Why is RTS so heartless?

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT
 

Well any RTS where units gain experience does that to an extent. I know in Company of Heroes I become attached to my Airborne units because they are usually very effective and gain the experience to make them game changers. I remember one game where three expert squads of paratroopers with recoiless rifles totally mauled a force of over 10 enemy tanks, I came to personally value those squads. Though I see exactly what you are saying, even in my examples I only valued them because they were extremely effective. Maybe its because RTSs are by their nature cold games.

Sins of a Solar Empire. The capital ships in those games were ships you leveled and gained experience, plus you could name them, so you CARED about them.

To quote the man himself:
image
"A casualty of my fucking war."

ironkex:
It is better to die for the Emperor than to live for yourself.

Correct answer. Far be it from some Xeno scum to tell me who is and isn't worth dying for.

imperialwar:
I offer this in the same spirit of the main topic:

I once played a D+D campaign where we all clerics.
For ages we played quests of healing the sick and performing minor spells to help farms grow better crops.
Eventually we moved on to "releasing" undead from their curse, we treated the cleric ability like releasing their souls rather then destroying them. We moved on to banishing demons nd unpossessing the king of a demons soul.
Not once in a 6 month campaign did we ever spill a drop of blood.

So why arent there more RPGs like this available ?

even so far as kiddies platformers you are encouraged to attack things to get them out of your way ( spyro, crash, and mario make good examples )

Because they wouldn't sell. I once played a DnD games where my Dread Necromancer successfully hid his evil necromantic (a later lich) nature from the majority of his companions. He recruited two of his companions into his plot, and used evens during quests to turn one (secretly) into a vampire lord and the other (also secretly) into the werewolf equivalent. He proceeded to form a kingdom (as did the majority of his companions) and after a decade or so as ruler, turned on his old companions and conquered their kingdoms.

Everyone enjoys different things so game developers have to design their games to appeal to the largest audience for the genre.

TsunamiWombat:
Dawn of War 2. Squad based, losing a squad is srs bsnss.

it was SRS BZNS in DoW 1 as well. How the HELL does an imperial guard squad cost more req and take more time to build than a space marine squad? Buncha useless retards...

Miles Maldonado:
So, your thoughts? Why is RTS so cold and heartless, and why has nobody saw fit to try and change it?

It might be that you have too limited a definition of "real-time strategy." But also, the genre doesn't easily lend itself to character-driven stuff. In the chaos of real-time battle, you're going to lose units... and if you're emotionally invested in each one, every battle has to be this huge deal, but not in the way you'd want.

This is why most character-driven strategy games are turn-based. You have time to calculate and make judgments that allow you to keep most of your well-loved characters. That allows them to stick around long enough to become well-loved. Also, it means fewer characters, which means a smaller-scale game (to the point that people might not readily consider it an RTS, simply because of the scale).

It come down to the limitations of the genre and the limitations of the label "RTS."

Fire Emblem.

Tom Clancy's Endwar.

Dawn of War 1+2.

/thread

Hazy:

Correct answer. Far be it from some Xeno scum to tell me who is and isn't worth dying for.

If you must die, die so that you advance the Greater Good.

Syzygy23:

TsunamiWombat:
Dawn of War 2. Squad based, losing a squad is srs bsnss.

it was SRS BZNS in DoW 1 as well. How the HELL does an imperial guard squad cost more req and take more time to build than a space marine squad? Buncha useless retards...

They have Grenade Launchers. Also known as the most annoying AOE weapon in the game, and perfect for crowd control.

Oh I'm sorry, you wanted to shoot my cardboard armor? Well now you're on the ground. Here, I'll help you back up. Oh, and you're down again.

There was a small scale RTS - well, Real-Time Tactical would be more accurate - back on the Amiga in the nineties called "Cannon Fodder". Each individual soldier had a name and when you lost some on a mission, the between-mission screen would have have a little grave marker for each dead soldier. These grave markers stayed there for the whole game, so by the end of it the hillside would be covered in little graves, each one with the name of a lost soldier. It was quite poignant, really.

Rainboq:
Sins of a Solar Empire. The capital ships in those games were ships you leveled and gained experience, plus you could name them, so you CARED about them.

yes but you would callously throw away swarms of your frigates and cruisers to get that level 2 carrier out of harms way should the battle start looking bad :P

cookyy2k:

Hawk eye1466:
I always wondered why the troops wouldn't eventually refuse to walk directly into enemy cannon fire.

