Ashes: Setup options

By on August 8, 2015 11:08:28 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

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Ashes of the Singularity is big.  I mean, really really big. 

You’re not fighting a battle. You’re fighting a war.  This is providing ample challenges from a design perspective.

Today we’d like to talk about the game setup options you guys might like. 

The Tools we have to play with

We have a lot of different resources in the game not all of which may survive to final release but give us an opportunity to try out different systems to see what we like and what we don’t like.  Below are the current ones:

  • Metal. You need metal to build structures and units. Metal comes from metal deposits spread across the world that is harvested via Metal Extractors.
  • Radioactives.  You need radioactives to provide local power to more advanced units and buildings. Like metal, they are spread across the world but are somewhat rarer.
  • Turinium.  The overall objective of the game is to conquer a given planet. You do this by building up a critical mass of Turinium which is done by capturing Turinum generators on the map and holding them.
  • Power.  Your buildings need power and buildings within a region need power. This is accomplished by capturing power generators. Power generators are what determine who controls a given region and you must have a direct line of power from a region to your base in order to get it.  You can, in essence, flank your enemy by capturing a region between a series of regions they control and their base.
  • Logistics. Logistics are built as logistics arrays in your base. They now provide a ton of logistics but are very expensive (so you only rarely have to build them). They determine how many units you can build.
  • Noble Gasses. (future). This resource is being contemplated to allow players to use global abilities (where the player has a set of abilities they can use on a given battle somewhere on the map).

We’ll talk a lot more in the future about the role of these different resources.  But for now, we want to focus on setup.

Total Annihilation revisited

Some of you may recall that in Total Annihilation players had a lot of control over how one set up a game to customize their experience.  We would like to do this here as well.  What you guys ultimately pick as your favorites will influence what we set as defaults.  Let’s look at setup options we’re contemplating:

  1. Fast Buildup.  This option would start you off with your home region with extractors already in place, a factory and a logistics array. 
  2. Pre-Built Extractors.  This option would start with all the regions having their extractors pre-built. Capturing the region would automatically turn over those resources to you rather than you having to build the extractors with your engineering first. Extractors couldn’t be destroyed.
  3. Power is Logistics.  This option would make it so that you received logistics from power generators on the map and power would no longer be a resource.

 

Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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August 8, 2015 12:58:41 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

I think 1 and 2 should definitely be in the game. You could probably make an argument for option 2 actually being the default play. It would mean less micro and a faster pace to the game. As an option though it is great.

3 is a harder one to predict, especially on smaller maps with less power points, in those cases it would effectively act like a unit cap. Well, that is if you take away the logistics buildings too. 

I liked in TA that you could disallow certain units/buildings or limit them. The people I played with were not fans of things like nukes and lots of Big Berthas etc. so being able to switch them off was great. Seems you won't have the big guns in this game though so perhaps not such a crucial feature.

Being able to select AI difficulty independently is good too, so one hard one medium, that kind of thing. Setting fixed alliances before the game starts, being allowed to ally with AI etc. should all be in there.

In Supcom 2 you could set different income and other bonuses to the AI too, like a custom difficulty which was pretty cool. I think in Supcom 1 you could also set the AIs preferences in terms of land, sea or air which was sometimes interesting. Though other traits might be more interesting like an aggressive AI, a risk taker AI, a slow but steady AI, a defensive AI etc. may be more interesting.

 

" You need radioactives to provide local power to more advanced units and buildings. " I am not sure if this is what you mean by local but it might be interesting if this or another resource could only be developed and used in that zone. If that were the case people would probably build bases or defence structures around them which on larger maps could bring in new strategic implications and just be pretty cool I think. I've always liked the idea of forward bases or region bases but most rts games don't have the scale for that so only really require you to have one big base and everything comes out of that. PA is actually an one of the exceptions to that where building factories etc. in many different places is very useful.

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August 8, 2015 2:47:26 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

 

  • Metal and Radioactives are the perfect resource for AOTS that does not need to be changed.
  • Turinium as i understand is like Victory Points or strategic points, you get more points by taking regions and by having lets say 1000 points you win the game. That's fine for players who like that kind of mode and i will like to add lets say a Annihilation mode to the game and some other modes.
  • Power, i do like it and i think you need it in the game too, but what about at late game by doing research you let the player build some new advanced power Generator.
  • Logistics, i still think its an important structure in the game, but it does need to be rebalanced for it to work well.
  • Noble Gasses its a great Idea to add in the game, i hope you guys do. my opinion to it is: destroy Enemy building & Unit to get more Noble Gasses or by taking Regions.

