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Real Time Strategy games are different than (board) War games

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questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Thank you for sharing

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
Check out RedTide: The Ground War on facebook...

It seems very "tense" with the timers and a bit "free-for-all". Talking with @X3M about his own "project" ... Has got me thinking about my own RTS game which I call "Mech Missions 3000" or "MM3K" (the Abbreviated version).

I hope to make a Mech RTS with a maximum of 3 Platoons (1 Company).

Much like the Video Game "Age of War 3" ... I too envision something similar ... But of course a FRACTION of the detail in the Video Game. And seeing as it is a Mech game ... Of course there are no "troops" only Mechs. In the sprit of MechWarrior or FASA BattleTech.

I shared some of my thoughts on the use of Sand Timers to prepare orders, execute builds, and/or move/battle Mech Platoon(s). I plan on a "less chaotic" flow for the game in which the timers are used to "synchronize actions" not to control a "feverish" pace to get things going as quick as possible with no way to validate what the opponent is doing.

My plan is to allow from 2 or 4 players to play the game simultaneously. Again the game is in it's INFANCY. Just a collection of ideas ATM. I don't plan to compete with games like "RedTide". Much like @X3M ... I don't even know IF I will get far enough in the design and make it a playable game. But that was interesting to watch... Gave me a bit of validation that my own RTS will be very different. And mine will be focused on Mech battles.

Cheers @Stormyknight1976 (aka Jesse)!

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Stormyknight1976 wrote:Check

Stormyknight1976 wrote:
Check out RedTide: The Ground War on facebook.

I have been following this designer since Early December 2019.
He uses sand timers for cooldowns during combat and to replenish resources per turn. Its a rts board game. Tanks and infantry.

Tons of video demo play, an unboxing and other playtesting videos solo and co-op with his 2 friends on several different occuations.


Sure thing!

But I refrain from timers. I got something cooler. It is called "decide till the roll".

What this means is that the game is turn based.
The player that makes a decision has time to think.
But once decided, he has to reach to the dice. Everyone interested into fiddling with the decision may declare in that moment.
Not only that, another RTS part of the game are the Event Cards. You can play these whenever you like.
(Although, some are out of place these days, no more XP)

As for the main subject. I am trying to find something "correct" for video RTS.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
It is kinda like going from Newton to Relativity

After testing out several way's to balance weapons for video RTS.
Where not only cooldown is used. But also charging.

I discovered that it is indeed possible to balance charging. Well, I have found the hints that this is possible.

And obviuosly, for a board game, you need practical balance. Where the used method of calculation will give a number that is roughly usable.

In RTS (video games) you need to be much more precise for balance.

The math that is needed, is heavy. I almost feared having to use integrals. But luckily, it ends at my favorite sum equations with a limit to infinity.

That said, I finally discovered a way to use "first shot" in combination with the "repeatable part". In such a way that it all makes sense.

It might still need some finishing touches. And I don't know when I can do so.

But the weight of each individual shot can be used to determine the complete set called "repeatable part".

The results however will trigger my OCD.
For a video game, you need rounding.

Think a weigth of 27/65, is actually 0.415
We need 65 of these to get a weigth of 27.
I used the ratio of 3 for my board game. The new method requires me to calculate with (2/3) to the power of anything. O man, the math was suddenly heavy.

It is kinda like going from Newton to Relativity, just to calculate the correct orbit of Mercury.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Ratio's in the hundreds

Video games have a framerate. I often see games showing cooldowns of 15, 22 and 30 etc. for the fastest shooting units.

Obviously, those can be translated to 2, 3 and 4 etc.

Now the big question is. Would it be better to work with a health/damage ratio that represents the feeling of the RTS.
Or a health/damage ratio that is mathematically correct according to the framerate?

I can do both now. Since it looks like I found a holy grail.

Still want to test the extend though :)

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Having fun with weird weapon designs

I have landed on a fun part now :D

I am trying to see if I can get some balanced weapons done.
Made an Excel for this.
First thing I noticed is that the approach I used to have with salvo's of 1 moment of damage. Is actually close to the "perfect" balance.

Now I get to play with the Excel :)
For the best fun, I play with my ratio of 3.

