On RTS Games

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a few years ago while I lived in the UK, I actually played a game online that was just like what yahtzee described. It was FPS mixed with RTS. Units got experience and levelled up by doing what they were told. (if you were told to go somewhere a bright beacon of light appeared that only you coudl see) and it was quite fun. you could mine, build buildings and blast baddies. Shame I can't recall the game though...

Dosnt surprise me...after the revirw of Halo wars...well, I dont think it will be missed. At least hes honest to his principles!

This is a good choice for Yahtzee.
wouldn't be funny when he made up a review of how good the game was

Its always better when reviewers keep things real rather then when they make up reviews E.G "This game is so good it feels like robbing blizzard wearing a sky mask"

respect for Yahtzee

The RTS/RPG/FPS game yahtzee was talking about is savage 2 its a cool game

I've never played it (and apparently no one else did), but doesn't Tom Clancy's End War have some of these ideas in it. And on the other end of the missing link, isn't Quake Wars a bit like this? (haven't played this either so I might be wrong).

Lol, I'm kinda dissapointed, it would be great to hear him verbally knock the crap out of Starcraft :/ But at the same time I totally agree with why he won't review it. Btw, that game idea sounded pretty cool. Much opportunity for back-stabbing and general rebellious shenanighins sounds great to me XD

Age of Mythology had a fairly well-thought out story.

Nice idea Yahtzee! I would very much like to see if this game could be made!

Natural Selection and Mount&Blade Warband!

Yahztee you must consider trying games! Both are cross genre games.

NS is an FPS with 1 player as the Commander who builds spawn points, medstations, armories with the aid of the shooters. He places them and they build it. Commanders can also drop guns and medpacks on the fly.

M&B:Warband, well you get to command an army (albeit crudely) and fight on the frontlines with them in third person or first person. And if Lancing someone from the back of a Horse at full gallop sounds like a good time, do have a go at it. It looks like crap but man is the game fun in battle. (not sure you'll have the patience for the single player campaign, buts its a game with cheats built in to expedite any tedious activity)

I don't like RTS games in general, but I loved Starcraft, mostly for the Zerg. Having said that, I'm not buying this game simply because you can only play the Terrans in SP. That is shit, because you know they'll charge $50 for an expansion or possibly make us wait for another game before we can play as the other races.

I had a similar idea which hasn't been said in the comments yet: GTA mixed with SimCity. One player is the sandbox thug, free to wander around the city and cause as much destruction as they want. The other player is resource managing the city, controlling utilities, construction, and traffic, all indirectly. The SimCity player wants to kill the thug, but he only gets police units if the thug commits a crime. The beginning of the game would be the RTS player trying to annoy or tempt the thug into breaking the law, like control traffic via stoplights to run him over if he crosses the street, or trying to make the crowds constantly bump into him, or even use taxpayer money to mail a sniper rifle to his hideout, betting he won't be able to resist the allure. Because the goal of the thug is to bankrupt the city. Helicopters are expensive, and declaring martial law moreso. A thug that can get the army on him before the RTS player has gathered resources to pay the army could win if they can survive. The RTS player can raise taxes, but then they run the risk of the population rioting.

Want to make it really interesting? Don't tell the thug if he's playing against a human or the AI.

Though I've yet to put it out there, I've come across the idea of a third faction of mercenaries because it's actually a very elegant solution to another problem: pit two sides against eachother, and there will be inevitably a power upset sooner or later, with players fleeing to the winning side at the first sign of trouble. The mercenaries can even things out, keep the game going longer, by giving them incentives to support the underdog, including the incentive that if one side wins the mercenaries (as good little war profiteers) lose.

Also, give Majesty 2 a spin. It's similar in that it's an RTS played form the perspective of a fellow giving out incentives to free-ranging adventurers. You don't order adventurers to move places, but rather you put bounties on getting things done. Granted, your bands of NPC heroes are thick as stumps, but it's an interesting approach to the genre.

Theres already plenty of games with RTS meets FPS genre mixed in.

