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D2TM Roadmap


stefanhendriks
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Ok, this is something for all you guys who want to have influence on the course of D2TM. If you want things changed, done differently, or thought over again, do it now.

Since the game concept is so huge, i tried to make a simple roadmap. its a simple design document. its about talking about the game aspects. You will find several elements in it. Several are not in it. I will update this thread with never document versions.. so watch this thread closely...

The question is also, how will a game like this be able to handle several battles at once. Is it possible to have 27 regions running real-time, with thousands of units, etc, etc, etc? What is doable. Should there be 2 timers? Or should there be some simulation per region/battle?

All i can say is, we will find out while we try. By trial and error we will find our best way to deal with that point. For all others, the roadmap is there for you. Don't expect too much. I have written it from hearth in an hour or two. Its tough to describe and make sense and make sure all fits in one document as well. (especially when you are not used to draw stuff on paper like me).

I hope you like it, read it, comment on it (via this thread) and read future versions of the document.

NOTE: The .DOC file is ZIPPED. (due limitations of this board posting .DOC files)

[attachment archived by Gobalopper]

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I think we should have another global map, or modify the present one, as one may ask: why I can move units from region 19 to 13 and 20 but not to 14, although they have a common border? ??? Game maps are square, why not ahve the global map divided into square or square-like (not geometrically perfect squares, I mean) regions?

Harkonnen are more favored by the Emperor, as they do his bidding. But once the Emperor knows they're up to overthrow him, he'll turn upon them.

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So, it is only taking place on Arrakis?

Maybe a more realistic map of the actual planet arrakis would be suitable. The one linked has 51 territories. Unless of course you are keeping the Dune 2 map feel, but just making it bigger.

I think what you are trying to say is that the world is flat, not round (same as option in civ II). As by the arrow in the pick I thought you meant I could not go from area 19 to area 13 (maybe make the arrow go up to area 1).

Maybe since no one on the planet likes them, someone offworld would like them because of past relationships with the spice. Or maybe cheaper labour or something.

Sounds good!

Yeah, its only taking place on Arrakis. Its already complex enough ;) And yes i'd rather keep the d2 feel ;)

As for the area borders, yes its somewhat like that, there are only 4 'ways'. Though i am basicly looking for a better way, so parts of the eastern border could go to area x and y. (ie, on area: 19-> 14 and 19->20)

Area 13 is accessible through area 19, but area 1 is not. (since its not directly connected). The world is 'flat' in that matter.

As for a relationship for the Harkonnen, perhaps they can get discount from CHOAM? Besides that,

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@ Mr Flibble,

the game maps are square, but that does not mean the global regions should be, that makes it damn ugly imo :D

Anyway, i'd like to look into this and make it possible to access areas easier. Perhaps its easier to 'drop units' in areas. So the concept changes in this way:

Build up you rbase, make sure you get carry-all technology. Once you have it, you can explore other areas (by sending units to areas you own...).

Anybody who has something to say about that idea?

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1. The game's site look superb. You could try to implement some of that graphics in the game. It'll look much better.

I know you want to mantain the D2 feeling, but...

2. The map. Hmm... Why don't you try to copy the Dune1 map idea? Still looks good in that game even today. And the zoom-in effect.

3. Time. Oh, no. Night should be implemented. Think at night-time attacks. Searchlights. Vehicles spot-lights. Villages and towns sleeping, etc.

4. Will the troops have fatigue indicators, morale, etc?

And will there be medics, engineers, etc?

It's quite strange for a soldier with 2% life to run like hel and fight.

5. Will it have multiplayer?

6. Will the units graphics be upgraded? The D2 units tend to look a little bulky.

Overall the game idea is extremely cool. If you're running low on ideas, just ask.

If I could code real good ( actually if I wouldn't have gave up coding ) I'd like to implement a first-person view. Walking around the base. Something like switching between the D2TM engine and a Doom2 or Duke Nukem engine. Vehicles & sh*t.

