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Fuzztrek

RTS: stuff

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Hey all, I'd like to know what everyone feels about rts "stuff". I'm just going to list a bunch of things off and everyone can answer yes or no (or provide a lengthy explaination using very complicated words that really do not have any relevance to the topic if they absolutly *must*) to. Anyway, here they are. Remember quality is not a factor, so just assume it would be fairly well executed.
  1. How do you feel about weather effects? (such as rain, snow or wind)
  2. How do you feel about weather effects effecting units? (and/or buildings)
  3. How do you feel about natural phenomena? (such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or cyclones. This also includes the common thunderstorm)
  4. How do you feel about natural phenomena effecting units and buildings?
  5. How do you feel about a day/night cycle?
  6. How do you feel about day/night cycles effecting unit behaviour? (such as smaller sight radius, etc)
  7. How do you feel about game time (can be in sync with real time. eg, the option to show the day/night cycle (such as the sun/moon thing in warcraft 3, the real time, a clock, something.))
  8. How do you feel about 3D terrain? How about 3D terrain that makes you drool?
  9. How do you feel about terrain.. er.. elements? (such as water, resource integration (into tileset/terrain), hills, valleies, slues, etc)
  10. How do you feel about interface placement? (Most games have a rectangular interface, most games have it at the bottom, though some have it at the right or left side.)
  11. How do you feel about ambient sounds/music? Would you like to see birds (or appropriate animal/unit for tileset) flying around?
  12. How do you feel about the involvment of neutral units in a rts? Such as creeps in warcraft 3.
  13. How do you feel about heros? (such as in warcraft 3)
heh, phew! thats a lot. just answer yes/no if you want. I know it isn't the grammatically corret way of answering a question such as these, but it's much easier . Thanks!! fuzztrek ¬_¬ [edited by - Fuzztrek on November 18, 2002 10:15:49 PM]

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The ones that caught my mind were nighttime visibility and ambient creatures. Those I think positively of.

I don't think incredible 3D terrain is necessary - I'm more interested in how my units are going to be limited by or how they will interact with the environment.

Interface placement could be a choosable option.

The rest, I am neutral about.



[edited by - Waverider on November 18, 2002 6:40:47 PM]

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// WARNING! THIS POST MAY BE A BIT LONG!

I like the idea of day and night cycles but I don''t want natural weather occurances for anything other than cosmetics. Tornadoes sweeping away units or buildings are random and really don''t make the game fair. Using them as Hero/God powers though is cool. I like control and I hate losing it.

As far as 3D terrain it doesn''t really matter to me but I think 2d would be better. Only because I''ve seen nothing but crappy 3d graphics when it comes to RTS games. With the exception of Warcraft 3 all the models are when zoomed in and textures are pretty bland as well.

I think interface is very important, definatly available should be hotkeys and it would be nice if they were, in some way, customizable. I prefer it at the bottom rather than at the top due to personal perspective reasons. I usually scroll up and to me it seems that UI at the top of the screen would make me feel as if it is blocking my view. Maybe a side-sticking moveable interface would be nice.

I really like cosmetic extra like birds, ambient music and weather. It''s a big plus but often I''ll notice it a few times then forget about it so I wouldn''t consider it important unless you plan to make it effect gameplay somehow.

Creeps were a nice change in WC3, their also in Age of Mythology. I like it but I don''t think it should be on every map unless it is a main gameplay factor (WC3 "Creeping").

Heroes were also a nice part of WC3 but they can also become overpowered or make it difficult to provide balance. Heroes in AoM are toned down a bit to just being generally stronger units and the super ability thing was put on the myth units. I would favor one over the other but the two games are so different I don''t think it''d be fair.

As far as terrain, I think it''s a definate inclusion. Hills for height advantage and water for naval battles or natural walls, creating choke points adds to the strategic theme of the game itself.

/* Well I think I''ve covered everything, sorry about the length if you have trouble reading long things. */

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1.)Make it an option and light enough to where it won''t obscure vision.
2.)Intriguing.
3.)Too random to make players happy. "OMG the computer keeps earthquaking my base!" seems to be something that I''d hear in game. Maybe for a single-player campaign only.
4.)Read Above.
5.)Good. Ala Earth 2150 and WC3, good.
6.)Well, I really think Return of the King was the best of the books, but since you put it that way...
7.)Again, it''s all good.
8.)Syncing with real-time would be sad.
9.)Earth 2150.
10.)Earth 2150.
11.)No, maybe not, Fellowship definately had it''s merits over TT and Return, but I dont'' know what you''re picking at. Though we all have to agree, Two Towers was the low point of the trilogy.
12.)Personally, I''d love to see a semi-customizable interface. Something to where if you didn''t want to see something, you either didn''t see it, or only saw it when you needed it(unit command bar).
13.)Can add to the game environment.
14.)Balancing issues aside, a nifty idea.
15.)Balance issues galore. Nice if you pull it off, horrendous if you don''t.

