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D2TM Roadmap


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I always wondered why the vehicles left survivors in C&C games, the vehicles explode, not just get incapable, and even if the driver survives the fuel tank explosion that is so powerful it cuts tank armor to shreds (leaving no damaged hull, even), the driver won't be capable of fighting.

I think that's the reason they abandoned crew survivors in vehicles after all.

Dune 2 actually had the "damaged hull burning away" graphics, but it burned so violently no one could possibly survive.

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I think allowing the AI to build bases for you means to make it too much independent. AI should follow a specific pattern the player designs. Say, if the region is rich in spice and near an enemy region with risk of invasion, you'll have a one base plan, designed for defense and mining. For production and offense, the other. Player creates, AI only follows the player. Enemy AI should be different though. More agressive.

As for TA, you can define individual unit AI settings by combining two parameters: motion behavior and attack behavior. The first being 'Hold Position', 'Roam' or 'Maneuver', the second - 'Fire at will', 'Hold fire' or 'return fire'. This would allow to design offensive, defensive and scouting patterns for units. Some sort of that AI management is given in Dune Legacy, only simpler.

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There should definitely be some way of capturing enemy equipment or appropriating abandoned equipment, even if it's just hard-coded into scripts for certain scenarios {shudders}.

On AI, perhaps allow the player to set up customised alert zones (or perhaps a scout mode for units to report back), in case enemy units enter while you're looking elsewhere.

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Doesn't a sophisticated AI eat up lots of CPU resources? IMHO, usually in RTS the AI compensates its natural inferiority to a human player by some 'cheats' like infinite money or faster production rates, and then seeks out the weak spot of the player (say, lesser unit concentration) and rushes in there with an overwhelming number of units. If overdone, this may make the AI unbeatable, as the it has certain advantages over the player too, such as an ability to equally control every unit on the map, where a human is basically limited with the current game screen position.

I think that, to make a gameplay interesting, lots of events should be scripted yet happen randomly.

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Not if you add difficulty levels. And highly skilled players have enough micro to control all the units they have to.

And it doesn't have to take up a lot of CPU power if it's scripted well enough, like I saw some C&C Generals mods that increased the AI for some skirmishes maps.

The maps in Generals all have special focus points, places the AI should build its bases, where it should watch out for enemies (base entrances) and other such locations.

If you add a lot more configurability as per-map settings (like scripting) you can create much more advanced AIs.

Of course, this would make a random map generator impossible.

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I even made a random map generator for dune 2. Ok, its not entirely random. But it did generate a random terrain , searching for a seed number that looks like it. Then building random base on plateaus of rock and such. Worked quite ok.

AI is difficult to code, a true, not-cheating, yet hard to beat AI is very , very tough to create.

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What about having, apart from the main 'conquest' mode, the 'practice' game mode, single missions, so to say? That would involve custom map creation, thus increasing the overall popularity of the game. Preferably, if one can create some sophisticated missions rather than simple maps with only one goal - defeat the opponent (although this is good too). Say, maps with triggered and scripted events, and so on. If there's going to be any custom map editor at all... ???

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I see you're much fond of the "advanced AI" idea. Maybe you'll expand on it, say, tell about the principles of it. To me, any AI is based on a set of "if-then-else" routines. The more routines that describe how the AI should react to most probable situations that can occur, the more effective it is.

Maybe we'd start a separate AI thread... ???

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Read some of my earlier posts about the "commanders" feature. If you want to talk about general AI micromanagement and what-not, it's all about cheating. We do not have technology that can make the AI unpredictable, so this would have to suffice. The AI cheats. Of course, if we have a multiplayer functionality, this would become unnecessary...

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The options fo AI seem to be:

- Direct Cheating (free money, etc)

  Inelegant and unrealistic.

- Mission bias (spice fields closer to AI, more starting forces, etc)

  May be difficult if you're doing it territory based, especially of AHO are all playable.

- Mission programming (map-based triggers and flags to prescribe tactics to the AI)

  Potentially tricky. DII maps have few features (little barrier-terrain, etc), so not much can be done here.

- Write a better AI (global-level, territory-level, and/or unit-level)

  Very difficult.

Plus any combination of those you can imagine.

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After turning the idea of a random map generator around in mind for a while, I've decided that I like it after all. I think it will be quite good if the regions in the global map differed, so that some are richer in spice, some are more barren and rocky, etc. etc. Regions should have different strategic values, i.e. you'd want to conquer a new region not only because it will increase your spice income, but also if it strengthens your defensive or offensive capabilities (say, you get an almost depleted of spice, but rich in buildable rock region on the border, so you can build a good and tight defense to protect the non-border minig regions from invasion).

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The random map generator was taken from the Arrakis source (!!! yep). Though i have to tweak it a bit and make it more suitable for the current game, i think the replay value will be pretty big.

About the AI. I'd prefer a smart enough AI in-game. Since terrains are randomly generated, its hard to make scripted AI's. Some things are easy to do. Ie, the original D2TM (where you CAN fight) does not cheat at all! (if you do Normal AI)...

