The RTS Game I want to build

So i want to build an RTS game what does that look like  well here are some milestones and sub milestones. its likely i wont get passed 3 the milestones will progress in a way that Odd milestones will have implementations and even ones will have refinements
the Odd ones should be functional the even ones should be playable.

some milestones here are rather asset focused ill try source those from elsewhere. i think i may be able to reach 4 if i am lucky but intend to continue the development past the project time frame.

Milestone one: Singleton Mode

  • One Unit
  • One Unit producer
  • One movement command
  • One combat command
  • One other unit action
  • One building
  • One resource
  • Functional UI

Milestone Two: Gamifying

  • add a win condition
  • add a mini map
  • Add terrain complexity
  • add an animation
  • add a sound
  • make UI attractive
  • add visuals for all the stuff i forgot
  • create a static challenge to be overcome

Milestone three: Complexity

  • add command queue.
  • add basic unit AI.
  • add additional movement commands (attack move, patrol, stop, Hold Ground).
  • add production timers.
  • add production queue.
  • add a resource.
  • add 2 units (3 total)
  • add unit groups.
  • add control groups

Milestone four: polished mini-game

  • background music
  • Unit sounds
  • unit models if possible
  • simple animation
  • themed visuals
  • improve player feedback
  • icons
  • terrain detail improvement

Milestone five: A full race.

  • 2-3 more units.
  • more buildings.
  • tech restrictions/tree.
  • unique actions.
  • upgrades.
  • statuses.
  • race features

Milestone Six: Meta-game and polish.

  • a menu prior to the game
  • settings that effect the game
  • save and load
  • visual, audio and feedback polish

Milestone Seven: Networking.

  • allow synchronized play for two players in one game over a local network
  • (unity has tools for this may be actually plausible)

Milestone Eight: simple RTS

  • the goal is a clear game with a early, mid and late game with a clear win condition that is simplistic but not poor.

MIlestone Nine: More

  • additional units / races
  • additional polish
The RTS Game I want to build

Res

Res overall was a  really fun class. it felt more about discussion than anything else and was always the highlight of the week. i went in to the class intending to do the bare minimum for the blogs and ended up accidentally learning quite a bit and also realizing exactly what i wanted to do for my project. its should be pretty clear by now that i want to make an RTS game a real simple one and i’m actually really really exited to get started. I know that there will be many points in the project where i will realize that the amount of work i have is massive and that i will be totally lost but i still find myself thinking about the project in most spare moments i will detail this more in the next post.

for now things that didnt make the cut

A Rogue like:

this is what i was almost certain i was going to create for a long time i had an idea where the player would progress through the dungeon not by sword and shield but by hitting a giant boulder around like a pinball, getting more points for trick shots. i didn’t make this because it would require a lot of 2d assets and because the challenges werent what i was after

A Digital Card game:

this one was a contender because i love card games they dont need the assets and i can implement shuffle building. in the end i tried making the start of one and realised i would probably rather make this game physically rather than digitally.

Flappy VRd:

this was mostly a joke between me and dejan. What if flappy bird was in VR you could flap your arms to gain height to get through obstacles. i think we still will make this just maybe over a weekend.

Other VR ports:

we also had the idea to port some classics in to VR with a twist. for example VR tetris where you need to manipulate the blocks with the controllers rather than a rotate button. we thought maybe VR snake would work but then realised that VR snake was just a lame version of TRON.

 

Res

Resource list:

Unchecked

Inprogress

Viewed

 

Visuals

-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rtO9maU709k

-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZM1ebow2cE

https://www.blendernation.com/2015/10/28/tutorial-your-first-lowpoly-scene/

http://gameover.studio/beginner-tutorial-for-low-poly-design-in-blender/

https://www.blendernation.com/2014/05/06/pigarts-10-step-workflow-for-low-poly/

Logic

-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66jjFD4oVAk

-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9Eeb6-VO6U

https://gamedev.stackexchange.com/questions/5013/how-does-pathfinding-in-rts-games-work

https://howtorts.github.io/2014/01/06/pathing-literature-review.html

Design

https://www.competitivegamedesign.net/rts

http://www.oxeyegames.com/category/rts-design/

-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1w-qCbYVe8

Genre

http://stormtek.geek.nz/rts_tutorial/part1.php

https://forum.unity3d.com/threads/video-tutorials-for-a-different-kind-of-game-genre.347226/

https://www.lynda.com/Unity-tutorials/Unity-5-Build-Real-time-Strategy-Game/427923-2.html 

-https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZDiYBSHgtE

Resource list:

What is lacking from Current RTS games

Why have RTS games lost popularity? well i think there are a few reasons but the keys ones would have to be: other similar genre’s, the goal of the games are different, the games are expensive to produce and the games almost always have a dizzying level of complexity.

