As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m going to be using the Advanced Turn Based Toolkit (available in the Unreal Marketplace) as a base to prototype out different mechanics of my turn-based zombie game.
I know at this point I must sound like a salesman for this particular toolkit, but I just love the way it is put together. The best aspect of the toolkit is just how easy it is to customise. I wanted to put together a small, basic map to see how the different characters (a ranged character and melee character interacted).
First, I set out a hex grid and placed a couple of characters. See image below.
I like the look of the hex grid. It spreads the characters out in an appealing way. Because the player always moves the same distance, hex to hex, it also is much more “fair” for a strategy game as there is less distortion of distance.
However, it presented a couple of challenges for me; one immediate, and one down the road. The immediate challenge was that the toolbox isn’t really geared for building “normal” looking architecture using the hex grid. As shown below, collision goes a bit awry if walls don’t snap to the grid edges.
Also, in this zombie game, I want the player to feel swarmed by zombies. With a hex grid, the maximum amount of zombies around the player is six. With a square grid (assuming I allow diagonal interactions) that number hops up to eight. Advantage, square grid. 7
I put together a small map to see in order to play out a simple scenario; how does the player fare when they only have ranged heroes if the enemy is all melee heroes. See the image below.
I spaced the enemies out throughout three rooms and two chambers off the main room. The player starts in the small room to the south-west of the map. The aim was to encourage the player to move into each room, clearing it out, before progressing to the next room.
See the video below.
As you can see, that did not happen. The player was trapped in the first corridor as the enemy poured in. There were two problems; First, the player simply didn’t have the damage to kill the tough melee enemies. Second, the player’s main advantage, was totally neutered by the tight corridors and small rooms. There was simply nowhere for the player to use the main strength of their troops.
So, long story short;
- Relative enemy strength will need balancing, else there will be no swarm of zombies. They player will be dead well before any swarm accumulates.
- Indoor environments need to consider sight-lines and range, as much as intricacy and realism.
- Square grids are a safer starting point than hex grids for normal looking architecture.
Thanks for reading.