## RTS's

Post

### Re: RTSs

#16
Gazz wrote:Real Time Str....actical game. Usually.
This. So much this.

Also this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and all these.

If it's real-time, it's not strategic; if it's strategic, it's not real-time, regardless of the oxymoron "real-time strategy game."

Again: I don't say this to annoy anyone, or to argue fiddly semantic shades of meaning; I have zero interest in those things. I speak up about using the word "strategy" correctly because calling a game (like StarCraft or other RTS) strategic when it really is not means we miss out on valuing and getting games that actually are strategic. That is not in any way a put-down of RTS games or those who enjoy them. I've replayed StarCraft more than once; it's a great game.

But it's not a strategy game. Like nearly all other games called RTS games, it's a fast-paced tactical game with some resource management -- there is no big-picture, big-pattern-perceiving, deep-planning game of acquiring, defending and exploiting civilizationally-important assets over a large area of space and time. That is "strategy," and a "strategic" game. I love those, and I wish I could get game developers to use the term "strategic" correctly so that more gamers could love those kinds of games with me.

Last edited by Flatfingers on Fri Jan 30, 2015 4:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Post

### Re: RTS's

#19
What, exactly, do you find attractive about them?
They require more thinking then most games. They're like a more modern version of chess, you could say. A battle of minds (or mind and machine).
Why do you play them?
Part nostalgia (they're the first "real"games I played) and part because I like them.
What parts do you believe to be the best?
When you start from scratch and manage to keep alive until you have enough forces to overwhelm your opponents base.
What do you hate about them?
The fact that you have to be the Flash to be really good at them, rather than just outsmart your enemy.
What could modern RTS's improve on?
Stop focusing on multiplayer. I want large campaigns with cool storylines and varied settings and missions, not just a multiplayer game with a vs ai skirmish mode.

Ninja'd five times?
The LT IRC / Alternate link || The REKT Wiki || PUDDING
Post

### Re: RTS's

#20
Cornflakes_91 wrote:
Scytale wrote: Haha! It's doable, but it means hard work really early on. Are you playing SupCom vanilla or FA?
Forged alliance.

You've beaten one? Alone?
I'm trying really hard to remember it was years ago. I don't think I was alone, no... We always needed at least two people. Memory makes things seem easier

One interesting mini-tactic that came out of it regarded balancing energy consumption early on. I remember there was a trick you could do to halve the build rate of engineers (and therefore energy and mass consumption) so you could perform more construction tasks right at the start. Can't remember if it was useful in the long run, but it did give us a bit more infrastructure to start with.

I miss those days

Edit: ninja'd six times
Post

### Re: RTSs

#21
Flatfingers wrote:
Gazz wrote:Real Time Str....actical game. Usually.
This. So much this.

Also this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and all these.

If it's real-time, it's not strategic; if it's strategic, it's not real-time, regardless of the oxymoron "real-time strategy game."

Again: I don't say this to annoy anyone, or to argue fiddly semantic shades of meaning; I have zero interest in those things. I speak up about using the word "strategy" correctly because calling a game (like StarCraft or other RTS) strategic when it really is not means we miss out on valuing and getting games that actually are strategic. That is not in any way a put-down of RTS games or those who enjoy them. I've replayed StarCraft more than once; it's a great game.

But it's not a strategy game. Like nearly all other games called RTS games, it's a fast-paced tactical game with some resource management -- there is no big-picture, big-pattern-perceiving, deep-planning game of acquiring, defending and exploiting civilizationally-important assets over a large area of space and time. That is "strategy," and a "strategic" game. I love those, and I wish I could get game developers to use the term "strategic" correctly so that more gamers could love those kinds of games with me.

I'm curious Flat. I thoroughly agree that RTSes are not Ses, so to speak. But there do exist real-time 4x games which I would certainly call strategic. Having read your other posts, I'm rather unfairly asking: do you assert that real time makes it impossible for a game to be a strategy game?
Post

### Re: RTSs

#22
Scytale wrote:I'm curious Flat. I thoroughly agree that RTSes are not Ses, so to speak. But there do exist real-time 4x games which I would certainly call strategic. Having read your other posts, I'm rather unfairly asking: do you assert that real time makes it impossible for a game to be a strategy game?
Not unfair at all. Yes, I have and do assert exactly that: if it's real-time, it's not strategic; if it's strategic, it's not real-time.

A game can be turn-based and still not be strategic. Diplomacy, for example, has some strategic shadings (who can I manipulate into trusting me now so I can hose them later?), but for the most part the hands-on gameplay is tactical deal-making.

My contention about strategic thinking -- and thus of gameplay that's intended to actually be "strategic" -- is that it's about thinking deeply, not in detail (which is logistics-focused operational action) and not quickly (which is adaptive tactical action).

