RTS Development and Something More

Hello everyone,

I decided to create a post related to my current project’s development, so P3D developers can see how it changes over the weeks/months, all the way up to completion. I hope I can encourage others to complete their projects as well.

I’m sure everyone already knows a game that has something new to deliver to a genre will stand out more so than those that do not. RTS style games have already been mixed strongly with RPG elements. Just check out Majesty II and you’ll see cut scenes along with an unfolding story, followed by “rpgish” character play.

So what can someone possible add to the RTS experience which would not only raise the bar for RTS expectations, but deliver a “fun factor” that has never been present in any RTS game before?

What I will be doing with my current RTS style game is add another Genre to the mix.

RTS + RPG + ?? = Hit RTS

It will be a challenge to “pull off”, but I feel I can do it. It’s going to take a lot of work on my part and I know I can’t get sloppy with development because P3D is limited on power (my opinion, so don’t start a debate on this).

Once I get further into developing this game I will post some video footage of game play. At the moment, I am adding in Menu Tabs for the user’s military control. I am also pre-building the Draft Menu as well. The Draft Menu is what the name applies, the “gamer” will be able to draft a commander or soldier from this menu, as well as choose their Class.

When I say Military, Commander and Soldier, don’t start thinking modern day. This game is a fantasy game, which takes place on a planet that is not Earth. I have not given this game a name yet, but as I develop it and reveal more about it, feel free to post up a name for the game.

There are some things about this game I will keep secret for reasons of publication/copyright later (if all goes well).

In the top right corner of this screen, I’m working on the Group A and Group B party tabs. These tabs will allow users to control individual or group, military actions.

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This is the Draft Menu as it stands

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That bug-like image at the bottom left is just a place holder for the mini map. Yes, I did create the mini map, but it’s disabled by default. Off-screen buffers can be expensive. Besides, there is really no need for a mini map with this game, but it is there as an option.

The buildings really need shadows. You could bake some on planes under the buildings, or just do blob shadows, but it would make the game feel much better.

Please keep in mind, I’m not working on visuals at the moment. Just code and the GUI. That’s why there are no shadows yet. :smiley: Shadows define things above ground level, so they will be there, even for the characters.

I’m also thinking about adding a foundation under the buildings later… We’ll see.

The buildings themselves are of a level one. I wish to at least take them to a level three (in which they will appear bigger and more royal); although the concentration of the game is not city building alone; that’s only part of it.

I hope I can get everything in before my time runs out.


Check out that frame rate. (lower left corner)
Is that (P3D) developing or what? :wink: Just about everything is in on the first side of things too, so the game should run around 60 fps ( a little under at worst). Either way, I should greatly beat “30ish” and “40ish” fps.

You can’t see all the characters, since they are in their homes in the screenshots, but they are present and do come out to work and do other things. I will leave them at 1k+ vertices (under 2k even when cloths or armor is added), so they will look decent on closeup action.

You know how gamers are about graphics (and I will “sup” things up some later), but these RTS games walk a thin line with graphics and performance. Although ‘settlers 7’ looks awesome with its real-time lighting and bump mapped textures (expensive).

Man, that looks pretty awesome!

I found out that I didn’t have a clear understanding of text depth and image depth when drawing to the screen. I still don’t have a perfect understanding of it, but I have a much more clear understanding of it. I was able to make some GUI changes as a result.

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You can see how the Control Tabs in the top right corner will extend and retract (looks pretty neat doing that).

I will swap the GUI graphics with some cleaner looking ones way later.

I just have one question –

I know the depth for an onscreen image can be set and the depth for an onscreen text object can’t (at lease I haven’t found a way). From my tests, a text object will take hold of the depth assigned to an onscreen image, if that text object (node) is reparented to the onscreen image.

My question is… What depth does an onscreen text node (object) have by default? I thought it was 1, but now I’m thinking it’s 0 (because of some tests I did).

I’m still lost when it comes to onscreen text and onscreen image, depths. I thought I had a much more clear understanding, but apparently not.

It seems like there’s a huge conflict going on between the two all the time, regardless of what depth value the images have.


