful units. (Think of the "more faces equal more power" of Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann-the more units that merge, the more powerful a unit can be created. Of course, you can queue up building the units entirely...).

Venusian units tend to steal from the '60s in terms of design concepts and looks. The Venusians tend to rely a lot more upon mobility and stealth than their enemies-even their "basic" units are hard to detect on radar than the other two races. The best way to describe their strategy is "stick and move".

The mid-game tech development point is the Liturgy, and they can choose one of three technology development paths...
  • Chorus-Stealth technology is first, foremost, and paramont. Pretty much their units vanish on the radar screen and the "normal" stealth units are invisible in all ways...with this technology, the Venusians can build the Monolith superheavy tank and the Scimitar fighter-bomber.
  • Soloist-The quality of the units increases, and they can withstand more damage and deal it out, as well. With this technology, the player can build the Romancer walker and the Fresco superheavy tank.
  • Glissendo-The air is where this technology leads. Flying units get faster and can do more damage, and all units can engage air targets now (except for fixed defensive weapons). With this technology the player can build the Stevedore airborne assault walker and the Marathon bomber.
More ideas as they come up...


XaosII said...

Via request from Gamespot PC forums:

As a high-level concept of storing your own personal ideas, your entry serves just fine. As a game design document you are trying to present to others.... well, i think you can do better.

Basic Concepts
●I've never heard of a "Mars need women/Venus needs men" game mechanic. I was confused by that comment. Maybe you can either elaborate more on the resource mechanic, or be less specific. Maybe merge this with your "resource flow" point.

● While your example gives a decent visualization of the the scale you are trying to portray, why did you choose that size?

● Nothing wrong with this. Maybe elaborate on why squads and not individual infantry?

● Your "combat dynamic" point is a little vague, and the frequent use of dynamic makes it a bit confusing to read... Maybe change one or two "dynamics" to "style"?

Also, can you clarify what "mid-game" is? You gave a sense of scale with the DoW and Supreme Commander comparison - but DoW matches are typically less than 45 minutes, but Supreme Commander matches can easily be several hours long. What are you envisioning as being "mid-game"?

● As i said, maybe merge with your first point about resources? Also, im not sure what you mean by "cannot be interrupted"? Do you mean thats theres a static amount of resources that the opposing players can never decrease or stop? Or that theres an infinite flow of resources? If they cant be stopped whats the purpose of a transport that can be upgraded with weapons?

Other stuff
As the first time reader of your idea, im a bit confused over some things.

Is this 2D or 3D? Is the art realistic (World in Conflict), stylized (Command and Conquer), or exaggerated (Warcraft)? You've stated how some factions have building designs of certain era, yet they can still be portrayed very realistically, stylized, or exaggerated. Fallout presents the 50's realistically (post nuclear, but still realistic to that), Bioshock is pretty stylized,and something like Simcity Societies presents themes exaggerated.

Is it meant to be humorous (Evil Genius or NOLF) or just flavored with humor (Warcraft)?

Maybe before getting into stuff like humans as resources, perhaps detail out a bit more of the premise beyond it being an RTS? Who are fighting? You've stated "All three sides" before actually what the sides are leaving the reader to infer what they sides are. Where do the fights take place? Whats a rough time setting for your universe?

You've done a decent job conceptualizing what you want your sides. But its also extremely difficult to comment on them because they have no real context. What are the units each side has? Why are these units from these buildings so special from the regular units? Why does this side have this particular unit beyond fitting the theme? Does this side need this unit or ability due to a deficiency they have, or does this unit/building just makes them stronger instead of more balanced?

My advice, if or when you plan to detail out units for each side, try to quest the existence of the unit.

Why does this unit need to exist? Why does this side need this unit? Why does this unit need to fill this role? Why should the player use this unit? Should the player use this unit from beginning to end or should another unit completely replace it? Why should it be replaced? Why should it be useful throughout the entire game's length?

zakueins said...

Next post will have more details, and good comments from here. Thanks!

fingolfin said...

Some nice ideas. I've been playing about with an RTS concept for some years now and believe I have come up with some pretty unique ideas. I finally uploaded some rough notes at
Check it out and let me know what you think.