Eve Online + Dust514. The former being a grand scale space sim, the latter being a merc-based FPS. The touted feature is that the players of the former can hire players of the latter to help them capture important resource planets. The Latter receive XP and Cash and the Former get right to exploit the resources of the planet...if they win.

Interesting idea with the "Two commanders + mercenaries" idea, the only problem is that the mercenaries would probably be so powerful that all strategy would be completely negated. Think of a single-player FPS on Normal, how easy it is to mow down enemies... now imagine if you're the commander that's trying to get those same paper enemies to do something useful.

This is probably a bit like using a pair of tweezers to pull a single mote of discolored sand out of a beach, and I'm likely to get pounced upon for yanking out a "weak flannel of excuses" or something. So be it.

From my perspective, World of Warcraft's story is not "frozen in a single moment of time."

Yes, NPCs and bosses respawn so that every single one of the 11 million people playing the game can either speak to or kill them. Yes, this is a concept that makes any attempt at real storytelling feel redundant and silly. Yes, you're going to be exploring this in your novel.

But there are changes that happen in the game, especially with the advent of instanced zones. This occurred in a few places in Northrend during the last expansion, and will be more prevalent in Azeroth proper come Cataclysm. You enter a zone at a certain level, and by the time you leave that zone, it's different, at least from your perspective because your character undertook the quests to make an actual change.

Again, this is not applicable to the entire world, so saying it's not stuck as it is seems silly to say now. But, I'm a writer of both fiction and non-fiction in the realm of video games. Have the things that come out of my mouth or fingers is silly. This is nothing new, and this post is unlikely to change anything.

[quote="Yahtzee Croshaw" post="6.223269.7509023"]Snip/quote]

So your not reviewing it because, you don't do RTSs. While Starcraft has been the mile stone of all RTSs and there are a few missions where you are controlling one unit instead of the entire army (one of these has you as an invisible mercenary called a ghost, sneaking around, ripping apart the enemy from the inside, destroying unit porducing buildings, and dropping nukes while your allies attack the base), I don't hold it against you for not reviewing this.

Of course, you may of saved your self from tons of fanboy rage by not reviewing this, since they would jump at you for the slightest complaint related to anything :P

His idea could work to an extent, ok you would probably get some morons on thier who abuse the system (mercenaries) and just get the biggest weapons they can an try to mess up everyone elses fun, and the RTS fans could get annoyed over not being able to control everything on the field thats fighting for them, i suppose with some trial and error it could work out in the end

Eqan Asif:

He says, it's not just that he sucks at them, but because "it's not [his] cup of tea."

Right. That's why I used the term "well-versed". Where did you get the idea that it means: "sucks at them"? It means, not very knowledgeable.

You might say "JRPGs" are also not his cup of tea.

I guess I'm floating on the same boat as you here... Never been able to play them... My God have I tried though... I've played most of the C&C and I even own Halo Wars... Still I can't get my head round them. Halo Wars is supposed to be like RTS for dummies and I still can't manage that.

Then again I haven't had that much trouble with the Total War series but they aren't all that much RTS's. Your units know what to do and can fight reasonably well without your help, you just give out helpful suggestions when you think they should be doing other things.

I also liked the Age of Empires series or things like that but that's mostly for missing about in the map editors and giving my self 20000000 archers and 40 layers of walls while I wait for the enemy to try and kill me.

I did manage to beat Battle for Middle earth 2 but again, that's like RTS for wimps and I've only ever braved online once or twice.

That said I liked your idea... Mainly the Merc part, I would love to play an arse hole double crossing each army just for the fun of it. That or when I'm not doing a bit of double crossing I'm sat on top of a cliff edge using the soldiers as target practise. Though this would create a good amount of issues, especially in the graphics department and the game play mechanics.

I'd like to point out that the commander to an army idea has been tried.. I'm not much of a judge of how well it worked but for my time playing battlefield 2142 it seemed.. if not helpful, downright awesome.

I don't know if this is just me, but I dislike these articles, Yhatzee wanders far away from facts and just ends up writing 2 pages of opinion, completely unbacked by fact or (usually) relevant precedent... Is that why we're here?

