Is anybody making RTS games these days?

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by Julian Gollop, Feb 16, 2006.

  1. Julian Gollop

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    Well, there are a few well known franchises, of course. But what happened to the innovation in this genre? Where was Starcraft 2? Surely Total annihilation could have been updated?

    Anyway, I guess the most important question is - is there any room for indies to develop the RTS genre? Anybody else out there working on one?
     
  2. cliffski

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    I'm an RTS addict, but even I'm gvetting bored with them now. I didnt bother with Age Of Empires 3. There is a VERy high standard set by the big develoeprs, and making an RTS alone is very hard indeed. Trash is the only indie RTS I know of. If you can do an RTS, make it really innovative, and very tactical. there is a huge (slightly jaded) market out there. It's worth reading up about Darwinia too.
     
  3. bentlegen

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    One game in particular came to mind ...

    http://www.wildfiregames.com/0ad/

    I contributed to this project nearly two years ago. It's amazing how far this game has come along since then, and shockingly, they still plan to give it away for free.
     
  4. Julian Gollop

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    Yes, Darwinia is the perfect example of what an indie studio can do. It's original, and looks great. I have only played the demo, but I think I might buy the whole shooting match and do some 'research'.

    I am thinking of updating my previous game, Laser Squad Nemesis, but using something more real-time based - and using a 3D engine. I am not so keen on the traditional RTS formula which involves constructing buildings and units during a battle (which is a little absurd, anyway). I am thinking about evolving it in a different direction - with a strategic metagame, RPG aspect, and whatever else I can think of.
     
  5. vjvj

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    I agree, the only way to pull off an RTS these days is to try something really different. Everyone who tries to copy Blizzard/Ensemble just gets shafted.

    TA had a spiritual sequel in TA:Kingdoms, but it didn't do very well. I'm not sure why, since the core mechanics were identical to TA. Perhaps it's because the units were not as varied...

    Whatever you do, Julian, please keep us in the loop! I'm a huge fan of your games (Rebelstar kicked ass, btw :)), and would love to see a different take on the stuff you guys usually do.
     
  6. Anthony Flack

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    Hey, welcome to the forum!

    I'm not working on any RTS, no, but I'd also be interested to see what you guys come up with. The RTS genre does need a kick up the arse; Warcraft/Starcraft cast a long shadow.

    I remember Myth quite fondly, but that was years ago so it might look different to me now. The strategy wasn't deep, but it was satisfyingly mad (the dwarves would explode everyone to bits). After all those resource mining/barracks building games, it was refreshing to simply engage in some straightforward squad-based combat.
     
  7. Robert Cummings

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    I still rank starcraft as being the best rts I've ever played. It's better than warcraft 3. Kick up the arse? I think that will be hard cos I DO prize graphics.

    Sure, make it fun to play, but I want great graphics in an RTS. There's no real reason to immediately make it 3D, so...
     
  8. Anthony Flack

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    Not sure what you're getting at there. I meant it needs a kick up the arse because Warcraft/Starcraft were so influential that they came to define what an RTS "should" be to an unhealthy extent.
     
  9. vjvj

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    Ah yes, Myth... One of my favorite RTS games of all time, and a good example of what can be done with a purely tactical RTS. The dwarves were of course kick ass, but they also got lots of other things right... For example, I feel Myth is the only RTS to really get the archers/ranged game right.

    Also one of the few RTS games to really engage me with a story (both Myth and Myth 2 were fantastic in this respect). Starcraft also had a great story, although the written part of the story in the manual was much stronger than the storyline that played out in the campaign.

    I think I'm gonna have to reinstall Myth and give it another go tonight!
     
  10. Anthony Flack

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    True, that. The way the archers were deployed was crucial. At range, the archers were devastating to the enemy, but if you let any enemy infantry get near them they'd be slaughtered. Also, having your archers on higher ground could make all the difference.
     
  11. Michael Flad

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    Julian, you and your team did that already with Magic & Mayhem - I really liked the game (and the Afro Celts soundtrack, great choice).
    So maybe you can do something along that line, it was very unique and even though it probably wasn't the best selling title of Mythosgames, it may be a completely different story for the downloadable market.

    Consider me as a guaranteed buyer if you do a rpgrts :)
     
  12. Ricardo C

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    That looks amazing...
     
