Report article RSS Feed The Blobbing problem

One problem you get in any kind of RTS and in 2aw in particular is blobbing. Blobbing is when you take a blob of units and hurl it at your opponent. The problem I find with blobbing is that it requires no skill but usually works really well. The reason it works well is math.

Posted by treeform on Jun 5th, 2010

One problem you get in any kind of RTS and in 2aw in particular is blobbing. Blobbing is when you take a blob of units and hurl it at your opponent.

The problem I find with blobbing is that it requires no skill but usually works really well. The reason it works well is math. While your blob has full weapons and armor the enemey has just a single ship and does not stand a chance. The single ship usually dies very quickly without inflicting any kind of damage on the blob. You go onto the next ship and kill that - till the entire enemy fleet is wiped out.

Currently the only real counter to a blob is another blob.

I have been thinking up of several ways to combat blobbing. One is area of effect (AoE) damage. Basically weapons that shoot and hit an entire area of units at once. This would force players to think more about positioning. Should I blob the ships for maximum efficiency or should I move them apart to minimize AoE. Is the enemy using AoE ships? Now this is strategy! You need to scan space and know which units carry AoE weapons before you try blobbing.

Another very similar way is death explosions. When ship dies it can go off like an area of effect bomb. In SpringRTS, a feature it probably inherited from Total Annihilation is chain explosions. Basically if one puts building, turrets and even some units next to each other and one of them gets hit - all of them can go off via chain explosion. Where is your blob now?

A third option is to have units be big and have very short range and get in front of each other. This way all units in the blob cant engage the enemy at once. I dont see blocking/short range going well with 3d ship based game because naval ships shoot far and in 3d units dont block each other much.

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0SmooK0
0SmooK0 Jun 6 2010, 3:27am says:

Trackiing

+2 votes     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 8:07pm replied:

Thanks!

+1 vote     reply to comment
RagnarokX
RagnarokX Jun 6 2010, 3:32am says:

sounds interesting.

+2 votes     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 8:07pm replied:

Thanks!

+1 vote     reply to comment
leilei
leilei Jun 6 2010, 4:20am says:

HEY I love blobbing, going from Dune II to Command & Conquer made blobbing ease my finger away from ordering every unit individually at a time! With that in mind, blobbing's not a problem it's an innovation!!

And yes, CnC did have some good anti-blobbing by having explosions backfire on their own units so easily. Grenadier blobs can epxlode themselves, and wait till you see what happens with a flame trooper blob.......

Blizzard's farm system in the *craft games is also an effective anti-blobber.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Su[)az][mA
Su[)az][mA Jun 6 2010, 8:17am replied:

anyone remeber RA2 terrorist blobs? =]
like playing with fire!

+1 vote     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 8:08pm replied:

Fire is fun! That reminds me i need more burning things in 2aw.

+1 vote     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 8:10pm replied:

Blobbing is still a tactic. You just have to make sure enemy is not spamming AoE ships to counter it :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
chakotay02
chakotay02 Jun 6 2010, 8:48am says:

An aggressive AI could perhaps prevent blobbing as well. If your opponent uses small but constant hit and run attacks, it'll be a lot more difficult to blob.

Perhaps you should also give the player things he needs to defend (preferably things that are moving). Although it's not that effective of combatting blobbing, it would force a player to split up his forces.

That's all I have for now, I'll let you know if I think of more.

+1 vote     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 8:06pm replied:

Yes AoF weapons is one main tool :)

+1 vote     reply to comment
nero_angelo
nero_angelo Jun 6 2010, 9:41am says:

yeah look very good,hop tracked!

+1 vote     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 8:02pm replied:

Thanks!

+1 vote     reply to comment
Admiral_Thrawn
Admiral_Thrawn Jun 6 2010, 1:27pm says:

Well, the AoE and the death explosions are very easy to justify, so that's a good place to start.
Also—I'm just a big fan of this in general, but here's a good reason to include it—make certain ships only able to fire broadsides, and some only having forward-facing guns, etc, so that players have to move the ships into positions where their guns can be used.

+2 votes     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 8:05pm replied:

We have had gun positions and ship facing but after play testing it proved to be not as fun. Try rotating N ships in 3d thats with heading and rotaiton just made the game laborious. It was a meeeeeh feature and we cut it.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Admiral_Thrawn
Admiral_Thrawn Jun 6 2010, 11:11pm replied:

Ah well. I played some HW2 mods that had that, and it really added a lot of depth to the game IMO.
I'm sure, though, that someone will make a mod requiring Starcraft level micro like that.
Also, thank you for having the balls to continue what the Homeworld series started. Not enough games actually utilize the 3rd dimension.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Su[)az][mA
Su[)az][mA Jun 7 2010, 9:26am replied:

ill tell you that the 3rd dimension is a bitch :P

(wait till the 4D games Oo)

+1 vote     reply to comment
Admiral_Thrawn
Admiral_Thrawn Jun 7 2010, 7:06pm replied:

It is a bitch. That's why it's fun.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Pxtl
Pxtl Jun 6 2010, 2:06pm says:

One thing is that most anti-blobbing measures become ultra-tedious. Spring mods suffer from annoyances of maintaining proper build-spacing, unit-spacing, etc... and a well-spaced army gets most of the combat power of a blob with none of the disadvantage other than the micromanagement of maintaining safe distances.

+1 vote     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 8:01pm replied:

Spring has many widgets that allow you to not think about spacing and formations. I also have some interesting take on micro which i will talk about later.

+1 vote     reply to comment
RevenTDL
RevenTDL Jun 6 2010, 3:38pm says:

wow.... TRACKING**

+1 vote     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 7:59pm replied:

Thanks!

+1 vote     reply to comment
McChoppy
McChoppy Jun 6 2010, 7:19pm says:

What about something like the gravity wells from Homeworld1 that could be deployed to disable the movement of large blobs of fighters and small ships in its local area, well until the well had to reset of course. The gravity wells seemed to discourage fighter/bomber blobs, encouraged the use of ships of varying roles, provided the strategic ability to setup traps and ambushes for large fleets, and forced players to gather intel and make strategic decisions before attacking. In the end I think some sort of disabling aoe field would provide an excellent strategic tool and possibly help with the blob problem without being boring and cliche like a nuclear aoe.

I love it that you guys have the guts to bring 3d navigation back to RTS. Sounds like a great rts, nice concept art too.

+1 vote     reply to comment
treeform
treeform Jun 6 2010, 7:59pm replied:

Yes gravity wells and other EMP tools will also help. In a way they are AoF weapons.

+1 vote     reply to comment
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