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I have been playing rts since AoE1. I knew about the mod in those days. Rediscovered the project last year. And have read through a lot on the forum and that page you linked. :P

I just want to help this game reach its potential faster. but i dont have any necessary skills to aid. :( 

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As promised the concept. 6.100 words of pure gameplay related stuff. Note: As this thread digs REALLY deep in the gameplay development, please read the document carefully and try to comprehend wh

Part II: Solution Concept taking Atheneans as example civilization: Excerpt from design doc: “Developers do not seem to be content to further the traditional RTS in the same vein as Age

I like the building dependency concept, especially requiring more than one type of parent, like corral + farmstead = market. Just have to make sure the tree makes sense, but the concept is good.

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1 minute ago, drsingh said:

I have been playing rts since AoE1. I knew about the mod in those days. Rediscovered the project last year. And have read through a lot on the forum and that page you linked. :P

I just want to help this game reach its potential faster. but i dont have any necessary skills to aid. :( 

Play, get to be good, suggest, test, (learn from our most active dev in the lobby), in the end you might even become a moderator or just someone who is asked his opinion before things are done. This is my suggestion to everyone like you, I am online a lot of the time and can help you if you want. :)

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8 minutes ago, Hannibal_Barca said:

Play, get to be good, suggest, test, (learn from our most active dev in the lobby), in the end you might even become a moderator or just someone who is asked his opinion before things are done. This is my suggestion to everyone like you, I am online a lot of the time and can help you if you want. :)

Thanks. I think I can do playtesting fine, and with some help will learn to report errors.

But due to upcoming PG exams and personal commitments after that. I am actually restricting myself from playing for now. After 4-6 months I'll become more active...

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On 09/03/2017 at 5:33 PM, DarcReaver said:

As a general sidenote: I'll rework parts of the sheet to apply a couple of updates that might suit the concept and/or are more unique and interesting. Many points that have been brought up in this thread by various members seem to be interesting and could be worked in. I'll see what I can do and will update this thread.

 

Couldn't agree more. RTS = war fighting with economy management, not the other way around. That's city building games.

Maybe, I'm looking it in the perspective of realism and scenario making, and maybe you are looking in the perspective of multiplayer and continuous battles. Having children as a working unit like I suggested would open up tactical choices by the player. Think of children as Age of King's sheep, controllable while at the same time, capturable by the enemy. With children, there's a plus of having "free citizens" if you capture them. Or, if this can't happen, then maybe the suggestion of @Radagast. is more suitable, like a prop/ support for women?

A little off-topic: Regarding mixing RTS with city-building, I am of the opinion that actually, those two could be combined, albeit with the city-building aspects simplified. I believe scenarios would be more realistic, and battles would be more interesting. I know though that multiplayer is a totally different area, and that a system that mixes both RTS and city-building must minimize or totally abandon the city-building aspects when in multiplayer.  Maybe that could happen, maybe not. Most probably not. But I'll continue dreaming. ;)

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Redirecting conversation from Application: Gameplay Developer conversation:

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 On top of that every unit of course is trained in a couple of seconds so the enemy has enough villagers to raid within the first 30 seconds of the game...

This isn't true, unless you are thinking of 2 horsemen "raiding". And it isn't just a matter of training time but of resources, if you produce men very early your economy will be will near 0 and if that raid fails the enemy will gain the upper hand.
 

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I actually forced myself to play 2 more games yesterday evening against some random dudes. Apart from lagging the game itself was boring as @#$%. 20 minutes of fiddly economy management, followed by forcing 100 ant soldiers through a cliff to meet up against a horde of swordsmen to be slaughtered.

 

The player can always choose the gamepace (or another player). If you choose to quietly eco boom and manspam then you will have that. You can choose to go on offensive with cavalry or build a 2nd CC next to the enemy and hope to wrestle his land away.

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0 Formations, no tactical micro required apart from "right click next to army"  and "set barracks rallypoint", then a manspam train to get the battle going on.
What is the point of having to manage 4 resources if all you need is to mass up one unit type for wood/lumber and then clash up the enemy?

Firstly, you have 4 resources right? Food is needed for everything except building basically, wood for anything military, stone for building or slingers and metal for mercenaries/champs. If of these 4 resources you choose to only use 2 - thus creating "trash" armies- and fight using those, against an experienced player this will be for naught. That guy can either choose champs + siege or a mixed army of citizens, champs and seige. A good army needs all of the 4 resources, mostly wood and food (stone for slingers), but the better quality stuff needs metal.

Fights also depend on how you arrive to the battlefield and in what way you engage. If you arrive in a long line you will probably get slaughtered. In a fight you can choose to detach a force to attack possible ranged units behind enemy melee, or attack any enemy siege threatening your buildings.

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Second game : cavalry rushing around, taking out villagers until the player left after 10 minutes. Even though there was more action in this game it was still dumb. No strategy required, just build 5 women, train 3 horses and start raiding. without any thought or teching or a buildorder.

Remember that the enemy can do almost exactly the same units as you can, if one can't defend vs. a cavalry rush with spears and cavalry...

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Sure, it should be possible to rush/boom/turtle in an RTS, but those strategies should require buildorders or teching to differentiate between each other.


 

Rushers tend to do less women, instead making first/2nd batch a batch of men. Building a barracks earlier is often done, and the type of food gathered usually is more vegetarian for non-rushers. (due to cavalry hunting) Also this way it is quite flexible, if you fail in rush you can try a smooth transition to an eco-centred build.

