Search Unity

  1. Unity 2019.2 is now released.
    Dismiss Notice

Minimal RTS game design?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by JoeStrout, Jun 11, 2015.

  1. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Posts:
    8,282
    I was chatting with my younger son this morning, and he said his favorite type of game is RTS. (Not that he has a lot of experience with these; pretty much just LEGO Battles and SimAnt.)

    I've greatly enjoyed RTS games too (favorite: Warcraft III, though Starcraft was a close second). So it got me thinking: what is the minimal "core fun" of an RTS game?

    I don't mean the core mechanic; I think that's pretty clear:
    • select units and give them orders, including gather-resources and build-buildings
    • select buildings and give them orders, including produce-units
    This unit-building-unit cycle is the key mechanic, but not inherently fun, though the inherent joy of development is certainly part of it.

    There's also an economic-tension factor: you want to invest in future production capability (i.e. more workers, more resource-processing buildings, etc.), but you have to also spend on current defense, since you may be attacked at any time. But if that's the key fun bit, you may as well make a TD game, since that genre does this much better. (Indeed, what keeps me coming back to Bloons TD is that I have to constantly live on the edge of having just barely-enough defenses, in order to invest in money generation so that I can afford the really big towers later when I'm going to need it.)

    Then I guess there's the fun of exploration; RTS usually implies a fog of war and hidden goodies around the map. Finding those is fun.

    What I don't see as a core fun of RTS games is actual real-time strategy (or tactics). You'd think you would be forming your troops into well-oiled formations and executing pincer movements in the midst of battle, but in my experience at least, that's rarely the case. Directing a battle usually amounts to little more than telling all units to gang up on whatever Big Bad is the greatest threat, and then pointing out the places where mop-up work is needed afterwards. But it's possible I've just been playing the wrong games (or playing them the wrong way).

    So... stripping away fancy graphics, sounds, story, and all such frills, as well as any design elements that aren't truly essential... what would you see as the core of an RTS game, the minimal combination of elements that would still be fun to play?
     
  2. SeriousBusinessFace

    SeriousBusinessFace

    Joined:
    May 10, 2014
    Posts:
    127
    If you want to make interesting tactical combat, take a page from rock-paper-scissors. No, really. :) Perhaps fighters are effective against battleships, battleships are effective versus destroyers and carriers, and destroyers are effective against fighters and carriers.

    Something like that should give your game interesting tactical depth; having major units/"big bads" actually removes tactical depth, because, as you say, the tactic then becomes "gang up on them".
     
  3. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Posts:
    16,527
    Paper-Scissors-Rock is at the heart of many RTS games. AOE had Mounted-Archer-Foot. StarCraft took it even further, providing a counter table of Units in the manual. Every unit was pretty much useless against at least one enemy.
     
    Ony likes this.
  4. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Posts:
    8,282
    Yep, RPS is a common design element in lots of games (fighting games spring to mind).

    It should have some sort of logic to it, though, rather than being arbitrary — if for no other reason than to make it easy for the player to understand and remember the rules.

    So, maybe something like:

    • Energy shields are very effective against energy weapons.
    • Heavy shields are very effective against fast (i.e. light) projectiles.
    • Dodging is effective against slow projectiles (but not fast ones).

    All makes sense so far. So you could have something like (argh, why don't we have a table feature?):

    A: fires energy; can dodge; beats C (by dodging C's slow projectiles, and wearing down its shields).
    B: fires fast projectiles; has energy shields; beats A (by absorbing A's energy, and hitting it with fast projectiles).
    C: fires slow projectiles; has heavy shields; beats B (shielded against light projectiles, and pounds B into dust).

