PDA

View Full Version : RTS vs Turn Base


maroule
11-06-2003, 13:59:23
(I've just posted a similar post and wondered what were the opinions on the suject)

RTS have been booming for the past 6 or 7 years, and are by far the most successful strategy games around. No coincidence then that the three biggest strategy games recently released were Warcraft3, Age of Mythology, and Rise of Nation.

I find them less and less appealing with time. Is it because I'm getting older and can't keep up with the rythm (is there a relation with the age of the gamer?)

I find the mecanics way too similar : building an economic base in the best timing, building an army, attacking by maximising the paper-scissor balance of unit, destroying the other one economic base. There are variations (rush, etc.) but it's more or less the same story over and over. I also find it increasingly frustrating to see half the game's fun flying past me. Besides, multiplayer is not an option : having seen some of the 'masters' of the genre excel simply by clicking faster, and optimising what their peasants will do in the first 3 minutes, I know I cannot compete. If I did, I would also not take much pride in it.

It's not to say RTS are 'bad' games, as the level of attention to details, balance, and the overall obvious comptence displayed in AGe of Mythology for example makes it a very decent investment. It's just I can't be bothered playing more of a couple hours each.

On the other hand, turn based games have been fewer and more disappointing recently, with the objective failures of the last Civ endeavours and MOO2, the two flag bearers of the genre. What we have seen however is the rise of hybrids, like the Total War franchise, or the Combat Mission one, where the order phase is done (or can be done) by pausing, and where the action is real time.

So what do you feel about these trends? As a gamer, where do you stand?

Funkodrom
11-06-2003, 14:17:48
I'm a bit bored with both of them. Had a lot of fun with Warcraft III , most time I've spent on a PC game for years. Haven't played a TBS since Alpha Centauri and I can't imagine wanting to.

Re: RTS multiplayer, I share some of the same frustrations but there are plenty of players/posters here who don't have that kind of time to spend on games. I couldn't compete with say Rachel or Shiny in a 1v1 game of Warcraft III but we could still have some fun playing team games. As long as we split them up. One of the good things about that was that there was a lot more early combat/disruption in the early game and you always got a benefit being the defender early on so even if you were a bit slower you could survive.

King_Ghidra
11-06-2003, 14:41:59
very much agree with maroule's analysis of the rts format

my personal bug bear is the building/resource gathering - so boring. I know there are games like sudden strike where there is an rts game but no building/resource gathering, but i haven't played that.

I used to like turn based games like civ and smac and panzer general, but i think Total war is the way to go in the future. Bring on the hybrids!

Funkodrom
11-06-2003, 14:48:22
WCIII is good on the resource/building thing because you are fighting all the time you are doing it (typically).

You might also want to give z-steel soldiers a try. You are welcome to borrow it. Money comes in based on how much territory you own and most of the time there are base facilities that you can use already on the map, you just have to grab the territories quickly so that the buildings come under your control. You can also build your own buildings as normal.

MDA
11-06-2003, 17:10:16
I wanted to click "good ol' turn based" and "maroule is a fucktard" but I only got one vote!!! :(

Sean
11-06-2003, 17:14:22
Absolutely agree with what Funko said about multiplayer. Team games are fun, playing with people you know is fun, so team games with people you know is the way to go.

I’m not going to vote because I wanted to vote for more than one. Theoretically RoN is a hybrid, for instance.

Venom
11-06-2003, 17:19:23
I like them both very much. When they're done correctly that is. So that leaves me with only 1 option. The truest of the true. The best of the best. Maroule is a fucktard.

maroule@home
11-06-2003, 17:58:31
Originally posted by MDA
I wanted to click "good ol' turn based" and "maroule is a fucktard" but I only got one vote!!! :(

see, it's a trick, you have to have a strong opinion about it

only Venom can achieve the necessary focus, avoid being distracted by useless options, and jump in the heart of the matter

Funkodrom
11-06-2003, 18:15:49
Originally posted by Sean
Absolutely agree with what Funko said about multiplayer. Team games are fun, playing with people you know is fun, so team games with people you know is the way to go.

I’m not going to vote because I wanted to vote for more than one. Theoretically RoN is a hybrid, for instance.

I wouldn't buy an RTS now that I didn't know a whole bunch of people here were playing.

BigGameHunter
11-06-2003, 18:34:37
I like the compromise reached by games such as Combat Mission and Freedom Force. I'd also like the format of SimCity, et al, if the subject matter wasn't so tedious and you didn't have to hit some perfect mathematical formula of $ and people and roads crap. I really hate micromanagement, so most TBS (Civ) are very boring for me, plus MP takes a year and a half for half a game...
I'm not a big fan of the RTS format either, for reasons already noted...too fast paced and gamey and I'm always having to click the pause button to figure out what the fuck I'm doing.

Alas, I'm just too inflexible for most games.
Give my the CM model any day...that needs to be put into games more...

MDA
11-06-2003, 18:54:01
Originally posted by maroule@home
see, it's a trick, you have to have a strong opinion about it

only Venom can achieve the necessary focus, avoid being distracted by useless options, and jump in the heart of the matter

I will strive to focus on my hate in the future, so I can be more like... oh, what the hell am I saying!!?

Venom
11-06-2003, 19:04:35
You say you're evil. Get on the evil train, fuckwit.

MDA
11-06-2003, 19:35:12
I AM evil, I just feel really bad about it. :(

MDA
11-06-2003, 19:35:53
I mean, I feel really bad about it, you fat bastard.

maroule@home
11-06-2003, 19:45:58
better it is, young padawan

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
11-06-2003, 22:26:45
I like both, but it depends what mood I'm in as to what I'll play.

