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[Altered Melee] Hybrid RTS [Idea & Concept]

Discussion in 'Idea Factory' started by SgtWinter, May 12, 2018.

  1. SgtWinter

    SgtWinter

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    I've been taking a break from continuing my original project - Age of Chaos - and was working on a little idea that popped in my head a while back.

    After playing a few melee matches in Starcraft 2 and CnC3 Tiberium Wars, I wondered what would happen if the GDI and the Protoss fought? Or what if Azeroth was invaded by the Scrin?

    So I made a test map, where I created a faction similar to the CnC3 GDI (complete with automated construction and a power system) and played it against an incomplete Zerg-esque faction with an AI. Needless to say, it felt satisfying watching aliens blow up from high powered laser cannons. Add a trigger that causes pretty explosions to everything, and you've got yourself a movie directed by Micheal Bay.

    It would be interesting to use factions and races based on ones from other RTS games. Of course, the factions aren't going to be exact copies due to lack of models and resources, but the main idea of the race is still going to be there.

    What do you guys think about an altered melee like that? I'm interesting in making something like that or seeing somebody else make it, but all I have right now are incomplete ideas and concepts...

    ...and a silly looking GDI clone.
    Screenshot_1.png
     
  2. cleavinghammer

    cleavinghammer

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    Looks and sounds interesting, yes. You could use all continuites of C&C (Tiberium, Red Alert, Generals...) for even more chaos.
     
  3. Banelingline

    Banelingline

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    Okay, it's been a good number of days, and I've returned to much the same train of thought as the previous cancelled replies. The fundamental key feature is that there are representations of various factions, rather than being the factions themselves. Faction abilities are a common theme of C&C, requiring additional UI elements to implement. Furthermore, a rather important facet of several C&C factions is their ability to make resources, or infinitely regenerating resources, both of which are fundamentally difficult to balance.

    Instead of directly porting factions, or making direct facsimiles within the Blizzard mold, I think the idea of a hybrid RTS should be taken fully literally. A single map where each faction is a fundamentally different style of RTS within the WC3 engine, so that fundamentally different playstyles are able to happen on the same map. Balancing would be inherently nigh-impossible, but it could be well worth it. To list off some RTS subgenres, and point out possible races for each:

    Blizzlike: Limited resources gathered by dedicated worker units, which also construct buildings. Units trained in a queue, resources payed up front, making new units requires building up the right buildings, you get the idea. High-level play is generally a matter of rapid offensives to kill off enemy workers and soak up their resources repairing structures, or occupying enemy armies while their bases are attacked separately.

    Owing to the pattern of the metagame enacted by basically every Blizzard game ever, the choice I think works best for basing this style on is Orcs-as-raiders, tearing down forests and breaking open gold mines to get sizable groups of units out quickly, with "late game" having powerful siege-breaking units that shatter defensive structures and groups of weak units alike, a last shot at winning against a successful defender.

    Annihilation-type: Unlimited resources gained at a constant rate, one generated by a buildable structure and the other harvested from a limited number of sites, with units produced directly by various structures at rates based on builders dedicated to the construction, lacking any "teching up". Most units are automated in combat, with a large chunk of the planning being rallying units to where you'll maneuver them in detail. Few units are directly controlled, instead having attack riders or "auras", and exceptions are typically very large late-game units, or the game-starting Commander, who can build any structure.

    Owing to the fact that the fantasy methods of accomplishing this are high-end forces, such as demons and ents, this would have to be one of the more science-based factions. Either a steampunk clockwork faction, for retaining some fantasy feel, or a fully science-fiction faction, such as just ripping off a Supreme Commander or Planetary Annihilation faction's basis. Massive hordes of weak units, either way (as a result, this could also be a Zerg-analogue).

    Tiberium Based: A single resource that regenerates indefinitely, unless all of it is harvested, in which case regeneration stops. This resource is, itself, a hazard of some kind for most factions, but can also be exploited for purposes outside of resources, such as exploding it to kill units atop the cluster of resources. The indefinite resource generation, with the resource being toxic to most races, causes a few balance issues, but can be constructed to be workable.

