RTS Design Theory Thread

RTS Design Theory Thread

Discuss game development here, from a distinct game project to an accessible third-party mutator, down to the interaction and design of individual units if you like.

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MidKnight
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RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by MidKnight » 22 Apr 2011, 01:06

I thought this'd be a cool idea. We can share our ideas on RTS design (or game design in general, if the thread leans that way), learn from others, and generally have discussion.
If it grows, this thread could also be useful for the newbie devs. :wink:

I'll start with an assertion:
Realistic or "epic" scale is a farce. Making it play well and not look like ants is often more trouble than it's worth.
A good example is SupCom.

...And another one:
It's better to have a fun game than a realistic game. If people wanted realism, they could play real life.

Now it's your turn! :-)
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Wombat
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Wombat » 22 Apr 2011, 01:14

Realistic or "epic" scale is a farce. Making it play well and not look like ants is often more trouble than it's worth.
funny u say, i downloaded Ground Control 2 today and have to disagree. tho, i have to admit thats probably the only game i have ever seen, with big scale that actually did not suffer 'ant' syndrome. and maybe w40k ?

i know its small abuse to call them 'games with epic scale' but still, i think it is possible to do.
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Johannes
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Johannes » 22 Apr 2011, 04:29

There's a lot of wargames that try to be as realistic as possible and still work. Like this for example (I haven't played that though). But it needs a different approach than your usual RTS which is quite abstract (you collect resources & make guys etc, it's more like a whole war compressed into 1 battlefield than anything realistic), try to make the gameplay overall realistic and not just the scale.
And if you've always got so many units that you never command any one individually, that just makes it more annoying to control them than if you compress the unit count. No point to have too many units just for the sake of it.
Basically your units need to, at minimum, easily give relevant info to players about what's happening and provide a nice feeling control scheme. These can be acheived in a game of just moving icons around too, at least if it was designed for that.

That might've came out a bit messy but I hope it gets my point across...

WH40k might be epic, depends on definition, but it's definitely not realistic.
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bobthedinosaur
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by bobthedinosaur » 22 Apr 2011, 04:36

realism involves politics, politics aren't in fun video game wise. reality is rarely a balanced team.
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Johannes
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Johannes » 22 Apr 2011, 04:41

Realism also includes taking a dump once in a while. Doesn't mean you necessarily have to include it in a realistic game, if that's not in the scope of what you want to simulate.
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Guessmyname
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Guessmyname » 22 Apr 2011, 10:12

MidKnight wrote:If people wanted realism, they could play real life.[/b]
I disagree on this point though. Hands up everyone here who is a military general commanding forces in a war.
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PTSnoop
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by PTSnoop » 22 Apr 2011, 11:42

"Epic scale" may be overrated, but I've seen a lot of more recent strategy games go too far in the other direction. Dawn of War 2 is a pretty good RPG, but there's not much room for strategy when you've only got four units. And Command and Conquer 4... enough said.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Forboding Angel » 22 Apr 2011, 11:45

Personally, as far as design goes, it must play as well as it looks and vice versa. Those are my top motivating points. Between epic scaling for realism and non realistic scale for fun... the two are not mutually exclusive, however, each caters to a different kind of player.

I have supcom and I hate it. I have *crap2 and the fishbowl and giant UI sucks Dick. Call me aiddle of the road player. However, I like sc2 scale Much better than supcom scale.
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Guessmyname
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Guessmyname » 22 Apr 2011, 12:02

Ironically it may be the zoom that does that. TA has 'epic scale' and insanely long ranged artillery, but a fixed zoom, so the ants issue never comes up.

Having a single / fixed amount of zooming solves a lot of problems, when you think about it.
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Cheesecan
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Cheesecan » 22 Apr 2011, 15:52

I like historic grand strategy games. Both RTS such as Age of Empires and turn-based ones like Europa Universalis. Playing those games you can actually learn something new about history whereas from playing Starcraft what you learn is hotkeys.
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smoth
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by smoth » 22 Apr 2011, 15:57

*yawn*

http://www.forceforgood.co.uk/reviewpag ... elected=28

I just roll my eyes at the ants thing.

iconwars? don't have your icondistance so low faggots
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PicassoCT
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by PicassoCT » 22 Apr 2011, 18:26

Your standardsettings, are everyones standardsettings mr.smoth.


