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So, why do you play RTS games ?


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#1 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 22 August 2000 - 03:36 AM

So, why is it that you like RTS games ? What does it bring you ? Please don''t just say "because they are fun", or "because I like it". What I''d like to know, is the very reasons taht make them enjoyable. The deeper reasons. Is it the feeling of commanding a vast army? Is it the incredible story that you want to see unfold ? Or something even deeper ? I was gonna write a long post about some stuff I have read lately and about my regrets that such depth still doesn''t exist. But I am realising more and more that most people don''t really care about depth that much. "giving jam to pigs" we say in France... Why bother doing a masterpiece if no one is ever goingto appreciate it. Who really knows about wargames, who care about recreating conflicts, who cares about history and what it can teach us ? I do, but most people don''t seem to. And you ? To give you an example of what I am asking for, I''ll start by answering myself. I like that feeling of being in charge. I am supposed to save the day, keep my men alive, and take responsibility if all fails. I like that feeling when my little outpost units bravely hold a charge of the enemy and repel it. I would love to be able to play something as dramatic as the Rork''s Drift siege (an english outpost full of wounded with only 150 men, against an army of around 4000 zulus, during a whole night. In the morning, the Zulus retreated, impressed by the bravery of those soldiers), or the Camerone siege (the Foreign Legion in Mexico). I like it when my actions are actually changing something to the story. And most of all, I like to learn from my mistakes. I like to "play" with my opponent by using tricks, maneuvers, deceit. I want a game where forests, hills, rocky grounds, all affect the fight in various ways. I want a game where the weather matters, where you have to take care of your soldiers by feeding them, sheltering them, but where the civilians are doing fine on their own. etc etc etc ... I was watching a program yesterday on the Austro prussian war at the end of the 19th century. During a battle in the forest of Konnigsrad, 6400 men died in a day, mostly austrian. And the little detail that made the austrian lose so badly, was the difference of guns : the Prussians had "needle" rifles (the shell would be perfored by the needle, thus projecting the bullet), while the Austrian used the old Muskets (you had to stand, put powder, and a bullet to reload). The prussiand could fire 3 times faster and reload while crawling... the Austrian got annihilated. Who would have thought that such a little detail would tip the balance of the whole war on the side of the Prussians ? Well, anyway. I think you see what I am asking. So now it''s your turn. Why would any designer bother improving the genre of RTS for you ? In which direction should they improve it ? youpla :-P

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#2 RWarden   Members   -  Reputation: 118

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Posted 22 August 2000 - 03:40 AM

quote:

I think you see what I am asking. So now it''s your turn. Why would any designer bother improving the genre of RTS for you ? In which direction should they improve it ?



Make it exactly like Myth. =)

-RWarden (roberte@maui.net)

#3 theRaskell   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 22 August 2000 - 09:30 AM

Actually, I could have easily told you that such a mechanical advantage would have a huge impact on a battle with all other things being equal. Obviously mechanical superiority can be overcome by numerical superiority, superior strategy, and/or superior positioning. Technological superiority is a huge advantage in any environment that requires almost no skill or effort to take advantage of.

I myself am not all that interested in games that reproduce historical battles/events because I already know what the outcome of those events are supposed to be. I''ve never had the desire to walk in another''s footsteps, even if those footsteps were supposedly made by great men. I prefer to play games where the outcome is unknown, where even the possible outcomes are unknown or relatively vague.

What I like in any Strategy game is the strategy. Discovering tactics to give your forces an edge. Finding your enemies weaknesses and exploiting them. Victory through intelligence and knowledge. The environment is irrelevant whether it be Sci fi, fantasy, or simulation, so long as there are plenty of strategy and tactical aspects to keep the replay value high (as well as quality implementation, but as far as I''m concerned that goes without saying).


#4 AtypicalAlex   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 22 August 2000 - 10:07 AM

quote:
Original post by ahw

So, why is it that you like RTS games ?




I don''t

Reason being: They''re are far too many and mostly on the first-generation ones are original and any FUN. If you''re going to make one, take hints from the greats--LOTS of hints, but DON''T copy them. Do something radically different, using past successes and a very loose guideline.