I was able to get everything back in order. I just wish I knew P3D’s depth logic with onscreen text and images. I know the negative values should appear on top and positive values on bottom, but that isn’t always so; and that’s with the images. Since text depth can’t be set, you’re at the mercy of P3D if you need text to always appear over images, even if the images are stacked on top of each other.

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I did come up with this neat trick to help control text depth against images and that’s why I was able to get things back in order. :smiley:

I also thought of a better way to create the mini map. The new way will not include an off screen buffer at all. It will be based on mathematics. I will implement it later on.

This is the Military’s Main Menu:

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Within this Menu, the player will be able to do things like rearrange soldiers within parties, build soldier/captain AI, view status, send to the medical center if injured, send out for field duty, and more.

That text on the buttons… Commander, soldier1… That will all become the first name of the Actor later on.

I have created my own Auto Actor naming code, but it needs to be “tweeked” so crazy looking first and last names aren’t created (I’ll do that later, not important right now).

Now it’s time for me to do the part I hate the most; make every menu button clickable as well as change the mouse cursor. This is time consuming since image POS and Mouse POS are not parallel.

At this point in time, I have the Military Draft Menu working and I have the Military Main Menu UI complete. Full size projects like this will have points where you can go either way with development. It can honestly feel overwhelming at times.

The important thing to do is set a current goal. Since my current goal is to get the city for the Race the “gamer” will play fully functional, I will now work on some smaller things that will fill a gap in development.

In this game you have a citizen type called “forester.” The forester is like the master of the wild. He will hunt meat, gather herbs, gather fruit, fish and chop wood. The Forester will carry smaller things that can fit in a pouch/pack, like the herbs and fruit. However, the Forester will NOT haul back large bodies of Meat.

You will also need a Crafter in this game. The Crafter will craft weapons/armor, build statues and mine for ores. Like the Forester, the Crafter will NOT haul back a ton of Ores nor will he take materials to a work site.

Your Farmers follow the same trend. They will plant and harvest, but they will not haul the harvest from the threshing area.

This is where your Laborers come in! They do all the hauling of material/food loads to stock/work sites. In order for me to create the Laborer type worker, I need to code in and create graphic effects for end work by the Crafter, Forester and Farmer.

In other words, you will see the wood, ores and crops on screen as the workers finish their jobs. After the work code finishes for the Crafter, Farmer and Forester, I must set a new condition that will tell the Laborers, “hey, you have to come get this and take it to stock.” or “hey, go get all these materials and take them to that work site.”
At that point, I can code in the Actions of my Laborer Actor.

I will probably spend the next 1 to 2 weeks adding in some work related object graphics and getting the Laborers done. I’m hoping at that time enough will be done to finally put the entire city building part on “clockwork.”

That is, have it all run from day to day with no errors.

In my game, the “gamer” will have a choice at placing some workers on nightshift. This is a good strategy because you will have someone working around the clock. The bad part is, nightime will be more dangerous, which mean you will have to have your Troops ready to stomp enemy “booty.”

YOU will play a prince or princess in this game. You will have what I call a prestige rating. Negitive things will drop your prestige rating while positive things will raise it. If your prestige rating drops below a certain point, you will be “over thrown” and that means game over! Your people will not take garbage leadership from You!

There may be several game over conditios before I’m done with this game.

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In dealing with my Laborer type Actor, I want to keep it somewhat honest, which means, if the Laborer does all the hauling of food and materials, they can’t do it by hand or cart.

I decided my Laborers will ride a large, strong animal, which pulls a wagon. Since this is a fantasy game and not planet Earth, I needed to come up with a fantasy animal which is used for labor work, in my fantasy world.

So I came up with this sucker:

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Its face is kind of a ugly cute, wouldn’t you agree? :laughing:

I didn’t want anything that would say “earth”, and that thing doesn’t look like any animal I’ve seen on Earth.

Now it’s time for me to construt the wagon part.
I am creating these models with a low vertice count, so they will only look so smooth.