If one unit you have is only remotly similar to another (melee unit one, melee unit two) only diffrence beeing hp and buildcost... kill them all except for one. Forces you to do interesting units, whos function is really radical diffrent form each other. Pair radical strengths with radical weaknesses. Exampel?

You have incredible long range artillery? Thats nice.
It needs wreckages to fire its shells! Thats mean. Tada, Unit balanced, depending on user beeing able to micro self+d or have the front moving forwards.

Another Example?
Pyro sets everything on fire? Thats nice.
Pyro does explosive groupdamage&|chainreaction, if one of his burning targets comes to close for a therapy hug. Thats mean.

List goes one.
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knorke
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by knorke » 23 Apr 2011, 12:56

Johannes wrote:And if you've always got so many units that you never command any one individually, that just makes it more annoying to control them than if you compress the unit count. No point to have too many units just for the sake of it.
Basically your units need to, at minimum, easily give relevant info to players about what's happening and provide a nice feeling control scheme.
I said this all the time about E&E when it got "epic scaled" but everybody just screamed its strategy not tactics trolololo.
---
I dont like when the "main units" (those that make up most of your army) have too much range: Then position of units relative to each other does not matter much if every unit can hit every other unit because all their ranges overlap -> boring.
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Erik
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Erik » 23 Apr 2011, 14:33

Its not like anybody forces you to make RTS. Just make an real time tactics game instead ^^
I like the ideas in this thread, perhaps if i get the engine to work properly on my laptop ill try some.
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Forboding Angel
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Forboding Angel » 23 Apr 2011, 23:42

I never really cared for EE epic scaled tbh. But yeah, pretty much everyone said the same thing to me knorke, and I was actually involved with the EE development to some extent.
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Regret
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Regret » 24 Apr 2011, 18:14

If it's fun for the player and not frustrating for the player's enemy (i.e. another player) then it is a good idea.
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KDR_11k
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by KDR_11k » 24 Apr 2011, 19:43

Real life strategy happens on the order of months or years so making it real-time would not work at all.

Also real life units are MUCH smarter than the ones in any videogame. That's a major factor in how the battles work out and what the commander has to do. In e.g. Starcraft the player has to think for all of his soldiers as well.
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PicassoCT
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by PicassoCT » 24 Apr 2011, 20:16

You have to admit though, that real life inspired moral (your unit running away - deserting in the midst of battle) is part of some of the greatest games ever made. Dark Omen, Shogun, Warhammer.

If you messed up, its pretty cool of your troops to show that, even before the enemy rolls out the bloody ret corpsescarpet.
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Regret
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Regret » 24 Apr 2011, 20:29

PicassoCT wrote:You have to admit though, that real life inspired moral (your unit running away - deserting in the midst of battle) is part of some of the greatest games ever made. Dark Omen, Shogun, Warhammer.

If you messed up, its pretty cool of your troops to show that, even before the enemy rolls out the bloody ret corpsescarpet.
I prefer RTS games where I 'mindcontrol' every unit, as in they can't disobey an order.
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Neddie
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Re: RTS Design Theory Thread

Post by Neddie » 24 Apr 2011, 20:53

Regret wrote:
PicassoCT wrote:You have to admit though, that real life inspired moral (your unit running away - deserting in the midst of battle) is part of some of the greatest games ever made. Dark Omen, Shogun, Warhammer.

If you messed up, its pretty cool of your troops to show that, even before the enemy rolls out the bloody ret corpsescarpet.
I prefer RTS games where I 'mindcontrol' every unit, as in they can't disobey an order.
Well, tastes will differ. Some people require close control for psychological reasons, still others often find moral/involuntary systems to be uncomfortable or inconvenient without much real benefit. I personally enjoy them more in design than in practice.
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