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Are "Old School RTS games" a dying breed?


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Gaming website DigitalBattle argues that old-school RTS games are a dying breed.

<blockquote>"Remember back in the day, when RTS games were about base building and resource management as much as they were about combat? Remember classics like Total Annihilation, arguably the greatest RTS game ever created? And Age Of Empires? Sadly, RTS games are moving away from the tried and tested formula to a more arcade style gameplay in hopes of gaining a wider audience.

Lately, RTS games have been moving away from the classic gameplay style of gathering resources, building a base and buildings units, to just “getting units” and storming into combat. Recently, in order to appeal to a wider range of audience, RTS games have moved away from their base to an almost arcade style gameplay, where the player isn’t required to posses great management or multitasking skills, only requirement is to know a bit of tactic."</blockquote>

Do you agree?

(via HeavenGames)

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Why is the same paragraph posted twice, but worded slightly different? heh

Secondly, there hasn't been an RTS come out in 4 years that I have wanted to own. Not Age of Empires III, not Halo Wars, not Empire:Total War. Pretty sad if you ask me, because there really is a market for good RTS games.

Edited by Mythos_Ruler
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I wanted to mention SC2 too :) They are going for tried and tested formula. Though maybe it is more oriented for hardcore multitasking gamers? I think someone is dramatizing this situation too much. Every RTS type has its niche. Total War excels at what it is supposed for (global logistics and massive tactical battles). It wasn't intended as a replacement for classic RTS. They were searching for new ideas. Why? Because there was a need for that. I always was a fan of classic RTS, but i liked the idea of Shogun very much. And i liked original Dawn of War, though it is more squad management and combat oriented RTS, but it has enough multitasking:)

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Whether old-school RTSes are a dieing breed or not, every time I look over my shoulder I see someone playing a new FPS, new RPG/MMORPG or older RTS game. I see AoE II: TC, Starcraft, Starcraft 2 (legal and illegal betas) being played. Like everyone else had said, there is room for a new, great RTS to be released.

If it has all of the elements that AoE and Starcraft have, then it'll be just as successful.

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I do believe RTS genre has been pretty much in coma the last years. It hasn´t reach the top points it had on the times of AOE2 o TA, and the developers have been trying with new formulas, wich altough good, havent been a real hit outside of the "strategy games players"

I dont mean I dont like new games, I enjoy Dawn of War, and Total War, but they have not been as revolutionary as the first RTS. And Unfortunatly, there hasnt been a decent "clasic style RTS" game lately; I dont want to start a debate, but for me, AOE3 was a total turn down. And the Rise of Nations, and Empire Earth sagas are pretty much dead.

Blizzard on the other side, leave the genre rest for almost a decade, Warcraft III with its hero sistem was a diferent enough of regular RTS, in wich fight is based on armies, not heroes. However I believe that starcraft wich for what they have show is a classic RTS, would be good enough to bring the general audience back to RTS games, wich may ultimately lead to a new wave of old style strategy games.

On the other side, we have 0AD , a whorty heir to the historic strategy games, with all the old fashion features we love, and some new ones (y)

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Real time strategy never satisfied me. It seems like the only reason for building a base was to fight. What about formations in an RTS? And being a fanatic about air combat, dogfighting and bombing disappoint. Naval combat has the same problem in these games.

The only RTS I think truly deserves the title "epic" is Rise of Nations. That game was amazing in all aspects. It should be the standard of comparison, not AoE.

As for what NOT to do, look at Empire Earth III, and you will see what I mean.

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I also wish somehow RTSs could move away from build orders and strat-@#$%dom. I wish RTSs would be more dynamic and adaptive. Dynamic doesn't mean more 'splosions and cooler particle effects. In these new Starcraft 2 pro 1v1 videos I see on YouTube, two guys who their strat and build orders before the game even begins and play out those strats to their logical conclusions. I see no innovation on-the-fly.