  • Other genre’s: other genres have encroached on the RTS player base reducing the demand which of course means there is less of a supply being created. So what games were these? well RTS focuses on two major aspects of play Strategy planning ahead and out thinking the opponent and player speed and physical skill also called micro(micromanagement) other games with a greater focus on one of these aspects split the player base. games like total war and civilization could offer greater strategic depth and games like Dota, league of legends and path of exile offer a more intense skill focused game around micromanagement of a single unit.
  • the goal of the game is different: this one is interesting and isn’t talked about as much. back in the heyday of Real time strategy games were built as a single player experience with a focus on narrative and player creativity. players were engaged through story and playing against the computer in the way that they wanted too. most of the people i talked too seemed recall spending most of their time this way. so what changed? personally i think that the development of esports created a massive shift in what the inent of the games being produced was games like starcraft brood war  became competitive naturally after being built as single player games. then when the games exploded in the competitive scene more games were being developed for competitive play  something that always had more spectators than players.
  • Cost: RTS games are plain expensive to make and a lot of the reasons for this are in my last blog post here: https://harrysresearchblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/09/maaaaaaaaan-reasons-rts-isnt-so-unacheivable/
  • Complexity: this is the big one i believe. As RTS games became more competitive they also became more about efficiency and speed and making quick decisions. As optimal play becomes more and more defined so does the learning curve and knowledge required increase. a fighting game has only two actors each only doing one thing at a time whereas an RTS game can have hundreds of units taking actions at the same time the games are complex and assume a massive amount of player knowledge with things like techtree’s to be remembered. learning what unit is good against what and trying play as fast as possible. the current starcraft2 world champion byun sometimes plays at 600 APM that being 600 actions a minute average that means he is clicking or pressing a buttion TEN TIMES A SECOND.
    RTS Games need to be Brought to a level where a casual or new player can understand and participate.
What is lacking from Current RTS games

MAAAAAAAAAN reasons RTS isn’t so unacheivable.

i gotta be honest in the first post in this blog mentioned a lot of things i didnt think were plausible for a development project one of those was an RTS (real time strategy) game. Now there were a few reasons i think that an RTS game isn’t really the greatest choice  the biggest of those is that they are almost always asset heavy, they involve a large number of often complex game objects and they have many interwoven systems that allow for things to go very very wrong. here is why i think these things aren’t as devastating as i first thought.

Firstly let me say that i have been progressing through a unity tutorial to make the bare bones of an RTS game and i feel much more capable.

Issues

  • Assets: RTS games traditionally have a very broad camera with a large amount of objects on screen at one time. a large amount of different assets with animations not to mention environmental assets and UI assets.
    • Solution:
      to try and solve/ circumvent this issue i plan on a minimalist visual style and minimizing the number of assets. i plan on having a very iterative development that will only add assets as needed and as time allows. finally the assets would be “programmer art”.
  • complexity: the most famous RTS game currently would have to be starcraft2 a game that can support around 9000 units with their own collision, pathing, command queue, ability’s, models, animations, sub units and AI with that many calls made however many times a second these games can be resource intensive if they are not managed correctly.
    • Solution:
      there are really only two: One i optimise the game wherever possible And two  i minimse the number of actors in the game space and remove resource intensive functionality.
  • Systems: Rts games have quite a lot going on. there are  a lot of systems here are some. Resource gathering, Building , build queues, movement, pathing , order queues, AI, Unit interactions, Unit stats, Selection, Camera control and other unique unit actions.
    • Solution:
      again like above the solution here is limiting scope and cutting systems. make iterative progress implementing systems as they become necessary

 

MAAAAAAAAAN reasons RTS isn’t so unacheivable.

