Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

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appleide
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Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

Post by appleide » December 4th, 2007, 12:01 pm

Played to death? In the ninties 2D RTSes ruled the gaming landscape with titles such as Warcraft (1 and 2), Starcraft, Total Annilation, Command and Conquer, and myriad other 2D titles. It would almost seem that even the RTS genre itself has been played to death; save perhaps Homeworld and Warcraft 3 letting RTSes survive in the 3rd dimension.

Yet there has always been a 2D RTS I had always wanted to write. Currently I am in the best position in my life to do this. However as I complete more trivial aspects of the game, I am starting to worry if what I am doing is 10 years out of date.

Question: Are 2D RTSes still viable in this almost-2008 world of ours?

This is a question of not simply whether I, myself, can do this, but whether such a game can interest anyone at all to assist.

I have always thought _my_ RTS is different, but it may not be the case, so I will put the concept up here for comment and criticism, perhaps even just Yes-es, or No-es if there are enough of them.

Concept: (I will make this short, into 6 points.)
[=] Players control Planets inside multiple individual solar systems, build ships from these planets to fight others. So a game map (like Escape Velocity, for those familiar) will have 5 or so solar systems, with 'paths' linking each star to 2 or 3 others. Players will have to switch views between solar systems. When events happen in a system the player is not viewing, a link explaining the event appears and player can click to go to the relevant star.

[=] Ships travel between Solar systems via "Quantum Tunnelling Gates". [optional explanation] which turns objects into energy and individual photons and forcing them to travel via 'tunneling', thus travelling faster than the speed of light. At the end of the trip, these photons are put together into its original at the other 'gate'.[/optional explanation] Only limited masses can travel between solar systems at the same time.

[=] There are 4 resources, Minerals, Energy, Money, Population. Population acts like the "farms" seen in Warcraft 3 and Age of Empires, whilst Minerals and Energy are used to build ships, Money for ships and buildings (see next point). Energy and Minerals are also interchangeable at limited quantities at a time. (e=mc^2)

[=] Each planet have different land area, so different number of 'blocks of buildings' can be built to allow the planet to perform different functions. A planet like Earth would have ~6 spots of building. Though placing of buildings within planets doesn't matter. (Factories enable ship production, more of them means faster. Mineral Mines add mineral income, Power plants add energy Income, Cities for money income, and provide population. Note that increasing population taxes mineral and energy the player receives.)

[=] Money can also be 'printed'. Minerals and Energy can be bought from traders or from people for money. The cost of building buildings and ships will change according to value of each denomination of money. Cities will also have fluctuating money incomes simulating our current economic model to an extent favouring gameplay. So when player build many ships, demand for minerals rises, and so do the price of minerals. []People in the cities control wealth that the player does not have immediate access to. Player can 'force' cities to give this up via taxes and money 'printing' but this would damage their economy in the long term.

[=] Ship designs can be outfitted by the player as he/she wishes, and each game player can load their own files.

And of course, like all RTSes, this one is multiplayer too. Although I am still thinking about the advantages of a tech tree.

This RTS plays more on economy than actual fighting, I am hoping this concept might be attractive to some.

EDIT: I guess this does not have to be 2D, but 3D programming is beyond me, for now. I cannot see how player can play 3D space combat intuitively. (No, I don't like the way Homeworld has done it)
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Post by Dveman115 » December 4th, 2007, 6:40 pm

If you look at the Star Wars Game Empire At War, they have done something pretty good with space RTS. Also look at the game Ground Control (at least the air parts). They also have done some good things with air 3d-ness. But I don NOT like the way some RTS's have the air be exactly like the ground, but with a shadow and a different background.

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Post by Velensk » December 4th, 2007, 8:27 pm

I don't see why they are anyless viable 3D graphics may be nice, but you can have an enjoyable game without them. I still play Starcraft every now and then, it's sequal will have 3D graphics which is nice but not the critical in my opinion.
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Post by palloco » December 4th, 2007, 8:39 pm

Innovative 2D RTS are viable, but I dont think your is. It looks to me as a Warpath clone.


