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Thread: Any RTS fans here?

  1. #1
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    Any RTS fans here?

    Hey.

    I'm making an RTS game a little bit in the style of C&C / Warcraft / TA. As part of my research into my target market I wondered what things TZ RTS fans liked and disliked about particular RTS games?
    What got the game to be interesting in the first few minutes? What uniquely good or bad things did it do that other RTS games don't?

    All that kind of stuff.

    One thing I don't like is the micro-management of having to click on individual units all the time. I want to be able to plan an attack and then watch it without a continual click-fest to keep things on track.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    I will tell you exactly what makes me get wood when playing an RTS game,

    1) Graphics -- Poor it on, but make it so that even crappy PCs can play it... but if you got the hardware, please CHOKE IT with smokin' graphics.. pixel shaders, the works.

    2) Simple BUT effective controls -- nothing kills an RTS game worse than an overly complicated control toolbar... I hate it... in fact, if it is too difficult, I just chuck the game completely off my system... I don't want to RTFM to play the game. I just want to jump right in and get jiggy with it.. and then RTFM when I am deeper into the game.

    3) Gameplay -- This covers so much.. but standard RTS should have both single and multiplayer... There should be loads of maps, player models and scenery... no one wants to keep playing an RTS after they have played every single stage, setting, and vehicle... make it a challenged to get to some of the better equipment.. but not too much... or then it can suck too.. finding a balance for that is difficult.

    Also, money, resources, and so on.. should be totally customizable.. I mean, you can change how fast or slow money is dolled out, the amount of resources available on a map and so on.. (a good example of this is with CIV4, there depending on the map type, size etc... resources are plentiful or not so.. I love that.

    4) Interactivity -- you should be able to interact with ever unit, every tile, every aspect of the game... I hate it when you cannot access a tile because something is blocking the way... like mountains etc... I think mountains should be accessible *tunnels, mines, etc... That's a person peeve with me...

    5)Single player missions -- let's get some serious mission-based RTS going... I don't want the game to end 2 weeks after I start it... and if it does, I want the game to be so dynamic, that the second time I play it is a totally different experience than the first time... this makes or breaks a game in my opinion.

    6) Bugs -- I hate it when games are shipped, especially RTS, and they are full of bugs... make sure you give lots of ALPHA and BETA time to debug the game. Nearly every RTS released, has a patch within a few months... why couldn't they just hold off and patch the game before shipping? When it goes gold, the game should be finished... that really gets up my kilt! I hate it. And game makers aught to hide their faces when they release crap unfinished.

    7) Multiplayer -- Make it run like a hooker from her pimp. I don't want to see lag, artifacts, dropped connections and otherwise piss poor multiplayer interface... It should play smooth even on a dialup.. because, believe it or not, dialup is still no. 1 in terms of users on it... code for dialup and leave those with broadband shining like a newly polished pecker.


    Well I could write more but I will stop for now because my fingers are tired. I worked all day and want to watch some mythbusters and take a bath in a while. I hope this can give you some insight into my perspective on RTS.

    By the way, I enjoyed AOEIII, CIV4, and Empire Earth II... these games I think did it well... but CIV4 was just buggy as hell... but it blew me away visually much like AOEIII.

    PS:

    8) Skinning, map add-ons, builders etc... -- make the game easily skinnable, easy to build maps and mod, and you will have won over countless RTS players... and then ready a killer Expansion pack to be released a year or two later and you'll roll in the cash flow!

  3. #3
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    Thanks Boog.

    Lots of that is general stuff applciable to all games; a couple of things I think especially important/relevant are:

    2) Simple BUT effective controls
    This is a difficult one - you want to make tha game different from other RTS games by adding new functionality, but players expect to be able to play a pretty complex game without the manual.
    What are your feelings on hot-keys, and on in-game tutorials?

    8) Skinning, map add-ons, builders etc
    Yes, I must remember to make a decent level editor available - even a campaign editor possibly. These certainly can extend the longevity of a game.