-Ryan "Run_The_Shadows"
-Run_The_Shadows@excite.com
-The Navidson Record! The best film you''ll never see!

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Weather Effects-
Should only really decrease visiblity and perhaps weapon range. It would have quite an effect if you were making a WWI/II RTS, with your units in the trenches etc. But overall it is just a cosmetic thing.

Natural Phenomena-
Whoever had the brain wave of these things in an RTS needs to find a new line of work. Are we playing a strategy game or a game of chance?? When was the last time a squad of elite soldiers (in the real world) had a meteor land on them??

Day/Night-
Absoultely beautiful idea. I liked it in Earth 2150, but I feel it could be used a lot more. I think your strategies actually NEED to change during the night. This always seems to be promised in the next C&C game, until it comes out and everyone forgets they ever made the promise.

Terrain-
I believe that terrain should be important. Warrior kings did a great job of this, if you stick your archers on top of a hill they will easily kill a much larger group of archers who haven''t got the high ground advantage.
This is another factor which always seems to be advertised in RTS games but rarely delivers. The LOS advantage given is normally to small to notice, if you are on top of a hilll you should be able to see twice as far as someone who doesn''t have that height advantage.

Interface-
Although Tribes was a FPS it had an awesome interface, you could literally drag and drop your console windows/health bar etc anywhere on the screen.

Neutral Units-
If the engine can handle it, having heaps of civilians running around a city, for you to do what you want with, would be pretty sweet.

Hero Units-
I don''t like them personally. They are ok in fantasy games (warcraft 3), but no RTS that takes itself seriously should have these guys. It is similar to the "perfect" unit which RTS games need to steer clear of. Some people may argue that having a hero adds to the strategy, but I believe they do this in a negative way, so basically, I would steer clear of them.

Doolwind

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How do you feel about weather effects? (such as rain, snow or wind)
How do you feel about weather effects effecting units? (and/or buildings)


If it is just eye candy then I am pretty ambivalent about it. I suppose it adds a nice bit of realism to the game.
If it actually has an effect on the gameplay, then I think it could be very interesting. I don't want to see annoying and random effects (like PSWind's tornado), but things like fog reducing line of sight, rain and snow reducing movement,

How do you feel about natural phenomena? (such as earthquakes, tornadoes, or cyclones. This also includes the common thunderstorm)

How do you feel about natural phenomena effecting units and buildings?
I think these would be more annoying than anything else. I don't big random factors screwing up my game. I thought the worms in emporer were pretty annoying, for example.

How do you feel about a day/night cycle?
How do you feel about day/night cycles effecting unit behaviour? (such as smaller sight radius, etc)


If it gives rise to some interesting strategies, I'm all for it.
I don't think the penalties should be too severe though, or it becomes too difficult to fight and you end up not being able to do much for half the game.

How do you feel about game time (can be in sync with real time. eg, the option to show the day/night cycle (such as the sun/moon thing in warcraft 3, the real time, a clock, something.))

I would like to see slightly more consistent time scales than we see in games at the moment. The idea that it can take as long to build a building as it takes to kill an enemy or walk halfway across the map seems slightly absurd.

How do you feel about 3D terrain? How about 3D terrain that makes you drool?

I like 3D terrain, and I think it can potentially add a great deal to the game. However, I do not want to have to spend ages to learn the camera controls - they should be simple and intuitive.

How do you feel about terrain.. er.. elements? (such as water, resource integration (into tileset/terrain), hills, valleies, slues, etc)

Without them, the map would be pretty dull, wouldn't it? I'd like to see terrain have more impact on gameplay though, in many RTS games the terrain doesn't do much more than block line of sight and get slightly in the way of some units.

How do you feel about interface placement? (Most games have a rectangular interface, most games have it at the bottom, though some have it at the right or left side.)

As long as the interface is well designed and doesn't intrude too much on the main screen, I don't care where it is.

How do you feel about ambient sounds/music? Would you like to see birds (or appropriate animal/unit for tileset) flying around?

I think ambient sounds would be missed if they weren't there. However, I do think that these things could be implemented more realistically. Lets be honest, how many lions or tigers would just wander about aimlessly while gigantic tanks roll by and huge explosions erupting all around them?

How do you feel about the involvment of neutral units in a rts? Such as creeps in warcraft 3.

See above.

How do you feel about heros? (such as in warcraft 3)

A lot depends on how they are implemented. I haven't actually played WC3 yet. I think they could either be a worthwhile addition, a micromanagement nightmare, or horribly unbalancing.