Lady_of_Chicken has become a bit of a fan of Age of Kings, mainly she was drawn to it because of the medieval theme, as she isn't too interested in getting into Age of Mythology, which I think I prefer over AoK. Still, I do enjoy a team game of AoK with LoC, and I've hooked the kids onto AoK too, so when we get their PC networked LoC and I can slaughter them :D

The best RTS I've played and not gotten ultimately fed-up with has been Warzone 2100. Very little micromanagement re: collecting resources - send a truck to build an oil derrick on an oil patch, then make sure you have at least one processing plant per four derricks. Loads of technologies to research, easy to control, and great multiplayer. If the gfx weren't screwed up in Win98 because of my current video card, or if it worked at all in WinXP, I'd still be playing it now.


I can't imagine playing a TBS multiplayer and have fun. It would seem the concepts are mutually exclusive. Just about every TBS I have dabbled in MP with has been disappointing. At one stage I was playing SMAC on ACOL, waiting for the turns to trickle in was aggravating. Stars! was a little better, since turns are taken in parallel, but it was still not as fun as the SP game, even with the crappier AI.


In fact, I prefer many games, TBS and RTS and other, in SP. It's not worth the time and effort getting on MP with dialup, and I tend not to be an early adopter of a game, so by the time I'm looking for opponents they're all way more experienced with the game (I've just started playing Diablo2 online, for instance). Though I will say that the few games I played of AoK against some of you people at ACOL were pretty good, when the lag wasn't a complete killer.


I'd vote banana, but that option is missing, so I'm abstaining.

The Mad Monk
11-06-2003, 23:56:14
The only RTS I ever play anymore is Total Annihilation.

Sean
12-06-2003, 00:22:23
I wish I could get that working properly :(. I own two copies of the thing, neither of which wants to work.

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
12-06-2003, 02:17:27
It seems to work okay on new hardware under Windows 98. A couple months ago I finished the ARM campaign again, and got halfway through CORE before I got fed up :)

The Mad Monk
12-06-2003, 06:37:28
I like playing with the 3rd party units, modpacks, and maps.

Anyone else try those Epic Class maps from TAMEC?

Darkstar
12-06-2003, 08:17:01
I'm leaning towards agreeing with Maroule. So shoot me. (Thanks Venom!)

This vote really should have been multiple choice! :<

Anyways... RTS is best suited for MP, and since everyone is getting wired, it's not surprising that's the focus. Team play is tons of fun, when you know the people. Social event. In the 70s, people used to play Uno and Yahtzee and Monopoly. Now it's RTS games.

The problem is most RTS games are really very similar. There is just so much you can do with the format and still retain the base elements. Get used to it.

I do play RTS from time to time. But most of the time, I prefer TBS. Wear and tear on the wrists from too much computer use and playing, getting old and slow, time constraints, and RTS games being basically the same.. of course, TBS tend to have a lot of commonality as well, but it's a lot easier for you to put down a TBS game after just 30 to 45 minutes, go off and do something else for a while and then come back and pick up the game.

Anyways, I like games that have the CM model. I'd like to see more of those. Hybrid is alright, from time to time. ;)

Darkstar
12-06-2003, 08:18:21
And my favorite RTS game is still StarTopia. You guys really should check it out. ;)

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 08:21:58
The problem is most RTS games are really very similar. There is just so much you can do with the format and still retain the base elements. Get used to it.

Not sure, they pretty much all have some base building/resource gathering aspect and you could easily get rid of that and have an RTS without it or do something completely different with it. The main three franchises are all very similar in that regard though.

Shining1
12-06-2003, 08:51:55
RTS games, simply because the multiplayer aspect is so much better. TBS games suffer from too much waiting around in multiplayer. The two concepts aren't easily compatible - TBS is about deep thinking and careful planning, which doesn't make for quick, action packed games - the thing you want in multiplayer.

Beta1
12-06-2003, 10:54:05
Actually what I want in multiplayer is deep thinking careful planning and above all not winning.losing because you have hit the mathematically perfect number of villagers/resource gatherers/blah to super heavy killer tanks.

Give me a game where surprise, thought, and inventivness rule and keep your RTS clickfest, rushes, bases, unit upgrades.

TBS or hybrid all the way

PS

I wanted to vote maroule is a fucktard too.

chagarra
12-06-2003, 11:04:30
Stars! is still going strong.. THE best TBS ever made.

Please don't ask about Supernova.... I have no more knowledge of it than you do.

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 11:06:27
Wow, you know literally nothing about it other than the name. :cute:

Sean
12-06-2003, 11:28:40
I don’t like this complaint about clicking quickly. The thing is, clicking quickly allows you to do things quicker, which is essential because it is real-time. It’s like complaining that you need to keep moving in FPSs, or that you need to pass and move in a football game, when it’s part of the game.

Beta, when did you last play an RTS? I mean properly. What super tanks, what mathematically perfect nubmer? Everything depends on the map and your opponents, as it should be. The difference being that you have to do everything quicker and all at once, making the game feel more coherent multi-player.

As for surprise, well, um, I don’t exactly see why RTS prevents that. Even RoN, which I criticised for being less dynamic, allows for inventiveness and cunning. It’s just that you have to do that while remaining co-ordinated elsewhere.

The problem is most RTS games are really very similar. There is just so much you can do with the format and still retain the base elements. Get used to it.
That’s true for just about everything. When was the last truly innovative game you saw?

maroule
12-06-2003, 12:00:02
IMO most of your points are fair, Sean
there's nothing wrong with having to be a quicker clicker, or know your keyboard shortcuts by heart (and you need to to compete) : it's just that it shouldn't be mistaken for a 'strategy' games.

There's nothing strategic about RTS. It doesn't mean they're dumb games, or that some tactical acumen isn't necessary, or that the most innovative and cunning players won't win, but for strategy content, they suck.

