[ New messages · Members · Forum rules · Search · RSS ]
Page 1 of 11
Forum moderator: EbelAngel 
Forum » General Talk » General Chat » The General Theory of RTS (Concept Design Theory)
The General Theory of RTS
FtoomshDate: Monday, 10/June/2013, 11:53 PM | Message # 1
Count
Group: Modders
Messages: 124
Awards: 0
Reputation: 0
Status: Offline
I have two papers on this topic. Reposted here to put them in one place.
Attachments: The_General_The.docx(74Kb)
 
FtoomshDate: Monday, 10/June/2013, 11:54 PM | Message # 2
Count
Group: Modders
Messages: 124
Awards: 0
Reputation: 0
Status: Offline
Second paper.
Attachments: The_General_The.docx(88Kb)
 
NowyDate: Tuesday, 11/June/2013, 9:40 AM | Message # 3
Marquis
Group: Users
Messages: 320
Awards: 1
Reputation: 1
Status: Offline
What would you like to achieve with this papers?
Would you like to discus your theory of RTS there?
 
If I remember well you tried put such subject under discussion on cdvUSA forum few years ago.
Strangely after few posts you abandoned that discussion.
 
Now I see in another thread (Missing some MD files) your long winded  explanation to key features which you advocate for the concept design.
Then you also cast your general theory paper on RTS concept design.
 
Maybe moderator on this forum could move it here, then we can discuss such concept design theory.
 
It could be interesting however your theory looks unrealistic.
Sorry, I doubt that such key features really are doable in the RTS game now.
 
You suggested fine features, but is it realy possible implement them into the game now.
How do you see such cases:
 
1. Large scale 10 km x 10 km detailed tactical map.
2. Large armies up to 64,000 units per one player.
3. Two speed engine which can handle well real times and all weapons ranges.
4. Strategic and tactical phases in the game which amalgam battlefield and pure RTS game.
5. Day and night or weather and seasons of the year effects and terrain conditions.

Even modern computers and modern RTS games engines could get some problems with so many detailed elements in such big scale.

 
EbelAngelDate: Tuesday, 11/June/2013, 12:18 PM | Message # 4
Site Administrator
Group: Administrators
Messages: 980
Awards: 7
Reputation: 12
Status: Offline
Ftoomsh,

Can I ask what you were trying to show or prove with the gathering equation in appendix 8? It reads as "incomplete at this stage".


 
FtoomshDate: Wednesday, 12/June/2013, 1:05 AM | Message # 5
Count
Group: Modders
Messages: 124
Awards: 0
Reputation: 0
Status: Offline
OK, I need to answer several questions from Nowy and EbelAngel. First Nowy's questions.

Q. What would you like to achieve with this papers?

A. Over the last several years, I have attempted several times to get various parties interested in my theories about RTS. I sent papers in various forms for example to one game developer and to a university with a computer school which included a course on games and interactive entertainment. In all cases, I was offering my ideas for free and hoping to spark some interest. I am writing from the point of view that RTS design has failed since about 2005 to produce a genuine large scale strategic game. I have also posted these papers on a few forums like this one. The idea is that someone in the commercial development or indie (independent) development fields might pick up on these ideas and start using them in concept design.

Q. If I remember well you tried put such subject under discussion on cdvUSA forum few years ago. Strangely after few posts you abandoned that discussion.

A. If I recall right I had trouble getting logon access to one of the forums at that time. Other issues occurred with problems and time-consuming issues in other areas of my life. Also, after several knock-backs and general disinterest in my idea from other quarters, my interest in the project declined for a while.

Q. It could be interesting however your theory looks unrealistic.
Sorry, I doubt that such key features really are doable in the RTS game now.

You suggested fine features, but is it realy possible implement them into the game now.
How do you see such cases:

1. Large scale 10 km x 10 km detailed tactical map.
2. Large armies up to 64,000 units per one player.
3. Two speed engine which can handle well real times and all weapons ranges.
4. Strategic and tactical phases in the game which amalgam battlefield and pure RTS game.
5. Day and night or weather and seasons of the year effects and terrain conditions.