Interesting idea with the "Two commanders + mercenaries" idea, the only problem is that the mercenaries would probably be so powerful that all strategy would be completely negated. Think of a single-player FPS on Normal, how easy it is to mow down enemies... now imagine if you're the commander that's trying to get those same paper enemies to do something useful.

I do not totally aggre with you. Sure if you make the mercenaries experience a single player fps with regenerating health and unlimited ammo on their pistols the commanders wont stand a chance against the mercs. But imagine more something like ARMA 2, sure a merc can take out a few of the standard units but when a commander rolls around with a huge army of tanks or zerg or something the lone mercs not working for one of the commanders will run for cover.

Actually, this gives me a great idea.

Imagine Team Fortress 2 with that commander character. He looks through his available units (Soldier, Heavy, Medic, etc.), and you give them suggestions on where to go and what to kill, what objectives to take, who to stick together with. This makes winning is a matter of teamwork. They don't HAVE to listen to the commander, and very well may win if they don't, but if they're fighting against a team that's well coordinated, then they'll probably have significantly less success, unless they're significantly more skilled.

He would issue commands by clicking on one of his players, right clicking something to say "move to this location" or "Attack this" or "Defend here" etc. You could also set Fireteams, where you want a certain group of players to stick together, maybe a Heavy and a medic, or w/e combination you think is best.

Now, maybe this can just be a secondary mode, like capture the flag or other similar play mode, instead of being the main meat of the game.

And of course, this would be great for clans. The clan leader can recruit people, and they'll be more likely to listen to him because of a bond of friendship.

Maybe it wouldn't work too well for Team Fortress 2, specifically. Maybe it would be better suited to a game like MAG, or perhaps better might be to come up with a brand new game in which you carefully tailor the classes that can be played to fit with particular strategies.

Oh! And we can't forget resource mining. Let's removing the mining aspect, and change the resource to money. Every time one of your blokes gets a kill, you get some money. This can allow you to upgrade their weapons, armor, perks, etc. Maybe you can have some cheap upgrades that give your bloke a better weapon until he dies, and some expensive ones to permanently upgrade it. Much Strategy to be had there. Do you upgrade your weapons right now for cheap to get potentially more gains, or do you save your money to buy the permanent ones that will give you the edge later in the battle?

This could easily break up the monotony you usually get in an online shooter like CoD. Usually, after the first 5 minutes of a game, you already know who is going to win. Sometimes the tides turn, but it's rare. At least, it is in my experience. But, buffing up one side with upgrades because you have a commander who knows his shit? That could very well turn the tide of a match.

Perhaps, if you can't get players to work together, create a rewards system. Every time you complete an objective that your commander gives you, you get a temporary boost to your character. (Besides a move command.) So, say you kill the bloke that your commander had you targeting, perhaps you get your health refilled, or you get a damage bonus, or something of that nature.

Now, maybe this game needs to be based on an open field, with lots of structures placed along to please the people who like to hobble around corridors and such. Now maybe you need to have it so you can build buildings. Fair enough, let's see what we can do about that...

Add back in resource mining. Take the Command and Conquer approach. Build a foundry, have a harvester NPC, make it a tactical advantage to control certain areas that will give you an income. Perhaps have some buildings where if controlled, your team gets particular bonuses, or a big ass turret that shoots at passersby. Then maybe you can make it like Battlefield, you can build tanks for your team to use, or have stolen, with your money. Maybe even fighter jets and such. Perhaps you could have these as minor support upgrades, that only help marginally, but this worked for battlefield, so I don't see why it can't work here. You could even have specialty vehicles, and maybe you could have a character that gets damage bonuses and such for being in one of the vehicles.

Unless you could get a game as big as MAG with these aspects, you would have to keep all these things very small-scale, however.

Wow, this post is huge. I could go on and on past this about some ideas that came to mind, but I think I might break The Escapist if I type anymore.

Yahtzee has the right to review whatever he wants, and besides if he did review it, we already know what it'd be like.

Yeah, I mean, it's not like he's getting *paid* to do this.... oh wait ;)

EDIT: Kidding aside, you're sort of right, he has some latitude on what he reviews. On the other hand, it's not just a hobby. He is technically answerable for his content, even if not directly to you or me.


