[jME Game] Gameplay and design

Here in this thread, we should discuss about the design of the game and the process of designing a game. Now that it seems to be clear, that we want to create some RTS style game first, we can discuss some aspects, that might get implemented.

I've found some interesting reading regarding game design, maybe everybody interested in creating some design documents for this project should read this: http://www.sloperama.com/advice.html

While we are trying to find a base story (http://www.jmonkeyengine.com/jmeforum/index.php?topic=9356.0), we can discuss other aspects of this game project in parallel.

I want to just offer you another choice:

3. Zed style

For those among you who have never played Zed, here is a WiKi article about it. I have been a strategy fan for 15+ years and I must say that Zed was one of my favorite RTS… until I scratched my CD and could not install it anymore. I will give the highlights compared to the previously mentioned gametypes:

Unlike traditional real-time strategy (RTS) games, collecting resources or building specific structures is unnecessary for creating an army. Regions and structures within their borders that actually manufacture the units are captured by moving troops to their respective flags. The objective of the game is to eliminate the opponent by taking out their command Fort: either by sending a unit to enter it, or by destroying it directly. Alternatively, destroying all of the opponent's units immediately wins the game.

The game is significantly different from others of its type: For example, vehicle drivers can take damage from enemy fire, and if the driver is destroyed, the vehicle they were commandeering will be unmanned and can be captured by either side. At the time of its release, Z was also noted for being more complex, intense, and challenging compared to other games of its time, like the original Command and Conquer, where the gameplay usually boiled down to tankrushing AIs showing a lack of aggression.

I will try to give some pro-s and cons to this game type. Pro-s:
1. It is very intense and addicting right from the start. In both single and multi-player there is no slow startup but instant action up to the very end.
2. It would be easy to implement and create content - no messing with technology trees etc. Easy to balance once the feedback issue is addressed (see negative point 1).
3. The gametype is not a very wide-spread and would make jME game stand out as different.
4. Games are pretty short - upto 40 minutes. This will make it a good strategy game in this age of short attention spans. Also it would be easier to find opponents to play online as more people can afford to play through the entire sitting.
5. It would be possible to introduce FPS elements to this game-type should you so choose without getting too complex.

1. The positive feedback is in the original game too strong and something is needed to counterbalance this. Otherwise, gaining a lead makes ones side almost unstoppable.
2. It is not very strategic... more a tactical game if that matters
3. It will not probably be a 'good choice' for those among you who want to write a dream game right now instead of a jME example game - as it will miss lots of gimmics and whistles the RTS these days have.

Actually I became very excited as I thought of this game again now. I truly believe it would be an excellent way of both show jME capabilities and create an addictive, interesting yet (more or less) easy to implement game. Should you not choose this type... darn.. I might pick this up at some point myself... Heck.. Even losing in this game was fun  :D

I guess, the fog of war isn't that bad. Without it, one can see the tactics of the opponent. Of course we can think of a way to get around this fog of war, with some special units (WC3 had such a unit).

Another question, that we should answer, is how the game evolves. I think there are two different approaches:

  1. Age of Empires/Rise of Nations style
  2. Starcraft/Warcraft style

    In the first style, technology evolves over time. In the second style technology does not evolve, you just are not able to use everything.

    We can create a completely different style of course. I can think of resource centered way of developing technology. What is more or less style two…

What should the zoom of the game be? Should it be universe sized, planet sized, map sized, or level sized? I prefer the closest zoom possible, with the control of a small group of units to get through a level. Tell me if I am bad at explaining myself…

I like Zagibu's idea of credits.  As far as game balance goes, I've always wanted to try reinforcing the weaker players (like with slightly cheaper units) so that "swarming" isn't a viable option between two equally skilled players.  It would also motivate players to pressure each other more frequently as opposed to camping with a hoard of guys.