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Update concerning economy: I'll work further on the concept and will upload a new version of the design guideline when I finished some other aspects. However, I wanted to share this before going further in the text to summarize aspects that were put up in the discussion. Several interesting proposals were made which I want to incorporate into the guideline. There are more other aspects that I'll pick up, but this is one of the most important things for the game flow and thus I used it first.

 

Aspect design concept: Resources, Gathering and Map Control

The resources:

The game features 5 resources at the moment: Food, wood, stone, metal and population.

From an analysis standpoint I tried to break down the use of each resource. After considering player's opinions the detailed resource system is a strength rather than a limit to the game and thus should be kept and further fine tuned.

The system is very similar to Age of Empires II and of course there is no further elaboration why AoE II uses those resources. I think the system needs to be revised a bit to clear up confusion about which resource serves which purpose and to make gathering a more interesting objective apart from massing gatherers and sending them to the gathering spots.

One thing I noticed and found interesting is that food and population actually serve a similar purpose. Both limit the amount of units that can be trained. Population is an overall hardcap (for performance reasons in Age and to prevent large army massing) and food is a soft hardcap resource that determines how much military can be trained. The more gatheres aquire food, the more military can be trained.

Resource roles:

Food is the backbone of everything – without food there is no teching possible and no unit training.  Fast gathering.

Wood - basic construction resource - is essential for expanding the economy. Medium speed to gather.

Stone - advanced construction resource - is important to build military buildings and advancing the city phases. medium speed to gather

Iron - basic military resource - gathering determines how much military can be trained at a time. medium speed to gather.

Silver - advanced military resource - is important for military improvement techs and used for training superiors, elite units. slow to gather.

Population - instead of being only connected to houses, population is influenced by city size (village - town - metropolis). Required to train units (obviously)

So far, this is not that much different to the current game. The resource split from metal into Iron and Silver is to me important to create a pattern in the resource distribution. If we keep "metal" as a single resource, the result should be that stone is kicked out aswell, or merged with wood to a resource called "building materials". I don't know which one is better, I suppose it's necessary to playtest and see whether the economy draws too much attention with 5 resources to manage or not.

The main difference from how gathering itself works from the current alpha:

Gathering spots for each resource are much more limited. Each resource spot only allows a handful of gatherers to collect from them. There is no option for dozens of gatherers at a single drop site. Instead, if players want to gather more resources they need to spread out. Gatherers become inexpensive and cheaper to produce and maintain. loosing a couple of villagers hurts, but not as much as it currently does.  

In the following spoilers I put up some numbers that could work. Not set in stone, but could be an orientation:
 

Spoiler

Proposal for Gatherers per drop site for starters:

Food : 2/4 (for small/large food sources)
Wood: 2 (for all trees)
Stone Iron, Silver: 2/4 (like food)

Usage concept for resources:

Spoiler

 

Buildings:

Economic: wood only
Military: stone only
Civic: stone and food ²(!)
Iron: none
Silver: none

²conceptual idea, founding new cities would require food from logical sense. Not 100% final

Units:

Gatherers - food
Inexpensive units like slingers, spearmen – food and wood
basic units like swordman – food and metal
basic ranged units like archers and skirmishers – wood and metal
champion units like chariots, elephants, cavalry – food, metal and silver
champion ranged units like elite peltastes, chariot archers, horse archers etc. – wood, metal and silver

Techs/upgrades:

Upgrades (military) - food and silver
Upgrades (economic) – food and wood
Upgrades (civic) - stone and food (example: city progression),

Population caps (thoughts)

Houses hardcapped to ~10 houses per city. Depending on city level they can provide 10-20-30 population each. Alternatively: Military requires no population and is only depending on the food that is available from gatherers. Gatherers require population from houses and are hard capped per city.

In a logical sense, soldiers that are at war do not sleep in houses, so it's rather strange that they take up pop from the city houses. Instead, armies rely on being supplied with food, water, weapons etc. from their home cities. This concept could be further elaborated, as I think it would fit the city Advance system.

Alternatively, each city grants a fixed amount of population. Houses then are scrapped. I'd keep houses for the sake of being authentic though. houses belong into cities.

 

 

Gathering dynamics:

First a quick word on what "Gathering dynamics" means: Gathering dynamics refer to how the resource collection process works. to put up a quick example (as usual):

command and conquer. While it only has one resource ("credits"), it's a limited resource. Let me explain: Credits are created by refineries. Refineries train harvester units which collect Tiberium that is spread around the map. After collecting enough Tiberium the harvester returns back to the refinery and unloads his cargo to create credits. Each refinery only supports a maximum of 2-3 harvesters. If there are more they have to wait to unload their cargo. Thus, to have a larger economy, a player needs multiple refineries. But if he has many refineries his starting resources deplete quickly and he hase to move his gatherers into more dangerous parts of the map where they can be raided. To avoid this, players can create colonies at other tiberium sites to make the gathering more safe.

Another game : Warcraft III

Gathering gold is limited to gold mines. Each mine can support a gold income of 10 gold/second. no matter how many gatherers are using the goldmine, the income is fixed by the time a worker spends in the mine to collect the gold. The others stand in line and wait. If the player wants more than 10 gold/second he needs to capture another gold mine. Which is risky, and thus requires planning ahead to avoid being disrupted by the enemy.

Third game : Starcraft

Similar to Warcraft and CnC, but with higher worker limits, a soft version of Age of Empires unlimited gatherers per drop site.

as you can see, gathering resources requires players to spread out at a certain point to profit from a higher total income. This has effects on various other game dynamics that I'll cover later.