Put a 14 years old in front of the best military strategist alive, and the spoty kid will most likely kick his butt. Clausewitz would stink at Warcraft. In other words, you can know jack shit about strategy, not having played a wargame in your life, and still be the king of RTS. The best player of AoM right now is a french guy, 16 years old, who can hardly utter his own name. But he knows exactly when his peasants must switch from wood to good.

Again, there's nothing wrong with not being a strategy game, because RTS are (not for me but for most gamers) exceedingly fun in multiplayer. They certainly don't need any further justification for existing.

I was however wondering if other people felt a bit disenchanted by them. They're a very successful genre, taylored for MP, sure. But their limitations are numerous : they're not strategy games and require ziltch strategy knowledge, they don't point towards the next generation of strategy games, they stink at single player, they're based on the same canneva ad nauseam.

As for your last remark, it's mostly true. But there's hope for strategy fans. The total war serie, the combat mission one, and even the EU one all offered interesting game engines. Rome Total war, the EU on the Victorian period, and CMX (the next in the CM serie) are in this sense all eagerly awaited.

There's still a market for innovative design in strategy games, and I'd like to see a talented studio like Blizzard work at it, instead of only focusing on refining their flagship.

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 12:06:30
The economy stuff is bread and butter RTS. In something like WCIII any decent player can do the economy without thinking about it. The differences are in what they build when/where they attack, scouting, counters...

You could build everything really fast and still lose because someone who was slower than you scouted properly, found out what you were building and countered it properly.

The problem I have with RTS is that a lot of them take too long to get proficient enough with the economy/basic command and control etc so if you don't have that much time to spend on it you never get to the level where you are actually using any kind of strategy.

Sean
12-06-2003, 12:12:02
I don’t have much time for Blizzard, actually :).

Put a 14 years old in front of the best military strategist alive, and the spoty kid will most likely kick his butt.
Yes. This is a game, you get better by practising, not by some ivory tower pure strategy nonsense. Because it is real-time, and quicker, you can get through games quicker and learn from your mistakes. Sure, you have to play the interface to an extent as well, but that is because they try to offer a lot of control, quickly. There isn’t a better way of doing this that is obvious to me, at least.

There’s also something about this intellectual superiority argument the TBSers seem to be pulling that irks me. I’ll bet that 16 year-old kid also harasses his opponent’s supply lines and economy, uses combined arms, keeps scouting and therefor has good intelligence. As I know to my cost, having a good economy isn’t everything.

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 12:36:48
Of course, RTS is the combination of planning and execution. The intellectual superiority thing is bollocks. They make IQ tests time based. In RTS you have to think and react faster so it's even more of a test of brain power. OK so in WCIII I'd get into a battle with Rach or Shiny and they'd cast 15 spells in the time I cast one and the battle would be over but that's just because they practice a lot more than me. I'd expect to get beaten by a competent player at any game they play a lot more than me. I just don't like it very much. :D

I'm no Blizzard fan... well, I've only played WCII and WCIII. WCII was the worst RTS I've ever played by a long way. WCIII was great fun.

Beta1
12-06-2003, 12:41:34
Originally posted by Sean

Beta, when did you last play an RTS? I mean properly. What super tanks, what mathematically perfect nubmer? Everything depends on the map and your opponents, as it should be. The difference being that you have to do everything quicker and all at once, making the game feel more coherent multi-player.


What I mean is exactly what funkodrum alluded to in his later post - the moment to change from wood to gold, or whatever. What it boils down to is that in most RTSs there seems to be an established "best" method to win, be it in building X units, Y buildings or whatever. To some extent the big building TBSes have the same problem but the good TBS wargames dont.

In TBS everything still depends on your opponent and the map but you dont have to develop RSI to move your units around.

And as for the ivory tower strategy nonsense - isnt it aceptable to want some real strategy element in your strategy games? and I dont just mean having unit A to counter unit B type thing


I want a game I can think about

Mightytree
12-06-2003, 12:48:16
I was however wondering if other people felt a bit disenchanted by them.

Just for the record ... I always have and always will hate RTS games with a passion. :D ;)

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 12:50:14
"What it boils down to is that in most RTSs there seems to be an established "best" method to win"

It is a problem but it's not really true at the "playing occasionally for fun" level. Even at the high levels there are always new counters to "unbeatable" strategies. Mostly though it's a combination of you doing your thing and reacting to what your opponent is doing.

Admittedly I haven't played any TBS game since CivII but you hardly had to think very hard to beat that. ICS all the way unless you want to deliberately handicap yourself. I don't see that TBS has any more strategy than RTS in it, it's just slower.

edit: D'oh, I forgot Alpha Centauri but I only played through that 3 times and got bored 'cause it was so easy.

Guy
12-06-2003, 12:53:12
For single player, I prefer TBS. Mostly because I don't have much time to devote to game playing, yet I still enjoy getting really deep into what I'm doing and why, and TBS allows me to do that while still being able to play only a few turns at a time before having to go away and do something else. RTS mostly frustrates me not because I think there's any flaws inherent to it, but because I personally hate being up against a clock. Life is stressful enough, I don't need pressure from my recreation as well.

For multiplayer, I'd pick hybrid if I was playing strategy games. It takes a lot longer, but not as long as TBS and still keeps you involved with the other player(s). I really enjoyed LSN while everyone here was playing it, and Combat Mission looks like a blast as well. I don't deny that RTS still has strategy, but I think a good bit of it comes down to practice rather than thought.

Truth be told, though, if I'm looking for a social game I don't think I'd go strategy at all. I'd pick something like Doom or a flight sim or something along those lines. To me that's a lot more fun to do with others than a strategy game is.

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 12:56:21
Oh yeah! And LSN, that was turn based as well. D'oh.

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 12:57:56
Is there any game where you pick your force before the game (like LSN or Combat Mission) then play the battles in Real Time but without the whole resources thing. That could be fun.

