Real-Time Strategy Gaming

Member
Posts: 254
Joined: 2005.10
Post: #1
As with any genre, there is always room for improvement in the concept of how strategy games work. Recently, with Warcraft 3 and C&C: Generals, the idea of getting abilities as you kill other units has been introduced. (Although those two games implement that very differently.) For those of you who like to think about such things, what improvements have you thought about in the RTS arena?

To start things off, I have been kicking around the idea of multi-level controllability. Instead of building and controlling individual units, or controlling a group of units with one command, why not extend the AI to a lower level? Here is how I picture it working:
  • Instead of building individual units (although you should be left that option), the player constructs "units" of units. We'll call them squads to avoid confusion.
  • A squad is comprised of various individuals and would have it's own internal 'chain of command'. This means that the player not only decides which units are in the squad, but also who the default leader is. The chain beyond that leader is determined by the system for redundancy, I'll explain in a bit.
  • When a squad is created, the player gives orders to that squad and the leader of the unit determines the best way to carry out the player's order.
  • If the player wishes, they can intervene to provide specific orders to specific units.
  • If the leader dies, then the computer selects a new leader based on a predefined set of rules (probably experience).
  • Squads and individuals can receive experience. As the squad accomplishes orders each of the units in the squad receives experience. As individuals complete tasks they get their own experience.
  • Leaders learn from experience. As the squad accomplishes significant tasks (not including things like moving from A to B, although perhaps that counts if they are being stealthy...) The leaders get better at accomplishing those tasks and get better at dealing with new situations.

The idea is that the game becomes more flexible because each user can strategize differently. One person might micro manage all of their individual troops and just send huge waves of units when attacking. Another person might give squads orders and let their leaders decide how best to accomplish that order, leaving the player to concentrate on overall strategy.
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 916
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #2
large scale battles http://www.americanconquest.de/screensho...?sprache=e

the engine supports up to 16,000 units.
But I would like to take that to another level. Bring back SimAnt, but take the sim aspect out of it, and bring back conquest.
Conquest of other ants, house, big animals. and have thousands of little ants crawling. And have true to scale ant mounds...

but yeah, that engine... so many large scale things you could do with it.
Quote this message in a reply
rossum
Unregistered
 
Post: #3
I think that is a cool idea, it reminds me a bit of what i liked in knights and merchants, where you needed a few people to gather resources. You needed a i think a wood cutter and a guy to haul the lumber and a guy to process it, or something like that, so that you could only utilize a resource unless you have the right team in place, although they werent formaly a squad. I also thought the c&c generals gla force scavenging the enemy was really cool.

I think maybe to extend your idea on the squads, would to have different types of squads working coperatively to do something they couldnt do individualy, like get a squad of engineers together with a squad of cannoneers or something and they could produce a specialized unit.
Quote this message in a reply
DoG
Moderator
Posts: 869
Joined: 2003.01
Post: #4
The implementation of the above is not trivial. We actually spend half a year (team of 2) trying to implement a hierarchical AI for RTS type games, but we didn't get too far with it. We were not even close to realistic behavior for individual units.

Our goal was to allow a wider ranging playing experience, by allowing the player to disregard micromanagement if he wanted, and concentrate on the grand scheme, or, on the other hand, take an individual unit and guide it.
Quote this message in a reply
rossum
Unregistered
 
Post: #5
DoG Wrote:The implementation of the above is not trivial. We actually spend half a year (team of 2) trying to implement a hierarchical AI for RTS type games, but we didn't get too far with it. We were not even close to realistic behavior for individual units.

Our goal was to allow a wider ranging playing experience, by allowing the player to disregard micromanagement if he wanted, and concentrate on the grand scheme, or, on the other hand, take an individual unit and guide it.

Are you still working on it? Or did you scrap it as being too difficult? It really does sound like a good idea. I think it would be cool in a rts to customize the units something like if you have regular infantry, rocket guys and snipers and bulid a special training barracks for generals, or maybe start as a sargent and work up to general, and he could issue tactics, and the tactics get better and more varied as he gets more experience. You can sort of do that in games now through grouping and formations selection, but make the system more intellegent.
Quote this message in a reply
DoG
Moderator
Posts: 869
Joined: 2003.01
Post: #6
rossum Wrote:Are you still working on it? Or did you scrap it as being too difficult? It really does sound like a good idea. I think it would be cool in a rts to customize the units something like if you have regular infantry, rocket guys and snipers and bulid a special training barracks for generals, or maybe start as a sargent and work up to general, and he could issue tactics, and the tactics get better and more varied as he gets more experience. You can sort of do that in games now through grouping and formations selection, but make the system more intellegent.
We didn't really scrap it, but its not in active development at the time, either. We were putting together a whole game engine, so AI was just a part of what we wanted accomplished. And, it was a diploma work for both of us (still is for me Smile ), and since my teammate graduated, and he was mostly responsible for the AI, that part is really laying low right now.

We had a lot of ideas, and tried to design a flexible system because we knew we couldn't do all we wanted in the given timeframe. I'll be continuing the project this semester, but my focus is to polish and fix up graphics, physics, and scripting. And finally write the damn documentation, because I don't know myself anymore what I coded half a year ago.
Quote this message in a reply
Fiachna
Unregistered
 
Post: #7
This is Fiachna from F.E.E. a company you wouldn't have heard of yet.

Anyhoo, I'm working on a ground breaking (don't want to sound like I'm blowing my own trumpet, but it is) RTS and was wondering if there were any features to the engine that I should try to include. Now, I've noticed a lot of posts on the subject of squad coding, and I have to say that it is being worked on for this game as battles are not fought out over only small areas of land, but also entire planets that would be divided into small areas by the engine. This means that you would need a commanding unit to control any issues that arise.

Any Suggestions?
Quote this message in a reply
Moderator
Posts: 916
Joined: 2002.10
Post: #8
See Massive (the engine they used for Lord of the Rings). That is everything I want.
Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply 

Possibly Related Threads...
Thread: Author Replies: Views: Last Post
  iPhone Strategy MMO ArchArchitect 0 2,423 Jun 5, 2012 10:07 AM
Last Post: ArchArchitect
  Global-scale Strategy Game Concepts DoG 2 3,765 Nov 12, 2005 07:53 AM
Last Post: Dark Helmet
  Spaceships strategy game ideas Achenar 1 4,083 Jun 26, 2005 02:18 AM
Last Post: sealfin