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draqza

strategy games questions

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I was just wondering about people''s opinions of the new breed of strategy games coming out. Personally, I like the style of Warcraft II, Dark Reign, and TA, but there seems to be a trend going toward fewer units and more complicated missions, like Warcraft III and Myth. Turn-based strategy don''t seem to be evolving towards anything in particular, since I see games both in the style of Heroes III and Jagged Alliance--armies limited only by resources, and the squad approach. So what do people here like? Do you prefer having only a few units, or would you rather be able to work more units and devise larger strategies? I know, "larger strategies" generally means "defend the base until you can tank rush with about 300 tanks," but some gamers go other ways with it.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
"I was just wondering about people''s opinions of the new breed of strategy games coming out. Personally, I like the style of Warcraft II, Dark Reign, and TA, but there seems to be a trend going toward fewer units and more complicated missions, like Warcraft III and Myth."

warcraft III and myth don''t neccessarily have fewer units. war3 isn''t out so I''ll talk myth. In myth you often have 20+ units. In warcraft you rarely have more than 20 combat units at a time, the rest are peons and stuff. I think war3 will be similar to war2 in terms of combat units, Starcraft used much larger armies than war2 and I think they learned their lesson. The nice thing is that the more boring stuff (is mining gold or vespene really all that fun?) will be trimmed. It will still affect the game, you just won''t waste time doing pointless tasks. I suppose you could just double the number of units and half the costs, but with fewer units you get better control which leads to more advanced tactics. That in turn leads to more advanced strategy and big reduction in the arcade factor. So yeah I really think this is going the right way. You might want to check out Ethermoon.com to see the RTS they''re working on. It''s being made by top Starcraft players. This isn''t some newbie project either, the programmer and artist are professionals in their fields, the designer is a SC champion and great at other games, the other guys are cool too. Best of all I''m going to be a beta tester, whoohoo.


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Guest Anonymous Poster
If there are alot of troops then being able to create groups of units that moving like one is a quite good solution. That way you don''t have to control each trooper individually.

Kinda like in that new samurai strategy game, can''t remember the name right now... Shogun something... (perhaps just Shogun)

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I tend to believe that RTS''s are going through an optimization phase. I think there has been a a realisation that RTS''s are becoming over complicated and cumbersome to use/play.

Yes, i think that there should be easier controls in RTS''s and you should be allowed as the player to player the game differently ever time you play it. Other wise the game is not really a strategy game.

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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I''m glad to see people are responding to my messages...

To the anon. poster, most strat games do allow grouping. Warcraft 2 only allowed 9 per group, which kind of sucked, but Dark Reign and TA allow essentially infinite groupings, and combining on keys.

I don''t have anything against optimizing, but by limiting your units (and making that screwy 3D camera that you have to mess with as you play...I''m a fan of the isometric and top-down views) I really think they are limiting the way you can play.

But...what if it is developed in a way that rewards those players who are willing to use fewer units? On one of the RPG design boards, I mentioned allowing both upgradeable (spelling?) weapons and the basic "pick up a new weapon at each town" format. That could be done for strategy games as well. TA (I think) had veteran units which got more accurate and higher damage based on kills. My (new) idea is to introduce a slightly enhanced version of this. Units get upgrades (HP, attack power, attack rate, special skills, etc.) for killing (and I''m sure if Landfish is reading this, he won''t be happy with murder-based experience) enemies, but they gain experience based on the number of allies. More allies = Less experience. And when they do gain abilities, they also gain less if they have more allies. So players happy with the tank rush can feel free to build 100 tanks (or knights, or whatever) and try to storm an enemy base. However, the player who has 20 elite units, which have systematically conquered cities, will prevail 9 times out of 10, due to enhanced units.

What do you think of that?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
this is the first anon here, hmm I think maybe it''s time I got a name (other than anonymouse)

"To the anon. poster, most strat games do allow grouping."