Weapons will have a weigth, damage, cooldown and charging.

weigth 3, damage 3.0, cooldown 1, charging 0
damage set is 3.0- 3.0-3.0- 3.0 etc.
weigth 3, damage 5.0, cooldown 2, charging 0
damage set is 5.0- 0.0-5.0- 0.0 etc.
weigth 3, damage 7.5, cooldown 2, charging 1
damage set is 0.0- 7.5-0.0- 7.5 etc.
weigth 9 (total);
damage set is 8.0-10.5-8.0-10.5 etc.
weigth 4.8, damage 8.0, cooldown 2, charging 0
damage set is 8.0- 0.0-8.0- 0.0 etc.
weigth 4.2, damage 10.5, cooldown 2, charging 1
damage set is 0.0-10.5-0.0-10.5 etc.

Ok, that already made me drool...


Now to get some realy funky stuff out.

Weigth is 2;
Damage set is 2-2-2-2 etc.
I thought, let a part of the weapon start up much later but have the same cooldown, a cooldown of 3 that is. The charging time is the entire cooldown, thus a charging of 3.
Weigth is 2;
Damage set part A: 2-2-0--2-2-0--2-2-0--2-2-0 etc.
Damage set part B: 0-0-0--3-0-0--3-0-0--3-0-0 etc.
Damage set total : 2-2-0--5-2-0--5-2-0--5-2-0 etc.

Another one of weigth 2, but with cooldown of 2;
Damage set part A: 2-0--2-0--2-0--2-0 etc.
Damage set part B: 0-0--3-0--3-0--3-0 etc.
Damage set total : 2-0--5-0--5-0--5-0 etc.


When trying to get salvo's. It is hard to find combinations within the cooldown. And this is for ratio of 3. I can't imagine how hard it will be to find combinations with a higher ratio.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Ah yes!!!

I found a decent way to get stuff done. I simply go for the basis 1 damage per 1 cooldown. For a higher cooldown set. Then I put in a high number for each part. And I see if I can exchange stuff.

I started with 5-5-5-5-5-5 etc.
The set of a cooldown of 6.

2-0-3-5-2-2 is the salvo with a weigth of 2.

Ok, visual time!!
Imagine the game Red Alert.
The soviets have riflemen and grenadiers.
The design would be a rifleman with a rifle that shoots twice as strong. It also throws 1 grenade each round.

As visual, this could be a soldier that:
0: shoots its rifle.
1: Then takes out a grenade.
2: The grenade then hits the target
3: The flames of the grenade do extra damage
4: shoots its rifle.
5: shoots its rifle.
Back to 0 again.

In terms of damage types. The grenade might be a 1/3th accuracy of a tier 3 weapon.
Which means the damage against soldiers is:
And the damage against tier 3 armor is:

Now.... I could design a game where a combat is played for a full of 6 turns. In which units do different damage every turn.

Would that be complicated for players?
It surely would mean that I could remove action points :)
Think about that for a while. No action points anymore.

I forgot that I am looking at an infinite sum for each part.
The individual parts would be compatible with a board game.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
another fact

Seeing as how the same salvo is used in every next round. I can still use the original numbers.

Pretending an unit has infinite life.
However, the numbers involved still make it hard.

And the combat resolution is very deadly.
The salvo of that soldier that I described. Would do 8 to 9 damage in total to other soldiers.
With a ratio of 3, that would mean almost 3 kills in 1 round.

Originally, it was 1/3th of a kill...

Of course, the weapon has a weight of 2, that would mean 6 health. Still, doing 6 times more damage.

I need to test things out after getting some more interesting (usuable) salvo's.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
What if I look at the numbers as accuracies?

203522 would weigth 2. But If I consider these accuracies on a d6. Then the weigth would be 1/3th :)
Depending on the tiers. The total value could easily be 100 or 200. Maybe even 1200. Depending on the weaponry.

The weigth is still a factor. There is still the option to multiply it by the tier and range factors.

With this, I can distribute the total. In the example, the highest is 5. Which allows up to 5 projectiles with an accuracy of 1/6th.

At first I was stuck on what I could do. But I finally see free to choose variables.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
The differences

My hobby game benefits more from the new idea, than the public version.

Because the interactions of the pieces follow up in a better way.

The hobby game also gets faster. And actually looks more like RTS now.


I can make little stories now:

The Torrent (weapon weight 12)
0 - It stops its movement within the region in order to lift the missile battery.
0 - It selects targets within range.
35 - Salvo of missiles 1
35 - Salvo of missiles 2
35 - Salvo of missiles 3
0 - Repacking

The player pays 1 AP, 2 times. In which other players can get the hell out. Then a mass load of damage is done over a course of 3 turns. The coolddown is 1, which is paid after the last salvo?

