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X3M

The end for RTS

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While shopping today. I noticed that there are almost no RTS games left.

As RTS maniac, it shocked me.

 

Age of Empires gold edition and StarCraft II, heart of the swarm,

where the only 2 that could be bought.

 

Could it be that players aren't interested anymore in RTS?

Has creator fantasy dropped down? So new games hardly come out?

Or do shops simply not sell them anymore out of ignorance?

Will a new era come once players are bored with other kind of games?

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While shopping today. I noticed that there are almost no RTS games left.

Did you arrive at such a conclusion from visiting your local shop? Or did you check several online game vendors? Did you do a survey of the numbers of RTS titles sold, their ratio to the number of RTS games released recently etc. (or maybe there's already an existing survey of that, preferably publicly available for no charge)?

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There are a little over 10 shops in my town that sells a lot of computer games. I have visited the standard 8 that I always visit.

Only 2 RTS games where found this time. Last times (1 and 3 months ago), there where 3 and 5. So, I truly see a decline in RTS games that are sold.

 

I always check on the games when I am in the city. That's why I noticed this.

1 shop closed by the way, that's a pity since they where a game specialist shop.

Maybe the games in general are declining. Or customers simply don't need the shops any more for buying games.

 

The one thing that I see increasing is the MMO kind of RTS. But I am not really interested in those since I rather have a story line and command 1 army all by myself.

 

So the conclusion that I have is with thoughts and a decent amount of observations. Only wondering if others noticed the same as I did.

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Don't fear, once Battle for Dune: War of Assassins is released.. We'll see what happens ;).

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Or customers simply don't need the shops any more for buying games.

That may actually be the case (for closing game shops that is). Or maybe not.

How can you tell that the small number of copies of RTS games that you have observed are the result of the shop ordering only a few, and not because people buy them out faster than new copies are supplied?

Also, on a more general note, does, in your opinion, a gaming genre have to be supported by a continuous stream of new titles being released for it to be considered thriving? OR does the number of players matter? Do you count players that only play online, in single-player mode or both? Are there any surveys to suggest at least approximate numbers here?

Also what about Korean StarCraft championships? StarCraft has pretty much become a popular sport, how does this go in line with your claim about the genre? Or are we not justified to say that the entire genre is doing well if only because one game (series) has become uber-popular in one country?

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Games in general are declining. The BBC reports that the gaming industry is currently worth $18.3 billion, down from $28.9 billion in 2008. So the revenues of the gaming industry dropped by 37% in only five years. That's not just a decline, it's a serious collapse.

What's causing it? I don't know, but I can make an educated guess. First of all, let's not forget that we are still living in the middle of a global crisis of capitalism. Many people in many countries have lost their jobs or had their wages cut. And computer games are among the first things that people will stop buying when they are hit by hard times. Secondly, the last few years have also seen a great rise in low-tech, 2D, free-to-play online games (for example facebook games). I'm sure a lot of people are playing those kinds of games instead of buying the latest high-tech releases.

And since games companies are facing declining sales, they will cut back on the number of games they produce and focus only on those genres that are likely to bring in the greatest profits - which basically means shooters and RPGs. Making RTS games is becoming too risky in a world where fewer and fewer people are buying games. That's my guess.

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The tablets and touch-screen phones changed the whole gaming industry paradigm in the last 5 years or so. Now it's all about buying a 2-5$ tablet game instead of buying a 30-40$ PC game. Also all tablet games work perfectly (just like the console ones) while for PCs you have to upgrade constantly. So not only you buy the game but also the hardware to play it.

 

Now it's all about free tablet games (simple, lots of colors, addictive) that you need to pay to unlock more stuff or to continue playing. Angry birds rule!!! unfortunately.

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Well, that, and the rise of indie games. The Humble Bundle model has proved to be very successful. Pay whatever you want, knowing it'll go to the people you want it to go to, rather than to some huge anonymous company. Though this more or less applies to mobile app stores as well.

Just the fact the approach is more personal matters a lot to people these days. Gamers don't really trust big companies anymore.

On top of that, big companies don't trust their employees to experiment with original ideas, meaning, big companies run on stagnated ideas while indie devs just experiment and hope for the best. All great companies once started in someone's basement, and it's the new generation of basement dwellers that are staking their claim on the future now.

