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I'm making a turn-based Catan/Starcraft mashup. Not sure if I'm going to go for a Settlers-like game setup or a Spacefarers-like game setup. But it'll be epic.

At present, my plan is for 3 player hot-seat and/or vs AI multiplayer featuring the distinct races of the Starcraft universe. I plan to feature individual abilities or encounters for each race for a unique gameplay experience with each race.

First thing to do is figure out which of my favorite sexy pure-BASIC graphics techniques to abuse that I've never had the opportunity to pack into a game before and design the graphics engine around that. Stay tuned.
Two possible rendering techniques. The latter is one of my favorite (and most often overlooked) methods of producing graphics in BASIC.


Building Mechanics
Zerg:
Numerous and relentless, the Swarm expands quickly. Creep tumors can be laid to cover two edges at a time. However Zerg players have no upgrades available for their Hatcheries, and must completely infest a hex in order to receive an economic boost: a hex which is surrounded by 3 Hatcheries produces 4 resources.

Protoss:
Ancient and powerful, Protoss structures are expensive, but provide many benefits. Pylons may be placed at any intersection, and need not be connected to the existing Protoss power grid, however each Nexus must be constructed within 1 edge of a Pylon. Nexuses may be upgraded twice for a total of three tiers of production buildings.

Terran:
Resourceful and inventive, Terrans are the most like classic Catanian settlers. Your settlements are now "Command Centers". They may be upgraded into either an Orbital Command, which receives extra resources, or a Planetry Fortress, which can harvest even from those hexes which are afflicted by a Hybrid*.

In addition to the usual set of generic development cards, each players of each race have the option to invest in specific research to benefit their race.

As always, all production structures must be separated by at least 2 edges.

*The traditional "Robber" is being replaced by a terrifying Protoss/Zerg Hybrid monstrosity.
Woah, you're making a Catan/Starcraft mashup and I just noticed?

I love every part of that! Catan is great by itself, but adding combat 'n stuff?
I'm looking forward to this, ElfPrince!

Also, some sort of graph overlay for the second method... Is that a grid or a plot, or something I didn't think of?
it would help if i knew what your talking about, but good luck!
That looks wicked cool, elfprince. I hope you keep updating with videos of your progress!
LuxenD wrote:
it would help if i knew what your talking about, but good luck!


Right, I suppose I'll try to explain the general premises of each game, then. Bear in mind, it's a combination of both.

[The Settlers of] Catan is a strategy game, the premise of which is to expand your faction and reach a certain point goal. This can be done by building roads, settlements, and cities. Note that Catan is a peaceful game- no attacking the other players. Catan is also based on player-to-player interaction, with trading resources and underhanded deals taking place.

(Forgive me if I'm wrong on this part, as I've never actually played Starcraft, and mainly know it by it's reputation Razz )

Starcraft, on the other hand is mostly based on combat and resource management. The goal here is to build up resources and armies, and then try to wipe out the enemy player(s). Starcraft relies mostly on making sound strategies and reacting to changes in the battlefield, as well as maintaining your resource production.
This mashup won't feature turn-based combat mechanics (unless I model it on Spacefarers instead of Settlers), but it will be more aggressive than standard settlers. Tradeoffs between economic and territorial developments will require strategic decision making. I'm also aiming for asymmetric balance, which is a hallmark of Starcraft.


Quote:
Also, some sort of graph overlay for the second method... Is that a grid or a plot, or something I didn't think of?

Stat plot. One of my favorite techniques, which is consistently overlooked by BASIC programmers.

Quote:
That looks wicked cool, elfprince. I hope you keep updating with videos of your progress!

Thanks!

Sourcecoder, jsTIfied, Quicktime & iMovie make a great combo for documenting development. Though Kerm might be mortified that I'm using his projects alongside Apple software Wink
This game ++..can't wait to see it done!
turiqwalrus wrote:
LuxenD wrote:
it would help if i knew what your talking about, but good luck!

Starcraft, on the other hand is mostly based on combat and resource management. The goal here is to build up resources and armies, and then try to wipe out the enemy player(s). Starcraft relies mostly on making sound strategies and reacting to changes in the battlefield, as well as maintaining your resource production.

Sounds like Dune 2000; only with space-ier name.