VR gaming possibility’s

My first blog post What am i researching? (https://harrysresearchblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/first-blog-post/ )

detailed some of the types of projects i was most interested in pursuing. one of the things that didn’t come up there was VR now i didn’t think of VR for a couple of reasons the most important of those being that i didn’t have a headset. Additionally i didn’t want to spend time trying to manage the use of the headset when i could be solving other design and development problems and for the most parts that’s still true. but while i was shamelessly browsing Dejan’s blog trying to catch up on my cross blog interaction (https://daijinbaker.wordpress.com/2017/04/24/virtual-reality-in-gaming/) i saw some things that really activated my almonds specifically this part “Biosensor – a device which uses a living organism or biological molecules, especially enzymes or antibodies, to detect the presence of chemicals” now whilst this is not something i have access to i think it offers a new avenue’s for design.

when i think of VR i think of immersion. and when i think of what games perform the best with good immersion i think of Horror games. video game horror is unique from horror in other mediums in that the player drives the experience. often times in horror video games the player will know when there actions will produce a “scary” result but need to do that action whether for curiosity or progression. for example a player may know that there is nothing well meaning down in the basement and that entering the basement may be scary or stressful. but ultimately they are responsible for the consequences. this is in contrast to films where the viewer is a helpless by stander watching other take the actions that trigger these scary circumstances.

this is both one of the greatest assets of horror games and also the greatest weakness. the player always has some amount of control and horror developers are always trying to take away this control from the player because if every thing is voluntary then things aren’t as scary. This is where the bio sensor comes in. If the sensor is tracking heart rate or how much the player is sweating or how hot they are. then the developer potentially has event triggers that are involuntary but still player driven.

If the game triggers scary events when the players heart rate slows too much you could have a game that never gives players the opportunity for rest and they never get the change to relax. creating a horror experience almost tailored for the player themselves.

 

VR gaming possibility’s

Brazen space filling

some might think it poor form to pad out blogs by placing their entire assignment in to a blog but i have no shame and an assignment.

 

 

 

This Report

This report will be covering the academic paper

Björk, S., & Holopainen, J. (2006). Games and design patterns. The game design reader, 410-437.

Which can be found here.

http://210.240.189.214/gamedesign/resources/06_personalweb/2006_web/36/遊戲理論/Game%20Design%20Patterns_36葉尚旻.pdf

this paper is actually 12 pages which is two pages over what you set but the last two pages are citations and the paper lacks the information density that other papers I looked at had, so it’s slightly easier reading. I once again found a paper that is interesting but does not answer a concrete question or draw concrete conlusions but rather puts forward a terminology or model so this may be a little lacking.

 

 

 

Games and design patterns – a summary

Games and design patters is a paper concerned with the design, discussion, understanding, comparison and analysis of games. More specifically the language we use when we engage in those activities the paper argues that currently the language we use for ludology and discussing games is variable and more often than not borrowed using terms from their component fields. An example raised in the paper multiple times is that games are discussed using narrative terminology which is useful and applicable for discussing the narrative of a game but not games holistically. They argue that as the popularity of games grows there needs to be a more defined terminology relating to games that is native to games instead of borrowed. The paper discusses the ways we currently  talk about games, other systems that have been tried or adopted , the way other media talks about games and what some jargon and terminology means.

Their solution to this is to discusses games using their most unique aspect which is Interactivity. The paper suggests using game design patterns for interactivity as the way to do this. The paper then discusses that for this to be achieved there would need to be some standardisation amoung patterns which then leads in to the meat of the paper and what the abstract of the paper refers to. The authors are positing a model for game design patterns to create a more uniform and descriptive language for game interactivity.

The paper has two parts to the pattern model. The first part is a frame work for what constitutes a game and gives terms for the different pieces. From the highest levels of abstraction containing things like Game instance and game sessions, down to the most concrete game element which refers to game assets and physical components. The frame work is relatively large and actually isn’t fully defined in this paper as it is discusses in the companion paper.( Björk, S. & Holopainen, J. (2003). Describing Games – An Interaction-Centric Structural Framework. Proceedings of Level Up – 1st international Digital Games Research Conference 2003, 4-6 November 2003 University of Utrecht, The Netherlands.).

The second Part which is discussed in this paper is the Game interaction patterns. The paper presents a model for the pattern (or a pattern pattern) and discusses how the authors came to that model what research they did why they believe it to be a good model. They also talk on the patterns that they have identified currently, the methods they used to identify those patters and even an example of one of those patterns to show how the pattern might be formatted in a collection of some sort. Finally the paper talks of the potential and intended uses of these patterns and offers a summary of the paper.