My ideas run towards creating an online Arrakis where we can all log-on to. Now that's too far-fetched, I know.

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First of all, I think the player shouldn't be able just o flip from region to region. After all, the player's role is of an Army Commander, a person who can't be omnipresent. Hence, the player's virtual alter ego can be physically present at one region at a time, and traveling between regions (via personal 'Orni One') may take some time and also may be hindered by weather conditions (violent storms, can't enter or leave territory). While the player travels, he may either skip the sequence (time will pass) or continue giving orders in global mode.

Now, to global and local modes. Global mode is where you command regions. Player can give orders to the current region he is in and to any other region where a Radar Outpost is present - for communication reasons. Region orders that the AI handles can be following:

> Harvest. AI will harvest spice, scout for new spice locations when old are depleted with available units. If a harvester is attacked, it will be evacuated to the base. If a combat unit is attacked, it will fire back and, if damaged to half, will retreat to base and be repaired (given a repair facility is present). Damaged base buildings will be repaired. AI won't build any new structures or units. Once the silos are full, harvesting will stop and player will be informed.

> Defend. Most units will bee grouped in the base, some assigned to harvesters for defense. In case of attack, harvesters will be evacuated and all combat units will retreat to the base to participate in defense. Damage will be repaired, lost units will be replaced if needed strcutures are available. Otherwise, AI builds no new units or structures.

> Attack. All combat units availiable will be used to stalk and attack hostiles. Again, no new units/structures built, only killed units replaced.

> Production. The player may define how many unit-type units the AI will produce in the region. Harvested spice will be all invested into production. The more production facilities of one type are in region, the more effective, as more units can be produced simultaneously. Production is limited by spice and water supplies, so the player must ensure both are plentiful by building enough refineries and windtraps. One region can produce 3 unit-types simultaneously: light vehicle, heavy vehicle and air unit, if corresponding production facilities are availiable.

> Move forces. Player is given the list of all units at his command in the region, and can select how many of themĀ  to move. Moving by ground can be done into any adjacent region, by air (if carryalls present) - to any other player-commanded region with a Radar Outpost present. Note that player just defines the number of unit-types to move from all unit-types availiable in region, and can't order "that trike I built first, it then killed two enemy troops and guarded my harvester" to move. AI will select most healthy/intact units for movement.

> Retreat. All units will retreat to nearest safe region (player-commanded or neutral), leaving base and all in it behind. Order for critical situations.

In the local mode, player commands the region he's currently in like in any normal RTS mission. It's the only way to build up bases and give orders to individual units. Well, you know all this process ;)

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I like most of the global command ideas Flibble, though i don't like the 'dune 1 style' of a 'physical commander'. In that case any RTS game woul dbasicly be 'not realistic'. I'd like to keep it a bit faster at pace.

Also day/night sequences, hell no. Its about presure, time presure as well. Build your base quick, be 'quick' for the Emperor demands. It is too boring watching a refinery be built for x hours and wait till finally one harvester gets some spice... Its not the type of game to do that.

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4. Will the troops have fatigue indicators, morale, etc?

And will there be medics, engineers, etc?

It's quite strange for a soldier with 2% life to run like hel and fight.

I think it was the Command & Conquer manual that justified this by saying that troops with low health have a stronger *will* to survive/fight. Like they're trying to protect the last bit of health they have. Combined with their wounds this made them fight just as well as 100% units.

Suggestion about REGION CONTROL,

Instead of using points/score, how about this:

-Unexplored, the same

-Deserted, the same

-Conquered, first time: when someone sets up a Construction Yard,

region control is given to someone else when that player has built his own CY and has completely wiped out the original player.

-Unstable, starts: as soon as there are more than 1 houses on the same map AND there has been FIRED A SHOT ('why' later).

ends: as soon as all side but 1 have been wiped out.

(I presume Conquered and Unstable can co-exist and unstable does not say anything about rulership.)