There is a good historical context here, there weren't many soldiers refusing to charge a machine gun position in world war 1 even though the casualty rates were above 90%, as there weren't many Japanese pilots refusing to smash a plane through an enemy target. It is the same with any well disciplined/indoctrinated force.

OT, because it would suck (in my opinion) RTSs are my favorite genre of game and I would really hate having to have individual stories of the units shoe horned in. I recruit/build them and then send them in the best way I can, be it sacrificial or not. An RTS to me is as a good game of chess is, only more complex. I don't care which pieces need to be sacrificed to meet my objective.

Well yes your right but I meant more like my troops would take the most direct route and not try to walk around the pitched battle. And true it would get tedious as all hell but I think it could be fun to have at least a little story with your commanders in your command center but not on the battlefield so you don't do what I always do whenever I had special units which is hide them in the back.

FelixG:

Rainboq:
Sins of a Solar Empire. The capital ships in those games were ships you leveled and gained experience, plus you could name them, so you CARED about them.

yes but you would callously throw away swarms of your frigates and cruisers to get that level 2 carrier out of harms way should the battle start looking bad :P

That's just you, I care for my ships, from the mightiest Radiance, to the lowliest Disciple.

Soviet Heavy:
Nah, it's right here.

Also sums up how RTS can play at empathy.

You good sir, are correct. The Imperium overcomes!

I can think of X-com as an example that provides at least a little more heart than usual. I mean every soldier has a name and mental and emotional attributes plus they never come back so every loss of someone you like is at least felt a little in your cold shriveled heart.

ShakyFt Slasher:
I can think of X-com as an example that provides at least a little more heart than usual. I mean every soldier has a name and mental and emotional attributes plus they never come back so every loss of someone you like is at least felt a little in your cold shriveled heart.

Same goes for the Jagged Alliance 2. But these are turn based strategy games, not shitty RTS ones.

Rainboq:
Sins of a Solar Empire. The capital ships in those games were ships you leveled and gained experience, plus you could name them, so you CARED about them.

The same goes for planets, too. I remember more than one occasion where the bloody TEC fired a tactical nuke at one of my planets and I launched a full-on crusade in retribution as a result.

Doc Theta Sigma:
Every zergling lost brings victory closer for the Swarm.

LIVE FOR THE SWARM

Raiyan 1.0:
War. War never changes.

I love this quote.

OP: I'd say that because when you are fighting for survival, you don't have time to stop and talk to your enemies and say "hey, wanna go have a beer and forget all this?". Whether it is Starcraft, Warcraft, Age of Empires, or Kingdom Under Fire, your goal is to complete your objectives and if need be, kill everything in your way. In between missions, you can talk to the Protoss commander about how futile more bloodshed is, or talk to the enemy commander about how you don't want to fight, but when in combat, it is all about killing your enemy.
Keep in mind that your position in RTS games is the field commander, crushing your enemy and seeing them driven before you. The job of hearing the lamentations of their womens falls to the politicians and other people that are not you.

This is why I play fire emblem. Each character has a face (an actual face, not just a helmet or generic sprite) a backstory etc. Though it's a TBS not RTS, it makes you value the characters and their abilities. If you lose them, you don't get them back.

Also, Dawn of War 2. While it's still easy to lose units, because they're in smaller numbers (debatably) it makes you value each individual unit more within a squad. IE. Space Marines have 3-4 in a squad (4 with sergeants) each marine you lose is 1 whole boltgun and however many hit points. Plus, they level up as they kill, granting more damage and health. Keeping them alive is pretty imparative. I enjoy their squad system over Starcraft, though starcraft 2 can still be fun sometimes...

MercurySteam:

Soviet Heavy:
Nah, it's right here.

Also sums up how RTS can play at empathy.

You good sir, are correct. The Imperium overcomes!

If you are not prepared to fire artillery onto your own infantry, YOU ARE NOT PREPARED TO WIN!!
-Lord Commisar, Dawn of War retribution

All RTS's are "Heartless" because none of the units honestly matter. Either Middle Evil Europe invited speedy cloning and never told anyone, or there's two people in that barracks with the fastest gestation time known to man.
Most of the time you watch them die from orbit and it was part of your plan that they get killed, so oh well.

I get annoyed when an RTS tries to put in too much dialogue and narrative in between the single player missions.

In short it's hard to care about something that dies if you hit the delete button, but can just be spawn again at the nearest barracks.

Miles Maldonado:
See title.

Simply put, I'm just a bit frustrated about how RTS games as a whole seem to be "Go kill stuff, who cares about friendly casualties?" It's focused as a genre on just doing lots of damage, and never on what your men think and feel. Why is that? Why is there not a decent, character-driven RTS game where you are encouraged to look after your troops, but countless games where you are pretty much encouraged to not give a rat's behind about them?

