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What makes an RTS great?


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#21 aattss   Members   -  Reputation: 387

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:38 PM

Personally, I generally only play the custom maps in Starcraft 2, and try to stay away from anything with micromanagement.



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#22 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 933

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 02:15 PM

Micro is the bane of my existence. I can do it, but I don't WANT to. My focus in RTS design has been into automating basic behaviors, allow for the assignment of hierarchies that work together smartly, more focus on economics and more static defenses and other such goals.

 

I think it might be important to differentiate between exploratory strategy and competitive strategy. Exploratory games want you to master lateral thought and mess around with combinations. Competitive games are the much maligned yet much loved clickfest style.

 

I vastly prefer exploratory strategy. Rather than dozens of strategies there are thousands and they are all a chaotic myriad of unbalance and mathcrafting. And even when you think you have a totally broken strategy someone else puts together a crazy out there combo of units and smashes you like its nothing.

 

I am currently working on a game that demo's the freedom of my GAE derived exploratory strategy engine while also serving as a test bed of new ideas. It has a dozen factions currently being finished, mostly just XML to describe their abilities and stats and I am planning to add at least a dozen more. They are small groupings of 1-5 buildings, 1-7 units, 1-10 upgrades, and 1-10 items with some other varied mechanics for customization as well. That way I can play with what is effectively 25 or more factions and see how they interact together.

 

Do I like to use farseers and ritualists to locate enemy bases and armies and crush them from afar? Do I use farseers and scouts and spam units to send a realistically sized army of spam to fake them out while backdooring with a small elite force? What about spam to take the heat while large numbers of cheap AOE fire damage floods in behind the lines?

 

How does having varied damage types even work in an RTS anyways? Most games just have attack and armor or maybe physical and magic damage. Can I change that? Should I? Can I mix military and economic functions? What if there is a woody faction that provides some ranged damage with debuffs and sells potions with useful bonuses on the side that you can't get anywhere else? Sure it's weaker than the other ranged faction but can the availability of poison and healing potions offset that?

 

Could it combine its poisons with a tinkerer faction to create better traps? Should I make cheap single target traps to cripple the enemies scouting or should I make expensive AOE traps like log or stone drops or spiked pits? Can traps "catch" monsters for my animal related faction to give it more variety than its normal spread of creatures can provide? If my enemy has the potion faction should I rush to prevent health potion supremacy or are they buffing their trap makers with damage types that don't scale to the late game but hit hard early?

 

I know a lot of people like Starcraft where you see emphasis on kind of unit and know exactly what to counter with, but I prefer a little more imperfect information in my fights.



#23 voidedLine   Members   -  Reputation: 116

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 04:50 PM

In regards to creating different 'races' that have unique play styles, I think it would be a good idea to start with deciding on different styles of play that are interesting and make sense for the game and not worry too much about their specifics and how they balance each other in the beginning. I think this will give you more variation in play styles and avoid a template race that is then just modified for each additional race.

 

That approach would require a few things:

 

1. Most, if not all of the gameplay/unit data to be scripted/easily editable. Which, for an rts, is already a must imo. 

2. Agile development or something similar that allows for play-testing/significant changes during most of the development cycle.

3. A LOT of play-testing. Preferably by a small group of experienced rts players that can evolve/document strategies as the game progresses(No reason these can't be developers, but time might become an issue)

 

For a non-competitive rts, focusing on the macro strategy level and not the math/direct counters is your best bet.

 

ie-Just because Race A has a unit that does a lot of damage, doesn't mean Race B needs one(copy) or even a heavy armor unit that can take the hits(counter).

 

Sometimes strategies just emerge from gameplay that are invisible when looking at the data values/code. That's why I stress creating unique (grounded) ideas, rapid prototype them, and see how they play together.



#24 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 933

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 05:41 PM

Its not that some strategies are hard to see in code. Its that no one person can see as many strategies as the thousands of hardcore RTS players who will play the game.

 

One person vs thousands.



#25 voidedLine   Members   -  Reputation: 116

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 06:03 PM

Its not that some strategies are hard to see in code. Its that no one person can see as many strategies as the thousands of hardcore RTS players who will play the game.

 

One person vs thousands.

 

Although I agree that one person trying to define strategies is nothing against a horde of rts players constantly experimenting, that wasn't what I was trying to say. 

 

By cultivating a small group of players during development that are play testing and discussing strategies for your unique races as they evolve, you can find balance in macro strategies that wouldn't be evident in unit vs unit comparisons. Hope that clears up my point a little.



