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Tug of War Project discussion

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Level 2
Feb 13, 2010
My Goal: I am looking to create a Tug map similar to Nexus wars or Desert Strike. I plan on bringing in both basic and creative gaming concepts and mechanics and incorporate that to this map. Here, I will go over all ideas I have been collecting so far. Since the map is still in the planning stages, anything can work out.

What are Tug maps?
The object of a tug War map is to simply destroy an opponents base. There are two teams, 3 players and 1 computer for each team. The battlefield is nothing more than a long horizontal lane connecting both team bases. The players responsibility is to decide which units will spawn while their computer allies uses those units and battles it out on the battlefield. Specifically, players build structures that will automatically spawn units every few seconds. Those units are then forced to walk in Attack Mode towards the enemy base. It is intuitively called Tug of War because the minimap during the peak of a match animates like a Tug of War rope; all these units are constantly flowing from both sides of the map, the clash shifts positions back n forth until on team gets the upper hand and finally wins. Here are some footage of popular Tug of War custom maps from SC2:
Nexus Wars Map
Desert Strike

Core Concept: I really enjoy these types of games; it is very easy to play especially one who is not good at clicking all over the place. It also makes the player focus solely on unit management than micro. I also enjoy being able watch these large epic battles unfold. Let me set some general concepts about this map:
- 3Players, 1Computer VS 3Players, 1Computer
- Players manages their team base while the military units are controlled by the Computer.
- When a player builds a spawning building, it will spawn a unit every couple seconds forever.
- Separate areas for each player and 1 large battlefield in the middle.
- *So far* Id like to have only 1 main building for each team. If that building gets destroyed, the game ends.
- In this map, Id like to focus on unit teching/upgrades/spells/
- This map will be like DotA-in-reverse. Every player will have 1 hero unit but they play more of a insignificant novelty support role and dont have any big effect on the battlefield.
- *If possible* Id like to have more than one path as seen on Nexus Wars linking the two enemy bases.
- Once the game lobby is full, the map will automatically start countdown on 5 Seconds
- Id like NO game mode selection/system watsoever. (Many custom maps swamp you with lots of game modes and usually players will just not read it or randomly select one. This map will have lots of features and in turn will have many outcomes.

Theme/Setting: I actually created a tug map named: Desert Strike Night on Starcraft 1 back in 2007 after the SC2 announcement. On that old map, I used modded hero units and added them as part of the selection of units to build and gave them new names found from the SC2 announcement. It was a great successful tribute. This time around, I would like to pay tribute to Starcraft 1. I will use the Desert tileset Mar Sara. The setting will be: A battle between miliary forces found in the Starcraft 1 Universe. I will bring back fallen heroes like Fenix, Edmund as well as engmatic characters like Duran or the Overmind.

So far, the general idea is to have a central rectangle battlefield connecting the two bases. The players will be placed on far away separate islands away from harm. The specific design of these islands are directly associated with how I plan the other aspects of this map. Some quick ideas:
1. NPC buildings in each island that have these extra features mentioned.
2. Specific areas where players are building that can be unlocked later.

Desert Strike Remake:
The tug map I am developing more similar to Desert Strike. Here are more rules that Id like to follow:
1. Players will spawn in waves and each wave will come at every 30 or more seconds.
2. Players will have separate island bases away from any threats.
3. The battlefield so far will just be a long horizonal rectangle lane.
4. So far, I will just have two structures just like the picture below. When the map is almost complete, I will then beautify it so that it wont look so plain.

Formation Feature
Unlike Desert Strike and Nexus Wars, Id like to give players the ability to formup their units before they are sent to the field. Every player will have another separate island where they can form their units. Those units will permenantly stay on that island and when its the players turn to spawn, those units and their positions are copied and pasted to the battlefield.

