Want more Starvoid info? K! (If not, stop reading)
Don't know if I should do a quick catchup again or not, but a short one then – RTS, fast paces, join and leave servers as you want. Ye. Pretty much sums it up.
Alright, now the the stuff I really like – some game mechanics!
This week I'm going to go through the basics of the game's resource management. The resources in Starvoid are somewhat simplified to put focus on the actual combat and strategy. The player does for example not actively harvest for resources, it's all done pretty much automatically – his does not however mean that we do not have any resource management.
There are three main resources in Starvoid:
- Energy is the primary resource. It is used to spawn units into combat and to cast utility abilities. Players start with full energy and it replenishes quite fast. It's role is to limit how fast player can spawn units and using utility abilities, rewarding good plans and foresight. It can be compared to the role of mana and alike in card games for example, where the resources replenishes automatically, but how and when you use them is key.
- Bounty (previously Scrap Metal) is a more valuable resource that is harder to get. It is collected when destroying enemy units and is used to cast the most powerful utility abilities. Consider it a kill streak reward resource.
- Upkeep is the limit for how many units you can have spawned at the same time. This limit is to cap how many units a player can have at the same time, so that players that join the servers after other player do not fall too much behind. Also allows players to quickly get back to full fighting strength after being eliminated.
So – how to manage this? Unless playing with the pre-made contracts, they must first be considered while building the contract. The most important resource to think of while building a contract is the upkeep. All units, and even some utility abilities such as turrets, cost upkeep. If you can't upkeep a unit, you can't spawn it, so you have to make sure that you can spawn a setup of stuff that you want to have – within your upkeep limit. There are of course also a lot of other factors that affect this to make it a bit more complicated, such as expensive unit upgrades increasing the upkeep cost of a unit etc. You should also think of having a back up unit that can be spawned if any of the others are destroyed that must fit within any released value of upkeep etc. Energy management and Bounty uses should also be considered when building the contract, but that's easier to explain from a in-game point of view.
On the battlefield you will have to consider all the resources just as much. You need to make sure that you use your energy to spawn units before entering combat – but of course there is also an advantage in waiting long enough to see what your opponents have. But in combat you want your energy for other stuff, such as your utility abilities, which can really turn the tide of a combat if used correctly. And once you have collected enough Bounty, you definitely do not want to be unable to use the then enabled utility abilities just because you lack the energy required...
Once you've gotten used to the game, you'll almost always want to have at least one utility ability that requires Bounty to be used. They are very powerful if used the the right situation. Not using the Bounty you succeed in collecting is a real waste of resources.
And finally, a forth and more abstract resource is of course time. Time is of great value. Time, resource-wise, is the biggest reason why you do not want to be eliminated in combat. Because then, after you have instantly respawned, you have to get back out onto the battlefield. And while you do, the enemy can easier aim for the mission objectives. Spawning units and using both utility and unit abilities also have a cost in time, in the form of cooldowns. If a unit is destroyed, or an ability is cast, it can't be used again until its cooldown runs out. Units can however, if you successfully recall them from the battlefield before being destroyed by the enemy, be respawned after a lowered cooldown.
Yes. That's it. Not too complicated. But then again – we don't want it to be. The complicated stuff will lie in how you use all this combined with combat tactics to beat your opponents on the battlefield.
Thanks again for reading, see you next week! (Or around the forums).
Rasmus Davidsson, Game Director at Starvoid