What happens in competitive RTS gaming is one guy comes up with a new strat or build order, then everyone else copies it and adds it to their repertoire. Part of the problem also is that most RTS games do not use random map scripting. Random maps, IMHO, force a certain degree of adaptation and innovation that pre-made maps do not.

People say players hate random events. I say a certain degree of randomization is essential in order to keep the game and genre fresh for players.

Edited by Mythos_Ruler
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People say players hate random events. I say a certain degree of randomization is essential in order to keep the game and genre fresh for players.

I agree that players hate random events to a certain degree, likely due to the fact that when it occurs, you have nothing to blame it on but the game. In AoM, if an earthquake is invoked and it takes out your entire city, you can be angry at the other player and seek revenge. If a game randomly decides that today is not your day, you have nothing to be mad at but the game itself, leading you to put it on the shelf to collect cobwebs.

If a random event suddenly spoils the hours of work you've put into attaining a certain level of achievement, the random event has instantly turned your interest away from the game. Let's say you're playing a game in which you develop a massive empire. If a volcano erupts and wipes out your entire civilization, leaving you only to start over, that would be a terrible random event. You would probably stop playing the game, because who knows what else is going to thwart your hard work?

Another example of a bad random event is one that gives you too much. Let's say I'm playing a game where money is involved, and I randomly find a suitcase with $100,000,000 inside. Well, now the game just became 15x easier because I can buy my way to the credits. Not fun.

There are good kinds of random events though. Random events that do work well are things that only affect a small aspect of the game. For example, in GTA, you'll occasionally find your favorite super car. That's a great random event. Or in SimCity, a UFO takes out your power plant and you have to build a new one. While it's not quite as favorable, it's not extreme enough to force you to quit. You'll cut your losses and move on.

Random maps, on the other hand, I don't think classify as random events. That's basically a method perpetuating the game by creating a new environment for the player while maintaining the same parameters for play. It ensures that no two games are the same, and that's exactly what players seek. People are always looking for new maps to play in FPS games, and the RMS of our strategy world fills that deficiency pretty well.

I also wish somehow RTSs could move away from build orders and strat-@#$%dom. I wish RTSs would be more dynamic and adaptive. Dynamic doesn't mean more 'splosions and cooler particle effects. In these new Starcraft 2 pro 1v1 videos I see on YouTube, two guys who their strat and build orders before the game even begins and play out those strats to their logical conclusions. I see no innovation on-the-fly.

What happens in competitive RTS gaming is one guy comes up with a new strat or build order, then everyone else copies it and adds it to their repertoire. Part of the problem also is that most RTS games do not use random map scripting. Random maps, IMHO, force a certain degree of adaptation and innovation that pre-made maps do not.

I don't think the RTS genre will ever drop build orders. There will always be a way to get ahead in the game by following an order of operations. We can make up for this with the placement of resources or inconvenient terrain layouts that force the player to think differently. One area that most RTS games tend to skip is actual combat tactics. Economic micromanagement is great and all, but when will flanking an enemy actually benefit you in an RTS? It seems like battle tactics have been, for the most part, ignored in the modern RTS. It's all about knowing what units your enemy has and what units of yours will counter them. It's more data-driven than tactical. Perhaps we should rename the genre to real-time statistics?

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  • 3 weeks later...

But of late feedback?

As An Indie Gamedev, The way is lost.It is the gamedev world? I Agree with Mythos_Ruler, The way of old style of RTS is lost. Big Names like Blizzard & Ubisoft etc are there not to make great games but... To see were can they pocket? Money making Rags!

Best Of Regards

Dewaldt Steenkamp

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"Old School RTS games" might be a dying breed, but they will never completely die. There are WAY too many people who play them for the genre to die. Supply and demand says that there will probably be more good ones coming up in the near future. (For example 0 A.D. :D)

On the subject of random events, the game can successfully dump terrible random events on the player if it is based on a choice the player made(for example, the player makes a nuclear power plant, and then it fails and destroys everything)

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