    Throw in some sort of worker unit, and this seems like a decent minimal set to me... what do y'all think?
     
    theANMATOR2b and Kiwasi like this.
  5. RichardKain

    RichardKain

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Posts:
    1,247
    What you need, sir, is an editing system to integrate into your unit control system. I'm specifically thinking of a formation editor. This would be a basic empty level where the user could design and save troop formations and basic behaviors for use in the game. When playing the game, the units assigned to such formations will automatically attempt to get in the saved formation on the field. The user would then have the option of selecting and directing the formations, instead of the individual units.

    One could say that this is basically like the grouping system most RTS's already have. But the formations I'm imagining could involve not only unit composition, but relative unit positions as well. So you could make formations of different shapes and unit compositions, and select and direct them on the field much more quickly.

    Since there would be an editor for this, each player would have the option of creating and controlling their formations individually. This would lead to a lot of experimentation with custom formations, and how they would effect strategy. It would also allow for a more strategic approach to gameplay, as opposed to a focus on micro-ing.
     
    theANMATOR2b likes this.
  6. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Posts:
    16,527
    I wonder, is the worker really a part of the MVP? Sure a worker greatly enhances the game, and adds a whole bunch of interesting choices. How heavily do I invest in economy versus military. Do I attack the enemies main force or simply mess with his harvesters.

    But is it truly a necessity?
     
  7. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Posts:
    8,282
    Yeah, that's a good point. There have been a few games like this (an ancient game called Ancient Art of War springs to mind), but I don't think it's very common.

    I do agree that this could add new depth to the game.

    However, my objective in this thread isn't so much figuring out what to add to the standard RTS formula to make it deeper, but rather, what can be taken away (while still maintaining the core fun).
     
    Ony likes this.
  8. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Posts:
    16,527
    Another option is to check out real early RTS games, like Warcraft 1 or Dune 2. We were having fun with RTS games for a long time before microing or formations became a thing. These games didn't even implement auto casting or fog of war.

    Warcraft one had the same basic PSR structure, with only eight units. Footmen beat catapults, catapults beat archers, archers beat footmen. (Mostly, the unit AI was pretty easy to surprise).
     
    theANMATOR2b and Ony like this.
  9. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Posts:
    8,282
    Well, that's a great question. I do think you need some sort of resource, but you don't necessarily need harvesters to gather it. You could have buildings that simply generate it, like the banana farms in Bloons TD, or the gas mines in what's-that-iOS-RTS-game.

    The second function of workers is typically to build the buildings, but you could instead just click to build. But this has an important consequence: what's to stop you from building just anywhere? In the standard formula, if you try to build, say, a tower in the middle of your enemy base, your worker unit is going to get slaughtered before he ever gets there.

    I suppose you could have new buildings take a while to grow, and be quite vulnerable until finished.

    I dunno though... protecting your weak-but-important little workers seems pretty core to me.
     
    Ony likes this.
  10. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Posts:
    16,527
    Check out dawn of war. No resource gathering in the traditional sense, it's all about the points on the map you control. I recall that some of the races don't use workers to build buildings either.

    I think you are right, I'm playing devils advocate here. Definitely for a game like AOE or Starcraft workers are a key piece. But maybe not for all RTS games.
     
  11. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Posts:
    8,282
    Hey, if I didn't want opinions, I wouldn't have asked for 'em. ;)

    Seriously, thank you for the input. It's given me food for thought... and I'm going to go check out dawn of war!
     
  12. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Posts:
    16,527
    While you are checking it out the other big thing to note is the sheer amount of variation between races.

    AOE flipped dramatically on this point. The races are pretty much identical with a couple of minor stat changes.

    Starcraft, Warcraft and Red Alert do it well. There is significant differences in kind between the races. But ultimately everyone is still competing for the same couple of resources. And tech trees and populations work in the same fundamental ways.

    Dawn of war goes completely crazy. Each race uses different resources. Each race climbs the tech tree in a different way. Each race ends up with fundamentally different options available too them.

