by KING Art Games
Can u add a detail damage model for the robots?
maybe even more detailed than "left leg" right leg"
Thanks to all for the constructive feedback.
Thank you, to the developers over at KING. It's good to hear updates and hear that you are, at least to a reasonable level, accepting input and feedback.
There are just a few things I have always found important to gameplay dynamic in RTSs:
1. Semi-intelligent units: they seek cover, reduce needless exposure, and defend themselves accordingly. One example of this is that they are unable to be "pullled" by a quickly visible unit; they hold the defensive line and do not wander just because an enemy unit was visible. I hated it in previous RTSs where the defensive or guard component was poor instituted and an opponent could take advantage of the games programming.
2. Asymmetric maps: While balance is appreciated and while the levels that look essentially like a chessboard can be good for a fun X v. X number of player, it does not give credence to immersiveness. War was fought in odd and unaccepted environments, and so it should be as well illustrated in RTSs.
3. Progressive degradation of battlefield: Previous RTSs have done this, at least partially: The ground craters, houses falls, fields burn. But this is 1920s--a continuation of WW1, correct? Trench Warfare was in full swing--and hellish no-mans land was a real thing. A complete distortion and a blight on the land... I admittedly would like to see that a little.
4. A world outside the battlefield: RTSs tend to tunnel vision you to the battlefield you are on: you start with a few troops, multiply and push the enemy back to the edge. But, if you are trying to reflect real world factors to some extent, a small battlefield should be consider part of a wider war. Planes fly in from out of view of map, and a large loss can be detrimental to the remaining war effort.
Thank you for taking my feedback, and I completely understand if this is moot.
I've got a couple thoughts on this that may be relevant and may go along inline with some of the other things posted here...
1) I like the concept that you're making an RTS game that is more about tactics than clicks-per-minute. The frantic clicking and scrambling over the game map is one of the reasons I've always shied away from RTS games (in favor of turn-based games). I hope you find a way to blend the more thought-out approach with the urgency of the other... Maybe a "Pause" button which would bring up the option to set goals, targets, destinations, standard operating procedures and such?? Then un-pause the game and the units will carry out those orders (unless you interfere with them and change things in more "real-time"). A player could choose to play then entire scenario in real-time and it may actually be critical that they do so in some cases.
2) User Interface Design - I like to be able to customize my user interface in games, however, that doesn't mean that I'm necessarily the expert on what information is being shown to me or how it relates to other information being shown. I believe that the UI Designer probably knows more about creating a sensible layout for this stuff than I do. Soooo, I think that one successful strategy for this is to unlock the "Customize Your Interface" option only after the player has gone through a tutorial of some sort that shows the players the information, explains the various relationships and maybe explains why things are where they are on the screen. This means that your game UI designer's initial layout/design are more highly valued and only after understanding the various components will the game allow you to alter that.
Something that I feel would help the strategy over clicks per second goal is pre-planning. Two ways I could see this implemented are load outs on a per unit or selection of units basis, and using a certain fixed number of resources for "scouting".
I have a couple ideas for having a pregame scouting round including seeing parts of the enemy load out, getting the ability to pick a "better" starting location, or possibly having the opportunity to make small changes to the terrain before the battle.
I’d like to add a rule:
Each faction should have a unique and clear gameplay style. For example in DOW 1, Eldar trade speed and maneuverability for unit health. Imperial Guard have the best tanks, but the worst infantry. Necrons have hard to kill, yet slow units. I think taking a goal like this and building a faction around it lends well to having defined factions with clear strengths and weaknesses, rather than each faction just having different units, and it’s up to you to figure out which ones are useful.
To lend this to the world of 1920+, I could see Polonia having higher maneuverability through calvary and the mech with the bayonet, Saxony being about brute force and artillery, and Rusviet being all about manpower, and having the most infantry at its disposal.
I'm in agreement with what Brian Peterson.
Something else I would like to see with games, if feasible, is some degree of autonomy with troops. It could be a toggle on/off, for players that do and do not like it. I've seen in RPGs like Dragon Age, you can set a players "tactics", essentially how much autonomy they have.