Complications about crossing over and the 'why' to Unstable,

you try to cross over to a strong computer controlled region, two possibilities:

-Unstable status ensues, you brought a very large force and immediatly the computer attacks you with 100 Devastators since he knows where you are since the entire map is explorered for him. As a result, the game doesn't play the same way, instead you have to build up a force outside of the region you want to take over, and then kill him in an all out war right from the start.

-Unstable status ensues later, the computer won't immediatly know you are there until someone has taken a shot. (Because when the computer does this to you, you won't know until UNSTABLE state has broken out since one of your territories has been invaded) This results in a more 'original Dune' feeling, since you can build up quietly and then attack as soon as your base is ready... but beware the scouts. (maybe you should be able to kill scouts too without Unstable happening)

This is a simpler approach to your maths and it might have the same result, except I expect it to take out odd stuff like two infantry entering an area and it going to unstable and it turns into an action game :D and there're countless other stuff that can go wrong with those complicated rules, I imagine.

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About region control:

I think it will turn out fine, but its a balance that has to be made out of experience anyway ;)

I agree with you, there shouldnt be some big alarm when one soldier crossed a border of a region somehow. This is entirely true. However, when there is a radar it should be able to spot soldiers that enter the new areas. Do note that there is still FOW everywhere. So if you are hasty and drop your troops somewhere, you cannot see what and where units get dropped by any other computer player. Same goes for computer players. The AI should try to clear all FOW asap.

As an aditional idea, a radar should clear a large area of FOW. However, when all radars of a region get destroyed, all your FOW you cleared will be gone.. This will give major advantage if you shut someone down by attacking their windtraps and launch a suprise attack or something?

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The problem I can see with this is that it will become repetitive.

You have to destroy those blasted outposts everytime you begin a mission.

The first thing that came to my mind was the option "Pay $x000 to destroy radars around starting location"

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The radars won't be able to reveal all the map area. And what about giving them a buildlimit? No one builds more than one radar anyway... even for backup, as it eats up quite some power.

Maybe different units should have different degrees of ability to ceonceal themselves from an enemy. I mean, infantry can quite easily hide from sight and is difficult to spot with radar devices as rather small objects, while a harvester is so big and hulking it is easily located. What do you think?

I forgot to mention the 'Spice transfer' command, so you can transfer excess spice from a mining region to a production region, and even effectively have production in areas depleted or deprived of spice.

Also I suppose it is wise to distinguish 'harvesting' and 'military' carryalls (probably this idea has been expressed earlier though) so that the former are assigned to harvesters in a region while the latter ferry units from region to region.

And what if we simplify the 'conquered' thing? Say, no hostile troops in the region at all. You may still have another playable faction on the map if you're temporary allies. What if the enemy AI, when things look bleak for it, just leaves the region or surrenders (remains of his buildings become the winner's, and troops just become neutral/run away/change allegiance to the winner's)? This way the player won't be forced to hunt down every last enemy soldier. Or, even better, you think the region is yours if you don't see any enemies (but some may be concealed under FOW, hiding to prepare for a counter-attack...)

Some ideas on communication/diplomacy:

You can communicate with a side once you've got the Radar online. Those sides that don't have radars (Fremen guys probably) are said to have other communication technology to talk to you. So, once your units spot the other side's units/structures, contact is made. There are several diplomatic states: neutral, hostile, allied (there may be more). Initially, you're hostile to other playing Houses and neutral to anyone else (with probable exclusion of Water Theives, if there will be any in the game). According to status, the nuber of diplomatic proposals to the side will vary.

For hostiles:

a) propose alliance (the enemy side must be hostile to someone else on the map, otherwise this option's useless)

b) surrender (you'll be given time to evac your forces)

c) propose surrender (same as b) but goes for the enemy)

For neutrals:

a) wage war

b) propose alliance

c) some specific things according to the nature of the NPC side (?)

For allies:

a) break alliance (will become neutral)

b) wage war

c) ask specific help (?)

Note that the AI side should be able to show diplomatic activity by themselves, give certain proposals to the player according to situation.

