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Is there a market for old-fashioned RTS games?


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Poll: A good choice for an indie? (47 member(s) have cast votes)

Would you buy a C&C/Warcraft style game?

  1. Definitely (18 votes [38.30%])

    Percentage of vote: 38.30%

  2. Probably (12 votes [25.53%])

    Percentage of vote: 25.53%

  3. Maybe (11 votes [23.40%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.40%

  4. Probably not (4 votes [8.51%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.51%

  5. No way (2 votes [4.26%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.26%

Is it a worthwhile direction for an indie project?

  1. Yes (33 votes [70.21%])

    Percentage of vote: 70.21%

  2. No (3 votes [6.38%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.38%

  3. Don't know (11 votes [23.40%])

    Percentage of vote: 23.40%

Vote Guests cannot vote

#1 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 750

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 03:25 AM

I came across my ancient 4E4 entry yesterday and it resurrected my interest in creating a top-down, classic RTS in the vein of Warcraft II, C&C:Red Alert, Total Annihilation, etc (because that's what my 4E4 entry was).

 

I don't play many games these days but I always wanted to create a game like this, to add the features I missed as a player. These games were the last RTS I played in a big way and I know things moved on a lot, but to me this was a classic era. Do others see it that way?

 

So anyway a question to the indie people here mainly, but also to game players who are more in touch with trends and what's popular - is there a market for a game such as I describe? Would it have to be ground-breaking in other ways, or like Diner Dash games is there a market for Yet Another RTS?

 

I see that RTS isn't really a casual game genre, you have to invest time, it's also not the kind of game you can sell for $2 in my opinion. I was also wondering about iPad, it seems to me a classic RTS would transfer reasonably well to touch-screen.

 

All thoughts welcome :)



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#2 ambershee   Members   -  Reputation: 528

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 04:29 AM

I believe that there will always be a market for these games, but you will need a certain level of polish and a reasonable price point. Personally, Tiberian Sun was one of my favourite games for quite some time (and I thoroughly enjoyed Red Alert), and I'd love to see a return to reasonably paced RTS games in a similar lieu. You don't need mass scale like Supreme Commander or other complexity in order to be successful. StarCraft 2 is probably a reasonable example of this - there were not many fundamental changes to that game formula, despite how long it had been since the previous title.



#3 HyperV   Members   -  Reputation: 806

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:38 AM

depends on the gameplay



#4 Shippou   Members   -  Reputation: 1522

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:48 AM

It all depends on how well the game is made.

 

 There are so many poorly made RTS games out there right now, it would hard to market your game IMHO .

 

 If you could make a good Dungeon Keeper clone, you'd have many MANY greatful fans.


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#5 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 750

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 08:34 AM

depends on the gameplay

That's sort of my point. If you basically just had the gameplay from the games I mentioned, and created a decent campaign, or regular updates of new content, would people who love RTS buy them for their next RTS fix? Or would they only buy a game which does something new and exciting? 



#6 GaldorPunk   Members   -  Reputation: 1024

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 12:20 PM

I think there’s definitely a market for RTS games, (I’m making one too) it's niche and it's hard to pull off well, but it’s also a genre that is for the most part very underserved by both indies and AAA companies. I think it’s best if you can add something new to the classic RTS gameplay, but even if you make something fairly similar to an older game, I don’t think you’re going to have a problem with being seen as “yet another RTS” since there are so few of them these days.

 

That being said, I don’t like the iPad as a platform for a non-casual RTS, even though touch screen input could work, it would still be more limiting than mouse and keyboard. Also, with a classic RTS you’re going to be appealing to a niche genre, you won’t attract many causal impulse buyers, you’re going to want to charge a higher price than what’s normally accepted on mobile platforms, and it’s generally a lot harder to get noticed to begin with in the mobile app market.



#7 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 750

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 05:28 PM

re:iPad I was thinking that while it's not good for a 5min casual game, there must be people who play on their iPad for hours on end - long train commutes, in hotel rooms, etc. More and more iPad is the device people take with them everywhere, they might leave their laptop at home to take the iPad these days even.

 

The other idea which seems popular on tablets is turn-based games, especially where you play multiple games in parallel. I haven't decided if that would work well, but this probably IS a new(ish) move for an RTS.

 

However yeah I reckon I'd target PCs or make it cross platform so I can pursue iPad if I chose, or spin off an iPad game from the same engine easily.



#8 Oberon_Command   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 1896

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Posted 14 January 2014 - 07:12 PM

Oh man, I remember 4e4. My (unfinished) entry was my first reasonably complex project, also an RTS. Good times.

 

The real-time strategy genre is still my favourite genre. Some friends and I still play old-school RTSs in our spare time. Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, and StarCraft are the main ones I play, but I know some people who still bring out WarCraft III occasionally. So yes, there are still people out there playing those sorts of games, but I think whether there would be a market for a new one would depend greatly on how well the game could distinguish itself from its predecessors without straying too far from the familiar gameplay that RTS players like me love.



#9 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 750

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 08:33 AM

Brings back memories doesn't it :) I don't recall how far I got on my project, but I do remember my 4E4 entry wasn't as complete as I'd wanted and I worked on it after. I don't think it builds/runs on modern compilers although I never got round to finding out why!



#10 Shippou   Members   -  Reputation: 1522

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 12:39 PM

Hardest part is figuring out a pathfinder algorithm for each unit type in game ... ( I wish I could figure it out )


 Reactions To Technologies:
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2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

- Douglas Adams 2002


 


#11 dpadam450   Members   -  Reputation: 922

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Posted 15 January 2014 - 05:01 PM

Command and Conquer Generals was cancelled a month or two ago, so that might mean not really? RTS games aren't doing so well. I think End of Nations was cancelled in 2013 as well.