Play Alexander Total War.

It starts off as you describe, but as you push deeper and deeper into Asia each individual person in each individual Macedonian unit becomes more and more irreplaceable. By the time you reach India you'll cringe each time one of those little dudes drop. No game has ever made me care so much for a common, faceless soldier.

And that's before we consider Alexander's companions, each of his close friends appears as a general in the game (I think there are like 11 in total) ad if they die on the battlefield they're gone for good. Furthermore if one of Alexander's closest friends like Hephaistion or Parmenion cop it then it can have serious psychological effects on Alexander and make him weaker.

Finally there is Alexander himself, if he dies the whol spiel is game over. This is the most personal and hardest RTS I've ever played and it makes the whole thing so much more immersive.

srm79:
Combat Mission. Turn based as opposed to real time, but depending on the mission it's platoon all the way up to brigade sized formation based. No resource gathering or production, you start with the troops you have on the field plus a predetermined amount of reinforcements (sometimes).

An oldie, but still a classic and a must play for WWII fans. It's also bloody hard and the AI isn't bad either.

the next one has been released.. cm:battle for normandy has both turn based and real time control not a bad game actually.

Miles Maldonado:
See title.

Simply put, I'm just a bit frustrated about how RTS games as a whole seem to be "Go kill stuff, who cares about friendly casualties?" It's focused as a genre on just doing lots of damage, and never on what your men think and feel. Why is that? Why is there not a decent, character-driven RTS game where you are encouraged to look after your troops, but countless games where you are pretty much encouraged to not give a rat's behind about them?

Really the only game that comes close to character-driven RTS is a title called "Codename Panzers", and even then whatever importance you give your troops depends on you, there is no inherent importance on keeping them alive, which bugs me severely.

So, your thoughts? Why is RTS so cold and heartless, and why has nobody saw fit to try and change it?

As to why they are so heartless, I couldn't begin to guess. But not all of them are the Faces of War/Men of War series are a different take on RTS. You don't have a base with an unlimited supply of rambo's. You just have what men you start with. With what ammo they have. If you want more you'll have to strip dead bodies for it.

Daffy F:

vrbtny:
I always become horribly attached to my units in Lord of the Rings : Battle for Middle Earth, but then that game does give you the ability to give each battalion a name.

I love that feature - it does make you become very attatched to your units, however.

some of the total war games let you do that as well. its nice seeing how different units end up on different places of the world and following their progress

Miles Maldonado:
See title.

Simply put, I'm just a bit frustrated about how RTS games as a whole seem to be "Go kill stuff, who cares about friendly casualties?" It's focused as a genre on just doing lots of damage, and never on what your men think and feel. Why is that? Why is there not a decent, character-driven RTS game where you are encouraged to look after your troops, but countless games where you are pretty much encouraged to not give a rat's behind about them?

Really the only game that comes close to character-driven RTS is a title called "Codename Panzers", and even then whatever importance you give your troops depends on you, there is no inherent importance on keeping them alive, which bugs me severely.

So, your thoughts? Why is RTS so cold and heartless, and why has nobody saw fit to try and change it?

You're making a silly distinction here. No video game actually cares about its characters. They just... don't. At all. Ever. I think the issue is that you are only considering the "protagonist's" point of view on other (i.e. non-RTS) games. Do you care about all the enemy soldiers who presumably have stories to tell in Call of Duty or Battlefield? Of course not.

I think the more interesting question to pose would be: "Why do video games equate taking life with a progression of story elements?"

Video games treat humans as scum. RT Strategies treat them as scum with a purpose and a value attached. If anything, RTS games are more like a sociopath's cookbook whereas FPS games and their ilk are more like a psychopath's cookbook.

Victory at all costs, man.

Come on, try to beat Kerrigan in SC2 without being ruthless and callous in regards to your units.

GrandmaFunk:
that's like asking why FPS games don't care about the emotional state of each bullet.

or why chess isn't concerned by the morale of pawns.

I've felt silly pride for my soldiers in Company of Heroes many times. All my squads have to retreat from the enemy attack because they only have one or two guys left, all that I have with full health on that front is a single captain. But...what's this? He just killed a German w/ squad machine gun, and I just told him to grab it. HE HOLDS THAT LINE.