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Good idea! Whenever there are at least two factions hostile to each other in the region, it's a region of conflict (maybe it should be painted differently on the global map for visual reference?)

Some ideas on the global map.

We'd have a sort of colour scheme, I think. Say, like this:

Unexplored region - grayscale.

Explored region with no base and no other factions detected - sand-yellow.

Conquered region - House herald colour.

Conflict region - diagonal stripes that have colours of conflicting sides.

... etc.

Upon clicking on a region, info is given: number of factions, their dimplomatic status and military power (calculated in percent for estimates: say, a percent faction's combat units have out of total combat units in region, sorted by types: % of infantry, ground vehicles and 'thopters), and finally, the player's resources (water and spice), as well as rough estimates of enemy resources (?)

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It is hard to determine if an area is 'yours' while 'you did not discover enemies'. In that case you could conquer the entire planet with enemies crawling your bases... (being a bit sarcastic here of course).

By saying the area is not yours when one hostile enemy enters it, is odd. Like, its saying you lose your entire region when one single infantry lands on your territory. Thats what the score system is for.

Also, a new roadmap is released. This one also gives info about the UI. Here the big thing comes in. How should it play. Feel free to edit the document and add stuff. Or mail these pieces to me so i can work with it. I can't hold this on forever (updating this document that is). I am already converting code here and there, but its a lot of work.

[attachment archived by Gobalopper]

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About losing control of a region,

I suggested that the 'Conflict Region' should be a secondary status.

EG. A region belongs to Harkonnen and is attacked by Atreides and Fremen. It turns to a Region of Conflict but still technically belongs to Harkonnen. When the Conflict ends, it will either belong to Harkonnen, Atreides, or Fremen.

Region:

-yours -> friendly

-not yours -> enemy, deserted, or unexplored

and Conflict is just an indicator

Another suggestion,

since the game is starting to look a bit like a 4X game, how about investigating what that can do for D2TM?

-Tank design

-Fleet movement/grouping (see next)

-Spreading out the areas (think of how big Earth is; the Dune 2 map seems inappropriate. With this I mean, you could have areas further away from each other, the whole move your tanks to the edge of the screen seems very ungainly)

-Research

-AI controlled: base defence, industry (heavy/light factories), ecology, population?

-Advanced Interface

And one more suggestion,

make the palaces more important. Now that I think about it, how about putting the "Planetary Interface" inside of your main Palace? This would give a very Dune 1 feel. Especially if you could walk around the palace (click a menu item and you move to that place in the palace) and visit places like the Armory (research?), the mirror for save/load :D, The Mentat! I can see that working! And that screen where you do spice deposits.

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In response to RM3

Conceits of the game

All fights are based around control of rocky areas, hence square maps and odd-shaped regions. This means no rock around the eedges of the map.

It is to be assumed that there exist spice fields distant from rocky areas which are harvested in uncontested areas when there are sufficient carryalls and harvesters.

Conquering territories:

Absolute minimum of 20 points to conquer a territory (e.g. Conyard, Windtrap, Refinery, harvester. perhaps some units)

Contested territories could flash from the greatest house colour to white, perhaps smoothly.

Inhabited regions may appear deserted when there are forces in areas unexplored by the battle map

Spotters can perhaps be sent to other regions for espionage.

Begin the game

With a set number of carryalls and harvesters.

With a base in a single territory

Atreides:

A bigger air force

Ordos:

A lot more money

Harkonnen:

More ground troops/base

Relationships:

0-5 Bitter Enemy

Will compromise overall position to attack. May sacrifice a region to another enemy to ensure that the region does not fall to a bitter enemy

6-20 Enemy

Will attack on sight and will campaign to defeat

21-35 Hostile

Will attack on sight and will but will not look for a fight on a strategic level.

36-45 Rivalling/Wary

Will avoid encounters if weak else will attack military units on sight. Will capture other units and structures where possible

46-55 Neutral

Will ignore. Entering a base or attacking units will cause a change in stance.