Act of War / Act of Aggression:

Map features oil sources (and aluminium, rare earth sourcer for AoA) which are exploited by refineries and have a hardcap of 3 harvesters

As you can see the gathering rates for those games are all hard capped at some point. If a player wants more resources per second, he needs to start gathering at a different position aswell. So, back to 0 AD:

In 0 AD you can gather with almost every unit at any place and profit from the resources.

Problem(s):

The way gathering works in the retail game is somewhat unhealthy in my opinion.

- gathering is too city oriented. Only until very late it's necessary to expand the city towards other resources outside the main base
- expanding is hard; civic centers take lots of resources to build
- raiding is limited. Most economic units are next to a civic center, thus raiding is risky while not granting large benefits (albeit the raiding system itself needs to be looked at regardless)
- armies can gather resources - a hard to raid blob of units that can defend themselves. Similar issue like gatherers next to a town center. Just more mobile
- blob gathering is a gamble. many units on a single dropsite, and gradually moving along the map slowly from one resource to the other. This reduces the pace at which the map is populated. My personal phrase for this would be : Locust gathering. A large force of gatherers flood a part of the map and leaves only empty ground before moving somewhere else. This isn't necessarily an "issue" but I think a modern game doesn't need this year old system.
- there is no reasoning behind City Phases apart from being copies of Age advancing in AoE.

Simply copying the "Age of Empires unlimited gathering" almost 1 to 1 is not a good idea. In AoE raiding the economy is very fatal. Each gatherer killed is a large drawback. Defensive structures must cover up for that fact by being very deadly towards early armies, thus raiding becomes a "I run around the main base in circles and kill every unit I can reach with my ranged soldiers" task. Buildings apart from houses or gathering sites are not realistically to be destroyed, slowing the game down artifically.

This issue obviously has been noticed by the devs as a problem in 0AD too. That's why the capturing feature was implemented to make the game more dynamic. Players should simply capture buildings instead of destroying them. 

Unfortunately, because the core issue from AoE is transferred to 0AD this doesn't work as intended.

Gathering and Map Control, the vision

My vision would be that players start off with a single base, and quickly start creating colonies. Imagine it to be a design concept that works similar to Age of Empires "Age Advance". In Age your civ advances from early dark Age through the middle age to gain better economy and military. 

Similar to that, in 0 AD you get to a point where you have solid enough economy to expand the Empire. Construct and conquer province cities which help the player's civilization to have bigger influence and larger military. "City borders" transform into Empire/Kingdom borders. The further the Empire advances, the larger their Capital City (the player's starting location) becomes.

This would ultimately result in players battling for Border cities and trying to increase their influence by taking over enemy cities or burning them to the ground to remove them from the opponent's reach. Ultimately the main City would fall to a massive siege, being cutoff from its vital provinces.

This would be an interesting mix between strategical and tactical choices, combined with micro and macro and certainly way more unique.

How the concept of "limiting gathering sites" influences this:

The larger the city, the more provinces are required to supply it.

Since food is very important and free gathering sources deplete over time, a couple of “farm provinces” are needed to supply a player’s city with enough food to keep going. Food is important and prone to raiding. The relative near to the city makes defending farms easier, as farms would naturally be closer to the Capital city (food is required early and steady, so fields are necessary at an early stage).

Forests and mines are more exposed and thus require more careful protection. However, in case a player loses a gathering spot he’ll just gradually be slowed down, because players need several gathering points for stone, iron and silver. That way there’s no issue with “oh no, I lost a gold mine and all 12 villagers gathering. Gg I can leave because I lost my economy”. Protection systems like palisades become more important as it’s hard to protect every gathering colony with an army and allows players to buy time to transfer an army there.

To gain a better defense mechanism I propose an “outpost” building. This serves as a light version of a Civic Center, with less hitpoints and defenses. This building can be built in early phases and also be upgraded , similar to a civic center. Just at a smaller scale. Outposts can supply a “garrison” army, thus they can train a basic infantry and a basic ranged unit which can be used to react to attacks.

Military target variety:

Right now, there is only one target for military: raid the enemy's main city. There is no other objective for military except to interfere with the opponent. This makes fighting somewhat limited and promotes rushing. Soldiers only move from the player's city towards the enemy city, on the most direct way.

It would certainly interesting to allow players to utilize their military to gain influence over the map gradually instead. Partly this will be accomplished by being able to raid economic outposts. Outposts in their very nature are easier to attack because they lack defenses comparable to a main base and the attacks are more rewarding as they weaken the enemy’s economy at the same time.

Neutral Provinces

The statements from others about a province system caught my attention.

As a more unique approach, the map could feature neutral cities near large gathering sites that can be captured. It would further emphasize the “main city – colony/province” city building aspect that is featured by the City phase upgrades. Players would fight for the neutral cities and colonies before applying pressure to the main city.

Having neutral provinces would emphasize an alternative way to gain map control: either invest from the own economy to create an own “province” or simply use military to take over another one.

The capturing mechanics from the current game would also become more important. Raid a province and then quickly take it over yourself for profit.

Overall this would create more dynamics and progress around the map without problems like “siege camps/barracks spam out of nowhere” sneaky cheese strategies present in Age of Empires. On top there is more dynamic, there is more to explore. Scouting to check out good positions for economic expansion and seeing which neutral provinces are worth acquiring provide strategical planning and are fun as they keep the player busy.