Even modern computers and modern RTS games engines could get some problems with so many detailed elements in such big scale

A. I don't accept that these ideas are unrealistic. I think they are doable right now and that only lack of concept and vision (and fear of costs and commercial failure) is holding back RTS design from this kind of game. I believe the processing power, graphics power and memory storage are all available now to cope with this level of design. For those familiar with Moore's Law, the power of computers has been doubling every two years for about the last 40 years.

Hopefully this link will work. It shows a graph of Moore's Law supported by empirical data.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki....011.svg

Since 2005 (8 years) this means a sixteen fold increase in computing power. So a game engine that could handle 6,400 units per player (for 2 players at least) namely cossacks BTW / Baddog / OC Mod in 2005 could in theory handle more than 64,000 units ( a mere tenfold increase) in 2013.

I wonder if any of you are familiar with the game Les Grognards by Histwar? The game features large 3D landscapes and as they say on their site;

"Thousands of soldiers (over 50,000 animated figures representing up to 500,000 men), deployed in battalions are organized
into individually controllable Regiments, Brigades, Divisions and Army
Corps are awaiting your orders, and will carry them out in breathtaking
3D environments.
"

This game has coped with large numbers by only depicting 1 in 10 of the actual soldiers, so a company of 200 men would be represented by 20 figures. Now, I dont agree with this idea but it does show they can depict 50,000 3d soldiers on a large 3d landscape which would easily equal the size I recommend.

The capability is here right now and in some ways Les Grognards is closer to what I envisage than anything else. However, Les Grognards is still a Battlefield game not an RTS game.

Q. Finally, EbelAngel asks; Can I ask what you were trying to show or prove with the gathering equation
in appendix 8? It reads as "incomplete at this stage".?

A. Some of those appendices are more in the nature of notes towards new ideas. It's like thinking aloud. I write stuff to think and explore ideas. Sometimes, I don't really know where the idea is headed until I develop it further. Sometimes, the idea goes nowhere and proves to be a bit of a dead end. And sometimes I get a bit lazy about exploring an idea if it looks like I have to start mucking around with equations, even simple ones. So, I am not sure what I was trying to show or prove there to be honest. I was just (among other things) illustrating modelling inconsistencies, like why does it take time to gather but a drop-off is instant? Even dumping a wheat bushel or a bundle of wood takes a finite, if short, amount of time. And if you have to stack lumber, stack hay, stack wheat bags for examples, then these tasks take significant time. I just want to get people thinking about the modelling decisions explicit or implicit in the ways games actually work and get people to ask themselves, well why did we do it this way? How should we actually do it to further the overall game concept design consistently?

Footnote: I ought to add that Les Grognards supports the large maps I talk about so these things are possible RIGHT NOW! smile

"The Map Editor allows to create custom and random maps, from a small 6 x 4.5 km landscape to a sprawling 30 x 22.5 km battlefield. That's a maximum
battlemap size of over 660 square kilometers! The maps are created in
real time 3D and the editor allow for a stunning array of terrain
features and structures to be placed on the map including villages,
farms, hamlets, castles, encampments and sprawling vineyards, rivers,
lakes and deep forest."


Message edited by Ftoomsh - Wednesday, 12/June/2013, 1:12 AM
 
NowyDate: Wednesday, 12/June/2013, 3:21 PM | Message # 6
Marquis
Group: Users
Messages: 320
Awards: 1
Reputation: 1
Status: Offline
Your answer do not convince me, I am still sceptical in these cases.
 
There were few video games which tried implement large armies on large maps.
However I can not see any game which can do it well enough.
 
Les Grognards declared thousands of soldiers deployed on large battlefields in 3D environments. This was only marketing declaration while this game in reality had many glitches. In my opinion it looks and works even worse than old Cossacks games. Even Hawks European Warfare mod for ACFB have offered better representation of warfare in gun powder era.
 
This mean that declarations sometimes fail to meet reality.
 
LG game has not copled well with these large numbers on large landscape.
I can accept depicting 1 animated figure which represent 10 soldiers on large 3D landscape, but they shoulod looks and works good in the game.
Sorry, but in LG they don't looks and works good.
 
There was another battlefield type game Scourge of War by NorbSoftDev.
This game is similar to Take Commande games and offer little bit better graphic, but this game still suffer with some glitches and other poor things.
 