    Talking about this game I should probably go play it again. It's not the greatest RTS ever. But it's got some pretty cool elements too it.
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  13. GarBenjamin

    GarBenjamin

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2013
    Posts:
    7,442
    An excellent exercise! We may all have somewhat different views considering different things appeal to different people. I guess my short list would be:
    • Acquiring Power - by this I mean the player starts out with a tiny settlement or even with a single unit to control. Over time they can build up to the point where they are in control of a thriving community. A well-oiled machine.
    • Excellent learning curve - because you start with a very tiny settlement or single unit the game introduces mechanics and goals gradually. This gives players time to get used to the game. The best RTS games kind of represent the perfect way to scale game difficulty I think.
    • Discovery - In the beginning, players will likely stick close to the starting point and focus on building. Later after they have achieved some decent level of growth they will feel more brave and venture out further. Especially in the games that use the fog of war element this makes things interesting and fun. In the beginning it can be kind of intense exploring because you never know what will be revealed. Will it be a mine or will it be an enemy camp?
    • Choices - What to build, how many to build and where to build. The good RTS games give you a good amount of freedom. Sure tutorials may say build a barracks! Or build 3 farms or whatever. But overall the player is able to create and I think that is a good part of the fun.
    • Management (aka juggling) - The cool thing here is you can send out units to do battle and then flip back over to your home base and continue building structures and more units. Or send out other units to explore new areas. And all of this is happening simultaneously. This keeps things interesting because there is always something to do, always something going on.
    I think that basically defines the essence of why I like RTS games.
     
    Ony, Kiwasi and JoeStrout like this.
  14. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Posts:
    2,234
    Find a chart of elemental advantages in pokemon, then throw out the element names and replace them with unit names. The core is then to execute upon and counteract any strategy that can come about from that crazy ass chart. Resource management is an easy way to make sure that there is limited access to available strategies.
     
  15. GargerathSunman

    GargerathSunman

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Posts:
    1,572
    What makes RTS games interesting differs from person to person. I know a lot of people who play strategy games entirely for the story segments between levels, others who play for the challenge, and others that play entirely for the multiplayer.

    In order for all three of those elements to be possible, you need distinct levels with distinct challenges (like StarCraft 2's level where the lava rises regularly), some sort of metric to measure your skill and success beyond the completion of the level itself (bonus objectives, par time, optional limitations), or a wide variety of units.

    It seems like one of the hardest genres to do right, primarily because of the amount of content needed. There are a lot of elements that people expect to be included.
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  16. tedthebug

    tedthebug

    Joined:
    May 6, 2015
    Posts:
    2,569
    I agree, for me the fun was in trying to balance resource gathering whereas I know others that thought managing resources was the boring bit & directing the mobs of troops was the fun bit.

    It's almost like an rpg character where you get a certain number of points to allocate to attributes. Some people will spend hours coming up with the best balance & character back story, go play quickly & then rush back to work out how best to spend their next 2 experience points whereas others will rush through the build & then spend hours playing missions.

    If it could be done easily I'd suggest playing an rts where you just had a set number of points at the start & toons were generated as soon as you selected them from a menu. Play it through a few times & get others to play it. Then add in the worker & resource gathering with the exact same mission & repeat. I'm sure you'd find different fun bits to the others
     
  17. Venryx

    Venryx

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Posts:
    442
    The main thing I enjoy about RTS games is figuring out the best unit combinations and building/technology purchases for countering each type of attack, and launching attacks of your own. This is only really fun against other human players, because it's based on encountering new strategies you haven't thought of before or haven't tried (because you misestimated their potential somehow), and having to find a way to counter them to survive.

    Another huge component for me is that of feeling like an important part of your team, with strengths and abilities that only you can bring out, and that your teammates will likely depend on at some point in the game. This includes both personal strengths, like being good at launching "asassination" attacks behind enemy lines to knock out key enemy structures (my personal favorite, using AoE2 Tarkans), as well as civilization/tech-tree bonuses that the game gives uniquely to your civilization.