#26 shadowomf   Members   -  Reputation: 315

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Posted 29 December 2012 - 01:13 PM

For a non-competitive rts, focusing on the macro strategy level and not the math/direct counters is your best bet.

ie-Just because Race A has a unit that does a lot of damage, doesn't mean Race B needs one(copy) or even a heavy armor unit that can take the hits(counter).

 

I like that, no rock, paper, scissor as mentioned before. Look at MMORPG's most of them also have that triangle and it get's boring.

 

On the other side, many beat'm up games also have vastly different characters and not all are balanced. The developers try to make it still fun by putting a bigger selection in the game.

If there is one character that is a bit stronger in a selection of 3 available the developer has to do something about it (or everybody will use the one character).

However if you have one or two unbalaced characters in 20 characters, the chances that the players will find the proper tactic against thoose two are much higher. The developers don't have to explicitly do something about them, they can pretty much rely on the creativity of the players. Of course the players do need to have the means (in this case many different characters) to do this.



#27 Krypt0n   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2564

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:28 AM

I think, while a lot of people think of RTS foremost as strategy games, they usually rather tend to be evolution games, where all player start the same (or similar) and as the game progresses, you research/customize/unlock new units, building etc.

This makes an RTS replayable to me. in C&C you always started with a few soldiers and build it up to tanks etc. and C&C 2, 3 etc. extended those possibilities.

 

what I miss in RTS is to have really strategy, at best you have some tactics, but I'm not a game design expert to pull out ideas for how to let the player make great strategy.



#28 shadowomf   Members   -  Reputation: 315

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 11:40 AM

what I miss in RTS is to have really strategy, at best you have some tactics, but I'm not a game design expert to pull out ideas for how to let the player make great strategy.

Hard to say, but I would have thought that there is a bit strategy involved. Of course there aren't many and often they don't influence the game as much as just being faster than everybody else.

 

But if you think about it, sometimes in Starcraft 2 and many other games one player tries to kill some of the enemy workers early in the game.

Now it's clear the tactic employed is hit and run. But almost all the time the player is having a strategy in mind. In this case, weaken enemy economy early on to weaken his army in the mid-game.

Sure this is a very simplistic nevertheless efficent strategy. The problem is that most of the time games don't allow for anything more elaborate.

 

I'm not even sure myself if it's possible to ask the player for a deeper strategy in this genre. When you take a look at round based strategy it seems much more deeper. However imagine doing the same in real time.



#29 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 933

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 12:28 PM

Strategy tends to be a matter of scale. Which is problematic when players refuse to spend more than an hour per game. The economies are so simplified, and the military too, that it's really totally impossible to use strategy.

 

You can say that your strategy is to expand quickly and suck up the resources you can, but if there is 1 natural expansion for each player and only 2 other expansions, that seems kinda pretentious.

 

Starcraft games tend to have 1 or 2 raids and maybe some probe harassment and then one or two large battles. How do you have long enough to establish a strategy.

 

A lot of this deals with the environment too. The Russian Strategy was to move back and back and back stretching out German supply lines and exposing them to winter. Starcraft style games don't even have food or supply lines, much less winter.

 

Strategy takes root in complexity. Dominions 3 has strategies. You can spend the game finding magic sites to farm gems for summons and spells. You can expand endlessly leaving no defenses except in an our ring on your border lands. You can expand using your pretender and/or blessed troops or by purchasing local troops. Do you focus on mages or the much cheaper ordinary units? Some people are really into Super Combatants and some use multiple thugs in place of one SC. Other players use astral duels to assassinate enemy mages and some people use seduction units to steal commanders. There is a stealthy scout system too where scouting is actually more than running a guy into an enemy base for a brief glimpse.

 

Most real time strategy games don't have the depth for strategy intentionally, not that they couldn't but because the audience has shifted away from the kind of people with the patience and desire to play deep strategy games.



#30 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 07:54 PM

There should be completely different gameplay if you decide to have multiple races.

 

 - I like this idea.  Like not just different units with different attack/defense styles, but a completely different approach to game play.  Perhaps different a robotic race, where you can micromanage a lot, but they aren't very creative, I.e. they don't fill in gaps well, so there are certain areas of defense they are weak in.  Then Humans.  You can perhaps order squads around, but what they do is up to how much you've trained the quad.  I.e.  A weakly trained group might have poor aim, and shoot at individuals, where a better trained group might have groups of 4 in the squad each shoot at individual targets to bring them down faster.