As you can see in these cases computing power, processing power, graphic power, memory storage can not solve all these problems.
Capabiity here is not enough. Concept and vision are needed too.
 
Therefore all my doubts mentioned in my pervious post still are live issue.
 
FtoomshDate: Thursday, 13/June/2013, 0:26 AM | Message # 7
Count
Group: Modders
Messages: 124
Awards: 0
Reputation: 0
Status: Offline
Quote (Nowy)
Your answer do not convince me, I am still sceptical in these cases.

I take your point. My arguments about the feasibility of a large scale game are theoretical. Only the successful creation of a large scale game would empirically answer the question in the affirmative.

I tried out Les Grognards in a demonstration version. I thought it had promise but I also thought it had problems as you think too. I found the command system non-intuitive though it might become easier to use with practice.

Also, the player's point of view raises a lot of serious design issues. Cossacks I (and I think Cossacks II and the AC/FB series) implement an "eagle-eye" point of view. More technically, it could be called an aerial three-quarter view drawn in isometric perspective. Isometric perspective means there is no vanishing point, thus distant figures and buildings do not reduce in size. Because of the aerial three-quarter view only near distance appears on the tactical map screen anyway. Middle-distance and far-distance (if visible) have to be scrolled to in order to see objects at that distance (using the strategic map or scrolling to get there).

The "eagle-eye" point of view is not realistic in the sense that it is not what we would see if standing somewhere on a battlefield. However, the  "eagle-eye" or "god-view" (as it is sometimes called) point of view actually works well. The game is very controllable and the command system intuitive. In addition, enjoyment of the game is enhanced as the most exciting and critical action can be scolled to, viewed closely and controlled.

On the other hand, implementing a naturalistic view of the battlefield (General on a horse) along with a vanishing perspective (objects diminishing into the distance) means that much action happens in the distance especially at cannon  range. This action is just tiny pixels of colour twinkling in the distance and little is distinguishable. Add cannon and musket smoke and the player can see nothing at all. Realistic maybe but no fun to play. Games like Total War and Les Grognards have implemented this kind of point of view. They attempt to get around the problems introduced by naturalistic depiction by implementing a relatively low level hovering camera point of view. This hovering camera can traverse ground, go to differant locales, pan and rotate. Immediately, this becomes totally unrealistic and feels in many ways even more unrealistic than the isometric "eagle-eye" point of view which always looks downwards and a bit northwards as it were.

The panning and rotation of the "hovering camera" point of view can rapidly disorient the player. The controls are often sensitive (to ensure wide battlefields can be traversed rapidly) so the player can rapidly end up in the middle of nowhere with the camera pointing he knows not where and the battle happening somewhere else and out of his control. OK, that might be a bit of an exaggeration and practice might make it a bit easier but having to reposition and re-orient this camera in the middle of a crucial tactical clash can delay necessary orders and is a real fun killer (IMO).

At this stage, I am thinking I will buy Les Grognard online (the full version) and give it a fair test out. I don't envisage myself becoming a Les Grognards fan. I just want to see how their implementation works. Ultimately, Les Grognards is a battlefield game not an RTS and my interest is still in RTS at this stage.

People are reasonably wondering what I hope to achieve with my RTS analysis. At this stage, I am hoping serious designers somewere might notice my ideas and consider using some of them. This is perhaps a Forlorn Hope. I simply think that RTS has lost its way since about 2005 and has remained mostly small and tactical. They have not solved the problems of making it big, strategic and more accurate in the military sense. They have not solved, the scaling, modelling and concept design challenges at the theoretical level. Correct high level theory (that is empirically valid theory) is an enormous step forward in any discipline. That is why I believe my analysis of RTS as a law-bound system functioning on laws directly related to Euclidean geometry and Classical Newtonian Physics is the way forward. My theory illustrated how to combine these insights with growth models and Classical military strategy to correctly and effectively design a large-scale, strategic and playable game.

Short of suddenly getting access to about five million dollars of seed money, there is no way I can set up a Computer Game Company and design the game I want to see and which I firmly believe could be built. Thus the best I can do is promulgate my ideas into the broader community and hope some designers somewere ("indies" or independent maybe) pick up on these ideas.

