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cooperative game - communal tech tree? or individualized?

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MarkD1733's picture
Joined: 07/05/2014

I have a Troop Tech Tree mechanic in my cooperative game--one per player because each player has his own power (which is an economic advantage for certain troops in the tech tree). I recently saw Warband: Against the Darkness and saw how that game uses a tech tree for improving troops. It is a communal tech tree (but it's not a cooperative game) that reflects my troops' structure. This got me thinking, for a cooperative game should I move toward a communal tech tree?

Then this got me thinking, should they work from/with a communal pool of troops? That is, do you think it would be preferred that when you upgrade a troop it goes back into the team pool of troops, or do you think you should be able to keep what you upgrade? or is it player choice? After all, it may be that other players may need them as well.

Lots of questions...sorry. Thanks in advance for your ideas and opinions.

let-off studios
let-off studios's picture
Joined: 02/07/2011
Opportunity Cost

Depending on your design, this may or may not be worth it.

Sharing tech development should come at a cost, particularly since more than one player benefits from it. For example, if there are limited numbers of actions players may take on a turn, then the base scenario is that each player develops that tech on their own. However, one of the players may take an action (or perhaps two) to share that tech with another player. Maybe sharing the tech ties up workers (in a worker placement game) for extra turns, or some sort of round-timer indicates when the tech will be transferred.

An alternative is to increase the material/resource cost of that tech to share it with another player. Another alternative is to have a tech development phase, where all players chip in to the pot, and decide among themselves the nature of the next tech development - discussion, secret voting, etc.

If player resources are not open information, then you can still implement a "traitor" mechanic, where one player can attempt to sabotage votes and/or hamper tech development. But again, this is dependent on your particular design.

I also have to give a shout-out to my favourite tech tree ever, in War! Age of Imperialism. In that game, all players shared the same tech tree, but there were certain "plateaus" that eventually surface. These are labeled as "Inflation" stages 1 through 3. These are penalties on the surface/on the outset, triggered by one player but experienced by all players regardless of their current economic or technological level. However, investing in the Inflation level permits higher level tech developments for all players, provided they meet the tech criteria.

This shared tech tree represents a sense of "world technological progress" which I find fascinating and a solid emulator of global development. Again, depending on your design, this may or may not be worth it.

adversitygames's picture
Joined: 09/02/2014
I like the idea of a group

I like the idea of a group tech tree, if it fits with all the factions being unified in their sharing of technology for mutual benefit (they can be "cooperative" as in they're fighting a greater evil, but don't actually want their "allies" to survive either, in which case it wouldn't fit well)

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
I like to give players an

I like to give players an unique unit. On itself, the unit is relatively weak. But working together with another unique unit of an ally, both units benefit from each other to a better level then normal units. Both players need to invest resources first. Just like any research.

Joined: 01/17/2011
Individual cost, communal benefit

MarkD1733 wrote:
This got me thinking, for a cooperative game should I move toward a communal tech tree?

I don't know how your resources work, but I'll assume that each player has access to their own pool of resources each turn. Let's say they can choose how much of their pool they want to contribute to a common research pool each turn, and the research benefits apply to all players.

That would allow the situation to naturally develop where some players may want to spend resources on other things, while other players want them to contribute to the research pool. Thus, player interaction. Thus, goodness.


questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Common vs. unique

I have seen games such as Civilization which have the same common tech tree - but how you advance depends on you. Ultimately even in Civ, you must research all branches of the tech tree if you want to move on into a more modern tech age.

BUT no doubt - the tech tree is common for everyone.

What differs is HOW players choose to advance in the tech tree and use those specific technologies to move faster in the game.

I don't think I have seen any game where the tech tree was UNIQUE for each player. In term of Video games - I guess Starcraft I & II both qualify as having unique tech trees for Terran, Zerg and Protoss races. But the tech tree is rather small compared to Civ's tech tree.

So I think there are examples of both in the market.

The question remains - what do YOU find more interesting? One large tech tree with many forks and lots of decisions OR unique smaller tech trees with more limited options.

You could probably do something in between... also!

Update: Is this for a 4X game? Sound like it could be... You'd have to be more specific. If it's a CO-OP 4X game, I think ONE larger tech tree would be more interesting.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
one example

The tech tree of warzone2100 is the same for all. But super big. So big, in multiplayer, you rarely see someone reaching all tech. Which takes 4.5 hours to complete. However, with x vs x, you and your ally will want to research the same weaponry. You get a good weapon fast, which both players benefit from.

questccg's picture
Joined: 04/16/2011
Not identical

X3M wrote:
...However, with x vs x, you and your ally will want to research the same weaponry. You get a good weapon fast, which both players benefit from.

Actually I think it's the opposite: you would like to research weaponry to COMPLIMENT your ally. So if he is research "Robotic Infantry", you can be researching "Hover Tanks" to provide support for his infantry...

This is just one example, but I think IF you have a large COMMON tech tree, you need to give players the option of choosing other technology to add to the mix, complimentary units...

This way you DON'T have to research the same *stuff* as your other player. To me it sound dumb that you have to research the same tech or units... I would want to specialize and work with my ally...

One comment, you could have techs COMMON to several options. Like Robotics can be a intermediary tech that only serves to allow specialization of several types of units... (For example)

Joined: 03/02/2014
I think it's more interesting

I think it's more interesting in a coop game if each player has his own tech tree that he is researching for his troops, rather than a common tree that everyone's research goes into. First, the latter will make for more arguments and/or more Alpha Player Syndrome. Second, the former will allow for more interesting interactions in combat, where we really need a mixed group of (to use questccg's example) my robotic infantry with your hovercraft air support and Fred's repair droids.

If there's only one tech tree to which everyone's research contributes and everyone draws from, then each person can build these integrated forces himself.

One rule I'd suggest, though, is that if you want to research a tech that an ally has already researched, it is cheaper/easier/quicker than researching it from scratch. This enables us to cooperate in researching general robotics and robot manufacturing, while I go on to research robotic infantry while you go on to automate your hovercraft.

X3M's picture
Joined: 10/28/2013
Allies immidiately share the technoligy

Actually, I meant that each weapon has like 20 research steps. And with 2 players working on the research, it only takes half the time to get the job done. Which means that your weapon is twice as strong than the enemy, and your ally has the same weapon as you.

The cannon for example has 9 variants in total, each stronger than the previous one with one exception. And besides of that, you have several higher fire power. Better accuracy, which don't do much but are needed before... Higher rate of fire.

(Cyborgs are actually complimentary with tracked tanks, not hoovers ;) )


But besides of that. If you want a game where you can beat up your ally afterwards. Then having to share research is a bad idea. In that case, I suggest that each player has an individual research tree where some units are complimentary. While other units are hard counters.

But you also need to make sure that you can have these hard counters for the betrayal that you are planning. Before your ally takes notice. How to handle that?

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