Instead of 3 teams, I plan on divding each race into 3 more factions making it a total of NINE different factions to choose from. Dont worry, each faction per race will be 90% similar to each other. I will have new units, remove some units, stat bonuses and stat debuffs. The factions I am using are groups found on Starcraft 1. Their wiki description will be the basis of how I will customize them.
Raynor's Raiders
Description: Raynor's Raiders were an independent terran military formation led by Jim Raynor. It has a history of cooperation with the protoss thanks in part to Raynor's personal connections. The Raiders were formed from Raynor's Rangers and scattered troops from other factions during the Great War; the Rangers left the Sons of Korhal after Arcturus Mengsk abandoned Sarah Kerrigan to the zerg at the Battle of New Gettysburg.
Terran Dominion
Description: The Terran Dominion, sometimes simply known as the Dominion, was created after the confederacy government was defeated by the Sons of korhal faction led by Arcturus Mengsk. Members included Raynor and Kerrigan. Right before the formation, Kerrigan was betrayed by Arcturus and was left to die in the Battle of New Gettysburg. Raynor left the faction and forms his Raiders. The Sons of Kohal, now known as the Terran dominion became the same corrupt government they were trying to remove.
United Earth Directorate
Description: Made appearance in Broodwar Expansion, The United Earth Directorate (UED) was a human government based on Earth. Due to the ongoing conflict in the Koprulu Sector, the UED aggressively intervined. Adopting a more proactive, militaristic policy in regards of alien affairs, the UED used considerable resources in studying the protoss and zerg. The UED, after having conducted research on the alien races for months, believed that they were capable of countering the aliens and decided to end the conflict by any means necessary.
The Overmind
Description: The Zerg Overmind was the leader of the Zerg Swarm and the main antagonist on Starcraft 1. The Overmind was a brain-like entity of indeterminate age. For thousands of years, the zerg wreaked havoc upon the galaxy, destroying or assimilating countless numbers of species it encountered and laid hundreds of planets into smoking ruin. It was the Overmind that decided to capture Kerrigan and evolve her to the Queen of Blades.
Broods of Cerebrates
Description: Cerebrates were zerg brood leaders. They were originally created by the Overmind as intermediate commanders. After the Overmind was killed, the cerebrates was immediately removed from power by the Queen of Blades. They were a thorn opponent during the Brood Wars expansion.
Kerrigan's Swarm
Description: After the Overmind's death, Kerrigan acted quickly to rise into power. Kerrigan, was then in charge of approximately half of the entire zerg Swarm while the other was controled by Cerebrate broods. Kerrigan began a campaign aimed at eliminating these cerebrates in order to rule over the Swarms by herself. The main antagonist of the Brood Wars expansion.
The Conclave
Description: They were a group of elders, chosen for their wisdom and their knowledge and orthodoxy. Their decisions affected the entirety of Protoss Khala society. The Conclave's dogmatic leadership began detrimental during the zerg invasion of Aiur. Despite the arrival of the Overmind and the expansion of zerg control and strength, the Conclave continued to ignore the threat. They also continued to reinforce their prejudice against Dark Templars.
The Nerazim
Description: The Nerazim, or the Dark Templar as they are known to outsiders, is a tribe of protoss who reject the Khala lifestyle. To demonstrate this they cut their nerve appendages, severing themselves from the psionic communal link. There is a history of mistrust and hatred between the Dark Templars and the Khalai (main Protoss tribe).
*another Protoss team*
Description: Currently I cant find another Protoss Faction. Each Faction Ive picked has 2 or more voice characters from SC1. One idea is to make a faction out of the essence of the 'good guys' of the protoss. People like Tassadar who went against the rules of the Conclave, was branded as traitor but his means had an end and inevitably killed the Overmind and saved Auir. People like Fenix who at 1st did what he was told but was very chivalrous at sacrificing his life as well as being friends with Jim Raynor. I guess we can call it the Tassadar/Fenix/Artanis group? lol

In this map, id like to put some upgrading features and teching systems. This will help bring more depth to my tug map and focus on powering up individual units instead of massing hundreds of them.
List of *possible* upgrades:
1. Basic unit stats - weapons, armors, shield,
2. Advance stats - range, rate, custom weapons, spells
3. Upgrade efficency on acquiring resources.
4. Computer Fortress structure - Hp, weapon, armor, shield
5. Hero upgrades - Spells, stats

Tech system
Ideally, Id like to have a custom build tech order rather than to follow the default melee structure. Using customized dialogs, Id like to plan, organize and develop a different tech that can be built. Lots of maps like Tower Defense maps have done this.