Sean
12-06-2003, 13:02:52
Originally posted by Beta1
What I mean is exactly what funkodrum alluded to in his later post - the moment to change from wood to gold, or whatever. What it boils down to is that in most RTSs there seems to be an established "best" method to win, be it in building X units, Y buildings or whatever. To some extent the big building TBSes have the same problem but the good TBS wargames dont.
Yes. You build better units than your opponents and use them better, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to win! I’m also going to reference Funkodrom, because the only time you have to worry about that is if you’re playing a top player.

In TBS everything still depends on your opponent and the map but you dont have to develop RSI to move your units around.
You can order units when paused, RoN has cannon time, you can change the game speed…these games are hardly that intense all the way through.

And as for the ivory tower strategy nonsense - isnt it aceptable to want some real strategy element in your strategy games? and I dont just mean having unit A to counter unit B type thing
What would you define as real strategy, then?

Venom
12-06-2003, 13:37:27
Originally posted by Funkodrom
Is there any game where you pick your force before the game (like LSN or Combat Mission) then play the battles in Real Time but without the whole resources thing. That could be fun.

The old X-Com games were kinda the reverse of that. The grand overall viewpoint of base management, "world watching", and alien intercept was real time. Where as the ground combat was turn based.

I still think the original X-Com was one of the best games I've ever played.

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 13:38:30
Thanks that's a great help. :rolleyes:

maroule
12-06-2003, 13:52:28
Originally posted by Sean


There’s also something about this intellectual superiority argument the TBSers seem to be pulling that irks me. I’ll bet that 16 year-old kid also harasses his opponent’s supply lines and economy, uses combined arms, keeps scouting and therefor has good intelligence. As I know to my cost, having a good economy isn’t everything.

there is an element of intellectual superiority... because we're old farts and we get irritated by being plummeted by 12 year old kids, so that's how we deal with it... but seriously, I never said TBS were necessarily superior.

now, on RTS :

- having good eco is not everything, but it's required to do anything. You can lose with a good economy (if you're naff) but you can't win without one.

- 'harrasing' 'using combined arms' 'good intelligence' are indeed genuine strategy concepts and are indeed present to a certain extend in RTS but don't kid yourself, they're exploited at a skin deep level. Sending your scouts in concentric circles thanks to repeated shift-left click command is not really the greatest intellectual effort ever to get good intelligence.

There are, to my knowledge, few real strategy games on PC. There are quite a few among proper wargames, from Squad Leader (even though it's tactical scale) to the Clash of Arms serie, to Empire at Arms, etc. but they so far have translated very poorly.

The only game so far where I have had to use real life military concepts (supression fire, alternate cover, counter slope positionning, etc.) to win is Combat Mission BB (BO is more gamey). On naval warfare, Sub Command is also said to be extremely accurate.

Why so few? because the market for hard core wargames is tiny. As a publisher, I'd go for RTS. As a gamer, I feel frustrated.

maroule
12-06-2003, 13:54:54
Originally posted by Venom
I still think the original X-Com was one of the best games I've ever played.

argh, I agree once more, this is turning into a disease :(

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 13:58:35
"Sending your scouts in concentric circles thanks to repeated shift-left click command is not really the greatest intellectual effort ever to get good intelligence."

Do that and you get dead scouts. You need to scout your opponent's base to get useful information, that's hard normally.

Beta1
12-06-2003, 14:04:07
yep but I've yet to see a RTS that has the tactical options of combat mission (or even X-com). Although thats normally because of shite damage modelling than anything else.

maroule
12-06-2003, 14:04:51
right, so you need to click even quicker to be proefficient at 'intelligence'

Sean
12-06-2003, 14:27:25
So what you really want is hardcore, detailed war games? What does that have to do with generalities about TBS and RTS? When you say that something is exploited at skin deep level, what do you actually want the game to do?

Sean
12-06-2003, 14:28:18
Oh, and Beta: damage modelling?! Did Civ 2 have detailed damage modelling, or is this just a feature of a few TBS games?

Venom
12-06-2003, 14:30:36
Originally posted by Funkodrom
Thanks that's a great help. :rolleyes:

Wasn't trying to help. You just helped jumpstart a thought in my tiny brain.

Venom
12-06-2003, 14:36:31
Originally posted by maroule
argh, I agree once more, this is turning into a disease :(

Further down the path towards the darkside you go.

Tau Ceti
12-06-2003, 14:57:05
Originally posted by Funkodrom
Is there any game where you pick your force before the game (like LSN or Combat Mission) then play the battles in Real Time but without the whole resources thing. That could be fun. I suppose the MP mode in Shogun: Total War (and probably M:TW if there is one - never played it) does about that. Though from my limited experience with it, it is not particularly entertaining.

maroule
12-06-2003, 15:03:57
Originally posted by Sean
So what you really want is hardcore, detailed war games? What does that have to do with generalities about TBS and RTS? When you say that something is exploited at skin deep level, what do you actually want the game to do?


there are 2 separate things, what I want as a gamer and what I observe in the gaming industry (my 'generalities')

I'm not obsessed with hardcore/detailed games but I certainly want more realistic wargames with a slick interface.

I also would like the refinement of games I liked (Rome TW and the Victorian EU) but most of all I want new innovative -and not necessarily realistic- strategy games.

In the end, I'm just tired so much time and money is devoted to a cul de sac genre (because of commercial pressure), instead of devising new approaches.

Sean
12-06-2003, 16:10:53
:lol: I seem to recall saying something similar to Darkstar a while back. I definitely agree, I just don’t see that it has much to do with TBS vs RTS.

Funkodrom
12-06-2003, 16:11:43
Applies to all genres.