I am not sure yet. But I think i need to have the AP being reserved and only let the player pay after the completion of the entire salvo.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013

When charging fails. In RTS it restarts the count down.
There is no cooldown.

The big question is:
Should a cooldown of 1 be added if only 1 salvo of missiles had been fired?

The logic behind the costs of each moment is 35 times;

Which means that a cooldown of 3 should be paid for the first batch of missiles.

So I have a choice right now.
If charging succeeds, but only 1 or 2 salvo's are fired:

Choice A
A cooldown of 1 is paid.
After all, the player is missing damage.

Choice B
The complete set of salvo's will be completed. So if something is in range, it will still be hit. Units that retreated will be under surpressing fire if you will. They can't return.
This opens up to units that fire several rounds for a cheaper price but higher AP cost.

Choice C
The attack fails. All AP are paid.
So 1, 2 or 3 salvo's will all cost 6 AP in total.

I like option B the most.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Option B

And the main reasons are:
- It is fair/balanced.
- It represents RTS the closest. Torrents fire until done. Obelisk of light will charge again, while the cooldown is not added. Those are 2 important examples.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
in the other topic

I have declared that the public version would not have any RTS anymore.
The option B will mostly work for the hobby version. And has only to do with the public if a certain Event card is played.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Option B, reconfirmed

I am still thinking about how the AP should be spend.

But so far, I reached the conclusion that a multi salvo unit needs to pay all AP, once the first part of a salvo started firing.

A 6 AP attack where the third turn is the first part of a salvo, will cost 1 AP each turn during charging. The first part of the salvo will cost 4 AP. And the other 2 parts of the salvo will be "free". Well, the player already paid for them.

With this, one new strategy opened up.

Units with a salvo of 2 or more. Where a salvo of 1 would be just as effective. Can be designed by the players in order to have multiple squads fire at the same time.

Example: A squad that has an AP and salvo of 3 and a squad that has an AP and salvo of 2.
The player pays 3 AP for the first squad to start firing.
The second turn, this squad will still fire. But another squad will pay 2 AP and starts firing.
Eventually a third squad can be added that only needs 1 AP for their 1 turn salvo.

Obviously, other players can move out of the way. A firing squad cannot move if it was not part of the action.

Nor am I sure about having units with salvo's, move around with their gun... Perhaps during a salvo. The movement costs would automatically be higher.

2 AP salvo, would have a movement cost that is 3.
Thus very expensive already.



When charging fails.
The remaining AP don't have to be spend.

When a salvo fails.
The remaining AP has been spend.

Units that have a salvo of 2 or higher. Spend AP lineair to these salvo's. While other units have a penalty on doing multiple attacks.
Pro for the salvo: Cheap AP costs.
Con for the salvo: Other players can move out of the way.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Salvo's by choice?

Perhaps, the biggest achievment would be that the AP spending can be reduced on several squads.

A normal squad with a salvo of 1. Will have an AP cost for every attack turn in one round:
1st attack costs 1 AP
2nd attack costs 2 AP
3rd attack costs 4 AP

If I allow players to have these squads attack anything within range (suppresing fire). Then the costs could be less. But how to make sure this goes fair enough?

So far, I got this:
- The squad would be paying 1 AP for every planned turn.
- The squad would only be firing at anything within range.
- Another action may not cross through, or else the salvo is canceled.

The results are:

1 AP attackers can now attack 7 times instead of 3 times. But the player pays 7 AP right in front. And chances are, everything simply moves away during that time. So it would only be effective on very slow units or structures.
Great for minesweeping.

2 AP attackers have a salvo of 2, 10 and 01 are the systems. Or any combination of the 2. However, 11 as system is obsolete, since you might as well use a 1 AP system.

The same goes for 3 AP attackers and higher.

So, a salvo design would be very specific about the damage distribution. But I kinda liked the fact that some designs would be able to have the ability to do a salvo, where the system consists of multiple attacks of 1 anyway.

So, to cut things short. The option to do a salvo attack should be linked to the unit design. Not a choice.
This means that some units can have an attack of 1 AP, and as choice an attack of for example 3 AP. Where a salvo of 111 distributed over 3 turns is used. 3 AP instead of 7 AP is still a big difference!

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
RTS does't really allow players to choose

Unless a transformation is allowed.
See the siege tank of the terrans in Starcraft.
The Jaguar of AoW3 is the same principle.

