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what do you hate about most RTS games

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I am very interested in peoples opinion....what do you hate about most RTS games?

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I hate the way there''s little strategy in them. Generally they just boil down to a rock-paper-scissors game which is as they should but there should also be more elements of strategy. It should be simple that an actual war game where the strategy is the main point but I believe it should be there.

tj963

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Peon pumping
Micromanagement
Focus Fire
Grunt rushes
Dumb rushes > elaborate tactics
frenetic clicking
Dumbed down features (i.e. no morale, no supply)

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that they are RTS. hehe.

(c) 1982 Sinclair Research Ltd, 0:1

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I hate it when I have to reload the game till I get the right strategy to beat it/them/whatever

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Deadlocking. Either you crush your enemy in a rush from the start, or you both have to build up enormous stores of troops and sprawling bases, and it ends up in an all-out attack, or a perpetual war of attrition. This was the worst problem with StarCraft.

Later,
ZE.

//email me.//zealouselixir software.//msdn.//n00biez.//

[if you have a link proposal, email me.]

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I think other people have nailed the main ones already.

In single-player games, I hated the fact that trial and error was usually the best way to win. Command and Conquer almost enforced this in some missions, especially the limited units ones. Bad design decisions, guys! It makes winning a factor of how much time you have on your hands, not how much skill you apply.

In Total Annihilation, I hate the fact that all the units look very similar, act very similar, and are worth about the same 90% of the time, I just build several of everything available to me and that serves me well.

Multiplayer games of any RTS are usually unsatisfying for the reasons above... either one person wins with an early strike, or everyone builds up a massive force and neither are very willing to make a move. I actually don''t mind this providing there are other ways to win besides all-out destruction. (Age of Empires, for example.)

[ MSVC Fixes | STL | SDL | Game AI | Sockets | C++ Faq Lite | Boost ]

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sara, what part of rts don''t you like? and just out of curiousity, what kind of a game do you prefer?

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I don''t hate micro-management in itself, just how hard it is to pull some micro-management off. For instance, in StarCraft, you fly over some computer terrans, and all your planes get locked down by about 10 ghosts. For a human to pull this off is much harder. I never really got the hang of it. Either I''d miss clicking on the little ghost, or lose him entirely amongst my buildings. To do it properly, you''d need every ghost individually hot-keyed (major waste of hot-keys) and know the hot-keys for lockdown, then do it very fast 12 times. Much easier to go protoss with 48 scouts (on money maps that is).

It would be cool if you could write scripts for your individual units. Like
if enemy IS mechanical AND NOT LockedDown   lockdown(enemy)end

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I think my biggest gripe is that they''re usually way too similar. Like Warcraft was not much different from Command and Conquer, and Command and Conquer was not much different from the Dune RTS a while back. Warcraft has gotten better about making neat and interesting units, but I like differences. Myth was different but I didnt like it for some reason. I can''t exactly put my finger on what it is I didn''t like, it just didnt click with me. Don''t get me wrong, RTS games are ok sometimes...I especially liked StarCraft.

-=Lohrno

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Somehow I think this has probably been said before...

"elaborate tactics" how elaborate? This is war after all.
KISS - Keep It Simple Stupid
A lot of war plans have failed because they were too complex.

Tank rushes a cheap tactic? Funny, I seem to remember reading or hearing about some little war where they used this tactic called Blitzkrieg.

Before you flame that one, yes, a tank rush really isn''t the same as a Blitzkrieg. A Blitz was an involved affair itself with coordinated efforts among artillery, mechanized infantry, and air support and a main thrust by highly mobile and powreful armored units. Also, this is a game and I don''t think we have any games that can outdo reality yet so the Blitz gets shall we say ''simulated down'' (like dumbed down get it?) to a tank rush.

The problem is the implementation. There were instances when Blitz just didn''t work. Stalingrad turned into a street-by-street, building-by-building fight and the Germans lost the advantage. Kursk was a disaster for the Germans because the Kursk salient was turned into a giant armor trap that was designed to and did in fact ''bleed white'' the German armor. The games however, don''t really have much of a defense against it and air units, tank-killers, and anti-armor units ought to be able to pound the daylights out of tank rushes. Real militaries have them, like the U.S. uses the Apache helicopter to attack tanks and for ground support.
So my problem isn''t the tank rushes, it''s not having a defense against tank rushes.