Beta1
12-06-2003, 16:50:49
Originally posted by Sean
Oh, and Beta: damage modelling?! Did Civ 2 have detailed damage modelling, or is this just a feature of a few TBS games?

No but then that was shite too

What I mean is the ridiculous situation you have in many games (both RTS and TBS) where tanks/men/vehicles have some sort of wierd cumulative damage thing. IE it takes 2 tanks hits or 20 MG hits to kill this tank/apc/whatever from which ever direction. In other words I hit you with a MG you lose 2 points of damage whether your a tank, a person or a passing elephant.

When the damage model is this simplistic you are never going to see the (more) real world tactics that you get in the more sophisticated wargames. EG flanking maneuvers which actually have effects due to modelling both moral and the different armor ratings of different aspects. I dont recall a RTS where armor aspects were modelled, and only Close Combat comes to mind that did decent moral modelling.

Without that sort of detail most tactics boil down to bringing the most guns to bare rather than real exposing flanks and cross fires.

When it comes down to it I dont think you could play a game with CMs detail in real time without resorting to a pause system, in which case your halfway to turn based anyway.

Sean
12-06-2003, 17:01:13
In other words I hit you with a MG you lose 2 points of damage whether your a tank, a person or a passing elephant.
It’s not that simple. There are different types of damage and different types of armour in AoM, for instance.

EG flanking maneuvers which actually have effects due to modelling both moral and the different armor ratings of different aspects.
e.g. flanking manoeuvres that you can use to good effect in RoN?

Without that sort of detail most tactics boil down to bringing the most guns to bare rather than real exposing flanks and cross fires.
There’s an element of that, yes. And yes, CM’s detail is probably too much for an RTS, but can you hit an enemy’s economy in CM? Can you make raids on outposts then retreat to your own territory?

BigGameHunter
12-06-2003, 17:45:18
Well, technically, you can make raids and retreat...but the "economic" factors are settled in the beginning when you "buy" your units with a preset point allotment.

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
12-06-2003, 23:02:28
Originally posted by Funkodrom
Is there any game where you pick your force before the game (like LSN or Combat Mission) then play the battles in Real Time but without the whole resources thing. That could be fun.

The only one I can think of is XCom Apocalypse. The tactical side of things could be played either traditional XCom 1 turn based, or new fangled real-time.

Back in the day of the Apoc message boards, there were devotees to each side, each with their own arguments. I was a real-timer, because taking turns to move seemed, well, stupid really. But the biggest drawback to real-time was the lousy AI (you line your troops up to the side of the UFO door, switch them to autofire, and the aliens come out one by one and are slaughtered) and the poor coding (reflexes took too long to kick in, pathfinding sucked etc.)

It's a good game, and I still like to play it occasionally. Because of the real-time combat, I don't play XCom1 any more. Shame, really, because it was damn cool.


Venom mentions XCom Interceptor, which wasn't a real XCom game, but was okay nonetheless.

Goob
12-06-2003, 23:21:07
The Original X-Com was one of the best games ever, recently the only game to really grab and hold my attention for a while was TW:Medieval War. So I guess I am leaning in the Hybrid direction.

I should order Combat missions, except I like to hold the box in my sweaty hands first and turn it over and over looking at all the graphics and sales pitches before buying...

and just for the animal sex reference:
playing RTS single player is like a long weekend shagging a sheep... It can be fun but you get no love in return.

Venom
13-06-2003, 00:05:05
You can find the CM games in some stores now. At least in the US you can.

BigGameHunter
13-06-2003, 04:28:21
Really?
Greed's siren call must be working it's magic on those guys. That's a dangerous sign.

Venom
13-06-2003, 11:46:06
They've got an annoucement about it on their site somewhere.

http://www.battlefront.com/index.htm

Right on the front page.

"6/02/2003
Product News: Combat Mission: Beyond Overlord Special Edition hits store shelves!

As announced in April (see full story here), a Special Retail Edition of CMBO is now being sold in various locations in the U.S. and Canada. We are already getting reports that many locations have sold out of their their initial allotments so if your local store is out of stock don't worry as more are on their way!"

MDA
13-06-2003, 20:09:34
Yep, saw an ad for it - about 30 bucks from Chips and Bits.

Its got a lot of custom mods and extra scenario content included on the CD, but is otherwise the same as the version that comes straight from Battlefront.

BigGameHunter
13-06-2003, 20:27:27
Yeah, but it's less.
Shit...I spent $52 on the BB to edition. Almost sprang for the bundle and/or "strategy guide". Did anyone get that? Was it worth it?

Man...just what I needed.

Who wants to give me a comparison on BO vs. BB in an entertaining and succinct fashion?

Venom
13-06-2003, 22:35:41
I got the bundle. Little expensive but worth it for these two games.

Darkstar
14-06-2003, 04:26:05
Mike, Chess is often timed in competitions. That doesn't make it RTS. The timer is there just so people don't stall forever. You need to have something that drives a 'get your turn done so others can do their turn'.

The real problem is time...

In a MP RTS game, you only have so much time. This helps keep everyone on the same track, but it always means:

#1) "The faster you can click, the more you can do." - It means the faster you can click what you want to do, the more orders you can give, and the better edge you have over slower people. (TBS: Twitching isn't strategy. RTS supporters counter: You do all your thinking up front, with some tweaks to what occurs.)

#2) "Know your game better then yourself" - The more familar you are with the game, the faster you can tweak and the less time wasted. (This is basically #1 again...) Emphasizes the technical playing of the game over any meta-strategic development of the player.

#3) "There is only one brain per side." - You cannot be everywhere, which means you have to prioritize what you do. Good for instilling a real feeling of 'competion' and 'working' as you and your opponent are swapping about madly via hot spots and hot groups, clicking order and refinements to orders. (This aspect of clicking again emphasises speed, dragging #1 back in) Downside: If the AI sucks, your unmanaged troops won't have a brain and invariably does the stupidest thing. In TBS, your side still only has your brain, but it can be everywhere, per turn. (This is known as micromanagement hell.)