    I've spent hours just poring over the AoE2 tech-tree thinking of unit combinations, and accompanying civilization bonuses, that would work the best together for a particular style of play I had in mind. Most of the ideas end up being failures, but they're so fun to formulate, and when you do find ones that work well it's so rewarding to get to field them in a live game and see how your opponents react to it.
     
  18. DallonF

    DallonF

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Posts:
    620
    RTS is one of those genres that I always think I'm going to enjoy but usually don't. The idea definitely appeals to me - commanding an entire army instead of just one character is an awesome idea.

    But in practice, I just can't find the part of it I enjoy. A single-player campaign is usually a test of endurance more than strategy (just fend off half-hearted AI attacks long enough to build a big enough army to penetrate their big base). Skirmish mode is overwhelming in the choices it gives you and doesn't provide any long-term metagame goals. (I need to check out Planetary Annihilation's Galactic War mode again, now that they've put some effort into it, it seems like a promising solution to those problems).

    And finally, multiplayer is just insane (disclaimer: I tend to prefer singleplayer over multiplayer in any genre). It's completely opaque as to why you lost - all you can tell is that your opponent had a bigger army than you. How'd they do that? Was it a smarter build order? Did they click faster than you? Did an early raid or bad investment permanently cripple your economy? The feedback loop isn't tight enough for anything approaching a casual experience. If you're playing an RTS multiplayer, you must be committed.

    I've always had the most fun in an RTS when I'm improvising. I had a plan, it fell apart, now I'm desperately trying to adapt - what are the resources I have available and what problems do I need to solve? I make a new plan, make some progress, then have to adapt again. But this happens pretty rarely, I've found. Most of the time, RTS is about making a plan and sticking with it, which means it had to be a darn good plan, probably researched on the game's wiki and forums for hours before actually playing. (Don't most people play video games to avoid homework?)

    Not sure what point I'm trying to make here. Just felt like an interesting perspective to add to the conversation. Maybe these problems can be solved? Maybe they're not even problems, just side effects of the nature of the genre. Maybe that's why the RTS genre kind of died lately - it only appeals to a particular kind of hardcore player, calculating the best possible strategies. If so, could there be a new genre waiting to be discovered between RTS's dynamism and TD's simplicity?
     
    theANMATOR2b and JoeStrout like this.
  19. Venryx

    Venryx

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Posts:
    442
    That's much of what I love about RTS games! Researching all the little intricacies of one unit versus another, or in a certain scenario, to figure out which mix is the best for a given situation. And then getting to play out your ideas and strength estimations in an actual game, where lots of other people are doing the same with their own ideas, and you have to beat them with a combo of your strategy and speed/adaptability.

    I think you're right that it is geared more toward hard-core players, at least for multiplayer. Without playing online I would probably have considered myself fairly hard-core in terms of how carefully I pay attention to the details of each civilization and unit, but after playing many games in online lobbies, I'm actually very much a "newbie" relative to the online average. So for someone who's not even interested in all those details, I can see how online play would seem completely overwhelming and non-interesting after a few tries.

    Well, one way to learn from your losses is to have the game in record mode while you're playing, and then watch over your whole game afterward (on fast-forward for the early parts, of course). This is both super-fun, and educational, as you see every action of the other players and can follow when and why you fell behind.

    I agree about this part. A few games with the AI can be fun when you're just learning the game. But once you've figured it out, playing the AI becomes a chore, where you just learn to exploit its weaknesses rather than come up with anything actually interesting.
     
  20. DallonF

    DallonF

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Posts:
    620
    I've never actually found this to be very informative, myself. All I usually see is my opponent doing the same thing I tried to do, just faster and without running out of resources.

    My guess is that you have to form some sort of baseline mental model of how the game's strategies work even before you can learn from them. Maybe you watch a replay and think "he built a barracks before his fifth worker, this changes everything!!". The most I usually learn is "oh, it was gg about 4 minutes in".

