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Soviet Tank: I always wondered though... Why do the mightiest nations need to collect ore while killing each other? I mean, what's even in that stuff? (Allied and Imperial tanks shoot at the Soviet Tank) Imperial Tank: Don't ask ridiculous questions!
In Real-Time Strategy games, the player needs to acquire resources in order to build anything. The number of resources to acquire and the means to acquire them vary from game to game, but overall there are five types of resources:
Gold: Gold is a primary resource. You will need it for everything you plan to do. If there is a Black Market to buy other resources from, the gold-type resource is what's used as currency. If a game has only one resource, it's likely this one (if not, it's power).
Lumber: is a secondary resource; it's not as important as gold, but usually is needed for specific purposes (such as paying for upgrades or buildings). It's not that rare, but in the later stage of the game, everything will require Lumber. Some games have more than one Lumber-type resource, with each resource usually having a specific focus (for example, wood is needed for buildings, metal is needed for units).
Power: A resource that is rarely found on the map, it's more likely to be produced by specific buildings or units. Power is different in that you do not build a stock of it (usually). You have a power supply, and a power demand. If the demand ever exceeds the supply, bad stuff happens, varying from lowered building speeds, to some structures or units entirely ceasing to function.
Population: Population is a cap on your growth, typically functioning as an Arbitrary Headcount Limit. Like Power, it is usually provided by certain buildings or upgrades, rather than being harvested from the map. If demand exceeds supply, you can't build more units. Existing units may or may not die.
Uselessium: Any resource you have no use for, usually because either you're at the wrong point in the Tech Tree (too low or too high), or you're the wrong faction; shows up only occasionally. Only factors into Trade.
Almost every RTS has some sort of Resource gathering, but here's some examples of the different types of resources:
The original Warcraft is the Trope Codifier for the Gold- and Lumber-type resources. Gold, the primary resource, is obtained from gold mines, which contain finite supplies of gold, have a clear maximum collection rate, and collapse once they have been completely drained. Lumber is used to build Archers (or Spearmen, if you're playing the orc campaign), Catapults, and buildings. There's also a Population-type "resource" which extends the Arbitrary Headcount Limit, and is acquired by building more farms or burrows.
Warcraft 2 had a second Lumber-type resource, oil, which was found in water and used almost exclusively for naval units and upgrades (And unlocking the final tier). It was useless until you reached a certain level of technology.
Warcraft 3 also has another minor tertiary resource - corpses. The most obvious way to get them is to kill ground units or creatures, but the Undead can also produce them at Graveyards or in Meat Wagons, and carry them around in Meat Wagons. They're primarily used by the Undead for raising Skeletons and Carrion Beetles, healing Ghouls and Abominations, and for the Death Knight's Animate Dead ability. They're also used by the Night Elf Warden's Avatar of Vengeance, the Human Paladin's Resurrection ability (only friendly corpses), and the Tauren Spirit Walker's Ancestral Spirit ability (only Tauren corpses).
Earlier in development (as shown in several previews years before the game came out), corpses were supposed to play a far greater role in the undead economy, but this could never be properly balanced, so they were scaled back to the limited use seen in the actual game.
StarCraft The Trope Namer. Minerals would be gold and Vespene gas would be lumber.note Somewhat confusingly, however, you collect Vespene the same way you collect gold in Warcraft, and you collect minerals the same way you would collect lumber... If you play well, you will likely constantly be hearing the phrase, "You require more Vespene gas". Both resources have a clear maximum collection rate per site. This difference from Warcraft - where wood has a extremely high collection rate limit - results in a drastically different tempo.
Zerg larvae are used to produce all Zerg units and they spawn from the main production buildings once every 14 seconds or so.
Population is also a resource in Starcraft. Each race has a standard Population cap (Terran supply depots, Zerg overlords, Protoss pylons), independent of each other. If you can acquire a Worker Unit of a different race, you get an entirely new population cap to work with that applies only to that other race's units.
Command & Conquer: The Tiberium series uses Tiberium (duh) as a Gold-type resources. Generals uses good ol' dollars. The Red Alert series used "ore" as its Gold. Another variant, gems, functioned exactly like ore, only it was worth more money. Both series have Power as, well, Power (though the spiritual predecessor Dune II is the Trope Namer for that resource). Tiberian Twilight changes their Gold into a Lumber-type, where they pay for upgrades instead.
Red Alert 3 lampshades it in one of its tutorials with the above quote.
Red Alert 2's expansion, Yuri's Revenge, though no different in the only-Gold-and-Power-type-resource paradigm, gives you the Grinder, allowing you to turn units, or civilians whom you have mind controlled, into resources on demand.
There is also often a Population limit on air vehicles, usually planes (number of Airstrips). Helicopters and other VTOL are able to land anywhere, but still needed a pad to rearm most of the time.
Dune II required you to mine Spice, which is what makes space travel possible, and is thus the most valuable substance in the galaxy. It also uses power produced by Wind Trap buildings. Being one of the grand-daddies of modern RTS, this is a possible Trope Maker - and the Trope Namer of power resources.
Dune 2000 used the same resources. Dune II essentially set the mold for the Command and Conquer series (also by Westwood), with the aforementioned minerals or tiberium replacing spice.
Settlers Of Catan has no single Gold-type resource; all five resources are Lumber-type, and all construction nominally requires at least two different kinds of resources. It's possible, however, to change 4 units of any resource into 1 of any other by trading with unknown NPCs, meaning a player can, for example, build a road starting out with 8 sheep. Wood and brick are the most important resources in the early game, but become Vendor Trash in the late game. The Cities and Knights expansion introduced three more Lumber-type resources needed for advanced improvements. The genius of the game is that while You Require More Vespene Gas at all times, you are cruelly punished for hoarding resources whenever somebody rolls a 7 (which, in a two-dice system, has the highest odds of being rolled).