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#5 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 22 August 2000 - 11:28 AM

Atypical Alex : so what would make you happy in a RTS. What do YOU want RTS to mean. Please, don''t answer a lame "as long as it''s fun!" answer. I''d like to understand what is it that tickles when we play games. And in the case of strategy games, what is it that''s so interesting about it.

youpla :-P

#6 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 22 August 2000 - 11:57 AM

I like em because no other genre has the depth of strategy and tactics. Turn based strategy is really a misnomer since they are all actually sims and I hate sims (simulation and strategy being on opposite ends of the same axis). So basically I''m a strategy gamer and RTS is where the strategy is. The real time nature can be bothersome but there is no other way to get through a game in a reasonable time. Bad games like AoK mess up the pacing but the result is the opposite: reduced interaction and thus a reduction in strategy.

Where can RTS be improved?

Trim the last traces of sim out

Use more recognizable art, the units need not look realistic at all. The warcraft/starcraft style is superior because no two units look alike. The art does not stand alone, good art does not always mean good game art.

Smaller armies, slower paced battles, Myth has this down

reduce emphasis on economics

elminate pointless tasks

Good RTSs that will be coming out:
Strifeshadow (ethermoon.com), expected release in december.
Warcraft III (Blizzard.com) expected release late spring.

#7 Paul Cunningham   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 22 August 2000 - 07:17 PM

What i get out of playing rts is different per rts. I hate mission based rts''s. I prefer one''s where i can plan-build-progress-defeat. I get an interectual tingle from knowing that my plans where better than someone elses. I also don''t mind being beaten if i know that what i did wrong. I get frustrated if i can''t work out why i was beaten or if i was beaten by luck. Although i sometimes put on a brave face

Generally it comes down to something interlectual thats motivating me to play these games. Also an interest in stiring up the can of worms to see what happens if i do this or that (Curiousity). But overall i like just being able to test the water for ways of winning and then applying my smarts to see how i can make best use of it.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

#8 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1775

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Posted 22 August 2000 - 07:52 PM

I like having the ability to outfox someone. So RTS games that give me the ability to excercise tactical strokes of genius and really use my mind are well received. Total Annihilation had this more than Starcraft, I think, because you had greater control of your forces.

As far as depth, I hear ya. The more shallow the game, the wider the audience. (Funny enough, the more shallow the audience the more likely they are to treat your game like a 30 second commmercial and toss it in short order... no brand loyalty whatsoever...)

My suggestions (sorry it''s so long, I''m trying to avoid working )

1) Less death via micromanagement. Starcraft''s awesome, but some units are nearly unusable because of micromanagement problems (Ghosts and Templars, anyone?)

2) More detailed AI controls. My damn Ghost should be able to HOLD FIRE when I''m sneaking around an enemy base. TA had control of firing and manuever, with 2 easy buttons, and that went a long way.

3) Rush busters: Some players only know how to mass a bunch of troops and send them your way. This isn''t strategy (interesting strategy, anyway). Splash damage and area effect weapons need to be available early game to prevent this.

4) Quicker endings once you''ve practically won. You shouldn''t have to hunt down every last player''s unit on the board to win. Dark Reign''s base timer (must not lose your primary base for more than 3 minutes) is an awesome idea

5) User customizable units. Take the Quake route: Let your community help build your game, and thus do a lot of the work and share in a lot of the joy of creating it. Huge possibility of loyal fan base here...

6) Better backstory. Man, if I hear that four factions crap again I''m gonna start stranglin'' designers...

7) Indirect strategy. Taking a page from Chris Crawford, you only get so many interesting interactions if direct conflict is your ownly option. As we can see, many weapon and unit ideas have already been exhausted because of this. So think of indirect ways of conflict that supliment the battle.

8) More between-game game. I''d love it if the games felt less like levels and more like something cohesive.

9) Espionage and deceit. The Germans may well have lost WWII because they believe that the allies were going to land at Calais instead of Normandy. The Allies used fake radio transmissions, inflatible tanks, and a dead soldier with invasion documents to do this. Why can''t I?