    This is actually where a Zerg-analogue works best, as the endlessly regenerating resource that's harmful to enemies can very well be a toxic "crop" harvested as it grows that can double as a Creep analogue, with infested gold mines being the source. The reason it works well for a Zerg-analogue is because the endless stream of resources makes it so that the constant creation of units can be sustained indefinitely, making the primary issue for a "swarm faction" go away.

    ---

    I do have more ideas for less known RTS types, but this has sat here too long.
     
  4. SgtWinter

    SgtWinter

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    Banelingline... YOU, my friend... just opened up a whole 'nother world of possibilities for me. Your ideas are simply great and has given me a lot more options with how I want my project to grow.

    While game balance would be sort-of difficult, I think it would be no problem. Real-time strategy games usually have the same types of units, like there's usually a basic infantry unit in each game, a sort-of caster unit with abilities, a long-ranged siege unit, a tank-esque unit, or a powerful Heroic unit. Regardless of how unique an RTS game is, it still falls into the same formula of: Build, Train, Manage, Attack & Defend! And that's exactly what this side-project is all about.

    Although, I think another way to balance the game is speed. Like one faction has much more slower production time, income rate, or movement speed. I'm sure there are some people who can exploit this to their advantage, but it seemed like the most plausible option to me. Factions that rely on mass-producing armies would have units that move slower, or take time to train. While factions that rely on small but powerful units have slower income rates.

    I'd appreciate any more ideas you'd come up with. The only working faction I've made so far is The Alliance (I know, an original name, right?), which is the Command & Conquer-esque faction. Next up is The Rebels, which will be Company of Heroes inspired. I'll probably post some screenshots if I have any free time available (-or if I don't forget to do that), as I've been rather busy lately.
     
  5. Banelingline

    Banelingline

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    Okay, a bit of an important thing is that I'm thinking more from the mechanics end, while you're thinking more from the thematics end. Your C&C-like faction is fairly specifically similar to the GDI, in particular, while my idea is taking the fundamental differences of the Tiberium series from the "typical" RTS, namely the way the titular material works as a resource, being a combination of environmental hazard and regenerating supply. Also, I'm thinking in keeping with fantasy as much as possible, while you're... Focusing on modern military-esque factions, apparently.

    Time to list some less-known RTS types, though:

    Roleplaying Strategy: To my knowledge, no game has released with this design setup, but Warcraft 3's alpha had it as a central design concept. The idea was, essentially, to have an RPG character as a primary force concentration in the RTS framework, with the general way things went acting more like being the leader of a particular battle than a siege or war. But with unit training. It was messy, and gold was gotten mostly from creeping for early game. Hence why it didn't live past the alpha stages. But a hell of a lot of the assets did! No, seriously, it's almost easier to list the known models that haven't been kept in some way.

    Given that it's implicitly a keystone army focused on actively killing things for resources, the Undead would be an ideal basis, utilizing corpses as an active long-term resource and having very powerful Heroes offering immense support to nearby units. The base, singular, would primarily be a place to make the high-tier units, with the early game being dominated by a distinct pattern of continuous combat, held up by corpse-based summoning abilities. The end result is similar to Blizzlike, but different in that you need to constantly fight something to keep up in resources. Defenses on the base would pretty much solely consist of AoEs attached to it from various rituals, such as a slow from haunting the place.

    Crawler-Centered: While C&C 4 wasn't the first to use the Crawler's concept (it dates back to the pre-Starcraft days), it does present it in a much more refined framework. It largely guts the standard RTS formula, removing base building, conventional techtrees, defending locations and generally boils down the RTS format to a skirmish game, much like the RPS. Notable mechanics are that the standard three-tier system adds capabilities to the Crawler as it goes up, with other upgrades being available. Additionally, there's loadout restrictions that cram down the techtree further by making you be limited to a subset of possible units.

    Considering the mechanics involved, the two options are either using the Night Elves as a basis, or adding a Demon race. In both cases, you have a central unit that gains power over time (similarly to the RPS, but without the bases nor combat needs), with a small group of available units based on "researching" them from a larger pool, before your limit kicks in. Within that, a heavy emphasis on small numbers of powerful units is present, with the Night Elf based version relying on buffs and healing and thus being "late game" focused, while demons go somewhat fractal with summoning and DoTs and thus being "early game" focused.