This is a fairly common Euro Game mechanic. For instance, Stone Age requires lumber, brick, stone, and gold to build things, and requires you to set aside two of your tribe for a turn to increase your population.
Sins of a Solar Empire: Gold and Lumber. "Income" is needed for everything, including bribing pirates and Black Market purchases. Of the two kinds of Lumber, troop production requires more Metal, while research requires more Crystal.
Also Population, requiring you to research various levels in fleet and capital ship crew 'supply' in order to support additional units of various types.
Age of Empires had various resources, each with a different purpose and each blending "Gold" and "Lumber" related purposes over the series lifespan. Food was primarily a "Gold" resource, paying for all your standard units and Age advances, but in earlier games also paid for their research upgrades. Wood and Gold (coin in Age of Empires III) paid for "archaic" and "advanced" units respectively, siege units, and most upgrades. Stone featured only in the first two games and was mostly used for defensive buildings and their upgrades. Each of these things were harvested from various exhaustible resources around the map, though Food could be harvested from rebuildable Farms, and AoE3 made Farms and Plantations a slow but infinite source of Food and Coin, respectively. Population is also in effect, being increased by building houses, though some nations have their population cap full to begin with as a perk.
In general, Microsoft-published RTS's tend to follow a pattern: Food from farms and fishing boats, wood from trees, gold/wealth from mines and caravans, and stone/metal from mines. Also a population cap that is boosted by constructing houses.
Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War 1 & 2 have requisition, a Gold-type resource which is generated by command centers, and further gained by capturing strategic locations, and power, which is gained by building power plants. Unlike most examples, power works mostly like a Lumber-type resource (it's used to pay for stuff, along with requisition. More power plants increase power input, but there is no power output other than the cost of units and upgrades). Strategic Points gave a steady stream of Requisition, which could be enhanced by Tech Tree upgrades and by building and upgrading listening posts on the point itself. Over time however, a Point would decay, and give much less Requisition. A decayed point captured by the enemy would return to it's original levels.
The Orks also have population, as you need to build more Waaagh! banners to increase the Population cap on your army. In the Soulstorm expansion, the Sisters of Battle have a "Faith" resource generated and stored by specific units and buildings while the Dark Eldar harvest Soul Power from dead foes and allies ; both enable the use of powerful abilities which consume the resource. The Necrons offer an interesting variation on the trope, as they use requisition as a Power-type resource, each listening post built over a strategic location improving the speeds at which units and buildings are built (up to a 100% bonus for 5 listening posts) and power pays for everything. Necrons also have a form of the Warcraft corpse economy, but only using their corpses and usually only dealing with the Necron Lord's shenanigans.
In Dawn of War 2, power is a Lumber-Type resource. Some lower tier units only require requisition.
Rise of Nations: Similar to Age of Empires, but Up to Eleven. You begin with Food, Lumber, and Wealth, gaining access to Metal, Knowledge, and Oil as you advance in age. Knowledge is a hybrid-Lumber-Power resource, acquired through Universities, and used for Age-relevant researches and, late-game, missiles. The rest of the resources are used to build and upgrade various units, as well as upgrade resource-gathering rates. It also features Population (increased through Military Research), and Power in a mutated sense: you have a Cap on your maximum income-per-minute, per resource, and need to expand it to take full advantage of all your resourcing nodes.
It should be noted that the proliferation of resources helps to avert Most Annoying Sound: rarely are you in a position where you can't build something, even if it's not what you originally came for. (Of course, to compensate, there are plenty of other things that make annoying sounds, such as when you bump up against the top of your resource cap.)
Spiritual SuccessorRise of Legends has timonium as a Gold-type, Wealth (for the Vinci and Alin) / Energy (for the Cuotl) as Lumber-types, and Population. Timonium, wealth and energy have the same income cap found in Rise of Nations, and the most common way of increasing wealth/energy income also raises that cap. There's also "Research", which is used to improve certain aspects of the player's nation, and the Vinci-only "Prototypes", which can be used to either give a general improvement across the whole army, or buy a special unit and improve units related to the special one. Both are acquired from specific buildings.
Nether Earth predates Dune II and features resource gathering, although here, you use the resources to produce robots directly. Once a new in-game day begins, you're granted with a set amount of General points for producing any robot part you want, and, if you've already captured several factories, several part-specific points. Given how many points you actually need to produce an army that could pull off a decent fight, saving up on Generals this way might be a nice idea.
Another pre-dating RTS examples would be Herzog Zwei and its' little-known big brother Herzog, which accumulate money for you each half-a-second. However, while in Herzog, you just received less cash depending on how far you were from your homebase, its' sequel actually allows players to control his incomes by capturing (or, by skills bad enough, losing) a certain number of bases on the map. Therefore, one might consider it a slightly simplified variant of Nether Earth's resource generation.
Total Annihilation uses two, Energy and Metal. Metal is a Gold-type resource, while Energy was both Lumber and Power. Both have an input and an output (constructing creates a drain on Mass/Energy, rather than taking the cost out all at once), as well as a limited reserve that players begin to use up if their output surpasses their input. Some units and buildings constantly add to the output; if you run out of Energy, defensive structures stop working and some units lose some weaponry and special abilities (such as cloaking or energy weapons like the Commander's D-gun.) Further reducing the turtleyness of the game, the remains of defeated units can be harvested for Metal. This gives the game a slightly different feel to the economy as, instead of simply gathering and hoarding resources to build units and upgrades, the player is instead balancing the input and output of their economy, gathering enough to build and operate what they need, while using it fast enough to keep from wasting it.