I think that the validity of the paper is good given the authors assumptions and I believe the model they produced is useful but probably lacked adoption. I believe they were at least somewhat successful as even I have encountered the use of these patterns in discussion about games although it may be up for debate whether these are abstractions of mechanics or something more similar to what is put forward in this paper.

 

 

 

Games and Design Patterns – a review

Björk, S., & Holopainen, J. (2006). Games and design patterns. The game design reader, 410-437.

 

What is the title and what does the title tell you about the paper?

The title of this paper is Games and Design Patterns. This is a perfectly serviceable title the issue with the title is that while it tells you that the paper is about games and design patterns it doesn’t say what about design patterns. Whether it is analysing if a given pattern works, how patterns function in relation to games or even if games should have design patterns. The title is altogether rather vague and could really do with a subtitle or extension even “Games and Design Patterns: A model.” Would work better in the case of this paper. As it stands it seems the paper is either hiding what exactly about design patterns it is about or is giving an extremely general look as game design patterns at large.  The title is functional yet not ideal as it tells us the area of research but not what is being investigated.

Who is the paper written by and do they seem credible to you?

This paper is written by Staffan Björk, Sus Lundgren of the PLAY, Interactive Institute and Jussi Holopainen from the Nokia Research Centre at the time of writing. Currently Staffan is a researcher at the university of Gothenburg and Jussi is at the Spain campus of RMIT university as a research associate. This is relevant as Staffan is still continuing this line of research.
Personally I believe the two authors to be reasonably credible and that the work they did on the paper was    somewhat valid given their assumptions. Firstly, they at the time of writing they were both from respectable institutes and I believe that Staffan being taken on at another university to continue his research shows they are thought well of. The paper itself made sense for the most parts and was well put together save for a not insignificant number of grammatical mistakes and typo’s which can probably be attributed to the language barrier. One of the key points at the start of the paper is there is a very large assumption made “Assuming that a unified approach to studying games is optimal, …?”  this is a rather large assumption and there is no discussion on it which seems strange as the whole paper is based on it. I don’t think it ruins the credibility of the conclusions they arrived at under that assumption but it is frustrating that it is never really addressed. There are some alarming areas to do with the research that I find worrying. This will be discussed later in this document  but this piece stands out “All though the data has not be fully analysed, the interviews provided feedback that our proposed solution was compatible with the way developers worked as well as providing many concepts that could be developed to become patterns.” This not only has a spelling error but admits that they haven’t processed the data gained, they then show that as a silver lining the developers essentially think that what they are doing is cool, they then follow that up by iterating that they also got expected data from the interviewee’s.
overall the paper and the sources seem credible but there are some aspects that seem to lack professionalism.

Does it have a helpful abstract? Give reasons for your answer.

The Abstract is very concise and very descriptive to the point that it could almost have been the title. the abstract starts by clearly stating their intention to build a model and what that model will support.” We present a model to support the design, analysis, and comparison of games through the use of game design patterns,” this section if abridged could have served as a subtitle to the paper itself. Their goals are clearly stated and the means by which they intend to achieve is delivered immediately. This is great in a paper with such an alarmingly undescriptive title. the abstract continues with a further definition of what the authors meant by game design patterns “descriptions of reoccurring interaction relevant to game play” this is stressed later in the paper with almost a whole section covering the use of the word pattern in this context, making sure that the reader understands patterns don’t function like a blue print or like a pattern in the usual definition of the word. “The model consists of a structural framework to describe the components of game” this is interesting as this section is not really covered except shallowly in this paper but still represents half of the model. It is uncertain whether it should be mentioned that this is covered in the companion paper. The “and patterns of interaction that describes how components are used by players (or a computer) to affect various aspects of the game play” this is the half that is discussed in this paper and offers another short description for what the author means when they talk about design patterns. “Focusing on the patterns and identified methods for using them, we describe the development of the model” this is more or less a micro introduction to how they mean to discuss the model and is pretty expected the next part is more interesting “ …and how we are currently working to enlarge and validate the collection of patterns.” This part details their plans to extend the number of valid patterns the have identified  which  a process they discuss later in the paper.
Is this abstract helpful? Yes, it is saying everything that is essential and very little else. Could it have more information? Yes, it could probably have been a little longer but this is definitely sufficient and useful.