Savage XR is the answer for you. It features one player as a commander who orders around other players who play all (well, most of) the little guys on the ground. So the combat is dependent on both the commander being able to issue strategic commands, and the skill of the players on the ground.

Their official youtube channel is here: http://www.youtube.com/user/HurlyBurly3027

Just mentioned Savage 2 up above, whats the difference between Savage 2 and Savage XR?

The Savage community hates Savage 2 because it's no real sequel, it has a boring RTS mode where everything is automated, a bad combat system and too many RPG stuff which make it less skill based etc. I think they started creating Savage XR when they realised Savage 2 will be a fail game.

There are 2 videos and an essay which compare the games:

Entirely different combat:
Savage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4EaaRoACrk
Savage 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzcPUjivtk0

I hope it helped :)

sounds like a great idea to me, i'd definatly buy one if it came out

Interesting read. I can see how the concept of mixing several genres into one mega-game might be as appealing as it might be disastrous.

You've already addressed the initial problems I immediately thought of so instead:

Adding Racers to the game: Make them war time delivery boys or something. They need to deliver X component/ officer/ etc in a certain amount of time. Maybe while being chased in a NFS: Hot Pursuit style. Oh and add weapons (like Wipeout or even Mario Kart).

EDIT: Also, if you don't review RTS because you admittedly aren't well-versed in them, why do you review JRPGs?

he has played a lot of jrpgs and has liked some of them i think, this is more an issue of not liking controll systems and prefering character based stories. the jrpg hate is because the way he sees it stories in them are too long winded and full of bullshit.

I've only just discovered Zero Punctuation, and I must say, well done, Yahtzee. It's been a good long while since reviews have made me laugh so much. :)

I would think the easiest way to discourage griefers on the FPS level of the game would be to give RTS commanders a chance to retaliate - FPS players might not be inclined to cause trouble with an enormous battleship hovering over their heads...

Re: Starcraft, I quite enjoy it as an RTS, but as I share Yahtzee's interest in character-centric games, I should point out that it's the single-player storyline that's kept my interest all these years; characters like Raynor, Zeratul, Mengsk and Kerrigan are absolutely the driving force of the plot, and I think that's really where Starcraft 2 excels. It could've easily fallen into the same trap as Warcraft 3 by making the cast subservient to the needs of the story (ie: why does Arthas go rogue? Well, apparently he was a galactic-level prat even before he "died").

On a more personal level, I've always had a bit of nostalgic affection for Starcraft, being one of the first games I ever played with a halfway-decent (let alone stunningly competent) female villain - between Katrina getting defanged in Quest for Glory V, Elexis Sinclair in Sin and yet another Tomb Raider game, I don't recall 1998 being a great year for female gamers. And then you had Kerrigan's character arc, ending with her manipulating and outwitting every other faction, and completely laying waste to armies three times larger than hers. Queen Bitch of the Universe indeed. :)

Extra Punctuation:
But the point is, what about real time strategy? Is there a way to combine that with the other, more direct play styles? Forgetting about the omnigame concept, could you just have a game where one player is playing an RTS and the rest are on the ground playing, say, Battlefield? This is another thought I know I'm not the only one to think: Team Fortress 2 most notably was messing around with the idea of a "commander" player very, very, very early on in its extremely long development.

Battlefield 2 has commanders. You can tell your teams squads to do something like attack this place, fix the artillery, defend this place etc. It works fairly good, if the squad doesnt do what you ordered them you can tell stuff like 'Follow orders, soldier!', though thats about it.

Battlefield 2 did try its hand with a variant of the concept of having a commander. Then again, the commander didn't really have any control over the squads, beyond being able to drop supplies, send out UAVs, do satellite scans, send air strikes and issuing orders, which the squads were free to disregard at their leisure.

In any case, if the players had any sort of idea regarding tactical playing, they saw the commander as an asset more than some dictator bossing them around. This was very rarely the case, but every now and again, it seemed to work and this put the game on a whole new level.

