Monday, March 9, 2009

Frozen Kangaroo Concept: Proxy Nations

In a series of posts I intend to explain the more detailed elements of Frozen Kangaroo, the real time strategy game that I am working on. You can read an executive summary here. I hope to make it so that the posts only rely on things explained before them. However, please excuse me if my posts either digress to explain some concept, or don't make any sense because of no digression. If you have any questions, leave a comment (if it is an old post, I would recommend posting it on a newer post) or email me @

As I explained in my summary, Frozen Kangaroo is set in a fictional second Cold War in 2046 (100 years after the start of the first Cold War). A Cold War is one without direct fighting between the two countries involved. At first, this may seem to be quite a crucial element to any war. Or even if it isn't, how do you plan to make an RTS without fighting? In a Cold War, the two countries compete in other ways. For the original Cold War, the Space Race (the race to get a man on the moon) was a significant focus. These non-military competitions will be in Frozen Kangaroo. In this post, however, I will focus on the other main element of a cold war; proxy nations.

Proxy nations in the real Cold War were nations that were in alliance with one of the two super powers. These nations then attacked either other proxy nations allied to the other side, or the other side itself. Through this, direct combat between the two super powers was avoided. Instead, they would advise, supply and help the proxy nation in every other way they could.

In Frozen Kangaroo they will operate slightly different. Naturally, you will control one of the two super powers. Sadly, I do not believe the game would be much fun if all you could do was vaguely boss around some inadequate AI (because, whoever I am, it would end up being inadequate for what a player would want to do with them). Instead, I am going to take a slightly satirical view and give the player complete control of all their proxy nations; well, nearly.

I am hoping to implement a change in game when fighting breaks out between American and Russian troops. However, I am not quite sure what it should be. While in theory the player will have control over where their units come from, this could be incredibly annoying to manage. What I will probably do is restrict diplomacy after this global event. I will be talking about diplomacy in a later post, where I'll explain what the implications for direct confrontation are.

You will have control over your proxies as if they were your own troops... while they like you. If you upset them, they will cease to operate under your orders, and may even join the other side. Likewise, enemy proxies can be converted to your cause. This is done indirectly through your actions.

There are three main elements that effect your standing with the proxy nations. Firstly, there is how well you are doing generally. If you are quite clearly more powerful, then they may wish to join you out of fear. Likewise, they might chuck in their lot with your enemy if it seems he is going to win. If you can't beat them, join them. This does create a design problem - once you start winning, you could become unstoppable. If it becomes too overwhelming, I may swap this round, as people would want to ally against the dominant force to bring back the status quo.

The second factor is more directly tied to the nation. If you use their troops wisely, ie. low casualties for high kills, they will like you more. If, however, you seem to be sending their men in to pointless deaths, they may stop supplying you with troops.

The other modifier is nuclear weapons. Using nuclear weapons is frowned upon by all nations. As I will explain in more details in a later post, you can either use nuclear missiles on provinces, or fire them directly at colonies. While targeting provinces can cripple your opponent, many nations will desert you as you are incredibly evil.

Furthermore, it is possible to take action to reduce damage done by nuclear attack, as I will explain in a future post. If a leader neglects to do this, proxy nations may cease to want to be under your control.

Each proxy nation has a score for both super powers. The proxy nation will ally with whichever score is higher. This means that if your opponent is treating a nation terribly, it will be easy for you to convert them.

However, if both teams treat the country with disregard, the country can invoke sanctions and even withdraw completely to a state of neutrality. If, say, the score falls below 5 for either side, they cease to provide population for the construction of troops even if they are on their side. At 3, they may take away control for existing units, they can even block your troops advancing through their territory.

So, to summarise, most of the fighting in this game is done through proxy nations. For the large part, this has little impact on how you play the game. However, if you are not careful with your allies troops, they might stop being your troops to control, or even your ally.

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