What makes our Technology Tree unique?
Hey Unreal Devs,
Today’s update comes with fewer visuals but covers a very important topic: the Technology Tree, and what makes ours unique?
Our goal was to make the Tech Tree easy to understand without sacrificing strategic and tactical depth, which proved to be quite a challenge.
The overall design rule we follow is “Keep it Fair and Simple”.
For starters, we put together a list of what we thought to be the essentials of a Real-Time-Strategy game. These points were what we needed to consider while building the Technology Tree.
Fog of War: gathering and hiding information from your opponents
Combat: focusing on army composition and counterplay
Utilizing the environment
Comeback and outplay potential
Then, we decided on the types of units and buildings we can’t do without.
Aside from the biggest building that can produce units, every good RTS game also comes with towers for vision and to protect areas. (For some: cheese tower rushes or cannons if you are a Protoss player ^^)
For Combat, we needed a Melee Infantry and a Ranged Unit, something like swordsmen and archers.
Additionally, a fast-moving Cavalry Unit is required for raids or catching reinforcements and stragglers.
Lastly, we would need a heavy Artillery unit that, despite being slow, has the range and power to bring down buildings.
When moving onto Economy and its units, we took inspiration from “Battle for Middle Earth II”.
Once the buildings are placed, they don’t require any player action and gather resources on their own. They would also serve as blockage to areas as is the case in Warcraft III, Starcraft or Ages of Empires.
But we wanted it to be easier for the players to spot any gaps. So we decided to go with a square grid-based player field. This fit perfectly into our Aztec setting too!
With that information, we created a big economy building (the Tog) that increases commando points like a Terran supply depot (Starcraft II).
Finally, to make the game more interesting and dynamic with juicy outplay potential, we added a hidden trap building and a teleporter that allows players to quickly move units (similar to the Nydus in Starcraft II or dwarves mineshafts in Battle for Middle Earth II).
Technology Tree Layout
We organized all units with this Technology structure, divided into 3 branches: Utility, Combat and Economy.
There are multiple units that serve as connection points between the branches, so it’s possible to quickly change from one branch into another at any time.
The Smelogs, no matter if they are a building or an unit, can morph into another Smelog and even go back to their initial base form.
This Up- and Downgrading system is what makes our Technology Tree special and unique. With one flexible unit, we keep the game simple with a low learning curve, but still challenging with many possible strategies.
We will go into how the upgrading and downgrading works in the next Behind the Design. Thanks for dropping by our ted talk!
If you have any questions or are interested in the game, let us know on our Discord about what we should post next.