Recent Articles In Real-Time
February 12, 2009 by mittens on Rawr

Over the last few years, Relic has been crafting and evolving their very unique take on the real-time strategy genre with every new title they have released. Their shift in focus from a game like Homeworld to their, now, action/RTS genre blend was most apparent in Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War (2004). Dawn of War introduced the concept of cover as an actual game mechanic that players had to think about and plan a strategy around. The game also provided players with a lower unit count than most other strategy games released at the time while also treating infantry units as somewhat customizable squads rather than individual units. Dawn of War also was the first of Relic's games that really attempted to differentiate itself from the conventions of the real-time strategy genre at the time by reducing the gameplay emphasis on resource management.

Unlike games like Warcraft, Starcraft, and Age of Empires, Dawn of War treated one of its two resources as a capturable commodity. The map designers placed several important requisition points at key locations around a game map and these capturable points were the only means of harvesting requisition. Once a resource point is captured the flow of a given resource was dependent on nothing else but time (and maybe an upgraded listening post on the capture point). There were no workers to manage and not supply flow to contend with, simply a group of "hot points" that littered a game map. There were, however, constructable power nodes that players had to build in order to acquire power -- a design mechanic that felt out of place in the scheme of the game. Relic's next game, Company of Heroes, took this design methodology one step further and made the source of all resources a capturable point on the game map that had to be claimed and then, in some cases, enhanced through the construction of a building atop the point.

January 22, 2009 by warreni on warreni's words
For any who may be interested, the Premier Edition of Red Alert 3 is now selling on Amazon for $29. This is a substantial markdown from when I got mine at full price last year.

 
October 6, 2008 by mittens on Rawr

A real-time strategy game is, by definition, a game where players are forced to make strategic and tactical decisions in real time. As the game industry grows, the real-time strategy genre has narrowed its focus to a very specific type of game that does little to force players to consider an over-arching strategy as comprised by numerous tactics. Instead of allowing a player's large- and small-scale decisions to adapt and change as events in a given skirmish unfold, RTSs just make players think of resource usage (I have X, I need Y, and I get Z/minute) and basic army composition. Everything else in the span of a game flows from these two mechanics into what is, typically, one large battle near the end of a game. Relic's Company of Heroes changes this design and, as a result, makes its real-time strategy gameplay into a more dynamic and far less predictable experience that forces a player to make harder decisions more frequently.

It's a commonly-held tenet in real-time strategy games that when an enemy unit is right-clicked upon that death befalls it after it takes a certain amount of damage from units that deal a specific amount of damage every few seconds. Blizzard's Starcraft is practically built around a very definitive combat model that follows a rock-paper-scissors methodology with very consistent unit performance results. The micromanagement that occurs within battles in Starcraft has nothing to do with centering an army around a well-covered/fortified position or ensuring that when your Dragoon attacks that his bullets will hit the right part of the enemy siege tank; instead, cover is just determining if a Protoss melee unit is in range of a bunker filled Space Marines and any hit a Dragoon lands on a Space Tank will do the same amount of damage whether it hits the armor-heavy front or the weakly-covered rear.

Most of you know Company of Heroes was one of the first "next-gen" RTS titles to come out in recent times. It brought RTS gameplay we all have come to know and love along with cool other elements such as dynamic cover (including destructibles), intelligent squad AI and havok physics. The game's level of detail rivalled that of FPS games.

The game has had a pretty good life so far, although it hasn't been without its balance niggles and bugs. However overall the game has been a good title and ...
March 19, 2008 by mittens on Rawr
Video games are such a fantastic medium. I just finished playing through Gears of War cooperatively with a friend over Xbox Live and it was absolutely enjoyable, hilarious, and challenging as hell. As a child of the, uh, Manboy Generation? YouTube Generation? Whatever kind of generation I’m a part of, growing up with video games has obviously had a large influence on my life being that I am what some may consider a "hardcore gamer" along with being a game developer, designer, and so on. So...
Even before humans decided that capitalism was their religion, the Ishendi were different. Their colony had originally been founded by members of a philosophical sect dedicated to living a more principled life. Over time, the Ishendi came to be seen as more militaristic than some of the other members of the TEC. The Ishendi tended to have little patience with the subtleties of contracts when some of the more slippery members of Trader Space did not fulfill their end of bargains.

