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Graphics in an RTS

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What quality graphics should an RTS have. Do people focus more on the gameplay while playing an RTS more than the graphics? I have a demo of Rome: Total War, and all I can say is that they do not have la creme de la creme of models. What do you think?

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Keep in mind, that the number of soldiers in Rome Total War exceeds that of every other game I know.
Where a normal RTS game has up to 1000 units at one moment on a screen,
Rome goes up to 25000 units...so they had to choose between fps and models of the finest art with lots of polygons...I think they have done just fine, and their models are much better than of many other games, especially as you can zoom near to them and they still look really good...

By the way the graphics of the game are a lot better, than those in the demo ;-)

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... but they *do* have thousands of them which was their aim.
Obviously Gameplay counts but, for, decent graphics at AAA level are a given.
However, I wouldn't expected the same quality of graphics from an Indie or Hobbyist.
Personally, I have to have some affinity with the units which means they have to be clear enough to show who they are and what's happening to them.

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I think the most important quality of RTS graphics are their clarity. Second to that is a strong character to each unit type. Using sound and greaphics are important there.

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Well, I love rome: total war, but I was just wondering why the graphics were not as good as some of the other RTS games I have played, and if in general RTS games were not made for ground breaking graphics and effects.

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The intresting thing about Rome:Totalwar from my understanding of it is: That while you have 4000+ units easily, there are actually only like 20 for any given unit type. Two guys in a line may actually be the same render, just loaded onto the screen twice.


But as for the graphics, they really should play second fiddle to actually commanding the units they are suppose to represent. Being able to see the hairs on your soldier's arms doesn't mean squat if he isn't doing what you want him to, :P

But I'm rather biased towards gameplay vs graphics. I spent like 8 years with a p1-100mhz computer, so while everyone else was going "oh, wow! look at that!" I was playing old games that were cheap and had good gameplay, :P


If you are designing a game, I would suggest you pick a VERY low graphics standard for your units and work on the game play and set up stuff for animations and the like, then after you get something that feels good while playing, see how much you can start upping the graphics and make the game pretty as well as fun to play.

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I agree with Talroth, you could have the most visually impressive game around with if you couldn't build your army and engage in the combat you want to, the game will be poor. For me, the graphics in an RTS need to be clear and responsive at least. I need to be able to identify what tyoe of unit the enemy is and how many of them there are very quickly in order to time my response to their attacks perfectly. If I can't tell an archer from an axeman instantly I'll give up.

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