What I'd like is to be able to give the troops on the ground the option to use their special abilities when they determine it's a good time. Give them the option to retreat in good order if being overrun, with an alert to the CO (Player).
And of course the ability to group units together by number for quick selection, as done in the Company of Heroes series. I often group squads or platoons together and move them as whole units.
Something else, and this is more of a cosmetic pet peeve, every game I've played uses short squads that are only about half the size of real-world squads. In the interwar period, squads ranged from about 9-12 strong. It would make my historian's heart happy to see correct squad sizes.
Yes. Diversity. Basically what C&C did. Some missions you just could steamroll the enemy (fun, relaxing) and some missions were hard as nails, navigating a sniper around enemy camp and overtaking a building and soon the entire base (hard, stressful). Every good game should oscillate as you say it.
I disagree on this point: "When you reach a goal, a new one, an even more interesting/bigger/harder goal, appears, leading up to the final showdown. Action-heavy phases alternate with quiet ones. A level should oscillate between “almost too easy” and “almost too hard”."
I *strongly* disagree. A level should certainly oscillate, sure - so it feels organic (or w/e you call it), but it should also ramp up consistently. It should resemble a sine wave that is constantly moving up the graph. It should feel constantly harder the further you get, and sometimes the pressure should be more and sometimes less, but never should it ever feel "almost too easy" or "almost too hard".
Colorblind friendly. Either the ability to adjust colors, or even better don't design anything so that it depends on the ability to see colors.
As an example, in COH, when going into cover, the differens between light cover and good cover is yellow or light green. Impossible for me to see the difference. Adding a small symbol to each could make all the difference.
Repeatability for me involves open ended. Having a main headquerters to do missions out of. Procedurally generated missions or levels after the main story. I think your post was great tho, im kind of a video game snob, i have to be... i cant buy every game i want to play, so i am super picky about the games i buy. If i wasnt id own um all.
I also don´t agree with the 5% example. A 10% bonus can be huge if enough number of units are present, or if it stacks with other bonuses. Imagine a machinegun nest with 10% extra firepower for elevated position bonus plus 10% extra defense for some ´fortified´ bonus. That starts to matter, it´s realistic and it encourages real tactics.
Adding to other comments here about the 5 or 50 percent high-ground bonus - I also think it should be towards the lower end. It's the only thing here I disagree with the devs on.
If you want a "tactics > clicks" vibe, I'd favour a slow combat system with pinning and big penalties for trying to retreat. In this case, where general "advantage" is more important than hit points, 5 to 10 percent could be significant.
I also think it should be scaled. Troops on slightly higher ground on an open plain should only get a small bonus. Riflemen in a second-floor window should get a bigger bonus against ground-level troops - and also partially negate any low cover they're in.
I tend to agree with the rules. I'd like to suggest some side rules that kind of follow from some of your rules
- A visually bigger unit should have more hit points
- If a unit is the relative size of N smaller units it should have roughly the hit points of the group of smaller units
I have faith that you will do a good job with the campaign but I have a few questions about the multiplayer
- Is competitive play a goal in the multiplayer i.e. will you try to balance the game for competitive play and will you design at least one multiplayer mode in that direction.
- How do you feel about 2 vs 2 multiplayer
- Will mirror matches be allowed in competitive multiplayer (it makes me extremely mad that they are not allowed in CoH because of the absurd goal of realism)
Really liked what I read. The only one comment I had was around the "A level should oscillate between 'almost too easy' and 'almost too hard'" statement. I'd see that more like a keep-fit routine on a bike. Where you get increases in difficulty, which then drops off, gives you a breather and then increases again. If it's always "almost too easy" and then "almost too hard" it doesn't give the less experienced user any chance to really learn and gain skills.
I'd agree with most of your point, though i'd be wary of the high ground example you gave. That sounds game breaking to me. Positional advantages should vary somewhat with the situation. For example, hiding behind wood barrels should not be as effective as behind a stone wall or in a building.
I say this based on the trailer where it looks like you've got a Company of Heroes vibe. And it seems as if there is a cover system in play. So, if you can take cover, you should be rewarded for that, likewise if you can take the high ground. But not in a way that means the fight becomes about the taking of that position more than the actual objective.