Hmmm, I had just checked it and there are new versions. I only played Warpath 97
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Post by irrevenant » December 5th, 2007, 7:28 am

Define "viable". If you mean "will people play it as a gratis FOSS game?", then if it's interesting and fun, sure.

If you mean "could it be a commercial game that makes me $$$$?" that's another question altogether...

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Post by eyerouge » December 19th, 2007, 10:19 pm

In short: Yes, it's viable - the real and long term success of a game doesn't ultimately depend on it's graphics if it stands between 2d and 3d engines. Needless to say, it depends on your purposes. Most RTS games have no need whatsoever from a gaming point of view of a 3d engine. Most are just for show, and they also fail miserably. Yet again, it's maybe a matter of taste and what you prioritize in your game.

Btw: Me + a very experienced coder are in the process of drawing up some directions for a RTS that will be different in many ways from what is on the market and that will introduce new gaming concepts - not just a [censored] load of new units a new story and flashy graphics. We're thinking of ways to shift the genre and develop it, not just replicate.

If you're interested it would probably be better to co-work or at least have a talk about it. Mail me at eyerouge at eyerouge dot com and also inculde a list of your skills and more about your project, your aims etc.

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Re: Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

Post by Trau » April 29th, 2008, 3:51 am

If being a "gamer" without being a computer expert has taught me anything, ANYTHING AT ALL, it's that modern technology is something to be feared - feared, loathed, crushed, and despised.

... okay, maybe that was a little extreme.

But my point is, nobody who is serious about gaming (oxymoron?) would ever be concerned about graphics, music, and all the garnish that commercial game companies put in their games. They may be pretty to look at at first, but once the novelty wears off, it will be the gameplay that keeps people playing the game, motivates people to buy the game, and gets people to advertise it by word of mouth.

As such, technological complexities, like 3D art, should only be utilized when there is a damn good reason for it, and no, I'm not talking about stuff like gimmicky Wii games or Eye of Judgment, I'm talking about using 3D when the game actually takes place in three dimensions.

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Re: Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

Post by turin » April 29th, 2008, 6:23 am

Trau wrote:But my point is, nobody who is serious about gaming (oxymoron?) would ever be concerned about graphics, music, and all the garnish that commercial game companies put in their games.
...to an extent. If the art in a game is bad enough, I do find it painful to play - a lot of open source games I try have this problem. But it is certainly true a hugely disproportionate amount of emphasis is placed on the graphics of commercial games rather than the gameplay.
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Re: Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

Post by irrevenant » April 30th, 2008, 3:10 am

Personally, I prefer 2D RTSes to 3D ones. IME, the main difference between the two is that, with 3D, you have to control the camera as well as all your troops. Yay.

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Re: Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

Post by Trau » April 30th, 2008, 3:20 am

irrevenant wrote:Personally, I prefer 2D RTSes to 3D ones. IME, the main difference between the two is that, with 3D, you have to control the camera as well as all your troops. Yay.
Medieval: Total War :augh:

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Re: Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

Post by irrevenant » May 1st, 2008, 6:25 am

Trau wrote:
irrevenant wrote:Personally, I prefer 2D RTSes to 3D ones. IME, the main difference between the two is that, with 3D, you have to control the camera as well as all your troops. Yay.
Medieval: Total War :augh:
I confess I haven't played that one. Or most of the really recent ones. I kind of went off them when they went 3D. :)

I assume in TW you have advantages of fighting up-and-down hill, and obscurement by terrain? That can all be done in a 2D engine.

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Re: Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

Post by Trau » May 1st, 2008, 7:02 am

I meant it had one of the most awkward cameras I had ever seen in a video game >.>

You can basically only move the camera forward or backward, and pressing right or left rotated your view... so trying to get a good view of things is like a game in itself, only annoying, unrewarding, and way too hard. :(

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Re: Discussion of 2D RTSes. Still viable?

Post by AI » May 1st, 2008, 8:34 am

Heh, you should try Populous: The Beginning. Every battle takes place on its own PLANET.

While you can scroll using the mouse, it's far more efficient to do so with WASD/arrows (forgot if WASD was possible) + control.
forward/backward moves camera as expected
left/right turns camera
control + left/right strafes camera

At least that's IIRC.

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