I'm tinkering around with a lightweight RTS style mod, and I'm wondering what approach to take with the player's perspective. I'm pretty naive about unintended consequences of the decisions I'm starting to make, so I was hoping I might be able to get some feedback.
I'm thinking in terms of 2d style environments so that enforcing a top-down view doesn't cause any problems (e.g. most RTS games). So with this I:
- use chase_active (which I'm guessing limits me to darkplaces? More on this later)
- put a clip brush above the entire map with the player spawn above this
- use cl_prydoncursor for mouse input.
This is a pretty simple way of putting the player above all the action, being able to run around without snagging on anything, but for all I know it's a stupid idea for other reasons. Certainly it limits how close you get to and how far you get from the action, although I think the gameplay can be designed to work with that.
An alternative would be to do something more like the interface in the Total War games, which gives you a lot more freedom to move around but still keeps you in a top-down view. What I find with those games, though, is I normally just get as high as the game lets me and stay up there. My understanding is that the player physics and input are handled by the client, not in QC, is that right? Is it simple to get spectator style movement working?
I remember playing a Quake2 mod years ago that was an RTS. It had 3D environments. You essentially moved around like a spectator and used your crosshairs to select things. I found doing this to be clunky (maybe I just didn't play it enough to get used to it). You couldn't really pull back to get a perspective on battles, you were still moving around the map like you would in a FPS, it just felt like your movements were too hindered. That's why I'd really prefer to have the player up above everything. Also, I'm generally trying not to do anything innovative. This is mainly a learning exercise - I don't want to get bogged down in heavy gameplay design issues. I guess RTS is a pretty stupid genre to pick in this regard ;-) I'm also trying to restrict myself to using the assets from Quake as much as possible.
So, babble aside, the issues are:
- Is my approach for a top down perspective going to give me grief down the track with things like networking / other stuff I can't think of and have no experience with?
- Would changing tack and having a flying client style interface be reasonably simple to set up in QC? Fly mode is a little too funky for me.
- is limiting myself to Darkplaces for the time-saving modding features (e.g. chase_active, cl_prydoncursor, colormod) going to take a huge chunk out of the already small potential audience for this?
Any suggestions appreciated.