Hired MercenariesLOR]
Inspired by the SC2 Campaign, my tug of war map will have one-time mercenaries. Perhaps have the mercenaries spawn instantly OR during your wave.

Faction Heroes
In this tug map, Id like to turn everyone's probe/scv/drone builder into a DotA Hero. They will have some weak spells and weak attack in the battlefield. They will be invincible against the mobs EXCEPT from the other heroes. Each faction will have an important hero found in the sc1 storyline. I plan on importing character sounds too. So far, I was thinking of giving out small rewards everytime a hero kills a computer unit and give them big rewards for killing enemy heroes.

Special Abilities
Not only will players have heros with spells but they will have access to Special Abilities that affect everyone who is playing. They are usually expensive and can be instantaneous or last a few seconds. Some of these specials are faction-unique, some can be accessed by anyone. Here is a list of the Special Abilities Ive come up with so far.
1. Players can turn their forces invincible for a few seconds.
2. Players can instantly kill all enemy forces on the field (very very very expensive). They call this ability: Boom on the Desert Strike map.
3. Players can instantly decrease enemy health on the field. For example: -10%, -20% or even 50% of health.
4. Players can use a nuclear radiation attack, it decreases all units in the field to 1% health within 20 seconds then buffs them.
5. Players can select an opponent to freeze their income for 30 seconds. The more efficient an enemy resource is made, the more devastating the ability is.
6. Players can freeze all opponents income for 15 seconds.
7. Players can sabotoge an opponents Boom and make it a weak one instead.
8. Players can instantly Mind control the entire field. (usually a Protoss special)
9. Players can instantly turn all enemy units into broodlings and weak banelings
10. Emp blast - instantly removes all sheilds. Obviously its not a fair for protoss so its very very very expensive and not really worth getting. The only situation where to use it is if you went afk and came back and your main base is swarmed by protoss and its about to die and u have lots of resources and u dont have time to build lots of buildings u can use that. (run-on sentence ftw)
11. Soul reaper - it insantly removes mana from all active units in the field.
12. Minefield - instantly places a few vulture mines scattered around the field. The Mine kills enemy and foe.
13. Poison creep - Covers field with creep slows down and decreases armor on enemy ground units.
14. Sky Strike - Computer base temporarily gains a longrange planetary fortress gun that shoots down enemy aircraft.
16. Switcheroo - players can instantly turn all enemies to allies and turn allies into enemies.
17. Robin Hood - Players can steal some money from enemy and give them to teammates.
18. Sabotoge - For a few seconds, a targeted player can have their base disabled, they cannot build more buildings and will not spawn units during that time.
19. Hero Hunter - Disables Hero units, great for abusing players who takes advantage of their hero unit.
20. Terrantron Defense - Terrantron unit is a temporary sitting defense structure in front of the computer base that aggros all enemy fire. Its health will be quite high but its armor is zero.
21. Silo Defense - a Biome that is permenantly sitting in front of the computer base. When it gets destroyed, team that destroys it are rewarded with money. It will also spawn a giant hero monster inside the ruins.

Income System:
I am looking to evolve the income system found in this tug map to something completely different. So far these maps have one single resource that is automatically given to players every few seconds. Players can also use that same money to upgrade/increase their income efficency. One detrimental issue is having current income system turning out to be irrelevant during the endgames. When the map is at its peak, ALL players are gaining 99999999 minerals and prices are thrown out the window. Everyone is spamming units no matter how expensive they are. Matches then becomes a lag fest with no strategy. I dont want that... I want to have strategy throughout the game. Now someone told me, "hey if you dont like that, might as well just adjust the prices." My answer is: this wont solve that problem, it will just delay the issue. Therefore, my decision is to have more than one resource and have them be acquired differently. You can acquire over 9000 minerals but will never be able build things that cost gas or terrazine. That is the concept Im going for. Now that I have established to have more than 1 resource, I need help finding ideas how this will work out. Some ideas heard -
1. Have 1 single resource that is continually given to the players and that resource can be converted to 3 main resources. Players can also invest in ways to make the currency exchange be more efficent.
2. Like Desert Strike have geyers that give money but instead make 2 sets of geyers.
3. Inspired by Power Towers map, make players build power towers that power up buildings and each building require a set amount of energy to be functional.
4. something different

begining, middle and endgame - philosophy
Even though the map sounds way to complicated and have a lot of features, I am confident that it can be done. As long as it progressive and balanced, it will be a great tug map. Many maps have this 3 stages of progession on their games. Each stage presents new strategies and maintains its intensity. I will be building the map to adopt this kind of strategy. This way, players wont feel so overwhelmed with features and abilities from the start. Teching up, upgrading, and unlocking features will keep the map flow going until one team is the victor.