    For the record, again - I am not representative of a typical RTS player. I am what a hardcore player would call a noob, scrub, filthy casual, etc. I'm doing it wrong, and I have not put in the proper effort to learn how to play, and am in fact entitled enough to think I shouldn't have to.

    The real question is - how many other people are there like me, who like the idea of an RTS but not its current dominant form? Do I represent an audience yet to be reached, or am I just a whiny outlier? I don't know the answer to that, but it's very interesting to think about...
     
    theANMATOR2b and Ony like this.
  21. Serinx

    Serinx

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2014
    Posts:
    544
    One of my favourite parts of playing an RTS like warcraft3 is the very start when you're building up your base, determining what units, buildings and upgrades you want and deciding where you want to expand to.

    I like it most when I was playing with friends that were learning the game and worrying about their own base rather than how they can shut down the economy of others and micromanage their units to effectively win battles.

    That said, do you think it would be plausible to remove the combat part of the game? You would still train armies and set up defences but the actual combat would be left up to AI or a strategy that you select. It would be very high level management of your armies, more like you're the president than the general. You can say who to attack, but your armies would determine the best time to attack and what units to focus in battle.

    This would free you up to focus solely on base building and expansion, you may need to make high level military decisions once in a while but that would just involve things like "Attack this play" or "Defend this region".

    That might just be me, but I think intense micro-managed battles can take away the joy of building a base in an RTS game.
     
  22. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Posts:
    8,282
    @Serinx, I totally get what you're saying. I often felt the same way. Blizzard famously said "Warcraft is not SimCity," but I often found myself wishing that it were a bit more like it.

    (And I never got into multiplayer at all, because it just wasn't fun for me — I get to build up a much better little orc town or whatever when playing against the AI.)

    So, yeah, a development game where the details of combat are left up to your AI generals — assuming they do a reasonable job — might be an interesting thing to try.
     
  23. Tomnnn

    Tomnnn

    Joined:
    May 23, 2013
    Posts:
    4,137
    I think if you whittle away at an RTS until there's almost nothing left, you would end up with an idle clicking game. You tell a base to produce some resource gathering units, those units go gather resources, you establish an income rate and spend it on more units. But instead of only building up, RTS games have you make progress also by using your resources to take other people down.

    So if there was an idle clicking game that had a store for growing your resources and then an additional store for hindering / damaging some opponents resources, you'd have the core elements (in number interactions at least) that make an RTS.
     
  24. scplayer1

    scplayer1

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2016
    Posts:
    11
    just don't play starcraft lol. RTS multiplayer is EXTREMELY competitive.
     
  25. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Posts:
    16,527
    Since it's back on top...

    Creeper world is another interesting take on the RTS game. They managed to strip out units altogether, the game only has buildings. They stripped out an enemy AI, the creeper follows exact, easily predictable patterns. They stripped out the tech tree (there are still limited upgrades). There is no fog of war.

    There is very little left, simply what buildings to build, and where. Yet they still nailed the fun of an RTS. Your base still starts small and grows to a massive sprawling enterprise. There is still a tension between the amount of resources you have and the amount of stuff you want to build. And there are still interesting strategic decisions to make about weapon combinations.
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  26. JoeStrout

    JoeStrout

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2011
    Posts:
    8,282
    Hey, that's exactly the sort of thing I was wondering about. I've never tried Creeper World, but I'll put it on my to-do list!
     
  27. Kiwasi

    Kiwasi

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2013
    Posts:
    16,527
    You can play the demo's for free on kongregate. That should give you enough of a taste without having to buy the game.
     
