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suliman

Realtime modern warfare? (strategy game like total war)

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Hi

There is modern/ww2 wargames such as hearts of iron, but why no modern-themed games like total war? What i mean is a strategy game but battles are conducted in realtime on a map but you control the infantries/tanks etc. Would it make sense? What I mean is a game where you control cities (or regions like in hearts of iron) which produces military units, form armies of these units and when armies meet on the map you get a realtime battle where you move around and position your infantry/tanks/artillery etc.

 

Is it the scale that makes it hard to pull off in a fun way? Modern war (or even ww2) is quite different than medieval clashes of lining up your guys on the battlefield and charging the enemy. Games such as company of heroes does it in a way, but its much smaller scale, moving 6 riflemen into a building on a specific scenario (like some blocks of a city, not full armies vs armies invading and seizeing a country).

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Games such as company of heroes does it in a way, but its much smaller scale, moving 6 riflemen into a building on a specific scenario (like some blocks of a city, not full armies vs armies invading and seizeing a country)

 

You could argue that modern wars are often much like "moving 6 riflemen into a building", once you set aside the artillery and airstrikes. Tank use is declining and large groups of infantry are vulnerable to explosive weapons.

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As Kylotan said. The scale of warfare is shrinking and becoming more asymmetric in the modern age. Which is a good thing, because several powerful nations duking it out with modern armies would probably cause immense destruction. WWII leveled a lot of cities. It makes for impressive gaming and impressive history, but it was a nightmare to live through when it was rolling through your back yard.

 

That being said, the concept of cleanly discrete battles started to lose meaning in the modern age of warfare.  You didn't just have two armies meeting and driving each other off a battlefield in a couple of hours. During both world wars and every since they had Battles with a capital B to describe major actions, but the actual fighting was constant. Raids would go back and forth between battle lines on a daily basis, small groups of soldiers trying to maneuver would cause firefights and occasionally larger engagements to break out unplanned. How much of this "small" action you put into the hands of the player is a tricky question.

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Yeah, the closest you get is the Wargame series, (European Escalation, etc).  It doesn't model building units however.  The later games in the series do have more of a larger style campaign map akin to Total War, though still without upgrading cities or whatnot. I think certain areas provide bonuses of some type.  

 

Personally the fiddly bits of building units is something I find at odds with lower level tactics games like Wargame or Total War.  (I play Total War, but only multiplayer, and only battles, I can't stand the turn based map portion of the game)  

 

Maybe RUSE?  It's WWII, but it does have unit production.

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but why no modern-themed games like total war?

 

i'm guessing two basic reasons

 

1. modern war is sufficiently dissimilar to the capabilities of the total war engine that The Creative Assembly has decided to stick with the types of game settings (locations, time periods, and unit types) that the engine can already handle.  That's my guess as to why The Creative Assembly hasn't done it.

 

2. The Total War engine is an absolute tour-de-force when it comes to amazing LOD capabilities and large numbers of entities active at once - like 5000 of them!  Definitely not a trivial undertaking.   I suspect this is why we don't see anyone else doing it - especially combined with the fact that wargames are niche, not mass market products.

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Not many 40k games have the larger strategic element, I guess the RTS Dark Reign one could count? (i think that was the subtitle) It was a bit crap though.   There was an Epic based one?  Or oh, I guess the Panzergeneral style reskin that came out not that long ago.  

 

Though yes, they try to use the setting to justify why smart weapons aren't used and no one uses orbital/nuclear/THOR style bombardment for their scenarios.  

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Depending on the nations involved, actual modern warfare is also not very fun. e.g. One side engages from beyond the horizon, while the other strikes back with booby trapped highways...

Or in a war between two high tech nations, both sides would be engaging beyond the horizon!

You need something like the current Syrian war where you've got an outdated Syrian army fighting against the US's proxy army instead of the US themselves (at least most of the time - US and Russian airstrikes then support each side for flavour). That would give supply lines and territory control, but the actual battles would still largely be about moving infantrymen into buildings :wink:
Instead of Total War's royal families and diplomats, you'd need a deep propaganda system -- e.g. making a fake documentary grants you extra air support assets :lol:

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The scaling and time factor is a very difficult part of doing modern warfare modelling if you want overarching strategy in the same game that gives you low level tactical control. 

 

Singular battles with well defined boundaries and durations aren't really 'a thing' anymore in large scale modern warfare. Where is the 'edge' of the battle? The artillery pieces miles off offering support? The opposing battery firing on your support artillery from even farther away? An airfield launching support craft? What about the military base on the other side of the globe currently loading transport aircraft with special forces paratroopers that are inbound to help?

 

If you have tactical control over a specific battle along with strategic control over the entire war, when what happens when you send a column of troops from one strategic location to the battle you're currently in tactical control of, and they get ambushed? Do you take tactical control there as well? Do you give it to the computer? 

 

 

In short, if you're pushing things beyond the era of soldiers lining up to do volley fire across fields, then you're getting into the point of warfare becoming far too complex and fluid to allow a single person to keep even the remotest of grasps over the entire thing. It becomes too difficult to section it into manageable pieces that allow control and decisions to be made at all levels in a reasonable manner.

 

I would strongly suggest that anyone looking at modern military actions for a game setting to pick a military rank, and base a game around roughly what they actually control in the real world, and don't let the game expand beyond that focus. Playing as the commander of a platoon? Move squads around and change their formations. Commander of a company? Move platoons around and either abstract away the lower level movements or design an AI good enough to simulate someone else controlling them.

 

The higher up the command line you go, the larger the map scope and the more vague the fine details. If you're overseeing an entire global war, then you're not really all that worried about a specific pillbox or something somewhere in the world. You're worried that the front in the region is still advancing, and whether or not you're going to spend resources to reinforce it or not.

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