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d000hg
    Thanks Boog.

    Lots of that is general stuff applciable to all games; a couple of things I think especially important/relevant are:

    2) Simple BUT effective controls
    This is a difficult one - you want to make tha game different from other RTS games by adding new functionality, but players expect to be able to play a pretty complex game without the manual.
    What are your feelings on hot-keys, and on in-game tutorials?

    8) Skinning, map add-ons, builders etc
    Yes, I must remember to make a decent level editor available - even a campaign editor possibly. These certainly can extend the longevity of a game.

    As for the controls, Hot Keys RULE!!! In fact, making a simple set of hotkeys to do the most common things is nearly a necessity..

    In game tutorials should be aimed at three levels:

    Newbs -- RTS what?
    Experienced -- let's start a war
    Pro -- How can I invoke the third ranks in multipronged attack on the neighboring village across the map...

    That way you are not boring pros with newb stuff, and you're not skipping ahead info that someone new to RTS would find useful.

    I do think in-game tuts and a separate tut are very valuable. I think having an in-game with the ability to skip it, skip ahead to the next tutorial etc... are very good for an RTS system.

    I also think copying or at least partially copying an existing system with modifications is the best way... because if a user is already familiar with say, Warcraft, then modeling after warcraft will make it much easier for users to come to terms with your game.

  5. #5
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    Wow! Nice list BB.

    I'd look for a multiplaying option and a little more graphic detail than what you get with AOE3.
    Last edited by rohitk89; February 3rd, 2006 at 11:01 AM.

  6. #6
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    Big Booger:
    You want loads of hot-keys, but you don't want to have to read the manual to know what they are?!
    A tutorial on resource gathering might be useful since I plan to implement this differently - but otherwise I agree with the ingame tutorial. On a slight tangent I like the idea that Warcraft II had where each time you started a mission you got a popup with a random tip for the game.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    a popup system explaining the hot keys would take care of the manual reading issue....

    Where you do some nominal task and a popup explaining how to do the same task with a hotkey pops up.

  8. #8
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    or for hotkeys when u hold the pointer over whatever the thing is say a bulding or a unit the hotkey is a different color in the name like they do in warcraft III possibly underline the hotkey as well it will make it that much easier to notice and just make a tip that says hotkeys are in such and such color and also are underlined for the poor color blind people which im sure play games as well

  9. #9
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    What do you think about resource gathering in RTS games, and about micro-management of your units?

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Super Moderator Big Booger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by d000hg
    What do you think about resource gathering in RTS games, and about micro-management of your units?
    What I find is that after a while you collect so many resources that you can coast on without even worrying about it.

    What I would love to see is famines, plagues, and natural disasters that randomly hit and take out a chunk of your resources. That would be awesome and would imitate real life as well.

    Perhaps the weather goes sour and you get a drought... damn there goes most of the food production for a certain time period.

    Another thing about resources is the fact that it can get trivial (like having too much). It would be nice if resources were improved much like units, buildings etc... CIV 4 kind of does this, but I think it would be nice to improve on it. Like you start out with stone and bronze, working your way up to Plutonium, uranium and then beyond (make up some new "future resource" like moon dust or something like that.

    As for micromanaging, I think when the map is huge, it can get pretty daunting. I hate micromanaging later in games, but early on I can't get enough of it... so I think there should be some sort of autonomous button that you can press to either not micro manage or micromanage... Like a "novice" or "pro" micro-manage system. One where if you want to micromanage, even on a large scale you can. And at the same time, if you want to PC to take over you can click the button and everything goes to auto-mode.

    Giving users the freedom to choose either way is the best I think.

    Another thing that kills an RTS game is either a too weak AI or a too strong AI. I think the AI should adapt to your gameplay. If you are doing really well, then the AI should get the message to perhaps start a small-scale attack. I don't know much about programming an AI but I think it would be awesome if an AI played like a real human. And I must say most AI today do a decent job, but there is still room for improvement. AI can make or break a single player mode game quite quickly.

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