The hair is going to be tough… I mean getting it to look right against lighting. Even if you set the “shadeless” attribute in Blender before exporting, the hair will still shade funny in-game. Any suggestions on that, toss them my way. :smiley:

I usually create a little sketch to model by when doing a model (in the backbuffer), but I pulled this creature right out of my head (no backbuffer image).

I think I can get the hair to do a fair shading. I used a spotlight here:

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Multisamples are not enabled, so you can see the alpha issue (with the hair) on a close up like that. There won’t be any close ups in-game with this creature. If so, it will most likely be a CG.

I should have opened the mouth so you all can see how it’s made. The mouth opening is somewhat small in size.

I might change the hair altogether. There is a better way to do it, so that it doesn’t use alpha, but that would mean a higher vertice count.

I realized my texture formatting wasn’t corret. Now you can see the stripes on it:

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This one is female. The Male will have horns and claws and will be used for long distant traveling. The female is basically a work mount only in this fantasy world.

Something like this is what I was aiming for:

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That’ll work.

The GameWorld lighting should look better on it.

I think she’s cute. :laughing:

As long as she carries my Laborers and supplies, it’s all good.

The Males for the military will have some armor equiped. What kind of armor just depends on what ores the player has discovered. Your Crafters will upgrade everything when they discover new materials.

Similar with the Scholar. He is like the scientist in your city. He will discover new things as you explore the land and discover new usable materials.

Upgrading in technology will be important, because each game level will present a tougher challenge.

Set the alpha mode to dual, that should help.

I Actaully tried that, but it didn’t seem to help much…

I’m getting an Idea right now :bulb:

I got rid of the alpha with the hair altogether. Much better now and the hair actually looks more “frisky.” :slight_smile:

Kill it! Kill it with fire!!! :open_mouth:

Joke, he looks okay, face is ugly, but I suppose its meant to be that way.

True. It is an alien after all, since we’re on a fantasy planet; which I haven’t even given a name yet. :slight_smile:

If I can pull it off, what I want to do is make it so that the player can zoom all the way out…way out and end up getting a space shot of the planet itself.

I’ve never seen that done before in a(n) RTS; would be cool. :smiley:

I opened the Creature’s mouth so you can see just how alien it is:

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With a mouth somewhat on the small side, this creature wouldn’t be a huge meat eater; maybe some fish or small insect like creatures. I would say a “snout” like that is better suited for “greens.”

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Low vertice count/low res texture modeling - this model has had nothing done to it since character graphics are not on the table right now.

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It will be a long while before I can get to characters. It will be a challenge later though… Graphics vs Performance… One hell of a battle.

I took a closer look at RTS “Settlers 7” and could see that the developers went heavy on environment bump mapping for extreme graphics and lighter on the actual characters, horses, etc…

I will most likely aim for a balance with everything. However, I will increase my environment graphics at project end because the vertices are not animated. How far I go on the environment graphics just depends on what the fps looks like at project end. I can easily create eye popping extreme graphics, but this is not the game for it. RTS style games are tough to design with P3D (because of performance).

I would so love to enable graphic card side bump mapping with the environment, but I just don’t want to give up that performance associated with doing that.

I was watching “Settlers 7” play at 21 fps max and sometimes it dropped lower. That’s what I want to avoid with my game.

Hello all,

I figured I would fill you all in some more on this RTS game’s style. Right now I’m currently coding in my Laborer type Actor actions (serious coding!), but I’ll get back to that after I exploit the game design some more.

I believe most RTS games that involve city building usually concentrate hard on the building of your city or cities and there is usually some form of combat involved because your cities need protection against enemies as well as resources.

RTS games up until now usually concentrate on large numbers of characters on screen, especially for the Warfare. This however, is completely opposite from my game’s concept.

The RTS I am designing will in fact be a RPG RTS. That is, the game will concentrate on a fixed number of characters in the same way traditional RPGs concentrated on a fixed number of characters. A good example would be the famous Final Fantasy rpgs of old. You usually had a party of three characters during a battle, but a lot more characters overall for your entire group.

Those same characters were also used in Cut-Scenes, because they were essential to the story of the game. With my RPG RTS, I will follow the same trend, but the difference is, instead of turn based combat with three characters out of a group of them, the “gamer” will control a squad of fighters, like a traditional RTS, in real-time action.

