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  • Reforming the RTS genre

    Hi all,
    you might know I'm working on an RTS game (at the moment dealing with the core system), and it is also my favorite game genre (beside turn based strategy), apparently "a bit" less popular currently than in the past... So I'm curious if you have any great idea to reform the cliche, introducing something new and fresh, like some existing games did it earlier: combining it with a turn based system (Total War); or FPS/RTS hybrid games (my other project).
    I think the fast paced multiplayer RTS games are not what I want, they are rather action games, missing the strategic depth. I don't expect the holy grail, just some brainstorming.
    "Age of Total Heroes" - RTS Pathfinding and Movement System for UE4
    RTS Camera C++ Tutorial

  • #2
    Hey im just starting to work on Art work for my own RTS style game....this is my Artwork if ur interested and would like Art help hit me up....Im not a coder so it would be sick to collaborate about this things im slowing figuring out with unreal

    https://imgur.com/a/GHAuG
    Check the Link

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    • #3
      I for one actually miss the good old RTSes, games with large battles but still some micro and a somewhat fast pace.
      for me things started to get boring when some trends were introduced:
      - limiting the unit counts more heavily (i.e. Upkeep in Warcraft3, despite which it was still a fun game)
      - added too many RPG elements, even revolving around a "hero" unit (in Starcraft it's ok, in Warcraft3 it's already too much)
      - dumbed-down infantry "groups" rather than singular units
      - removed resource gathering
      - removed the freedom in building construction (i.e. battle for middle earth)
      - slowed down the pace too much
      most RTS seem to go for one or more of the above points which really ruins them for me. SC2 is probably too fast for me but it's still an enjoyable good old RTS. maybe a new age of empires would do it for me

      so yeah I'm not the best source of ideas if you want to reform the genre, but I'm of the opinion that the genre actually needs to stop with the hit-and-miss ideas of reforming
      Help me back! follow me on Twitter

      Developer of Elium - Prison Escape

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      • #4
        maybe it is useful to collect liked and disliked features before adding new ones...
        - limiting unit quantity is a performance saver, and motivating for tech development over creating huge peasant armies... I think I can't make an RTS with UE4 without strict unit limits (few hundred).
        - imo a hero system can be fine, but works well mainly in a combined TBS-RTS game, e.g. in an old game called Knight of Honor it is solved well, you can have max 8 knights/heroes who can have a few different tasks (merchant, general, priest, governor), and generals can collect some experiences to lead their army better. It makes the game balanced. Or in Stronghold you loose the game if your knight dies, which gives a small piece of realism. So it could be utilized wisely... But I played a lot Heroes of Might and Magic too
        - I like when you can freely decide how to control your units, like in Cossacks, where you get attack/defense bonus for organized formations, but can use individual units. Btw I really hated in AOE how a few single units disturbed me when I basically won a situation but was hard to kill these lonely partizans. In ancient-medieval warfare tight formations have ever had a significant role, but fast skirmishers also were good for destroying enemy villages... I would like to see a solution where in some cases or areas you can assign an AI leader unit to manage the local situation, so the player can focus on the actually most important tasks, which can be base building or technology development or recruiting.
        - yeah resource gathering is needed in a certain amount, and free base building is more fun, especially if it is fortified. of course it requires more advanced AI in singleplayer mode, what is avoided by multiplayer only RTS games, what I really don't like... I nearly always play RTS games against AI players only (can be stopped, saved, and continued any time). But micro management of buildings and citizens can be too much, like in Stronghold games, so some simplifications are needed, e.g. Rise of Nations was a good trial of a slightly new concept.
        - adjustable game speed is great and has been implemented in a few RTS games already.
        "Age of Total Heroes" - RTS Pathfinding and Movement System for UE4
        RTS Camera C++ Tutorial

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        • #5
          @mark94 : sent you a PM. I always need artwork! a unique look does matter a lot.
          "Age of Total Heroes" - RTS Pathfinding and Movement System for UE4
          RTS Camera C++ Tutorial