As far as actual game mechanics goes, it would be interesting (and also quite fun) to see a battle take place over an entire planet (or smaller) and maybe even in its orbit.  Anyone ever played the Homeworld games?

if its going to be RTS then i would say…COMPANY OF HEROES was very gud RTS game…why not make that kinda style…

zagibu said:

I've learnt in my military education, that the order of military scope is strategy, operation, tactics, from largest to smallest.

According to this article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tactic_(method), you are right about that

There should always be different approaches to reach a goal. For example, the mission is to get a secret document from the enemies base. The player can choose how to accomplish that goal. He can decide to destroy the enemy base or, if possible, create some spy units that steal that document. Or maybe bribe some opponents units to steal it ;)

And if there are battles in outer space is dictated by the story, that has yet to be written ;)

I like the idea of the control points. Let's be honest, nobody builds buildings to win a battle. But if the player controls a building, then all the products and features of that building belongs to him.

I want to list all the possible play types, that all can be part of the game:

Strategical (long term)

  • Building factories
  • Collecting resources
  • Develop technologies

    Tactical (mid term)
  • Capturing control points
  • Exploring uncharted areas

    Operational (short term)
  • One-on-one fight

    To balance the parties, it must be hard to control large armies. The more units a player has, the more complex it must get to control them. For example, a tank needs some fuel. If the player does not produce enough fuel for all vehicles, some of them cant be moved any more. Additonal to that, the player will need one or more tankers, that bring fuel from the base to the front.

I have another game to add to the ideas for TechTree and Tactial scope.

Earth 2150 and it's various addons


( a game i REALLY loked was the X-Com series 1&2 part, and  even though it is turn-based it has quite a lot in common with earth2150



In those games there are 2 different tactical scopes:

A global scope, the whole planet

and a Mission Scope, like in most RTS games

Per campaign you have one global scope with one or more bases in which you can build buildings, train troops and research the ( quite extendsive ) tech tree.

There is one big goal to reach in the campaign, and you get MANY small missions in this campaign to reach it and develop the story.

The missions are like Command and Conquer ( in Earth2150 ) with tanks, airplanes, ships and buildings,…

or Chaos Gate/ Jagged Alliance/ … ( in X-Com ) with a squad of a few men.

In a mission you have a few small tasks ( destroy the enemy, hold a base, rescue civilians, find some artifact, … )

You send your troops to a mission where they gain experience and find equipment, …

Such a system would have a more sophisticated version of the credit system, you can keep the actual units between missions and they gain experience abilities, equipment over time.

The cool thing about earth2150 is that can build your tanks, airplanes with any parts/chassis/weapons you can build or have found, ( a kind of RTS ancestor of spore ).

In Earth2150 you can also switch between the scopes at all times, build reinforcements in a base and send them to the mission. You could even have multiple missions at different locations at the same time.

The multiplayer of such a game could have two or more variants :

Fast Game : A single mission, players agree on the available technologies and amount of money, exp for your units

Campaign : You could have provinces like in Risk ( the board game ) or Dawn of War : The dark crusade, when one player attacks another one a mission is started for both.




I really, really, really, really liked X-Com. If you made a game like that i would play it more than a thousand usal fanboys would, so there would already be a really big fanbase from the start :wink: :smiley:

Nice ideas, only my 2 cents:

Taking to much ideas from other games is dangerous.

Keyword “risk (The Game)”: German news about hasbro legal actions concering risk

In short: They try to take down every project which has risk as background idea.


It should be challenging in the higher levels. Or this can be some sort of difficulty setting (auto fuel to make it easier)

Maybe you could have problems with bigger armies, like, for example, they could have small revolts and move slower in general.

zagibu said:

@snareoj2: I don't think they can sue you for taking general inspiration from other projects. Maybe if you implement exact gameplay-mechanics, they can sue you for this, but not for general ideas like territories, etc.

Well, Microsoft could sue you for using the PageDown key to scroll some content down. The problem is, they can sue you. It doesnt matter if they might be successfull, it would cause big problems for an opensource project, that doesnt have any lawyer, that is willign to work for free...
So, yes, we better don't try to "copy" some game concepts, that have not already been copied all over.