For MP, RTS is a good thing. Tick tock, you can do something at all times. No extra drag as you are NOT waiting on Mike to take his turn, and he's gotten up to go eat some curry, have a few drinks, and smoke some weed. But if you want to keep that aspect, you do have to accept the constraints that makes it MP friendly.

Frankly, I've played a lot of MP TBS games that were tremendous. Of course, most of those were board games with serious grognards... ;)

Oh yeah... Stronghold allowed for MP RTS with no economy whatsoever. Wasn't much fun, as with any RTS, if you could see everything, you knew who won. Its not being able to see everything in an RTS that keeps it 'he who saw the most and adjusted their plan the best to what their opponent was doing, wins'.

Not that I'm being a genre snob. (I'm not gong to bother picking on TBS genre because we've done that plenty in other places.) Each type of game has fun elements, each has drawbacks. If you find RTS to be great fun, more power to you. If you don't, stop worrying with RTS. ;)

Shining1
14-06-2003, 11:50:18
I take the points about RTS games, though. Most of them at the moment are utter crap when you get to a competitive level.

As well as there being big problems with small errors in resource gathering/early exploration, most consist of degenerate tactics like uncounterable rushes or single unit strategies.

It seems no-one can build a good, stable RTS that allows the user to play in the style they wish.

TBS games, for that matter, are probably as bad or worse, but since most of them are either about story driven pre-designed levels, or single player skirmish, there's much less competition to them and a good player can generally win by doing whatever they want anyway.

The clickfest thing is totally true, although if you want to get good at any RTS you really should learn to use the KEYBOARD as well;).

Sean
14-06-2003, 11:55:41
H V V V V V . G *click* *drag* *click*

Ellipsis
14-06-2003, 12:17:15
F1 C F2 C F3 N

So simple, yet so deadly.

Darkstar
15-06-2003, 08:13:01
Shining1, in games where you 'grow' your economy, when playing against other humans, any error in early in handling your economy for maximum has tremendous effect on your game, down the line. In a PBEM TBS Game, it will just take you 9 months to see it. ;)

When you play SP against the Artificial Idiots, as a human, you are a lot more flexible in your strategies. Its just patient and doesn't care how many times you try to beat it in a particular scenario. But it won't get smarter with each attempt. After a while, you learn it will do particular things in a scenario, so you 'scout' it out and figure out how to beat that tactic. I've seen that plenty in campaigns (and just stand alone scenarios) in RTS games. Of course, those tend to be there just as trainers for people, to learn the basics. Or so it seems to me...

I don't know if most of the games out there are crap, or just aren't original to you. Remember, your first few games of the type really are the best. For me, my first RTS games were long, long ago.

As for balance, if you want every side UNIQUE, it raises the difficulty in making sure all sides and all units are balanced. If everything is identical with just different graphics, is that ok these days? Seems most RTS are Orcs versus Elves versus Humans from what I've seen lately. Just what they call them in the game MIGHT change...

However, considering that we had BORDERS and CULTURE in Serf City (you know, Settlers 1), I'm not sure if there are going to be any serious advances left in RTS without serious AI coming along... well, other then TEAM RTS. You can do massive RTS if you have teams. More brains per side to tell the zombies what to do.

It's not hopeless though. I just don't think the big names are going to lead the game field to serious advancements. Unless it's Will Wright, maybe. But he's getting into making TV series and maybe movies...

Sean
15-06-2003, 10:23:25
Will Wright advancing the RTS genre is about as likely as Looking Glass making Quake 4.

And also, you complain about innovation and lap up all the Sims add-ons. Didn’t you get bored of them?

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
16-06-2003, 00:47:15
There was culture in Settlers 1?

Ellipsis
16-06-2003, 04:01:56
No.

Darkstar
16-06-2003, 05:26:25
Yes it did. Your 'Culture' power was increased by a few things. Gold was the main item, giving you a longer reach from your towers/castles for land claimed as well as adding to the ferocity (attack/defense/hits) of your soldiers. But there were a few other things that helped to increase your range out from towers that were yours, and how much more likely you were to get land claimed by you and an opponent. That's all culture is in any of these games... how much land is yours, and how likely your opponents people are willing to join you.

Sean, I wasn't saying that Big Will was *going* to innovate RTS. Gaming in general, maybe. It's going to take someone a bit 'wacky', or a risk taker, like he is, to get an innovative game out there with some distribution so a wide audience has a chance to see it (and it thereby enter into general gaming practices). Sid is doing what? Revisiting all his old works. What other big names that do different things is left after that? Mid level succcessful designer and teams are generally stuck not going very far off the game lines currently. Not enough publishers willing to take a risk on a wacky idea from someone that isn't in the "god range". So, that leaves the only ones publishers willing to let try something truly 'different' being the big names to get it out on a big scale.

Sean, I look forward to you complaining all RTSes suck and take no thought to play, in, oh, 10 to 20 years. They haven't changed in that long now, so I doubt they will change significantly going forward the same amount of time. After all, without more brains to share, you really are stuck with only being able to handle so much by yourself. And RTS games have not significantly advanced in a very long time, in the PC game timeline. Better graphics, deeper building trees, but that isn't a serious advancement of the genre. Not that TBS games have advanced more then a few steps either in the last 20 years in the same time.

And I'm not complaining about the lack of innovation. Merely pointing out that the functionality and constraints of the game determine what can be done in that format. Until such a time comes along that the constraints change, I do not see there being a significant advancement being possible.

Ellipsis
16-06-2003, 08:45:19
Weird word to use for it. Must be a Civ 3 thing.

