Adaptive AI Engine for RTS Games

Discussing the theory and practice

How to Develop Strategy Games

Posted by Ogail on June 26, 2009

How to Develop Strategy Games

Article source: Strategy Game Programming with DirectX 9.0

  • Choose your game story theme:
    • Science Fiction الخيال العلمي
    • Medieval: العصور الوسطى
    • Western: الغرب
    • Post-apocalyptic: بعد دمار الأرض
  • Story elements:
    • The plot
      • This gives game depth and meaning
      • Gives back group information about the game
      • NOD example
      • Plot defines series of events that lead to the purpose of the game
      • Plot could be based on: war, deception or finance
    • The purpose
      • Gives the player reason for winning the game
  • Setting Objectives:
    • Real tasks that the player should do to win the game
  • Notes:
    • Always add milestone goals
    • Always remember balance is the key
    • Make cost of anything mixture between many resources, this will make player not concentrating on a specific resource
  • Empire Earth Goals Flow Chart:

  • Unit Characteristics:
    • Cost
      • Make balance between cost and strength
    • Unit Speed:
      • Many games make speed relative to armor/power
      • Think about new ideas like considering the environment in your calculations
      • Calculating Unit Speed:
        • Make a basic system from 1 to 100, 1 being slowest 100 fastest
    • Unit Armor:
      • Referring to defensive value of a unit.
      • Calculating defensive value:
        • Problems is you want certain types of armor to react differently to various weapons
        • Create a table:

  • To calculate damaged effected: inflicted x armor rating = points defected to armor
  • Hit points:
    • Each unit should have a hit points that after consuming them the unit is destroyed
  • Unit Firepower
    • Take into consideration:
      • Rate of fire
        • More powerful weapon, the slower it fires
        • To calculate it you should determine how many times/minutes a weapon can fire
      • Damage type
        • Imagine many damage types (fire-based, projectile-based…)
      • Special damage
        • Like when Nuclear Missile is Lunched there is a dirty that kills people after it
      • Velocity
        • The leaser beam is faster than projectile because its as speed of the light
        • Calculating projectile velocity:
          • Like the unit speed, but a standard system that 1->100
  • Resource Management:
    • Pick Your Poison:
      • List the goals that the player should satisfy via resources:
        • Feed the population
        • Build an infrastructure
        • Raise an army
      • Define resources:
        • That will satisfy each of the previous goals
      • Gathering resources (Constraints to Gather Them):
        • Could be manually or automatic
        • If automatic you should ask the question: How does the player build building?
        • While you define resource try to define goal with it (like fisherman near sea)
      • Determine Gathering Rate
    • Resource Balance:
      • TA example (only 2 resources in any portion of the map)
      • Balanced example (grow rate/carrier)
  • RTS Technology Trees:
    • Design technology example:

  • Different Types of Technology Trees:
    • Infrastructure
      • Deals with buildings
      • Without it the player can’t progress to bigger and better things
    • Weapons (and let loose the dogs of war)
      • If the tree is complicated then the player has no clue what the weapons mean!
    • Upgrades
      • Upgrading infrastructure and units with paths
  • Keys is choosing cost of technology:
    • Be sure the technology takes time to research. The more valuable the technology is, the longer it should take to invent
    • Be sure the technology requires resources that pertain to it. In other words, do not make a technology require a resource that has nothing to do with it
    • Be sure the technology costs a reasonable amount. If the technology is very valuable, it should cost a good deal of resources. Do not go overboard, though. If the technology costs more resources than it is going to save, it is worthless.

One Response to “How to Develop Strategy Games”

  1. Causstem said

    Nice article dude! loving reading from ya.

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