Post news RSS [Watch] Dev Diary 7: Urban Grand Strategy - Turf Wars and Diplomacy

Voxel Turf isn't just an open world/city building game. Its also has Grand Strategy. In today's Dev Diary we delve into Turf Wars, diplomacy and how the AI behaves.

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Your city is divided up by various factions. These factions have bases around the city, and nearby buildings will be protection racketeered, giving them a source of income. One way to grow your wealth and influence in the city is to conquer these factions through warfare and diplomacy to gain control of their protection rackets.


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Above: Two AI factions are at war. One group is trying to take over the base (the building).
Filmed from a helicopter.

Turf Wars

If you've played any Grand Strategy game before this should be mostly intuitive to you. For the uninitiated, things work as follows:

  1. Declare a Turf War against a Player or Ai Faction
  2. Occupy their bases, while keeping your bases safe
  3. Demand that they give you bases in a peace deal, thus giving you control of their protection rackets
  4. Deal with the diplomatic fallout

Let's have a look at these in more detail.

war baseAbove: A base is highlighted. Bases give the ability to racketeer nearby buildings for money. You must capture these in a Turf War while defending your own from attack

war rackeeteeredlot 1Above: A racketeered building. Racketeering only gives part of the buildings income, but none of the expenses. When a bases is ceded in a turf war, all racketeered lots attached to it are transferred with it

Step 1: Starting a Turf War

Open players/factions page, then open the Diplomacy screen. Here you can do several diplomatic options and engage in private chat. But we'll discuss these later.

war dipscreen2

Hitting the Turf War button will bring up a list of players and factions on each side. Your allies will appear on your side, your target's allies on theirs. If someone is allied to both sides they will side with the defender.

war dipscreen2

Step 2: Occupy their Bases, while Keeping Yours Safe

This is the fun bit ;). Attack their bases by eliminating the defenders and holding them. Keeping your bases safe takes three parts. Firstly you can build your base to make it a defensible as possible. Secondly you can fortify your base with hired goons. Thirdly, if you are attacking the AI, you have to watch out for Base Attacks...

Base Attacks

Watch out, the AI does have a way to fight back! The AI can issue Base Attacks. A Base Attack consists of waves of enemies that invade a targeted base. Base Attacks come in different power levels that dictate the strength and numbers of attackers.

They begin with a scouting wave consisting of one attacker with an SMG and one with a Rocket Launcher. Then they launch assault waves, wielding Assault Rifles and yet more Rocket Launchers. High level base attacks even have "Demolition Waves" - waves that consist of nothing but Rocket Launchers!

Above: Rushing back home to defend a base! This is part of a 3v3 war which can turn hectic!

All waves have at least one attacker equipped with a rocket launcher to demolish obstructions between them and their target. Base attacks do cost the AI money, so economic harassment tactics do work against them. Likewise stalling the AI can work to drain them of money. Finally, the AI does get war-exhausted, making them more willing to accept peace offers as the war progresses.

And yes, the AI's behaviour is fully moddable. See scripts/server/ai_player.lua, scripts/server/ai_player_diplomacy.lua and scripts/common/ai_player_diplomacy.lua. You can also edit the parameters of base attacks (how many waves, how many attackers, attacker loadout, etc) in scripts/common/base_attack.lua.

Step 3: Demand Bases in a Peace Deal

When you have captured the bases you want you can go back to the diplomacy screen and ask for peace. This brings up a screen where you can make a list of demands (or concessions if things go badly). When you are done you submit the peace proposal which is sent to all players in the turf war.

war dipscreen2
Above: On the peace map you can pick which bases you want to demand, or which bases you want to cede.

war aipeaceofferAbove: The AI will also make peace offers.

All players get an opportunity to vote on the peace proposal. If both the attacker and defender sides vote . There are some caveats though:

  • Players that have no bases controlled automatically vote for any peace proposal. So if you capture all of the opponent's bases you can enforce any demands you desire!
  • Players that are offline also automatically vote for any peace proposal. This is to discourage disconnects.
  • Any player that is gaining or losing bases due in a peace proposal can veto the entire deal. So you can't force players to take bases that they don't want.


Aggression is the stick to the warfare carrot. Starting Turf Wars and conquering territory will increase your aggression stat. Aggression:

  • Reduces the Safety Rating of all lots you own or racketeer by 1 for each point, effectively decreasing your income by 1% for each aggression point. So if you have 100+ aggression you will have NO income.
  • Decays by 0.5 every in-game hour (every irl minute). This is doubled if you take the perk “The Art of Bull”
  • Is increased by 10 when you start a Turf War.
  • Is increased by a maximum of 20 when you receive a base in a peace deal. If a player has more than 5 bases you get a discount. The formula is 20 * 5/nBasesTotal in this case. So taking 1 base from a player with 6 bases gives 16.7 aggression, 1 from 7 gives 14.2 aggression etc.
  • Gives a aggression discount to all aggression gaining actions against you. So if you have 50 aggression other players will only get 5 aggression for starting a war against you and get a 50% aggression discount for taking bases.
  • If a player is at 100 aggression you can take their stuff for FREE, if they are over 100 this overflows, so you can actually lose some of your aggression for taking down an aggressive actor.
  • Makes the AI less willing to accept alliances from you, and more likely to act diplomatically to contain you.
  • Finally you get a 25% discount to aggression gains in a defensive war
war aggression income
Above: Aggression will reduce the safety rating of lots you own, reducing the income.
Wars have a lasting effect on your economy.


Voxel Turf has some diplomatic depth to it. You can spend reputation (a reward for completing missions, killing bandits and making/placing buildings) to make the AI like you. Make them like you enough and you can ally them, and drag them into conflicts against your foes!

You also have the ability to “warn” and “protect” other players/factions. What do these mean? Well, lets say you warn a player/faction. Then if that player/faction attacks ANY other player/faction you will be called into the war on the defender's side. The AI will issue warnings to players with negative opinion and more than 5 aggression. The total amount of warnings a player will receive from the AI is dependent on the amount of aggression a player has – for instance if you have lots of aggression you'll get lots of warnings, but if you only have a little bit you'll only get 1 or 2. You can use warnings to “box in” other players.

Finally there is the ability to protect a player/faction. This means if they are attacked, you will automatically join them on the defensive. You can use this to protect weaker players (or perhaps your noobish friends) against aggression without committing to a full alliance.

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Until next time,

Above: With some cunning planning, this can be yours!

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