 

With the Robots, you simply make the upgrade, and all robots are instantly upgraded.  if defense towers go out, all your robots take on only basic defense and start returning to base.  If the humans lose satelite views, the squads will finish their missions and then return.  

 

Not that I'm going with Humans Vs Robots, but I do like the idea of different perspectives of game play and character management.  There is already something like that in Starcraft, as the Protoss Carriers have lots of little drones, that you don't control, you just control the carrier's location.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#31 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:04 PM

a little bit offtopic but @hpdvs2 are any good in programming, as developing even a small RTS is a serious task?

 - OMG Yes.  I strongly recognize how much work would go into an RTS.  I teach classes on Game Development, developed several smaller games, and understand how serious the work load gets.  I'm doing a lot of discussions and reviews trying to figure out the key features of what is important in my target game.  I'm also regularly working in successful Agile/Scrum projects, and will be applying the same standard.  So my ultimate intention is to build the smallest playable game, and add to it.  Starting even with just one unit type, one race, and just have a two player or possibly the AI.  

 

 - I expect that even a simple barely playable feature light game would take at least 6 months.  for me + a small team.  So I need to work out the absolute minimal nature of the game, and start with that.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#32 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:26 PM

I think it might be important to differentiate between exploratory strategy and competitive strategy. Exploratory games want you to master lateral thought and mess around with combinations. Competitive games are the much maligned yet much loved clickfest style.

 

That's a very good point.  I like the exploratory, but I think the competitive strategy also has a place.  "aattss" was mentioning earlier about different races having very different play styles, not just different powers and balancers.  Perhaps in one race, you can micromanage and have better success in click fests, but in another race, you spend more on research, and the character's are primarily driven on AI, which keeps improving with the more research you do.  Balancing that game would be tough, but I think would be a very interesting twist.  Perhaps your research really has to match up with the fast clicker, or your research won't matter to much, so information gathering is essential.  But of course, you spend your time in different ways.  Clickers have there fun, and so do we.

 

Though, I would need to spend some time making sure a mixed play type could really work, be fun and maintain an effective balance.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#33 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:48 PM

1. Most, if not all of the gameplay/unit data to be scripted/easily editable. Which, for an rts, is already a must imo. 
2. Agile development or something similar that allows for play-testing/significant changes during most of the development cycle.
3. A LOT of play-testing. Preferably by a small group of experienced rts players that can evolve/document strategies as the game progresses(No reason these can't be developers, but time might become an issue)

 

1.  That is a really good point, I wasn't planning on exposing the AI as a Designer ability.  I'm planning on keeping as part of a Descriptor Engine, similar to how Unity attaches components to various GameObjects that provide different AI options.  I think I'll still keep this at low level code, for speed, but keep it more variable, and able to add/remove AI portions.    Ultimately, I think this is getting a bit more to the mechanics of the game, and I'm using this question to discuss more the nature of game play from the what the user sees first.  Though this is still really valuable for discussion at a later point.  :)

 

2.   Agile is BY FAR a key to how I will develop this.  I have a book on game development that covers some Agile, that is in review right now.  I even got review and sign off (after some altarations) from Bob Galen (rgalen.com) who trains Agile in large companies.  I use it regularly and have had good successes with it.  Again, this is not targeting the original question, around what the player would like, but still really valuable mention.

 

3.  Play Testing is a must.  I was a Senior Automaton and Game Development Trainer with Wizards of the Coast, and I believe in very strong testing.  Typically, I would have a trusted ring of people that would have direct access to the developers (call them Development branch testers), that we could discuss with, but are not involved in game's design/programming.  And, at regular intervals, try to get someone new into that group who has not been involved, who will have fresh insight on the playability.  Then, a second tier of Alpha testers, who get builds that we have a good test run on, and it seems in good shape, then have a separate access point like UserVoice, to post bugs and vote on important changes, but can't directly bother the devs/designer.  And finally, a beta crowd, which would only be after significant testing, and more satisfaction from Alpha tester's issues, with a separate User voice site.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#34 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 08:55 PM

For a non-competitive rts, focusing on the macro strategy level and not the math/direct counters is your best bet.

 

This is another good point from voidedLine, and it makes me think about how to avoid getting people to play numbers, and instead focus on the art of playing.  Not quit sure how to get that, but its the difference of a flight simulator, where you could pay attention to the instruments, but most of the time, you'll go by the feel of how the plane moves.  That would be the kind of difference I want to bring back to RTS.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#35 Dan Violet Sagmiller   Members   -  Reputation: 896

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Posted 30 December 2012 - 09:10 PM

Strategy tends to be a matter of scale. Which is problematic when players refuse to spend more than an hour per game. The economies are so simplified, and the military too, that it's really totally impossible to use strategy.