Basicly the AI will make sure it has a good economics, with a simple formula:

Harvester amount = Refinery * 2

Carry-alls amount = Refinery amount

therefor, establishing a good enough economy.

Minimum harvesters was around 4. When the AI had more then 300 bucks it would run a routine to make sure it could buy stuff. Basicly from then on it was an easy part, where the AI would buy as much as possible within its budget (and a bit random).

The D2TM AI will probably need some more advanced features for building bases. But, also do note that rock plateaus will be bigger. Since you no longer need to build stuff next to each other but can (and will) leave spaces between structures.

The only hard parts i can think about is make it work without eating too much CPU ;) Basicly its possible to make scans for battles and make the AI move to your weakest spots and attack you from there. But, that would be way to tricky for a big game as D2TM will be...

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  • 3 weeks later...

I think dune 2 had two key things that I hope you won't change. (And they're only opinions)

i) Limited Resources & Slow Harvest times

ii) Long ranged Rocket Turrets

The first one made you appreciate your harvesters and look after them. Because spice didn't regenerate it was more a spice rush than a military rush. That's what sets dune 2 apart from its remakes and other strategy games out today. It made you value everything you built and purchased, because if you lost your units and structures they would cost precious funds to replace.

Attacks weren't so careless and ruthless either. Because of both the first point and the second; rocket turrets being able to demolish units at long range. You couldn't just rock on up to an enemy base with a dozen combat tanks without losing more than half of them on the way in. You really had to look for weaknesses and expoit them.

I've drawn these conclusions by what I've seen done with Dune 2000 and Emperor. Both made spice unlimited, fast to collect and money easy to obtain and both made base defenses _absolutely_ useless.

- My 10c (because 5c, 2c and 1c are now non-exsistent in the nz economy)

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  • 3 months later...


I read the Roadmap with ardor. So, I will make some comments to the facts, that were discussed some months ago.

@Dawiduh: Night:

I think day-night-sequences sounding good, but it's hard to play this way. Some years ago, C&C3-Tiberian Sun and Earth2150 also would implemant this. At C&C3-Tiberian Sun but it's completly taken out, at Earth 2150 it's so realized that toward night the colors getting more darker, toward day, the colors getting more brighter. But floodlight projectors, lamps and so on weren't realiszed as it should be.

@Dawiduh: Fatigue indicators, morale at troopers:

I think such an high grade on realistic is nice to view, but hard to handle. I will show an example: After your troopers walked a long time, indeed, they can be tired. But how making them getting strong again ? Maybe after 5 minutes they have 100% health, but is this real ? I don't think so, because in "real" they had something to eat and to realx on, but in the dessert there isn't something like this.

Example two: What would you do, if your troopers being disappointed ? Making an celebration ? I can't agree with this idea, because "Dune" will be no longer "Dune", it will be an party-game.

@Dawiduh: Muliplayer:

Great idea, I agree. You need to choose your enemy (PC or human), Enemyhouses, friendly and hostile Subhouses, map, number of units, techique-level, credits. C&C-Tiberuian Sun and StarCraft had an great map-editor. Instead of selecting every field with rocks, or sand, or... or... you can choose in an menue these diffrent defaults. Every time you click on "create" a new map will be crated. Such an editor is the best invention since editors exist. But this is all future-talk.

@Dawiduh: New graphics for the units (maybe 32bit):

I think an graphical update would be good, but I personal like the old style. I think a new unit-design will always change the feeling. I think this is an personal question. If you like the old ones, ok, and if you like an new version, ok too. In case of need, the old style can be implementend in 32bit-graphic, but not the other way around. So, I think there should be an menue-option to select the graphic-set.

But genrelly you must make a differene between the unit- and the menue-style.

@MrFlibble: General commands:

I also like the idea to conquer one of the 27 maps and switch then an commander "on", which lead my units, until i fight on an ohter map. The whole gameplay getting more real, this way.

@Dawiduh: Villages and towns of civilians:

I think this is an great idea, but don't expect too much. On Dune are only the Fremen, who lives i Sietches, not big towns and villages (most not even overground).

@Nema Fakei: Shortcuts

Please, Stefan, realized this without fail. This is neseccary!!!!!

@Gilneas: Units become ranks:

Something like this make the game more interessting. This should be added, but not 200 ranks, 10 are enough I think.

@Dawiduh: "Vehicle destroyed, crew saved":

I think if you destroy an vehicle, the crew should die with it. In Dune II weren't such "Vehicle destroyed, crew saved" implemented.

@Dawiduh: AI

I think an right Ai must be created. If you move your units into an enemy base, they should move further, during fireing. After they reached their place, the fight againgst the attacking units in their "rank of destroypower" like this: First of all Devestators/Deviators then Rocketlauncher & -Turret then Tanks then Quad/Trike/Rocketrooper then Machinegun-Troopers (What abou Harvester and Ornis?). Emeny buildings like windtraps, Refinery, Light & Heavy Factory would not(!!) be attacked. They are worth to taking over them.

@Winter Dragon: Old Dune Settings:

I think the old Dune Settings line hitpoints, range, speed, costs, schould not be changed. This is the ground everybody(!!!) belongs to.

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