• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
d000hg

Is there a market for old-fashioned RTS games?


33 posts in this topic

I came across my ancient 4E4 entry yesterday and it resurrected my interest in creating a top-down, classic RTS in the vein of Warcraft II, C&C:Red Alert, Total Annihilation, etc (because that's what my 4E4 entry was).

 

I don't play many games these days but I always wanted to create a game like this, to add the features I missed as a player. These games were the last RTS I played in a big way and I know things moved on a lot, but to me this was a classic era. Do others see it that way?

 

So anyway a question to the indie people here mainly, but also to game players who are more in touch with trends and what's popular - is there a market for a game such as I describe? Would it have to be ground-breaking in other ways, or like Diner Dash games is there a market for Yet Another RTS?

 

I see that RTS isn't really a casual game genre, you have to invest time, it's also not the kind of game you can sell for $2 in my opinion. I was also wondering about iPad, it seems to me a classic RTS would transfer reasonably well to touch-screen.

 

All thoughts welcome :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe that there will always be a market for these games, but you will need a certain level of polish and a reasonable price point. Personally, Tiberian Sun was one of my favourite games for quite some time (and I thoroughly enjoyed Red Alert), and I'd love to see a return to reasonably paced RTS games in a similar lieu. You don't need mass scale like Supreme Commander or other complexity in order to be successful. StarCraft 2 is probably a reasonable example of this - there were not many fundamental changes to that game formula, despite how long it had been since the previous title.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It all depends on how well the game is made.

 

 There are so many poorly made RTS games out there right now, it would hard to market your game IMHO .

 

 If you could make a good Dungeon Keeper clone, you'd have many MANY greatful fans.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

depends on the gameplay

That's sort of my point. If you basically just had the gameplay from the games I mentioned, and created a decent campaign, or regular updates of new content, would people who love RTS buy them for their next RTS fix? Or would they only buy a game which does something new and exciting? 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think there’s definitely a market for RTS games, (I’m making one too) it's niche and it's hard to pull off well, but it’s also a genre that is for the most part very underserved by both indies and AAA companies. I think it’s best if you can add something new to the classic RTS gameplay, but even if you make something fairly similar to an older game, I don’t think you’re going to have a problem with being seen as “yet another RTS” since there are so few of them these days.

 

That being said, I don’t like the iPad as a platform for a non-casual RTS, even though touch screen input could work, it would still be more limiting than mouse and keyboard. Also, with a classic RTS you’re going to be appealing to a niche genre, you won’t attract many causal impulse buyers, you’re going to want to charge a higher price than what’s normally accepted on mobile platforms, and it’s generally a lot harder to get noticed to begin with in the mobile app market.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

re:iPad I was thinking that while it's not good for a 5min casual game, there must be people who play on their iPad for hours on end - long train commutes, in hotel rooms, etc. More and more iPad is the device people take with them everywhere, they might leave their laptop at home to take the iPad these days even.

 

The other idea which seems popular on tablets is turn-based games, especially where you play multiple games in parallel. I haven't decided if that would work well, but this probably IS a new(ish) move for an RTS.

 

However yeah I reckon I'd target PCs or make it cross platform so I can pursue iPad if I chose, or spin off an iPad game from the same engine easily.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh man, I remember 4e4. My (unfinished) entry was my first reasonably complex project, also an RTS. Good times.

 

The real-time strategy genre is still my favourite genre. Some friends and I still play old-school RTSs in our spare time. Age of Empires, Age of Mythology, and StarCraft are the main ones I play, but I know some people who still bring out WarCraft III occasionally. So yes, there are still people out there playing those sorts of games, but I think whether there would be a market for a new one would depend greatly on how well the game could distinguish itself from its predecessors without straying too far from the familiar gameplay that RTS players like me love.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Brings back memories doesn't it :) I don't recall how far I got on my project, but I do remember my 4E4 entry wasn't as complete as I'd wanted and I worked on it after. I don't think it builds/runs on modern compilers although I never got round to finding out why!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hardest part is figuring out a pathfinder algorithm for each unit type in game ... ( I wish I could figure it out )

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Command and Conquer Generals was cancelled a month or two ago, so that might mean not really? RTS games aren't doing so well. I think End of Nations was cancelled in 2013 as well.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are Android devices out there too (with Android having majority market share on tablets too now, I believe, if one cares about that). But the ~5" smartphone is the device that people now take with them everywhere, putting both 10" tablets and laptops as things that people only take with them sometimes (though 7" Android devices like the Nexus 7 are also very portable). Either way, I don't think it matters - there are more than enough people using PCs to play non-casual games; and all kinds of platforms have more than enough competition from other games (Google Play and IOS seem completely saturated with games). The immediate choice is the technology/toolkits/languages used, as it may make later porting to mobile platforms easier or harder depending on the choice.

When it comes to non-casual games, yes on the one hand I'd happily play a non-casual game for hours on a tablet if I found one I liked, OTOH, people do this with laptops too anyway. But I think a bigger issue is that "casual" doesn't necessarily mean "only play for a short time" (people seem to play casual games for hours, doesn't stop them being casual), but "easy to pick up". Whilst people are used to spending time to learn how to play a PC game (whether reading the manual, following tutorials, investing hours into it), for "mobile" OSs, people seem to expect more of an instant gratification - I'd argue most people won't even bother to read the instructions on the download page, and a non-casual game may risk 1 star reviews from people moaning that it isn't instantly understandable, unless you are good with targetting/marketing the game.

With the increased availability of touchscreen laptops, it's probably good practice to make a game potentially somewhat touchscreen friendly, especially things like being usable with only left mouse button. Actually this is good practice even for straightforward laptops - I find games that require right mouse button can be a pain to play on laptop with a touchpad.


 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Command and Conquer Generals was cancelled a month or two ago, so that might mean not really? RTS games aren't doing so well. I think End of Nations was cancelled in 2013 as well.

 

IMHO, it was cancelled because they tried to go free-to-play with it and couldn't get a payment model to work. Realistically, free-to-play and Command and Conquer style strategy games don't work that well. Age of Empires: Online is probably one of the most successful examples, and let's be honest, the free-to-play implementation was diabolically horrible and ruined the parts of the game that were quite enjoyable.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Gotta go with maybe?  I personally can't go backwards, not even to StarCraft 2, it's too anachronistic for my tastes.  I never want to ever build a peon, or scout with a peon, or have peons mine for resources next to conveniently located tiles, or build supply depots or farms.  But obviously people still play SC2, even though in reality, it has not greatly changed the formula from SC1, which wasn't really that big of a departure from it's Warcraft roots.

 

Can I hope that you'll make a Kohan remake instead?

 

EDIT:

Hardest part is figuring out a pathfinder algorithm for each unit type in game ... ( I wish I could figure it out )

 

What are you having trouble with?  Having multiple units pathfinding at once, or multiple units of different sizes pathfinding?

Edited by ferrous
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 


Can I hope that you'll make a Kohan remake instead?

 

Just make sure it's based on KIS/KAG and not KOW

 

 

At this point, beggars like myself can't be choosey =)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

EDIT:

Hardest part is figuring out a pathfinder algorithm for each unit type in game ... ( I wish I could figure it out )

 

What are you having trouble with?  Having multiple units pathfinding at once, or multiple units of different sizes pathfinding?

 

 

I was wondering that too. I had worries about the CPU use to do it for lots of units on a large map but that was 10 years (yikes!) ago. My iPad is probably more powerful than the PC I developed my 4E4 entry on :)

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My issues always seem to stem from streamlining the pathfinder algorithm.

 

 Having more than 3 or 4 items on screen at once, slows the frame rate down a lot in Java .

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


I never want to ever build a peon, or scout with a peon, or have peons mine for resources next to conveniently located tiles, or build supply depots or farms.

 

You see, for me one of the biggest things I miss from the older RTS games was the resource harvesting; having a dedicated resource miner unit that goes out, collects resources and comes back. I feel like this was an important component of games like Command and Conquer, and allowed you to directly attack your opponents logistical chain, something which modern RTS games often miss out entirely. I feel that logisitcal warfare is just as important, if not more important than direct warfare - historically entire conflicts have been won without firing a single shot simply through clever maneuvering and resource denial.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use to send engineers over to the enemy refinery just as the harvester was starting to unload.

