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Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 7:18 pm
by kubatp
Hi guys,
I would like to show you the game I was working on in my free time (many many hours:)) It is my first bigger game and my first 3D game ever:)

Image
Image

And here is a gameplay trailer.
[youtube]iat_lh5Ugxg[/youtube]

and website
http://www.aggressors-game.com

Any advices or feedback is appreciated:)

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 9:10 pm
by holocronweaver
WOW! Very impressive work. You did this entirely on your own, assets and all?

The variety will definitely keep gameplay interesting. Arteidis mode is, for a sci-fi fan like myself, the most interesting. I hope you further develop it and make it a primary mode.

The only criticism I can think of at this stage is the scale of units versus buildings versus terrain features. Boats being as large as cities is something I am used to from Civilization games, so I don't mind that so much, but the size of your infantry makes them appear as giants. I think the best solution might be to scale up everything but the infantry, especially in terms of elevation, and increase the texture resolution and model detail accordingly. Eye candy never hurts, especially when players are going to be spending hours staring at what is essentially a digital game board. :)

RTS is one of my favorite genres and am glad to see more games in that vein built using Ogre. I will watch this project great interest.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 12:10 am
by areay
Did you do this all by yourself? You've been super-productive. How long ago did you start on it?

Good video too, that's an interesting accent you have there, I couldn't pick it though :) I like the terrain generation when you were making that island, the unique coastlines are a nice touch.

What libraries are you using?

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 1:12 am
by drwbns
This may be the best game I've seen that uses Ogre. Awesome work you've done.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 7:16 am
by bstone
Now that's free time coding :D Congratulations!

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 8:37 am
by NeOmega
Very interested in helping you with the graphics (I'm not a coder). Big time civ IV fan. Big letdown in Civ V. You already have done some things right, like natural looking tile borders, and map coloring only on land masses. It looks so similar to civ IV, and in such an advanced state, I am a little skeptical how one person could have done what took an entire team years to do... ..but I've done a huge project almost alone myself once. :) (Pentagenesis mod for Civ III)

I've done lots and lots of Blender work. Looking for a project. Hit me up if you want free help. I'm worth it (free -- LoL) and this is *exactly* the project I want to work on (I am also a history major). Let's make this real and real beautiful, and show Firaxis what civ V should have been!

Crazy you posted this yesterday. I rarely if ever visit these forums any more.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 9:53 am
by kubatp
Hi guys,
to be honest I didn't expect such positive feedback at all :D Thank you very much.

I was working on this since beginning of 2009, mostly during my free time and circa one year full time. It is loosely based on a board game I invented when I was 12, however it was massively extended and parts of the game were inspired by other games. Because I am a big fan of Civ 4, the graphics of Civ 4 was like a unreachable model for me, but I was trying to have it as good as I possibly can. Even it looks like Civ 4, it doesnt have much in common with it (from the rules' point of view). The primary mode is Second world war, however to test the possibilities of mods, I created Ancient Rome mod which is partially based on civ 4 with Aggressors' way of playing.

The Arteidis mod was just a deep test of mod support. All the special rules are in script files, which confirms me in big flexibility of the game's core.

I didn't want to invest money to the project so all assets are public domain or created by me. I am not a professional 3D designer and I didn't have time to create unit animations, which would hugely improve the user experience. Unfortunately I don't have time to make it to such details.

I am now in the stage where I should decide what will be the destiny of the game - trying to find a publisher or another way to go.
areay wrote:Good video too, that's an interesting accent you have there, I couldn't pick it though :)
Hi Areay, it is actually not me:) It is my friend's voice. He is a professional translator, however he is not english native speaker as well:)
areay wrote:What libraries are you using?
I don't really use too many libraries. I use MOGRE and Miyagi and CSScript for scripting. No physics, etc.
NeOmega wrote:Very interested in helping you with the graphics
Hi NeOmega, thank you very much for the offer. If I find a way how to proceed with the project, I will definitely contact you. As I said - animations are the key to make it better. However too much time was already invested and it is now necessary to find out what way should the project go.

holocronweaver wrote:The only criticism I can think of at this stage is the scale of units versus buildings versus terrain features. Boats being as large as cities is something I am used to from Civilization games, so I don't mind that so much, but the size of your infantry makes them appear as giants. I think the best solution might be to scale up everything but the infantry, especially in terms of elevation, and increase the texture resolution and model detail accordingly.
Hi Holocronweaver, thank you for your feedback. When I was thinking about this problem, it was the only way to go. If I scale units they will not be so distinguishable on the terrain from trees, etc. However, you are right - they look like giants:)
The texture resolution is much better than the video shows. It has 512x512 images per tile. I am not sure what do you mean by "terms of elevation". Can you explain it to me, please?