56-65 Amicable

Will generally ignore, but will not begrudge entry to base. Will report wormsigns and common enemies

65-80 Friendly

Will share information on common enemies and worms, will repair nonmilitary units, and will carry harvesters awaf from worms

81-95 Allied

Will share all map information, will share transport and will repair friendly units

96-99 United

Will share all map information, will share transport and will repair friendly units; build off allied base and share local power supplies

100 Vassal

Commandable as own forces.

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The villages and towns will have civilians running around? It would be more realistic.

When the area is under attck they hide in the buildings, but when it's stable the roam around.

Maybe they roam around creating better economic situations?

So if the territory you occupy is not under attack or attacking, the locals are at more peace, so they are able to do more economic stuff and are happier.

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Yeah... exactly... each town and village should pay their quota in spice as taxes. he commander should be allowed to modify this quota.

I mean it's your choice if he modifies the quota of ALL the settlements at once... or the quota is chosen for every settlement alone.

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I have always loved a Dune game that gave you much more autonomy than Emperor did over your empire and everything.

I guess for D2TM, you can draw parallels from Imperial Conflict. Population provides much funds, and thus threatening the population threatens a significant source of income. At the same time, spice harvesting would provide income, though credits are only obtained once the spice has been traded. At the same time, it will be possible to sabotage villages and threaten your source of income (obviously via taxes or some variant of it).

You do not need to direct your own espionages. Various types of espionage units will be available to each house, each performing different tasks or having different abilities (eg. giving Ordos the stealth building-demolishing Saboteur). These units can be controlled manually by the player, though coordination is much more difficult, or simply employed via the empire window (no idea what you want to call it, but it's the screen whereby you give orders as to attack which territory, or what to infiltrate and where). When the AI performs it for you, you are provided with an estimated success rate (which applies ONLY if no players are managing that battle when the sabotage occurs), and thus espionages do not happen immediately after the order is given - there is a delay. This success rate decreases for each other sabotage in process when the present one takes place - the more pending espionages, the lower the success rate for the present espionage.

The AI can take control of battles for you. Essentially, once your empire is stable, the only battles you'll manage by yourself are crucial ones, like those to achieve specific aims or to wipe out an enemy capital. Otherwise, all you need to do is give orders to attack, indicate the quantity of each unit to be sent PLUS an MCV and the AI will manage the invasion for you. When things go awry, you'll manage the reinforcements by yourself, and perhaps get down to battle and temporarily replacing one of your "commanders".

Alliances can be forged with other groups, like smugglers, fremen or Ix, for example, and these advantages might give you certain tactical advantages, like good relations with CHOAM allows you to order vehicles at lower prices than normal, and even free reinforcements via the Starport. Alliance with fremen stretches across regions, as not all fremen are united under one banner, allowing the fremen to be allied with several houses in effect (though the Harkonnens are not allowed to ally with them). Troop Morale could be incorporated into the game, which affects troop movement speed, attack rate and damage. Troop Morale is defined by the region, so troops fighting a losing battle could flee to another territory and have their morale restored, allowing them to fight better, though at the cost of one territory.

This allows us to grant different houses special powers. I don't really have ideas, except for Harkonnen troops to have the ability to Rampage or have a Killing Spree, whereby each skirmish Harkonnen troops in a certain territory wins temporarily enhances their morale, and this can exceed 100% (the default is 50%). Thus, it is not uncommon for huge rampaging Harkonnen armies to run through territory after territory, crushing entire bases, but not conquering them. However, whether this ability should be available to the controlling player or only to Harkonnen AI commanders is another issue.

Not all alliances with NPH (non player HOUSES) are tangible. CHOAM is one example: They will not have any base on Dune. And not all alliances allow you to control their units. I suggest letting Fremen remain uncontrollable, and simply be periodically available, popping up in some territories at the border of the map and doing things, like going to your base to wait and join any large-scale attack, or just attack the enemy by themselves. You can issue orders to Fremen, but cannot control them like you can for your own units.

Just some ideas.

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