Anyway, tank rushes do represent a fundamental strategy, overwhelming the opponent. Either their lines break or you just wasted some good men and that''s what morale and discipline ratings should really be about. That''s how attacks on fortified positions fail, the attackers simply aren''t able to breach the walls and the defenders cut enough down.

So again, implementation is a problem if a tank rush is the only way to break a line or bust a fort.

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Are we talking multiplayer or singleplayer? I really dont care about singleplayer. Ive had war2 for over 5 years and havent played through a single campaign. I still play it every week online. Ive had starcraft since the day it came out and still play it almost everyday.

Please keep in mind as you read this that I am right :p

Micromanagement is very important. Players should be able to micro through battle and be able to beat a macro player (if they are more skilled). Though they shouldnt be forced to play a certain way.

The last sentance is the most important. You need options in build orders, units, and overall tactics. War2 has by far the richest sets of build orders of any competitive online RTS. In contrast its unit diversity is pretty poor (but not as bad you you probably think). Starcraft doesnt have much room for creativity in build orders (due to no high resoucres) but has excellent (by the best in any RTS) unit diversivication.

War2s strongest point is its excellent balance as far as playing styles. Powering, rushing, OTing, raxing, milling, etc, etc are all vialable strategies that are effective yet counter-able. It doesnt force a player to play a certain way. This is very important. Almost no one outside of the war2 community understands this.

Peon pumping and supply are personal preference. I find peon pumping fun but I find supply to be annoying. Its very possible to make an excellent game without these two though (see strifeshadow).

Dont disregard "cheap tactics". "Cheap tactics" are what makes games so good. Warcraft II raxing someone is when you build a barracks between their gold mine and town hall. Newbies complain and say its unfair, unrealistic (who cares!), and whatever. Wrong. These people are missing out on one of the best parts of the game. Watching two good war2 players have a peon war is just amazing. Its hard to comprehend without knowing the game, but its just so much fun. Even more fun in 2v2 situations. Im not saying you should necessarily put offensive building in the game, but you should look at what makes it so much fun.

A good RTS should be easy to learn but be deep enough to let the hard-core crowd have a complex balanced game. Experts should always beat newbies (thats why they are newbies). If you want to prevent newbies from getting discouraged from playing experts, setup some type of ladder/ranking system or something (See warcraftIIIs ladder system). Dont sacrifice strategic depth to "level" the playing field for skilled players and newbies.

There should be the possibility to do amazing things. Thigns that happen every so often that just make you go "holy shit I cant believe he just did that". Whether its zileas killing 16 peons with 2 scarabs, maynard using 6 zealots to defeat a simingly endless line of marines, or just some sort of amazing comeback. These things should be possible, though its almost impossible to "design".

Finally games just need to have style. Example: Strifeshadow is an excellently balanced game, but its missing that *umph* that makes it a huge success. Its just kind of boring. Although its wonderfull balanced - its just not enough sometimes.

well good luck

Ratman

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Also, pay little attention to realism. This is a game not a war simulator. You should be putting things in the game because they are fun and add to the game depth - not because they are realistic.

Dont go putting purple elephants in your space RTS, but dont disregard a great gameplay feature because its "not realistic".

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The mini-map! Surely if your going into an area to wipe out the enemy and set up your own base you would have at least some idea where everything was? Yet everytime I play a RTS there's [usually] just a mass of black where the map sould be. To a certain extent some settings may have a justifiable reason for it (discovering a new land for instance, your not gonna know every tree position) but modern and futuristic RTS IMHO have no excuse.
Glad I got that off my chest

EDIT - Damn spelling mistakes

- DarkIce

[edited by - DarkIce on March 20, 2002 5:32:39 AM]

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1) too much micro-management during combat

2) not enough strategy during combat

The RTS games I''ve played all use combat as a means of victory. But most of them don''t seem to deem combat the biggest factor of the game. Too many things to do besides just fighting a battle. I have to construct buildings, recruit units, gather resources, take care of upgrades, hotkey units, set attitudes, form groups, order attack...