Footnote: For a bit of fun look at Hogarth's satire on false perspective.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki....753.jpg


Message edited by Ftoomsh - Thursday, 13/June/2013, 0:36 AM
 
NowyDate: Thursday, 13/June/2013, 11:04 AM | Message # 8
Marquis
Group: Users
Messages: 320
Awards: 1
Reputation: 1
Status: Offline
This time I take your point.

Also share your opinion about camera point of view in the video games.
You cast here interesting observations.

Personally I prefer "eagle-eye" point of view which actually works well and is more useful in RTS or battlefield type games.
Isometric point of view is unrealistic, but players can better control the game and command system is more intuitive.
These make the game more control able and enjoyable.

General on horse point of view in the game can makes false perspective. In many cases low level "hovering camera" do not help too much.
This mean that such point of view can make some troubles and in fact it can looks like that mentioned Hogarth's satire of false perspective.

What is more 3D environments can add next troubles. Moving, panning and rotating camera you can meet strange "vanishing object" effect.
It looks very bad when some trees, buildings or units are vanishing strangely when camera point of view is moving near these objects.

Real human eye has wider and better sight of view than this non-isometric view implemented in LG, SoWG or TW games.
I wonder what player as "General on horse" or at low level "hovering camera" could see in deep forest or in the middle of the big town.
Only few the nearest trees or buildings I suppose. Then how he could control his big army deployed in many distant places.

It is realistic point of view, but it immediately became unrealistic during big clashes, when player try move camera from one place to another.
Then "jumping camera" in so flat perspective can makes troubles. Player here can not control bigger area in large scale battlefield in necessary cases.

Isometric point of view is unrealistic, but it is more useful in the game. This is practice and not theory case in actual RTS games.

I also cast some questions, suggestions, wishes and remarks to RTS game design few years ago.
People discussed that matters, but any real effect was achieved. What a pity that developers or designers abandoned this kind of games.

Nevertheless we could promulgate our ideas and whishes to RTS games.
Hope that your theory could be useful, however it looks that serious designers still are sleeping.


Message edited by Nowy - Thursday, 13/June/2013, 11:07 AM
 
FtoomshDate: Friday, 14/June/2013, 2:02 AM | Message # 9
Count
Group: Modders
Messages: 124
Awards: 0
Reputation: 0
Status: Offline
I prefer the "eagle-eye" isometric view for RTS games and Battlefield games. As we discussed in our two posts above, the "low hovering camera" view with vanishing-point perspective creates its own problems and is just as formally unrealistic as the "eagle-eye" view. It is just that it is unrealistic in different ways.

If you have ever played Supreme Commander or its Forged Alliance expansion you will be aware of its interesting implementation of point of view. It is a full 3D engine. The default point of view is "eagle-eye" but it does use vanishing perspective. It is just that the vanishing perspective is not very apparent from the "eagle-eye" point of view so it is not a real issue. In addition, the point of view "camera" can actually be used as a hovering camera and moved in all three dimensions. So it can be brought low and tracked across the terrain. The fact is that nobody uses it like that in practical play. People stick to the "eagle-eye" view for practical play. So people are voting in practical play for the "eagle eye" view. The low hovering camera is more useful for having fun while watching replays where you can adopt different points of view to see the action.

One advantage of this style of implementation is that you can stay at "eagle-eye" view for managing most skirmishes and battles, tactics and strategies. However, you can drop to the other view to check sight lines. This could be useful for setting up artillery in the best positions. What would be needed would be easy hotkeys for switching views. With a full implementation like this, the player is given the power to select his own view preference. So the best implementation (albeit the most complicated in programming and processing terms) is to give the player full power to play with his preferred viewing method and to also make situational changes from time to time as appropriate. However, ease of control and a hotkey to revert to the default preferred view are critical.

The rationales or supporting reasons for the point of view implementation are interesting. Where a player controls an entire army from an "eagle-eye" viewpoint, essentially he is not commanding from a General's point of view but from a shared situational awareness point of view. A real army has many officers and masses of troops (obviously). Every one of these participants has eyes and ears and we can think of the Officer Corps and indeed of the whole army as having a type of group situational awareness. Officer decisions, initiatives and local actions (voluntary or forced) can often occur without direct orders from the commanding General. Often enough on a real, chaotic battlefield, events will happen contrary to the wishes and commands of the General. The player, directing his attention over the whole army, has amalgamated in him the situational awareness and the total action and initiative ability of the whole army. An implementation that supports this approach is best. Thus we should always give the player direct command over the whole army subject of course to the modelling of fatigue, morale, supply, capabilites and physics.