Shining1
16-06-2003, 08:46:07
Darkstar, one of the issues with RTS evolution is that the complexity of the game, the number of strategies, etc, has greatly increased. This has several downsides:

* It's physically impossible to properly playtest the game. You can't look at every interaction and judge whether the tactic is poor, good, or uber.

* It's very difficult for a casual player to compete in the online environment. Without having the necessary dozens of hours practise at the required tactics, playing multiplayer can be a hopeless exercise.

* Online players are now VERY good at working out an RTS game quickly. Because gamers are networked so well, once someone finds something that works, the tactic becomes polished and exploited very quickly. This can lead to a very disappointing, degenerate metagame with a popular RTS very quickly.


Consequently, a lot of the older RTSs were better to play, because they were much more stable in the competitive environment. It doesn't take much more than playing the single player campaign in Red Alert to figure out that tanks are where it's at; lots of them, and as fast as possible. The game was broken, but at least it was obviously so, and still great fun.

It's certainly not right to say that RTS games require no thought to play - they can be the most complex games around. However, in the current climate, nearly all the thought goes into the game before you start playing it. If you don't hit the ground running with a concrete strategy, including build orders, scouting, and a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are, you aren't going to do very well. Actually playing the game is mostly about how well you can recall all your basic planning and how experienced with the tactic you are - there just isn't enough time to be doing anything other than making split second judgements about what your next ploy is.

Innovation in an RTS would probably be along the lines of making the game SMALLER, with more tightly focused gameplay. That way a good game might make the stores with some game balance intact, and hence lead to an environment where the player doesn't require the equivilent of a war gaming degree to be able to put up a good fight online.

maroule
16-06-2003, 09:24:01
good posts, Sh and DS

I tend to compare RTS with my last craze, Combat Mission, that has kept me occupied for the last 6 months (last game to have such a long lasting power was the first Civ, otherwise even 'exceptionnal games' for me, like Medieval TW, Fallout Tactics, Baldur's Gate, last about 3 to 4 months at the most)


In a new RTS (I played AoM and rise of Nation recently), should I want to become competitive, I would instantly switch to the 'study of game mechanics' mode. I would read forums to know the most used tactics (and the latest fad, like the monk rush was for some time in AoE), and I'd train repeadtedly on the first 15 minutes, over and over, to maximise my start. I'd also learn two general tactics, one for a rush, one for an economic boom and later attack. Going online, I'd hope to find a player that has less knowledge than I do of the game mechanics. That would be my only hope for a victory. Over the course of the few games I'd play, I'd become quicker in thought and actions, and gain ranks in the ladder.


Combat Mission : I have started playing 6 months ago, and I'm still learning. I'm an average to good player now, in a few more months I'll be competitive with the top players (they'll still beat me, but they'll have to sweat for it, unlike today).

Two differences I find decisive :
- Playing against the best, I already today have a chance to win, much like in golf an average player could win in a match-play against Tiger Wood. Why? because some days you're a bit lucky when it counts, because you're more aggressive or more shrewd. I'm a better player than Moebius (a newcomer to the game), but he still won our first game confortably for a variety of good reasons (the first one being that I played like a prick). That would never happen in AoM. In AoM my knowledge of the mechanics would mean that even playing like a prick I would rush him in minute 12 (instead of minute 10).

- to become a good player, I have to learn genuine military tactics and the use of genuine weapon systems (so the learning process is fun for a fan of military history as myself), not arbitrary game mechanics.

the bad side : a game like CM will never be as instantly accessible and action packed as a good RTS (esp. in MP). The two really provide different type of pleasures, for different gaming needs. However, at my age, for my specific gaming background, I find one to be much more rewarding than the other.

Venom
16-06-2003, 12:18:30
Maroule is a fucktard

maroule
16-06-2003, 12:22:50
and?

Venom
16-06-2003, 12:26:52
Just wanted to get that in there, so when I'm following along the thread I can have a nice musical interlude.

maroule
16-06-2003, 12:28:09
all right then

Sean
16-06-2003, 13:46:42
Originally posted by Darkstar
What other big names that do different things is left after that?
Big names don’t tend to innovate in film or music, so why put so much faith in them in games?

I look forward to you complaining all RTSes suck and take no thought to play, in, oh, 10 to 20 years. They haven't changed in that long now, so I doubt they will change significantly going forward the same amount of time. After all, without more brains to share, you really are stuck with only being able to handle so much by yourself. And RTS games have not significantly advanced in a very long time, in the PC game timeline. Better graphics, deeper building trees, but that isn't a serious advancement of the genre. Not that TBS games have advanced more then a few steps either in the last 20 years in the same time.
I suppose that depends on how you define advance. I seem to recall Microsoft made a game a while back that was actually far more intense, being an RTS/FPS. As in sport (which maroule drew an analogy to), it’s surprising what changes can happen even with a base set of rules.

In fact, maroule, that’s only because CM games have more potential to be unbalanced. RTSs have been balancing and tweaking and refining so that the players are the main difference, not what units they chose or how the map turned out.

It’s interesting that this works against RTSs for casual players.

As for reading forums, well, um, weren’t you lot posting a big compilation of CM forum posts to be more competetive? How is that different?

maroule
16-06-2003, 14:25:58
Originally posted by Sean

In fact, maroule, that’s only because CM games have more potential to be unbalanced. RTSs have been balancing and tweaking and refining so that the players are the main difference, not what units they chose or how the map turned out.

yes

- some imbalances and some measure of random parameters make games more fun and life like IMO. I like playing historical scenario over two legs where I know I'll be overwhelmed, and where I then play the other side to do better.
- 'players are the main differnce' yes, but not ther brains or their strategic acumen, just their speed of execution and careful preparation (which is quite something).


