Design Advice on RTS design

Discussion in 'Game Design, Development And Publishing' started by hippyman, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    @Kepons took it upon himself to write up a cool game idea for me the other day and now I'm tossing around some ideas. But then I realized, I never really was a big "RTS guy". So I don't know what makes a good one.

    I was hoping some more adamant RTS fans could tell me what made these games fun for them and also maybe some things you remember being not so fun.

    I'd love to chat about this to get some ideas flowing.

    Here was the game idea I received:
    Make an RTS about crabs. You start with a handful of crabs on a beach and have to order them to gather driftwood, pebbles and other resources to build constructions for producing new materials and trade goods. Once in a while, turtles come from the sea to trade with you (there are big cargo turtles and small merchants). At some point, humans start invading (you can only see their legs because they're huge) and trampling your settlement, so you have to make your crabs attack and pinch their feet so they are forced to retreat. You can also construct pointy palisades they accidentally step onto. Humans start coming barefooted, but over time they start wearing more resistant shoes and boots and carrying crab-killing weapons with them. You get crab immigrants from the sea to replenish and expand your population based on how successful your colony is, but they also reproduce with eggs on the spot.

    Here's what I started to come up with from this idea:
    The goal of the game would be to construct a magnificent sandcastle while defending it from tourists.
    You would start out with just some sand and then you can begin to put rocks and sticks inside the sand to reinforce your castle.
    The turtles could be used as sea transport (whether cargo/trade or sending settlers to another settlement)

    water, sand, driftwood, pebbles/rocks, scrap metal (some beaches could be cleaner and some could be dirtier), and seashells are the only resources I've thought of so far. You could make traps, weapons, armor, and building materials with these resources.

    Kepons basically covered how to expand the population and I haven't done a lot of thinking about the tourists yet.

    I'd like to talk about what makes an RTS interesting. I mean, if I'm being honest, this already feels like a decent game idea. So if I'm just overthinking this, please let me know.
     
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  2. Barvix

    Barvix Member

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    For me what got me into Civ IV is the fact that I could build my own empires that can span from one city to fifty cities. Also enemies of many types as well as different land types. All of that really hooked me into the game.

    This really does sound like a decent game, if you want some help with it (music, pixel art, code) hmu.
     
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  3. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    So having multiple beaches to choose from would be something you'd find cool? It would also make it where each beach could have more of a certain resource and the better the resource, the more difficult the beach is to survive on.

    Also I'll definitely keep you in mind for help, thanks for the offer!
     
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  4. Barvix

    Barvix Member

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    Like maybe instead of beaches have mini islands. Like some could have trees to give you wood, some could have mountains to give you ores and stone, maybe things like that.
     
  5. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    That's pretty much what I mean by beaches. Basically like this
    [​IMG]
     
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  6. slayer 64

    slayer 64 Member

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    I guess what makes RTS challenging is having to make different things for the right situations. There's many different types of units for the player to choose from. Choosing what to build and spend-on makes RTS interesting. Having to multi-task so much stuff is a challenging part of RTS.

    This crab game sounds like it will be a typical tower defense style game instead of RTS. I guess investing in upgrades will be a big part of the gameplay then...
     
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  7. Greenhawk

    Greenhawk Threatuna Agent

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    Do you plan to make it 3d, top down, or isometric RTS? Anyways the first mission should be of an D-Day type setting which introduces players to the game by taking control of a beach from the enemies, establishing a beachead and start a civilization. It all depends on the type of style. Do you want it to be a peaceful type game like sims or like civ (mentioned above) or a Command and Conquer type deal?
     
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  8. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    I agree that it sounds more like a tower defense. I figure there could possibly be different kinds of units but not a ton. Like gatherers, defenders and builders is basically what I can think of when using only crabs. I'm not completely limited to crabs though. I could open the door to all Crustaceans, but of course then I'm probably getting ahead of myself since that will require a bunch of studying on a topic I really have no interest in... lol

    Perhaps I could design several structures that you can build around the beach that would serve different purposes. A building for training, storage, etc. That might break it away from the tower defense genre and keep from being too complex. I also guess it doesn't really have to be realistic.

    I still can't really decide on whether I want to do a top-down or side-scroller. I considered 3D but I don't really have any experience with modeling and animating in 3D. I tried making planes with sprites on them once before but I had an issue with it stretching images when running a sprite animation and I couldn't figure out how to fix it.

    Also I've considered both peaceful and just over the top "Broforce-esque" action. I haven't really honed in on that yet. I'm definitely going to go for humor, as obviously, crabs defending their sand castle is a silly thing.

    I'm not opposed to nuclear crab warfare.
     