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Sounds like another EA trauma :D.

 

But it is true, those tablet games sure are easy to require once you have a tablet.

You simply can purchase from your home, without the need of going a couple of miles to get a wanted game.

 

The thing that concerns me with tablets is that RTS do bad on them. I have not heard of any RTS on tablet that actually is fun to do.

Another reason that people use tablet games is the time they have. Tablet games are often 1 or 2 short games of 1 minute to 5 minutes. People are to busy these days as well.

 

RTS take a lot of time to play. Even 1 mission could take an hour depending on the type of game you are playing.

I have noticed how RTS became fast paced each year. But there is an end to it.

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I'm still not convinced that the lack of new RTS titles, or the lack of interest from vendors and buyers, really signifies the decline of the genre.

After all, games are meant to be played, not sold. So in my opinion, the point here is to ask if people play RTS games, not if they buy them.

I mean, back in the nineties when the PC gaming industry flourished and creativity went over the top, when many gaming genres and trends as we know them were established, people would buy games, play them through and crave for more. Here's when clones of successful titles would come in, as well as original creative works that would put a spin on already used ideas. (On a side note, this is also why games that allowed to create and/or add user content, such as custom levels and maps, gained much success - they allowed a rather simple way to get "more", often for free.)

However, this was 15-20 years ago. During this time, lots and lots of titles - hundreds at least - came out. Maybe today, people don't just rush to the store to get the newest title in the genre, but instead come back to play once again what they played back when it all started?

I think it shouldn't be surprising that there are stable communities of level and mod makers for old games, as well as projects such as Nyerguds' patch. I also believe those communities aren't just comprised of old-timers, but new people also come steadily to play old games.

I also believe that the logic of "Oh, this game doesn't have the newest graphics, it's probably not worth playing" was largely superimposed on the people by hardware manufacturing companies. It's not only that "retro" is popular today (and is marketed accordingly), it's also that really, there's no special secret in the fact that "eye candy" alone doesn't make a good game.

And yes, time is of an issue here too. We're spending too much time on the Internets these days, while 10 or 15 (I accidentally typed "155" here :D) years ago the same amount of time could be invested in dedicated playthrough of a single-player game.

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Total War: Rome 2 is coming out this fall.  Combo of civilization and an RTS.

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And since games companies are facing declining sales, they will cut back on the number of games they produce and focus only on those genres that are likely to bring in the greatest profits - which basically means shooters and RPGs. Making RTS games is becoming too risky in a world where fewer and fewer people are buying games. That's my guess.

 

I would have to agree here, so many times I pass through a town on the launch night of a new game and see the masses of people all waiting for midnight to buy their next "fix". However the saving grace, in my opinion, is that most of these people will play this incarnation of their favourite title for a year, two at the most, and then the next incarnation is released and its predecessor forgotten. I doubt any of these more "mainstream" games will be played by the same numeric of people in X years as C&C and Dune still see, not to mention the (much appreciated :) ) efforts of people who are still mapping, modding and upgrading these classic titles.

So really two points:

> Companies are sticking to what sells the most

> RTS gamers are sticking to, and continually improving, what plays the best

 

Disclaimer: Just my opinion! :)

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Well Sega seem to be a big time RTS producer these days with Total War and now owning Relic, so I wouldn't start to discredit RTS too much yet. I judge how well a genre is going by how many companies are producing it, the only way to really gauge it is by player counts and what works and is being made.

 

RTS is still heavily popular by EA still making C&C games, Westwoods new incarnation as Petroglyph is making End of Nations.. Indie devs are still making RTS games, not to mention the new form that RTS is taking with games such as League of Legends and Dota 2.

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not to mention the new form that RTS is taking with games such as League of Legends and Dota 2.

 

Yes, the branch of hero and levelling is still going on these days. The first ones of these had their birth ground in RTS where unit's could grow stronger with experience. The RPG theme is an expanded version to this. These games make the boundaries of RTS and RPG disappear.

 

What about other branches? While RPG seems still to be very alive. Which ones where there, but "died"?

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I do find that RTSFPS isn't being that widely used, which really does confuse me seeing as it's a good formula.

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I played Battlezone 2 a lot.

 

The major problem was that if the player had the wrong unit to sit in, your dead.