I think he meant more tightly grouped groups, such as formations. The current system doesn''t make controlling a large number of units as easy as controlling one (I doubt any system can), it just issues the same command to multiple units. They are not as one.


"I don''t have anything against optimizing, but by limiting your units"

There is a very good reason but it''s not apparent. In most RTS games economy dominates way too much. Mindlessly pumping out units is stronger than managing a few well. This forces both players to use very large armies with little control, it becomes an arcade game. The selection limit is a necessary evil. It makes mass unit strategies less powerful. Eventually I expect the restriction to be removed as other advances in design get rid of the problem. Until then selection limits are a must for any serious RTS, with the exception of fixed army games such as myth.

"(and making that screwy 3D camera that you have to mess with as you play...I''m a fan of the isometric and top-down views) I really think they are limiting the way you can play."

I think a fixed camera is almost essential, however you can have 3d with a top down view. It seems obvious to me, yet no one ever seems to use it. I mean does 3d have to mean some dumb low angle view with ten buttons for camera control? As RAM concerns grow all games with extensive animation (which is everything but RISK and chess) will become 3d, but they will look as good as 2d.

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What i would like to see done with 3D in RTS''s is to keep the top view but allow you to zoom in and out as far as you''d like to. Set up a few hotkeys for camera range and yeah!

I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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Guest Anonymous Poster
normally people zoom out as much as they are allowed to since it gives them a much better view. If they are allowed to zoom out really far it would get hard to click on things, which would be frusterating and favor players with the ability to click on single pixels (not me). Plus the game gets uglier. So you''d want to set a max zoom. That should probably be the default zoom, and then you could have the ability to zoom in. Also adding in the zoom control should be done at the end of the project, that way you make sure the game is perfectly playable in the default zoom.

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I think everyone''s different when i come''s so zoom distance preference.
quote:

normally people zoom out as much as they are allowed to since it gives them a much better view. If they are allowed to zoom out really far it would get hard to click on things,


Hotkey''s could be use for preselecting distances in zoom then clicking on things is no drama :-)

quote:


Plus the game gets uglier.


Well that would depend on the 3D Gfx you would be using?! I guess that''s a hard call though, debatable :-)

What i was mainly thinking is that by having different zoom levels it makes it a lot quicker to move around the map and it also allows macro to micro management a better view. And due to the fact that everyone manages the games differently the views thus should be completely customizable.


I love Game Design and it loves me back.

Our Goal is "Fun"!

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Top-down 3D has been done. It''s called "Total Annihilation" and it works well. All of the units are 3d models, and the terrain is well set up over a (viewable, if you want) wire mesh. I don''t have a problem with 3D view, and I wish more games would use the TA-style engine. The units are more realistic-looking, without sacrificing playability.

quote:

"I don''t have anything against optimizing, but by limiting your units"

There is a very good reason but it''s not apparent. In most RTS games economy dominates way too much. Mindlessly pumping out units is stronger than managing a few well. This forces both players to use very large armies with little control, it becomes an arcade game. The selection limit is a necessary evil. It makes mass unit strategies less powerful. Eventually I expect the restriction to be removed as other advances in design get rid of the problem. Until then selection limits are a must for any serious RTS, with the exception of fixed army games such as myth.



I (sort-of) addressed this in the idea about rewarding for using strategy rather than stomping. Also, I never played M.A.X. 2, but the ads for it showed a good way around this. There were certain set formations, and units could be grouped and told to get in a certain formation. In addition, they could be given formations to work in to at each waypoint, allowing you to set up formations for fire along a pattern-- my first thought for this is a circle-strafe style attack where you move units into a spearhead formation always pointing into the base. Of course, I don''t know how well that would work.

I''m happy to see I''m still getting responses to this topic...it''s not EGG, but this is useful for me. I started once to design an RTS, but didn''t get very far when I realized I didn''t have anywhere near good enough programming skills to do one yet...

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