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          • #6
            What is 'strategic depth'? Lets break that down. In breaking Strategic Depth down, we can identify its components and encapsulate them in to modular game mechanics that when applied in different combinations produce new emergent behaviors. I believe assembly with modular building blocks is the way to go for everything to include audio/visuals. Perhaps, its not a matter of new twist on game mechanics, but introducing more elements of player creation. Supporting player creativity with aesthetic customization of units, etc.could be a somewhat new and fresh.
            FREE TACOS

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            • #7
              perhaps, add a certain timed event. im not sure what you are working on exactly, but say. during the day you can grow crops faster (food) but during the night, a day/night cycle. some special military units can move faster?

              maybe real world disasters, as sort of an rng mechanic?

              like i said, im not completely sure the type of rts you are working on, like aoe or sc? as well as im a new dev, nice to meet you. i hope my idea out of thin air helps you think of something creative
              Full-time Gamer Turned Developer

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              • #8
                I personally believe that the StarCraft model is the ideal for RTS if you want strategic depth. Unit choice matters, scouting matters, adjusting to your opponent matters, balancing unit composition matters, balancing micro and macro matters, knowing the matchup matters, knowing upgrades and timings matters. The pace of the makes the choices that more important. No choices feel meaningless or superficial, a good player can easily know why they lost.

                Of course StarCraft isn't perfect, there's balancing issues that come and go, and making sure the meta and each matchup is interesting requires tweaking. Some of the cooler units and tech don't get a lot of use in high level play, but that does generate extra hype when it does happen. ​​​It's hard to say what exactly killed it as an esport, but it's still a great RTS either way, and had a great run.

                Some RTS fail balancing out player freedom and meaningful choices. Don't give me options that won't ever impact the outcome of a game. Also don't take away choices and freedom without making it meaningful.

                Some of the more interesting strategy games I've seen lately focus on either giving the combat more depth, or giving more depth to the economy.

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                • #9
                  yeah defining important features like the really foggy "strategic depth" is essential!
                  I meant by it the importance of planning the decisions wisely because it has heavy consequences, according to the actual game flow. it should matter what resources you collect, what you build, what tech you develop, and what units you recruit, but not as a simple always winner sequence, rather it should dynamically depend on the enemy and the environment. so the player is motivated to think, and if necessary change the strategy and tactics within a game, and the game should present a set of tools for this change, e.g. immediately available, and not directly available choices, what can be see through somewhat (building tree, tech tree, unit tree, economy focus).

                  increased customization possibilities are definitely a good way to avoid similar gameplays. I enjoyed how in Age of Mythology units changed on e.g. weapon or armor upgrade, not the whole unit from basic spearman to advanced one, but only the related part. in another game it is possible to set custom color and coat of arms to your groups of units, but it would be also fun to decide what weapon and armor to add to the actually recruited units, and finally you can have really unique and specialized troops just suitable in the actual situation. I mean no swordsman, spearman, archers are created, but units with e.g. a bow, a sowrd and leather armor, or if you see it is not enough you can start to manufacture crossbows or chain mail, and a tech upgrade only makes new stuff available but old weapons are not upgraded automatically, they should be replaced...

                  I have not played with StarCraft, ever preferred historical games, but approx. know its features. Balancing opponent factions is a hard thing requiring a lot of gameplay tests, and it is also needed to fine tune how much time the player should spend with economy and combat, and how the player can avoid loosing combats, if focusing heavily on economy (hiring mercenaries) and vice versa (strong siege weapons and quick attack units for fast break through).
                  Last edited by sivan; 12-06-2017, 04:54 AM.
                  "Age of Total Heroes" - RTS Pathfinding and Movement System for UE4
                  RTS Camera C++ Tutorial