Enemy still was mixed up, so there was always a good counter.

You where not really a hero or super unit. Taking much damage was a bad thing.

 

Fighting and commanding an entire base was sometimes too hard. You had to select units by watching them and then ordering them by watching the enemy. (Your dead since you didn't move yourself situation)

And making use of the communications centre (on top view) had a very big risk as well.

 

Don't get me wrong, it is a good game. However, you need to choose wisely of what to do.

I often won by simply going sniper. And leaving my base behind after getting basics. I simply ordered the base to get as many tanks out as possible. But only to defend the base "automatically".

 

A better option? :

If they where to do this FPS properly. They should give the player anywhere, the same commanding possibilities. But then with only the mouse like in C&C. While the other movements are like Unreal Tournament or CoD.


RPG elements have the super unit, and the player is still good as dead if the super unit dies. But the players still think that they are really on the battlefield, since they think they can put themselves in that Hero unit. Both the "player" (hero unit) and the army are commanded in the same way. And often at the same time.

 

I guess that is why RPG elements do way better than FPS elements. Although, FPS elements often could have some sort of Race elements as well.

 


 

Any more elements possible? Would designing you own units be an element?

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X3M, what is your opinion about RTS games that generally have indirect control over units (The Sttlers series, Knights and Merchants, Majesty and the like)?

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Because consoles. When Gates invented the xbox despite being one of the fathers of noble Computers race something was wrong already. RTS aren't for consoles, consoles has just some turn based titles (Romance of the three kingdoms for example) but only RTS I remember is Halo Wars that was unpopular. Many games for pc are build to be multiplatform: that means that they are dubbed down getting less controls, checkpoints etc and some genre like RTS are ignored.

There is a bad consoles conspiracy. Even stuff like Hokuto no Ken....no kids knows about it, it is popular with older guys but his game is a console exclusive....people who were gaming between 80-90 probably have a pc or a tablet now, I doubt they get a playstation 3 or xbox....even if they were console maniacs they would be loyal to Nintendo instead of betray with sworn enemies!

 

This list is quite clear http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_real-time_strategy_video_games

no RTS that isn't a mmorts has been done recently. 

 

Also some RTS are dumbed down? For example they say that Dawn of War 2 has no more base building. Also some recently added game mechanics like multiple levels of battlefield in Armies of Exigo were never exported in other rts...they are just doing very old rts with better graphics and simplified gameplay.

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No more a base, is very often. Even in C&C dawn, you have a lot of these missions.

As long as there is some sort of commanding an entire army (at least 2 units working together), you have basic a RTS.

[if you control 1 unit, then it is a "RPG/FPS" in third person view for several hundreds meter observed above, :blink: ] GDI-6 FTW.

 

However, in my opinion. Economy and Bases should be part of the RTS as well to make it more logic as a RTS game. After all, you are supposed to decide on which units to have yourself to command. For this you need money and production capabilities. But if you thing about it, these 2 are not needed for RTS.

 

RPG/Levelling and FPS elements are considered extra's in my opinion.

So are: designing units, Terra forming, upgrading stuff, even selling stuff, recycling stuff (friend and/or foe), and whatever you might come up with that I haven't thought about yet.

 

RTS = Real Time Strategy

A strategy played in real time. By decisions you make, you see results over and/or after some time.

If you could constantly move pieces on the check board, then chess would be an RTS.

 


 

MrFibble,

I don't really know the games myself. I have seen settlers (1) when my buddy played it. But I rather had Dune2 back then.

Technically speaking, they are RTS as mentioned above with the (my) 3 basic rules. Commanding an army, choosing and producing these units (or having a base), getting the resources to do this.

However, indirect controls means: no micro management.

 


edit:

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RealTimeStrategy

Says it all.

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RTS = Real Time Strategy

A strategy played in real time. By decisions you make, you see results over and/or after some time.

If you could constantly move pieces on the check board, then chess would be an RTS.

As the story goes, the term "real-time-strategy" was coined by Brett Sperry to distinguish the genre of Westwood Studios' then brand new game, Dune II, from strategy games that were massively popular back then, and were all turn-based. True or not, I fancy no one is going to argue that Dune II had laid the groundwork for the entire genre, and Blizzard was quick to follow.