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  9. Turgon

    Turgon Member

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    I'm a huge RTS fan, especially the old classics like Age of Empires. Here are some of my favorite aspects of the RTS genre:

    1) Base building, especially when it's unlimited and you can build wherever you want
    2) Military tactics - securing trade routes, capturing valuable resource caches, ambushing enemy armies
    3) Exploration/fog of war and random maps, making each game different in its own way
    4) Managing your economy and balancing against military needs
    5) Overall the feeling that you are establishing an empire to crush your enemies and prosper with your allies!
     
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  10. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    That's something I didn't think about. If I were to make different groups of crabs that you can either team up or fight against.
    You could capture other teams' members and do some ransom stuff or convert him to your side to build the population.
    That would be rather complex to figure out but dammit if it wouldn't be super cool.
     
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  11. SoulTie

    SoulTie Guest

    This seems like a pretty cool idea. You should come up with a few more resources though. Seaweed? Plastic bottles and beer bottles to make cannons. Maybe you find lost children toys (Castle molds and shovels) to upgrade your sand castle.
     
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  12. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    I actually started to think about a few more resources once I thought of having different beaches with levels of cleanliness (and possibly popularity?) to determine the resources you'll find. I like the idea of just trash/litter/junk in general because that covers a lot. I could use plastic as a sticky element when you add heat to it to slow down enemies and glass can be broken and dispersed on the ground to make a painful thing to walk on for tourists. The sand toys is a good idea! It's more realistic (haha...realistic...) than crabs building their own shovels from driftwood and pebbles.
     
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  13. Surgeon_

    Surgeon_ Symbian Curator

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    And the final tier of upgrades...

    The MechaCrab - X3000

    [​IMG]

    Yes, I actually drew this.
     
  14. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    That's awesome! hahahaha

    Did you draw this on the spot or you just happened to have a mecha crab in your collection of doodles?
     
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  15. Surgeon_

    Surgeon_ Symbian Curator

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    I've had it for a looong time now... It was my concept art for a game I never finished. I know it doesn't fit the theme of your game, I just couldn't resist :p
     
  16. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    well id suggest to take your time and immers yourself in a situation where youre on the beach, chillin with your crab buddies, and out of nowhere pesky tourists come and are about to ruin your bliss, throwin theyr junk, screamin like crazy, disturbing the water, and so it is your job with your crabs to make up a strategy according to the tourist behaviour so you can drive them away and perserve the oasis.
    for instance, a situation. tourists go in the water, and you can approach the situation in few ways, with a crab to snap theyr fingers, if they dont go in deep waters, or with a scary crab to cause some disturbance in the water, or upgrade some other crab with a visual that will scare them or in some other way. and if they happen to callthe guards or w/e, you must make it look like theyr crazy or do somthing else to avoid the guards killing your crabs.
    also like in every rts you can steal resourses from the tourists, etc. just immerse yourself in it and work on it simultaniously and things will add up and combine with time.
     
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  17. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    That's great! hahaha

    As I said before...


    I like the idea of different ways to attack and scare the tourists off of the beach. That could definitely be a way to sort of have that "command and conquer" style gameplay Greenhawk was talking about.

    Scope the beach and plan.
    Take over the beach.
    Build a fancy sand castle.
    DEFEND


    ....... I think I just thought of a name idea....



    :cool: Revenge of the Hermit :cool:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
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  18. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    your name is negative, it focuses on defeating the tourists, i personally wuld go for a more positive name, focusing on perserving your haven, perservin the beach clean and nice and enjoyable. maybe Beach fest or somthing. like it suggests that your having a good time and then the bad guys come and so the situation is created for the game to begin.
     
  19. ShaunJS

    ShaunJS Just Another Dev GMC Elder

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    It's a very context heavy design. If you like the idea, create a prototype as quickly and simply and possible and see what you like about it. Maybe you'll bring something new and interesting to an RTS like game if you don't necessarily play lots of them. That said, this feels rather tower-defense like with simulation aspects added. Often those sorts of things can be fun when you feel you have less direct control of your units and are guiding them rather than directly mind controlling them like a C&C-like.
     
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  20. Surgeon_

    Surgeon_ Symbian Curator

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    Well, for me one of the most important parts of and RTS / any game is the ability to chose how to play the game. In other words, when there's no one dominant tactic. I had a great time playing StarCraft: Brood War and StarCraft II with my friends simply because there are many different units and buildings, even within a single race, so there was always that "Let's try this now, let's try that now!". Of course, some tactics are simply idiotic, but when they work out, it's more fun :D Also, the responsive nature of the game - when you find out what your opponent is up to, you try to counter that by adapting your strategy and unit composition, then they try to counter your counter and so on... It makes for a fun and dynamic game. Anyway, that's just my two cents.