Supreme Commander is pretty much exactly the same, only it calls Metal "Mass". Also, while units can lose abilities like cloaks or shields when power is depleted, a loss of power no longer turns off automated defenses (except for shield/cloak generators) and units' attacks.
Interestingly, this makes Supreme Commander and Total Annihilation the most realist RTS's in the sense of logistics, as commanders are actually being sent completely alone with small built-in mass generator and energy generator, and has to exploit the local mass and energy of the planet to make do with an army. As opposed to somehow be sent to battle right next door to the capital of The Empire without even a stick and cloth to raise tent.
Total Annihilation: Kingdoms was criticised for having only one resource (mana) and thus doing away with the interesting energy/metal tradeoff system from the original TA.
It is worth noting, that all of those games avoid Most Annoying Sound. Lack of resources will cause heavy stalling and possibly disable attacks, but new units can still be queued, building blueprints can be placed and so on. In both Total Annihilation and Supreme Commander energy can be transformed into metal/mass in case all metal spots are occupied and it's still not enough. Unfortunately "metal (mass) makers" are costly on energy and they don't turn themselves off when energy is low, thus turning off defenses/rest of economy. In Total Annihilation's Open Source remake - Spring - the "metal maker" economy (energy -> metal exchange) has been balanced to prevent its domination over standard economy later in game. How it is done differs - most mods make metal makers fragile, volatile and inefficient. One of the mods removes them altogether and instead allows standard metal extractors to "overclock" themselves with spare energy. Unlike in Total Annihilation, in Spring metal makers are handled by AI, which means they don't need to be manually turned off in case of power shortage (fusion power plant got blasted for example).
World in Conflict just uses Requisition. It also doesn't have a resource gathering component; you have a certain points limit, and the cost of units is refunded slowly to it after they've been destroyed.
Specifically, losing a unit refunds half the point cost immediately, and the remainder is restored at fixed intervals over the course of ten seconds. This can result in bizarre waves: taking out several heavy tanks, only to be met with several medium tanks (which is all that the player could afford immediately), then several heavy tanks when those are destroyed, though less than the original wave (since the points from the medium tanks have yet to be refunded).
Sword of the Stars uses credits as a gold resource. While planets have ores and minerals (called resources) they affect the production output and generation of credits, but are not a resource themselves.
In the Cossacks series, there is gold, wood, food, stone, iron and coal. They are all Lumber-type except gold, which of course is Gold-type. They also have some Power-type aspects, in the sense that all units 'eat' some of your stockpile. Gunpowder units consume small amounts of iron and coal, and if it runs out they can't fire at all. If you run out of gold, your army officers and all ships mutiny, and if you run out of food there's a famine.
Warlords Battlecry features four different kinds of resources (Gold, Metal, Stone, and Crystal), with each race needing different proportions of each (to the extent that some races had little use for one of the resources), making all four Gold, Lumber, and Useless, depending on which race you play as. For example, the elven races tend to use a lot of crystal, while more barbaric races tend to use a lot of stone, and the civilized races use a lot of gold. Resources are also produced somewhat differently than in most other games: your hero (and some units) can convert resource mines to your control, which then give you a steady stream of resources. This stream can be increased with some upgrades or by loading workers into the mines, and mines can (but rarely do, unless you're fighting against the Swarm) run out of resources, after which they will trickle resources at a greatly reduced rate. WBC also has population; each building you own increases your population limit (most buildings by 2, though some races have buildings which do nothing but increase it by 3, like the Orcish hovel and the Dark Dwarf supply depot), plus 5 for each level of your Keep, plus some more depending on your hero's stats.
Iterations I-IV Sid Meier's Civilization series have three primary resources: Food (Nutrients in Alpha Centauri), which feeds the city's population and increases it when the stockpile reaches a certain point, Production ("Shields" in Civ 1, 2 and 3, Minerals in Alpha Centauri, "Hammers" in Civ 4), which is used to build improvements and units, and Commerce (Energy in SMAC), which goes either to research, your treasury (which can be used to speed up production, and is needed to support buildings and/or units, depending on the version of Civilization), or making your citizens happy (more important at higher difficulties). In addition, in editions after Civ 3, there are strategic resources, which are required for some units and upgrades or otherwise enhance your empire in some way, as well as bonus resources that give you extra Food, Production or Commerce.
Starting in Civ 4, it is possible to know about a resource without having the technology to actually use them. This particularly common in IV, where Uranium is known upon the discovery of Physics (a late Renaissance-Era tech) but not actually usable until you discover Fission (a late Industrial-Era tech), turning Uranium into Uselessium for an entire tech level. (Having said that, you want Uranium, so knowing where it is can aid in your long-term strategic plans. This is even more important if you're in one of those matches where the AI magically knows where all the strategic resources are, from the first turn on up.)
Starting in Civ 5, Science and Culture are divorced from Commerce and are now produced directly from buildings (making them rather like RTS Power). The Gods and Kings expansion, which reintroduces the concept of religion, adds Faith as a third building-created Power-type resource.
Colonization, a variant of Civilization set in the American colonial era, has numerous available resources, reflecting the way a continent will have areas rich in different resources. Most of the resources translate into gold, and require specialists to take full advantage of them. For example, cotton can be grown on certain types of land, with some squares especially rich in cotton. The raw materials can be sold, but are worth far more if there is a specialist available who can convert them into finished products, such as a weaver who can convert the cotton into cloth. There are also specialists who make gathering the resources more productive. Population is tied to religion points, as increased religion points will entice freedom-seeking European emigrants. It is also necessary to employ statesmen to raise rebel sentiment, without which independence cannot be declared, and the game cannot be won. The resources a colony needs for itself are wood, iron ore and food.