Elfprince13 wrote:
Sourcecoder, jsTIfied, Quicktime & iMovie make a great combo for documenting development. Though Kerm might be mortified that I'm using his projects alongside Apple software

eww, apple. Microsoft alternative? use Atube or similar screenrecording software thats latched onto jsTIfied. then edit the movie file produced. Razz [/quote]
Worked on sprites a bit yesterday, but nothing final. I'd forgotten how efficient I need to be with pixels on this scale!

[edit]

Worked out a bit of the control scheme for navigating on the map. Pictured from right to left are tile, vertex, and edge selection methods.

wooh, giving me a headache trying to understand what your doing. are you just making an enlargement thing for the hexagons?
I'm showing how you move between spaces on the map, using an 83+ keyboard, depending on whether you want to select a tile, an intersection, or an edge.
oh. that makes a ton more sense. also, was that method of graphing in Kerm's book, i dont remember seeing it.
I don't remember it being there, but it is possible that I missed it. You may want to check out my tutorial if you have an interest in graphics specifically.
What an ingenious use of stat plots! In addition, I'm amused with the scientific approach that you're using to plan the game's rendering/mechanics. I anticipate this to be a standout entry Smile
Ashbad wrote:
What an ingenious use of stat plots! In addition, I'm amused with the scientific approach that you're using to plan the game's rendering/mechanics. I anticipate this to be a standout entry Smile


Thanks! Smile Good software engineering practices and planning ahead algorithmically and for UI design are good for everyone! Smile


I've changed at least one of my several of my initial plans regarding racial building mechanics. Having Zerg build creep highways spanning two edges at a time doesn't work out very well after I think about it, so instead I plan to have single-edge creep building at a reduced cost compared to other races.

I'm currently considering what cards should be available in the general Development Cards pile, as well as what research should be available to each race and appropriate costs for the buildings of each race.

[edit]

Quote:

Standard Catan Contains:
15 roads
5 Settlements
4 Cities (total 13 points in production buildings, and a total construction cost 5*4 + 4 * (4 + 5) = 56 resources, plus road costs)
--------------
14 Soldiers, 5 VP, 2 road building, 2 monopoly, 2 year of plenty (.56, .2, .24 of the deck, respectively)
Longest Road (2 points)
Largest Army (2 points)
Tiles: 3 Hills, 3 Mountains, 4 Fields, 4 Woods, 4 Pasture, 1 Desert
Ports: 4 3:1, 1 of each resource, total 9
19 of each resource

Target Score: 10


non-Race Specific Building Info for SoK:
20 Soldiers, 7 VP, 4 monopoly, 4 year of plenty (.57, .2, .23 of the deck, respectively)
Largest Army (2 points)
Tiles: 3 Hills, 3 Mountains, 4 Fields, 4 Woods, 4 Pasture, 1 Desert
Ports: 4 3:1, 1 of each resource specific 2:1, total 9
30 of each resource (6 of each of which go in the reserve pile, a mechanic I'm borrowing from Starfarers)

Target Score: 15


I'm still working out costs and availability for each building to the different races, as well as the race specific research options, which will probably be at least partly inspired by Friendship cards in Starfarers. Also, the resource types will probably be renamed. You'll notice longest road is gone, as are road building cards, since those mechanics don't map well between the races.
Double post. Oh well. Big updates here. The final naming of resources hasn't been decided on. Neither has the exact composition of costs for individual items, but the basic proportionality I'm leaning towards at this point are listed here.

Quote:

Building Mechanics

Standard Catan Contains:

  • 15 roads
  • 5 Settlements
  • 4 Cities (total 13 points in production buildings, and a total construction cost 5*4 + 4 * (4 + 5) = 56 resources, plus road costs)

and:

  • 14 Soldiers, 5 VP, 2 road building, 2 monopoly, 2 year of plenty (.56, .2, .24 of the deck, respectively)
  • Longest Road (2 points)
  • Largest Army (2 points)
  • Tiles: 3 Hills, 3 Mountains, 4 Fields, 4 Woods, 4 Pasture, 1 Desert
  • Ports: 4 3:1, 1 of each resource, total 9
  • 19 of each resource

Target Score: 10


non-Race Specific Building Info for SoK:

  • 20 Soldiers, 7 VP, 4 monopoly, 4 year of plenty (.57, .2, .23 of the deck, respectively). These still cost 3 resources each.
  • 5 Research cards for each race. These cost 5 resources each.
    Largest Army (2 points)
  • Tiles: 3 Hills, 3 Mountains, 4 Fields, 4 Woods, 4 Pasture, 1 Desert
    Ports: 4 3:1, 1 of each resource specific 2:1, total 9
  • 30 of each resource (6 of each of which go in the reserve pile, a mechanic I'm borrowing from Starfarers)
  • As always, all production structures must be separated by at least 2 edges.

Target Score: 15


Zerg:
Numerous and relentless, the Swarm expands quickly. Creep tumors can be built more quickly than roads. However Zerg players have no upgrades available for their Hatcheries, and must completely infest a hex in order to receive an economic boost: a hex which is surrounded by 3 Hatcheries produces 4 resources and provides an additional victory point.

  • 10 Hatcheries available, for 4 resources each (and 1 point/1 production). (10 points/10 production + bonuses available in production buildings, and a total construction cost of 40 resources, plus road costs)
  • 16 creep highways, 3 resources a pair, or 2 resources for 1 segment. Creep separated from hatcheries by enemy building dies immediately.


Protoss:
Ancient and powerful, Protoss structures are expensive, but provide many benefits. Pylons may be placed at any intersection, and need not be connected to the existing Protoss power grid, however each Nexus must be constructed within 1 edge of a Pylon. Nexuses may be upgraded twice for a total of three tiers of production buildings.


  • 3 Nexuses, for 4 resources each (and 1 point/1 production).
  • 2 Temples, as a 4 resource upgrade from a Nexus (2 points/2 production)
  • 2 Ziggurats, as a 5 resource upgrade from a Temple (3 points/3 production) (total 13 points in production buildings, and a total construction cost of 3*4 + 2*(4+4) + 2*(4+4+5) = 54 resources plus pylon costs)
  • 8 Pylons, for 4 resources each.


Terran:
Resourceful and inventive, Terrans are the most like classic Catanian settlers. Your settlements are now "Command Centers". They may be upgraded into either an Orbital Command, which receives extra resources, or a Planetry Fortress, which can harvest even from those hexes which are afflicted by a Hybrid*.


  • 5 Command Centers, for 4 resources each (and 1 point/1 production)
  • 4 Orbital Commands, as a 5 resource upgrade from a Nexus (2 points/2 production)
  • 4 Planetary Fortresses, as a 5 resource upgrade from a Nexus (2 points/1 production, allows all of owners production buildings on neighboring hexes to harvest from those hexes even when afflicted by a Hybrid*)
  • May not have more than 4 total Orbital Commands and Planetary Fortresses. (total 13 points in production buildings, and a total construction cost 5*4 + 4 * (4 + 5) = 56 resources, plus road costs)
  • 15 Roads


Upgrade Mechanics:
Intro
In addition to the usual set of generic development cards, each players of each race have the option to invest in specific research to benefit their race. I've not yet decided whether research can be selected at will, or is assigned randomly after a purchase.

P - (Goal: Increase resource efficiency)

  • Hardened Shields - Only discard 1/3 of resources (rounded down), beginning at 9 cards, when 7 is rolled.
  • Guardian Shield - Hybrid*-afflicted tiles only lose 1 unit of production, rather than all production.
  • Warp-in Resources - If no resources were received this turn, draw 1 resource of your choice.
  • Transmutation - Protoss player may exchange any resource at 2:1 rate.
  • Khaydarin Amulet - Protoss player may play soldier development cards on the turn they are received, and between the end of any player's turn and the following dice roll


T - (Goal: Increase Flexibility)

  • Lift-off - May relocate Orbital Commands and Command Centers within your existing road-network at a cost of 1 gas resource per relocated structure.
  • Raiding Party - May take a resource from any player on non-7 rolls when no resources are otherwise received.
  • Stim Pack - All development cards may be played on the turn they are received, and up to two development cards may be played in a turn.
  • Lock-Down - May prevent building on a specified intervention at a cost of 2 resources for 1 full cycle of turns.
  • Modular Nanosteel - May bypass the spacing restrictions between Terran production buildings. Terran buildings may now be placed on up to 3 consecutive intersections.


