"All war is deception"

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Just Interesting: Kravall

Kravall is an RTS set in the future where there is societal rioting. It seems to be a halted student project in a college. Their blog details what kind of technical specifications they were up to.

Friday, January 27, 2017

First Impressions: Art of War: Red Tides (Open Beta/Early Access)

Art of War: Red Tides can probably be considered to be a really basic, stripped down real time strategy. Although it has more in common with MOBAs, but on a single lane. The game describes itself as a "tug of war" game, and a tug of war is what it actually does feel like.

And it is addicting. There are plenty of unit variety and commander powers for each faction. You pick several units from your arsenal to deploy into battle. Unit composition is important! Every wave sends out your units automatically. You can sell the units for half price and buy a different unit as you study the enemy's composition. And you regularly unlock new units as you level up, which is awesome, unlike other free-to-play fare. You do not pay for every wave's units, just when you buy said unit initially.

All the units, and future unlocks, are balanced against each other. For example, you can opt to unlock and use snipers instead of a rifleman. A sniper is not necessarily a lot better than a rifleman, as it just has a longer range and slower shot, but it fills the mass infantry slot. Each unlock is simply a variation of an existing unit with a special ability and a different, balanced weakness. There is no pay-to-win, a low level player can win against a higher level player.

The thing that makes the game great is that there are hard counters and a rhythm. Explosive suicide beetles do not work on shields, when they can usually make a mincemeat of your other units. Stealth detectors reveal cloaked enemies. Cloaked enemies can make short work of the tough units you have if you can't see them. You an either swarm many small units or save up for the big guns.

I only got to play the free-to-play Early Access/Open Beta version of the game. I would be playing it right now instead of writing this post if it wasn't for the Open Beta ending. It is that addictive.

Apparently, it was inspired by a Starcraft 2 mod called Desert Strike. The influence from Starcraft is definitely present. Three factions, one of them being the Terrans. The Atlac are Protoss. The Yaguiaoi or however you spell it is supposed to be the Zerg counterpart, but with a more zoo-like aesthetic.

The soul essence mine resource acquiring needs a bit of work. Resource gathering is a constant stream of increasing soul essence, which is fine. However, at higher waves, you need to upgrade said mine, which stops resource gathering for quite a bit. I was not a fan of holding off picking units which costs essence to upgrade mines. The resource gathering is passive except for those moments. I think resource gathering tied more to the game flow and play would be better.

As you destroy enemy units and crates, you gain some soul essence but mostly gold. Gold is used to be spent on commander powers such as bombing runs or special "epic" units.

One thing though, the menu music is terrible. Please, please change it. The cheery tone does not fit the game, except possibly ironically. I also would love to have the English translation done better. There are story lore still in Chinese(?) that needs to be translated.

Regardless to say, I'm waiting for the full release! I hope it still sticks to being free-to-play. Free-to-play actually works with this game, and I'm interested in how the developers will take Art of War: Red Tides.

Game Design: Making RTS More Strategic Or Tactical

A pausable RTS game. Can be auto-paused when encountering an enemy unit. Orders can be given in pause.

Pre-set plans for dealing with different units. Like designing AI for each squad.
Plans would include:
Rough formations of the unit in the squad.
Orders in sequence: throw a grenade, hide in cover, etc.
This is all done either before the game or during. Like a planning session.

A focus on micro skills that can quickly turn the battle.

More political decisions and less total war.
More other macro decisions
Ability to set AI governors and automation to focus on micromanaging the mos fun parts (subjective to the player)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Just Interesting: Korix

I came across this game trying to improve this blog's SEO. It seems to be a Tower Defense RTS hybrid for Playstation VR. Neat.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

First Impressions: Achron, The Time Travel RTS

Achron is a 4D RTS that uses time travel mechanics. I've always wanted to play this RTS as I love the concept time travel. So I got the demo from Steam to play around with.

The tutorial is a bit confusing, as expected. I get what the game wants me to do, but I just got lost after the timeline manipulator was introduced and the enemy started to attack me in the past. Information overload led me to quitting the tutorial early.

It might take awhile for me to figure the intricacy of the game. I have created a similar game before, just with simpler controls and smaller scale.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Upcoming: Halo War 2

I don't own any consoles, but I have always been interested in trying out Halo Wars. It is set for release in February.

Friday, January 20, 2017

First Impressions: Tom Clancy's EndWar

Tom Clancy's EndWar is unique in that one can use voice commands to lead units into battle. There are three modern factions going for a world war caused by terrorist attacks on an anti-nuclear shield: America, Europe, and Russia.

The voice command interface actually works a lot better than I expected it to. That said, there are some things that I felt were missing and had to correct with the mouse. Things like having no voice command to get your units, especially infantry, into nearby cover or to garrison buildings. However, those are minor grievances. Everything else seems to work well so far.

Check it out here for Steam (Tom Clancy's EndWar) and support this blog!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

What Never Was: End of Nations

End of Nations promised a truly massively multiplayer online RTS game. It was a game I was excited for, even though I knew my PC at the time couldn't run it.

The backstory and setting of the world had some undertones of Biblical Antichrist world government end time shenanigans. You played as one of the many groups trying to take it out.

Unfortunately, it was first turned into a MOBA game and then got totally canceled after some layoffs.

This is one game, both in concept and in essence, I hope someone resurrects.