Outpost 2 has common metals as the Gold-type and rare metals as the Lumber-type. Power can be generated by stand-alone structures, but some of the best power plants for-cost are ones that rely on an on-map energy source like geysers. Population isn't a cap here, either. It's the actual population of the base, which grows over time as a geometric growth rate influenced by morale and structures.
The previous installment Outpost utterly averts this, and demonstrates why Tropes Are Not Bad: before discovering nanotechnology you have to manage dozens of resources, a shortage of any one of which put your colony into a slow, irrevocable death spiral until eventually you run out of air and Everybody Dies. And whether a particular mine produces what you need is basically random chance. The recycling center's Multi Purpose Goo will cover temporary shortfalls but it's not generally enough to run a colony on.
In the MMO Space Invasion, Kryptonite is the Gold-type; Spice, Metal and Pig Iron are all lumber-types and Energy is, well, power.
Startopia uses Energy as both Gold and Power, so you can run out of it by overspending or overtaxing your power grid. However, it will recover if you give it time, though you'll be poor. This makes solar flares a goldmine. Your station can make anything else locally, apart from metal ores - if you have enough Energy.
The game also averts No Recycling by allowing you to build a recycling plant (operated by Groulien Salt Hogs), converting garbage into energy. You can also use it to dispose of bombs planted by competitors.
TBS series Heroes of Might and Magic uses a whopping seven resources, with gold as, well, Gold, and with lumber, ore, gems, crystal, sulphur and mercury as Lumber. Gold was the easiest to get, generated automatically by cities, gold mines and certain items and skill, with upgrades to cities increasing that city's income by a maximum as small as 250 in Heroes 1 and 2 - from 1000 to 1250 - or as large as 9500 - from 500 to 10000 with the Grail building in Heroes 3, 4 and 5. Lumber and ore are both secondary resources, gathered at a rate of 2 per day from ore mines and lumber patches, and also by certain items. Gems, crystal, sulphur and mercury are all tertiary resources, produced by their respective mines, or, in the case of mercury, in labs, at the rate of 1 per day, and generally required for higher-level buildings and units. Certain town buildings also increase income of different resources, and any resource can be traded for any other in a marketplace, with the price becoming more favourable the more markets you control.
Each faction inherently biases towards a certain rare resource in most games, meaning that the others quickly fall to the Marketplace as Uselessium. Unfortunately for Heroes 1, there was no marketplace and the bias was worse than ever, but hindsight is 20/20.
Dwarf Fortress resources come in standard flavors like stone, gems, body parts, ores, and logs, and there are many subtypes of each. Even stone comes in over a hundred varieties, some of which have valuable properties, like flux stones for making steel. Like everything else, the process to make steel from iron is kinda complicated. The trope is currently played straight, however, in that there isn't much functional difference between types of stone save for their melting point when constructing buildings or defensive fortifications.
Dungeon Defenders has a single gold-type resource: Mana, and Mana is used to build/upgrade all defenses and use abilities. It's gained from treasure chests in between waves and spills out of dead creeps during them.
The Dungeon Keeper series has just Gold as its gold-type resource, used to build and maintain rooms, pay minions' wages, install traps, and (in the first game only) cast spells. It's obtained in finite quantities from gold veins in the ground, though some maps contain gem seams which offer an inexhaustible supply of gold at a lower collection speed.
Chickens are something of a Power-Type resource, as you need them to feed your creatures. They begin to lose health if there are not enough to eat. If you run out, they get really grumpy and may leave your dungeon.
In the second game, Mana is introduced as a Power-type resource to cast spells, keep traps functional, and sustain imps. It regenerates at a constant rate proportional to the size of the Keeper's territory, although rare mana vents boost the rate dramatically. Mana is also needed in tremendous quantities to summon the Horned Reaper.
The Paradox Interactive game Victoria: An Empire Under The Sun takes this to extremes, featuring no less than 47 resources. These include the standards of coal, iron and wood (albeit classed as timber, lumber and tropical), but also more esoteric types such as fertiliser, opium and luxury furniture. And God help you if you don't happen to be producing exactly the right blend of these materials at any point...
Note that Iron had to be processed into steel, and that coal was used for (among other things) ammunition and glass. Yeah, Vicky has a lot of resources.
The most important resource by far is cash, for the simple reason that it is used for more or less everything — including importing goods if you aren't producing exactly the right blend of materials.
Hearts of Iron 2 has a system with energy, metal, oil and rare materials. Somewhat averted in that the first three were simply consumed in order to create "Industrial Capacity" points (which were used to build units), while oil was consumed by certain units as they moved around. (You did NOT want to run out of oil!) there was also Supplies (that was produced from said IC and consumed by units) and manpower (used to train and reinforce divisions to full strength). There's also money, which is produced by IC devoted to 'consumer goods' and is used to fund spy operations and research teams.
Dominions 3 has a variety of these. Units require Gold and Resources (the former drawn from the national pool, stored, and permanently spent, the latter province-specific, unstorable, and renewing every turn), thus differentiating between cheap but slow-accumulating (low-gold, high-resource) and expensive-but-quick (high-gold, low-resource) units. In addition, magic requires a combination of gems of 8 different types. Beyond that, there's population, which affects gold and resources, and magic sites, which affect magic gems.
