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Multiview in RTS games?

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I'm wondering if this has been done, and/or if people think it would be a good feature: basically instead of just having your single top-down view of the world, make it possible to see 4 views of different parts of the map in a kind of split-screen effect. The exact details on how many views and how theyre organised (1 large + 2 small ones, 4 equal ones etc) is not really important, but to me such a feature would make fighting on multiple fronts easier which means you can have more grandiose overall tactics for the battles. This could be extended nicely for multi-monitor systems too...

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It's a nice idea and I think it could work... personally though I dislike a smaller viewing area. Would it perhaps work better to have something akin to tabbed browsing where the player can move to an area of the map and press a hotkey to save that area as a tab? I suppose this would then require an extra click to get to the area which would be similar to simply clicking on a mini-map but it would solve the viewing area problem and could still allow you to see different areas at the same time with multi-monitor support.

Cheers,

Steve

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Quote:
Original post by Mephs
It's a nice idea and I think it could work... personally though I dislike a smaller viewing area. Would it perhaps work better to have something akin to tabbed browsing where the player can move to an area of the map and press a hotkey to save that area as a tab? I suppose this would then require an extra click to get to the area which would be similar to simply clicking on a mini-map but it would solve the viewing area problem and could still allow you to see different areas at the same time with multi-monitor support.

Do it like FireFox and mousewheel through tabs.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think this is a very good idea.
You could e.g. set the F1 to F4 keys for selecting the views.
Or change between 2 views with TAB.

I dont like small viewports, you cannot really control units through a little window.

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What about a small minimap-sized viewport that automatically focuses on action hotspots? Such as where combat is occuring or a unit was recently built. Then you could click on this viewport and it would take the main window immediately to that location.

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Another thought would be using the tabbed browsing to allow you to fight over multiple battlefields simultaneously, though perhaps this would be too much juggling, it could provide an interesting gameplay... especially if the separate battles affected one another in some way.

Perhaps as an example, a mission could be to reunite two or more groups of troops, with nobody aware of the others precise positioning and having to rely on clues/tracks/etc to unite the groups. I could actually see this working well in other genres as well, so long as the transition between tabs is not necessary too often as I could see it breaking the flow of a game if too heavily relied upon.

Just a thought!

Steve

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The kind of tabbed views which can be mapped to keys ie F1-F8 is already done at least in older games like Warcraft where you can set bookmarks on the map. Using th mouse-wheel to cycle between them is a nice idea but I think I will use this as the zoom control.

I was definitely thinking along the lines of having multiple 'windows' open at once so you can ie watch your base and the enemy's at the same time. On large monitors (19" is quite common now and 1600x1200 is achievable for the lesser graphical demands of an RTS) even a 4-way split would give a reasonable viewing area, especially if you can zoom out of smaller views to show the same area but with everything a bit tiny. Or if you are someone who has their monitor in a portrait mode you could have 2 nice square views above each other. I wasn't thinking it would be forced on you but just an additional feature.

So it seems most of you wouldn't use this feature, or you just wouldn't use it all the time?

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What about a view bar where you have all your views quite small and when you roll over them or click on them they enlarge.
Or when you press the tab key all your views get shown as small windows and you click on one to enlarge it, makeing it a feature that doesn't bloat the ui of the game.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
It has been done.
I never played settlers much but I remmember that you could have more windows.
I think the latest game that has it is Empire Earth 2.
It has a small window like a minimap and you can store more positions.
But I only played the demo version for a couple of minutes so I dont
know if its of any use.

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This was actually used in a very old RTS game called Enemy Nations. See here for more information.


You started off with a single large viewport, in which you had 4 different levels of zoom, and could rotate the camera in 90 degree increments to get a different view.

The interesting thing (and what you'll be particularly interested in) was that you could open additional viewports as new windows within the main game window, and could individually rotate/zoom/move each viewport, as well as set it's size however you wished. There were also a number of other windows for things such as research which could either be opened when needed or kept open permanently.

The game still included a minimap as well, which could be used to jump whichever viewport was currently active around the map by clicking.

You can see a shot of four viewports open here. Take a look around the linked site for some additional screenshots. If you get the opportunity, definately check out Enemy Nations, it has a number of interesting features.

I really liked the ability to create additional viewports, and would love to see it included in newer games, especially with multi-monitor support provided. Tools like this along with well designed waypoint systems and behavioral options could provide the tools for some great tactical battles.

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