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Magriep

Ideas for an RTS

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I''ve always enjoyed RTS and I would eventually like to develop one, but I lack the programming knowledge. But I did realize I could start now with a Design Doc. Since I''m not the creative type, I''m asking th community for input/ideas. I personally enjoy non-fiction RTS, but I also enjoy fantasy RTS such as WC3.

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Well I''m somewhat creative, but I can''t come up with a whole RTS story. I like to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of other people, which is why I wanted to hear ideas from this community.

On another note: I have some programming knowledge, but like I said before not enough to program a game such as an RTS. Well what would you expect from a person who just started programming a few months ago, but have been a gamer for a long time.

So I would appreciate your ideas/feedback on what would make a good RTS.

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Here''s an idea: Your the ruler of Rome, the whole empire is at your command. You are the next Ceasar. Will Rome survive under your command or crumble to the ground?

What do you guys think of that idea? I would like input before brainstorming details.

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What about a game where you macromanage troop movement, resource collection, and building. Then you would have battles anywhere troop posistions collide. This probably wouldnt work for realistic rts's(too many troops) but you could work with fantasy or sci-themes. A bigger factor that would come into roles in these games is defensive structures and terrain compared to the average rts

[edited by - ohohvi on July 27, 2002 11:48:07 PM]

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Guest Anonymous Poster
And while your at it make it really original by sticking in an alien bug race, alien psychic race, and a human race.
And call it "Starcraft, macromanagement edition".

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Do you want an actual storyline? Sort of like what Starcraft did? Or are you more concerned about the backdrop and setting of your game world?

Personally, though I''ve never designed nor programmed a game, I''m going to do the following to flesh out my game:

1. Build the game world/atmosphere/history/setting
2. Develop storyline integrated into the game world
3. Sketch out rough elements of gameplay features I would like
4. Understand what the intended audience would appreciate in my game and gameworld
5. Integrate features intended audience may like

Only then would I actually start any sort of preliminary programming. Once you have some rough ideas of programming necessities, then I think you can start the design doc.

That''s just me, and I''m not a professional, so don''t take my word as gospel or anything. In fact, I''m learning myself. But the reason I would do the above is that I think game companies tend to think about gameplay, and gameplay features (technology) first, and then design the storyline around the gameplay and game engine. In other words they think, "okay, let''s make a first person shooter, with really awesome lighting techniques, and it''ll be this sort of sci-fi/horror game". In my opinion, that''s totally bass ackwards, but others would strongly disagree with me I''m sure. I think it also explains why games are often beautiful eye candy or may have some neat "gimmicks" (like Red Factions deformable terrain), but with little true depth and immersion...simply because story and backdrop were afterthoughts, rather than the foundation.

But storyline and backdrop are just that....a foundation. Who cares if you have a great foundation with no building? That''s where the gameplay features, and the technology to support it come in.

As for personal taste, I believe you should create the things that get you stoked and capture your personal interest and imagination. I think that games, like movies, need a strong guiding director to guide the vision of the game. If a game is too democratic...it''s like having too many cooks in the kitchen. There needs to be someone with a guiding vision and direction to make it unique and with a distinct feel to it. I think this is another area where games sometimes fail, because game storylines and backdrops are done by committee or consensus rather than with an overall director at the helm.

So it may be nice to like to brainstorm, but I think someone needs to have a firm hand in the direction and vision of the game. So my suggestion would be to just think about what really interests you and get a feel for how others like it. Just my two cents

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Guest Anonymous Poster
How about including a bit of an rpg element to your game by further expanding on the ideas from w3, Instead of just special characters gaining xp all of your army can gain experience an get upgrades and different eapons along the way. When you move between games you can save your army and load it up in the new game, thus encouraging players to look after theyre troops.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
As a long-time proponent of strong storyline foundations in games, I would suggest that you make the STORY behind the game your first priority. You don''t have to write a novel or anything, but you need a sequence of events.

While you usually must consider the genre of game you want to create first, once you''ve decided that you should think of it in these terms: Who are your main characters? Since its an RTS, are the main characters going to be commanders of large armies? Small "elements"? If you are interested to a really small scale RTS, are they going to be individual characters? These should all be story considerations first and foremost.

There''s nothing wrong with thinking of cool gameplay features you''d like to implement, and I should comment that in some cases, a story can be designed around those features. But if you put the story as your first primary objective, you will find that you are building everything around the story, which, while it forces you to be more creative perhaps, it also helps to ensure that the features of the game all make sense to the progression of the story.

But why bother with a story at all? Well probably the best reason of all for YOU as the designer is that it''s going to be a more powerful, more lasting game that way.

The difference between Starcraft and a hundred other games is that when the game is over, people still reminisce about how Starcraft had a powerful story, and it makes them remember the game and want to go back and play it again someday. Do you know how many RTS'' were made the same year Starcraft was? Neither do I, but with the possible exception of Total Annihlation (which a friend of mine argues had a stronger story than Starcraft), that entire Era after Warcraft II is dominated by Starcraft.

A game with cool, innovative gameplay features will be considered original only until its not, and then even the fact that you were first won''t save your game from getting trampled underfoot. But people will ALWAYS REMEMBER a game with a GOOD, STRONG STORY.

---------------------------

Now, to answer your question: If you''re just looking for a simple RTS concept to experiment with for your first game, I''d recommend playing around with ideas involving either very small- or very large-scale battles.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Note: That last post was written by me, Brian Lacy, of Smoking Monkey Studios. Smoking Monkey Studios is an amateur game development company with better-than-average chances at going Pro. Currently our members are scattered around the world, and we''re constantly on the lookout for real talent to speed our projects along, so regardless of where you hang your hat, e-mail me at brian@smoking-monkey.org if you''re interested or just curious! Thanks for indulging me a minor plug. :D

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