  13. Geom

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    I'm writing an indie RTS. If you'd like to follow its progress, check out redbrickgames.com. I'm blogging there about design ideas and development issues as they come up. I'm using Torque for the game.

    Geom
     
    #13 Geom, Feb 17, 2006
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2006
  14. Julian Gollop

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    0 AD does look very stunning, although from what I have read they don't have much of a playable game yet. It's normally the reverse of what I do - I concentrate on getting a workable game with AI ahead of graphics, but I wish them the best of luck.

    Geom - I have just bought the Torque RTS kit, and I am about to look at it seriously. How are you getting on with it? From my first review it still seems quite a bit of work will be involved to do what I want.

    Michael - Magic & Mayhem would be worth revisiting. It was a flawed game, but I still like the spell system. I remember strenuously arguing with Virgin IE that there should be more of an RPG element in the game, but their marketing people insisted that RPGs don't sell, so we had something of a compromise in the end (This was before baldurs gate, of course - and marketing people always get things wrong in my experience).

    Myth - I didn't like it too much because there just wasn't enough tactics or strategy involved. I have fondest memories for Starcraft - a game which has not been bettered yet IMHO.
     
  15. Monkeyget

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    Tribal trouble is an indie rts which has been released a bit less than a year ago. It's been made by oddlabs .
    Their main features are:
    fun setting
    relatively simple
    made in java
    and works on mac, windows, linux
     
  16. Edtharan

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    I am an RTS fan, but my main problem with the grenra is that they realy are Real Time Tactical games. Sure there is strategy, but the strategy is formulaic, one you have discovered the best tech path to buildings and units there is little else to do except do it as quick as you can.

    Having certain units as counter for other units can help aliviate this problem, but usually it is just 1 counter unit. I understand this is usually because of time constraints and budgets, as making extra units and balancing them is difficult. The system that they used in Homeworld was good (3 unit classes with a ship in each class designed to counter ships from each of the classes).

    This unit/counter unit philosophy tends to not to be used when it comes to base defense. Usually it is just one or two defence building types. If you have 3 types of unit then there should be 3 defence buildings to counter them (eg Gun turret to counter Infantry, Short Range Missiles to counter Tanks and Long Range Interception defence to counter artillery).

    With resources there tends to be a scramble for resources and its all about gaining the most the quickest. One way that might reduce this scramble is to have resources (some at least) that cover an area and the closter you put the resource gatherer to the center of the area the more efficient (the more resource you will collect) it is.

    Also by having resources get depleated with use, but slowly regenerate over time, could add some interesting stratigic choices (eg Strip mine the resource and leave, or set up for a longer term operation).

    Another idea in an RTS that I like is the "Unit Alchemy" used in the game Battlerealms. In this each unit starts off as a pesant and can be used to harvest resources (rice and water). If you make that unit train at a training building then they become the base unit for that building. If you then take that unit and train it in another training building then the unit becomes another type, but not the base type that the second training building noremally produces.
     
  17. Anthony Flack

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    That was my thought as well, looking at it. I hope they're very, very sure that they have solid game mechanics and play balance, otherwise the whole thing is going to be a colossal waste of time.
     
  18. puggy

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    there's a few indie mmorts's out there.
    Ballerium is one of the newer ones, still in beta. Shattered galaxy is quite old but popular, to name 2 of them.

    The mmorts's are quite good becuase it's not an AI your fighting but other people so it's a lot harder to play (but more fun).

    There's definitly room for some indie rts's but they really need to be innovative becuase players are getting bored of the same old thing, only better graphics model the big guys are sticking too.
     
  19. electronicStar

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    I feel there is potential for someone who would manage to make a RTS that would be casual at the same time.
    I don't mean simplified strategy but something like a very sophisticated version of the counselors in Civ that could let you get rid of the micromanagement without removing it from the game. The goal would be to make the player feel as if he was the chief or the king and let him give macro decision with the possibility to go further in the details if he needs to.
    Something like CIV but even more abstracted (although the scope of the game wouldn't have to be as large as CIV's civilization building)
    Now that I think of it that would be a lot of work...
     
  20. StGabriel

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    I really liked Pax Galaxia which I tried a while ago. It is a sort of casual/simplistic RTS.

    Steven.
     

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