Multitasking becomes more important, planning ahead for preparing defenses, fake attacks on a province and then attacking another spot with the main army make games more surprising and allow comebacks.

No more “I look at my main city for 10 minutes and watch my gatherers harvest resources”.

 

Conclusion

Resource gathering should be more dynamic and map control based. By including the economic tweaks the spirit of City management plays a larger role. Raiding and conquering parts of an empire gives reasons for City borders. Neutral provinces put the scenario maps to life. Strategical planning becomes more important, and rushing military can be postponed because players can be kept busy with city building at first and it's not necessary to immediately send over lone riders to capture enemy women. also, this would reflect history more. There were many cities that evolved and prospered from nearby resources. Others were founded because they were at a important strategical position. Those cities were often attacked and taken over by enemies to increase their influence etc.

Opinions?

Edited by DarcReaver
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My main problem with Stone and Metal being too close to the Civic Center is that a lot of new players think that those things are necessary to be gathered immediately (which they are not). I'm talking from experience and from watching youtube players who are new to the game.

Having some basic Food and Wood resources nearer while having the other resource types a bit farther from your main base might also create a tutorial-esque thing for new players: "Oh, I need Stone and Metal to advance / get this type of unit? But I don't see that here. Maybe I have to search the map for it."

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3 hours ago, DarcReaver said:

- there is no reasoning behind City Phases apart from being copies of Age advancing in AoE.

 

I disagree. Phases create a "leveling" feature for your settlement, also a bottleneck that must be overcome in order to level up. This is a standard trope for many games, not just AOE.

 

And personally, I don't want to see a cap of only 4 dudes mining a whole silver mine. I get what you're trying to do, but the cap is way too low. I don't think adding more resources is too hard to manage. The important thing to do is to look at what the current vanilla game does and don't do that thing. Namely, it makes things cost more than 2 resources. This is where it becomes hard to manage, not the number of resources overall, but costs. I don't want to see units or techs or buildings that cost 250 food, 50 metal, 60 marble, 67 silver, and 579 iron. This is an exaggeration, but the game current does this with a lot of stuff. So, if you don't do that, instead keep it down to 2 resources for cost of each entity, maybe 3 for some exceptions, then more resources are not a problem.

 

As @sphyrth says, I think one problem is that at the start there is a ton of resoruces just jammed right up against the Civic Center. Instead, the area around the CC should be relatively flat and clear of obstructions for ease of construction. the resources should be out, away, at the edges, near the hinterlands. Player should have to hunt for those precious metal and stone mines. You don't found a city right on top of a mine anyway.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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9 hours ago, sphyrth said:

My main problem with Stone and Metal being too close to the Civic Center is that a lot of new players think that those things are necessary to be gathered immediately (which they are not). I'm talking from experience and from watching youtube players who are new to the game.

Having some basic Food and Wood resources nearer while having the other resource types a bit farther from your main base might also create a tutorial-esque thing for new players: "Oh, I need Stone and Metal to advance / get this type of unit? But I don't see that here. Maybe I have to search the map for it."

Yes, but unfortunately, if you remove stone and metal from the current starting setup, it's pretty much impossible to gather them at all.

Like I stated earlier, there is no early "outpost"-type building available to increase base influence around the map. Civic Centers are delayed way too much to actually serve as economic outposts. I don't mean that they're useless, it's just that they are unfit for a quick expansion, at least the way they are right now.

Putting resource drop sites on neutral territory would help, but since they cannot train gatherers it's a gamble if the sources are raided since it throws back attacked players quite much.

7 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

I disagree. Phases create a "leveling" feature for your settlement, also a bottleneck that must be overcome in order to level up. This is a standard trope for many games, not just AOE.

 

And personally, I don't want to see a cap of only 4 dudes mining a whole silver mine. I get what you're trying to do, but the cap is way too low. I don't think adding more resources is too hard to manage. The important thing to do is to look at what the current vanilla game does and don't do that thing. Namely, it makes things cost more than 2 resources. This is where it becomes hard to manage, not the number of resources overall, but costs. I don't want to see units or techs or buildings that cost 250 food, 50 metal, 60 marble, 67 silver, and 579 iron. This is an exaggeration, but the game current does this with a lot of stuff. So, if you don't do that, instead keep it down to 2 resources for cost of each entity, maybe 3 for some exceptions, then more resources are not a problem.

 

As @sphyrth says, I think one problem is that at the start there is a ton of resoruces just jammed right up against the Civic Center. Instead, the area around the CC should be relatively flat and clear of obstructions for ease of construction. the resources should be out, away, at the edges, near the hinterlands. Player should have to hunt for those precious metal and stone mines. You don't found a city right on top of a mine anyway.

Yes, I agree that units shouldn't cost too many resources at once. However, that's sort of intended with the complicated resource system already in place.

Imo, if the resources are streamlined, stone should be kicked out aswell, or you keep 1 general resource (food) and 2x economic sources (stone and wood) and 2x military sources (iron silver). Another option would be to kick out food and replace it with an upkeep system instead. Towns/villages/farms produce a fixed income of food/second, and units consume food/second and replace the system of food as a building requirement. It's a rather drastic change though.

This way you essentially do the same as currently is done with food/pop cap, and you only have 3-4 "real" resources to manage - wood, stone, metal(iron/silver).

 

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11 minutes ago, DarcReaver said:

Yes, but unfortunately, if you remove stone and metal from the current starting setup, it's pretty much impossible to gather them at all.

