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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions to my previous post. I've now got Rise of Nations (PC), Advance Wars 2 (GBA), Final Fantasy Tactics (GBA), and Starcraft (PC) on order (it wasn't in stock). Now if I could just buy enough time to play them all.

I'm actually planning to shift the focus of my research from camera control (been doing it for 4 years, bored out of my nut) to RTS AI (or maybe planning in general). I haven't started reading much, but I thought it would be a good idea to see what games are out there, how they work, etc. before I start trying to work on the AI.

I can't believe how much information there is to remember in an RTS! I thought my head was going to explode when I went through the first tutorial in Rise of Nations. This brings me to my complaint about games: they're too bloody hard.

I don't mean hard from a strategic point-of-view, I mean from a memory point-of-view. Back in the old days (C64 era), characters could run-and-jump, and could be controlled with a joystick with one button. The capabilities of characters now are numerous, so providing the user with the ability to control the character necessitates complex controllers and control schemes. Now I need to remember obscure button combos and when to use them, execute them with impeccable timing, etc.

The problem I have with this is the amount of time I can dedicate to gaming. When I am working, I usually only manage spurts of about 1-2 hours/month at best, and often go 3-4 months without gaming at all. If I spend the requisite time learning the control scheme, odds are pretty good that I won't get a chance to play further until another month or so. By that time I've forgotten all the combos and usually start back at the beginning to go through the requisite tutorial sections. I've lost count of the number of times I've played the first parts of Wind Waker, Beyond Good & Evil, Halo, and basically every game in my library (although I don't like Halo, so that has long since been retired).

I guess I'm not the hardcore gamer I used to be (or think I am), and should restrict myself to games that have easier control schemes. Help may be at hand with the Wii, and I can only hope that it offers diversity (simple games for me, complex games for the hardcore gamers) that I'm after.
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Ugh, you're not kidding.

I've specifically sworn off fighting games and a fair number of action games due to this combo-obsession thing. I don't have the time or inclination to memorize dozens of sequences of actions, let alone convert them into muscle-memory so that I can actually execute them fast enough to be useful.

I find that if a game has a medium number of buttons (say, no more than 8) I can figure it out in a single sitting, and then provided I play it every now and then, I'll retain the controls long enough to manage. However, as soon as the number gets large, or any kind of combos are involved (beyond two buttons), my chances of ever playing effectively basically crawl down the toilet.

It's been an interesting experience working on a game with some painfully sophisticated controls, and trying to find ways to get it under that magic barrier to where it feels powerful and interesting, but isn't a huge memorization-fest. It's harder than it sounds, and it really makes you appreciate those few games that really nailed the good controls. The downside is that it makes you acutely aware of every niggling defect and inefficiency in all the other games, too [grin]

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I'm glad I'm not the only one put off some games because of this [smile].

Original post by ApochPiQ

It's harder than it sounds, and it really makes you appreciate those few games that really nailed the good controls.

There was a reason that I didn't propose a solution to the problem [grin]. I suppose some of the complexity could be offset by having a refresher mode to bring you back up to speed with the controls. But this issue is best solved by people other than me.

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