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Humble Hobo

The Classic RTS... is it such a crime?

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So... I'm planning an RTS, and I'm hitting a block. What I really want, is an RTS that plays like something classic, like StarCraft. I also want something new. I was deciding between: - something that is very classic, with workers, buildings, and units like the old games, and - something obviously new, like a physics-based RTS, where you attract magnet balls as resources or something, using physics to throw around enemies... With the classic model, the innovation would come through adding to classic gameplay. For example, a race might gain money by throwing resources in a furnace, which would increase the rate of income of that furnace. Or, a race might have buildings that slowly build other buildings... anything. The other model is radical, and uses sweet physics to manipulate the terrain, gain resources, and harm the enemy. I haven't worked out the details on this one. So which would you rather play? Which would perk your interest more? Is there anything left in the classic RTS model, or can nothing more be done? I ask you, -Humble Hobo

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I don't understand why they're exclusive. Why would adding advanced physics make the game less classic? Classics didn't use advanced physics because computers were limited. The gameplay should be essentially the same, just more detailed.

Personally, I never spent much time worrying about resource management when playing Starcraft. That part of the gameplay was usually over within the first few minutes, then it was all about combat.

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I suppose because the classic model has a certain set of rules. Each unit is explicitly defined by how much it costs and what it can do. Things are predictable, in a good way.

A physics-based RTS would be rather chaotic and unpredictable, which could be very fun too. For instance, Little BigPlanet relies almost completley on a physics engine for it's gameplay. I was hoping to throw this kind of gameplay into an RTS.

It simply never occured to me to mix the two. I'm going to have to think about some possible gameplay options. Thanks.

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I can see some cool uses for physics in an RTS, but personally I don't think throwing around enemies or anything else that's very actiony is a great idea; it would require constant micromanagement during combat to win, which is something many people don't like. Similarly, you wouldn't want to be constantly be throwing objects around in real-time in order to harvest resources or build your base, again, because that's too much required micro-management and you wouldn't be able to handle everything at once.

But it might be cool to change base building and resource harvesting into a game where you must build ramps, levers, tubes, and such to move resource spheres from point A to point B. Maybe you could make the player have less direct control over his troops than usual in an RTS, and instead require him to build chutes and trampolines to funnel his troops into positions.

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One of the aspects of the Classic RTS that I think stands out the most is the clear Scissors/Paper/Rock relationships between the units. In modern RTS games, units can act in more than one role in the R/P/S relationships, or can be converted (through upgrades, etc) to another. Starcraft had a fairly simple one (Flyers beat Ground, Ground beat Anti-Air and Anti-Air beat Flyers).

In a game like Dawn of War, the Space marines for instance can be converted between Anti Light Infantry, Anti Vehicle or Anti Heavy Infantry depending what upgrades you give them.

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Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
Starcraft had a fairly simple one (Flyers beat Ground, Ground beat Anti-Air and Anti-Air beat Flyers).

This is just absolutely wrong.

And no a 'classic' RTS is no crime. However experimenting with new ideas isn't wrong either, if they are actually fun and not just 'innovative'.

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Quote:
Original post by Eternal
Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
Starcraft had a fairly simple one (Flyers beat Ground, Ground beat Anti-Air and Anti-Air beat Flyers).

This is just absolutely wrong.

Actually, it sounds pretty close to the truth to me. This mechanic didn't really have a huge impact on the game, though. Everyone still pretty much stuck to the same principle: Defend your base with ground / anti-air units and attack other bases with heavy air units. Highly effective, since most heavy air units had greater range than everything else.

There was usually far too much ground defense to attack with ground units directly. Most players that actually attacked with ground units just dropped them behind the front line with ships.

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Quote:
Original post by Kest
Quote:
Original post by Eternal
Quote:
Original post by Edtharan
Starcraft had a fairly simple one (Flyers beat Ground, Ground beat Anti-Air and Anti-Air beat Flyers).

This is just absolutely wrong.