And thinking deeply takes time. When there's a ticking clock that's forcing a decision now, it interrupts the two critical behaviors of strategic action:

1. The perception of the forms and strengths of large-scale patterns of force across space, and of how those patterns appear to change over time.
2. The creative generation of effective plans whose implementation will change those patterns of force so as to achieve the vision of what the whole world should look like ("grand strategy").

Real-timeness directly interferes with both of those processes. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some few people who believe they excel at both quick/adaptive (tactical) and deep/perceptive/creative (strategic) thinking. Maybe there are a few. But they are the exceptions. For most people -- in particular the people who are likely to buy and play a game -- they're good at and enjoy and prefer either exciting tactics, or accumulative operations, or perceptive strategy, or meaningful vision. So it's helpful for game designers to understand those preferences, because that helps them make games that more effectively satisfy those differing play interests.

...I swear I'm trying to let this thread go back to talking about what people like in RTSs, I really am...!
Post

### Re: RTS's

#23
For the people getting ninja'd: I want as many opinions as possible. As such, I actively encourage attempts to ninja your fellow forum dweller. It breeds variety in your responses.

Note to self: refer to the genre as RTT whenever Flatfingers happens to be online.
The results of logic, of natural progression? Boring! An expected result? Dull! An obvious next step? Pfui! Where is the fun in that? A dream may soothe, but our nightmares make us run!
Post

### Re: RTSs

#24
Flatfingers wrote:And thinking deeply takes time. When there's a ticking clock that's forcing a decision now, it interrupts the two critical behaviors of strategic action:

1. The perception of the forms and strengths of large-scale patterns of force across space, and of how those patterns appear to change over time.
2. The creative generation of effective plans whose implementation will change those patterns of force so as to achieve the vision of what the whole world should look like ("grand strategy").
Chess (when played in official tournaments, at least) has a ticking clock. Each player must make their first forty moves in two hours.

Does this mean that chess isn't a strategy game? I'd disagree. While a high-speed game necessarily removes strategy, I don't think it's a simple "if it's real-time, it's not strategic; if it's strategic, it's not real-time".

Of course, that's heavily stretching the definition of "real-time" - I think most would consider chess turn-based. But my point is that I don't think it's the time limit that prevents these games from being strategic.
Games I like, in order of how much I like them. (Now permanent and updated regularly!)
Post

### Re: RTSs

#25
Flatfingers wrote:
Scytale wrote:I'm curious Flat. I thoroughly agree that RTSes are not Ses, so to speak. But there do exist real-time 4x games which I would certainly call strategic. Having read your other posts, I'm rather unfairly asking: do you assert that real time makes it impossible for a game to be a strategy game?
Not unfair at all. Yes, I have and do assert exactly that: if it's real-time, it's not strategic; if it's strategic, it's not real-time.

A game can be turn-based and still not be strategic. Diplomacy, for example, has some strategic shadings (who can I manipulate into trusting me now so I can hose them later?), but for the most part the hands-on gameplay is tactical deal-making.

My contention about strategic thinking -- and thus of gameplay that's intended to actually be "strategic" -- is that it's about thinking deeply, not in detail (which is logistics-focused operational action) and not quickly (which is adaptive tactical action).

And thinking deeply takes time. When there's a ticking clock that's forcing a decision now, it interrupts the two critical behaviors of strategic action:

1. The perception of the forms and strengths of large-scale patterns of force across space, and of how those patterns appear to change over time.
2. The creative generation of effective plans whose implementation will change those patterns of force so as to achieve the vision of what the whole world should look like ("grand strategy").

Real-timeness directly interferes with both of those processes. I wouldn't be surprised if there are some few people who believe they excel at both quick/adaptive (tactical) and deep/perceptive/creative (strategic) thinking. Maybe there are a few. But they are the exceptions. For most people -- in particular the people who are likely to buy and play a game -- they're good at and enjoy and prefer either exciting tactics, or accumulative operations, or perceptive strategy, or meaningful vision. So it's helpful for game designers to understand those preferences, because that helps them make games that more effectively satisfy those differing play interests.

...I swear I'm trying to let this thread go back to talking about what people like in RTSs, I really am...!
Well Flat, it's not your fault you're getting engaged on your opinions =P

Let me ask a rather extreme question: in reality, when wars are fought, do the generals not use strategy when participating in these wars? Was Napoleon not a strategist because he made his strategic decisions in real time?

I anticipate that your response is that when "generals are doing strategy" (which sounds quite funny to write), the timescale over which the decision may be made is much longer than that over which a tactical decision would be made; one could therefore model a strategic framework as existing in the limit where time-required-for-decision goes to infinity. Am I right? Would you hold this view?

If so, turn-based games are an ideal potential model for strategy. But this cannot imply that real-time games cannot in principle be strategy games. It's certainly true that most real time games are in fact not strategy games (witness most if not all 'RTS'es ever); the 'meta'-time 'strategy' game Achron, which involves time travel (and it's amazing) epitomizes the paradigm of having to make decisions quickly and competently within a limited timeframe, characterized especially by the fluid timeline mechanic; this makes it a profoundly tactical game.

