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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsThe Finnish War - survival real-time strategy
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AcroGames Projects
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« on: March 25, 2020, 07:05:42 AM »




Hi everyone,

Welcome to the devlog thread of my upcoming strategy game The Finnish War.

The Finnish War is a real-time strategy game, better characterized as 'survival strategy', that I'm currently developing with a Spring-Summer 2021 release date in mind. I've been on this project for some 2,5 years now, and finally, it's on a steady course towards light at the end of the tunnel.

The game is set during the Napoleonic Wars and more specifically during the eponymous Finnish War, its minor theatre.
The game will have players traverse the brutal northern wilderness, trying to survive while simultaneously trying to find ways to defeat the enemy faction's army. The wilderness itself is as dangerous as the enemy faction, and might just become your main adversary over the AI. In regular games, you will need to find food for your army, construct buildings, scout the terrain to avoid hazards, exploit it to your advantage, and set traps for the enemy army. The AI is competent at surviving in the wild, but you should always try to use the wilderness against them, to ensure victory...
In the end, it all leads to a ground-shaking clash between your and the enemy's army, but by this time, one of you might already have succumbed to the wilderness...







The game is not click-intensive - in fact, there's not much clicking at all - instead you control your faction's Leader unit with WASD and the likes, and issue commands to your troops with digits on the keyboard (0-9). It's all very simple and quickly roots to the back of the head; it's easily approachable for people new to strategy games (who nevertheless want their share of brutal, colorful 19th century warfare) and also enjoyable by veterans of the genre, yet challenging, highlighting the survival element.

Since you directly control a single character, the survival element becomes all the more meaningful, since your army - and your victory - are dependent on your character, the Faction's Leader. If you take a wrong turn in the wilds and drown in a frozen lake or run into an enemy scouting party without being accompanied by any bodyguards, your mighty army back at your base is as good as obsolete - that's game over. It brings a whole new level to large-scale battles with the AI since you need to be there with your player Character, overseeing your troops, making sure you are protected at all times and not in danger of taking a cannonball in the face - ending your process in a heartbeat.



Progress so far:

  • Campaign and Custom Battle modes
  • Two scenario types: Survival maps, where you try to survive in the wilderness and ultimately defeat the enemy Faction, and Battle maps, where no survival elements are present but instead two large armies clash from the very beginning
  • 4 Factions, and around 20 units in 4 categories: infantry, cavalry, artillery, and support units
  • Split-screen for two players
  • A lot of options for customizing games
  • Brutal warfare: scared units rout screaming from the battlefield, infantry get blown to pieces by artillery fire, drummers desperately beat their army drums to try and hold the lines...

What's still to be done:
  • Finish the two Campaigns
  • Add Abilities for Factions
  • Minor bug fixes
  • Certain quality-of-life updates
  • Graphics update
  • Finish voicework (certain aspects of the game will have voice acting)

Thank you for checking it out and hopefully you guys will follow my progress with my first ever big project, The Finnish War!
« Last Edit: September 12, 2020, 04:44:13 AM by AcroGames Projects » Logged
OctoMini
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« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2020, 11:02:58 AM »

What a cool game! Based on your game and accent you are Finnish, right? I am Finnish and find theme of your game intriguing;) How long have you been developing it? I see you posted your second devlog entry as a new thread. I don't know the forums rules, but I think it would be easier to access your whole devlog if the updates were replies to the first post. That's how it's usually done I think. Anyway, great work and keep it up!
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« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2020, 01:27:25 PM »

Noce concept but the visuals can use an upgrade
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AcroGames Projects
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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2020, 09:22:03 AM »

Noce concept but the visuals can use an upgrade
Hi! Yes, theres a lot to upgrade in the visuals part, and that will surely be done. I'm interested in drawing most if not all the graphics myself in the end, since I've always liked arts and such.
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2020, 09:30:37 AM »