A somewhat unique kind of resource are blood slaves, used in the Blood school of spells (concerned with summoning demons and such like). Unlike regular gems, which are limited in income due to your ability to find and defend magical sites of their type, blood slaves can be hunted from the province population by any commander capable of blood magic. The only cost to this is a slight decrease in population and an increase in unrest (which can be offset by lowering taxes). This means that a blood nation can essentially convert gold into magical power, which is completely impossible for any other school of magic. In compensation, blood spells are much more expensive, gem-wise, than regular magic. However, since a late game nation can produce literally hundreds of slaves per turn, ridiculously large armies of demons are commonplace in the endgame, often to the point of the player dispensing with regular troops altogether.
Halo Wars has a single resource for both playable factions called "Supply". It pretty much serves the function of gold in trope-speak. "Supply" is generated by buildings, you can have as many as you want (within the total building limit of your base), and it's also found in crates in random locations on the map.
Naturally, there is a trade off. A building that generates supply takes up one section of your base. In games where you can build as much as you want, this wouldn't be a problem, but Halo Wars limits your buildings to the number of building spaces your base can support (maximum of seven). So, while Supply is infinite, building too many supply-creating buildings cripples your ability to turn that supply into units, effectively making you wealthy but undefended.
Also keep in mind that power is a resourced, played relatively straight. The number of power plants the player has, the higher the player's tech level, determining what units, abilities, and research the player can use. However, each power plant costs more supply than the last, so attempting to reach for the endgame units and abilities too early will leave a player subject to a Zerg Rush by more cost-efficient low-tech units.
For that matter, each base has only limited space to construct buildings, and that in itself can be seen as a kind of population-type resource. The only way to get more maximum building space is to find an secure another (pre-defined) base location and spend supplies establishing a secondary base on it.
A Kingdom For Keflings has, for building parts, 3 base resources (Stone, Lumber, and Magic Crystals) that exist in both depletable clusters and infinite tiles at the edge of the map and 1 base resource (Wool) that exists on Sheep at the bottom of the map that replenishes up to 10 per sheep tile over time. Each of these can be refined once (Cut Stone, Planks, Magic Gems and Cloth) and again (Brick, Carved Wood, Magic Powder and Silk) for more advanced building parts. Some buildings require Keflings, the population of which can be increased by getting more Hearts by completing certain quests and placing them in Houses.
Referenced in the Sluggy Freelance "Storm Breaker" arc, in which Torg is thrust into command of a real medieval army and attempts to use his knowledge of RTS games to do so: "All right, have some of the townsfolk start harvesting lumber and setting up solar collectors in case we need to build more swordsmen!"
The original Spellforce has seven resources: Food, Wood, Moonsilver, Lenya Plants, Aria (sort of magical water), Iron and Stone. Different forces used different resources, which meant it encouraged combining multiple Light or Dark races; Elves, for example, could access some of their more powerful units by paying Iron, but lacked the ability to gather it for themselves, and could use the Forester building to gain an infinite supply of wood.
Spellforce 2 has Stone and Silver share the gold type for their particular foci (buildings for Stone, and units for Silver), plus Lenya as a shared lumber type for anything magical. Farms also supplied Population. The Player Character could gather gold but only used it on equipment for hero units, making it exclusive to the RPG side of the game.
Company of Heroes has three resources: Manpower, Fuel and Munitions, but only two follow this trope. Manpower is gold and Fuel is lumber (used for vehicles and advanced buildings), while Munitions are used for special abilities like airstrikes and throwing grenades. However, Fuel and Munitions are gathered like gold (owning the territory where the resource is located increases the rate at which you gain that resource), and Manpower was gained proportional to the amount of the map you controlled: the more you controlled, the faster you'd gain Manpower.
In the eastern front mod, The Russians use munitions like a wood resource, where all upgrades cost both fuel and munitions. Abilities are free for them and have a longer cooldown.
The Deadlock games have every subtype. Gold ("credits") and Population are self-explanatory. Most of the resources are Lumber type, including wood and iron/steel/endurium/tridium (which all do the same thing, just increasingly well). Food and Energy double up as Lumber/Power: Lumber, in that they're storable resources, and Power, in that they're upkeep resources (for population and buildings, respectively). Electronics and Anti-Matter Pods are Lumber, but only higher in the tech tree. Finally, there's Art Pieces, which can be sold for credits or used as a moderately effective morale booster.
Dark Reign has two resources, taelon and water. You collect water, which, when the building's silo is full, is sent off-world and converted into credits. Taelon can be used to top-up power generators; however, a lack of taelon won't disable a generator - it'll merely cause it to run at half efficiency. Therefore, building twice as many generators allows you to ignore taelon altogether.
Dark Reign 2 only has taelon and uses it as a Gold-type resource.
Master of Magic has three main resources, Gold, Food, and Mana. Gold is both a Gold-type and a Population-type (in the form of your army's wages), Food is purely a Population-type, and Mana could fit either as a Lumber-type (can be stockpiled for casting spells) or a Power-type (must be gathered either by generating it from city improvements such as Temples, or sending magic spirits to claim magical nodes). Cities also have a Production resource, which can either be applied to building city improvements, training units, increasing the size of the city, or generating Gold.
Its Spiritual SuccessorAge of Wonders had just gold and mana. Whereas another game in the genre, Disciples, had gold and four different types of mana (five with the expansion pack), and you needed the right combination of mana to be able to cast spells.