It will be hard because you need regions to have power, power to build structures (logistics structures), logistics to build units.

 

Total Annihilation setup options was an important part in every skirmish or multiplayer, it gave us a lot customizations.

Fast Buildup, Pre-Built Extractors, Power is Logistics, all 3 need to be there to the players more options to setup the game, the options that make me think a lot is the Pre-Built Extractors when you take a region, its fine by me but it means that you killing the Engineers in a way with that option, we will use the Engineers only to build some structures and not all. And to take out power and change it to logistics it way work and still it way be worst than because because of the limit on what many Units you can Build.

All those Options are welcome and are good ideas, anyway the player in the end will decide on what to enable or disable

What i like you is to make Annihilation mode by Default plus the regular use of Engineers and normal expansion. and leave the other option for the player to change when they setup the game.

 

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August 8, 2015 6:14:36 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Not sure if this is what you mean by setup options, but different game speed options would be logical possibilities.

  • Game speed: how fast everything happens per unit of time. What we see is the alpha could be normal. Slow everything down (units, building speed, resource accumulation speed, battles) 0.5x or speed everything up to 1.5 to 2x. In single player you might have hockey's to allow players to speed up or slow eown the game, but it doesn't make as much sense in multiplayer. But a setup option still works
  • Pacing: options or sliders for unit and battle speed, resource accumulation speed, building speed
  • Fog of war options: normal, terrain only, revealed
  • Options for starting resources. Players could start with an abundance of resources and pre-built storage to support it.
  • Rubble amount: you mentioned in another thread your hopes to be able to reclaim wreckage for resources. You could also have a configurable setting for starting rubble that can be reclaimed.
  • Defensive start: seed starting zone has many turrets (that take no extra energy unless you have other ideas) that make rush strategies difficult to pull off.
  • Veterancy rate: I assume units will improve over time as they participate in battles, so you might have options to configure how quickly that happens.

If I think of more I'll add a new comment.

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August 8, 2015 11:09:14 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Awesome!!! Thanks Stardock and Oxide!

I like 1,2, and 3.

1. Would also like an option to make defenses extremely strong(turtle mode or take and hold).

2. Would love an option to steal the other factions tech/research and capture their buildings.

3. 

Quoting eviator,

Game speed: how fast everything happens per unit of time. What we see is the alpha could be normal. Slow everything down (units, building speed, resource accumulation speed, battles) 0.5x or speed everything up to 1.5 to 2x. In single player you might have hockey's to allow players to speed up or slow eown the game, but it doesn't make as much sense in multiplayer. But a setup option still works
Pacing: options or sliders for unit and battle speed, resource accumulation speed, building speed
Fog of war options: normal, terrain only, revealed
Options for starting resources. Players could start with an abundance of resources and pre-built storage to support it.
Rubble amount: you mentioned in another thread your hopes to be able to reclaim wreckage for resources. You could also have a configurable setting for starting rubble that can be reclaimed.
Defensive start: seed starting zone has many turrets (that take no extra energy unless you have other ideas) that make rush strategies difficult to pull off.
Veterancy rate: I assume units will improve over time as they participate in battles, so you might have options to configure how quickly that happens.

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August 9, 2015 9:37:51 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

1. Be interesting if you could choose your build order (so you get to choose 1-2 factories and you spawn with them). This basically cuts out the first 2-3 repetitive minutes of the game.

Agree a turtle option would be nice. Supreme Commander 2 had a option where you can't leave your home zone for a set amount of time.

2. Personally, I'd like to see 2. as default or the defaultly ticked option. No one likes the micro of having to manually click those extractors, particularly on massive maps.

However, there may be other ways to cut down on that labor. You could also let engineers build/rebuild extractors as part of their default patrol command.

3. Depends on what happens with the other resources.

Radioactives: I like what Ticktoc said about Radioactives. Having a zone-specific resource granting zone-specific rewards would encourage new bases and a moving front. You'd be able to lose a few bases, or a few zones, without necessarily losing the game. This lines up well with the "this is war, not just a battle" mentality.