The fact that the player can really only have his main attention in one spot at a time introduces some more factors. The absence of perfect distributed attention by the player across the whole battlefield does in fact model, by default, delays in orders and consequent uncertainty in some formations about how to act when the local tactical or general strategic situation changes. It also introduces the need for a standing orders system which the player can set so that formations not yet being attended to (not getting new orders yet) will exhibit reasonable default behaviour and stand firm or take local initiative action where the risks are relatively low (as assessed by the engine). Risky and complex actions and orders should remain the privilege of the controlling human player. Other default behaviours will of course be affected by morale, fatigue and supply in a good game engine.

FOOTNOTE: I forgot to mention the other interesting aspect of the implementation of point of view in Supreme Commander / Forged Alliance. It implements the ability to zoom in to a close up tactical picture showing "rank and file" or to zoom out to a strategic picture showing the whole map and formation symbols. This is managed by the mouse wheel. This is a very useful and handy implementation and there is no reason why a Napoleonic game could not have it.

On another point, the Supreme Commander / Forged Alliance economy is highly biased to extreme exponential growth and this has some very revealing (diagnostic even) distortionary effects on the game model. I advocate linear growth not exponential growth for strategic RTS games. This is counter-intuitive (not what you would naturally expect). I discuss the reasons for this in my essays.


Message edited by Ftoomsh - Friday, 14/June/2013, 2:12 AM
 
NowyDate: Friday, 14/June/2013, 11:02 AM | Message # 10
Marquis
Group: Users
Messages: 320
Awards: 1
Reputation: 1
Status: Offline
I am not so familiar with Supreme Commnder games, but I can undesrtand that "eagle-eye" and "low hovering camera" viepoints could be useful for different purposes.

Nevertheless it looks that people stick more with "eagle-eye" while "low hovering camera" perspective they use only occasionally or when they prefer look at zoomed "eye cany" units.

I also find in another Codename Panzers series games few interesting cases.
There were implemented "eagle-eye" viewpoint, but this game also offer wider zoom and zoom out options. Player using mouse can do it quite easily, he also can little bit change camera angle point of view. This is similar to "low hovering" perspective, however this allow see objects at various camera angles.

These options are enough, however rarely used in practice.
Personally I do not need to se blue sky on the screen every time.

Some games simplified viewpoints cases. For instace.
Cossacks 2 generally include "eagle-eye", but with hot key F10 player also can little bit zoom and slightly lower camera angle. It is simple, however zoom and zoom out options could be interesting too.

American Conquest games include big zoom out option, then player can see bigger area, but units and other objects are very small.
think that in such viewpoint they are too small.

All these could mean that "low hovering camera" perspective and too close zoom as well as too far zoom out could not be so useful for games which include thousands soldiers on large landscape. Big operations on large areas needed wider and higher point of view, but units should be recognisable.

Then C2 viewpoint with F10 option and transparent mini map in the scren's bottom corner could be optimal, however smaller, less detailed buildings and much bigger maps are necessary there.

C1 and AC maps looks much bigger than C2 maps. C1 maps are very simple and transparent, however this game use graphically outdated landscape.

Therefore still are live questions how big armies on how big maps could works well.
Could it be possible such big numbers as 64,000 well designed units per one player which can smoothly operated on 10 km on 10 km map?

Large scale maps would be welcome, however I doubt that modern game engines can use such big and detailed maps and so many units. These maps should include proper ground topography, many buildings, flora, fauna and other elements as well as large armies and battlefield effects.

Thousands moving, fighting soldiers, some working units, logistic, field works, fire arms smoke, many explosions, bouncing and rolling cannonballs, bursting shells, destroyed armanet, burning buildings, dead bodies, ruins etc.

I aware that so many elements on such big map would be hard to handle well by RTS game engine even in near future.


Message edited by Nowy - Friday, 14/June/2013, 11:09 AM
 
Forum » General Talk » General Chat » The General Theory of RTS (Concept Design Theory)
Page 1 of 11
Search: