Economy, how little nuances change the gameplay experience, even do break it.
This is my Part 3.0 Analysis of the mayor Fundamental issue RTS did develop over the years:
The RTS experience is, harvesting & investing resources.
But a lot teams seem not to understand how this simple concept works.
The question is, what is the minimal and maximal amount a player needs to handle?
People do complain for a while that they have an odd feeling by new games.
Its actually more psychological than math. It’s based on expectations, a tactical game like Company of Heroes where you keep your 1-5 tanks alive by always repair them, is fundamentally different from C&C where you send out 20 tanks to die, than another 20 tanks, than another 20 tanks.
Let’s pick C&C, because it’s easier to explain by 1 resource.
A tank needs 1000 credits and is build in 30 sec, so if you always expect to build 1 tank so as long your economy does give you more than 1000 credits in 30 sec, you have the feeling like economy is ok.
If you go in an say “lets speed it up” and make tank 1000 credits/10 sec, and double economy:
While the game would be 2 times faster, people are going to get the feeling they do run out of money.
tank 1000credits/30 sec vs income 1050credits/30 sec= buy next tank
tank 1000credits/10 sec vs income 2100credits/30 sec = not buy next tank
sure you have 2 tanks, but 100 credits left and wait 10 sec for more,
gives you the feeling like eco is broken, because you start to wait for eco.
Next question is, do you loose control because its too much to do?
1 tank in 30 sec are 10 tanks in 5 min
1 tank in 10 sec are 30 tanks in 5 min
lest pick up as example actual games with similar units
Medium tank (Tiberian Dawn 1995) Cost $800 ### Build time 0:53
Predator “Medium tank” [Tiberium Wars 2007] Cost $1100 ### Build time 0:11
so while in old game you need 800/0:53= 15 credits in sec
in new game you need 1100/0:11 = 100 credits in sec
So basically to give same old school “good funded game” feeling, you need to provide player with 6 times more resources. Another issue is, by new game you need suddenly to handle 5 times more stuff in same time. Already by this simple example, we see how much it does influence.
what are the expectations for AoE4?
Calculating each piece of wood, stone, meat and gold is tough, even more if we consider you can change game speed by AoE2. So I think it would be clearer to speak about simply economy pace.
My personal impression is AoE2 pace is too slow, AoE3 is too fast.
I would like to see AoE4 pace somewhere in-between. What do you think?