But surely this can't mean that one can never devise a game in which decision-making exists in a real-time framework, but in which the pressure to make those decisions quickly[/i ]goes to zero - simplistically, take for example an extremely slow-paced real-time game, ideally with a time acceleration/deceleration function, which enables one to change the pace at which decisions are made and the pressure to make those decisions is reduced to almost nothing.

I feel quite strongly about this because I have played real-time 4x games where the default timescale was slow enough that you were never pressured to make a decision quickly, namely Stardrive and Distant Worlds. I feel that your arguments do not apply to these games because that "in-the-midst-of-a-situation" pressure has been reduced or largely removed.
Post

### Re: RTSs

#26
Every declarative statement can be picked to death with edge cases if one really wants to do so. The question is whether the basic point holds in a useful way.

In this case, the basic point is that strategic gameplay is hurt when you interrupt it to force the player to make quick (tactical) decisions. If that's the gameplay you've created, then you really shouldn't be calling it "strategic" because it's not, and that's because your mechanics are preventing most players, playing the game normally, from engaging in the behaviors that define strategic play.

And once more: I'm not saying any of this to criticize RTS-genre games. I'm saying it because I want actually strategic games, where I'm expected and allowed to take all the time I need to understand the big picture, not real-time tactical games that are just called "strategic" because there's a crafting or RPG mechanic attached to the central feature of unit-versus-unit combat.

People can call these RTSs if they want; I don't have any kind of emotional reaction to that. I have an opinion, which at this point I've expressed as well as I can, and people are free to decide for themselves whether they think the basic assertion I've made is sufficiently well-argued to tolerate that opinion or not.
Post

### Re: RTS's

#27
Every declarative statement can be picked to death with edge cases if one really wants to do so. The question is whether the basic point holds in a useful way.
Flat, I used the extreme case as an example because I asked you this:
Having read your other posts, I'm rather unfairly asking: do you assert that real time makes it impossible for a game to be a strategy game?
That's why I said it was unfair - I was asking you to make a declarative statement. The reason I did this was because I wanted to know if you thought the reason a real-time game couldn't be a strategy game was (a) because of the vast majority of examples are not strategy games, or (b) because it was in principle impossible for a real time game to be a strategy game. Maybe I should just have stuck to this.

In any case, the difference between (a) and (b) is not academic, and is certainly not distillable to an edge case. Distant Worlds and Stardrive are well-known real-time 4x games; unlike Sins of a Solar Empire, who tried to make a real-time 4x and failed (making a rather good 'RTS' instead), these two are competent examples of slow-paced games which do not generally force the player into time-limited decisions. I absolutely agree with (a) but absolutely disagree with (b).

If Distant Worlds \emph{et al.} are useful examples of true real time strategy games, then the question of whether or not the basic point you make holds in a useful way is held in tension. This is what I'm (unsuccessully, it seems) attempting to convey.

If you feel the need to continually clarify that you're not criticizing RTS-genre games, I hope it's not because of me; I'm not personally taking offence there. Not even the 'largest-scale' of RTSes - SupCom or SoaSE or Homeworld - are at all useful examples of true strategy games, showing that the issue is not a matter of operational-length-scale but of decision-making-time-scale. I have an issue with (b), not (a).
Post

### Re: RTS's

#28
Strategy: decisions made before the plan is executed, with the current intel and tools given at that time.
Tactic: decision made during the action, to counter an opponent action.

If I'm in the heat of battle on the frontlines of supcomFA, I'm making quick reaction based responses, those are considered tactics. The most experienced players make better tacyical decisions, blablabla.

If I return to base and look at the minimap, I'm in controll of the situation or not in imidiate danger, you can sink into so strategy planning. What will my next plan be? Will I build aircraft, do I have the disired Air factories. Building your base, for example, is a good way of strategic decision making. Deciding which units to produce to counter your enemy is another strategical decision, if not attacked. And if you are, in supcom you are already to late. I believe supcom is the perfect game where players need to be good at both. There is such a deep economy system, if you fail at generaying energy you lost the game, if you find out you do not generate enough mass, you made some serious bad decisions.

Also, before the match starts, you mostly know what map you are playing, and make up your strategy before the match starts. Which is particularly important in teamplay.........
So real time games like supcom have strategic thinking because of the slower paced game speed. And make the game a true battle of the minds.

Reminds me of a match. It was like ww1, both playerd digged in. Losing tons of units but couldn't get through, he started making heavy artillery. I knew that because I scout alot in games, (which is a strategic decision). So I noticed his left wing almost had no AA, so I stopped all other production facilities and put everything I had on building tech2 bombers. In no time I had about 30 of them, so I took my chanse and crossed my fingers (all strategic decision, because no action is distracting me), In one glorious flyby I noticed his commander outside a bubble and airsniped him...... Recieving serious %>£^<<$*$\$ from the enemy hahaha, so yeah supcom defeniately has strategy involved, and is also realtime.