Lessons learned from TA and SupCom

Discussion in 'Planetary Annihilation General Discussion' started by coldboot, September 1, 2012.

  1. neophyt3

    neophyt3 Member

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    Not sure I agree with everything you said, but I do enjoy micro and I look forward to PA. Actually, I only really enjoy RTS games that focus on both macro and micro, like TA (I THINK SupCom had much less micro than TA, but can't really remember). You can't win TA online these days if you aren't good at micro too.

    Anyway, not all macro games require micro skill as well. Just look at the turn-based strategy games.
  2. PKC

    PKC New Member

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    i loved the amount/style of micro in supcom :)
  3. Gowerly

    Gowerly Member

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    Supcom had plenty of micro in it. Hang on, I have an interview I did somewhere.

    Here we go: http://www.twitch.tv/thebigonetv/b/326811752

    I talk to TLO about Micro and macro management a bit in Supcom here. We discuss that, as Supcom is simulated, micro is important as no matter how much you're doing, you can always do more to make sure you avoid incoming fire. IF PA follows the same simulation model, micro-management of units will be important.
  4. cunning

    cunning New Member

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    I'm sure that many of these points have been covered previously, 62 pages is more than I can read with a hangover so please excuse me!

    I've modded both TA and SupCom pretty extensively, actually doing a complete rewrite of all the original TA units and adding a third tech level. I learned a huge amount doing this, so big thanks to the guys who worked on TA :)

    Building cost/time
    Both TA and supcom had a bit of an issue with the different cost/second of building units due to the arbitrary build times. One of the first things I did in my complete overhaul of TA units back in the day was to relate the buildtime of each unit to a formula like this:

    BT = x Max (M/y,E/(y*20))

    Where x and y were tuning constants such that a T1 construction vehicle would spend at most (for example, that mod like so many others is lost to the sands of time and hardware failure) 5 M and 100 E / second; something like that would make a lot of sense, and make it considerably easier to predict future resource outlay. The ratio of E:M costs was about the same for each type of unit (air more E, naval more M etc), so it worked out well. Oh, and don't accidentally hard code the engine to only apply buildspeed in 30 increments like you did with TA :lol:

    Aircraft Fuel
    On large maps in supcom it was pretty easy to run out of fuel before completing a patrol route. Air repair stations already rocked anyway without having the fuel mechanic :)

    Tech levels / upgrading / obsolescence
    This has been is an issue in all the TA-like games, and there's been quite a few ways proposed already in this thread to handle it. Personally, I'd go with a SC1-like system and unit tiers something like this:
    T1 - basic selection of units (scout, swarm combat, AA etc)
    T2 - more specialised units (e.g. mobile shield emitters, radar jammers, long range artil)
    T3 - special units with unique abilities (cloaking, short range teleport, self-repair), but not necessarily strictly better in combat than previous tiers
    T4 - The OMGWTF experimentals that we all know and love :)

    The one of the good about SC2 was the field-upgrading of units - it would be a great option if you want to obsolete a unit in a tech tree (e.g. upgrade a T1 eng ->T2 eng ->T3 eng), but I'd rather this was done on a per-unit level using mass+energy (like building upgrades in SC1) than through ethereal magic though. Also, please please make sure that you apply upgrade paths where applicable. In SC, the UEF shield upgraded 2->3, the Aeon shield gen didn't upgrade at all (?!), the cybran shield upgraded 2->2.1->2.2->2.3->2.4->2.5.

    Kbot / Vehicl / Hover
    Removing the kbot/vehicle/hover distinction was a good move; there really wasn't enough variation to make both vehicle and kbot trees viable. Depending on the map, one or the other was usually clearly better. I'd keep the current three factories (Air, naval, vehicle), and stick with one kind of engineer (hover please :) ), but with the addition of water and gas worlds it might be an idea to allow "underwater" building of land factories (which then only produce the amphibious units from the normal land unit selection).

    System requirements
    TA and SC both suffered because it was hard to replicate the epic battles you got in single player in multi without huge slowdowns. If the game ran smoothly with decent numbers of units on medium/low graphical settings, a lot more people could enjoy it. I'm pleased to see that there is a plan for this already, but I'd like to reiterate this was the number one reason why people were reluctant to play TA / SupCom at the LAN parties I used to host.

    LAN Multiplayer / Spawn install
    This one might be a bit controversial: the ability to install a second copy of the game for other people to try out TA in LAN multiplayer resulted in at least five of my friends (who weren't RTS fans) going out and getting their own copy of TA, and at least one of them went out and got the expansions as well. I'd strongly suggest allowing easy LAN play without worrying about copy protection. Online multiplayer is a different kettle of fish, especially in competitive or MMO environments where you need identifiability and accountability.

    And finally: unit transports.
    TA had naval and hovercraft transports, and they were a lot of fun, especially once BSR modified them to have short range "teleport" loading/unloading. I'd love to see medium and heavy ground transports, with FatBoy-like shields and the units visibly loaded onto them ready to drive off once in position. Makes more sense than massive flying multi-unit transports, and can be much tougher without unbalancing intel gathering :)

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