A thousand ye...
January 26, 2008 by warreni on warreni's words
That's a weird subtitle, I know, but I was pondering what connections exist between these two games beyond the fact that I recently completed the single-player campaigns in both. Both are real-time strategy games that attempt to bring some innovations to the genre. Land-based combat in both is heavily invested in the concept of holding strategic points. However, each disappoints to a greater or lesser degree in its own ways. Many reviewers have stated that SW:EaW represents the first good Star W...
Sins of a Solar Empire is shaping up nicely. An RTS with turn-based level depth that allows users to manage huge empires in real-time without getting bogged down in micro management.

Here are some screenshots from today's play.



Each race gets its own technology tree. Tech trees are a feature from 4X strategy games. RTS's usually don't have them.  To keep micro management down, the techs have a cost associated with them but also require a certain number of labs to be built in your ...
The ads for Sins of a Solar Empire of are starting to arrive in the magazines in a big way.  2-page spreads in PC Gamer and Games for Windows (CGW) are here.

Moreover, the initial orders from retail have started to arrive. WalMart, Best Buy, EB, and GameStop are all on board. 

Most gamers have no idea just how difficult it is to get a PC game onto store shelves (or any product for that matter). Next time you're at the store, look at the makers of most PC games.  They're me...
December 26, 2007 by kdevine on Online Board Gaming
GameTable Online is a nice website that allows registered users to play a number of strategy boardgames online. Titles include Battle of the Bands, Nuclear War, Ten Days in Africa, Kill Dr. Lucky, Igel Argern, New England, Bosworth, Condottierre, Cosmic Wimpout, Creepy Freaks, Euphrat and Tigris, Lord of the Fries and Vampire. I have been able to play Battle of the Bands, Nuclear War, Ten Days in Africa, Kill Dr. Lucky and Euphrat and Tigris, so I cannot comment on the rest of the games they h...
May 23, 2007 by BlueDev on A blog without a cause
1998.  Real-time strategy games were no new commodity.  Dune, Command and Conquer, Total Annihilation, Age of Empires and Warcraft were all well known, well regarded and loved titles.  But Blizzard wasn't content to sit on the success of Warcraft and Diablo.  After exploring the world of fantasy, they were ready to tap the wells of sci-fi.

Enter Starcraft.

Other RTS games have come and gone.  I have loved many, but none quite so dearly as Starcraft.  You see, ...
May 4, 2007 by warreni on warreni's words
Recently, I finished the Age of Empires III single-player campaign and I have played through a few skirmish matches. What follows are my impressions of the game on its own and in comparison with its predecessors, Age of Mythology and Age of Empires 2.

AoEIII does represent, as my title suggests an evolution in the concept of the real-time strategy game. Many reviewers have commented on this; specifically, I choose to use this term because of the implementation of the concept of the "home city...
February 26, 2007 by mittens on Rawr
Jump to: Introduction :: The Big Picture :: Nuclear Hugs :: Tech of the Infinite War :: Conclusion

War is Fought with ACUs
To say that I have been looking forward to the retail release of Supreme Commander is an understatement of epic proportions. With this game, we have a Real-Time Strategy title centered around large-scale warfare -- such a concept may sound unspectacular on paper until you realize that, while some RTSs certainly have an epic scope in terms of storyline and setting, they ...
September 8, 2006 by mittens on Rawr
Jump to: The Introduction :: Real-Time Tactical :: Modability :: Battle.net :: Graphics and Physics :: Conclusion, etc.

The Introduction -- House Mix
I'm always amazed at the kind of great feedback some of you folks give to these articles; so, for those of you who read the first part and commented in some form (in-site/e-mail) and showed the thing to your friends, I do thank you. I enjoy writing these kinds of things, and hearing all you folk get some form of digitally strategic education o...
September 3, 2006 by mittens on Rawr
Jump to: The Introduction :: RTS101 :: A Brief History :: Trent + RTS = :: Conclusion and Preview

Back in the day, when I was a strapping young lad on the brink of finally convincing the parents that the household needed a computer as much as it needed gas and electricity, there were two games that I was introduced to through two third-parties that I loved like no man should love software: Wolfenstein 3D and Warcraft: Orcs and Humans. Wolf3D was considered far too gruesome and controversial ...