Control the Swarm!

After the last GD post about the game’s theme, some of you discovered the point “moving in swarms” in one of the diagrams and wanted to know what is it all about.

Our first gameplay was very RTS like. You control a lot of units, send them to different places on the map to capture, build or protect stuff. But somehow it never really felt like being underwater. We really wanted our units to stick together like a real swarm instead of being spread across the ocean. I mean, that’s what we always see, when watching ocean documentaries – hundreds and hundreds of tiny fish forming a giant swarm, swimming as a whole.

So that is what we were aiming for and the first gameplay tests felt awesome. The moment you are moving all our units at once in one big swarm, it feels so much more like cruising through the deep sea, watching out for prey. You feel much more “connected” to your units, which really makes you “leader of the swarm”.

All right, now you’re commanding a swarm – all units at once – one click. Only in rare occasions you move single units, but never far away from your swarm.

But that leaves the question: How should the swarm be controlled?
We prototyped two different ways so far:

RTS controls (e.g. Starcraft 2):

  • Right clicking sends the whole swarm to the target point
  • Swarm units move in formation
  • Camera can be moved freely by moving the mouse cursor to the edge of the screen

Hack and slay controls (e.g. Diablo 3):

  • While holding down right mouse button all units directly follow the movement of the mouse
  • Swarm units move in formation
  • Camera is centered and locked above the swarm (center of all units)

We are torn between both possibilities. So we thought – why not involving you guys!

How would you like to control your units in Submerge?

  1. Hack and slay (e.g. Diablo 3): holding down right mouse button with locked camera
  2. RTS like (e.g. Starcraft 2): right-clicking on map with free camera

Just leave us a message with your opinion down in the comment section, tell us what you think, we love hearing from you!

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  1. I’d prefer the hack ‘n slay one as it’s more immersive, a better exploring feeling while the RTS one might lack a minimap which would kinda ruin exploration, but the old school Fog of War might help for that.

    1. Author

      Nice point! Immersion and the exploration-feeling are also our favorite in this kind of movement.

  2. Why not allow both? Giving the player a hotkey to toggle this camera lock on/off should make everyone happy.

    If that’s not an option I think the RTS controls are the better solution, since you still have to control multiple individual units. And once you want two units to move in opposite directions, the locked camera will be somewhere between mildly annoying and completely infuriating.

    1. Author

      Actually that’s something we heard quite often today, so we want to give it a try in our next prototype 🙂

  3. I think both versions have their own specific advantages.
    Therefore I agree with Some Dude’s comment and his proposal for allowing both systems.

    Personally I like the idea of controlling a whole swarm a lot. That’s why a H&S movement seems logic to me. If you didn’t had the possibility to split up your units, this would be my favourite.

  4. Either let the player decide or stick to the standard RTS (Starcraft) controls . I imagine they are more precise in a combat situation.

    1. You mean like check box in options menu? I mean the game looks pretty competitive (@Dev: Is it?), so everybody should be forced to use the same camera.

      1. Author

        ohhhhhh yes it is 😉 you’re raising a good point here – but maybe not seeing your swarm equals seeing your enemy at the other end of the map.

  5. I would prefer the Hack&Slay camera too. Not sure if RTS camera really helpful here. But as a poster before me said: “Why not both”?

  6. Hey folks,

    I personally would prefer RTS controls here.

    If the camera is locked to the swarm it’s kinda hard to foresee what kind of units form the enemies swarm and therefor it might hinder the player from planning the right tactic.

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