 

I think he saying move the mines away from the CC and toward the edge of the starting terriroty. At least, that's what I'm saying. ;) He and I object to the mines basically being right there at the front door of the CC. Move them away a bit. The mines are space invaders currently.

 

11 minutes ago, DarcReaver said:

Putting resource drop sites on neutral territory would help, but since they cannot train gatherers it's a gamble if the sources are raided since it throws back attacked players quite much.

Let's try it. ;)

 

@Removing resources:

I don't really see the need to drop stone or food. Still don't understand that one. Food makes sense to keep, since it is /the/ most important resource a city and a people needs -- along with water of course. Stone works great as a resource for defenses, etc. Metal works for technologies, champions, etc. Wood works for buildings and ships. I understand how you're conflating food and pop cap, but in the player's mind they're not related.

Edited by wowgetoffyourcellphone
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7 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

I disagree. Phases create a "leveling" feature for your settlement, also a bottleneck that must be overcome in order to level up. This is a standard trope for many games, not just AOE.

 

And personally, I don't want to see a cap of only 4 dudes mining a whole silver mine. I get what you're trying to do, but the cap is way too low. I don't think adding more resources is too hard to manage. The important thing to do is to look at what the current vanilla game does and don't do that thing. Namely, it makes things cost more than 2 resources. This is where it becomes hard to manage, not the number of resources overall, but costs. I don't want to see units or techs or buildings that cost 250 food, 50 metal, 60 marble, 67 silver, and 579 iron. This is an exaggeration, but the game current does this with a lot of stuff. So, if you don't do that, instead keep it down to 2 resources for cost of each entity, maybe 3 for some exceptions, then more resources are not a problem.

 

As @sphyrth says, I think one problem is that at the start there is a ton of resoruces just jammed right up against the Civic Center. Instead, the area around the CC should be relatively flat and clear of obstructions for ease of construction. the resources should be out, away, at the edges, near the hinterlands. Player should have to hunt for those precious metal and stone mines. You don't found a city right on top of a mine anyway.

Yes, I agree that units shouldn't cost too many resources at once. However, that's sort of intended with the complicated resource system already in place.

Imo, if the resources are streamlined, stone should be kicked out aswell, or you keep 1 general resource (food) and 2x economic sources (stone and wood) and 2x military sources (iron silver). Another option would be to kick out food and replace it with an upkeep system instead. Towns/villages/farms produce a fixed income of food/second, and units consume food/second and replace the system of food as a building requirement. It's a rather drastic change though.

This way you essentially do the same as currently is done with food/pop cap, and you only have 3-4 "real" resources to manage - wood, stone, metal(iron/silver).

8 minutes ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

I think he saying move the mines away from the CC and toward the edge of the starting terriroty. At least, that's what I'm saying. ;) He and I object to the mines basically being right there at the front door of the CC. Move them away a bit. The mines are space invaders currently.

 

Let's try it. ;)

Moving mines towards the edges would help, yes. Instead of drop sites in neutral territory I'd vote for Expansion Outposts still. Maybe it would be sufficient to make basic civic centers weaker and allow them to be created in Phase I.

Alternatively, drop sites can create gatherers aswell, so if raided those buildings are able to resupply themselves. The thing I would want to avoid is that there's a manspam train from the civic center main base towards all kinds of outer resource spots.

The hard caps on gathering would certainly make eco booming harder, even with gatherer creation from drop sites. Since there are hard caps for resources it's ineffective to build more and more gatherers at a single spot, and that's what I'd like to accomplish. Gatherers are then limited by logical sense (size of the resource field) and locust harvesting is reduced significantly.

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1 minute ago, DarcReaver said:

Alternatively, drop sites can create gatherers aswell, so if raided those buildings are able to resupply themselves. The thing I would want to avoid is that there's a manspam train from the civic center towards all kinds of outer resource spots.

See Principate Romans in Delenda Est for proof of concept.

 

But even without storehouse training, you really don't get that trail of dudes if you have neutral territory dropsites. You exhaust a mine or whatever, and then move to the next one and build a new storehouse or whatever.

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1 hour ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

See Principate Romans in Delenda Est for proof of concept.

 

But even without storehouse training, you really don't get that trail of dudes if you have neutral territory dropsites. You exhaust a mine or whatever, and then move to the next one and build a new storehouse or whatever.

Locust gathering, yes :P

don't get me wrong - neutral gathering sites of course surely works a lot better than the system present in 0AD vanilla. No question in that.

What I'm referring to is that if you loose a couple of gatherers from a raid it's hard to replace them from the Civic Center.

Example:

Imagine your workers have to travel 30 seconds to get to the gathering site.
The gathering site has 5 workers on it

Enemy comes by and kills all 5 workers and then retreats.
The raid will then cost the attacked player:
- resource cost for 5 workers
- construction time of 5 workers worth of gathering time
- travel time of 30 seconds per worker to the gathering site

Those newly trained workers _could_ be intercepted on their way and killed aswell. Hit and run at its best.

Another point combat dynamic:

if a drop site can train gatherers, it's actually more efficient to capture those buildings. Since the enemy has the option to quickly train workers himself he can utilize a benefit from the drop site. If he has to shift over gatherers from another spot it's again the travel time issue.

edit: to circumvent the "travel time" issue you can of course increase gatherers' base speed and or training costs. This effects early gathering aswell though, unless using technologies for that. AoE has hand cart/wheelbarrow techs for this. They knew about the issue and these technologies partly reduce the effect. However AoE gathering is mostly limited around the main city for Age I and II. With Age III you get the option to build town centers, and this is mainly used building for new gathering spot from there on (because you can protect villagers and at the same time train new villagers right next to the source),

 

Edited by DarcReaver
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On 10/03/2017 at 6:00 AM, Tiber7 said:

I didn't have any other idea to eradicate too short trade lines, to limit the number of traders and forbide players to totally rely on trading.