10) Better notion of supply without the tedious micromanagement. Wars in RTS games play out more like viral infections than real conflicts. You can''t, for instance, surround a force and starve it rather than attack it directly.

Okay, I''ll stop now

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#9 Eck   Members   -  Reputation: 2836

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Posted 23 August 2000 - 04:10 AM

I like RTS games because I like working my brain. When playing against human intelligence, you have to engineer solutions to problems they generate. I love finding out neat things to do with your units and awesome combinations.... Starcraft example: provoke some scouts to start following a small group of mutalisks, lead them over some burrowed hydras, once they are past the hydras, ensnare them with queens to slow their retreat and unburrow the hydras. Voila! insta-dead-scouts. Its also fun because you are playing a human being, and more often than not, I am the one not pulling my hair out and yelling at the monitor.

Later,
Eck

BTW, StarCraft has been ruined by fastest game speed and the pump-rush....Wow, I got more zerglings in 2 minutes than you did. I win. Want to play again? And somehow, 500 games and 1000 minutes later this is still fun!?!?!?!

Edited by - Eck on August 23, 2000 11:12:44 AM

#10 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1775

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Posted 23 August 2000 - 08:49 AM

quote:
Original post by Eck

BTW, StarCraft has been ruined by fastest game speed and the pump-rush....Wow, I got more zerglings in 2 minutes than you did. I win. Want to play again? And somehow, 500 games and 1000 minutes later this is still fun!?!?!?!





Sorry for the OT post, but yeah, what''s the deal with those damned Big Game Hunter maps. A billion resources at startup, no need to tactically expand, and an infinite rush... It''s all folks play on Battlenet these days.

Does this suggest people don''t want resource management in their games? If not, then what other ways are there to create vulnerability and the necessity of defense points? That''s strategy!


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#11 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 23 August 2000 - 09:55 AM

Well, I don''t think it''s totally OT, at least you are pointing out what people don''t care about ...

But then, what is it that they like in being able to quickly build up an army, then rush it on the enemy and crush it before anything has ever happened ???

On a grand strategy level, this kind of victory would be excellent if they occured INSIDE a bigger picture ( a war). But if I play a one off battle, I want to learn something . I know if I build more unit than you and rush them to eat your gatherer I am gonna win. But WHAT IS THE FUCK!NG POINT ???
Is it just to satisfy my juvenile ego ? Then I guess I have passed this stage, ''cause I personnaly don''t have anything to prove. I play chess against people who can kick my ass whenever they want, but they don''t and instead I learn new things. That''s what I''d like to find in computer RTS.

Why the heck do designers bother doing nice games to see this kind of stupid strategy dominate the scene.

We are just giving jam to pigs ...

youpla :-P

#12 AtypicalAlex   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 23 August 2000 - 10:06 AM

quote:
Original post by ahw

Atypical Alex : so what would make you happy in a RTS.




Hmm... I''d have to say MUCH, MUCH less resource management than in most RTS games and MUCH, MUCH more strategic combat and just combat in general. I think that Shogun: Total War is a great example of this. You didn''t have to worry about mining some trivial mineral...instead, you just lead literally thousands of troops into an all-out battle that looks, feels, and sounds VERY cool. But there was also a great level of strategy, because organized formations and planned attacks worked so much better than an unruly samurai mob

Just my thoughts, hope they help.

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#13 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 23 August 2000 - 10:39 AM

I was reading an article on some site yesterday about the evolution of warfare, and you can see that the first guys to use formations in a general manner were the romans.
But they were the exception, as most armies of the time still fought in a "mob rush" way. BAsically the general would have different troops and hurl them at the face of the enemy trying to beat it... maneuvers and formations were almost non existent it seems.