What a cool game! Based on your game and accent you are Finnish, right? I am Finnish and find theme of your game intriguing;) How long have you been developing it? I see you posted your second devlog entry as a new thread. I don't know the forums rules, but I think it would be easier to access your whole devlog if the updates were replies to the first post. That's how it's usually done I think. Anyway, great work and keep it up!
Hey, yup, Finnish here, moro vaan! Thanks for kind words and advice. New here, this stuff's good to know, for sure. I'll probably merge the threads if this is the case! Been on this project now for about 2 yrs, with some off-seasons here and there, and been doing it alone until very recently. Thanks for checking it out, will post more stuff throughout spring.
Edit: merged the threads. Thanks for sharing advice!
« Last Edit: April 08, 2020, 10:08:22 AM by AcroGames Projects » Logged
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2020, 09:48:22 AM »

Hey guys,
This time I have prepared a little showcase of the game's AI here: (a regular Custom Battle AI; there is also, yet to be showcased, the 'Player Spoof' AI, which imitates online players and can have any of a dozen different strategies and personalities)





A lot more work to do with the AI as well, but getting there day by day. Many ideas for my next devlog already, and in these days of quarantine where I've got more than enough time on my hands (being type-1 diabetic and thus on layoff due to belonging to risk group) I'll be sure to keep you guys updated regularly.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 11:12:32 AM by AcroGames Projects » Logged
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« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2020, 10:29:32 PM »

Hey guys,
for the past couple weeks I've been working on a Duel feature for The Finnish War. I've already implemented a somewhat similar system to my other project, Sotidrokhima (https://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=69847.0) but the one now implemented in The Finnish War is much more expanded upon, since in this game it is not such a recurring experience but a rarer and more meaningful one.



Now, in addition to treaties, the AI leader can propose a Duel before battle. A duel is a reaction-based first-person-viewed minigame, where the leaders of the two factions fight to the death, offering a break to the real-time strategy mold of the game.



  • if you lose, you die; if you win, you kill the AI leader, weakening their army for the coming battle, and gain a free treaty
  • there are Perks which you can buy before a duel to gain benefits for your leader
  • random AI taunts based on what leaders are facing one another, randomized duel scenery, and the audience reacting to your duel help making the fights vivid



So that's what I've been up to lately. The work continues, animation needs improvement, and I intend to expand upon the game mechanics further still. Till next time!
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 11:12:46 AM by AcroGames Projects » Logged
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« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2020, 11:23:00 PM »

I love everything about this.
The duel system on top of a survival strategy game? Yes please.
Sotidrokhima also looks great. Please keep up!
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2020, 12:43:26 AM »

I love everything about this.
The duel system on top of a survival strategy game? Yes please.
Sotidrokhima also looks great. Please keep up!
Thanks so much!! Replies like this, they keep me going!
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« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2020, 05:12:35 AM »

Hey guys,

I made some GIFs to give a glimpse into the current look of the game's battles.
Much work still, but I have all the time at the moment!

for starters though, here's a short peek at the game's intro:



and here we have some single-player action going on:




last but not least, some split-screen action. Split-screen multiplayer works as follows: the other player uses the arrow keys + Keypad (numbers on the right) and the other player uses WASD + digits (the numbers on the top row) so the controls are very simple and balanced even with two people playing on the same computer; I've tried to make it as smooth and as less troublesome as possible.




That's all for now folks, have a good and healthy transition to summertime and see you later on.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2020, 11:13:00 AM by AcroGames Projects » Logged
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« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2020, 01:16:00 AM »

Great to see progress on this!
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« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2020, 12:56:24 PM »

Looks awesome!

Can you describe a bit of the management/survival part of the gameplay? Will it also be in real-time?
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2020, 11:03:00 PM »

Great to see progress on this!
Thanks a ton! Some great ideas awaiting implementation but I'll be posting more of those over the course of the summer.
Lately, been doing a lot of balancing, the eternal issue in strategy games. Some units I found to have been slightly OP!
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2020, 11:41:28 PM »

Looks awesome!