I somewhat agree. All the reviews for Starcraft 2 are glowing and say it's perfect, but none have said it will win over people who aren't RTS fans like myself. Plus, I think the ad campaign is wrong. Looking at promos it comes off as an action/shooter title not an RTS. I can imagine young players not familiar with 1 getting it and be seriously dissapointed.

I'm an RTS fan and to me Starcraft 2 represents all that is wrong with 'critics' like IGN and Gamespot where they judge a game on presentation instead of gameplay. Real men play Men of War.

Food for thought: One game has tried an interesting RTS mix. Soul Caliber 3 has an RTS section for it's created characters.

For those who haven't played the game - The way it works is you create your own character like you would normally do, except they only appear in this mode. Then the story starts up, which is set in the Soul Caliber world, except you never interact with any of the main characters (aside from optional side missions). Instead you become the general of your army, attempting to protect your home. Gameplay is very very simple RTS; You have about four unit types and maybe five units on the field at once. However, when one of your units and a enemy unit clash you can choose to zoom in and fight it Soul Caliber style. So if you want a simple RTS you play normally, but you also have the option to fight every encounter Fighting Game style.

It's an interesting mix to be sure, and one that I like. It's more Fighting Game then RTS, but if all you want is a sprinkling of RTS-style gameplay then it's perfect.

His idea is a good one, albeit not a unique one. Actually, there was an UMS (Custom) game in Starcraft called Kings and Knights which had that same premise. Obviously the knights were the mercenaries and the Kings were the traditional RTS players.

Demon ID:
I thought about such a type of game to where your people on the ground are actual players, it just wouldn't work. Well, it wouldn't work outside of a small community (hint hint escapist).

I suppose their is a the potential mix of both normal npc units and players on the battlefield. You control an army of npcs, then have some special units which are players.

Might be worth thinking about, i'd love to be involved in such a thing but I think it would need to be small scale with a closed off community of very dedicated people rather than just everyone.

2 players for each team, one the commander and the other guy a special trooper

the trooper can do whatever he wants, except that, being in the "area of effect" wich will be set by the commander and will be carried by the manin group of troops gives the trooper special abilities, say, you want your "special" guy to flank the enemy while you put all the npc´s in the front gates?? set the area of effect at the rigth side of the enemies, that way the guy controlling the troopers haves no option but to follow the "beacon" because outside the area of effect he is as strong as a wet piece of paper

there will be yelling and coursing "HEY MAN!!! GET THE AREA A LITTLE FARTHER DOWN THE ROAD, THEY ARE OUT OF RANGE!!!" but it can be solved by the commander moving the area of effect

also, if the trooper wants to do something specific, like say, steal that chopper and bomb the enemy zone, he can call for "command override" and it gives him 30 seconds (or some time) to go outside the area of effect, into the chopper, once inside the chopper is up, the chopper will have its own life bar, that way he can fly as long as he can mantain the chopper up, once destroyed, he haves another 30 seconds untill the "area of effect" is deactivated, enough for him to get back into the zone, or the commander to move the zone over him.

i think that might work, for skirmishes or small battles

but more people... i dont know... colored patterns for each special unit??

it would also be amazing for "1 on 1" battles against each special troopers, while the commanders try to hold their possitions or take over such stronghold.

So, there is a perfectly reasonable explanation of why Yahtzee hates RTS; he sucks at them. Of coarse you can't 'get' games that you suck horribly at. He had a good analogy that RTS are basically chess games, and everything that he suggested would make those games SUCK! Way to have a vendetta against RTS's Yahtzee.

Still, if someone could get him to play Dungeon Keeper 2, then I would wager his whole opinion would be changed about RTS's. That actually allow you to posses and control your troops. I loved controlling the imps and destroying the map. (DAMN YOU TO HELL EA FOR CANCELING DK3!)


I'm very dissapointed that he won't be reviewing starcraft 2 :(

They need to combine Mech Commander and Mechwarrior!!!

Or at least make a co-op Mechwarrior game.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Of course they abandoned it because, of course, it wouldn't work.

Does anyone read this stuff a second time before it hits the website? If The Escapist doesn't have a sub-editor I'll happily offer my services for a small wage. Expect 'American' English to be corrected though.

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