Map Balance VS Map preference
As I continue developing this concept, there will be some debate on certain ideas whether it is the right thing to do or not. I know that some ideas here wont sound appealing to others and that they will think of lots of cons. Theres a lot of features implemented that was placed solely because of map preference, and that balance wasnt really an issue. An example would be: Someone wants to create a survival map, the player only has a few lives. The enemies are very very hard. One would say that the map is imbalance and too hard, the map developer would argue that he intentionally made it like that because he wants the map challenging and wants players to run around more.
This relates to a lot of features that I mentioned above, crazy things like killing all units in field sounds too extreme but I myself like that ability and it will be rare to use.

If anyone would like to add to the discussion feel free. There are many aspects of the map that needs developing.
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Level 1
Mar 13, 2012
sounds awesome! I've always loved tug of war maps... desert strike in particular. I was wondering, when you mentioned heroes, were you implying that each player would have both a worker hero and an actual hero?

Also, if you are looking for ideas for the third protoss faction, you could consider the hybrids. Though not technically protoss, they were in control of the dark protoss on that planet with the preservers. There are a ton of dark protoss models you could use for units in this faction, although you'd have to go crazy making all sorts of new units, etc... so it might not be a great idea.
Level 2
Feb 13, 2010
Hey dgerb! Thanks for replying. Will players have a worker and a hero unit? Yea, that would probably be easier. Hmm... I still cant come up with another protoss race. Basically I am trying to find a group or tribe or clan that appeared on sc1 that has voice actors that I can import. Coincidentally, the rest of the factions has 1 or more heroes that talk during loading screen.

that Hybrid Duran could probably be one your right. I could use his infested voice and then use the voices/characters found on sc2. Id like to get tassadar, artanis and fenix in one group though so we will see.
Level 1
Mar 13, 2012
Cool! Sounds like the power-tower-like income system would be pretty fun.

Well... you probably already thought of this, but if not, here's an idea you could use. Unlike power tower generators that drain energy per second, we'd probably want discrete energy values. Each generator would have a certain starting energy, and once it's linked to a building, this energy could decrease by a certain amount depending on which building you're linking.

And of course, the different generators would affect different unit stats, etc. It sounded like you wanted to do the following:
1. basic generator - causes units to spawn with full health instead of half
2. advanced generator - causes units to spawn with even more health
3. weapon generator - weapon upgrade to linked buildings
4. armor generator - armor " " " "
5. speed generator - speed ...
6. special generator - some sort of special upgrade. maybe for units with abilities, it could upgrade their ability, and for normal units, it could give them some sort of random behavior

Another idea would be to have buildings act as generators to produce some sort of tree network. For example, here's a wacky idea: the cybernetics core can link to another building, and units produced from that building can blink. Generator links to cybernetics core (stalkers). Cybernetics core can link to gateway (zealots). The result will be that zealots that can blink. The problem with this idea is that it will be a bitch to implement since you'd then have to add the blink ability to every unit and a bunch of requirements, etc. So maybe instead of adding an actual ability, the building links could be something simpler like a behavior. Ultralisk den links will give the linked units frenzy. That should be easy...

Anyway, these were a couple ideas I had. This looks like it will have a ton of complexity. Just the way we like it :thumbs_up:
I've finally read over most of your post. It really seems unoriginal and what not but the core systems I can easily do-- not right now though, as I have a crazy fever, and I am feeling all these weird sensations and feel like I'm going to puke. It's really hard to explain. It's like my muscles feel like they're going numb and sliding off of my skeleton. It's awful, absolutely awful feel. I am somewhat delirious too and don't know exactly what is going on.

Edit: Oh god I feel like I'm melting into the floor, like gravity is pulling off my body off of my skeleton, and I am so cold. This is nightmarish, I wish I could get help.
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