But the problem is, the canonical RTS as defined by Dune II includes

  • base construction,
  • resource gathering,
  • unit production.
These are the basic elements that comprise the RTS genre. Starting with Warcraft: Orc & Humans, missions without a base became possible too, but they are an exception compared to the bulk of "build-your-base-then-wipe-out-your-opponent" missions which have also become a basis for multiplayer games (again, with no-base MP scenarios as an option, but not as the default setting).

The problem here is that the listed parts aren't exactly realistic, and while they are all acceptable breaks from reality that make RTS games fun, this also puts the "canonical RTS" in opposition to both the turn-based tactics and to the real-time tactics as well.

It is also worth noting that the reason why the "realistic" (both in the sense of mechanics and in that they were often based on real-life events like historical military conflicts) tactical strategy games in early nineties tended to be turn-based lies in the hardware limitations of the day: already Dune II has to rely on certain workarounds (e.g. the units that are off-screen get less "attention" from the CPU and thus move slower) to reduce the stress that calculating game events on real time puts on the PC. Of course, as the hardware became more powerful, so real-time tactical games became more widespread. This in turn contributed to making the distinction between RTS and RTT less clear.

In my opinion, the lack of base construction and resource harvesting features makes a great difference, although I really am not sure that this difference warrants a separation of two different genre definitions. There are also borderline cases where you can build a base but only with a limited technology tree and only a handful of structures, and the main emphasis is on managing your existing units (e.g. I of the Enemy).

The opposite to this are the "German school" RTS games like The Settlers. Here, the main emphasis is on building up an complex infrastructure with production chains from raw resources to building materials, tools, weapons and supplies. You can't micro your units directly but you have control over how they move around an how efficient they are in what they do, by strategically placing buildings and laying the roads (at least, in the games where you need to plan roads, as not even all Settlers titles have this feature). You can even "micro" combat events by carefully choosing what military structures to build, and where, in relation to the enemy positions. In fact, there are several known strategies in the Settlers games that are based on this.

However, in my opinion. Economy and Bases should be part of the RTS as well to make it more logic as a RTS game. After all, you are supposed to decide on which units to have yourself to command. For this you need money and production capabilities.

Well, the classic "build-and-harvest" model isn't the only way of choosing what units you will control on the battlefield. Many games (e.g. S.W.I.N.E) allow you to pre-select units for each mission, often limiting your options by the amount of credits you have (which is sometimes based on the player's performance in previous missions).

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Well, the classic "build-and-harvest" model isn't the only way of choosing what units you will control on the battlefield. Many games (e.g. S.W.I.N.E) allow you to pre-select units for each mission, often limiting your options by the amount of credits you have (which is sometimes based on the player's performance in previous missions).

Thus removing the base factor. However, economy is still there by performance.


Anyway, C&C4 had no real bases and income. Right? Still it is considered a RTS by many. However, a lot of other people hated this "no base" concept. So, should we say it wasn't an RTS? Literally it was, however, its "strategy planning" is primitive compared to Dune2 due to this lacking of the "basics".


The major point here is, there are many concepts of RTS. It's a rather large gray area. You have many shades of grey in there. And perhaps players these days don't like concepts of RTS that are a bit different than the classic Dune2, C&C Dawn etc. kind of games. Those old games feel like perfect 50% grey. New ones have only 20% grey or 89% grey. etc.

 

Or, game creators wanted to be original and drifted of the Dune2 concept. Resulting in making games that are unfamiliar to players. And I for one know that the majority of people out there don't like to try something new if they are good (and like) with something old.


I once had a discussion with someone about if RTS really needs fighting to the death kind of games.

 

Transport Tycoon as example:

It is real time, and you need strategy to get something (money and likings).

You only chase away an opponent out of a city, if you do many times better business with that same city.

You need do to some strategy too, like deciding where to build up first. Going for a fast track with little money, or a big one with a lot of money?

 

[ (brag in brackets) Of course I imprisonment enemy vehicles and boats too. And I stopped the building of rail roads by placing my own. My best game was 5 out of 7 dead concurrence and a crash due to having too much money in year 2025 :D), Trains are imba, air are OP or cannot be stopped]

 

In my feeling, Transport Tycoon is an RTS. Without fighting.

I believe the proper name for Dune2 should be RTSWG. Real Time Strategy War Game.