As far as my gameplay wants, I would like to see base building. Maybe not the super complex build this to build that or research for the next tech tree style, but something solid. One of my biggest dissapointments was going from Dawn of War to DOW II and losing the base building. There is a great amount of satisfaction in having your base withstand waves of attacks, and learning to bolster your defenses.
I don't mind troop based rts games, Company of Heroes was great, but the very linear follow the curving path types like DOW II and Warcraft III can feel like a slog fest very quickly.
Maybe something between the two, where you gain ground with troops, then set up a field hq, which could be a tent, or an occupied building, and upgraded to a permanent base. A place that could be revised at a later time when the enemy makes a push to regain ground on the front and the time you spent previously base building is remembered and pays off, or you breezed through with the minimum attempt and they retake the area easily, causing you to loose a supply route and make your own push to retake the area.
This game looks great from the trailer, the art style and mix of mech asthetics are wonderful.
First, I agree with Brian Peterson in 100% OK. But let's mention morale. A lot more soldiers died because low morale than from guns. Unit with very low morale could flee, could be pinned etc. I think in present pre alpha games units dying too fast.
I have three more rules that I wish all RTS games followed.
1) The player is king. If the players clicks cancel, stop or any other control, whether in the game or dealing with the UI, that should take priority over all other things.
2). Strategy is required with real tactics. Overwhelming number may not help. Flanking maneuvers, tactical retreats, etc. (Sudden Strike did this perfectly were hundreds would die if you just charged them ahead).
3) this one is the cardinal rule for all games that most don’t follow: don’t make a game artificially hard by making swarms and swarms of enemies appear. Make it difficult by forcing the user to think. Kronos violated this rule in a frustrating manner and to me it’s a cop out by the developer.
Finally a bonus rule/request. Please don’t give the computer an artificial advantage, bound them by the same rules. Command and conquer red alert versus red alert (any others). First red alert the computer had seemingly endless resources, where they balanced it for other games.
Nice little dev update. Thanks!
Definitely second comments about needless timers and overpowering / balancing - level design will certainly tie into any rules that are applied to terrain, so I'd hope you can avoid gameplay advantages or special attacks that don't have a defined tactical application (i.e. aren't just for spamming during every single firefight).
I guess my main gripe with many RTS games is a lack of tactical options or "dumb" AI behaviour. So as well as design I'm quite interested in the gameplay mechanics. Some elements of simulation would be very much welcome - unit customisation tree / options in weapons or skills (applies to enemies also, so you can't just take that squad of infantry for granted), damage effects (and modelling) to both soft and hard targets, projectile physics, suppression (and defilade / enfilade advantages), unit morale or experience effects (buff of de-buff), vehicle abandon / capture, squad / small unit tactics (defined recon, assault, defend behaviours), some autonomy in friendly unit action - i.e. applying special attacks depending on the encounter, crew-served actually engaging or disengaging when under ranged or area attack (AI dependant of course, could be low-level and optional).
Some great views here, I particularly like the oscillation levels - spot on.
the only bit I might disagree with is the 5% advantage bit - there needs to be a mathematical model here and yes the fact that you’ve gained an advantage (or are suffering as your opponent has) needs to be clear; but if you’re getting one-shorted because you’re opponent has a marginal advantage then it’s going to focus on that advantage alone.
It’s going to be difficult to make something “almost too hard” if advantages are too overwhelming.
Just my thoughts! :-)
I love this: "Tactics have to be more important than clicks per seconds."
Please, please get this right! I can't think of a single RTS that doesn't rely heavily on clicks per second and fast micro, especially at an advanced level. It would be great to have a game with TTS-level depth and RTS fluidity, especially for multiplayer and skirmish.
Humbly, a few ideas to help it happen:
- Big maps and slow-moving units, to make strategic manoeuvres part of the game. Flanking moves take planning and careful movement through cover. Committing infantry to one side of map means you can't quickly redeploy them elsewhere. Fast mechs and cavalry bring real flexibility. Scouts and transport units are actually useful. As in Supreme Commander.
- Healing and reinforcement are slow, and can only be done in certain areas or by certain units. A lost skirmish has a real impact and every engagement counts.