Argh. I guess current RTS games are just not my thing. Or maybe I''m just not their thing.

RTS games that have frustrated me:
C&C
AoE
Warcraft

RTS game that amazed me:
Shogun

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What do I want changed in Real-Time Strategy games?

TECH TREES MUST DIE!!!

Seriously. I always hated it since it detracted from the whole reason I'd be playing one of theses game; strategy.
If this is supposedly real-time why is it any side can build up an entire war's worth of military installations? I don't want that.
I just want to have troops on one side, troops on the other, and maybe being able to call in some support now and then. For that I've had to look to turn-based games, my favorite one being Final Fantasy Tactics. Alas, there is no multiplayer in FFT and, of course, it isn't real-time either.
If someone can point out an RTS that isn't built upon the decade old Dune formula, please feel free to point it out to me. Otherwise I'll still be seing a see of Dune clones, very similar to the see of Dungeons & Dragons clones out there in Role-Playing land.

[edited by - SonicSilcion on March 20, 2002 10:07:21 AM]

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RTS games rock, I hate nothing about them. Although they should drop the "S" since there isn''t much strategy.

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I just hate the constant "builder/peon/scv" construction.. I want to build an army of tanks, infantry and other devastating soldiers - not an army of woodcutters and miners.

Great RTS games IMHO:
Total Annihilation (Lots of killing units and cool defenses)
Ground Control (no harvesting, no basebuilding!)
Myth I & III

Less great RTS games IMHO:
Emperor - Kill the harvesters
Warcraft - Kill the peons
Starcraft - Kill the scv''s (well maby i liked it anyway)

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Something that always bothers me in RTS games are unnecessary micromanagement. Someone above wrote KISS (keep it simple stupid) and I guess that RTS games trying to be too advanced usually becomes riddled with features and gameplay elements that require mass micromanagement.

A few micro management examples:
* Having to restock ammunition and fuel for units
* Having to order medics/repair units to repair/heal individual troops
* Having to move troops around in order to avoid friendly fire
* Having to click on a base building in order to create a certain unit (I really like westwood''s righthand menubar)
* An option to turn on or off lights on the vehicles
* Not being able to quickly select troops of a certain type

I believe that lots of micromanagement problems comes from poorly designed interfaces...

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Micro-management isn’t to bad, what really gets on my nerves is the unrealistic scenery. I know I know it’s a lot to ask an’ all, but I want to know why my big tank can’t drive through those trees or why my infantry can’t climb over the sandbags, fences, etc.

Allowing such action however would make some games really difficult, instead of enemies being confined to a single route, they could come from any direction. This would lead to creating more bunkers, SAM-sites and other static defences.

Back to my first point however, I just remembered, the original Dark Reign did implement realistic terrain’s the only trouble was it made some of the levels extremely difficult, but they still had to employ the old ‘you have 4 troops, they have a division’ on some levels.

Which is another bitching point. The computer invariably plays by different rules. Ok a computer AI can’t realistically do and think of everything we can all at once, but were both in this contained little system called a game. It would seem more fair if they had to play a bit closer to our rules, after-all they do get to issue commands to everything almost all at once.

Enough already, I do go on some what. RTS’s are fine if you want to blow of a little steam, but want something that requires a little more thought than a FPS.

"Making it up! Why should I be making it up. Lifes as bad as it is without wanting to invent more of it."

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it could sound strange but one of the thing i dont like about RTS are the battles or combats. I dont see the point in building all your nice structures, thinking about the layout etc and then see how a stupid guy comes and burns it all.

dauntless, i like good games.

http://www.amiganr1.com

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quote:
Original post by sara_qq
it could sound strange but one of the thing i dont like about RTS are the battles or combats. I dont see the point in building all your nice structures, thinking about the layout etc and then see how a stupid guy comes and burns it all.

dauntless, i like good games.

http://www.amiganr1.com

Go play sim city =\

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I agree with SonicSilicon about Tech Trees. It''s unrealistic that over the course of a battle you would come up with 15 technological advances. Maybe if the game simulates a war of a few years you could have a limited tech tree and get at most 1 or 2 advances.
i.e. in WW2
a-bomb
V-1 and V-2
etc.

