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Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Master-Frog, Sep 5, 2017.
I probably didn't express myself well enough. What I meant is, those are the basic skills of the game you need to master, in order to be able to be competitive and be able to start thinking about strategies and the meta game.
If your build orders are not fast/optimized enough and your economy understanding isn't strong, you can't even play the actual game.
It's like.. for example, fighting games are all about mind games and rock paper scissors with timing. But to be able to play the mind games, you need to be able to pull off complicated combos consistently.
That's an interesting approach to game design. So the essence of a modern FPS wild be cover. The essence of a platform we would be avoiding falling.
I'm not sure I buy it as 'Essence' but it's certainly an interesting lense to look at game design from.
Really? Well, there's two ways to look at this that I can think of.
One is in the context of "the best defence is a good offence". In which case anything you do in an attempt to win the game is "defence", making the word meaningless in describing the essence of the game.
The other is in the context of prioritising the avoidance of loss over the seeking of gain. The kind of attitude that results in "turtling".
The issue with strategies based on loss aversion is that staying alive isn't the objective. The objective is to beat the other players, which usually means wiping them out. Staying alive is just a pre-requisite of achieving that.
With that in mind, in many RTSs an over-emphasis on defence is often counter-productive as far as the win conditions are concerned. Any resources you invest into defending stuff are resources you're not investing in achieving the win condition. RTS game designs often actively discourage overly defensive strategies as well, such as by limiting resources at particular locations. This forces you to take and hold territory to keep your income flowing. If you sit back and turtle and just defend then you're going to get steamrolled when your opponent(s) have more territory - and therefore more resources - than you do.
Even in games where you can win by non-military means, I can't think of a single example where a win condition is based on how good you are at defending yourself. I'm familiar with cultural, scientific or economic forms of victory, and in each case a balanced defence can be an important part of getting there. Still, it's not how you get there, and resources invested into, say, defending your science systems are resources not invested into directly advancing your science.
Defence is one of multiple factors that need to be managed and balanced to win in an RTS. And without being more specific about what type of RTS, I think that's about as close as we can get to nailing down their essence - they're about managing economic, military and other resources in such a way as to reach a win condition before other players.
That's really the best way to play. Otherwise you can't get all the endgame tech.