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Kylotan

The 'rush': detrimental to RTS strategies?

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This quote from another thread made me think:
quote:
Original post by haro I''m not really fond of AOE/AOE2/AOM.. It always turns into 1. Try to win/kill his economy by rushing your opponent. 2. Maximize your economy while simultaneously pumping out the optimal number of units to continually attack him with.
Perhaps for an RTS to offer diverse and emergent strategy, it must bias the game overwhelmingly in favour of defence in the early stages so that a small advantage can''t be exploited in the form of a ''rush''. Obviously a rush is a valid strategy, but its mere existence often precludes the emergence of other strategies that demand a period of relative safety in order to develop. In other words, if there''s a chance that your opponent will rush you, you have to either beat them on their terms, or dig in. The first option implies copying the opponent, which is not terribly interesting. The second option only works if you have the defensive bias already mentioned, otherwise you''re just gambling at best and handicapping your growth at worst. One way of making this feasible would be to make your peons relatively dangerous vs. opposing forces, but poor at attacking opposing buildings. This forces the opposition to have a significant advantage before being able to conquer your home territory. Or start everyone off in a partly-fortified area, which will need to be worn down by a process of attrition. The flip-side of this is obviously avoiding stalemate. There must be some way of one side asserting dominance that doesn''t come down to ''sacrificing pieces'' as in Chess until one side has a peon and an archer vs. an opponent''s single peon. I actually found Age of Empires good in this regard as units had preferred targets and units to avoid, which meant that careful choice and deployment of units could break through any defence eventually. Any thoughts? [ MSVC Fixes | STL Docs | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost
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Guest Anonymous Poster
Usually, the "main" building has a bit of firepower to stave off an early rush.

I don''t think a rush is all that common or necessary -- when we play around the office, he who rushes, almost never wins.

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I think that a solution to the "rush" is best found by examining why it doesn''t happen in real life. RTSes almost exclusively start with a single lowly peasant coming out of a hut. With this zero-based buildup, it''s no wonder that minor inequalities early on can have such a huge impact.

I suggest that all players start a game with a decent fortification, in terms of buildings and warriors, already in place.


How appropriate. You fight like a cow.

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One realism problem, ignoring gameplay for a moment, of all build-base-then-attack RTS games is that it leads to all sides becoming more powerful over the course of their battle as they develop, wheras in the real world fighting is not a very good method of promoting growth in an economy, or much of anything for that matter. A "rush" of any kind shouldn''t be possible in its RTS definition, devoting everything at the start of the game to an overwhelming wave.

Continuing along those lines, I think that one thing most RTS games miss is the idea of unifying the play to a smaller number of experiences. You are fairly dragged along from developing your civilization or whatever into smashing the other guy, or else you lose, and they are like different games played on the same board. Outside reinforcements are generally avoided in favor of building it all from scratch, and when items like power and food are used as limitations, our commander can at times feel like a economic planner, not someone building military forces and defenses. This disjointness has turned me off to RTS games...I played a few(C&C/RA 1, WC I+II) and then tired of it. They try to strike a balance between fighting and resources and really it just seems too needlessly busy and hectic.

There are games that go to the two extremes of all-resources or all-fighting, but they are fewer. (The Settlers series and Myth, for example) There is no doubt that the rush "problem" is eliminated in them, however.

Perhaps the real problem is that the real-time we are using is too fast; we should stop using awkwardly-formed scales that try to overlook how one tiny building can magically produce people that are bigger than its doors, and move to a more realistic one where it takes some time to move people about, and more attention can be given to thoughtful strategy and real logistical problems instead of limiting our units through quantities and construction times.

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RTF: "more attention can be given to thoughtful strategy and real logistical problems"

The game would then be less of an RTS and more of a turn based strategy game almost. The main selling point of RTS''s i think is that they effectively combine strategical thinking with fast paced action. So in order to balance these things out, of course there will be less realism and more ''disjointness''.

+ + +

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I would personally like an RTS to have defensive structures powerful enough to be reckoned with instead of, as often seems to be the case, near-symbolic defenses incapable of doing more than slow down a force of any significant size. If towers were made enough of a threat to make infantry assaults truly costly - powerful enough that one would not normally tackle them without decent support by artillery or siege engines - this might stop much of the immediate rushing.

Of course, this would only move the rushing up a notch to a catapult rush, so siege units would have to be weak enough that even entry-level infantry could easily destroy them unless skillfully defended.

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Has anyone played RA2 online. Defensive structures get desemated withing 4 tank shots. And buildings can be destroyed so easily. Rushes are the norm it''s hopeless.

I heard C & C Generals had done good things to stop that sort of tactic. I agree that defensive structures should be worth building but you run the risk of stalemate with impenatrable defenses. Maybe buildings could come with there own defenses like machine guns/AA guns already installed. So you could build without fear of being wiped out by 5 enemy tanks.

I personally quite like Myth style games where you can''t churn out units at a teriffic rate.

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I agree with miserable. In real life, a persons instinct is surely to protect his own ass instead of kick another''s, (excluding extraordinary circumstance). At least, it''s true for me .

By the same token (as mark woods states) defensive units/buildings need to be beatable. Perhaps a system of irrepairable structural integrity may help:

Building built, 100% HP, 100% Structural Integrity
Building attacked until 30%HP and 85% SI
Building Repaired, 100%HP, 85%SI
at which point further attacks deplete HP''s at an increased rate, proportional to the missing SI.

Another option is to make SI prohibitively expensive to repair, or only under special (say cease fire) conditions.

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There are games that don''t allow for rush tacticts but they are not well known by people. Perhaps because they do want rush tacticts. I have seen one or two of those games but I can''t even remember their names now. That being said, I am not very fond of games that allow for the opponent to simply build a huge army of whatever unit is the biggest,hardest and meanest of them all. Then using it to crush the opponent. Gets kind of boring after a while, no matter who is winning. I personally think that a point system like warhammer epic would be much better.

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Does anybody remember KKND and KKND 2: Krossfire? I think those games had exactly these elements.

1) Your opponent was damn hard and tried to rush you every five minutes or so. These games were in fact the hardest RTS games I''ve ever tried. But fun.

2) Defense facilities were very good. You could only build four or six of the best towers, but that was enough to destroy hundreds of enemies - if you repaired them while they were being attacked. Additionally, you could build some super units - usually snipers - and you could find some ancient robots in bunkers and make them fight for you.

Due to the fact that these games were damn hard and that you had to fear an attack at every point of time, it was really satisfying if you found a strategy in the end to overwhelm your opponent.

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