- Resources are scarce, reinforcement is cheaper than replacement, and experience gives units a significant buff. In other words, losing a unit really hurts. Dawn of War II does this well.
- Units become pinned when losing a firefight, and take increased damage when retreating. No more easy running away from a bad situation. If you leave your units unsupported, they’re going to get hurt, even if they’re not flanked. Encourages concentration of force and use of reserves; discourages the usual bumrush to cap resources.
- Units use abilities and special weapons autonomously. This leaves the player free to think about positioning and tactics, rather than getting the perfect timing for the grenade throw or artillery strike.
For traceability in the gameplay rules; I think things like this can often be done well through the unit's voice acting. Stuff like "Watch out, they have the high ground!" to tell the player that high ground gives an advantage, and feels natural and thematic. I think Dawn of War 2 did conveying information to the player through unit voice lines very well.
I like your goals and generally agree with them. I do worry a little about the example rule. If the advantages that rules give are 0 or x2 then I worry that they will create one single way to win (in that case, by dominating high ground) that will be so powerful that there are no counters against. Games should also have subtleties that reward sophisticated players who play in a clever way to take advantage of all of them. I agree that 0.05 is too little to be relevant but I'd say 0.1 or 0.2 could turn a battle but wouldn't be so penalising that the other player is hamstrung.
I especially love that last bullet point. :)
It's refreshing to see a company that goes against the grain. That don't work for the dollar, instead they work for the game. I hope your goals serve you and the game well. I'm interested in seeing what's next.
So what Nic said. Clicks Per Second is a very small minority, those are players who are pretty skilled and at same time, manages to destroy their Mouses, cause in my belief, that is just really ineffective. I happen to click often in MOBAs, cause i don't have direct control over my Character, only Clicking Method, unlike Strategy Games that i only have to click once or fewer times to use Commands, where MOBAs you have to make split-second decisions. The illusion where Clicks Per Second saves a Unit, which really doesn't, because once a Attack has been used/fired, it hits regardless, there's no escaping that. I would like to avoid Clicks Per Second being important. Sure, it can exist, but don't make it the main dish. If Iron Harvest has their Attacks limited to Distance, Recoil and Hitbox. Even if you fire a rocket, it can recoil and miss completely the target, but still do damage by AoE or hit someone else, same applies to other weapons. A melee attack could totally whiff if your barely dodges.
A lot of these are good for non-RTS games as well. Interesting. :-) (Spare time mobile game dev)
Would you consider releasing a sort of playable demo for us backers? That would be awesome. :)
I do absolutely agree with Soren!
Last section was pretty much exclusive to SP, can you elaborate on what your thoughts about MP gameplay are?
So i agree with Soren. I've played countless of RTSes over my time. One thing is for certain...poorly designed levels where Timers stresses you forwards and forces you to make hasty and chaotic decisions where people feel only pressure as they face onwards. This makes it difficult for people to complete a level with any decision or strategy at all. If they had to do this, you'd have a Pause for the Level, so you can analyze and view the level to come up with said plan and strategy in the Time Based Level/Mission. Levers/Buttons, whatever time period use, have to be attached to a quick click button for Interaction, for Units that can use them. Small Levers/Buttons for Infantry and bigger ones for Units capable of using them, example a Mecha having Hands that can use them. These are just some of my thoughts. A command for Units, without having to actually click the Model for said Lever/Button, a Interaction Command. Lemme know what you think.
Excellent points so far!
the specific point on "give players time vs clicks per second" seems to me quite important (maybe not for others).
I recall one of the most rewarding "my strategy was right!" feelings in gaming ever I had, was with Commandos: behind the enemy lines, and Commandos 2.
I totally understand Iron Harvest is not that type of game, but simply saying that allowing some time to prepare and revel in malevolence once your plan has been executed successfully is something i look forward to in Iron Harvest.
One thing about the rules that I just want to comment on.
The fastest way to kill my interest in an RTS game is to have levels where I either have to work against a timer or a lever where I am handed 5 infantry and have to walk through a maze and avoid hostility.
Things like that is why I never completed Starcraft.
Engaging storylines and characters, that would want players to care about the ideas, culture, ultimate goals of each factions.