  28. Martin_H

    Martin_H

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Posts:
    3,921
    @JoeStrout: Funny coincidence, a week ago I was briefly contemplating to do some kind of simplistic RTS as a side project. I was thinking about something where you play an alien invasion force and you see the battlefield as a very lowres retro pixel screen and you only build things and place "markers" for your hive of 1-pixel big aliens. I was thinking about a scale of 1 px being a few meters big and you give orders similar to how ants organize their movement with smells (I'm very fuzzy on the details how that actually works). Like left mouse button is "go here" and right mouse button is "avoid this". You'd have to manage your hordes roaming streets and countrysides in a battle versus the human military, all with the 1 px = 1 unit scale. Of course I had your pixel surface asset in mind for the implementation. I couldn't fully warm up to the game's concept though, because I struggle with "what is the player doing" and I have a hard time imagining myself having fun playing it. If you want to do something with the idea, please go right ahead! It's 99% sure I'll never do anything with it.
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  29. ironbellystudios

    ironbellystudios

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2015
    Posts:
    402
    An interesting thing I always found fun about an RTS was building a strong base of operations that would be able to defend its self against attack. As has been said, this puts me closer to a TD game than an RTS, however, at the core the difference is that you are stuck managing two different resources (and there are TD games that do this already, I believe).

    1: Sunk Cost Structures.
    These are immobile, cost you something, and it is your job to defend them so you don't have to pay for them again. On the upside, they're ideally providing a benefit that outweighs their cost (either in damage done over the life of the object, defending your existing objects, or producing direct value in excess of their cost)

    2: Variable Cost Units
    Units will die, its part of an RTS. They're cheap the replace and they can move. Where you position them, which units you build, and how you use them against the oncoming slaughter is what determines their value/cost ratio.

    To me the fun in the RTS was always about balancing those two, and I think there's a fun game to be had with those two MVP style decisions without all the bells and whistles of a modern RTS.

    PS: Avoid micromanagement and muscle memory tasks. :)
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  30. Farelle

    Farelle

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2015
    Posts:
    504
    I have not read through all the comments but one thing that I noticed immediately is that the points you brought up could aswell be part of a turn based strategy game.

    I think there needs to be a difference being made. I personally don't like turn based as much as I like real-time strategy and from all the games I have played and what I have taken from it are the fun came from seeing all those little units moving around and that I know whatever decision I make is deciding about their fate. Every development I make, makes me more attached to that specific game-round and I can tinker for hours on trying to maximize my resources and units and defenses. When I think about it, it always bothered me in Starcraft that the enemies were invading my base way too early, which forced me to think fast and it was kinda taking the fun out of it for me, because I wanted to be able to think. At the same time I wanted to have competition, being curious about how the NPC or other players would be building up their cities etc. And if my city, that i have nurtured and grown can withstand those other nations/cities etc.

    the real time part, makes everything alot more dynamic and living in a way and I think it's big part of the fun.

    edit: it's possible what i didn't like about starcrafts too fast paced gameplay, is exactly what makes rts different from turn based, since it forces the player to optimize their playtime. Like mentioned in some posts above, it's alot like rock-paper-scissors, not only content wise but also that you don't have alot of time to think how you react.
     
    JoeStrout likes this.
  31. LMan

    LMan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    Posts:
    492
    RTS is minimally, any game where the players make decisions involving multiple game pieces or "units" simultaneously in order to accomplish a main goal, ie. eliminate every other player's units on the game arena.

    Traditionally, there is some sort of resource management layered on top to make points of strategic value on the map, as well as to allow players to grow more powerful over time, and those who manage best will grow fastest. But technically, those things aren't what makes an RTS.
     
    Farelle likes this.
  32. DallonF

    DallonF

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2009
    Posts:
    620
    Oh, wow, this topic again. Good times...

    I'd argue what you describe here is a real time tactics game, which is about half of what makes an RTS. The other half is that "resource management". With only resource management, you have basically tower defense or some other similar "twist" on RTS. With only tactics, you have a, well, RTT, which have never really seemed to be successful for some reason.

    Which is kind of weird, because tactics has always been the most intriguing part of the genre to me. I have some ideas but I've been monolouging enough for tonight!
     