The commanders and soldiers you draft in my game will also appear in Cut-Scenes as the main storyline unfold. This is why I will allow the “gamer” to personally name their Commanders, because the Commanders are “Bigger” main characters in the storyline then a soldier under their command. You will also be able to choose the Sex of your Commanders and soldiers.

What I want to do is establish a connection between the player of the game and their Commanders. I want the “gamer” to know their Commanders’ personalities well through Cut-Scene. Maybe even grow fond of them or attached.

That is what I want!

Why do I want the gamer to grow attached to the characters under their rule?

Because Tragedy will be intense!!

Yes, your Commanders can be killed, as well as any soldier, but their memory will not be forgotten. I will have a full stat system build in-game, which will record all the deeds your Commanders and soldiers have done (combat and non combat).

The “gamer” will be able to click on the grave yard and view the stats of any fallen Commander or soldier under their rule. This can possibly create emotion within the “gamer.” Imagine having a Commander responsible or over 75 percent of your game success; this is possible because you will have the same troops in each game level (the ones that lived the previous one), and all of a sudden that Commander proudly falls in combat; and you were use to seeing their face in Cut-Scenes.

Ouch!! That can hurt. You see, the Commanders in my game can level higher than any soldier and when a Commander gets killed and you have to draft a new one, the new Commander’s level will start one level higher than your best soldier. Both Commander and soldier will have level caps, but the Commanders’ level caps will be higher, thus making them your best of the best fighters.

Additionally, your soldiers can not act without orders from a Commander, so if a Commander falls in battle, the soldiers will automatically retreat. At that point, the “gamer” can add the squad without a Commander to the Squad with a Commander, if the situation calls for that. Just pray both of your Commanders do not fall in combat; if so, you become a little vulnerable. You won’t be able to send troops out in the field without Commanders, however, if enemies attacked your City while you were awaiting new Commanders, your soldiers will fight to the death within the City. You play as a proud race and they will fight to be free or die trying.

You can see how Commanders dying will be intense (or anyone for that matter).

I want the “gamer” to say, “F%$k! There goes my greatest Commander!” “You have finally fallen, but you have done your people proud!” As Cut-Scenes continue to play out in the game, the current actors under your rule will be inserted, so new faces will be apart of the unfolding story if someone dies and get replaced. So in essence, you have an RPG with an endless supply of main characters.

As far as stat tracking goes, I will also keep track of what the living Troops under your rule do.

I already mentioned in a previous post that my RPG RTS would have a third genre blended with the rest of the game style. During this game play style, your Commander becomes even more important since he or she will be the center of attention.

I want the “gamer” to love and trust everyone under their rule. These Actors will address you directly in Cut-Scenes because you, Prince or Princess, will be their will to live and fight. That is why everything you do will either yield a negative effect or a positive effect on your status as ruler. Become a hated ruler and you get overthrown!

Just to give you some deeper background…

You will play a Prince or Princess because you are not the King or Queen. You are in fact adopted. The missions you carry out are all part of the King’s (or Queen’s) will. Of course, as the story goes, You and the King want the same thing…a better world for your people. However, the chance at grasping a better world is threatened by your enemy, who is trying to gain dominance over the entire planet and its lands, resources, etc…

This is somewhat ironic because a lot of RTS games feature a battle over resources. That is not the main cause of war with my game and its story. The reasons are much bigger than that, but I will not let the “cat out of the bag.” You will just have to play the finished game to learn why.

The race you will play will look like Earth Humans, but they will not be Humans and you will see a distinction that sticks out like a swore thumb. In fact, the race you play will have a special name (and enemies), which I will not give out.

Hi guys.

……been working hard on this project. :slight_smile:

I went back and corrected a GUI issue with Actors option Menus. There was also a nasty issue associated with getting Actors to work at night instead of the day; it’s now fixed.

I coded in the basic AI for the Laborer Type Actor. The Laborer will now go and get resources that have been harvested and take them to the correct stock facility. So now I’m about to get into the other have of that block of code, which is really already written.