Trade Empires has different sets of resources, depending on which historical period and location you choose to play in. In one period of Chinese history, for example, the main resources are: rice, millet, silk, silk cloth, jade, and jade idols. Population centres have an easier time hanging onto their populations if they provide not only a lot of food but a variety of it, together with luxury items. You're stuck with mining jade or collecting raw silk wherever it turns up, but jade carvers and silk weavers are production resources.
Polanie and Polanie II have... milk. With cows as harvesters, and grass as the spice fields. Works out pretty well, actually.
Earth 2160 has four resources: metal, water, crystals and energy. Their roles vary by race: ED uses water and metal, LC uses water and crystals, UCS uses crystals and metal, and all three use energy. The first three are either Gold or Lumber based on side, while energy is Power. Aliens need water for ground units and crystals and metal for air units.
Similarily, the otherwise forgettable Dark Planet: Battle for Natrolis. Humans use stone (ore) and crystals, the mystical Sorin use wood and stone, while the insect Dreil use crystals and wood. All three races use Energy as a Lumber-type resource, with Humans using the most but having it easiest to harvest, and the Dreil least and hardest.
Evil Genius has a particularly nasty consequence for not having enough power: your overworked generators will break down at an accelerated rate and eventually explode, leaving you with NO power to defend your base with, no control panels to use to have your henchmen and minions steal money from the world, a possible FIRE in your base... and did we mention you're also short $8000 per generator (with a good money-laundering operation giving you maybe $500 a minute)?
Black & White offers a combination of many basic types of materials that support each other when gained: To feed your population, you have to produce food for them through either miracle spells or by assigning missionaries to harvest it. The same applies for wood, which is required for construction. To cast miracles, you'll have to spend prayer power (mana), which is generated by your villagers at the worship site...who also need food to keep worshipping. The size of your population and the number of houses they have between them also affects how large an area you can cover in the game. In the end, though, it turns out that lumber is a seriously lacking resource, because you constantly need to harvest it to build more houses, and forests have a nasty habit of running out of trees unless you took up gardening and treated your followers as vermin to be kept away from the rutabagas.
Empire Earth has five: food (the most basic, needed to produce citizens), gold (multi-purpose), wood (for building construction and some military units), stone (for fortifications and some advanced buildings), and iron (for advanced weaponry). All must be collected from specific sources across the map, with the exception of food, which can be farmed.
Galaxy Online has Metal, Gas, Population, and Science, all of which are produced passively over time by structures built for that purpose. Science points are spent to purchase new scientific upgrades without having to decide what you were studying beforehand. Population works just like metal and gas and is consumed for various tasks. One could logically suggest that the population "consumed" building facilities are just committed to working there and not available for other tasks. The population used up creating starship fuel and ammunition though...
Sacrifice, being half RTS and half RPG, had only two resources; Souls and Mana, though it's hard to tell which resource equates to which type. Mana is generated constantly from areas called "mana fountains"; placing a Manalith on that fountain allows you to draw upon that mana from a distance, so the more Manaliths you have, the faster your mana gauge fills. Souls, on the other hand, are limited- there's only a select amount on each stage, so the whole point of the game is to try and kill off your opponent's creatures (or the various creeps) and sacrifice their souls in order to use said souls to conjure your own creatures.
Mana would be Power, and Souls would be population. Mana was produced by buildings, or by simply standing next to mana fountains, but required you to be near Manahoars to draw if you were elsewhere. It was used to power everything spell-wise. Souls were very interesting, however, in that they created a fluctuating Arbitrary Headcount Limit that the players fought over.
In King Arthur The Roleplaying Wargame, gold and food are needed to maintain your empire and armies and to upgrade. On the other hand, you are a king over an empire, and these resources are not directly gained while in battle like other Real-Time Strategy games - they come into play during the turn-based portion. These may be traded in specific quests, along with artifacts and ladies, and gold and food can be swapped for one or the other at a loss in winter.
Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds has you collect 4 different types of resources to construct your base and build your army. Carbon is needed for base construction and a fair number of units, Food is needed for infantry and workers, Ore Crystals are needed for defensive structures and Nova Crystals are needed for Heavy Weapons, ships, aircraft and Jedi. All of these can be harvested by the same unit, and there are various ways to collect these materials (Ergo, to collect food, you can kill wildlife, fish, etc). There is also a trade system in the form of the Starport, which allows you to convert surplus resources into nova crystals, then turn those crystals back into other resources - a useful option when the various forces have polished off the last ore stockpile on the map, but you want to expand into a new area anyway.
Galactic Battlegrounds doesn't just use the Age of Empires engine - gameplay-wise, it isAge of Empires; graphics are different and missions are obviously different as well, but the gameplay is essentially the same, with the only difference being that the Star Wars game has more ranged weapons and flying units for obvious reasons. Because of all this, resources in the game work almost exactly as those in Age of Empires.
Fat Princess has 3 resources: Wood and Metal for building things, and Cake for keeping The Princess fat.
Strategy in The Settlers games revolves around careful resource management (as well as sensible road-building). This series of games is interesting in that some resources are quite easily renewable (you can just plant more trees, and you can farm as much grain and as many pigs as you like) while some (metal and stone) are finite.
Homeworld has a resource: "Resource Units," which is described in the manual as being asteroids, veins of space dust, etc that have been deconstructed on an atomic level and stored away for use. (Plays the role of Gold, obviously.)
Averted in Z. The game has no resources per se. Instead, a map in the game is divided into territories that are conquered by capturing the flags at the centers of each territory. Control of a territory brings with it control of whatever lies inside, such as robot or vehicle factories. Production for a factory is chosen and units are periodically generated with more advanced units requiring more time to produce. The more territories a player controls the lower the time required for that player's factories to produce units.