Originally posted by Sean

As for reading forums, well, um, weren’t you lot posting a big compilation of CM forum posts to be more competetive? How is that different?

absolutely, that works for all games and that's fine and good

Yet I agree with Sh about the fact that thousands of RTS players are looking for the winning strategy, and then everybody copycats it. New RTS players are indeed incredibly good at finding even the slightest game imbalances, and then maximising them. That's clever, but that's in the very limited context of the game itself, and bears no relation to being gifted at strategy or not. Again, I agree that most RTS players don't give a fig about 'strategy', they want fun games and they are getting them. That's fine with me.

Overall, it's saddening that games are so balanced that even the slightest mistake from programmers will maximised by players : for example right now in AoM, nearly all the top players use the Egyptians, and absolutely none chose the greeks. Ensemble studio still did a superb job at balancing, but the infinitesimal advantages the Seth God receives over the others means the top 10 players will pick him, because the difference between them is that microscopic that the tiniest fraction of a second is a factor.

In the end, IMO the speed of execution is a talent that bears only some amount of relevance to strategy. It's certainly not 99% of it. And its not (anymore) the type of challenge I (notice the I, this is a relative truth applicable to myself) expect from a game.

Colon
16-06-2003, 14:30:30
Would you classify Europa Universalis as a RTS like Warcraft? How about Sim City?

Funkodrom
16-06-2003, 14:35:46
Two average players who don't play all that much but find the game fun will still have a great time playing Egyptians vs. Greeks though and their own strengths/weaknesses will outweigh those of the civs.

Playing for fun against people about the same level as you is the way forward, rather than trying to be the best player in the world, or even just a relatively good one. If you are working and have some kind of life outside games you aren't going to have the time to spend on any on-line game.

I read all the time in the Combat Mission forums here people talking about the best combinations of units to take on each type of map, exactly as you would for an RTS.

Also, I still don't agree that speed of action is 99% of the strategy in an RTS. Even as a relatively inexperienced slow player you can do something unexpected that will throw a much better player off. Either because it's unexpected or just because it's a tactic that has already been written off and they aren't expecting so don't have the defences for. Speed is important but there's no point being really fast at doing really stupid things.

Sean
16-06-2003, 14:39:15
- some imbalances and some measure of random parameters make games more fun and life like IMO. I like playing historical scenario over two legs where I know I'll be overwhelmed, and where I then play the other side to do better.
- 'players are the main differnce' yes, but not ther brains or their strategic acumen, just their speed of execution and careful preparation (which is quite something).
Not just that, but mainly. Was what I meant. The elements are there in RTS, they are just skewed by the game itself.

This isn’t helped by the real-time nature, either. If you exploit a mistake someone else has made and attack it viciously, they probably can defend but will be more flustered and panicky because they can’t take as long as they want over it, they have to do it now.

Overall, it's saddening that games are so balanced that even the slightest mistake from programmers will maximised by players : for example right now in AoM, nearly all the top players use the Egyptians, and absolutely none chose the greeks.
Yeah. They try to make the civilizations more distinctive, and it’s unbalanced. They make them more balanced, and they’re all faceless. It’s a no-win situation.

Incidentally, I have discovered I can only play well as two Civilizations. A while back it was Egyptians and Greeks, now it’s Egyptians and Norse.

Sean
16-06-2003, 14:49:35
Playing for fun against people about the same level as you is the way forward, rather than trying to be the best player in the world, or even just a relatively good one. If you are working and have some kind of life outside games you aren't going to have the time to spend on any on-line game.
Exactly.

I still think the best MP games are sports games, and they are unbalanced by nature.

Darkstar
17-06-2003, 03:27:11
Shining1, I am in complete agreement with you. Well said!

Darkstar
17-06-2003, 03:29:58
Ellipsis, in Serf City/Settlers 1, they did not call it Culture. But that was what it was. The more gold you had, and the more of a few other things you had, the stronger your claim on land was, the further out your borders went, etc. That's basic "Culture" in games.

Darkstar
17-06-2003, 03:40:13
Sean, all I'm saying about publishers is that it seems to me that they are not willing to risk their money on the oddball or wacky games. And that means they won't finance a game that might have a serious step forward for gaming... unless it's a big name that is saying, "I got this idea".

I don't really expect the big names to do it. As I said, maybe Will would, since he is still into oddball ideas. Mixing things he likes and seeing how fun they are, etc.

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
17-06-2003, 15:28:23
To my recollection, in Settlers1, all gold did was train your soldiers, making them tougher and thus more able to travel longer distances, and beat enemies further away. Sure it extended your range, but I don't recall it moving your actual border. Borders were defined by where you located your guardhouses, towers and fortresses, which were built using wood and stone (no gold required!)

At least, that was the case in Settlers2, which I played more recently than Settlers1. I don't recall there being that fundamental a difference between the two.

I never did play Settlers3 though.

Ellipsis
17-06-2003, 16:51:39
I think you're right. Too long since I've played it myself though.

Darkstar
18-06-2003, 05:12:15
Qaj, in the original, the range out of land claimed went up with certain things. Gold was the most important, as only gold and experience fighting got you tougher fighters. However, the number of stocks you had built did have an effect on territory you claimed by the towers built afterward, AIR. There was also the amount of material you had stored in your castle and stocks which would also help strengthen your claim over your opponents.

You wouldn't notice any effect early on in the game, but you could see the effect later on, when you had better then your opponents.

And yes, towers needed stone and wood to be built. And knights to occupy them. ;)

Qaj the Fuzzy Love Worm
18-06-2003, 15:23:42
You know, I'm almost intrigued enough to reinstall it and see if it works just to check that, DS :)

Darkstar
18-06-2003, 22:24:49
Go ahead. You cannot save to NTFS or FAT32, but since the game was also by password, so while you cannot save a game, you can still 'progress' through the scenarios and play levels... :D