Doubts in possible new game

Doubts in possible new game

Discuss game development here, from a distinct game project to an accessible third-party mutator, down to the interaction and design of individual units if you like.

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AltTab
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Doubts in possible new game

Post by AltTab » 31 Mar 2016, 04:47

Hi everyone.

I have some doubts about a few ideas I have for a game. ( if this idea already exists please point me where it is 'cause I always wanted to play something like that)

I recently found this wonderful tool to create new RTS based games. And honestly I'm putting high hopes in it (mainly due to this -> check end of post)

But I wasted to much of my free time ending up in dead ends or on very painstakingly paths. So I want to understand the full potentials of this engine.

A few problems I usually encounter:
  • Can it run with an big number of different types of units without major problems? (big numbers - 200 different units)
  • Is the tech tree possible to be giant and complex? I would be awesome with a dedicated page (like civ) but I can work with building based (similar to AoE). (this type of giant and complex - the skill system of PoE)
  • Is it possible to do it with moderate knowledge (mainly self taught coding) of lua scripting? Do I need advanced coding knowledge? (I can get around with lua, but I'm no expert)
  • Does the engine updates require high maintenance of the projects or they just need minor or none adjustments?
  • Is the community helpful enough to help other projects, specially on 3d art? Is it easy to "steal" 3d models or even some scripts? Are there people interested in forking and giving brand new ideas to still non-popular projects?
Thank you for availability to answer my doubts. And if I like the answers probably I'll join up the community.



My problems so far, if you don't want to read a boring story, skip this part:
This project idea started while I was still a kid in his teen ages. I wanted to play a game that rivalled Civ but in real time. A game that would start as a group of caveman that would evolve until the near future. So the concept began in the old Darkreign engine with the help of my father. But I started to have problems with the technological advancements and the the resource tiles (i still managed to create a 3rd resource, but that was it). So i decided to abandon it. I still tried a few game engines, but they were to much limited. Even though the Warcraft 3 XP engine still gave me quite a liberty, but still not as much as I wanted. With friends investing in coding I tried to co-work with them to make our own game engine. 4 years and we barely made a game. With them abandoning the project I had no choice to pursuit my dream alone. Then I heard about the RTS Creator. Name was interesting. Started to try to create, but again the engine was limited. While trying to push the that engine limits by going into forums, I heard about an RTS engine that in theory could create anything. I'm still a bit sceptical but what I saw until caught my attention. But I don't want to find another dead end after wasting months of free time.
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bobthedinosaur
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by bobthedinosaur » 31 Mar 2016, 06:21

I also wanted to make a game like Civ but in RTS.

A tech tree is no biggy. zwzsg made some awesome tech gadgets awhile back and you can make it building dependant and rather complex it is up to you.
Unit types? TA already had 200+ and spring started off as a port from that game into a new engine, so yes also doable.

The main issue i ran into when I was tinkering with a civ like rts game was scale. Most spring maps are on a large tactical battlefield scale. not a strategic regional scale with many cities, oceans rivers, forest, and mountain ranges. the default grass alone can be giant if you want to scale you units down. a work around would be to make your own new maps to a scale you wanted and to make no grass, and smaller custom vegetation. Also utilize the custom terrain types (is this still a thing for maps?) that could act as a modifier on characteristics like speed or stealth modifiers (ie forest slow and conceal, and mountains can become impassable for some units, maybe not others).

Other than that balancing the game to work in a RTS speed rather than turn based will be another challenge.

Id suggest take a look at the KDR game with base building and nodes for expansion instead of mobile units (the name escapes me, help?) as kind of an idea starter. Although it may be so old it wont work on the modern incarnation of the engine.
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Silentwings
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by Silentwings » 31 Mar 2016, 08:49

1) Yes.
2) Yes.
3) You don't need to be an expert with lua, but you do need to be(come) fairly good with lua. You do need to become familiar with Springs lua API, which is probably the harder part.
4) No, but some maintainence is required.
5) If you want to re-use art that was made as part of already existing projects, you should check their licenses, but in most cases you'd need to ask the developers indvidually.
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smoth
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by smoth » 31 Mar 2016, 09:27

  • that is one of the things spring does best!
  • I have a moderate tech tree I use, breaking it into pages is easy
    Image
  • yes, making a game is amazingly easy these days!
  • Sometimes the updates are going to require work. However, you can stay in an old version of the engine if you want.
  • Art work is the visual identity of a project. it is a huge part of the game, few will share their art. you will need to find an artist or do it yourself!

    expect massive amounts of ill will if you steal anything from a project. ask, if they say no, respect their wishes. Most people here are willing to share scripts etc. Most projects are also unfriendly to you forking them.

    it is common sense, someone worked on that, ask first. As a community we are protective of each others work. Much of my code is PD however, understand that until I have released it my code is available for download just so people can play with it. I react harshly if you pull anything out of my repo that has not been released or you have been given express permission(generally then I might even help you integrate it.)