Z - (Goal: Increase Production)

  • Metabolic Boost - 3 creep tumors for 3 resources
  • Assimilate Natives - increase biological resource production
  • Brood Synergy - increase infested tile resource production
  • Chitinous Plating - Each Zerg soldier development card contributes an extra 3rd towards largest army
  • Digestive Enzymes - Hatchery may be constructed for only 3 resources


*The traditional "Robber" is being replaced by a terrifying Protoss/Zerg Hybrid monstrosity.
I'm really liking where you're going with this. I hope to see something glorious when you're done!
Tari wrote:
I'm really liking where you're going with this. I hope to see something glorious when you're done!


Thanks, I'd definitely appreciate any feedback if you (or anyone else) has detailed thoughts on what I've proposed.

[edit]

Huge text dump of theory crafting I did with another strategy-nerd friend. Divided into three sections, the middle and last are the most interesting from my perspective. One is making upgrades tiered, and one is talking about a rework of the essential Zerg building mechanic. Thoughts would be appreciated, especially from people who have some familiarity with Settlers, Starcraft, or strategy games in general.

Planetary Fortress Balance wrote:
norval.r: Buff PF
norval.r: Too week from a pure settlers PoV
elfprince13: you think so?
elfprince13: it allows *all* your buildings to harvest from the hexes it protects
elfprince13: do you think I should buff the abilities? or just make it a cheaper upgrade?
norval.r: All building huh, I must have miss read as only it

Tiered Upgrades wrote:

norval.r: Lockdown needs playtesting
norval.r: Appears so strong late game
elfprince13: if you were to replace it
elfprince13: or nerf it
elfprince13: any suggestions?
norval.r: Cost increase 1 card. Or potential 2 of a different resource
norval.r: Else sheep man can toss extra sheep he has tones too many of to lockout another player from a resourc
elfprince13: oh, yeah, I hadn't settled on which 2 resources, or if they needed to be the same type
elfprince13: but I'll keep that in mind
norval.r: Terrans modular neosteel
norval.r: How does your upgrades work?
elfprince13: you can have 3 adjacent terran structures
elfprince13: with only 1 road between each 1
norval.r: ... How do I acquire it
norval.r: That's powerful
elfprince13: buy it from the same place as the other upgrades. That's the other thing I haven't decided is if upgrades are from a shuffled pile, or hand selected as in Starfarers of Catan
norval.r: Shuffle may lead to RNG gods syndrome, recommend tech teirs
elfprince13: yeah, I wanted to make it more strategic
elfprince13: but I wasn't sure if that would make upgrading more or less balanced
elfprince13: Tech tiers might be a good idea
norval.r: Randomization isn't balance, clearly their are upgrades I want more of than others
norval.r: 2-2-1 seems like a good diminution. With terrains top being neosteel
norval.r: Need to buy 1 tier 1. Then 1 teir 2 then can buy teir 3
elfprince13: good idea
norval.r: Raiding party or stim makes good teir 1 for t
norval.r: Hard shield and warp in for toss
elfprince13: Khaydarin or Transmute for T3?
norval.r: Transmute
norval.r: Perhaps 3:2 option also
norval.r: Needs playtest
elfprince13: yeah, playtest is going to be fun

Rework Zerg wrote:

norval.r: How's creep work?
elfprince13: I think I'm going to make a computer client as well
elfprince13: creep is basically roads for zerg
norval.r: Please
elfprince13: but cheaper
elfprince13: and can die
norval.r: So metabolic and chits ions for Zerg teir 1.... Can die?
elfprince13: I was thinking if creep was disconnected from a hatchery by enemy buildings it would die
elfprince13: but maybe that's dumb
elfprince13: I was trying to make a decent tradeoff for it being so cheap
norval.r: Zerg play already encourages complete surrounding a tile
norval.r: Same as Terran play really
elfprince13: well, Terran play encourages clustering in little Y's
elfprince13: since a PF protects three hexes
norval.r: Or full surround of the 6/8
elfprince13: hmm, that's true too
elfprince13: PF + neosteel might be OP o_O
norval.r: With a orbital on every point, maybe 5 orbital and 1 pf
elfprince13: except there's a limit
norval.r: Yes 6
elfprince13: no, you can't have a total of more than 4 PFs and orbitals together
elfprince13: so there's a tradeoff there
norval.r: 3 orbital 1 PDF 2 cc on an 8
elfprince13: yeah
norval.r: I say
elfprince13: that could be scary
norval.r: Zerg has only 1 hatch
norval.r: And it tech to lair and hive
elfprince13: explain?
norval.r: Any tile with 3 (4) edges creeped than provides resources
norval.r: Hatch tech multiples it
norval.r: Hive gives 3 resources whenever a creeped tile is rolled
elfprince13: you mean lair tech multiplies it?
norval.r: Yeah
elfprince13: also, Zerg should have 2 hatches at least, because otherwise setup is imba
norval.r: Give them more creep to compensate?
elfprince13: hmm
elfprince13: I'll think about this
norval.r: Hatch can border 3 hex max
norval.r: So it's value is 9 creep? Maybe 8 creep
norval.r: Creep is edge right?
elfprince13: yeah
norval.r: So give Zerg hatch plus 10 creep
norval.r: Can cover maximum, h/o time to draw
elfprince13: hmmmmmm
norval.r: Yeah with 10 creep plus hatch Zerg can start on 6 tiles covered
elfprince13: ok
elfprince13: then we'd obviously have to nix the "creep can die" thing
norval.r: Yeap
norval.r: Maybe
norval.r: Zergs would go cover map so fast
norval.r: Perhaps creep can be killed if cut off, causing Zerg to surround tiles fully
elfprince13: I like where this is going, but I'm not sure how easy it will be to balance
norval.r: Vs just making a straight line
elfprince13: but then you could still cut it off from a 3rd of the tile?
elfprince13: and I'll need to come up with another Zerg upgrade if I went with this instead
norval.r: We kinda just need to open a settler board
norval.r: And give ourself large resources
elfprince13: hmm?
norval.r: To see how the other players react to Zerg aggressive expansion
norval.r: Also ad has learned zerg
norval.r: Ipad
elfprince13: ah, yeah.
elfprince13: maybe I'll poll some of my other settlers playing friends
norval.r: How much does creep cost and how much cc cost?
elfprince13: the reason I tried to encourage Zerg clustering before
elfprince13: was to have a "fast spreading" feel
elfprince13: without making it take over the whole board too fast
elfprince13: right now I have it set to 2 creeps for the price of a road
elfprince13: but that could be tweaked if I changed the Zerg mechanic significantly
norval.r: So lets think here, if I Terran and expand, I built 2 roads and a cc and now have access to 2 new titles and double access to previous
norval.r: For serfs to creep up 2 new tiles it would cost 6 creep (unsafe)
norval.r: Or 11 creep to fully surround a 2 new tiles
norval.r: Creep, is now your new goal
elfprince13: so would "safe creep" be copying the eye mechanic from Go?
elfprince13: instead of plugging intersections?
norval.r: Eye mechanic?
elfprince13: full enclosure?
elfprince13: I was thinking building spacing to protect creep on old system
norval.r: Yes
elfprince13: but new system only has 1 building on a vertex
elfprince13: (I take it you've never played Go?)
norval.r: Only read about it
elfprince13: ok
elfprince13: I need to do homework
elfprince13: but I'm going to sleep on this
elfprince13: I'd be happier if I could make Zerg start with 1 hatch + 9 creep
elfprince13: because then it could be "place 5 pieces in each phase of your turn"
elfprince13: for setup
norval.r: We'd need to be mindful of creep kill mechanics in setup
elfprince13: and if it was slightly lower resource production initially, that would also partially offset the higher rate of expansion
elfprince13: maybe disallow creep-kill during setup? or just make zerg players make tradeoffs between safety and initial reach?
norval.r: I think your first point is good, creep kill needs work.... I say put it off till a sound Zerg expansive mode is developed
norval.r: Then balance cost vs ability to be killed
elfprince13: and brainstorm options for scoring and another upgrade if only 1 primary structure
You're doing this in Ti-Basic? I sure hope you include a nice sized manual on how to play this, it looks pretty complicated...
  
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