Kind of makes me wonder : we haven''t even passed the level of ancient warfare in our RTS !
(I mean look at it, what do you do when you play a classic RTS like Starcraft : gather troops of some types and rush them at the enemy ... )

I''ll agree with you for Shogun. Though I didn''t play the game, I am so happy to see the ideas I am dreaming of implemented.
Strategy on one side, and tactics on the other side. (your resources, armies, diplomacy, etc, and your armies battling on the field on another side.)

youpla :-P

#14 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1775

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Posted 23 August 2000 - 06:38 PM

quote:
Original post by ahw

Kind of makes me wonder : we haven''t even passed the level of ancient warfare in our RTS !
(I mean look at it, what do you do when you play a classic RTS like Starcraft : gather troops of some types and rush them at the enemy ... )



The Terrans are about the only side that you see violate the mob rush norm. If you happen to play a mid- or lowtech game, it''s cool to see siege tanks form a devastating battle line against a mob of zerg at a chokepoint.

But you''re mostly right. There''s a lot less tactical manuevering than I think there should be...

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#15 Wavinator   Moderators   -  Reputation: 1775

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Posted 23 August 2000 - 06:48 PM

quote:
Original post by ahw

Is it just to satisfy my juvenile ego ? Then I guess I have passed this stage, ''cause I personnaly don''t have anything to prove. I play chess against people who can kick my ass whenever they want, but they don''t and instead I learn new things. That''s what I''d like to find in computer RTS.



I think it''s two things: big booms, and ego. Lemme explain "big booms theory:" the more stuff blows up, the grander and more awe inspiring the force, the more massive and impenetrable an army looks, the more this personality type seems to get off on it.

And I also think it''s juvi ego. True, they''ve learned a system: a timed build order, a machine-like efficiency (build 3 of these, then one of those, etc.)

You know the real shame: Designs that support a time/motion efficiency. I''m not sure how to get around this, but the entire game often turns on precise build choices in the early game. To me, this isn''t strategy. It''s upper management... which, as a game developer, you can guess how I feel about...


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#16 ahw   Members   -  Reputation: 263

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Posted 24 August 2000 - 02:53 AM

quote:
Original post by Wavinator
I think it''s two things: big booms, and ego.



Hehe, I call it the Ork effect (I have been playing Warhammer 40K Waaaaaay too much in my times). Basically Orks like big gunZ that do noise, with massive decorations, big Explosions, Speed, and Fight.... Adrenalin rush if you prefer.

And once in a while, I must admit I just enjoy this way too much, but *NOT* in RTS. I play FPS if I want my adrenalin fix, and I play RTS to feel more like a resaonable clever person

The link that you make between management and strategy is sadly a fact of life. When I looked up the "Art of War" by SunTzu on Amazon.com I found a lot of books that were as well on management techniques and marketing strategy.
I fuck!ng hate that, but hat can you do about it.
As well, the fact that you can win by making the right choices at the beginning is normal. What is abnormal is that there is only one way to start a game if you want to win. In chess there is more or less one way to start, but you can always adjust your tactics to you enemy if you start bad. I mean unless you are against a master, you still have a chance if you don''t follow the basic strategy.
Anyway, a good game should offer us alternatives, different ways to win. I don''t want of a game where you have to do a trial and error until yo find the One strategy, and after that all you have to do is do it the quickest possible before your enemy.
THAT *SUCKS*

youpla :-P

#17 Kylotan   Moderators   -  Reputation: 3338

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Posted 24 August 2000 - 05:30 AM

Firstly, your point on the history in games, the ''masterpiece'', attention to detail etc... remember simple can be fun too. Sometimes it is merely the combinatorial explosion of several simple elements that can make something with very few details fun. For example, chess. So, that says to me that a very simple, basic RTS can be fun too, just by providing fun mechanics. This goes back to what I said a couple of months ago, to great furore: story/background/plot is not needed. Most of the time it augments the game, but it is not needed for the game.

Other points: I also like historical wargames, but don''t play many as I can''t afford to buy much these days. (Anyone point me to some good abandonware/freeware ones? Email or post here) What really interests me is to do something like win as the Germans in WW2, or Iraq in the Gulf War, or to defend Carthage from the Romans... the challenge of succeeding where the real-life general did not, with pretty much the same resources available.

But in simpler RTS games, I think the ''RT'' element is an important one. In turn-based games, you have infinite time to think. Real time games put you under some pressure, force you to make quick decisions, split your time, etc. I think this is a good added dimension. Any idiot can do something complicated, given enough time to work it out. So, the pressure of limited time helps to really show who is the best thinker. Again, look at chess, and how they use the clock in tournament play.