    Almost all the projects have repos that you can view and see how we are doing things and as a community most of us are pretty friendly to share if asked. I don't want to lock my in progress repo up again. so just ask first. Often times I cannot speak for others but for myself, my code is private because it is incomplete as far as ready to share.
The first and best step to showing you are serious around here is to go read the basic stuff available on the wiki we have a fairly full library of information. just understand that most of the seemingly indifferent responses are because we have so many people show up every year ask a bunch of questions and never really make something.

Once you have started, you'll find many of us eager to help you along. so go look at the wiki, go play the resources, look at other game projects, change a model, change hitpoints(don't share that or you are forking) and you can learn how the projects here work.

Best of luck!
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Google_Frog
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by Google_Frog » 31 Mar 2016, 16:22

AltTab wrote:A few problems I usually encounter:
  • Can it run with an big number of different types of units without major problems? (big numbers - 200 different units)
  • Is the tech tree possible to be giant and complex? I would be awesome with a dedicated page (like civ) but I can work with building based (similar to AoE). (this type of giant and complex - the skill system of PoE)
  • Is it possible to do it with moderate knowledge (mainly self taught coding) of lua scripting? Do I need advanced coding knowledge? (I can get around with lua, but I'm no expert)
  • Does the engine updates require high maintenance of the projects or they just need minor or none adjustments?
  • Is the community helpful enough to help other projects, specially on 3d art? Is it easy to "steal" 3d models or even some scripts? Are there people interested in forking and giving brand new ideas to still non-popular projects?
1:
Yes. Spring does lots of types of units really well. I have a game without about 250 really different types of units in the sense that they have unique models, textures, animation, weapons etc... which demonstrates that Spring can deal with a lot of resources. I also have around 1000 units which are somewhat less unique. These are units which share a few resources between them (model, animation etc..) but have different attributes. I have not run into problems and would expect Spring to be able to deal with thousands of unit types.

I may as well also answer the other question, how many units can exist in the game world at a time. In my experience Spring runs well up to 800 units but in those cases many of the units are structures so they don't incur a pathfinding cost. I don't have much experience with high unit counts. My best guess is to expect Spring to handle 500 mobile units and struggle with 1500.

2:
Yes. Understand that Spring is generic enough to not have inbuilt upgrades or tech trees. Instead it has a lua interface which is able to modify many unit attributes and change which units are allowed to be built. Some games use this capability to implement tech trees and upgrades. Spring also lacks a concept of pages with which to display a tech tree. Luckily we can draw anything on the screen and handle input in whatever way we like. A lot of the work is already done for you because we have a decent UI framework implemented in lua.

3:
Moderate lua coding is a good starting point. Advanced knowledge of objects and metatables is not required. The hardest part will be the API but there is plenty of other peoples code to help you with that.

4:
I have found the engine updates to be high maintenance. It takes a while to get my game onto a new engine version. This is mostly due to bugs which make the new releases worse than the old ones. The compatibility issues with updating to a new engine are comparatively easy to solve. Maybe this bodes well because it means there is a decent level of quality control.

The answer to your question is complicated. It becomes simpler if you restrict yourself to updating only when everyone agrees that the latest version is better than any older versions. A new game would avoid many compatibility issues because it would not depend on the exact behaviour of game mechanics and it should be free of the old formats which sometimes cause issues. As long as you understand your codebase then the updates required for new engine versions are minor.

5:
The community is not helpful enough to provide 3D art. That would be quite a high level of helpfulness. It was once that helpful but you had to be part of the right class of well established games. You might be able to find team members although you would first have to do work on other fronts. It may be possible to use art from other projects but you would have to ask around. I think there is a defunct fantasy game which may have something useful and the creators seem the type to help you out.

