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RTS game terrain data structures. Are grids / contours a method? What is standard?

Posted on 2014-11-18
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Last Modified: 2014-12-15
Hi
In my last RTS (senior year) I was happy enough for it to have no-terrain, and just be a networking Java project for unit movements and proximity related triggering.

I think I have better networking now. I did my first one entirely with UDP networking because the university LAN was so reliable. Now that I have TCP working, I will add UDP in for speedy state increments. I want to start the gaming side correctly. I could do the terrain in an X x Y grid, or I could do it with geometric contours?
I think Age of Empires and Starcraft 1 and Warcraft 1,2 were grids. Warcraft 3 , Age 3, Starcraft 2 are 3D terrain. 3D would be nice, but it is not paramount, if it is too much for Java to handle. I'd prefer to be 2D to save those headaches, then. I'm more interested in the gaming than the production. But a Martian combat 3D landscape might look good. ( "See you at the party, Richter" - Quaid, Total Recall)
Any thoughts?
Thanks
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Question by:beavoid
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Slick812 earned 500 total points
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greetings beavoid, , I am commenting here because no one else has. I did some visual (sprite movement on a "landscape") game development, and I would suggest that you start with a a very very simple "game" 2D grid display screen layout. For developers starting in games with visual (art rendered sprites[front, side, rear views], and backgrounds of hills, valleys and interactive structures [forts, unit production] ), things can get overwhelmingly complex if you do NOT have a visual rendering engine (software programming) that that is already set up. If you want to have ART on your game visual experience, you will need a person with artistic ability and experience in digital production of sequential animated individual images.

You may want to to start out with a "turn based" game, and then with some experience move to "real time" game.

If I remember, the warcraft (and many other games) use an octagon screen grid layout, allowing sprite placement only in a grid block, and having 8 movement in directions as, toward the user view point, away from the user view, left and right of screen user view, and the 4 directions between those. I do not think that warcraft would "resize" the sprites (get smaller) as they appeared to move away from the user view point.

Although these games only had 8 sprite views, they gave a convincing user experience of a 3D play and movement.

There are thousands of websites and forums about learning visual game programming, you might should join or look at some of the resources out there for game programmers. It takes most people months to a year, or more of experimenting to then begin a visual game.

Using real 3D in gaming is terribly complex, you need to be familiar with 2D gaming engines before you venture into 3D.
Sorry I do not have a one-size-fits-all recommendation for game programming.
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by:beavoid
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Thanks

I am preparing to begin my terrain system,
In my senior year, my RTS has no terrain, and was mostly an exercise in networking and game loop. That was, in a sense, my very, very simple game!

I am certainly not going to jump into 3D today!
Thanks
What does a data structure look like for an octagon system? Is that another question?
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by:Slick812
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you ask -
"What does a data structure look like for an octagon system?"

your question is too general for me as "data structure" could be many diferent things. Just to talk at you, as I remember, you need to have figured out how many octs you will have in your grid pattern, You can then numerically address or access them from a data storage, There are several Different way to have them be addresed by their "location" relative to map areas, AND by the adjoining (border octs) for movement reference.

I do not remember much, as all different game set ups have different data storage (usually some sort of database filter engine). As to what you store in the "location" data, for your grid system, it depends on the way you have set up your access and layout of grid. You can think about it some what, as a chess board rectangular grid system.
The things that need to be considered for location will depend on what you need for game play, but there are more than a few, and can be a hundred or more. (Game play and placement are different for the Game Play for different types of game).
Sorry, There is quite a lot to Game Design and the software testing (if-then-else) programming needed to keep track of the few factors in your game OR the thousands of factors in a more enjoyable interactive game.
I can not tell you much more, as I said this is an OLD-OLD subject, "game programming" has so much online, that you need to look at it.

Maybe someone else That currently does some game programming, will comment here for EE, and can suggest some palaces to start.
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