Building Mechanics

Sun, Jan 20, 2019

Designing and building units is a core mechanic of Triverse, so it needs to be streamlined and fun. Among games in general, there are two basic ways to implement player building controls:

Triverse implements the second approach, allowing players to place plans on a global grid associated with their AI agent. The AI then steers units toward plans, and when a core is near enough, it warps in a part if available. Steering generally works well for open areas and convex objects, but terrain and concave interior areas sometimes require more advanced pathfinding.

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Similar to the first approach, cores can collect and withdraw parts to and from an omnipresent inventory which occupies no physical space. It might be an unbalancing hack, but for now it’s simple and convenient, so it wins until more playtesting proves otherwise.

Complications

Then there’s the question of what to build on – is the player always additively building on a global grid, or can the player make modifications to a particular grid which is already built? Regarding UI and usability, we want any potential build sites to remain in a constant position relative to the player view. Otherwise, the player has to hit a moving target and may inadvertantly build in the wrong place. In other games, this is less of a concern because building is either always on static terrain or it’s on a player-controlled object. In Triverse, grids can move independently, so we need to consider ways to lock them down or limit building:

There’s also the issue of starting to place plans and having units swarm to build them before completing the design, but players can always draw plans away from their existing units and then move the plan closer or direct units to it when ready.