We should make something called Halo 4. It will be the exact same thing as Halo 3, but everyone is polka-dotted. Then we will sell the game for 60$ a copy.

Yes, but its getting off topic now :stuck_out_tongue:

When we want to create an RTS game engine, this Wikipedia article is interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Real-time_strategy

In this article, some Criticism of gameplay is made. Maybe it's a good idea to take those concerns and discuss, how we could overcome them.

1. Click-fests

The player, that clicks faster usually wins.

Possible solution; …

2. Button babysitting

Waiting for a progress, to start the next unit/step in evolution

Possible solution: Queueing

3. Rushing/zerging

Throw as many units as possible at the opponent

Possible solution: Making control of large armies difficult. The larger the army, the harder it must be to control them

4. Unit sacrifice

Units are cheap, so they are often sacrificed

Possible solution: Making units more valuable. Losing a unit must be very expensive

5. Skill

Skill of the user interface is more important than tactical/strategic skills

Possible solution: see point 1.

Has anyone played UFO Triology III? (Don't know the exact name!)

I think this command interface is best suited to guid "ingame soldiers" on the battlefield, because you can set easy waypoints and give the team information like "run to this waypoint, than sneak to this location and observe the area".

Next I think soldiers shall be organized in squads. (six people)

Every Soldier shall have his own created equipment, so no classes to choose.

Players can give themselve a class symbol, for example "Assault Soldier, Medic, Sniper, Driver…"

Team members know what tactic the player use, they can see his weapon, but the "medic" can use a sniper rifle.

Therefore perks are a good idea.

The team leader can set his team tactic, for example "Assault Squad, Defense Squad, Supporter Squad, Technican Squad, Airborne Squad", so the commander know, how they wanted to be used.

Normally a squad follows one goal, even with mixed classes. (A Defense Team will probably have two soldiers, one medic, one technican, one sniper and a demolition).

Because everyone can make his own equipment, they can fit their equipment for the team.

And don't forget! More choices, more try and errors, more fun!^^

Big Facilities must be conquered, but the every Facility posses counter measures, so one team can hold off the attackers. Inside the Facility everyone fights a close combat fight. After the team conquered the Facility, the commander has two opptions, destroy the facility(team will destroy the "hot spots") or use it.

In a Facility the commander can produce vehicles.

The commander canNOT build Facilities, but everything else he can build, so defense towers for snipers, turrets, radar, walls. Technicans will have to build the buildings. Some buildings can only be build near Facilities, other can be build everywhere(Maybe a small outpost)

What do you say?

In short this means:

  • Equipment templates
  • Unit squads with some tactical alignment
  • Decision for destroying or occupying opponent facilities

    And not to forget, we need some workers! There are alos two different ways of how to do it (at least i know of two ways): The Warcraft/Starcraft way or how this is done in The settlers.
  • "Build" workers in some headquarter
  • Building residental buildings and enough food and such, so that there are enough citizens

There’s another way for workers i know of ( although it’s admittedly very alike to settlers)

Battle Realms :


You have a main building which produces workers by itself, the more units you already have the slower the production will get.

When you want military units you send them to training buildings, different training buildings for different units, you can also send military units to other training buildings to mix and match those in many ways to produce more sophisticated units.

The idea that the rate at which you can produce units is bounded by the amount of units you already have is pretty elegant i think.

The training buildings could be replaced or expanded by a equipment system.

( though Battle Realms also had that to some degree :wink: )

A worker would be a worker because you give him training/equipment to do his work.

When the going gets rough you give the lads some guns and they become fighters.

The efficiency at a job should depend on how much work you have done in that field, but you can, in times of need, retrain any guy to do any job.

( another game that did that nicely i think was Cultures :

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultures_(computer_game_series) ( the english one is just a stub, sorry )


if, there will ever be an global scope :wink:

but, yes, I totally agree