Adapt or Perish

Adapt or Perish

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 This topic has been pinned, so it's probably important
phr00t  [developer] Sep 10, 2018 @ 11:54am
Frequently Asked Questions (Multiplayer, Balancing etc.)
I don't see multiplayer support for Adapt or Perish? Why not?

Adapt or Perish is a very different real time strategy game, and many of its great features don't fit a traditional mould. In order to allow the player to create & edit their own units, and also analyze procedurally generated enemies, the game needs to pause. A multiplayer game wouldn't flow very well if multiple people kept pausing the game to perform these critical tasks. Pausing also helps players evaluate massive bases & unit numbers, which may have been overwhelming otherwise. The dynamic difficulty system would be far more difficult to implement effectively if it had to account for players of different abilities in the same game, too.

Multiplayer works best when there are enough players of varying skills to match. This results in players gravitating to already popular strategy games, like Starcraft & Warcraft, starving smaller indie developers & innovators. Instead of fighting that battle, I decided to focus on what makes the best single-player real time strategy game, resulting in many new mechanics.

The community isn't left out, though. You can share factions & compete in the leaderboards.

This game is too hard! I'm confused!

Make sure you are reading and following each tutorial prompt -- it will walk you through the basics. There also is a Game Guide on the Main Menu which will cover more of the setting and details.

I highly recommend watching the tutorial & introduction video on the Steam store page. This same video is on YouTube here:
It covers many topics & shows a starting strategy you can work off of.

The most common issue is attacking without proper defenses. You can't "rush" the enemy for an early win without proper defenses, like in many other real time strategy games. You don't "win" by eradicating the enemy; you "win" by hunting Overseers & getting high Market Offers through efficiency. Ultimately, your design will be used against already fortified and large powers -- so rushing a small, newly established outpost isn't being evaluated here.

That doesn't mean playing aggressively isn't an option -- just be ready for pushback.

All my units end up feeling the same...

Explore your creativity! There are tons of options in front of you to make really unique units. Go over the available Special Abilities list & think of ways these powers can be used in a group:

It is a valid strategy to try and have a small number of "balanced, jack of all trade" units that do feel similar. It is also a valid strategy to have very wildly different units (e.g. slow units with high range attacks vs fast, weak units with melee-ranged attacks). Experiment!

How can you possible balance a game when you can customize anything?

Carefully! There are algorithms that calculate just how powerful any unit is, and its cost in both resources & time to produce are adjusted. This goes for the enemy too, which automatically spawns bases & patrols based not only on how well you are doing, but how powerful the enemy units are being spawned. Your progress is also tracked, like how many units you have been killing or how many units you have lost, which will adjust how aggressive the enemy is (e.g. "Overseer Status"). Newbies may spend more time with a "Relaxed" Overseer, while veterans spend more time with an "Angry" or "Desperate" Overseer.

I've also created a "Balancing Discussion" forum, where people can discuss what kind of balancing changes they'd like to see. The goal will be to make small, incremental changes as needed -- making big changes may throw other things off unexpectedly, so balancing changes need to be done very carefully. A decent amount of balancing has already completed in private testing.

How do I deal with so many individual units? I like micromanagement!

Adapt or Perish, by design, is a game more about "macro" control: what your units & buildings will be like, where your bases are, managing resources, collecting intel & directing armies. Since there are so many potential units, being required to manage each one's special abilities or fine movements would be overwhelming. So, most of those things are automated -- like "kiting" (keeping a target just within firing range, hoping to reduce return fire), special ability use (blink teleporting etc.) & other intelligent features, like stealthy units targeting enemy detectors. This frees you up to make bigger decisions.

Now, you can do some micromanagement: Adapt or Perish has control groups & "hold at position" orders, in addition to telling units who to prioritize for attacking.

Why is the terrain all squares?

Adapt or Perish has no unit caps & no world borders. This means there may be thousands of units being processed, many off screen, all requiring pathfinding & AI processing. In order to make this all possible, some simplifications to the terrain had to be made. The grid system makes generating new terrain efficient, as is calculating pathfinding for all of the units in motion. There still are chokepoints, large inaccessible areas & large open areas as you'd expect with a more natural landscape in Adapt or Perish, so gameplay isn't impacted negatively.

Why do the units kinda look like blobs?

You are a genetic engineer, designing the DNA of amorphic creatures. The units are not robots or highly evolved creatures, but biological blobs that take on the properties you specified. Some properties do affect their looks, like faster units are longer & stronger units are bigger. Flying units have their own looks, as do "buildings" (which are essentially units that can't move).

Try clicking units to get a look you like. You can also right-click units to change their color.

I want MORE control, like units that can heal faster & build faster!

Some mechanics need to be set to a balanced, fixed rate.

Imagine two healing units with high healing rates, healing each other faster than damage could be received. They would be practically invulnerable. On the other end, healing could be so slow to be worthless. There is a sweet, balanced rate where healing should stay. With that said, you can increase healing rates by simply having more healers nearby, whom will try and focus healing on the most critical units. This indirectly manages the invulnerability issue, since you can only have so many healing units within range, and enemies have more targets to hit whom are likely not being healed.

How long a unit takes to build is a critical balancing factor. Being able to simply make a builder whom builds things faster partially negates that factor. There are already two other balanced ways to make units faster: make weaker units or make more builders, so you can have more units being made in parallel.

A build I have resources for is saying it is awaiting resources! What gives?

By default, expensive units waiting to be built will be prioritized. So, if you have a bunch of cheap units queued, but another builder is working on something expensive -- those cheap units will be held until the expensive thing finishes. If the cheap things came out first, you may never be able to afford the expensive thing.

If you want to change this behavior, uncheck the "If low on resources, prioritize expensive builds first" option at the bottom of the Unit Dictionary dialog. You get to that dialog by clicking the "Units" button during a game.

Can I duplicate unit designs?

Yes! Select a unit or building that you want to duplicate in the Unit Dictionary. Click "Edit Selected". Then, simply save the unit with a new name along with any changes you desire -- the old unit you "edited" will remain unchanged.

I selected fullscreen mode, but the game went to windowed? What gives?

If you select a resolution that is not your display's native aspect ratio & enable fullscreen mode -- Adapt or Perish will fallback to windowed mode. This is done to avoid an apparent Unity 5.6 bug that caused inaccurate mouse clicks when the screen gets oddly stretched. I recommend selecting a resolution at your display's native aspect ratio, or playing in a window.

I don't have a 360 degree VR setup... how do I play?

In Options, enable rotating the playing field infront of you. Then you should be able to stand or sit, facing forward, at the whole playing area.

Can I customize buildings too?

Of course! Buildings are just "units" that can't move, as far as Adapt or Perish is concerned. Almost all of the special abilities are available to both moving & stationary units. You can have as many different types of them as you like.

Adapt or Perish crashes when trying to start the game!

If this happens, it usually is due to problems initializing DirectX 12. Try these two things:

1) Make sure your video card drivers are updated. Go to the website for your video card manufacturer (e.g. NVIDIA) and download & install the latest. Try the game again!

2) If it still doesn't work, try using a different rendering mode. You can add Launch Options for Adapt or Perish via right clicking the game entry on Steam and going to Properties. Try some of these launch options:


Do you have a Discord? Subreddit?

Discord invite:
Facebook too:

That is it for now! More Q&A likely to come!
Last edited by phr00t; Mar 6, 2019 @ 7:20am