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Tue May 28, 2013 3:56 pm
by holocronweaver
kubatp wrote:If I scale units they will not be so distinguishable on the terrain from trees, etc. However, you are right - they look like giants:)
... I am not sure what do you mean by "terms of elevation". Can you explain it to me, please?
Currently the terrain is rather flat. If you increased its maximum and minimum elevation, making mountains reach closer to the sky and accenting hills, the game board will give a better illusion of scale. This has a large impact on the 'wow' factor and initial impact the game has on perspective players. I think it would be best to achieve this by keeping the units at their current size, increasing the size of tiles, and accordingly increasing the size and maximum height of terrain features and buildings.

While Civilization 5 has its problems, it did a fairly good job of creating this illusion of scale I am referring to. It is not important that scale be absolutely accurate, but relative scale should be (mostly) obeyed. That is, the volume of city > boat > catapult > soldier. Civ5 achieves this primarily by compensating size with number. Trees are individually tiny yet forests are dense and span multiple tiles, which gives a false sense of size that makes you perceive plant life as 'big'. Units are larger than trees and are clearly visible primarily because there are multiple of them per tile.

This Civ5 screenshot demonstrates how this all fits together. I think they could have gone a few steps further and made the cities, hills and mountains a bit taller and valleys a little lower. Another important point is use of shadows and lighting to help give the impression of elevation, as is done in the Civ5 screenshot where the mountains cast long shadows. Currently it looks like your game does not have shadows, so I am guessing this is an upcoming feature.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 3:56 am
by mkultra333
Looks very impressive. Great job.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 6:59 am
by TheSHEEEP
Really nice!
I'll be watching this :D

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 3:49 pm
by kubatp
holocronweaver wrote: Currently the terrain is rather flat. If you increased its maximum and minimum elevation, making mountains reach closer to the sky and accenting hills, the game board will give a better illusion of scale.
I have already tried that before, but it didn't look natural, because one tile had its peaks really high and the second tile was really low. It is the same with "plastical maps". When you have a look at this Image or this
Image it looks "flat" too, but that is how it really looks like.
holocronweaver wrote: It is not important that scale be absolutely accurate, but relative scale should be (mostly) obeyed. That is, the volume of city > boat > catapult > soldier. Civ5 achieves this primarily by compensating size with number.
Yes thats true. I was considering that, but that time it was easier for me to go this way, instead of having more instances of the same model. Anyway the relative scale would be nice to have.
holocronweaver wrote: Another important point is use of shadows and lighting to help give the impression of elevation, as is done in the Civ5 screenshot where the mountains cast long shadows. Currently it looks like your game does not have shadows, so I am guessing this is an upcoming feature.
Yes, you are right. Currently there are no shadows at all. It is on my TODO list, unfortunately there are already many things:-/ I should consider the perfomance too, because the map rendering is pretty resource-consuming.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Wed May 29, 2013 4:16 pm
by holocronweaver
kubatp wrote:
holocronweaver wrote: Currently the terrain is rather flat. If you increased its maximum and minimum elevation, making mountains reach closer to the sky and accenting hills, the game board will give a better illusion of scale.
I have already tried that before, but it didn't look natural, because one tile had its peaks really high and the second tile was really low.
Do you happen to have any screenshots from your experiments? I would be very interested to see how this looks in practice.
It is the same with "plastical maps". When you have a look at this (img) it looks "flat" too, but that is how it really looks like.
I have not looked at real plastical maps in years. Brings back so many childhood memories. :)
While the look of plastical maps is cool and possibly being to scale, if you place a figurine on the map the scale is completely dissolved. To compensate, games tend to cartoonishly exaggerate scale differences a bit to create a big impact on potential players. It may seem like a superficial point, but this graphical illusion really does help impress people and increase your player base. There must be some happy medium between having terrain elevation differences too great and too small.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 10:41 am
by kubatp
holocronweaver wrote:Do you happen to have any screenshots from your experiments? I would be very interested to see how this looks in practice.
I tried to make an experiment and doubled current height of vertices. You can see the result here Image
As you can see it doesnt look natural. Of course it might be done better - better UV mapping would make it nicer, however the difference between mountains and the adjacent tiles is too big. There might be a solution - to gradually raise the terrain height in adjacent tiles (i.e. when mountains are adjacent to forest, the forest height would differ to forest height not close to mountains). This would make it smooth, but it seems like an over-engineering to me right now.
holocronweaver wrote:There must be some happy medium between having terrain elevation differences too great and too small.
I totally agree, but what is the happy medium - I mean do you have another example, where just one instance of unit is used (comparing to Civ 5 where multiple unit instances are used) and it looks natural? I was playing with this and what I have seemed to me like a satisfactory tradeoff.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 11:33 am
by bstone
Why would the players download a turn based strategy? Certainly not to enjoy the realistic scale proportions of the terrain and various units. It's very subjective after all. Not worth spending much time if you ask me. Super polished core mechanics and balance will pay off tenfold compared to that.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 4:53 pm
by Herb
It's great to see turn-based games aren't dead! And to see there are still some Civ fans out there. :wink:

Great work on this. I can tell there has already been a lot of attention to detail. If you're feeling burned out on the game (by so many hours solo) and want to see more progress, have you considered open-sourcing it for more community involvement? Or are you thinking of a commercial direction with it?

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 10:17 pm
by NeOmega
the whole map will look unnatural, the trees are "too big", the buildings in the city are "too big" and the units are "too big".
Perhaps 1.5 scale the mountains. The 2x is too steep, but 1.5 may not be, as they are though, they do look too flat. I prefer the 2x to the normal, however. (in case anything was lost in translation: The point is this is game map, and things will be out of scale for the sake of playability, therefore for the sake of aesthetics, other things will need to be out of scale as well).

But that is small stuff.

I like how you have a petrol system using oil as a base, and I like how cities have to be customized to build units, I assume that means they have to have multiple buildings to build a unit.

God, I would hate to see this thing slip into obscurity, but it probably is not ready for kickstarter yet.

Civfanatics.com apolyton.com might find you some people willing to help. (I have no doubt you could find a dozen coders and scripters there)


P.S. What happened to Florida? :P

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Thu May 30, 2013 11:52 pm
by holocronweaver
kubatp wrote: I tried to make an experiment and doubled current height of vertices. You can see the result here Image
As you can see it doesnt look natural. Of course it might be done better - better UV mapping would make it nicer, however the difference between mountains and the adjacent tiles is too big. There might be a solution - to gradually raise the terrain height in adjacent tiles (i.e. when mountains are adjacent to forest, the forest height would differ to forest height not close to mountains). This would make it smooth, but it seems like an over-engineering to me right now.
I agree that the mountains are too steep. You could increase the size of the tiles themselves as well as the maximum elevation. That would remove the need for the gradual rise in elevation across tiles you suggested. However, I think your idea might look the best of all possible choices. I do not recall any other grid based computer game using gradual elevation changes. Would be really neat to see.
kubatp wrote:
holocronweaver wrote:There must be some happy medium between having terrain elevation differences too great and too small.
I totally agree, but what is the happy medium - I mean do you have another example, where just one instance of unit is used (comparing to Civ 5 where multiple unit instances are used) and it looks natural? I was playing with this and what I have seemed to me like a satisfactory tradeoff.
Nothing comes to mind I am afraid. Not at this scale anyways (XCOM, Final Fantasy Tactics, Fallout Tactics, etc. do it well at smaller scales). It has been quite a few years since I played a grid base game with scaling issues that used a single unit instance approach. I tend to think the easiest solution is to switch to multiple unit instances. Another option is to increase the fineness of the tiles, making units larger that soldiers take up multiple tiles, though this would likely require far more work on your part. If I come across a game that managed this problem well I will let you know.
You may want to poll user opinions on whether the map terrain is too flat via your website. After all, they are the ones who are going to be playing. :)
bstone wrote: Why would the players download a turn based strategy? Certainly not to enjoy the realistic scale proportions of the terrain and various units. It's very subjective after all. Not worth spending much time if you ask me. Super polished core mechanics and balance will pay off tenfold compared to that.
I definitely agree that gameplay is paramount, in any genre really, but graphics are important too and in grid based games about 50% of the graphical appeal comes from the game board. Like it or not, a pleasing aesthetic is crucial for a game to become a commercial success.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Fri May 31, 2013 7:11 am
by bstone
holocronweaver wrote:I definitely agree that gameplay is paramount, in any genre really, but graphics are important too and in grid based games about 50% of the graphical appeal comes from the game board. Like it or not, a pleasing aesthetic is crucial for a game to become a commercial success.
Yeah, but it's so subjective. I can see people sticking to a game with addictive gameplay even if it lacks some eye-candy. Can't say the same about the opposite.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Fri May 31, 2013 1:41 pm
by kubatp
Herb wrote:If you're feeling burned out on the game (by so many hours solo) and want to see more progress, have you considered open-sourcing it for more community involvement? Or are you thinking of a commercial direction with it?
Hi Herb,
well, I would like to go with commercial direction, because too much time was already spent on it. However, because I am not from gaming domain, it is kind of hard for me to push my way through it. If nothing works, I will release it as open source, but it is not my intention now.
NeOmega wrote:God, I would hate to see this thing slip into obscurity, but it probably is not ready for kickstarter yet.
Hi NeOmega, why do you think so? I mean what would need to be finished to have it ready? I have seen there games with less done and made its funding goal. Any advices are welcome:)
NeOmega wrote:P.S. What happened to Florida?
:) Well I didn't create the map manually. I got a map from google and processed it with my tool which created a game map from it. Because it uses nearest neighbour algorithm when shrinking, it probably omitted Florida:)
holocronweaver wrote:I agree that the mountains are too steep. You could increase the size of the tiles themselves as well as the maximum elevation. That would remove the need for the gradual rise in elevation across tiles you suggested. However, I think your idea might look the best of all possible choices. I do not recall any other grid based computer game using gradual elevation changes. Would be really neat to see.
I will put it to my TODO list. I would like to do that - it would certainly increase the reality of the map, but right now it is lower on my priority list.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 8:51 am
by NeOmega
NeOmega wrote:God, I would hate to see this thing slip into obscurity, but it probably is not ready for kickstarter yet.
Hi NeOmega, why do you think so? I mean what would need to be finished to have it ready? I have seen there games with less done and made its funding goal. Any advices are welcome:)
Nobody would donate money to a Civ IV copy. So if you are going to put it on kickstarter, you are really going to need to show how and why it is different from Civilization IV. I know you have some different mechanics, but your whole sales pitch would have to be a demonstration how aggressors is a whole new game, with a whole new strategic, tactical, economic and diplomatic system... ...and an AI that can handle it all.