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Chosker View Post
                    I for one actually miss the good old RTSes, games with large battles but still some micro and a somewhat fast pace.
                    for me things started to get boring when some trends were introduced:
                    - limiting the unit counts more heavily (i.e. Upkeep in Warcraft3, despite which it was still a fun game)
                    - added too many RPG elements, even revolving around a "hero" unit (in Starcraft it's ok, in Warcraft3 it's already too much)
                    - dumbed-down infantry "groups" rather than singular units
                    - removed resource gathering
                    - removed the freedom in building construction (i.e. battle for middle earth)
                    - slowed down the pace too much
                    most RTS seem to go for one or more of the above points which really ruins them for me. SC2 is probably too fast for me but it's still an enjoyable good old RTS. maybe a new age of empires would do it for me

                    so yeah I'm not the best source of ideas if you want to reform the genre, but I'm of the opinion that the genre actually needs to stop with the hit-and-miss ideas of reforming
                    Agreed to all that, but i am RTS extremist. I like only total annihilation style RTS games, other are dumbed down. Well maybe oldies like warzone2100, empire earth, rise of nations.

                    Do not try hard to add something new and refreshing, just avoid dumbing down. You probably cannot go for endless units (like supcom does), unreal will not handle that many units without serious modifications. You should go for something that unreal can do well. Maybe some squad based RTS, you can go for turn based with action points.

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                    • #11
                      I have also thought to rather make a turn based game, I like them too. I could have saved a lot of work but my RTS core is now really functional in complex cases too, so a squad or formation based battle/siege system cannot be a problem... In Empire Earth II I really liked the area conquering system, it is nearly the feeling of a turn based map + RTS map.
                      My favorites are ancient/medieval games, but in a sci-fi there are nearly unlimited possibilities for technologies and to build a unique world... alternatively, religion and god powers could affect the game similarly to technology, like in Age of Mythology, or some fantasy elements also could pump some fantasy into a basic historical RTS. What is certainly forbidden today: Viking and zombie games
                      "Age of Total Heroes" - RTS Pathfinding and Movement System for UE4
                      RTS Camera C++ Tutorial

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Have you seen old, old game "Core wars" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Core_War
                        I had idea of recreating it with robots in procedurally generated map.
                        Instead of code jumps you would have move and turn, scan area, aim, fire weapon, etc.

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                        • #13
                          This might sound a little silly, but a large part of achieving what you want to achieve requires you to define it in clear terms.

                          The first thing you will need to do when it comes to designing this new game is understanding what it actually is you want to achieve; the thread title describes 'reforming' the RTS genre, but most of the thread subsequently discusses preferences for existing mechanics and standard genre tropes - none of which will really help you direct yourself towards that goal.

                          In order to define what you want to achieve, you should evaluate the following;
                          1. What is and isn't realistically achievable given development constraints.
                          2. What recent gameplay trends and technological developments could potentially be employed to improve or modernise the genre.
                          3. What your current progress affords you the ability to do and what kind of limitations this imposes for further development.
                          Having taken some time to evaluate the above, you should start specifically looking at the game setting and scale and working out which those are more and less suitable to your capabilities, strengths and weaknesses; your gameplay mechanics will begin to be derived from here, and it is only at this point, once you have fleshed out preliminary concepts for gameplay mechanics that you should really start to look at what other games in the genre are doing, cross-referencing them against your own work.


                          At this point in time, I am of the opinion that you still have a fairly long way to go; a significant aspect of building RTS games tends to revolve around some of the more unusual requirements of the genre - for example the use of deterministic simulation as a necessary component of gameplay.

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                          • #14
                            imo defining existing desired/undesired features is very useful, they can be the basis of the concept, but you are right it would not lead to reforms. I approx know the limitations I can achieve with the engine in singleplayer mode, multiplayer should be tested more with real network and improved further... so I have a vision about the scale of the game. and it leads immediately to one main question: should be an RTS focused on single or multiplayer? my personal preference is singleplayer, but it could be a totally bad decision...

                            gameplay trends and new techs are definitely good points to investigate, new type of hybrid solutions and new gameplay mechanics fitting in the RTS style what I really need... I know my weakness is finding the proper art style, maybe approaching it from this aspect also could help a bit.
                            "Age of Total Heroes" - RTS Pathfinding and Movement System for UE4
                            RTS Camera C++ Tutorial

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                            • #15
                              Jumped back into Supreme Commander II yesterday, and honestly, I can't see the RTS genre as being too versatile in design. You can make small variations, of course, to fit your game, but the overarching style simply seems too rigid.

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