    Kiwasi likes this.
  33. LMan

    LMan

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2013
    Posts:
    492
    I hear ya, and you might be right. I just always thought of tactical games as kind of a subset of strategy. You can't really define a tactic without a larger strategy after all. Your tactics are informed by a strategy. I guess i could be wrong, but i don't know if all strategy games really require an economy management system to qualify as such.

    EDIT: Upon further reflection, I think there must be resource management of some kind, but the idea that RTS games are just about outperforming opposing economies still just doesn't sound right to me. I always thought an RTS should feel more like the art of war describes. I make them think I am near when I am far, I leave the enemy an option so that I can predict and control their actions, I gather intel and win the battle first, and then fight it. That sort of thing.

    Honestly most strategy games I played were strategic only on the level of "build lots of units, send em over there." He who can build more units faster wins. I found this to be a big weakness in that most RTS games played the same with only minor differences.

    SupCom was a little different in that it became a game of out ranging the opponent rather then just outproducing, (maybe that's just the way I played it?) but that wasn't quite the best either.
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2016
    theANMATOR2b and JoeStrout like this.
  34. RockoDyne

    RockoDyne

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2014
    Posts:
    2,234
    Well, they tend to bleed into RPG territory at that point. Infinity engine games did this to a T, and NIS has made a decent living on the turn based strategy formula. I think Dawn of War 2 skewed toward this direction too.
     
  35. Martin_H

    Martin_H

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2015
    Posts:
    3,921
    You should play Men of War Assault Squad 2 or Call to Arms. Both should be on sale right now. AS2 currently has a lot more content, especially singleplayer. CTA is a bit simpler to learn on the multiplayer side and still undergoing some changes and content additions. I prefer the more infantry focused and smaller scale battles of CTA. The examples below refer to AS2.
    You don't build bases, you don't harvest resources. Everything is handled with area control, similar to Dawn of War. In multiplayer both sides have basically the same resources and the same units unlock at the same time, to create an escalation over the course of the match. If you lose a lot of units, you get a bit of their cost back over time as "payback" to get you back on your feet, keep the match interesting till the end and discourage overly defensive play styles. The default multiplayer game mode awards victory points to the faction who controls the majority of control points over time. You can be in the lead 99:0 vicotory points and then lose the game 99:100 if you screw up at the end. The balancing is interesting as well as it isn't pure rock/paper/scisors. It's very situational. Lets say a medium tank costs 500 and an infantry squad of ~10 people costs 150. If you have the tank positioned on an open field with no way to advance in cover and have allied soldiers to help spot enemies (because tanks only have tiny vision arcs) then that one tank can easily slaughter many dozens of advancing enemy soldier without taking a scratch. Advancing with infantry against a tank can feel like throwing tomatoes against a brick wall in order to tear it down. But, if you have the same situation in an urban area with lots of cover, you now only need 1 footsoldier with an anti tank grenade to outflank the tank and throw his grenade at a weakpoint of the tank's armor in order to take it out. And you know where the micro management starts to get crazy? If the wreck of the tank didn't explode you can access it's inventory, steal a mounted machine gun with ammo, and take the dynamite that each tank has, in case there is a need for self destruction. With that dynamite you can wreck 1 or 2 more tanks if you get close enough. And if you could steal a .50cal mg you can even start taking down weakly armored vehicles at range and shoot through some walls in direct control mode.
    So if you are looking for an RTS that skips the base building economy and plays a whole lot different, with a veeeery high skill ceiling, then you should give it a shot! It feels so much different than Company of Heroes, in case you ever played that. I get no joy out of the COH games, they might look very similar but imho the gamplay is a night and day difference.
     
    theANMATOR2b, JoeStrout and LMan like this.
  36. LukasLicek

    LukasLicek

    Joined:
    May 25, 2014
    Posts:
    2