The helpfulness of the community is mainly in the realms of advice and code. If you ask people how to do something (such as make art) they will either tell you or point you to somewhere in the wiki. Answers are likely to be more helpful if you make a bit of an attempt before asking. If you ask about code then chances are somebody has already implemented something close to what you want. We have large repositories of lua code which implement a variety of game mechanics and interface stuff. The engine requires our game code to be GPL compatible which means you can look at anything you like and most of it should be free to use, it is polite and ask the creator though.
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AltTab
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by AltTab » 31 Mar 2016, 17:05

Thank you for your answers. While experimenting a few stuff I got a small bump. Resources. Every place I look I see reference to 2 resources. Is there any place explaining how to overpass this?
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Google_Frog
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by Google_Frog » 31 Mar 2016, 17:14

Spring has two inbuilt resources. They are used by lazy or old games. This is not a limitation because the API easily has the power to implement a resource system in lua. smoth made a game with three resources and the top right corner of his screenshot makes me think his latest game also has more than two resources. The two inbuilt resources are really not a problem.
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8611z
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by 8611z » 31 Mar 2016, 19:13

( if this idea already exists please point me where it is 'cause I always wanted to play something like that)
Hello
From your description those might fit:
Rise of Nations (Civilization meets rts)
Empire Earth (rts with large tech tree from stone-age to space age)

Download springlobby, play a few matches of Balanced Annhilation or Techa Annhilation, to get some impressions. Both have hundreds of different unit types ( https://github.com/n3wm1nd/TA/wiki/Units ) and Techa has teching.

Since you mention so much about "dead ends" and "waste of time": Do not make a game with 200 units.
In my opinion creating units is one of the most time-consuming while also least interesting aspects of spring modding.
It is well possible that you quickly reach a rountine where you are able to complete a new unit in 1-3 evenings. At that rate it would still take a year to complete 200 units. Once the initial obstacles are overcome, setting unit attributes and writing their scripts becomes repetitive. At that point it is not interessting hobby game making anymore, it becomes office job boredom. Consider a game design where you can give yourself new challenges instead of grind.
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FLOZi
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by FLOZi » 31 Mar 2016, 23:44

Still there are ways around such issues;

S44 has ~540 units if we count buildpics.

It has 21 scripts, and if we take out special cases of animations and the null script and loaders, there are 11.

Also with OO unit and weapon defs yuritch built a whole new team (~60 units) in very little time:
[22:45:48] <[S44]FLOZi> yuritch_IRC about how long would you say it took to make hungarian defs?
[22:50:09] <yuritch_IRC> FLOZi: first mostly workable version was out in like 3-4 hours
[22:50:22] <yuritch_IRC> then there were smaller changes
Ultimately, it depends how unique those 200 units are.

Anyway you've had pretty thorough answers to your questions but I must echo knorkes urging to get out and try some games before embarking on anything first. :-)
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AltTab
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by AltTab » 01 Apr 2016, 02:39

8611z wrote:
( if this idea already exists please point me where it is 'cause I always wanted to play something like that)
Hello
From your description those might fit:
Rise of Nations (Civilization meets rts)
Empire Earth (rts with large tech tree from stone-age to space age)

Download springlobby, play a few matches of Balanced Annhilation or Techa Annhilation, to get some impressions. Both have hundreds of different unit types ( https://github.com/n3wm1nd/TA/wiki/Units ) and Techa has teching.

Since you mention so much about "dead ends" and "waste of time": Do not make a game with 200 units.
In my opinion creating units is one of the most time-consuming while also least interesting aspects of spring modding.
It is well possible that you quickly reach a rountine where you are able to complete a new unit in 1-3 evenings. At that rate it would still take a year to complete 200 units. Once the initial obstacles are overcome, setting unit attributes and writing their scripts becomes repetitive. At that point it is not interessting hobby game making anymore, it becomes office job boredom. Consider a game design where you can give yourself new challenges instead of grind.
Rise of nations. That name is familiar. But i dont recall playing. Empire earth. i liked the game but it had lots of technological gaps

About number of techs. It's not the number im looking but their complexity. But those games I will try for sure.

About the dead ends. I already made small rts games by modding W3, darkreign and a few game engines. But I had this desire to do something more difficult for some time. This game I want to make is playable from start. I just need to do the basics. Then I will add it while evolving the game, since it's timeline based. I don't want to grind, the idea is to expand the game slowly. I'm sure in 2 years I still have this. But that's what I want.
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gajop
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by gajop » 01 Apr 2016, 04:22

Tech tree complexity is not an issue. We made one similar to what you can see in most RPGs' talent trees during one of our last ludum dares (Area17), and it took slightly longer than a day to design and implement.
I would say there are no limitations with regards to what you can do with regards to that. Spring is an engine and not a game that you make mods for like wc3.
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AltTab
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by AltTab » 02 Apr 2016, 09:50

I know it's not a game. But there are engines and engines. There are many crappy engines out there. And i wanted to know the full potential. On my next day off i'll explore whatever spring has to offer. :-)
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smoth
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Re: Doubts in possible new game

Post by smoth » 04 Apr 2016, 17:27

AltTab wrote: Every place I look I see reference to 2 resources. Is there any place explaining how to overpass this?
My screenshot shows arguably 5..

you can skip springs 2 resources.
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