The ''S'' element of RTS is obviously the main one, although it is really more about Resource Management and Tactics than strategy, usually. But I like having a variety of different means at my disposal to beat an enemy. I like having to outthink or out-guess the opponent. I like planning ahead the units I need to build for my preferred method of attack. I like contemplating how best to construct base defences, maximising the effectiveness of turrets/guard dogs/walls etc. There''s a lot of thought, and a lot of tradeoffs due to the time/money resource balancing. There is also very little that is ''random'' and so I feel in control: meaning I feel good when I win and I need to think harder when I lose.

I would certainly be interested in games that combined a strategic/operational map with a tactical map. This helps to unify the campaign/story, removing that ''game level'' feel. You then also get the opportunity to deploy delaying tactics (send a force that you know can''t win, but will at least delay their expansion), massed attacks (put all your resources in one place at the expense of others) etc. I''ve seen some games employ some of these ideas, Age of Wonders and Lords of the Realm (or was that Lords of the Castle? I forget) for example, but no game seems to do it amazingly well. I guess the problem with such hybrids is that a lot of good turn-based players wouldn''t adapt to the real-time tactical map, and vice versa.

How would I improve RTS games?

1) Interfaces have to get better. In many of these games, micromanagement is part of the fun, and that needs to be streamlined.

2) Units need to be reasonably generic, while maintaining identity. I have already argued elsewhere against very specific ''counter-units'' which are usually just used as a game balance hack.

3) Remove/reduce the reliance on resource gathering units. These units become the weak link in most of these games, allowing a thoughtful opponent to cut your resources off very easily. (eg. In C+C, destroy harvesters, destroy refinery, destroy construction yard.) A fixed amount of resources at the start, with perhaps periodical reinforcements ("If I can just make it through another 5 minutes, the reinforcements might just save my ass!") instead of buying stuff as you go along.

4) Strategic level decisions: at an incredibly basic level, simply give the player X credits to split between 2 or more missions. They will have to evaluate the mission briefs and allocate resources accordingly.

And many more, if you gave me an extra hour or two to think about it

#18 Anonymous Poster_Anonymous Poster_*   Guests   -  Reputation:

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Posted 24 August 2000 - 05:45 AM

Where the hell is the DIPLOMACY?

Why cant i talk political trash with/without consequences?
Nothing feels better than shunning a countries arrogant leader and then whipping his ass on the battlefield

#19 neoGriff   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 August 2000 - 06:14 AM

I would like to have a town with people in it that handle my resources for me. You keep them safe, you become more prosperous.

Another thing I personally like is slower game speed. I''m not good at clicking on little buttons to queue up some units to build while trying to fight someone. That''s just dumb.

I also would like less mission based gameplay, and more of a persistent, large world where you and a few or a lot of friends can play. It would turn it into a territory game more like a real war. I think that would be fun.

On that same note, game maps need to be less restrictive and more restrictive at the same time. There shouldn''t be absolute game boundries. You should be able to sneak around someone''s base. They shouldn''t be able to put it on the edge of the map, and they are invincible. The more restrictive part comes from random crap on the ground. When you go outside and walk around, there is always a bunch of shit that some people have left in your way. Same thing with game maps. They shouldn''t be all just a green tile or something. TA and Myth have done a very good job of doing this though.

I also like a lot of realism. I don''t like when I can send in a few troops that have 80000000 HP''s and just wipe the floor with 5000 enemies unless there is some technological reason I can do this. Not just because I can click faster than someone else.

I also think it would be cool to customize units by putting a better driver or something in them. You could have a vehicle with a bunch of vet badasses that give the unit some special skills.

I''m not sure if that last one would work well, but those are my thoughts.

#20 Michael Borromeo   Members   -  Reputation: 122

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Posted 24 August 2000 - 06:15 AM

the original command and conquer. my first rts and my favorite to date. the whole globe and map idea was great, it made me feel like i was going somewhere instead of just fighting battles and moving to more battles. thats all.




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