"All war is deception"

Thursday, April 20, 2017

First Impressions: 8-Bit Armies


At first, 8-Bit Armies do not look at all that much. But once you get into it, it feels a lot like the classic Command and Conquer. And for a good reason, too, the game was made by Petroglyph Studios, which is a descendant of the Westwood Studios.

You have two factions, the Renegades and the Guardians. Both factions are a mix of GDI and Nod units and powers. For example, the Renegades have nukes but also the military GDI-esque hardware, while the Renegades have a Nod vibe, yet with an ion cannon satellite.

Campaigns play and look like mobile missions, with a 3 star rating for completing objectives. With each mission, you unlock more units and structures for a loadout, which is surprisingly addictive.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Just Interesting: Failure RTS


Failure promises to be a original cyberpunk RTS with some MOBA elements and other hybridization. I like how the units show what territories they get on a hex board, and also clear terrain manipulation.

Check out their website.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Game Design: A Soulslike RTS?

Anyone play Dark Souls?
So DS has a reputation of tight but deliberate combat gameplay.
And there has been a crop of games called Soulslike (as a genre) trying to emulate the tightness and deliberate combat.
For those who haven't played Dark Souls:
1. DS has a stamina bar, which limits your combat actions until it refills
2. Each combat action cannot be stopped midair, if you commit to an attack, you can't cancel it.
3. Each enemy has a distinct and non-randomized pattern in combat.
Is there an RTS equivalent? 
Starcraft is the first to come to mind. It is said to be the tightest RTS gameplay there is.
Dune 2's limitation of being able to select only one unit and attack brings it to mind. It felt deliberate, even though limiting.
But if there's no RTS equivalent, what if a Soulslike RTS would play as follows:
1. It would have a sort of stamina bar for the player to limit his actions of selection and combat? Basically, you get only a few actions per minute.
2. If you send out a unit/squad to move or attack or whatever, you can't immediately micromanage it out of the way to avoid an attack or whatever, so then you must commit to whatever action you put forth.
3. More experimentally, in a squad, you are able to command the units directly and instantly like a character with hotkeys along with mouse. Switch formations on the fly, use the WASD to "guide" the flow of attack. Right clicking is instantly responsive despite distance, for example, clicking for an archer squad will immediately fire a volley of arrows at the mouse location (without doing that hotkey then click or click button then click). Kinda like a MOBA style control.

Thoughts?

Friday, February 17, 2017

First Impressions: 0 AD



0 AD is a free, open source RTS.

As an RTS, 0 AD reminds me most of a cross between Age of Empires 3 and Age of Mythology. They have almost the same resources and seeming economic focus. I tried the Athenians, which were the first in alphabetical order for the historical factions.

The most obvious difference is that soldiers also have all worker/builder abilities. There are no male "villagers", all are soldiers. There are female villagers who actually speed up male unit work. I like that dynamic.

The game is incomplete and unfinished so far.

I would love an Israel/Hebrew civilization mod for it.

Download and play 0 AD here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Just Interesting: SC2VN


SC2VN is not a real time strategy game. Rather, it is a visual novel based on a real time strategy game, particularly Starcraft 2, and even more particularly, the South Korean competitive e-sports scene of Starcraft 2.

It is actually pretty well written, and I felt like I saw and understood a subculture when I finished it. It definitely showed a side of RTS gaming I wasn't that knowledgeable in. I hardly ever play multiplayer on Starcraft, so this was, in effect, eye opening.

It's free on Steam and Itch.io, so go ahead and try it.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Meta General: Why I Love To Play RTS Games

Okay, I figured out a big reason why I love (slower paced) RTSes, and only like, say RTTs (real time tactics) like Dawn of War 2 or why I don't play multiplayer Starcraft that much (and again, 3/4s of Starcraft players don't play multiplayer). This might help some RTS designers in the group.

I like that you build the economy. I like that you fight and command in combat.

But what I love about it is that you keep on unlocking new stuff as you build your base and survive so you can finally have the epic toys of superweapons and OP units, or the end game.

*That* gives me a feeling of truly earned power and at the same time captures my imagination.

It's not base building that is important, it is the clear progression from weak to strong. Base building is just the expression of that progression. Removing base building is removing the expression of progression. If one removes base building, it must be replaced with a better sort of progression.

With fast paced multiplayer like Starcraft, I can't ever build a truly epic army with cool units before getting destroyed. Either I strike hard early with a bunch of low level units (ie Marines or Zerglings) and I win, or more likely than not, I get annihilated with a bunch of low level units while I tried to get to the Battlecruisers.

While that may be fun for some, winning early, that just feels... unsatisfying to me. It feels rushed and also you don't get to experience much of the content because of early winning and losses.

With Dawn of War 2 (just talking about early campaigns), yes, I like the combat is better inherently, but you just get a squad(s). While a powerful squad, it's just the same squad(s) the whole game! You get new weapons, but nothing spectacular to write home about. Dawn of War 1 had much more toys to play with like tanks and aircraft and titans. Combat may be better, but at the expense of the sandboxy variety.

So, tl;dr
Unlocking (not just having, as unlocking is earning) powerful units and commander powers like superweapons to use against my enemies is why I love RTSes.

It is not (always) satisfying for people (me, at least) to win a match with just weak units in the early game because it didn't give me (or my enemy even) a chance to use cool stuff!

I don't know if that helped you, but I just had to put it into words.