 I usually ended up with the entire load of tiberian before they were able to destroy their own  refinery and harvester.

 Taking over and than selling tiberian storage tanks and power plants was also very fun tactic .

* sigh * I miss the old C&C

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I feel that logisitcal warfare is just as important, if not more important than direct warfare - historically entire conflicts have been won without firing a single shot simply through clever maneuvering and resource denial.

 

And therein lay the beauty of Kohan.  Resource management is very important in the game, but there are no 'workers' that gather resources.  Instead you either build structures with your settlements that produced resources, or you take over resource-sources that occur across the map.

 

Any RTS fan who has not played Kohan seriously should.  While it's over a decade old now, it's still a great game, and it pioneered several components that made it into later RTS games.

Edited by LennyLen
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with that is, that's not logistics, that's just resource generation. There's no logistical chain "delivering resources to the front", instead there's static structures that are a part of your normal base building (common in most modern strategy games).

 

Captureable resource generators can work well - Company of Heroes did this exceptionally well, but it does absolutely nothing to represent logistical warfare, it's a purely territorial concern. The reason it worked so well in Company of Heroes is that it required players to spread their forces more thinly in order to occupy more territory to gain more resources for construction of more specialist (but not more numerous) units - a formula later entries in the series failed to capture quite as well.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The problem with that is, that's not logistics, that's just resource generation. There's no logistical chain "delivering resources to the front", instead there's static structures that are a part of your normal base building (common in most modern strategy games).

 

Captureable resource generators can work well - Company of Heroes did this exceptionally well, but it does absolutely nothing to represent logistical warfare, it's a purely territorial concern. The reason it worked so well in Company of Heroes is that it required players to spread their forces more thinly in order to occupy more territory to gain more resources for construction of more specialist (but not more numerous) units - a formula later entries in the series failed to capture quite as well.

 

Ah, but you see, in Kohan, you have supply as well as being able to block the resource generation.  It basically just cut out having to manage individual peons.  When a town was under siege, it's area of control would be contested, and things like mines built in that area would no longer be under the area of control, so the town owner would no longer get resources from it.  And being under siege just meant that an enemy unit's area of control was overlapping the towns, so one could set up a blockage, or use raiders to deny resources.

 

Also, for supply, units auto healed when in friendly supply zones, provided by towns and outposts.  without that, units would not replenish, so you could often circle around behind an enemy who had penetrated too far too fast into your own territory, cut off his supply line, and his units would slowly get whittled away.

 

It really does have lots of utterly fantastic and unique gameplay features, and holds up fairly well, I would put it on any list for RTS research.

Edited by ferrous
0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the thing that's awesome about those old games like c&c red alert 2 is that on today's computers they run crazy fast. So if we'd introduce some improvements in terms of level editing and gameplay (plus a bit of graphics) we'd get a crazy fast running game that is just as fun as it's been back then.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


That's sort of my point. If you basically just had the gameplay from the games I mentioned, and created a decent campaign, or regular updates of new content, would people who love RTS buy them for their next RTS fix? Or would they only buy a game which does something new and exciting? 

 

That's really the heart of the question -- The classic games you mention already exist and already have mindshare, so why aren't they still being played? Is it because they're difficult to get running on a modern machine? Is it because its player base now prefers different kinds of platforms (e.g. tablets). Is it because the community of players has dwindled? Is it because the content has gone stale? Is it because the gameplay hasn't aged well? Is it because player expectations have outgrown them?

 

You're not selling fruit, so simply being a fresh rehash of some old games isn't going to cut it. Not without addressing the reasons those games have been left by the wayside. Likewise, can you determine what was good about those old games so that you can retain their core while bringing those ideas forward. And exectly how much *does* need to change to get to a game that's worth playing in this day and age, anyhow? Is it so much that you've essentially got another "modern" RTS?

 

Luckily you have 10+ years of hindsight to aid in your analysis, so finding things to improve shouldn't be impossible. The worst thing you could do is to assume the old games were infallible in their design, put them on a pedestal, and not add, remove, or evolve anything. If there were nothing to fix, people would still be playing those games en masse. They're not. 

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0