Those tiny moments of "man that guy is a badass" also sometimes applies to tanks, where you have one tank left and it's kicking ass as the rest of your troops get slaughtered. I had a Marder II tank hunter in a game a day or two ago where the enemy called down massive amounts of artillery on it...and not a single shell hit it. There were craters ringing the vehicle, but it was FINE and still firing at the incoming enemy tanks. It had 21 tank kills by the end of the game. If anyone here plays CoH, you know that Marders are not well armored. :P

But overall, sometimes you need those squads to simply hold the line, even if it means you lose a squad. I was playing the eastern front mod and my friend used waves of Russian infantry as mobile armor for my last tank, absorbing incoming AT rounds with hoards of poorly armed men. Sad? yes. Effective? surprisingly so.

But at the end of the day, any commander who throws his men's lives away carelessly is likely going to lose to one who takes those tiny measures to keep them alive. Maybe that's why I love CoH (and to a lesser extent Dawn of War II), because each squad of infantry is an investment of munitions (machine guns, rifle grenades, AT weapons) and unless you're in a game where you have manpower coming out the ass, those squads are precious. If you play American or Panzer Elite they're even more valuable because they gain experience individually.

I've never fired artillery on my own troops, with the exception of Churchill tanks, because artillery shells apparently just bounce off those fuckers so it works to have them drive through your own artillery fire to crush a retreating enemy. :P

Why would you want to empathize with the soldiers in a strategy game? It'd get in the way of the... strategy.

Strategy at its highest and purest level is by driven by dispassion and logical thinking. Empathizing with each soldier and mourning every loss would only obstruct your ability to win a battle (or the entire war) by preventing you from being able to make the sacrifices that would allow your side to secure an expedient victory.

Raiyan 1.0:
War. War never changes.

awesome

and a couple RTS's i've seen (the ones i'd prefer) basically have all units fully mechanized. so there's no actual loss of life except for the commanders... i also don't like RTS because there's no character development or anything... it makes you think of each unit as just cannon fodder to whittle down the HP of your foe's army. this is why i play Turn Based Strategy RPG's like Disgaea and Fire Emblem. each unit has stats, a face, levels, a name, backstory, and relations with the other units. making me want to keep each and every unit alive as best i can. this is why i've played almost every US release Fire Emblem game and havn't lost a single unit (when i do i restart the level). Disgaea it's not so much because i can rez characters after the battle, but i have a limit to how many i can have, i can't just grow more units out of nowhere.

there was a character-driven RTS that came out though... it was one of the Blue Dragon games on the DS. but from what i played of it it was total crap and the mechanics didn't work at all... but that's because each unit had special attacks and such... you HAD to make units take twisting routes just so you had time to select special attacks... a game like Fire Emblem would be better suited for an RTS port.

Miles Maldonado:
See title.

Simply put, I'm just a bit frustrated about how RTS games as a whole seem to be "Go kill stuff, who cares about friendly casualties?" It's focused as a genre on just doing lots of damage, and never on what your men think and feel. Why is that? Why is there not a decent, character-driven RTS game where you are encouraged to look after your troops, but countless games where you are pretty much encouraged to not give a rat's behind about them?

Really the only game that comes close to character-driven RTS is a title called "Codename Panzers", and even then whatever importance you give your troops depends on you, there is no inherent importance on keeping them alive, which bugs me severely.

So, your thoughts? Why is RTS so cold and heartless, and why has nobody saw fit to try and change it?

Because programming computers to think and feel is a feet yet conquered by gaming programmers? What genre have you played that had emotions outside of scripted events and cut-scenes? And I'm not sure about you but a primary tactic of RTS games is to give a rats behind about your troops since they are needed for survival.

I think the idea of one lone character being important is dead to RTS mainly due to RTS games being more realistic and not a stylized version of war you get in FPS or other genres. There are some games like Tiberian Sun where you actually have to protect mission important heroes who tend to die easily, of you can look at the hero units of Starcraft and Warcraft for more scripted characters in RTS.

Well, if I lose a batch of zerglings, marines or zealots - no fucking problem.

If I lose a ghost with full energy - GHOST NOOOO!!! FFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUU YOUR LIFE WAS TOO SHOOOOOORT! *cry*

ironkex:
It is better to die for the Emperor than to live for yourself.

I'm not a Prisoner, I'm a free man and my blood is my own now. Not a number i'm free man.

earth 2150(by war the best entry in the series)
Total war series (yes, you send legions of low-level spearmen into their death but you do not want to loose the elite unit of heavy cavalry)
also: supreme commander, i cry for every human killed in that game
basically any game where experience actually does shit

 Pages PREV 1 2 3 4 NEXT

Reply to Thread

This thread is locked