I want my Laborers to now be able to go pick up Resources in stock and take them to the construction grounds. This is just a matter of setting different pickup and take-to points, so I hope I can implement that second part with little stress.

I would have had all that done already, but I took the time to add lighting to the buildings at night time. Each Structure will have four light poles at the corners, which are basically street lights.

Before I finish up my Laborer code, I will most likely model the street lights and get those objects into the run-time. I want to create a soft glow effect for the lights to enhance the overall appearance for nighttime city lighting.

Then…after all of that, I want to add in some smaller graphics which will elevate the neatness of game play overall. I already added building scalpels to the construction zones, but I want to also allow the “gamer” to see the resources pile up as they are delivered by the Laborers.

I also need to put my Laborers on their mounted wagons so they can travel faster and look like they can handle a load. They are still of foot ATM.

Once I make it that far, I will post up screenshots of the results.

Another day, more code… What’s up everyone? :smiley:

Man, I’ve pulled so much hair out lately; “extreme programming” is termed correctly, because it can be a pure headache! It’s amazing how creating and inserting one variable into code can change the entire way the source is executed. As code starts to pile up, finding out why something is not working the way it should turns into the old “needle in a hay stack” search.

I picked up another good code habit with P3D; that is, I found out how to control the entire execution of when each part of code will truly execute regardless of task order. Sweet! :slight_smile:


I just about have City Function complete. All worker types will do their jobs (with the exception of 1 or 2 jobs I haven’t inserted yet). The Laborers will go and get any Raw resources that have been picked and prepared for pickup, then deliver them to stock. The Laborers will also pull from stock, construction materials, and deliver them to work sites as needed.

In the screenshot, I am testing to see if the resources are indeed getting to the stock facilities.

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I have this little issue with drafting a Commander. For some reason, only one Commander can be drafted even though the requirements for two are met. I’m going to debug this problem and fix it before I continue on coarse.

As far as City Function goes, I want to code in two things later…

One – Workers should not go and get resources until City stock for resources are at a certain low, depending on the resource at question.

Two – Things like Wood Trees need to eventually grow back in time. The same thing for Hunting areas (animals replenish), herb areas (herbs grow back), fishing spots, fruit trees, etc…you get the picture. Builders will bake bricks for the City automatically between jobs.

Once I get that far, I want to go back and do the crop field graphic for the Farmers and code in the absolute function for the crop field. Farmers will have a planting season and a harvest season. Laborers will haul away the crops after they are picked by the Farmer in the harvest season.

Farming is Major Important! The total number of Crops equal the total amount of Money/Gold the City has! This is based on the concept, Money should be backed by something valuable and food is major. All workers must be paid to work and all citizens running a business/service within the City must get paid by their customers. All food is bought from the Bakery, which is run by a Government Type Worker.

A “gamer” playing this game must make sure they have enough Money to pay for any work that needs to be done in the City; workers will not work for free, right? So, if crops suffer, you lose Money!! If workers can’t get paid, they can’t Eat! If Government Type Workers are not spending money, business/service owners can’t get paid and therefore can’t Eat! If people can’t eat, they will spit at your feet and leave the City and your Prestige drops! Lose too much Prestige and you get beheaded. :laughing:

Crop growth is determined by the size of your Farmers’ Estates, the size of your Bakery (which is the stock facility for food) and the quality of farming technologies used. Only the Scholar can increase such technology, but that is tied to the resources brought into the City, which the Scholar will conduct experiments with.

I’m sure you can imagine how enemies can really hurt you in this game. Just think about those suckers getting into your City and burning your Crop fields! They can destroy building structures or cause damage to them, thus making your Builders perform repairs, which burn resources, time and money.

Citizens will also temporarily flee the City if it gets attacked directly! This is a major concern, because those citizens coming back to the City after the enemy is dealt with is not guaranteed! They can get killed by wild animals or even enemies in the City outskirts. If Citizens die, this is Major Prestige drop! Plus, you must go without their business/service until they are replaced by new Citizens.


Just giving you some more insight on this Game. I better get back to coding. I also want to create some visual effects associated with all the work being done by your characters.