Brutal Legend has "Fans", which function exactly like Mana in Sacrifice in that you collect them by placing Merch Booths over them, which sends the fans to your stage.
Averted in Star Wars Force Commander. In theory you have access to an infinite number of troops, and the only resource that matters is your reputation. Capture enemy buildings, kill the rebels and fight with small numbers of troops and your reputation will rise, constantly request reinforcements and it will fall.
Warzone 2100 has "Power" as a resource, although in gameplay it works like Gold instead.
The Total War series just has a standard currency, e.g. florins in Medieval. This is used to purchase all units and buildings in the game. There's also a number of ways to acquire more money, such as through merchant trade (including "acquiring" other merchants' business), generation of money by farming, mining, and trade, sacking enemy towns, or ransoming captured enemy troops. There's no population limit, but you are limited with how many troops you can order per settlement per turn, and certain settlements only have a certain number of troops of each type that can be ordered, and must replenish from the local "pool" of troops available - representative of the fact that if you recruited a few hundred knights from a particular region, you'll have to wait for either more nobles to come of age to join the military or for more peasants or middle-class citizens to be levied/recruited for combat.
Interestingly, the very first game in the series, Shogun: Total War, has "koku" as a standard currency. In Real Life, koku was never a currency but a unit of measure, sometimes defined as the amount of rice to feed a single person for a year (about 330 pounds). While wealth of a region was often measured in "koku", it normally didn't equate to gold.
Para World has food, wood, and stone, but also a unique fourth resource called skulls. Skulls are used in some upgrades and in the promotion of units to higher levels, and are gained by killing other units.
The multi-player Real-Time Strategy / Simulation Game hybrid Allegiance has one resource, Helium-3, which is equivalent to "gold." Building stations, conducting research, and purchasing certain advanced ships requires He-3, which is harvested by AI mining ships from special asteroids. Arguably, the game also has a second resource, equivalent to "lumber" — the asteroids themselves. Every new base needs to be built on an asteroid, which is consumed in the process. Some advanced bases require specific kinds of asteroid, which will get increasingly hard to find and secure as the battle goes on.
"Population" can also said to be a resource in the game — but in the case of Allegiance, your "population" is made up of Real Life human beings playing on your team. With the exception of a very few (non-combat) drones, every ship the team fields will need an actual human pilot. The game automatically tries to maintain balance in numbers and skill between the competing teams, but having a particularly good player on your team can make all the difference.
Most of the Harvest Moon games have some form of collectible resource, usually Lumber. Occasionally there's even different KINDS of "Lumber". Island of Happiness has FOUR, lumber, stone, gold lumber, and rare ore.
The affection and respect of the townspeople can in some ways also be thought of as a resource.
Submarine Titans, an underwater RTS, has Metal for building stuff, Gold for researching technology, Corium for giving energy to your ships' weapons, and "Oxygen" which is analogous to Power. Silicons, an alien race, use different resources: Silicon (their equivalent of Metal), Corium and Energy (their equivalent of Oxygen.)
SimCity uses money and power. SimCity 2000 adds water, but the pumping stations can't get enough water coverage no matter how many of them you have (which is why you use pipelines). SimCity 3000 adds waste management to the mix.
Unlike RTSes, however, the only resource you need (as Mayor) is money. Power, water, and waste management are things you build with that money that are necessary to attract Sims (i.e. citizens), create jobs, and gain popularity. Since population, jobs, and popularity are (theoretically) your goal, these "resources" are actually more like the units in an RTS, i.e. the tools with which you achieve your aim. However, it is true that money works like Gold and power works like Power, as do water (with the proper infrastructure) and waste management (again, with proper infrastructure).
The 2013 release adds some odd complications. Not only is water made an exhaustible (though renewable) resource, meaning you might have to keep moving water pumps in a place with a low water table, there are several optional resources that can be tapped with special buildings: coal, ore and oil. These can be sold for a quick buck or refined and combined in yet more specialised buildings to make increasingly complex (and lucrative) products like plastic, alloy, and computers.
In Achron, all the races require 'L-Crystal' and 'Q-Plasma', which fulfill the roles of Gold and Lumber respectively. CESO (the humans) have a resource called 'Reserves' which ostensibly looks like Population (its icon is a small stick-figure person, and all units have a small integer cost), but it doesn't act as a unit cap; Importers continuously generate more and more Reserves over time... its closer to a cap on the number of units you can generate per unit time. The Vecgir also have a power resource called, appropriately, "power". When power demand exceeds supply, vecgir vehicles do not regenerate energy, eliminating the ability to use special abilities like self teleport.
Initially, in Space Empires you had construction points generated by facilities, which were affected by the value of the planet. In IV, this resource was split into three: Minerals (gold), Organics, and Radioactives (lumbers). Population simply generates itself if you have at least one million citizens.
LEGO Rock Raiders requires you to tunnel through walls in order to progress as well as mine ore and Energy Crystals. These two resources are used in the construction of most buildings and vehicles.
One of the most infamous issues with the horrid Left Behind Eternal Forces can be summed up as follows: men are a gold resource, women are a lumber resource.
Plants vs. Zombies mostly relies on sunlight, which is the gold type listed above, although the backyard and roof levels do have a variant of the population type, with lily pads being required for almost all pool development and flower pots being required for all roof levels (although you're always supplied with at least some of the latter as appropriate).
M.U.L.E. has Smithore (a rock used to build the titular robot donkeys that do all the work), Energy (powers said robot donkeys), Food (powers you), and Crystite (an otherwise-useless gem that can be traded for extra money.) Buy up plots of land, buy MULEs, outfit them, buy/sell resources from/to other players, and hope the idiot computer players don't cheat each other blind and ruin everything. Yeeha.
