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Bruno

Real Time Tactics game design

7 posts in this topic

Hey everyone,


I was hoping to start a discussion regarding game design on Real Time Tactics games.
By Real Tactics, I mean games like Men of war or Dawn of War 2 where the focus of the game is not base building or resource gathering, but more the combat tactics around it.
Now, these games have one thing in common.
Terrain is important, terrain can give the units defensive bonus, penalties, soldiers can get inside buildings (again for extra cover).
Units usually aren't built with resources that you harvest with units, instead the player can capture control points, and they generate points , and these points gives the player the ability to build more units, or add units to the squads.
I think RTT games are kind of an evolution from RTS games, they exist because people were getting tired of the gameplay mechanics behind RTS games.
I have been thinking where can we go next after RTT games, but I can't figure out a gameplay mechanic that would be refreshing to the RTT space.
So, what would you guys like to see in a RTT game? Either stuff that's been done before or new features?
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The control point driven system you are describing is still a RTS, because resource accumulation is involved, just simple. Like Company of Heroes.

I'm personally planning to give the Close Combat series a whirl. They are classic, realistic real time tactics games which feature no resource income at all.

Been thinking of slightly more abstract designs with a slow pace and high strategy to execution quotient, like Close Combat. DoW, CoH and the like have a very significant component of having to click fast on lots of things, even if it's not quite as dominant as in Starcraft.
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Strategy is when some places (terrain, buildings, mines) gives advantage to the war/battle. So no need to gather resources and build buildings to be a strategy. COH is strategy too because you have to think carefully which point to capture and to use positions - houses, walls, etc.
In the real world generals are strategists but they are not collecting resources.
I would say that RTS has 3 elements (or more):
- military - battles, units/buildings producing and upgrading
- economical - resource management...
- science exploring - exploring some trees with updates or new units.
I myself usually am looking for battles (like in Sudden strike) but most RTS requires attention to what and when to be produced, upgrades, economy stuff... I am feeling somehow a director or manager of a factory for clothes or cars.
The general is looking more generally to the events[img]http://public.gamedev.net//public/style_emoticons/default/biggrin.png[/img] Which means he things for the strategy, not for every small thing. Small things causes fight between the player and the game where the player needs to click fast on many things in many places.
In short I don't like too much the economical aspect of RTS. I prefer to fight and build defensive structures instead of mills, storages, peasants and taking care of the incomes, outcomes, salaries, new boots for the personnel, the new promotion for the accountant, a driver lost his license and I have to find new for him, looking for the telephone number of gasstations director...
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I really liked Ground Control back in the days. The unit balance was fairly broken (artillery is ridiculously overpowered in single player and multiplayer is mostly about deoploying special weapons first/from the right angle), but it does a really good job at not having these overly artificial gameplay mechanics like explicit cover locations, control/resource points etc. In single player you configure your units and get dropped in from orbit and that's all the units you get. No infinite reviving like in DoW2 or reinforcements.The multiplayer modes were also straight forward. It had game modes like last man stading (one drop), deathmatch (constant reinforcements and points for kills) and a siege mode also with reinforcements and the goal was for one player to destroy some structure in a given amount of time while the other defended. I would generally prefere to see such straight forward mechanics/modes well executed instead of some "innovative" contrived game mechanic. Edited by japro
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[quote name='Bruno' timestamp='1346792733' post='4976573']
I think RTT games are kind of an evolution from RTS games, they exist because people were getting tired of the gameplay mechanics behind RTS games.
[/quote]

I would rather say that they are the origin point. Before getting down to Dune 2, a lot of games were more or less RTSs, but they lacked the composition of what the modern RTS is.
Rather than focus on how RTS became RTT (which I believe is highly inaccurate) I would focus on doing the following:
Since RTS is an composition of RTT elements with management elements, try a different hybrid. Join 2 different archetypal gameplays together.
Examples:
- RTT+First Person Shooter (FPS)
- RTT+Role Playing Game (RPG)
- RTT+Beam'emUp
- RTT+Trading Card Game (TCG)
etc.

At some point, you'll end up with something original, and it may or may not work.

I've recently come up with one such adequation and I've really been surprised about what I came up with, so I think this method works.
*back to the drawing board!*
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Here's a freebee if you want it. Why not a transition from RTT to RTS in a game? Explore combat from an operation perspective like most RTT and earn the right to logistical allocation of resources and hardware, tech upgrade selection, strategic combat and more goal oriented game play.

Start by letting players explore operational unit (squad) command on the battlefield, reinforcing, allocating advanced weaponry to experienced soldiers and targeting armored positions and cavalry for heavier hardware (armor and air cavalry) to hit. The game's story and/or the success of the player could be the deciding factor as to the players succession to strategic command of the missions (governing body makes requests the strategic commander delivers). Then the player moves from commanding squads to creating mission goals for commanders, securing and controlling resource/production positions with primary and secondary objectives and deploying heavy units to support those commanders.

This succession doesn't need to happen all at once either, the player could earn bits and pieces of strategic command and control while shedding or passing down the responsibilities of an operational commander to another experienced unit.

What do you think?
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Any RTT is a type of RTS (strategy is a broad term) however an RTT should accurately be described under the focus of what [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_tactics"]military tactics[/url] are described as. In my opinion COH explores yet another sub-genre RTO (real time operations or [url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operational_warfare"]operational mobility[/url]) since the commander very often is charged with managing the movement of forces from the staging area to the tactical area of responsibility.
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Personally, I think of tactics and strategy on a scale. The more units you have, the larger your theatre, and the more you have to worry about ammo and other resources, the further you get to the "strategy" side. Base development is generally strategic, though yes in games like Starcraft there are tactical elements to it.

It has been done before (I cannot recall the game) but I would like to see another good attempt at putting the player in a realistic commanding view.

As in, the player is a lieutenant or captain in charge of a certain number of people, but is also himself a character on the ground with his troops. His knowledge of the battlefield is limited to what he can discover through his own eyes, prior intelligence reports, and his scouts. (overhead views might be necessary to facilitate accurate orders to the AI teammates, but nothing should be visible that the player hasn't "discovered" or cannot then "see" in game).
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