I do agree with you @wowgetoffyourcellphone but your still allow to trade within your city which should not be possible. You don't trade with caravans in one sole city, caravans are trading between cities and ideally between two allies. Btw the way I'm not saying your solution is bad.

I'm not saying my solution is better too, but I didn't find any other solution to achieve the 3 goals I talked about in the beginning of the message. I still think my solution is a too harsh "punishment" (I would rather call it a limitation). I think it's not the best solution but it's the only one I finded that matches with the 3 goals.

@niektb, if you have a better solution tell it :)

OK this is where I jump in because I commented on this problem and Lion.Kanzen sent me here. I've been reading this all day. I officially hate Dyslexia.
 
Trading is in AoE so it's here but it's function to eliminate getting stuck when your last metal mine dies or the last tree falls and you're hemmed in by enemies or allies.  
Much of the lag is those dang traders. It's also there but less of a problem with trading ships because their pathing is easier. Big empty water.
We know this because there are some people playing AoE on special challenge maps where trading is the only way to get resources past the first dozen trees. On these maps they have very few other units. They are gauntlet challenge maps. They're on youtube but I can't find them right now. 

So how do we kill the late game conga line of traders? Remember the distance function is there so you can intercept and raid their trade lines and he yours but if you have the enemy bottled up so he can't do that, your conga line dances along until the game grinds to a halt. 

1. Deep mining. Make a renewable mine that gets a small trickle of Stone, Iron or Silver or perhaps all three. Total Annihilation does this but it's too early game. Favors turtling up with your resources. Perhaps have it only productive on neutral ground or far away from other buildings. Limit the number. 

2. Forestry. Add a late game forester that plants trees, like Settlers, so your trees don't run low but also make it so he can't plant them close to any other structure. Again to shut down turtling but still allow some if you're trapped.  
3. Coppiced trees. Planted trees that are late game and never run out. The real world solution to the 10th century fuel crisis in much of Europe. Same limits as Forester. 
4. Trade escorts. A tech to increase the capacity, armor value of the carts and raise their pop cost forcing the player to have half as many but doubling their efficiency. Repeatable in two or three tiers. Thus upgrading rather than spamming is the solution. Pro Fewer carts = less lag. Con: You lose more if they are blocked or destroyed. 
5. Expanded handicrafts. Add techs that convert stone to jewelry = silver. Fine metal crafting:  iron + silver to more iron.
6. Smuggling units. Units that convert food to iron or silver While they are in neutral or enemy territory. 
7. Loot. When a unit levels up a small amount of iron and silver is added to your pool. 

I'm an all of the above kind of guy. Try all seven with low level yield so the player has choices and so the dev team can play with nerfs and bonuses to each in  different civilizations. 


 

Edited by Wesley
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I feel like it is time to sort topics in different threads in ordner to not loose overview... E.g. "[gameplay] trade system", "[gameplay] resource system", "[gameplay] military system", ...

Some ideas and unrelated stuff from my notes for the military system. Sorry that I won't tell much more, I currently have not that much time. Basically I think it would be nice to have more phases to emphasize the development/availability from weak to strong units. Something that mentioned @DarcReaver as well.

foundation phase:  allows training of support units
                   tech that allows armament of support units
village phase:     allows training of basic units
                   tech that allows basic -> advanced promotion
town phase:        tech that allows training of advanced units
                   tech that allows advanced -> elite promotion
city phase:        tech that allows training of elite units
                   allows training of champion units
                   allows training of heroes
world city phase:  (after building wonder)
                   e.g. tech that allows promotion of champion units
                   e.g. tech that allows promotion of heroes

support/basic/advanced/elite/champion/hero
infantry HP: 20/60/80/100/140/320
ranged infantry HP: 20/40/50/60/80/160
melee cavalry HP: 30/90/120/150/210/480
ranged cavalry HP: 30/60/75/90/120/240
melee armor: 1/6/7/8/9/12                    
ranged armor: -/2/3/4/5/8
melee attack: 1/3/4/5/7/16
archer attack: 1/1.5/2/2.5/3.5/8
slinger attack: -/2.4/3.2/4/5.6/12.8
skirmisher attack: -/3/4/5/7/16

100% hack attack for swordsmen
50% pierce attack, 50% hack attack for spearmen
100% pierce attack for pikemen and ranged
25% crush attack, 75% pierce attack for slingers

 

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40 minutes ago, Wesley said:

OK this is where I jump in because I commented on this problem and Lion.Kanzen sent me here. I've been reading this all day. I officially hate Dyslexia.
 
Trading is in AoE so it's here but it's function to eliminate getting stuck when your last metal mine dies or the last tree falls and you're hemmed in by enemies or allies.  
Much of the lag is those dang traders. It's also there but less of a problem with trading ships because their pathing is easier. Big empty water.
We know this because there are some people playing AoE on special challenge maps where trading is the only way to get resources past the first dozen trees. On these maps they have very few other units. They are gauntlet challenge maps. They're on youtube but I can't find them right now. 

So how do we kill the late game conga line of traders? Remember the distance function is there so you can intercept and raid their trade lines and he yours but if you have the enemy bottled up so he can't do that, your conga line dances along until the game grinds to a halt. 