Spore, in the civilization stage, has spice, which serves as money, and a specific amount of it is needed for building or unit creation. It is gathered steadily over time once you have claimed a spice mine, but the rate at which you gather it decreases with time as the spice in the mine decreases. The mines don't ever run dry though.
Universe at War has gold, or rather "resources" which is collected by little robots slicing up buildings and destroyed robots. It also has power.
Gratuitous Space Battles has three resources in the campaign mode: cash, crew, and pilots. Cash is generally a Gold equivalent, representing the amount of money spent on building each ship, as well as on repairs and upkeep. Crew and pilots serve as a Lumber-style resource; every frigate and cruiser requires a certain number of crew and a single pilot, while fighter squadrons require sixteen pilots per squad but no crew. Cash is produced by factories, while crew/pilots are produced by naval academies. Depending on ship design, different ship types will demand different numbers of crew; for example, a ship heavy on missile launchers and carrier bays will have upwards of four hundred crew, while a ship focused on lasers and shields will have far fewer crew.
The Rune Factory game series has Gold and Lumber as resource types, in addition to Randomly Drops monster trophies for item building, food and crops.
Conquest Frontier Wars has ore, gas and crew, with each species having a higher demand for one of them. There are also 'command points' that limit the number of ships and satellites you can build, forcing you to build more communication structures.
In Team Fortress 2, the Engineer needs Metal to build his machines. Weirdly, the Dispenser he can build can produce an infinite amount of metal (and health, and ammunition) over time.
Metal Fatigue has only one resource, heat energy, which is most commonly available from a resource node—in this case, lava pools on the surface of the planet and in the subterranean layer. Worker vehicles simply huddle around the node and draw from it, providing a constant supply of energy points to spend. Players could also build solar panels on a Floating Island to harvest solar energy. Given how even large lava pools could be quickly drained by a dozen workers tapping from it, solar panels eventually prove extremely cost-effective to players looking to build advanced technologies.
A non-videogame example, but the characters in the webcomic Homestuck must collect resources in order to build weapons and items. It is implied that there are around thirty six types.
The economy in the X-Universe games revolves around the production of wares. Energy is spontaneously generated on solar power plants, and is required in the production of every other ware. Minerals are mined from asteroids and are used in tech factories and military equipment. Bio (wheat, raw meat, etc) is made by bio factories and used by secondary factories and food factories. Food (burgers, MREs, etc) is used in the production of Tech and Military equipment. Secondary factories build mostly non-essential goods, though some Tech factories need them. Tech (microchips, fighter drones, etc) are not used in the production of non-player wares (though they are used by the player to build ships), and Tech typically has some utility, like placing satellites in sectors or defending stations with automated laser turrets. Military equipment (lasers, shields, missiles) built essential equipment for equipping ships. Every race has its own unique Bio, Secondary, and Food factories, and their Tech and Military factories require that race's food. For example, an Argon Particle Accelerator Cannon Forge requires the Argon's Meatsteak Cahoonas, Energy, and Minerals.
Stratosphere: Conquest of the Skies has three types of "floatstones", which you get from mountains of from sinking enemy fortresses and which you use to build up and repair your own fortress. Different types are required by different units, following the usual tech-level progression.
The browser game Ikariam has wood, gold, population, and four "luxury" resources (marble, wine, crystal, and sulfur). Each island has only one luxury resource necessitating trade with or raids on other players until one advances far enough on the tech tree and gathers sufficient resources to build colonies.
Astro Empires has a bit of an odd system: Credits are required by everything, and are supplied by your Bases' Economy, which increases as you build more Structures (certain Structures give more Economy than normal). Area is used up as you build Structures, and each type of planet starts with a set amount (moons have less, and asteroids have the least), which can be increased using Terraforming and Multi-Level Platforms. Population is also used up as you build, and is increased according to your Astro's Fertility (which can be increased with Biosphere Modification) every time you build an Urban Structure (later on you get Orbital Bases, which give a set amount of Population regardless of Fertility, and don't take up Area). Energy is the last resource that gets used up as you build, and is increased by Solar and Gas Plants, according to your Astro's Solar Energy and Gas stats, respectively (Fusion and Antimatter Plants give Energy regardless of resources). Metal Refineries increase your construction and production speed by your Astro's Metal stat. Crystals are the rarest resource, and boost your Economy for every Crystal Mine you build.
Impire uses the three resources Food, Materials and Treasure. Food is the only one gathered as standard inside your dungeon, although it can be converted into Materials at a low efficiency. Materials and Treasure can both be scavenged from invading heroes, while all three can be gathered by sending a group of units on a raid mission, which happens entirely offscreen. Mostly, food is used to build units, materials to build rooms and treasure to buy more unit slots. You very quickly get more resources than you can use.
The Settlers, also known as Serf City in some locations, had several resources. Wood, harvested from trees, was the Gold equivalent since it was needed for practically everything, while actual gold was only needed to increase the "motivation" (and therefore fighting effectiveness) of your knights.
In Clash Of Clans, gold and elixirs are resources needed to create and upgrade things. Eventually you can acquire dark elixir, which is used in training Elite Mooks.
In Genjuu Ryodan, mana is consumed to heal, resupply and summon units. The player and the opponent are given a preset amount of mana, captured mana crystals and mana regeneration rate at the start of all maps before having to use certain units to capture more mana crystals to increase mana regeneration rate.
In Space Run, destroyed enemies drop "space nuts" (not food, little hex nuts) which are used for constructing additions to your ship.