 

This is a good point, and something I've been considering is the idea that people are developing cities in war time, but it is separate from the battle front.  You can work to improve your city, but you also need to be developing resources for the war.  Then you can also train up troops, and send them into battle, where you get to be involved in a larger scale ongoing battle front.  It lets players build up resources to help them out in the game over long periods of time, which will change the types of units they can use, as well as tactics, and then get back into the war, and focus on the battles as separate things.  How often do you see forward base operations in military setting up entire mini-cities?  As apposed to mobile structures, like hospital tents.  anyway, I think we can have a good balance between fast war play and long term city management.


Moltar - "Do you even know how to use that?"

Space Ghost - “Moltar, I have a giant brain that is able to reduce any complex machine into a simple yes or no answer."

Dan - "Best Description of AI ever."

My Game(s), Warp Wars is in early development and can be found here: http://blog.WarpWars.Net.


#36 DtCarrot   Members   -  Reputation: 327

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 04:08 AM

Personally, I would like RTS which have dark maps such as Starcraft meaning that at the start, only their main base will be visible on the mini-map in which players have to explore the map to uncover new areas. Furthermore, varying economic structure meaning that for each of the same map, the locations and quantity of resources will be totally randomized. In a medieval setting, if the location near the player's main base is iron heavy but wood heavy in the middle, they may have to build swordsman and Knight which both require a lot of iron as compared to archers and catapults which are wood heavy units. Thus, the game may be a melee based battles where players battle it out with mainly melee units and just a few ranged units. Alternatively, they can opt to rush to take control of the middle area where wood can be found where the one who manages to seize control at the end will have a large advantage. This also works vice-versa. On a spectator view, it would also be interesting to watch.

 

I feel this is one of the better ways to test the player's ability to think on the spot and adapt to the situation. Of course, to provide for balance, the areas near to the player will have the same type and quantity of resources so that both players will be in the same starting scenario.

 

Geography play is something which I also enjoy in a RTS. Geography is another way other than the numerical advantage a player may have, to gain an edge in the game. Ambushes, protecting an area and attacking sometimes rely on geography. In Starcraft, tanks can be placed on the high ground so that it can guard a certain pathway by firing on nearby enemies and yet enemies sometimes may be unable to counter it if a Protoss player lacks observers to provide high ground vision. Also, for melee units, they may have to walk all the way round to destroy the tank and thus even though the Protoss army overwhelms the few tanks that may have been positioned as it will suffer heavy casualties. This is one way in which geography artificially increase the value of the units. Even when attacking with a biological army head-on against a larger army, if you can seize the better surface area, the smaller army may be more cost-efficient and at times even destroy the larger one. In a medieval setting, maybe players can trap their opponent into entering a small alley where they can use the cannon/artillery to rain hell upon their enemies.

 

I believe that geography is one of the better ways to express a player's skill and ability and also to make up for the deficit the better player may suffer from. 



#37 Legendre   Members   -  Reputation: 966

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 06:56 AM

1) Try to stay away from making it micro heavy.

 

Starcraft 1/2 and Broodwar are very micro heavy games. Player keep track of their "APM" - actions per minute (e.g. mouse clicks) and see a high APM as great skill. After being a competitive Starcraft player for 2 years, I developed repetitive strain injury on my mouse hand. :( Also, professional Starcraft players get sponsored to do a wrist operation that prevents carpal tunnel syndrome when they get hired.

 

Be kind to your player's body. Focus on strategy, not fast clicking. (also, if you go the micro route, you'll never beat established giants like SC/BW)

 

2) Minimalistic, Slim, Neat and Elegant

 

Too many RTS went wrong by adding too many "cool" elements. Giant doomsday super weapons, big explosions, huge robots. Stuff that are only interesting for a very short while but serve little gameplay purposes. E.g. Command and Conquer series.

 

IMHO if the only reason to have a unit/feature in the game is because "it will be cool", you're better off without it.



#38 Krypt0n   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 2564

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 12:40 PM

 


what I miss in RTS is to have really strategy, at best you have some tactics, but I'm not a game design expert to pull out ideas for how to let the player make great strategy.

 

Hard to say, but I would have thought that there is a bit strategy involved. Of course there aren't many and often they don't influence the game as much as just being faster than everybody else.