Can you describe a bit of the management/survival part of the gameplay? Will it also be in real-time?
Thank you!
Yes, the entire game will be in real-time, in the classic overhead RTS view; only during leaders' Duels will it switch to a different view.
In essence, the game revolves around the survival element, which determines many things - like where, when, and even if the two opposing factions will ultimately clash. There are physical hazards in the wilderness, but the main problem will be the Attrition: your units grow hungrier, and will gradually weaken and can ultimately die if the Attrition is not tended to. This can be done by searching for food - huntables in the wilderness, for your army to share. Not only the food, but also other survival elements are randomized on the maps: snowstorms can hinder your army's progress in just the worst possible time, and then there's frozen lakes, saving precious time when crossing - but can also be treacherous, especially if heavier units are crossing them.
The AI is ever-adaptive to the environment, constantly searching for food, attempting to avoid certain hazards, and sometimes even sabotaging your hunting operations before the main army is even sent to attack. While it is a competent survivalist, the map conditions can sometimes take even the AI by surprise. You can also try and sabotage its food gathering, or lure its units to their deaths in the wilderness; tricks like this are more than acceptable to gain an edge over the enemy before the final clash of your armies will come.
Constructing buildings, like hunting traps, is done with your Leader, and killing the AI Leader (easier said than done, since they love travelling with bodyguards) will also greatly cripple them. You must also remember not to neglect map control and constantly scout for good spots to build outposts, traps for the enemy, etc.
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2020, 01:17:28 AM »

Hey guys. Here's a little showcase I've meant to do for a long time already. Well now it's there - introduction to some of the units in The Finnish War!





Much balancing to do, since with a large variation of units and possible combinations in a strategy game, there's for sure some that can be deemed overpowered.

I'll retreat back to my overheated flat's bedroom office slash gamemaking home studio. This is Finland for chrissakes, why does it need to be this hot in summer!
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« Reply #15 on: June 13, 2020, 03:32:32 AM »

Small update regarding wildlife - the animals finally properly run away from units!
You can try and lure them into your hunting traps this way, or it can fail miserably and they wander off, leaving your troops without food.

Also it used to be a real annoyance and a blow to immersion when you'd see a pack of deer just casually strolling about on a battlefield. Well, no more!



« Last Edit: June 13, 2020, 02:28:05 PM by AcroGames Projects » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2020, 12:04:02 AM »

Hey all, I wanted to give a little shoutout to my original inspiration for this game.

That would be Tuntematon Sotilas - The Unknown Soldier, Finnish war film and more specifically the 2017 film adaption of the original 1954 novel of the same name by Vaino Linna.





The film is based on the Continuation War (1941-1944) between Finland and Russia and it's basically a three-hour colossus. How did it inspire this game?

Imho, the film captures the difficult trail of war from the perspective of regular foot troops perfectly. Wandering in the wilderness, looking for the enemy, setting up camps and communication lines, preparing ambushes, never knowing what's ahead in the horizon. The Finnish soldiers try to work as a group in a difficult environment with a powerful enemy looming about. This is what gave me the idea of a survival strategy game - where the main catch would not be to straight off pit two armies against each other in a massive set battle, blasting the everliving crap out of each other, but rather having to adapt into the environment and trying to find your advantages there, where both sides are equally vulnerable. Not knowing when, how, from where the enemy will present itself, constantly having to be on your toes... this addictive tension is what I wanted to translate into a strategy game - something different and more versatile than regular real-time battles. I wanted it so that one can't expect to win just by having a strong army and some clever strategy for it in mind - you need to be able to adapt since you might end up in an environment where your dream strategy wouldn't work out at all, and thus there is the constant element of surprise that you must not let drag you down.

I chose to set the game more than 100 years back though, into the early 19th century and the Finnish War, since back then the survival aspect was even more present - with more crude technology and poorer communiciations and logistics, the struggle for survival was more real in a -30C northern winter. This coupled with the many interesting aspects of Napoleonic-era warfare is what made me choose this as the game's setting.