[edited by - Sandman on November 19, 2002 7:09:26 AM]

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Hi,

here's my response:

  1. absolutely YES
  2. that's another YES
  3. YES (units yes/buildings not necessarily)
  4. absolutely YES
  5. absolutely YES
  6. absolutely YES
  7. YES (real-time:game-time ratio should variable with some clear indication if appropriate)
  8. YES (it's a necessity) / NO (does not need to have that good terrain)
  9. absolutely YES
  10. unprecedented YES for custom interface placement
  11. YES (but not necessarily ... RTS games are aimed at different parts of the world)
  12. YES (neutrals should be there for sure)
  13. NO (every unit may become a hero in RL )


hope this helps you


Petr Stedry

[edited by - Petr Stedry on November 19, 2002 7:17:45 AM]

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1. This is technology dependent, but if your game world is in a non-science fiction era, then weather is a good effect to have in a game. And I think many posters here who have said that weather is mainly cosmetic is thinking in tactical terms still. Russia has been saved 3 times from its incredible winters (vs. Teutonic Knights, Napoleon, and Hitler). The Japanese were saved from the Monguls by a typhoon, and the Spanish Armada was greatly weakened by a storm as well. The Germans did so well initially in the Battle of the Bulge because the Allies could not use its air superiority. So to think weather is just cosmetics is vastly under-rating the power of weather in a large scale sense.

2. See#1 above. As for how it will actually affect units, depending on the unit type, they may not be useable (aircraft during a storm for example) or may have mobility reduced. Also, if units were not properly equipped to deal with harsh climates, they may suffer morale or even physical damage (think desert or arctic campaigns).

3. Natural phenomena may be good in single player campaigns. However, undetectable phenomena may be resented by players. However, powerful storm systems will add an element of strategy to the game. My grandfather received a bronze star in WWII by rescuing the survivors of 3 DE''s that sank during the Typhoon of 1944, so things like this can have adverse affects on your nation''s armed forces.

4. See #3 above.

5. Depending on technology, this is a crucial element. Night fighting rarely occurred historically mainly because of the risk of friendly casualties. However, nightfall is an excellent means of escape for a beleagured side.

6. Again, largely dependent on tech level. However, this question does beg the question...what about unit fatigue? An army can not fight non-stop without rest unless its a droid army. Unit fatigue should be factor in all strategy games (IMHO)

7. If you mean show what time it is in the game, yes, this is a good idea so a commander can prepare accordingly.

8. I''m mixed on 3d terrain. It''s important for line of sight rules and also if you have air power, but otherwise, it''s mostly eye-candy. Now, there is a certain advantage to taking the higher ground, but this can be implemented in 2d as well, albeit a bit more diffucult (close combat had a good LOS system in 2d).

9. This is absolutely vital to a strategy game. A commander must consider the terrain he is fighting in to know what troops to use, and how to best manipulate his enemy. Terrain creates natural choke points, makes positions more or less easy to defend from, provides cover, makes movement more diffuclt, etc. Knowing when to attack and where is in many ways more important than what to attack with, since the answer to the first two really determines what to attack with. Too many games emphasize the "what" to attack with over when, where, and how to use troops.

10. Since everyone is different, I don''t think this one matters too much. Having customizable interfaces would be nice if possible though.

11. That is very tactically oriented in my book. If you the player can see minute details in essentially the first person, then the scale belongs to a tactical game. To me, a strategy game is a bit larger than life. I personally think it would be a waste of resources.

12. This is an interesting factor, and one that plays an important part in historical war. Either the player can ignore the neutral side''s stance and make a new enemy, or the players have to figure a way around the neutral country''s position. Look at how we are jockeying now to curry support for Arabic countries so that if they will not outright be against us if we invade Iraq, they will at least not retaliate.

13. This to me is also a tactical consideration. The only version of "heroes'' I would have are the officers commanding the units. Brilliant commanders will be favored over mediocre or poor ones. I do however think that elite units and the occasional heroic act are good as long as they are balanced on each side. I loved how in close combat sometimes a guy in a squad would go berserk and cut down a bunch of the enemy (I once saw a guy go nuts in one of my squads after being pinned down for like 10 minutes. What two squads couldn''t do to take down a mg42 position, he did single handedly...fun to watch too).

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Weather and sun cycles are nice, but distracting. They add a more realistic touch to the game, but if you have them affect the game units to much, it becomes frustrating that your giant, 2,000-man assault on the enemy headquarters fails because of heavy snow or you get killed by a midnight assault when your AI opponent can see it''s units in the dark and you can''t. It should probably only be included in deep, broad games.

-"The enemy is in front of us...the enemy is behind us... the enemy is to the right and the left of us...they can''''t get away this time!"-
-General Douglas Macarthur

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