What do I mean?
Well, some games allow the player to choose a weapon.
At the moment of choice, that weapon is used.
While the weapon looks the same during the choice, it might act completely different.

An example in this is loading rockets into the 8-ball, which can be seen in Unreal and any Unreal game afterwards.
The same example can be used for any secondary fire.

If you want such effect in RTS. It is still easy to switch.

Now to board games.
I have showed severals examples of how different types of weapons should be calculated in terms of weight.
The weight of the effect is actually added to the total costs. Meaning that having 2 individual designs will cost less than 2 designs that give the same choices. One design chooses A the other design chooses B. In a sense, it is practical to get a design that allows this choice. But at an end game, a player obviously wants to have switched to 2 individual designs.

The biggest problem is: how to calculate the change in weight when action points are involved.
In fact. I have talked about this one before. Where a weapon will be oding 1 damage, but the player can choose to pay 1 or 2 action points.

It gets very complicated.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
1 step back

Again I found a way to abuse the system.
This time indirect.

If I use a ratio of 1. Then it means that the first round units will have 1 damage equal to 1 health.
The second round, these weapons would do infinite damage over infinite range...

So I guess I need to add in the +1 again.
Meaning it is ratio/(ratio+1) for each turn instead of (ratio-1)/ratio.

A ratio of 1 changes from weight:
1 + 0 + 0 + 0 etc Becomes 1
1 + 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 etc Becomes 2

And thus my normal ratio of 3 had the weight:
1 + 2/3 + 4/9 + 8/27 etc Becomes 3
1 + 3/4 + 9/16 + 27/64 etc Becomes 4

I really need that 4 to become a 3 again. And the only logical solution here is to have 3/4 as a multiplier to the entire list.
This can be done in 2 ways. Multiply everything with 3/4. Or simply shift the list 1 to the left. Obviously the latter.

Less options are now avaiable... :(
Either change the ratio to 2, or find another ratio that shows better numbers...

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
The simple "complex" designs

Ok. The very first design that allows the players to make a choice and has effectively been used.

Make no mistake; 1 round can contain up to 7*players turns.

It is a weapon that allows to fire in 2 turns.
Each time it will do 1 damage.
The player can choose to pay 1 AP or fire a second time and pay 2 AP.
The total weigth is 125% that of a 1 AP weapon.

Other weapons of 1 AP; either cost 1 AP, then 2 AP and finally 4 AP. A total of 3 damage per round possible.
Other weapons of 2 AP and that occasionally will mis; either cost 2 AP and finally 4 AP. With 1 AP to spare. Assuming that the first projectile of the salvo hits. There are 2 moments that the target can walk away. The damage per round will be 2 to 4.

The choice weapon takes away the issue with enemies that are suddenly out of range.
It can act like the 2 other weapons above.
And adds 2 more possibilities.
The damage is 0.8 times though.
The most important aspect would be that taking a risk to pay too much AP is lowered. 1 < 1.6 < 2. With the middle situation offered by the choice weapon.


1 or 2, costs 125%
1 or 2 or 3, costs 127.7%
Not much more. But a small window of extra effectivness can occur.

The most optimal combination would be doing a salvo of 2, then 3. Costing 7 AP in total again. And doing 3.9 damage.
This situation is rare and the targets have 3 moments of walking away.

Any AP saved by the player can be used to do at least 1 more damage.
Needless to say that a weapon with a salvo of 7 can do 7 damage for the same price as a salvo of 1. Which would do a maximum of 3 damage per round.

While I posted damages above. These are already lowered by the price.
Obviously, bodies weren't included. Which would actually increase the damages. (Yes Mark.... you didn't include those effects, now did you?!?)
The 1.6 would secretly be close to 1.8.
And the 3.9 would secretly be 4.4

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
tldr, next topic then

While I was toying around with cautious choices versus risky choices. I came to realize that choosing between cautious and risky would lean to risky. Because not choosing to do a risky action is also being cautious.

The main reason would be that taking a risky action is more beneficial compared to having a squad taking normal actions due to cumulative AP costs.

Should I even have a cumulative costs on AP?
Or just only allow 1 action per squad anyway?

The latter is fair and closer to RTS games. But every action needs to be reconsidered in effects.

I wonder if this deserves a topic of its own...

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
No new topic

No, I am not going to make a new topic about having a limit of 1 action per squad.

Instead I will type a scenario to see how others might think about it.

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