 

But if you think about it, sometimes in Starcraft 2 and many other games one player tries to kill some of the enemy workers early in the game.

Now it's clear the tactic employed is hit and run. But almost all the time the player is having a strategy in mind. In this case, weaken enemy economy early on to weaken his army in the mid-game.

Sure this is a very simplistic nevertheless efficent strategy. The problem is that most of the time games don't allow for anything more elaborate.

 

I'm not even sure myself if it's possible to ask the player for a deeper strategy in this genre. When you take a look at round based strategy it seems much more deeper. However imagine doing the same in real time.

I think SC2 is especially a tactic game. your 'strategy' is usually limited to your game goals e.g. "destroy enemy by destroying his resource collectors" "destroy enemy by destroying his key base building" "destroy enemy by..." and then you use your usual tactics: take a cheap fast unit and try to break into the opponent's base to spy his build order. the opponent does of course the same and you both know  it and one of the 3 paths will come this one spy.

then, once you know his base, you decide for one of the common tactics and crosses his tactic, kinda like Rock, Paper, Scissors. so, the end of the game is mostly gambling, where both sides try to influence the chances for their side. it is still fun, but usually, both sides know in the same moment 'oh well, he used this strategy and I've used that one, it gonna end like ..." (at least in the more skillful matches).

partly it's also a finger-skill game, where both know in what order they have to click what commands to be most efficient and if you don't make misstakes and your enemy has maybe 3 wrong click (or 3 slow ones), you might be of an advantage even if his strategy was superior.

 

 

Strategy tends to be a matter of scale. Which is problematic when players refuse to spend more than an hour per game. The economies are so simplified, and the military too, that it's really totally impossible to use strategy.[/quote]I agree that it's a matter of scale, but not strictly something that has to be tight to time. of course, if you tend to have very little time, like in blitz-chess, you tend to rather have one goal and follow your mental 'reflexes' aka tactics. but you dont have to be super slow to come up with strategies.

let me coder-mind try a few possibitiles of strategy-game-design:

1. lets say you have the possibility to create buildings without binding them to a purpose. you build a barrack, but you could actually use it as a silo. your efficiency would of course be far inferior than with a dedicated buliding, but if your enemy would see your base with spy drones, he'd see "well, he can produce a lot of soldiers but if I bomb his refinery, he's out of resources and that's worth loosing a lot of my resources on planes". or you could actually place some non-functional imposter buildings/units.

it's of course a trade of, if you spend all resources on faking, your enemy gonna be lucky in any attack he attempts to do.

 

2. in C&C, both sides have their mega weapon, a-bomb or ion-cannon. but how bout having some more possibilities that aren't that obvious? 

- a very slow unit that moves underground, you'd have to create a tunnel across the map, or maybe sneak with that unit somewhere, where your opponent isn't watching frequently, and start digging there, once there is a tunnel, you could move some units along it and start the attack right in the center of the opponents lines.

- a hacking unit that highjacks opponents, but without controlling them. the player can figure out that one of his units is highjacked, but selecting it and giving orders, which a highjacked unit would obviously not understand, but as long as it has to just go on with the usual route e.g. a harvester, it would transport the hacking unit into the base. inside the base, the hacking unit could sabotage buildings, yet again, not destroy them or something, but, lets say, drop their efficiency. by how much? that depends on the player who's send the hack unit. if you set the efficiency of a factory to 99%, nobody might notice, but might also not change anything. you set it to 90% the opponent might notice it sooner or later. you set it to 0%, well, if it's in the middle of his attack, he might not realize his base is not working at all, if you do it during normal gameplay, you might delay him by 3 tanks or something.

- you can 'poison' the enemies resources, maybe with some unit that drives over it to inject something or by regular drone flights that spray something toxic, as long as the opponent has no harvesters with guns mounted.

... but what makes that a strategy and not a tactic? well, you can't just 'build' it, you'd have to go through a chain of researches, or you could continuously research and the longer you do, the more efficient those a-bombs, ion-cannons, hacker, driller etc.

3. research:

usually definitions of strategy vs tactic say that strategy is long term. in case of RTS it means that you setup a chain of events and if they work out, you win. that chain means you need to exploit a particular (possible) weakness. if you can just tank rush the enemy, obviously, you won't see sense in not doing so, that means, you have to be sure you fail with that brute force. if you make a tank rush, the enemy towers will kill you.

but if the defense is overpowered, what's the point? well, it's not over powered, it has some default strenghts and obviously there will be a weakness also. but you cannot exploit it by default, you need to setup something. lets say, beyond the 'fire power', you also have 'aiming speed', 'recharge delay', 'range'.

now you can start to 'research'

- a tank that is very fast, everything else gonna stay the way it is, but it's gonna be so incredibly fast, enemy towers won't be able to hit it, as long as it's moving.

