An RTS Tree logging game?

Question for you all (take a break from technical troubleshooting and do some big picture brainstorming for me)

I’ve been working on some sort of top down RTS tree logging game (if you saw my vid it gives you a little idea of the view i am going for)

I’ll admit, it is a little bit inspired by the show on discovery channel “Ax men” I invision you controlling a sqaud of chainsaw guys/vehicles/machinery to cut down trees, and then trainsport them to your base to sell them… With this money you could hire more workers, upgrade machinery etc… I’m thinking with the right visuals (and definitely LOADS of cool sound effects) it could turn into something that would be challenging/fun to play…

As with all my game ideas i run into doubts (this is my fourth idea i’ve worked on, thankfully each failure resulted in learning more about my pipeline, JME, and the design process in general)

Will cutting down trees be too repetitive (course there are different methods, by hand, by harvester (they are cool look them up), by HELICOPTER!) but ultimately your objective is still just cutting down trees.

On the surface does this sound like something that would be interesting to play, or something that would be boring? are there any interesting angles i could include that would keep the player interested after they’ve cut down and harvested their 50th tree?

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Think outside the box! Different climates, seasons… they all create their own problems to the player. Randomly generated problems would also help. For example, acid rain made some trees useless.

If you want my honest opinion, you need to add a lot of things so as not to make it repetitive.

You could also add water and water management. Players must water trees and thus they have to find a way to get water.

All those pesky competitors…this are my trees…how to keep them away…hmmmmm :wink:

Well, you could add realism and sustainability by having the player manage replanting and age distribution of trees as well (felling old trees to make room for small ones, rather than clearcutting (which is very damaging)).

Another aspect could be different tree species that have different properties (like hardiness, water requirements, nutrient needs, growth speed and disease resistance) and values (if you’re going to sell the wood).

Adding different climates could introduce new species and set different environmental parameters for the trees.

Finally, if you’re feeling really ambitious, you could add in animals and rare plants in the forests that you need to protect and preserve while still being able to cut down trees.

Just some ideas, if you want to work on this game a long time. :wink:

Oh and personally, I abhor chain saws and harvesters - I prefer the axe and hand saw!

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I played a game called Fairy Godmother Tycoon (yes, seriously). It was a joke birthday present from my brother but it turned out to have really good and well balanced gameplay and I enjoyed a lot more than some AAA titles. Simple graphics, but worked great as an economy management game.

Cutting down trees can just be one aspect: primary income. As you get more money, of course you can get new/better equipment. There are also different kinds of trees, each with different values. Also dead trees (pine beetle kill, sells for cheap). Milling lumber vs. shipping raw logs. Transporting logs via trucks or rivers. Resource road maintenance. International softwood lumber agreements affecting tariffs etc. Competing logging companies. Forest fires wiping out cut blocks; fire prevention. Of course there are fuel costs and equipment maintenance. Tree planting with government grants.

As with most games, they have a niche market. I think this game could be quite fun, but I like strategy games.

(Affordable royalty free sounds)

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Something repetitive is not necessarily bad for a game…every game has it’s repetitive situation. Angry birds , Tetris, and so on… are very repetitive games but i played them a lot…

It can turn into addiction which is good IMO…you just have to put some kind of achievements (!!!chopped 300 trees with a chopper!!!) and player will continue playing.

Some player hate that though but some love it… and you can’t please everyone.

Maybe add some QTE key input when cutting the tree and when the player got the right timing he got a “perfect!!” on the screen. Who self respecting gamer wouldn’t try until he gets his perfect? :smiley:


Doing simple repetitive things can last for a long time when theres the right details… Something funny or strategic… I wasted a lot of time with Lemmings, Cannon Fodder and Commando for example… But btw, the theme of the game is totally not P.C. in times of ecological thinking… How about planting trees instead? :wink:

Edit: Remy sniped my point :wink:

@normen said:
But btw, the theme of the game is totally not P.C. in times of ecological thinking.. How about planting trees instead? ;)