Spoiler


1. Deep mining. Make a renewable mine that gets a small trickle of Stone, Iron or Silver or perhaps all three. Total Annihilation does this but it's too early game. Favors turtling up with your resources. Perhaps have it only productive on neutral ground or far away from other buildings. Limit the number. 

2. Forestry. Add a late game forester that plants trees, like Settlers, so your trees don't run low but also make it so he can't plant them close to any other structure. Again to shut down turtling but still allow some if you're trapped.  
3. Coppiced trees. Planted trees that are late game and never run out. The real world solution to the 10th century fuel crisis in much of Europe. Same limits as Forester. 
4. Trade escorts. A tech to increase the capacity, armor value of the carts and raise their pop cost forcing the player to have half as many but doubling their efficiency. Repeatable in two or three tiers. Thus upgrading rather than spamming is the solution. Pro Fewer carts = less lag. Con: You lose more if they are blocked or destroyed. 
5. Expanded handicrafts. Add techs that convert stone to jewelry = silver. Fine metal crafting:  iron + silver to more iron.
6. Smuggling units. Units that convert food to iron or silver While they are in neutral or enemy territory. 
7. Loot. When a unit levels up a small amount of iron and silver is added to your pool. 


I'm an all of the above kind of guy. Try all seven with low level yield so the player has choices and so the dev team can play with nerfs and bonuses to each in  different civilizations. 


 

Those points brought up are more drastic solutions how to solve trading as an issue. Like you said, there are other games which use the approach of "self-supplying" resources. Not only Total Annihilation, but also games like CnC Generals (Black Markets, Supply drop zones, hackers) or even AoM (Hephaistos armoury building that creates trickles of resources or Egypt Favour statues) use this.

My personal opinion stays - AoE II trading is a weak mechanic and imo it shouldn't be used as a reference - keep in mind that the game is almost 18 years old. Some concepts are timeless, but others are simply outdated.

I'd also support a "deep mining" or "forestry" concept. The unfortunate thing is that this would result in new artwork to be required, and new scripts to make it work. To provide an example of actual way of implementation:

The last economy tech for stone/metal unlocks the respective "deep mining" structure. The structure can be garrisoned with gatherers and then trickles in respective resources. Maybe something like 50% of a regular mine shaft. To keep the "map control" concept of mines, those structures can only be placed on or directly next to existing metal/stone mine.

As a workaround, gathering those surface mines only goes down to 1 resource so the spot stays intact.

@Palaxin I think the City phases should not be over-emphasized. I'd rather go with a dynamic that allows management of multiple cities/settlements with a dynamic population increase than forcing everything into advancing the city. I know AoE and AoM do that but I think 0 AD should follow a custom concept.

Edit oh nvm, I actually misread your suggestion. Upgrade levels should be tied to city phases of course. Also I agree that the topics should be split up more. Afterall I initially created this thread to create a first basic layout that is to be made more specific. The amount of discussion in here shows how many topics actually are not thought out well and require a rework/adjustment.

I'll try to split up the topics into different branches - when I'm done I'll create the according threads in here. Actually, as a suggestion I think there should be a gameplay development sub forum in which matters like this can be discussed. The main threads (i.e. resource gathering, city progress, military) should then be stickied.

Edited by DarcReaver
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12 hours ago, sphyrth said:

My main problem with Stone and Metal being too close to the Civic Center is that a lot of new players think that those things are necessary to be gathered immediately (which they are not). I'm talking from experience and from watching youtube players who are new to the game.

Having some basic Food and Wood resources nearer while having the other resource types a bit farther from your main base might also create a tutorial-esque thing for new players: "Oh, I need Stone and Metal to advance / get this type of unit? But I don't see that here. Maybe I have to search the map for it."

Ptolemaics and britons rely on stone for early units to train, removing iron and stone from the proximity of the Civic Center will be a penalty for those civs and incentive the training of a more limited variety of units. It is true though that in savanna biome where wood amount is low or sparse, slingers have too much advantage from gathering the nearby stone. Probably reducing the total inital amount of such resources would incentivate players to move on and expand for further resources and better plan how to move on, if create an army ready for attack or defend the area with towers in favor of a more defensive tactic.

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1 hour ago, niektb said:

How about regenerative resources?

There are three ways I've seen this done.
1. It just regenerates steadily but can be over mined exhausting it.  

2. If the ore unit is not being actively mined it regenerates at a slightly faster rate than 1. Regeneration stops if your mining it.

3. An active upgrade in the relevant building costs resources and re sets mines to full, half full or quarter full. But this requires a spent mine art work if the mine is played out. 

 


 

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On 13/03/2017 at 0:33 AM, niektb said:

@Wesley: regeneration would be strange for metal and stone (unnatural) but for food / wood is see possibilities 

 

True, the only iron deposits that re-generates is bog iron and sea bed geothermal smokers.
Bog iron is water flowing through iron deposits yielding iron rich rusty colored mud where it comes to the surface. It was the main source of iron for Roman miners. Easy to find and mine, mud, but it took years to regenerate. 
We know how to mine the seabed resources but the UN disallows it at the moment. 
 

Edited by Wesley
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Though we can judge better only after seeing the concept in action. But my current opinion on it is-

 

5 Resources

It might be needed to split metal. though i'm not sure yet.