Actually, it sounds pretty close to the truth to me. This mechanic didn't really have a huge impact on the game, though. Everyone still pretty much stuck to the same principle: Defend your base with ground / anti-air units and attack other bases with heavy air units. Highly effective, since most heavy air units had greater range than everything else.

There was usually far too much ground defense to attack with ground units directly. Most players that actually attacked with ground units just dropped them behind the front line with ships.


I'll try to keep it short because this is not a thread about StarCraft (sorry, but I can't resist :( )

First you contradict Edtharans point, because all static defense besides sunken colonies (and firebats in bunkers) is anti-air and thus should own air units.
Then the only air unit which effectively has a larger range than the static defense is the Guardian, which isn't really heavy because it dies pretty fast.

Also the gamestyle you seem to remember is most likely to be found in Free for All games played on custom maps with unlimited money and played by beginners. Even on the lowet levels of public games on regular maps on battle.net the games are usually decided before lategame tech kicks in OR they are played without a lot of static defense anyway. (Terran vs Terran is somewhat of an exception ;) )

The effectivity of an army depends a lot on unit ratios (and unit counts), unit positioning and micromanagment during the battle. For example 3 lurkers (a good anti-ground unit / counter to any ground unit with lower range!) can easily take out 18 marines and a few medics if they defend a small choke point, but if the lurkers are in an open space a good player can spread his marines out to take minimal (or even no damage at all) and kill the lurkers easily, unless the zerg has support for his lurkers in the form of zerglings, which will usually die to marines and medics, but are strong when combined with lurkers, because then they can close the distance to the marines without taking hits and block their retreat. Or Goliaths, which can counter Mutalisks OR Zerglings, but die horribly if they get flanked by Mutalisks AND Zerglings at the same time.

Team Liquid has a database of >1000 recorded starcraft games uploaded to youtube or similar, if you want to find out how this looks in practise.

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Quote:
Original post by Eternal
First you contradict Edtharans point, because all static defense besides sunken colonies (and firebats in bunkers) is anti-air and thus should own air units.

+ Tanks and vultures destroy goliaths and turrets.
+ Goliaths and turrets destroy light ships.
+ Light ships destroy tanks and vultures.

However, enough heavy ships can destroy just about everything. It has been several years since I played, so they may have drastically rebalanced some of it.

Quote:
Then the only air unit which effectively has a larger range than the static defense is the Guardian, which isn't really heavy because it dies pretty fast.

When I last played, the Battle Cruiser had a special energy blast attack that could destroy any static defense (or any unit for that matter) before it had a chance to fire. I have solid memories of cruising around the entire map with eight of those things, extinguishing everything in sight. I remember doing something similar with the Protoss equivalent that launched those little fighters. Back then, there was nothing that could stop them. Whoever built their battleships first essentially won the game. The only alternative strategy was the "rush". But if it failed, you were scaroowed.

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Well, I think I'm sticking with the more classic type. My radical model was new for the sake of being new, and I didn't take into consideration the micro required for that type of play.

And my original question has been answered, so let's go ahead and devolve this into a SC thread. I want to focus on the Rock-Paper-Scissors mentality and why it's fun or not.

In games like AoM, it's clear that some units always beat others.

With Starcraft, I never clearly saw a rock-paper-scissors method. It seemed that there were a few specialized GvG, GvA, or AvA units, but for the most part, they had tactical specialty, not just one type beats another specialty. For instance, a guardian was obviously an anti-ground unit, and served little other purpose. However, an arbiter was terrible for combat, but had abilities that made the difference.

Even more in Warcraft 3, you had different types of damage, (chaos, piercing...) and abilities that had tactical use (anti-magic shield). They don't just use the R-P-S. They have abilities and natural attributes.

I'm going into this design with the goal, that all units should have a significant strategic purpose, even in end-game situations. I'm also planning on not having R-P-S units, and possibly not having dedicated anti-something units.

Sound like a good idea?

[edit] About the carriers (the things with the little drone flyers), you could take them down with invisible wraiths pretty easily, or simply mind control them. Also, about 20 zerg scourge could take down carriers as long as you grouped them together.

I'm fine with people discussing SC tactics here, 'cause I love them so much [/edit]

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