Even then, you would need better polished graphics to make it look like it is a game made in 2010 at the earliest, not 2005, as it appears now

I saw and heard some differences, but not enough to convince me it was something that could not just be modded in civ IV.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 9:08 am
by bstone
NeOmega wrote:I know you have some different mechanics, but your whole sales pitch would have to be a demonstration how aggressors is a whole new game, with a whole new strategic, tactical, economic and diplomatic system...
From what I've seen on Kickstarter many retro-looking retro-gameplay projects succeeded with flying colors. Quite the opposite to what you said.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Sat Jun 01, 2013 4:46 pm
by holocronweaver
bstone wrote:
NeOmega wrote:I know you have some different mechanics, but your whole sales pitch would have to be a demonstration how aggressors is a whole new game, with a whole new strategic, tactical, economic and diplomatic system...
From what I've seen on Kickstarter many retro-looking retro-gameplay projects succeeded with flying colors. Quite the opposite to what you said.
I think both bstone and NeOmega make good points. At least to me, it is not obvious that this game would succeed on Kickstarter as is. It does bear a strong resemblance to to CivIV, both in terms of graphics and gameplay. I have seen a number of CivIV-like projects on Kickstarter - it may be worth checking out how they did.
That being said, I personally would help fund this game on Kickstarter if the rewards are affordable. I suggest $10 (USD) for the minimum pledge required to receive a copy of the game. Certainly no less than $5, and no more than $15.

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 3:05 pm
by kubatp
NeOmega wrote:Nobody would donate money to a Civ IV copy. So if you are going to put it on kickstarter, you are really going to need to show how and why it is different from Civilization IV. I know you have some different mechanics, but your whole sales pitch would have to be a demonstration how aggressors is a whole new game, with a whole new strategic, tactical, economic and diplomatic system... ...and an AI that can handle it all.
The whole principle seems to me different, but I got your point - it needs to be clearly demonstrated.
NeOmega wrote:Even then, you would need better polished graphics to make it look like it is a game made in 2010 at the earliest, not 2005, as it appears now
To be honest, I am not sure I am able to polish it more. I am not OGRE expert nor graphic designer. The only thing which comes to my mind and I am able to implement is animations.
holocronweaver wrote:I have seen a number of CivIV-like projects on Kickstarter

I tried to google it and search on Kickstarter but I wasn't lucky. Do you remember any of these Civ IV projects?

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 3:06 pm
by drwbns
From what I've seen, this looks kickstarter or greenlight ready as a beta. I think there would be plenty of people donating but I would layout a list of where the donations would be heading and for what purpose ( e.g. artwork ), goodluck!

Re: Aggressors - Turn based strategy

Posted: Fri Jun 21, 2013 5:32 pm
by kubatp
Hi guys,
I have done little bit polish and made few screenshots, if you are interested.

Image

Image
I tried to increase the height of mountains little bit.

Image

Image
This is the edge of the map

Image
Another mod.