RTS Game-play Part 6: Visible Balancing

December 9th, 2008, RTS Design

jeb <3 RTSMaybe it’s time for me to continue on this blog series, so here it goes… Got some interesting feedback on the previous posts, which is great! I really need to hear some criticism, so I know in which direction to take the completed article in. I’m going on vacation next week and wont be back until next year, but I’ll try to post as much as possible until then (though I doubt I’ll have time to write everything).

In any case, as I wrote in the previous post there are two main kinds of unit balancing, visible and hidden balancing. (I will alternately use the terms “concrete” and “abstract” balancing as well.) In this post I’m going to describe in more detail what visible balancing is, and give some examples. It’s worth mentioning that a lot of these suggestions aren’t restricted to RTS games only, but to game design and balancing in general.

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Looking for Agatha?

November 27th, 2008, Agatha Ragata, Harvest, IGF

Agatha RagataThe entries list of participants in this year’s Independent Games Festival is now available on their website. They have also posted the list of student showcase entries. We are participating with both Harvest: Massive Encounter and our new project, Agatha Ragata. The competition is tough as always, but one must always be hopeful!

If you are looking for information about Agatha Ragatha, you can look further down this page, or click these links:


RTS Game-play Part 5: Introduction to Unit Balancing

November 26th, 2008, RTS Design

jeb <3 RTSThe most widely discussed RTS topic is without question unit balance. How to design units, their attributes and their build costs, is a game design equation with infinite solutions. This part is a short introduction to a number of basic definitions, which I will refer to when I further descend down into the topic.

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RTS Game-play Part 4: Macro Limits

November 22nd, 2008, RTS Design

jeb <3 RTSThis time I will discuss a topic which is very game-specific, the topic of “macromanagement limits.” These are limits such as how much resources or how many units you may have. It strongly depends on what kind of game you are trying to make, and the technology you have available. If your game can’t handle path-finding for 1000 units at the same time, then maybe this limit should be included in your game design…

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RTS Game-play Part 3: Build Options

November 21st, 2008, RTS Design

jeb <3 RTSIn this post and the next one I’m going to tackle the topic of macromanagement. As I’ve said before, macromanagement (or “macro” for short) is closely related to strategy, so when designing the macro part of a game you will strongly influence the strategies which will be available to the players.

I will begin with the topic of build orders and technology trees. In the next part I will discuss some imposed macro limits that are used in a lot of games.

Hit the jump for the stuff…

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Agatha Ragata Game-play Preview

November 20th, 2008, Agatha Ragata, Previews

Agatha Ragata currently consists of a single demo/presentation level, until we decide how/if we should procede with the development. Yesterday I decided that I should record a video clip of this level and put it on YouTube to show our friends over at TIGSource.

Later on I checked my YouTube account to see how many views the clip had got (being an Internet geek like everyone else), and I was somewhat surprised that it was about double what I had expected. I realized that the clip had been posted in the IndieGames.com blog, which is great! I also realized that my “secret” clip recording wasn’t as covert as I had planned… and I shamefully admit that if we have published Oxeye material on the web, people who faithfully read this blog should also be invited to the party :)

Hit the jump for a game-play preview of Agatha Ragata…

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RTS Game-play Part 2: Resource Systems

November 19th, 2008, RTS Design

jeb <3 RTSThis is the second part of my RTS game-play article series, and we’re finally getting on with the more beefy stuff. This time I will discuss the subject of RTS games’ resource systems. The order of these blog posts may seem a little bit random… which is completely true! However, resource systems are quite independent from other game concepts, which makes it an easy place to begin. When I feel finished with all parts, I will post the whole document in a more organized manner. Until then, try to keep up with my floating idea blobs! :)

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RTS Game-play Part 1: Terminologies

November 18th, 2008, RTS Design

jeb <3 RTSIn the first part of my RTS game-play article I will discuss a couple of basic RTS terminologies. Most of these are probably obvious, but can be useful to define what I mean when I use them. There are a lot of other terms that I will use in my articles, but I will explain these as they are brought up. Please let me know in the comments if I leave out something that should be better explained.

Hit the jump for a couple of initial terminologies… Read More

Game-play Mechanics of Real-time Strategy Games

November 17th, 2008, RTS Design

jeb <3 RTSThis ridiculously long post title comes from an article that I was writing during the summer. As the clairvoyant would presume, it was an article about design and balancing of real-time strategy games, with focus on core game-play mechanics rather than the old boring rock-paper-scissors debate. Unfortunately I never finished it, and now it has been gathering dust for a couple of months. I thought this was a little bit sad, so I decided to divide the article into a number of blog posts instead, which hopefully will give me some new inspiration and motivation to finish the thing.

In this series of blog posts I will take a look at unit movement, construction, resources, macro-game rules and similar topics. Though I will mainly inspect these objectively, I will apply my own opinions on the different subjects. One thing to remember, though, is that there’s rarely a “right” or “wrong” when it comes to game design. The question is rather, what game are you trying to create,  and for whom?

My original plan was to begin with some background history, but the article at Wikipedia already does that flawlessly. For mortals it’s only necessary to recall that Dune 2 (Westwood Studios, 1992) defined the RTS genre, and for geeks it can be interesting to know that there were games with RTS-like elements earlier than that. Dune 2 was however the first RTS game I ever played, and it has strongly influenced my taste in games.

I will post the first parts in the following days. Since you are reading this, it means that I’ve created at least 3 drafts already, because that’s my criteria for beginning this series.

/ jeb

Agatha Ragata

November 4th, 2008, Agatha Ragata, Game Development, IGF, Previews

Agatha Ragata

“Whaa?! What’s this? They’re EXPELLING me from the Society?! Who put vegetables in the pot this time? I will SHOW them! Oh yes… putrid peach soup, they will regret this!”

Agatha puts on her cape and prepares for the long journey to Blue Hill, where the witchcraft society’s leaders rule the esteemed organization. For who would believe the worth of her crooked fingernails if she didn’t qualify as a member? No, things must be set right!

With frantic eagerness, she bangs her bony fists on the great castle doors, announcing her arrival,

“Let me in! How dare you lock me out? These walls will not stop ME! I’ll turn stone into tofu if I must!”

From a small window above the ugliest of the witches, the Keeperwitch, points out her wart-ridden nose,

“Oh, we’ve been expecting you, Agatha! Why don’t you fall inside?”

“Fall? Did you’re as stupid as a faun, Keeperwitch! Now unlock the door!”

With a small *tick* the door opens… under Agatha’s feet! She falls down, straight into the Blue Hill’s prisons. The welcome committee is already there – all of the society leaders: Broomwitch, Greenwitch, Fairywitch, Nightwitch, Manwitch, Robowitch, Keeperwitch, Sandwitch and the meanest of them all, Master Witch! They all carry smug smiles on their faces, bringing Agatha to the boiling point!

“There’s no locking ME up! I will turn you all into salted slugs!”

Which is where our story begins…

Agatha Ragata Characters

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