Strategy game design

Hi!

I’m new to LY and in general to game design. I have a dream, it’s a multiplayer game, a mix of card game and turn based strategy. Something like Faeria. I’ve checked a number of LY tutorial videos, but all of them are about first/third person action set up and i think the design im interested in requires a bit different approach.

Based on my very basic understanding the game would consist of the following main components, assets:

  • main menu
  • matchmaker
  • set of smaller, hexgrid based maps (maybe option for random generation)
  • card collection and deck builder/manager
  • units: 3D characters with traits (played cards on the hexgrid)
  • player session management? like storing state of all units during a match.
  • online store

I need expert advice on the following topics, please. I know, many questions can be answered by getting to know LY, but if you got time, i would really appreciate your thoughts on one, some or all the questions.

  1. Do you think this kind of categorization fits game design and LY principles? If not how else would you create component/asset categories?
  2. How would you start designing, prototyping this kind of concept? Like start with menu, then create some maps to load, etc…
  3. Where would you put premade maps, which would be arbitrarily loaded for every match? Liek should all maps be in a level file?
  4. Where would the state of a match live? Like units, their status, position, interrelation on the map.
  5. What approach would you take to play/place a new character on the map?
  6. Anything you would like to share with me on this subject. :slight_smile:

Thanks!
lc

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Hi @lightconstruct,

Thanks for your interest in Lumberyard! I was the producer for a LOTR card game so I really like your ideas and would like to offer some of my thoughts to your questions.

Your list of game components is pretty good, I would expand the main menu to include everything that is UI related, so not just the main menu but also the the combat UI or HUD, what will it look like to the players? This will require input from game design and involve considerations for features such as card powers that can be activated during the game, or for the characters on the map.

You will also need some in-game animations so I would put that on the list as well. These would include animations for the cards, characters, and VFX for the UI and special powers if any and how they will/can affect the UI.

To answer some of your questions:

I find it helpful to me when designing card games to make a physical/table top prototype first. So I would print out my initial card designs and cut them to make a card deck and make a paper map to play on. This will allow me to work out any design issues with relatively low production cost before anything gets started in the game engine.

I find it cheaper to do design iterations this way than through the game engine since there is a lot less need to do code changes or code new features in the pre-production phase and iterations can get expensive or time consuming when you’re developing through a game engine.

AWS takes care most of this for you, although for a more complete answer you can post this question on the gamelift forums.

This would largely depend on your game design. It’s been my experience that most of the time it’s better to stick with mainstream designs with some small changes that improves the experience of playing the game, such as using mana/points to deploy a card but maybe there’s a cool down time before the card/unit can be activated.

This opens the opportunity to create new cards and units that can either remove the cool down time or shorten it. It’s also a chance to play some cool VFX to spice things up. You could do something completely novel and different although there is a risk that players might not get it or appreciate the new design, which I’ve seen happen to other games.

Hope this helps, and best of luck to you on the new project!

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Thanks a lot for the detailed answers!

Paper/physical modelling is a must to do, yes. Surely, i’ll have a lot of fun with it! :slight_smile:

About my “What approach would you take to play/place a new character on the map?” question. This question is rather about the actual implementation in LY. Like loading and placing an object some way on the map. I know it’s a forethinking and technical question. Even if you reply in terms i don’t understand yet, it will helpme. I’ll decode it. :slight_smile:

Ah ok, this is a technical question that I will ask one of our devs for an answer. In the mean time though, feel free to post this question on the gamelift forums and see if anyone on the AWS team can help.

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Going to remain high level on my response as there are lot of details with multiplayer games that are influenced by design and architecture.

Q. “What approach would you take to play/place a new character on the map?”
A. Typically, you create a dynamic slice out of collection of entities & components which represents your character. Then you can decide on when and what event spawns them into there world.

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Hey @lightconstruct ,

That part is actually very easy. Placing things on the map works much like placing things in the UI. For the UI you’ll end up making a few menu screens (these are called ‘canvases’ in LY), at least one canvas for building decks, and at least one canvas for displaying your deck/hand during a game. Then you will need to make a prototype card, all the images and unit/spell information will get filled into the prototype card when you need to add that card in the game. Adding cards and characters into the game is called ‘Spawning’. For the UI, after displaying your deck manager UI screen, for example, you might spawn in all the cards from your saved deck. LY takes care of the details, you just say what you want to spawn and where you want to spawn it.

For things like units and spells and even the hex tile, you design one prototype for each unit and spell. When you want them in game, like when a card is placed on a hex tile, you just need to say what unit/spell prototype to spawn and in this case you would have it spawn on top of the hex.

In LY, the prototypes are called ‘dynamic slices’, so that is a topic you’ll want to cover. Working with the UI editor is a great place to start. You can use Script Canvas to display the canvases and card dynamic slices. When you have character or spell dynamic slices ready to spawn, you’ll be ready to use Script Canvas to do all of that too.

Creating your game environment is a separate process, but you can start working on that from the beginning if you want.

Two great places to start learning the UI editor:
UI Tutorial Youtube Series
In the Samples Project, there are several levels demonstrating UI features. Looking through these would give you an idea of UI elements you’ll need for your canvases and cards. Docs Page for Samples Project

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@lmbr_Saulty, @Finite_State, @Robytech thanks for all of your insights!

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@lmbr_Saulty
There were many punctual explanations in the response, I learned a little more! With these questions that have been raised. Thanks for the detailing.

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