#12 mdwh   Members   -  Reputation: 873

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 07:46 AM

There are Android devices out there too (with Android having majority market share on tablets too now, I believe, if one cares about that). But the ~5" smartphone is the device that people now take with them everywhere, putting both 10" tablets and laptops as things that people only take with them sometimes (though 7" Android devices like the Nexus 7 are also very portable). Either way, I don't think it matters - there are more than enough people using PCs to play non-casual games; and all kinds of platforms have more than enough competition from other games (Google Play and IOS seem completely saturated with games). The immediate choice is the technology/toolkits/languages used, as it may make later porting to mobile platforms easier or harder depending on the choice.

When it comes to non-casual games, yes on the one hand I'd happily play a non-casual game for hours on a tablet if I found one I liked, OTOH, people do this with laptops too anyway. But I think a bigger issue is that "casual" doesn't necessarily mean "only play for a short time" (people seem to play casual games for hours, doesn't stop them being casual), but "easy to pick up". Whilst people are used to spending time to learn how to play a PC game (whether reading the manual, following tutorials, investing hours into it), for "mobile" OSs, people seem to expect more of an instant gratification - I'd argue most people won't even bother to read the instructions on the download page, and a non-casual game may risk 1 star reviews from people moaning that it isn't instantly understandable, unless you are good with targetting/marketing the game.

With the increased availability of touchscreen laptops, it's probably good practice to make a game potentially somewhat touchscreen friendly, especially things like being usable with only left mouse button. Actually this is good practice even for straightforward laptops - I find games that require right mouse button can be a pain to play on laptop with a touchpad.


 


http://erebusrpg.sourceforge.net/ - Erebus, Open Source RPG for Windows/Linux/Android
http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mark.harman/conquests.html - Conquests, Open Source Civ-like Game for Windows/Linux

#13 ambershee   Members   -  Reputation: 528

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 08:53 AM

Command and Conquer Generals was cancelled a month or two ago, so that might mean not really? RTS games aren't doing so well. I think End of Nations was cancelled in 2013 as well.

 

IMHO, it was cancelled because they tried to go free-to-play with it and couldn't get a payment model to work. Realistically, free-to-play and Command and Conquer style strategy games don't work that well. Age of Empires: Online is probably one of the most successful examples, and let's be honest, the free-to-play implementation was diabolically horrible and ruined the parts of the game that were quite enjoyable.



#14 ferrous   Members   -  Reputation: 2001

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 05:57 PM

Gotta go with maybe?  I personally can't go backwards, not even to StarCraft 2, it's too anachronistic for my tastes.  I never want to ever build a peon, or scout with a peon, or have peons mine for resources next to conveniently located tiles, or build supply depots or farms.  But obviously people still play SC2, even though in reality, it has not greatly changed the formula from SC1, which wasn't really that big of a departure from it's Warcraft roots.

 

Can I hope that you'll make a Kohan remake instead?

 

EDIT:

Hardest part is figuring out a pathfinder algorithm for each unit type in game ... ( I wish I could figure it out )

 

What are you having trouble with?  Having multiple units pathfinding at once, or multiple units of different sizes pathfinding?


Edited by ferrous, 16 January 2014 - 05:58 PM.


#15 LennyLen   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3780

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 07:10 PM


Can I hope that you'll make a Kohan remake instead?

 

Just make sure it's based on KIS/KAG and not KOW



#16 ferrous   Members   -  Reputation: 2001

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Posted 16 January 2014 - 07:24 PM

 


Can I hope that you'll make a Kohan remake instead?

 

Just make sure it's based on KIS/KAG and not KOW

 

 

At this point, beggars like myself can't be choosey =)



#17 d000hg   Members   -  Reputation: 750

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 02:34 AM

EDIT:

Hardest part is figuring out a pathfinder algorithm for each unit type in game ... ( I wish I could figure it out )

 

What are you having trouble with?  Having multiple units pathfinding at once, or multiple units of different sizes pathfinding?

 

 

I was wondering that too. I had worries about the CPU use to do it for lots of units on a large map but that was 10 years (yikes!) ago. My iPad is probably more powerful than the PC I developed my 4E4 entry on :)



#18 Shippou   Members   -  Reputation: 1522

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 03:24 AM

My issues always seem to stem from streamlining the pathfinder algorithm.

 

 Having more than 3 or 4 items on screen at once, slows the frame rate down a lot in Java .


 Reactions To Technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

- Douglas Adams 2002


 


#19 ambershee   Members   -  Reputation: 528

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 04:35 AM


I never want to ever build a peon, or scout with a peon, or have peons mine for resources next to conveniently located tiles, or build supply depots or farms.

 

You see, for me one of the biggest things I miss from the older RTS games was the resource harvesting; having a dedicated resource miner unit that goes out, collects resources and comes back. I feel like this was an important component of games like Command and Conquer, and allowed you to directly attack your opponents logistical chain, something which modern RTS games often miss out entirely. I feel that logisitcal warfare is just as important, if not more important than direct warfare - historically entire conflicts have been won without firing a single shot simply through clever maneuvering and resource denial.



#20 Shippou   Members   -  Reputation: 1522

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Posted 17 January 2014 - 07:25 AM

I use to send engineers over to the enemy refinery just as the harvester was starting to unload.

 I usually ended up with the entire load of tiberian before they were able to destroy their own  refinery and harvester.

 Taking over and than selling tiberian storage tanks and power plants was also very fun tactic .

* sigh * I miss the old C&C


 Reactions To Technologies:
1. Anything that is in the world when you’re born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way the world works.
2. Anything that's invented between when you’re fifteen and thirty-five is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it.
3. Anything invented after you're thirty-five is against the natural order of things.

- Douglas Adams 2002


 





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