- cost reduction or impostor tech. you will create such a mass of units, that the enemy towers won't be able to recharge fast enough to kill all of them before they are destroyed.

- you can research fire distance of your artillery.

isn't that also just tactics? well, if you just 'upgrade' it and you tank rush -> yes: but you won't win this way, the enemy will react before you're done. but what if you send stronger and stronger tanks? the enemy will start to research stronger and stronger tower. now imagine you've spend at the same time a lot of resources into a very fast tank. the enemy will think "yet another wave of more powerful tanks" and then you unlock their ability and the defense-tower won't be able to hit.

 

4. your units need supplies:

what if similar to that WW2 russian strategy, your units would also need supply. nothing complex, just like a harvester, you'd send a unit that 'recharges' your tanks etc. every time it passes by. it doesn't even have to be like a fuel refilling, just, let say, 50% boost for 30s. maybe those recharge-units give even different 'boosts'. you already have a tiny 'strategy' element in choosing what you gonna boost, now you also don't want your enemy to boost their units, you might let some broken looking tanks behind you and then they'll attack those recharge-units after everything passed them. you might send some planes that just aim at those units, you'll loose a lot resources for those suicide planes, but if they hit, you hurt the enemy a lot. maybe you say 'i dont care bout that boost, I'll just build an extra tank instead of recharge units, saving on researching them means another dozen of tanks'...

 

 

 

 


Strategy takes root in complexity. ...[/quote]

I don't think it's really complexity, it's rather possibilities. but those possibilities can be very simple. I think mech warrior (and other games with RPG elements), expose that by simply giving you the choice how to arm your unit. you might have failed the  mission in the first go and you prepare for a second run. usually you might feel depressed, but in mech warrior, you rather feel challenged "now, with two more coolers and rockets instead of lasers, I gonna rush-kill those lightweight mechs and then it's 1:1 against few of them with simple lasers, then I'll win *yay*"

 

it can be quite random in an RTS if everyone would build their own units, arming them. but if all of them have like 3 abilities and you can put your focus on those, you can try to also focus an weaknesses of your enemy and exploit it.

 

 

Most real time strategy games don't have the depth for strategy intentionally, not that they couldn't but because the audience has shifted away from the kind of people with the patience and desire to play deep strategy games.

that's maybe true, but most of the audience moved completely from RTS games, to simple "lets kill another mob" or "lets push some buttons to see another action sequence". but those who are left, would still probably love a game with possibilities.I think it's similar to what MMORPGs do, they try to stay simple to be approachable, because building your own house, training your riding animals, making complex stuff is way to time consuming to attract the masses. and then there is a tiny game called minecraft, where you have to build your house/castle/... not even from walls, but from little bricks. you have to even craft all your tools.... way too complex to be fun.

what I try to say is, I agree it is done intentionally to not have those possibilities in RTS, but not because it's more fun, but because nobody ahs yet found a way to integrate it in a good way. if you create an RTS, from scratch, have a goal to make one thing very special. playing a retro RTS like in the 90's is maybe fun, but having a stupidly simple game like minecraft, that cannot compete in any way with WOW, except for this one special "building bricks"-feature, would also work for an RTS. I would not care if it's top-down rendered, out of line-units. with just a white background, but hey, I can do this one really cool thing in it -> win. and I think, for an RTS, it's something with strategy. that has barely evolved in the past 20years. maybe that's why they don't sell?



#39 Luckless   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1797

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:36 PM

One of the biggest things an RTS game needs is clear information management. The information doesn't have to actually be true, but is has to be clear. If I'm left wondering what I'm actually looking at, then I'm working on deciphering stuff and not thinking about actual strategy.

Personally I'm a fan of slower RTS games, where actions take time and reactions have to be careful and calculated.

More isn't always better. Choice overload is a dangerous thing in game design, and having too many options just make the game harder to design and play. When given too many choices and having things going too fast, then you may as well make the victory a nice clean dice roll.
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#40 AltarofScience   Members   -  Reputation: 933

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Posted 31 December 2012 - 05:53 PM

Well obviously with more choices you want to slow down the game. And more importantly you need to shift the choice zone. Thus macro heavy games taking out micro.






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