Now if you guys ever got a chance to see this film, then for the amount of realism and the actual tenseness that transmits from the soldiers to the viewer, you should! Not that it's easy to come across if you're not Scandinavian though, I would assume....

Just wanted to share this piece of trivia behind my game!
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« Reply #17 on: June 29, 2020, 09:58:44 AM »

Another fun way to play this game:
With Minimap disabled, you have to rely on your tracking skills to gain any knowledge on the enemy, and the environment!
You can follow footprints left in the snow, which tell if any unit or animal has passed there. Footprints fade away over time, indicating if it's been long that something or someone has passed there.

Foot soldiers' tracks are easy to recognize, being always very densely formed, but be careful when following animal footprints: huntable animals and enemy cavalry leave similar prints, but can be told apart from each other by the pattern, since huntables move around randomly!



I've even been thinking of adding a couple scenarios to the Campaign(s) where the Minimap would be disabled by choice, forcing players to rethink their approach and completely adapt to the unexpected. What do you think, any good of an idea?

P.S. you might have noticed a small addition to the HUD: I'm trying to implement a Balance of Power indicator which showcases the approximate difference in strength between you and your enemy. (ever played the Total War series?)
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« Reply #18 on: July 08, 2020, 11:32:28 AM »

Chaaaaaaarge!!!


In other words, I've successfully implemented a Charge mechanic into the game, making cavalry a whole lot more realistic and interesting to play!




Here's how it works:
When a melee cavalry unit collides with an enemy unit at full speed, an additional Charge Bonus is added to their immediate first attack upon the collision. The heavier the cavalry unit, the heavier the bonus - at best, it will put the screen shaking, mowing down weaker units and sending others running away in terror.
The Charge Bonus can be 'recharged' but only if you put your cavalry unit(s) moving again, obviously... they need the momentum!
...so don't expect to go charging when fording in rivers or stuck in a snowstorm, since the momentum will be nonexistent!


With a big enough bunch of heavier cavalry, the results can be chaotic!
  -or for the lol's, just buy nothing but heavy cavalry and thus produce the most epic cavalry charge seen in Finnish history.
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« Reply #19 on: July 09, 2020, 12:16:42 AM »

Looks awesome!

Can you describe a bit of the management/survival part of the gameplay? Will it also be in real-time?
Thank you!
Yes, the entire game will be in real-time, in the classic overhead RTS view; only during leaders' Duels will it switch to a different view.
In essence, the game revolves around the survival element, which determines many things - like where, when, and even if the two opposing factions will ultimately clash. There are physical hazards in the wilderness, but the main problem will be the Attrition: your units grow hungrier, and will gradually weaken and can ultimately die if the Attrition is not tended to. This can be done by searching for food - huntables in the wilderness, for your army to share. Not only the food, but also other survival elements are randomized on the maps: snowstorms can hinder your army's progress in just the worst possible time, and then there's frozen lakes, saving precious time when crossing - but can also be treacherous, especially if heavier units are crossing them.
The AI is ever-adaptive to the environment, constantly searching for food, attempting to avoid certain hazards, and sometimes even sabotaging your hunting operations before the main army is even sent to attack. While it is a competent survivalist, the map conditions can sometimes take even the AI by surprise. You can also try and sabotage its food gathering, or lure its units to their deaths in the wilderness; tricks like this are more than acceptable to gain an edge over the enemy before the final clash of your armies will come.
Constructing buildings, like hunting traps, is done with your Leader, and killing the AI Leader (easier said than done, since they love travelling with bodyguards) will also greatly cripple them. You must also remember not to neglect map control and constantly scout for good spots to build outposts, traps for the enemy, etc.


Sounds like a very big project, but then again strategy games are always big, do you have a deadline for finishing the game? Also on what price will it be?
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