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So I've been theory-crafting an idea for a game I think would be interesting, but I'm trying to work out the kinks in my idea. Here's my dilemma:

Let's say a player can choose between two classes, being a foot soldier or piloting a large vehicle like a tank. To keep gameplay diverse, there needs to be some players as foot soldiers and some as tanks. In games such as BF4, the individual soldier has so many anti-vehicle weapons that vehicles are actually somewhat weak. Is there a good way to balance classes such that an endgame infantry unit is equal(not inferior or superior) to a vehicle such as a tank or ship?

I was also thinking of an AI squad mechanic, where the player can command a small number of AI foot soldiers, so this might be worked into the balancing. I'm just trying to think of a way to have all classes be appealing to the player.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Is your goal to actual achieve equality in tradeoffs between all your available classes? Or is your actual goal to encourage players to diversify their choice of class? They're not always the same goal. Is "tank" and "soldier" the only two options or are there others? \$\endgroup\$ – user1430 May 17 '17 at 22:46
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    \$\begingroup\$ There are other options, but I figured the distinction would be clearer with the simpler examples. I was thinking of both kinds of equality, and I recognize that they are different. For tradeoffs, I was thinking of looking at data for real-life militaries for ideas. As far as class diversity, this was a bigger problem in my thought process. \$\endgroup\$ – VeganJoy May 17 '17 at 22:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ I think that including more details about your concrete classes, rather than overly general examples, will help alleviate people's concerns that this question is too broad or discussion oriented \$\endgroup\$ – user1430 May 17 '17 at 22:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think that addressing this example would help me work out the other classes on my own. I've been thinking up quite a few different classes; it'd honestly be impractical to post them on here :) The difference between a large, powerful vehicle and a versatile foot soldier seems to be my biggest problem for keeping diversity; the last thing I want to consider is having 100 players, and all of them piloting the biggest possible vehicle, or all as infantry. \$\endgroup\$ – VeganJoy May 17 '17 at 23:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd second the request for further details about your class plans. One of the most robust ways to balance a set of strategic options is to set up an intransitive cycle, like rock-paper-scissors. The mobility between counter strategies makes it harder for one option to dominate. To create this cycle we need at least three chips in play (either three classes, or loadouts/states/playstyles within a class), so sharing more info may suggest opportunities to inject some intransitivity. \$\endgroup\$ – DMGregory May 17 '17 at 23:32
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In UT2004 Onslaught mode, vehicles spawned infrequently. Players in their own skins can respawn instantly but can't constantly be in heavy vehicles as the average respawn time for vehicles in that game is about 2 minutes. So basically when you climb into a vehicle you "are" that vehicle, but you are limited as to the amount of vehicle-piloting you can do. While the vehicles are spawning, the foot soldiers have to keep doing the work of trying to win the battle. Have the spawn time depend on the strength of the vehicle. Motorbikes might only take a minute to respawn, while tanks and gunships might take 5 minutes. This reflects construction and/or shipping times for large, complex vehicles.

Other than that, foot soldiers have sabotaged tanks in a variety of ways during the World Wars, and still do to this day with various weaponry. Tanks have always been, by nature, low in agility and in their ability to detect infantry before they can become a threat. The same was true of the tanks of yore: Knights. It's the nature of armour. While I'm sure modern tanks have all kinds of sensors to detect incoming infantry, the trouble is still dealing with infantry effectively once they arrive. Drones are a modern possibility for anti-infantry purposes; see C&C Generals. Mixing unit types is, in most games, the most effective deterrent to this paper/scissors/stone effect of one unit being weak against another.

As for squads, UT2004 shows how on average 3 skilled footsoldiers have a good chance at taking out a Goliath tank. Usually one or two of them will be killed beforehand, but that's the tradeoff for being able to destroy one of the game's more powerful weapons platforms. So I think you're on the right track.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ The respawn timer seems like a good idea; this idea is based on a sort of futuristic society and open-world, but I suppose something like synthesis time could be used to make large vehicles rare. I'm aware of the many counters against tanks (RPGs, mines, recoiless rifles, etc.). It's actually making me consider implementing futuristic technology to combat some of the things like missiles and mines. As far as squads, the other members would be AI-controlled, so you could mark a target to focus-fire, or set up an ambush sequence, or ask a squad member for their equipment. \$\endgroup\$ – VeganJoy May 17 '17 at 23:01
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    \$\begingroup\$ @VeganJoy Fair enough. Do bear in mind this isn't a discussion-oriented site. If this helped you, by all means upvote and/or accept the answer. Every answer on this site represents somebody's time given up to help others with their problems. If you want to hammer out ideas, feel free to join chat and someone there may help you further. \$\endgroup\$ – Engineer May 18 '17 at 16:32

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