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Mezz

RTS's, and whats good about them

8 posts in this topic

Make different sides with different good and bad points like Starcraft. Don't make two of the exact same side. Also, put a lot of emphasis on strategy. While building fast is part of an RTS, it shouldn't be the entire game.
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Balance is key (Starcraft). Try to do something to solve the "power overwhelming" problem (All have that problem). Try to remove the "rush" (TA to some degree). Good AI is paramount (It's getting better). No more "spice harvesting"! (TA)

Coolest feature would be in Total Annihilation - queueing up commands with the commander.

[This message has been edited by Jeranon (edited December 20, 1999).]

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First up, my favorite RTS has to be TA, it was a leap forward from Red Alert (still a superb game) and should have been what Tiberian sun was all about but...hey...let's not slip from the point.

What TA had over RA was controllability, the ability to stack commands on any unit to your hearts content so you didn't constantly have units walking to a set point then standing there wasting precious time when they could be building or fighting or...
The AI was also far superior, meaning that you could trust that the 30 units you'd just sent towards the battle wouldn't arrive and sit around as a tank a quarter of the screen away was being pounded by the enemy.
Setting up advanced options for the way troops should act in different situations (scripting or menus) would be a very, very good idea in general, you cannot have too much control but there must be well set defaults.

Resource gathering seems to be an integral part of any RTS, this is not a bad thing, it gives you something to concentrate on apart from the tactical element and adds a new area of game play (controlling the best mines or spice fields can often win or lose you the game) personally I'm all for resource gathering in RTS, although in small skirmish missions they should be rightly left out.

In terms of ideas which other RTS (or at least the ones I've played) have left out, I'd like to see more specific control over the heuristics of the AI (as mentioned above).
For example, in pathfinding, autonomous troops and vehicles should be able to be told what kind of path they should take. Whether they are on a scouting mission (go near the enemy but don't alert them of your presence), transport mission (make a wide birth around the enemy, avoidance at all costs), sabotage mission (take the best route into the enemies base, avoiding detection but making a mad dash if spotted) or standard combat mission, each mind-set should involve different criteria for what makes a good and a bad path (or overall good and bad behaviour). The stance options on recent releases such as age of kings, allowing aggresive/defensive options is good too. You want certain troops to flee on contact others to stand their ground. Incorporating this with standard guard options gives a much better survival rate for sending specialized troops across a potentially hazardous battle arena. I hate it when a troop I send to collect resources decides to do it _through_ the enemies base.

I don't know your experience but none of the above should be hard to implement with good design (honestly, I know what I'm talking about, I do this for a living) and it makes such a difference to a game.

Regards

Mike

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Hey everyone - I'm in the preliminary design phase of a real time strategy game and I was wondering, what does everybody think of the features in others?

What I'm basically saying is, if you could pick the coolest feature from your favourite RTS, what would it be? (e.g. the sonic tank from C&C2)

Lemme know, I want this game to rock.

-Mezz

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Thanks for your replies guys,
the input is appreciated.
I was thinking on the AI side of things,
would it be a good idea to have specific units have specific AI - it would seem more
realistic because a grunt would not necessarily know the job of a trained spy or sabatour.

And on resources, I have these semi-figured out - it should be similar to TA - I like two resources & the fact you can get one readily but have to find deposits for the other, that was a good idea. (IMHO)

Lemme know,

-Mezz

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I was wondering what art program you used to draw the maps and units? Or what are you going to use?

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What I think would really make an RTS good is the ability to successfully play the game using any of a number of widely varying tactics. Most RTS games I play it generally turns out there is only one good way to play it and it''s generally a contest to see who can play it that way most efficiently. That''s one of the reasons Homeworld turned out to be such a disappointment to me in multiplayer (really the reason I bought it). There was really only one way to effectively play it. That''s also what I really liked about TA. Many of the units were very similar, but different enough that you could win using any one of a number of combinations of units and tactics and it always at least felt different.
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Id just like to point out that there are lots of different kinds of emphasises in the RTS/RTT genres. You can emphasize the building, or the strategy on when/how much to rush with, or the emphasize the use of small unit surgical strikes.

None of these are necessarily any better than the other. If you want to have a "fresh feeling" in your game, the best choice, IMO, is to work on areas that havent been beaten to death.

The build lots of stuff, then tank rush without much concern for more than numbers has been done to death with C&C and Starcraft. Other games have already done other aspects extremely well. You can copy these, but this is when players really get the "im sick of this derivative gameplay" feeling, if you add your own twists to the focus of the elements, you''ll get a new feeling from the gameplay.

-Geoff
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Ok. Cheers everyone for the input
Madjoker: I have a friend doing the art - he''ll probably use some fancy paint package for textures, I intend to write my own map editor (no way round that one) and possibly my own model editor.
For cutscenes, the guy will be using Softimage I think.

Shrinkage: that is a very cool thing - and I have been trying to plan for it, I don''t like the ''single way'' games either - thats why I really liked TA.

Geoff: Yeah - I think you''ll be pleased to know I am inventing/thinking of things that are both present in current RTS''s, and totally new - the design of such things is paramount. As someone else once said, ''a good feature is a good feature.'' Im just going to take these good features, build upon and improve them and also have my own ones

Cheers guys,
Take it easy.

-Mezz
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