    -Surgeon_
     
  21. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    I think it really is a matter of opinion. I felt it was more of a funny name than anything. It was just a random idea that popped in my head anyways. I'm not ready for names yet lol

    I feel like I'm ready to start putting a prototype together now after chatting with everybody in here. I wasn't sure if this topic would even gain any attention so I almost didn't post it. I'm really glad I did. The GMC never ceases to amaze me.

    I'm considering the idea of it being more of an open world survival sort of game. You could take over the tourist filled beaches if you want to or you can just find a nice secluded beach and live peacefully with your crab family.

    Open world-tower defense-RTS hybrid??
     
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  22. Surgeon_

    Surgeon_ Symbian Curator

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    While you're at it, take a look at Cultures. Not very popular, but still a very fun, beautiful and well made game, even if a bit too slow for my liking. Your game concept reminded me of it.

    -Surgeon_
     
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  23. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    Best I can do is watch some videos. I don't have any money to spend on games right now.. :squirrel:
     
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  24. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    yea i know im just putting my thoughts out there just in case they trigger more creativity on this topic. if they dont, ignore.
     
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  25. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    Absolutely, I'm completely open to criticisms! Every little bit helps somewhere.
     
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  26. zendraw

    zendraw Member

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    Hey, i just came back from outside, was takin my dog for a walk in the forest and we stumbled upon a water turtles nest with quite a few eggs in it and shortly after i rememberd about this topic and 2 ideas came to my mind (eggs are okay, my dog didnt eat them)
    - one is about making the crabs defend theyr eggs, not sure if they lay eggs, but you may add diversity to the crab army to consist of other creatures like turtles, dragonflys frogs etc, like a sea race and this to be like a goal, to defend the nest of eggs.
    -another one is about how to recriut units, so you know sea shells? how you can hear the sea in them, well the sea shells can be a unit resourse, you collect sea shells, shout messages in them and send them in the sea, and after a while a unit comes out of the sea to join your army. this pretty much defines your game as a strategy cus you dont simply build an army and go fight, you need to position yourself on the map well and defend strategic points like the water and sea shell harvesting points etc. also to make it even more strategical you canprocedurly add more time for units to join your army, which creates the illusion as if youve gathered sea creatures that are near the shore and now the shell must travel further away so it takes more time. also you can make upgrades for the shells like giving them to pigeons or somthing or dragonflys which will shorten the recriut time.

    oh and the type of message you send to be like a sound that calls a certain unit type, and with time you can learn new sound types that can call other creatures so the more units you have of certain type the more time it wuld take for that type to be recriuted, and if you make units so theyr relevant later in the game, that wuld make the player to think his moves even more how meny and when he summons a certain type of units.
     
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2016
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  27. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    I actually really like that idea of seashell communication. I wasn't sure if it would be armor or currency, but that's a way funnier idea!

    I just picture a crab mumbling into a seashell and tossing it back in like a message in a bottle haha

    I suppose I could have a certain kind shell be the "communicator shell" and have some other shells be armor, and some of the pretty ones could be a form of currency.
     
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  28. metateen

    metateen Guest

    The thought of a Crab RTS, brought this little gem to my attention!

    [​IMG]

    An idea maybe but anyway....

    Crabs are known for being quite active actually... and vicious when it comes to the ladies, they however are very interesting gems actually working as a unity during the time of the children's birth. A nice feature would be to include certain levels of pain and tolerance. Or thicker defences, since Crabs don't feel pain (Which is why when you see footage of them being cooked alive they don't really fight back. However Hermit Crabs not only feel but remember what hurt them.

    So hey, a retreat code for a hermit crab when it receives a heavy level of damage from a certain enemy type, while the other crabs can take on anything head on. Then that could be adding in a defense buffer for certain crabs which can be a pain to implement.
     
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  29. Surgeon_

    Surgeon_ Symbian Curator

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    @metateen, you're putting my drawing to shame! :D
     
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  30. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    That's actually an interesting piece of information! It could allows crabs to be the Brute-force tanks of the unit types.

    I'm also excited about having hermits because they can have customizable shells since that's kind of their thing. After I found that picture I posted above with the hermit in a plastic pipe, it gave me the idea of tons of different hermit shells with different pros and cons depending on the material type and quality.


    Also that drawing is insane! Did you make that?
     
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  31. Surgeon_

    Surgeon_ Symbian Curator

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    If you continue adding on like this... Next thing you know - BOOM - Crab Wars MMORPG GotY 2017! 10/10 would buy :)
     
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  32. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    Oh yeah! I'm completely immune to feature-creep! ;)
     
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  33. metateen

    metateen Guest

    I wish I did but no, that sprite animation is from Metal Slug 3. A game that has this beef with Crabs basically.

