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RPS, anyone?

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Has anyone made a fully customizable RTS, yet. I know Kingdom Under Fire and WarCraft III include RPG elements, but they mostly pertain to the hero units and not the armies themselves. How about designing a game with putty armies? The users actions define whether the units attack with different elements, at different times of day, how much they should cost (in the case of mass produced units). I write this because I get board of using the same playing style over and over again, but I would have to change too many elements of my army if I switched races. Can a happy medium be reached between RTS and RPG?

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I think I like what you are saying. At first I thought you were talking about Ogre Battle, but you do have some interesting general ideas.
Perhaps fleshing them out might be good.

-------------------------
(Gorgeous graphics)+(beautiful sound effects)+(symphonic music)+(no gameplay) != Good game

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I''ve been thinking about how to create customizable armies and even nations. What I find lacking in RTS games is the ability to control not just your fighting style, but your control style as well. What do I mean by that? Well, first off, most RTS don''t really have any sort of management control. You basically lump your units together in a bounding box and order away.

What i''d like to do instead is see things like unit integrity, chain of command, and leadership to name a few. But what about Army organization itself? Imagine for a second that instead of controlling individual units, you have to control GROUPS of units. So instead of being able to click on (and create) one unit, you instead control platoons, squads, companies, lances, maniples, cohorts, or whatever you want to call them.

Okay, big deal. So you''re controlling groups instead of individuals...what''s the difference? It''s a HUGE difference. Let me explain. Let''s say your smallest group is comprised of 6 "grogs". Now, it''s not enough that you are controlling them, you have to give them orders. Giving orders requires unit integrity and cohesion. If the group gets too dispersed, then the unit fails to operate correctly. This is a tremendously important aspect of tactical warfare and brings a huge level of gameplay. How so? First off, you have to ensure that your group doesn''t get scattered. Secondly, you have to have a leader of the group....leader gets killed, unit integrity falters.

So where does the customization come in? Easy. How big is the smallest controllable unit. How are leaders replaced? What is the chain of command? When you can control the organization of an army, you are really saying how flexible the army is.

And there''s another thing that you can customize. In RTS games, orders are incredibly simple. For the most part, you have an attack, move and special. In real life however orders are far more complex. When you move, is it evasive movement? Opportunistic movement? Bounding overwatch for reconoittering? Do you move to maximize defense or offense or sensory capacity? When you attack, is it an all-out attack, a cautious attack, or a feint? When a unit defends, is it a digging in static defense or a mobile evasive defense? How about giving orders for recon information? This entails passing along communication relays. How about requesting fire support or evac? At what level of command can commanders request this?

When you look at unit organization and the different types of orders you can give, it gives an incredible wealth of customization options. And I haven''t even touched on the ability to create your own "nation" and cultural mindset for the troops. When you get right down to it....I think RTS game designers have been incredibly dull when it comes to innovation and imagination. I don''t think what I''ve explained is too hard to implement, but I''m not a programmer per se. All I know is that none of what I said above is in anyway original itself, as I''ve merely culled these ideas from table top wargames. I honestly think RTS game desingers need to go out and play a few classic wargames to increase the wealth of innovative game play out there.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
you should try ground control or warzone 2100.


in wz2100, you could drive individual units,or if a group was selected you''d control the one in the lead.

in ground control, you were forced to select and order groups of units.

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You should also check out Shogun: Total War. You control groups of units, and fear and such can overtake your units and cause them to flee.

There was also this really old game, I think it was called Plains of War. Anyways, it was a revolution game (French revolution), and you also controlled groups of units there. If your officer was killed, your group would run off, but your other groups with commanding officers would stay on.

In both games, you can also get into different positions (like a box, a wedge, etc.) and do all sorts of things.

Great games.



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A possible problem here is that you''re making the act of giving orders very complex, in a real-time strategy game. When time is critical and several fights may be going on at once, you don''t want to bog the player down with tons of micromanagement.

Of course, this could be fixed by simply slowing the pace of the game down a bit, below that of frantic games like Age of Empires and War/Starcraft.

~CGameProgrammer( );

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CGameProgrammer-
That''s why I want to create a hybrid time system. The more I think about it, the less intrigued I am by real time. The major flaw with real time is that because of human limitations, the player can really only focus on controlling a few units at a time, in one or two places on the map. The trouble is that the enemy can attack on several fronts at the same time, which simply overwhelms the human player. In other words, real time looks pretty, and it FEELS more authentic because you are issuing orders in real time, but it''s actually limited. Because of that, I think a hybrid system will be more realistic than a pure turn based system.

I also feel that RTS games don''t really stress the concepts of orders, organization or planning. Basically RTS games are 80% reaction, 20% planning. Because you have the limits of real time, you can''t issue complex orders. Because many games don''t stress the concept of groups, you have to micro-manage many units at once, further eroding the time allotment a player can focus on issuing orders to units or planning. Even in games that have groups of units, elements like unit integrity don''t come into play (unit integrity is basically the "cohesion" of a unit....if the members of a group become dispersed, they can no longer act on their orders effectively. Cohesion can be disrupted by hard fighting, morale loss, or even just terrain). Having a combined turn and real time system will allow for the best of both worlds. It can appease the micro-managers who can issue very complex orders, and will also apeal to real-time players who can watch their units fight in real time. Also, by having turns, a deeper level of thinking and forethought will be required.

I think real time is actually more of a hinderance than a help, and the more I think about it, the less gameplay options it brings to the table.

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