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WW2 triggered a lot more inventions

jet engines
better weapons
better factories for mass production
transistors invented in 1945
new submarines
aircraft carriers
synthetic rubber
cheapper ways to extract aluminum
plastics became more widely used
...

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quote:
Original post by berserk
WW2 triggered a lot more inventions

jet engines
better weapons
better factories for mass production
transistors invented in 1945
new submarines
aircraft carriers
synthetic rubber
cheapper ways to extract aluminum
plastics became more widely used
...

Yes but they weren''t all invented during the course of one battle, and subsequently forgotten for the next one

quote:
Original post by sara_qq
it could sound strange but one of the thing i dont like about RTS are the battles or combats. I dont see the point in building all your nice structures, thinking about the layout etc and then see how a stupid guy comes and burns it all.

dauntless, i like good games.

Errr, it sounds like you slightly missed the point of RTS games. If you play it like sim city then it is a bit pointless - you build your buildings and worry about the layout for one reason and one reason only: to maximise your military capability so you can squish your opponent before he squishes you. Some games like AoE/AoK let you get away with a certain amount of sim city style play, although probably not against the majority of online players.

Also, RTS games ARE good games, the fact that you personally dislike them does not change this. (having said that, I don''t think they are as good or as varied as they could be)

So, on to some of my grievances with today''s RTS''s:

Resources

I don''t really like the way resources are dealt with in the vast majority of RTS games. I think if you are going to have any resources at all, they should function in a manner similar to the Vespene Gas in SC: ie they can run out, but even once they have run out they continue to produce resources, albeit at a massively reduced rate. This would help to avoid the ''stalemate'' condition that occasionally occurs, enable much longer games (for those who like them) while still providing some pressure for the player to expand.

Tech Trees

Personally, I think that tech trees in RTS games tend to be somewhat narrow, but deep. I think this is the wrong approach, the earlier techs in the tree are no brainers since you need them to progress to the later ones. It also limits the potential for different players to take different routes down the tech tree. If you have any tech trees at all, I would prefer shorter but broader tech trees, ideally several separate, parallel trees. That way I really have a lot more ''interesting choices'' to make.

Micromanagement

Too much emphasis on micromanagement detracts from the player''s ability to form and implement strategies and tactics. This has been discussed in other threads so I won''t go into much more detail

Unit-centric gameplay

Most RTS games place a lot of importance on simply knowing stuff like ''skirmishers are good against archers'' or ''scourges or defilers are useful against carriers''. This leads to overly simplistic strategies which rely more on what you build rather than how you use it. I would rather see stuff like ''skirmishers beat archers in some conditions, archers beat skirmishers in other conditions, etc. Victory is then more about how you can engineer the conditions to suit your forces.

Fog of War

Not to be confused with line of sight. Not being able to see enemy units which are out of sight is fine, and perfectly acceptable, but fog of war strikes me as incredibly unrealistic, and it doesn''t even have the redeeming feature of being a good gameplay device. Don''t give me that ''you have to scout'' nonsense, you still have to scout without fog of war, the difference is, without fog of war you can see the lie of the terrain, and the game becomes less random, and more strategic. You can identify choke points and valuable resources right from the beginning, and form your strategy around them right from the start, instead of faffing around with a generic strategy until your scouts have explored the map - which still may well have holes in it. It also takes away the somewhat unfair advantage of map practice. I beat a better player in SC with a moronic strategy (carrier swarming) simply because I knew the map better (although I don''t know how he could have not played the map before, since it was BGH )

Peon Pumping

I don''t really have a problem with peon pumping per se, but the level of importance attached to this activity is completely ridiculous. I was reading some strategies for AoK yesterday, and was shocked to see one guide mention the fact that you should aim to have at least 100 peons, ideally much more! In a pop 200 game, that means at least half your forces are peons! I thought the 50 or so I was building was bad enough, but 100-150? Somewhere along the line I want to build an army as well, you know.