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MedievalD

What do you look for in an RTS?

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General response wanted, has no positive or negative (or neutral for that matter) impact on anything.

What do you look for in an RTS game, like Warcraft-pre-World, Starcraft, C&C, Empire Earth, etc... And also what would you like to see in RTS games to come? Unique unit customization, RPG elements, saved unit progression, Guild based play, etc...

Thanks for your time.

MedievalD

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What I have always been looking for in an RTS is a game where I play a commander, not a baby sitter.

I want the tools to command officers to take actions, defend this location, scout this region, coordinate attack here with units X, Y, and Z. And then my officers commanding given units are smart enough to have their soldiers fire anti-tank rockets at armour, and send infantry to screen the flanks of their own tanks. Have them call in and request reinforcements, and be able to click on another officer's icon and drag it over the first's icon, and they automatically pick up and rush to their aid.

Aircraft should automatically know to not fly over known AA sites. If I have horses they should know enough to NOT charge head on into the group of pike men who are set to defend against them from that direction. And they NEED to be smart enough to not rush head long into the stakes that were set up in the field and abandoned! (Nothing like Empire Total War killing half your horsemen because you didn't notice there was an abandoned stake fence placed randomly on the field that is no where near anything important.)

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My view is that if it doesn't have resource and macromanagement in some form that is critical to the outcome of the game, it is not real-time strategy, it is real-time tactics. Accordingly, if you want to have a good RTS, you need to make a good resource scheme a priority, and provide lots of different macromanagement paths. This includes balancing those paths; for multiplayer games in particular, balance is also essential.

I would actually say that balance is more important. There should NOT be a single winning strategy (or unit combination, or base layout) that works every time - otherwise every game will be a race between players to pull off that same strategy, and that gets very boring after a while for obvious reasons. That is probably the exact reason why Blizzard nerfed the Zerg Roach in the StarCraft II beta - they found that many Zerg players, when matched against other Zerg, were only massing Roaches against each other, and whoever had the most Roaches won. Another common complaint from StarCraft II is that the Terrans are overpowered. Why? Because they have so many different possible unit combinations and the AI seems to help the Terrans more. A common complaint is that Zerg and Protoss players often have to work harder to beat a Terran player of equal skill. Thankfully, Blizzard has been listening to the complaints and has recently announced a few nerfs to Terran. Moral of the story: focus a lot of attention on balancing the game once it's playable.


[Edited by - Oberon_Command on August 29, 2010 11:43:39 AM]

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Basically, playing with smart units, doing constant checks for this and that. That 'being a commander not a babysitter' is such a needed thing to say. I really thought about that and I know what you mean.

Kind of have reports from your leading units pop up on screen, with potential commands they can give your units, you select the best one for your situation, or multiple ones. Or set it to select the best option for situation automatically... Having both those makes it harder or easier for unit management.

Smart units...

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Stockpile and Logistics

The common gameplay of capturing enemy facilities and resources. It shouldn't take any special unit to do this. If the player has a stockpile of resource (i.e. 2000 barrels of gas), it should be physically store somewhere on the map that the other players can either capture or destroy.

If a player builds a mining satellite, the player must either have a transport the route to bring the material back to base (Which is visible and can be attacked), or use the material near the mining site. The players should almost never find a location rich in multiple resources.

Building an outpost with no resource nearby requires the player to haul building material.


Separate soldiers from equipment

Soldiers come from populated towns. Equipment (weapons) come from forges/factories. Some locations would have more equipment than soldiers, while other might have more soldiers than equipment.


Separate equipment from its fuel/ammo

Supported situation: A parking lot of tanks with no fuel.


[Edited by - Wai on August 29, 2010 1:44:07 PM]

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I will also add that I would like to see more games that focus on using what you have, not just pumping out a constant flood of units. (Yes, I love playing zerg, but I also want different games with different game play.)


Personally I do NOT like having to deal with resource gathering. I would rather have a realistic system of limited incoming supply, and then having to decide which units get what, than having to deal with probes and building new zealots.



How about a game where you get scored based on how well you actually do, and have it look at the 'bigger picture'. You can 'win' the game by having every last one of your units on the map killed, but you forced your opponent to draw on far more resources from the 'global pool' than he should have. Rather than having the game last 20-30 minutes and be over and done with, allow players to form up and fight 'campaigns'. Have a fairly 'light weight' high level strategy game at a regional level where you choose where to focus what resources. Do you focus on spending your high level resources on improving industrial cities to up your supply and equipment later in the game? Diplomatic avenues to improve outside aid/allies? Recruitment centers to get more boots on the ground? Then you have your existing troops and supplies that you can focus to the regional level, and decide where to concentrate your forces.

From there players could agree/spend command points to force a battle in a region, then pick which sector of that region they will control themselves.

If they call on too many off map reinforcements for their own sector, they may still find the other sectors of the region over run and the battle lost anyway.

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Re:

I think it is not about making it as realistic as possible, but to expand the chain of dependencies so that a player can perceive the plans of the opponent, and take actions to defeat specific plans. The consideration is less about what unit to make, but where on the map ought to be defended and where ought to be captured.

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