    P.S You want to implement a Damage Ratio where the less damage it has the stronger it is. I'll have you know the Stone Crab (Strongest crab of all) has a force of 14,000 lbs/sq. inch with their claws..... Which is 5x more damaging that a wolfs jaw to my knowledge....Why didn't I work at the aquarium?

    P.S.S And coconut island crabs.
     
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  34. Surgeon_

    Surgeon_ Symbian Curator

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    You could implement the Mantis Shrimp as a special type of unit. It probably isn't technically a crab, but, eh, it's close enough :p And it's such a weird and interesting animal...

    [​IMG]

    EDIT: And it's said that it has the best eyesight of all living things (or something like that) so there's a game mechanic right there.
     
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  35. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    I'm kind of confused what you mean by this?

    Jeez guys, I'm going to have to hire you both as my personal crustacean consultants lol
     
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  36. robbertzzz

    robbertzzz Guest

    Have you thought of crabs being able to actually go in the water? You could use it as a way of hiding from the enemy, keeping your population alive when you're under heavy attacks, or as a dangerous place to get valuable resources or something... Just something that came to mind :)
    Anyways, fun concept!
     
  37. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    Actually I have thought of this. I'm pretty sure that's where crabs lay their eggs so I'm thinking that's going to be a requirement for your eggs. Dig a hole in the sand until you get to the water and leave your eggs there.
     
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  38. Ninety

    Ninety Member

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    This thread is magical. I love it.
     
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  39. The M

    The M Member

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    If we're talking shrimps, might as well add the Pistol Shrimp. Quoting wikipedia it "snaps a specialized claw shut to create a cavitation bubble that generates acoustic pressures of up to 80 kPa at a distance of 4 cm from the claw. As it extends out from the claw, the bubble reaches speeds of 60 miles per hour (97 km/h) and releases a sound reaching 218 decibels. The pressure is strong enough to kill small fish." Apparently the bubble gets close to the temperature of the sun's surface when it breaks too. :cool:
     
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  40. metateen

    metateen Guest

    Healthier they are (Max HP) the stronger they are.
     
  41. Cat

    Cat Member

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    You could add an interesting dynamic where while humans attack you on land, predators go after your eggs/units underwater. This forces the player to split their focus between defending their sandcastle or defending their eggs.
    Different beaches could have different units available to you. The Blue-Ringed Octopus, Box Jellyfish, Stonefish, and Stargazer (have fun on Google images) are all pretty cool.
    Stronger units might require a sacrifice in order to be summoned.
    Sea glass could provide a rare alternative to palisades, adding a DoT effect.
    You could have a day/night cycle. Or, as would be more relevant to marine life, a high tide/low tide cycle. While this has some potential, I'm not entirely convinced it works with everything else.

    I really like your idea. If there's anything I can help with, please message me.

    Edited for clarity.
     
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  42. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    That is a super cool shrimp! I just watched a video showing it do that claw snap thing and it was insanely fast. Turns out crustaceans are more interesting than I thought! lol

    Aaah I see.

    I really like these ideas. Although the main point of the sandcastle is to protect your eggs inside it. If the eggs are somewhere else then I would have to think of a different way to actually make the sandcastle seem worth defending.

    I think tide cycles could actually add some interesting results. Low tide could be like a ground war/scavenge moment and high tide would be super aggressive under water dogfight-esque. Since it would be sort of floaty, like in a plane. But the waves are pushing everybody around.
     
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  43. MikeDark_x

    MikeDark_x Member

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    I think being limited to human invaders is a bit problematic and is the only thing that makes it really similar to tower defense, adding unfriendly crab populations in islands near your own could be a good idea, that way you'd be protecting your castle not only from Natural disasters... I mean humans, but also from an opposing force or multiple opposing forces, it would also allow for stuff like alliances and all... well just my 50 cents
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016
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  44. Kepons

    Kepons Lost The Bet

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    You're going a bit overboard there, people usually give only two.
     
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  45. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    I'm considering having both in the game. Eventually I'm going to have to stop "designing" and just start prototyping. This has turned into a rather ambitious game idea and I'll be honest, I'm not sure where to start.
     
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  46. InReality

    InReality Guest

    Are You A Pixel Artist Pm Me! :D :D
     
  47. Surgeon_

    Surgeon_ Symbian Curator

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    @hippyman when (if) he finishes this game:

    [​IMG]

    :D
     
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  48. hippyman

    hippyman Member

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    I'm not getting my hopes up but I won't complain with your theory. :)
     
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