Usually more than 5 resources make a game too complex. Though we can simplify it so that. Only 4 resources matter at a point in game.-

Food, Wood, Stone, Iron in early part of game. And Food, Wood, Iron, Silver in late game (after most important structures are built already, and stone is not needed much)

Conversely. Maybe this change can wait till the end. After other gameplay improvements are done, this might not be needed.

 

Gathering Dynamics

I dont think gathering spots should be limited per resource site.

Lets talk about Warcraft 3 for eg-

It has only 2 resources- gold, wood. And Pop space.

Even in that game only gold mines are limited. not wood. Also all of the gold mines have same graphic, and same value (eg 5000 gold).

It has very limited options in terms of economy and economy management. These games are very combat oriented and in general are very different from 0AD.

0AD Map shows a world with realistic terrain. Each resource has a variety of presentation. eg- Stone- Large an small mines of different size. stone runes, statues.

Limiting it wouldnt seem logical to player.

 

Population cap

I agree population should be restricted by phase.

But limiting house to 10 in 1st phase. and multiplying pop capacity in 2nd and 3rd phase is not the correct way, imo.

Also military units are not constantly at war. They do gather a bit. or can be idle.

Changing so that only gatherers require pop space. and not military. would be changing a lot. It would become a different game altogether.

 

After reading it all. I have realised that though we agree that something seems off about the game currently. Most of us disagree on what are the real issues here. While trying to rectify the situation. We should be careful to not change the game completely if smaller changes can get the desired result.

 

First lets talk about what is good in 0AD. What parts of it appeals to the players. Things which are unique in it, which give its identity.-

Things are (mostly) logical. The soldiers are designed to be like what used to be in those times (Citizen-Soldier). There are both male and female gatherers with their respective strengths in gathering based on what would actually be. The resources used in game are all the basic resources which are there. Instead of having only gold and wood like some other games. Though I dont agree with resource cost choices for many units and techs.

There is a beautiful terrain composed of different forms of these 4 resources. A player harvests from his surroundings. Not like some games in which most of the terrain is barren and only some focal points have resources.

I'm not saying one approach is better or worse. There are different types of RTS- AoE2, BFME2, Warcraft 3. these 3 are very different types of games and play very different. They have their pros and cons. Imo AoE2 had much more strategic depth and replayability than Warcraft 3. I like BFME2 better than these 2, but thats not because of the non existing economy management present in it.

Coming back to 0AD. Players appreciate the realism in the game. How many things make sense. It wouldnt be good to lose its identity, if we can help it. So we should first try smaller measure before drastically changing everything and creating a different game.

 

Now about the issues present currently. My view of them-

1) Buildings don't have specific roles. CC can be used to produce military. Barracks is usually built near forests to build workers. This is important because player never has to chose between focusing on economy or on military(by building barracks). everything(eco nd military) is available in all buildings, no variations to allow different strategies. 

2) There's no control on the unit production rate from buildings. Especially economic unit production.

3) The citizen soldier concept is not implemented properly. Too much chaos when attacking or defending.

4) Similar to above- the gathering is not done as was intended. Only females created in beginning. only Champions in the end. Citizen soldiers jack of all trades, good at nothing.

5) Eco management is very tough. By this I mean to efficiently use it. An good player in other games would be able to keep resource collected in bank close to zero, by spending them as soon as collected, and using gatherers efficiently by switching them over according to his build order. This task is near impossible in 0AD. First because of 2 types of gatherers- food gatherer and rest. And also because theres no fixed or constant rate of economic growth. The gathers can be trained singly, in batches of 5 or 10, 15 etc. Also the fertility festival tech at house is broken. Also a major population of gatherers also fights. And after fights its usually not clear how many gatherers you lost per resource.

6) Battle strategy is non existent. Currently it includes massing any one type of unit and laming it. Either Javelin cav in beginning, or chariots or sword champions later. This is because of lack of effective counters. Hard countering shouldn't be removed unless Soft countering is ensured by combat mechanics.

7) Imbalance between Champion units and Citizen soldiers. It not only decreases the value of citizen soldiers but also creates imbalance between factions. which have led to a trend to give every faction 4 champions. which doesn't solve the issue but increases it. Champions should have been just a unique unit of each faction.

8) Phase progression doesn't mean much currently. So what, you get champions in phase 3. But its perfectly possible that someone in phase 1 has better economy and beats someone who is in phase 2.

9) Hack and Pierce attack. Pierce attack of an archer and of a spearman are not the same. One is shrugged off by heavy armour rider, one is deadly for the horse. And then siege damage is added to emulate crush attacks. Siege damage to buildings should always be a separate entity. eg it becomes difficult to implement upgrades like fire arrows, which mainly increase siege capacity, and a lesser increase in anti unit damage. Also Units like Mauryan- Yodha which have siege damage only. And become weak against all units inspite of having capacity to cause good crush damage.

10) Trader, Corral.

 

This much comes to mind right now. These are the things which prevent 0Ad from having more depth in strategy and a fun gameplay.

I dont think locust gathering as described is important. Though being spread out on map is much better, but it can be achieved with less drastic solutions.

Also man spam trains of military units is definitely bad. Because that means units(mostly a single type) are constantly spammed without any tactics and strategy. But this concept is not the same for economic units. To hold a large army your economic support must also be larger. If the gameplay requires to control the distribution of economic units according to build orders and keep redistributing them as needed. then its not a spam, and doesnt matter if the number of units around a mine are more, till it looks realistic.

 

In the end. My view is that- smaller changes should be tried first. which i believe can easily solve the issues I oultined above without changing the feel of the game.

Edited by drsingh
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