What did the author(s) do in their research, what research approach and what method(s) did they use?

The authors used both primary and secondary research when getting information for the design of the model. In terms of secondary research they looked at systems in place that could potentially achieve what they were aiming for and discussed the upsides and downsides. Looking at things like the use of genre and mechanics and other related models such as churches Formal abstract design tools (FADT’s)( Church, D. (1999). Formal Abstract Design Tools. Online article available at http://www.gamasutra.com.) and Barwood & Falsteins’ 400 design rules.(. Falstein, N (2002). Better By Design: The 400 Project. Game Developer magazine, Vol. 9, Issue 3, March 2002, p. 26 & http://www.theinspiracy.com/400_project.htm) CHECK).  It should be noted that there is no primary research in the development of the model itself and that the model is mostly an adaption and formalisation of interactive game mechanics that was constructed from the secondary research mentioned above. The primary research was undertaken in identifying valid patterns for the model as mentioned in the end of the abstract.  This section contained what they referred to as brute force identifying of patterns from games by analysing a large number of games with a structured approach. It is worth mentioning that they admit that the structured approach lost all structure reasonably fast. Then they also had interviews with 9 game designers from a variety of mediums and genres. The authors admit that they haven’t analysed the data which means while interviews are one of the best ways to get information on a system for human interaction they didn’t use that opportunity

Do you think the method(s) they used was appropriate to the question they were asking? Explain why or why not.

I think that the secondary research they did for designing the model made sense and with something as human as what language we use to discuss a topic it can be hard to find things that are empirical. The primary research to identify the different patterns was less reasonable with there being clear takeaways from the game analysis and interviews the processes themselves seemed flawed in some ways. The brute force method started with a clear structure to the analysis that was eventually abandoned for a looser and less structured approach which comes across as the authors no longer having patience they started out with. The interviews on the other hand are openly admitted to not having analysed. Are these research methods appropriate? Yes, they seem to be sensible and make sense for something like language. A more ideal approach would probably include a survey as well to get a get a better idea for current terminology or uses and whether the model they put forward has any appeal to those who are intended to use it.

What results does the paper report?

The paper has a formalised format that a game design pattern would fit in to that is to be used with the companion paper it also claims a repository of around 200 already recognised patterns in that format. There was a linked site that is no longer operating. There was a book containing the patterns published by the authors as well. The model seems sound and functional shown by an example pattern provided in the paper.

Was the paper worth reading? Give reasons for your answer.

Yes I believe the paper was worth reading even though there is a lot of relevant information in other papers / documents there is still useful information here concerning the use of patterns and ways to identify them and I believe that my language when talking about games will be affected even without reading the pattern list.

Is this paper essential reading for a game designer or ludologist? Probably not but it still brings some key ideas in to discussion and is thought provoking. It also changes the way I view game mechanics and interactions as I start to see them in this light. As the paper was released in 2006 and these concepts don’t seem to have proliferated much making it a less valuable read but the concept detailed within is worth pursuing even if this attempt seems unsuccessful

Do you believe the results/findings or the paper? Give reasons for your answer.

Yes I agree with the model set forward it is well structured and provides a concrete list of terms and defines what they mean in the context of the model. This is important because of many words playing so many different roles or having different meanings can cloud discussion. Overall the model and some of the examples I have seen make the patterns sound like very natural and normal parts of speech with more concrete definitions. Examples include paper scissors rock, mutual goal, shared reward, privileged move. With these various patterns relating to one another in a multitude of ways that seem natural.
the result is a Decent if somewhat rare addition to the language of games that is natural to the point of already being in use.

What did you learn while Reading this PAPER?

I feel there is very little in terms of a concrete takeaway for this paper unless the reader goes digging for the pattern list. I did however learn different ways about discussing games and I now see effects of reading this paper in how I view games now and how I discuss them with others. If I find myself using borrowed or discipline specific language I am now aware of that and consider if what I want to convey could best be understood another way.
if you are interested find the somewhat empty http://www.gameplaydesignpatterns.org/ collection of patterns here. I’m not sure if it counts but I have definitely learnt something by viewing a number of these.

finally

I feel that the paper has good intentions in an area that needs attention and I believe that this was a good attempt at providing a solution however there are some issues with the research and distribution of the model itself.

Brazen space filling