While Transport Tycoon has only RTS as a tag.

Still no need for economics and production by the RTSWG naming if you take it very literally.

 

[actually, I did kill employees (truck drivers) of the enemy :), and layed waste to entire city's by removing any road and any house in any possible way, so make it RTSWG for me]


So I have come to a point where I could say that RTS are perhaps not declining, just shifting in another shade of grey. There might be over 50. :)

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I think the last RTS I played was Earth 2150 which was really interesting as (if I remember correctly) you could switch between maps in real-time. I think that a REAL RTS imo must take place on a strategic map, just like Panzer General. That IS strategy, everything else is tactics. I would consider Dune II a RTT and everything more micro than the common "RTS" should be a "squad-based RTT" like Commandos or Cannon Fodder or Close Combat.

 

So I'd imagine a Panzer General type of map with the unit's names and stuff, all real time and the ability to zoom in and take control of the tactics in a battle if you see progress is too slow or the casualites are too (damn) high. Some sort of a "Total War" series with real time strategic map and real time jump to battle scene. "Hegemony: Philip of Macedon" kinda' tries this with a seamless zoom in on the 3D strategic map but I haven't played that one too much, not even finished the tutorials.

 

Anyway, the RTS is not dieing, it's just evolving. The whole issue here is that the traditional PC game industry is under attack by the tablet and mobile phone games thingy, as I said earlier. So more angry birds and less Black&White...

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It's funny to read "the genre is dead" just after the release of the second CoH ;)

 

But I agree it needs a new Dune game. Something more tactical, book-like war of assassins with hunter-seekers and bodkins...

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Perhaps we can map out in what direction RTS is evolving.

Eventually we get some new game genre's. If they don't add the basic stuff.


But first:

 

I see huge overlaps between RTS, RPG and FPS. They start looking like each other since creators of games try to be original and have something "new". I don't think it is original at all. If I where to give it colours. RTS red, RPG yellow, FPS blue.

Then we get some new colours after combining. Keep in mind, 1 colour is the basis, the other one is added.

 

After adding to much of the other one, the basic colour gets lost. And adding this new colour to the original one is bad. Meaning, if the basis is FPS, if it turns to much into RTS while you are still in FPS, it is going the wrong way now.

 

Battlezone2: I think of it as a FPS that has to much RTS in it. Or it is a RTS that has to much FPS elements.

In other words, the colour is now purple. It's so mixed up, you can't see one of the original colours.

 

Another example, which went a bit better; Unreal Tournament, the team games.

I already had team games in Unreal Tournament 10 years ago where I "completely" controlled the other "units" by telling them where to guard, or to attack. Sometimes I told them to take high ground or guard a choke point for dealing with incoming enemies. However, it was still a FPS, only adding was the commanding once or twice. There was no need for micro, nor would it be possible to do this with the units.

 

Comparing the 2 games. In Battlezone2 they expect you to do micro. But if you have to decide that for other units, you need to be damn good to keep yourself alive.

 

I can go on about other examples, including the RTS with some RPG, but not to much. You guessed it, WC3.

 


 

But back to new genres:

Is brown a possibility? Would it be fun? Or just a crap (brown) game?

What would be the white or black addition? There isn't really more to add than that? If they exist in the first place?

Maybe there is need for a glowing coating on the colour, so you get something like yellow becomes gold kind of thing, or a uranium glowing yellow instead?

I see WOW as some sort of deep yellow, with coating. But after a while the coating fell of for me. No, it wasn't uranium to me.

 


 

Now we have gotten to a point where we want RED. The colour red is RTS. We have some orange kind of RED, some purple kind of RED, and Bronze, we have that too. But the orange and purple is slipping in to much. Where is the RED?

Perhaps I expect a new bronze or a RED light. The old RED light (Dune2, C&C Dawn) is starting to dim. No one is selling that kind of lights any more.

 

Dune 2000 would be bronze, a nice coating to an RED that we already had. (Bronze is worth just as much as Silver and Gold in these examples ;) ). But the coating has been falling of. Then they added some more coating (game play), and more lightning (graphics). We got Emperor Battle for Dune.

 

What else could we add?

 


 

There are games that have RED and BLUE or YELLOW. But during the game play, you have 1, or the other. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

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