Hogwash! People still use paper and build houses, you gotta cut trees. :)
You could, however, include environmental inspections: proper protection of streams or watersheds with penalties if you don't manage the area cleanly, clearcutting vs. selective logging, old-growth vs new-growth trees. You could have a 'sustainability' achievement.
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Nice these are all good ideas… @Sploreg i was definitely thinking about the exporting process, being able to purchase factories and things that can create different products that sell at higher rates… A lot of work would go into the economy of the game to make it feel like a “real” market (making things code focused verses visually focused is always a plus for me)

Sustainability is also a great point, in the age of the environment conscious i wouldn’t want to turn anyone off by making it about total deforestation and destruction. this also goes along with the watering thing and all…

Achievements are another good idea, and would not be to hard to add… This may be a "cheap’ thrill, but i think it won’t interfere with the tone of the game… i was thinking it would be semi-casual… maybe requires a little bit of concentration, but certainly not meant to be a hard core simulation game

Also i toyed around with the idea of a cheesy backstory… your character quit his job in the corporate world, to make his living among the trees… But i think a game like this may or maynot benefit from it (Sim City or any of the Tycoon games don’t really have campaign/story driven structures and they do quite fine without them)

Normen, i agree the theme isn’t totally PC, but i could package in a way that wouldn’t offend (Splash screens are not of a burly lumber jack with a cigar in his mouth hacking pine tress as Bambi runs for his life)

But hey, we all EDIT (most of us) live in houses made of wood so we have to concede at some level we are involved in it anyways

@kbender88 said:
we all live in houses made of wood

I don't :)

The concept has potential but I think you need to think a bit more about the style and target of the game.

is it for casual gaming, will it be competitive…for example are we talking farmville, sim city or starcraft…etc

Those decisions will make a massive difference to the style and workability of the game…

Starcraft is a casual game?

They say some of the best discoveries were made by mistake… I reckon the 2nd chop was how you should make ‘em all anyway.

My girlfriend, who has no idea of programming, really liked the trees blowing away, too ;)

An idea: You could play evil and good: As a good guy you try to create oasis for wild living and rare animals. As an evil guy you try to stop these animals to invade your area because it would get protected by the government. One gives you atvantages in form of goodwill the other gives you more possible area to cut down plants.

But hey, we all EDIT (most of us) live in houses made of wood so we have to concede at some level we are involved in it anyways

In Germany almost no one lives in wooden houses ;) Of course some parts are made of wood nevertheless.
@kbender88 said:
Normen, i agree the theme isn't totally PC, but i could package in a way that wouldn't offend (Splash screens are not of a burly lumber jack with a cigar in his mouth hacking pine tress as Bambi runs for his life)

But hey, we all EDIT (most of us) live in houses made of wood so we have to concede at some level we are involved in it anyways

Lol, I don't mind at all, its a game, I was joking ^^ Our dog had a wood house :P

Many in East Germany still do :stuck_out_tongue: :smiley:

@Dodikles said:
Many in East Germany still do :P :D

?? Concrete all the way..? You are just bashing the "Prussians", Bavarian ;P

Seids ihr ois Saupreißn hia? Actually I’m from Bonn, just studying in Munich. And yes, bashing… :smiley:

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@Dodikles said:
Seids ihr ois Saupreißn hia? Actually I'm from Bonn, just studying in Munich. And yes, bashing... :D

Nej, ik sen un Friese :) Bonn? Didn't they move that to Berlin? ;)
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I always loved the command & conquer RTS games where you could build up your own base and structures & make more people, perhaps you could have housing to buy more workers, if you have too many workers then you have to build another factory to utilize them, and all your buildings have an extra advange from being near something (e.g a dock, a city, a forest maybe :p). You should definately have your own way of producing money, gathering & processing more wood allows you to build structures, and structures allows you to gather more money.

Just my two cents :slight_smile:

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Logging laws are very strict, at least they are in Canada.

So, give the players options to cheat where productivity is greater but it’s illegal to do so. But, have government inspectors randomly visit. Hefty fines could be given to players that cut corners (pun intended). It’s up to the player to cover their tracks and hide what they’ve done, possibly avoiding being fined. After 5 times they get caught they could be closed by the government (game over) or given a mandatory two weeks off, affecting profits, etc…

@normen said:
Nej, ik sen un Friese :) Bonn? Didn't they move that to Berlin? ;)

Ahh, a Frisian. I see... one of those lighthouse-huggers :P Yeah, but at least they left us Beethoven ^^