There's a lot you can do too:

  • Percentage bonuses to units
  • Certain units/buildings which can't leave the zone until you've got enough radioactives in the next zone,
  • or you have defenses which rely upon radioactives (and hence retaking recently lost ground is easier than taking new ground)

    You can also have larger scale stratergies, like you may enable Scorched Earth tactics which permanently reduce the radioactives coming from an area. Or you leave some explosive charges/mines behind as you retreat.

 

Turinium/Nobel Gases: The victory point countdown has become convention, but can lead to unsatisfactory endings where both armies are still standing at the end of the game. Maybe that is good for timed games, but it doesn't really suit the TA feel.

How bout combining Turinium and Nobel Gases. Instead of just GAME OVER at the end of a victory point countdown, you reach a point where your Turinium/Nobel Gases allows you to recruit super weapons.
I mean really really big superweapons. Game-over-unless-your-only-a-few-points-behind superweapons.

This means that instead of the game ending with a victory screen, it ends with absolute carnage.

Also, on the rare cases where players are close enough to reach the Turinium (victory point) limit at a very similar time, you can get a clash of superweapons which leads to the game essentially extending into extra-time/sudden death. This is more satisfying than losing by 1 victory point.

 

 

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August 9, 2015 9:57:30 AM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums

Superweapons can either mean either:
1) One big deathship. (My favourite)
2) Unlocking a new tier of little death ships/ flat upgrades for all units.

If you're translating from victory points, you have a Turinium level(s) which players/team are striving to meet. Turinium does nothing until you reach that level
OR
If it's not exactly victory points, then you can simply make Turinium the resource required for the super weapons. The motivation for owning regions is it lets you have super weapons.The problem here is it becomes easy for the player with the most land to press home on their advantage, whilst traditional victory points allow the players to swap back and forth a few times before one eventually hits the set level and wins.

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August 9, 2015 2:28:24 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums


Fast Buildup.  This option would start you off with your home region with extractors already in place, a factory and a logistics array. 
Pre-Built Extractors.  This option would start with all the regions having their extractors pre-built. Capturing the region would automatically turn over those resources to you rather than you having to build the extractors with your engineering first. Extractors couldn’t be destroyed.
Power is Logistics.  This option would make it so that you received logistics from power generators on the map and power would no longer be a resource.

 

1)  Not a fan of "fast buildup".  But we haven't yet a complete enough game to determine whether this will be good or bad.  My experience is from FA, so I see prebuilt buildings as a bit of an interference (since in FA you could have radically different openings such as a 1st air factory).  However, you mentioned that AoTS will be a bit like Sins of a Solar Empire, where prebuilt buildings worked just fine.  So I'll have to wait and see for this one.

2)  Even less of a fan of prebuilt extractors.  Part of great harassment of your enemy and being a nuisance would be denying them build capacity on the front line.  I feel having to not build extractors would take away a big element of strategy and make the game that much more shallow.

One thing I want to mention (that I will try to expand on August FAQ post) is that I'm actually starting to not like the region mechanic.  Regions work fine in a game like CoH where the scale is so small and the game being more tactical based than strategy based.  I just feel that with the scale that AoTS is going for, regions might just not be as much fun as you guys are thinking they will be.

 

3)  I really like the power to logistics idea.  Could really force some aggressive game play.  Only potential problem I see is that the 1st player to beat back his enemy and gain a territory advantage will be able to snowball his enemy (because the attack can field more units).  This might be balanced out by the fact that the attacking player has to wait longer for units to get to the front line, while the defender has less units more readily available, but I will have to wait and see

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August 13, 2015 8:07:46 PM from Ashes of the Singularity Forums Ashes of the Singularity Forums


Noble Gasses. (future). This resource is being contemplated to allow players to use global abilities (where the player has a set of abilities they can use on a given battle somewhere on the map).

Have you ever considered using Turinium as an end-game resource while still being used for victory points? It's used for the most powerful units/abilities, but at a high cost. Do you risk using a powerful ability to win a certain battle or do you hold off in hopes that you can hold out and keep your victory point lead?

I understand that it would require a ton of balancing and runs the risk of people never using them because they don't ever feel like it's worth losing victory points, especially if they are already in the lead. 

Or how about only being able to use those powerful units/abilites when you reach a milestone of Turinium. If the VC total is 1000 points, maybe you can only use them when you hit 600 or 700 (just numbers, I know VC points are fairly quick to get right now) points worth?

I just bring it up because sometimes having too many resources to manage can be detrimental, and if this game is going to be as big as you say, managing an extra resource could be more trouble than it's worth.

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